Children in peril of malnutrition in war-torn S. Sudan, UNICEF warns
October 18, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – the United Nations International Children Education Fund (UNICEF) has warned that there is alarming high number of children under five-year of ages suffering from physical of poor diets and food stuff.
South Sudan gained independence from the north in 2011 after decades of civil war, but returned into another civil war in late 2013, uprooted four million people both internally and externally from their homes, placed them under severely hunger and malnutrition.
The country’s five – year conflict has also ruined the economic and farming activities, leaved civilians on the arm of humanitarian agencies. To access the conflict-areas is measure problem due to insecurity and inaccessible roads in the country, surrendered children into malnutrition status.
The UNICEF chief revealed that the prevalence of acute malnutrition among children in the war-torn country was quiet alarming, it has increased from 13 per cent in 2018 to 16 per cent in 2019, which has above the 15 per cent emergency threshold.
“Every child in need treatment for malnutrition is a failure, a failure in preventing the suffering,” said UNICEF Representative in South Sudan, Dr. Mohamed Ag Ayoya in the press release. Preventing malnutrition is an essential part of realizing every child’s right to health. Young children can suffer lifelong consequences and in worst case die if malnutrition is not addressed timely during the first crucial years in life.”
Speaking to press in Juba on Tuesday, Andrea Suley, UNICEF deputy Country’s Representative said that a malnutrition is complex and must be fought on all fronts simultaneously.
“Together with partners and donors, we have become exceptionally good at treating children for acute malnutrition; now we must make up our game and become even better at preventing it,” said Suley.
Speaking on the same event, Dr. Baba Samson, advisor to the Health’s Ministry, said the parents should invest in prevention measures rather than cure.
“We need to invest in prevention than cure. [because] We are fighting a losing battle, and not addressing the root causes of the problems,” said Samson.
Baba stated that poor sanitation and lack of clean drinking water was a big contributing factor to acute malnutrition in many localities in South Sudan.
“The problem of malnutrition today in our country is not only poor diet but it is the issue of lack of clean drinking water and poor sanitation that is affecting many children today,” said Samson
However, the UN Children Fund said a comprehensive nutrition campaign to fight malnutrition across the country has been launched.
Suley stressed that UNICEF and partners are working to promote age-appropriate feeding practices for children, including cooking demonstrations with locally available food.
UNICEF’s deputy unveiled that hygiene promotion, improving access to clean drinking water and sanitation and providing health services will also be contributing to prevention of malnutrition.
She further appealed to the government to produce multi-sector strategic plan for nutrition with joint targets, pool resources, multi-sectoral coordination, an accountability framework and joint monitoring and evaluation system.
Suley also urged donors and non-governmental agencies to support prevention strategy of addressing malnutrition by prioritizing prevention of malnutrition at community and facility levels, adding that the community must ensure that their children have a healthy diet.
“With good food and nutrition, we can set a child up for success, and yet we are losing ground in the fight for healthy diets,” said Executive Director of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore at the global launch of the state of the world’s children report in London. This is not a battle we can win on our own. We need governments, the private sector and civil society to prioritize child nutrition and work together to address the causes of unhealthy eating in all its forms.”
“It is globally estimated that 1.3 million children under the age of five will suffer from acute malnutrition in 2020. This calls for a paradigm shift in addressing malnutrition by shifting focusing on treatment to prioritizing prevention by reducing the need for treatment,” said Suley.
The challenge is not only securing enough food but ensuring children are eating the right things and get the nutrients they need to develop to their full potential, said the UNICEF.
“Only 7 per cent of children under five in South Sudan has an adequate diet. Furthermore, common diseases such as malaria must be prevented and treated, as they are often the starting point for malnutrition,” said Ayoya in the press statement. Only 50 per cent of households have access to clean water and only 10 per cent access to improved sanitation. Ensuring clean water and addressing poor sanitation and hygiene practices are also essential to preventing diarrheal diseases causing malnutrition.”
Suley said there are 2000 centers in the country set for specific nutrition to treat malnutrition countrywide.
“We have a very large program in the country where we focus on prevention and treatment with 48 NGOs to provide prevention services on malnutrition,” she said.
However, the state of the world’s children 2019 report finds that in 2018, at least 1 in 3 children under five globally, were either stunted, wasted or overweight, reflecting poor growth and putting them at risk of increased infections, weak learning skills, low immunity and, in many cases, death. In addition, 1 in 2 children – or 340 million globally – suffered from deficiencies in vitamins and minerals such as iron and iodine, further undermining their growth.
Kenya introduces free cervical cancer vaccine
October 18, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma |@journalist_27
Kenya is set to roll out free cervical cancer vaccine for school girls on Friday, October 18 after the programme was launched yesterday in a ceremony that was presided by Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki.
The vaccine known as the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) will aid in hindering lethal infection as well as reducing chances of contacting anogenital cancer and genital warts. It will also reduce oropharyngeal cancer and maternal transmission of HPV infection to infants.
The main targets are 800,000 girls 10-years old and above in public, private and faith based schools across the country. The two doses of the vaccine will be administered to the girls twice in a year. A total of $8 million has been set aside to support the roll-out.
“The vaccine will be offered nationally alongside other routine infant vaccines through an existing network of more than 9,000 public, private, faith-based and NGO health facilities free of charge to 800,000 girls, who are currently aged 10 and subsequently to all girls as they attain that age in the future,” said Ms. Kariuki.
The Ministry of Health is working in partnership with Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi}, World Health Organization and Unicef to support the project which aims at eliminating cervical cancer which is the third cause of deaths in Kenya.
The project will see Kenya join the list of African countries like Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe and many others who have has already rolled out HPV.
Cervical cancer is the second dominant type of cancer after breast cancer in the East African country.
Negotiating for a better future: Why the good or bad of Russia’s presence in Africa will rely on the continent’s ability to make better deals
October 18, 2019 | 0 Comments
|Deal-making is what will shape the future of Russia-Africa relations and will tell whether Russia’s renewed influence in the continent is good or bad for its people|
|JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, October 18, 2019/ — By African Energy Chamber|
Russia’s return to Africa has been the subject of wide media coverage, governmental concerns and civil society reactions in recent weeks, especially as Sochi gears up to host the first ever Russia-Africa Summit next week. Most commentators have come from Europe and North America to voice concerns over Russia’s dodgy arm deals in Africa, political meddling with unstable African regimes, and its overall challenging of the status quo on the continent. The problem is, when these comments are not outright hypocritical, they are missing a key point: competition is good for business, which is just what Africa needs right now.
First, Russia’s presence in the continent cannot be summarized into sensationalism. It is complex and needs to be put back into context. Its modern relations with African governments and institutions started building up in post-independence Africa, time when the Soviet Union offered key diplomatic and military support to young African nations in need of it. This assistance was multi-form and much needed for countries seeking fast development following harsh independence wars and conflicts. “The Soviet Union provided significant economic assistance, including infrastructure, agricultural development, security cooperation, and health sector cooperation,” wrote Paul Stronski of the Carnegie’s Russia and Eurasia Program this week. Consequently, Putin’s vision for Africa is resuming and building up on a cooperation that started in the second half of the 20th century and was only put on hold by the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
In short, while arriving late to the party, Russia is no stranger to the African playground. Beyond military cooperation, its state-owned natural resources companies have already made inroads into the continent, and could be a game changer for many African countries in need of investment and electricity. Key Russia energy companies such as Gazprom, Lukoil, Rostec and Rosatom are already present in Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea or Uganda, while mining and minerals ones such as Nordgold or Rusal are developing world-class mines in Guinea and Zimbabwe. On a global stage, Russia’s involvement in OPEC has also sent strong signals that it is committed to market stability and global energy cooperation, which ultimately benefit African producers.
“Russia’s influence is increasing through strategic investments in natural resources, and such investments are welcomed by African governments and companies. They bring in key Russian capital and know-how to the continent which is seeking to diversify its investors basket and attract much needed investment into its energy industry,” said Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber (EnergyChamber.org) and CEO of the Centurion Law Group. “The African Energy Chamber is supporting such efforts and has seen a definite uptick in Russian companies’ interests for the continent. We predict a lot of deals to be signed during and after the Sochi Summit for Russian energy companies to develop African resources and do business in Africa. This will be especially beneficial as Africa develops gas-based economies,” he added.
Amongst the most recent agreements are for instance the MoU between Atlas Oranto Petroleum and Rosneft in 2018, under which the pan-African E&P company agreed to explore the joint-development of its assets across Africa with the Russian state-owned giant. Another one is the signing of several agreements between Russia and Mozambique this summer, involving again state-owned Rosneft but also Nordgold. In Central Africa, Gazprom is also lifting gas from Cameroon’s the FLNG Hilli Episeyo, the world’s first converted FLNG vessel.
As such investments and activity picks up, the real game changer will be Africa’s ability to make deals that work for its people and its economies. Deal-making is what will shape the future of Russia-Africa relations and will tell whether Russia’s renewed influence in the continent is good or bad for its people. Rightly so, the ability and capacity of African governments to make better deals with investors is becoming central to the global business narrative on Africa.
In his much anticipated book coming up this month and already best-seller on Amazon, “Billions At Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals”, Nj Ayuk dedicates an entire chapter to the critical art of deal-making. “For Africa to truly realize all of the benefits oil and gas operations have to offer, we need to see good deal-making across the board,” he writes. “Clearly, good deal-making has far-reaching implications for African people, communities and business.”
Contracts negotiations is in fact the key element missing from the current debate on Russia’s increasing influence in Africa. There is no doubt Africa is welcoming Russia’s interest for doing business on the continent, not only because it comes without the conditionality of actors such as the IMF and the World Bank, but also because Africa needs critical energy investment and a giant oil producer like Russia has good technology and know-how to export. The only thing is, sub-Saharan Africa has seen several regulatory developments in the near future, with a particular focus on local content regulations across energy markets. Jobs creation, domestic capacity building and the growth of a strong base of local energy companies is high up on the African agenda. If African governments are able to negotiate contracts that deliver on these expectations and Russian companies are committed to see the continent grow, then the future is bright for Russia in Africa.
At the end of the day, it is all about how African governments and institutions will negotiate future contracts with Russian companies. As Nj Ayuk writes in Billions At Play, “governments must give investors a chance to generate income from the resources they are interested in and recoup their investments. At the same time, governments need to look at creating value for their country and its people. It’s a balancing act. It’s challenging, but it’s doable.”
Whether Sochi will result in that balancing act remains to be seen, but the challenge is given and Africa is up for it.
*Africa Energy Chamber
African countries are still not doing enough to meet one of the UN’s most important development targets, according to a new report to be published next week
October 18, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
eLearning Africa Report 2019, which provides a snapshot of the state of education,
training and development on the continent, interviewed more than 900 education
professionals and technology experts about key issues, including progress
towards the United Nations’ goal of universal access to quality education by
The goal (UN SDG 4) is set out in the UN’s list of sustainable development goals (SDGs), which every country should meet by 2030. However, the eLearning Africa Report’s survey of education and training professionals, working in almost every country in Africa, shows that a substantial majority believe that African countries are still not doing enough to ensure universal access to quality education for all Africans.
The finding, which is among the results in a survey in the report, will make uncomfortable reading for African leaders. The achievement of UN SDG 4 is not only an important UN goal, but also a major plank in the African Union’s plan for a ‘transformed continent’ by 2063. However, the survey shows that, by majorities of more than 12 per cent, experts believe that, in every major area of education, insufficient progress has been made.
“SDG 4 is perhaps the most important of the UN sustainable development goals and the disappointment about the lack of progress towards realising it is striking,” says the report. “It seems too that the further up the educational ladder you look, the greater the belief that insufficient progress is being made. 56 per cent of respondents do not believe that African countries are doing enough to ensure that, by 2030, all girls and boys will complete free primary and secondary education. However, the percentage of those believing that not enough has been done to improve access to higher education and vocational training or further education is as high as 65 per cent.”
In spite of the gloom about progress towards meeting the UN SDGs though, there is a sense of optimism about overall progress. More than two thirds (72 per cent) of the experts questioned said they think that the African Union’s 2063 vision is “realistic.”
“If our youth are empowered, believe in their own self-worth and think creatively,” said one of the experts, “Africa will be an inspiration to other continents with new inventions and original African solutions benefitting all.”
The eLearning Africa Report, which has been sponsored by GIZ, the German organisation for international cooperation, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), makes fascinating reading. With contributions from experts, practitioners, advisers, entrepreneurs and even students and artists, it provides an insight into how technology assisted learning and training are leading change and development throughout Africa. As businesses assess the implications of a ‘fourth industrial revolution,’ it looks at the state of education, training, development and technology at this moment of unparalleled change.
Achieving Broadband Access for All in Africa Comes With a $100 Billion Price Tag
October 18, 2019 | 0 Comments
WASHINGTON, October 17, 2019- Across Africa, where less than a third of the population has access to broadband connectivity, achieving universal, affordable, and good quality internet access by 2030 will require an investment of US $100 billion. This is according to a report launched at the Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group, which calls for urgent action to close the internet access gap while providing a roadmap to reach this ambitious goal.
The report from The Broadband for All Working Group *gives practical insights and suggestions of what is needed to attain this objective, including an action plan for universal broadband connectivity in Africa. To achieve universal broadband access, African countries will need to bring about 1.1 billion more people online. This will require exceptional and coordinated efforts from governments, the private sector, development partners, and civil society, the report says, but the investment is worth it.
“The digital agenda is first and foremost a growth and jobs agenda,” says Makhtar Diop, the World Bank’s Vice President for Infrastructure. “The working-age population in Africa is expected to increase by some 450 million people between 2015 and 2035. If current trends continue, less than one quarter will find stable jobs. Broadening internet access means creating millions of job opportunities.”
While the number of broadband connections in Africa crossed the 400 million mark in 2018 (nearly twenty times 2010 levels), the regional average broadband penetration -including 3G and 4G connections- is only 25% in 2018. Mobile broadband coverage in Africa is still at 70% of the population. Even in North Africa, there is ample room for growth with 4G networks covering only about 60% of the population. Additional challenges, such as the lack of access to reliable and affordable electricity, make accelerating Africa’s digital transformation journey even more difficult.
According to the report, nearly 80% of all required investments are directly related to the need to roll out and maintain broadband networks. However, connecting the unconnected is about more than just infrastructure: about 20% of required investments consists in building the user skills and local content foundations, and another 2-4% should be allocated to setting up the appropriate regulatory framework, the report notes. While the private sector has driven most successful broadband initiatives, public agencies play a crucial role by implementing effective sector regulation, addressing potential market failures, and creating the conditions for an open, competitive broadband sector.
“In large parts of Africa, we are witnessing a lack of progress in extending access and network coverage. Affordability is also declining in many nations. Promoting greater digital inclusion is going to require more effective and innovative collaboration,” said Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Executive Director of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development and Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau. “We need to leverage our strengths and expertise. Governments can help with policies enabling new technologies, new business models and investment. The right policies will, in turn, provide the private sector with the incentives to build out infrastructure and explore new technologies and applications that will drive demand.”
Connecting the 100 million people in rural and remote areas that live out of reach of traditional cellular mobile networks will require strong private sector involvement, innovative business models, and alternative technologies, such as satellite and Wi-Fi based technical solutions, the report notes.
“Let us be clear: no single actor will be able to meet Africa’s 2030 target and carry the burden of a $100 billion investment funding requirement alone. All stakeholders must work together to make sure that every African has affordable and reliable access to the internet”, says Hafez Ghanem, the World Bank’s Vice President for the Africa Region. This includes: the African Union and regional economic communities; African governments and respective public investment agencies; sector regulators; multilateral development banks and regional development banks; the United Nations and other development agencies; the private sector; and civil society groups and nongovernmental organizations.
* The Working Group on Broadband for All: A Digital Moonshot Infrastructure for Africa, led by the World Bank, was established in 2018 under the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development with the primary objective of identifying investment requirements and policy roadmaps to increase connectivity and to reach full coverage in Africa. This report draws upon the expertise of Broadband Commissioners and experts from around the world.
About the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development: ITU and UNESCO set up the Broadband Commission for Digital Development in 2010 with the aim of boosting the importance of broadband on the international policy agenda and expanding broadband access in every country as key to accelerating progress towards national and international development targets. Following adoption of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015, the Commission was re-launched as the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development to showcase and document the power of ICT and broadband-based technologies for sustainable development. Its members include top CEO and industry leaders, senior policy-makers and government representatives, international agencies, academia and organizations concerned with development.
Download the full report:
*Source World Bank
Investments in rail transport essential for the success of Africa’s free-trade area
October 18, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Aubrey Lekwane *
Africa is on the cusp of launching a free-trade zone that could meaningfully boost economic growth and unlock the continent’s vast potential.
Perhaps the most pressing requirement to improve economy in the region is the need for better transportation links between African states, particularly in the form of rail networks.
The establishment of a continent-wide trade bloc is an ambitious project, and one that could move the needle in terms of reducing poverty and promoting Africa’s industrialisation. Other regions, including the European Union (EU), offer good case studies on the benefits of economic integration, trade liberalisation, customs efficiencies, and the seamless movement of capital, goods and people across borders.
With its strong road, rail and air-transport links, the EU model reflects just how important it is to remove non-tariff barriers to trade. According to a May 2019 report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), non-tariff barriers in Africa are high “and represent a critical obstacle to trade”. The IMF says a reduction in ground transportation costs is “especially critical” to encouraging intra-regional trade and making a success of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The development of a comprehensive African rail network is the single biggest opportunity in that regard.
A reliable rail network would allow for the efficient movement of goods, businesspeople and tourists across the continent, while also improving Africa’s links to the rest of the world, particularly the continent’s landlocked nations. Rail is also a sustainable solution given that it is far more environmentally friendly than road and air transport – Africa’s natural environment is one of its greatest assets, and it must be protected. Rail investments stimulate economies while reducing carbon emissions and urban congestion – a major issue and growth impediment in many African cities.
As Africa is making investments in rail industry, green transportation and sustainable mobility should be a priority. Backed by new regulations and environmental groups, the global trend towards greener forms of transport is affecting multiple industries including the rail industry.
Several alternatives to diesel trains are currently being developed worldwide including:
- Hydrogen fuel cells in trains: work by generating power through an onboard fuel cell that combines hydrogen and oxygen
- Battery-powered locomotives: battery system that can be recharged by overhead wires on electrified tracks or by charging stations on non-electrified routes
- Liquefied natural gas: (LNG) is being used in the rail industry as an option for dual-fuel locomotives
These investments will help develop a zero-emission, energy-efficient and cost-effective alternative to diesel trains. Deploying fuel cell and battery technology for rail transportation will usher in a new era for non-electrified routes.
Bombardier Transportation, which designed and supplied a fleet of 96 rail vehicles for South Africa’s world-class Gautrain system, sees a golden era ahead for Africa’s rail sector, which has suffered from chronic under-investment in recent decades.
Today, African freight and passenger transport is heavily reliant on road infrastructure. In South Africa, the continent’s most advanced economy, nearly 90% of freight is moved by road, for example. That is a staggering proportion, and this overreliance means that our roads need to be constantly repaired while traffic congestion worsens in the face of urbanisation. Worse still, the lack of focus on rail until recently has placed a drag on South Africa’s exports.
Thankfully, the South African government is re-investing in the country’s rail links – a move that Bombardier Transportation fully supports. Going forward, these efforts need to be increasingly coordinated with the country’s neighbours.
South Africa also has an opportunity to become a major rail manufacturing hub as the continent invests in railway infrastructure, including new trains, signalling systems and general maintenance. Rail will play an important role in Africa’s future, and Bombardier Transportation is keen to apply its global expertise and solutions to propel the continent forward.
Ultimately, rail’s contribution towards an integrated transport network will help Africa to attract investment and to be competitive in the global trade arena. Rail is the only sustainable transportation solution to many of today’s environmental, social and economic challenges and Bombardier is looking forward to moving millions daily safely in the African region
*Managing Director, South Africa, Bombardier Transportation
President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, brings African vision to the 17th Rhodes Forum of the Dialogue of Civilizations
October 18, 2019 | 0 Comments
|President Mahamadou Issoufou took the floor as a Special Guest to conclude the debates of a panel dedicated to partnership between Africa and the rest of the world|
|RHODES, Greece, October 15, 2019/ — The President of Niger, His Excellency Mahamadou Issoufou , took part in the 17th Rhodes Forum on the 11th and 12th of October 2019, organised by the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute (https://DOC-Research.org/), to discuss several national and regional issues and offer Africa’s vision on major international issues.|
During the special session on the 11th of October, President Mahamadou Issoufou spoke with Stefan Grobe of Euronews Brussels in front of participants from more than 55 countries, presenting his vision for Africa and Niger. He also advocated for multilateralism, drew attention to the security situation in the Sahel region and Lake Chad Basin, the situation in Libya and support of the international community to combat terrorism in West Africa, and warned against the problems posed by climate change and illegal migration. The other points concerned the role that Niger will play as a non-permanent member of the Security Council from January 2020, tackling the market for fake medicines in Africa, reforms in global political and economic governance and win-win cooperation between countries.
On the 12th of October, President Mahamadou Issoufou took the floor as a Special Guest to conclude the debates of a panel dedicated to partnership between Africa and the rest of the world, led by Hannane Ferdjani of Africanews. Participants included the Founder of Transparency International, Africa Progress Panel Co-Chair Mr Peter Eigen (Germany), Founder and President of the Brazzaville Foundation Mr Jean Yves Olivier (France), former Prime Minister of Guinea Mr Kabiné Komara, Director of Education Projects of ABO Capital Mr Jaimie Graça (Angola) and South African Industrialist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist Mr Ivor Ichikovitz.
In his speech, President Issoufou raised all the issues related to this theme and clarified his vision for the development of Africa. His Excellency Mahamadou Issoufou emphasised the challenges and prospects inherent in the development of the African continent, recalling the situation of Africa in various fields and underlining the efforts led by its leaders through, inter alia, Agenda 2063 and its various Plans and Projects, including ZLECAf.
President Issoufou again thanked the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute and in particular its Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dr. Vladimir Yakunin and Executive Director Mr. Jean-Christophe Bas, ‘for having provided him, as a Special Guest, at this 17th Rhodes Forum, a privileged place of reflection and analysis to help in the decision-making of political and economic world leaders.’
* DOC Research Institute
Eurasia Center Open To Partnership Prospects With Africa
October 17, 2019 | 0 Comments
Ambassador of the Republic of Congo and Dean of African Diplomatic Corps in the United States Serge Mombouli met on Tuesday with the President of The Eurasia Center Dr. Gerry Jenco.
This was a courtesy visit by Dr. Jenco designed to introduce his organization and its new program Uplifting Africa. During the meeting which took place at the chancery of Congo, he expressed interest in exploring partnership opportunities with leaders from Africa in building world peace and prosperity.
Dr. Jenco also extended a special invitation to Ambassador Mombouli to deliver a keynote address on panel Africa Rising as part of The Silk Road Summit – 3rd Annual Conference slated for November 4, 2019 in Washington.
In return, Mr. Mombouli -the most senior african Ambassador to the United States, congratulated Dr. Jenco for his initiative in creating Uplifting Africa program which, he said, would have a positive impact on US-Africa relationship. He invited Dr. Jenco to address the African Diplomatic Corps late next month.
The newly appointed Director of Uplifting Africa Program in the United States journalist Ben Bangoura participated in the meeting.
About The Eurasia Center
The Eurasia Center was founded to educate not only the American public but also the world community about the important relationship of America has with Eurasia (Europe and Asia) as well as Africa. It seeks to enhance American awareness, knowledge, and understanding of the European and Asian (Eurasian) countries, especially during these changing times.
Through its Nine Programs for Eurasia and its important Conferences and activities, The Eurasia Center builds positive relations in areas and with peoples that are important for world peace and economic progress and development.
The Eurasia Center is a resource center which has provide US Presidents and many world leaders with current analysis that have helped them shape their knowledge of issues of importance regarding US-Eurasian relations. Many have lauded our efforts to seek solutions to issues where those in the bureaucracies of nations cannot. This Mission of the Eurasia Center serves to strengthen and expand positive relations throughout Eurasia and has greater impact for future generations.
*Courtesy of AlloAfricaNews
Oil Industry and Civil Society Congratulate “Africa Oil Man of the Year” Macky Sall on Taking Bold Steps to Develop Senegal’s Hydrocarbons Industry
October 16, 2019 | 0 Comments
|The award is a recognition of Macky Sall’s work and the efforts of his government to boost the development of Senegal’s economy|
|JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, October 15, 2019/ — The African and global energy sector is rallying behind Macky Sall’s efforts to develop his country’s oil & gas industry, which are positioning Senegal as a new energy hub in Africa. Such efforts and achievements are being celebrated this week as the President of Senegal receives the Africa Oil Man of the Year from Africa Oil & Power.|
The award is a recognition of Macky Sall’s work and the efforts of his government to boost the development of Senegal’s economy, create an enabling environment for investors and ensure that future oil & gas extracted from Senegal generate jobs and growth opportunities for Senegalese companies.
“Under President Macky Sall, Senegal continues to show its commitment to transparency, to engaging with those who disagree with him, to finding consensus on extractive industry matters, and to taking all necessary actions to avoid the natural resources curse,” said Akere Muna, former Vice President of Transparency International and former Chairman of the International Anti-Corruption Conference Council. “The Senegalese people understand what is at stake with these resources coming out of the ground and their President is showing a definite engagement to ensure a transparent distribution of revenues and resources for the benefits of the Senegalese economy and its citizens. The President should use this award to make Senegal a place where Africans can be proud of the natural resource sector,” added Muna.
“As Senegal gets closer to producing first gas and increase its production of oil, we congratulate its President Macky Sall and its government on adding yet another African nation to the list of global hydrocarbons producers,” added Mahaman Laouan Gaya, Secretary General of the African Petroleum Producers’ Organisation (APPO). “African producers stand ready to cooperate with Senegal to support its economic development, and we truly look forward to following the country on its renewed journey to prosperity.”
Soon after discovering oil and gas in 2014 and 2016, Senegal engaged in a nation-wide dialogue with the private sector, foreign investors and the civil society on the next steps to develop the industry. This resulted in the creation of new entities such as the Strategic Orientation Committee for Petroleum and Gas (COS-Petrogaz) but also in a brand new Petroleum Code in 2019 and new local content regulations to ensure the creation of local jobs and the procurement of local goods and services from the industry. As a result, foreign investments increased and several international majors, national oil companies and independents entered the market.
“What Senegal and its President Macky Sall have proven is that the power of political will and leadership cannot be underestimated in this industry,” said Prince Arthur Eze, Chairman of Atlas Oranto Petroleum, currently exploring in Senegal. “Sound regulations, good governance and a political leadership aligned towards a common target of economic development and of making energy work for the people is what is making Senegal a new African success story, I salute the President and the people of Senegal, the entire Africa is praying for you” he added.
Senegal is notably making headlines for fast-tracking the development of its industry and not loosing time on getting resources out of the ground. The industry is notably saluting the country’s authorities for the short time it took between the first discoveries of oil and gas in Senegal and the taking of relevant final investment decisions, which is remarkable for industry standards. As a result, Senegal is set to become a global gas exporter in the near future alongside African countries like those of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, including Algeria, Egypt, Angola, Mozambique, Tanzania Equatorial Guinea, Libya, and Nigeria.
“This proves the willingness of the Senegalese government to develop these resources and the industry at large,” declared Jude Kearney, former Deputy Assistant Secretary during the Clinton Administration and current President of Kearney Africa Advisors. “More importantly, doing so has not resulted in any detriment to good governance practices and developing a sound regulatory framework,” added Kearney.
“Senegal’s President Macky Sall has established strong relations with the world, including Germany, which will be very beneficial when it comes to attracting the right capital and technology to develop its energy sector,” added Sebastian Wagner, CEO of the Germany Africa Business Forum (GABF).
The African Energy Chamber under the leadership our executive Chairman NJ Ayuk, joins the industry in congratulating President Macky Sall for taking the right steps to develop Senegal’s oil & gas sector and make energy work for all Senegalese citizens. With its partners, the Chamber will continue to assist Senegal in promoting good governance, attracting investments and building domestic capacity across the value-chain.
Much Ado About Nothing?- AU Pours Cold Water On Furor After Arikana Recall
October 16, 2019 | 0 Comments
-Her successor will build on the solid foundation she has laid- AU Chair Faki
By Ajong Mbapndah L
After suffering a week of acerbic criticisms over the decision to end the tenure of Ambassador Chimbori Arikana as Ambassador to the USA, African Union Chairman Moussa Faki has dismissed as “patently untrue” insinuations that her pronouncements,and opinions predicated the decision.
“Dr Chihombori has maintained a public presence freely without fear or prejudice to voice her opinions,” Ebba Kalondo, Spokesperson for Chairman Faki in a statement issued today.
“Political appointees at the African Union, including Dr Chihombori, are appointed at the discretion of the appointing authority. The duration of such political appointments is also determined at the discretion of that appointing authority,” Kalondo said in the statement.
According to Kalondo, in the course of her three year tenure, the AU Commission never found any reason to sanction Ambassador Arikana over any of her public presence.
“Dr Chihombori has maintained a public presence freely without fear or prejudice to voice her opinions. Therefore to state or suggest that Ambassador Chihombori’s termination of service is due to any pronouncements she has made, or opinions she may have held during her three-year tenure, is patently untrue,” Kalondo said.
The replacement of Ambassador Arikana was normal diplomatic practice for political appointees everywhere, said Faki’s spokesperson, while expressing hope that her successor will build on the solid foundation she has laid.
The decision to replace Arikana triggered a fire storm and some harsh words from her supporters towards AU Chairman Moussa Faki.While some seasoned professionals and Washington connoisseurs were not surprised with the decision to replace the outgoing Ambassador, her partisans thought the decision was engineered by the French government which did not appreciate her straight talk.
While the statement from Chairman Faki may put the controversy to rest, a Change.org petition to reinstate Arikana has so far garnered some 30,000 signatures.
Full Letter from Ebba Kalondo,Spokesperson to the Chairperson of the African Union Commission below.
Communiqué on the end of tenure of Ambassador Arikana Chihombori-Quao, AU Permanent Representative to Washington, DC
Addis Abeba, 15 October 2019: The African Union Commission is aware of reports circulating on social media making claims surrounding the circumstances of the recall of the Permanent Representative of the African Union Mission to the United States of America, Dr Arikana Chihombori-Quao.
Political appointees at the African Union, including Dr Chihombori, are appointed at the discretion of the appointing authority. The duration of such political appointments is also determined at the discretion of that appointing authority.
Dr Chihombori received a letter on 7 October 2019 bringing her tour of duty to an end, in line with the terms and conditions governing her contract of appointment, after serving three years as Permanent Representative of the African Union Mission to the United States of America, and appreciating her contribution to the Union during her tenure. This is normal diplomatic practice for political appointees everywhere.
Dr Chihombori has never been sanctioned by the Commission on any public pronouncements she has made during her three-year tenure and nor has the Commission ever thought the need to do so. On the contrary, Dr Chihombori has maintained a public presence freely without fear or prejudice to voice her opinions. Therefore to state or suggest that Ambassador Chihombori’s termination of service is due to any pronouncements she has made, or opinions she may have held during her three-year tenure, is patently untrue.
We wish our esteemed colleague the best in her future endeavours and trust her successor will build on the solid foundation she has laid.
Spokesperson to the Chairperson of the AfricanUnion Commission
With MPower African Students Can Dare to Dream Big- Georgetown Alum Grace Chimezie
October 15, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Ajong Mbapndah L
Grace Chimezie was at the end stretch of her studies at Georgetown University in Washington when financial challenges struck hard. She was unable to complete her tuition, and her applications to traditional borrowers were not gaining much traction.
Faced with the real threat of putting her studies on hold, Grace Chimezie , originally from Nigeria was advised by her University to give MPower Financing a try. The application was hassle free, and Grace was granted the loan which enabled her to complete her studies. Upon Graduation, Grace had a job with the World Bank , and is now with the National Democratic Institute in Washington,DC.
Dynamic and ambitious, Grace started repaying the loan even before she officially graduated. Asked if she was under any pressure to start repaying the loans so soon, Grace indicated that the decision was solely hers. For African students who dream big but do not have the means, MPower Financing can help turn those dreams to reality , she said.
How did you hear about Empower Financing?
Grace Chimezie: I was studying in Georgetown University (Washington, DC,USA), and I had paid my first year tuition because I had like a two year degree program I applied for. I was in Georgetown for a Masters degree in Communications, Culture, and Technology and my focus was between Technology and Public Policy. So I had done my first year payment and I needed payment for the second year and I went to my school advisory board and they recommended MPower Financing as an organization that could help me get a loan.
How was your experience going through the loan process? What did you have to do?
Grace Chimezie: If you are getting a loan from an American bank, you needed a reference or someone who will support you. For MPower, you just needed to show approval that like possibility of repaying the loans or your statement of account that is the amount you are going to get from them and your resume. It was a very easy process compared to what I would have gone through if I was going through a federal or financial aid because I did not have collateral or someone who would provide that for me.
Based on the experience that you had, is it a service that you are going to recommend to people?
Grace Chimezie: Definitely because they came at a time when I really needed it. I had one tuition left to kind of graduate and if I did not get that loan approved, I was not going to graduate, and this is someone who had done almost all her courses and having that one little fee I would not have graduated. So I really do recommend them because within the first two weeks I had already gotten an answer about the loan process.
You graduated in May this year, when are you going to start repaying the loan?
Grace Chimezie: I have already started repaying the loan
It is some 5 months after you graduated, did you get a job or were you pressured to start repaying the loan?
Grace Chimezie: I decided to kind of start repaying the loan as soon as possible. It is kind of important to know the budget for the schools you are going to and the loans you are borrowing because that will give you an understanding of what you have to do and the repayment of the loan is not as burdensome as someone will assume. The best advice I will say is do your budget to know that when you borrow the loan and what you have in your own account so you do not start offsetting that in your own account. I was not pressured to have a job as I am already working right now so it is just easier to start doing that (paying the loan) now.
So, the decision to start paying the loan was solely yours and not because MPower Financing pressured you?
Grace Chimezie: Oh no, They did not put pressure. You have to get into an agreement with them that this is when you will start repaying the loan. The repayment plan is not burdensome depending on how much you borrow.
When you say it is not burdensome, what do you mean?
Grace Chimezie: I borrowed $20K, and my repayment plan is around $193 a month so I think that is kind of lenient considering the amount I borrowed. And you have like an 11 to 12 year plan to repay the loan.
With regards to the fixed payments that are done monthly, if there is a possibility to pay earlier is that an option?
Maureen Klover chimes in: One of our features is that there is no prepaid penalty. Some lenders actually charge you to pay early because it is in the borrowers’ best interest because we kind of end up benefiting less overall. But again our motto is when the borrower succeeds we succeeds so borrowers can end paying us early that is fine and they end up paying less overall because they are paying under the principle or early. If someone gets an amazing job out of school and earns a hundred thousand dollars, they could pay the whole amount right away and that will be fine.
You come from a country and continent with so many young people, what advice do you have for the young people with this kind of opportunity MPower Financing provides?
Grace Chimezie: The message will be do not limit your dreams because once your dreams are big enough there is always an answer for it and the bigger your dreams the bigger the opportunities for you to kind of achieve all of them. I will advice people to dream big because the more you dream big the more prospective answers you will have for the dreams.
A Lifeline for African and International Students In MPower Financing
October 15, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Ajong Mbapndah L
For international students, and those who aspire to study in the USA and Canada, one of the biggest challenges remains how to secure funds. Traditional student loans end up been very costly and eligibility conditions are often stringent for them. In MPower Financing, international students and those from Africa aspiring to study in Canada and the USA now have a partner to help them live their dreams.
From the application, to eligibility criteria, and repayment, MPower Financing is shaping up to be a dependable vehicle for them to fulfil their dreams of quality education.
“Any student from any African country except Sudan is eligible to apply provided that they go to one of our 350 schools in the US and Canada,” says Maureen Klovers, Director of Social Impact with MPower Financing. Interviewed in Washington,DC, Maureen Klovers said MPower is gaining grounds in countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Cameroon . Our motto is “when the borrower succeeds, we succeed,” said Maureen Klovers as she expressed the hope to see more African students benefit from the unique services offered by MPower Financing.
You are Director of Social Impact with MPower Financing. What is MPower Financing and what do you do?
Maureen Klovers: We are the world’s only lender that provides fix rate education loans to international students from all over the world without requiring a US collateral or a US credit history. That is very unique and Nigeria is our second biggest market while Ghana is rising in the ranks- I think our 6th largest. So Africa is really important to us and we are happy to talk to you.
Do you provide funding for students only in the US or do you also provide funding to students in Africa who are in need of funding?
Maureen Klovers: Most of our students are based in Africa and other parts of the world and are coming to the US for graduate degrees. So 80% of our students are pursuing graduate degrees. We can make loans to students pursuing graduate degrees or students in their last two years of undergraduate. We do have some students from the Diaspora who are permanent or are already working here who also get loans.
What is the cap or limit students can get?
Maureen Klovers: We can loan up to $25K at one time and $50K overall for any student.
What are the criteria for students to benefit from the loans?
Maureen Klovers: You first need to be eligible and we have very broad criteria. So any student from any African country except Sudan is eligible to apply provided that they go to one of our 350 schools in the US and Canada. You need to be within two years of graduation and for an MBA that is fine as it is a two year degree. For any kind of two year degree it will cover that and then if you are at your last two years of your undergraduate. Very simple and eligibility criteria and you can do a 30sec eligibility check on our website and it will tell you if you are eligible or not. It is just 3 questions and they will ask you about the cost of your degrees, where you are going and what you are studying. What is really unique about us is that we do not make our credit decision base on your family’s income or asset and so it is not a collateral loan. We make our decision base on your future earning potential so we are looking at your past earning history, your past professional experience, the school you are going to, the degree you are going to get and so if you are going to get an MBA degree, or an Engineering degree we are confident that you are going to get a good earning potential and be able to pay us back.
How different are you from the other loan structures that are out there?
Maureen Klovers: Very different because most Africans right now are either using funding from their families which mean we are talking about wealthy individuals or while other lenders will ask you to mortgage your home for example. What is unique about us is that we do not require you to mortgage or to rely on your parents. Again, we are focusing on the future earning potential.
Any idea of the number of African students you currently have?
Maureen Klovers: We have roughly 500 at the moment. Our biggest market is India but our second biggest market is Nigeria. Our 6th biggest market right now is Ghana, and other African countries include South Africa Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya and Cameroon.
With regards to loan payments, at what point do you require students to start repaying?
Maureen Klovers: Our loan product is unique in that students pay interests while they are in school interest only and then for 6 months after graduation. A lot of our students get like an on campus job to help make those small payments. The benefit is that you are not paying interest on interest so people do not realize that if you do not pay while you are in school it accrues and you end up paying more and the other thing is that it allows you to build your US credit history so that when you graduate you can get a credit card, car loan and pass a credit check for employment. After that 6 months grace period, there is a ten year repayment period where you repay the interest in principle.
With the experience that you have had, how prompt is the repayment process? How flexible are you when it comes to these repayments?
Maureen Klovers: We try to be really flexible because we are a social benefit corporation which means we are for profit, we are not a non-profit organization but we have social point objectives and our motto is. So what we do is that when a student gets into trouble, we can put them on forbearance for up to 24 months so we can put their payments on pause and we can also offer them a $25 credit billing option where they make $25 payment a month and we continue to report the loan current to the credit bureau. So we can do a variety of things and we also have a path to success initiative where we can do a free review of the student’s resume; how to ace an interview and those are for international students.
With regards to the students who live Africa and come here, do you help them with visa application?
Maureen Klovers: Thanks for asking. We provide visa support and the processes is that you go through most of our loan process and we conditionally approve you then we will provide you a letter to take to the US Embassy that says yes, this student has enough funds to be in the US. The process to get a student visa is that you need to show you have sufficient financial support, so we will provide a letter that we are providing loans and together with other savings and amounts that should be sufficient.
What are you doing to broaden your outreach in Africa since you have been in existence for five years now?
Maureen Klovers: This interview is a start and we are also trying to bring more of our Nigerian borrowers and scholarship winners to raise our profile. We have a lot of scholarship programs but honestly Africans have dominated the winner’s list. We have had winners from Nigeria, Malawi, and Kenya and so through our scholarship program we are getting the word out there. We started a new Facebook group, and Africans are by far the number one demographics in that group and we have also been doing focus groups through our consulting firm to better understand the challenges facing African students and women. Only 35 per cent of our borrowers from Nigeria are females, so that is what we have been focusing on. In terms of overcoming the barriers for women in Africa we have recently partnered with the Malala Fund and we are going to be donating $25 from each of our loans to them to support access to secondary education for girls in India, Nigeria and other places around the world.
Which fields of study will easily make students to meet your eligibility criteria?
Maureen Klovers: Actually we do not have any limit in the fields of study, you could be in any degree program but you are more likely to be approved at least for more money if you are in an MBA program or any STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) degree just because your future earning potential is that much better. But I do not want to dissuade anyone from applying because even if you are a communications major or in the Arts or in some other field you can still get funding. But it is just more likely if you are in a business or STEM field.
In the course of your studies maybe the cost becomes more than you anticipated, are there prospects for applying for additional loans?
Maureen Klovers: Our lifetime cap for borrowers is $50K. A typical borrower borrows 31K, so they are below that. So, let us say you borrow 30K and you have a shortfall, you could apply to borrow another $20K and we see that a lot. We have some students like in one of our scholarship we have people like Fulbright scholars, and they get a hundred per cent scholarship and they can get a loan from us like $20K to cover their lodging, food and everything.
*For more information visit Mpower Financing