Ministerial gathering to shape Africa’s health agenda opens in Brazzaville
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
Sixty-ninth session of the World Health Organization Regional Committee for Africa
BRAZZAVILLE, Congo (Republic of the), August 19, 2019/ — The 69th session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for Africa opened today in Brazzaville, with Congolese President Denis Sassou-Nguesso calling for stronger health systems, concrete action on counterfeit medicine and universal access to health care.
The Congolese leader drew attention to ongoing health development initiatives in his country.
“Each meeting of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa should better highlight decisions and facilitate the consideration of African health issues by bodies such as the Executive Board and the World Health Assembly, said President Denis Sassou-Nguesso. “The endeavours of African States should be complemented by the global momentum for health for all. This is one of the best bets for humanity.”
In his opening remarks, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus highlighted that many countries have made impressive progress in delivering essential health services at the district level, yet large gaps remain. Only one third of people in the 47 WHO Member States can access essential health services, and only one third can do so without fear of financial hardship.
“Strengthening primary health care must therefore be the number one priority for every country,” he said. “The best investment in primary health care is in human capital. Nurses, midwives and community health workers are especially important for delivering the services that can promote health and prevent people from needing a hospital.”
In welcoming the participants, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, highlighted progress made by countries: Access to HIV services has expanded significantly, with the number of people on antiretroviral therapy having more than doubled in the past six years. The region is recording some of the fastest declines globally in new cases of tuberculosis and is on the verge of polio eradication. The Regional Director noted that political will is needed to tackle the emerging burden of noncommunicable diseases, which are expected to account for an additional 28 million deaths in Africa in the coming decade.
“All the health priorities and challenges I have mentioned coincide with an opportunity – that the day for universal health coverage has finally come. If governments, partners, WHO and other United Nations agencies combine our forces towards UHC we will be able to make health for all a reality for people in our region,” said Dr Moeti.
She called for a minute of silence in honour of health workers who have lost their lives while on the job. She remarked that in the face of complex challenges, the Member States are better prepared to respond to emergencies but must overcome huge funding gaps in implementing national action plans for health security. She commended the DR Congo Government for demonstrating sound leadership and ownership of the response to the Ebola outbreak, in coordination with partners.
Among the issues on the agenda of the five-day meeting is the Regional Strategy for Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response which if implemented, will improve preparedness and response to disease outbreaks. Delegates will also discuss the strategic plan to reduce the double burden of malnutrition in the WHO African Region. The strategy provides guidance to countries to stem the tide of rising malnutrition, obesity and diet-related noncommunicable diseases by 2025. The Health Ministers will also discuss how to bring vector-borne diseases under control and how to strengthen district health systems for achieving universal health coverage. They will also the nominate the next Regional Director, who will serve a five-year term.
The Regional Committee is the highest decision-making body on health in the region, involving ministers of health from the Member States of the WHO African Region. It meets once a year to review critical health issues affecting the continent and to advise on appropriate strategies to improve health outcomes.
Equatorial Guinea petroleum minister continues Africa Gas Advocacy setting the stage for November Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) discussions
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
|The 5th GECF Summit will showcase the role and future of gas development on the African continent|
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, August 19, 2019/ — H.E Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima invites all African oil and gas ministers to attend the 5th GECF Summit.
Determined to showcase Africa’s gas potential and promote intra-Africa cooperation, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, H.E Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, continues his tour of Africa to invite GECF and non-GECF nations to attend the 5th GECF Summit which will be hosted for the first time on the African continent.
Through the 5th GECF Summit, Minister Obiang Lima hopes to promote gas development on the continent as a means to drive economic growth.
During his recent visit to Uganda, Minister Obiang Lima met with Minister of Energy, Irene Muloni and invited her to attend the 5th GECF Summit. The landmark event will take place in Malabo on November 25-27, 2019.
Speaking about Equatorial Guinea’s interest in supporting the development of Uganda’s oil and gas industry, Minister Obiang Lima encouraged the country to continue with its oil and gas plans which are “the best one can find anywhere in the world,” he said.
He further stated that, should the East African country continue with its plans, Equatorial Guinea may learn from it in the years to come.
This visit follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by both countries in 2017 for cooperation in oil and gas development. Under the MoU, Equatorial Guinea will provide guidance to Uganda and assist it in achieving its oil and gas production targets, and advise it on the signing of petroleum agreements.
In a bid to transform its oil and gas sector, Uganda is developing its infrastructure in key sectors as a means to drive investment into the country.
Although Equatorial Guinea has a thriving oil sector with 1.1 billion proven oil reserves, the country – which is also a GECF member – holds great potential in its gas industry, boasting an estimated 145 billion cubic meters of proven gas reserves.
Further, Equatorial Guinea has set ambitious goals for its gas sector development including Alen Gas and Condensate Field on Bioko Island, which is said to 600 billion cubic feet of natural gas equivalent and the construction of a natural gas mega-hub project, which have resulted in it leading the LNG2Africa initiative which aims to create a continental gas market.
Upcoming stops on the tour include Egypt and Algeria.
Learn more and register for the 2nd International Gas Seminar which forms part of the 5th GECF Summit here.
“I encourage you to go HOME”, American Comedian Steve Harvey says while commemorating Year of Return in Ghana
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Amos Fofung
In commemoration of 400 years since the first black slaves landed in Jamestown, Virginia, American comedian and actor, Steve Harvey, is in Ghana for the ‘Year of Return”, an initiative by the government of Ghana.
The famous comedian and host of The Steve Harvey Show, alongside his family, have visited some selected tourist sites including castles where slaves were kept as he embarked on the tour to expose himself and learn more about Ghanaian history and culture.
“It’s so wonderful to see our brothers and sisters from the African diaspora making the journey to the continent. He is in town with his family and taking in the sights and sounds of Ghana. He even got a brand-new outfit made by a local designer,” organizers of the “year of return” said on a social media post.
Launched last year in Washington, D.C., by Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, for Africans in the diaspora to visit the West African country as part of the commemoration 400th year since the first African slaves landed in Virginia, the initiative has gain commendation with several celebrities and Africans in across the globe make their way into Ghana to learn more about their root.
Steve Harvey and his family were welcomed to Ghana by the Minister of Tourism, Babara Oteng Gyasi and the Year of Return committee who met them at the W.E.B DuBois Center in Accra.
Steve’s family had an emotional day after visiting the Elmina Castle and Cape Coast Castle in Ghana.
“This was real pain I felt going back to Ghana’s slave castles…I could feel my ancestors on me… Powerful beyond words that I can explain. I encourage as many of you as possible to go HOME for your ancestors. Their strength is in each of us and we must honor their ultimate sacrifice in all that we do,” Steve wrote after visiting the Slave Castles.
Note that Steve Harvey is not the only American celebrity to visit Ghana in recent months. In December last year, actor Boris Kodjoe and some of his Hollywood friends and family including; Nicole Ari Parker, Diggy Simmons, Micheal Jai White, Anthony Anderson (of Blackish), Rosario Dawson, Jidenna, Cynthia Bailey, Bozoma Saint John spent a significant part of their month in Ghana.
Another Hollywood actor who came to Ghana was Samuel L. Jackson who had earlier traced his roots to Gabon. His adventures in the country included a documentary shoot and visits to local markets in Accra and fish markets in Cape Coast.
Unending Power Outage Paralyzes Cameroon’s Capital Yaounde
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
For the past weeks, businesses in Cameroon’s capital Yaounde has been on a standstill as an unprecedented lack of electricity has engulfed the city.
The power supply disappeared on August 4th, the day a fire destroyed the city’s main power station and much of the equipment, leaving more than one million people without electricity. Authorities have not identified the cause of the fire although they refuted newspaper reports of sabotage.
The government has ordered the electric company, ENEO, to restore power within seven days but the company says it needs at least three months to repair equipment destroyed in the fire.
The sound of generator usually heard in less developed parts of the country usually hit by frequent power outages is today being heard constantly in the capital city-a situation which many have become familiar within recent days.
Henry Ndaa, manager of Divine Finance, a bank in Yaounde, now relies on the generator to keep the lights on and computers running. But this source of power is unreliable, because at times fuel stations cannot supply enough gasoline to keep it going. “We cannot adequately operate. We use the generator, and it goes off and it is weighing negatively on us and our customers. Our members keep complaining,” he told VOA.
The power outage has paralyzed businesses, crippled hospitals, affected the water supply and forced people to dispose of huge quantities of perishable goods. Radio and TV stations cannot have regular broadcasts.
According to Godlove Ndifontah, a researcher, even the internet supply is no longer regular. “It is horrible. I am on my machine almost 24 on 24 [every day], preparing my projects and responding to mails from my partners. [Now] we have to go to where there are generators to pay 500 francs ($510) to charge your machine or to charge your phone per hour.”
Cameroon’s Minister of water and energy resources, Gaston Eloundou Essomba, says the government is taking steps to replace all the damaged equipment and will import parts from abroad as needed.
The Minister of Communication, and Government spokesperson Rene Emmanuel Sadi in an outing said power is being rationed and urged people in neighborhoods without electricity to be patient. “The government wishes to laud the patience, understanding, and civic sense showcased by the inhabitants of the capital city. Instructions have been given to ENEO to provide a general calendar of the rationing of supply to the public of the city of Yaounde,” he said.
World Humanitarian Day: UN SG Calls on the Protection of Humanitarian Workers in conflicts
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres says world leaders, and all parties to conflict must ensure that humanitarians are protected from harm as required under international law. The UN scribe was speaking as the world celebrates the International Humanitarian Day, with tributes being paid to women humanitarians around the world.
In his address, the UN SG said “World Humanitarian Day honors humanitarians around the world who risk their lives to help save and improve the lives of others. This year, we pay special tribute to women humanitarians and the huge difference they make for millions of women, men, and children in urgent need.”
“From supporting civilians caught up in crisis, addressing disease outbreak, women humanitarians are on the front lines” while adding that “their presence makes aid operations effectively by increasing their reach. It also improves the humanitarians respond to gender-based violence which increases during crisis.”
He added that serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law continue around the world, and they must be investigated and prosecuted.
In a tweet, David Gressly, UN Ebola Emergency Response Coordinator saluted all the women humanitarian workers who have been at the battlefield against the dreaded Ebola virus. He said, “Each #Ebola crisis has its own challenges. I am Grateful for the amazing #WomenHumanitarians and partners addressing the current outbreak in #DRC.”
He added “I stand with all the #WomenHumanitarians who relentlessly put their lives on the line in the fight against #Ebola. Let’s honor their efforts by working together to ensure no more lives are taken by this terrible disease.”
Allegra Baiocchi, UN Development and Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon on her part tweeted “It is #WorldHumanitarianDay! Stand up for humanitarian workers around the world. Honor their courage, their commitment, and their sacrifice.
As a part of this year’s celebration, the UN and partners are launching the #WomenHumanitarians globe campaign to pay special tribute, and raise support for the work women do to save lives and alleviate human suffering.
The day celebrated every 19 August dates back to 2003 when the UN Headquarter in Bagdad was targeted by a large terrorist truck bomb, killing 22 people including Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN’s top representative in Iraq.
Across the globe, 250,000 aid workers are women-a figure that amounts to more than 40 per cent of the humanitarian workforce as aid work becomes increasingly difficult. Since August 2003, more than 4,500 aid workers of all genders have been killed, injured, detained, assaulted or kidnapped while carrying out their work, according to the UN. That averages five attacks per week. Women’s aid workers are also high risk to being robbed, sexually assaulted and other violent attacks.
Last year was the second-worst on record, and the worst for the past five years concerning aid workers security, according to ReliefWeb. In 2018, there were 405 victims, with 131 aid workers killed, 144 wounded and 130 kidnapped across the world. ReliefWeb added that “So far in 2019, some 156 aid workers have been attacked on the job with 57 killed, 59 wounded and 40 kidnapped.”
Equatorial Guinea Denies Reports of Border Wall with Cameroon
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
The Foreign Minister of Equatorial Guinea, Simeon Oyono Esono Angue has denied reports that his country plans to build a wall along the border with its neighbor Cameroon. Foreign Minister Esono Angue said despite the diplomatic rift between the two countries, it would be resolved through dialogue.
“The wall does not exist. Those talking about the wall lack information. When there is a problem between two countries, it is necessary to solve the problem through peaceful and diplomatic means. The media are free to propagate information but I insist there is no wall,” Angue told reporters in Yaounde after meeting with Cameroonian Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute.
According to Esono Angue, he was sent by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea to consolidate bilateral relationship which he described as “excellent” between the two countries.
His remark comes a few weeks after Western media had reported that Equatorial Guinean soldiers had crossed the Ntem River that forms a natural border between the two countries and erected milestones in the town of Kye-Ossi on the Cameroonian side, reports VOA.
Anastasio Asumu Mum Munoz, Equatorial Guinea Ambassador to Cameroon in a meeting with Cameroon’s Minister of External Relations, however, said his country plans to build a war, but reports that its military had installed milestones in Cameroon’s territory are misleading, as per VOA.
Equatorial Guinea has equally accused Cameroon of allowing its citizens and West Africans to enter its territory illegally. According to multiple reports, more than 100 migrants from Togo, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Benin on their way to Equatorial Guinea are currently stranded in Cameroon after they were rescued from their capsized vessel in the Atlantic Ocean.
In late July, Rene Claude Meka, Cameroon’s Army chief of staff warned that Cameroon would not allow any expansionist ambitions after visiting the 180 km border between the two countries.
The 50th Anniversary of My First Speech at the United Nations And the Bitter Lesson I Learned
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Dr. Gary K. Busch*
During the 1960’s, after Sharpeville, the nations who comprised the United Nations embarked on a plan to restrict capital flows to the apartheid government of South Africa. They passed a number of rules and recommendations attempting to restrict the interaction between the South African Government and the major international banks. The UN’s Special Committee on Apartheid, under the chairmanship of Abdulrahim Abby Farah, the UN representative from Somalia, called a meeting of the Special Committee at the UN New York Headquarters, from 17-18 March, 1969, to discuss the role of the international banks in supporting South Africa and to make a plan to expand the campaign to get these banks to boycott capital interactions with the South Africans.
Invitees to the meeting were drawn from several U.S. groups active in the anti-apartheid movement. I was invited as the specialist on Africa from the United Auto Workers (UAW) and as a Board Member of the American Committee on Africa, led by George Hauser. I had been one of the main contacts for the African liberation struggle leaders who visited the U.S. and had taken many to the House and Senate Committees for meetings. I had also arranged their meetings with groups like SNCC, CORE, NAACP, and others. I was very pleased to be invited to the meeting and hoped to contribute my thoughts on the issue.
We convened in a large conference room in the UN where, in addition to the invitees, there was a substantial group of UN delegates from countries which supported the anti-Apartheid movement. The program opened with an introduction by Ambassador Farah and followed by speeches by the Algerian and Nigerian ambassadors. Oliver Tambo was there on behalf of the ANC and he made a speech. After several more speeches we were allowed to speak.
I was more than ready to speak. In fact, I was quite upset. I had just been looking at the day’s New Yok Times newspaper where I saw a quarter-page ad by the Chemical Bank of New York Trust headlined by the line “The American Capitalist”. It descried the role of the Chemical Bank in arranging a large loan and ancillary financing of a Japanese company to buy iron ore from South Africa. This was the very thing we were meeting to discuss and, with good effort, prevent. I rose and asked permission to read the text of the advertisement into the record of the Committee. I did so and then said “Here you have a major American bank financing apartheid. You should realise that this is no rogue bank; this is the official bank of the United Nations. Your salaries and expenses are paid through this bank. It has branches inside UN installations worldwide. If you want the world to support the Banks Campaign of the UN perhaps you can start with your own bank.”
After a moment of silence heated discussions broke out. Mr Reddy, the administrator of the Committee, confirmed that Chemical Bank was the official bank of the UN. Chairman Farah called upon the Algerian delegate and the Indian delegate to speech who pronounced their outrage at what I had discovered. They. believe it or not, agreed to send a telegram to the UN Secretary-General from the floor of the meeting requesting an urgent response and review. I suggested that the UN Secretary-General’s office was only six floors above us and I would volunteer to hand deliver it immediately. I was told this telegram was the normal procedure for UN business. We broke for lunch.
I was having lunch with Oliver Tambo who was quite pleased with the proceedings so far. He did say to me “You may feel that this was an important blow for the Banks Campaign, but don’t be fooled. Nothing will happen but chit-chat and pointing fingers. The banks will go on lending as usual”. He was wise. There were stories in the press; there were earnest discussions with the anti-apartheid groups; there were fiery speeches from the African delegates. What finally happened as the result of my speech was that the copywriter of the article at the newspaper lost his job. Everything else went, as Tambo promised, out of the minds of the Committee.
I was immensely proud that I had used my opportunity to speak at the UN with some effect but, in retrospect, I had learned an important lesson. One cannot move international institutions by speeches or embarrassment. The United Nations is a permanent compromise looking for problems to work on. It was a bitter lesson for me in my youthful naivete but helped to shape my future expectations. I attach the official Committee report on my intervention and a picture of me before my speech, with Ambassador Farah.
“Although sympathetic U.N. delegations were aware of and concerned about the bank campaign, it was again in 1969 that action look concrete form. In 1966, the General Assembly resolution on the policies of apartheid had appealed to all Slates to “discourage loans by banks in their countries to the Government of South Africa or South African companies,” but in March, 1969, during a Special Committee on Apartheid seminar held at U.N. headquarters, the question of Chemical Bank, a consortium member, being the bank located at the U.N., came to a head. By chance. Chemical Bank New York Trust Company had placed an advertisement in the New York Times the same day as the seminar meeting in which it lauded the bank’s role in securing a deal between South Africa and Japan for the sale of iron. This remarkable situation, where U.N. resolutions were in essence being ignored by the United Nations itself, resulted in proposals by the Special Committee to the Secretary General asking an investigation of Chemical Bank’s role at the U.N. This culminated in a General Assembly Resolution passed in November, 1969, which called upon the United Nations and its affiliates “to refrain from extending facilities to banks and other financial institutions which provide assistance to South Africa and firms registered there.”
* Dr. Gary K. Busch is the editor and publisher of the web-based news journal of international relations www.ocnus.net and the distance-learning educational website www.worldtrade.ac. He speaks and reads 12 languages and has written six books and published 58 specialist studies. His articles have appeared in the Economist Intelligence Unit, Wall Street Journal, WPROST (a leading Polish weekly news magazine), Pravda and several other major international news journals
Oyo Discovery is a Game Changer for Congo and the African Content
August 16, 2019 | 0 Comments
Congo has 2 billion barrels of proven oil reserves from about 20 fields being exploited and about 10 permits granted and waiting to be developed
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, August 15, 2019/ — The recent onshore discovery made in the Delta de la Cuvette deposit in the Republic of Congo is a game changer for Congo and Africa. The discovery was announced on August 10th by SARPD Oil and PEPA, a Congolese consortium working as operators on the Block.
Early projections indicate that the discovered deposits could produce up to 359 million barrels of oil, or 983,000 bopd, from Congo’s central province. This could in effect quadruple Congo’s production, which currently stands at over 330,000 bopd according to OPEC’s latest figures. Production has been steadily increasing in recent years, with a target set by the government of reaching 400,000 bopd by 2020.
“This is our first onshore discovery and it gives us a lot of hope that we shall make more discoveries especially now that we are to award more blocks for oil exploration in the ongoing oil licensing round,” said the H.E. Jean-Marc Thystère-Tchicaya, Minister of Hydrocarbons of the Republic of Congo
The Delta de la Cuvette deposit covers 9,392 m2 and comprises four wells, the first has been drilled in March of this year. When fully exploited, the license could propel Congo as Africa’s third largest oil producer, ahead of Algeria and Libya.
“This is in effect one of the largest African oil discovery in decades,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and CEO at the Centurion Law Group. “Africa has been an exploration hotspot where major oil & gas discoveries have been made in recent years by international explorers. The Oyo discovery in Congo, however, is the result of indigenous efforts made by Congolese companies. It speaks volumes to the value that local content development can create when local companies and entrepreneurs are given an opportunity to contribute to their industry. I want to urge the government to work with the industry to expedite the approvals for the necessary field development efforts. This is a win for Congo and for Africa.”
The discovery is also a game changer for Congo’s energy scenario, with most oil & gas production currently coming from offshore fields. The Republic of Congo has been pushing for years to open up energy access to its central and northern provinces, notably through the planned 1,200km pipeline between Pointe Noire and Ouesso. The exploitation of such large oil deposits in the centre of the country could open up a whole new energy frontier for Congo and the rest of the region.
The African Energy Chamber looks forward to seeing the full development of the license creating jobs for Congolese, and opportunities for Congolese companies and entrepreneurs to service one of Central Africa’s largest upcoming onshore development. Such a discovery has the potential to spur considerable economic growth for Congo and its central and northern provinces, especially as the country keeps recovering from a recent economic crisis due to plummeting oil prices. The IMF predicts a GDP growth of 5.4% in 2019, the highest in Central Africa.
Congo has 2 billion barrels of proven oil reserves from about 20 fields being exploited and about 10 permits granted and waiting to be developed. Its proven gas reserves stand at 200bn standard cubic metres over 20 years, according to the government, including 70bn of associated gas. While gas production stands at about 400bcf, various gas valorization and monetization projects are being supported by the government to generate diversification and economic growth. Congo estimates that it can monetize about 100bn standard cubic metres of gas by integrating various gas valorization projects in the country via a gathering and transportation system which is to be operational by 2020.
Celebrating Africa’s digital potential on UN Youth Day
August 14, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Ime Archibong*
|Africa’s young population could be its greatest asset in an age where many other regions in the world are aging as a result of declining birth rates|
ACCRA, Ghana, August 12, 2019,Many things have been said about the future Africa and its potential, it has been called the Opportunity Continent, the Next Frontier and Africa rising, with all of these true. For me the excitement comes in how Africa can, and will one day lead in the digital economy, not only creating a better future for its young people, but for people across the entire continents, whether here in Africa or elsewhere like in Europe or the US.
Africa’s young population could be its greatest asset in an age where many other regions in the world are aging as a result of declining birth rates. As the world’s human population grows from 7.4 billion people to 8.2 billion people between now and 2025, 40% of that growth will come from Africa, and with more than 628 million people aged below 24, this young, dynamic and innovative population will become one of the most powerful engines of growth the world has ever seen.
Personally, I’ve always been so inspired by the creativity and talent across my home continent – whether it’s creating mobile phone apps which makes motorcycle taxis safer and more convenient, like in the case of Safe Motos in Rwanda and now DRC, or building technological solutions to solve agricultural challenges, like Plantheus, a recent graduate of Facebook’s (www.Facebook.com) NG_Hub Accelerator Program, we see people, especially youth, building solutions daily to local problems and needs. As eager and early adopters of technology, we’ll likely see the next wave of global digital innovations and apps coming from the continent and taken to the rest of the world.
Adoption of social media, mobile phones and mobile money are enabling Africa and its youth to leapfrog to the next wave of digital technology. This infrastructure is the foundation upon which so much innovation in Africa is built and will be built over the next five years. At Facebook, we’re committed to empowering young people to build their digital skills and harness them for the future – whether they are digital builders, developers or product innovators.
In the month of UN Youth Day, I’m delighted that we will be recognizing just some of these talents from across the region. Bringing together over 40 Facebook Community Leaders, SMBs, Entrepreneurs, Developers and Content Creators from across Sub-Saharan Africa, under the banner of ‘Celebrating Icons of Change and the Future of the Continent’ – celebrating the positive impact they are having in their community, something which is important to us here at Facebook.
Our commitment across the region remains strong, and Africa continues to be important for us, with this building on many partnerships, programs and initiatives already in place to help develop digital and entrepreneurial skills among young people. Whether it’s training SMBs through digital boot camps, helping interested youth to acquire digital marketing skills and placing them in employment, training women in leveraging digital solutions to grow their business, or bringing together 52,000 Developers from across 17 countries through our Developer Circles (http://bit.ly/2MbZe3t) program, we are excited to play a part in supporting the next generation of start-up founders, investors, developers and change makers.
As one of my favourite African proverbs says “For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today”, and we look forward to that tomorrow in the years to come.
African Development Bank welcomes $20 million investment from the Clean Technology Fund for the Facility for Energy Inclusion
August 14, 2019 | 0 Comments
Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, 14 August 2019 – The Clean Technology Fund (CTF) one of two multi-donor trust funds within the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) on August 8, 2019 approved $20 million for the Facility for Energy Inclusion (FEI), a facility sponsored by the African Development Bank to provide sustainable financing for small-scale renewables in Africa.
FEI is a $500 million financing platform whose objective is to catalyze financial support for innovative energy access solutions. FEI On-grid, a targeted USD 400 million fund, supports improved energy access through the development of small-scale renewable energy generation and mini-grids across Africa, while the Off-Grid Energy Access Fund (OGEF), a targeted USD 100 million fund, supports off -grid energy distribution companies and boosts their long-term capacity to access capital markets at scale.
The CTF investment, composed of a $4 million junior equity tranche and a $16 million senior concessional loan, will be drawn from the Dedicated Private Sector Program III, designed to provide risk-appropriate capital to finance high-impact, large-scale private sector projects in clean technologies.
Stressing the difficulty rural areas have in attracting investment for affordable and productive electricity, Anthony Nyong, Director of Climate Change and Green Growth at the African Development Bank said the funds would contribute to economic and social growth and enhance its recipients’ resilience to the effects of negative climate change.
“Access to affordable and reliable energy has huge benefits at various levels of any society. Most of the 600 million people estimated to lack access to modern energy services in Sub-Saharan Africa are also among the most vulnerable to the disastrous consequences of climate change,” he said.
FEI is expected to contribute to the installation of around 600MW of renewable energy projects across different African countries and avoid over 30 million tons of CO2 equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions over a period of 20 years while yielding positive gender and social outcomes.
African e-Logistics Start-up Kobo360 Secures $30M Funding
August 14, 2019 | 0 Comments
August 14 2019. Kobo360, the digital technology platform disrupting African third-party logistics, today announced the completion of a $20M Series A equity round led by Goldman Sachs, with participation from Asia Africa Investment and Consulting Pte. and existing investors including TLcom Capital, Y Combinator, the International Finance Corporation. An additional $10M in local currency working capital financing has been secured from Nigerian commercial banks.
Launched in 2017 by Nigerian entrepreneurs Obi Ozor and Ife Oyedele II, Kobo360’s tech-enabled full truckload offering enables the development of an efficient supply chain for end-to-end long-haul freight operations, connecting and supporting cargo owners, truck owners & drivers, and cargo recipients. The company has moved over 500Mkg of goods, aggregated a fleet of over 10,000 drivers and trucks, and services SMEs and over 80 large enterprises such as Dangote Group, DHL, Unilever, Olam, African Industries, Flour Mills of Nigeria, and Lafarge. Located in key strategic trade hubs in Western and Eastern Africa, the e-logistics company will continue its expansion with the ambition to build a Global Logistics Operating System [G-LOS] powering trade and commerce across Africa and emerging markets.
With the funding, the team will continue to scale the organization, develop the technology offering and accelerate supply growth – planning to add 25,000 drivers to the platform in the coming months to power the recent Africa Free Trade Continental Agreement, expected to catalyze intra-African trade. Kobo360 is also planning to significantly broaden its reach in Africa, entering 10 new countries by the end of 2020 beyond its footprint in Nigeria, Togo, Ghana and Kenya.
Obi Ozor, Co-founder and CEO of Kobo360 said, “Our Series A allows us to invest in growing our talented team that is working hard on the ground to systematically address the inefficiencies within the African logistics sector, and strengthen our already extensive network of clients and truck owners across the continent. We are also focusing on developing the partnership with drivers, ensuring that they are trained to use mobile-enabled technology, so they can convey goods seamlessly and earn more money. We are already seeing drivers running trips on the Kobo360 platform increase their monthly earnings by 40%, as we work together to mobilize logistics across Africa.”
Jules Frebault of Goldman Sachs said, “Kobo360’s on-demand logistics offering has generated impressive traction and we are excited to support Obi, Ife and the team as they harness technology to tackle one of Africa’s most pressing development challenges – increasing market transparency, improving reliability and unlocking efficiencies for all participants in the logistics ecosystem”.
Senior Partner of TLcom Capital, Omobola Johnson said, “We see this Series A round as a means to support an ambitious, laser-focused company who are using technology to actively solve problems for enterprises across the continent, and we look forward to working with them as they continue to scale and transform the African logistics sector.”
Kobo360 is also developing a suite of driver-focused products to support the over 10,000 drivers on the Kobo360 platform. It has launched KoPAY, offering access to up to $5,000 monthly working capital; KoboSAFE, access to an insurance product; and KoboCARE, access to discounted petrol, comprehensive HMO packages and an incentive-based education program for drivers’ families.
Wale Ayeni, who heads venture investing in Africa for the International Finance Corporation, added, “IFC’s continuous investment into Kobo360 stems from the company’s successful track record. Kobo360 is empowering and enhancing the capacity of the vast underserved network of “micro” fleets in Africa to serve the huge unmet long-haul freight needs of large enterprises and SMEs, delivering value to both sides.”
Kobo360 is a digital logistics platform that aggregates end-to-end haulage operations to help cargo owners, truck owners and drivers, and cargo recipients to achieve an efficient supply chain framework. Developing an all-in-one logistics ecosystem, Kobo360 leverages data and technology to reduce logistics frictions, empowering rural farmers to earn more by reducing farm wastages and helping manufacturers of all sizes to find new markets. Kobo360 enables unprecedented efficiency and cost reduction in the supply chain, providing 360-visibility while delivering products of all sizes safely, on time and in full. The Kobo360 mission is to build the Global Logistics Operating System that will power trade and commerce across Africa and emerging markets. With operations in Nigeria, Togo, Ghana and Kenya, Kobo360 is one of the fastest growing tech start-ups out of Africa.
IFC – a sister organization of the World Bank and a member of the World Bank Group – is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
TLcom Capital is a Sub-Saharan Africa focused tech VC, with offices in Lagos, Nairobi and London. The company invests in a number of areas including financial services, eCommerce, B2C applications (including but not limited to: health, education, energy, media and entertainment), software solutions to corporates and SMEs; and access to data service. TLcom manages total commitments of approximately $300 million.
About Goldman Sachs
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of financial services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and individuals. Founded in 1869, the firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in all major financial centers around the world.
African scientists’ top chart at 2019 World Champions colleting 22 of 46 awards
August 14, 2019 | 0 Comments
–Talk education in the 21st century, talk Africa.
By Amos Fofung
Once more the continent has scored high at the world stage, this time in the scientific domain. During the just-released 2019 World Championship recognition, African scientists grab twenty-two of the forty-six awards listed this year.
This includes the award for Mass Communication (Media Convergence) received by Oluchi Emma Okoroafor from the United Kingdom ,and a decedent of Nigeria.
Nigerian scientists scooped over ten of the continent’s awards in fields such as; statistic, medical laboratory science (antiretroviral therapy), physics (Einstein Plenary Equation), and computer mathematics (numerical integration) among others.
With submission said to have been received from over 97 countries worldwide in most categories, the honorees from Africa most at times had to beat thousands of competitors before securing their awards. Such is the case with Dr. Yakubu Nura of the University of Maiduguri Nigeria. The native of Yobe state won World Physics Competition by defeating some 5720 contenders from 97 countries.
Aside from Nigeria, Scientists from Mauritius, Kenya, Algeria, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Congo all received awards for their contribution to the scientific world.
Organized by the International Agency for Standards and Ratings, IASR, this year, African scientist excelled over thousands of applications and nominations received from Europe, Asia, Australia, North America, South America.
About the World Championship
With an advisory board of 33 top-notched scientists from Kenya, USA, Australia, South Africa, India, Japan, and Taiwan among others, the World Championship is a platform for world’s latest and breakthrough research.
According to its organizers, the Legends on World Championship are Iconic Megastars and recognized as brilliant Intellectuals scientists who create history with their unbeatable leadership and stardom.
The annual championship identifies the World’s Most Influential Scientists who are changing the world as the standout as a role model for scholars, Industrialists, policymakers, scientists, and academicians.
International meritorious competitions are organized for Best Thesis and Dissertation Award, Doctoral Research Award and milestone international research articles.