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More governments should be using digital financial technologies to fight corruption
January 5, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Tidhar Wald*

Economists predict the global economy will grow by nearly four percent in 2018 – the strongest growth rate since 2011. However, if history repeats itself, as it often does, a significant portion of that growth and prosperity could be undermined by the annual cost of corruption – which is estimated to be as high as $ 2.6 trillion, or equivalent 5% of global GDP.

Corruption is not just a matter of ethics, but an issue of vital economic and political significance –being one of the biggest barriers to sustainable economic growth, and development across the globe. It is therefore unsurprising that the fight for greater transparency and to eradicate corruption is gaining momentum globally. The United Nations prioritized it in the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, citing corruption as a major obstacle to economic and social development around the world. Similarly, last July, G20 leaders reiterated their countries’ commitment to fight corruption and create public administrations that are more resilient and transparent.

One sticky impediment to progress is the problem of cash. Every year, hundreds of billions of dollars of government payments and transfers are made in physical cash. Those take the form of government salaries, health payments, pensions or financial support for families in need. However, because they are made in cash, those payments are often difficult to trace, unsecure and inefficient. The anonymity of cash makes those payments vulnerable to skimming off the top and “ghost” recipients who don’t exist.

This is not a minor issue.  In 2016 The McKinsey Global Institute estimated that this causes over $110 billion in losses every single year in emerging economies, including countries across Africa.

Thankfully, growing connectivity and technological innovation allows for a shift from cash to digital payments, ensuring these billions of dollars either go back to state coffers or reach the intended recipient in full.

Tangible examples of governments who are leveraging digital finance technologies, in a responsible manner, illustrate the power of this shift. In India, the government has already saved $5 billion since it began paying fuel subsidies directly into citizens’ bank accounts – thereby eliminating non-existing recipients and reducing transaction costs. In Tanzania, the digitization of entrance fee payments in National Parks reduced leakages by 40 percent, resulting in more income to the government.  In Rwanda, the digitization of bus fares led to a 140 percent increase in revenues due to the reduction in leakages. In Ghana, digitization efforts, including the country’s biometric database for all civil servants, are expected to create savings of over GHS 250 million in 2017 and improve transparency.

But the benefits go beyond being good for governments.  When the shift to digital is done responsibly and responsively to citizen’s needs it can make their lives better. People from Argentina to Kenya have reported they did not have to pay bribes anymore or be asked to pay a percentage of their benefit to a middleman or a corrupt official.  Citizens are freed up of the costs of travel to a cash-collection office, saving valuable time and restoring a sense of dignity in their interaction with government.

What’s more, digital payments, when coupled with creating access to an account can unlock unprecedented economic opportunities, particularly for women who are twice as likely to be excluded from the formal financial system. Having an account can make saving more convenient and secure and lower the costs of accessing services that are critical to financial security and growth, such as insurance and credit products.

To be sure, digital payments are not a silver bullet. However, as economies and governments increasingly look for new ways to modernize, leaders must look beyond cash. The citizens they serve are increasingly adopting digital financial tools in their everyday lives—in Kenya, alone, nearly 70 percent of adults use a mobile money account. Governments cannot afford to continue to pay the cost of cash. By committing to shift their payments from cash to digital, governments can seize the potential of digital technologies to save billions and achieve better government for all.

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What does the future hold for Africa in 2018?
January 4, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati*

As the year begins, we all hope that our beautiful continent, Africa, continues to rise in all facets of development. Africa possesses all the necessary ingredients for sustainable development i.e. natural resources endowment and a skilled and technology savvy labour force. However, the major challenge that has curtailed African development pertains to a toxic environment that inhibits sustainable development, innovation and entrepreneurship.

The toxic environment is largely a creation of non-peaceful and sometimes violent transitions of power. With this background in mind, we have drafted a detailed overview of the countries that are going to conduct electoral processes in 2018 so we all can keep an eye as the events unfold in these countries and gauge if Africa is progressing or regressing in terms of democratic transitions of power.

Cameroon 2018 Presidential Election

In October, Cameroonians are going to the polls to choose their new leader. To date, only two opposition candidates, Akere Muna and John Fru Ndi have submitted their names to compete against incumbent Paul Biya who has been in power since 1982. However, it’s only a matter of time before other candidates submit their names for selection come October. Muna is a lawyer by profession and a strong anti-corruption activist who has served as Vice President of the internationally acclaimed organisation, Transparency International. The political field in Cameroon is at best level now, but if opposition parties unite as has been muted in various circles, then the tilt might just be in the opposition’s favour come October. All Africa wants is a peaceful election that recognises the wishes and aspirations of the masses. Hope Cameroon does not fail Africa.

Egypt 2018 Presidential Election

The events of the Egyptian revolution are still fresh in our minds though seven years have since lapsed. Egypt is gearing up for its second presidential election after the revolution and many think the elections will usher in a new wave of change. The incumbent, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi a former military commander took over power 4 years ago after ousting the then President, Mohamed Mursi. Sisi’s presidency has however been marked by numerous protests due to some dictatorial tendencies such as banning the independent media and restricting the conducting of opinion polls. Only one candidate has thus far declared interest to compete against the incumbent that is Khaled Ali. Ali has since said if discrepancies appear in terms of how the elections are conducted, he will boycott leaving Sisi to go in a one-man race. Africa, however, hopes it does not come to this.

Mali 2018 Presidential Election

The troubled West African nation of Mali hasn’t had many difficulties when it comes to conducting credible elections. The same is expected this year when the nation goes to an election. The incumbent, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is currently in his first term and is seeking a second term in office. Keita will face Kalifa Sanogo if no other candidates throw their names into the hat before election day.

Sierra Leone 2018 Presidential Election

Sierra Leone will hold its presidential elections on 7 March. Four candidates will be on the ballot paper. These are former United Nations top official, Kandeh Yumkella (National Grand Coalition), former Vice President, Samuel Sam Sumana (Coalition for Change), former military junta leader retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, and current foreign minister, Samura Kamara (All People’s Congress, the ruling party). The incumbent Ernest Bai Koroma is ineligible for re-election after serving his two terms. After contentious elections in its first years after independence, Sierra Leone now relatively holds peaceful elections.

South Sudan 2018 Presidential Election

South Sudan is pushing for elections this year though the conditions are unfavourable for the process. The country is currently at war meaning voter registration will be hampered by insecurity, the government itself says it does not have the adequate resources to conduct elections and the main opposition party leader, Dr. Riek Machar is in exile in South Africa meaning he cannot campaign or hold rallies. The incumbent, Salva Kiir came to power via a negotiated Peace Agreement in 2015 that created a Transitional Government of National Unity with a lifespan of 30 months. The 30 months window closes in February this year meaning the country has to hold elections. Despite the negative factors, President Kiir is pushing for elections in a bid to legitimise his stay in power beyond February 2018. The hope around Africa is that this will not lead to an escalation of the already warlike environment in the country.

Zimbabwe 2018 Presidential Election

There were some dramatic events in Zimbabwe over the past two months that eventually led to the resignation of long-time President, Robert Mugabe who had been in power since 1980. Mugabe’s resignation meant that the newly appointed (by the party of outgoing President, ZANU (PF)) President, Emmerson Mnangagwa will finish off Mugabe’s term. At the end of the term, on or before September 2018, Zimbabwe will go to the polls to elect a new leader. Before the rise of Mnangagwa to the top post, both the ruling party and the main opposition were embroiled in destructive political divisions and fights but basing on the new dispensation, it looks as if ZANU (PF) has regrouped and is now a unified force while the opposition is still showing signs of fissures. Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised a free, fair and credible election thus Africa hopes he will stay true to his word.

Democratic Republic of Congo challenges

2018 is not supposed to be an election year in the DRC but with the way things are going, an election seems to be the only feasible lasting solution. The incumbent, Joseph Kabila was supposed to step down in November 2016 when his term ended but did not and he failed to call for an election at that time. However, reports say the presidential election may be held simultaneously with the legislative, regional and local elections scheduled for December 23rd this year. Several protests in the capital, Kinshasa some violent are now a common feature. Africa’s hope is that the elections are held at the said date and done in a peaceful manner.

South Africa (Two centres of power)

One of Africa’s biggest economic giant, South Africa is currently embroiled in legal challenges aimed at removing the incumbent, Jacob Zuma from power. Zuma’s term runs until 2019 when the country is scheduled to conduct its elections. However, there is a high probability that Zuma may not last until 2019 largely as a result of the emergence of Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC’s President. Ramaphosa was elected ANC President in December 2017. Since Ramaphosa came into power, ANC bigwigs have been calling on Zuma to resign or be impeached. The Parliament failed to impeach Zuma last year after countrywide protests about Zuma’s corrupt tendencies. However, the odds are now stacked heavily against Zuma, as both his party and the opposition want him out of office. Regardless of the circumstances that will eventually lead to Zuma’s ouster whether impeachment or via elections, Africa hopes that South Africa will remain unscathed and will continue to raise the African flag high.

 

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Why Africa’s young people are the real winners at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Awards
January 4, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Benedict Peters*

Almost nowhere on earth is football followed as passionately as in Africa. It is loved by Africans from all walks of life across the continent. This week, I am giving the opening address at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Awards in Accra, Ghana. This has afforded me a good opportunity to reflect on Africa’s relationship with football and how it can help deliver a brighter future for our young people.

I believe we need only look to the Liberian presidential election for a fine example of the transformative power of football. Against the odds, football legend and opposition candidate, George Weah was victorious and today, is President-elect of Liberia, one of Africa’s most popular countries. Weah’s perseverance in the face of an initial unsuccessful attempt is a testament to the endurance football teaches.

Before he was a Presidential candidate, of course, Mr. Weah was an outstanding footballer whose career spanned great clubs like Paris Saint Germain, Marseille, Monaco and even English Premiership giants like Chelsea and Manchester City.

A striker of fearsome reputation, Weah has been described as the greatest footballer to emerge from Africa, confirmed in 1995 when he won both FIFA Footballer of the Year and the highly valued Ballon d’Or. Over a three year period, in 1989, 1995 and 1996, he claimed the top prize of African Footballer of the year, crowning that in 1996 with the African Footballer of the Century award.

The power of a footballer entering frontline politics cannot be overstated, for two reasons. First, it shows that politics is accessible to all, to the ambitious individual who dares envisage a way he or she can contribute to their country’s future. Second, it makes politics interesting and relevant to young people. If our continent is ever to reach its full potential, then it is our young people who are going to deliver it.

Africa’s youth are already shaping today and redefining tomorrow with their creativity, passion and innovation. I believe that the greatest gift that our generation can give them is to continue to provide platforms for aspiration, recognition and inspiration. But the idea of ‘opportunity’ or of ‘potential’ can be an abstract enough concept to adults never mind the younger generation, many of whom have been overlooked by the decisions of governments not to allow funds raised from investment to trickle down into stronger education systems, apprenticeships and advancement.

In football, the notion of opportunity is far from abstract. Football has always been a unifying factor and a great tool for promoting integration and development. But more than that, it is a global currency, a language spoken in the United Kingdom as much as in Brazil, China and Nigeria. And in football we see, most tangibly, the bold young role models and ambassadors of Africa who are inspiring others and have set the pace in their pursuit of excellence.

Of course, we must be careful not to set false expectations. Football is affected by the same attrition rate that applies to other sports in that very many are called but few ultimately make the dizzy heights that many dream of.  President Barack Obama pointed out that youth in the United States may have good role models for economic empowerment and entrepreneurship in the music industry, but that it was unlikely that each child would grow up ‘to be the next Lil Wayne’, so children must also work hard in school. The same can be said of football: not all of our children will grow up to be the next George Weah, Abedi Pele,  Dider Drogba or Jay Jay Okocha, but these role models still offer young people a concrete example of the hard work that goes into the pursuit of excellence.

The example of football goes far beyond the 22 men or women who stand on the pitch for 90 minutes each week. I know this because I have seen the extraordinary depth of support services that go into creating the finished product of a football match, and the transformative role they play when properly looked after.

Benedict Peters

Benedict Peters

Over the last year, Aiteo has been supporting sports development in Nigeria, leading a partnership agreement with the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) to provide financial Support to the technical team of Nigeria’s national team for the next five years. In the months since, Nigeria has won more games than they have lost and has qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Aiteo has also made significant contributions towards developing the local football by underwriting the costs associated with organising the Federation Cup, Nigeria’s equivalent of the English FA Cup, helping smaller teams grow and improve on the national stage.

With coaching roles, training roles, marketing, advertising, commercial partnerships and merchandising roles all part of the infrastructure of a newly-global Nigerian football team, no child need only grow up to be the next Alex Iwobi if they are to benefit from the transformative power of football. If a footballer can become the head of a nation, they why not a football coach, a medic or a marketing executive?

So, when I stand on the stage this week to open the CAF Awards, the winners will be very clear to me before the awards have even been handed out: the true winners will be every young person who sees that event; sees that the eyes of the world are on Africa and that a future for each one of them exists in which they can go beyond their school, their hobbies, their parents, and truly embrace their potential. Because the way we conceive the future sculpts the present.

*Benedict Peters is Executive vice president of the Aiteo Group

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Clinigen extends agreement with Eisai to supply Halaven®, Fycompa® and Lenvima® into 10 African countries
January 4, 2018 | 0 Comments
All three medicines will be submitted for registration in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, subject to local regulatory approval
BURTON-ON-TRENT, United Kingdom, January 3, 2018/ — Clinigen Group plc (AIM: CLIN, ‘Clinigen’) (www.ClinigenGroup.com), the global pharmaceutical and services company, has extended its exclusive agreement with Eisai Europe Ltd. (www.Eisai.com) to obtain the marketing authorisation and subsequently launch Halaven® (eribulin), Fycompa® (perampanel) and Lenvima® (lenvatinib) into 10 African countries.

The new agreement follows the successful launch of Halaven and Fycompa in South Africa in February and July 2017 respectively. All three medicines will be submitted for registration in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, subject to local regulatory approval.

Eribulin is currently licensed in South Africa only for the treatment of women with locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer who have received at least two chemotherapeutic regimens for their disease. These would usually include an anthracycline and taxane, unless not suitable. In 2012, breast cancer was the leading cancer among the female population in the majority of countries in Africa and is responsible for one in four diagnosed cancers and one in five cancer deaths in women worldwide.

Perampanel is currently licensed in South Africa only for the adjunctive treatment of partial-onset seizures, with or without secondarily generalised seizures in patients with epilepsy aged 12 years and older. Across Africa, the prevalence of epilepsy varies between 2.2 to 58 cases per 1000 people, with an average prevalence of 15.8 per 1000. The World Health Organisation estimates that in Africa, epilepsy directly affects 10 million people.

Lenvatinib is not currently registered in any of the 10 countries. In Europe, lenvatinib is licensed for the treatment of adult patients with progressive, locally advanced or metastatic, differentiated thyroid carcinoma (DTC), refractory to radioactive iodine. DTC is the most common form of thyroid cancer. Overall annual incidence globally is about 1/10,000, and the incidence appears to be increasing.

Healthcare professionals can obtain details about any of the medicines mentioned above by emailing Info@EquityPharma.co.za

Benjamin Miny, Managing Director, South Africa, Clinigen, said:

“This agreement builds on the strong partnership we have with Eisai in providing access to medicines.”

“We are able to leverage our extensive distribution network in the region and local expertise to enable access to these important medicines, helping to address the unmet medical needs of patients and their families across southern Africa.”Clinigen Group plc (AIM: CLIN) (www.ClinigenGroup.com) is a global pharmaceutical and services company with a unique combination of businesses focused on providing ethical access to medicines. Its mission is to deliver the right medicine to the right patient at the right time through three areas of global medicine supply; clinical trial, unlicensed and licensed medicines. Clinigen acquired Quantum Pharma in November 2017.

For more information, please visit www.ClinigenGroup.com

Fycompa® (perampanel)
Perampanel is a first-in-class, non-competitive AMPA (alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid) glutamate receptor antagonist on post-synaptic neurons. AMPA receptors, widely present in almost all excitatory neurons, transmit signals stimulated by the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate within the brain, and are believed to play a role in central nervous system diseases characterised by excess neuroexcitatory signalling, including epilepsy[6].

Halaven® (eribulin) 
Eribulin is the first in the halichondrin class of microtubule dynamics inhibitors with a novel mechanism of action. Structurally eribulin is a simplified and synthetically produced version of halichondrin B, a natural product isolated from the marine sponge Halichondria okadai. Eribulin is believed to work by inhibiting the growth phase of microtubule dynamics which prevents cell division.

Lenvima® (lenvatinib)
Lenvatinib, discovered and developed by Eisai, is an oral multikinase inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1–3, fibroblast growth factor receptor 1–4, platelet-derived growth factor receptor–alpha, and RET and KIT proto-oncogenes[7, 8].

About Eisai Co., Ltd.
Eisai Co., Ltd. (www.Eisai.com) is a leading global research and development-based pharmaceutical company headquartered in Japan. We define our corporate mission as “giving first thought to patients and their families and to increasing the benefits health care provides,” which we call our human health care (hhc) philosophy. With over 10,000 employees working across our global network of R&D facilities, manufacturing sites and marketing subsidiaries, we strive to realise our hhc philosophy by delivering innovative products in multiple therapeutic areas with high unmet medical needs, including Oncology and Neurology.
As a global pharmaceutical company, our mission extends to patients around the world through our investment and participation in partnership-based initiatives to improve access to medicines in developing and emerging countries

 

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Rwanda to host the 20th edition of the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA)
December 29, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

ICASA 2017 took place in Ivory Coast

ICASA 2017 took place in Ivory Coast

Rwanda is set to host the 20th edition of International Conference on
AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) according to the organisers.

The Society for AIDS in Africa was established in Kinshasa in October
1990 during the 5th International Conference on AIDS and Associated
Cancers in Africa, a precursor to the International Conference on AIDS
and STIs in Africa (ICASA).
It is reported that the formation of the Society for AIDS in Africa,
was facilitated by the (W.H.O) to encourage the African continent to
host international conferences on HIV/AIDS, a disease whose scourge
has hardest hit the continent.
It is reported that the move
encourages and empowers Africans to directly address and respond to the
challenges posed by the HIV and AIDS pandemic on the continent.

The Society envisions an HIV free Africa with capacity to confront all
related consequences and diseases. The Society enables a positive
environment for research on HIV and related diseases. The Society for
AIDS in AFRICA (SAA) is governed by an Executive Council drawn from
South, North, East, West and Central Africa. SAA collaborates with
AFRICASO, SAFAIDS, SWAA, NAP+, and Network of Youth in Africa and enjoy
the support of the UN- System, as well as various International
organizations, including the International AIDS Society (IAS)

Since its inception, SAA has successfully organized 19 International
Conferences on HIV /AIDS and STIs in 14 Africa countries.
The 2017 International Conference on AIDS STIs was held in Abidjan –
Cote d’Ivoire, under the theme “Africa: Ending AIDS – Delivering
differently”. Over 6000 delegates from Africa and other regions of the
world convened in Cote d’Ivoire.

On 6th December, 2017, in Abidjan, during ICASA 2017 the Sofitel Hotel
Ivoire, the Minister of Health of Rwanda in the presence of ICASA 2017
President and the ICASA Director and other Executive Board Members, won the bid
to host the 20th International Conference on AIDS and STIs which was
conferred to Rwanda. Rwanda’s selection was a result of a rigorous
evaluation of 3 countries to host ICASA 2019.

With the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Minister of
Health and SAA with the strong support of the Rwandan Government, Dr.
Ihab Ahmed, SAA President, officially declared Rwanda as the next host
country of the 20th edition of ICASA, ICASA 2019.

“We are conscious of the momentous task ahead as the host country prepare
for ICASA. We are optimistic that the Government of Rwanda with the good
people of this country through ICASA 2019, will further motivate all
African countries Governments, the International community to devote
more attention, and commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS and other
health related issues in Africa with the aims to end AIDS by 2030,”
the Rwanda health minister said.

It is added that they were appealing to all to closely follow the
unveiling program
of ICASA 2019 and to lend support to Rwanda, so that ICASA 2019
reflects lessons learnt that will further the new direction of the SDG
strategies to move Africa towards stronger Health systems, and the
elimination of HIV, TB and Malaria.

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Kenya to host 14th edition of African dairy conference and exhibition
December 29, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

ESADA

ESADA

The Eastern and Southern Africa Dairy Association (ESADA) will host the 14th edition of the African Dairy Conference and Exhibition (14th AfDa), the leading African Dairy Conference and Expo, on 20 to 24 August 2018 in
Nairobi, Kenya, according to the ESADA secretariat.

According to the secretariat, for more than a decade now, the African dairy conference and exhibition is the only dairy event in Africa that prides itself in bringing the latest trends and developments in the dairy sector,
giving delegates a deeper understanding of what is happening in the African dairy industry and the world at large.

The event will feature conference sessions tailored to explore strategies for the future of a sustainable dairy industry, policy reforms, domestic dairy initiatives, just to mention a few. Also an exhibition with over 100 exhibitors from over 30 countries is expected to be held.This is expected to feature exhibitors involved directly or indirectly in the dairy sector, displaying new technologies and products.Other activities will include dairy Awards and private workshops and seminars for the dairy sector.

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A review of Africa’s successes in 2017
December 26, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati*

In a few days’ time, we are going to wave goodbye entering a new 2018. As we already know, there is much 2018 will offer to Africa, we may not know what exactly (with the exception of future tellers of course!) will happen but major changes will occur. What we know however is what 2017 had much to offer to Africa. 2017 offered both the good and the bad. For the sake of inspiring positivity especially in this festive period, we are going to share with you the good that Africa had in store for us this year.

Ghana (January)

New Ghanaian president, Nana Akufo-Addo set the precedence that later spread to many African countries by opening up the Ghanaian border for all Africans. Akufo-Addo announced the news that Africans no longer need Visas to visit Ghana in the same year Ghana celebrated 60 year after independence. During the course of the year, many African countries followed suit by removing Visas for Africans including Kenya and Namibia while many have promised to so in the near future.

Gambia (January)

ECOWAS stretched its muscles in Gambia as it ordered the incumbent Yahya Jammeh to vacate office after his defeat in the elections. Due to ECOWAS pressure, Jammeh finally decided to leave office paving the way for Adama Barrow to become Gambia’s new President.

Gabon (January- February)

Sport as it has over the years continued in lifting and strengthening the African spirit and pride as Gabon successfully hosted the 31st edition of the Africa Cup of Nations. 24 countries across Africa participated in the tournament that ended with Cameroon lifting the trophy.

Kenya (May)

In May, Kenya launched the $3.2 billion Nairobi-Mombasa railway line. Once complete, it will become one of Africa’s biggest and most innovative railway lines on par with some of the developed countries’ railway systems. The beauty of the Nairobi-Mombasa railway line is that it is a wholly Kenyan affair.

South Africa successfully hosts the World Economic Forum for Africa.

South Africa (September)

The first African museum to exclusively exhibit art from artists from Africa (local and from the diaspora) opens its doors for the first time in Cape Town, South Africa. The museum, Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) also becomes Africa’s largest contemporary art museum.

Egypt (October)

For the first time since their 1990 appearance, Egypt makes their way back to the World Cup to be hosted by Russia in 2018.

Zimbabwe (November)

Long-time Zimbabwean leader, Robert Mugabe submits his resignation to Parliament paving way for Emmerson Mnangagwa to become the country’s second leader since independence in 1980. Mugabe effectively served 37 years as Zimbabwe’s leader starting as Prime Minister in 1980 until 1987 when he became the country’s President.

South Africa (November)

South African model, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters is crowned Miss Universe at a beautiful ceremony held at Planet-Hollywood Casino Resort in Las Vegas, USA. By doing so, she becomes just the second South African to win the title since Margaret Gardiner in 1978.

Liberia (December)

For the first time since 1944, there is going to be a peaceful democratic transition of power in Liberia. The two leading candidates will go to a run off on Boxing Day. The environment in Liberia is calm a day before elections something Liberians have not experienced since 1944.

Zimbabwe (December)

The new leadership in Zimbabwe takes corrective measures to turn around the much maligned Land Reform Program as evicted white farmer, Rob Smart returns to his farm.

*Have more successes to share from your part of Africa ? contact www.panafricanvisions.com via email pav@panafricanvisions.com

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The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) sign First-ever Line of Financing agreement
December 25, 2017 | 0 Comments
The USD 100-million line of financing facility will be utilized by Afreximbank to provide Shariah-compliant financing to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in its member countries in Africa
Afreximbank Executive Vice President Mr. Amr Kamel President (left) and Mr Khaled Al-Aboodi (right), CEO, Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector in handshake during the signing ceremony in Jeddah

Afreximbank Executive Vice President Mr. Amr Kamel President (left) and Mr Khaled Al-Aboodi (right), CEO, Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector in handshake during the signing ceremony in Jeddah

JEDDAH, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, December 24, 2017/ — The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private sector (ICD) (www.ICD-ps.org) and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) (www.Afreximbank.com) signed a Line of financing agreement for a USD 100-million facility.

The USD 100-million line of financing facility will be utilized by Afreximbank to provide Shariah-compliant financing to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in its member countries in Africa. Afreximbank has a solid pipeline of projects in the industrial, communication, technology, healthcare, construction and agricultural sectors that would be financed by the ICD Line of financing.

On this occasion Mr. Khaled Al Aboodi, CEO of ICD, commented: “The proposed financing facility is a token of a good partnership between ICD and Afreximbank, with the purpose of supporting private sector businesses with a Shariah compliant facility structure in our common African member countries”.

“This facility will give a boost to our effort to implement our current strategy which prioritizes intra-African trade; intra –African investments and export manufacturing of the labour intensive type,” said Mr Amr Kamel, Executive Vice President at Afreximbank. “It will also promote our knowledge in Islamic finance and provide us with additional manoeuvring capacity in terms of product offerings to our clients.”

We are delighted that ICD has chosen to partner with us in the pursuit of Africa’s trade development. This collaboration will contribute to, the objective of fostering sustainable economic growth in the member countries of our two institutions, leading to job creations, contribution to export and Islamic finance development, among others,” Mr. Kamel added.

The key economic and financial developmental impact will be, but not limited to; developing private sector, especially SMEs, to help expand the real economic growth based on value creation, and promoting Islamic Finance based on the pipeline of AFREXIMBANK projects. The Line of Finance facility is also expected to have an impact on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in line with ICD’s strategic objectives.

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) (www.ICD-ps.org) is a multilateral organization and a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group. The mandate of ICD is to support economic development and promote the development of the private sector in its member countries through providing financing facilities and/or investments, which are in accordance with the principles of Shari’ah. ICD also provides advice to governments and private organizations to encourage the establishment, expansion and modernization of private enterprises. ICD is rated AA/F1+ by Fitch and Aa3/P1 by Moody’s.

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) (www.Afreximbank.com) is the foremost pan-African multilateral financial institution devoted to financing and promoting intra- and extra-African trade. The Bank was established in October 1993 by African governments, African private and institutional investors, and non-African investors. Its two basic constitutive documents are the Establishment Agreement, which gives it the status of an international organization, and the Charter, which governs its corporate structure and operations. Since 1994, it has approved more than $51 billion in credit facilities for African businesses, including about $10.3 billion in 2016. Afreximbank had total assets of $11.7 billion as at 31 December 2016 and is rated BBB+ (GCR), Baa1 (Moody’s), and BBB- (Fitch). The Bank is headquartered in Cairo.

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ITFC, Afreximbank join Efforts to Support African Trade with $100 Million and €50 Million Murabaha Partnership Agreements
December 25, 2017 | 0 Comments
On the sidelines of the Afro-Arab Trade Finance Forum
DUBAI, UAE, December 24, 2017/ — The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) (www.Afreximbank.com), a multilateral financial institution established by African governments and institutional investors, have signed a US$100-Million agreement and a EUR 50-Million Murabaha agreement with the aim of facilitating and financing exports amongst African countries and between Africa and the rest of the world.

The agreements were signed by Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, the CEO of ITFC, and Mr. Amr Kamel, Executive Vice President, Business Development & Corporate Banking of Afreximbank, in a ceremony held during the Afro-Arab Trade Finance Forum, which was organized by the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) on 21 December 2017 in Dubai under the Arab Africa Trade Bridges Program.

The facilities are intended to be used to support procurement from suppliers from the member and non-member countries, including local purchase, to promote trade across Africa.

On this occasion, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO ITFC, stated: “This partnership comes as part of ITFC’s commitment to support the development of the African member countries’ exports as an important lever toward the sustainable growth, job creation and poverty reduction.”

He pointed out that this partnership will be utilized to finance African OIC member countries under the “Arab-Africa Trade Bridges” Program, a regional trade promotion program that aims at addressing some of the challenges faced in promoting trade between the two regions and supporting South-South cooperation.

Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO ITFC delivered a keynote speech at the opening session of the Forum, that focused on identifying the prospects and opportunities between the Arab countries and Africa, and the best ways to tackle the challenges that hinder the development of the trade flows in these countries.

Mr. Amr Kamel, Executive Vice President at Afreximbank, in his speech at the ceremony, stated that Afreximbank saw the Murabaha partnership agreement as a stepping stone towards greater collaboration in pursuit of the Bank’s shared vision with ITFC. He said that “ITFC has demonstrated that it stands shoulder to shoulder with the African Export-Import Bank as they collaborate to develop the African Continent and promote inter-African trade.”

“I see great prospect for the unfolding Afreximbank-ITFC partnership,” Mr. Kamel added, “but I am mindful that realizing the tremendous opportunities will require determination and hard work. We are committed to invest our resources in that direction.”

The ceremony was attended and witnessed by other participants in the Afro-Arab Trade Finance Forum.

The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation is an autonomous entity within the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group. ITFC commenced operations in January 2008 with the purpose of consolidating all the trade finance businesses that used to be handled by various windows within the IsDB Group. The consolidation of IsDB Group’s trade finance activities under a single umbrella enhanced the Corporation’s efficiency in service delivery by enabling rapid responses to customer needs in a market-driven business environment.

As a leader in Shari’ah-compliant trade finance, ITFC deploys its expertise and funds to businesses and governments in its Member Countries. With the vision of being the leading the provider of trade solutions for OIC Member Countries’ needs, the Corporation helps entities in Member Countries gain better access to trade finance and provides them with trade development programmes in order to help them compete successfully in the global market. Operating to world class standards, ITFC promotes IsDB developmental objectives through its two main pillars, Trade Finance and Trade Development, to fulfil its brand promise of ‘Advancing Trade & Improving Lives’.

About Afreximbank:

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) (www.Afreximbank.com) is the foremost pan-African multilateral financial institution devoted to financing and promoting intra- and extra-African trade. The Bank was established in October 1993 by African governments, African private and institutional investors, and non-African investors. Its two basic constitutive documents are the Establishment Agreement, which gives it the status of an international organization, and the Charter, which governs its corporate structure and operations. Since 1994, it has approved more than $51 billion in credit facilities for African businesses, including about $10.3 billion in 2016. Afreximbank had total assets of $11.7 billion as at 31 December 2016 and is rated BBB+ (GCR), Baa1 (Moody’s), and BBB- (Fitch). The Bank is headquartered in Cairo.

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Paradigm Initiative Releases 2017 Digital Rights in Africa Report
December 23, 2017 | 0 Comments

Paradigm Initiative on December 19 2017 launched its second Digital Rights in Africa Report at the 12thInternet Governance Forum (IGF) in Geneva, Switzerland. The IGF, organized by the United Nations, is a multi-stakeholder annual gathering of international stakeholders on Internet Governance and was a perfect platform to launch the comprehensive report on digital rights issues in Africa.

The 2017 Digital Rights in Africa Report, titled Good for Business: Why Private Sector must work with Citizens, Civil Society for Digital Rights, builds on the 2016 Digital Rights in Africa Report titled, Chocking the Pipe: How Governments hurts Internet Freedom on a Continent that needs more access launched at the 11th Internet Governance Forum in Mexico.

The Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative, ‘Gbenga Sesan, noted that “Paradigm Initiative will continue to use our Digital Rights in Africa Report to record incidents of digital rights abuses, policies and laws which infringe Digital Rights, and monitor the Telecommunications market across the continent to ensure that the human rights online for Africans are respected”

DIGITAL RIGHTS IN AFRICA REPORT 2017-11

The report provides commentary on digital rights violations, policies and other related development in Africa. The report also features in-depth analysis of the state of digital rights in some 21 African countries. The report says inter alia, “across Africa, a shift was also seen in how citizens responded to violations of their digital rights. In addition to direct recourse and appeal to international agencies, African citizens are exploring alternative options. Citizens across the continent have taken recourse to in-country or regional legal action to defend their digital rights.” The report is available here for free downloadbit.ly/DRAReport

The 2017 report launch featured a panel which included Tolu Ogunlesi, Head of Presidential Office for Digital Engagement, The Presidency, Nigeria, Titi Akinsanmi, Government Relations and Public Policy lead at Google; Juliet Maina, Associate in Telecommunications, Media and Technology law at TripleOKLaw Kenya; and ‘Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative.

Tolu Ogunlesi said, “Internet Freedom and Digital Rights are best achieved within a multistakeholder model, and this includes respect for the input and ideas of government. Political office holders cannot be ignored in successful Internet Freedom forums”.

Also speaking at the launch, Titi Akinsanmi reflected that “Regulation will never catch up with Innovation. The cause of development is best served when governments policies and law do not restrict freedom of expression and innovation, rather are skillfully and thoughtfully drafted to stimulate development”.

Julie Maina, Associate in Telecommunications, Media and Technology law added, “Taking a Pan-African view of Internet Freedom and Digital Rights helps us to spot trends and work for the best outcome for all Africans”

If you would like a review copy of the Report, please send your mailing address to sodiq.alabi@pinigeria.org. For more information, contact Sodiq Alabi (Communications Officer) sodiq.alabi@pinigeria.org.

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Amnesty International Appoints Kumi Naidoo As Next Secretary General
December 22, 2017 | 0 Comments
Kumi Naidoo      AFP PHOTO / LEHTIKUVA / Milla Takala *** FINLAND OUT ***        (Photo credit should read MILLA TAKALA/AFP/Getty Images)

Kumi Naidoo AFP PHOTO / LEHTIKUVA / Milla Takala *** FINLAND OUT *** (Photo credit should read MILLA TAKALA/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – Amnesty International has appointed Kumi Naidoo as the next Secretary General of the global human rights movement. From August 2018 Kumi will succeed Salil Shetty, who served two terms as Secretary General from 2010.

“We are delighted to be welcoming Kumi as our new Secretary General. His vision and passion for a just and peaceful world make him an outstanding leader for our global movement, as we strengthen our resolve for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all,” said Mwikali Muthiani, Chair of the Board of Amnesty International.

The Secretary General is the leader and main spokesperson for Amnesty International and the Chief Executive of its International Secretariat. Amnesty International is the largest human rights movement globally, with a global presence including offices in more than 70 countries, 2,600 staff and seven million members, volunteers and supporters worldwide.

Kumi is an activist and civil society leader. His previous leadership roles include Executive Director of Greenpeace International, Chair of the Global Call for Climate Action, Founding Chair of the Global Call to Action against Poverty and Secretary General and CEO of CIVICUS, the World Alliance for Citizen Participation.  He currently chairs three start-up organizations in his home country South Africa: Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity; the Campaign for a Just Energy Future; and the Global Climate Finance Campaign. Naidoo holds a BA in Law and Political Science (University of KwaZulu-Natal) and a DPhil in Politics (University of Oxford).

“I have been an activist and campaigner all my life, so I am excited to be joining the world’s largest people movement for human rights at a time when we need to counter increasing attacks on basic freedoms and on civil society around the globe. This means adapting to a fluid fast-changing global environment with urgency, passion and with courage,” said Naidoo.

“Amnesty International’s campaigns for justice and equality today are more urgent than ever, and I am humbled and honored to be leading the organization in these challenging times.”

“The world is at an exciting moment when people are mobilizing in large numbers to fight against injustice and hold leaders in governments and corporations to account for human rights abuses. I can’t think of anybody better than Kumi Naidoo to build on Amnesty International’s mission to become a truly global people’s movement for human rights,” said Salil Shetty.

“I am delighted to hand over the reins when for the first time in Amnesty’s history, we have both the Secretary General and Board Chair from Africa.”

The Secretary General is appointed by the International Board of Amnesty International for an initial four year term. The appointment followed an extensive global search.

*Amnesty International

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South Sudan Government, Rebel Groups Sign Ceasefire
December 21, 2017 | 1 Comments

By Aaron Maasho*

File Picture .South Sudan's President Salva Kiir exchanges signed documents with South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar  following previous peace accords which collapsed spectacularly

File Picture .South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir exchanges signed documents with South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar following previous peace accords which collapsed spectacularly.Their representatives were present at signing today

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – South Sudan’s government and rebel groups signed a ceasefire on Thursday in the latest attempt to end a four-year civil war and allow humanitarian groups access to civilians caught in the fighting.

The ceasefire aims to revive a 2015 peace deal that collapsed last year after heavy fighting broke out in South Sudan’s capital Juba. It was agreed after talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa convened by regional bloc IGAD.

A decision by President Salva Kiir to sack his deputy Riek Machar triggered the war in the world’s youngest country. The war has been fought largely along ethnic lines between forces loyal to Kiir, who is Dinka, and Machar, who is Nuer.

Tens of thousands have died and a third of the population of 12 million have fled their homes. The conflict has since mutated from a two-way fight into one involving multiple parties and this has made it harder to find peace.

Representatives of Kiir and Machar were both present at the signing.

“I do hope in signing this agreement, you will try to put an end to this tragedy …. This is an encouraging first phase,” said Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union Commission.

Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu, also present, said: “There is no longer any excuse for the violations of human rights. All parties are obliged to observe cessation of hostilities agreement.

Diplomats at the talks told Reuters the next phase of the negotiations would now center on thrashing out a revised power-sharing arrangement leading up to a new date for polls.

*Source Reuters

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