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Trump Drops Hammer On Cameroon For Rights Violations
October 31, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy receives a gift from Biya while US Ambassador to Cameroon Peter Henry Barlerin looks on

US president, Donald John Trump has handed down his first major sanction on Cameroon since his administration took office in 2016 for what he terms “persistent human rights violations” which include extrajudicial killings, arbitrary and unlawful detentions, and torture

The sanction to go into effect come January 2020 withdraws Cameroon from the list of beneficiary countries in Africa who gain economic support under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

As per the AGOA, the United State assists economies of sub-Saharan Africa and to improve trade and investments, economic relations while promoting fair trade between the United States and the region.

In a letter to US Congress on October 31, President Trump writes “in accordance with section 506A(a)(3)(B) of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (19 U.S.C. 2466a(a)(3)(B)), I am providing notice of my intent to terminate the designation of the Republic of Cameroon (Cameroon) as a beneficiary sub-Saharan African country under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).”

“I am taking this step because I have determined that the Government of Cameroon currently engages in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, contravening the eligibility requirements of section 104 of the AGOA,” Trump said in the statement.

He regrets the fact that all efforts taken by the US to have the government of Paul Biya respond to the rights abuses have been futile.

“Despite intensive engagement between the United States and the Government of Cameroon, Cameroon has failed to address concerns regarding persistent human rights violations being committed by Cameroonian security forces. These violations include extrajudicial killings, arbitrary and unlawful detention, and torture.”

“Accordingly, I intend to terminate the designation of Cameroon as a beneficiary sub-Saharan African country under the AGOA as of January 1, 2020. I will continue to assess whether the Government of Cameroon engages in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, in accordance with the AGOA eligibility requirements,” his letter to Congress reads.

Commitment To Cameroon Remains Strong says US Embassy

In response to the president’s letter notifying Cameroon on his intention to terminate their eligibility for AGOA, the US embassy in Yaounde in a press release said, the President can reinstate Cameroon as a beneficiary of AGOA when it again meets the criteria,”

Beneficiary countries receiving AGOA benefits are subject to review and President Trump found Cameroon not to be in compliance, the Embassy said in the statement.

“In 2018, Cameroon exported roughly $220 million in goods and services to the United States; $63 million was exported under AGOA, over 90 percent of which was crude petroleum” the embassy said adding “The United States is a committed partner and friend of Cameroon, and we will continue to pursue robust and diverse commercial ties, working with other tools at our disposal toward realizing the enormous potential of this relationship for our mutual prosperity and economic growth”.

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10 Million Young People to Access Dignified and Fulfilling Work Opportunities in Ethiopia
October 31, 2019 | 0 Comments
Dr. Ephrem T. Lemango, Commissioner, Jobs Creation Commission; Reeta Roy, Mastercard Foundation President and CEO, and Alemayehu Konde Koira , Country Head Ethiopia, Mastercard Foundation celebrate the announcement of Young Africa Works in Ethiopia. This initiative aims to see 10 million young Ethiopians access dignified and fulfilling work opportunities by 2030. Mastercard Foundation has committed an initial USD300 million to the initiative.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, October 30th, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Over 10 million young people are expected to access dignified and fulfilling work opportunities in Ethiopia by 2030.
This follows the launch of an initiative, Young Africa Works in Ethiopia, by Mastercard Foundation that will seek to create employment opportunities for the youth in partnership with Ethiopia’s Jobs Creation Commission (JCC). Mastercard Foundation has committed an initial USD300 million to the initiative.

Young Africa Works in Ethiopia is aligned with the Ethiopian government’s plan to create new jobs to spur economic growth and was designed in partnership with the government, the private sector, academic institutions, and young people.

Mastercard Foundation will work with JCC to create programs to catalyze growth in the tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, and ICT sectors. Programs will support entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized businesses to achieve greater productivity and expand income-generating opportunities.

‘Ethiopia’s prosperity will be achieved when we individually achieve our full potential first. Creating jobs for all, particularly, youth and women, is about giving people hope, dignity and the means to build this prosperous future,” says Dr. Ephrem T. Lemango, Commissioner, Jobs Creation Commission.

The Foundation announced its first phase of implementing partners, including the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), Kifiya Financial Technology, First Consult PLC and DAI Europe, Dalberg, Ministry of Innovation and Technology, and SNV. The cumulative value of the first phase of partnerships is over USD119 million and will see more than 1.4 million direct work opportunities contributing to Young Africa Works in Ethiopia’s goal of 10 million work opportunities by 2030. 

“Through my travel across Ethiopia, I’m inspired by the creativity and dynamism of young entrepreneurs and how their innovations are bringing about meaningful change in their communities,” says Reeta Roy, Mastercard Foundation President and CEO. “Young Africa Works will support them by providing access to finance, business development support and skills development so they can further scale their businesses to create more jobs for young Ethiopians.”

Learning from its work in 34 countries on the continent, including Ethiopia, over the past decade, the Foundation will deepen its engagement in 10 African countries. Ethiopia is a priority country because of the government’s commitment to reform the policy and regulatory environment to encourage the development of the private sector and attract foreign investment. Since 2009, the Mastercard Foundation has committed more than USD62 million to advance financial inclusion, education, and youth livelihoods.

“It’s hard owning your own business, and I failed at least twice, but if you follow your passion, then you are able to really impact people’s lives. What keeps me going is knowing that my drive does not come from making a profit, but from creating jobs that are giving people a livable income and helping them flourish and grow. As an entrepreneur, I want to improve the productivity, creativity and sustainable growth of my company but this means access to capital and land so that I can expand and scale my business,” explains 29-year old Semhal Guesh, Founder and CEO of Kabana Leather in Addis Ababa, a start-up that was established in 2017 and now employs more than 80 people, 80% of them young women.

Young Africa Works in Ethiopia will focus on the following priorities:

  • Strengthening agri-food systems, supporting linkages to agro-industrial parks, and increasing access to finance and business development services for agribusinesses.
  • Strengthening micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across priority sectors to grow and create significant jobs.
  • Building a robust pipeline of skilled youth to work in Ethiopia’s industrial parks and enabling them to establish enterprises aligned with the business needs of the parks.
  • Improving the quality and relevance of training offered by academic and training institutions and ensuring Youth are successfully linked to jobs.
  • Supporting the expansion and modernization of the tourism sector by working With the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sports, and Tourism Ethiopia on their strategy, and by engaging with the private sector.
  • Supporting the development of a national digitization strategy with the Ministry of Innovation and Technology and working with the private sector on widespread digitization of payments, financial services, and other key services.

About the Jobs Creation CommissionThe Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Jobs Creation Commission is a new public institution established under the Office of the Prime Minister to advance the government’s goal around employment and job creation. It is positioned to lead, govern and coordinate the jobs creation agenda at the national and subnational levels. In doing so, it guides the interventions of government, the private sector and development partners to high-growth sectors through policy analysis, innovation and market-oriented skill development.

The Jobs Creation Commission works specifically on identifying and designing new job creation opportunities; building a coordination-platform for all job creation initiatives in Ethiopia; developing and implementing sectorial jobs strategies; and formulating and adopting policies that favour job creation, private sector development, and the bridging of skill mismatch in the Ethiopian labour market.

About the Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation seeks a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn and prosper. The Foundation’s work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion for people living in poverty. One of the largest foundations in the world, it works almost exclusively in Africa. It was created in 2006 by Mastercard International and operates independently under the governance of its own Board of Directors. The Foundation is based in Toronto, Canada. 


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Companies Boost Mentorship and Training for Young People in Sub-Saharan Africa
October 31, 2019 | 0 Comments
Nestlé founded Alliance for YOUth five years ago to help prepare young people to enter the professional world
ACCRA, Ghana, October 30, 2019/ — Nestlé ( and its regional partners have joined forces to launch the Regional Alliance for Youth in Sub-Saharan Africa to promote employability for young people.

The alliance, which will focus on creating and implementing employability programmes, mentorship and training initiatives designed to equip young people with essential workplace skills, is part of the company’s business-driven movement Alliance for YOUth (, launched in Europe in 2014.

Today’s youth is the largest the world has ever seen – young people aged 15-24 account for one out of every six people globally, with 20% of the total youth population living in Africa alone (

This demographic trend is also exacerbated by the 71 million youth worldwide who are unemployed, while over 500 million are under-employed or stuck in uncertain or precarious jobs. Unemployment among youth in Sub-Saharan Africa reached nearly 30% in 2016 ( Without concerted action, it is expected that nearly 50% of youth in the region will be unemployed by 2025 (

“We believe that investing in youth is vital for thriving, resilient communities, and helps to build our business too,” said Rémy Ejel, Market Head for Nestlé Central and West Africa. “Young people are the next generation of employees who will keep our company competitive, the farmers who will grow the crops we need, and the entrepreneurs who will help us reach new markets, regardless of their field or level of expertise. This is just the beginning,” he added.

The Regional Alliance for Youth in Sub-Saharan Africa

The alliance was launched in Côte d’Ivoire today, October 30th. It will also be launched in Angola and South Africa on October 31st and November 4th, respectively.

With the support of the Government of Côte d’Ivoire through ‘Agence Emploi Jeunes’, a government agency that promotes youth employability and employment, and the International Labour Organization, the regional members of the alliance in Côte d’Ivoire also include Bolloré, Groupe NSIA, MTN, Nielsen, Publicis and Nestlé.

“Nearly 77% of the Ivorian population is aged under 35, which means that concrete actions must be taken to provide more opportunities and help to integrate these young people into the workplace,” said Zain Reddiar, General Manager for Human Resources at MTN in Côte d’Ivoire. “At MTN, we are ready to effectively contribute to this project, which we are sure will help a large part of that population.”

Similarly in Angola, the alliance will be launched in partnership with the Government of Angola, the Swiss Embassy, ADPP, Nestlé and other private companies from different sectors operating in Angola.

“The future can only be built with the next generation, the next sustainable competitive edge, especially on diversifying economies will have to rely on the youth. Young people will be better prepared than ever before for the next challenges, supporting the digital changes of the society we are living in, which at the end of the day will benefit all the stakeholders of the sub-Saharan region. Shaping the young people within our working context, in an inclusive environment, creating new capabilities, allowing within our domain to further develop technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Smart Data, as many others, shall support the youth to create the world of tomorrow that they will be in. We from our side will support the next generation on this journey, creating the basis for tomorrows challenges”, says Sérgio Filipe, Siemens Angola CEO.

Promoting employability

The alliance will combine the efforts of partner companies on hiring, skilling up and training young people by targeting tier three and four universities and vocational schools in and outside of capital cities.

These will be achieved through CV and interview skills-building workshops, identifying career opportunities and accessibility, and offering career-counselling sessions – reaching about 1,000 youths in Angola by 2020, and 5,000 youths in Côte d’Ivoire by the same period. In addition, about 10,000 youths will be reached every year thereafter in Côte d’Ivoire.

As part of the alliance, a flagship initiative will be identified and be jointly owned and implemented by members.

Join the business-driven movement

Nestlé founded Alliance for YOUth five years ago to help prepare young people to enter the professional world. In 2017, it was launched in Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, and in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay a year later. It was also recently launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2019 with 20 other international organisations.

By joining the Regional Alliance for Youth, companies – irrespective of size or turnover – can help to create a long-lasting impact for young people, while also enhancing their business, staying competitive and reaching more consumers

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The Role the Media Plays in Supporting Female Entrepreneurship in Africa
October 31, 2019 | 0 Comments
Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, APO Group Founder and Chairman
What’s exciting about the situation in Africa, is the impact women are making in a traditionally male-dominated environment
LAUSANNE, Switzerland, October 30, 2019/ — By Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, APO Group Founder and Chairman

APO Group (APO-opa.comare delighted to be the founding sponsor of a new AWIEF award: the APO Group African Women in Media Award. The prize has been introduced to recognise, celebrate and empower women journalists who support female entrepreneurship in Africa. Here, APO Group Founder and Chairman Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard discusses the role the media plays in supporting female entrepreneurship across the continent.

I’ve long believed Africa is a hive of entrepreneurial activity. That’s why events like the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) are so important to help inspire and encourage our continent’s next generation of innovators and business leaders.

What’s exciting about the situation in Africa, is the impact women are making in a traditionally male-dominated environment. A 2018 report ( by the World Bank found that Africa stands alone in having more new female entrepreneurs than male. The MasterCard Index of Women Entrepreneurs 2017 ( has also listed two African countries, Uganda (34.8%) and Botswana (34.6%), as having the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs globally. 

But it is also true to say that women face more challenges than their male counterparts. Boardrooms in Africa – and indeed all over the world – tend to be slower to reward female-led initiatives. Getting your foot in the door is harder, and investment is more difficult to secure. That same World Bank study found capital in male-owned start-ups was six times greater than in those run by women.  

Entrepreneurship is hard enough without these unnecessary barriers – and my own experiences have given me a vested interest in trying to break them down. 

12 years ago, I was working as a European correspondent for an African news website Gabonews. I was a journalist. I’d studied law. It never really crossed my mind to try and build a multinational company from the ground up. But then I realised that there was a massive untapped market for a press release distribution service in Africa. A way for journalists to access Africa-related corporate news content easily and securely. And that, in essence, is what entrepreneurship really is: It’s about identifying a unique opportunity, and then turning it into reality.

APO Group started out in my living room – literally – and during the first years I had to be the IT manager, the sales consultant, the PA, HR, Finance, Marketing – everything. I had to learn it all from scratch.

But I’ve never stopped learning.  The past 12 years have been a constant education. When I started, I could barely speak a word of English, but I realized quickly that it was critical to the success of the business, so I made it a priority.

In my experience, creating and developing a company is one of the most difficult things a human being can do. It requires a huge amount of time and energy, a lot of sacrifice, a healthy lifestyle and many other ingredients too.

It goes without saying, you will also need a huge slice of luck! 

If you can survive those first few years, Africa is a continent that can reward you greatly. It is a place where entrepreneurial spirit has always abounded, even if startups have, in the past, lacked the support, financing or international exposure to move to the next level of global recognition.

Life might be tough for many in Africa, but its people are resilient. They understand the value of hard work. I’ve always thought that if you can make it in Africa, you can make it anywhere.  

Events like AWIEF are showing that our collective passion for diversity and equality is driving success and helping entrepreneurs turn their dreams into reality. Remember: Africa is a perfect showcase for rich cultural diversity, as well as a hotbed of ideas and innovation. We are a continent of 54 countries. The birthplace of humanity. It is in our blood to try new things and to push the boundaries. 

I’m proud to say our own attitude to diversity and equality has always been a vital part of APO Group’s success. Five of the nine members of our senior leadership team are women – and all are from different countries. We have built our company culture on fairness and flexibility. We do not want to be a company where employees are forced to choose between their careers and their families. 

We are also in the privileged position of being able to harness the power of media to support entrepreneurship in all its forms – and women in business in particular.

As an official sponsor of AWIEF, APO Group is delighted to be coordinating the APO Group African Women in Media Award ( which is designed to recognise, celebrate and empower female African journalists who support female entrepreneurship in Africa.

The media industry has had its own challenges to overcome in the drive towards equality. Newsrooms have been traditionally male-dominated, but female journalism students now outnumber male all over the world, and the next step is for these changes to materialise at a senior level, with increased numbers of women in leadership positions (

We hope the APO Group African Women in Media Award inspires more women to follow their passion for journalism and encourages them to persevere in their careers despite the obstacles. 

All nascent business ideas need journalists to support them. A positive mention in the media can mean the difference between success and failure for entrepreneurs and small businesses. AWIEF is the perfect platform for women in the media to get behind women in business by championing the best ideas, technologies and innovations. And the fact that women typically invest 90% of their earnings back into their families and communities ( mirrors APO Group’s own dedication to making sure African people thrive both at a local and a national level.

Our CEO, Lionel Reina, allows APO Group to further bridge the divide between business and media. He has been an important figure in helping future business leaders as they go through the early part of their careers. As a company board member for DAZZL ( for example, Lionel’s aim is to inspire the next generation of talented tech entrepreneurs offering new technologies to the broadcast industry in Africa.

Even the biggest media companies and PR Agencies tend to promote their executive talent from within, meaning they remain unfamiliar with the cut-and-thrust of the commercial sector. Lionel is a business veteran, uniquely qualified to advise APO Group’s clients on their communication strategies in Africa and the Middle East. For more than a decade, he was CEO for Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Orange Business Services, the B2B division of French telecoms giant Orange – a remit that covered more than 80 countries. He was also Middle East Director in the Gulf region for Accenture. So, when Lionel talks to entrepreneurs and startups, he truly has the inside track to success.

Since I brought Lionel in and stepped aside from CEO duties at APO Group in December 2018, it has given me a chance to follow my own passions for helping entrepreneurship in Africa. I’ve spent a lot of time visiting different countries, meeting new people and giving talks on how the media and business worlds can work better together.

I have particularly enjoyed the conferences I’ve hosted for young journalism students in Senegal, Uganda, Zambia and Ethiopia. It is the start of a continent-wide initiative to help promote entrepreneurship to the next generation of young Africans. I’ve tried to challenge their preconceptions and encouraged them to think big. In many of them, I see myself at their age: inquisitive, passionate – perhaps a little naive – but extremely well-placed to achieve entrepreneurial success.  

Because now is the perfect time to strike. With a decent idea, a strong journalistic ethos and a little bit of luck, there is no limit to what you can achieve. And Africa might just be the perfect place to do it!

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Cameroon: Foretia Foundation trains Researchers on Health Research Methods
October 31, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Researchers & trainers pose at the end of training

Winners of the Health Research Grant alongside other Young researchers in Cameroon have been empowered on how to influence policy change by carrying out sound scientific research. This was in a 2-days training program organized by the Nkafu Policy Institute of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation was under the theme, “Health Research Methods”

The Nkafu Policy Institute early this year, launched the Public health research grant to promote health research and research-driven health policies in Cameroon. Following this, 10 young and motivated researchers were retained for the grant and were invited alongside other researchers to participate in a two day training that started on Monday October 28.

On Day one, researchers were drilled on various methodological processes involved in carrying out a research piece. Eric Youm, Bio-Statistician at the Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric Aids Foundation edified the participants on the quantitative research design. He equally educated the participants on the basic statistics involved in research.

Speaking on the ethics in research, Dr Ronald Gobina, Coordinator of the Health Research Project stressed on the fact that every research needs to pass through an administrative and ethical clearance. He also gave examples of some ethical clearance boards in Cameroon.

Dr Katte Jean Claude edified participants on how to write a scientific paper, setting the brief for structured scientific writing.

On day two of this training, Dr Katte Jean Claude and Dr Gobina Ronald while tackling project management, educated the researchers on building and understanding research team dynamics, the role of a research/project coordinator, translating research for maximum scientific and societal impact amongst others.

Victorine, a researcher presents her thesis

Trainees were made up of the ten (10) winners selected for the pilot Health research grant program and and 10 other researchers from across Cameroon. To the foundation, these individuals have demonstrated the commitment and know-how to grow as a health researchers in Cameroon.

“It is very refreshing to see the dedication and drive in these young researchers and we hope that this pilot research program will grow in the coming years to provide greater opportunities for research in the country” noted Dr. Denis Foretia, Co-Chair of the Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation.

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Ghana: In Hogbetsotsoza 2019, the Anlo’s look beyond their exodus to foster peace and tranquility
October 31, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica

Hogbetsotsoza is one of the oldest, well known and the most prestigious festivals of the people of Anlo.  It is celebrated on the first Saturday of the month of November every year. The festival is used by the Anlos to commemorate the exodus and the bravery of their forefathers, who through endurance and sacrifice found a new home for them at their present location when they left Nortsie.

Some school of thought explains the term Hogbetsotso, as been derived from three Ewe words – *Ho* to move, *Gbe* meaning day and *Tsotso* as the crossing over. Thus Hogbetsotso means the long journey of the Ewes through Norrtsie in the Republic of Togo to their present settlements in the Republic of Ghana.

The Hogbetsoso, as a unified commemorative event,  has been celebrated for a few decades now,while many of the processes and sacraments such as Nugbidodo (the grand reconciliation) go far back in pre-history and antiquity. The first Hogbetsotso was celebrated in 1962 during the reign of Awoamefia, Torgbi Adeladzea II. This year’s celebration is christened ‘’historic’’ as the festival is set to witness the visit of the Asantehenhene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II from the Ashanti Region, the first-ever in the history of the Anlo state.

The move has been applauded by many who had known the Ewe and the Asante rivalry, even in modern Ghana. Other dignitaries to grace the occasion are The Ewefiaga Torgbui Agorkli XVI of the ancient Nortsie in the Republic of Togo, President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Akufo Addo, and two former presidents of the Republic of Ghana, HE John Dramani Mahama and HE Jerry John Rawlings and other dignitaries from home and abroad. The Hogbe Institute, organizers of this year’s festival estimate patronage to be more than fifty thousand including locals and foreigners who will throng the area in commemorating this day.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Hogbe Institute, Dr Sylvanus Kwashi Kuwor intimated that, the theme for the festival  “Uniting Anlo through its values for the benefit of its citizens and the Nation at large’’ is a clarion call on all Ewe people to utilize available opportunities in the land for the development of the area. He urges the citizenry to go beyond the celebration and foster peace and cohesion among themselves.   


The Anlos –Ewes in the course of their exodus settled briefly at Notsie, currently within the territory of Togo after migrating from Southern part of Sudan, and crossing the Niger, to their present home in Ghana before the 14th Century and the advent of colonialization.

Available historical documents and oral history have it that the Anlos settled at Ketu in the Republic of Benin and Ile Ife in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Before migrating to live briefly in Notsie in the Republic of Togo. Each state of the journey has its epic story. For example when they were leaving Nortsie, the people had to move backward as they exited Nortsie, to deceive any pursuit. This backward movement is incorporated in a dance style called Husego or Misego in Anlo.

The Anlo-ewes are now widespread and located in different countries in West Africa, Togo, Nigeria, Benin and Ghana. They are the largest homogenous ethnic population in Ghana and Togo. They speak the Ewe language (Ewe: Eʋegbe) which belongs to the Gbe family of languages. 

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In Juba, African Energy Chamber Chairman Urges Oil Industry to Support South Sudan’s Recovery with Investment
October 30, 2019 | 0 Comments
The Chamber called on the government to continue working towards creating an enabling environment for businesses in order to attract more investments into the country
JUBA, South Sudan, October 30, 2019/ — During his keynote speech at the opening of the South Sudan Oil & Power Conference & Exhibition in Juba this week, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber ( and CEO of the Centurion Law Group Nj Ayuk called for greater inflow of capital and technology into the country to boost recovery and stability.

Attended by hundreds of industry executives and dignitaries from South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt, Somalia, Norway, the United States and South Africa, the conference was opened by First Vice President H.E. Taban Deng Gai and Minister of Petroleum Awow Daniel Chuang, along with several cabinet ministers.

AEC Chairman used this platform to advocate for better stakeholder cooperation, and urged all political factions to make concessions and respect the peace agreement. “The presence of oil should incentivize dialogue between all parties to the current conflict and push for resolution of minor differences to be resolved,” he declared.

In line with the conference’s focus on finance, the Chamber called on the government to continue working towards creating an enabling environment for businesses in order to attract more investments into the country. “South Sudan’s oil industry will do even better when there is a good governance, free-market capitalism, limited-government and individual freedoms because it helps the people at every level of society to prosper. The government and the oil industry must embrace it and respect the sanctity of contracts,” said Nj Ayuk.

In order to increase production, he also urged the oil industry to speed up exploration programs and keep working on putting back damaged oil fields into production. “We applaud CNPC for its recent 300 millions barrel discovery in South Sudan and hope to see the government speeding up approvals for field development plans,” he added. 

As South Sudan launched a new licensing round, Nj Ayuk reminded the country’s authorities of the challenge of having a transparent bidding round and of attracting highly capable companies to explore oil and gas. “The chamber will support South Sudan without reservation in this effort, because oil and gas is the backbone of the economy,” he declared.

The Chamber is supporting several domestic capacity building initiatives in South Sudan, and Nj Ayuk reminded the audience that “it is important to encourage young men and women who find opportunities, have ideas for innovative services in oil and gas, those who have the courage to deploy capital, accept risk, and make it happen. They deserve to be supported.”

The Chamber strongly believes that local content and women empowerment is key today more than ever, and its Executive Chairman urged the government and the oil industry to enact special programs to promote women. “You can’t be a true oil man if you don’t support women to grow in the industry. When we support women in oil and gas we support the African family because women invest more in the family unit today in Africa,” Nj Ayuk concluded.

*Source Africa Energy Chamber
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Juba, Cairo sign landmark cooperation agreement on gas exploration deal
October 30, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

File Picture .South Sudan President Salva Kiir and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi

Juba – South Sudan and Egypt sign a Memorandum of Understanding regarding cooperation in the field of downstream oil and gas, during the 2019 South Sudan Oil & Power Conference in Juba on Tuesday.

The long-term memorandum of understanding (MoU) will allow Cairo to invest in Juba’s natural gas exploration including building capacity of South Sudanese.

Undersecretary of the ministry of petroleum, Mayen Wol, who signed the MoU on behalf of Juba government explained that the deal will help South Sudan in gas development facilities.

South Sudan secured her independence in 2011 but it has no gas facilities and this is an area where Egypt will help the East Africa’s country to develop.

“South Sudan doesn’t have a cooking gas facility so now we are going to work with Egypt on this aspect so that our people use the gas for cooking and for other things so that we don’t spoil our forest,” Wol told Pan African Visions, adding this deal will bring an end to a cutting of the trees by the locals.

In regards to deal, Wol also said Egypt will help in the areas of capacity building, that means the Cairo would train South Sudanese on how to become expert on gas processing, among others.

The has the state-of-art facility for gas, Undersecretary Wol adding that the deal will see Egypt invest in oil sector exploration.

South Sudan announced it would launch its first ever licensing round in the first quarter of 2020, putting up 13 onshore blocks for tender. Numerous international exploration and production companies have already demonstrated their interest in South Sudan’s oil and gas potential.

The MoU was signed during the first day of a third South Sudan’s official energy event organized by the ministry of petroleum in partnership with African Oil and Power.

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Merck Foundation poised to help Africa build a resilient Health systems to end infertility
October 30, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica

The Chief Executive Officer of Merck Foundation and the co-chair of Merck Africa-Asia Luminary Dr Rasha Kelej at the 2nd Anniversary and the 6th edition of Merck Foundation Annual Conference hosted in Ghana has called for a united front to end infertility stigma on the African continent. Addressing First Ladies from the Globe, oncologists, researchers and other health professionals in the field of health and medicine Dr Kelej noted Merck is poised to help African leaders expand its professional capabilities in scientific research, technology and healthcare.

She added improved access, innovation and equitable healthcare solutions under the Merck Foundation will enable the continent to build advocacy to address health, social and economic challenges and empower women and youth in scientific technologies, engineering and mathematics to rid the continent of endemic diseases.

The first lady of the Republic of Ghana, Rebecca Akufo Addo representing the host country, says Merck Africa-Asia Luminary, is gradually becoming an important event on the global scientific calendar. The initiative she observed, has for the past five years provided the platform for brilliant, engaging scientific discussions that have raised awareness and collaboration around Diabetes, Fertility, Oncology and other health issues. 

 She is confident the 6th edition would raise the bar higher as they deliberate on infertility issues confronting women and how to end the blame game, mocking and shunning of perceived infertile couples. Mrs Akufo Addo has stressed that it is everyone’s responsibility to empower infertile couples, fight against stigmatization, change mindsets, influence national policies on fertility and build fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.

 The chairman of the Executive Board and the board of Trustees, Merck Foundation Professor Dr Frank Stangreberg Haverkamp enumerated that in Merck Foundation’s quest to break the stigma of Infertility in Africa, about 196 doctors from 34 countries in Africa have been trained within the past two years. These trainings he said will continue until the disease burden in Africa is reduced to its barest minimum.

 However, the president of the Republic of Ghana who doubles as the co-chair of sustainable development goals SDGs, Nana Akufo Addo who opened the ceremony pledged his support for the First Ladies from the continent in addressing infertility as they strive to a make a difference, by building health care capacity, improving access to equitable health solutions and breaking the stigma of infertility in Africa and Asia. 

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TLcom hosts inaugural Africa Female Founder Summit in Lagos
October 30, 2019 | 0 Comments
Omobola Johnson and Iris Shoor (CEO at Oribi)

Africa’s top female tech leaders join forces to boost female representation in the industry

30th October 2019 – Lagos, Nigeria TLcom Capital, the Africa-focussed venture capital firm, yesterday held its inaugural Africa Tech Female Founder Summit. Launched to build a collaborative network of Africa’s female tech founders, over 50 female founders from across Africa including, Odunayo Eweniyi of Piggyvest, Isis Nyong’o of Mum’s Village, Vivien Nwakah of Medsaf and Miishe Addy of Jet Stream, took to the stage to share insights on achieving massive value generation and scale in Africa. Senior female executives from TLcom’s portfolio companies including Twiga Foods, Kobo360, Terragon, Andela, and Ajua were also in attendance.   

The keynote speaker for the Summit was Funke Opeke, founder and CEO of Main One, who delivered an inspirational talk on her career journey. She stated, “A clear message that should be taken away from the Summit is that the glass ceiling on female leadership can and will be broken. For incoming and incumbent women in our sector, today is a powerful display of what is possible throughout Africa’s tech scene. We had entrepreneurs from a variety of fields but what we all shared were common experiences and a shared vision for change. However, its critical we take our learnings back into our respective networks and share them with the next generation. It’s only then that we will begin to see real transformation.”  

During the event, interactive sessions were held on the ever-changing role of the founder, the fundraising journey and attracting and retaining talent. The Summit also featured an in-depth fireside chat between the company’s Senior Partner, Omobola Johnson and Iris Shoor, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Israeli tech startup, Oribi

Reflecting on the event, Omobola Johnson, Senior Partner at TLcom said, “While female participation in tech has generally improved, female tech founders are still a rare breed. However, there is a growing number of female trailblazers in African tech and we at TLcom believe this is a critical network to nurture and support.” Andreata Muforo, Partner at TLcom, also added that “With our senior team currently 50% female, supporting diversity is already part of our DNA and with events such as the Africa Tech Female Founder Summit, our team does and will continue to dedicate resources to mentoring female founders.” 

With plans in place to hold the Summit on an annual basis, TLcom also announced their push to encourage more of their portfolio companies to boost female representation in their organisations.

As the most active VC in Africa in 2018 (according to the EMPEA), the event is an additional display of the company’s commitment to being an on-the-ground presence in African tech. Earlier this year, TLcom was also presented with the “Specialist Investor Award” at the 2019 Private Equity Africa Awards and participated in Kobo360’s recent $30mn Series A fundraise and Twiga’s $30m Series B fundraise – two of the largest in African tech this year.

Launched in 1999, the 20-year old Venture Capital firm manages total commitments of approximately 300 million USD. Based in Kenya, Nigeria and the UK, the company has developed a broad portfolio ranging from agriculture, data analytics and logistics, focussing exclusively on technology-enabled services and innovation for SSA, across all stages of the venture capital cycle. 

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 access to data service, financial services, eCommerce, B2C applications (including but not limited to: health, education, energy, media and entertainment); and software solutions to corporates and SMEs. TLcom also manages total commitments of approximately 300 million USD.

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65 International and local advocacy organization write African Union to act on Cameroon’s human rights violations
October 30, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Some sixty-five advocacy organizations in Africa, Europe and North America have joined forces, calling on the African Union’s Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, ACHPR to address serious and systematic human rights violations in Cameroon, including the jailing of journalists.

In an open letter to the commission, the signatories including; Action des Chrétiens pour l’abolition de la Torture (ACAT France), Action des Chrétiens pour l’abolition de la Torture au Tchad (ACAT Tchad), Action des Chrétiens pour l’abolition de la Torture (ACAT Burundi), Africa Heights Foundation, Africa International Criminal Justice Network, Réseau Ouest Africain des DDH, Shalupe Foundation DRC, SOS Torture/Burundi, Southern Africa HRDs Network, Sudan Coalition for the ICC, The Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ Kenya) , Un Monde Avenir, Victims’ Support Initiative (VSI)  noted that over the past three years, “violence in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions has led to 3,000 deaths, forced half a million people to flee their homes, and left over 700,000 children out of school.”

The signatories said that the commission should make accountability for human rights violations a priority of its strategy and intervention in Cameroon.

In the open letter addressed to H.E Solomon Dersso, Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Right and copied to; Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Chairman of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission and Smail Chergui, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union Commission the coalition expressed “deep concern about the lack of discussions on serious human rights abuses during the dialogue.”

“The final report of the dialogue did not include any language or recommendations on abuse and accountability for serious crimes committed by government forces and armed separatists, their open letter read.

Referencing article 58 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which foresees the Commission referring cases of serious human rights violations to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, the signatory organizations urged the AU to; 

  • Refer serious and systematic human rights violations in Cameroon to the next Assembly of Heads of State and Governments scheduled to take place 30 and 31 January 2020;
  • Provide a briefing to the Peace and Security Council;
  • Establish and carry out a fact-finding mission into all allegations of human rights abuses committed in the Anglophone regions since late 2016 and recommend future steps to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice;
  • Call upon the African Union to create the position of a special envoy on Cameroon who reports directly to the African Union Peace and Security Council. Beyond acting as a liaison between the Cameroonian government and the African Union, this envoy should inquire into and rapidly report on civilian protection needs and challenges.
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Rwanda launches electric cars
October 29, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Prime Minister Eduard Ngirente (first right) launching Volkwagen electric cars in Kigali

Rwanda in partnership with Volkswagen has launched electric cars, and becomes first African country to use such kind of cars.

E-Golf, Volkswagen electric cars will be used  in carrying private passengers in Kigali.

Volkswagen launched this pilot project in partnership with  German multinational conglomerate company, SIEMENS that  will be providing e-Golf charging solutions.

Launching these cars, Rwanda Prime Minister, Eduard Ngirente said that it is a good step towards protecting environment.

“This shows that we have committed ourselves towards technology and its role in our development. It is also good in protecting environment”, Dr Ngirente said.

Dr Ngirente added that new cars will help Rwanda to achieve its goals in reducing gas emissions which affect ozone layer.

In first phase, eight cars will be out but soon the number will be increased up to 50.

Volkswagen Rwanda country director, Rugwizangoga Michaella  said that these are first electric Volkswagen cars to be launched in Africa.

SIEMENS, East Africa Director,Sabine Dall’Omo, said that as Africans cities develop, transportation also needs to be developed.

SIEMENS will be providing charging solutions to E Golf cars in Rwanda

Volkswagen  new electric cars have  capacity to go about 230 Km after being recharged each.

Volkswagen Group is planning to use €30 million into  producing electric cars by 2025.

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