RedOne pays tribute to Africa with the new hit “WE LOVE AFRICA”
September 2, 2019 | 0 Comments
This new record was chosen to be the official song of the 12th edition of Pan-African Games 2019 in Rabat
Chinese companies commit $1.4 Billion USD investment into Bankable Energy projects in Africa during African Energy Chamber’s Visit
September 2, 2019 | 0 Comments
The African Energy Chamber secured over $1.4bn in intentions to invest in Africa’s bankable projects in mining, oil & gas, power and renewables
BEIJING, China, September 2, 2019/ — The African Energy Chamber (https://EnergyChamber.org) has just concluded a one-week working visit in Beijing where it met with senior officials from the Chinese government, heads of state-owned energy companies, and executives and entrepreneurs from the private sector.
During meetings with top Chinese energy companies and financial institutions, the African Energy Chamber discussed the signing of win-win agreements and contracts that will make energy work for Africa while providing Chinese investors with attractive and rewarding opportunities in Africa.
As LNG demand is growing by the day in China, Africa stands to play a role. In 2018, China consumed 276.6 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas, an increase of 16.6% over 2017. In meetings, the Chamber discussed with Chinese companies the need to invest in gas exploration and the need to also work on African initiatives like LNG2Africa which are a win-win for both Africa and China.
Throughout its meetings, the African Energy Chamber secured over $1.4bn in intentions to invest in Africa’s bankable projects in mining, oil & gas, power and renewables. “The biggest encouragement for us is that beyond their investment appetite for Africa, Chinese companies are clear about their intention to invest in the promotion of local content and the building of local manufacturing capacities,” added Nj Ayuk. In addition to upstream oil & gas and mining projects, key infrastructure financing opportunities in refinery and storage facilities were also discussed.
In light of strong Chinese interest for Africa, and following demands from its Chinese partners, the Chamber will be hosting the first China-Africa Energy Investment Forum in 2020 in Beijing. Interested parties should already manifest their interest in participating and promoting projects to email@example.com.
Cameroon Anglophone Crisis: Bar Council Declares Nationwide Protest
September 1, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
A five-day nationwide strike action to protest the poor treatment of lawyers by Cameroonian state authorities has been called by the Cameroon Bar Council. The call for a general sit-in was made August 31, 2019, following a meeting to evaluate the difficulties faced by lawyers in the practice of their profession.
In a resolution signed by the 13 members of the Cameroon Bar Council, the body frowned at the fact that some of their colleagues were brutally beaten recently by forces of law and order. “In spite of previous complaints made, lawyers are continuously being threatened, arrested and detained in the course of exercising their functions,” the council noted with dismay.
“The Bar Council in protest calls on all lawyers to observe a five-day sit-in strike beginning as from the 16th to the 20th day of September 2019,” the legal body resolved.
The council was also chagrined by the fact that lawyers are constantly being denied access to their clients in detention centres like the dreaded Secretariat of State for Defence (SED), gendarmerie brigades, police stations and prisons. “The rights of accused persons protected by national and international instruments ratified by Cameroon are constantly and consistently being violated by judicial authorities.”
Barrister Eric Mbah, representative of the Cameroon Bar president in the North West Region, speaking to the BBC said, “The judicial system in Cameroon is very sick-from the trial of accused persons in a language they do not understand, the extraction of confessional statements from the accused persons by torture, threats and others. There is a lot o extortion and it is no news that lawyers are rejected in court, threatened and when they go to police stations to check on their clients, they are brutalized, extorted and detained.”
Barrister Amungwa Tanyi Nicodemous has tasted the bad side of the security officers in Cameroon as he was beaten into a coma. He detailed his experience for the BBC stating, “I was returning to my office and I was attacked by two gendarmes. When I started speaking English, the two of them fall on me and they strangled me to a deadly point and I only discovered myself in the hospital, several hours after. When I worked, I was told the population who watched the dirty scene had to call the police to come and disarm one of the gendarmes who had a pistol on him.”
He added, “This is not the first time I am suffering some torture from uniform officers in Cameroon. Sometime I went to judicial police in Yaoundé to access one of my clients and behold a battery of police officers bundle me into the office of the judicial police who joined the others in quarrels and said I will be sent to prison before midday and I challenged them.”
Barrister Joseph Fru and his colleagues survived a military shooting with some 6 bullets lodged in their car in Bamenda, North West region. “…Because of the corruption, impunity, they are afraid of us, they do not like us and are afraid of us. We are being treated this way simply because we confront them, we tell the truth and interpret the law the way it is” he said.
The Minister of Justice, Laurent Esso is yet to react to the latest move from the legal counsel. In the previous protest by English speaking lawyers, the Minister of Justice stated that hunger will beat them back to the court.
Cameroon Humanitarian Relief Initiative statement on operations
September 1, 2019 | 0 Comments
As unfortunate actions continue to escalate the ongoing crisis in Southern Cameroons, CHRI counts on your support in order to continue to take actions to alleviate the suffering. On the 31st of July 2019, the Cameroon Humanitarian Relief Initiative, CHRI, successfully carried out its latest outreach to the refugees at Ikom settlement camp, Cross River, Nigeria. We distributed 20 bags of clothing donated by Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Benin, Nigeria (see photos). The church also raised 1 million naira to support refugee relief. CHRI extends appreciation to Our Lady of Fatima church and the Nigerian community at large for supporting those affected by the crisis.
Starting on August 3, CHRI is hosting a series of webinars with other NGOs engaged directly with internally displaced persons in Cameroon or refugees in Nigeria to discuss ways to collaborate/coordinate to optimize our collective response to the crisis. Action plans arising from these positive discussions will be provided in future updates.
On July 11, 2019, CHRI carried out its 22nd monthly donation of food items to SC detainees at Kondengui Central Prison in Yaounde, Cameroon. Due to protests at the prison and related challenges, we have suspended this important outreach initiative until the appropriate conditions are in place to continue.
On behalf of CHRI, I would like to appreciate and encourage your continued support to the victims of this unfortunate crisis. Since our inception last year, we have raised $77,796.68 and spent $66,197.2 supporting these victims. We are planning our next outreach to the many refugees in Nigeria who are not currently covered by UNHCR. To channel your support through CHRI, I kindly request you to visit our website at chrelief.org/donate to make a donation or mail a check to: CHRI at 4413 Nuttall Road, Fairfax, VA 22032
African court to begin 54th ordinary session
September 1, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights will begin its 54th Ordinary Session on Monday, 2 September 2019, at its Seat in Arusha, Tanzania, according to a spokesperson.
It is reported that the Judges, among others, will examine over 15 applications and at least six Judgments are expected to be rendered before the close of the four-week Session on 27 September 2019.
The Session is also expected to review the preparations for the Fourth African Judicial Dialogue slated for October 30 to 1 November 2019 in Kampala, Uganda, under the theme: ‘’Tackling Contemporary Human Rights Issues: The Role of the Judiciary in Africa’’.
The Judicial Dialogue brings together the Chief Justices and the Presidents of Constitutional Courts of the AU Member States.
The Judges will also discuss the progress on the First International Court Forum on Human Rights to be held from 4 to 5 November in Zanzibar. The Forum will involve the Judges of the African Court, the Inter-American Court and the European Court of Human Rights.
African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI), Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) & Japanese banks pave the way for more Japanese investments into Africa
August 30, 2019 | 0 Comments
|ATI has a current pipeline of over US$1 Bn worth of transactions from Japanese banks|
YOKOHAMA, Japan, August 30, 2019/ — On the side lines of the Tokyo International Conference of Africa’s Development (TICAD7), ATI (http://www.ATI-ACA.org/) signed MoUs with Japan’s three largest banks and Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI), Japan’s export credit agency; ATI and NEXI announced at TICAD7 the launch of a Japan Desk to be based in ATI’s Nairobi headquarters in order to provide tailored risk-mitigation support to Japanese companies and investors; ATI has a current pipeline of over US$1 Bn worth of transactions from Japanese banks.
The Tokyo International Conference of Africa’s Development (TICAD7) concludes today. The event, which has grown into one of the largest Africa-focused international events, provided a platform for billions worth partnerships and transactions to be sealed. Among these newly formed agreements, the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) and Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI), Japan’s export credit agency, also announced the launch of a Japan Desk, which will be housed by ATI in Nairobi. The two institutions committed to strengthening risk mitigation cover to entice more Japanese companies and investors to enter the African market. The Japan Desk will facilitate this process.
ATI also penned agreements in the form of MoUs with three of Japan’s leading banks –
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) and Mizuho Bank. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) signed an earlier MoU with ATI. The agreements signal to the world that Japan views Africa as a strategic investment destination, which will also provide an opportunity for Japanese companies and investors to more effectively capitalize on the current opportunities in the fastest growing continent in the world.
In the last three years, ATI has provided insurance to protect some of Japan’s largest lenders against the risk of sovereign default on transactions that have collectively brought close to US$1Bn to the continent. Some of this financing has helped countries to reprofile short-term, and often pricey local currency debt, into longer-term and more affordable structures. The financing has also supported a wide range of priority sectors and, in the case of two ground-breaking capital markets transactions arranged by Japan’s largest bank, ATI-backed financing has facilitated the crowding-in of a new class of institutional investors to the continent.
With a strong pipeline of transactions valued at over US$1 Bn along with these strengthened partnerships, ATI expects to support many more Japanese exporters and banks in deals across Africa in the coming years.
Mr. John Lentaigne, Acting CEO, African Trade Insurance Agency:
Our participation at TICAD7 has yielded great results. We’re excited about the prospect of providing greater levels of risk mitigation to Japanese companies and financiers, which we see as key to unlocking even more Japanese investments into Africa.
Mr. Atsuo Kuroda, Chairman and CEO, Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI):
“Establishing the cooperation framework between NEXI and ATI is one of the most fruitful outcome which we have achieved during TICAD7. We are very pleased to announce that “Japan Desk” will be set up in ATI, a reputable multilateral financial institution which has a great track record to support African projects so that Japanese companies can obtain easy access to the reliable risk mitigation solution provided by ATI. As I promised in the TICAD7 official side-event, NEXI will closely work with ATI to facilitate Japanese businesses in Africa.”
Mr. Christopher Marks, Managing Director, MUFG:
ATI has established itself as a singular force for risk mitigation in Africa, leveraging the authority of its supranational status to make possible highly efficient private-sector financing for strategic development projects across the continent. ATI is an unequalled partner for high order innovation in this space.
Mr. Hiroshi Nagamine, Managing Executive Officer, Head of EMEA, Mizuho Bank, Ltd:
The signing of this MOU is an expression of Mizuho’s strong will and desire to develop further our African business. Our strategy in building our regional footprint is to work closely with undoubted local parties. Counterparties that have excellent reputation, specialist expertise, deep regional know how and experience.
ATI is an absolutely ideal partner given its reputation both as a regional champion and also as an institution at the very forefront of creating sophisticated funding solutions to meet the ever more complex needs of entities doing business in Africa.
Signing this MOU will provide Mizuho better flexibility; by availing ourselves to ATI’s sophisticated funding solutions, we will be better able to support our clients in Africa.
Tetsuro Imaeda, Managing Executive Officer & Head of EMEA Division, SMBC:
Cooperating with local financial institutions in Africa is indispensable for us to expand our Africa business and respond to customer needs.
By signing this MoU between one of our most important partners in Africa, ATI, SMBC will be able to support our client’s business to Africa through a wide range of coverage of ATI in the continent and expects to further strengthen the existing strong relationship.
About The African Trade Insurance Agency:
Nkafu Debates: Experts agree to disagree on whether Cameroon benefits from ACFTA
August 30, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
The second edition of the Nkafu debate has been held with experts disagreeing to agree on whether Cameroon will benefit from the recently ratified African Continental Free Trade Area, ACFTA. The Nkafu Debates which took place August 29, 2019, at Mansel Hotel in Yaounde was on the theme, Will Cameroon benefit from the Africa Continental Free Trade Area?
The event was in line with the vision and mission of the Nkafu Policy Institute-a think tank at the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation, which works to catalyze the economic transformation of African countries by focusing on social entrepreneurship, science and technology, health, and the implementation of development policies that will create economic opportunities for all.
To Dr. Fabian Sundjo, the ACFTA is very good and Cameroon will indeed benefit in the long run. He said, “Trade is the best concerning increasing growth which will in turn increase the growth of the country” while adding that the “ACFTA will increase competitiveness. It makes the country to be competitive which brings benefit to the country.”
He added that, “The free trade was important but there are some issues that had as handled, some structures are put in place before going forth to sign the treaty. The issue that was highlighted could be based on the competitiveness of the economy, and the necessity to increase productivity.” “Once you increase productivity with good institutions, and a good structure that will permit the transfer of goods. If some countries are not ready and their productivity is low, it becomes difficult to move forward, and sign the ACFTA.”
Dr. Louis Marie Kakdeu, Economist, Policy Fellow in Economic Affairs, Nkafu Policy Institute said there are two reasons why to him Cameroon will not benefit from the agreement. He stated “the necessity to respect the rules, and principles of free trade. The African zone should respect i9t, if not it is no longer the free trade but something like mercantilism. The second is the necessity to put in place in Cameroon economic reforms before engaging a country into competition. One cannot go to fight when one is not powerful or competitive.”
“We are afraid that in the next two years or so, we will have companies created in Cameroon dying as a result of the agreement. Now it is 80 per cent which is very dangerous. We have to stop it, and we cannot be having problems, and we still go and add other problems every day. Today, we have to open where we are competitive and if we are not competitive we do not open up”, He added.
The over 90 minutes exchange brought together over 80 participants comprising academia, researchers, students, NGOs, CSOs and others.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) was officially launched on July 7, 2019 during the 12th extraordinary summit of the African Union held from July 4 to 8, 2019 in Niamey, Niger. Cameroon ratified ACFTA on July 19, 2019, after it was signed on March 21, 2018, in Kigali, Rwanda, together with other 43 countries.
Observers believe Cameroon ratifying this agreement will strengthen economic growth in the country while others say Cameroon should not open up, but should instead protect its economy.
According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, UNECA, intra-African trade could increase by more than 50 per cent and even double within 10 years after the entry into force of the ACFTA compared to approximately 15 per cent currently. Others say the ACFTA will create a 3.4 trillion dollar economic block and usher in a new development of the continent.
In an increasingly globalized world, only the most competitive countries are likely to gain the largest shares in trade. Cameroon’s economy is presently facing major structural change. In a 2018 reports by the Nkafu Policy Institute, the poverty level is alarming as less than 17.65 per cent of Cameroonian adults earn more than 200,000 FCFA. Some major challenges facing entrepreneurs in Cameroon as outlined by the Nkafu Policy Institute comprise taxation, the cost and access to credit, and the formalities.
Clarion confirm creation of ICE Africa Champions
August 30, 2019 | 0 Comments
Ahead of the second edition of ICE Africa (2-3 October, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg) event organisers Clarion Gaming has launched a new initiative designed to champion key gaming jurisdictions on the continent.
The ICE Africa Champions who will endorse their respective territories and drive co-operation across all of the continent’s regulated gaming economies comprise: Colin Udoh, Nigerian journalist and sports television presenter; Dolan Beuthin, CEO, BestBet; John Kamara, co-founder of the Global Gaming Africa consultancy; Judy Kiragu, Director, GoldenKey Casino; Olafadeke Akeju, Senior Partner, WYS Solicitors; Nassim Randeree; Philippe Vlaemminck, Partner, Pharumlega; and, Yahaya Maikori Partner, Law Allianz.
ICE Africa Brand Ambassador John Kamara, one of the most respected thought leaders across the pan-African industry, has praised the initiative as ‘an important step towards securing gaming’s future throughout the continent’. “As an ICE Africa Champion myself I am already excited at the opportunities that this important and ground breaking initiative will deliver” he explained. “It is humbling to see such high profile pioneers from across the industry who, like myself, will showcase what each region has to offer and provide informed insights on the market.”
He continued: “Gaming is an extremely dynamic sector which is shaped by a combination of advances in technology, changing demographics and, of course, regulation. ICE Africa represents an invaluable opportunity to cooperate and share knowledge and experience to better answer the question of how the various markets will develop and their likely direction of travel in the coming years. The ICE Africa Champions will work alongside the team at Clarion to identify, research and advise on industry topics and data to ensure the most up-to-date information is available to all ICE Africa visitors when the industry convenes in October.”
ICE Africa will feature a two stream conference comprising 60+ expert thought-leaders, regulators, investors and operators from both the pan-African and international gaming industry. The content-rich learning programme has been curated with the objective of driving the socially responsible advancement of gaming across the continent.
For more information on all of the opportunities available at gaming’s only B2B pan-African event and to register, visit: www.iceafrica.za.com
British Ambassador commends Azuri’s next-generation energy in Africa
August 30, 2019 | 0 Comments
Yokohama, Japan, 30 August 2019: The British Ambassador to Japan today threw the spotlight on Azuri Technologies and on next-generation off-grid energy being key to economic development in Africa, during his visit to TICAD7, the long-standing Japanese summit aimed at driving trade and investment to African economies.
Azuri, the pay-as-you-go solar pioneer, last month announced a $26 million capital equity investment led by Marubeni which are among the prominent Japanese corporations at TICAD this year showcasing the latest technology and services supporting one of the fastest-growing populations and economies in the world.
Since launching in 2012, Azuri is one of the leading providers of pay-as-you-go solar power lighting and TV systems, operating in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Nigeria.
Attending the conference, Paul Madden the UK’s Ambassador to Japan commented: “Pioneering collaborations between Japanese and British companies, such as the one between Azuri and Marubeni will further accelerate the availability of digital technology across the whole of Africa and increase the speed of progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goal of universal access to energy.”
The British Embassy recently commissioned research, “Off-grid electricity in Africa”, demonstrating the need for more action and investment in this sector and highlighted the positive work of UK companies such as Azuri.
“Azuri is delighted to represent on the global stage the depth of Britain’s talent and innovation and demonstrate how renewable energy solutions developed by the UK is helping to change the lives and livelihoods of millions currently without access to energy across Africa,” commented Simon Bransfield-Garth, CEO of Azuri Technologies.
From home lighting to satellite TV, Azuri-designed solutions deliver world-class performance and life-changing technology at an affordable price for off-grid customers who live away from mains power.
Azuri’s vision is to create a level playing field where all African consumers can access and benefit from the digital economy, wherever they live.
- A recent survey from the global off-grid solar industry association GOGLA shows 58% of East African households with off-grid solar systems undertake more work and enterprise thanks to clean, affordable, electricity. The study also shows households with solar make an average additional $35 per month, more than 50% of monthly GDP per capita.
- Azuri has uniquely combined cutting-edge solar innovation, mobile payment technology and machine-learning technology into a small, affordable systems that enable off-grid families, without access to mains electricity, to generate clean and reliable power for their home.
- Customers have a stand-alone solar system in their house, with a panel, control unit including batteries and consumer devices such as LED lights, rechargeable radio and television. The system is paid for in small increments and once fully paid, the system is owned by the household and all power generated is free of charge to them.
- The Marubeni capital injection in Azuri will help millions across Africa access clean, affordable and reliable energy.
About Azuri Technologies Ltd.
Azuri Technologies is a leading provider of affordable pay-as-you-go solar home systems to off-grid consumers across Africa. Combining the latest solar innovation and mobile payment technology, Azuri delivers reliable, renewable and distributed power to the millions who have no access to modern powered services. Azuri operates in five key territories; Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Tanzania and Uganda with East Africa Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya and West Africa Headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria.
For more information, please visit: www.azuri-technologies.com
Japan and African Development Bank announce $3.5 billion in support of Africa’s private sector development
August 30, 2019 | 0 Comments
Electricity, transport, and health identified as key priorities
Yokohama, Japan, 30 August 2019 – Japan and the African Development Bank on Friday announced a joint target of $3.5 billion under the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa initiative (EPSA4), during the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7).
Both Japan and the Bank have set a target of $1.75 billion each, from 2020-2022, to enhance the fourth phase of EPSA to spur private-sector-led sustainable and inclusive growth in Africa.
“Building on the successful achievements so far, Japan and the Bank have decided to upgrade EPSA in both quality and quantity to meet financial needs for infrastructure development as well as for the private sector development in Africa,” Japan’s State Minister of Finance,” Mr. Keisuke Suzuki said at the EPSA4 launch ceremony held in Yokohama and attended by government officials and a high-level delegation from the Bank as well as representations of the business community.
“We will cooperate by integrating our funds, expertise, and experiences, and I wish the win-win relationship between Japan and Africa will deepen further,” Mr. Suzuki noted.
Electricity, transportation, and health will be key priorities under EPSA4. Projects and programs for the 3 key priorities will be formulated and implemented in line with the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment and G20 Shared Understanding on the Importance of UHC Financing in Developing Countries. African countries will also be provided with support to improve and create conducive business environments to attract private investments.
“Today marks another day to celebrate the strong and impactful partnership between Japan and the African Development Bank. The African Development Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are long-term partners for promoting the development of Africa. EPSA helps to deliver much needed support to the private sector,” Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development, said during his address.
During EPSA1 (2005-2011), Japan set the target of providing $ 1 billion in loans and $ 2 billion under the second phase (2012-2016). The ongoing EPSA3 (2017-2019), Japan and the African Development Bank are cooperating closely to provide the targeted joint amount of $ 3 billion.
As of today, the Bank and JICA under ACFA have co-financed 25 projects to improve key transportation and electricity transmission networks. These include the Construction of Three Intersections in Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire and Power Sector Reform Program in Angola.
Under EPSA 4, JICA and the African Development Bank will provide co-financing of $3.5 billion. This is a significant increase over EPSA-3, which was executed at $3 billion – a 17% increase.
“Increase is what we need to meet the needs of Africa. Increase is what we need to raise the level of our ambitions for Africa. Increase is what we need to build upon the solid foundations of co-financing over the last 13 years, and deliver even greater and more impactful development results in the years ahead. Now, let us arise with renewed vigor. Let us deliver even greater impacts for African countries through EPSA 4,” Dr. Adesina concluded.
EPSA has three components:
- The Accelerated Co-Financing Facility for Africa (ACFA): a sovereign co-financing arrangement between the African Development Bank and JICA, under which JICA lends on concessional terms to borrowers under this scheme.
- The Non-Sovereign Loan (NSL): a line of credit from JICA to the Bank on concessional terms to help fund private sector operations. Collaboration between JICA’s Private Sector Investment Finance (PSIF) scheme and AfDB’s Non-Sovereign Loan will be promoted.
- The Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA): a Multi-Donor Trust Fund for technical assistance and capacity building for the Bank’s public and private sector clients. The Government of Japan is the major contributor to the Fund, managed by the Bank.
TICAD7: Invest in Africa’s food markets to win the war on hunger and boost nutrition – African Development Bank
August 30, 2019 | 0 Comments
“There is a business case for governments to invest in grey matter – Jennifer Blanke
Yokohama, Japan 30 August 2019 – By investing in Africa’s food markets, governments can win the fight against stunting and improve nutrition across the continent. And with support from institutions like the African Development Bank, the results would be a win-win situation for all.
“What a huge potential the food markets represent. “Feed Africa,” which is one of the Bank’s High 5 priorities, has nutrition at its core,” Bank Vice President for Agriculture, Human, and Social Development, Jennifer Blanke said Thursday at a panel discussion on day two of the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development.
The session, organised by the Global Panel on Agriculture & Food Systems for Nutrition (GPAN) & the African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN), was titled Ending Malnutrition in Africa: Towards Nutrition for Growth 2020 & Beyond.
A senior management team from the Bank led by its President Akinwumi Adesina is attending this year’s TICAD in the Japanese city of Yokohama, under the theme: Advancing Africa’s development through technology, innovation and people. The conference is focused on Africa’s economic transformation and the business environment through partnerships and increased cooperation with Japan.
Despite holding 60 percent of the world’s arable land, African countries import nearly $50 billion net of food annually. Yet the population bulge and a rising middle class represent a massive opportunity in terms of agribusiness and the consumer market.
“There is a business case for governments to invest in grey matter, or brainpower, and this requires much more nutritious diets” Blanke said.
With most people in Africa getting their food from local markets, business opportunities for healthy foods abound everywhere in the food system and potential investors were urged to engage and explore.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in particular play a predominant role in the food supply chains in Africa, but their growth has been slow. “The biggest constraint to their scaling up is lack of access to finance,” Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) said.
Other side events such as a session on Investing in Human Capital Development and one on Rural Transformation and Sustainable Agriculture in the Digital Age, jointly organized by the Bank and the World Food Programme, spoke to policy makers about the importance of the private sector and an enabling environment in fighting malnutrition.
Women and Girls need to be at the table
On Wednesday, a discussion on empowering women and girls highlighted how that directly benefits Africa’s development agenda.
Technology, access to finance, education and digital technology can help women leapfrog over many hurdles.
“It is essential that women are empowered to become a vehicle for transforming society,”
Ms Toshiko Abe, of Japan’s ministry of finance said.
Blanke said women in agriculture were an overlooked stakeholder group. In many parts of Africa most farmers are women.
The Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa initiative known as AFAWA, seeks to support women entrepreneurs in Africa. Through AFAWA the African Development Bank aims to raise at least $300 million for a guarantee facility that will spur lending of ten times at much (around $3 billion) to African women entrepreneurs.
“We can leverage more for women,” Blanke said
Elumelu Challenges Japan – “Partner with us in Empowering African Entrepreneurs”
August 30, 2019 | 0 Comments
Mr. Elumelu’s statement captured his vision of a relationship between Japan and Africa, which prioritises economic and shared prosperity
TOKYO, Japan, August 30, 2019/ — Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator Praises Tony Elumelu’s Private-Sector Led Approach to African Development; President of South Africa, H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa: “If you want really good returns, as Tony Elumelu said, come to Africa”; Elumelu Champions Job Creation in Africa at Breakfast Meeting with President of Rwanda and UNICEF Executive Director.
In an impassioned keynote speech, delivered before global leaders, at the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama, Japan, African investor and philanthropist Tony O. Elumelu CON, challenged the Government of Japan to invest 5% of its $50billion commitment to Africa, in empowering African entrepreneurs.
“At TICAD 2016 in Kenya, Japan pledged $30billion for Africa. This year you have generously increased this to $50 billion. If we invested just 5% in Africa’s new generation of entrepreneurs, following my Foundation’s robust, proven model of getting capital directly to those best placed to catalyse growth and create real impact, we could touch 500,000 lives, across the 54 African countries, broadening markets, facilitating job creation, improving income per capita, and laying the key foundation for political and economic stability”, said Mr. Elumelu.
Mr. Elumelu’s statement captured his vision of a relationship between Japan and Africa, which prioritises economic and shared prosperity. He outlined the three key pillars of a bold and transformative structure: investment in infrastructure, partnership with the African private sector, and investment in Africa’s youth.
He urged Japan to learn from the example of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (https://www.TonyElumeluFoundation.org/), which champions empowering African entrepreneurs, as the most sustainable means of accelerating the development of Africa. The Tony Elumelu Foundation, in just five years has assisted over 7,500 African entrepreneurs across every African country, with seed capital, capacity building, mentorship and networking opportunities through its $100 million Entrepreneurship Programme.
Elumelu’s advice carried the weight of his track record of business success, founding Africa’s global bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA), which has grown its presence to 20 African countries, as well as in the United Kingdom, France, and the USA; and Heirs Holdings, Africa’s private investment company which actively invests in key sectors of Africa’s economy and controls millions of dollars in its investment portfolio. Together, they employ over 30,000 people and transform the communities they operate in.
“Africa is one of the world’s viable destinations for investment. Our huge population, of nearly 1.3 billion people, creates one of the most attractive markets anywhere in the world. The world is paying close attention to Africa, but is Japan at the centre of this conversation or is it on the sidelines?” he queried.
Mr. Elumelu’s philosophy has become increasingly popular on the African continent, where he is acknowledged as the pioneer of a private-sector-led approach to accelerating development. He repeated the message at the Generation Unlimited breakfast meeting with H.E. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, with its focus on job creation in Africa, where he emphasised the role the African youth plays in this narrative.
President of South Africa and Co-Chair, TICAD, H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa corroborated Mr. Elumelu’s stance. He said: “If you want really good returns, as Mr. Tony Elumelu said, come to Africa. Africa presents risk-adjusted returns and is a market in which investments are flowing at a hundred billion dollars – that is the new profile of Africa that is being presented to the world.”
Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator praised Tony Elumelu’s Private-Sector led approach to development in Africa. He said: “I want to refer to my dear friend and colleague Tony Elumelu because he alluded to the vital role that business can also play in investing in the future of the youth. These are the kinds of partnerships that will drive business and development agenda to very different heights in the future”.
Speaking on the potential of the African continent, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan said: “In Africa, some countries have joined top nations in the ranking on the ease of doing business. The scale of the market continues to expand. We can envision a day when the entire continent of Africa becomes an enormous economic zone.”
Organised by the Japanese Government, TICAD is a three-yearly forum for advancing Africa’s development through people, technology, and innovation, bringing together government, business leaders, companies and other stakeholders. The event hosted Presidents and private sector leaders including Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan; H.E. Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria; H.E. Mr. Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, President of Egypt and Chair of the African Union (AU); H.E. Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa; and H.E. Mr. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and a host of other African Presidents.