2019 Conference on Land Policy in Africa: Technology and innovation will help speed up removal of land sector corruption in Africa – African Development Bank
November 26, 2019 | 0 Comments
African countries must act faster to purge corruption in the land sector by harnessing technology and innovation, African Development Bank Senior Vice President Charles Boamah urged on Monday.
Boamah, who was speaking to policymakers and stakeholders at a conference on Land Policy in Africa in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan, also called for the deployment of more financial and human resources to land policy development, “especially in rural areas and among the most vulnerable, including women.”
The biennial conference, organized by the Land Policy Centre, provides a central platform for African stakeholders to network and deepen their commitment to land policy development, implementation and monitoring, through access to knowledge and evidence-based policymaking.
This year’s dialogue, hosted by the African Development Bank, is on the theme: “Winning the Fight against corruption in the Land sector: Sustainable pathways for Africa’s transformation”.
According to globally, one in five persons has paid a bribe for a land service. In Africa, every client of a land administration service has paid a bribe.
“This corruption takes many forms — bribery or illicit land transactions is just one example. Land developers and speculators specifically target countries with weak governance systems. Local powerful elites are also more likely to manipulate such systems to serve narrow ends not to benefit the public,” Boamah noted.
The African Development Bank is committed to working with its partners to improve governance in land administration as part of efforts to boost agriculture production. Two of its key initiatives- the , have demonstrated innovation in this area.
Agriculture remains the backbone of many African economies. But sound land policy and administration are needed to bring it in line with 21st-century practice, Boamah said.
The TAAT program has worked with 30 seed companies to produce 27,000 metric tonnes of drought-resistant maize seeds. By the end of 2018, more than 1.6 million farmers had planted these seeds.
Connect Africa initiative — a $55 billion global partnership to bridge major gaps in ICT infrastructure across the continent — is allowing farmers to use digital technology to access prices and services like mobile banking.
Ivorian Justice Minister Sansan Kambile called on African states to prioritise land tenure security as a development objective.
“Without land tenure security, and the various implications, no development can be sustainable. It is a collective responsibility which we must pursue to leave a worthy legacy for future generations” he said.
Kambile said the Ivorian government is keen to see workable outcomes from the Abidjan meetings for adoption into its land administration system.
In her welcome remarks, Sacko Correia, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Economy at the African Union Commission, noted that corruption in the land sector has undermined cohesiveness and led to conflicts on the continent.
“For us to win the fight against corruption, we must ensure that land is equitably distributed and accessed by all, most especially by women, youth and other vulnerable groups,” she said, noting that although women contribute significantly to agriculture production in Africa, they enjoy less rights to land.
She called on African governments to ensure that land management processes are transparent, accountable, efficient and responsive to the new challenges of climate change, natural disasters and environmental degradation.
Stephen Karingi, Director, Private Sector Development and Finance, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, said an effective land governance will help reduce cost of doing business in Africa and help contribute immensely to the African Union’s Agenda 2063 master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future.
This year’s theme is aligned to the African Union’s declaration of 2018 as Africa’s Anti-Corruption Year. The continental body identifies corruption as a key factor hampering efforts to promote governance, socio-economic transformation, peace and security.
The conference will run from 25th to 29th November.
Equatorial Guinea and Vitol Sign Strategic Partnership
November 26, 2019 | 0 Comments
- Equatorial Guinea’s Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons signed a Strategic Partnership and Cooperation Agreement on the development of the Gas Megahub.
- The Gas Megahub project aims to develop several offshore gas hubs and monetize neighboring gas reserves.
- The agreement was signed during the 5th Gas Exporting Countries Forum Heads of State Summit taking place in Malabo (November 26-29).
November 26, 2019, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea – The Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea and Vitol signed a Strategic partnership and Cooperation Agreement on Tuesday as part of the development of Equatorial Guinea’s Gas Megahub in Punta Europa.
The project seeks to establish a modern, flexible gas processing and export system that will service the needs of growing gas demands in the region and the global liquified natural gas (LNG) market.This will allow Equatorial Guinea to optimize the value of its gas production across LNG, liquified petroleum gas, condensate and other products, as well as providing other regional producers with access to modern infrastructure and economies of scale.
“It was very important to partner with companies that share the vision of the Gas Megahub like Vitol. We are now under the implementation phase and interested parties should be ready to invest or move aside,” said Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, in an official statement.
“Gas has a critical role to play as the energy mix evolves and Equatorial Guinea is well placed to become a key regional hub. We are delighted to be a part of this exciting initiative,” said Russell Hardy, Group CEO of Vitol.
Located north of Bioko Island and close to countries such as Cameroon and Nigeria, the Gas Megahub project facilitates a cross-border link with gas projects in those countries and opens the door for establishing new hubs to service the region. The Gas Megahub reduces dependency on single upstream producers for industrial development and combined with new subsea pipelines linking the country’s Aseng, Alen and Alba fields, the project will allow gas to be re-directed to maximize efficiencies. Utilizing the Punta Europa-Alba-Alen infrastructure, the Gas Megahub will be able to connect to new gas discoveries, drive monetization of stranded gas, increase fuel exports and boost revenues.
Global Gender Summit 2019: African leaders take on the responsibility to urgently close the gender gap
November 26, 2019 | 0 Comments
‘There is no template to follow…we (women) can deliver but we can deliver differently” – President Sahle-Work Zewde, President of Ethiopia
‘We are making sure that narrowing this gender gap is everyone’s responsibility,’ President Paul Kagame of Rwanda
“This discrimination is political, economic and social; it is politically incorrect, unjustifiable socially.’ – Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat
‘ A smarter world must invest in women and girls. Let’s be smart and let’s be wise. Women are the best investment any society can make,’ Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, African Development Bank Group
The 2019 Global Gender Summit, the first to be held on the continent, kicked off on Monday with a strong call to surge ahead on gender issues and move from commitment to action.
Africa’s only female President, Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia, said Ethiopia’s parliament is one of the only two on the continent with over 50% gender parity in seats, and women currently hold key ministerial roles in defense and national security for the first time. Despite her own country’s huge advances, however, the work has just started, she said.
Zewde was speaking during the opening plenary of the Global Gender Summit, a biennial event organized by the multilateral development banks (MDBs), bringing together leaders from government, development institutions, private sector, civil society, and academia.
The Summit is taking place in Kigali Rwanda from 25th to November 27th.
“There is good momentum for women and African women, but the work has just started…‘There is no template to follow…we (women) can deliver, but we can deliver differently,” President Zewde said.
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, who officially opened the Summit, described gender equality as “real commonsense.” Rwanda leads the word in gender representation in parliament with 61% of its parliamentarians being women — the highest in the world. In addition, half of all ministerial positions are held by women, just like in Ethiopia.
“We got it from the beginning that there is a lot of work to do…made investments to ensure that women are at the center of development. We are making sure that narrowing this gender gap is everyone’s responsibility,’ President Kagame said.
Echoing their sentiments, Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat said the African Union’s Agenda 2063 was deliberate about gender parity.
“What we are telling our heads of states is to take the bull by the horns…This discrimination is political, economic, and social; it is politically incorrect, unjustifiable socially…not to take (gender) into account is a real waste.”
In Africa, 70% of women are excluded financially. The continent has a $42 billion financing gap between men and women. And women, who are the majority of farmers, face a financing gap of close to $16 billion.
“The challenges are not just about gender. They are about under-representation and lack of empowerment of women,” African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said.
“A smarter world must invest in women and girls. Let’s be smart, and let’s be wise. Women are the best investment any society can make,’ he added.
The African Development Bank is doing its part to transform the financing landscape for women with the launch of the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA). AFAWA aims to mobilize $3 billion of new lending by banks and financial institutions for women in Africa. G7 leaders approved a package totaling $251 million in support of AFAWA during the summit in August.
Welcoming the conference participants, Rwanda’s Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Soline Nyirahabimana, said the Kigali Conference center was set to glow orange in honor of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. The 16 days kick off on November 25th, each year, which marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and runs until December 10th.
The 2019 Global Gender Summit is attended by the first ladies of Rwanda and Kenya as well as representatives of the heads of state of Gabon, Mali, Senegal, Chad and the King of Morocco. Also in attendance are ministers of genders from Niger, Somalia, Senegal, South Sudan, Tunisia, and Libya.
The Summit runs from 25th to 27th of November under the theme: ‘Unpacking constraints to gender equality.’
‘The African Development Bank believes in women. Women are bankable,” Adesina said.
First ladies panel seeks urgent policies to translate Africa’s demographic dividend into viable potential
November 26, 2019 | 0 Comments
– “What a man can do, a woman can do just as well,” Jeannette Kagame, First Lady of Rwanda
“History will judge us if we don’t work together to take action now,” Chief Executive Officer of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu
“Investments in gender equality are critical to realizing demographic dividend, but we need to ensure that women have the tools to overcome the barriers they face,” First Lady of Rwanda, Jeannette Kagame told participants at a panel at the Global Gender Summit in Kigali on Monday.
The panel, made up of First Ladies Kagame, Margaret Kenyatta, ministers and development experts, observed that too many women and girls still face barriers to basic rights, particularly access to labour market opportunities.
Rwanda’s First Lady recalled the role women played following the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, where a number of families were wiped out, with women in many cases being the ones catering for families.
“What a man can do, a woman can do just as well,” she added.
She described the Summit as an important platform to highlight issues of women equality.
Rwanda has implemented gender several inclusive programs, which has enhanced economic equality in a country where women political participation has grown to 61% percent.
First Lady Kenyatta called for the removal of institutional barriers to accelerate women’s economic empowerment, “It has become urgent for Africa to translate its demographic dividend into viable potential.”
“This is the spirit of Africa’s vision to accelerate its path to sustainable socio-economic development. Our collective commitment to ‘leave no one behind’ is a new chapter in our struggle towards achieving gender equality.”
The panel heard that impediments to gender equality include lack of access to credit, low representation in decision making positions, lack of control over productive land and lack of financial control to make spending decisions on education and health.
Minister of Solidarity, Social Development, Equality and Family Jamila El Moussali of Morocco,
shared experiences from Morocco where policies have been introduced to increase women’s political and economic participation.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, called on stakeholders to come together to leverage each other’s strengths “translate women dreams into reality. History will judge us if we don’t work together to take action now.”
The African Development Bank and the government of Rwanda are hosting the Global Gender Summit from 25 to 27 November in Kigali. The Summit is being organised by the Multilateral Development Banks’ (MDBs) Working Group on gender for the first time in Africa.
A Robust Response in Gestation from African Mayors to Fight Climate Change
November 26, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Ajong Mbapndah L
Higher temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, drought, and increased climate variability are some of the climate changes pushing scientist and experts to make dire predictions on the future for Africa if nothing is done. Determined to meet the challenge of climate change head on, African mayors and local governments leaders are taking urgent actions to cushion the effects.
Working under the aegis of The Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA) – African cities and municipalities are developing and implementing sustainable climate and energy actions that center on access to clean energy, climate mitigation and climate adaptation. Funded by the European Union, CoM SSA is the regional chapter of the Global CovenantofMayors ,the largest coalition of cities to local climate and energy action, an initiative shaped by local governments to reflect the importance of climate and energy action at local level, while highlighting the context and specificities of the Sub-Saharan region.
At the 2nd African Climate Chance Summit, that took place in Ghana recently and featured the Conference of the Covenant of Mayors In Sub-Saharan Africa-CoM SSA , one of the most critical messages was to ensure accessibility of climate finance at the local level.
To shed more light on the climate change challenges, and the robust response that African mayors are working on, Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa- UCLG and Frédéric Vallier Secretary General at Council of European Municipalities and Regions-CEMR, fielded questions from PAV.
Could we start by introducing the Covenant of Mayors In Sub-Saharan Africa for us and its brief history?
Frédéric Vallier, Secretary General, CEMR :The Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA) initiative supports Sub-Saharan cities in their fight against climate change and in their efforts in ensuring access to clean energy. Started in 2015, the initiative is shaped by local authorities for the local authorities to reflect the local context and specificities.
The Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA) is the “regional covenant” of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM). It is a bottom-up and voluntary initiative that invites cities to define and meet ambitious and realistic energy and climate targets. Cities and Local authorities are encouraged to define their long-term vision and actions towards a sustainable future based on the pillars of Climate Change i) Mitigation, ii) Adaptation, and iii) sustainable, affordable and secure Access to Energy.
The CoM SSA initiative was launched in 2015, just around the same period as the historic Conference of Parties (COP) 21 and is funded by the European Union, with the ambition of bringing together local governments in Sub-Sharan Africa voluntarily committed to fighting climate change.
The main objective of the CoM SSA is to increase the capacity of cities to provide access to sufficient, sustainable and safe energy related services to urban and peri-urban populations, with special attention to energy efficiency and renewable energy as drivers for local low emission, climate resilient, sustainable development. Given the major challenge of urban growth in most African countries in the coming decades, the specific objective is to increase local governments’ planning capacities on urban design, mobility and energy.
What would you cite as some of the success stories of CoM SSA since its creation?
Frédéric Vallier, Secretary General, CEMR : In Africa, cities and municipalities are particularly vulnerable when it comes to climate change. Increasing floods and droughts threaten city’s social and economic health, and the need for clean, stable energy is constant. One of the major successes is that the initiative has over 200 signatory cities across sub-Saharan Africa, and is working with 13 pilot cities which are receiving funding from the European Union to develop climate action plans and implement pilot actions in their territories. Thanks to CoM SSA, mayors and city civil servants have been mobilized, their awareness increased, their capacities built, and their readiness to face climate change improved.
How many members does CoM SSA have and what does it take to join?
Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General, UCLG Africa :Joining CoM SSA, now more than 200 cities strong, is open to any city or municipality in Sub-Saharan Africa regardless of size.
Benefits of joining the initiative are numerous but a snapshot view includes:
- Capacity building and support to implement climate change policy commitments that contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the drive for cities and local governments to be recognized and included in the development of Nationally Determined Contributions
- Access to general and technical support on climate and energy planning including the very important step to access finance
- Gaining access to best practices and taking part in city to city partnerships leading to knowledge exchanges and peer support at regional and local workshops in Senegal, Kenya and Cape Town to name a few.
- Engaging in networking opportunities with other global cities including the participation of the Mayor of Accra representing Africa on the Executive Board of GCoM at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York in September 2019 where he spoke passionately about the impact of climate on the health of people in his city through air pollution highlighting solutions that Accra the city aims to introduce to address this
- Increase international visibility for Sub-Saharan Africa local governments’ climate and energy actions through joint events such as Climate Chance and the participation in key Global events including COP 25 scheduled now to take place in Madrid, Spain between 2-13 December 2019.
The 2nd African Climate Chance Summit, featuring the Conference of the Covenant of Mayors in Sub Saharan Africa (CoM SSA) took place in Ghana, can you shed some light on how the Summit went and some of the major outcomes?
Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General, UCLG Africa :Jean-Pierre Elong-Mbassi, Secretary General of the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa, chaired the first day’s opening and he highlighted four key messages from the Conference
- The need to correct
the imbalance in financing Climate Adaptation to enable African local
governments to achieve their ambitious climate action plans,
with Africa demanding more adaptation finance;
- Ghana to position itself as Africa’s Climate Hub and champion the localisation of Nationally Determined Contributions. The Mayor of Accra, who is the Global Covenant of Mayor’s Executive Board member and CoM SSA Ambassador, is well positioned to take these messages to the international stage;
- The Climate Chance Summit Africa to become the preparation conference for COPs representing cities, local governments and non-state actors in Africa to formulate and deliver their messages, declarations and recommendations at an international level where these ambitious climate plans that are now called “The Accra Climate Dialogue”; and
The theme of the conference was “Towards the Institutionalization of Local Climate Action and Access to Finance,” how did it tie in with the objectives or agenda that CoM SSA has?
Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General, UCLG Africa: The idea is to make climate action a component of most of the municipalities in every country in Africa. National governments have a role as they can create the enabling environment, such as new institutional framework, in order to generalize local climate action and make it more effective.
In terms of climate change, how is this manifested in some of your member cities, what are some of the changes worthy of concern that are been reported?
Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General, UCLG Africa :Some cities have created teams of civil servants within their municipal structure, sometimes in cooperation with other supporting stakeholders from civil society and universities, to address the issues of climate change and energy access. The institutional dynamic at city level was boosted by the capacity building activities that cities could benefit from the CoM SSA program, as well as thanks to the peer-learning with other cities from the continent, such as Bouaké in Ivory Coast and Tsévié in Togo, which both almost finalized their climate plans. These cities already implement local projects such as safer and cleaner cook stoves, public lightening powered by solar energy and waste management initiatives.
Looking at the realities on the ground, in the cities across Africa, how bad or alarming is the situation compared to some of the dire reports that we see in some international publications?
Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General, UCLG Africa :According to IPCC regular reports, Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents and it is already one that is experiencing the consequence of climate changes in the most spectacular way. Droughts, flooding, desertification, biodiversity loss, etc. are happening more often and in worse proportions than before.
We noticed that that the activities of CoM SSA are funded by the European Union, what kind of support are your members and CoM SSA as a group getting from African governments?
Frédéric Vallier, Secretary General, CEMR :CoM SSA initiative does not receive specific support from African government. However, in some instances, contacts have been established with agents from ministries so they can promote the initiative back to their countries or promote the cooperation of cities with national statistical agencies for example. The President of Ghana spoke in support of CoM SSA during the last Climate Chance conference in Accra.
Besides the funding that it provides, what other support do you get from the EU and other international partners, and how do you balance local or African realities with dictates of some of the international partners?
Frédéric Vallier, Secretary General, CEMR : In addition to its financial support, the European Union supports CoM SSA through the involvement of its Joint Research Centre, a European research agency, which developed key material for the development of climate plans (Guidebook for the elaboration of climate action plans) and still provides technical support.
CoM SSA implementing partners from Europe have also shared experiences acquired with the European Covenant of Mayors and promoted city partnerships of African cities with European cities in the area of climate action. CoM SSA also relies on its partners based in Africa, with their strong local experience, to provide support in capacity-building, technical support, opportunities for advocacy and opportunities of cooperation with African civil society.
What kind of mechanisms does CoM SSA have in place to monitor progress with recommendations from the recent forum, and what next in the months and years to come for CoM SSA?
Frédéric Vallier, Secretary General, CEMR :CoM SSA Help Desk based in Accra, at UCLG-Africa’s West Africa regional office, is in constant contact with signatory cities in order to provide them with technical support and monitoring their progress towards the development of their climate action plans. The Help Desk, together with other partners such as ICLEI-Africa, is also liaising with cities on possible funding opportunities.
The European Union will continue to support the CoM SSA, including with specific support to African cities ready to implement a climate plan from 2020. African partner organisations, such as UCLG-Africa (based in Accra), ICLEI-Africa (based in Cape Town), Sustainable Energy Africa (based in Cape Town) and ENDA Energies (based in Dakar) will continue their work in guiding the CoM SSA signatory cities through their climate action.
Former Tanzania President Kikwete elected chairperson of Global Water Partnership Southern Africa
November 26, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
Partners of the Global Water Partnership (GWP) Southern Africa have announced the new Chair of Global Water Partnership Southern Africa and Africa Coordination Unit (GWPSA-ACU) His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania. His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete was the 4th President of the United Republic of Tanzania from 2005-2015.
GWP announced its new Chair during a High Level Ambassador reception attended by ambassadors from SADC countries and OECD countries accredited to South Africa. The High Level Ambassador reception was also attended by South Africa Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, representatives of the Africa Union, SADC, GWP representatives from its global office in Stockholm, Sweden, GWP international cooperating partners, River Basin Organisations and GWP partners from SADC member states.
In accepting his election as GWPSA Chair, His Excellency Kikwete said, “It is with a deep sense of gratitude and humility that I accept the mandate that GWP Partners have bestowed on me to serve as the Chair of Global Water Partnership Southern Africa and the Africa Coordination Unit for the next four years. Water is a common denominator for socio-economic development. It is the epicenter of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and plays a key role in regional cooperation and integration as well as peace and security. I look forward to working with GWP to support countries to improve their water security and enhance resilience to climate change through increased water investments and access to water, in particular for vulnerable women and children”.
Welcoming the election of GWPSA’s new Chair, GWPSA Executive Secretary and Head of the Africa Coordination Unit, Mr. Alex Simalabwi, said, “We are thrilled and excited to have one of Africa’s accomplished statesman as our new Chair and look forward to working with His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete to champion water security in the SADC region, Africa and globally”.
His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete will provide GWPSA with regional and Pan-African leadership for implementing the new GWP Strategy 2020-2025, that was launched at the same event by GWP Executive Secretary Dr. Monika Weber-Fahr.
Launching the new GWP Global Strategy, Dr. Weber-Fahr stressed, “The world can hold us to account as we have concrete measurable commitments in our new Strategy. Working with our partners, we will significantly advance water-related SDGs in 60 countries and 20 transboundary basins with a combined population of over 4 billion people. We will influence more than €10 billion in water-related investments from government and private sources”.
As GWPSA-ACU Chair, His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete will also serve as Chair of the Africa Water Investment Programme (AIP) whose goal is to transform and improve the investment outlook for water security and sustainable sanitation for a prosperous, peaceful and equitable Africa. AIP aims to mobilise, water investments towards the implementation of SDG 6 on water and sanitation in Africa by 2030. AIP is an outcome of the High Level Panel on Water, that was co-convened in 2016 by UN Secretary- General and World Bank President. In February 2019, the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) adopted AIP and requested GWP to mobilise partnerships for its implementation in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Water Facility (AWF), the African Union Development Agency- NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD) and other partners.
Born on 7 October 1951, President Kikwete is a graduate of Economics from the University of Dar es Salaam. He served in different party, military and government positions. He joined the Cabinet in 1988 and he held several ministerial portfolios including Minister for Finance, Minister for Water, Energy and Mineral Resources and Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. He was the longest serving Foreign Minister in the history of Tanzania after serving that position for a ten-year tenure.
In 2007, during his presidency, His Excellency Kikwete launched Tanzania’s Water Sector Development Programme (WSDP) 2006 – 2025, whose objective is to develop a sound water resources management and development framework in all nine river basins, and to promote good governance of water resources throughout Tanzania.
During his tenure in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he led Tanzania’s efforts to bring about peace in the Great Lakes region, particularly in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As Chairman of East African Community (EAC)’s Council of Ministers, he played a pivotal role in moving forward the process of regional integration in East Africa, particularly the delicate negotiations of establishing a Customs Union between Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. During his tenure as EAC chairman, he signed and ratified the Protocol on the Common Market. He also Co-chaired the Helsinki Process on Globalization and Democracy with the Foreign Minister of Finland.
In 2007, President Kikwete was elected Chairman of the SADC Organ on Security, Defense and Politics, where he was deeply involved in the search for peaceful solutions to political crises in the Southern Africa region, including a political crisis in Zimbabwe and Lesotho.
On 31 January 2008, President Kikwete was elected Chairman of the African Union Assembly of Heads of States and Government, where he took a proactive role in the resolution of conflicts in the Republic of Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He also advanced to greater heights the relations between the AU and the UN, EU and International Community at large.
João Marques: It’s Time to Negotiate for a Better Future for Africa’s Energy Industry
November 25, 2019 | 0 Comments
By enhancing production and streamlining resource management, African countries can finally have the capital to invest in industrialization and in the diversification of their economies
By João Marques*
If you go to Amazon.com to purchase NJ Ayuk’s most recent book “Billions at Play: The Future of African Oil and Doing Deals”, which you absolutely should do, you will notice that besides his previous book, “Big Barrels: African Oil and Gas and the Quest for Success”, which I had the pleasure to co-author, most of the oil-related books suggested by Amazon have titles like “Cursed Wells”, “Curse of the Black Gold”, “Oil and Insurgency” and the like (these are all actual titles of books available on amazon if you search for “African Petroleum”).
This is hardly surprising. For the better part of the last half century, oil and gas has been portrayed over and over again as the source of all evil across Africa, responsible for instability, power struggles, poverty, death, pollution, corruption, etc. If this portrait really was the mirror of the truth, then African nations would be better off just living their oil and gas underground, but it isn’t the whole truth.
When Ayuk and I started working on Big Barrels, back in 2017, when the oil price crisis was at its highest, we started out with a simple idea. A simple but very strong and compelling idea, that maybe this portrait that seemed so prevalent for so long might not tell the whole story, or even the bigger part of the story. So, we tried to look at it differently. If you read Big Barrels, you know what I mean. Throughout eight chapters we extensively document the best efforts made across the continent to develop, manage and monetize oil and gas resources. The success stories we uncovered focused on local content, on policy making, on environmental protection, on the structuring of a national oil company, on contract drafting, on civil society involvement, on capital resource management and use, etc. We looked around and saw that the story being told was not really telling what reality showed. It focused on the scandals, the negatives, the drama, and overlooked all the development, jobs and capital the industry was bringing. It focused on the defeats and never on the victories. It was a different way to look at a story that had been told from a consistently negative angle for decades. It told a story of hope and optimism about an industry that had the promise to change African economies for the better.
Two years later, Ayuk is at it again, and this time he amped the game. Billions at Play does not tell the story of what good examples we had in the past anymore, it tells us how to shape the future for the better by making use of the resources we have.
Few have Ayuk’s industry experience and scope of vision, fewer have tried to promote that vision, none has been as loud about it.
Ayuk takes 20-plus years of experience as a successful lawyer in the African oil and gas industry, throughout which he was witness and participant in the shaping of some of the continent’s most important energy deals, and drafts out a comprehensive map of what leaders, companies, deal-makers and citizens need to do to turn their oil and gas wealth into jobs, economic growth, power generation and better living conditions.
I do not intend to summarize here the extensive amount of knowledge and experience that Ayuk shares throughout the 250-plus pages of skillfully written and, at times, quite entertaining prose. But certain issues covered seem fundamental to me to highlight. First off, the solutions for Africa’s problems, Ayuk argues, must come from within. Cooperation for development with supranational and international partners is great, and needs to be fostered, but only locally-developed solutions that combine in-depth knowledge of the challenges faced as well as the idiosyncrasies of the local culture and population can hope to succeed. The book gives plenty of examples of programs that failed because they were designed abroad with insufficient knowledge of the situation on the ground, and of programs that succeeded because they were developed by Africans to fix African problems.
This idea is not only conceptually important, as it empowers Africans, but it also represents a call to action for African leaders. The solutions for their country’s problems are in reach if they choose to make use of them.
From here the book focuses on enhancing oil and gas production to foster economic development. Improving the business environment by simplifying red tape, streamlining the negotiation and licensing procedures, promoting regular bidding rounds, implementing transparency measures, establishing a strong legal framework and attractive contract terms are all fundamental parts of attracting foreign investment that can help develop the industry. Ayuk covers each of these issues extensively, showing how different countries have found solutions that match the needs of their own markets and take advantage of the specificities of their own resources, from the cross-border development agreements between Senegal and Mauritania, to South Sudan’s recent historic production sharing agreement that shows leadership and commitment in the aftermath of a deadly conflict with Sudan.
Beyond attracting foreign investment, Ayuk takes a close look at Nigeria’s marginal field development campaign, that offered local exploration and production companies the opportunity to develop assets that were too small for the majors, thereby developing profitable fields, contributing to the economy and gaining a new status amongst oil and gas producers. Angola’s attempt to mimic these efforts is a clear demonstration of how African nations can learn from each other.
By enhancing production and streamlining resource management, African countries can finally have the capital to invest in industrialization and in the diversification of their economies, a goal that informs most of the lines of action suggested by the book.
And how should we power these industries and economies? Billions tells us the answer lies in the abundant, accessible and affordable natural gas reserves that dot the continent. Equatorial Guinea has already stepped up its game and is positioning itself to become West Africa’s gas hub. Natural gas can power industries, produce electricity that will light the homes of hundreds of millions of people, feed a growing and profitable petrochemical industry across the continent and serve as an export to foreign markets, besides the fact that natural gas is the cleanest source of energy of all hydrocarbons, serving an environmental purpose in itself.
Unbundling national utilities and privatizing the power generation sector is another pillar in this path. Ayuk goes on, showcasing the need to integrate women in the oil and gas industry – how can we continue to snub half of the continent’s workforce? -, the need to attract American companies that will partner and share knowledge to develop the industry, the need to invest in innovation and infrastructure, focus on education, improve Africans’ negotiation skills and make use of the stand African nations have gained in OPEC and other international platforms.
They are all fundamental, for they inform a pathway to constructive and wise management and development of the continent’s resources to foster growth and improve people’s lives. No other book has told the story this way, and no other has presented such a definitive analysis of the challenges and proposed concrete solutions for all of them.
Billions can be a surprising book and it is a fundamental read for anyone involved in the African energy sector, from CEOs to political leaders, professionals and everyone that wants to better understand the inlays of the industry that has the biggest potential for change in the continent.
For me, there is one topic that is always striking above all others; intra-African trade, which remains dismal when compared to other regions. The continent has been shipping off its wealth abroad for decades. As the book exposes, African nations have had their backs turned on each other for so long they have failed to see what they could achieve if they worked together and promoted synergies and integration. Ayuk proposes solutions to bring them together, by promoting an integrated energy market that can power economic development.
In sum, this book lays out the path for a better future for Africa through the use of its energy resources in a way that hadn’t quite been done before. A refreshing new narrative to overcome the traditional fatalist approach to the sector.
*João Marques is an Energy analyst and editor. João Gaspar Marques is a seasoned Africa specialist with in-the-field reporting experience from Africa’s petroleum hotspots. Now based in Lisbon, Portugal, João writes regularly for numerous international publications and websites on issues of energy, policy and economics. In recent years he has published oil and gas industry reports on Gabon, Angola, Tanzania, Uganda, Madagascar, São Tomé and Príncipe, and South Africa, covering the full spectrum of Africa’s petroleum markets from frontier exploration to trading and petrochemicals.
African Energy Chamber | African Energy Outlook 2020
November 25, 2019 | 0 Comments
The African Energy Chamber is set to release its African Energy Outlook for 2020
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, November 25, 2019/ — What is the African Energy Outlook 2020?
- A comprehensive overview of the oil and gas sector across sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on the strategic, operational and investment trends in the industry.
- Strategic: The low oil price environment is forcing African producers to sharpen their competitive edge. Several governments, including Angola, Gabon, and Cameroon, have implemented reforms. Nigeria could be next. There are at least six announced oil projects in that west African country with a combined output potential of 837,000 bpd and CAPEX of $54 billion which could be brought on-stream over the next decade. A favourable regulatory and fiscal environment are essential to delivering that investment. IMO 2020 regulations will yield increased Asian demand for west African crude. Nearly 75 percent of the 461,000 bpd of heavy sweet crude ideal for producing low-sulphur bunker fuels is made in west Africa, according to ClipperData.
- Production: The Outlook includes production forecasts for 21 Sub-Saharan African countries from 2019 to 2025, produced by Global Data. Total oil and gas production is expected to increase by nearly 28 percent to 8.1 mmboe/d, by 2025. Nigeria and Angola will continue to dominate but their share of regional production will fall by more than one fifth (to 58 percent) during this period, a shift driven in part by significantly increased output from Mozambique, Senegal/Mauritania and Tanzania.
- Investment: The Outlook profiles over 40 post- and pre-FID oil and gas projects across sub-Saharan Africa. There are currently nine oil projects under construction across the region with a combined peak production total of 256,000 bpd and investment of $16.2 billion. A further eight gas projects are also under construction, with combined CAPEX of $44 billion and peak production capacity of 3,650 mmcf/d.
- Rise of African Gas: African producers are positioning themselves to maximise from a gas boom expected for the next decade. East Africa could see $60 billion worth of investment and 25.2 mtpa of LNG production capacity sanctioned by IOCs in 2020. Chinese investment in Ethiopia and Djibouti is also opening a new frontier for gas production.
- Twenty Five Leaders to Watch in African Energy: As part of the AEC’s mission to build bridges between key industry stakeholders, the Outlook includes an insider’s list of the top 25 leaders to watch. The list includes industry executives, ministers and financiers who will shape African oil and gas in the coming years.
Getting women in the driver’s seat of Africa’s agribusiness revolution
November 25, 2019 | 0 Comments
More African female agripreneurs must be supported to grow and progressively transition into the business segments of agricultural value chains which are most profitable
By Mariam Yinusa and Edward Mabaya*
Monica Musonda, CEO of Zambian food processing company Java Foods , certainly faced hurdles in her rise to the top, but she overcame them.
“Although the barriers to entry for women can be frustrating, they are often basic and relatively easy to resolve,” she said, playing down her struggles. “My climb up the agribusiness ladder has been challenging but definitely worthwhile.”
Musonda, whose company produces affordable and nutritious food snacks made from local ingredients, is one of just a handful of female agripreneurs who have successfully broken through the proverbial glass ceiling in Africa’s agribusiness industry.
Women are the backbone of Africa’s agricultural sector. From farm to fork, African women are players along the entire agricultural value chain, be it as farmers, livestock breeders, processors, traders, workers, entrepreneurs or consumers. While their influence on the continent’s growing agribusiness industry is undeniable, more solutions are needed to address the gender-specific challenges they face to boost their participation.
The average African woman is a budding entrepreneur either by choice or by circumstance. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Women’s Report 2016/17 , the continent has the highest percentage of female entrepreneurs in the world, with one in four women starting or managing a business. The agribusiness industry is often the natural focus of this entrepreneurial drive.
Across the continent, women dominate as primary processors post-harvest, as traders with bustling market stalls, as owners of fast food restaurants and with increasingly frequency as manufacturers of packaged ready-to-eat food products. Yet despite this dynamism, female-led agribusinesses tend to remain small, fragmented and informal in nature. They struggle to sustain and scale-up their agribusinesses into well-organized profitable enterprises.
Admittedly, the challenging business environment in many African countries including poor infrastructure and unreliable legal and regulatory systems affects all business activities of both men and women. However, in addition women-led businesses must also grapple with a number of gender-specific constraints, inhibiting their expansion into more lucrative market segments.
Firstly, African women often lack the technical know-how. Despite the gains in female education on the continent, highly productive agribusinesses require specialized vocational and technical skills in fields such as food safety, food conservation, packaging and product certification which many African women do not readily possess.
Access to finance is the most frequently cited obstacle by African SMEs. Women entrepreneurs face multiple difficulties in securing funding mainly due to lack of collateral in the form of land and other tangible assets and a high-risk perception. According to the African Development Bank, an estimated $42 billion financing gap exists for African women across business value chains, including $15.6 billion in agriculture alone. Women are forced to rely on personal savings and family loans which are rarely enough to fund their businesses to scale.
Thirdly, socio-cultural barriers and stereotypes persist. African women remain the primary caregivers in families meaning that managing those responsibilities while growing a thriving business can become a difficult balancing act.
Over the last two decades, many governments and development institutions have rolled out programs to promote access to finance, agricultural inputs and provide technical support and business training to female agripreneurs. The African Development Bank recently set up the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) , a bold pan-African initiative to bridge the financing gap facing women. It adopts a three-pronged approach centered on improving access to finance, providing technical assistance and strengthening the enabling environment.
It often takes very little to make a difference. The capital injection required by the majority of female led SME agribusinesses on the continent is typically less than $50,000. And women have consistently proven to be more credit-worthy than men, usually paying back loans within agreed timeframes. Successful solutions by women for women such as microfinance and saving groups, peer-to-peer training and information sharing should also be reinforced and taken to scale.
More of such initiatives are urgently needed across the continent. Solutions must be based on in-depth engagement with the women business owners themselves to properly understand their frustrations and needs. Tailored programs designed to specifically address these pain points are critical. The Global Gender Summit is a timely opportunity to drive this forward.
Women are central for Africa’s agricultural transformation to be successful, sustainable and inclusive. More African female agripreneurs must be supported to grow and progressively transition into the business segments of agricultural value chains which are most profitable. It has been proven time and time again that when African women thrive the entire society shares in those dividends.
*Mariam Yinusa and Edward Mabaya are Principal Economist and Manager, respectively, in the Agribusiness Development Division of the African Development Bank.
Gender equality: It’s time for disruption, time to shatter the status quo, we can’t afford to wait!
November 25, 2019 | 0 Comments
|Women make up over 40% of African business owners yet only 2% are able to access finance according to a Mckinsey report|
|ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, November 22, 2019/ — By Vanessa Moungar, Director of Gender, Women and Civil Society|
If you are a gender champion, then you are familiar with the discussions around the glass cliff. The story of women eager to defy the odds, accepting leadership roles at times of crisis, when the chance of failure is the highest. The truth is that many bold glass cliff climbers have succeeded without falling off.
Two of such champions come to my mind: the former Xerox CEO Anne Mulcah and Tokunboh Ishmael, co-founder of Aliethiea IDF.
Mulcah, Ishmael and likeminded agents of change have already shattered the status quo. So, when the first Global Gender Summit held in Africa kicks off on November 25th in Kigali, Rwanda, the international community will hurtle towards heeding the calls to dismantle barriers to women’s full participation and advancement economic development on the continent.
Women make up over 40% of African business owners yet only 2% are able to access finance according to a Mckinsey report. One in four women globally who start in a business come from Africa (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor).
The Summit, organised by the Multilateral Development Banks’ (MDBs) Working Group on gender, will be held in Africa for the first time ever, from the 25th to 27th November 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda. This year’s summit is hosted by the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) in partnership with the Government of Rwanda and supported by other multilateral development banks as key partners.
Under the theme “Unpacking constraints to gender equality,” the Global Gender Summit will share best practices and seek innovative solutions that can be harnessed to empower women and girls in Africa and around the world.
We are excited to be bringing the world to Rwanda, a country that has set a strong example when it comes to promoting women’s rights and representation.
Rwanda was the first country in the world with a female majority in parliament, currently at 67.5 %, following October parliamentary polls. Out of a total parliamentary membership of 80, women occupy 54 seats. This feat puts the nation ahead of even the most developed nations.
From the massive financing gap for women-led enterprises, inadequate data, laws and cultural norms that negatively affect women, to a lack of representation in business and politics, the challenges are great.
But the opportunities are there too.
Discussions will focus on the main barriers to achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment, namely: scaling up innovative financing, fostering an enabling environment and ensuring women’s participation and voices. Sectors to be addressed will include climate change, the digital revolution, private sector and human capital and productive employment.
In Africa, women-led enterprises face a whopping $42 billion financing gap. One of the Bank’s flagship gender-focused projects is its Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA), which seeks to accelerate growth and employment creation across African economies, by closing the financing gap for women.
Over the next 5 years, AFAWA is expected to unlock $3 billion in private sector financing to empower female entrepreneurs through capacity-building development, access to finance as well as policy, legal and regulatory reforms to support enterprises led by women.
Our Fashionomics Africa initiative supports the African textiles and fashion industries by building the capacities of small and medium-sized enterprises in the textile and clothing sector, especially those run by women and youth. By using technology as a driver for the development of skills and capacity in Africa’s creative industries, the African Development Bank aims to stimulate job creation on the continent. At the summit, we will unveil an innovative online marketplace for designers across the continent.
That’s just some of the exciting news. We will use the opportunity of the Global Gender Summit to launch a number of initiatives to dramatically transform the landscape of access to finance for women across the continent.
These include the Africa Gender Index- a joint African Development Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) report that assesses African countries on gender equality.
The launch of the AFAWA/AGF Risk Sharing Facility, which will de-risk lending to women through AGF’s partial, guarantees to financial institutions and its capacity development to women entrepreneurs.
As well as these continent-wide initiatives, we at the African Development Bank understand that change begins at home. That is why in 2018, the Bank rolled out its gender marker system to process, monitor, and promote gender mainstreaming in all its operations, with gender specialists as part of project teams and Bank operations.
By the end of last year, 40% of public sector Bank operations had been organised under the gender marker system, a major shift in the Bank’s way of doing business and commitment to gender mainstreaming.
We continue to support and build the individual power of girls and women across the countries we work in and never has the time been more urgent.
We expect the Global Gender Summit, to be a milestone event in the empowerment of women in Africa and beyond. See you there.
* This year’s Global Gender Summit, is hosted by the African Development Bank in partnership with the Government of Rwanda and supported by other multilateral development banks as key partners.
2019 conference on land policy in Africa: why it matters for the continent
November 25, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Cosmas Milton Ochieng *
|The theme of this year’s Conference on Land Policy in Africa is “Winning the fight against corruption in the land sector in Africa|
|ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, November 22, 2019/ — Cosmas Milton Ochieng, an expert in natural resource governance and economic development in Africa, is the Director of the African Natural Resource Centre at the African Development Bank (https://www.AfDB.org).|
In collaboration with the African Union Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank will host the 3rd Edition of the Conference on Land Policy in Africa in Abidjan from 25 to 29 November 2019.
In this interview, Ochieng shares key insights into why the conference matters for Africa.
Why does the 2019 Conference on Land Policy in Africa matter?
This conference matters for Africa because land is central to social, economic and political development in Africa. Land in Africa is not simply an economic or an environmental asset. It is also a social and cultural resource. It was at the heart of many anti-colonial movements on the continent. It remains an important factor in the construction of social identity and the organization of the religious, cultural and economic lives of many African communities.
Africa is home to 60 percent of the world’s unutilized but potentially available cropland. In 30 years, about half the world’s agricultural land will come from Africa. How Africa manages its land is therefore critical to its future social, economic and environmental well-being.
This conference explores the ways in which Africa can harness its land resources for its accelerated sustainable development.
What is the role of the African Development Bank and how can it help enhance transparency and accountability in land governance?
The African Development Bank is a co-founding anchor of the African Land Policy Centre (ALPC). The ALPC is a joint initiative of the African Development Bank, the African Union Commission (AUC) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). The ALPC facilitates and coordinates the implementation of policy goals outlined in the AU Agenda on Land. The biennial land conference is one of the flagship activities of the ALPC.
In addition to its technical support to the ALPC, the African Development Bank supports the implementation of the African Union Agenda on sound land administration, management and governance, including transparency and accountability through the work of its various departments.
The African Development Bank, through its Ten-year Strategy (2013-2022) and its High 5 priorities, invests in its regional member countries to help maximize development outcomes derived from land.
The Bank also provides independent advice and technical assistance to countries to ensure sustainable development and management of land.
For instance, the African Natural Resources Centre at the Bank generates knowledge and provides institutional capacity building and strategic guidance on land administration and governance, investment and planning. Over the last five years, the African Natural Resources Centre has worked very closely with the government of Liberia to help the build capacity of the Liberia Land Commission, and to help review the National Land Rights Policy and the Alternate Dispute Resolution Mechanism. In Togo, the African Natural Resources Centre worked with the government to help facilitate a national dialogue on the country’s draft land policy and codes.
In Botswana, Rwanda, Malawi, Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya, Cameroon, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal, the African Natural Resources Centre has conducted studies aimed at informing the review of land tenure systems. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the African Natural Resources Centre has just initiated a pilot project on Farmer Registration and Land Digitalization (FRLD). The Farmer Registration and Land Digitalization Model was developed by the Bank’s own Statistics Department and seeks to enhance land registration, transparency and accountability.
How does the theme of the conference align with the African Union Declaration of 2018 as Africa’s Anti-Corruption Year?
The theme of this year’s Conference on Land Policy in Africa is “Winning the fight against corruption in the land sector in Africa”. This theme supports the AU designation of 2018 as the year of anti-corruption.
This theme also highlights the Bank’s commitment to sound governance, transparency and accountability in African natural resource governance and is consistent with the Bank’s governance policy and work on combating corruption and illicit trade in the African natural resource sector.
What are the expectations for this year’s conference?
This year’s conference seeks to enhance commitment to capacity strengthening for land policy development and administration in Africa through improved access to knowledge on combatting corruption in the land sector. The conference also seeks to enhance partnerships and networks and to mobilize resources for promoting good governance in the African land sector.
Al-Sumait Prize Board of Trustees announced joint winners for the US$1million prestigious award in the 2019 cycle in the field of food security in recognition of their exemplary work in agriculture development in the African continent
November 25, 2019 | 0 Comments
KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait, November 25, 2019/ — Following consideration of the jury and selection committees’ reports, the Board of Trustees of the Al Sumait Prize for African Development has decided to jointly award the Million Dollar 2019 Prize in the field of food security to:
The Africa Rice Center (Based in Cote d’ivoire)
for its important role in enhancing food security in Africa, including the production of new rice varieties vitamin A enriched-rice with high yielding and climate-resilient and leading of pan-African rice research organization committed to improving livelihoods in Africa through strong science and effective partnerships devoted to improving the rice economy in Africa and is part of a global research partnership for a food-secure future. Through their applied research and education programs, the Center is building the next generation of professionals in rice and food research in Africa.
Pan Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA) (Nairobi)
for serving a dynamic network of scientists and practitioners specializing in improving the productivity, processing, and the value chain of beans throughout Africa. The Alliance works along the continuum of innovative research to effective adoption and sustainable management of small farmers enterprises. PABRA has increased the integration of the important legume component in farming systems, which is important to improve soil fertility, enhance nutritional quality, and serve as a resilient driver in dryland and drought prone environments.
An initiative of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah, the Amir of the State of Kuwait, which provides the annual million dollar, the Prize honors the late Dr Abdulrahman Al Sumait, a Kuwaiti doctor who dedicated his life to addressing the health challenges confronting Africa.