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Sierra Leone: Bio Eases Covid- 19 Restrictions
June 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

In his fourth press conference on COVID -19 , Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has today announced the  easing of  some restrictions with the ban on Inter-District Lock down lifted from tomorrow and the 9pm-6am curfew has been eased to now start at 11pm.

 Speaking at State House in Freetown to journalists, civil society organisations, the International community , President Bio said the Inter-District Lockdown continues to be an important suppression measure to stop the spread of the virus  but  however said , it has presented some constraints for Sierra Leoneans.

“With the following specific conditions, I announce a lifting of the ban on Inter-District travel starting on Wednesday, 24 June 2020. I have instructed the NaCOVERC Interim Coordinator and his team to develop and announce enforceable infection prevention control protocols (especially the mandatory and proper wearing of face masks and other healthcare protocols). Only travellers who comply shall be allowed to travel on all vehicular transportation. This will be strictly enforced by the security forces. We will closely assess the data and announce further measures, if necessary,’’he said.

President Bio said with the support of international and development partners, traditional and religious leaders, civil society, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, and various community stakeholders, the country’s COVID-19 preparedness and response measures have been robust.

“We have not experienced the apocalyptic-scale infections and deaths that have been recorded in other countries. We owe a debt of gratitude to our health workers, NaCOVERC and COVID-19 staff, the security forces, and district and other administrators and staff, who have all worked relentlessly,’’Bio averred.

He added that the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary School (MBSS) , in consultation with stakeholders, has developed comprehensive health and safety guidelines for teachers, pupils, and their communities for the sole purpose of providing a safe environment for students who are taking public examinations at all levels adding that  those guidelines are consistent with best practices around the sub-region and the world.

“We will monitor the data and determine and scale up further actions as necessary. Whilst easing restrictions, Government will expand testing, contact tracing, and surveillance to unprecedented levels. Government will monitor the data and take all further necessary action. While there may be a temporary surge in numbers, this aggressive action will help us isolate and deal with pockets of community infections. So the key take-away from this engagement today is that as we are easing restrictions and re-opening the economy and livelihoods. I urge all citizens to comply with all healthcare and public safety directives. The NaCOVERC Coordinator and Security forces will strictly enforce all measures deemed necessary to flatten the curve,’’President Bio noted.

President Bio further noted that the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority has held extensive consultations with stakeholders and considered developments in the aviation sector around Africa and in the world stating that countries are opening their airspaces.

“A broad inter- sectoral body will soon finalise rational, effective, and affordable pre-arrival and departure protocols that are in consonance with best practices elsewhere and WHO guidelines. We will also soon install technology at the Lungi International Airport that will help us monitor, test, and trace all travellers. Once all measures are in place, commercial flights will resume in the very short run,’’Bio assures.

 The President revealed that he  has initiated engagements with colleague Heads of State of the Mano River Union countries with a view to discussing and adopting a harmonised approach and common measures on the re-opening and monitoring of their  common land borders thus sating that  once they  finalise those discussions, they  will open all land borders and crossing points.

“We have had high recovery and discharge rates, lower infection rates, and proportionally lower death rates three months on. This is because we have got a lot of things right over those three months. Our anticipation and timely responses, contact tracing and surveillance, well-considered economic response, social safety support, and other measures have been praised and well-supported by our multilateral and development partners. We now have greater lab capacity and more specimen collectors, more care beds, better IPC protocols and equipment, enhanced and purposeful use of digitalisation and technology to support our response, more social and mental healthcare support, a decentralised response network, and increased public messaging.’’

The President further stated that NACOVERC has developed an updated National Strategic Response plan that takes into account the country’s  current needs and situation which he said details will be announced soon boasting that overall, they  are now more adept, nimble, and confident that we will surmount challenges and continue managing this crisis.

 “As other countries worldwide and the World Health Organisation have acknowledged, COVID-19 will be with the world for probably the next one year as experts find an effective vaccine. It will remain highly infectious disease and deadly. I, therefore, strongly encourage continued compliance with all measures that will help us mitigate and suppress the spread of this virus’’

The President stressed on the attitude of citizen’s refusal and not wearing face mask properly stating that such attitude is irresponsible and dangerous for citizens who continue to live in denial.

“Remember, only you and your actions can help protect yourself against the Corona virus. 11. In all our decisions during this crisis, we have aimed to save lives but we have also worked to sustain livelihoods, support the most vulnerable, and keep our key economic and human capital development sectors healthy. Our considerations have been driven by copious real-time data. We continue to closely monitor data and we are attentive to advice from the Sierra Leonean and global scientific community.’’

He however urged every citizen to strictly comply with healthcare and public safety protocols — from handwashing, using face masks, social distancing, travel restrictions, and all other restrictions on public gatherings in public spaces thus stating  as a person, only you can protect yourself and your loved ones from this virus by choosing to comply with all directives.

“We are encouraged that surveys indicate that more Sierra Leoneans are aware of the Corona virus and know what to do to prevent and treat the disease. But there is alarming apathy and a refusal to comply with protocols.’’

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Seychelles: African Development Bank extends $10 million loan to support COVID-19 responses as economy reopens
June 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank on Monday approved a $10 million loan to the Republic of Seychelles to support the government’s COVID-19 response program. The loan will be channeled toward macroeconomic stabilization, strengthening national health responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, and safeguarding livelihoods and social safety nets.

Against a backdrop of declining revenues, the Seychelles government recently amended its budget to respond more effectively to COVID-19, taking on an immense financial burden as it works to enhance the country’s health systems, mitigate job losses, and redress lost business and household incomes.

The amended budget provides for an additional $ 3.6 million to the health sector, which will help put in place robust early-detection surveillance systems and enhanced testing capability at points of entry. The government is also readying isolation and quarantine facilities ahead of the resumption of international flight arrivals.

The Government has committed to safeguard 37,409 private-sector jobs through provision of a six-month wage grant while also increasing allocations to the national Social Protection Agency to widen safety nets for informal workers and other vulnerable groups.

“The economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have been more devastating than the disease itself in Seychelles. Tourism is one of the worst hit-industries globally, yet it is the main source of income for Seychelles, accounting for 25 percent of its GDP. The Bank’s support will augment the government’s efforts aimed at cushioning the country against the impacts of the pandemic,” said Nnenna Nwabufo, Ag. Director General for the Bank’s East Africa Regional Office.

The crisis response program is aligned with the Bank Group Ten-Year Strategy-TYS (2013-2022) and the High 5s priorities, specifically “improve the quality of life of the people of Africa”.  The operation is also aligned with the Bank’s Seychelles’ Country Strategy Paper (2016-2020), which aims at stimulating private sector activity in support of economic diversification though policy reforms. 

Insufficient economic diversification, a small domestic market and vulnerability to external economic and environmental shocks are among the main development challenges the Seychelles economy faces. The pandemic has seriously exacerbated these challenges and wiped out some of the country’s development gains. The Bank has revised the 2020 and 2021 GDP growth rate projections for the country downwards, from 3.3% and 4.2 % to -10.5% and -7.7%, respectively.

The country recorded its first case of COVID-19 on 14 March and had 11 confirmed imported cases by 6 April. All 11 cases are fully recovered with no new cases or deaths.

*AFDB

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Infrastructure Symposium “is laying a path for South Africa after coronavirus, but also way into the future.” – President Ramaphosa
June 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

South African President and African Union Chairperson, Cyril Ramaphosa today hosted a historic conference to spur infrastructure investment in his country and inspire similar efforts in the rest of the continent.

“South Africa, within the AU family, has been given responsibility for championing infrastructure development. It is through these objectives we will be able to attain the objectives and aspirations we have set out in Agenda 2063. This is truly a historic moment for South Africa, the continent and the world.”

President Ramaphosa made these remarks in his opening keynote address at the inaugural Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium of South Africa (SIDSSA) to discuss the government’s revised Infrastructure Investment Plan – a public-private initiative to accelerate major built projects.

“The coronavirus pandemic will likely lead to the deepest global recession in the post-World War II era, possibly as deep as the Great Depression in the 1930s. This symposium is laying a path for South Africa after coronavirus, but also way into the future,” Ramaphosa said.

“It represents a new beginning for infrastructure development – a new beginning that promises inclusive growth, development, transformation and, above all, hope for a better tomorrow for all our people.”

Over 681 delegates from 263 funding institutions across the globe attended the symposium, including African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Amani Abou-Zeid, and World Bank Vice-President for Infrastructure, Makhtar Diop.

“We at the Bank are boldly bullish about South Africa. We need to continue to invest in critical areas, and energy is a big one. We have invested $3.1 billion in the energy sector,” Adesina said.

Adesina insisted on the need to invest in a way that was environmentally sustainable and commended the government of South Africa for its efforts on the renewable energy front. 

The African Development Bank has invested in a number of these areas, including the 100 MW Sere wind project connected to the national grid and the 100 MW Xina solar energy project.

As at 20 June 2020, the Bank’s total portfolio in South Africa comprised 21 operations valued at $4.74 billion. About 75% of the portfolio is in the infrastructure sector, mainly through loans to state-owned enterprises, Eskom and Transnet. The current portfolio includes 16 private sector operations, valued at around $2.93 billion.

President Adesina underscored the need to promote syndication. The Bank has channeled $1.3 billion in syndicated loans for South Africa to provide capital for the energy utility, Eskom, to invest in power transmission infrastructure.

Infrastructure tends to be concentrated in urban areas, the Bank’s President noted. “The rural areas are left out. So we need to make sure that we have density infrastructure in rural areas and allow food and agribusinesses to transpose into those areas, and create…a new economy, so that will turn those rural areas from being zones of economic misery into zones of economic prosperity.”

The symposium follows weeks of consultations to garner support for the revised Infrastructure Investment Plan. President Ramaphosa said the plan had preceded the coronavirus pandemic, but was now even more urgent.

In her welcome remarks to the Presidential Round Table Discussion, South Africa’s Minister of Public Works, Patricia de Lille, called for “less talk and more action”.

The SIDSSA projects that will be gazetted after the symposium have been selected from an initial 177 that were subjected to a due diligence process.

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African Development Bank approves EUR 88 million loan to Cameroon to finance COVID-19 response
June 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank on Monday approved a EUR 88 million loan to Cameroon as direct budget support to finance the country’s COVID-19 crisis response.

The loan, to the country’s COVID-19 Crisis Response Budget Support Programme (PABRC), falls under the framework of the Bank’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Facility (CRF) of up to $10 billion, the institution’s main channel to cushion African countries from the economic and health impacts of the crisis.

In Cameroon, the pandemic has revealed the structural weaknesses of the country’s health system and economy, particularly the limited human and financial resources allocated to the health sector.

The PABRC’s goal is to check the spread of the coronavirus, to save lives and to mitigate its adverse socio-economic effects on the Central African country, particularly on households and businesses. The programme also involves longer-term actions to build the resilience of the economy as a basis for recovery.

It will support the implementation of a health response plan to improve testing and ensure early detection and rapid management of the virus, thus reducing case fatality and improving the recovery rate. It will also support the most vulnerable in society by paying family allowances to staff of companies unable to pay social security contributions as well as distributing health kits.  

“Women play a key role in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 as wives, mothers, caregivers and community resource persons. The social protection and economic resilience actions under this support will particularly target women and the households and businesses headed by them,” Bank Acting Director General and Country Manager for Cameroon, Solomane Kone said.

Measures to sustain economic activity and safeguard employment will include value-added tax (VAT) credits to restore the cash position of enterprises as well as procuring inputs to support strategic agricultural value chains including poultry, fish, seeds and cereals. It will also support key small and medium-sized enterprises in the agribusiness, health and education sectors.

This operation complements the Bank’s $13 million special emergency project for Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa(CEMAC) member countries and the Democratic Republic of Congo, to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, which was approved earlier this month.

COVID-19 has broken out at a time when the Cameroonian economy, the largest and most diversified in the Central Africa, is recovering from the 2014 shock caused by a sharp fall in the world prices of the country’s main export products ­– oil, cocoa and timber. Without support, the spread of COVID-19 in Cameroon could compromise the reform drive and jeopardise the progress made in recent years.

The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Cameroon was identified on 6 March 2020. By 22 June, the Central African country had more than 12,041 confirmed cases, including 308  deaths and 7,740  recoveries. The Centre (Yaoundé) and Littoral (Douala) Regions have the highest number of cases, representing about 55.8% and 32.2% of the total, respectively.

*AFDB

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Cameroon: “Reconstruction is a pathway to peace” – Paul Tasong
June 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

The PPRD have a two year mandate to reconstruct the English-speaking region hard hit by the ongoing Anglophone crisis
The PPRD have a two year mandate to reconstruct the English-speaking region hard hit by the ongoing Anglophone crisis

The Head of the Presidential Plan for the Reconstruction and Development (PPRD) of the North West and South West Regions (NOSO), Paul Tasong has noted that the ongoing reconstruction efforts for the two English-speaking regions are a pathway to bringing peace to the badly affected regions. 

Minister Paul Tasong is on a five-day consultation and awareness campaign in Bamenda, North West Region which seeks to bring together development stakeholders of the region to chart a way forward. He is equally to hold a similar activity with officials of the South West region in the coming days.

“Reconstruction is a pathway to peace. It will be done gradually from the secured areas to the most volatile,” Minister Paul Tasong said. “People cannot live on assistance forever. The same story has been told to us for four years and the only thing we see is misery. We have to reconsider”, Paul Tasong highlighted.

The Anglophone crisis that started in November of 2016 has had led to human, financial, and material damage. Homes, bridges, hospitals, markets, schools have been burnt and several lives have been lost in a crisis that is in its fourth year.

Separatist fighters in a move to frustrate the activities of the PPRD had called for ghost towns to be observed in the days the officials will be in Bamenda.

The Mayor of Bamenda City Council Tembang Achobong reiterated to the minister that there was a need for the reconstruction programme to take into account the following tenets;

The plight of the teachers, especially those of the mission schools and lay private sector that has gone for months and years with little or no salaries. They too need construction.

Provision for an adequate fund for the rehabilitation of the Bamenda municipal stadium as the PWD elite one football club goes international next season, regrettably without a training ground at the moment.

The need for work to begin on the Bamenda-Babadjou highway which has become a nightmare for travellers making their way in and out of the region using this stretch.

Mayor Achobong noted: “… Now they’re choices to be made, as the time and days of lamenting and mourning on the calamities of yesterday and seeking for avenues of revenge are long over”.

“..It’s time to strengthen, comfort, forgive and reconcile ourselves and look into the future with hope and expectations”. “As for me the city mayor and the people of Bamenda, we have chosen to forgive one another”.

“We of the North West in one way or the other, individually and collectively in our silence and indifference, in our utterances, in our actions and inactions contributed to the Anglophone crisis,” Mayor Achobong said as quoted by mnews237.

“The entire infrastructure is down but with the coming of the Minister, there is hope. If we convey the right messages, the projects initiated will last long” Mayor Tanjong Martin of Tubah municipality said as quoted by the Observer237.

Anglophone crisis in Cameroon has led to thousands of displaced persons
Anglophone crisis in Cameroon has led to thousands of displaced persons

The Observer 237 went on to report that the Mayor of Bafut, Ngwakongoh Lawrence saluted the initiative and says he will begin making calls to the people of Bafut to welcome the reconstruction process. “When I asked them to return, they told me they have no homes, no shelter. This is a move in the right direction,” Ngwakongoh noted.

The Cameroon government has moved swiftly to ensure the return of peace to the English-speaking part of the country. This has been done through the creation of the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) Centres (in Buea, Bamenda, and Maroua), the release of detainees who were arrested for misdemeanours and the Organization of the Major National Dialogue

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Cameroon: Steering Committee begins Phase Two of Reconstructing NOSO
June 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Paul Tasong, National Coordinator for the Presidential Plan for the Reconstruction and Development (PPRD) of the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon
Paul Tasong, National Coordinator for the Presidential Plan for the Reconstruction and Development (PPRD) of the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon

As reported by the country’s public media, CRTV, the second phase of the reconstruction process is set to run from June 22 to July 5. This phase consists of carrying out a mission to raise awareness and popularize the Presidential Plan within the North West and South West regions (NOSO). During the period, the teams comprising all social categories will evaluate their main priority areas in line with their plan of reconstruction for the next two years.

The Steering Committee headed Minister Delegate to the Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Paul Tasong Njukang was appointed on April 3, alongside his assistant Donatus Njong Fonyuy. They have been tasked to lead the efforts in reconstructing Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions hard hit by the ongoing Anglophone crisis.  They have two years to put the two regions back on track.

In an inclusive approach, discussion sessions will be organised between the team and delegations from each of the divisions to discuss the Plan and the priorities of the populations for the reconstruction.

Process and mechanism for implementing the earmarked projects as well as the methods of organization of beneficiaries of the Presidential Plan, especially in the village will also be discussed with the local communities.

Local authorities will be called upon to ensure the security of project sites while representatives of communities as well as civil society will also be integrated into the projects so that they can claim ownership of the Plan.

The responsibilities to secure community infrastructure and equipment will also feature in the discussion.

The Divisional delegations will be composed among others, of the Senior Divisional Officer, the elected officials including Members of the National Assembly, Senators and Mayors, 05 representatives of religious authorities, traditional authorities at the rank of 1st and 2nd-degree chiefs, 02 representatives of women’s associations, 02 representatives of youth associations and the presidents of village development committees. Maximum membership is 50 people in line with COVID-19 requirements.

The United Nations Development Programme, UNDP is one of many government partners in the reconstruction and development of the two English-speaking regions affected by more than three years of socio-political crisis.

The UNDP is expected to hold separate working sessions with UN agencies present on the ground and certain civil society organizations for a thorough understanding of the challenges of reconstruction and the methods of implementing activities.

The UN body also plans to develop humanitarian, recovery or peacebuilding programs and develop the analysis of operational risks and priority areas due to their geographical features.

It will also help in risk analysis and to coordinate and synchronize the interventions and division of tasks between state and non-state actors. They will also develop a security mapping of the intervention areas.

The Presidential Plan for the reconstruction and development of the North West and South West regions drawn up and approved by the President of the Republic seeks to provide immediate social, economic and infrastructural needs of the populations affected by the security crisis in the English speaking regions. FCFA 90 billion has been allocated for the Presidential Plan for Reconstruction and Development of the North West and South West is

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New Survey Reveals Self-Reliance is the Dream of Africa’s Youth
June 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

Accra, Ghana – A new survey conducted by Junior Achievement (JA) Africa in partnership with global consultancy firm, Oliver Wyman, reveals that a staggering 91% of African youth aspire to start a business in their country. The survey captures youth’s perspectives and aims to understand their needs in order to shape the private sector of the future and equip youth for the ever-changing job market. More than 2,600 African youth in six countries took part, revealing their views on employment prospects in the African private sector and on entrepreneurship.

With a youth population that is expected to reach 830 million by 2050, the continent needs to maximize sustainable growth by utilizing its rich youth resource.

The survey also found that 76% of youth feel positively about the private sector’s contribution to the economy and are optimistic about private sector development on the continent in the near future.

Other key findings:

  • 83% of youth expect the private sector to grow in the next five years.
  • 57% believe youth typically lack the years of experience required by job opportunities.
  • 54% of students believe that there is lack of desirable opportunities for graduates.
  • 66% of employed youth find lack of job security as a key deterrent to the private sector.
  • 50% of youth believe there is a shortage of job opportunities in the private sector.
  • 40% of employed youth see nepotism as a key challenge in the private sector and
  • 93% of youth believe they need to update their current education and skills to adapt to the labor market.

JA Africa believes the findings of this survey will inform both government and private sector decisions regarding how to harness youth potential for growth. Sharing her take on the findings, JA Africa’s CEO, Elizabeth Elango Bintliff said, “Whether young people aspire to entrepreneurship by design – because they understand its potential- or by default – because they don’t see other viable employment options; a key takeaway from the survey is that an overwhelming 93% of youth don’t believe their education is preparing them sufficiently for the world of work. And this is what all stakeholders need to be attentive to in order to not fail them.”

Oliver Wyman, the firm which conducted the study is also confident that the survey will be helpful in addressing some of the challenges facing the private sector. Paul Calvey, Partner and Head of Oliver Wyman, South Africa said, “as key ecosystem stakeholders, educational institutions, private sector players and governments should use the survey to highlight and address the issues that the youth of the continent are faced with today. The collaboration of these stakeholders is essential to tackling existing challenges and preparing African youth for the working world. It is however extremely encouraging that despite the challenges faced, 83% of the youth are optimistic about the growth of the private sector.”

The challenge now lies in figuring out how Africa can leverage on youth interest in entrepreneurship to create opportunities for young Africans and bring development to the continent.

Read the full report here

About Junior Achievement Africa

Junior Achievement Africa prepares youth for the future of jobs by bridging the gap between school and the world of work. Through the delivery of financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship training and in collaboration with schools, technical/ vocational centers and other partners, JA Africa works in 15 countries reaching 250,000 youth each year.

About Oliver Wyman

Oliver Wyman is a global leader in management consulting. With offices in 60 cities across 29 countries, Oliver Wyman combines deep industry knowledge with specialized expertise in strategy, operations, risk management, and organization transformation. Oliver Wyman is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies

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SATO introduces innovative handwashing solution, SATO Tap for families in Nigeria and other developing nations to enhance hygiene practices
June 24, 2020 | 0 Comments
LIXIL committing $1m for accelerated rollout of the product to fight COVID-19.

SATO , LIXIL Group Corporation’s social business that aims to solve water, sanitation, and hygiene problems by providing affordable and easy-to-install sanitation systems to local communities around the world, has today introduced its new handwashing solution called the ‘SATO Tap’.

According to UNICEF, 40% of the world’s population still do not have access to basic handwashing facilities at home. In Nigeria, 73.5% of the population use contaminated water and live with poor sanitation facilities. To address this immense challenge, LIXIL has committed USD 1 million in line with its promise to support the commitments of development partners and others, which could impact 5 million people with improved handwashing.

“The COVID-19 situation underscores the vast inequities in access to water, sanitation, and hygiene for households in Africa and globally.  We know that washing your hands with soap is one of the effective interventions against disease transmission. By bringing SATO’s design and engineering expertise, combined with global LIXIL support, we aim to accelerate this new handwashing innovation to market, making it available to households to reinforce handwashing behaviour change and to refine it for long-term offering in the SATO product portfolio.” said Erin McCusker, Vice President & Head of SATO. 

SATO has worked with partners during the design process, receiving valuable technical inputs and helping to validate the efficacy of the SATO Tap design which consists of a plastic base with a nozzle that can be fitted with widely available plastic bottles. It is compact and can be used both within the home and as a handwashing station at public facilities. The unique design ensures minimal contact between the user and the tap, thereby reducing the spread of disease, while the trickle action minimizes water use, meaning fewer refills, while maintaining a solid flow of water.

In addition to providing an affordable handwashing facility to disadvantaged households through the SATO Tap, LIXIL’s existing partnership with UNICEF will also expand activities in handwashing and sanitation in response to COVID-19. These activities range from collection of commercial and behavioral insights to strengthen behavior change, joint advocacy to promote hygiene programming and maximizing existing public and private sector networks and supply chains to expand access to handwashing.

“We know that one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of diseases is to wash your hands. But for the poorest and most vulnerable children and families, the immediate risk of COVID-19 is compounded by a lack of basic handwashing facilities,” said Kelly Ann Naylor, UNICEF, Associate Director, WASH. “This global pandemic has made it more essential than ever to work closely with governments and private sector partners, like LIXIL, to ensure handwashing is possible for all.”

Speaking on the need for innovative hygiene solutions, Daigo Ishiyama, Chief Technology and Marketing Officer SATO, said, “We believe the SATO Tap will help advocate life changing behavior. It will promote hygiene and reinforce handwash behavior change by mitigating risks while conserving water. Our vision is well-aligned with the Government of Nigeria’s vision and priorities for its people in promoting hygiene and advancing SDG 6 by 2030.”

The first SATO Taps will be manufactured in India, and will be made available for partners in September 2020, with ramp up of production and retail availability through early 2021. LIXIL is also working to establish other licensing partners to expand to other markets in Africa.

SATO a part of LIXIL, is a line of innovative, durable and affordable toilet solutions for a better and more hygienic toilet experience. Designed for people living in rural and peri-urban areas, SATO is also the main vehicle for enabling LIXIL to meet its commitment to helping 100 million people obtain safe sanitation by 2025. In 2012, American Standard (one of the brands of LIXIL Corporation) received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) for development of a low-cost toilet for pit latrines. This resulted in the launch of the original SATO pan. Since then, 3.8 million units have been shipped to over 38 countries, improving sanitation for 18.6 million people.

LIXIL makes pioneering water and housing products that solve every day, real-life challenges, making better homes a reality for everyone, everywhere. Drawing on our Japanese heritage, we create world-leading technology and innovate to make high quality products that transform homes. But the LIXIL difference is how we do this; through meaningful design, an entrepreneurial spirit, a dedication to improving accessibility for all, and responsible business growth. Our approach comes to life through industry leading brands, including INAX, GROHE, American Standard, and TOSTEM. Approximately 75,000 colleagues operating in more than 150 countries are proud to make products that touch the lives of more than a billion people every day.

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Radisson Hotel Group announces new appointments to drive the execution of its renewed expansion ambitions for Africa
June 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

Ramsay Rankoussi, Head of Development, Africa, Radisson Hotel Group
Ramsay Rankoussi, Head of Development, Africa, Radisson Hotel Group

Radisson Hotel Group is pleased to announce the appointment of Ramsay Rankoussi as the new head of development for Africa and Daniel Trappler, Senior Director, Development for Sub-Sahara, as the Group continues to increase its presence and renews its commitment to Africa.

Radisson Hotel Group is one of the largest hotel groups in Africa with almost 100 hotels in operation and under development, and with the ambition to grow its presence across the continent to over 150 hotels by 2025.

Based in Dubai, Ramsay Rankoussi has been with the company for more than six years and now leads Radisson Hotel Group’s growth in Africa. The appointment reinforces Radisson Hotel Group’s confidence that Africa continues to be a region of growth.

With the addition of Daniel Trappler as Senior Director, Development for Sub-Sahara, the company becomes increasingly relevant to owners. He brings a unique set of skills to the investment community. He is one of the few specialists in hotel transactions and capital markets, dedicated to Africa. Trappler’s strong understanding of the region unlocks access to a network of financial institutions which represents the biggest challenge across the continent, in terms of deal structuring and hotel openings.

Radisson Hotel Group’s development and growth strategy in Africa follows a two-fold approach. The first part concentrates on focus countries while the second centers around creating key hubs. By creating a mass city scale development strategy with a focus on key countries and surrounding markets including Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa, the group’s ‘hub approach’ ensures synergy among neighboring countries and creates further value for its hotels, in terms of both development and operations. Each member of Radisson Hotel Group’s development team is a leader in this approach because of their geographical proximity as well as their local cultural knowledge and linguistic understanding of each focus market.

Asked about this new vision, Elie Younes, Chief Development Officer for the group says, “Africa has always been at the forefront of our growth journey and we have recently adopted a new tailored strategy across the continent, reflecting the needs of the market and also underlining our ambitions to accelerate our presence in all key cities. I am very pleased with Ramsay’s new role overseeing our development in Africa. Over the last 6 years, Ramsay has proven to be a key asset to our development team, and with the appointment of Daniel, we become increasingly relevant to our owners and investment partners. We look forward to developing our presence even further and contributing to the local community through job creation and additional positive knock-on effects of investment.”

The targeted territories where the group is focused on growing its presence include the Maghreb; West Africa with Senegal and Ivory Coast; Central Africa with Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo; East Africa with Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania; and finally, specific countries within the Southern African Development Community such as Angola, Mauritius, Mozambique and Zambia.

Ramsay Rankoussi, the group’s Head of Development for Africa said, “This is a tremendous opportunity to further accelerate our growth in Africa and I am pleased to be surrounded by the best team. We have ensured a geographical alignment in our resources and optimized our response time with deal experts in every market we cover. The addition of Daniel to the team unlocks a new horizon where Radisson Hotel Group will be able to further assist our partners in debt and equity raising, but we will also leverage our complete skillset in addressing cross-regional synergies from financial to construction solutions to ensure we always remain relevant to our owners.

Daniel Trappler_Senior Director, Development, Sub Sahara Africa
Daniel Trappler_Senior Director, Development, Sub Sahara Africa

What really sets us apart, is our pragmatic design approach and our transparency throughout the process, in combination with our continuous guidance throughout each phase, including construction and financing. We are always quick to provide answers and support.”

Radisson Hotel Group  is one of the world’s largest hotel groups with seven distinctive hotel brands, and more than 1,400 hotels in operation and under development in 120 countries. Its signature service philosophy is Every Moment Matters.

Radisson Hotel Group portfolio includes Radisson Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson and Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, brought together under one commercial umbrella brand Radisson Hotels.

Radisson Rewards is our global rewards program that delivers unique and personalized ways to create memorable moments that matter to our guests. Radisson Rewards offers exceptional loyalty benefits for our guests, meeting planners, travel agents and business partners.

Radisson Meetings places its guests and their needs at the heart of its offer and treats every meeting or event as more than just a date on the calendar. Radisson Meetings is built around three strong service commitments: Personal, Professional and Memorable, while delivering on the brilliant basics and our signature Yes I Can! service spirit and being uniquely 100% Carbon Neutral.

More than 100,000 team members work at Radisson Hotel Group and at the hotels licensed to operate in its systems.

*SOURCE Radisson Hotel Group

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Safe Hands Kenya scales up mass sanitation drive against COVID-19 to reach 2 million Kenyans
June 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

Alliance of Kenyan companies and community organisations expands free soap, hand-washing stations, face masks, public spraying programmes and behaviour change campaign nationwide

Safe Hands Kenya , a mission-driven alliance of Kenyan companies and community organisations is scaling up its mass sanitation drive to combat COVID-19. 1.25 million people have been reached over the past two months in Nairobi and the alliance is on track to reach 2 million people by the end of June. 87 tonnes of locally produced soap and 1500 locally manufactured handwashing stations have already been distributed, while 500,000 locally manufactured masks are being distributed. 

Safe Hands is prioritising activities for those most in need – those in informal settlements, where social distancing and other recommended approaches to curbing the spread of COVID-19 are nearly impossible asks. The diversity of the alliance is the key to its ability to mobilise at speed, pilot multiple intervention programmes, iterate swiftly and achieve scale. Safe Hands Kenya is composed of over 30 private sector and community actors with strong established networks, credibility and trust within the target communities. Founding coalition members Dalberg and KOKO Networks have been instrumental in catalysing and driving Safe Hands Kenya activities, donating substantial time and resources to launching the effort.

Andrew Waititu, CEO of Safe Hands Kenya noted, “The actions up and down the Safe Hands Kenya supply chain are spurring economic activity and acting as a vital stimulus for Kenyan families working within local manufacturing and supply chains. The Dandora public spaces disinfectant campaign has created 300 temporary jobs, the Mega Apparel factory is engaging 140 people to make masks and we have engaged local artisans and tradespeople to assist in the manufacture of handwashing stations. It is critical to keep as many people in work as possible and to enable skills development and training.” 

The alliance has built a geospatial demand and supply allocation map, using several layers of data to target with precision, and partners distribute products using IOT-enabled technologies. The immediate provision of the tools for rapid mass sanitationaccompanied by a highly creative behaviour change campaign to motivate people to use them effectively, is the most effective way to keep people safe and society functioning. 

The alliance’s approach to product design and distribution is also informed by human-centred design principles to maximise the rate of adoption. The behaviour change campaign – Tiba Ni Sisi (Swahili for “We are the Cure”) – is designed to capture people’s imaginations and pay public health dividends long beyond the COVID-19 pandemic by  improving general hygiene practices, with concomitant benefits for other sanitation-related diseases and deaths.  

Charles Gachanga Gichonge, CEO of Dandora Transformation League, added “Dandora has been amongst the most vulnerable areas in Nairobi city. For the last 2 months SHK and DTL have managed to keep Covid-19 at bay. So far, so good!“

Dandora community member and chairlady of Pink Court Monicah Ningari commented “We are glad that Safe Hands Kenya have brought us these hand washing stations. They have helped society, in particular children and mothers.  We are praying they bring us even more stations because they are helping us in fighting coronavirus.”

Additional Safe Hands chapters are now up and running in Tanzania and Ethiopia. Safe Hands Kenya is creating an open-source operations manual to enable organisations exploring how to set up similar alliances to accelerate their speed to market as a demonstration of its commitment to being a learning, sharing organisation.

Safe Hands Kenya is an alliance of private companies and community organisations that has joined together to provide essential products and services, like hand washing and public sanitation services, for free to all Kenyans as a first line of defence against COVID-19.

The alliance includes technology-based distribution companies, input suppliers, manufacturers, media houses and community organisations and has assembled a full-time project team that includes experts across supply chains, user experience and behavioural change. All members have pledged to uphold three key principles: 1) zero margin: this is for impact, not profit; 2) speed is critical: every day counts; and 3) last-mile saturation: we leave no-one behind.

*Safe Hands Kenya

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Supporting East Africa’s Young Professionals: A webinar presented by the African Energy Chamber
June 24, 2020 | 0 Comments
The African Energy Chamber webinar will give young Africans a voice in the energy sector and ensure that their views are heard and taken seriously.

The voice of young professionals in the energy industry in East Africa will present an important and timely discussion through a webinar hosted by the African Energy Chamber . The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a seismic shift in the oil and gas sector and has brought into the fore the “great crew change”.

The African Energy Chamber webinar will give young Africans a voice in the energy sector and ensure that their views are heard and taken seriously. ‘It is important to listen to young professionals who represent the future of our industry in Africa and even globally’, said Elizabeth Rogo, President of the African Energy Chamber East Africa. “Africa has great talent and this is why we at the chamber believe that nations should put a particular focus on nurturing and developing this talent when seeking to further local content”, she continued.

In light of Covid-19 restrictions, positions that were, until recently, occupied by experienced international staff are now being filled by many young professionals who are proving to be more than up to the task.  It is expected that this trend will continue even post covid-19. The long term result will be a critical mass of talent in East Africa to fulfil the demands of its growing energy industry.

The rise of renewables, the impact of climate change campaigns, the scarcity of funding and investments are just some of the major hurdles forcing oil companies, in particular, to think strategically about increasing their participation in renewables and new technologically driven energy solutions – one that greatly attracts the youth.

The Post-COVID-19 environment will mean it will no longer be business as usual. Countries such as Kenya are already at the forefront in digital transformation and have an opportunity to incorporate these vital skill sets by providing access to opportunity for our youth that can no longer wait.

Source African Energy Chamber

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Equatorial Guinea adopts New Petroleum Regulation
June 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

The new Regulation modernizes Equatorial Guinea’s existing regulatory framework and is intended to maintain the country’s attractiveness for foreign investors.

Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy

The Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons (MMH) of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea has announced the adoption of the new Regulation of Petroleum Operations, Regulation No. 2/2020 of June 15th, 2020.

The new Regulation modernizes Equatorial Guinea’s existing regulatory framework and is intended to maintain the country’s attractiveness for foreign investors. It notably covers key matters such as the extension of the productive life of mature fields though mechanisms allowing operators to generate greater value from these assets; the exploration of marginal and onshore fields along with investments in deep and ultra deep water acreages; the monetization of gas and the development of the petrochemicals industry, along with further integration of the national workforce and local companies across the value-chain.

“This new Regulation gives an opportunity to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea to continue being a world reference in the hydrocarbons sector. To maintain our position, we must be prepared, with updated norms and policies, to respond to the great challenge that the recovery of commodity prices, the creation of employment and the execution of projects after the Covid-19 pandemic will pose for the sector,” declared H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons. “It is for this reason that the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons, in its desire to continue betting on the growth and economic diversification of the country, has decided to update the regulations to answer all the questions of the industry, as well as create a space of trust with all the actors in the country’s hydrocarbon sector,” he added.

The new Regulation is seen as a pillar of Equatorial Guinea’s recovery strategy post Covid-19, and clarifies several aspects of petroleum operations in the country. It also comes as Equatorial Guinea pushes for additional local participation across the value-chain, and is developing several gas monetization and downstream projects. The Regulation notably stipulates that refining, petrochemicals and commercialization activities can be realized under a specific license granted by the MMH (Article 93) on the basis of technical and financial capabilities notably.

It also strictly prohibits gas flaring, except under very specific circumstances, and stipulates that Field Development and Production Plans must always be designed in such a way as to allow the use, conservation or commercial exploitation of associated gas (Article 149). It also clarifies new rules and frameworks on exploration and production from mature and marginal fields, defining the former as a field that has entered into decline and is no longer economically viable, and the former as a field that has produced 90% of its proven hydrocarbons reserves (Article 41). Such fields will benefit from 10-year contracts, which can be renewed every five years after study and assessment by the MMH.

*African Energy Chamber

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