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International Coffee Day: Your cup of NESCAFÉ is more than what it is
October 2, 2019 | 0 Comments

Nestlé through its NESCAFÉ business, impacts the livelihoods of thousands of farmers in the region
ACCRA, Ghana, October 1, 2019/ — The story of your NESCAFÉ begins long before it reaches your cup. The tiny coffee bean, which is dried, roasted and ground into the powder that you brew for your coffee, is deeply rooted in West Africa, touching many lives.

From Africa, for Africa

Did you know that the NESCAFÉ we drink in Central and West Africa region is truly indigenous? Every year, Nestlé ( sources over 15,000MT of coffee from Cote d’Ivoire. This coffee is processed into the NESCAFÉ that thousands of people enjoy every day.

Growing together

Nestlé through its NESCAFÉ business, impacts the livelihoods of thousands of farmers in the region. The NESCAFÉ Global Plan is committed to sourcing coffee beans for Nestlé responsibly, through sustainability programs. Under the Plan in our region, Nestlé teaches coffee farmers how to grow coffee in a way that protects the environment. Nestlé has also reached over 13,000 farmers across the region, through Agripreneurship programs.

In addition to the earnings farmers make for their produce, they receive premium payments from Nestlé. Fatih Ermis, Head of Agricultural Services, Nestlé Central and West Africa, highlights how impactful this is to farmers, “This premium allows farmers to have better livelihoods by earning additional income. Last year, Nestlé paid more than $865,000 in premiums to coffee farmers across the region. We are continuing in this vein this year, with a little over $841,000 paid to our coffee farmers, from January 2019 to date.”

Entrepreneurship Opportunities

My Own Business” (MyOwBu) is a Nestlé initiative committed to creating jobs and enabling entrepreneurship. Under this scheme, Nestlé teaches young people how to manage their own micro-enterprise. The company also gives them training on sales, management, hygiene, safety and quality standards. This has a domino effect because these youth, now equipped with skills are encouraged to and often employ up to 10 other street vendors.

More than 4,000 youth across the region have benefitted from this entrepreneurial opportunity. With this financial empowerment, they are on the right path to financial independence. Rabie Issa, Business Executive Officer of Nestlé Professional, an out-of-home service of Nestlé, remarks, “My proudest moments on the job are when I see how the lives of these vendors are transformed for the better.”

Caring for the Planet

The NESCAFÉ factory, for the third consecutive time this year, won the Eco-Citizen prize  at the National Excellence Awards in Cote d’Ivoire. The factory was recognized for releasing only purified water into the environment and for none of its waste ending up in landfills. With our communities at heart, our coffee business upholds Nestlé’s worldwide commitment to protecting and safeguarding the environment and resources.

So the next time you lift your cup of coffee, smile along and relish the impact you are making by enjoying NESCAFÉ!
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Aliko Dangote $20m transformative donation to The African Center focused on Accelerating Change in Global Narratives about Africa in Policy, Business and Culture
October 2, 2019 | 0 Comments

Hadeel Ibrahim, Co-Chair, The Africa Center; Aliko Dangote, Chairman, Aliko Dangote Foundation; Mo Ibrahim, Chair, Mo Ibrahim Foundation; Bill Gates, co-founder, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Halima Dangote, Board President, The Africa Center cut a cake at the Future Africa Forum at The Africa Center in New York, where a transformative $20 million donation by the Aliko Dangote Foundation was announced. In recognition of this historic donation, the Center renamed its venue “The Africa Center at Aliko Dangote Hall” at a ceremony during the Future Africa Forum. Photo taken on Monday, Sept. 23, 2019 in New York. (Loren Matthew /AP Images for The Africa Center)

Sharing in Dangote’s vision, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, also announced a new $5 million grant at the Future Africa Forum
LAGOS, Nigeria, October 2, 2019/ — Peeved with the negative perception of Africa by the outside world, Chairman, Aliko Dangote Foundation (, Aliko Dangote, on Monday, September 23, 2019 made a philanthropic donation of $20 million to The Africa Center in New York, United States of America towards reversing the trend.

Africa Center is a leading non-profit institution focused on challenging historical stereotype around the African continent and a hub for creating an intersection of African policy, business, and culture and recreating narratives about Africa’s economic and cultural significance today and into the future.

Sharing in Dangote’s vision, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, also announced a new $5 million grant at the Future Africa Forum. The Gates Foundation grant is directed to the Center’s capital campaign and for the development of its policy initiatives.

Other foundations, corporations, and individuals that provided leadership support for the capital campaign, including the Mo Ibrahim Family, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, were also recognised at yesterday’s event, which marked the conclusion of the second phase of construction.

In recognition of his love and unusual passion for the continent, Dangote was honoured as the main hall of The Africa Center, was named after him.

Named “The Africa Center at Aliko Dangote Hall”, speakers at the event which was part of The Future Africa Forum, praised the efforts of Dangote describing his various philanthropic interventions in Africa and beyond as very significant. The Forum was this year’s signature policy and business dialogue event of The Africa Center in partnership with the Aliko Dangote Foundation.

Dangote, Africa’s leading entrepreneur had announced that the donation was towards the completion of the second phase of The Africa Center’s physical space, which he described as transformative, thus enabling the Center to accelerate its capital campaign, to further activate its public spaces and programming, and support ongoing operations.

On why he made the landmark donation, Dangote said the donation through the Aliko Dangote Foundation is focused on supporting The Africa Center’s work in transforming global understanding of the continent and promoting partnership and collaboration between Africa and the rest of the world.

Said he: “the Africa Center is showcasing Africa in a contemporary, multifaceted manner as a center of innovation, growth, and limitless potential, which makes this project extremely important and worthy of support through my foundation.

“There is an opportunity to establish new narratives about Africa today, with its unrivaled mix of people, ideas, and resources, which are both its greatest strength and the basis for its tremendous, untapped promise. The connections The Africa Center will make between Africa, the United States, and the rest of the world, including members of the Diaspora, are needed more now than ever before.”

In her remark, President of the Center and a Group Executive Director of Dangote Industries, Halima Aliko Dangote, who is also leading the Center’s successful capital campaign, described The Africa Center as an important gateway to understanding contemporary and future Africa and Africans.

Expressing appreciation towards the landmark gesture, the Chief Executive Officer of The Africa Center, Dr. Uzodinma Iweala said the Center was proud of the humongous support of the Aliko Dangote Foundation and the Dangote Family, whose vision for the future of the African continent is perfectly aligned with The Africa Center’s mission to advance African policy, business, and culture of the 21st century

He stated “We are profoundly grateful to the Aliko Dangote Foundation, the Mo Ibrahim family, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and all those whose generosity is enabling us to realise our plans to create a vibrant and essential center of ideas and action focused on the 54 nations and people of Africa and its Diaspora.

According to him, since launching its public programming in January 2019, The Africa Center has attracted and engaged thousands of visitors in a series of inaugural performances, installations, talks, readings, book signings, and film screenings.

“The Capital Campaign has received remarkable leadership support from institutions and individuals that recognise the role it has to play in building bridges between cultures in a globalised world village. That support has enabled us to complete the first two public spaces and activate them with programming that has already proven to be compelling and popular among our local community.

“We are building on this momentum by reaching out to additional business leaders and global philanthropists and asking them to invest in The Africa Center’s mission.”

The Cultural Affairs Commissioner, Tom Finkelpearl said “Congratulations to The Africa Center on the announcement of this extraordinary gift from the Aliko Dangote Foundation and the conclusion of another phase of construction, marking the latest milestones for this important addition to NYC’s cultural landscape.”

“The City is pleased to have contributed over $4 million in public capital support for the Center, which is already offering vibrant programming that solidifies NYC’s connections with contemporary Africa and provides a new anchor for Museum Mile at the northern end of Central Park.” 

The Africa Center is transforming the world’s understanding of Africa, its Diaspora and the role of people of African descent in the world; serving as the hub for the exchange of ideas around culture, business, and policy related to the continent, and in the spirit of collaboration and engagement with individuals and institutions who share the Center’s values.

The Africa Center inspires enthusiasm, and advances thought and action around Africa’s global influence and impact on the inhabitants’ collective futures. This mission is guided by a leadership team that includes Board President Halima Aliko Dangote, Board Co-Chairs Hadeel Ibrahim and Chelsea Clinton, and CEO Dr. Uzodinma Iweala.

The Africa Center’s physical presence on Fifth Avenue at the intersection of Harlem and the Museum Mile is a location that embodies the dynamism and diversity of Africa and its Diaspora in the heart of New York City. Caples Jefferson Architects (CJA) was engaged in 2016 to design the facility, responding to The Africa Center’s ethos as an experimental, inclusive institution fostering business, policy, and cultural exchange locally and globally.

To serve the Center’s programming, the New York-based firm designed a receptive, flexible, and expansive structure, its Museum Mile location in East Harlem contextualized architecturally and programmatically.

The Africa Center is a platform for sharing new ideas and strategies that challenge the structures and systems that support one-dimensional narratives of the continent, and that inform policies and ultimately affect the lives of African people, those of African descent, and the future of Africa.

The event included a fireside chat with Mr. Dangote, Mr. Gates, and Mo Ibrahim, founder of Mobile Systems International (MSI), Celtel International, Founding Chairman of Satya Capital Limited, and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, about the future of African business.
*Via APO
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How infrastructure and energy are key to a new economic journey in the Democratic Republic of Congo
October 2, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Koketso Lediga*

E.K. Lediga
The country has made strides in achieving political stability and improve its governance to pave way for economic growth and energy and infrastructure development

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), sub-Saharan Africa’s largest country, is known for being a tough place to do business but also one of unexploited economic potential. Although the country has had a dark cloud looming over it for years, it recently held its first democratic transfer of power since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960. And like other African countries, the DRC is in pursuit of a stronger and thriving economy. The IMF has the country’s economy‘s growing at a rate of 4.3% in 2019; and nothing suggests that this will not improve in the future.

For the DRC, the pursuit for a thriving economy is well within reach given its endowment with vast natural resources that could enable it to be a contributor to Africa’s economic growth and global supply of raw materials such as copper. The DRC’s new government seems to be committed to exploiting these natural resources, as demonstrated through the several sector reforms that have already been implemented. The most impactful, both short and long term, being investment infrastructure development & renewable energy, amendments to mining and oil & gas legislation as well as its participation in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

In respect of infrastructure and energy, the DRC captured global attention with the world’s largest proposed hydropower scheme known as the Grand Inga project. A project that aimed to generate about 40,000 megawatts of power from water sourced at the mouth of the Congo River. This amount of energy can cater for a multitudinous size of the population in and beyond the borders of the DRC. Although this magnificent 6-phase project did not come to become reality, the country is fervently building synergies to improve its infrastructure and provide sustainable and stable energy supply for its citizens.

In May 2019, the DRC’s Ministry of Energy and Hydraulic Resources and the multinational clean energy company, Hanergy Thin Film Power Group signed a strategic partnership framework agreement for a 400MV solar power plant. The addition of 400MW onto the grid will go a long way with reducing the electricity scarcity that plagues parts of the country. The Ministry has communicated its commitment to meeting the country’s original target of 65% electrification by 2025. This of course will go a long way towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals of universal access to electricity.

The DRC should be applauded for opting to sign a framework agreement which has the ability of creating an environment for parties to identify their common commercial goals. The benefits of framework agreements have been accepted by a number of seasoned lawyers. Duncan Wallace, a member of the UK bar, is of the view that framework agreements can be a commercial motivation for contractors to behave less opportunistically when additional projects, such as those that flow from traditional framework agreements, are on offer.

In July 2019, governments of the DRC, Burundi and Rwanda signed a project agreement for the construction of the Ruzizi III hydropower project. The proposed Build, Own, Operate, Transfer (BOOT) structure is beneficial to all countries as a large portion of the risk will sit with the concessionaire and minimizes the public cost and debt for infrastructure and energy development. Furthermore, this public-private partnership, if executed successfully, will undoubtedly improve the lives of millions in the three countries. 

In addition to the developments in respect of renewable energy, the country has made stride in the infrastructure sector,  with the new 34-km road which directly links the Kamoa-Kakula copper project, a mining project in the DRC and the Kolwezi airport in Zambia. The completed project will enable the unrestricted flow of trade between the two countries as it will be used to bring in mining equipment & construction materials as well as to transport copper concentrates. Given the African Union’s launch of the “operational phase” of the African Continental Free Trade Area, the economic benefits of this  corridor are endless.

Although the DRC occupies the 184th place (of 190) in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 report, the country has made strides in achieving political stability and improve its governance to pave way for economic growth and energy and infrastructure development. And as a result, creating a conducive environment for foreign direct investment.

* Managing Director, Infra-Afrika Advisory
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Equatorial Guinea launches aggressive 2020 Investment Agenda with the African Energy Chamber
October 2, 2019 | 0 Comments
The Year of Investment 2020 is an initiative of the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons (MMH) to pursue Equatorial Guinea’s agenda of energy cooperation and investment
MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, October 2, 2019/ — In light of the success of the Year of Energy 2019, an initiative of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea which is seeing the organization of several high-level investment conferences and roadshows in Malabo and internationally this year, the country will be continuing its outreach to global investors with the Year of Investment 2020.

Supported by the African Energy Chamber (, the Year of Investment 2020 is an initiative of the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons (MMH) to pursue Equatorial Guinea’s agenda of energy cooperation and investment, and see the signing of several landmark energy deals for Equatorial Guinea in 2020.

Both parties have agreed to work together on the rolling out of this new initiative throughout the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on the sidelines of the Oil & Gas Meeting Day in Malabo this week.

“Equatorial Guinea not only offers numerous investment opportunities in oil, natural gas and minerals, but its leadership understands the need to be pro-active in promoting investment and reaching out to global energy stakeholders,” declared Jude Kearney, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Service Industries and Finance at the U.S. Department of Commerce during the Clinton Administration and currently President of Kearney Africa Advisors.

“The signing of this agreement with the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons demonstrates the long history of cooperation between the Chamber and the MMH and our belief that Equatorial Guinea remains one of Africa’s most competitive energy frontiers.”

“We are going to work with our traditional partners in Africa, Europe, United States and Asia to do deals that meet our country’s pro growth agenda. Our market driven policies and enabling environment works better with investment into our country” said H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons. “Our goal with the Year of Investment 2020 is to work in attracting investment that will diversify our economy, boost entrepreneurship, generate profit for investors and create jobs for our citizens”

Through their cooperation, the MMH and the Chamber will be programming and organizing several deal making events and roadshows throughout 2020 to showcase the best investment opportunities that Equatorial Guinea has to offer.
*Africa Energy Chamber
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Cameroon: Major National Dialogue ongoing as Anglophone separatists pull out
October 2, 2019 | 0 Comments

Separatists skip talks calling for international mediation to resolve the crisis

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Discussions are continuing in Cameroon’s political capital Yaounde in the Major National Dialogue convene by the Head of State as the country seeks solutions to the Anglophone crisis rocking the North West and South West Regions. The dialogue has however been dealt a severe blow with separatist leaders in the Diaspora boycotting the dialogue.

The Prime Minister Head of Government Chief Dr Joseph Dion Ngute has on his part challenged participants to seek lasting solutions so as to bring back peace to the crisis-hit North West and South West regions.

Addressing participants, he said, “I appreciate the historical responsibility we have toward our children, our grandchildren and future generations. By deciding to invite Cameroon’s constructive force to this Major National dialogue, President Biya makes each of us fully responsible for the fate of our country.”

He added, “The gravity of the situation in the North West and South West regions must challenge and concern us but above all oblige us all individually and collectively, regardless of our regions, origin, our political or religious conviction, to achieve a result, that is, to restore peace and tranquillity in these two regions.”

In a report published last week, the International Crisis Group (ICG) estimated that around 3,000 people have been killed by separatist violence and the military crackdown.

The ICG said the talks do not include separatists or Anglophone leaders who support more federalist solutions. “It thus risks further frustrating Anglophones widening the gulf between the two sides and empowering hardliners,” the group said. “The government should make greater space for Anglophones, particularly federalists who are willing to attend. It should also seek a neutral facilitator.”

Even before the Major National Dialogue began, it ran into trouble with many activists arrested and experts voicing scepticism that it would yield tangible results. Mark Bareta, one of the separatist leaders very active on social media announced that he was pulling out, saying that “the only way to have real negotiations is to hold them on neutral territory.”

“Some of us were even lenient to say ok you have called for dialogue in Yaoundé and we can come and say we are for independence but we can do that through our leadership in jail. But till now, Biya has not taken any step…”, Eric Tataw said to TRT World while adding that “The US government wants dialogue and we think that we should go for dialogue but Paul Biya cannot tell us that we are insulting Cameroon because we are not Cameroonians. We are two separate countries, he knows that and the world knows that.”

“We are not forming our own country; we are just restoring our country. The right to self-determination is just what we are asking. We want the world to assist us in carrying out decolonization of southern Cameroon.

Of the 16 separatist leaders invited, those heading armed groups such as Ebenezer Akwanga and Cho Ayaba are also snubbing the talks. Akwanga told AFP that the event was a “smokescreen for the international community rather than an attempt to secure a complete and lasting solution … to the annexation of our country, Southern Cameroons.”

The leaders have expressed willingness to hold talks with the government but in the presence of an international mediator and in a foreign country with the terms for secession the main item on the agenda, according to the ICG.

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Commission president reiterates; Cameroon’s peace in vital to CEMAC sub-regional development
October 2, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Professor Daniel Ona Ondo (left) in a handshake with President Paul Biya (photo:

Chairperson of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, CEMAC, Professor Daniel Ona Ondo, has reiterated that the return of peace to Cameroon is the only guarantee for any meaningful economic development within the sub region.

Speaking September 26 at Cameroon’s executive mansion during a tête-à-tête with President Paul Biya who doubles as current chairman of the CEMAC conference of heads of state, Ona Ondo expressed hope that the national dialogue will solve the sociopolitical crisis in the North West and South West regions.

Noting that Cameroon contributes some 40 percent of the sub region’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, Ondo said the economic situation of the sub region has a positive outlook.

This, he explained, were the outcome of the 2016 resolutions of the CEMAC heads of state under the leadership of President Paul Biya.

These measures, the CEMAC official noted, have resulted in economic recovery and good inflation rates across the sub region. To enhance the economic recovery of the sub region, President Biya issued new directives to Prof Ondo to make CEMAC an enviable sub regional body with an interest on the population. The president also promised his support to the CEMAC Commission enable it fulfill its assigned missions.

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October 2, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Picture Credit Afrima

The African Union Commission (AUC) and the International Committee of AFRIMA have announced that the 6th edition of the All Africa Music Awards themed ‘Feel Africa’ will be hosted in Lagos State, Nigeria from November 20 to November 23, 2019 in association with the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Nigeria.

In partnership with the African Union, AFRIMA is a youth-focused music property that celebrates Africa, recognizes and rewards the work and talents of a myriad of African artists across generations.

AFRIMA is committed to the stimulation of conversations among Africans and between Africa and the rest of the world about the potentials of the cultural and creative economy for real enterprise on the continent, contributing significantly to social cohesion and continental integration as well as sustainable economic growth and development in Africa by lending its voice to promotion of education and campaign against extreme poverty and preventable diseases.

‘Feel Africa’, is an initiative aimed at showcasing the African essence through its music and culture and inviting everyone to share in the experience of African unity, African passion and African creativity.

The theme takes inspiration from AFRIMA’s mission to change negative perspectives of Africa by promoting the cultural uniqueness of Africa as a means to counter issues hindering the unity, peaceful co-existence and economic growth of the continent.

Lagos State, rated as the largest music, entertainment and commercial hub in Western Africa and also renowned for its bubbly and hip lifestyle has hosted previous editions of AFRIMA from 2014 to 2017 with the support of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Nigeria.

 The support of the Government of Lagos State as AFRIMA Official Host City in 2016 and 2017 also fostered the smooth execution of the various AFRIMA events and facilitated the seamless engagement of corporate sponsorship/partnership at various facets of event planning and execution.

In her statement, Head of Culture, African Union Commission, Angela Martins says, “Nigeria playing host to the 6th AFRIMA is indicative of the beneficial relationship the country has developed with the AU & AFRIMA as we use this continental awards platform to strengthen Africa’s culture industries while also promoting the cultural identity and integration of Africans.

We are also appreciative of Lagos State Government for hosting 4 previous successful editions of the annual awards programs of events. We are confident that hosting AFRIMA in Lagos state, Nigeria will in no small measure constitute significant achievements for the promotion of African Union’s cultural objectives through the AFRIMA platform”

Meanwhile, fans, followers and lovers of African music artistes have started visiting the AFRIMA online voting platform Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. that opened on Sunday, September 1 to cast votes for their favorite 6th AFRIMA Nominees.

This voting process, which closes on November 22, will determine eventual winners in the 36 AFRIMA awards categories to be recognized at the main awards ceremony scheduled to hold on Saturday, November 23.

 Also expressing high anticipation for the 6th awards ceremony, Associate Producer, AFRIMA, Adenrele Niyi comments, “The 6th AFRIMA finds home in Nigeria for the 2019 awards ceremony and we could not be more excited for this edition.

 We are coming out of a super successful 2018 edition in Ghana -the 5th AFRIMA was a milestone year for us. These are interesting times for African music as more of our creatives are defying the imaginary limitations of cultural diversity to collaborate and create magical music. Many of these works would be showcased at the awards events such as the AFRIMA Music Village concert and the Main Awards Ceremony.

Needless to say, the accomplishments of African music are far-reaching beyond the continent and we intend to create a 6th AFRIMA showpiece inspired by Afro-modernism. it is shaping up to be the best event Africa has ever seen”, Niyi added.

The 6th edition of AFRIMA will continue in the tradition of a four-day fiesta of music, glamour, Afrocentricism, and entertainment which will be experienced in the city of Lagos.

Commencing with the Welcome Soiree on Wednesday, November 20, followed by AFRIMA Music Village on Thursday, November 21 by 6.00 p.m. prompt; Africa Music Business Summit on Friday, November 22 from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.; and the live AFRIMA main awards on Saturday, November 23 at 7.30 p.m. preceded by the live Red Carpet at 4.30 p.m.

The AFRIMA Music Village, Red carpet, and main awards events will be broadcast live to over 84 countries around the world including live streaming on the AFRIMA website and other online partner platforms.

All Africa Music Awards is the biggest music event on the continent. It offers benefits that would help in raising the continental and international profile of the host city, including an opportunity to tap into the millions of participants and followers of the growing African music.


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Cameroonian Journalist, Amindeh Blaise Atabong wins 2019 Kurt Schork Memorial Awards in International Journalism.
October 2, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Multiple Award Winning Journalist Amindeh Blaise Atabong Sharing experiences in Europe

Cameroonian journalist, Amindeh Blaise Atabong is the 2019 winner of the Kurt Schork Memorial Awards in International Journalism.

The award hosted by Thomson Reuters Foundation honors brave journalists the world over for their reporting on conflict, corruption and injustice.

Competing against dozens the world over, Amindeh Blaise Atabong grabbed the award for Local Reporter award while Sangar Khaleel and Amanda Sperber won the news Fixer and Freelance award respectively.

Now in their 18th year, the Kurt Schork Memorial Awards are named in honor of American freelance journalist Kurt Schork who was killed in Sierra Leone while on assignment for Reuters in 2000.

Amanda Sperber, an East Africa-based foreign correspondent, wins the Freelance Award for her reporting on armed conflict and politics in Somalia. The judges highlighted how Somalia is often overlooked in global media, and that her years of reporting “in difficult and dangerous conditions” have helped to shine a light on “elusive truths”.

Cameroonian journalist Amindeh Blaise Atabong is the winner of the Local Reporter Award. Atabong’s bravery in documenting the sometimes-violent split between Cameroon’s English-and-French-speaking communities was commended, with his reporting “digging into how the conflict is playing out everywhere from Cameroon’s orphanages to its wildlife reserves”.

This year’s News Fixer Award goes to Iraqi news fixer Sangar Khaleel, who has worked with journalists from major news outlets covering the rise and fall of ISIS in Iraq. The judges applauded his courage and dedication in the field. Yet what stood out to them was his “empathy and genuine care for those he meets and a strong sense of purpose in giving a voice to the victims of war”, combined with his unrelenting “dedication to follow up on people and places when most media have moved on”.

The News Fixer Award aims to recognize the rarely credited yet often at-risk individuals who typically act as the correspondent’s eyes and ears on the ground. It is the fixers’ local knowledge, as well as their network of official – and unofficial – contacts that helps to secure critical interviews and access to all important areas for the out-of-town correspondents. The prize was inspired by the freelance journalist, author and friend of Kurt Schork, Anna Husarska, and pays tribute to the vital role that these unsung heroes play in coverage from difficult, dangerous and hostile locations.

A shortlist in each of the first two categories was selected by judges Simon Robinson, Reuters Global Managing Editor, The Guardian’s Julian Borger, and Dan De Luce from NBC News.

The 2019 Freelance category finalists were Sally Hayden (UK), Shola Lawal (Nigeria), Charles Matthew (UK), Ruchi Kumar (India), Kenneth Rosen (USA), Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani (Nigeria), Erica Gies (Canada). The Local Reporter category finalists were Disha Shetty (India), Parth Nikhil (India), Chinedu Asadu (Nigeria), Amos Abba (Nigeria), Namrata Acharya (India), Damilola Banjo (Nigeria). 

The 2019 News Fixer category finalists were Fadiel Fadel (Libya), Kamiran Sadoun (Syria) and Kateryna Malofieieva (Ukraine). The judges in this category were Jon Lee Anderson from The New Yorker, Global Editor of the Daily Mail Online Jake Wallis Simons, and journalist and author, Minka Nijhuis.

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Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya named rising stars of global trade
October 2, 2019 | 0 Comments
African economies come first and third in the Standard Chartered Trade20 Index, which identifies the markets with the greatest potential for future trade growth
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, September 30, 2019/ — Côte d’Ivoire is the market that has most rapidly improved its trade growth potential over the past decade, according to new research from Standard Chartered ( The Trade20 index, which identifies the 20 rising stars of trade, places African markets Côte d’Ivoire in the top spot, and Kenya at number three.

The Trade20 index determines each market’s trade growth potential by analysing changes within the last decade across a wide range of variables, grouped into three equally-weighted pillars: economic dynamism, trade readiness and export diversity.

The study examines 66 markets around the world. It finds that while existing trade powers like China and India continue to rapidly improve their trade potential, African economies are making particularly strong progress from a relatively low starting point.

Kenya is consolidating its position as the trading hub of East Africa, while Côte d’Ivoire is cementing its position as a West African trading hub. Ghana also performs well in the index, placing just outside the top 10.

The key findings of the Trade20 index for African markets are:

Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya have significantly improved their trade readiness, demonstrating that investments in infrastructure and business environment improvements are paying offCôte d’Ivoire and Ghana also fare well for economic dynamism, with Côte d’Ivoire enjoying robust GDP and export growth, and Ghana seeing an influx of FDI
Saif Malik, Regional Co-Head, Global Banking, AME, Standard Chartered, said: Home to some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, Africa has the potential to become a much bigger player on the global trade stage. Already connected with the trading powers in Asia, particularly China, through the Belt & Road Initiative, and with the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area, we see numerous growth opportunities for trade and investment in the years ahead.

Additionally, the growing young, digitally-savvy population and an increasing female workforce will aid in the continent’s economic transformation.” 

Trade20 examines 12 metrics across 66 global markets – the major global economies plus the major economies in each region – to reveal the 20 economies that are most rapidly improving their potential for trade growth.

While most traditional trade indices are based on a market’s present performance, the Trade20 index captures changes over time to reveal the markets that have seen the most improvement within the last decade. This enables us to identify the economies where recent positive developments may point to an acceleration in trade growth potential.
*Standard Chartered
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Rwanda to host 2020 Sustainable Energy for All Forum
September 30, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) is set to host the next Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) Forum  in Kigali from 26 to 28 May 2020.

  It is reported that the forum will be hosted under the theme Building speed, reaching scale, closing the gap.

 It is reported that 2020 marks a major political milestone in efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, including SDG7 on universal access to sustainable energy. It also begins the next commitment period under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the moment when the world must dramatically raise its ambition on climate action.

“We are excited to host the 2020 global SEforALL Forum and look forward to welcoming entrepreneurs, community leaders, policy makers, financiers and investors to Kigali. Holding the global SEforALL Forum in Africa reaffirms the continent’s commitment to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7. It will be also a chance to share experiences with the rest of the world and mobilise resources to turn ideas into reality,” said Vincent Biruta, Rwanda’s Minister of Environment.

The 2020 SEforALL Forum will be a major event at the start of the final decade to achieve SDG7, providing a global platform to mobilize resources, connect partners and showcase action to realize the promise of the sustainable energy revolution for everyone.

“We look forward to our next SEforALL Forum taking place in Rwanda and on African soil,” said SEforALL’s CEO Rachel Kyte. “While Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the furthest to go in ensuring access to reliable, affordable and clean energy, it is also the region where the urgent needs of people and promise of the renewable energy revolution offer the most exciting opportunities for invention and breakthroughs. If we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and raise ambition for climate action, all roads take us to Africa and solutions found in Africa can lead the rest of the world. What better place to embark upon the final decade of our effort to meet SDG7 and the other goals that sustainable energy supports.”

The 2020 Forum in Kigali will be:

  • The most dynamic and diverse convening of the movement since the establishment of the SDGs;
  • A space to take stock of progress and focus on what’s working, what isn’t and why;
  • A platform for mobilizing resources and launching new financial instruments that will close the energy access gap effectively and efficiently;
  • A forum for collaboration and a place for partnerships to showcase action;
  • A marketplace where entrepreneurs, community leaders, city leaders, policy makers, financiers and investors can connect.
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Cameroon’s Military accused of invading, destroying, looting from Bafut Royal Palace, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site
September 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

The courtyard between the two Queen’s quarters with the Fon’s residence and Achum Shrine in the background (photo: World Monument Fund)

By Amos Fofung

In yet another bitter outing, the traditional ruler of Bafut, a locality in the North West region of Cameroon, has penned an open letter, revealing, gross human rights abuses and illicit activities by members of Cameroon’s elite forces, the Rapid Intervention Battalion, otherwise known by its French acronym, BIR. 

In the open letter dubbed; “Second Invasion of the Bafut Royal Palace by the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) on the 24th of September 2019” the traditional Rural of Bafut, Fon Abumbi II, outlined atrocities committed by a segment of government armed forces, urging for proper investigation and prosecution of the culprits. 

“The Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) forcefully entered the palace by climbing over the security enclosure…they subjected young Queens, young princes and princesses…to brutal inhuman treatment,” the Fon said. 

In his bitter memo a copy of which was forwarded to the Attorney General of the region, the Minister of Culture, UNESCO, British High Commission Yaounde, the German and U.S. embassies and the National Human Rights Commission among others the Fon of Bafut lamented over the fact that the soldiers, though supposed to protect human life and property, have for the second time now invaded, destroyed, looted and desecrating the Bafut palace. To worsen the matter, they shoot a prince six times.

One of the queen’s quarters (photo: World Monument Fund)

“Young children under the ages of 5 were brutalized with guns…property and money was taken from the houses of all the queens. They went on rampage, pulling notables out of the Queen’s houses and torturing them…the soldiers using axes destroyed five doors of the Takumbeng secret society building, recently rehabilitated by the government and the World Bank.”

According to the traditional ruler’s letter in which he narrates the bitter ordeal inflicted on his family, BIR forces would then proceed to carter away any valuable item including foodstuff and shooting Prince Neba Ngu Christopher six times before entering the Royal museum in search of valuables. 

The prince, his later added, is currently receiving treatment from Doctors Without Borders operating in that part of the country.   

As at the time of this result, the government of Cameroon nor the military spokesperson has responded to the accusations of the traditional ruler nor made a public statement about his demand for a wholescale investigation into the perpetrators of the inhumane act.  

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African Energy Chamber Opens Applications for 2020 Africa Energy Fellowship Program
September 27, 2019 | 0 Comments
NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber and CEO at the Centurion Law Group
Selected fellows will be joining the African Energy Chamber for 12 to 16 months
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, September 26, 2019/ — In order to provide young energy professionals with the tools and experience to become future leaders across the industry, the African Energy Chamber ( is launching its first Fellowship Program in 2020. Applications are open throughout October 2019, for a one-year program that will start in January 2020.

In line with its growing international cooperation, the African Energy Chamber will be welcoming young professionals from across Africa, North and South America, Asia and the Middle East to join its office in Johannesburg for 12 months. The Fellows will be provided with an opportunity to apply analytical skills on concrete challenges and problems across the energy sector, and an opportunity to specialize in upstream oil & gas and local content development. They will be working in collaboration with the Chamber’s dedicated oil and gas sector advisors and experts located around sub-Saharan Africa, and help deliver research and consulting projects that address on-the-ground challenges faced by Africa’s oil & gas sector.

“Our range of partners from across government agencies, national and international oil companies, Oil service companies, investment banks and institutional investors offer the perfect network and ecosystem for a young professional to develop herself or himself and grow as a leader,” declared NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber and CEO at the Centurion Law Group. “We are truly excited to get this fellowship program started and see it grow over the coming years. Ultimately, our goal is to contribute to training and nurturing the next generation of energy leaders by bringing on board any young people willing to grow and contribute to the development of Africa’s energy industry”

Selected fellows will be joining the African Energy Chamber for 12 to 16 months and join a team that provides comprehensive and thought-provoking research on the African oil & gas industry and energy sector at large, along with critical support to local content development programs across the continent. A large part of the roles will focus on sharing and presenting data and informed views to the Chamber’s partners and the industry, and developing the right capacity building programs to institutional and private parties across the continent.

The 2020 Fellowship Program will be focusing on the following key aspects of the value-chain: upstream oil & gas, midstream, downstream and local content. Interested applicants should send their resume at the soonest to and highlight the contribution they wish to bring to the work of the African Energy Chamber.

The African Energy Chamber ( is the largest African energy industry association, gathering companies from across the oil & gas, power and mining value-chains. The Chamber counts over 100 partners from the private, public and financial sectors. With a key mission to make energy work for Africans, the Chamber focuses its efforts on building domestic capacity and developing strong and capable local companies across Africa, and on facilitating regional and international investors’ entry within the continent’s fastest growing energy markets, including Senegal, Nigeria, Angola, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, South Africa and South Sudan notably.
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