African Challenges to African Development
March 4, 2017 | 0 Comments
|By Ehiedu Iweriebor*|
NEW YORK, March 3, 2017– The parlous story of African economic and social development since independence best expressed in the failure to achieve the autonomous capacity for self-actuated development and in particular to create conditions of national and continental modern mass production and prosperity is well known and need not be repeated. It is enough to re-state that Africa’s development failure was because of the leaderships’ choice to retain, maintain and expand the inherited exocentric colonial system of development incapacitation, primary commodity export, import dependency and poverty generation.
The progressive efforts of some African states and leaders to change the system and create self-reliant economies were stymied by the leaderships’ ideological inadequacies and dependency, the balance of payment crises of the late 1970s and 1980s and the subsequent economic crises and decline. This provided the avenue for Western multilateral imperialist agencies the World Bank and the IMF – to successfully infiltrate into Africa, re-colonize African states and convert them into neo-colonial out-posts of the so-called neo-liberal consensus. This framework embodied in the Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAP) with its destructives conditionalities: currency devaluation, trade liberalization, subsidy removal, deregulation and privatization, re-directed the African states to focus on expanded raw materials production and exports and to abandon industrialization and development capacitation.
The application of these anti-development SAP dogmas in the 1980s and 1990s ushered in two decades of deepening indebtedness, serious economic crises, de-industrialization, socio-economic decline, deepening impoverishment and political repression. On the other hand, the period also saw the upsurge of popular democratisation struggles, civil rights campaigns, the restoration democracy, and the establishment of electoral democracy and the decline of military interventions in African politics. In the economic sphere, there were innovative dependency-reducing responses. This was because among businesses there was an increased re-orientation toward local sourcing of well-known agricultural and mineral endowments to expand production. This led to the emergence of new economic sectors and especially the expansion of cottage, small and medium scale consumer goods industries which were operationally autonomous due to the increased utilization of local resources for production and self-development.
In addition there was relative political stability and policy and institutional the support for businesses through the creation of enabling environments for attracting investments.
It was partly because of these new domestic conditions and the economic self-activation, and the partly because of return of better commodity prices in the first decade of the 21st century that the Western media fabricated and propagated the new view of “Africa Rising”. This became a very popular and re-assuring slogan among some African leaders, politicians and intelligentsia.
However, it was an insecure condition because a “Rising Africa” whose upsurge is generated by increased external demand for primary commodities is essentially insecure. It does not represent genuine African development that is based on expansive domestic production and prosperity generation. It merely reinforces African dependency on primary commodity export and its dependence on the importation of manufactured goods. It is evaporating with the speed with which it was proclaimed.
But there was a more consequential development story of this period that ushered in what this author describes as the Affirmative African Narrative phase of development. This is the progressive assumption by African businesses of the leadership role in promoting national and pan-African development. This new trend of African self-development is captured by the new concept of “Africans Investing in Africa” This is the process by which African industrial, service, and commercial enterprises began to make large-scale investments in many different African countries. The investments involve for example the expansion of Banks, telecommunication companies, trading companies and so on. Examples of these include Nigerians Banks like UBA, Zenith, Access, First Bank; South African banks like Standard Bank and Moroccan Banks; Telecommunication companies such as MTN of South Africa, ECONET of Zimbabwe and GLOBACOM of Nigeria. Others are Shoprite, Coca cola and South African Breweries.
While Africans investing in Africa is becoming common and commendable, it is important to emphasize that NOT ALL African investments in Africa are of equal economic importance or strategic development value. For example, African investments like Shoprite and similar companies which merely establish commercial or trading enterprises that do not add value to African economies are no different from traditional non-African FDI companies that are established to create captive markets for products from their home countries and thereby maximally exploit Africa.
On the other hand, African companies that make investments that are decisive and transformational are those that deliberately promote and advance African development capacitation, through local resource exploitation, mass industrialization, large scale industrial, agricultural and mineral production, and beneficiation for internal use.
In terms of investment for development capacitation through local resource utilization and valorization, the vanguard African company is the Dangote Group. In order to ensure that Africa achieves self-sufficiency in the critically important infrastructure development requirement – CEMENT – Dangote embarked on a pan-African investment strategy to establish integrated plants, or grinding plants or cement terminals in African countries according to their resource endowments. The Group’s ultimate objective is become the ascendant cement manufacturing company in Africa. There is no question that the Dangotean strategy of development capacitation through local resource exploitation, mass industrial production and domestic prosperity-generation is what Africa requires to become the self-actuated mover of its own development and to create a secure development upsurge and continental prosperity that does not depend on the vagaries of external demand for primary commodities.
This Dangotean transformational mission and project is now been threatened by what seems like the unwillingness of African countries to respect and maintain carefully crafted legal investment agreements as sacrosanct documents and binding commitments. Within the past year the Group has faced major challenges as a result of the failure of some African states to keep their sides of the bargain or agreements concluded with Dangote Group. This happened late last year in Tanzania when the government seemed to renege on some elements within the agreements reached with the Dangote Group to give it concessions and incentives for the massive investments of over $500 million dollars that the Group made in the construction of the monumental cement plant in Mtwara, Tanzania. This Dangote Cement plant with its 3 million metric tonnes per annum capacity is the largest cement plant in Eastern Africa. In addition to the cement plant, other associated Dangote development projects include the construction of a coal power plant and a jetty. While these are primarily beneficial to the Groups business, they also represent important investments and permanent additions to Tanzania’s power and sea transport sectors.
Together these projects have generated significant direct employment opportunities and as they mature and attain full production capacity the multiplier effects in various sub-sectors would be expansive and extensive, thereby creating prosperity and income in the community as well as revenues for the local, regional and national the governments. But due to the problems Dangote had to temporarily shut down the plant; and after negotiations and assurances that restored the original terms, the plant resumed production. This Dangotean Tanzanian experience of government infidelity to the sanctity of agreements can only create profound doubts among business people on the readiness of African states and leaders to move Africa forward.
But the Group’s challenges in Africa are not over. Just recently, in Ethiopia, the regional government of Oromo Regional State where Dangote’s new over $400 million dollar, 2.5 million metric tonnes per annum cement plant is located came up with new conditions that are bound to disrupt the operations of the Dangote plant. In what it claimed is an attempt to provide employment for jobless Oromo youth it decided to withdraw all mining licences and agreements already concluded with Dangote and similar other companies with mining concessions. In its place the regional government claimed that it would create youth owned companies that would now supply the minerals required by the cement and other plants.
This action of the Oromo regional government in illegally annulling legally approved mining agreements with the Dangote Group and other companies raise major questions on the genuine preparedness of African states, politicians, and bureaucrats to foster Africa’s self-development through Africans investing in Africa. Without question the action of these governments represents major challenges to Africans assumption of responsibility for their development and the emergent Affirmative Africa Narrative. In fact at its core, these anti-investment actions are a repudiation of the long-standing aspirations of Pan-Africanism and its advocates, and the practical commitment of the continental organizations like the former Organization of African Union (OAU) and the current African Union (AU) to promote African-led development through investments, intra-African trade and exchange, as instruments for creating secure African development and domestic prosperity-generation.
This is a good example of how some African leaderships’ represent serious obstacles to African development. Quite clearly any aspiration for Africa’s take off through self-actuated development as represented by the transformational efforts of Dangote and similar committed pan-African economic revolutionaries is weakened by such leadership unfaithfulness, irresponsibility and lack of serious commitments to African investors.
Despite these set-backs, it is important for African states and the continental and regional economic groups to reaffirm their commitment to African-led transformational industrial development as the basis for Africa’s capacitation for self-actuated development. In this light, it is imperative for the AU and its various economic agencies to design Continental Investment Protection Agreements that would commit African states to respect and uphold already approved agreements and avoid arbitrary nullifications of legally binding instruments. An additional guarantor is for each African state to negotiate investment protection treaties with each other. In fact this is especially indicated for countries such as Nigeria where investors are increasingly embarking on Pan-African development investments.
Finally, pan-African transformational investors like Dangote should remain committed and not be discouraged by these clearly disruptive actions of hapless, backward and anti-African development leaders. The Dangotes’ of Africa as continental transformational vanguards should remain firmly committed to their chosen paths of legal profit making and simultaneous contribution to Africa’s transformation, economic development, prosperity-generation, psychological liberation, and the restoration of Africans dignity and equality with others in the world. These are worthwhile and enduring ideals and challenges that transformational revolutionaries and societal game-changers are bound to encounter and overcome so as to create new worlds.
*Ehiedu Iweriebor is a Professor and former Chair of the Department of Africana and Puerto Rican/Latino Studies, Hunter College, City University of New York, USA.
How Trump’s African Team May Shape Up
February 22, 2017 | 0 Comments
On The Heels Of Phone Call to Leaders Trump Administration Working on African Team
By Ajong Mbapndah L
With little mention of Africa in the course of his campaign, many are still scratching heads on what the African Policy of the Trump Administration will look like. A month into office,clues are few, but sources close to the Administration say slow but steady progress is been made to put in place its African team.
Administration sources familiar with the buildup of the African team say President elect Trump accepted a congratulatory call from Rwandan President Paul Kagame back in December. Reports about a meeting between Trump and Congo’s Sassou Nguesso in December were discredited when a trip to the USA by the Congolese leader ended without any encounter with President elect Trump.
On February 13, Trump had phone conversations with Nigerian President Buhari and Jacob Zuma of South Africa. Though Nigeria and South Africa boast the largest economies in the continent, sources were unclear about the choice of just these two leaders, considering that the US maintains close security ties with other countries like Kenya and Uganda.
Discussions with Zuma were centered on prospects of maintaining and broadening the strongly diplomatic ties between the two countries according to South African government Officials. With about six hundred USA companies operating in South Africa, economic ties obviously came up in the discussion sources from Zuma’s office said.
Although ailing President Buhari was not in Nigeria at the time of the call, a Presidential Spokesperson said, ““President Trump assured the Nigerian president of U.S. willingness to cut a new deal in helping Nigeria in terms of military weapons to combat terrorism.”
Prior to the forced resignation of General Michael Flynn as the National Security Adviser, African policy watchers were perplexed with reports that the CIA denied a security clearance for Robin Townley, appointed to serve as Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council. With the appointment of a new National Security Adviser, it is not yet clear what role will be reserved for Townley one of the officials in Trump world with on the ground experience in Africa where he served in Somalia.
Sworn in as Secretary of State on February 1, Rex Tillerson is still to put in his own team. Given the length of the vetting process, it is unlikely that most of the positions will be fully staffed before June 2017, said the source close to the Trump Administration.
Appointed by President Obama to serve as Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, sources say Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield was as asked to stay on the job until a successor is found. Highly respected within African policy circles, Ambassador Greenfield was actually mandated by the Trump Administration to represent the USA at the official inauguration of Gambian President Adama Barrow on February 18. The race is on for the replacement of Greenfield who is expected to leave office by March 10 for Georgetown University, where she will serve as a visiting Fellow.
Informed sources cite Dr. J. Peter Pham of the Atlantic Council, Colonel Charles Snyder, former special envoy for Sudan; and Dr. Kate Almquist Knopf of the National Defense University as leading contenders to replace Ambassador Greenfield as the leading US government Official on Africa.
Snyder, who currently teaches at the Institute for World Politics in Washington, is also a possible candidate to replace Amanda Dory as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs. The post may also be given to Michael Phelan, currently a top legislative aide to Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
As for Almquist Knopf, sources cite her closeness to former Obama Officials like Susan Rice and Samantha Power (National Security Adviser and UN Ambassador respectively) may play to her disfavor.
A familiar face on Africa affairs in Washington, DC, Peter Pham has used the platform of the Atlantic Council to host debates and discussions with visiting African dignitaries and personalities.
Others in the mix include former Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer, Cindy Courville, former U.S. Ambassador to the African Union and former National Security Council and Defense Intelligence Agency official. The merits of the candidates are been considered to facilitate prospects of confirmation said the source who cited open opposition to Trump for some, and Lobbying activities of others as of the tiny details that may come into play.
Those individuals who are being seriously considered for the Assistant Secretary of State position are also in the running for alternative posts, such as on the personal staff of the Secretary of State, in the Policy Planning Bureau, as Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs (“DAS”), or as special envoys to Sudan/South Sudan or to the Great Lakes Region,the sources say.
At the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the likely nominee for Administrator is former Congressman Mark Green (R-Wisconsin), who recently has been president of the International Republican Institute (IRI) and also served as U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania.
Two candidates have emerged to fill USAID’s position of Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa: Gregory Simpkins, a longtime staff director for Chairman Christopher Smith of the Africa subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Lester Munson, former staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who previously held several positions at USAID. Jeffrey Krilla, a former Bush administration State Department official, is likely to replace Amos Hockstein as the Special Envoy in the State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources, a position that addresses U.S. relationships with oil-producing countries, including those in Africa.
Krilla may also be appointed to a position in the Office of the United States Trade Representative, or USTR, which may also be where business executive and Africa trade expert Anthony Carroll lands. (Carroll is also been linked for an Ambassadorial post, perhaps South Africa.)
There is also a possibility that former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner, who served in the first term of President George W. Bush, may be brought into the State Department for a high-level position by Secretary Tillerson.
Kansteiner has been in charge of ExxonMobil’s Africa operations and is said to be very close to Tillerson, ExxonMobil’s former chairman and CEO. Tillerson may tap Kansteiner for something higher than the assistant secretary level, such as Undersecretary or deputy secretary, or as a special envoy
On Capitol Hill, the leadership on the committees that deal with Africa will remain the same: Senator Jeff Flake continues as chairman of the Africa and Global Health Policy subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Congressman Chris Smith will again be chairman of the Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The new Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee are Dina Titus (D-Nevada), Norma Torres (D-California), Brad Schneider (D-Illinois), Thomas Suozzi (D-New York), Adriano Espaillat (D-New York), Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois), Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin), Ann Wagner (R-Missouri), Brian Mast (R-Florida), Francis Rooney (R-Florida), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania), and Tom Garrett (R-Virginia).
Freshman Garrett and veteran Sensenbrenner have been assigned to the Africa subcommittee, along with Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) and Thomas Suozzi (D-New York). Representatives Ami Bera (D-California) and Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina) return to the subcommittee from the 114th Congress. Representative Ed Royce (R-California) remains chairman of the full committee while Representative Ted Yoho (R-Florida) becomes the committee’s vice chairman. Representative Karen Bass (D-California) remains ranking member of the House Africa subcommittee.
The new Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are Todd Young (R-Indiana), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), and Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon). Booker becomes the new ranking minority member of the subcommittee on Africa and Global Health and Young and Merkley are newly assigned to the subcommittee, as well.
Ties between the US and Africa have witnessed strong growth under the last two Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama and many are anxious to see in what direction things will go under the Trump Administration.
Energy Ministers from Uganda, Liberia and Democratic Republic of Congo to address investors at the 3rd Powering Africa: Summit
February 20, 2017 | 0 Comments
26 countries will be represented at the Summit to date, including 16 African countries
LONDON, United Kingdom, February 20, 2017/ — H.E. Patrick Sendolo, Minister for Energy, Land and Mines, Liberia, H.E. Hon Irene Muloni, Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Uganda and H.E. Hon Pierre Anatole Matusila, Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Democratic Republic of Congo are the latest speakers to confirm attendance at the 3rd Powering Africa: Summit , taking place from 9-10 March 2017 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Washington D.C.
The Ministers will join over 400 investors and 50 speakers in this investment forum exploring global opportunities within Africa’s energy & infrastructure sectors.
U.S. Representative Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman, House Foreign Affairs Committee has also confirmed to address delegates at the 2017 Summit. Chairman Royce worked tirelessly to pass the Electrify Africa Act which was successfully signed into law in early 2016. The bill seeks to address the significant electricity shortage in Africa that affects the everyday lives of millions of people. His participation will provide an insight into the act and how it will continue to maintain competitiveness in Africa whilst increasing global security and social stability.
The Summit will take the form of panel discussions and roundtables focusing on sector-specific topics and addressing how bottlenecks can be overcome to drive forward projects. Maintaining US competitiveness in Africa will be a key theme, setting out how commercial partnerships can deliver energy, create jobs, build capacity and spur industrial growth.
26 countries will be represented at the Summit to date, including 16 African countries. A networking reception will take place on the evening of 9th March, and delegates will have the opportunity to arrange meetings with other attendees using an onsite networking app.
This meeting will be co-located with the Growing Economies: Latin America Energy Forum, focusing on investment opportunities in Latin America’s energy & infrastructure sectors.
For more information about this meeting:
Meeting dates: 9-10 March 2017
Venue: Marriott Marquis, Washington, D.C., USA
Contact: Amy Offord – Marketing Manager
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7384 8068
Research Calls for New Approach to Youth Employment Training Strategies in Africa
February 17, 2017 | 0 Comments
Youth Livelihood Diaries Shed New Light on Working Lives of African Youth
Kigali, Rwanda, February 17, 2017 – Innovative research released today by The MasterCard Foundation is making the case for a new approach to youth employment training strategies in Africa. Invisible Lives: Understanding Youth Livelihoods in Ghana and Uganda, released today at the Young Africa Works Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, sheds light on the working lives of African youth. The report, produced in collaboration with Low-Income Financial Transformation (L-IFT), argues that international development programs favour skills training for formal sector careers over training that can be applied to multiple jobs in the informal sector. The result is that their efforts fall short of reaching the millions of unreached youth on the continent who engage in mixed livelihoods.
“To reach a critical mass of young people, fundamental shifts in our approach to skills-building, access to finance and entrepreneurship support are necessary,” says Lindsay Wallace, Director of Learning and Strategy, The MasterCard Foundation. “Development efforts must strengthen social, education and economic systems, and promote inclusive growth that will provide the most vulnerable and marginalized young people with opportunities to improve their lives.”
Invisible Lives set out to explore how young people integrate mixed livelihoods into their working lives, what challenges this approach poses, and how best to design interventions for young people in the informal sector. The research used a diaries methodology to document the working lives of 246 youth ages 18-24 from Ghana and Uganda over a one-year period, honing in on questions around behaviour, income, economic activities, and time management. While these data speak to the realities of employment in Ghana and Uganda, the research suggests that these also reflect emerging trends across Africa.
Invisible Lives highlights the extraordinary lengths that young people go to in order to achieve sustainable livelihoods. Findings of the Invisible Lives research indicate that:
- Young people in Africa diversify their livelihoods, undertaking a mix of informal sector employment, self-employment, and agriculture-related activities to sustain their livelihood.
- Agricultural production is central to young people’s livelihoods, but agricultural incomes were meagre. Many young people run small enterprises that can be easily started, stopped, and restarted as needed. The most successful young people in both Ghana and Uganda diversified their income and risk by growing multiple crops, raising a variety of livestock, and pursuing a wide range of additional activities.
- Both formal and informal wage employment is rare and sporadic, or elusive. While the informal sector, which constitutes about 80 percent of Africa’s labour force, provided more wage employment opportunities for young people, they were by no means abundant.
- Support networks are critical for young people and they play an extensive role in their lives, not only providing support in the form of advice regarding where to look for and how to find employment, skills development, and business guidance, but also proving instrumental in accessing financial resources needed.
“Respondents who participated in this study generously shared experiences from their lives over the course of a full year,” explains Anne Marie van Swinderen, lead researcher on Invisible Lives from Low-Income Financial Transformation (L-IFT). “Data from the study shows us that these young people readily take up all opportunities that come their way, with enormous energy and positive spirit. Through the L-IFT diaries methodology, these young respondents and the young researchers who interviewed them, also grew a great deal, simply through the act of asking and answering questions about their diversified livelihoods.”
In addition to providing new information on the employment and risk-mitigation strategies of young working Africans, the research maintains that youth who participated in this study were largely invisible to both development organizations and their own governments, and did not have any access to support services, training or finance capital.
The MasterCard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training, and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest private foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by Mastercard when the Foundation was created in 2006.
The Youth Livelihoods Program seeks to improve the capacity of young men and women to transition to jobs or create businesses through a holistic approach which combines market-relevant skills training, mentorship, and appropriate financial services. Through our partnerships, our program is supporting innovative models that help young people transition out of poverty and into stable livelihoods. Since 2010, the Foundation has committed $US402 million to 37 multi-year projects across 19 countries in Africa. More than 1.8 million young people have been reached through the Youth Livelihoods program
Disadvantaged Young Africans Find A Lifeline In The MasterCard Foundation
February 17, 2017 | 0 Comments
-$2.1 Billion has been made in total commitments by the Foundation
By Ajong Mbapndah L
With its financial inclusion, education and learning, and youth Livelihood programs, the MasterCard Foundation is emerging as a leading partner in pushing through a development agenda that favors disadvantaged youth across Africa.
About ten million young people have been engaged by the Foundation through its work in diverse sectors across Africa, said Ann Miles Director of Financial Inclusions at the MasterCard Foundation. Speaking from Canada in a skype interview to discuss the second annual Young Africa Works Summit in Kigali Rwanda, Ann Miles said the Foundation was shifting discussion from how to engage youth in agriculture to how young people can be the drivers of agricultural transformation.
Taking place on February 16 and 17, the second annual Young Africa Works Summit will be a gathering of some 300 thought leaders from the NGO’s, government, funders and the private sector committed to developing sustainable youth employment strategies in Africa. The MasterCard Foundation has had a significant impact in working with youth especially those who are out of school or seeking transition to jobs, Anne Miles said.
Miles disclosed that Of the $2.1 billion in total commitments, circa $ 1 billion has already been disbursed. At the Summit, there will be 34 nationalities represented (total), of which 20 nationalities are African. The summit will have people from Cameroon to Congo, Kenya to Senegal, Zimbabwean to Malagasy, and from other countries like Bangladesh, Paraguay, India, and Poland
Working in about 25 countries, the Foundation has had a strong impact on the livelihood of young people through tertiary education, financial opportunity, and scholarship and entrepreneurship opportunities. Those who have studied through scholarships have returned to their home countries to share valuable knowledge and experiences acquired elsewhere, said Miles.
As one of the countries where the activities of the Foundation have taken strong root, Rwanda was not a hard choice to make to host the second annual summit. Agriculture is a very important topic, Miles said, and went on to explain that the Summit will focus on the inter-related themes of agricultural transformation, gender technology and climate smart agriculture.
On how the Foundation keeps track or stays engaged with beneficiaries of its programs, Miles said evaluations and surveys are usually done ahead of each summit. The Foundation remains committed to its work in Africa in the hope that it will continue to have a positive impact on the lives of young people and the overall development of the continent ,Miles said.
‘Make America Great Again’ in Africa
February 16, 2017 | 0 Comments
BY ROSA WHITAKER*
If President Donald Trump is to “Make America Great Again” he cannot afford to ignore Africa. It is in this region of over one billion people — the world’s second-fastest growing continent — that the rise of China and the relative decline in U.S. power is more stark than in any other. China surpassed the United States as Africa’s largest trading partner in 2009. Since then Britain and France have also passed America by.
Yet as recently as 2008 America’s capacity to inspire and influence this region, both economically and diplomatically, seemed indisputable, with President Obama, a “son of the soil,” offering hope to millions of Africans. Africa’s adoration, however, was not matched by a corresponding record of accomplishment on the continent. Obama’s Africa achievements do not compare to the unprecedented success of President Bill Clinton’s African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which created millions of jobs in both the region and the U.S. – or President George W. Bush’s investment of billions of dollars in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Obama’s signature policy – “Power Africa” – aimed at creating more than 30,000 megawatts of electricity for an under-powered continent, today generates just over 4,000MW. To the chagrin of many African leaders and citizens alike, America is now increasingly seen as a paternalistic lecturer promoting her own progressive norms and cultural mores in the continent than a reliable partner.
So how might President Trump “Make America First Again” in Africa?
It starts with the recognition that the recent decline in U.S. influence was not inevitable and is only reversible by prioritizing economic engagement over social policies and aid. To put “America First” in Africa Trump must throw down the gauntlet and super-charge trade by expanding AGOA and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation with incentives for U.S. companies to invest across the continent; such incentives could be limited to sectors that do not undermine American jobs. Trump’s “America First” Policy in Africa should also include a reinvigorated U.S. Export-Import Bank–to enable the growth of U.S. exports to compete in what McKinsey projects to be a $5.6 trillion African household and business spending market by 2025.
All of Africa’s most pressing capital needs – power, infrastructure, transportation, telecommunications, water and sanitation – are those in which American companies excel. These sectors, backed through “America First” funding support, would provide immediate opportunities for the U.S. to become more competitive in Africa’s emerging and robust markets.
Going further, President Trump might make it a requirement that projects in Africa financed by the U.S. taxpayer – for example through the Millennium Challenge Account – are undertaken only by U.S. contractors using U.S. equipment– this is currently not the case.
Secondly, Trump might administer a sea-change in how America assesses and manages international aid programs, by reforming the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Too much American aid money is directed towards a vast aid-industrial complex, driven by former USAID employees- turned-contractors in Washington, rather than deployed on the ground in Africa where it is needed most.
Development schemes should primarily focus on humanitarian interventions and enterprise solutions to address poverty. A focus on the latter would incentivize American companies to bring jobs, capital, skills and new technologies to the continent while benefiting the U.S. and African economies at the same time. To re-calibrate the former, as well as combat the USAID job-creation machine for Washington beltway insiders, Trump may even consider bolstering the role of faith-based organizations – his key political constituency – in the delivery of disaster and humanitarian aid.
Thirdly, President Trump’s Africa Policy should recognize Africa’s parallel: the poorest and at the same time among the world’s fastest growing regions. America therefore, have reasons both economic and of principle for strong U.S. engagement.
Finally, through enriched relationships with African countries, President Trump might harness continent-wide support for U.S. goals on the international stage. Increasingly the 54 countries of Africa are wielding influence together: they are proportionately the largest bloc of votes at many multilateral institutions – providing decisive swing votes in international forums from the United Nations to the World Trade Organization.
A substantive U.S.-Africa partnership would inevitably lead to another crucial benefit: the strengthening of America’s security intelligence and cooperation needed to counter the growing threat from radicalized terrorists groups across the continent. Even an America that is Great Again needs friends and allies: and there are many to win – decisively – in Africa.
*The Hill.Whitaker served as Assistant United State Trade Representative for Africa under the administrations of President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush. She is currently the CEO and president of the Whitaker Group, a consultancy aiming at helping their clients to implement their businesses in Africa.
Nigerian group asks US for $500 million
February 15, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Kieron Monks*
(CNN)The rancorous reign of the 45th US President faces a fresh controversy.
A Nigerian economic and social rights group has written to the White House demanding the return of $500 million of stolen funds, which it claims are being held by the US.
Following the money
“It is a lawyer’s feast that that generates a lot of work — but it is a slow process.”
Fractions of fractions
Corruption Weary Africans Taking Anger To The Polls-TI 2016 CPI Index
February 15, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Ajong Mbapndah L
If affable candidates like former President John Mahama of Ghana lost elections last year, it may in part have been due to corruption.The finding is contained in the recently published 2016 corruption perception index of Transparency International.
“In countries like Ghana, which is the second worst decliner in the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index in the region, the dissatisfaction of citizens with the government’s corruption record was reflected in their voting at the polls,” Transparency International said in a statement that accompanied the release.
Africa did not fare so well said Samuel Kaninda Regional Advisor for Africa at Transparency International. In a skype interview, Kaninda who was on mission in Accra, said the recently released perception index found a co-relation between democracy and good governance. Countries with a history of free elections and a stable democracy faired comparatively better as compared those where democracy and the rule of law are still struggling to take root.
On the countries that did well, Cape Verde and Sao Tome and Principe emerged as the most improved in Africa. Both countries held elections, which got rave reviews from observers. For his efforts and management style, Jorge Carlos Fonseca was rewarded with another term of office. In Sao Tome and Principe, there was a smooth transition of power, a feat that still eludes many countries in the continent.
For the democratic advances it has made, corruption in Ghana was described as rampant. Corroborating statements in the TI Release, Samuel Kaninda believed that the outcome of the recent election mirrored the anger and disappointment of Ghanaians who voted out a sitting President.
Despite high profile arrests and pompous amounts recouped from corrupt politicians, Nigeria failed to see any significant improvement in the index. The doctrine of change that brought the Buhari APC led government to power has so far been a mirage. Nigerians are increasingly voicing out their frustrations and should things not change before the 2019 elections, the APC may be in for a rude awakening.
The situation was similar in South Africa, trailed by sleazy tales of corruption with fingers pointing directly at President Jacob Zuma himself. Though serving his second and last term of offices, there have been growing calls for Zuma to step down. Down and bruised, Zuma has so far weathered the storm, but his battered image is taking a toll on ruling ANC. That it took heavy military Presidents to quell a mutiny from the opposition before Zuma could make a recent state of the Union Address speaks volumes on the situation Mandela’s own country.
With elections due later this year, if corruption were to be a decisive factor, President Uhuru may have some blushes as little progress has been made during his first term.
On the category of countries that equally fared poorly are the regulars like Somalia, South Sudan, Guinea Bissau, Central Africa, Chad, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Cameroon, DR, Congo and the Republic of Congo.
Fighting corruption should be task for everybody said Samuel Kaninda in response to solutions for the way forward. Besides the framework that countries need to put place, the civil society has to step up its role.
Transparency International is willing to engage with countries in the continent and the wider international community in the quest for lasting solutions, Kaninda said. With growing attention from the international corporate world, Kaninda said corporations coming to Africa need to be clearly identified .Institutions and clear-cut rules need to be put in place to curb incidence of corruption, he said.
Corruption is not an issue of the South or the North, Kaninda said in response to a question on illicit outflows of money from Africa. Without these massive flows, Africa will not be talking about Aid but Trade, said Kaninda. African governments should engaged in discussions with the rest of the world especially those that provide safe haven for massive loots from Africa so as to curb this trend which saps Africa of resources needed for its own development ,said Kaninda.
Internet Solutions and Accuris Networks Introduce Pan-African Wi-Fi Network
February 15, 2017 | 0 Comments
Single sign-on Wi-Fi Server platform enables seamless carrier-grade network
JOHANNESBURG – 15 February 2017 – Internet Solutions (IS), the leading pan-African telecommunications service provider, and Dublin-based Accuris Networks Limited, have partnered to introduce a seamless continent-wide Wi-Fi network to global carriers, multinational companies and local Internet Service Providers.
Internet Solutions’ various independent Wi-Fi networks in the region are now consolidated using the Accuris Wi-Fi Server, enabling a carrier-grade, homogenous network accessible anywhere with single sign-on.
This creates a pan-African Wi-Fi fabric for ‘Internet of Things’ applications demanding a consistent, low-cost, IP access network.
“Wi-Fi continues to be one of the most viable and cost-effective connectivity solutions to meet Africa’s increasing bandwidth demands,” says Kervin Pillay, Chief Technology Officer at Internet Solutions.
“Like individual consumers, our business users expect always-available connectivity that is fast, affordable and seamless. In other words, connectivity in Africa that is as reliable as connectivity wherever else their customers are located. Installing the Accuris Wi-Fi Server is part of an ongoing process of upgrading our infrastructure, services and technology to deliver on this promise.”
Using this continental network, Mobile Network Operators can access Wi-Fi offload services to address capacity demands of their smartphone users, while inbound roamers can resell Wi-Fi to subscribers who require high-quality broadband while traveling.
In-country ISPs can now monetise connectivity in venues and hospitality locations using managed Captive Portal and Landing Page services for private Wi-Fi networks – an offering common in South Africa but less so elsewhere in the region.
“The decision to partner with Accuris Networks for this project was an easy one, given the company’s history and expertise as a trusted provider of cloud-based security, identity, and access management for carrier Wi-Fi networks,” says Pillay.
Accuris Networks is a leader in carrier Wi-Fi services, enabling Wi-Fi roaming and hub services for Wi-Fi network providers and mobile network operators. With the Accuris Wi-Fi Server SaaS platform, service providers can quickly interconnect with other Wi-Fi providers and mobile operators to enable low-cost access to data services while subscribers are traveling as well as domestic data offload.
“Internet Solutions is a provider of choice, delivering IP connectivity to one of the world’s fastest growing markets,” said Jeff Brown, Chief Executive Officer at Accuris. “Accuris is pleased to provide Internet Solutions a powerful yet cost-effective carrier-grade platform to meet the demands of a growing subscriber base.”
Internet Solutions is using key elements of the Wi-Fi Server platform including:
– Accuris eNAC captive portal system designed specifically for the scalability and multi-tenancy required by service providers;
– Accuris eAAA server to support diverse authentication, security and identity management protocols;
– Accuris eAnalytics, a Hadoop-based big-data collection, analysis and presentation module;
– Accuris CONNECT which facilitates inter-connectivity between other Wi-Fi hub platforms.
Internet Solutions (IS) is a pan-African telecoms service provider to public and private sector organisations that has been providing innovative end-to-end telco solutions and related services for more than 20 years. At the forefront of Internet Protocol-based technologies, IS builds solutions and services tailored to the increasingly complex demands of organisations across the enterprise, public sector, global carrier and growing small-to-medium business sectors.
As a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Dimension Data Group and part of NTT, IS leverages its infrastructure and global footprint to support organisations with the rapid deployment of emerging technologies.
Headquartered in South Africa, IS has operating offices in Mozambique, Uganda, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria, as well as sales offices in the UK, Singapore and USA. IS has six international Points of Presence (PoPs) – in New York, London (2), Germany, Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as 66 PoPs across the African continent. The company has over 15,500 sqm of data centre space across Africa and is the largest provider of alternate last mile services in South Africa.
Accuris Networks helps service providers monetise the connectivity between networks. Accuris solutions enable subscribers to move seamlessly and securely between LTE, GSM, Wi-Fi, IPX and fixed networks while ensuring a superior quality of experience. Accuris Networks is a trusted supplier to blue-chip operators around the world including AT&T, Bell Canada, China Mobile Intl, EDCH, Telekom Malaysia, Telefonica and more.
Ethiopian Airlines receives third Airbus A350 XWB
February 15, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Bob Koigi*
Ethiopian Airlines has confirmed the receipt of its third Airbus A350 XWB.The aircraft is named after Erta Ale, a large basaltic shield volcano located in the Afar Region of north-eastern Ethiopia.
Group CEO TewoldeGebreMariam said, “As part of our continuous fleet modernization program, we have now phased in a third Airbus A350 XWB 900. Both the B-787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A-350 are the most technologically advanced airplanes in the world today and we are highly delighted that we are one of the very few airlines in the world to own and operate both airplanes at their early stage in service.
Ethiopian Airlines customers will have the special privilege of experiencing the superior features and services of both airplanes.
These environmentally green airplanes are enabling us to expand our vast network to new and exciting destinations like Oslo in Norway, Singapore, Chengdu in China, Jakarta in Indonesia, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Antananarivo in Madagascar.
On board this game changing aircraft, passengers will experience the latest high-definition touchscreen personal monitors with even more movies, television series, and audio channels.
Passengers will also enjoy the wider seats and larger windows, the lowest twin engine noise level in the skies, advanced air conditioning technology, and full LED mood lighting. All of these amenities will enhance comfort and reduce jet-lag after a long flight.”
The new aircraft has a configuration of 30 Cloud Nine business, 313 economy class seats. Ethiopian Airlines was the first African Airline to take delivery of Airbus A350 XWB in 2016.
The airline commands the lion’s share of the pan-African passenger and cargo network operating the youngest and most modern fleet to 95 international destinations across five continents.
Ethiopian fleet includes ultra-modern and environmentally friendly aircraft such as Airbus A350, Boeing 787, Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 777-200LR, Boeing 777-200 Freighter, Bombardier Q-400 double cabin with an average fleet age of five years. In fact, Ethiopian is the first airline in Africa to own and operate these aircraft.
It is currently implementing a 15-year strategic plan called Vision 2025 that will see it become the leading aviation group in Africa with seven business centers: Ethiopian Domestic and Regional Airline; Ethiopian International Passenger Airline; Ethiopian Cargo; Ethiopian MRO; Ethiopian Aviation Academy; Ethiopian In-flight Catering Services; and Ethiopian Ground Service.
Ethiopian is a multi-award winning airline registering an average growth of 25% in the past seven years.
GE Announces Partnership With Transnet To Digitise African Transport
February 14, 2017 | 0 Comments
GE Transport and Transnet, South African-based freight logistics chain have entered a digital partnership to seamlessly connect shippers and transport operators in streamlining pricing and capacity on the network, shipment planning, fuel costs savings and delivering goods to the market more effectively.
GE Global Chairman and CEO, Jeff Immelt said: “The digital partnership we’re embarking on with Transnet will not only improve Africa’s transport sector, but unlock enormous opportunities for the supply chain fuelling Africa’s economy.”
Siyabonga Gama, Transnet’s Group Chief Executive said: “Disruptive innovation has become the new buzzword for good reason. Innovation creates new markets and fundamentally changes the way we live and work. The partnership with GE Transport is helping us to create a new industry and develop new skills that have the potential to transform the world as we know it.”
As a global digital industrial leader and supplier of equipment, services and solutions to the rail, mining, marine, power and drilling industries, GE Transport will assist Transnet to deliver goods and services with greater speed and efficiency through the provision of essential data required through Predix – GE’s cloud-based operating system for the Industrial Internet of Things.
GE is encouraging development across the sectors of aviation, healthcare, transport and power as sectors that are increasingly being inhabited by software companies, technology companies and industrial companies. “This partnership is GE’s opportunity to take the new technology that we will develop in South Africa and introduce it to the rest of Africa,” said Immelt.
Digitalisation in Africa is essential to driving growth on the continent. It plays a significant role in stimulating inter-Africa trade. This isn’t the first time GE and Transnet have worked together. The two entities have partnered since 2009 to manufacture and deliver more than 230 Evolution Series diesel electric locomotives, including the “most African” locomotive, which featured 55% locally produced content.
“We have a rich history of partnership with Transnet, and are excited to continue working with them to unlock game-changing potential for the local supply chain that is at the heart of Africa’s global economy,” said Immelt.
The AFRICA CEO FORUM puts female leadership in Africa at the heart of the debate
February 9, 2017 | 0 Comments
The AFRICA CEO FORUM and McKinsey & Company are pooling their expertise to launch the African Women in Business initiative at the 2017 AFRICA CEO FORUM on 20 and 21 March in Geneva. McKinsey & Company will participate as a knowledge partner.
PARIS, France, 8 February 2017 – The 2017 AFRICA CEO FORUM, the biggest international African private sector gathering, will host over 1,000 African and international personalities and key African industrial, financial and political decision-makers, including around 200 female business leaders from 43 African countries.
An essential platform for dialogue and networking, the AFRICA CEO FORUM is devoting this year’s edition to the role of women in African enterprise. As part of the African Women in Business initiative, a high-level panel will bring together the most influential women in the African private sector and the CEOs most active in promoting gender diversity. The goal is twofold: to identify the best strategies for increased female representation in business and to highlight the career paths of the women who have shaped the African private sector.
The African Women in Business initiative will also present the findings of the McKinsey & Company Women Matter Africa report. This report sets out the progress made by the African private and public sectors in terms of women’s representation. While Africa equals – and even exceeds – international standards, there is still a long way to go to achieve true gender equality.
By launching the African Women in Business initiative, the AFRICA CEO FORUM is contributing to the implementation of concrete solutions for the improvement of gender diversity. It aims, as in all matters to the life of African companies, to shake things up and push boundaries.
About the Women Matter Africa Report
Among the conclusions:
* Companies with greater gender diversity within their boards tend to perform better financially.
* The same applies to African companies; the top 25% most diverse companies have a 20% higher earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) than their industry average.
* Those with boards made up of at least 25% women have a 20% EBIT above their industry average.
* In the private sector, Africa has more women board members, CEOs and managers than the world average. However, there is an under-representation of women at other hierarchical levels.
* In the public sector, Africa has more women in parliament than the world average, but this rate has to double to achieve gender equality.
* Although the number of women leaders has increased in the private as well as the public sector, they do not necessarily have more power or influence.
About the AFRICA CEO FORUM
Developed in partnership with the African Development Bank, the AFRICA CEO FORUM is an event organised by Groupe Jeune Afrique, publisher of Jeune Afrique and The Africa Report, and Rainbow Unlimited, a Swiss company that specialises in organising events promoting and facilitating business.
Launched in 2012, the AFRICA CEO FORUM has become the leading international meeting on the development of Africa and its companies, in a high-level professional setting. The 2016 edition hosted over 1,000 African and international personalities, including 600 business leaders from 43 African countries and 100 high-level speakers.