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African business community commits to invest in skills for employment and job creation for youth at “Africa Talks Jobs” conference
November 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
The youth had a strong voice in the development of the recommendations and made up more than half of the conference participants
AU Commissioner of Human Resources, Science and Technology, Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor at “Africa Talks Jobs” conference

AU Commissioner of Human Resources, Science and Technology, Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor at “Africa Talks Jobs” conference

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 10, 2017/ — More than 400 representatives of youth, business, education practitioners and policy-making from 44 countries across the African continent as well as European partners have called for improving job perspectives of the African Youth through employment oriented education and skills development. The call was made at the recently concluded “Africa Talks Jobs” (ATJ) (www.AfricaTalksJobs.Africa) conference held at the African Union Commission (AUC) headquarters in Addis Ababa. Recommendations developed at the conference will be brought to the upcoming 5th AU-EU Summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

The recommendations call for a stronger engagement of the African business community in providing opportunities for skills training and joint offers with education institutions. Governments shall provide the necessary frameworks as well as favourable conditions for young entrepreneurs. At the same time, education at all levels and youth activities need to better address labour market demands and equip the youth with skills to start their own businesses. Included in the communiqué is also the call to ensure the recognition of degrees and other qualifications across the continent to enable voluntary labour migration. The recommendations were handed over to the AU Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor, and the Head of the EU Delegation Ranieri Sabatucci who will submit them to the 5th AU-EU Summit in Ivory Coast.

“Africa Talks Jobs” conference participants in front of Nelson Mandela Hall at AUC headquarters

“Africa Talks Jobs” conference participants in front of Nelson Mandela Hall at AUC headquarters

120 African companies and business associations, under the auspices of Business Africa, have also committed to investing in skills development and partnership with education institutions for job skills education and training. AUC Commissioner Agbor lauded the business community’s commitment to young people and requested that more companies follow the example set to move from “Africa Talks Jobs” to “Africa Makes Jobs”.

The conference was organized in the headquarters of the African Union Commission (AUC) by the AUC, the New Partnership for Africa`s Development (NEPAD) (www.NEPAD.org) and the continental umbrella organization for the private sector – Business Africa. To back the engagement of the business community AUC, NEPAD and Business Africa signed a declaration of commitment to foster the business community’s role in partnerships with education and job creation.

The conference was supported by the EU and Germany. Stefan Oswald, Director of Sub-Saharan Africa in the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development pointed out that “Jobs are created mainly by the private sector, not by governments. Therefore, we applaud the commitment of the business community. This is an important shift of paradigm.” Ranieri Sabatucci, Head of the EU Delegation, underlined: “We must hear the youth. Working for them is not enough, we must work with them”.

The youth had a strong voice in the development of the recommendations and made up more than half of the conference participants. Among them were 36 fellows selected out of more than 7500 African and European applicants for the AU-EU Youth Plugin-Initiative. The AU-EU YPII is a programme to engage youth in developing a youth agenda to be endorsed at the 5th AU-EU Summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Representatives of AUC, NEPAD, EU, Germany and Business Africa at “Africa Talks Jobs” conference

Representatives of AUC, NEPAD, EU, Germany and Business Africa at “Africa Talks Jobs” conference

Africa Talks Jobs” (www.AfricaTalksJobs.Africa) is a continental dialogue platform on education and skills development for employment and entrepreneurship organized by the AUC, Department of Human Resources, Science and Technology, NEPAD and Business Africa with the support of German Development Cooperation (implemented by GIZ). “Africa Talks Jobs” was launched with a conference at the African Union Commission headquarters in Addis Ababa from 30 October to 01 November 2017. The event was organized as a pre-conference to the 5th AU-EU Summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Africa Talks Jobs shall be further established as a platform for continental dialogue and knowledge exchange for education and skills development for employment.

 

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University of Abomey-Calavi Becomes First Francophone West African University to Join Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program
November 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
300 Next-Generation African Leaders and Entrepreneurs to Receive Quality Education and Entrepreneurship Training
 
Photo credit: Jake Naughton/Intersect for the Mastercard Foundation

Photo credit: Jake Naughton/Intersect for the Mastercard Foundation

COTONOU, Benin Republic, 9 November 2017,– The University of Abomey-Calavi’s commitment to educating next-generation African leaders received a boost today with a seven-year, USD$6.2 million commitment from the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. The new partnership, which for the first time expands the Scholars Program to Francophone West Africa, will benefit 300 bright young Africa leaders and entrepreneurs with a high-quality education, creating pathways to careers in science and technology, as well as business and entrepreneurship for youth whose academic talent and promise exceed their financial resources.

“The University of Abomey-Calavi is proud to collaborate with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, a partnership which has energized our commitment to youth leadership and entrepreneurship education,” explained Professor Brice Sinsin, President of the University of Abomey-Calavi. “We envision leading change in our community by putting students and researchers at the heart of local development, and fostering greater involvement of graduates through social action campaigns and community development projects.”

“Young Francophone Africans deserve every chance to study and thrive,” says Peter Materu, Director of Education and Learning and Youth Livelihoods, the Mastercard Foundation. “Strengthening higher education in Francophone West Africa is critical to ensuring that the region can meet the needs of growing markets. By working with the University of Abomey-Calavi, the Foundation hopes to foster stronger academic relationships and partnerships with other Francophone universities, improving higher education enrollment rates across the region.”

The Scholars Program at the University of Abomey-Calavi will have two components: the first will emphasize access to quality education for 200 Scholars in the fields of agronomic sciences, engineering sciences, computer sciences, and renewable energy. These students will also be admitted into the university’s pre-employment service, a workforce made up of graduates of the University of Abomey-Calavi focused on social entrepreneurship and will enable Scholars to share values and gain valuable work experience.

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.
Established in 1970, the University of Abomey-Calavi is the oldest and largest public university in Benin. With a student population estimated at 85 000 registrations for the 2016-2017 academic year, the University is a true place of knowledge having trained the majority of the Beninese nation’s elite. The University of Abomey-Calavi is a higher academic and research institution offering a wide variety of training covering the areas of health science, science and technology, agricultural science, juridical and political science, economic science and management, human and social science, literature, arts and language science, and educational sciences. The University of Abomey-Calavi maintains cooperative relationships with a vast number of institutions of higher education the world over to strengthen their own training and research programmes. The University of Abomey-Calavi is also the recipient of the international prize celebrating the quality of its academic and administrative governance.

The second component of the partnership will focus on providing technical expertise for the development of ‘Startups Valley’, a business incubator program created by the University of Abomey-Calavi. Startups Valley will provide 100 Scholars with an opportunity to sharpen their entrepreneurial skills and mindsets, setting them on the path to successful entrepreneurship and enabling them to launch their own businesses, employ other students, and contribute to their economy.

The University of Abomey-Calavi joins a global network of 29 universities and non-governmental organizations committed to over 35,000 bright young leaders with a deep personal commitment to changing the world around them and improving the lives of others. The Scholars Program provides holistic student support, including comprehensive scholarships, leadership development, pre-employment, and industry-driven career services – developing highly skilled, transformative leaders to catalyze inclusive prosperity in Africa.

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Benin becomes the 17th member of the Africa Finance Corporation
November 10, 2017 | 0 Comments

LAGOS, Nigeria, 10th November 2017,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The Republic of Benin (Benin) has become the 17th Member State of Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), Africa’s premier infrastructure development finance institution.

Hon. Romuald Wadagni, Minister of Economy & Finance, formally acceded to AFC membership by signing the Letter of Adherence on 7 November, 2017. Benin, therefore, joins the list of Francophone African States that are currently AFC member countries. These include: Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, and Guinea-Conakry.

This development augurs well for the peaceful coastal nation, which serves as an economic gateway to several other West African economies. Benin is economically stable, maintaining an average GDP growth rate of 5% over the past five years. Such fundamentals create a natural support system for viable infrastructure investment.

Andrew Alli, President and CEO of AFC commented: “We are happy to welcome the Republic of Benin to the membership of AFC. Benin is strategically located. Through this partnership, we believe that Benin will be able to realise its full potential as an important corridor for economic activities in West Africa. With the right infrastructure; taking into consideration regional economic flows, the country is well positioned to significantly service all its neighbouring countries. As a member of AFC, Benin will have access to AFC’s technical expertise and financial resources in the development, financing and execution of infrastructure projects in the Transportation, Power, Telecommunications, Natural Resources, and Heavy Industries sectors.”

Hon. Romuald Wadagni also commented on the announcement: “We are excited at the prospects of partnering with AFC to drive infrastructure development in Benin and across West Africa. As is well known, investments in infrastructure are directly linked to economic development. Our membership in AFC bodes well for the country and the entire West African region.”

AFC, an investment grade multilateral finance institution, was established in 2007 with an equity capital base of US$1 billion, to be the catalyst for private sector-led infrastructure investment across Africa. With a current balance sheet size of approximately US$3.5 billion, AFC is the second highest investment grade rated multilateral financial institution in Africa with an A3/P2 (Stable outlook) rating from Moody’s Investors Service. AFC successfully raised US$750 million in 2015 and US$500 million in 2017; out of its Board-approved US$3 Billion Global Medium Term Note (MTN) Programme. Both Eurobond issues were oversubscribed and attracted investors from Asia, Europe and the USA.
AFC’s investment approach combines specialist industry expertise with a focus on financial and technical advisory, project structuring, project development and risk capital to address Africa’s infrastructure development needs and drive sustainable economic growth. AFC invests in high quality infrastructure assets that provide essential services in the core infrastructure sectors of power, natural resources, heavy industry, transport, and telecommunications. To date, the Corporation has invested approximately US$4 billion in projects within 28 countries across North, East, West and Southern Africa.
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Politicians steal $50b yearly from Africa – Obasanjo
November 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo

FORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo has alleged that more than $50 billion is stolen and smuggled out of Africa to other countries yearly by political leaders and businessmen as well as other key players in both public and private sectors.

Obasanjo, who spoke on Thursday, November 9, at the maiden yearly anti-fraud conference, organised in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, ACFE, Lagos Chapter, lamented that the smuggling of the huge funds meant for socio-economic growth and development of the African continent is now giving African leaders, past and present, great concern.

He warned that African countries might not develop if leaders and followers refused to show concern about the ugly trend.

Thus, the former president called for concerted efforts towards curbing the trend. He also charged financial professionals and all members of the association and everyone generally to help in curbing the trend not only in Nigeria but Africa as a whole.

Godwin Oyedokun, president and chief executive officer, ACFE, said: “It is really a delight to host Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Your acceptance of our invitation is an indication that you have the love of this nation at heart.” The former president was named Grand patron of the ACFE at the event.

*Courtesy of Real News Magazine

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Caf president Ahmad reassures Guinea over 2023 hosting
November 9, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Mohamed Fajah Barrie*

Ahmad says Caf has no intention of stripping Guinea of the rights to host the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations but warned them to respect the deadlines set for preparations

Ahmad says Caf has no intention of stripping Guinea of the rights to host the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations but warned them to respect the deadlines set for preparations

Confederation of African Football (Caf) president, Ahmad, says he wants to work with Guinea to ensure they can host the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

Ahmad made the offer to Guinea’s head of state Alpha Condé when the two met on Monday.

“Officially Caf has never questioned the allocation of 2023 Afcon to Guinea” Ahmad said.

“We also reaffirmed to President Alpha Condé our willingness to accompany Guinea to organise the 2023 Afcon.”

The Malagasy also warned the West African country to make sure they observe the deadlines to have all the required facilities ready before the commencement of the competition.

“Guinea must be willing to respect the conditions of hosting Afcon. Otherwise, there will always be an alternative,” Ahmad added.

“If Guinea is committed, I think it will respect the Afcon timing. We have the right to worry about the organisation of the Nations Cup, because if it does not work, it is the Caf that is pointed out.”

Ahmad, who chose not to campaign in Guinea to become Caf president, was accompanied to Conakry by his vice-president from DR Congo, Constant Omari, for the one day visit.

They held a meeting with the Guinea FA headed by Antonio Soure, who heads the 2023 Nations Cup Local Organising Committee, and discussed new Caf reforms.

There has been concern in Guinea that they might be stripped off the opportunity to host Nations Cup for the first time following questions about Caf’s decision in 2014 to award the hosting rights for the next three finals to West African Francophone speaking countries.

The President of the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations, Phillip Chiyangwa, who helped campaign for Ahmad to become Caf President called for an inquiry seven months ago.

The Zimbabwean feels West Africa countries were favoured over other regions by the previous Caf regime led by Cameroon’s Issa Hayatou.

However Ahmad once again insisted Caf has never officially considered taking the tournaments away from Guinea, Cameroon (in 2019) and Ivory Coast (in 2021).

*BBC

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Somali Accelerator graduates another cohort of startups and gives $30,000 in investment at the Demo Day in Hargeisa
November 9, 2017 | 0 Comments
This year’s accelerator saw over 400 applications received, building on the traction of last year’s programme
HARGEISA, Somaliland, November 8, 2017/ — Innovate Ventures (www.Innovate.so), the leading Somali tech and business startup accelerator launched in partnership with VC4A (https://VC4A.com), Telesom (www.Telesom.net) and the Work in Progress! Alliance, had their second cohort of 10 startups from Somaliland and Somalia graduate from their programme. This year’s accelerator saw over 400 applications received, building on the traction of last year’s programme. The seed investment given doubled from $15,000 last year to $30,000.

Programme Overview
The Innovate Accelerator is a 12-week programme intended to support and fund the next wave of Somali startups. Mentorship and training was provided by domain experts and entrepreneurs and four startups from the programme received $30,000 in investment from Innovate Ventures Fund.

Growth
The accelerator programme reached more than 2 million people via SMS and TV coverage of the roadshows and Demo Day in Somaliland, Somalia and the UK and US. The significant increase in applications and seed investment, and further support and interest from the private and public sector has seen the reach and attention of the accelerator grow.

Demo Day
On Sunday, October 29th at Mansoor Hotel, the Demo Day took place, which was the culmination of a 6-month programme to find startups who could create value, jobs and had the potential to scale. The event saw more than 300 participants attend along with media, entrepreneurs and investors. Each team pitched their startup to a panel comprising of entrepreneurs, c-level executives and business owners.

First place went to Bilan Baby, a startup that sells baby furniture, accessories and baby clothing as well as maternity products. Bilan Baby received $7,000 in seed investment. Second place went to SAMS, an agritech marketplace for farmers and buyers and Almijet, a digital printing company who received $5,000 each. Finally, Brandkii, an online marketing and advertising startup, received $3,000. Further investment was provided to Muraadso, an e-commerce startup and last year’s winners; they received $10,000.

Looking Forward
Warda Dirir, Co-Founder of Innovate Ventures, comments, ‘the success of this year’s accelerator programme is down to years of ground work in the region and lessons learned. We are committed to helping the region produce more technology driven businesses that resolve business challenges in the region and tap into untapped markets’. Given the growth of the programme, more applicants and larger investments are expected next year, giving the burgeoning Somali tech startup scene further support.

Innovate Ventures (www.Innovate.so) is the leading startup accelerator and technology fund in Somaliland and Somalia. Innovate Ventures was created to propel and accelerate technology startups in Somalia and Somaliland, support the next wave of Somali entrepreneurs, and grow the nascent startup ecosystem in the country. Innovate Ventures have run coding camps, incubators and accelerators in the Somali region since 2012.

VC4A (https://VC4A.com) is a startup funding platform and a network of entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists and mentors building game changing companies on the African continent. VC4A supports the growth of Africa’s startup ecosystem by connecting startups to both hard and soft capital through online platform, promoting the culture of angel investment and providing technical support to local accelerators.

The goal of “Work in Progress!” is to improve the economic prospects of young men and women in Egypt, Nigeria and Somalia, create jobs and stimulate entrepreneurship by improving the skills of young people, strengthening small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and creating an enabling environment. Alliance partners include Oxfam, VC4Africa and Butterfly Works.

 

Telesom (www.Telesom.net) is the largest telecommunications company headquartered in Hargeisa, Somaliland. Telesom provides a variety of mobile communication products and services. It offers prepaid call plans, monthly subscription plans, International Roaming, MMS, WAP (over both GSM and GPRS), residential fixed line services, and broadband internet plans.

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President Kagame and Tony Elumelu to headline Young Entrepreneurship Day at the Africa 2017 Forum
November 9, 2017 | 0 Comments
The Young Entrepreneurship Day will bring together some of Africa’s most promising entrepreneurs with investors and new partners to help them scale up their ideas and businesses and the most successful start-ups will gain access to a deal room and also a one week tailored course at Stanford
CAIRO, Egypt, November 8, 2017/ — HE Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and chairman of Smart Africa, and Tony Elumelu, Founder of the $100m Entrepreneurship Programme, will be headlining the Young Entrepreneurship Day (YED) at the Africa 2017 Forum (www.BusinessForAfricaForum.com).

The YED is a new addition to the Forum and will take place on the eve of Africa 2017, on the 7th December. It has been designed to connect some of Africa’s most promising entrepreneurs and also give them exposure to investors, incubators and accelerators as well as to partake in workshops that will give them the skills and tools to scale up their businesses.

Both Kagame and Elumelu have been championing entrepreneurship and will be sharing their perspectives both from government and the private sector as well as engaging in an open platform with some of the upcoming leaders from across Africa

Sitting on the advisory board of the YED are Issam Chleuh and Rebecca Enonchong, two of the foremost players in impact investing and in the technology space in Africa as well as Parminder Vir, CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation. Other speakers at the YED include Ben White of VC4Africa and Wale Ayeni from IFC Ventures, the venture capital wing of the World Bank’s private sector arm.

Commenting on the YED, the Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Dr. Sahar Nasr, whose ministry is organising the Africa 2017 programme alongside COMESA Regional Investment Agency, said that creating a pro-business environment for entrepreneurs to thrive is at the centre of her government’s policies. “Egypt has been at the forefront of making entrepreneurship work. With a bustling population of 90 million, 50% of which are below the age of 30 and tech savvy, Egypt is rightly staking a claim as one of the fastest growing entrepreneurial hubs in the world.”

Africa 2017 has been earmarked as the biggest B2B and B2G gathering to take place in Africa this year. A number of heads of state have confirmed their attendance and there are 30 African investment promotion agencies and government delegations scheduled to attend. Alongside President Al Sisi of Egypt and President Kagame of Rwanda, the Presidents of Côte d’Ivoire, Alassane Outtara will be in attendance as well as the President of Comoros, Azali Assoumani and the Prime Minister of Mozambique Carlos Agostinho do Rosário. Some of Africa’s biggest names from business will also be attending Africa 2017, with the aim to accelerate cross-border investments and partnerships.

The Forum will also be a platform for Egypt to showcase some of the mega projects that are underway and the opportunities linked to these in agribusiness, logistics, mining, energy construction, real estate and tourism.

Africa 2017 Forum (www.BusinessForAfricaForum.com) is held under the high patronage of H.E. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on 7th to 9th December 2017 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and is organized by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt and the COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA).
The 2017 edition builds on the success of the inaugural Africa 2016, which saw participation of 6 Heads of State and more than 1,000 delegates from 45 countries. This year the programme has been enhanced with exclusive Presidential Roundtables with Africa leaders and CEOs as well as a Young Entrepreneurs Day.
Africa 2017 remains the premier business platform to nurture new partnerships; meet investors and fast track your business objectives in Africa.
Take your place and belong in the conversation that will drive new projects, transactions and policy throughout the continent with global business leaders who will lead both dialogue and progress on some of the most important projects in Africa.

To register to attend the Forum, please RSVP I.Callan@ICpublications.com or go to http://APO.af/wVw6CX

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20 Top African Start-Ups Enter World Bank Group Digital Acceleration Program
November 8, 2017 | 0 Comments
Selected from a pool of over 900 applicants, these start-ups specialize in digital solutions for the African market, including fin-tech, transportation, health care, education, human resources, and B2B
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, November 6, 2017/ — Twenty of the most promising African digital start-ups will take part in the XL Africa (www.XL-Africa.com) residency, the flagship initiative of the business accelerator launched last April by the World Bank Group’s (www.WorldBank.org) infoDev program. From Nov. 6-17 in Cape Town, the entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to learn from their mentors and peers, increase their regional visibility, and get access to potential corporate partners and investors.

The residency will conclude with the XL Africa Venture Showcase, a regional event organized in association with the African Angel Investor Summit, in which the entrepreneurs will present their business models to a select audience of corporations and investors. With support from African investment groups, XL Africa will help the start-ups attract early stage capital between US$250,000 and US$1.5 million.

Selected from a pool of over 900 applicants, these start-ups specialize in digital solutions for the African market, including fin-tech, transportation, health care, education, human resources, and B2B. All companies provide a digital product or service currently available in one or more African markets and show potential to scale across the region.

“We are pleased by the interest infoDev and XL Africa generated across the continent in just a few months,” said Klaus Tilmes, Director of the Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice at the World Bank Group. “XL Africa attracted firms with high-growth potential; many have female co-founders, have already raised early stage investment, and have demonstrated significant market traction. The number and quality of applications received are a clear testament to the competitiveness of African start-ups and the key role they play in Africa’s growing digital economy.”

The selection for XL Africa was conducted by a panel of industry experts from the International Finance Corporation (IFC); implementing partners IMC Worldwide, Koltai & Co, and Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A); as well as investors from prominent African funds, including Knife Capital, 4Di Capital LLP, Singularity Investments, TLcom Capital LLP, Goodwell Investments, Nest Africa, and Africa Tech Ventures.

“We encountered very strong companies, particularly in the transportation, HR, and data analytics sectors,” said Danai Musandu, investment associate at Goodwell Investments. “We also observed signals of a nascent pipeline of digital companies beyond the traditional hot spots of Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. These talented entrepreneurs are among those who are going to drive innovation on the continent and offer great opportunities for investors looking at African markets.”

The selected start-ups participating in the event are:

  • Aerobotics (Data, South Africa)
  • Asoko Insight (Data, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, United Kingdom, and Nigeria)
  • Coin Afrique (Marketplace, Senegal and Benin)
  • Edgepoint Digital (Jamii) (FinTech – Insurance, Tanzania)
  • Electronic Settlement Limited (FinTech, Nigeria)
  • Lynk Jobs Ltd. (HR, Kenya)
  • MAX (Transport, Nigeria)
  • ogaVenue (Venue Platform, Nigeria)
  • Ongair (SME Services, Kenya)
  • Pesabazaar.com (FinTech, Kenya)
  • Prepclass (EdTech, Nigeria)
  • Printivo (Printing, Nigeria)
  • Rasello Company Ltd. (SME Services, Tanzania)
  • Rensource (Energy, Nigeria)
  • Sendy Ltd. (Delivery, Kenya)
  • Snapplify (Publishing, South Africa and Kenya)
  • Sokowatch (Delivery, Kenya)
  • TalentBase (HR, Nigeria)
  • Timbuktu (Travel, South Africa)
  • Tizeti Network Ltd. (Connectivity, Nigeria)

XL Africa is funded by the governments of Finland, Norway, and Sweden, and administered by the World Bank Group with implementation support from IMC Worldwide, VC4A, and Koltai & Co.

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African High-Level Officials, Private Sector Leaders to Chart Actionable Plan to Accelerate the Africa’s Agricultural Transformation
November 8, 2017 | 0 Comments
WASHINGTON – November 7, 2017 – Private sector leaders working in Africa’s agriculture sector are invited to request an invitation to attend the African Development Bank’s first high-level convening,  Leadership4Agriculture (L4Ag) Forum on November 28 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
The invitation-only L4Ag Forum, supported the Rockefeller Foundation and in collaboration with the Initiative for Global Development (IGD) and Grow Africa will be held at the AfDB headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, on the sidelines of the AU-EU Summit on November 29-30, 2017.

This action-oriented forum will assemble influential leaders — African high-level officials, private sector leaders and community champions — for dialogue, advocacy and policy action to drive Africa’s agriculture transformation on the theme, “Leadership for Agriculture: Moving African Policy to Action”.

Africa’s agriculture sector and agribusiness are projected to create a $1 trillion agrifood industry in the next decade. Despite this tremendous potential, total investment in the sector falls short of levels required to deliver fundamental change fuel agricultural transformation.

The African Development Bank estimates that between $315-400 billion over the next ten years is required to transform strategic agricultural value chains.

“Recognizing agriculture as a business is a core aspect of the strategy to advance growth in Africa,” said IGD President Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych. “The Leadership4Agriculture Forum is an opportunity for private sector leaders and high-level African officials to strengthen their partnership by identifying their aligning interests so that Africa’s agricultural sector can reach its full potential.”

Guided by recent findings from the World Bank’s 2017 Enabling the Business of Agriculture Report and the 2017 Africa Transformation Report by African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET), the L4Ag Forum will focus on harnessing agriculture and agribusiness as an engine of economic transformation in Africa.

The L4Ag Forum will feature a keynote address and two panel sessions with African Finance and Agriculture Ministers and business leaders from across the African continent.

The first panel, “Enabling the Business of Agriculture: Increasing Access to Agricultural Inputs to Enhance Productivity and Regulatory Reforms”, will focus on improving commercial access to seeds, fertilizer, and mechanization. The second panel, “Agriculture Powering Africa’s Economic Transformation: Fueling Agro-industry and Agribusiness”, will draw attention to commercializing agriculture; adding value and spurring agro-industry; and innovative financing.

Grow Africa Executive Director William Asiko will offer a presentation on applying the panelists’ key points and create actionable steps in achieving policy reforms.

During the Action Roundtable sessions, African high-level government officials and business leaders will have an opportunity to re-imagine government and business engagement, brainstorm achievable goals around a specific agribusiness sector growth policy, and explore investment opportunities in agribusiness ventures.

For more information and for the full agenda on the L4Ag Forum, please click here.

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Ethiopian Airlines celebrates delivery of first 787-9 Dreamliner
November 7, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Ethiopian Airlines and Boeing [NYSE: BA] have taken delivery of the
carrier’s first Boeing 787-9. Ethiopian is leasing the Dreamliner
through an agreement with AerCap, according to Hanna Atnafu,
Manager, Corporate Communications, Ethiopian Airlines.
It is reported that Ethiopian is the first airline in Africa to
operate the 787-9.The Dreamliner carries much-needed medical equipment
and supplies to Ethiopia.

Ethiopian’s newest 787 touched down in Addis Ababa following a
non-stop 8,354 mile (13,444 km) delivery flight from Boeing’s Everett,
Washington, facility.

Ethiopian becomes the first carrier in Africa to operate the 787-9
and extends a tradition of setting aviation milestones.
Ethiopian became Africa’s first carrier to fly the 787-8 in 2012,
and similarly introduced the 777-200LR (Longer Range), 777-300ER
(Extended Range) and 777 Freighter.

“We are proud to celebrate yet another first with the introduction
of the cutting-edge 787-9 into our young and fast growing fleet,” said
Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines. “Today, the
787 is the core of our fleet with 20 aircraft in service. Our
investment in the latest technology airplanes is part of our Vision
2025 strategy and our commitment to our esteemed customers to offer
complete on-board comfort. We will continue to invest in the most
advanced aircraft to give our customers the best possible travel
experience.”

The 787 Dreamliner is the most innovative and efficient airplane
family flying today. Since 2011, more than 600 Dreamliners have
entered commercial services, flying almost 200 million people on more
than 560 unique routes around the world, saving an estimated 19
billion pounds of fuel.

“AerCap is very proud to deliver to Ethiopian Airlines their first
787-9 aircraft, as the airline continues to lead the way in African
aviation,” said AerCap President and Chief Commercial Officer Philip
Scruggs. “The 787-9 will complement Ethiopian’s existing fleet of
787-8 aircraft, bringing further operational efficiencies and scope to
enhance their existing network. We thank our friends and partners at
Ethiopian Airlines for their continued confidence in AerCap and wish
them every success as they continue to optimize their fleet.”

“We are pleased to see the 787-9 enter into Ethiopian’s growing
Boeing fleet,” said Marty Bentrott, senior vice president sales for
Middle East, Turkey, Africa, Russia and Central Asia Boeing Commercial
Airplanes. “The 787-9 will further enhance the Ethiopian network with
its incredible range and capacity.”

Ethiopian Airlines conducted its 32nd Humanitarian Delivery Flight
as part of the 787-9 delivery. In conjunction with the non-profit
Seattle Alliance Outreach, Ethiopian transported goods donated by
medical organizations in the U.S. to Black Lion Hospital and St. Paul
Hospital in Ethiopia.

“We are very happy to continue our longstanding partnership with
Boeing to deliver medical equipment and supplies to public hospitals
in Ethiopia, which benefit the society at-large,” said GebreMariam.

“This is our 32nd humanitarian flight over the course of the last few
years. No airline has provided such sustained support to the delivery
of humanitarian supplies to the African continent. It is a testament
to our commitment to serve the community as a responsible corporate
organization.”

Ethiopian Airlines operates a Boeing fleet of 737, 767, 777, and 787
airplanes in passenger service and six 777 and two 757-200 airplanes
in cargo operations.

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Amnesty International Is This The End?
November 3, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Richards Murphy*
The world is confronting new realities as hitherto power bases succumb to the excessive clout they have built around themselves as communication becomes more democratized, liberalized and diversified. This unravelling extends beyond nations once considered superpowers or corporations deemed too big to fail to now encompass once assumed neutral non-governmental organization, Amnesty International that was imbued with the toga of neutrality but now proven to be partisan and compromised beyond imagination.
Amnesty International has had a good run in misleading the world. Its reports, as it likes to term them, have been pivotal in shaping a global conflict to the extent that they have been used by client colonial powers as justifications for forceful regime change in target countries, whose leaders often meet ends that rubbishes the human right façade of Amnesty International.  If the gruesome end of the likes of Muammar Quaddaffi and Saddam Hussein dismissed as justified, the industrial scale slaughter that have followed the Amnesty International midwifed instability remains a blot on the soul of the world to the extent that not much has been done to consign this outdated relic of human rights monitoring to the negative column in the reckoning of history.
Perhaps, similar to countries and businesses that refused to adapt fast enough to remain relevant in a rapidly changing world where information has become readily available, Amnesty International failed to upgrade its tricks and the strategy of manufacture of dissent – whereby it uses its reports, in conjunction with its franchises to incite citizens against constituted authorities while citing violation of their rights. Oftentimes there would not have been any rights violations prior but citizens that have been incited against their countries must be managed before they hurt or kill others and the very process of containing their insurgency creates a rich picking for Amnesty International to issue reports that often threat offenders as victims and the law enforcement agencies as aggressors.
Nigeria has been on the receiving end of such questionable strategy with Amnesty International issuing reports that have at different times shored up the morale of Boko Haram terrorists, ethnic separatists, militant arsonists and even kidnappers and robbers whose rights are placed not just above those of law enforcement agents but also above the safety and wellbeing of the innocent civilian population. The NGO’s campaign of attrition knowns no bound and for this it regularly procures the collusion of local international partners to demonize critical national institutions.
While the cup of its iniquities was already overflowing to a point that several other groups had declared it persona non-grata in Nigeria, it took Amnesty International’s misstep of peddling its ware before the Presidential Investigation Panel to Review Compliance of The Armed Forces with Human Rights Obligations and Rules of Engagement for its years of deceit to finally unravel. Its several previous reports in Nigeria have now been effectively exposed to have been sham – products of witnesses, interviews, pictures and video manipulation.
Perhaps, indifferent to the trail of credibility questions and doubts about its ethical integrity, marched a crop of its so-called experts to confound the panel at it had done in too many instances across the globe. The international organization was however in for a shocker for the entire duration of the hearing. A member of the Panel at a sitting in Port Harcourt, Professor Hauwal Ibrahim challenged Amnesty International to identity the mass grave it accused the Nigerian military of burying the remains of victims of the alleged human rights abuses it has so much touted. For an organization that has done plenty of abracadabra with geo-location, coordinates and pictures of alleged mass graves of victims that challenge has been met with a deafening silence and inaction.
Instead of showing the physical grave locations, which would have proven its allegations against the military, AI only tendered more of its photoshopped pictures and professionally edited videos. Its target was apparently to dazzle members of the panel with its rehashed accounts while pointing at the pictures and videos as its only evidence.
It took no efforts for those that testified on behalf of the military to pick holes in the methodology adopted by AI in reaching what has now been proven to be its serially jaundiced reports. They easily exposed the international NGO as an ongoing sham that is out to achieve aims other than it tends to make the world believe.
As opposed to the hogwash that AI had fed the world with, an organization like the Save Humanity Advocacy Centre (SHAC) was able to present the findings of its own work in Nigeria’s crisis areas before the panel in a constructive way that offers the way forward as opposed the antagonistic approach of its international counterpart. This glaring discrepancy in the both methodology and output possibly provoked Edward Omaga of SHAC to an extent where he demanded that Amnesty International be shown the way out of Nigeria.
Not even Omaga’s harsh demand places AI in a position to call him out since SHAC paraded experts that easily trounced its line-up. In SHAC’s team were a one-time Sudanese Ambassador to the United Nations – Ambassador Lumumba D’Aping, head of Preventive Diplomacy in Geneva – David Falt, a practicing human rights lawyer in the United States and United Kingdom – Mary Johnson, Professor Shuaibu Danfulani of the University of Abuja and Dr. Ifure Ataifure of the Centre for International Strategic Studies, Abuja. It is left to be seen how AI would again cast aspersions against these persons as it had done in the past against those who dared speak out against its serial misadventures in the country.
The kind of revelations that SHAC made about the state of affairs in Nigeria’s anti-terror effort, which was a stark contrast from the erroneous impression popularized by AI, should make Amnesty International temporarily close shop in Nigeria to review its processes, standards ethics and even personnel in Nigeria. It must, and urgently so, confront all it has done wrong in sinning against Nigeria since the country is proving to be its graveyard. Unfortunately, even this saving grace will not last forever as tales of its misdeed continually spread.
Like its client states that have recently becoming victims of their own scheming, already reaping storms from the wind they sowed, Amnesty International is beginning to face its own days of reckoning. It may not necessarily implode or explode in one fireball moment; its international media partners would see to it that the right propaganda spin retains some measure of defeated respectability for it considering how it has helped them created reports to justify their campaign of calumny against targets in the past. Like its client states the recent flop in Nigeria is the start of a descent into the abyss. Could this be the end for Amnesty International?
*Murphy, a security expert  contributed this piece from Ambu street, Calabar.The views are those of the author.
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SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS AWARDED WITH TOP HONORS BY TRAVEL WEEKLY
November 1, 2017 | 0 Comments

Airline Receives Five Distinguished Magellan Awards

Fort Lauderdale, FL (October 31, 2017) – South African Airways (SAA), Africa’s most awarded airline, has been honored with five premier Magellan Awards from Travel Weekly, one of the leading travel trade publications in the U.S. The Magellan Awards commemorates the best in travel, honoring an array of
travel providers based on their design, creativity, and inspirational messaging in the development and execution of their advertising and marketing platforms. The awards distinguish a broad range of companies within the industry, including airlines and airports, cruise lines, destination tourism boards, tour operators and travel agencies.

For 2017, South African Airways has received recognition from a panel of travel industry professionals with the following Magellan Awards:

Gold: Airline Marketing – Promotional Video South African Airways Next Beginnings Video
Gold: Tour Operators – Marketing-Consumer Collateral 2017 South African Airways Vacations Product Brochure
Silver: Tour Operator Marketing 2017 South African Airways Vacations Product Brochure
Silver: Airline –Overall-International Carrier South Africa Airways Vacation South Africa Travel Planner
Silver: Tour Operator – Marketing-Trade Collateral 2017 South African Airways Vacations Product Brochure

“It is a great compliment to receive these awards and be recognized by travel industry experts on the
value of our marketing collateral that is developed to promote our products through travel trade and consumer channels,” said Todd Neuman, executive vice president of North America for South African Airways.

Todd Neuman, Executive Vice President of North America for South African Airways.

Todd Neuman, Executive Vice President of North America for South African Airways.

“This is the third year that South African Airways has been recognized by the Magellan Awards. This serves to reaffirm that our teams’ commitment in providing quality products and marketing material for our valued travel
partners for the promotion of travel to Africa is being recognized by travel professionals from around the world.”

“This year’s winners represent the most talented and creative people in not just the travel industry but of any industry,” said Arnie Weissmann, editor in chief of Travel Weekly.

“We congratulate South African Airways, as they continue to raise the bar, to inspire travel and enhance the travel experience. Their work leaves a lasting impression on our expert judges and readers.”

South African Airways offers the most daily flights from the U.S. to South Africa with daily nonstop service from New York-JFK Airport and daily nonstop service from Washington, DC-Dulles Airport to Accra, Ghana or Dakar, Senegal, with continuing service to Johannesburg. Via our Johannesburg hub, SAA links the world to over 75 destinations across the African continent and Africa’s
Indian Ocean islands. Onboard, SAA provides an in-flight experience designed for pure comfort for longhaul travel. Our customers enjoy a spacious Economy Class cabin, gourmet cuisine and a selection of complimentary spirits and award-winning South African wines and generous checked baggage allowance. Also included are individual audio / visual entertainment systems that deliver an extensive menu of first-run movies, music choices, and games.

South African Airways (SAA), South Africa’s national flag carrier and the continent’s most awarded airline, serves over 75 destinationsworldwide in  partnership with SA Express, Airlink and its low cost carrier Mango. In North America, SAA operates daily nonstop flights from New York-JFK and direct flights from Washington D.C.-IAD (via Accra, Ghana and Dakar, Senegal) to Johannesburg. SAA has partnerships with United Airlines, Air Canada and JetBlue Airways, American Airlines and Virgin America, which offer convenient
connections from more than 100 cities in the U.S. and Canada to SAA’s flights. SAA is a Star Alliance member and the recipient of the Skytrax 4-Star rating for 15 consecutive years.

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