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Obi Ozor Scoops Two Awards as ‘Young Business Leader of the Year’ & ‘Innovator of the Year’
December 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

Logistics Leader Secures Accolades at the CNBC All Africa Business Leaders Awards [AABLA] 2019

Obi Ozor – Young Business Leader of the Year

Lagos, Nigeria. December 6 2019. Co-founder and CEO of Kobo360, Obi Ozor, was last night named  ‘Young Business Leader of the Year’ and ‘Innovator of the Year’ at the 9th All Africa Business Leaders Awards [AABLA] in partnership with CNBC Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa. 

With over six years of logistics and supply chain experience, Obi Ozor, manages all key aspects of Kobo360 including operations, investments, compliance risk management and product growth. Prior to founding Kobo360, Obi was the Operations Coordinator at Uber Nigeria; his career also saw him work in investment banking at J.P. Morgan. In 2016, Obi left Uber and with his Co-founder Ife Oyedele II, Kobo360 was launched in a bid to disrupt Africa’s $150bn logistics sector through the power of technology. Since then, the team has raised $37.3m in institutional investment from global VCs, as well as build a truly pan-African logistics brand.  

Speaking on the double win, Kobo360 co-founder and CEO, Obi Ozor says, “I am extremely honoured to be the recipient of the ‘Young Business Leader’ and ‘Innovator of the Year’ awards, and grateful to CNBC Africa for supporting the Kobo360 narrative over the years as well as bringing Africa stories to Africans and the rest of the world. 

“Our story is one which young business leaders can resonate with – turning African problems into African opportunities, for the benefit of the entire continent and its people. However, in the logistics sector, our focus has not been exclusive to one group of people. Kobo360 is for our drivers, it is for SMEs and it’s also for major businesses who need to move goods. These are groups who have all felt the pain points of the current fragmented logistics sector and we are continuously committed to innovating around their needs.”

Backed by international and African investors, including Goldman Sachs, International Finance Corporation [IFC], Y Combinator and TLcom, Kobo360’s tech-enabled full truckload offering enables the development of an efficient supply chain for end-to-end long-haul freight operations, connecting and supporting cargo owners, truck owners & drivers, and cargo recipients at scale. To date, the company has moved 500Mkg of goods, aggregated a fleet of over 17,000 drivers and trucks, and services over 600 SMEs and works with over 80 large enterprises such as Dangote Group, DHL, Unilever, Olam, African Industries, Flour Mills of Nigeria, and Lafarge. With operations in Nigeria, Togo, Ghana and Kenya, the e-logistics company is building a Global Logistics Operating System [G-LOS] that will power trade and commerce across Africa and emerging markets.

Ozor concludes: “Winning this award would not have been possible without the inspiration I have received from my family, my Co-founder Ife Oyedele, the Kobo360 team located across Africa and of course our investors, for whom I have the deepest respect for. We will only get better at what we do and remain committed to building a world-class organisation that will drive efficiency, reliability and affordability across the global supply chain ecosystem.” 

The AABLA in Partnership with CNBC Africa is an empowerment driven initiative intended to distinguish and uphold the achievements of inspiring corporate front-runners on the African continent. 

Kobo360 is a digital logistics platform that aggregates end-to-end haulage operations to help cargo owners, truck owners and drivers, and cargo recipients to achieve an efficient supply chain framework. Developing an all-in-one logistics ecosystem, Kobo360 leverages data and technology to reduce logistics frictions, empowering rural farmers to earn more by reducing farm wastages and helping manufacturers of all sizes to find new markets. Kobo360 enables unprecedented efficiency and cost reduction in the supply chain, providing 360-visibility while delivering products of all sizes safely, on time and in full. The Kobo360 mission is to build the Global Logistics Operating System that will power trade and commerce across Africa and emerging markets. With operations in Nigeria, Togo, Ghana and Kenya, Kobo360 is one of the fastest growing tech start-ups out of Africa.

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Rasha Kelej, the CEO of Merck Foundation makes it to the list of 100 Most Influential Africans 2019, for empowering many women through Merck More Than a Mother Movement
December 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

Rasha Kelej has been recognized for her efforts to empower women in general and infertile women in particular through the “Merck More Than a Mother” campaign

NAIROBI, Kenya, December 10, 2019/ — Merck Foundation CEO, Rasha Kelej, featured in the list of 100 Most Influential Africans, released by New African Magazine, for poignant “Merck More Than a Mother” Movement; The campaign has been empowering childless women across Africa and Asia.

Merck Foundation CEO, Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother has been featured in the list of 100 Most Influential African 2019, released by New African Magazine .

Rasha Kelej has been recognized for her efforts to empower women in general and infertile women in particular through the “Merck More Than a Mother” campaign, which is a historic movement that aims to empower childless and infertile women through access to information, education and change of mind-sets.

Rasha Kelej, who hails from Egypt, commenting on her inclusion, emphasized, “I am thrilled and honored to receive this recognition and to be included in this prestigious list among such an eminent group of people. As an African and an Egyptian woman, I strongly feel the need to empower girls and women, to be able to help them reach their true potential. Through our Merck Mother Than a Mother Campaign, we have always strived to bring a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility on all levels: By improving awareness, training local experts in the fields of fertility care and media, building advocacy in cooperation with African First Ladies and women leaders and by supporting childless women in starting their own small businesses, in addition to empowering girls in Education and women in STEM fields. It’s all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child.”

She added, “this recognition will motivate me to do more. It is my turn now to empower other women in my beautiful continent, I promise to use my influence and experience to support women and girls as much as I can.”

H.E. PROF. GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of Malawi and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother said, “Congratulations to Dr Rasha for this recognition, she deserves it. We will continue to support our people. Africa needs women like her who are able to mentor others”.

Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of Health of Uganda said, “I would like to congratulate our adored Sister and distinguished global leader, Dr. Rasha Kelej upon this well-deserved achievement. She has beyond description worked hard to get on this list; serving Africa and the African People with honor, dignity, diligence and distinction. You make us ALL PROUD, Dr. Rasha”.

The list includes 100 personalities from various African countries, and from various fields like political, economic, social and sports. It includes many other prominent personalities of Africa like,
H. E. NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFO-ADDO, The President of Ghana was re-appointed as the Co-Chair of Sustainable Development Goals Advocate Group by UN Secretary General;
H.E. Paul Kagame, The President of Rwanda for his sheer dynamism and the impact his decisions have on other countries;
Mohamed ‘Mo’ Salah, Football Player from Egypt, for showcasing extra ordinary talent in the game. He has so many followers that he no longer belongs to Liverpool or for that matter, Egypt – he belongs to the world;
Alaa Salah, an activist from Sudan who is called ‘Lady Liberty’, one of the iconic symbols of Sudan Uprising;
Siya Kolisi, Captain of South African Rugby team came from a desperately poor beginning, his parents could not afford basic school fees, let alone his rugby kit. Fast forward 2019….he is the World Cup Champions Captain;
Eliud Kipchoge, from Kenya who has been crowned as Male Athlete of The Year by World Athletics;
Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General, United Nations is one of the most respected female figures in the world today for her determination to advance poverty eradication, gender equality and inclusive development in a peaceful world.
Thando Hopa, born with Albinism, this activist, model and professional lawyer from South Africa became a powerful voice and advocate for diversity and inclusion in the beauty and fashion industry, among others.

About ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign;
“Merck More Than a Mother” is a strong movement that aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and change of mind-sets. This powerful campaign supports governments in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe and effective fertility care. It defines interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention, management and male infertility. In partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information, Education & Gender, academia, policymakers, International fertility societies, media and art, the initiative also provides training for fertility specialists and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.

With “Merck More than a mother”, we have initiated a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility on all levels: By improving awareness, training local experts in the fields of fertility care and media, building advocacy in cooperation with African First Ladies and women leaders and by supporting childless women in starting their own small businesses. It’s all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child. 

The Ambassadors of “Merck More Than a Mother” are:

H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of BotswanaH.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The GambiaH.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique
H.E DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The First Lady of BurundiH.E. CONDÉ DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea ConakryH.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia
H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African RepublicH.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of LiberiaH.E AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADO, The First Lady of Niger
H.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, The First Lady of ChadH.E. PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of MalawiH.E FATIMA MAADA, The First Lady of Sierra Leone
H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo BrazzavilleH.E. DR. MAESAIAH THABANE, The First Lady of LesothoH.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGW, The First Lady of Zimbabwe
H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of GhanaH.E. KEÏTA AMINATA MAIGA, The First Lady of MaliH.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia

Merck Foundation provided for more than 140 candidates, three months to six months clinical and practical training for fertility specialists and embryologists in more than 35 countries across Africa and Asia such as: Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, CAR, Cote D’IVOIRE, DRC, Congo Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malaysia, Liberia, Mali, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Niger, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, The Gambia, Togo, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia & Zimbabwe.

Merck Foundation is making history in many African countries where they never had fertility specialists or specialized fertility clinics before ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ intervention, to train the first fertility specialists such as; in Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, Niger, Chad, Guinea, Ethiopia and Uganda. 

Merck Foundation launched new innovative initiatives to sensitize local communities about infertility prevention, male infertility with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and empowering infertile women as part of Merck more than a Mother COMMUNITY AWARENESS CAPAIGN, such as;

  • Merck More than a Mother media recognition award and health media training 
  • Merck More than a Mother fashion award 
  • Merck More than a Mother film award 
  • Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it
  • Children storybook, localized for each country
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University Of Toronto Creates Global Database Of Atrocities On Cameroon Crisis
December 9, 2019 | 0 Comments
This footage shows the destruction of Kuke Mbomo, 25km (16 miles) north of Mount Cameroon.Photo Credit BBC

(Toronto) On the eve of Human Rights Day 2019, University of Toronto faculty in Canada today

launch a global Database of Atrocities to collect and store documentation on killings and other

atrocities being perpetrated in the Anglophone Crisis in Cameroon, Africa. 

The information is being collected to counter the culture of impunity that has pervaded this crisis

since 2016. It is being collected in the spirit of promoting non-violence, justice, and peace.

The database will aggregate, verify, secure, and publish information about atrocities or crimes

against humanity committed by Cameroonian military and non-state armed groups. It is non-

partisan and apolitical.

All documentation will be securely stored and published online with four

main objectives in mind: international justice processes; a possible national truth, justice, and

reconciliation commission; advocacy, journalism, academic research; and deterrence from

further violence and gross impunity.

Individuals or organizations with photos, videos, documents, or other proof of atrocities from

October 2016 to present from Cameroon’s Anglophone North-West Region and South-West

Region, can anonymously and securely upload them to the database. 

Step 1: Anyone anywhere any time can upload photos, videos, and documents.

Step 2: The information is verified by a team of open source researchers.

Step 3: Once validated, the information is published online in the database and can be viewed by

anyone, anywhere, any time.

NO identifying information will be collected from people who upload. The Database of

Atrocities is hosted at University of Toronto because of its strong cybersecurity systems,

neutrality, and location in Canada.

No member of the database team is affiliated with the government of Cameroon or any other

warring party. Amnesty International’s Digital Verification Corps (University of California-

Berkeley, University of Toronto, University of Pretoria, University of Essex) in conjunction with

University of Toronto will be responsible for verification and publication. 

University of Toronto and its partner universities and nonprofits are committed to protecting

those suffering from violence and promoting human rights and peace.

To upload photos, videos, or documents to the database, go to:

https://cameroondatabase.ushahidi.io/posts/create/4

To view verified information, go to:

https://dataverse.scholarsportal.info/dataverse/Cameroon

For more information on the database, go to: 

https://research.rotman.utoronto.ca/Cameroon/

*Source University of Toronto

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Anti-French sentiments are a revolt against dubious French Policies In Africa -Ivorian Presidential Hopeful Mamadou Koulibaly to Emmanuel Macron
December 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Mamadou Koulibaly

Ivorian politician, economist and educationist Mamadou Koulibaly has urged French President, Emmanuel Macron to liberate Africa, especially francophone Africa, from the claws of France, and to stop meandering in the socio-political affairs of its former colonies.

In a video making rounds on social media, the founder of Liberté et Démocratie pour la République (LIDER) political party, roughly translated; Liberty and Democracy for the Republic warns that the new generation of Africans wants the freedom to make their own choices with leaders answerable to them and not to France .

In his outburst, the former speaker of Ivory Coast Parliament who was responding to Macron’s message wherein the latter called on those preaching anti-French sentiments in Francophone Africa to shut-up said there exist no such sentiments.

“Mr.  Macron, there are no anti-French sentiments here…here in Africa we have nothing against the French, they are here in their numbers, they create jobs, open up enterprises, pay taxes; we in turn work for them and with them and some of them to work for us. We are friends, we marry among ourselves and we live together here (Africa) as in France. So, there is no sentiment against France or French citizens,” Koulibaly says.

“What you regard as anti-French sentiments, in reality, is a revolt, a denial of France’s intervention on our economy and on our population,” he clarified.

He was categorical in accusing Macron for siding with African presidents to the detriment of the population 

Frowning at France’s dominating nature which transcends to the basic facets of life in most African states, from the naming of streets to high-states matters, the opposition politician who is  seeking to  capture Ivory Coast presidency come 2020 , said no matter how much instructions and orders Macron gives to African leaders, the revolts against France will continue.

Schooling Emmanuel macron on the history of slave trade and how his ancestors’ decisions robbed Africa of its youths, Mamadou Koulibaly said the spirit of liberty was well engraved in the minds of Africans, as just as France ancestors fought for their freedom and loyalty, so too will Africa.

Known for his strong views against French policies which stifled democracy and development in Africa, Mamadou Koulibaly may equally have been wounded with the expulsion of a lot time political associate of his Nathalie Yamb. While the Ivorian government has remained coy about the issue, there is strong believe that the expulsion of Nathalie was because of her acerbic critique of French policy in Africa.

“France continues to regard the African continent as its property,” Nathalie said at the  recent Russia-Africa summit in Sochi .

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New players to even out Africa’s investment battlefield in 2020
December 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

African Leaders attending a G7 Summit at a luncheon hosted by President Sisi of Egypt. Photo Credit Presidency South Africa

London 9 December 2019 – African markets will become increasingly attractive in 2020 at a time when wider global trends are more set against the interests of international businesses than they have been for many years. Fractious geopolitics in a US election year, a rising tide of global activism and a new level of cyber warfare are among the Top 5 risks for business in 2020, published today by Control Risks, the specialist global risk consultancy.

As Control Risks CEO Nick Allan points out, “populism, activism, protectionism, sanctions and political disruption remain the canvas onto which business tries to build global markets and supply chains. It has not been easy in 2019 and it’s going to get harder next year”.

While this outlook is prompting businesses to rethink their global strategies and footprint, across Africa, the continent’s traditional development partners – the EU, China and the US – are facing increasing competition on the ground from new players, such as Russia, the Gulf states and Turkey. Greater regional integration, through the African Continental Free Trade Area and regional blocs like the East African Community, is a welcome counterbalance to growing economic nationalism elsewhere in the world. For African governments and foreign investors able to navigate an increasingly complex and competitive landscape, opportunities are opening up.

“The standard narrative of US-China rivalry in Africa always looked like an over-simplification but is certainly outdated now. China’s engagement with Africa is undergoing a fundamental shift, the US is playing catch-up, and other countries are seeking to expand their influence in an increasingly multipolar landscape,” explains Barnaby Fletcher, Associate Director at Control Risks. “Geopolitical objectives are being supported by a flood of development finance, creating both opportunity and competition for private-sector players, “ added Fletcher.

The global Top 5 Risks for Business in 2020

The Top 5 risks are released as part of Control Risks’ annual RiskMap report, a global risk forecast for business leaders and policy makers across the world, published today.

  1. 1.    Geopolitics and the US campaign trail

The US election campaign will have a palpable impact on geopolitics in 2020. The drama of the campaign trail combined with the disruption of the impeachment process will reverberate through America’s global actions, with the White House using stunt diplomacy to try to distract from impeachment. At the same time US allies and adversaries such as North Korea, Iran or even the Islamic State will hedge against the most ideological election in 40 years and try to add pressure to an already heated electoral campaign. Such posturing will heavily influence the geopolitical risk landscape for business in 2020.

Across the world, social pressures and coordinated activism around issues like environmental protection, political and human rights, inequality and privacy are demanding more and more from businesses, not just governments. In the street, in shareholder meetings and in your company, the activist society will bang ever harder on the boardroom table in 2020. Being ethical is no longer enough. Being compliant is no longer enough. This uncodified morass of social, moral and political accountability will consume business leadership in 2020 and beyond.

Cyber threats in 2020 will align as never before to provoke a high impact, cyber-enabled assault on critical infrastructure. Western deterrence has failed to stem the tide and hostile actors are using ever harder methods. The US will retaliate in ways that show the world it cares. In theatres of strategic conflict, such as the Gulf, unpalatable military measures will give way to cyber-attacks. And so will begin a new cycle of escalation: the west’s cyber-capable rivals and their proxies will raise their game, with unpredictable consequences. If leading companies are attaining credible cyber resilience, national infrastructures across the globe are not and present the main vulnerability in the international cyber conflict.

Even the most optimistic forecasts say global economic growth in 2020 will be dismally low or, as our partners at Oxford Economics put it, “grinding.” This, before any account of an economic shock that could shake an uneasy global economy. If global GDP takes a turn for the worse, we cannot expect a fragmented world to craft a coordinated policy response. Governments facing polarisation domestically and bilateral opportunism internationally will find it difficult to rally in the face of economic hardship. The challenge will be particularly difficult for commodity-dependent economies in the Middle East which have not fully recovered from the oil price crash in 2015 or which are grappling with sanctions, youth unemployment and social unrest. 

At the helm of some of the world’s most important countries is a crop of leaders who can’t see further than the next crisis. For them, tactics will trump strategy. 2020 is shaping up to be a year when the brakes on incident escalation are absent. This is a world where resilience at the state level is weak, and long-term solutions take too much time to find. Whether it’s a global trade war, a cyber attack or a regional border skirmish, things could escalate faster in the absence of any international oversight. Business will need a strategy for an intensely tactical world.

About Control Risks

Control Risks is a specialist global risk consultancy that helps to create secure, compliant and resilient organisations in an age of ever-changing risk. Working across disciplines, technologies and geographies, everything we do is based on our belief that taking risks is essential to our clients’ success. We provide our clients with the insight to focus resources and ensure they are prepared to resolve the issues and crises that occur in any ambitious global organisation. We go beyond problem-solving and provide the insight and intelligence needed to realise opportunities and grow.

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Pan-African PR and Marketing Trends in 2019: A Snapshot
December 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Jordan Rittenberry*

Jordan Rittenberry, CEO of Edelman Africa
Jordan Rittenberry, CEO of Edelman Africa

It’s that time of year again when we look back at the past twelve months and plan for what’s to come. In terms of corporate communications and brand marketing, we’ve barely had time to catch our breath as 2019 has passed by at breakneck speed.

The year has been dominated by new social media platforms; changes in influencer marketing approaches and regulations; as well as an increased focus on transparency and trustworthiness from corporates.

As we venture into a new decade full of unknowns, we look back on the trends that have dominated the industry over the past year, and those that are set to continue into the 20’s.

Artificial intelligence and Big Data

Marketing and PR campaigns are rooted in data. While this has always been true, there is now a strong focus on using quantitative data to inform strategies and campaigns. One of the many benefits of the internet age is that huge amounts of data are now sitting at our fingertips. When presenting a strategy to a potential or existing client, it’s no longer good enough to base the campaign on perceived data and insights – you need to back it up with hard facts and solid insights.

This is also translating to the media. Journalists are after stories that are supported by analysed data that they can use in turn to inform larger stories. Internationally, we’ve seen decreased levels of trust in the media due to the prevalence of ‘fake news’. However, the opposite is true for Africa, where news organisations and journalists are often more trusted than governments. People are also engaging more with the news regularly by sharing articles and their views on popular issues on social media.  

The impact of Generation Z

Millennials may have been the ones who adopted and created the technology that modern life finds its axis on, but Generation Z was born with access to technology that had been tried and tested by the generation before. Subsequently, they expect everything to be digitised, personalised and optimised.

While the first wave of influencers, most of which are millennials, created hyper-curated and edited Instagram feeds aimed at reaching as many people as possible, Gen-Z is developing minimally edited Tik Tok videos. According to Sensor Tower, Tik Tok has now been downloaded 1.5 billion times and is outperforming Instagram in terms of new downloads. As the platform is focused on local content and packed with additional features, many see this as a great alternative for young content creators, and it is seeing significant uptake across the African continent, with young Kenyans and Nigerians in particular.

While influencer marketing remains a go-to strategy for many brands, this doesn’t look the same as it did a year ago. Rather than working with influencers who have the most followers, brands have over the course of the last year started migrating towards influencers who are the right brand-fit. This involves finding influencers that are already having similar conversations to the brand with their followers, and are thus speaking to the right audiences, which means they can convert from interested eyes to customers. Brands are finding more value in influencers with lower reach but higher levels of engagement.

Brand Morality

A trend that piqued everyone’s interest in late 2018 was that of brand morality – brands taking a public stance on important social and environmental issues. Nike received worldwide attention, both good and bad, when it included controversial US football player Colin Kaepernick in an advert while he was protesting against police brutality. The trend continued into 2019 as more brands focused on their environmental impact and started transitioning to renewable packaging.

We’ve also seen brands make social statements in the African context. KFC stood up for the environment by phasing out plastic straws; Unilever committed to making 100% of their packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable; and Standard Bank’s chief executive made a public statement condemning xenophobic violence in South Africa.  

People are speaking up, organising, and using their influence to effect change through the most effective means available to them—including influencing their employers to use their influence. According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, 75% of South African employers believe that their employers need to respond to critical industry, political and national issues. Employees want to work for a company that offers leadership, and one that stands up for them and their shared values.

These expectations also translate to a company’s bottom line as consumers have turned to belief-driven buying habits. More than half of consumers believe that brands can be more successful than the government in taking action to address social problems. 

As a result of the changing consumer, executives are expected to have a voice on societal issues – whether these be xenophobia, sustainability or economic issues – and to use that voice to effect change.

Trust and Reputation

With so many voices in traditional and social media keeping a much closer eye on corporates, the C-suite has had to start taking its reputation management and crisis communications strategies seriously and ensure that their communications are transparent. Consumers are looking to business leaders as drivers of the economy in the absence of clear and progressive government leadership.

While the trust in and reputation of a brand ultimately sits with its executives, we’ve also seen concerns emerging around how brands are associated with influencers. The Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) in July formally enforced regulation to differentiate between organic and branded content, holding both brands and influencers accountable for transparency. We believe this will ultimately lead to more authentic and relatable campaigns.

While 2019 has been a year of change for the public relations industry, strides have been made in ensuring trust between the public and corporates. This will likely only improve in 2020, as we see the removal of ‘likes’ from Instagram, corporates coming together to discuss sustainability at WEF Davos and further emphasis on using data analytics to inform campaigns.

*The author is CEO of Edelman Africa

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NDI and the Kofi Annan Foundation Deploy Joint International Delegation to Assess the Pre-Election Environment Ahead of Legislative Elections in Guinea
December 9, 2019 | 0 Comments
Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate for Africa at the NDI, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, former President of Nigeria, and Nicephore Soglo, former President of Benin are part of the delegation.Photo credit twitter GEJ
Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate for Africa at the NDI, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, former President of Nigeria, and Nicephore Soglo, former President of Benin are part of the delegation.Photo credit twitter GEJ

Conakry, Guinea – The National Democratic Institute (NDI) and Kofi Annan Foundation (KAF) will send a joint international delegation to Guinea to assess preparations for legislative elections currently scheduled for February 2020. The assessment will take place from December 9-13, 2019. 

The high-level delegation consists of the following members: 

  1. H.E.  Nicéphore Soglo, Former President of Benin;
  2. H.E. Goodluck Jonathan, Former President of Nigeria;
  3. Ambassador Medina Wesseh, Secretary General of the Mano River Union;
  4. Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate and Regional Director for Central and West Africa (NDI);
  5. Mr. Sébastien F. W. Brack, Head of Elections and Democracy Programme (KAF);
  6. Dr. Sophia Moestrup, Deputy Director for Central and West Africa (NDI);
  7. Mr. Paul Komivi Sémeko Amegakpo, Resident Director in Guinea (NDI).

The delegation will meet with the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), ruling and opposition political parties, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders in Conakry to assess preparations for the legislative elections and explore ways of fostering peaceful and credible polls. 

“Guinea’s February 2020 elections will be an important step in strengthening the country’s democracy and giving voice to citizens through their elected representatives. As Guinean citizens prepare to go to the polls, a peaceful and inclusive electoral process is critically important,” said H.E. Nicéphore Soglo, former President of Benin Republic. 

“Successful elections and democratic progress in Guinea would bode well for West Africa and other parts of the continent as Africans gain more confidence in choosing their political leaders through regularly held and meaningful elections,” said H.E. Goodluck Jonathan, former President of Nigeria. “Our delegation looks forward to meeting with various Guinean electoral stakeholders.”  

Prior to departing Guinea, the mission will present its findings publicly at a press conference in Conakry on December 13, 2019. 

NDI has organized more than 150 international election observation missions around the globe, earning a reputation for impartiality and professionalism. The NDI/KAF mission to Guinea will conduct its activities in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct adopted by the United Nations in 2005 and will base its findings and recommendations on Guinean laws and international standards for elections. All activities will be conducted on a strictly nonpartisan basis and without interfering in the election process.

*Source NDI

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Cameroon: SDF Party urges Government to Postpone Twin Elections Next Year
December 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

SDF National Chairman Ni John Fru Ndi (3)
SDF National Chairman Ni John Fru Ndi

 The SDF Party, one of the leading opposition political parties in Cameroon has called on the government to postpone the upcoming Legislative and Municipal elections that have been scheduled for February 9, 2020.

Speaking at an event in Cameroon’s political capital Yaounde, the National Vice President of the party Honorable Joshua Osih noted that elections should be postponed until peace returns to the English-speaking regions.

To him, the SDF can only be part of the elections if and only if the situation in the affected regions improves because insecurity will not allow their militants in the regions to vote. “As we speak about 30 of our supporters have been kidnapped by secessionists simply because they tried to become candidates in the SDF’s lists. We have had many other problems as far as the compilations of different documents in those parts of the regions are concerned,” He said.

He added that, “The fact that we have submitted candidacy files does not mean we will be there on February 9. We remind Cameroonians that only person capable of putting an end to the war in the English-speaking regions is President Biya, and what we hope is that he will do so before Election Day. If he does not, it will be impossible for us to participate in the elections because we do not want bloodshed.”

To him, the SDF Party is there and ever ready to contribute to the peace process that will lead to the complete restoration of peace in the North West and South West Regions.

Cameroon’s Minister of Communication Rene Emmanuel Sadi however, in an outing has indicated that upcoming elections in the country scheduled for February 9 next year will go ahead. To him, the government has no plans of postponing the elections to another date.

Should the SDF Party move forward with this decision to boycott the elections, they will be doing a double U-turn after indicated that they will participate in the elections when they had first decided to boycott it.

There have been growing calls for most and all the opposition parties to boycott the upcoming elections as a solution is yet to be gotten for the crisis in the Anglophone regions, and the issue with Boko Haram in the Far North of the country.

Earlier, one of the upcoming and vibrant opposition parties, the Cameroon Renaissance Party (MRC) of Professor Maurice Kamto indicated that his party will sit out the elections. Maurice Kamto cited the difficulties faced in the compilation of documents, the non-revision of the Electoral Code, as well as the refusal to stop the crisis in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon as the reasons why the party will not be participating in the upcoming elections.

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Cameroon: NCHRF accuses Soldiers, Separatists,of Rights Violations in Anglophone Regions
December 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Dr. Chemuta Divine Banda, Chairman of the Commission,
Dr. Chemuta Divine Banda, Chairman of the Commission,

The National Commission of Human Rights and Freedoms, NCHRF has in a recent report published on human rights situation prevailing in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon accused security personnel and separatist fighters of human rights abuse.

The two hundred and thirty-five page report made public by Dr. Chemuta Divine Banda, Chairman of the Commission, focused on violence in the English-speaking regions, violence against women, business and human rights, poor detention conditions, and election as well as other issues including the closure of schools in some areas, judicial delays, and non-enforcement of court decisions.

The report revealed that in 2018, 193 civilians were killed in the North West and South West Regions with 114 of the killings attributed to separatist groups, 69 to the defense and security forces, and 10 on unknown persons. It adds that 50 security personnel were killed as a result of separatist attack while two gendarmes were killed by their colleagues.

In Bali, North West Region of Cameroon, the report indicated that due to persistent fighting and in addition to the 52 deaths, 50 unidentified military and separatist fighters were killed while some 194 suspected separatist fighters were killed due to clashes with security forces.

The report also noted the burning down of markets, public buildings, village communities, kidnapping of members of the educational community, lawyers, and administrative, traditional, political, and religious authorities.

Dr. Chemuta has blamed the continuous human rights violations of the continuous use of violence which to him has led to the emergence of new groups of armed persons aside the initial ones.

To him, the confusion on both sides has brought about suspicion where people are killed mercilessly. He said, “Even our security and defense forces would look at the population in the village as supporting the Amba boys and when they want to sometimes attack it is indiscriminate — they just attack and kill without making sure that they identify the people who are committing the offense and deal only with them…the same thing will be with the Amba boys who will suspect some villagers of cooperating with the security forces committing atrocities on them.”

He added that because of the vast scope of human rights and other difficulties faced as a result of limited resources, and threats in some areas, the commission was unable to document and denounce certain abuses recorded adding that for such lapses to be curbed, the collective effort of all is required.

Dr. Chemuta noted that the only solution to the problems affecting the country is an effective decentralization (the commission noted over centralization of power in Yaounde where the regions do not have the right to decide on what obtains in the region) that will curb the rate of bad governance which has further compounded the problems in the country.

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Cameroon: Peace starts from within before the community –Mbeng Primus tells Peace advocates
December 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

As a peace advocate, you need to first find peace within yourself before you get to your community

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Participants at the end of the training in B’da

Since 2016 with the emergence of the current armed conflicts in the South West and North West Regions, the image of the country as an avenue of peace, among many troubled countries, and Cameroonians as “tolerant and peace-loving people” has changed for the worst.

In joining voices and to move the talk for the need for a peaceful resolution to the current violent conflicts in two English-speaking regions of the country, and across the national territory, the Nkafu Policy Institute of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation has at Mansel Hotel, North West Region of Cameroon trained peace advocates on the peaceful resolution of conflicts in the country.

Mbeng Primus, Lecturer at the Department of International Relations and Conflict Resolution, Founder of Young Initiative for Peace Building, and Conflict Resolution said youths need to be committed and serious in their actions of peace building — because it is only a serious minded people that can enable peace in our context today.

“Peace advocates need to go down to the grass root level, and give community practical skills that will enable them achieve peace. “We have to go down to the population and talk to them of the importance of peace building, peace promotion, and peace sustainability.”

“I expect them (trainees) to be peace ambassadors, peace advocates – as they go to their communities they must make people feel the need for peace. Peace starts from within, and if they cannot transform what they have learned within them then they were not our right target but I believe they are going to transfer what they have learned in their various communities.”

To Dr Bokalli, “You first have to identify the origin of the conflict before you can solve a crisis as it will help you to solve the conflict. Communication is equally another vital aspect in the solving of the present crisis, but we have to know how to communicate and who is communicating.”

All this should go with commitment he said as it shows the desire to end the conflict in the South West and North West Regions of the country. 

“It is all about networking with our peers, and also creating forums in which we can engage with others”, said Justin Berinyuy, CHRDA. “I believe that such training is very vital which will help us create impact in our various communities to look for lasting solution to the crisis in the English-speaking regions.”

The training is in line with a recently instituted project titled “promoting lasting peace in Cameroon.” Within this project, the Nkafu policy institute is hosting two leadership and capacity-building workshops for peace advocates.

Participants told to embrace peace

The training brought together individuals from diverse backgrounds, civil society organizations, peace and development experts interested in contributing to peaceful and sustainable solutions to the current destructive conflict in the Anglophone Regions, and Cameroon at large.

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First G20 Sherpa Meeting held in Riyadh
December 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – 5 December 2019

G20 Sherpas, the official representatives of G20 Member country Leaders, met for the first time under the Saudi G20 Presidency in Riyadh this week. They were joined by invited guest countries, as well as, international and regional organizations to begin discussions towards “Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century for All”.

The pivotal role of the G20 Sherpas is to help pave the way to the G20 Leader’s Summit by progressing policy discussions in meetings throughout the year. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will host a series of Sherpa Meetings during its Presidency culminating in the Leader’s Summit in Riyadh on 21-22 November 2020.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will facilitate the dialogue process to guide the overarching policy discussions. Building on previous G20 achievements and reflecting the spirit of collaboration among our Leaders, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is determined to build consensus around solutions to address our common challenges.

The first Sherpa meeting focused on the aims of the 2020 G20 Presidency year: 

• Empowering People, by creating the conditions in which people– especially women and youth– can live, work and thrive, with discussions on policies related to access to opportunities for all, sustainable development goals, trade and investment, financial inclusion, employment, women empowerment, health, education, and tourism.

• Safeguarding the Planet, by fostering collective efforts to protect our environment, with discussions on environment, climate, water, food, and energy.

• Shaping New Frontiers, by adopting long-term and bold strategies to share the benefits of innovation and technological advancement with a strong focus on digital economy.

The meeting was chaired by Fahad Almubarak, the Saudi Sherpa, who elaborated: “The G20 has a responsibility to the world to overcome current and emerging issues, to tackle global challenges together, and to make the world a better place for all.”

Further information about the G20, including the Presidency Agenda and full program of events, can be found at www.g20.org

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Belgium gives Rwanda inventory of artifacts taken during colonialism
December 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

King Kigeli's crown is believed to be among rwandan artifacts in beligian museums (Illustration from the, Internt)
King Kigeli’s crown is believed to be among Rwandan artifacts in Belgian museums (Illustration from the, Internet)

Belgium through Royal Museum for Central Africa presented Rwanda with a list of artifacts that were taken by Belgian colonial masters during colonialism period.

The Museum’s director Guido Gryseels handed a USB containing the list to Director General of The institute of Museums of Rwanda, Ambassador Robert Masozera on Thursday in the capital Kigali.

Guido said this move is a first step towards the negotiations of bringing back all Rwandan relics stored in Belgian museums.

“It is common that these African historical heritage be brought in Africa from Europe. Some African countries have set up commissions to assess their artifacts that are kept in European museums”, Guido said during handover ceremony

Among  Rwandan artifacts that are believed to be in Belgian museums include traditional objects like drums, utensils, royal emblems, King Kigeli IV Rwabugili’s crown, colonial archives, images, videos and others.

It is believed that the body of one of the last king of Rwanda, Yuhi V Musinga was taken to Belgium, but neither Rwanda nor Belgium confirmed that.

Ambassador Masozera commended this gesture from Belgian authorities. He said  it will pave a way to negotiations in order to see how to bring back those  artifacts where they belong.

“They have plenty of our archives include those which were used by authorities, geology…they have a map that shows what is inside our land. That map can help us to identify where is diamond, gold etc.”

Belgium colonized Rwanda from the end of first world war up to 1962 when it gained independence.

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