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Cameroon:U.S Embassy awards 42 Million FCFA to organizations for health, community development
October 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos FOFUNG

Ambassador Peter Barlerin (Photo credit: US embassy Yaounde Twitter handle)

U.S. Embassy in Yaounde, political capital of Cameroon on Thursday October 17, awarded over 42 million FCFA to seven Cameroonian organizations working for the development, health, and prosperity of their communities. 

Ambassador Peter Barlerin announced the recipients at a ceremony at the embassy, as one example of the commitment of the United States to its partnership with Cameroon.  This initiative complements much larger-scale U.S. health and humanitarian assistance to Cameroon.

“We know that Cameroonians are the ones best able to bring sustainable solutions to the challenges their country faces,” Ambassador Barlerin said. 

The grants are part of two funds:  The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program, which supports communities showing initiative to invest in their own development and growth, and The Julia Taft Refugee Fund, a fund to support gaps in larger assistance programs for refugees.

This year, six projects will benefit from the Self-Help Program.  They will improve access to clean water, provide classrooms for children, and increase economic opportunities in the Adamaoua, East, South, and Southwest Regions.  In the Self-Help Program, community members agree to provide labor, materials, technical, and/or financial contributions to the project, ensuring a high level of community investment and participation.

In one of the Self-Help projects, a community association will construct modern fish smoking stoves and train people in five villages in the South Region about microcredit and microfinance opportunities.  In another project, a cooperative will disinfect eight water sources and teach people about safe water hygiene in three villages in the East Region.

The Julia Taft Refugee Fund, named after a former Assistant Secretary of State, will help give out-of-camp Central African Republic refugee women in the Adamaoua Region ways to generate income for themselves.

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South Sudan:UNSC, Machar in clashes over formation of unity govt by Nov 12
October 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Riek Machar .Photo credit AFP

Juba – The United Nations Security Council has insisted the South Sudanese warring parties should form a unity government by November 12 with no delay, while opposition leader Riek Machar is rejecting the date and , demanding a three-months extension.

The UN Security Council visits comes amid a mounting international pressure on South Sudanese leaders to settle outstanding issues and establish a transitional government by November 12.

The unity government, to be led by president Kiir and deputized by Machar, as part of the deal signed in 2018, would also accommodate several opposition groups in a three – year administration expected to usher the country into democratic elections and pave way for development.

The key issues to the formation of a unity government, including the security arrangements; resolving of the number of states and their boundaries, which haven’t been completed despite earlier extension from May 12.

A similar arrangement in then 2015 which provided for two armies in the country ended with heavy fighting in the capital, following a year after only three – months when Machar joined president Kiir in transitional government.

A unity government formation’s declaration came after a meeting between a delegation of members of the UNSC led by South Africa and United States and parties to the revitalized peace agreement in Juba on Sunday.

The UNSC said it will not accept more delays to the formation of a unity government, while threatening to impose sanctions on leaders if a government is not formed by November 12, urging the parties to set aside their disagreements for the sake of peace.

However, designated vice president, Dr. Riek Machar says the security arrangements and the number of states and their boundaries should be completed first the formation of a unity government.

Machar decries that the issues of security arrangements and the states were the cause of 2016 crisis, and such may replicate the same problem.

“The critical issues must be resolved,” said Machar during a briefing by a delegation of the UN Security Council. The security arrangements must be in place at least or the ceasefire which we have been enjoying for this whole year will be raptured,” he echoed.

Speaking to reporters, South African Ambassador to the Nations, Jerry Mathews Matjila says “there are minimum conditions for the parties to into November 12.”

“What Dr. Riek Machar wants is not impossible but we need political leaders who can compromise,” Amb. Mathews told the press at the end of their one – day visit.

South African diplomat further said the United Nations Security Council and the region will support the peace process in the world’s youngest nation.

“There should be no more extensions……. the remaining issues of the number of states, the boundaries and other things can be discussed by inclusive South Sudanese government,” said Amb. Mathews. If any leader needs security, we will give security. The United Nations can provide security, so the major was security. The government says we are committed, any number of people for protection is available.”

According to Mathews, the international community doesn’t see good reasons to delay the formation of the transitional government in South Sudan.

“We don’t anticipate that the remaining problems are so huge to not able South Sudan to move to November 12,” said Mathews.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft said South Sudan leaders should form a unity transitional government by November 12.

Craft further called on the parties to the peace deal to start making progress on the number of states and security arrangements.

The US diplomat pointed out that the UN Security Council delegation was encouraged by President Kiir’s recommitment to the revitalized peace agreement.

“We are disappointed by a statement from Dr. Riek Machar that the ceasefire would be in jeopardy when the unity government is formed by November 12,” said Craft. She stressed that the UN Security Council supports the formation of the unity government as originally planned.

But ex-rebel leader Machar says he will not be part of a unity government next month if established without the integration of the army force, a key condition of a peace accord signed last year.

“We in the SPLM-IO, our colleagues, would not be there, do not blame us because we don’t want to put the country into crisis,” said Machar, stressing that the aspect needed for the establishment of such a government is not there.”

But the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) said that the problems identified by Machar can be solved by the November deadline.

 “Now it is time to make a compromise necessary for the formation of the transitional government of national unity,” said Craft, the U.S Ambassador, as they are still holding to the November 12 deadline. “We expect both the government and the oppositions to unify together and to be able to put their people first.”

Despite, Machar’s refusal, the president Kiir’s administration and other opposition groups are ready to form the unity government as schedule, according to the country’s Information Minister Michael Makuei.

“The advice given to us by the UN Security Council, is that no change of schedule, no change of the program – you are advised to advised to establish your RTGoNU on the 12th of November,” Makuei told reporters, after a meeting between president’s administration and the UNSC teams.

President Kiir and Machar, including other parties signed a revitalized peace deal in September 2018 after a string of failed deals to end a civil war that has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands, uprooted a third of the population from their homes and ruined the country’s economy.

In May, the two principals agreed to form a unity government in six months and again, in September, reiterated that they will establish a unity transitional government by November 12 as part of the deal.

However, the deal has stalled because the government has said it does not have the finances to fund the disarmament and integration of the army.

Machar met with president Kiir on Saturday to discuss the security arrangements, include the states and boundaries issue, as crucial components of the pact, but they could not come to an agreement on the issues.

Country’s Cabinet Affairs Minister, Martin Elia said the head of national army Jok Riak has assured them that 3000 members of a VIP protection force will be ready before November 12.

“Machar should not complain about the delay in implementing some of the key mechanisms because he has representatives in all the committees,” said Minister Elia, who is also the Secretary for the National Pre – Transitional Committee (NPTC), a body tasked with the implementation of the revitalized peace deal.

The UN Security Council advised Machar’s side to join the government so that the government is set up and if any problems, then they will be in a position to resolve them amicably.

The revitalized peace deal is seen a significant milestone as it provides a clear roadmap for peace, political transformation, security sectors reforms, healing and reconciliation process, disarmament and compensation in the horn of Africa’s country.

South Sudan secured independence from north Sudan in 2011 after decades of a scorched – earth civil war that has killed two million lives but descended into its own political conflict in late 2013 after president Kiir sacked Dr. Machar as vice president.

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Rwanda inaugurates an inland port worth 35 million USD
October 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

President Kagame (second left) with DP World CEO Bin Sulayem (third) touring Kigali Logistics Platform

Global trade enabler DP World inaugurated  Kigali Logistics Platform, an inland port which targets to link Rwanda to regional ports like Mombasa and Dar es Salaam and ease transportation costs from the coast.

The port was inaugurated on Monday by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, and DP World Chairman and CEO, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem.

The facility, which has been operational since September 2018 in test mode, has an annual capacity of 50,000 TEUs. When operating at full capacity, it has the potential to save Rwandan businesses up to US$50 million a year in logistics costs.

Since the commencement of its operations in the Rwandan capital last year, Kigali Logistics Platform management says it has reduced truck-turnaround time which used to be an average of 10-14 days to  three days.

President Paul Kagame lauded the facility and said it is in line with African Continental Free Trade Area that will come into force next year.

“The future of trade and integration on our continent is the African Continental Free Trade Area, which is already in force. Trading will commence in July next year. But trade agreements and economic policies won’t have much impact, without actual infrastructure”, he said

He called on Rwandan business people to make use of the port and expand their businesses even beyond.

“We therefore want to challenge our business people and investors, starting with the industries located in this neighbourhood and from the region and beyond, to make full use of this facility.There is no excuse not to pursue the vast opportunities available to us”, he added

DP World Chairman and CEO, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said that they want to help Rwanda in its ambitions to establish itself as a key services and trade hub for the region.

He emphasized that their target is not only Rwanda but also other countries in the region that will be using Kigali inland port.

Kigali Logistics Platform serves as a gateway to the heart of Africa, connecting Rwanda to neighbouring countries including Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. The facility will also access the port of Mombasa in Kenya and Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania, securing two trade gateways to the sea.

The railway from Mombasa port in Kenya will pass through Uganda to Rwanda and also the railway from Dar Es Salaam to Kigali is under construction and will have its final cargo rail siding located at Kigali Logistics Platform.

Linking railways to the Kigali Logistics Platform has the potential to dramatically reduce logistics costs for exports and imports via international gateways on the coast.

At present it costs three times more to transport a container from Kigali to Dar Es Salaam as it does to transport the same container from Dar Es Salaam to Shanghai.

This  $35 million project spans over 130,000 square metres, including a 12,000 square metre container yard and a 19,600 square metre warehousing facility.

DP World will be managing this port for 25 years, and after Rwanda Government will take over.

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Nigeria Gov’t Pledges Full Support All Africa Music Awards
October 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

The Federal Government of Nigeria has promised its full support for the successful hosting of the 2019 All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA), as the country prepares to host the glamorous event in Lagos 20-23 November 2019, with the theme: ”Feel Africa”.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the promise in a statement in Lagos on Sunday. The statement on 20th October, 2019 was signed by Segun Adeyemi, Special Assistant To The President (Media) Office of The Minister of Information and Culture Lagos said: “When you look at the All Africa Music Awards, it’s one of the biggest awards for the music industry in Africa, and what government has done in the past is to provide the enabling environment for the awards to take place”

”We provided support services for AFRIMA, we gave them the backing they need and I think it’s on record that the AFRIMA editions that have been held in Nigeria have been among the most successful.

”This year again, we are ready to partner AFRIMA professionally, give them the maximum support such as effective media coverage and also help them in reaching out to other critical stakeholders,” the Minister said.

He said part of the reasons why Nigeria has successfully hosted the music awards is because the country has relaxed its visa regime, with the visa on arrival policy, thus making it easier for people to come in.

AFRIMA, which was first held in 2014, was established in collaboration with the African Union (AU) to reward and celebrate musical talents and creativity in Africa as well as to promote African Cultural Heritage.

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Pan African Human Rights Forum Underway in Banjul
October 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay 

The 65th Ordinary Session of The African Commission on Human and People’s Right (ACHPR) has kickoff in Banjul on Monday 21st October, 2019 at Kairaba Beach Hotel.

ACHPR on 21st October- 10 November, 2019 has brought together state parties, civil society member and human right defenders across the world to discuss on human rights and development across Africa. It is been held under the theme: “The year of refugees, returnees and internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to forced Displacement in Africa”

Hon. Justice Sylvain Ore, President of the African Court on Human and People’s Right said there can be no sustainable peace without efficient justice and that without sustainable peace development will be inevitably compromised.

He pointed out that this statement is more or less the official slogan of the African Union, whose Agenda 2063 includes peace and human rights as conditions for the realization of the social-economic and infrastructural development of the continent, its citizens.

He stated that in situation of refugees in Africa is a consequence of constant conflicts, adding that African should focus more on the causes of the conflicts and the most efficient ways of resolving them.

According to him, humanitarian crises and the incessant flow of refugees in Africa are mainly due to conflicts caused by serious and massive violations of human rights, the resultant of injustice or justice denied or wrongly applied.

Hon. Minata Samate Cessouma, Commissioner for Political Affairs African Union Commission explained that in 2015 African head of State and government adopted Agenda 2063 as the continental’s development blueprint for the next 50 years.

She pointed out that this aspiration puts emphasis on the need to build a culture of human rights as one of the durable ways of realizing a united prosperous and peaceful Africa.

“Our gathering here today is evidence of our collective dedication and commitment to this vision and the union’s broader efforts towards the Africa We Want”

She added that: “As we proceed with the implementation of the process of Agenda 2063, we must admit the challenges faced by our beloved continent in the promotion and protection of human and people’s rights, this requires us to focus our eyes on how best to advance rights that address underdevelopment, poverty, inequality, marginalization and exclusion on our continent as we make concerted efforts towards effective implementation of Agenda 2063”.

She stressed that they have to redouble their efforts to ensure that Africans enjoy the right to food, water, sanitation, housing, education, heath, decent clothing and clean environment.

Mr. Mahamane Cisse-Gouro, Chief Africa Branch of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights pointed out that this gathering is an opportunity to reflects on the achievements and challenges that continue to face since the adaptation of the OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa 50 years ago and the African Union Convention on Internally Displaced Persons (the Kampala Convention) in 2009.

He noted that these landmarks instruments adopted to address the situation of refugees, returnees and internal displaced persons in Africa are not adhering to by many state parties.

He lamented that refugees and migrants have increasingly become the target of violence and harassment, they are rejected, persecuted and treated like criminals and many migrants live and work in situations of extreme vulnerability.

Cisse-Gouro, pointed out that those in irregular situation are unable to access shelter, healthcare, education or other basic services.

Declaring the session open Dr. Isatou Touray, Vice President of The Gambia said this session is extremely important for the Africa continent to discuss human rights issues highlight the progress been made and challenges for building Africa we want for present and  future.

She said the increase of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons continues to be great concerns as African as situation of millions of people as IDPs from within and outside their territories continues to be manifested yearly on the continent.

“On result conflicts in South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Mali and Cameroon pose serious challenges on the continent,”

She stressed that African as a continent needs to address the deep rooted of the conflicts and finds a durable solutions for them so that citizens can live in dignity.

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2nd Ahmadiyaa Peace Conference Africa Hosted By Gambia
October 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

The Gambia hosted the 2nd Ahmadiyaa Peace Conference Africa on 19th October, 2019.

 The Second Peace Conference in Africa organized by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at. The event is aimed at promoting peace in Africa and also to recognize the efforts of people working towards the advancement of peace and other humanitarian services in Africa.

 It was held under the theme: “The Islamic Solution to World Peace” attracted diverse religious faithful’s, academia, civil societies, state and local authorities in a bid to promoting and nurturing a peaceful society for all.

  In his welcoming remarks, Baba F Trawally, Amir of Ahmadiyaa Muslim Jama’at The Gambia said today event is the second of its kind in Africa, after the first one was successful held in Ghana.

According to him,  the Ahmadiyaa Muslim Jama’at global strive to spread the message of peace is not something new, as Hazrat Mirza Masroor  Ahmad is champion the global drive for the attainment not just world peace but for the realization and observance of each individual and also for global peace.

He explained that it is in this spirit the he wrote letters to various heads of state and religious leaders’ around the world including the president of US, Prime minister of UK and King of Saudi Arabia amongst others preaching peace and also how we can save the world from disasters and the destructions of war thereby paving the way for lasting peace in the world.

Amir Trawally stressed that Ahmadiyaa Muslim Jama’at worldwide is a very peaceful sect within Islam and it is in that spirit the Jama’at is striving to bring the world under the banner of God almighty which is peace, love, tolerance, brotherhood, unity and diversity.

He pointed out that the motto of the Jama’at is ‘love for all, hatred for none’, usually they organise  such events in various part of the world, as Islam is a religion of peace the founder of Islam Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) preach and spread peace look after and care the poor needy and the welfare of everyone.

 “As a nation and continent it is our duty to always preach and spread peace in our society and community and the peace we are bless with should be jealously guarded because without peace there can’t be any meaningful development,” he stressed.

Cherno Sulayman Jallow, chairman of Constitutional Review Commission admitted that mankind lived in a trouble world, a world that has many scars a world that needs serious souls searching and a world that needs to understand its purpose, a world that is gradually and consistently losing not only it focus but also turning its attention back away from God and the teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

He pointed out that: “We live in a world that is in competition with itself and one wander with regard to what, a world where profit is put before soul, respect,  honesty, dignity and integrity an indeed pick against mankind especially the most downtrodden in the society, we have a serious problem,”

Justice Jallow added that: “We live in a world where the manufacturers of arms the trade and the retailer of the weapons see only profit  and not the  consequence of their deeds, the goal of manufacturing arms is only one that is to take away human life”

He cited the  Holy Quran where God reveals that he ‘has perfected our religion for us, and divide us into nations so that we may live with each other,’  instead of accepting the beauty and creation of God to nurture peace and tranquility amongst ourselves we saw the seed of discord, discrimination, dishonest conduct, envy and  racism.

“When we turn our back against God we turn against ourselves and the peace we need to live together in harmony ourselves, Islam is peace it is not hatred or war it is not about an ideology versus belief it is not about taking or vilifying human life. Islam is about peace and loving protecting each other along the path of God”

He implored the Jama’at to continue their benevolence to mankind to enable the future generation to live in a world of peace and social injustice.

James Allen Yaw Odico, Anglican Bishop of The Gambia, Senegal and Cape Verde stressed that it is their responsibility as religious leaders to advocate and nurture true peace across the globe.

He explained that the  interfaith dialogue will not only facilitate  understanding among us but to foster tolerance and respect of each other’s belief, whiling calling  on others who are not yet in the interfaith bandwagon to jump in with an inform decision to foster global peace.

He lamented that the world is full of hate it is a challenge in the promotions of peace in the world today. 

“As we participated in his historic event we implored all to reflect on the love of God which enforce us to the love of our neighbors peace is the product of love, as the excellent way to achieve peace in our families, communities, nations and world at large is a genuine love,” Bishop Odico pointed out.

According to him, the several attempts to achieve peace within the globe has fail woefully because there is no sincere love every participant goes with a hidden agenda driving self interest in his or her position.

Karim Khan, assistant secretary general United Nations said Islam preaches peace love and caring for others. He noted that Islamic solution to peace is serving to humanity by caring for others.

He pointed out that the Islamic solution to world peace is based on the wisdom and guidance of Islam and one of the essential aspects of Islam is equality. 

He urged people to celebrate their different diversity in race tribe in realizing a peaceful world for mankind.

He harp on the equality of all human being irrespective of tribe, color as no one has any superiority to one another as we are all brothers.

About Peace Conference Africa

The peace conference Africa was launched in 2018 by worldwide head of Ahmadiyaa Muslim Jama’at Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad in 2018 and the first conference was held in Ghana attended by over 450 guests.

Islam focuses on securing peace in every sphere of human activity. It encourages all to promote education, respect and tolerance, improve social interfaith harmony, support charitable causes and served humanity regardless race, creed or color.

The peace conference is dedicated to established peace at all levels and to protect the basic human rights of all. It is keen to recognise efforts made by anyone to advance the cause of peace.

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Mozambique: after two years in the market, Fastjet announces suspension of its flights
October 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Arnaldo Cumba

The low-cost African airline Fastjet has announced it will suspend operations in Mozambique, from midnight on Saturday 26 October “following continued losses and the ongoing oversupply of available seats by other carriers”

According to the company, that is operating in Mozambique since 2017, the competition in the country began to intensify at the end of 2018 with the market entry of Ethiopian Airlines as a domestic carrier. 

“This increase in aircraft and capacity supply, coupled with two category 5 tropical cyclones at the beginning of 2019 which suppressed passenger demand, led fastjet to scale back frequency on routes and to reduce overall capacity in Mozambique” Fastjet said in a statement.

“As a result, fastjet Mozambique reported significantly reduced revenue of US$1.9m in the first half of 2019 (H1 2018: US$4.2m) out of total revenue for the Group of US$19.7m.” It added

Following continued losses (US$2.4m in the first half of 2019) and the ongoing oversupply of available seats by other carriers, fastjet has decided to suspend all flight operations in Mozambique.

However, according to Mark Hurst, fastjet Interim Chief Executive Officer, the company remains committed to returning to Mozambique once demand for air travel in the country increases sufficiently compared to capacity supplied.

Fastjet entered Mozambique in partnership with Solenta Aviation Mozambique, a division of its largest shareholder, Solenta Aviation, which is also its operational partner in the country.

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Airtel Africa announces partnership with Ecobank Group to allow Airtel Money customers to improve their access to mobile financial services
October 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
The partnership will also allow Ecobank corporate account holders to make bulk disbursements, such as payroll payments, directly into Airtel Money customer wallets
NAIROBI, Kenya, October 21, 2019/ — Airtel Africa (Airtel.Africa), a leading global telecommunications services provider with operations in 14 countries across Africa, and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (“ETI”) (Ecobank.com), the parent company of Ecobank the leading pan-African banking group operating in 33 countries, have signed a partnership which will allows millions of Airtel Money and Ecobank customers across Africa to improve their access to mobile financial services and carry out a variety of mobile transactions.

This partnership, which is subject to regulatory approval in each market, will enable Airtel Money customers, through Ecobank’s digital financial services ecosystem, make online deposits and withdrawals, effect real time domestic and international money transfers, make in-store merchant payments, and access loans and savings products amongst others.

The partnership will also allow Ecobank corporate account holders to make bulk disbursements, such as payroll payments, directly into Airtel Money customer wallets. Additionally, Ecobank will be able to sponsor Airtel Money to issue both virtual and physical debit and pre-paid cards to Airtel Money customers.

Raghunath Mandava, CEO for Airtel Africa, said: “This partnership is a further demonstration of Airtel Africa’s commitment to provide affordable, simple and innovative solutions for our consumers across Africa. We will continue to offer locally relevant M-Commerce solutions with partners like Ecobank in order to enhance the daily lives of our customers.”

Ecobank Group CEO, Ade Ayeyemi, commented: “We believe that financial inclusion can ultimately contribute to economic development, collaborating with major telecommunications providers in Africa is therefore a key strategic driver towards closing the gap between the banked and the underbanked. Hence this partnership with Airtel Africa which makes Ecobank financial services available to any Airtel line registered on Airtel Money, in our markets where regulatory approvals are in place. This potential extensive reach will further provide convenience to customers, intra-country and particularly for cross-border transactions and remittances across Africa.”
About Airtel Africa:
Airtel Africa (LSE: AAF; NSE: AIRTELAFRI) (Airtel.Africa) is a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services, with a presence in 14 countries in Africa, primarily in East Africa and Central and West Africa. Airtel Africa offers an integrated suite of telecommunications solutions to its subscribers, including mobile voice and data services as well as mobile money services both nationally and internationally. The Group aims to continue providing a simple and intuitive customer experience through streamlined customer journeys.

About Ecobank Group:
Incorporated in Lomé, Togo in 1986, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) (Ecobank.com) is the parent company of the leading independent pan-African banking group, Ecobank. It currently has banking subsidiaries in 33 African countries, namely: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group also has a banking license in Paris-France and representative offices  in Addis Ababa- Ethiopia, Johannesburg – South Africa, Dubai – United Arab Emirates, London – UK and Beijing – China. The Group is owned by more than 600,000 local and international institutional and individual shareholders. The Group employs over 16,000 people in 40 different countries. It provides consumer, commercial banking, corporate and investment banking, and securities, wealth and asset management to about 20 million customers, ranging from individuals, small and medium-sized enterprises, regional and multinational corporations, financial institutions, international organisations and governments via over 800 branches and offices, 2,000 ATMs, the internet (Ecobank.com), and mobile banking. ETI is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchanges in Lagos, the Ghana Stock Exchange in Accra, and the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières in Abidjan.
*Distributed by APO
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Paradise Game, a Major Player in the Video Game Industry in Africa is Launching the Feja 3, the Esports and Video Games Rendez-Vous in Africa
October 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
This Third Edition Is Putting An Emphasis On The Ecosystem To Put In Place To Support Video Game Creation In Africa
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, October 21, 2019/ — For the 3rd consecutive year, Abidjan will welcome from November 22nd to 24th, the Electronic and Video Game Festival of Abidjan (FEJA) at COSMOS YOPOUGON. Hosted by Paradise Game and made possible by Orange Cote d’Ivoire, this event offers a unique experience to gamers and regional video game industry players.

FEJA 3, A new step. This year the esports tournaments will be open to every African citizen and every person living in Africa without having to go through qualifiers. Every African gamer would be allowed to participate in the major FEJA tournaments (Fifa, Pes, Street fighter, Tekken, Fortnite) and all the « side events » (Clash Royale, Mortal Kombat, Naruto, DBZ, COD, etc.). Registration for the tournaments started on October 17th on the website www.FEJA.ci.

After successfully attracting video game lovers and professionals from 10 countries the two previous editions, 12 African countries are targeted this year.

With more than 5000 sqm dedicated to the event, the participants of the festival will enjoy a rich program with esports tournaments (Football, Versus fighting, Mobile Games), conferences and workshops, exhibitions, and entertainment.

Through this third edition, Paradise Game intends to promote the opportunities that video games 100% Made in Africa could provide for the continent. Discussions and panels will revolve around the ideal ecosystem to put in place for the continent. In that perspective, FEJA is broadening its reach to development partners in the video game field and look closely at the content creation and to setting up video game studios. Industry players will share their experience during Workshops. 

Sidick Bakayoko, Founder and CEO de Paradise Game, producer of the event declared:

« Video Games could help create 200 000 jobs in Africa in the upcoming 5 years. It is then key to establish a sustainable industry based on strong local players, experienced international partners and engaged governments. An ecosystem promoting video game creation would allow more game studios which would mean more more jobs created. »

Key Information on FEJA 3: 
Dates: November 22nd, 23rd and 24th, 2019
Venue: Cosmos Yopougon – Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire from 9am to 8pm

About Paradise Game:
Paradise Game (ParadiseGame.net)  is a beacon for esports and video games in Africa. Paradise Game is a company based in Côte d’Ivoire that organizes esport events, manages video game centers and that creates gaming and eLearning content. With its ambition to transform the video game industry, Paradise Game became one the leading esport and video game player in Africa. With more than 120 000 video game fans across 10 african countries, an active online community across social networks and the website, as well as a 1200 sqm game center with more than 3 000 visitors per day. Paradise Game envisions to create the biggest gaming community in Africa and provide them with unique events, state of the art video game centers, and multimedia content (entertainment, e- Learning, etc.) 

Paradise Game initiated the first major gaming and esport festival in Africa, the FEJA (Electronic and esports Festival of Abidjan – www.FEJA.ci), but also a TV show named Paradise Game Show that showcased local industry players. Paradise Game is now promoting video games « made-in-Africa » for the local and the international market using the « Africa Corner by Paradise Game » during Paris Games Week.  

About Orange Cote d’ivoire:
Orange Côte d’Ivoire, leading mobile telecom operator in Côte d’Ivoire with more than 14 000 000 clients, is a company that makes it a point to provide quality service to its clients. Orange offers landline and mobile services as well as internet to both the general public and companies.
*SOURCE : Paradise Game/APO
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KnowBe4 Africa goes continental with Cyber Security Africa
October 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
KnowBe4 Africa aims to make access to its cybersecurity awareness training platform easier for African businesses through CS Africa
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, October 21, 2019/ — KnowBe4 Africa (www.KnowBe4.com) is proud to announce that we are partnering with Cyber Security Africa as our African distributor. KnowBe4 Africa aims to make access to its cybersecurity awareness training platform easier for African businesses through CS Africa and offer a necessary solution to the threat of cybercrime in growing economies.

At the recent World Economic Forum in Cape Town, African business owners flagged cybersecurity as the biggest threat to a successful operation, with 94% of companies in Africa and the Middle East experiencing a cyberattack in the past year.

Stronger together

The distribution agreement between KnowBe4 Africa and Cyber Security Africa will allow for relationship building as well as provide local support on the ground for channel partners and end users. Considering the rapid rate of digital transformation in African countries, it’s vital that employees develop a security culture that will benefit them both personally and professionally.

Cyber Security Africa was the top choice as a continental distributor and has quickly established itself as an industry-leading Value-Added Distributor with a single-minded focus – the mitigation of information security risk for their clients. They focus their attention on niche, generally complex and certainly relevant security solutions that can utilized by organisations of all sizes and sectors. Lead by Martin Britz, Cyber Security Africa prides itself on being small enough to remain agile and large enough to apply a dedicated approach to each client experience. For this new venture, Martin is assisting in the North and Central African regions. Gayle Britz will serve as the KnowBe4 champion and care for the SADC region. She guides a highly experienced team that includes Femi Ibine in West Africa, Susan Ndungu and Gladys in East Africa along with Andrew Ajuchi in Nigeria. Together, the Cyber Security Africa team will be able to provide support to business in close to 20 countries across the continent.

Cyber Security Africa founder, Martin Britz, believes great things are on the horizon for the fledgling partnership. “What sets us apart from our competitors is our keen understanding of this ever-evolving cybersecurity industry, with all its technologies, innovations, threats and solutions, positions us as “future-proof” to clients, while maintaining availability to attend to their more immediate needs. The offering from KnowBe4 Africa is unique and it’s exciting to be able to offer local training content that will have big benefits for African businesses.”

Transforming security culture


At the heart of this partnership is an authentic desire to empower and protect the greatest assets of any business: its people. Both KnowBe4 Africa and Cyber Security Africa focus on minimizing cyber risk for clients by educating their employees on how to spot threats like phishing, social engineering and training them with general information security practices. This fortifies the clients’ cybersecurity posture, saving them time and money while also drastically reducing the risk of falling prey to a cyberattack.

Anna Collard, managing director of KnowBe4 Africa firmly believes in securing a human firewall and creating a culture of security awareness in the digital age. “The human factor has become very important to the security of the organisation. People need to understand that if they use technology, they have to be cognisant of the risks. Organisations can support this understanding by investing in training that’s relevant, targeted and memorable. Training that can sustainably transform the company’s security culture.”

Whether it’s an SME, a healthcare institution or even a manufacturing business, there’s no doubt that all organisations will come to understand the importance of security awareness training. We certainly know that Africa is ready to make smarter security decisions, every day.
*Distributed by APO
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Zimbabwe: Growing Hope for ZANU PF -MDC Government of National Unity
October 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Munhumutapa

President Emmerson Mnangagwa (left) and his rival Nelson Chamisa. Photo/COURTESY

MDC Leader Nelson Chamisa has confirmed resolution to fresh talks between the two parties, highly emphasising bilateral relations meant to weave ray of light of a Government of National Unity.

Nelson Chamisa confirmed it on Sunday in Harare that there were moves towards an agreement to a Government of National Unity so that certain problems could be solved.

‘’There is a ray of hope for a Government of National Unity between the two parties, that is ZANU PF and MDC. Once we have reached final conclusions, we start to settle down for the talks.

‘’This is in response to challenges causing a crisis in the country.  Once we have settled down, we are towards a resolution meant to bring change in the country.’’

Chamisa said the talk deal between the two parties is now long over-due. He added that the long waited for dialogue has caused anticipation with the nation expecting a near change soon.

Themba Mliswa  a Parliamentarian for Norton constituency disputes a Government of National Unity, but calls for a Government of Transformation.

‘’Zimbabwe no- longer needs a Government of National Unity, but a Government of National Transformation. We do not just need to make a headway to smooth politics. We have economic challenges arising from bad politics. Let us focus on what is triggered at first, that is the economy at large’’, said Mliswa .

The two political parties have had a line up promise for dialogue since last year but there has been realised nothing. Zimbabwe Council of Churches has tried to mediate on the case without any foreseeable results.

One of the officials contacted for comment took it hard to come close to terms with the truth around the whole story. Asking for anonymity the official in the council of churches bares all that the two political parties are just buying time in the whole matter.

‘’There has been much time buying in the whole issue. Zimbabwe Council of Churches tried several attempts to come close and make the two agree but with all failure. 

‘’Talks have been put on the agenda for long but with no tangible results from both the two. The two belligerents have no close contacts to successful talks but just empty promises.

‘’I do not want to astray the nation but to tell the truth there is just an empty promise. This is so because there are past promises that have failed to materialise’’, he said.

An MDC Party supporter Big-Boy Chaumba known in the stronghold of party structures blames ZANU-PF for rigging elections. At the same time ZANU PF Party supporter Stanely Nyarugwe blames MDC for failure to accept results of the election outcome.

‘’ZANU PF rigged elections in 2018. Now they are aware of challenges but they want to take time to come to terms of agreement.

‘’Both of these parties will not come to an agreement because they know their strength and weaknesses. The nation is being brought to suspense without anything transpiring. There is much time buying and waste of it’’ , they conclude .

Mixed reactions to this discussion take both of the parties as problems the country faces. There are slim hopes for a Government of National Unity in any case. Even if it is put in place, it is expected to produce no good and positive results in terms of solving the Zimbabwean issue which is now 19 years old.

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Dangote Refinery Empowers 200 Youths in Host Community through Skills Acquisition Training Programme
October 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
HRM Oba Kazeem Olumuyiwa Ogunbekin (middle) presenting the training completion Testimonial to one of the trainees, Miss Bakare Fatmoh Oluwadamilare (right) while the Group Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Projects & Portfolio Development, Dangote Industries Limited, Chief Devakumar Edwin (left) celebrates with her
The programme marks another level of Dangote Petroleum Refinery’s intervention as it is targeted at providing vocational skills to the teeming youth population
LAGOS, Nigeria, October 21, 2019/ — About 200 youths from Ibeju-Lekki community in Lagos State have graduated from various skills acquisition programme organised by Dangote Petroleum Refinery (www.Dangote.com) as a way of transforming society and providing employment opportunities for the youths.

The programme was put together by Dangote Petroleum Refinery and facilitated by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) and the Nigerian Content Development and Management Board (NCDMB).

The skills acquisition programme, which cut across a wide range of vocational skills such as plumbing, welding, iron bending, auto mechanics and electrical works, marked the successful completion of the first batch trainees.

The programme marks another level of Dangote Petroleum Refinery’s intervention as it is targeted at providing vocational skills to the teeming youth population in its host communities.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Dangote Group Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Projects and Portfolio Development, Mr. Devakumar Edwin said the initiative was a demonstration of Dangote Refinery’s commitment toward capacity-building and youth empowerment in the country.

Edwin said the programme was another level of Dangote Petroleum Refinery’s intervention targeted at providing vocational skills to the teeming youth population in its host communities. He said the programme was also aimed at making youth from its host communities employable.

He said the 200 youths from Ibeju-Lekki community in Lagos State graduated from various skills acquisition programmes put together by Dangote Petroleum Refinery as a way of transforming society and providing employment opportunities for the youths.

He urged the graduands to be more focused and diligent in whatever they do and serve as frontier to others.

“With the tools given to you today, you can be good ambassadors of this great community. So many graduates outside are still searching for jobs, but yours is different because you have been trained.

“We are going to give you our maximum support to ensure you are employed in our operations, as our host communities remains our priority. These skills given to you today, can take you to various places and attract better opportunity if managed effectively,” he said.

Edwin advised the graduands to commit themselves to continuous learning and development as the business environment changes frequently, and promised to assist them to succeed.

According to him, as the petroleum refining & fertiliser complex comes on stream, it is expected that will be a population boom in the surrounding communities, who requires the services of the trainees.

He expressed optimism that the host communities will experience a turnaround in their fortunes very soon.

Also at the event, Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State promised to employ the 200 youth of Ibeju-Lekki community who graduated from various skills acquisition programmes in the Lekki Free Trade Zone.

Sanwo-Olu, represented by Dr. Tunde Sodade, the Managing Director of Lekki Free Trade Zone Worldwide, said the governor was passionate about employing the youths through skilled vocational training.

He lauded the Dangote Group for the initiative, and urged the newly graduated youth to be good ambassadors to the state and their community.

“We will ensure that all of you that graduated today, will be employed at the free zone because we believe that what you learnt will be useful for the development of the zone. I urge you all to be good examples to others and always demonstrate better character and integrity in what you do,” Sanwo-Olu said.

He urged the graduands to register their names with the Lekki Free Trade Zone management, so they could be employed by all companies within the zone.

The State Coordinator of the Nigerian Directorate of Employees (NDE), Mrs. Serena Edward lauded Dangote group for pioneering the skills vocational training for the youths in the community.

Edward said the programme which started six months ago, had today recorded tremendous success among the 200 graduands.

“We encountered some challenges in the course of the programme, which the community elders intervened. The programme has transformed the students to do better and also improved their standards of creativity on the jobs leant.

“Today, the programme has facilitated the students to open an account with a bank as a sign of seriousness towards business. Dangote has given the community youths useful tools to work with and advised you use it diligently,” she said.

Oba Olumuyiwa Ogunbekun, the Oni-Lekki of Lekki encouraged the youth to fully utilise the skills they acquired. He commended Dangote Refinery for its unwavering support to community development initiatives in the state and emphasised the need for the youth to work hard.

Ogunbekun also urged Dangote to assist in employing the trained youths in other to foster youth mutual relationship in the community and make them practice what they learnt

He also commended Aliko Dangote for bringing development to the communities through its investment in refinery and petrochemicals and urged other Nigerians of means to invest locally and lift the economy of the people at the grassroots.

Mr. Musa Ajibola, an instructor, urged companies to follow what Dangote had done, while urging companies to make the training one year programme than six months. He said the training had broadened the knowledge of the youths toward improving their knowledge.

One of the students, Balogun Fuad said the programme was laudable, adding that it came at the right time. According to him, most youths in the area do not have meaningful livelihood, while urging Dangote and others to employ them.

Another student, Balogun Owolabi said the programme had created opportunities for most of the youth. He added that this could make them independent in the community.
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