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Why the Africa Investment Forum matters for the continent’s energy transformation
November 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

Wale Shonibare*

Wale Shonibare

The African Development Bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa underlines the urgency to power the continent in order to end energy poverty, catalyze industrialization, and stimulate socio-economic growth. The strategy is grounded in the recognition that access to reliable, affordable and sustainable energy is central to Africa’s development, and lifting populations out of poverty. 

Close to 600 million people in the continent still lack energy access, despite Africa’s abundant energy resources, especially renewables such as wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal. Bridging the energy access gap, and catalyzing economic growth, requires substantial investments into Africa’s energy sector. The private sector sits on the bulk of the capital.

Investors recognize the opportunities in the energy sector, yet multiple barriers stand in the way of transformational private sector participation – including non-creditworthy utilities, the absence of cost-reflective tariffs, and capacity constraints throughout the energy sector value chain. Unlocking private sector capital, therefore, must be accompanied by resolving policy and regulatory issues, and other systemic bottlenecks, in order to create the right conditions for energy investments from outside and within Africa.

The impetus to mobilize and scale up private investment into the energy sector is what makes the Africa Investment Forum such a critical platform for the continent’s energy future. By leveraging the Bank’s convening power to facilitate public-private dialogue, we will move closer to our goal of universal energy access, primarily through reforms and financial instruments to de-risk transactions, enhance bankability, and fast-track project closure.

At this year’s forum, the Bank’s energy team will engage sector stakeholders in extensive consultations, knowledge exchange, networking, and peer-to-peer learning in order to address barriers to mobilizing and scaling up private investment into the energy sector. During various boardroom sessions, we will focus on a range of projects, including the Inga Dam in the DRC, the Baynes hydro plant in Angola and Namibia, and the Tulu Moye geothermal development in Ethiopia.

We will also continue discussions on the roll-out of the Bank’s transformative Desert to Power Initiative following its endorsement at the G5 Sahel Heads of State Summit on 13 September in Burkina Faso.

We will also engage further on mobilizing climate finance through the Africa Financial Alliance for Climate Change (AFAC) in order to shift portfolios of African financial institutions towards climate-friendly projects across the continent.

Earlier this year, the Board of the African Development Bank approved the Distributed Energy Service Companies (DESCOs) programme to support the deployment of off-grid solutions in Sub-Saharan Africa at scale. We will engage investors on our plans to innovate through the use of securitization financing techniques, which address access to finance barriers for DESCOs while supporting their growth and expansion into existing and new countries. We will also release the 2019 edition of the Electricity Regulatory Index (ERI), which is a diagnostic tool that highlights key areas in regulatory design and practice that require improvement.

Throughout the discussions, investors and stakeholders will be better able to understand market dynamics, policy, and regulatory frameworks, while learning first-hand about the details and potential of bankable projects, and what needs to be done to speed up financial close.

By facilitating mutually beneficial dialogue amongst stakeholders who can dramatically affect our energy landscape, the Africa Investment Forum is creating the requisite foundation for accelerated private sector investments to ultimately assure Africa’s energy transformation.

*Wale Shonibare, Acting Vice-President, Power, Energy, Climate Change & Green Growth, African Development Bank

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Kenyan Journalist Among Honorees at ICFJ Awards
November 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ben Bangoura*

ICFJ Awards Dinner,Photo Ben Bangoura AlloAfrica News
ICFJ Awards Dinner,Photo Ben Bangoura AlloAfrica News

The ICFJ 35th Anniversary Awards Dinner to honor the achievements of outstanding journalists around the world was held on Thursday November 7, in Washington, DC. The evening was emceed by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron, accepted a top award in a key address. In an interview afterward with AlloAfricaNews’ Ben Bangoura, he reminded journalists about the First amendment of the Constitution of the United States which, he insisted, remains the foundation for journalism in this country.

“The idea is that there should be an institution outside that would hold accountable the government. Unfortunately, the Freedom of Press in US is under threat which is coming from the White House”, Baron said.

He called on journalists to execute the mission of truth telling.

Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron
Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron

“That is what we do everyday at Washington Post,” the editor lauded the legendary newspaper that uncovered the details of the Watergate scandal, leading to President Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974.

Other awardees include a features reporter with Kenya’s NTV and the 2019 ICFJ Knight International Journalism Award Winner Rose Wangui.

Speaking to reporter Ben Bangoura, Wangui said she was honored to be rewarded and recognized for her work tackling tough issues such as sexual bondage of young girls. She also shed some light on challenges facing journalists particularly in Africa.

Rose Wangui.
Rose Wangui.

ICFJ was founded in 1984 to support journalists abroad, especially those in countries with poor or non-existent free press systems. Founders include Tom Winship, Jim Ewing, and George Krimsky, three prominent U.S. journalists. 

International Center for Journalists is located in Washington, DC.

The 35th anniversary event was held at Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center and attracted hundreds of journalists and editors. Educators, press freedom advocates and business leaders were also in attendance.

*AlloAfrica News

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Africa Investment Forum: “Short on talk, heavy on deals”, African Development Bank, South African government and partners affirm
November 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

Pretoria, South Africa, November 10, 2019 – The Africa Investment Forum will be short on talk and heavy on deals, the South African Government, the African Development Bank and key partners affirmed at a press conference ahead of the 2019 edition of the event.

Organized by the African Development Bank and its partners, the second edition of the Forum, will take place from place from 11 to13 November 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The multi-stakeholder transactional marketplace is aimed at raising capital, advancing projects to bankable stage and accelerating financial closure of deals.

“Last year we achieved remarkable results with over $ 36 billion of investments interests that were signed or being were closed. We are hoping that this year it is going to be even better,” said Vuyelwa Vumendlini, Deputy Director General of the National Treasury of South Africa.

Sharing similar sentiments, Mduduzi Mbapa, Senior Advisor to the Premier of Gauteng noted that the biggest take away from last year’s edition was the need for greater interconnection on the continent. “In fact, many have been writing about Africa rising.  Through this Forum, we are making sure that our continent does rise and it contributes to the growth of the world,” he said.

Around 2000 delegates are expected to attend the innovative investment marketplace which will bring together heads of state, project sponsors, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, institutional investors in 60 boardroom sessions to move projects from commitment to action.

“The Africa Investment Forum is designed to be a transformative platform for deals across the continent. The Africa investment forum goes way beyond the three-day event starting Monday. It is continuous process of nurturing deals, projects preparation, deal closure, meeting boardrooms, but most importantly ensuring that those deals actually happen to impact the continent,” said Chinelo Anohu, Head and Senior Director of the Africa Investment Forum.

The Africa Investment Forum partners include Africa 50, Africa Finance Corporation, Africa Export-Import Bank, Development Bank of Southern Africa, European Investment Bank, Islamic Development Bank, Trade and Development Bank.

Victor Oladokun, Director of Communication and External Relations at the Bank, said the Forum’s agenda was simple.

“In a nutshell, the Africa Investment Forum has a very simple agenda that is tilting the flow of capital into Africa at a much greater level that we have experienced up to now.”

*AFDB

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Cameroon: Voluntary Repatriation, Community led initiatives, Empowering Youths, advanced in solving crisis in Cameroon
November 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Participants and Foretia Team pose for a photo in connection with the event on common sense solution to promote peace in Cameroon and the role of the civil society organizations
Participants and Foretia Team pose for a photo in connection with the event on common sense solution to promote peace in Cameroon and the role of the civil society organizations

As a way of bringing peace to Cameroon which is experiencing various crisis ranging from the Boko Haram insurgency in the North, the Refugee crisis in the east Region and the Anglophone crisis in the North West and South West Regions, participants have advanced various points ranging from voluntary repatriation of refugees in the East, Empowering of the youths and community led initiatives.

The event which was held November 8, 2019 in Buea under the theme “Common sense solutions to promote peace in Cameroon and the role of the civil society organizations” is in line with the mission of the Nkafu Policy Institute, (a think tank of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation), whose mission is to provide independent, in-depth and insightful policy recommendations that advance the Cameroonian economy and the economies of other sub-Saharan African countries.

During the discussions, three prominent conflicts were x-rayed by participants such as: the on-going Anglophone crisis in the South West and North West Regions, the Boko Haram insurgencies in the North since 2013 till date, and Refugee crisis in the East Regions.

On the Refugee crisis in the East Region, it was indicated that Cameroon plays host to some 361,000 refugees from Nigeria and Central African Republic, CAR and some 257,000 refugees from CAR alone.

To Mbeng Primus, the government has to provide grazing land to the refugees so that they can feed their cattle. He said, “The problem is the East may go on for long if the government fails to provide grazing land as the cattle of the refugees are feeding on the crops of the host country.”

“The community leaders should equally accept the refuges and work with them so as to reduce the tension” He added while adding that “All we want is peace and we have to do everything we can to achieve peace.”

As a solution to the refugee crisis, participants said the voluntary repatriation of the refugees to their said country may go a long way in bringing peace to the East Region. They equally called on the Cameroonian government to assist the CAR in bringing peace to the country as a stable CAR will make it easier for the displaced persons to be willing to go back to their country.

Cameroon recently carried out a voluntary repatriation of refugees in the East Region who were willing to go back to their country. According to the government, these people (refugees) opted to go back to their country and they were not forced to leave Cameroon.

Others propose a pathway for nationalization in Cameroon. Participants say when these people (refugees) are integrated into the Cameroonian society; it will reduce the violence in the region. They however noted that such a process (nationalization) is very complicated in Cameroon and may take time to be implemented.

With the Boko Haram crisis in the North, participants called on individuals and government to know the root cause of the insurgency as they cannot solve a problem when they do not know the background of the grievance.

Others say to prevent further recruitment of Cameroonian into Boko Haram; youths should be empowered with the provision of education and necessary skills which will help them in getting jobs for themselves. These empowerment centres will prevent Boko Haram from indoctrinating the youths to carryout heinous activities on the population in the North.

Ego Aziz, Development Policy Analyst at Nkafu Policy Institute led discussion on possible solution to crisis in Cameroon
Ego Aziz, Development Policy Analyst at Nkafu Policy Institute led discussion on possible solution to crisis in Cameroon

The Imams of the North have been encouraged to be empowered to talk to children in the area by giving them more knowledge and education as Boko Haram is fighting a religious war. “The Imams who are well respected should provide education and train the youths on values”, noted one participant.

Talking to PAV Che Bruno, Communications unit CHRDA, called on wealthy individuals to invest more by creating SMEs which will help youths in the North not to be recruited by Boko Harm. “They should provide ideas/ideologies which will make young people realize that it is not only through violence that they can make a living but there are different ways, and where these youths need assistance private individuals and organizations should be ready to provide the financial support,” He said

He added, “The civil society has a great role to play in solving crisis in Cameroon. They are involve in Education (sensitizing the public on the need for peace), advocacy (engaging stakeholders/government to create enabling environment for peace to strive), and direct support (CSOs provide financial support for peace who want to build peace and the respect for human rights).”

The event is the fourth of its kind after similar events in Yaounde, Douala, and Limbe. It brought together students, members of the private sector, civil society organizations and journalists to proposed grass root solutions through which Cameroon can accelerate its progress towards the resolution of the current conflicts it is presently facing.

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Kagame refutes claims that Rwanda spies on dissidents abroad
November 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

President Paul Kagame adressing media in the Capital Kigali on Friday 8th November 2019 (Photo by Urugwiro Village)
President Paul Kagame adressing media in the Capital Kigali on Friday 8th November 2019 (Photo by Urugwiro Village)

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda is denying claims of his government’s involvement in spying on opposition members who live abroad using a new powerful spyware ‘Pegasus’ that was developed by an Israeli company.

Last month Facebook filed a lawsuit against against an Israeli software company, NSO that is alleged to have hacked phones of political dissidents on behalf of governments.

The most hacked as Financial Times reported, were human rights activists, lawyers, journalists and others.

An investigative story from the Financial Times reported, that “on the list of targeted individuals identified by WhatsApp, a considerable number were from Rwanda.”

Briefing media on this Friday at his office in the capital Kigali, President Paul Kagame admitted that  Rwanda does spying, however it never spies what is out of human interests.

“Our country  like any country,  does intelligence. They even monitor people’s communication…For us to know our enemies and what they do wherever they are, is something we have always tried to do , it is in our rights and it is in the rights of all countries you know all over the world” he said

However Kagame refutes claims that they used Pegasus to monitor communication of dissidents who live abroad.

He said from what he has heard, such technology is expensive and Rwanda cannot afford it.

“I wish I could have access to the technology. But I also know that it is very costly and I know how best to spend my money. I would not spend so much money over nobody or nothing. I would not spend that much I saw the technology cost to run after those of no consequences”,  He said

Kagame told journaliste he doesn’t fear those who appeared in the reports,  rather he would concentrate his efforts to fight assailants who attacked people in Northern province last month, where they killed civilians wounding others.

“I worry about these fellows who enter through Kinigi (Northern) and kill people. These are the ones I am concerned with” , he added

Financial Times reported that the hack worked by the user receiving a video- or voice-call request from an unknown number on WhatsApp. However, even when the number was ignored it was enough for the call to be used to hack into the user’s phone even without them answering it.

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Atiku: They gave him a false sense of hope
November 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Femi Adesina*

The Presidential dream continues to be elusive for Mr Atiku Abubakar.Photo culled from Today NG

After the Supreme Court threw out the legal challenge by Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on the February 2019 presidential poll last week, two things flashed across my mind. One was a song, the other, a quote from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which I’d read over 40 years ago.
First, the song:
The strife is o’er, the battle done,
The victory of life is won,
The song of triumph has begun,
Alleluia!

And then Shakespeare, as Macbeth was confronted by Macduff at the battlefront, and the former realized he had been fooled by the witches who had predicted that no man born of woman could ever kill him, and that he could not be defeated in any battle “till Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane.”
Macduff told Macbeth that he had been “untimely ripped” from his mother’s womb, and was not biologically delivered as babies are. The advancing soldiers also bore before them trees they had cut from Birnam Wood, which meant the forest had virtually relocated to Dunsinane. Macbeth, confronted with defeat, had declared:
“And be these juggling fiends no more believed,
That palter with us in a double sense,
That keep the word of promise to our ear,
And break it to our hope.”

Macbeth had been fooled, just as it happened to former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who had been hoodwinked into believing that he was President already, before the February 2019 election.
Who were those that paltered with Atiku in a double sense? Who were the people that lured him into a losing battle? Who were those who told him he was on a giant horse, not knowing that he was riding on a cockroach? Let’s do a checklist.

Olusegun Obasanjo, and his foreign cohorts. The former president was the one that ruined Atiku Abubakar most, when they fought a bitter battle as they served together in government. Obasanjo wrote books, granted interviews, where he poured vitriol on his former deputy. He described him in words that won’t make you buy Atiku for ten kobo. In fact, he said God should punish him if he ever supported Atiku for president. And that lasted for about ten years.

Suddenly, with just months to the 2019 election, Obasanjo came singing another tune. He said he had forgiven Atiku, and started calling him “my President in waiting.” Were Nigerians fools? Can you approbate and reprobate at the same time? Can you strip a man naked in the marketplace, and cover him up in the bedroom? The damage would already be done. And so it was with Atiku.

Yes, Obasanjo has some clout, particularly internationally. He swung into action, trying to mobilize the international community behind his candidate. Some people followed him, and Atiku thought the deed was done. But they didn’t reckon with the hurricane called Muhammadu Buhari. The cyclone force was too strong, and it simply cleared everything in its path. It was a bitter lesson that the challenger learnt too late.

Obasanjo had always decided who should, and shouldn’t be President, right from the first time he left power as a military ruler in 1979. He was instrumental in some ways to the emergence of Shehu Shagari, Umaru Yar’Adua, and Goodluck Jonathan, as presidents. He also contributed to pulling them down later with his mouth. By this year, Nigerians were simply tired of the overbearing attitude of the Otta chicken farmer. They thus refused to buy the candidate he had earlier rendered toxic, and was selling to them in borrowed robes.

Who fooled Atiku again? The Atikulators. And who are they? People who flocked after the candidate for many reasons, none of them altruistic. They were those who didn’t like Buhari, either because of ethnicity, language, religion, or the man’s aversion for corruption. They wanted business as usual, and it should be anybody but Buhari. So, they followed Atiku, not because they loved him, but they would have also followed a goat, if they had been told that the animal could get Buhari out of power. They put their money on the wrong horse, gambled, and lost.

Before the election, you saw and heard the Atikulators everywhere, boasting of how they were going to wrest power in the country. They were all over the place. In offices, marketplaces, churches, mosques, schools, television, radio, newspapers, almost in all traffic lanes of life. And they fooled their principal. He backed them up with piles and tons of cash, in major currencies of the world. To quote President Buhari, “they spent so much dollars, that the currency became devalued.” For Atiku, anything that money cannot do is not doable. Money answereth all things. He threw in more and more. But for the Buharists, it is not about money, not even a bottle of soft drink or water. It is about conviction. It is about integrity and accountability. It is about building a new country, devoid of greed and rapacity. So we followed the Mai Gaskiya (honest man) all the way. Nothing could be articulated against him. Not possible.

Again, the marabouts, prophets, some pastors and preachers. Yes, let me group them together, including the witches and wizards. They formed a confederacy, and said Atiku would win. Who is it that says anything when the Lord has not spoken? The marabouts collected money handsomely, and pronounced Atiku king. They did not tell him he would be king on an empty throne. The preachers, across the major religions, because of personal hatred, and possibly inducement, gave evil and false messages. They began to proclaim that Atiku was the messiah, when God had not said so. And the PDP candidate believed them. He felt there was no way he could ever lose the election. But he didn’t know that lying tongues were in action. The preachers had become inhabited by lying spirits, modern day Zedekiahs , who prophesied falsehood (1 Kings 22:11). They led Atiku to political perdition.

The social media. Populated by people with exaggerated sense of worth, they think they can do and undo. I call them the vocal minority. If you followed only the social media before the elections, you would think the All Progressives Congress (APC) government at the center was gone. They filled the landscape with so much wailing, till they became wailing wailers. We will do this, we will do that. Mere shooting of breeze. Superfluity of nothingness. Arrogant impertinence. The Buhari people simply kept their peace, while online warriors, most of who had no permanent voters cards (PVCs) continued to fire blanks.

A very credible and scientific study had showed before the polls that social media would account for only between nine and 11 percent of the ballots. And not all of the votes would go to PDP. The two major parties would share it. But from the noise online, you thought Atiku had coasted home. He, too, must have believed the lie. He paid dearly for it with a broken heart.

The coalition that thought they owned the country. They also fooled Atiku. They include politicians, businessmen, high net-worth people. They had never failed in anything before. If they showed you a red card, you were out of the game. God’s judgment, no appeal. Such people massed behind Atiku. Those who had corruption cases before the courts, those who had lost power and were forlorn and disconsolate, those who had always profiteered from the system and who felt that Buhari had closed the sluice gate, they all came together. Buoyed by Atiku’s promise that he would empower his friends when he got power, they were already licking their lips. Soon, our snouts would be in the honeypot again, they told themselves. But those who felt they were Nigeria’s landlords had long been given quit notices by Buhari, and ejected. Atiku thought they were still somebody, and learned the hard way. What a pity!

Wrong permutations. That was also Atiku’s downfall. It is an inexorable truth that it is only the person/party that builds the bigger coalition wins the Presidency in Nigeria (and almost everywhere else). But before the election, Atikulators had come with this jejune permutation. They would sweep the Southeast, the South-south, the North Central, share Northeast and Northwest, as well as Southwest. And Atiku would coast home. True? Well, dreams don’t cost anything. The dream eventually became nightmare.

Wrong strategy. It is on good authority that the winning strategy of the PDP had been based on data hack. That was why they fought tooth and nail for electronic voting, because they were allegedly in league with international forces that was adept at manipulation of election results. The plan was to intercept results as they were transmitted electronically, and record them for PDP. But it is said that if the abiku has learnt to die in dry season, the mother too would learn to bury in rainy season. The rest is history.

Many other forces fooled Atiku that space would not permit one to mention. People who promised access to the electoral commission’s server, when none existed in the true sense of the word. Some elements in the judiciary, who had made false promises. And the lawyers. Yes, we can’t but talk briefly about them.

Lawyers are professionals. They must ply their art, and make profit from it. They are learned people, while the rest of us are only educated. However, morality is everything. Why egg on your client, when you know he has the most useless case in the world? Nigerians knew Atiku lost the election. Lawyers too knew it. But man must chop. They encouraged the PDP candidate to go to court, despite knowing that the prayers were weak and improbable. Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Festus Keyamo, said the suit was the worst he had ever seen in Nigeria’s history of election petitions. But the lawyers convinced Atiku otherwise. He lost at the Court of Appeal level, but there was probably more money to be made. So they encouraged a trip to the Supreme Court. Another ill-fated journey.

Sadly, after the Supreme Court threw out the case, Atiku was not gracious enough to throw up his hands in surrender. He called the judiciary all sorts of names. An opportunity missed to prove that he is not a sore loser and power monger. Where would he go next, World Court? Or as somebody has jocularly said, he may just decide to go to the lawn tennis court.

.*Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity. Piece is culled from his Facebook page.

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Dangote Group, Togo partner to transform Phosphate into Fertiliser
November 9, 2019 | 0 Comments
With over two billion tonnes of phosphate reserves, Togo is one of the leading phosphate producers in Africa
LOME, Togo, November 8, 2019/ — Dangote Industries Limited (Dangote.com) and the Government of Togo (GoT) have concluded an agreement to develop and transform Togolese phosphate into phosphate fertilizers for the West African sub-region; in a bid to improve consumption of the product in Africa.

With over two billion tonnes of phosphate reserves, Togo is one of the leading phosphate producers in Africa. By partnering the Dangote Group, the country intends to benefit from the expertise and investment capacity of Africa’s largest industrial group, according to a joint release issued by the Dangote Group and the Communications Department of the Presidency of the Republic of Togo.

With the completion and commissioning of the Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Fertilizer complex in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, Dangote Group will be the largest ammonia producer on the African continent, the release noted. Ammonia is an essential ingredient in the transformation of phosphate into fertilizer derived from phosphates. Under the agreement, Togo will provide access to phosphate resources and the Dangote Group will provide access to ammonia and to the Nigerian market.

The project, in line with second pillar of the Togo National Development Plan, should enable the production of more than 1 million tonnes of fertilizers derived from phosphates once completed. The cost of the investment is estimated at about $2 billion and is expected to create several thousand direct jobs. Mining development work will start before the end of 2019, it added.

On this occasion, Dangote Group also announced the establishment of a cement manufacturing plant with an annual capacity of 1.5 million tonnes in Lomé. This plant will use clinker from Togo and Nigeria and will meet both local and neighbouring countries’ demand, the release noted.

It further added that construction of the Lome plant is billed to start in first quarter of 2020 and its commissioning scheduled to take place before the end of 2020. The investment is estimated at $60 million and is expected to create 500 direct jobs.

Togolese President, Faure Gnassingbé said, “The structural transformation of our economy is the main objective we have set ourselves in the context of the 2018-2022 NDP. By processing our phosphate we will not only create jobs but we will also be able to provide our farmers with good quality fertilizers at an affordable cost. Having an industrial investor like Alhaji Dangoté shows that our efforts to improve the business climate are paying off. We intend to continue in this dynamic for the well-being of Togolese men and women.”

President/CE Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote said, ‘’This partnership is in line with our transformation agenda in creating prosperity and enhancing economic development not only in Togo but also in Affrica.  In addition, the Dangote Group is determined in supporting the Government of Togo in its industrialisation strategy aimed at creating jobs for its citizens and making Togo an attractive investment destination.’’

The two investment agreements reinforce Togo’s industrialisation strategy adopted under the 2018-2022 National Development Plan.
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Pay-as-you-go solar market leader, Greenlight Planet, partners with leading telecom operators in sub-Saharan Africa
November 9, 2019 | 0 Comments
A customer using mobile money to pay for his Sun King EasyBuy solar home system
A customer using mobile money to pay for his Sun King EasyBuy solar home system

Full-fledged sales and distribution partnerships have been launched with three leading telecom operators, Vodacom (Tanzania), Orange (Burkina Faso) and Telma (Madagascar)
NAIROBI, Kenya, November 8, 2019/ — Greenlight Planet (www.GreenlightPlanet.com), the market leader in the rapidly expanding pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar industry has successfully partnered with major telecom operators in Africa. Recognizing the natural synergy between the telecom and pay-as-you-go solar industries, the company is pursuing a strong telecom-focused strategy that aims to have a far-reaching impact on more than 600 million unelectrified consumers across the African continent.

The company has collaborated with more than fifteen telecom operators, banks and payment gateways to make Sun King products more affordable and accessible for rural individuals, increasing long-term value for a common consumer base. Full-fledged sales and distribution partnerships have been launched with three leading telecom operators, Vodacom (Tanzania), Orange (Burkina Faso) and Telma (Madagascar), to enable sales of solar-powered energy solutions through each operator’s subscriber base and mobile money channels. In addition, Greenlight Planet has integrated its innovative PAYG technology platform with leading mobile money providers across sub-Saharan Africa, enabling consumers to make continuous installment payments in a secure and simple way. Greenlight Planet establishes unique operating models with each telecom partner to best serve and work with each service provider’s strategic goals, local business model and competitive landscape.

Mr. Dhaval Radia, Senior Vice President at Greenlight Planet, says “The time is right for telecoms to look beyond their traditional revenue earning models and explore innovative partnerships that can lead to a sustained increase in ARPU and customer retention. By expanding to rural consumer segments with value-added services such as PAYG solar products for daily energy and infotainment, telecom operators can help deliver higher value to their customer base.” Recent collaborations between PAYG solar companies and telecom operators have demonstrated that PAYG solar customers are amongst the most active profiles of mobile money users in sub-Saharan Africa, many opening their first mobile money account specifically to purchase a PAYG solar home system.

Ninety-eight percent of Greenlight Planet’s PAYG customers make roughly 60 mobile money payments between $2 and $5 each over a period of twelve to twenty-four months to complete their installment payment plans for a PAYG solar device. The company has processed nearly 40 million mobile money payments from customers in Africa in the last three years.

With more than 100 million mobile money subscribers, and nearly 600 million people that lack reliable access to electricity on the African continent, opportunities for the telecom and distributed energy sectors to join forces remain tremendous. Since inception, Greenlight Planet has installed nearly six million solar products, benefitting over 24 million individuals, across Sub-Saharan Africa through its direct distribution channels in Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda and through more than 200 strategic alliances in 32 countries across the African continent. The company will showcase its flagship Sun King range of solar-powered products at the upcoming AfricaCom conference from 12th to 15th November 2019 in Cape Town.

Greenlight Planet (www.GreenlightPlanet.com) has sold over 12 million Sun King™ solar home energy products to off-grid households around the world. Greenlight Planet reaches remote, off-grid customers through a unique business model involving a vast network of micro-entrepreneurs, more than 300 global strategic distribution partners, and its proprietary EasyBuy (“pay-as-you-go”) installment payment technology that makes safe, high-quality solar energy products affordable for all. Greenlight Planet’s Sun King™ products are currently installed in 65+ countries and serve more than 50 million beneficiaries.
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Ecobank fighting against Non-Communicable Diseases in Togo as it marks the 7th Edition of Ecobank Day
November 9, 2019 | 0 Comments
Ecobank is committed to various causes to better address the challenges facing the continent, with the aim of bringing real change to Africa
LOME, Togo, November 8, 2019/ — Ecobank (www.Ecobank.com) in collaboration with the World Health Organization in Togo, and the Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene through its National Program for the Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), will carry out prevention activities against NCDs this Saturday, November 9th on the 7th Edition of the Ecobank Day.

Ecobank Day is a day annually in which the Ecobank Group and its employees give back to the communities in the 33 countries where it operates. Ecobank is committed to various causes to better address the challenges facing the continent, with the aim of bringing real change to Africa. Over the next three years, Ecobank has decided to support the awareness and prevention of NCDs, the leading cause of death in the world and in Africa. Some examples of these life threatening NCDs   are cardiovascular diseases (e.g. heart attacks or strokes), all cancers, respiratory diseases (e.g. asthma), diabetes, and mental and neurological health conditions (including depression and dementia).

Customers, members of civil society, communities are invited to join Ecobank employees by participating under the theme: “Together for Better Health“. This year, Ecobank is putting special focus on breast and cervical cancer, a public health priority in Togo, which if not avoided, can destroy the bedrock of families.

Ade Ayeyemi, Group GCEO, ETI commented “As our home country, which has in the last 34 years warmly welcomed us, we are committed to making sure that we also continue to give back to the community here. We have recognised the importance of raising awareness on NCDs and the need for this to be long-term and continuous. We will therefore continue to work with the Ministry of Health, international organizations and civil society organizations in our awareness campaign.”

Professor Moustafa Mijiyawa, Minister of Health and Public Hygiene added “NCDs represent the second cause of deaths in Togo. 19% of people in Togo aged 15 years and above suffer from hypertension and 2,6% of this same population live with diabetes. We are pleased to partner with Ecobank to raise awareness on NCDS and support the implementation of the National Development Plan, especially the third strategic axis that focuses on consolidating social development and strengthening mechanisms for inclusion”.

Ecobank is organising a 5 km Walk to support awareness on NCDs.  The Ecobank Day Walk will kick-off at the Omnisport Stadium in Lomé and end at same place. Simultaneous free screening  against non-communicable diseases will also take place in 3 CMS in Lomé (Nyekonakpoe, Tokoin Doumassesse, Adakpamé) and in 7 polyclinics  in Aneho, Kpalimé, Atakpamé, Sokode, Kara, Mango and Dapaong . The bank will also give out free mammogram and pap smear vouchers to more than 550 women and  take care of 200 pre-cancer diagnosed patients.

About Ecobank Day:
Ecobank Day was first held in 2013 and has involved Ecobank employees giving up their free time to volunteer and/or fundraise. Each year Ecobank Day has supported worthy causes across each of the Ecobank Group’s 33 countries of operation, and these have included support for orphanages (2018), safer water (2017), ICT education and improving maternal health (2016), children’s education (2015), malaria prevention and control (2014) and community engagement projects (2013).

About Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’ or ‘The Group’):
Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) (www.Ecobank.com) is the parent company of the Ecobank Group, the leading independent pan-African banking group. The Ecobank Group employs over 15,000 people and serves about 20 million customers in the consumer, commercial and corporate banking sectors across 33 African countries. The Group has a banking licence in France and representative offices in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Johannesburg, South Africa; Beijing, China; London, the UK and Dubaï, the United Arab Emirates. The Group offers a full suite of banking products, services and solutions including bank and deposit accounts, loans, cash management, advisory, trade, securities, wealth and asset management. 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.

For further information please visit www.Ecobank.com

SOURCE
Ecobank

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“Follow The Money” Initiative in Nigeria wins Council of Europe’s Democracy Innovation Award
November 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

At today’s closing session of the 2019 World Forum for Democracy, the Council of Europe announced that the winner of its Democracy Innovation Award was the initiative “Follow The Money”, a network of grassroots citizens in Nigeria dedicated to tracking government and international aid spending.

Follow the Money” is a participatory advocacy-based initiative that advocates for the proper use of government and international aid funds in grassroots communities, to ultimately ensure that public services work for the people. It is a network of activists, social workers, lawyers, journalists, development consultants, researchers and data analysts, that have signed up on its social mobility platform. It uses media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, as well as mainstream media, to amplify the voices of marginalised communities.

Three initiatives out of the 27 discussed at the Forum were shortlisted for the final vote:

  • Follow the Money (Nigeria) – presented at the workshop “Rebuilding Trust in Institutions”
  • alGOVrithms (ePaństwo Foundation/CRTA, Poland) – presented at the workshop “The Human Brain: The Ultimate FactChecker?”
  • Le Drenche (France) – presented at the workshop “Local journalism at the frontline of the information ?”

The Forum brought together 2,000 participants and 250 speakers from all over the world to discuss information and democracy.

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Nigeria:Paradigm Initiative Launches Learning Lab for Digital Rights and Inclusion
November 7, 2019 | 0 Comments

LAGOS – 5 November 2019 – Today, Paradigm Initiative is thrilled to announce that its first Digital Rights and Inclusion Learning Lab (DRILL) will begin operations in February 2020, and will operate from its new headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria.

DRILL has a mission to host innovative learning around digital rights and inclusion in Africa, and serve as a space for both practice and reflection. The Learning Lab will involve, and connect, different stakeholders and create dialogue amongst researchers, social innovators, policymakers and actors, the private sector, as well as civil society.

As a lighthouse for digital rights and inclusion advocacy in Africa, learning activities will take place at the Lab in order to evolve new thinking on digital rights and inclusion strategy for Africa. There are a variety of activities that will take place, including, but not limited to, focused future-facing research; presentations; ecosystem meetings and discussions focused on digital rights and/or inclusion hosted within the ecosystem; and general communication about the lab’s activities.

DRILL will offer a space for big thinking, evaluation of digital rights and digital inclusion programs, and future-proofing ecosystem activities. DRILL will host innovators, researchers and/or entrepreneurs-in-residence at the PIN HQ so they can host biweekly ecosystem/sector meetings (to share insight/ideas), biweekly presentations (to share outcomes of their research and/or work) and work with the Executive Director to record a monthly DRILL podcast on topical issues.

“There are both enormous challenges and opportunities for realizing the ambitious task of creating an inclusive, healthy, safe and open Internet in the coming decade for all Africans, including marginalized and vulnerable populations such as women and girls, people with lower income levels or living in rural communities, sexual minorities, the elderly and persons with disabilities,” said ‘Gbenga Sessan, Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative. 

“Connecting the next billion, who mostly live on the African continent, requires not only technological and commercial innovations, but also new models of collaboration among all stakeholders,” he continued. 

He added, “The selection process for the DRILL Fellowship will be supported by an External Advisory Group made up of ecosystem leaders, including Alberto J. Cerda Silva (Ford Foundation), Anriette Esterhuysen (Association for Progressive Communications), John Dada (Fantsuam Foundation), Nnenna Nwakanma (World Wide Web Foundation), and Oreoluwa Somolu Lesi (Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre), who will help shape the program and work with the PIN team to review Fellowship applications.”

The inaugural fellowship of the Digital Rights and Inclusion Learning Lab will start in February 2020. The fellowship will be open for a period of three months at a time, but can be renewed for another three months, depending on planned activities and joint reviews between the Fellows and PIN. 

“As a mid-career fellowship, potential candidates will be expected to have had a minimum of 5 years’ experience as technology or social innovators, researchers, policy experts, and/or entrepreneurs,” said Emmanuel Vitus, Communications Officer at Paradigm Initiative. 

In his words, “Paradigm Initiative will cover costs associated with learning activities at the Digital Rights and Inclusion Learning Lab and provide office space, an opportunity to be embedded within our team, access to the ecosystem, and feedback on projects throughout the duration of the Fellowship.”

Applications are open via the Paradigm Initiative website, www.paradigmhq.org/drill, until December 20, 2019.

About Paradigm Initiative

Paradigm Initiative (PIN) is a social enterprise that builds ICT-enabled support systems and advocates for digital rights in order to improve the livelihoods of under-served young Africans. The organization’s digital inclusion programs include a digital readiness school for young people living in under-served communities (LIFE) and a software engineering school targeting high potential young Nigerians (Dufuna). Both programs have a deliberate focus to ensure equal participation for women and girls.  

The digital rights advocacy program is focused on the development of public policy for internet freedom in Africa, with offices in Abuja, Nigeria (covering the Anglophone West Africa region); Lome, Togo (Francophone West Africa); Yaoundé, Cameroon (Central Africa); Arusha, Tanzania (East Africa) and Lusaka, Zambia (Southern Africa). 

Paradigm Initiative has worked in communities across Nigeria since 2007, and across Africa from 2017, building experience, community trust and an organizational culture that positions us as a leading social enterprise in ICT for Development and Digital Rights on the continent.

Paradigm Initiative is also the convener of the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF), a pan-African bilingual Forum that has held annually since 2013. 

*Paradigm Initiative

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Hogbetsotso 2019: our allegiance is forever Anlo – Ashanti Kingdoms declare
November 7, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica 

More than 28 thousand people have thronged the Anlo’s traditional Capital Anloga to climax the 2019 Hogbetsotsoza in a colourful style. To many observers and partakers of the festival, this year’s celebration was rated more successful than previous ones. The colourful ceremony saw a magical, spiritual, and Cultural display of Anlo-ewe values that thrilled the participants from the beginning to the end.

The crowd made up of both Traditional Rulers, and government delegations, the public, Anlo citizens from the diaspora, foreigners and friends of Anlo took part in celebrating the well-attended occasion.

The Awomefia of Anlo, Torgbui Sri III affirmed the unity between Anlos and the Asantes, emphasizing “Our unity is forever.” Research on Anlo-Ewe history has it that, the two tribes signed a unity treaty in 1865 to be each other’s keeper and charged Anlos and Ashantis in Ghana and abroad to work together as brothers to enable the build Ghana.

 The Awomefia stressed Anlo state commitment to champion the unity for the rapid socio-economic development of the two tribes and their people. 

On education, he commended the government for its Free Senior High School policy and appealed for the fixing of roads in the Anlo State, address water challenges, construct the Keta Harbour and establish a tomato factory in Anlo under the One District, One Factory initiative to prevent postharvest loses experienced by the people in the area. 

The special guest Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, in an address read on his behalf by the Mamponghene, said the exchange of visits and interactions by the two leaders were to reaffirm their union for “peace and orderly development of the two great regions and the country at large, Adding the two tribes had vowed never to wage war against each other, instead, support one another. He bemoaned the failure on the part of historians who have failed in recognizing the peace-building efforts by the two tribes in pre-independence struggles. The Asantehene recounted the collaborative efforts that saw Ashantis and Ewes work together to change the course of Ghana’s history, and underscored the need to ward off elements trying to sow seeds of disunity between the two. The Asantehene later presented assorted items including kente and drinks to the Awomefia. 

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in an address read on his behalf commended the Asantehene and Awomefia for building on the unity of the two tribes and restated government’s commitment to fulfilling its promises to the Anlo State and meeting the desire of the people in getting a fishing harbour and a port. He said works on roads in the country would commence soon simultaneously and that government is very much aware of the economic importance of roads and would not deny Ghanaians access to motorable roads.

This year’s celebration attracted several delegations, chiefs from Notsie, in the republic of Togo, government officials led by Mr Kan Dapaah, Minister for National Security, former Presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Dramani Mahama.

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