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AU commits to work with China’s Silk Road initiative to drive African development
November 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

In lieu to fostering the socio-economic development of Africa, the African Union representative mission to the United States has committed to work hand-in-hand with the Silk Road initiative so as to achieve its vision 2063; A blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future.

The commitment was reaffirmed Monday November 4, at the AU office in Washington DC during the third annual conference of the Silk Road Summit which sought to explore Business, Trade & Investment Opportunities on the New Silk Road for its partner stakeholders including Europe, Asia and Africa.

Organized by the Eurasia Center and Eurasian Business Coalitionin cooperation with the Silk Road Nations and their Representatives (Europe/Asia/Africa) the gathering witnessed the participation of from representatives of U.S. Government Agencies and the U.S. Congress, Multilateral Development Banks, Corporations and Trade Associations, Policy Centers and Foundations, diplomates and global investors the world over.

Participants sat first at United States Congress and later moved to the African Union Representational Mission were Terek Ben Yousef, Chargé d’Affaires at the representative mission reaffirmed the AU’s position as a promoter of partnership.

Citing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement as a transformative initiative capable of boasting trade in Africa with its partners, the diplomat pointed that US has a vital role in transforming Africa infrastructure, a continent he brandished as “hopeful” with enviable return on investment.

 To Ben Bangoura,Director, Africa Program EuroAsia center the time is ripe for Europe, America and Asia to work towards the development of Africa and its people; as he highlighted the continent potentials of been a market leader in the future. And such development, he added was in course thanks to such gatherings.

He did not fail to enumerate the numerous advantages ushered in by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement specifying that the continent now has a stronger voice to do business internationally.

His opinion was well shared by Scott Ticknor, Senior Adviser at the Corporate council on Africa who tagged the ACFTA as a Pan-African dream come through.

Sharing light on US investments and presence in Africa, a country with six of the world’s tenth growing economies, Scott was optimistic of US-African trade growth and the future of their cooperation.

Dr. Yan Wang, senior consultant at the African Development Bank who previously served at a World Bank Economist, examined the impact of aid to developing countries. Campaigning that Africa needs to look far beyond aid for its infrastructural development, just like other panelist, she shared the optimism of the potential of the young continent.

Other speakers at the summit included; a representative of Ambassador Haïdara Mamadou of the Embassy of Côte d’Ivoire, Ralph Winnie, Jr., China Director, VP Global Business Development, Eurasia Center/EBC, Diana Tsutieva, International Dispute Resolution Attorney, Foley Hoag Sanja Sovran, PhD, CEO, Infinity Global Consulting LLC, Tony Padilla, Director, Cargo and Commercial Sealift, U.S. Maritime Administration, Lyuba Varticovski, Senior Researcher, National Institutes of Health, NCI, CCR, Robert Ichord, Senior Fellow, Global Energy Center, The Atlantic Council William L. Polen, Senior Director, USEA, US Energy Association and Brad Johnson, President, Resource Mobilization Advisors.

Discussions came to an end with the recognition of strategic partners and promoters of Euroasia activities, with the African Union receiving special award for its commitment to promote the silk road initiative within its AU member states.

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‘Feel Africa’ As AFRIMA Unveils Exciting Events for 2019
November 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

All road leads to Lagos State, Nigeria as music lovers, cultural enthusiast and African stars in Africa and Diaspora gear up towards the upcoming 6th edition of the All Africa Music Awards, AFRIMA, the continent’s biggest music event with the theme ‘Feel Africa’ is set to hold from November 20 to November 23, 2019.

The awards show will feature four days of thrilling and innovative programme of activities set to cater to a wide range of audiences from entertainment to music business to tourism and destination marketing.

Kicking off the 6th AFRIMA events is the AFRIMA Welcome Soiree on Wednesday, November 20 at the poolside of Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos from 6:00pm; a reception in honour of arriving AFRIMA nominees and delegates, African Union officials, members of the International Committee of AFRIMA, international and local media as well as other invited guests.

As part of its Social Responsibility Initiative, AFRIMA will visit a primary school situated in Lagos state on Thursday, November 21 to sustain the drive begun by the International Committee of AFRIMA in Gambia in 2015 to raise consciousness for the African child’s education and literacy on the continent. 

AFRIMA will be donating educational materials and musical instruments to a selected public school in Lagos. The visit also creates opportunities for motivational conversations between the pupils and the delegation consisting of various African music super stars, Nigerian government officials, African Union officials, AFRIMA executives, and many other invited guests.

Setting the stage for the entertainment value the awards brings with each edition, is the AFRIMA Music Village with a change in venue to the Agege stadium, Agege Lagos, slated for Thursday, November 21.

The AFRIMA Music Village is a 12-hour concert-style music festival which starts at 6.00p.m. with live performances from A-list and upcoming artistes including AFRIMA nominees, as well as past AFRIMA winners. This is will be opened to devoted music lovers and promises to be an evening of high euphoria and invigorating energy.

This year, the African Union, AU and International Committee of AFRIMA have decided to take the music village to the community where the people reside. For gate entry to the music concert, get a branded AFRIMA T-shirt at just N2,000 = (USD5.5) on the AFRIMA website www.afrima.org or at the concert venue. Event will be broadcast live on DSTV channel 198, GOTV channel 29, Africa Independent Television (AIT), Raypower FM Network, Kennis FM, Silverbird Television (STV), HIP TV, amongst over 84 stations across the world.

Following on Friday, November 22 at the Grand Ballroom, Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, is the Africa Music Business Summit (AMBS) an annual summit of networking and interaction among music professionals, music executives, government officials and other stakeholders in the music, media and financial sectors of Africa. It sets an atmosphere for discussions on the potentials present in the African music industry and ways to harness its socio-economic gains. Attendance registration for AMBS is now open on the AFRIMA website, www.afrima.org

Later in the evening of Friday, the 6th AFRIMA Nominees party will hold. Tagged ‘Fire and Ice’, the exclusive party for this year’s nominees has a few surprises in store for the guests and it promises to be a night of extreme fun and social interactions.

Saturday, November 23 ushers in the main awards event at Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, which commences at 4.00 p.m. with the live Red Carpet where African music stars and other invited guests display their glamour and impeccable African fashion sense for the audience watching around the world while being interviewed by the 6th AFRIMA celebrity red carpet hosts. The live broadcast main awards ceremony following at 7.30 p.m. is conceptualised to celebrate African creativity and culture in all its splendour as well as reward African artistes who emerge winners in the 36 AFRIMA continental and regional categories ranging from the classic, contemporary to traditional genres of music. The awards ceremony programme will also specially recognise and honour African music veterans with the 2019 AFRIMA Legend Award.

Sharing her excitement, Associate Producer, AFRIMA, Adenrele Niyi said “we are excited about this year’s AFRIMA events as these are interesting times for African music and creatives. The entire music world is looking forward to November 20 to 23 in Lagos, Nigeria. I especially look forward to the Music Summit, where every attendee gets to part with some new knowledge of the African Music Industry. And we still reminisce on the high energy from the last Music Village experience in Ghana, with over 60,000 people packed in the Independence Square, Accra, the largest arena in Ghana. Lagos will surely leave us spellbound.”

 Also expressing huge expectations for the 2019 events, International Advisor to AFRIMA, Rikki Stein said, “AFRIMA has never disappointed my expectations, and I know that this year will reflect even more Africanness, as the theme for 2019 goes ‘Feel Africa’ the unique and beautiful essence of African music and culture will be portrayed to its fullest during the events”.

The British music executive has explored many parts of the African continent in his over 50 years career in the music industry. “Culture is a living, breathing ever-evolving entity. I’m amongst those who consider that Africa has a tremendous contribution to make in the world. Nowhere is this clearer than through its cultural manifestations, evidenced by the burgeoning global interest in its art, fashion, literature and, particularly, music.”, he added.

The premium 6th AFRIMA events will be star-studded with attendance from award-winning recording artistes, African celebrities, music professionals, creative/cultural industry experts, media practitioners, and public officials amongst others.

 The events will be broadcast live on DSTV channel 198, GOTV channel 29, Africa Independent Television (AIT), Raypower FM Network, Kennis FM, Silverbird Television (STV), HIP TV, amongst over 84 stations across the world and fans of African music globally can also catch the frenzy via the AFRIMA social media handles, live stream on the AFRIMA website, and the AFRIMA App. 

In partnership with the African Union Commission, AFRIMA is committed to the stimulation of conversations among Africans and between Africa and the rest of the world about the potentials of the cultural and creative economy for real enterprise on the continent, contributing significantly to social cohesion and continental integration as well as sustainable economic growth and development in Africa by lending its voice to promotion of education and campaign against extreme poverty and preventable diseases.

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Global Music Actors to Converge in Ghana
November 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Music industry professionals from more than 50 countries are set to travel to Accra, Ghana, for the much-awaited Music In Africa Conference for Collaborations, Exchange and Showcases (ACCES), taking place on 28, 29 and 30 November 2019.

Now in its third edition, ACCES is the leading pan-African music business event organised by the Music In Africa Foundation in a different African city every year. This year’s robust programme features an exciting roster of musicians and industry experts from all corners of the globe.

Global superstar Akon is one of the leading speakers at this year’s event. The five-time Grammy nominee joins a star-studded line-up that includes top Ghanaian musicians and experts such as SarkodieEfyaSaminiKyekyekuJohn Collins, Ebo Taylor, Bibie Brew and Wanlov the Kubolor.

Other high-profile speakers and facilitators at ACCES 2019 will be Chocolate City vice-president Aibee Abidoye (Nigeria), Ditto Music founder and CEO Lee Parsons (UK), Airforce1 Records managing director Joe Chialo (Germany), Gallo Music Group general manager Rob Cowling (South Africa), Boulevard Festival co-director Hicham Bahou (Morocco), TRUE Africa founder and editor-in-chief Claude Grunitzky (Togo/UK), Simfy OTT music services head Oye Akideinde (Nigeria), Boomplay Ghana manager Elizabeth Ntiamoah (Ghana), Nyege Nyege Festival co-founder Derek Debru (Belgium/Uganda) and Grammy-nominated musician, author and rights activist Mark Levine (US), among many others.

ACCES offers delegates a wide variety of activities, including carefully curated panel discussions, exhibitions, networking and pitching sessions, production workshops and showcases (live performances) by musical acts from Africa and the diaspora. ACCES 2019 will be spread across three venues, namely the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (for the conference programme), Alliance Française (for evening live performances on 28 and 30 November) and the Gold Coast Hub (for performances on 29 November).

 Showcases

ACCES 2019 will feature an eclectic and bold line-up of showcasing artists. Confirmed artists are Mokoomba (Zimbabwe), Songhoy Blues (Mali), Gato Preto (Mozambique and Ghana but based in Germany), Arka’n (Togo), Sibusile Xaba (South Africa), Ifrikya Spirit (Algeria), Lúcia de Carvalho (Angola but based in France), and Bholoja (eSwatini), as well as locals Yaa YaaKyekyeku & Ghanalogue HighlifeFOKN BoisCina Soul and FRA!

Gato Preto, Songhoy Blues and Lúcia de Carvalho will perform at ACCES 2019 courtesy of ACCES’ reciprocal partnership with Reeperbahn Festival International – one of the most important meeting places for the music industry worldwide and Europe’s largest club festival based in Hamburg, Germany.

Workshops

As with previous editions, ACCES will offer highly interactive workshops designed for musicians, producers, sound engineers, as well as film and videogame composers. The ACCES workshop programme reflects the conference’s vision to embolden music professionals with new knowledge and skills. The trade event will feature two distinct training workshops that will explore music production essentials, and music for film, facilitated by Kofi ‘IamBeatMenace’ Boachie and Stephan Eicke respectively.

Exhibitions 

ACCES 2019 will host a curated exhibition area where innovators and service providers in the music industry will get to present their products and ideas throughout the duration of the music conference. This year sees the introduction of the Exhibitor Hubs, an innovative, tech-oriented space where companies and organisations will present their new products and services.

ACCES will also programme a number of Pitch Sessions, which are ideal opportunities that startups can use to present their ideas to an audience of potential partners, collaborators, clients and funders. Pitchers get 10 minutes to present their concepts, answer questions and get feedback from the audience members, many of whom will be industry leaders on the lookout for the next big idea.

Honouring Ghanaian music legends

ACCES 2019 will kick off on 28 November with the Music In Africa Honorary Award ceremony where Ghanaian legends Ebo Taylor and Bibie Brew will be awarded for their outstanding contribution to their home country’s music industry and that of Africa as a whole. They will join previous award recipients Baaba Maal (2017) and Eric Wainaina (2018).

About ACCES

ACCES is a pan-African trade event for music industry players to exchange ideas, discover new talent and create business linkages. ACCES is held in a different African city every year, attracting active music industry players from across the globe.

ACCES is organised by the Music In Africa Foundation, a non-profit and pan-African organisation, in partnership and with the support of Siemens Stiftung,  Goethe-Institut, Reeperbahn Festival International, Alliance Française, BMG, MediaSound Hamburg, the Multimedia Group, Africa Art Lines, Afrikayna, the Gold Coast Hub, the Year of Return, the Prince Claus Fund and the ANT Mobility Grant from Pro Helvetia Johannesburg, financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

This year ACCES has a partnership with Reeperbahn Festival. The partnership creates a framework for the festival to collaborate with ACCES in facilitating sustainable business engagements and exchange between European and African music businesses and professionals, as well as the provision of performance opportunities to musicians in both territories.

BMG is the new model music company founded in 2008 as a response to the challenges of the digital revolution in the music industry. As part of its unique approach, BMG represents the traditionally separate music publishing and recording rights off the same platform internationally. The company is the world’s fourth biggest music publisher and one of the first new global players in the recordings business. BMG has 15 offices across 12 core music markets, representing over 3 million songs and recordings, including the catalogues of global stars such as Chrysalis, Bug, Virgin, Mute, Sanctuary, Primary Wave and Talpa Music, as well as thousands of artists and songwriters.

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Africa Finance Corporation issues US$500 million Ten-Year Eurobond
November 6, 2019 | 0 Comments
Mr. Zubairu President & CEO of Africa Finance Corporation (AFC)
Mr. Zubairu President & CEO of Africa Finance Corporation (AFC)

LAGOS, Nigeria, November 6th, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Africa Finance Corporation (“AFC” or “the Corporation”), the leading infrastructure solutions provider in Africa, announces the successful issuance of a US$500 million Reg S Only Eurobond for general corporate purposes, maturing in October 2029.

The Senior, unsecured Eurobond which carries a coupon of 3.75% was priced to yield 3.895% for a tenor of 10 years. It is the longest tenor bond issued by the Corporation till date. The bond received strong global interest across the Middle East, Asia, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Europe. Prior to the launch of the bond, AFC held a global investor call followed by investor meetings in London.

The issuance is the fourth Eurobond issued by the Corporation, under its US$ 3,000,000.00 Global Medium-Term Note Programme. The bond proceeds will provide capital for AFC to support its growth and long-term approach to infrastructure investing in Africa.

The bond was rated A3 by Moody’s Investor Services, in line with AFC’s issuer rating. It is listed on the Irish Stock Exchange and was distributed to investors in Asia (28%), United Kingdom (26%), Switzerland (17%), Middle East and Africa (15%) and other Europe (11%). 

Samaila Zubairu, President & CEO of AFC, commented on the announcement: “AFC is pleased with the successful placement of its fourth Eurobond, which enjoyed a strong subscription rate across multiple geographies. The level of appetite for this bond is a true testament to the growing confidence that global capital markets are placing on Africa’s investment potential, especially in infrastructure, as well as the capital markets’ confidence that AFC is the right partner to de-risk opportunities for institutional capital on the continent.”

MUFG, J.P. Morgan, Merrill Lynch International, First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC and Rand Merchant Bank acted as Joint Lead Managers and Bookrunners for the U.S.-dollar-denominated Reg. S issue.

About Africa Finance CorporationAFC, an investment grade multilateral finance institution, was established in 2007 with an equity capital base of US$1 billion, to be the catalyst for private sector-led infrastructure investment across Africa.  With a current balance sheet of approximately US$4.2 billion, AFC is the second highest investment grade rated multilateral financial institution in Africa with an A3/P2 (Stable outlook) rating from Moody’s Investors Service. AFC successfully raised USD 750 million in 2015 and USD 500 million in 2017; out of its Board-approved USD 3 Billion Global Medium-Term Note (MTN) Programme. Both Eurobond issues were oversubscribed and attracted investors from Asia, Europe and the USA. In 2019, the Corporation also issued a Samurai Bond which raised US$ 233 million and JPY 1 billion. AFC’s investment approach combines specialist industry expertise with a focus on financial and technical advisory, project structuring, project development and risk capital to address Africa’s infrastructure development needs and drive sustainable economic growth.  AFC invests in high-quality infrastructure assets that provide essential services in the core infrastructure sectors of power, natural resources, heavy industry, transport, and telecommunications. To date, the Corporation has invested over US$4.5 billion in projects within 29 countries across Africa. Please visit www.africafc.org for more information 

*AMA

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Why global and pan African investors need to set their sights on the 2019 Africa Investment Forum
November 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala*

The year 2019 will be one of the defining moments in Africa’s investment landscape. Bigger, bolder and more ambitious projects await delegates and investors as we prepare to kick off the second edition of the Africa Investment Forum.

A multi-billion-dollar petrochemical project in Egypt and the Kigali Innovation City Project in Rwanda, are only two of the projects which featured during the maiden edition of the Forum held in November last year.

Alongside a greater emphasis on helping transactions reach bankability and in pushing ahead the regional integration agenda, project sponsors and investors continue to flock to our digital Platform, with interest already shown in 151 projects from 34 African countries worth $112.4 billion.

Following the immense success in November 2018, the Africa Investment Forum, a brainchild of the African Development Bank, is becoming a firm fixture in the calendars of the global investment community. The 2018 event saw nearly 2,000 participants, representing 83 countries, out of which some 277 were delegates from development finance institutions that are active in Africa.

The 2018 Forum was instrumental in showcasing up to 49 different transactions at different stages of development and with a total value of close to $40 billion. These projects were presented to a large audience of investors and financiers. Judging from the interest generated, the Forum promises to play a major role in catalyzing investment flows into Africa, so instrumental in moving the continent forward into the future.

Some of the key projects for which the Forum is expected to play an invaluable role, include the Desert to Power initiative – which aims to provide 10,000 MW of solar-generated electricity to 250 million people across the Sahel. Projects like the Inga Hydro-electric scheme in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and other major cross-border infrastructure projects in road and rail, are all highly transformative projects with important social and economic impacts.

The timing of the coming into being of the Forum is fortuitous, coming on the heels of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area and the Single African Air Transport Market, ratified by the majority of African Union members.

New investments made possible through the Africa Investment Forum have the potential to spur an explosion in trade, contribute to Africa’s re-industrialization and promote cross-border regional economic integration.

Indeed, while the platform continues to ramp up and grow, the Forum offered some very important lessons. In particular, additional resources are required to adequately prepare projects which are crucial for Africa’s development. Well-prepared projects minimize negative environmental and social issues, while maximizing development and economic outcomes, thus contributing to enhanced bankability. This notwithstanding, projects originated through the Forum will benefit from the Bank’s wider ecosystem and the numerous instruments and partnerships with other development finance institutions which will help transform project ideas into actual investments that create jobs and economic opportunities on the ground.

While the Forum is a practical and transactional platform for project deals and potential financers to interact, it has also become a staging post for new financing product innovations that compliment and contribute to de-risking and making investment opportunities more attractive for investors. Examples of recent innovations in this regard include the co-guarantee platform that was established in 2018 by the African Development Bank alongside its partners the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC), African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) and GuarantCo.

As we prepare again to put Africa on global investors’ radars, I would like to see tied to the Forum more activities with the potential of bringing increased dynamism and depth to African domestic capital markets; initiatives that help mobilize African domestic resources into projects coming to this platform for funding.

Beyond this, there are opportunities for the African diaspora whose annual remittances to the continent now top $60 billion a year, making it an immense pool of money that can actively participate in Africa’s development story and benefit from the myriad investment opportunities.

I would like to see diaspora bond issuances and/or collective investment vehicles discussed and presented at the Forum, as they can represent significant financing that can be put to work for the benefit of Africa’s development.

I also strongly encourage and welcome greater participation of the South African institutional investment management industry.

We look forward to a successful Forum and to greater acceleration of the development of the continent.

*AFDB. Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala is Vice President for Finance and Chief Finance Officer, African Development Bank

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African Development Bank Shareholders approve landmark $115 billion capital increase, signalling strong support
November 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

  • Bank’s capital base more than doubles. Jumps from $93 billion to $208 billion
  • Largest capital increase in the Bank’s history signals a united front by shareholders

At an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting today in Abidjan, Governors of the African Development Bank, representing shareholders from 80 countries, approved a landmark $115 billion increase in capital for the continent’s foremost financial institution.

The capital increase, the largest in the history of the African Development Bank since its establishment in 1964, is a remarkable show of confidence by shareholders.

With the approved increase, the capital of the Bank will more than double from $93 billion to $208 billion. This solidifies the Bank’s leadership on development financing for the continent.

The boost in capital ensures that the Bank will continue to maintain a sterling AAA rating, all stable, from the top rating agencies.

The African Development Bank launched discussions on the request for a general capital increase two years ago, to help fast track the delivery of its High 5 development strategies, the sustainable development goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the President of Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara said: “the integration of the continent’s priorities into the High 5s indicates that the African Development Bank group is a strategic partner for African governments.”

In the past four years, the Bank’s High 5 priorities have delivered impressive results on the ground, including helping to connect 16 million people to electricity, 70 million people provided with agricultural technologies to boost food security; 9 million people given access to finance through private sector investee companies; 55 million people provided improved access to transport services; and 31 million people with access to water and sanitation.

According to African Development Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina,  “We have achieved a lot, yet there is still a long way to go. Our responsibility is to very quickly help improve the quality of life for the people of Africa. This general capital increase represents a very strong commitment of all our shareholders to see better quality projects that will significantly have an impact on the lives of the people in Africa –  in cities, in rural communities, and for millions of youth and women.”

With the new general capital increase, the Bank plans to do more, with the following expected results: 105 million people to have access to new or improved electricity connections; 244 million people to benefit from improvements in agriculture; 15 million people to benefit from investee projects; 252 million people to benefit from improved access to transport; and 128 million people to benefit from improved access to water and sanitation.

Adesina noted that “the Bank will continue its leadership role on infrastructure development, strengthening regional integration, helping to realize the ambitions of the African Continental Free Trade Area, supporting fragile states to build resilience, ensuring sustainable debt management, addressing climate change and boosting private sector investments. We will do a lot more. This is a historic moment.”

He added: “I applaud the shareholders for their strong confidence in the Bank and for boosting support for Africa’s development”.

President Adesina, Bank senior vice-president Charles Boamah and vice president for Finance and Bank Chief Finance Officer Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala, will be available for interviews and further comment about the increase.

*AFDB

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Africa can be world’s next economic hub if supported with right policies – Singapore’s Senior Minister tells lecture audience
November 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

Africa must spread its economic openness by strongly showcasing specialisation along the production value chain and invest more boldly in social foundations

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, November 6, 2019/ — With the right policies and linkages, Africa can become an indispensable global economic hub, Singapore’s Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam noted Tuesday, commending the continent’s diverse economic potential.

Delivering this year’s Kofi A. Annan Eminent Speakers’ Lecture series at the African Development Bank headquarters in Abidjan, Shanmugaratnam outlined five strategies which must underpin the continent’s transformation drive and efforts to build inclusive growth.

Africa must spread its economic openness by strongly showcasing specialisation along the production value chain and invest more boldly in social foundations. The continent must also maximise policy coherence and effectiveness, think in the long-term and maximise the benefits of global financial system, Shanmugaratnam told diplomats, students, government representatives and senior Bank officials gathered in the Babacar Ndiaye auditorium.

The lecture, the third in a new series organised by the African Development Institute, had the theme: “Inclusive Growth: Learning from Experience, Partnering for the Future – How Africa and Asia can work together for broad-based prosperity.” He was accompanied by senior government officials from Singapore.

“There are challenges, but there are also opportunities. There is much more to be done,” said Shanmugaratnam who is also Singapore’s Coordinating Minister for Social Policies.

In order to build economic resilience and create job opportunities for their bulging youth population, there must be stronger connectivity and economic interaction among developing regions, especially between Africa and Asia which share demographic similarities.

He noted that there is a significant interest by Singapore businesses in Africa which needs to be scaled up. “We need to take practical steps to spur this collaboration with more bilateral investment treaties that provide some assurance to investors.”

Singapore is the eighth largest foreign investor in Africa. It invested around $90 billion in the continent in 2018.

“We are in an unusual time globally – a time of unusual challenge where some of the basic beliefs of how the world prospect together are being challenged. But it’s also a time of immense opportunities… in the international economy, in international finance and in international cooperation,” the minister stated.

It is projected that in the next decade, Africa will have the largest working age population in the world, larger than China and India with about 1.1 billion people of working age population of between 15 and 64 years.

Shanmugaratnam said African leaders must prepare to take advantage of the strong bulging workforce, coupled with the high mobile technology penetration to drive innovation for growth.

In his welcoming remarks, Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina noted that Africa could learn a lot from Singapore. He described Mr Shanmugaratnam as someone with expansive knowledge who was chosen because of his inspiring works in the Asian nation.

Adesina said the Eminent Lecture series was dedicated to Kofi Annan, a former Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) in recognition of his contributions to humanity. Annan launched the UN millennium development goals.

“As we continue our efforts to do more, we want to learn from the impressive achievements of Singapore, and no one is better placed to discuss this and all of the things around Asia and Africa with us than Tharman Shanmugaratnam,” he said.

The African Development Bank launched the Eminent Speakers Lecture series in 2006 to provide a platform for a robust exchange of ideas to meet the challenges of African development.

Since then, the series has featured world-class speakers, politicians, top academics, businesspeople and civil society representatives, who have spoken on a diverse range of topics and issues, including economics, finance, regional integration, human development, the environment, and philosophy.

*AFDB

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Uganda and Equatorial Guinea pave the way for Africa’s oil future
November 6, 2019 | 0 Comments
Tullow's Lake Albert development. Photo credit Energy Voice
Tullow’s Lake Albert development. Photo credit Energy Voice

With the Lake Albert oil beginning to flow, Uganda has set its sights on further resources
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, November 6, 2019/ — Africa Oil Week (www.Africa-OilWeek.com) got off to a high profile start with a prestigious Ministerial and VIP Symposium on the 28th floor of First National Bank’s corporate headquarters in Cape Town’s Waterfront district. Over 200 senior executives from IOC and NOCs along with ministerial delegations from leading African nations joined to look for solutions to Africa’s energy challenges.

Amongst the traditional African oil giants were several countries that have been rapidly growing their oil and gas credentials in the form of Uganda and Equatorial Guinea.

Uganda joins the exporters club

The prospects for the hydrocarbon sector in Uganda are looking bright – Uganda will soon export its first crude oil from its Lake Albert oil discovery to the international market, making it one of the countries to have joined the oil exporting countries after the government came to an agreement with Tanzania that enables it to transport its crude oil through the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), a 1,445-kilometre pipeline from Hoima, Uganda, to the port of Tanga in Tanzania is the proposed route.

“It is exciting times for Uganda, we are now preparing for production,” Hon Irene-Margaret Muloni, minister of energy and mineral development, Uganda, says. “It has taken us some time, but we are there. The exploration discovered six billion barrels and we have plans to recover about 1.4 billion of these. And now the issue is to get that out of the ground. We’ve already agreed with Tullow, Total and CNOOC the way forward to commercialise that oil.

“We need two big destinations. One is access to the international markets through the pipeline to add value and ensure security of supply within the East Africa region. Also, we are importers of petroleum products now, so we have a refinery under development.” That refinery is planned for Kabaale in Western Uganda’s Hoima district, along the eastern shore of Lake Albert, close to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Once the refinery is completed, expected to be in 2022, it will produce kerosene, gasoline, diesel, heavy fuel oils for Uganda and other local markets. In addition to the refinery an airport, hospital and a 100-megawatt thermal power plant are being constructed.

“For these two big projects the pipeline is more advanced with the FEED signed and an intergovernmental agreement with Tanzania. We are now negotiating the host government agreements between us and setting up the private companies that are going to own and operate the pipeline. For the refinery we’ve already approved the configuration of the refinery that will handle 60,000 barrels per day. Those two projects are ongoing and as a country we are preparing the infrastructure.”

With the Lake Albert oil beginning to flow, Uganda has set its sights on further resources and in May announced a second licensing round for additional oil exploration in five blocks in western Uganda that will be announced before the end of 2019. “It is all about attracting companies to come and join us in the exploration. We have only licenced about 15% of the resources but the appetite is there because the parameters are world class. The success rate when you drill is hovering around 85%, meaning every time you drill a hole there is a good chance of success.”

More from Equatorial Guinea

Later this month Equatorial Guinea will announce the winning bids for its 27 oil and gas licences. The bidding round is reported to have attracted a high level of interest, especially among Chinese oil and gas companies following a roadshow in Beijing.

“We have many companies who have expressed an interest,” Hon Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of mines, industry & energy, Equatorial Guinea says. We have pre-selected some of these because we see the most serious companies, but the important thing is that the key blocks have already attracted interest.”

Equatorial Guinea is already home to several majors including ExxonMobil. Kosmos, Marathon and Noble and hopes to attract several more in this latest round.  “We are doing well, and we are delivering great revenue,” Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima adds. “But the issue here is what we are going to do in the future. Two of the fields are mature fields and we need to decide about them going forward. That revenue has allowed us to carry out investment in our infrastructure, but we are still keen on bringing in more companies.”


This year has been the Year of Energy 2019 in Equatorial Guinea, that saw several high-level investment conferences and roadshows in Malabo and internationally, and they are following that up next year with the Year of Investment 2020. “It has been very successful,” the minister explains. “A lot of people have heard more about what to do and we have been able to promote more content. We have also been able to prepare ourselves for the next year, 2020, which is going to be the investment year. We are looking to build refineries which will be the next stage of our development.”

Two of the challenges that often curtail investment in Africa are stringent local content rules and a regulatory framework that can be fluid. For Equatorial Guinea the subject of local content is not an issue according to Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima. “We have a limited population so local content have been mainly focused on a specialised sector such as the service industry,” he explains. “In general, I can say that more than 90% of the companies have done a very good job regarding local content that we’re happy with.”

As for the regulatory regime, Equatorial Guinea are going to be working next year on the new law. “We believe that our national companies will work more efficiently if, rather than having regular responsibility from a minister, it will be controlled by a law.”

Equatorial Guinea and Uganda were amongst almost forty ministerial delegations in attendance at the symposium. It was a fertile breeding ground for the movers and shakers of the industry and amidst the presentations, cocktails and networking, new deals and partnerships were being forged that could bear fruition over the coming months.
*Source Africa Oil Week
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Andela Launches Egypt as First Fully Remote Center
November 5, 2019 | 0 Comments

ITIDA signs agreement to support Andela’s hiring of Egyptian software engineers for global projects 

Nov 5th, 2019. Cairo, Egypt. Andela, the global technology company that builds distributed engineering teams with Africa’s top software engineers today officially launched its operations in Egypt. In a ceremony attended by Andela’s Co-founder and CEO, Jeremy Johnson, ITIDA VP, Ahmed El Sobky, and Andela’s Country Director in Egypt, Ms Rama El Safty the company announced that Egypt would be its first fully remote centre. 

Following the ceremony, the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) signed an agreement with Andela that will see them support the company’s efforts to select and invest in at least 200 of the top software engineers in Egypt. Those engineers will get the chance to work with some of the leading technology companies in the world without having to leave Egypt, and in the process represent the Egyptian ICT sector on a global stage. 

The MoU comes in line with Egypt’s ICT strategy that targets increasing the annual export of ICT services, which was valued at USD 3.67 billion in 2018, through attracting investments, and creating more job opportunities for Egyptian youth and Andela’s move into the country plays a crucial role in achieving this.

Speaking on the launch, Jeremy Johnson says, “Andela builds world-class engineering teams, and we are excited to be enhancing our talent pool as we expand into Egypt. We’ve been impressed by the incredible engineering talent we’ve seen so far across the country, and we’re excited to help raise the profile of Egypt’s tech ecosystem on the global stage.”  

Moreover, Engineer Hala El Gohary, ITIDA CEO said: “We are pleased to be working closely with Andela to continue to invest in Africa’s most talented software developers. So, we are happy with the company’s decision to invest in Egypt where it gets access to a rich talent pool and enjoys geographic proximity to international markets that perfectly fits the engineering-as-a-service business and would further boost the company’s growth.” 

Commenting on the agreement, Rama El Safty says, “Egypt’s ICT sector has seen significant growth over the last years, as the government has actively focused on strengthening and accelerating digital transformation. We would like to thank the Minister of Communications and Information Technology and ITIDA for collaborating with us during our move into our first MENA region market.”  

The Engineering-as-a-Service company began exploring operations in the North African country in 2018 and has to-date hired over 80 top engineers from Cairo, Alexandria, Damnhour, Port Saeed and Mansoura. Andela runs on a remote working model, whereby Andela engineers join engineering teams of leading technology companies to help them build products quickly and cost-effectively. 

The move into Egypt comes as Andela looks to strengthen its team of over 1,200 software engineers, located in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and other countries in Africa, who help power the technology teams of more than 200 tech companies around the world including Viacom, BBC, Github, and Coursera. 

Andela Egypt is currently accepting applications for a number of software engineering positions on andela.com/egypt.   

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AFCON 2021 Qualifiers: Cameroon Head coach publishes list of 28 players
November 5, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

The head coach of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon Antonio Conceiçao has made public a list of 28 players that will represent Cameroon in their next outing in the qualifiers for the AFCON 2021.

Cameroon will face Cape Verde on the 13 of November 2019 and face Rwanda on the 17 of November 2019.

The list of players called up includes the usual suspects while Vincent Aboubakar is making his return back to the squad. The player missed Cameroon’s last outing which was a friendly encounter with their Tunisian counterpart due to injury. During that game in Tunisia, both sides ended goalless, in what was the first outing for the new head coach of the Cameroonian national team. 

Equally returning to the squad, though on the waiting list is Buea born Clinton Nji. The player has been having a renaissance in Russia after he signed for Dynamo Moscow. He scored his first goal for Dynamo on 27 October 2019, a late winner in a 1–0 victory over PFC CSKA Moscow.  

The Minister of Sports and Physical Education confirmed Portuguese born coach António Conceição da Silva Oliveira popularly known as Toni Conceição as Heach coach of the Indomitable Lions until the 2021 AFCON tournament. The former Portuguese International right back replaces Clarence Seedorf who was sacked after this year’s AFCON in Egypt.

The Portuguese who is having his first experience as a national team coach and the first in the African continent will be assisted by Ex-Cameroon internationals François Oman Biyik, Jacques Songo’o as goalkeeper coach and team Doctor Professor William Ngatchou.

GOALKEEPERS:
– Andre Onana-Ajax Amsterdam-Netherlands

Fabrice Ondoa-KV Ostende-Belgium

– Haschou Kerrido-CK Kamsar-Guinea

DEFENDERS:
– Jean Charles Castelleto-Stade Brestois – France

– Fai Collins Ngoran-Standard-Belgium

– Michael Ngadeu-Gent-Belgium

Ambroise Oyongo-Montpellier-France

– Jerome Onguene-RB Salzburg-Austria

– Dawa Joyskim-Mariupol-Ukraine

MIDFIELDERS:

– Pierre Kunde Malong-Mainz-Germany

– Djoum Arnaud-Al Read-Saudi Arabia

– Bombock Franck-Maritimo-Portugal

– Andre Franck Zambo-Villarreal-Spain

– Olinga Fabrice-Royal Mouscron-Belgium

FORWARDS:

– Toko Karl Ekambi-Villarreal-Spain

– Aboubakar Vincent-FC Porto-Portugal

– Moumie Ngamaleu-Young Boys-Switzerland

– Jean Pierre Nsame-Young Boys-Switzerland

– Didier Lamkel Ze-Antwerp-Belgium

– Ganago Ignatius-OGC Nice-France

– Bassogog Christian-Hernan Jianye-China

– Choupo-Moting-PSG-France

WAITING LIST:

– Moukoudi Harold – St Etienne – France

– Ntcham Olivier – Celtic – Ekosse

– Fuchs Jeando – Maccabi Haifa – Israel

– Njie Clinton – Dynamo Moscow – Russia

– Stephane Bahoken – SCO Angers – France

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African Court begins 55th ordinary session
November 5, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights has today began its 55th Ordinary Session in Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania.

The Judges, among others, will examine over 15 applications and at least nine Judgments are expected to be rendered before the close of the four-week Session on 29 November 2019.

The Session will also discuss the Court’s work plan for 2020 and will be updated on the status of the Court’s permanent premises. The Court currently operates from the premises of the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) in Burka area.

The Session is also expected to review the just ended Fourth African Judicial Dialogue in Kampala, Uganda, under the theme: ‘’Tackling Contemporary Human Rights Issues: The Role of the Judiciary in Africa’’. 

The Judicial Dialogue brought about 300 participants, including Chief Justices and the Presidents of Constitutional Courts of the AU Member States, among others.

The Judges will also review the First International Court Forum on Human Rights which preceded the Judicial Dialogue, also in Kampala. The Forum brought together the Judges of the African Court, the Inter-American Court and the European Court of Human Rights and concluded with the Kampala Declaration.

The 10th Extra-Ordinary Session will be held from 2 to 6 November, also in Zanzibar, and among others, will consider some proposals for amendments to the Rules of Court.

The Judges will pay a courtesy call on the President of Zanzibar H.E Dr Ali Mohamed Shein.

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Zimbabwean Women Gear Up For Dubai 2020
November 5, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Reverend Dr Abigail Magwenzi Founder and Director of Red Lipstick Revolution
Reverend Dr Abigail Magwenzi Founder and Director of Red Lipstick Revolution

Zimbabwean Women are action packed to take to Dubai next year in March 2020. The unique, great and well-orchestrated summit on women leaders theme will attract thousands of women from around the Globe .They will discuss areas of entrepreneurship skills development.

In an interview earlier on this week in Harare, Reverend Dr Abigail Magwenzi Founder and Director of Red Lipstick Revolution expounded on the need for women to make it happen come 2020 in Dubai. She notes that key issues of discussions they are currently working on centre on imparting more cohesive skills in Business skills training, technical and operational skills, social and life skills training.

‘’As women our goal is to train women so that they become leaders in Business. We want to see a number of women in equality, empowerment, and collective action for development. This sustains livelihoods in all communities where women must be leaders in the Business Sector ranging from Small to Medium Enterprises, home manufacturers of quality food stuffs and also as decision markers.

‘’Women have reached levels of equality but more needs to be done in all sectors of the economy. There is need to get into extreme marginalised women areas. There is need to empower them with all the skills they need. Satisfying women needs and wants starts with us here.

‘’Dubai is close by 2020 to cherish the need to nurture, impart and indoctrinate unique quality skills in women who must lead by example in communities. We are a step ahead for Dubai come 2020. There are mainly those values we want to carry like a flag. These are equality, empowerment, collective action, working together and sustainability.

Contacted for brief comment to buttress Abigail Magwenzi ‘s points  Ambassador Mary Mubi Zimbabwe Commissioner General to Expo 2020 in Dubai said the time for women has come again to make them rise high , climb the ladder and be in the skies .

She likens the Dubai up-coming conference to Beijing Platform for Action of 1995. After that big symposium women climbed higher than ever before guided by International instruments like the Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against Women [CEDAW] of 1979.

‘’It is big time event for women to rise and shine. Zimbabwe is already geared to show-case its entrepreneurial talents in all areas of development. We are there-fore to lead by example, teach, train n impart skills in others. We are already far in terms of equality and empowerment. What is left is to reach our goals, vision and mission just close to us’’, says Mary Mubi .

The Global Women Leadership Summit will bring together Global Leaders, professionals, entrepreneurs, business women and women leaders. They will share and explore new areas of research and development and some emerging issues of impact to women. The main aim will be networking and devising innovative strategies that will make a huge difference to women involved in today’s competitive Global business.

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