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Africa Development Week opened in Dakar with clarion call for policies that cater for youth
March 29, 2017 | 0 Comments
Anthony Mogae Maruping, Economic Commissioner of the African Union welcomes Abdallah Hamdok of the Economic Commission for Africa during day 3 of the African Development Week.

Anthony Mogae Maruping, Economic Commissioner of the African Union welcomes Abdallah Hamdok of the Economic Commission for Africa during day 3 of the African Development Week.

DAKAR, Senegal, 28 March 2017,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- It is imperative for African governments to adopt coherent strategies and national development plans that address the continent’s challenges of growth, inequality and unemployment, Economic Commission for Africa’s deputy Executive Secretary, Giovanne Biha, said Thursday.

Ms. Biha said this in her opening speech to the Tenth Joint Annual Meetings of the African Union Specialized Technical Committee on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration and the Economic Commission for Africa Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.

“The absence of decent jobs for young Africans has fuelled outward migration, both within and from Africa resulting in tragic loss of lives as young people attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea in search for greener pastures.”

Ms. Biha said since this year is the year of harnessing Africa’s demographic dividend through investment in the youth, more needs to be done by all stakeholders to promote investment in job creation and human capital development.

“It is the imperative for African countries to adopt coherent strategies and national development plans that promote structural transformation and address the challenges of growth, inequality and unemployment within the context of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” she said.

Ms. Biha noted that discussions on unemployment in Africa were not new, adding it was now time for action on the ground.

African Union Commission’s Economic Affairs Commissioner, Anthony Mothae Maruping, said it was symbolic that the meeting was taking place in Senegal, where Africans were forcibly taken to work as slaves in America and Europe.

“We are in the right place to come up and work on strategies to make sure our young people don’t voluntarily and involuntarily leave the continent to look for opportunities elsewhere,” said Mr. Maruping, adding growth on the continent so far has not been inclusive.

“We need to grow Africa. The time to do so is now,” he said, adding Agenda 2063 is seeking to achieve accelerated, stable, inclusive and real economic job-creating growth in Africa. Mr. Maruping said no form of poverty was acceptable as he urged the continent to work hard to eradicate all inequalities.

He said Africa is clear on what needs to be done as it deals with challenges it is facing on the ground, in particular spurring economic growth that positively impacts everyone.

“Africa knows what to do, how to do it, with what and when to do it as we target this growth and inequality,” said Mr. Maruping. “We really want to transform our economies, raise our productivity, promote integration and trade and all.”

Senegal’s Budget Minister, Birima Mangara, in his welcome address to the meeting of experts said his country was doing all it can to structurally transform its economy for the benefit of every citizen.

Giovanne Biha, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa in discussion with Abdallah Hamdok of the Economic Commission for Africa

Giovanne Biha, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa in discussion with Abdallah Hamdok of the Economic Commission for Africa

He said inequalities and youth unemployment were being tackled as well as other related problems that lead to poverty, adding youth and women on the continent should be prioritized in job creation.

Mr. Mangara lauded the ECA, the AUC and their partners for convening a meeting to specifically tackle growth, inequalities and unemployment on the continent.

“It is these meetings which serve as outstanding platforms to discuss Africa’s problems,” he said. “I’m convinced that the debates will lead to very important recommendations that are important for the future development of our dear Africa.”
The Tenth Joint Annual Meetings will deliberate on the theme of “Growth, inequality and unemployment”.

The conference will explore measures for reducing inequality and extreme poverty on the continent in order to achieve the targets of the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan (2013-2023) of Agenda 2063 and the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, among other issues.

Among the high-level delegates present were the newly-elected African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, President of the office of the committee of experts, Lizenga Maluleka, representatives of UN agencies, the African Union Commission, African Development Bank and civil society.

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Africa-Israel Summit: Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu to attend the Africa-Israel Summit in Lomé, Togo
March 24, 2017 | 1 Comments
The Africa-Israel Summit is jointly organized by the Togolese and Israeli diplomatic service as well as Africa-Israel Connect
TEL AVIV, Israel, March 21, 2017/ — The international news network i24News and the executive committee of the Africa-Israel Summit  have signed a partnership agreement, making i24News the official media partner for the summit which will take place in Lomé, Togo, from October 23-27, 2017.

i24news, a channel broadcasted from Tel Aviv, will offer exclusive coverage of the event through its three channels (French, English, Arabic) in partnership with its Washington, Paris and New York offices.

The network will ensure the media promotion of the Africa-Israel Summit in the months leading up to the event and will be the official media partner with exclusive access to the summit.

i24News aims to strike deep and long-term roots in the African continent and expand its coverage beyond the countries where it is already present. Franck Melloul, CEO of the i24 news channel declared: “I am very honored and excited to launch our media partnership between our network and the Africa-Israel Summit. I am convinced that it is a great initiative to promote cooperation between Africa and Israel and that promoting the media coverage of the event is an excellent opportunity for i24. In addition, I believe that the Summit will serve as an ideal framework for our network to strike deep roots in Africa and further i24news’ status as a global news network”.

The Africa-Israel Summit, an event jointly organized by the Togolese and Israeli diplomatic service as well as Africa-Israel Connect, will be held in October 2017 in Lomé, Togo and will host the senior leadership from both Africa and the State of Israel including PM Netanyahu and African heads of state for exclusive talks and discussions focused on political and business matters. Bruno Finel, CEO of the Africa-Israel Connect firm stated: “The Africa-Israel Summit is a unique opportunity to fulfill the formidable potential of heightened cooperation between Jerusalem and the African continent. Moreover, Lomé is an ideal venue to hold the Summit. Indeed, the city regularly hosts high-profile conferences and President Faure Gnassingbe is a historic and faithful friend of the Jewish state. In addition, the President’s proven commitment to proactive and dynamic diplomacy is an invaluable asset to the success of the Summit”.

The theme of the Summit is ‘Innovation for a shared prosperity’.

i24 news, a subsidiary of the Altice Group (SFR, Portugal Telecom, Suddenlink, Cablevision, L’Express, BFM, Liberation, HOT) was launched in July 2013 and employs a staff of 150 people.

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Internet Society announces first ever Africa Regional Internet and Development Dialogue
March 24, 2017 | 0 Comments

The event aims at gathering various organizations working on Internet and development across the region to identify synergies and create opportunities for coordination and collaboration.

KIGALI, Rwanda, March 22, 2017/ — The Internet Society  today announced that it will hold the first ever Africa Regional Internet and Development Dialogue from 8-9 May 2017 in Kigali, Rwanda, in partnership with UNESCO and Republic of Rwanda Ministry of Youth and ICT .

The two-day meeting will bring together experts including government and inter-governmental organization officials, business and educational leaders from throughout the continent to discuss how Africa can use the Internet to advance education, innovation and job creation.

The event aims at gathering various organizations working on Internet and development across the region to identify synergies and create opportunities for coordination and collaboration.

“One of the key topics of discussion will be what needs to be done for Africa to benefit from the transformational opportunities of the Internet for the benefit of the African economy and education,” explains Dawit Bekele, Regional Bureau Director for Africa at the Internet Society. “While there are many challenges, we know it can be done. Countries such as Kenya and Rwanda have created policy environments that enable innovation and they are now seeing the benefits of the Internet economy. Universities throughout the continent are also using e-learning opportunities to increase their reach as well as to give flexibility for their students.”

“Africa is on an unstoppable move toward digital transformation. However, the room for increasing speed and impact is limitless,” says Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Rwanda’s Minister for Youth and ICT. “This can only be achieved if we are able to harness effectively the power of partnerships. We therefore welcome and are pleased to co-host this dialogue which is a great platform for advanced partnerships ahead of the transform Africa Summit that Rwanda will host from May 10 to 12, 2017.”

The Africa Regional Internet Development Dialogue is an opportunity for key stakeholders to:

  • discuss not only the challenges, but also the achievements in building the Internet economy and education in Africa;
  • review the successes and setbacks of various initiatives throughout the region and share lessons-learned;
  • identify the next steps different stakeholders need to take to build the Internet economy and improve education in Africa.

“I am honored to participate in this very meaningful event. UNESCO is committed to working with all stakeholders to harness ICTs in a way that serves the interests of learners and the larger teaching/learning community,” said Indrajit Banerjee, Director, Knowledge Societies Division, Communications and Information Sector, UNESCO.

This conference is part of a global series of Internet development conferences organized by the Internet Society with the aim of furthering the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that aim at tackling the world’s main development challenges by 2030. Regional Internet Development Dialogues were held last year in Asia Pacific, hosted by UNESCAP, and in Latin America & Caribbean in partnership with Inter-America Development Bank and hosted by the Government of Argentina.

Founded by Internet pioneers, the Internet Society (ISOC)  is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet. Working through a global community of chapters and members, the Internet Society collaborates with a broad range of groups to promote the technologies that keep the Internet safe and secure, and advocate for policies that enable universal access. The Internet Society is also the organizational home of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

The mission of the Ministry of youth and ICT  is to address national priorities for economic growth and poverty reduction through the development and coordination of national policies and programs related to youth empowerment as well as Information & Communication Technology policies and programs.

For more information on the conference, please visit: www.InternetSociety.org/ridd/africa/2017.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Internet Society (ISOC).

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Presidents of Ghana and Senegal discuss Regional Trade and Investment at the AFRICA CEO FORUM 2017
March 23, 2017 | 0 Comments
Ghana's Nana Akufo Addo

Ghana’s Nana Akufo Addo

The President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his Senegalese counterpart President Macky Sall, graced the Africa CEO Forum 2017 with their presence, to discuss how Africa’s sub-regions can work more closely together in a world where demands for economic nationalism and protectionism are on the rise.

Switzerland’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, Johann Schneider-Ammann, gave the welcome address ahead of the panel discussion which marked the end of the 2-day event. Patrick Smith, Editor-in-chief of The Africa Report magazine moderated the special panel highlighting the shared democratic history of both West African countries in recent years.

Speaking on global events that have made headlines recently, President Akufo-Addo stated that too much of Africa’s development has been centered on events outside the continent’s borders and there was a need to focus more on “what is taking place on the continent and inside our countries”. He further expressed his desire to position Ghana beyond aid and charity but rather “dependent on its own resources and thinking”.

President Sall however stressed on the need for Africa to collaborate with international investors as its private sector alone “is not enough to meet the entire investment needs of the continent”. Instead of putting the two against each other, he encouraged cooperation “between Africa’s private sector and foreign private sector investment in Africa”. He also praised the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund for supporting Africa’s development through key trade partnerships.

President Sall also took a strong stance against Africa’s supposed role in Europe’s ongoing migrant crisis. “Africa and Europe have a long history but […] what I cannot accept is the characterisation of African migration”. He made it clear that it was in the continent’s best interest that migration decreased because Africa’s “needs labour to succeed in its emergence”.

Macky Sall of Senegal

Macky Sall of Senegal

Both leaders agreed that a free trade zone across Africa, discussed at the African Union in Addis Ababa, was important and long overdue. According to President Akufo-Addo, “intra-continental trade in Africa is the lowest on the globe” with figures from the World Trade Organisation posting trade among African countries at just 18%, compared to 52% and 69% for Asia and Europe, respectively.

With regard to women’s empowerment in the public sphere, President Sall highlighted the important role women have to play in public policy which should not be limited to an elite group alone, “but also women in rural areas who continue to work in extremely difficult situations”. He added this will “certainly contribute to give women a more prominent role in the continent’s development”.

President Akufo-Addo finished by thanking his Senegalese counterpart saying that “West Africa owes a debt of gratitude to the lucidity of Senegal’s reaction to [Gambia’s former] President Jammeh’s decision to stay,” because for the first time in Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)’s history, all 15 member countries of the regional bloc have democratically elected governments in place.

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The 2017 AFRICA CEO FORUM AWARDS Picks Mohammed Dewji, Group CEO of MeTL, as ‘CEO OF THE YEAR
March 21, 2017 | 0 Comments
Mohammed Dewji, Group CEO of MeTL (Mohammed Entreprise Tanzania Limited) takes home the prestigious CEO OF THE YEAR award and Anta Babacar Ngom Bathily of Sedima wins the award for YOUNG CEO OF THE YEAR.

Mohammed Dewji beats off competition from business heavyweights across the continent to take home one of the biggest awards in Africa’s private sector at a gala dinner on the first day of the Africa CEO Forum. In his speech, Mr. Dewji thanked the organisers and jurors saying he was “humbled and honoured for this fantastic recognition”. Mr. Dewji also thanked John Magufuli, Tanzania’s President for his relentless fight against corruption.

Anta Babacar Ngom Bathily was crowned ‘Young CEO of the Year’ for her remarkable leadership skills as Executive Director of Sedima, Senegal’s leading agribusiness group. Created at last year’s Forum, the award recognises a promising young African business leader under 45 years old. Receiving the award, Ms. Ngom Bathily dedicated her award to “all women and young women” as well as to her father, who was present at the ceremony.

Egypt-based Elsewedy Electric received the AFRICAN COMPANY OF THE YEAR award, presented to a representative of the Group CEO Ahmed Elsewedy who said that as an African company, Elsewedy “has an obligation to take part in the development and in bringing the right technology to solve Africa’s challenges”. This award is given to the African company that demonstrated a remarkable expansion on the continent in 2016.

The award for AFRICAN BANK OF THE YEAR went to Morocco’s leading Attijariwafa Bank, ranked Africa’s fourth largest bank with over 7 million clients and more than 16,000 employees in 24 countries. The bank’s CEO Mohamed El Kettani received the prize from Amir Ben Yahmed, Founder and President of the Africa CEO Forum.

The PRIVATE EQUITY INVESTOR OF THE YEAR award was given to AfricInvest, a Tunisia-based firm dedicated to the international expansion of French SMEs in Africa. The award presentation was done by Emna Kharouf, Managing Partner at Deloitte Conseil Tunisie.

German insurer Allianz and Portuguese company Mota-Engil, who together have been operating in Africa for over two decades, were the joint winners of this year’s INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION OF THE YEAR award. The award was presented by Michael Rheinnegger, Managing Partner of Rainbow Limited to representatives from both corporations.
Set up in partnership with the African Development Bank, the AFRICA CEO FORUM is an event organized jointly by Groupe Jeune Afrique, publisher of Jeune Afrique and The Africa Report, and Rainbow Unlimited, a Swiss company specializing in the organization of economic promotion events.
Launched in 2012, the AFRICA CEO FORUM has established itself as the formost international event dedicated to the development of the African private sector. In 2016, the AFRICA CEO FORUM hosted nearly 1,000 African and international public figures including 600 CEOs from 43 African countries and 100 high-level speakers.
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30,000 Senegalese Youth To Receive Work-Readiness Skills Training
March 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Project to provide hands-on employability skills training and school-to-work transitions to youth attending secondary school and TVET schools in 6 of Senegal’s 14 provinces. 

Education Development Center (EDC) and The MasterCard Foundation are set to announce a $15M, five-year project that will help more than 30,000 Senegalese youth develop the skills they need to secure jobs or start a business.

Enid Mbabazi is one of the thousands of young women and men who sharpened their work-readiness skills in the Akazi Kanoze project led by EDC in Rwanda. APTE-Senegal builds on the Akazi Kanoze project led by EDC in Rwanda, which has provided thousands of Rwandan secondary students with skills training and school-to-work transition support to increase their chances of employment - Intersect Jennifer Huxta for The MasterCard Foundation

Enid Mbabazi is one of the thousands of young women and men who sharpened their work-readiness skills in the Akazi Kanoze project led by EDC in Rwanda. APTE-Senegal builds on the Akazi Kanoze project led by EDC in Rwanda, which has provided thousands of Rwandan secondary students with skills training and school-to-work transition support to increase their chances of employment – Intersect Jennifer Huxta for The MasterCard Foundation

The Projet de l’amélioration des performances de travail et d’entreprenariat (APTE-Senegal) will focus on 200 lower secondary schools and 50 technical and vocational education and training (TVET) schools throughout the country, providing students with career counseling and transition to work services, including entrepreneurship coaching and mentoring, job shadowing, internship and job placement. The initiative will further train 1,575 Senegalese teachers to roll out EDC’s Work Ready Now! curriculum, a program that helps young people in emerging economies develop the skills they need to succeed in the workplace or in a livelihood.

APTE-Senegal will be launched at an event on March 23rd at 10 a.m. at the Ndiambour Hotel, 121, rue Carnot in Dakar. Speakers will include:
– Serigne Mbaye Thiam, Minister of National Education;
– Mamadou Talla, Minister of Technical and Vocational Education and Training;
– EDC President and Chief Executive Officer, David Offensend; and
– MasterCard Foundation Program Manager, Samuel Yalew Adela.

“EDC is proud to continue our work with The MasterCard Foundation to help institutionalize strategies for youth employability in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Seni Diop, Project Director. “APTE-Senegal not only builds upon our joint work in Rwanda, it will inform ongoing research on the impact of work-readiness programs in secondary and TVET schools.”

APTE-Senegal builds on the Akazi Kanoze2 project led by EDC in Rwanda, which has provided thousands of Rwandan secondary students with work-readiness skills and school-to-work transition support to increase their chances of employment. The project initially targeted 16,500 Rwandan youth, however, it is anticipated that the initiative will have directly reached 25,000 young people, as well as indirectly reaching all Rwandan students enrolled in secondary and TVET schools across the country. The Government of Rwanda has integrated EDC’s Work Ready Now! approach in the national curriculum to equip general secondary and TVET students throughout the country with the skills they require to succeed.

“We are excited to deepen our partnership with EDC, an organization that has helped integrate work-readiness training into the curriculum in Rwanda,” explains Samuel Yalew Adela, Program Manager, Education and Learning, The MasterCard Foundation. “While the project aims to reach a critical mass of Senegalese youth, APTE-Senegal will also support the country’s efforts to reform its curriculum and improve the teaching and learning practice of teachers.”

EDC will work closely with the Ministry of Technical and Vocational Education and Training to strengthen programs, improving its connection to local market demands and existing economic opportunities in the regions of intervention. The project will further integrate EDC’s Work Ready Now! curriculum and provide school-to work transition support, including job placement, internships and other work-based learning opportunities.

In addition to focusing on these 250 schools, EDC will work with the national and regional ministries’ institutions in both TVET and secondary education to build the capacity of these institutions to provide a sustainable structure for continuing teacher training, and manage a national roll-out of the program.

APTE-Senegal will serve six regions (Diourbel, Thies, Ziguinchor, Sedhiou, Kolda, and Kedougou) over five years to build youth capacity in employability, professionalism and entrepreneurship. The training will directly reach about 30,000 young people over the life of the project.

EDC designs, implements, and evaluates programs to improve education, health, and economic opportunity worldwide. EDC manages 200 projects across the United States and in more than 20 countries.

The MasterCard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest private foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by Mastercard when the Foundation was created in 2006.

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Musician Youssou Ndour backs Senegal’s war on malaria
March 16, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Selim SAHEB ETTABA*

Youssou Ndour is backing a new $32 million initiative to combat malaria in Senegal (AFP Photo/SEYLLOU)

Youssou Ndour is backing a new $32 million initiative to combat malaria in Senegal (AFP Photo/SEYLLOU)

Dakar (AFP) – Youssou Ndour, Senegal’s most famous musician, is throwing his weight behind malaria eradication in his homeland to combat an illness that has for too long held back Africa’s economic development.

Malaria killed more than 400,000 people last year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) — the vast majority of them children living in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ndour has performed and toured since the 1970s, blending Senegalese music with soul, hip-hop and jazz to international acclaim, but has also become known for his work as a longtime campaigner for malaria prevention.

The disease remains all too common in Senegal, with 500,000 recorded cases in 2015, including 4,400 deaths, according to the WHO.

Senegal is currently in the first stage of the fight against malaria, which the WHO refers to as the “control” phase. It aims to move to the next level — so-called “pre-elimination” — by 2020.

“It’s first of all a serious public health problem. But we also see the economic impact around it and the weaknesses we have at the level of development in Africa because of malaria,” Ndour told AFP in an interview in Senegal’s capital Dakar.

A new $32 million initiative is aiming to finally stamp out malaria in the west African nation, to which Ndour has lent his support.

More than 2.5 million people will receive mosquito nets impregnated with insecticide, 1.6 million rapid diagnosis tests will be distributed and 70,000 doses of anti-malarial drugs will be delivered as part of the project, along with advice and training for healthcare workers.

– Child victims –

The Lives and Livelihoods Fund, which targets health projects in Muslim-majority nations and is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and several Gulf states, is backing the project with the Senegalese government.

Ndour speaks with anger about the children’s lives lost needlessly to the disease over the years.

He believes the Senegalese have frequently minimised malaria’s deadly impact in the past, allowing the parasite carried by mosquitos to wreak damage that is far more dangerous to children.

“Here there are a lot of people who will tell you ‘oh I just have a touch of flu’ while in fact they have malaria,” Ndour said, sporting a white and black checked traditional Senegalese robe.

The risks are not only to health, he emphasised. “When children don’t go to school, there are no jobs, you can’t work. So poverty is always hovering in the background.”

He noted the strong link between malaria and poverty — the disease has a $12 billion impact on the global economy every year, hitting sub-Saharan Africa’s fragile economies by far the hardest.

Senegal has made huge gains in reducing malaria rates in recent years, which the project aims to consolidate to put the country on the path to complete eradication.

– Star power –

Ndour remains a massive star at home, where his music blares from seemingly every taxi and corner shop, while he is best known in the West for “Seven Seconds”, his 1994 duet with Neneh Cherry.

Using his fame as a weapon, he has participated in prevention campaigns aimed at getting families to sleep under mosquito nets, while promoting his cause abroad with giant concerts with fellow African and international musicians.

Ndour has toured the world for the last five decades, but old images he was shown in the US stick out when he tries to picture an Africa without malaria.

“They showed me these old photos in Washington, and at the time there were mosquitos. How come (the disease) is gone?” he asked himself, learning that the government and citizens had mobilised together to beat malaria after World War II.

“With the example of Washington, tomorrow we should be able to say: Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mali, that the problem in these places has been fixed to allow these African nations to take off,” the singer added.

Efforts must be far more concerted now that the end is in sight, he believes.

“We have to pick up the pace to actually eradicate malaria,” he emphasised. “I hope to see it happen in my lifetime.”

*AFP/Yahoo

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Africa: New Head of AU Commission
March 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Cristina Krippahl*

New African Union Commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat officially takes up his post on Tuesday. But who is Faki and what does he stand for?

Photo: allafrica.com

Photo: allafrica.com
African Union Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat

A seasoned diplomat and politician, 56-year-old Moussa Faki Mahamat is no stranger to the challenges presented by the top job he was elected to on January 30. He is seen as the architect of Chad’s nomination to the United Nations Security Council as a non-permanent member and also of the country’s presidency of the AU in 2016. He headed the AU Commission on Peace and Security at the Nairobi summit in 2013, which was dedicated to the fight against terrorism. Above all, as a former Chadian prime minister and current foreign minister he has had a decisive say in all the military and strategic operations his country was and is engaged in: Libya, Mali, South Sudan and Central African Republic, the Sahel and the Lake Chad region.

His election as chief executive of the AU thus indicates a very likely reorientation of AU policies towards issues of peace and security on the continent, Liesl Louw-Vaudran of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Pretoria told DW: “His country, Chad, is well known for seeing itself as a sort of champion of military intervention.”

 International approval

His predecessor, South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, was severely criticized for neglecting the pressing issues on the crisis-riven continent, preferring to concentrate on longterm plans of prosperity for Africa, not to mention her own political career at home. Moussa Faki, on the other hand, has already left a mark in the fight against terrorism, most notably as chairman of the council of ministers of the G5Sahel, a military anti-terror alliance made up of Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad, of which Ndjamena is the driving force.

His election to the AU Commission is likely to please both Europe and the United States of America, who support Chad in the fight against Boko Haram and other jihadist groups. Chad is also the headquarters of the French counterterrorism operation in the Sahel, Operation Barkhane.

Democracy not a priority

But not everybody welcomed the news. Doki Warou Mahamat, a Chadian who coordinated the campaign against Faki’s election, told DW: “Moussa Faki is on the payroll of a dictatorship. The Chadians are in a state of mourning. You have to clean up your own act before starting somewhere else.”

Moussa Faki is reputed to be very close to President Deby who was reelected in April 2016 for a fifth consecutive term. The outcome was widely criticized because of serious irregularities. Deby has ruled the country with an iron fist since 1990. Both are members of the Zaghawa ethnic group. Analysts note that Deby succeeded in placing a man he trusted at the helm of the AU on the same day that he handed over the rotating presidency of the organization to Guinea, showing the extent of Chad’s influence in the AU and on the continent.

Reforms in the offing

Nevertheless, Faki’s election was not a foregone conclusion. Internal rifts in the AU were highlighted in July 2016 when no candidate won the necessary two-thirds majority at a previous attempt to elect a chairperson, forcing Dlamini-Zuma to stay on for an extra six months. And early this year it took seven rounds of voting before Faki emerged as the winner ahead of Kenya’s Amina Mohamed, long considered the favorite.

While campaigning, Faki, who studied law in Brazzaville and Paris, said that as head of the AU Commission he would want a continent where “the sound of guns will be drowned out by cultural songs and rumbling factories.” While he promised to put development and security at the top of the agenda during his four-year term, he might also want to go ahead with at least some of the reforms deemed necessary to make the organization more effective. “The AU chairperson should be able to make a stand and authorize the sending of AU troops in crisis situations. At the moment, the Commission is sort of beholden to the decision of the 55 member states. Basically, the Commission’s hands are tied,” expert Liesl Louw-Vaudran said. Being a man accustomed to power and who expects to be obeyed, it is likely that Faki will want to change that.

*DW/Allafrica

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“Lights, Power, Action”: AfDB’s Adesina and Kofi Annan Urge Governments to Close Africa’s Energy Deficit
March 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

The Chair of the Africa Progress Panel and former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, and the President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, have called on African governments and their partners to do everything possible to close the continent’s huge energy gap.

They made the call on Monday, March 13, 2017 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, at the launch of the Africa Progress Panel Report on “Lights, Power, Action: Electrifying Africa,” which calls for the adoption of every available on-grid and off-grid solution to light up and power Africa.

“The electricity deficit in Africa is immense,” said Adesina. “Today, 645 million people do not have access to electricity.

“Yet the continent has abundant supply of solar, hydropower, wind and geothermal potential, as well as significant amounts of natural gas and in some countries coal deposits. Africa has energy potential, yes, but we need to unlock that potential. And we must do so quickly, because Africans are tired of being in the dark.”

Adesina stated that he drew inspiration from the Panel’s previous report in developing the Bank’s High 5 development priorities, which places energy as the top priority, and which has, through the Bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa, committed to investing US $12 billion on energy in the next five years and leveraging US $45-50 billion from the private sector and other partners. The goal is to connect 130 million households via the grid, 75 million people via off-grid and provide some 130 million households with access to clean cooking energy.

The AfDB President commended the Africa Progress Panel for another very insightful report which, he said, will help Africa think through how to achieve the off-grid electricity revolution, as part of the comprehensive New Deal on Energy for Africa.

Lights, Power, Action notes that more than 620 million Africans without access to electricity cannot wait for grid expansion. While grid-connected megaprojects such as large dams and power pools are essential to scale up national and regional energy generation and transmission, they are slow and expensive. Therefore, governments must also increase investment in off-grid and mini-grid solutions, which are cheaper and quicker to install, the report says.

 “What we are advocating is for African governments to harness every available option, in as cost-effective and technologically efficient a manner as possible, so that everyone is included and no one is left behind,” said Kofi Annan.

Of the 315 million people who will gain access to electricity in Africa’s rural areas by 2040, it is estimated that only 30 per cent will be connected to national grids. Most will be powered by off-grid household or mini-grid systems.

“Lights, Power, Action” is an in-depth follow up to the influential 2015 Africa Progress Report, “Power, People, Planet: Seizing Africa’s Energy and Climate Opportunities“. It urges governments to put in place the incentives needed to encourage greater investment in off-grid and mini-grid systems, protect consumers, and facilitate demand among disadvantaged groups.

Above all, governments need to foster an environment in which companies can enter energy generation, transmission and distribution markets, climb the value chain, and build the investment partnerships that can drive growth and create jobs.

“Traditional approaches to extending the grid are no longer viable as the main option for African countries,” Annan said. “They will take too long and will not meet the needs of our growing economies and societies. Instead, governments and their partners need to seize the opportunity to re-imagine their energy futures.”

*AFDB/Allafrica

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The 2017 AFRICA CEO FORUM AWARDS Recognise Business Leaders and Companies that Shaped the Year in Africa
March 14, 2017 | 0 Comments
The Winners of the AFRICA CEO FORUM AWARDS 2016

The Winners of the AFRICA CEO FORUM AWARDS 2016
Credits Jacques Torregano

GENEVA, Switzerland, 13 March 2017, The AFRICA CEO FORUM 2017, the most high-profile international forum on African private sector development, will be held on 20 and 21 March in Geneva and, for the fifth consecutive year, will salute the economic performance of African business leaders and companies at the 2017 AFRICA CEO FORUM AWARDS.

Every year, the AFRICA CEO FORUM AWARDS recognise those companies and investors whose strategies and performance have contributed most to Africa’s growth dynamic over the past year.

On the night of 20 March 2017, in the presence of Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, one of the finalists in each of the following categories will win an award:

CEO OF THE YEAR
1. Abdulsamad Rabiu, CEO, BUA Group
2. Issad Rebrab, Chairman, Cevital
3. Mohammed Dewji, CEO, MeTL
4. Naguib Sawiris, Chairman, OTMT Investments
5. Said Salim Awadh Bakhresa, CEO, Bakhresa Group
6. Strive Masiyiwa, CEO, Econet
YOUNG CEO OF THE YEAR
1. Anta Babacar Ngom Bathily, MD, Sedima
2. Basil El-Baz, CEO, Carbon Holdings
3. Darshan Chandaria, CEO, Chandaria Industries
4. James Mworia, CEO, Centum Investments
5. Mohamed Ben Ouda, MD, SNTL
6. Lamia Tazi, MD, Sothema

YOUNG CEO OF THE YEAR
1. Anta Babacar Ngom Bathily, DG, Sedima

2. Basil El-Baz, PDG, Carbon Holdings
3. Darshan Chandaria, PDG, Chandaria Industries
4. James Mworia, PDG, Centum Investments
5. Mohamed Ben Ouda, DG, SNTL
6. Lamia Tazi, DG, Sothema

AFRICAN COMPANY OF THE YEAR
1. CIEL Group
2. ECONET
3. ELSEWEDY ELECTRIC
4. LABEL’VIE
5. MTN
6. OCP Group

AFRICAN BANK OF THE YEAR
1. ATTIJARIWAFA BANK
2. BANQUE CENTRALE POPULAIRE
3. ECOBANK
4. MAURITIUS COMMERCIAL BANK
5. STANDARD BANK GROUP
6. UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA

PRIVATE EQUITY INVESTOR OF THE YEAR
1. ACTIS
2. AFRICINVEST
3. DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS INTERNATIONAL LLP
4. HELIOS INVESTMENT PARTNERS
5. LEAPFROG INVESTMENTS
6. THE ABRAAJ GROUP

INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION OF THE YEAR
1. ALLIANZ
2. COCA-COLA
3. MOTA-ENGIL
4. ORANGE
5. SIEMENS
6. VITOL

For the past four years, over 120 African and international companies and investment funds and more than 30 CEOs, all emblematic of Africa’s economic vitality, have been nominated. Nineteeen awards have been given, including four prestigious CEO OF THE YEAR awards.

Developed in partnership with the African Development Bank, the AFRICA CEO FORUM is an event organised by Groupe Jeune Afrique, publisher of Jeune Afrique and The Africa Report, and Rainbow Unlimited, a Swiss company specialising in organising events promoting and facilitating business.Launched in 2012, the AFRICA CEO FORUM has become the leading international meeting on the development of Africa and its companies, in a top-level professional setting. The 2016 edition hosted over 1,000 African and international personalities, including 600 business leaders from 43 African countries and 100 high-level speakers.
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‘Wind of change blowing in African football’
March 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

 

By Piers Edwards*

Ahmad (left) and Hayatou go head-to-head this week for the Caf presidency

Ahmad (left) and Hayatou go head-to-head this week for the Caf presidency

“It’s time we introduce a new regime,” says Liberian Football Association president Musa Bility ahead of what has been described as the most important Confederation of African Football elections for almost three decades.

African football goes to the polls on Thursday to choose a new Caf president and for the first time since he came to power in 1988, incumbent Issa Hayatou faces a serious challenge.

Only twice before has the Cameroonian run against another candidate and he swept aside both with ease: Angola’s Armando Machado in 2000 (by 47 votes to 4) and Ismail Bhamjee of Botswana in 2004 (46-6).

 This time many believe Hayatou’s opponent, Ahmad of Madagascar, could change the status quo.

Bility, who has long been a thorn in Caf’s side after speaking out on several issues, told BBC Sport. “The reality is that football has come to be more active, more democratic, more involving – and we have to do that.

“We have to follow the path of the rest of the world, as Africa cannot afford to be left behind. I believe that Africa is ready for change. This is the first time in the history of (Hayatou’s) Caf that there is a real and possible challenge to the leadership.”

Under the 70-year-old Haytou’s control, African football has changed immensely.

He has, among several measures, overseen the expansion of the Africa Cup of Nations from eight teams to 16, the increase in the number of Africa’s World Cup representatives (from two to five), remodelling and financially boosting club competitions as well as greatly boosting Caf’s finances.

The 2007 introduction of the African Nations Championship, which is like the Nations Cup but only using footballers who play in their domestic league, has proved very popular while it was also on the Cameroonian’s watch that Africa staged its first World Cup in 2010 (in South Africa).

Despite the myriad achievements, Bility believes time is up for veteran Hayatou and that a new leader should steer African football into the future.

He believes Ahmad, who outlined a desire for improved governance, with a commitment to increased transparency and reinvestment in his manifesto, is the right man.

“He’s presented a programme to all 54 countries – I’ve never seen this before,” added Bility.

“Normally, we go to elections and there are no promises. There is nothing to hold the president against. This time around, we have a guy who is running on something we can hold him to.

“The other candidate (Hayatou) does not care to give a programme. He just goes through election after election, acclamation after acclamation. There is no promise made to us, therefore there are no obligations nor broken promises. This is what we need to change.”

With Hayatou’s critics saying he runs African football with an iron fist while relying on a handful of close advisers, Bility believes Caf will benefit from different personnel and fresh ideas.

“It’s not to say that Hayatou has not done much for Africa – African football has come of age – it’s to say that there is no way that you can keep an individual in authority for over 29 years. There is nothing new expected,” he claimed.

“Ahmad is from a country that is struggling to develop football. He understands the difficulties we go through as presidents.”

The southern African football region Cosafa, which encompasses Madagascar, has said it will vote for Ahmad – which accounts for 14 votes (a tally that might be less given Comoros has offered its vote to Hayatou) – while Nigeria and Djibouti have also publicly backed the Malagasy.

Pinnick is another calling for change at the top of African football

Pinnick is another calling for change at the top of African football

Nigeria’s federation president Amaju Pinnick told BBC Sport he believes there is a need to change the “tiny cabal” that runs Caf, so echoing Ahmad who spoke of the need to reconcile the African football family in his manifesto.

There is also a need to repair relations with Fifa, which frayed after Caf instructed all its members to vote for Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman in the football’s world governing body’s February 2016 elections.

When Gianni Infantino assumed the Fifa presidency instead, Caf was left exposed.

“You can see clearly that Caf and Fifa are not moving in the same direction,” says Bility.

“If President Hayatou wins, there will be rancour and I would foresee a period of uncertainty.”

Despite his desire to see Hayatou replaced, Bility is adamant the Cameroonian should be afforded a befitting send-off.

“We’d like to see President Hayatou retire honourably. We’d like to thank him for everything he has done for African football. We want to respect and make sure his time is recorded in history – with due honour given,” he said.

“But at the same time we want to move forward to a new development and a new generation of leaders. This is not a campaign in which we are going to get involved in mud-slinging and bad-mouthing – we just want change.”

*BBC

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Outgoing Top Diplomat Reassures Restive Africans On US Policy
March 10, 2017 | 0 Comments

-Africa is traditionally a bi-partisan issue says Assistant Secretary Linda Thomas Greenfield

By Ajong Mbapndah L

Outgoing Assistant Secretary Linda Thomas Greenfield with Atlantic Council African Director J.Peter Pham

Outgoing Assistant Secretary Linda Thomas Greenfield with Atlantic Council African Director J.Peter Pham

Departing Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield is urging patience for those eager to see signals from the Trump Administration on its African Policy. The Administration is barely a month in Office and needs time Ambassador Greenfield said, in response to questions from restive Africans on what to possibly expect .

Speaking at a public address at the Atlantic Council on the theme “Africa’s Place on the World Stage,” Ambassador Greenfield said Africa has traditionally been a non-partisan issue. The Obama Administration certainly had its own challenges putting in place a policy though there was more optimism because of his African roots. Ambassador Greenfield indicated that it was too early for people to be in panic mood on the fate of U.S African relations as the new Administration is still putting in place its own team. Ambassador Greenfield said she expects relations to remain strong as the US will remain a committed partner to Africa.

Capping a sterling 35-year Foreign Service Career, Ambassador Greenfield used the address to paint a glossy picture of perspectives in Africa. Problems do not define Africa, as the continent is full of best opportunities and talent, she said. Ambassador Greenfield offered insights into issues that defined her stint in office like partnerships with Africa to counter terrorism, economic growth and development, security challenges, and how to provide opportunities for the surging Youth population.

Ambassador Greenfield's predecessors Johnne Carson,Herman Cohen, and Jendayi Frazer are joined by Angelle Kwemo of Believe in Africa Foundation and former Ambassador Omar Arouna former Ambassor of Benin

Ambassador Greenfield’s predecessors Johnne Carson,Herman Cohen, and Jendayi Frazer are joined by Angelle Kwemo of Believe in Africa Foundation and former Ambassador Omar Arouna former Ambassador of Benin

Despite the odds, the Africa has made tremendous progress, Ambassador Greenfield said. My last trip to Gambia for the inauguration of President Adama Barrow felt like a victory lap, she said, describing it as an opportunity to celebrate success and not resolve a crisis.

Ambassador Greenfield cited the USA-Africa leaders submit, the 2015 Presidential elections in Nigeria and the recent peaceful transition in Gambia as some of the best moments of her stint as the USA top Diplomat on Africa, which started in 2013.

Speaking of the  2015 elections in Nigeria, Ambassador Greenfield said no one was sure how things were going to turn out even after Secretary of State John Kerry personally made trips to talk to leading actors. Greenfield who was in Nigeria for the elections said she saw firsthand the resolve of Nigerians to make things work. Former President Goodluck Jonathan conceded gracefully and the trend has picked up in a number of African countries, Ambassador Greenfield said.

On regrets, Ambassador Greenfield cited South Sudan where the promise of hope for Africa’s newest nation turned to a nightmare with a civil that has created a humanitarian crisis.

The event was heavily attended by African Diplomats and Policy Experts,and State Department Officials

The event was heavily attended by African Diplomats and Policy Experts,and State Department Officials

In the course of her Career, Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield served in Pakistan, Kenya, Gambia, Nigeria and as Ambassador to Liberia. The event at the Atlantic Council  was a crowd puller with over a dozen Ambassadors from African countries, State Department Officials, African Policy gurus, civil society actors and Journalist all present to listen to the parting comments of Ambassador Greenfield on Africa, a continent she has a particular fondness for. The event was also attended by three of her predecessors Herman Cohen who served under President Reagan, Jendayi Frazer who served under President George .W.Bush and Johnnie Carson who served in the first Obama term.

Ambassador Greenfield is expected to take up Fellowship at the George Washington University. J.Peter Pham whose name is reportedly in the mix of potential candidates to replace Ambassador Greenfield introduced her at the event.

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