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Luambe National Park Now The World’s Most Carbon Neutral
December 16, 2017 | 0 Comments
The announcement comes just 18 months after the Lower Zambezi National Park – also in Zambia – became the world’s first to achieve carbon neutrality from operations
LUSAKA, Zambia, December 15, 2017/ — Luambe National Park in Zambia has achieved a conservation milestone this week as it became the most carbon neutral National Park in the world.

Luambe’s carbon neutral status is a result of the USAID-funded Community Forests Program (CFP) implemented by BioCarbon Partners (BCP) (http://BioCarbonPartners.com), in partnership with the Zambian Government. This world-first level of carbon neutrality means the emissions of all tourism and conservation management activities within with the park are offset, including all international tourist airline travel. Platinum is the highest possible carbon rating available from BCP.

The announcement comes just 18 months after the Lower Zambezi National Park – also in Zambia – became the world’s first to achieve carbon neutrality from operations. This latest announcement from Luambe secures Zambia’s recognition as a global leader in carbon offsetting.

“Luambe National Park’s carbon neutral status sets a great example for other protected areas in Zambia,” said USAID/Zambia Economic Development Office Director Jeremy Boley. “This status shows the world that Zambia takes emissions reduction seriously.”

Luambe Camp (http://Luambe.com) voluntarily funded the carbon neutrality from their own internal revenues, investing in renewable energy sources and purchasing Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) audited forest carbon offsets generated within Zambia. Luambe Camp began operations in June 2017, and are committed to establishing a new bar of environmental stewardship and sustainability. Mario Voss, Director of Luambe Camp, stated that “as a business that operates as a showcase and celebration of Luambe National Park’s unique beauty and biodiversity, it is crucial that we take responsibility for its conservation. We’re passionate environmentalists and it is important to the whole Luambe Camp team that we can offer our guests a truly eco-friendly experience.”

Funds raised from REDD+ offset sales are reinvested into conservation and community development in buffer zone areas to national parks within Zambia. All countries on earth have now signed up to the Paris Climate Agreement, and there are more signals towards innovative carbon conscious milestones and action. With experts agreeing that Africa is likely to be the continent most vulnerable to climate change, the leadership of Zambian tourism businesses and the Zambian Government agrees to operate with carbon neutrality and set a positive example throughout the continent. Director of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), Mr Paul Zyambo, stated that “We are happy to partner with another innovative carbon-conscious achievement in the conservation and tourism sector in Zambia with partners like Luambe Camp and BCP. Luambe forms a part of Zambia’s famous Luangwa Valley and we hope that this showcases how special this area is, and why it is worth a visit.”

Dr Hassan Sachedina, BCP’s CEO, added, “It is exciting that Zambia now has two of the world’s first carbon neutral parks, which are helping to conserve two of the most important biodiversity strongholds left in Africa. I am really proud to be partnering with these family-owned businesses raising the bar of what eco-tourism to include carbon offsetting.” We hope that this spurs more action globally to address climate change.”

Partner Lodge achieving Platinum Level Carbon Neutrality:

With Luambe National Park being located in a core area of Zambia’s Luangwa Valley, it forms a crucial part of its entire ecosystem. The main objective of Luambe Camp and its operating company Luambe Conservation Ltd. is to primarily conserve the habitat and biodiversity of the National Park by generating profit through sustainable safari tourism. These will be used by Luambe Conservation Ltd. to ensure the future protection of Luambe National

Park and the sustainable development of its surrounding communities.

Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project Implementing Partners:

BioCarbon Partners (BCP) (https://BioCarbonPartners.com) is a Zambian-based social enterprise, which develops and manages long term forest carbon projects in Zambia. The current focus of BCP is on implementing REDD+ projects in the greater Zambezi-Luangwa ecosystem in Zambia. BCP has certified Zambia’s first pilot REDD+ demonstration project known as the ‘Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project’ (LZRP) to CCBA triple gold standards (validation) and VCS verification; the first project in Africa with these certifications. In addition, BCP is proud to partner with USAID/ZAMBIA in the implementation of the Community Forests Program (CFP). This innovative program targets the verification of a minimum of 700,000 additional hectares (ha) across two Provinces in Zambia www.biocarbonpartners.com

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent federal government agency advancing U.S. foreign policy objectives by supporting long-term and equitable economic growth, agriculture and trade, global health, democracy, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance. www.usaid.gov

The Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) is mandated under the Zambian Wildlife Act No. 12 of 1998 to manage and conserve Zambia’s wildlife, its national parks and game management areas; which cover 31 percent of the country’s land mass. DNPW endeavors to integrate the wildlife policy with economic, environmental and social policies to ensure effective contribution to sustainable national development. BCP and DNPW collaborate closely in the implementation of REDD+ activities adjacent to protected areas. www.zambiatourism.com

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New Reports Highlight Salaries and Gender Gap Across Africa’s Fintech Industry
December 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

To better understand and address human talent gaps that exist in Africa’s Fintech landscape, the Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) has released two new reports: the 2017 Fintech Talent Africa Leadership and Employee Engagement Report and the 2017 Fintech Talent Africa Compensation Report. The reports, the first of their kind, provide valuable data and insights for business leaders and entrepreneurs to help attract and retain the best people in Africa’s increasingly competitive financial technology industry.

“There is far too little Fintech talent in Africa, and companies in the industry are feeling the pinch,” said Gavin Krugel, CEO of the Digital Frontiers Institute. “This human capacity gap is leading to escalating human capital costs and hiring delays, stalling business progress within the Fintech industry. Through our research insights and work to develop Fintech management, we aim to help digital finance professionals worldwide cultivate the necessary capabilities and capacity to shape and contribute to more efficient, effective and inclusive financial services.”

With funding from Omidyar Network, this comprehensive report draws on data collected through a cross-sectoral survey of more than 400 leaders, managers and professionals across 69 organisations and 10 sub-Saharan African countries. Among the reports’ key findings:

  • Salary Comparisons by Country: countries such as Kenya and Nigeria consistently rank the highest when it comes to remuneration packages for staff across all levels of expertise, while more developed digital economies such as South Africa, with the largest pool of respondents, consistently rank in the middle and lower tiers of compensation packages.
  • Gender Gap: Similar to current trends in technology and finance industries globally, women are underrepresented at Fintech companies across Africa, both in leadership and operational roles. Of the more than 400 professionals who participated in the survey, only 12.5 percent were women, and on average, women made up 39 percent of teams in Fintech.

The reports also explore the reasons behind disparities and provide advice on what can be done to resolve challenges in recruiting and retaining talent. Ultimately, the reports can empower leaders and decision makers in the African Fintech industry to improve capacity planning, talent development, and remuneration and retention practices, maximizing their opportunities in one of the world’s fastest growing industries.

Both reports are free to download and share from the following link: https://digitalfrontiersinstitute.org/the-institute/2017/12/08/explore-africas-fintech-talent-landscape-digital-frontiers-institute/

About Digital Frontiers Institute

Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) is a capacity building institute focused on digital finance. Our mission is to equip a new generation of FinTech professionals with the knowledge, skills, network & vision required to guide society towards inclusive digital financial solutions. DFI connects more than 1500 industry professionals representing public, private and development sectors in 60 countries through its online community, Switch. The organisation has trained more than 2 000 students in 90 countries.  DFI was founded by David Porteous, Gavin Krugel and Ignacio Mas, current funders include The Omidyar Network, FSD Africa, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and MasterCard Foundation.

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Ambassador Omar Arouna Appointed To Washington DC’s Mayor’s Commission On African Affairs
December 14, 2017 | 1 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

 

Ambassador Omar Arouna has solid credentials for consistent advocacy for Africa

Ambassador Omar Arouna has solid credentials for consistent advocacy for Africa

Omar Arouna , immediate past Ambassador of  Benin  to the United States ,a 25 year Washington DC resident, and a well-known US Africa policy expert has been named by Mayor Muriel Bowser to the Washington, D.C., Mayor’s Commission on African Affairs.

The newly appointed commissioner, is a Managing Partner of the US-Africa Cybersecurity Group LLC. (https://usafcg.com); a District of Columbia legal liability collaborative organization designed to foster the development and implementation of cybersecurity strategies and initiatives in the public and private sectors in Africa and the Founder and CEO of Global Specialty LLC. (GSL) a District of Columbia leading international business development firm focused on developing business opportunities on the African continent.

Ambassador Arouna serves as Executive Vice President of Goodworks, International, a U.S. multi-national consulting firm founded by former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young. The firm at its height had seven offices in Africa and three U.S. based offices focused on promoting business in Africa and the Caribbean. Clients have included AECOM, Chevron, Delta Airlines, General Electric, Motorola, and Sumitomo Corporation, MGI Management, and Verizon. In addition, he also assisted African governments in improving their relations with U.S. government agencies and, helped governments to reach out to Members of Congress and the White House.

As Ambassador Omar Arouna helped in forging stronger ties between Benin and the USA

As Ambassador Omar Arouna helped in forging stronger ties between Benin and the USA

The Mayor’s commission on Africa Affairs is composed of fifteen (15) members appointed by the Mayor with consent of the Council.   Members of the Commission on African Affairs who have shown dedication to, and knowledge of the African community, are appointed with due consideration for representation from established public, nonprofit and volunteer community organizations concerned with the African community, and members of the public.

 

The functions of the Commission on African Affairs are to:

  • Serve as an advocate for African persons in the District;
  • Review and submit to the Mayor, the Council, and the Office, and make available to the public, an annual report that includes an analysis of the needs of the African community in the District;
  • Bring to the attention of the Mayor and the OAA cases of neglect, abuse and incidents of bias against members of the African community in the administration of District and federal laws;
  • Review and comment on proposed District and federal legislation, regulations, policies, and programs and make policy recommendations on issues affecting the health, safety, and welfare of the African community;

Ambassador Arouna  is expected to be sworn in on Saturday December 16,2017.

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Emerging Technologies: new revenue opportunities for African Telcos
December 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Mariam Abdullahi*

 

Mariam Abdullahi

Mariam Abdullahi

Although Africa’s largest telco operators are generally showing growth in their customer bases, it is public knowledge that revenue growth has somewhat stalled to as little as 1% year on year. This means that despite attracting an increased number of customers, the amount each of these customers spend, is decreasing. In the wake of digitally transforming economies, it is safe to assume that the traditional revenue models of voice, SMS and data revenues are eroding and may soon become irrelevant. Thanks to a combination of maturing technology, regulatory interventions, increasing levels of sophistication and discernment among consumers, the disruption brought by free or low-cost public wi-fi and Over The Top (OTT) powerhouses such as WhatsApp, traditional telco revenue streams are under severe threat.

WhatsApp and its more than 900 million active users around the world, leverage Telco infrastructure to send 30 billion messages per day at no cost. Google’s ever-expanding fibre network in the US is enabling an always-online lifestyle, while China’s WeChat not only connects its 600 million subscribers with instant messaging, but has also established itself as a digital platform providing services ranging from real-time traffic updates to mobile payments.

These OTT players have created loyal customer bases as they provide valuable services at low costs, all leveraging the infrastructure that Telcos built. So, with slowing revenue growth, do Telcos invest in their own OTT apps and products to start reclaiming some of the revenue and brand equity claimed by the likes of WhatsApp?

I would argue that a far better route to the continued success and growth of the African telco industry is not to look back at missed opportunities, but to rather look ahead to the emerging technologies that will shape the business and consumer landscape across the African continent. And there’s no bigger or better emerging opportunity than the Internet of Things.

The USD 60 trillion opportunity

With a projected 50 billion things connected by 2020, the Internet of Things is set to become one of the most significant technological innovations in history. General Electric estimates that investment into the Industrial Internet of Things will reach USD 60-trillion over the next 15 years, while McKinsey predicts the IoT market will attain a compound annual growth rate of 32.6% by 2020.

Within the next few decades, sensors will permeate every aspect of our lives. In this hyperconnected age, everything from cars to machines to livestock and crops will have a sensor. In a recent collaboration between Bosch and SAP, IoT was implemented to monitor asparagus farming operations to improve yield, while also providing farmers with key insights based on accurate data that helps make them more profitable.

The possibilities are endless: for example, a refrigerator provided by a cooldrink vendor with the purpose of storing their product can be remotely monitored to ensure it is indeed stocking the intended products and provide the vendor with real-time insights into the most popular products while alerting them automatically when stocks run low. All of this requires connectivity, and at a surface level IoT is a golden revenue opportunity for Telcos. With so many ‘things’ to connect, it makes sense that Telcos provide the baseline connectivity.

However, IoT works on narrowband connectivity, meaning it can operate without using telco infrastructure. It’s not enough for Telcos to simply provide the infrastructure. For the IoT opportunity to benefit Telcos, they need to develop a comprehensive innovation framework to take advantage of emerging opportunities and create new forms of value.

The building blocks of a reimagined telco business model

To meet the demands of a rapidly changing business and technology environment, many Telcos have bolstered their digital capabilities by appointing Chief Digital Officers. There is an inherent risk to this, however: if it is the prerogative of one person or line-of-business to manage and drive innovation, the telco is unlikely to reap the full benefits of an innovation programme. CEOs should encourage a culture of innovation by enabling all employees to contribute to the process, gaining input from all operational and enterprise teams to limit siloed thinking and do away with internal segregation.

Telcos should look specifically at implementing four key components to drive an effective innovation process, namely:
1) An innovation strategy that highlights how the telco wants to take advantage of emerging technologies such as IoT;
2) An understanding of the business models that would best support their customers’ objectives and approach to business;
3) An accurate and central system of records; and
4) A team of experts to ensure all components in the innovation engine work together seamlessly and effectively.

In one example, Zimabwe’s Econet works with trucking companies by leveraging IoT to collect information for insurance companies. A new business model in this context could include a partnership with the Zimbabwean government to feed data related to road conditions to the government to inform them of road issues and ensure adequate infrastructure maintenance is conducted.

The risk of a DIY mindset

Telcos have traditionally excelled at partnering with handset providers and some OTT players. Notwithstanding, there is an undeniable occasional tendency to take a “we-can-do-it-all” approach. In the context of the emerging technologies such as IoT, partnering strategically is essential to success. A Telco need not be a sensor manufacturer to benefit from IoT. Strategic partnerships with giants like Huawei and Samsung would make more sense. There is emerging a niche, nimble set of players that are competing with these established players in the sensor business. The world of IT is now transformed into a Sense-Compute-Actuate phenomenon. In this context Telcos should focus on their biggest asset – data – whilst forging strategic partnerships with hardware and software leaders to increase the pace of innovation.

By analysing customer data effectively, Telcos can help develop new business models that are tailor-made to the needs of the modern business environment. Companies such as GE Healthcare offer a glimpse at the possibilities: for every machine they connect in a rural hospital, GE Healthcare provides hospital management with connectivity and data on bed occupancy, day-to-day usage trends, and more, giving the hospital vital insights into its operations and creating opportunities for greater efficiency.

Telcos should work with software players as well – and this is where SAP offers immense value. Software companies have already made huge investments on practical, proven solutions to collect, analyse and process huge volumes of data. They can be considered as natural co-innovators in opportunities leading to new business models or revenue streams. SAP’s analysis shows that almost 76% of the world’s transactions touch our very own software systems deployed by clients globally. We see the digitization era bringing in a new set of opportunities to bring our vision of making the world run better and simpler a reality.

However, it is critical that Telcos move fast: major global tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft are all investing in new connectivity solutions for emerging markets. If they work, the Telcos will become even less essential to the success of these companies or the needs of their customers. If Telcos don’t invest in finding innovative ways of supporting these companies, they will simply do it themselves. The opportunity cost could run into trillions of dollars.

While African Telcos have been helped by the slow pace of smartphone adoption on the continent, this is likely to change as low-cost smartphones permeate the market. The availability of exponential technologies, increasing levels of customer sophistication, and the growing availability of broadband and alternative connectivity options are all putting pressure on Telco revenues. After 20 years of relatively manageable business conditions, Telcos are facing a far more competitive and disruptive business environment.

Right now, Telcos have the luxury of investing in innovation and reinventing their business models. The first gold rush is over. But there are more gold seams – from IoT to lifestyle services and more – offering greater revenue opportunities than ever before. It is critical that they heed the warning signs and find new ways of delivering value to businesses and consumers.

*  The author is Telco Industry Lead at SAP Africa

About SAP
As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP (NYSE: SAP) helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device – SAP empowers people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP applications and services enable more than 345,000 business and public sector customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably.
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AFC & Harith launch power giant: Anergi Holdings Limited
December 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

 Africa Finance Corporation (“AFC“) and Harith General Partners (“Harith“), acting on behalf of its portfolio company Aldwych Holdings Limited, are pleased to announce final close of the merger of their respective electricity generation assets into a new operating company, Anergi Holdings Limited (“Anergi” or the “Company“). Following a transaction initially signed in June 2016, all Conditions Precedent to the implementation of the merger have now been met, and the inaugural board meeting of the Company was held on 5 December, 2017.

Anergi is a holding company owning equity interests in seven (7) generation assets with a total of 1,786MW (gross) and 554MW (net) generation capacity across five (5) African countries. Anergi also holds near-term investment rights from its founding shareholders, to invest or acquire interests in new projects under development with a further 500MW capacity.

As of December 2017, Anergi owns long-term economic interests in a portfolio of assets diversified by geography and fuel type. These are the 350MW Kpone IPP tri-fuel power plant (Ghana), the 310MW Lake Turkana Wind Farm (Kenya), the 26MW Cabeolica Wind Farm (Cape Verde), the 90MW Rabai Heavy Fuel Oil power plant (Kenya), the 200MW Amandi Gas-fired power plant (Ghana), the 450MW Azura Gas-fired power plant (Nigeria) and the 300MW Kelvin IPP (South Africa). The future equity investment rights held by Anergi relate to other projects at advanced stages of development in Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Nigeria and Mozambique.

Anergi’s sponsors intend for it to operate as a consolidated energy business focused on acquiring, owning and managing controlling interests in African electricity sector assets, commencing with the initially merged assets. The Company will also seek to consolidate its ownership interests in these assets, through mutually beneficial transactions with its existing co-shareholders. Anergi will commence work immediately towards securing a stock market listing on an international exchange at the earliest feasible date. From inception, Anergi will be the leading diversified electricity business operating in Africa.

At its inaugural board meeting, Andrew Alli (President and CEO of Africa Finance Corporation) was appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of Anergi Holdings Limited, which is incorporated and domiciled in Mauritius. Other board members appointed include Tshepo Mahloele, Oliver Andrews, Alwyn Wessels, Sipho Makhubela and Fola Fagbule.

Andrew Alli said: “we are pleased that the Anergi transaction has come to a final close, and I look forward to working with the board and management to implement the strategy and achieve the operational goals of the business over the next few years”.

Tshepo Mahloele, Chairman of Aldwych Holdings Limited said: “we are excited about this merger and the next phase of growth for our African energy business. As we continue to implement our strategy of creating valuable and permanent operating platforms with significant technical and financial capabilities, Anergi Holdings Limited will be an important part of our future”.

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Addis Ababa hosts the biggest finance event of 2017
December 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

The first ever ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) Africa Members’ Convention was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 6-8 December. The three-day event’s theme centered on: “The impact of socio-economic trends on the future of finance and business in Africa”.

The inaugural event saw significant and relevant issues facing the accountancy profession being discussed. Several influential and renowned finance and business leaders from across the continent were in attendance, including; Ambassador Mumba S. Kapumpa (Corporate Governance Expert, Zambia), Prof. Nii Quaynor, the father of the internet in Africa, Dr. Nigel Chanakira, Chairman Success Motivation Institute, Walter Muwandi, CEO CCG Systems, South Africa, Daniel Asapokhai, Executive Secretary, CEO of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Prof. Patrick Lumumba and South African public speaker – Vusi Thembekwayo amongst many others.

The ACCA President, Leo Lee and other council members were in attendance along with over 750 ACCA members from 31 countries. The highlight of the 3-day conference was the unveiling of the Member Wall to commemorate ACCA reaching a milestone of 200,000 members worldwide.

Jamil Ampomah, director of ACCA Sub-Saharan Africa remarked, “I am delighted that the ACCA Africa Member Convention was able to bring together the best and brightest of the African accountancy profession. This conference was a fantastic opportunity for finance professionals to share their insights and discuss the topical issues they face.

In times of change globally, which we are certainly seeing now, it is important for local and regional communities to come together and forge a positive and sustainable future. By addressing the future role and relevance of accountancy and finance in Africa, this event has enabled ACCA demonstrate its membership capacity, strength and expansive network across Africa and globally”.

The ACCA Africa Members’ Convention addressed critical issues on the future role and relevance of the professional accountant in Africa, the impact of the shifting paradigms of social expectations and the economic focus supported by rapid digital transformation. Some of the topics discussed at the convention included: Innovation and the role of the accountant in the fourth industrial revolution, Ethics in a digital world; Managing and navigating the new economy; and the future of the profession: opportunities across Africa.

Also discussed was ACCA’s groundbreaking research, “Professional Accountants- the future series”, which highlights digital transformation as a major driver of change impacting business, finance and the accounting profession over the next decade. Delegates agreed that a key aspect of promoting the industry is to understand the increasing expectations of stakeholders, and develop effective approaches and systems to deliver real value to them.

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants, offering business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.

ACCA supports its 200,000 members and 486,000 students in 180 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 101 offices and centres and more than 7,200 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.

ACCA is currently introducing major innovations to its flagship qualification to ensure its members and future members continue to be the most valued, up to date and sought-after accountancy professionals globally.

Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. More information is here: www.accaglobal.com

*AMA

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READERS OF GLOBAL TRAVELER HONOR SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS AS “BEST AIRLINE TO AFRICA”
December 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

Fort Lauderdale, FL (December 13, 2017) – South African Airways (SAA), the national flag carrier of South Africa and Africa’s most awarded airline has been selected by the readers of Global Traveler in the U.S. as the “Best Airline to Africa” for the 14th consecutive year in their annual reader survey. The publication presented the award to SAA at a ceremony held on December 12, 2017, at The Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

The magazine, whose readership consists of discerning, high-frequency travelers, polls readers and reports on their preferences in its annual survey that recognizes the best in business travel. SAA’s Premium Business Class service, with its fully flatbed seats, on-demand audio-visual entertainment system in every seat, an exclusive collection of South African wines and warm African hospitality played a key role in SAA winning the award. These service attributes are complemented by SAA and its regional partners offering an extensive route network in Africa providing business travelers with many choices when traveling to, from and within the continent.

“We are grateful that the readers of Global Traveler, who are true road warriors and expect nothing short of premier experience every time they fly, recognized SAA as the Best Airline to Africa,”said Todd Neuman, Executive Vice President – North America for South African Airways. “This award,which we have received for 14 consecutive years, is proof that business travelers recognize our employee’s commitment to excellent service, both on the ground and in the air, our competitively priced fares, and our comprehensive route network throughout Africa”.

“”Congratulations to South African Airways for yet another GT Tested Reader Survey awards win. For 14 consecutive years, our readers have agreed the airline is best in Africa, a true nod to SAA’s service and quality.” said Francis X. Gallagher, publisher and CEO of Global Traveler.

As the leading carrier from the U.S. to Africa, South African Airways offers the most flights with non-stop service from New York–JFK Airport to Johannesburg and daily non-stop service from Washington, DC-Dulles to Dakar, Senegal, or Accra, Ghana, with continued service to Johannesburg. From its hub in Johannesburg, SAA together with its regional partners SA Express, Airlink and Mango offer easy, convenient connections to more than 75 destinations throughout Africa. SAA’s awarding – winning premium Business Class offers 180 fully lie-flat seating with duvet and full-size pillows, gourmet cuisine designed by renowned South African celebrity chefs, a wine cellar featuring some of South Africa’s finest vintages and extensive programming of on-demand audio and visual entertainment.For further information on South African Airways product and services, please visit www.flysaa.com or for reservations call 1-(800) 722-9675.

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African presidents draw strong consensus for inclusive growth at Africa 2017
December 13, 2017 | 0 Comments
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and African leaders pose for a photo in the second day of the Africa 2017 Forum on Friday- press photo

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and African leaders pose for a photo in the second day of the Africa 2017 Forum on Friday- press photo

Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, 11 December 2017, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- African presidents reached a strong consensus to focus on regional integration, inclusive growth and youth empowerment in order to achieve continued and sustained growth on the continent at the Africa 2017 Forum in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. President of Egypt Abdel Fattah Al Sisi hosted African heads of state and business leaders including President of the Republic of Guinea Alpha Condé, President of the Republic of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Côte D’Ivoire Alassane Ouattara, and President of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.

The business and investment Forum titled “Driving investment for inclusive growth” was convened to increase intra-African investments and cross-border collaboration. The message sent was that entrepreneurship and private sector would be the driving force to transform the continent. The Forum was preceded by a Young Entrepreneurs Day which brought together over 200 young African entrepreneurs who were meeting investors to pitch their businesses over the two days of the Forum. Al Sisi highlighted the importance of African youth, saying they should be the cornerstone of development plans in the continent as governments strive to promote innovation and technology.

The second edition of the Forum was another clear statement of intent from the Egyptian President, who, in his opening remarks, highlighted the strong bond Egypt has with the rest of the continent, saying it has always been a partner in African development. Putting Africa on the global map and paving the way for a prosperous future can be achieved by working harder to attract investment and collaborating more closely.

President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, co-chair of the Young Entrepreneurs Day, reiterated the need for more urgency: “We cannot afford to waste opportunities because of unnecessary red tape and associated delays.” Citing the launch of the Tripartite Free Trade Area in Egypt in 2015, he added it was important that African leaders drive the institutional reform of the African Union in order to get the FTA fully operational.

Heba Salama, Director of the COMESA Regional Investment Agency, co-conveners of the Forum, in an emotional address reminded the young and the leaders in the room that if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough. This did not go unheeded by the entrepreneurs in the room many of whom had scaled up businesses that were ripe for take off.

Africa 2017 Forum is held under the high patronage of H.E. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on 7th to 9th December 2017 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and is organized by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt and the COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA).
The 2017 edition builds on the success of the inaugural Africa 2016, which saw participation of 6 Heads of State and more than 1,000 delegates from 45 countries. This year the programme has been enhanced with exclusive Presidential Roundtables with Africa leaders and CEOs as well as a Young Entrepreneurs Day
Africa 2017 remains the premier business platform to nurture new partnerships; meet investors and fast track your business objectives in Africa.
Take your place and belong in the conversation that will drive new projects, transactions and policy throughout the continent with global business leaders who will lead both dialogue and progress on some of the most important projects in Africa.

Omar Sakr is the founder and CEO of Nawah-Scientific. Omar graduated as a pharmacist in 2005 from Ain Shams University, Egypt, after which he was appointed as a teaching assistant in the department of Pharmaceutical Technology, at the German University of Cairo (GUC) where he got his MSc degree in 2009. Omar then started his PhD journey at the University of Geneva, Switzerland and got his doctoral degree in 2015. As a part of his studies Omar worked for 3 years as a researcher at Capsulution Pharma in Berlin (Germany). Omar’s research activities are focused on nanotech applications for controlled delivery of small molecules and biological drugs. To his name, Omar holds several scientific and business awards for innovative product design. He authored and co-authored several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters that are published in top journals in the field.
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Egyptian young businessman Omar Sakr wins ‘elevator pitch’ at the Africa 2017
December 13, 2017 | 0 Comments
Press Photo - Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar awarded CEO of Nawah-Scientific Omar Sakr the elevator pitch prize

Press Photo – Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar awarded CEO of Nawah-Scientific Omar Sakr the elevator pitch prize

Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, 11 December 2017, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Egypt, awarded Omar Sakr, founder and CEO of Nawah-Scientific, the winning prize for the “elevator pitch” competition, which was held at Africa 2017 at Sharm-el-Sheikh, in Egypt. The prize is an entry to a training programme at Stanford Business School in California, the spiritual home of modern day entrepreneurs.

The competition, as part of Young Entrepreneurs Day, offered a chance for African start-ups to gain exposure and raise their profile by pitching their business ideas to an international delegation of executives representing capital prospects, business mentors, and advisors. From over 100 start-ups and entrepreneurs, 18 were selected to make ‘elevator pitches’ – each 3 minute in length maximum – where these young business leaders had the stage to present their idea and opportunity, highlight their needs and generate new leads.

Minister Gaffer mentioned that Egypt understands the important role that entrepreneurship and young entrepreneurs play in job creation and inclusive growth. The government is creating favourable environment to facilitate this, he added.

“I am thrilled to have won this competition,” said Sakr, “There were some amazing start-ups here and I am pleased to have won the opportunity to go to Stanford for the business management exposure.” Nawah-Scientific is the first, private, multidisciplinary research center in Egypt catering for natural and medical sciences. Nawah’s online platform receives task requests from individual scientists or industrial clients, samples to be analyzed are picked up via a partnership with courier services, experiments are carried by high caliber scientists and finally results are sent back online to the client.

Young Entrepreneurship Day partners, were impressed with the calibre of competitors. The judges were, Ben White, Founder and CEO, VC4Africa, Obi Ejimofo, COO, Asoko Insights, UK, Heba Ali, Managing Director, Egypt Ventures, Egypt and Abdelhameed Sharara, Founder and CEO, RiseUp, Egypt

Africa 2017 Forum is held under the high patronage of H.E. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on 7th to 9th December 2017 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and is organized by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt and the COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA).
The 2017 edition builds on the success of the inaugural Africa 2016, which saw participation of 6 Heads of State and more than 1,000 delegates from 45 countries. This year the programme has been enhanced with exclusive Presidential Roundtables with Africa leaders and CEOs as well as a Young Entrepreneurs Day
Africa 2017 remains the premier business platform to nurture new partnerships; meet investors and fast track your business objectives in Africa.

Take your place and belong in the conversation that will drive new projects, transactions and policy throughout the continent with global business leaders who will lead both dialogue and progress on some of the most important projects in Africa.

Omar Sakr is the founder and CEO of Nawah-Scientific. Omar graduated as a pharmacist in 2005 from Ain Shams University, Egypt, after which he was appointed as a teaching assistant in the department of Pharmaceutical Technology, at the German University of Cairo (GUC) where he got his MSc degree in 2009. Omar then started his PhD journey at the University of Geneva, Switzerland and got his doctoral degree in 2015. As a part of his studies Omar worked for 3 years as a researcher at Capsulution Pharma in Berlin (Germany). Omar’s research activities are focused on nanotech applications for controlled delivery of small molecules and biological drugs. To his name, Omar holds several scientific and business awards for innovative product design. He authored and co-authored several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters that are published in top journals in the field.
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The 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) to be held for the first time in Africa where tobacco industry interference is endemic
December 8, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Organisers of the 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH)
) to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, on 7 to 9 March in 2018,
thave announced the attendance of WHO Director-General Dr Tedros
Adhanom Ghebreyesus, South Africa Minister of Health Dr Aaron
Motsoaledi and Michael R. Bloomberg, a leading actor on tobacco
control and WHO Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases.

For the past 50 years, WCTOH has been the premier international
forum on tobacco control and next year’s event – the first to be held
on the African continent – is expected to attract over 2000
researchers, scientists, civil society, healthcare professionals,
policymakers and media representatives from around 100 countries. It
is reported that tobacco use is the world’s leading preventable cause
of death killing more than 7 million people each year.

“This conference is being held at a critical time, both in the war on
tobacco and the drive to protect public health,” said WHO
Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“Countries have stepped up action to beat back the tobacco epidemic.
But more is needed. By embracing the Sustainable Development Goals,
governments have committed to promoting healthier and stronger futures
for their citizens. Tobacco control offers one of the surest ways to
achieve such ambitions.”

The theme of the conference is Uniting the World for a Tobacco-Free
Generation with an overarching focus on expediting progress to reduce
tobacco use in all populations around the world – using new research
and innovative approaches in public health, as well as powerful but
under-used policies, including tobacco taxation and those aimed at
preventing industry interference.

Michael Bloomberg will preside over the Bloomberg Philanthropies’
Awards for Global Tobacco Control during WCTOH. The awards recognise
leading organisations in low- and middle-income countries doing best
in class work on the most effective tobacco control policies,
collectively known as MPOWER measures: monitoring of tobacco use and
prevention policies,protecting people from tobacco smoke,offering help
to quit tobacco use,warning about the dangers of tobacco,enforcing
bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship and raising
taxes on tobacco.

It is further added that while tobacco use is decreasing in many
countries, smoking rates in Africa are anticipated to rise
dramatically. By 2030 the number of smokers in the region is projected
to increase by 40 percent from 2010 levels, unless there is
significant intervention. Africa continues to be aggressively targeted
by the tobacco industry, as it represents an opportunity for
considerable market growth.

Dr Flavia Senkubuge

Dr Flavia Senkubuge

Dr Flavia Senkubuge, President of the 17th WCTOH and a specialist in
Public Health Medicine at the University of Pretoria, South Africa
said: “The developing world continues to be the most urgent
battleground for those working in tobacco control. We are delighted to
have the commitment of three such prominent public health champions at
the inaugural WCTOH conference to be held in the Africa region.”

Professor Harry Lando, Chair of the 17^th WCTOH organising committee
said: “We are confident that the high quality of the science being
presented in Cape Town will complement the advocacy around WCTOH – we
need both, if we are to make bigger strides in tobacco control,
especially in this part of the world.”

Some of the scientific highlights being featured at WCTOH include a
novel study around HIV and smoking in South Africa, e-cigarette use
and young people, and the impact of tobacco taxation and point-of-sale
changes on consumers.
The 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) is expected to
unite researchers, academics, non-governmental organisations, civil
society, scientists, healthcare professionals and public officials
working on all aspects of tobacco control from around 100 countries.

Convened by WCTOH’s Advisory Board, the Cape Town Consortium and the
Conference Secretariat (The Union), WCTOH is a call for a collective
resolution to fight tobacco use by working together and integrating
tobacco control into our health and development goals. Held every
three years, WCTOH is the premier international conference on tobacco
control.

It is reported that the conference theme – Uniting the World for a
Tobacco-Free Generation – recognises that tobacco control is a global
issue, crossing all geographic boundaries. The World Health
Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) stands
as the backdrop for the conference and for our global response to the
tobacco epidemic. It is the only internationally, legally-binding
health treaty of the 21st century. Only by coming together are we able
to create a tobacco-free generation.

The Union is the Conference Secretariat for WCTOH. The Union is a
global scientific organisation with the mission to improve health
among people living in poverty. We do that by conducting scientific
research, working with governments and other agencies to translate
research into better health for people around the world, and
delivering projects directly in the field. The Union is made up of a
membership body of people around the world who help to advance our
mission, and a scientific institute that implements public health
projects within countries. For close to 100 years, they have been
leaders in the fight against some of the world’s biggest killers,
including tuberculosis, lung diseases and tobacco use.

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SureRemit targets 250 million immigrants with non-cash remittance service
December 8, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

. SureRemit, a global blockchain-based non-cash remittance service has
announced a token sale event to allow investors to contribute to
SureRemit and receive RMT tokens at a 40 % bonus.

A big argument for the potential of blockchain and cryptocurrencies
has been about how the revolutionary technology can impact the $600bn
cross-border remittance market. Several platforms are already enabling
cheaper and faster transfer of money using cryptocurrencies like
Bitcoin; however, a new product, SureRemit, is focusing on a
particular segment: non-cash remittances.

It is reported that there are over 250 million immigrants across
the world. A significant volume of money sent by these immigrants is
intended to serve specific needs of their friends and family at home
like food, clothing, utility bills and education. Senders utilize a
myriad of formal and informal channels to move money, but while there
have been improvements in recent years, the international money
transfer process is far from convenient.
Cash transfers are heavily regulated in order to prevent money
laundering, fraud and terrorist financing, so the systems and
intermediaries involved are forced to create elaborate compliance
processes that result in high fees and less-than-ideal transaction
flows. Furthermore, after sending money home, immigrants have no
control or visibility over the use of funds.

A new blockchain-based remittance service is being created to address
this. Immigrants all over the world with Remit tokens can purchase
digital vouchers that are redeemable for goods and services directly
from local merchants at their specified destinations. This
cryptocurrency removes the cash layer, reduces the cost of transfers
and provides the sender some control and visibility over how the value
is spent.

“International remittance transactions can be frustrating, but it
doesn’t have to be, at least for non-cash value transfers which
constitute about 40% of all transfers” said ‘Laolu Samuel-Biyi,
Director of Remittances at SureRemit. “In very many cases, immigrants
and travelers just want to buy food or pay a bill for someone at home.
Those transactions do not have the same risk profiles as cash
transactions, and they should not be subjected to the same costs,
timelines and procedures.”

Remit tokens are being issued in partnership with Stellar. The tokens
generated will be the primary tool for accessing digital shopping
vouchers, utility bill payments and mobile airtime services within the
SureRemit app. SureRemit already has access to over 500 redemption
points of major retail chains within the SureGifts merchant ecosystem
across Africa, with partnerships to acquire thousands of ecosystem
merchant partners in India and the Middle-East in the works. Expansion
into other major remittance corridors are planned for next year.

SureRemit is a platform for global non-cash remittances. Remit tokens
are being issued in partnership with Stellar. The tokens generated
will be the primary tool for accessing digital shopping vouchers,
utility bill payments and mobile airtime services within the SureRemit
app. SureRemit already has access to over 500 redemption points of
major retail chains within the SureGifts merchant ecosystem across
Africa, with partnerships to acquire thousands of ecosystem merchant
partners in India and the Middle-East in the works. Expansion into
other major remittance corridors are planned for next year. Pre-sale
token distribution begins December 8, 2017.

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WorldRemit raises $40m to target 5 million customers in Africa
December 8, 2017 | 0 Comments
Series C funding round brings the total amount raised to $220m
Ismail Ahmed, founder and CEO at WorldRemit

Ismail Ahmed, founder and CEO at WorldRemit

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, December 7, 2017/ — Leading digital money transfer service WorldRemit  has raised $40m to drive its next phase of global growth, aiming to serve 10 million customers connected to emerging markets. Half of these customers will be in Africa.

As part of the expansion, WorldRemit will enable customers in Africa to transfer money to 148 countries as easily as sending an instant message, using the WorldRemit app. Countries in Africa which now receive remittances through WorldRemit, will become send countries. Most importantly, the new service will make sending money within Africa faster, easier and low cost. According to the World Bank, inter-Africa transfers are amongst the most expensive in the world.

Money transfers to Africa account for more than half of WorldRemit’s total volume of transactions. The company currently handles 74% of remittances to popular mobile money services across Africa like MTN, Ecocash, Tigo Pesa, Vodafone M-Pesa and Airtel Money, making it the global leader in mobile-to-mobile international money transfers.

Ismail Ahmed, founder and CEO at WorldRemit, comments: “This new funding will fuel our growth, and help bring our service to millions more customers across the globe. Africa is a crucial market for us and over the next few years, we will expand our services so customers can send and receive with WorldRemit, getting the benefits of our fast, secure online service.” 

Since its last funding round in 2015, WorldRemit has launched 206 new services across the globe and has grown its transaction volume by 400%. Last month WorldRemit became Arsenal FC’s (www.Arsenal.com) first-ever online money transfer partner.

The Series C round was led by LeapFrog Investments (www.LeapFrogInvest.com) – a dedicated equity investor in emerging markets, supporting fast-growth firms that deliver social impact alongside commercial returns. The round also had significant participation from existing investors Accel (www.Accel.com) and Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV) (www.TCV.com).

Michael Liu, Regional Director, Asia-Pacific

Michael Liu, Regional Director, Asia-Pacific

This latest funding round follows a Series B investment raised from TCV in 2015 and a Series A from Accel and Project A in 2014 – then one of the largest ever Series A rounds in Europe.

WorldRemit (www.WorldRemit.com) was founded in 2010 by a UK-based entrepreneur from Somaliland, Ismail Ahmed, a remittance specialist and former compliance advisor to the United Nations. Personal experience of using money transfer agents convinced Ismail that technology could improve the sending process, enhance compliance and reduce costs to the customer.

In November 2017 WorldRemit became Arsenal FC’s first-ever online money transfer partner in a global sponsorship deal for all Premier League, League Cup and FA Cup games. In June 2017 WorldRemit added Android Pay to its service, offering a new way for WorldRemit’s Android Pay users to safely and securely send money to 130 million mobile money accounts accessible via its network.

WorldRemit has secured $220 million in funding backed by Accel and TCV – early investors in Facebook, Spotify, Netflix and Slack – and LeapFrog Investments.

WorldRemit’s global headquarters are in London, UK with offices in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand.

LeapFrog (www.LeapFrogInvest.com) invests in extraordinary businesses in Africa and Asia. We partner with their leaders to achieve leaps of growth, profitability and impact. LeapFrog companies now operate across 33 markets reaching 111 million people with financial services and healthcare. Over 93.8 million of those are emerging consumers, often accessing insurance, savings, pensions, credit and healthcare for the first time. LeapFrog companies provide jobs and livelihoods to over 114,626 people. These companies have grown on average by 43.3 per cent per annum since LeapFrog’s investment. LeapFrog was recently named by Fortune as one of the top five companies changing the world, the first private equity firm ever to be listed.

Accel (www.Accel.com) is a leading venture capital firm that invests in people and their companies from the earliest days through all phases of private company growth. Atlassian, Algolia, Avito, Cloudera, Crowdstrike, Deliveroo, DJI, Dropbox, Etsy, Facebook, Flipkart, Funding Circle, Kayak, QlikTech, Slack, Spotify, Supercell and WorldRemit are among the companies the firm has backed over the past 30 years. The firm seeks to understand entrepreneurs as individuals, appreciate their originality and play to their strengths. Because greatness doesn’t have a stereotype.

Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV) (www.TCV.com), founded in 1995, is a leading provider of capital to growth-stage private and public companies in the technology industry. With nearly $10 billion in capital raised, TCV has invested in more than 200 technology companies over the last 20 years. Selected investments include Altiris, C|NET, ExactTarget, Expedia, Facebook, Fandango, FX Alliance, GoDaddy, Genesys Software, HomeAway, Netflix, NewVoiceMedia, RealNetworks, Redback Networks, RiskMetrics Group, Sitecore, Splunk, Spotify, Thinkorswim, VICE Media, and Zillow. TCV is headquartered in Palo Alto, California, with offices in New York and London

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