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Zimbabwe included in GPE new grants in 2019 to improve children’s education in the poorest countries
December 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Partnership for Education
Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Partnership for Education

Zimbabwe has been included in the Global Partnership for Education  approved grants totaling nearly US$110 million to support efforts by BhutanBurkina FasoCabo VerdeCote d’IvoireTanzaniaKenyaSomaliland, Puntland to strengthen their education systems and make quality schooling available to more children.

With these new grants, GPE, which partners with close to 70 developing countries across the globe, has approved more than US$312 million in funding in 2019. Moreover, new grant applications totaling US$220 million were received in the last quarterly round of grant proposals this year, demonstrating a clear acceleration of funds allocated by GPE during this third replenishment period spanning 2018 to 2020.

“As GPE partner countries continue to invest more of their domestic resources in education, external financing is also critical to their success,” said Julia Gillard, Chair of the Global Partnership for Education’s Board of Directors. “These new grants will help drive real and important progress, including getting more children in school – especially girls and children from disadvantaged communities – and ensuring that the quality of the schooling they receive gives them what they need to learn and grow.”

“We are very pleased to deepen GPE’s relationship with Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Puntland, Somaliland, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, partners that are engaged in the hard work of strengthening their education systems,” said Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Partnership for Education. “We are working hard to move faster in our grant process to ensure that our partner countries get the resources they need. With GPE’s help, they are recruiting and training more teachers, enabling more girls and children with disabilities to get schooling, developing better learning materials and much more.”

GPE has approved US$700,000 to Bhutan as additional financing of a previously allocated grant of US$1.8 million. The funding focuses on increasing enrollment in pre-primary education and developing a new learning assessment framework. Save the Children U.S. is the grant agent overseeing the three-year, five-month funding.

Burkina Faso, a GPE partner since 2002, will receive a grant of US$21 million over four years. This funding is additional to the US$33.8 million grant approved in 2017. The US$14.84 million fixed portion of the funding will provide continued support through a multi-donor pooled fund for the country’s 2017-2030 strategy to increase the number of children with access to education, invest more in education infrastructure and teacher training, improve learning through enhanced teaching and learning materials and strengthen government management of the education system. The US$6.36 million results-based portion of the grant aims to promote increases in primary school enrollment in six regions, more efficient operational spending within the education system and a higher reading and numeracy performance in early grades. GPE’s grant agent in Burkina Faso is Agence Française de Développement.

Over the next three years Cabo Verde will receive US$1.1 million as additional financing of a US$1.4 million grant approved previously. The funding will support inclusion and equity in education, with a focus on children with special needs. It will also complement and strengthen the existing GPE grant by further supporting improvements in education system management, teacher training, learning evaluation and collection and analysis of education data. UNICEF is the grant agent in Cabo Verde, which became a GPE partner in 2018.

The GPE Board agreed a US$28 million additional financing to Cote d’Ivoire. The US$19.6 million fixed portion of the funding, available over nearly four years, will be devoted to community-based preschool education in rural areas, the building of new primary school buildings in those areas and “bridging classes” for older children who have missed primary schooling. The US$8.4 million results-based portion of the grant centers on increasing enrollments in preschool, the number of hours of lower secondary teachers and students’ performance on reading and math tests in third and fourth grades. The World Bank will administer the grant in Cote d’Ivoire, a GPE partner since 2010.

Kenya, which has made substantial progress towards achieving gender equity in its schools and increasing primary completion rates, has been a GPE partner since 2005. This latest GPE grant of US$9.7 million for two years supplements existing efforts to improve early-grade math proficiency, and strengthen education management, accountability and reforming education data management systems. The US$3 million results-based portion of the grant is keyed to achieving results in early education, extending educational opportunities to learners with special needs and disabilities, and schools’ compliance with new administrative guidelines to strengthen efficiency. The World Bank is the grant agent for this grant.

Within Somalia, Puntland will receive a GPE grant of US$8.83 million over four years to support activities aimed at improving teaching quality – and, thus, children’s learning outcomes. Puntland will apply the funding to the rehabilitation of a teachers’ college and other professional development resources, as well as to the creation and implementation of a teachers’ profession test and to monitoring and verification of quality of teaching and learning outcomes. The grant also focuses on enrolling and keeping more of the state’s most socially excluded children in school. The new grant is additional financing on top of a previous GPE grant. UNICEF is the grant agent.

Further, GPE has approved a three-year grant of more than US$12 million to Somaliland, also a semi-autonomous state within Somalia, to increase primary school enrollment, especially among girls, boost the quality of schooling in order to achieve higher learning results, promote safe, gender-sensitive learning environments, improve administration and data management, and strengthen disaster and emergency preparedness. GPE will also accelerate the availability of more than US$3 million to support emergency responses to Somaliland’s drought-affected schools and increase the share of girls enrolling in school. Save the Children – U.S. is GPE’s grant agent in Somaliland.

Tanzania, a GPE partner since 2013, will receive US$22.5 million in additional financing over a three-and-a-half year period. This expands on components of a grant approved earlier this year aimed at improving the quality of pre-primary, primary and non-formal education by strengthening teacher training and professional development, distributing more quality teaching and learning materials to underserved areas and improving planning and management in education. The results-based portion of the grant is dependent upon Tanzania’s meeting targets such as timely distribution of funding to local schools, increase in the number of girls who transition from primary to secondary school, and higher student retention and reading rates. The Swedisn International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) oversees the GPE grant in Tanzania.

An additional financing of US$2.8 million will enable Zimbabwe, a GPE partner since 2013, to expand access to school improvement grants and help the country carry out an assessment to inform an upcoming new long-term education plan. UNICEF is GPE’s grant agent in Zimbabwe.

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WiLDAF- Ghana moves to establish male champions for gender-based violence in schools.
December 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica

File Picture.the Country Director for Ipas- Ghana Dr Koma Jehu Appiah
File Picture.the Country Director for Ipas- Ghana Dr Koma Jehu Appiah

With funding from the European Union, Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF) a Pan Africa Women’s Rights Network with the aims of promoting and reinforcing strategies that link law and development is implementing a four -year program dubbed ‘Enough’ to sensitize the young adult in Ghana on sexual relationships.

The program seeks to drive home the interpretation and understanding of consent and how crucial it is for today’s society especially youth in Sexual relationships. About 20 young adults were selected as champions to spearhead the ingredient of healthy relationships and when a girl is consenting.

Speaking to the programs officer for WiLDAF Ghana, Ms Abigail Honu said, even though ‘Enough’ is the first of its kind, it will be added to the ongoing youth sexual and reproductive health rights and violence prevention projects in its three hotspot areas, Greater Accra, Volta and Central Regions of Ghana.

She maintained WiLDAF has recognized the challenges that confront school youth concerning knowing their rights and having access to services, knowing about the laws including the Children’s Act, and more importantly the laws that prohibit sexual abuse or any form of gender-based violence.

In reacting to the importance of imbibing the necessary knowledge into the young adult in society, the Country Director for Ipas- Ghana Dr Koma Jehu Appiah says, these essential project by the sector players aimed at increasing knowledge, life skills, advocacy capacity at enabling Adolescent girls and boys to report abuse and also have access to Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Services while at the same time engaging boys to be advocates of gender equality. He is optimistic sexual base -violence issues will be a thing of the past if boys understand their limits and are much aware when a girl or a woman is consenting or has consented to a sexual relationship. The program is, however, deepening the already established Girls Clubs in s

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Africa and South Africa’s Xenophobia: a Prognosis
December 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

By James N. Kariuki*

Roots of South Africa’s Inequality

Last year the World Bank proclaimed South Africa to be the most unequal country in the world. A decade earlier in 2008, the world’s attention had been drawn to South Africa’s xenophobic behavior. Is there a kinship between inequality and xenophobia?

South Africa’s bewildering inequality originated from apartheid. The system dedicated the second half of the 20thcentury to grabbing the state’s resources for the benefit of its comparatively small white community. By design, it reduced the country’s non-white majority to ‘hewers of wood and drawers of water,’ distinctly removed from the formal economy.

In early 1990s, Blacks’ economic irrelevance was consolidated by a weakness in the strategy to dismantle apartheid. Clearly not by design Blacks’ head negotiator, Nelson Mandela, erred by accepting political power for the black majority without corresponding economic power, especially in land ownership. In Professor Ali Mazrui’s view the consequences were dire, “…the white man said to the Blacks ‘You can take the crown and we’ll keep the jewels.” Of what value was a crown without jewels? Was Mandela duped into cursing post-apartheid South Africa to eternal inequality?

Finally, freedom in post-apartheid South Africa placed public coffers within the reach of hitherto non-existent black bureaucratic elite. Especially during Jacob Zuma’s presidency (2009 – 2019) the ‘rainbow nation’ was subjected to staggering economically-draining monster, the ‘state capture.’ On the whole, black communities were further sidelined from the nearly-crippled national economy.  

Missing Basic Services

Given the ‘disabled’ state of the economy, lack of service delivery became central to the xenophobic eruptions that have bedeviled democratic South Africa since 2008. Unfortunately, various governments have been short of funds to adequately address basic social needs; public coffers have been illegitimately depleted. How were the governments of the day to explain to its citizens freedom without jobs and life’s necessities? This was a classic case of a crown-without-jewels in action.

To its credit South Africa’s ruling party has never overtly endorsed xenophobic or Afro-phobic behavior. Indeed the ANC has consistently emphasized indebtedness to post-colonial Africa for unwavering support during the anti-apartheid campaign.  In this context, it would be dishonest for the party to engage in discriminatory behavior toward fellow African immigrants after 1994. Where others see xenophobia or Afro-phobia, ANC continues to detect criminality.

South Africa’s officialdom istoo astute not to be aware that lack of service delivery is the central driver of xenophobic discontent. Leaders of the violent outbreaks are mostly the ‘born-frees,’ the youthful post-apartheid generation.  Their facts of life bind them to the black communities.  They are hungry and agitated.  Joblessness reigns supreme where the national unemployment is at 29 percent.

The township dwellers are angry with everybody, including the government and ‘foreigners.’ They cannot vent their anger on the government in fear of overwhelming reprisals; memories of the Marikana tragedy linger.  Immigrants become the available and sitting ducks: distinct, defenseless and reachable. Political agitators easily convert them into xenophobic scapegoats. 

Self-Inflicted Wounds of Xenophobia

Ironically, attacking ‘immigrants’ in South Africa is becoming increasingly unfashionable; it is hurting South Africans and their interests more than the original targets. Of the 12 deaths in the 2019 mayhems, 10 were South African. Additionally, while immigrants lost their property, locally-owned properties were similarly looted and damaged.

The violence has also tarnished South Africa’s image, prompting reprisals against its interests. In 2019 thriving South African businesses in Nigeria were damaged by enraged mobs, emphasizing the old diplomatic maxim: protect what is ours in your country and we will spare yours in ours. To South Africa’s recurring incidents of xenophobia, Africa responded in unison: enough is enough.

The New Dawn and the Way Forward

More than his predecessors, President Cyril Ramaphosa seems to realize that xenophobic sentiments are charged by the domestic unholy alliance of poverty and inequality.  Domestically, his political slogan of the New Dawn, aspires to halt and reverse internal abuse of public funds and jumpstart the economy. Hence, the current corruption probes and unrelenting bid to cleanse state-owned enterprises.

Regarding xenophobia, the New Dawn stipulates that South Africa will work in context of Africa, particularly Nigeria, to extract the ‘cancer’ from Africa once and for all. In mid-September 2019, therefore, Ramaphosa dispatched ‘special envoys’ to seven African countries to apologize for the violence.  

Globally, Africa tops Ramaphosa’s agenda. Mindful that South Africa is geographically in Africa, the President insists that it must work closely with the fellow giant-of-Africa, Nigeria. Accordingly in 2019 he welcomed Nigeria overture of a give-and-take-dialogue rather than engage in counter-productive exchange of accusations. Victimized Nigerians in South Africa expected more, including compensation for their lost property.

Nigeria was diplomatic but not necessarily defensive in the bilateral talks. Subtly but firmly, it insisted on one non-negotiable condition. Henceforth, South Africa will treat xenophobia as a crime; perpetrators must be prosecuted. Otherwise, the scourge will be transformed into an African continental problem.  And collective Africa is capable of punishing its offenders. Just ask the now extinct apartheid regimes.

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Yekatom and Ngaïssona case: International Criminal Court (ICC) Pre-Trial Chamber II confirms part of the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity and commits suspects to trial
December 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

The Chamber found that there are substantial grounds to believe that M. Yekatom has committed these crimes jointly with others or through other persons

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, December 11, 2019/ — Today, 11 December 2019, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “Court”) ( issued a unanimous decision partially confirming the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity brought by the Prosecutor against Alfred Yekatom and Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona and committed them to trial before a Trial Chamber. In view of ensuring protection of victims and witnesses, the decision is confidential and a redacted version of it will be published in due course.

Pre-Trial Chamber II, composed of Judge Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua (Presiding Judge), Judge Tomoko Akane and Judge Rosario Salvatore Aitala, based its decision on the evidence presented by the Prosecutor and the Defence during the hearing held from 19 to 25 September and on 11 October 2019 as well as their oral and written submissions.

The Chamber found that there are substantial grounds to believe that, between September 2013 and December 2014, an armed conflict not of an international character was ongoing in the territory of the Central African Republic between the Seleka and the Anti-Balaka, both constituting organised armed groups at that time; and that the Anti-Balaka carried out a widespread attack against the Muslim civilian population, perceived – on the basis of their religious or ethnic affiliation – as complicit with, or supportive of the Seleka and therefore collectively responsible for the crimes allegedly committed by them.

The Chamber concluded that there are substantial grounds to believe that Alfred Yekatom and Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona are responsible for the following crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in various locations (Bangui, including Cattin, and Boeing; Bossangoa; Yamwara School and the PK9-Mbaïki Axis) in the context of that conflict: intentionally directing an attack against the civilian population, murder, rape, intentionally directing an attack against a building dedicated to religion, deportation or forcible transfer of population and displacement of the civilian population, intentionally destroying or seizing the property of an adversary, pillaging, severe deprivation of physical liberty, cruel treatment, torture, other inhumane acts and persecution.

The Chamber found that there are substantial grounds to believe that M. Yekatom has committed these crimes jointly with others or through other persons or, in the alternative, has ordered the commission of these crimes; and that M. Ngaïssona aided, abetted or otherwise assisted in their commission or, in the alternative, has contributed in any other way to their commission by a group of persons acting with a common purpose.

In addition, the Chamber also found that there are substantial grounds to believe that M. Yekatom committed the war crimes of conscripting, enlisting, and using children under the age of 15 years to participate actively in hostilities jointly with others or through other persons or, in the alternative, has ordered the commission of these crimes.

The Chamber declined to confirm the remaining charges that were not supported by the evidence presented by the Prosecutor.

The decision on the confirmation of the charges only serves to determine whether the Prosecutor’s case should proceed to trial. It does not establish the guilt of the two accused persons who are presumed innocent until proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt before the Court.

The Defence and the Prosecutor cannot directly appeal the decision confirming the charges. However they can request authorisation from Pre-Trial Chamber II to appeal it. The deadline for such a request will start running after the decision’s translation into French is notified.

Non-authoritative summary of the decision on the confirmation of charges (

Questions and Answers on the confirmation of charges (

For further information on this case, click here (


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The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund signs US$20m loan with Burkina Faso, attends inauguration of health and education facilities
December 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

Agricultural Value Chain Support Project (PAPFA) aims to contribute to poverty alleviation and to enhance food security in Burkina Faso

VIENNA, Austria, December 9, 2019/ — The Director-General of the OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund) Dr Abdulhamid Alkhalifa has signed a US$20 million development loan to help finance Burkina Faso’s Agricultural Value Chain Support Project (PAPFA).

Dr Alkhalifa signed the loan in Ouagadougou with Burkina Faso’s Minister of Economy, Finance and Development, Lassané Kabore. PAPFA aims to contribute to poverty alleviation and to enhance food security in Burkina Faso. Specifically, the project will help crop and vegetable farmers adopt efficient technologies related to the production, processing and storage of produce, ultimately enabling them to increase sales in local and regional markets.

Dr Alkhalifa said: “This latest OPEC Fund loan demonstrates our continued commitment to a striving country that retains hope, despite the challenges it still faces. It is our way of saying: ‘we are your partners’.”

While on the high-level mission to the West African country, Dr Alkhalifa attended the inauguration ceremonies of two major development projects co-financed by the OPEC Fund – the Hospital of Ziniaré and the University of Ouagadougou. The inaugurations were held under the aegis of the President of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Kaboré.

The University of Ouagadougou project was co-financed by the OPEC Fund in partnership with the Arab Bank for Economic Development (BADEA) and the government of Burkina Faso. The new and expanded facilities include dormitories and provide a better academic environment. Approximately 18,500 on-campus students are expected to benefit.

Dr Alkhalifa said: “Ensuring inclusive and quality education for all – and promoting lifelong learning – is a fundamental ingredient to sustainable development. To see such a project come to life is inspiring and I believe this university will enable many people – young and old – to play a role in advancing the development of Burkina Faso, and more generally, in contributing toward a more equal global society.”

At the ceremony, Dr Alkassoum Maïga, Burkina Faso’s Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, conferred Dr Alkhalifa with L’ordre National de l’Etalon – a national honor in recognition of the OPEC Fund’s continued support of development in the country. The Minister conferred the honor on behalf of President Kaboré. Dr Alkhalifa said he was proud of the OPEC Fund’s work with Burkina Faso and honored to receive the decoration on behalf of the organization.

The Hospital of Ziniaré – a modern and fully equipped health center in the town of Ziniaré, 35 km from the capital Ouagadougou – is also co-financed by the OPEC Fund, BADEA and the government of Burkina Faso. The hospital provides access to specialized, high-quality healthcare services and is expected to improve maternal / infant health and fight diseases endemic to the area.

Dr Alkhalifa said: “The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being. The OPEC Fund is committed to supporting access to healthcare as a goal in itself, as well as to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Our commitment is clear: as of December 31, 2018, our cumulative commitment to development projects in the health sector was well over US$1 billion.”

The OPEC Fund has worked with Burkina Faso for more than four decades. During that time, the organization has approved more than 40 public sector loans amounting to nearly US$300 million to the country. The OPEC Fund has also approved 11 trade finance loans for a total of US$270 million, as well as a number of national grants.

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Kamari and ZeU Crypto Announce Joint Venture to build Lottery and Gaming Infrastructure Across Africa
December 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

African blockchain infrastructure project taps veteran development company for joint venture

Dr. Chris Cleverly
Dr. Chris Cleverly, CEO of Kamari

, a project building blockchain infrastructure across Africa, has announced a joint venture (JV) with ZeU Crypto Networks, a leading blockchain technology innovation and development company out of Canada. The parties will create a Joint Venture entity with the mandate to build digital lottery and gaming applications that will run within the Kamari ecosystem and potentially serve millions of users across multiple countries in Africa.

Kamari looks to develop the fundamental infrastructure that will serve Africa’s population as it doubles to two billion over the next several decades. Africa’s GDP is predicted to increase from $2 trillion today to $29 trillion in today’s money by 2050. The “Blockchain Opportunity in Africa” will also have mobile technology at the center of its massive growth across the continent.

To begin building this ecosystem, the company has secured national lottery licenses across multiple African countries. Once the infrastructure has been created, and the product has been launched, the company will be able to market to over 50 million adult customers exclusively.

Kamari has agreed to set up a joint-venture with ZeU Crypto Networks Inc, a leading blockchain technology development company based out of Canada, to oversee the development of lottery and gaming applications that will eventually integrate with the Kamari mobile wallet. ZeU will handle the technical development of these applications and will also support the use of the KAM currency in its applications including the MulaMail Marketplace, allowing email users to exchange the token between themselves and access the Kamari Ecosystem’s service offering from within their email application. ZeU’s Mula planned peer-to-peer microlending will also be compatible with the Kamari ecosystem.

“We are excited to work with veteran technology developers on this joint venture to start building applications for the Kamari ecosystem,” said Dr. Chris Cleverly, CEO of Kamari. “Our vision is to create a new type of infrastructure that will unlock incredible, never before seen financial benefits for hundreds of millions of people. Essentially, our opportunity is to transform millions of peoples’ lives and provide them with fundamental infrastructure that is vastly more efficient and effective than countries in the Western world, allowing them to empower themselves. We’re looking forward to partnering with ZeU to begin integrating and building some of the applications for that.”

The two companies are in the process of establishing a joint venture entity that will oversee the development and the deployment of an integrated ecosystem. The partners should initiate in short order Peer-to-Peer (P2P) e-commerce initiatives in gaming, eSport, and gambling through participants of Kamari projects running on ZeU protocol and are expected to be a trial by fire for ZeU public protocol.

The partners are planning to deploy in late December, for the purpose of intracompanies testing, a first innovative lottery game using the KAM token. Demonstration to gaming commissions and regulators should be conducted in Q1 2020.

The two companies plan to announce more details of the joint venture shortly.  For more information about the project visit:

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NJ Ayuk’s book Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals now available in Spanish
December 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

The English version of the book was launched early last month and has since become a huge success on the African continent and abroad

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, December 10, 2019/ — NJ Ayuk’s Amazon best-selling sophomore book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals is now available for purchase in Spanish.

The English version of the book was launched early last month and has since become a huge success on the African continent and abroad.

With a foreword by H.E. Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo Secretary-General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) who describes the book as “a detailed roadmap” of how Africa can utilize its petroleum resources to fuel the growth and development of its economies, Billions at Play takes the public and private sector to task in areas where they fall short in managing and developing the energy sector as a key driver of economic growth.

From the onset, in the first chapter titled It’s High Time for African Oil and Gas to Fuel a Better Future for Africans, author NJ Ayuk takes a frank approach in revealing the fortunes, misfortunes and areas of improvement in the management of the sector.

“Petroleum resources have always represented opportunity for Africans. Again, the problem has been a failure to leverage those resources wisely to develop and capitalize on their value chain, and to protect the interests of everyday Africans where oil and gas revenue is concerned,” writes Ayuk.

The book features chapters on the importance of empowering women to take leadership roles in the sector, the rise of natural gas a key solution to the continent’s power supply issues, the importance of intra-Africa cooperation, local content policy development and implementation, the significance of good governance and American investment in Africa’s oil and gas sector.

“Among other things, Ayuk believes Africans need to have better control of their resource wealth—specifically the riches that lie in the continent’s largely unexploited oil and gas basins. At the same time, he knows Africa is not completely ready to go it alone,” reviews Ann Norman, General Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa at Pioneer Energy.

As described by at Play is a comprehensive but entertaining look at Africa’s oil and gas present and future. To this, the book has received praises from global industry players for its solutions-based viewpoint. “In NJ Ayuk’s world, there are few villains, just people and businesses who can and need to do more,” said Bruce Falkenstein, Joint Operations Manager of License Management & Compliance for LUKOIL. In tune with Falkenstein, Jeff Goodrich, former CEO of OneLNG said, “Ayuk puts forth a number of realistic solutions that anyone who cares about making Africa more self-sufficient will be eager to hear.”

While Dr. Thabo Kgogo, former CEO of Efora Energy Limited applauded Ayuk for his straight-forwardness and noted its importance, particularly as Africa’s energy sector undergoes a period of transformation, “Ayuk calls it like it is. For example, not everyone is willing to assert that Africa will never achieve its full potential if it cannot power its industries, services, or households. He also makes it clear that the state-run utilities are so saddled by debt they can barely recover their operating and capital costs, much less make the kinds of infrastructure investments needed to bring electricity to the continent,” he said.

The book is available for purchase in English and Spanish in hardcover and Kindle on

NJ Ayuk is a leading authority in the African energy sector and a strong advocate for African entrepreneurship and the indigenous energy sector, NJ Ayuk is recognized as one of the foremost figures in African business today. A well-known dealmaker in the petroleum and power sectors and founder of a leading energy focused law firm, NJ is dedicating his career to helping African entrepreneurs find success and to building the careers of emerging African talent.

As Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and CEO of Centurion Law Group, NJ strives through his work to ensure that business, and especially oil and gas, impacts African societies in a positive way and drives local content development.

He is the author of Big Barrels: African Oil & Gas and the Quest for Prosperity and Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals.

NJ graduated from the University of Maryland College Park and earned a Juris Doctor from William Mitchell College of Law and an MBA from the New York Institute of Technology.

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Fred Swaniker, founder and CEO of Africa Leadership Group, to open the 2020 Africa Shared Value Leadership Summit
December 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

Summit brings business leaders together to talk transforming Africa

Fred Swaniker
Fred Swaniker

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, December 10, 2019/ — “By 2030, Africa will have a larger workforce than China, and by 2050, it will have the largest workforce in the world. One billion people will need jobs in Africa, so if we don’t grow our economies fast enough, we’re sitting on a ticking time bomb, not just for Africa, but for the entire world,” said Africa Leadership Group Founder and CEO Fred Swaniker, keynote speaker at the Africa Shared Value Leadership Summit taking place in Rwanda in June 2020.

Swaniker, whose belief in the importance of entrepreneurial, ethical African leadership led to his founding of African Leadership Group. A World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and one of TIME Magazine’s most influential people of 2019, Swaniker believes that “unless we can create our own wealth and prosperity, we will forever be dependent on the rest of the world”.

On 4-5 June 2020, the Africa Shared Value Leadership Summit ( will bring together business thought leaders from across the continent to share ideas about how companies can use the Shared Value business model to drive profits while solving social problems at scale. The 2020 Summit also features AfroChampions Initiative executive committee member Dr Edem Adzogenu, Nestlé Regional Head of Regulatory & Scientific Affairs John Bee, and AgriLedger Founder and CEO Genevieve Leveille, among other high-level speakers.

“Increasingly, corporates operating in Africa are driven to making the continent a success, economically and socially,” says Tiekie Barnard, CEO of Shared Value Africa Initiative. “Not only are companies facing growing investor pressure to recognise that social inequality creates problems for businesses. Employees and clients are also supporting a shift towards purpose-led business practices. These practises focus not only a business’s bottom line but also on the impact its operations have on the society in which it operates.”

The Summit will focus on the role of business – and specifically women and youth – in building sustainable businesses and creating the Shared Value ecosystems needed to create an inclusive, prosperous future for our continent, as well as business alignment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The Summit will feature business thought leaders from across Africa sharing insights, experiences and opportunities from the worlds of agriculture, health care, infrastructure and manufacturing, mining, financial services and technology. High-level keynote speakers will share their wealth of experience and examine topics such as the importance of strengthening relations across borders in the era of the African Continental Free Trade Area and whether gender equality can be achieved in Africa – and why business should care.

In 2020, the Summit will feature interactive Solution-Seeking Sessions – opportunities for delegates to become a part of creating solutions for some of our continent’s greatest challenges. These sessions will bring delegates and speakers together in a more intimate setting, setting the scene for greater engagement, thoughtful discussion on a specific, relevant topic. Feedback and conclusions from each session will be shared in the main plenary hall, giving all delegates the opportunity be inspired by and learn from each other and cross-pollinate ideas.

A Shared Value strategy can be implemented in businesses across the spectrum, from finance and telecommunications to agriculture, health care and manufacturing – and beyond. The Summit brings together over three hundred people from a variety of practices and professions across the continent, including CEOs and other members of the C-Suite, sustainability managers, corporate affairs management, strategists, business consultants, compliance officers and other members of middle and upper management. To learn more – and take advantage of the early-bird special on ticket prices – visit

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Ghana and Nigeria top list of markets to watch for key project developments
December 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
Ghana’s determination to become sub-Saharan Africa’s first LNG importer in 2020 is set to become a reality as the Tema LNG terminal project nears completion
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, December 10, 2019/ — In its African Energy Outlook 2020 report launched last month, the African Energy Chamber (“The Chamber”) highlighted the importance of increased infrastructure capacity in Africa’s long-term industrial development.

Spotlighting the $12 billion Dangote Refinery in Nigeria and Ghana’s Tema LNG Terminal, the Chamber noted essential role such projects play in revamping the sector and creating opportunities for private sector investors.

“At a time when the low oil price is gripping treasury revenues, private capital is developing key oil and gas infrastructure projects which could have a significant impact on the African energy and power landscape over the next decade,” the report said.

On the Dangote Refinery, the Chamber called attention to the current state of Nigeria’s infrastructure and the contribution the project would have specifically as the country works towards tripling its refining capacity to 1.5 million bpd by 2025 as a means to reduce its reliance on fuel imports.

To this, the report said, “the refinery’s tank farms are set out for completion in Q4-19 and they may be used as a depot before the refinery’s production starts. This would provide an immediate increase to fuel storage capacity.”

Ghana’s determination to become sub-Saharan Africa’s first LNG importer in 2020 is set to become a reality as the Tema LNG terminal project nears completion. The project will be able to cover 25 percent of Ghana’s total electricity generation capacity, with gas providing a cheaper alternative to oil.

“The deal with Rosneft enables Ghana to diversify gas imports away from Nigeria, which has consistently failed to provide the agreed level of supply since the West African Gas Pipeline started operating (back in November 2011),” the Chamber explained. Adding that the emergence of offshore storage and regasification technology is enabling smaller, lower-risk, rapid LNG solutions that could be replicated elsewhere in the region in countries with substantial gas reserves.

Now available for free download on the website, the African Energy Outlook 2020 also features the 25 Movers and Shakers to Watch list which highlights key industry players that are set to have a great impact on the future of Africa’s energy and economic development. The list includes Donald J. Trump President Of The United States of America; Mustafa Sanalla Chairman, National Oil Corporation, Libya; Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi President Of Egypt; Dr Omar Mithá Chairman & Ceo, Enh Mozambique and Tope Shonubi Managing Director, Sahara Energy.
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Obi Ozor Scoops Two Awards as ‘Young Business Leader of the Year’ & ‘Innovator of the Year’
December 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

Logistics Leader Secures Accolades at the CNBC All Africa Business Leaders Awards [AABLA] 2019

Obi Ozor – Young Business Leader of the Year

Lagos, Nigeria. December 6 2019. Co-founder and CEO of Kobo360, Obi Ozor, was last night named  ‘Young Business Leader of the Year’ and ‘Innovator of the Year’ at the 9th All Africa Business Leaders Awards [AABLA] in partnership with CNBC Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa. 

With over six years of logistics and supply chain experience, Obi Ozor, manages all key aspects of Kobo360 including operations, investments, compliance risk management and product growth. Prior to founding Kobo360, Obi was the Operations Coordinator at Uber Nigeria; his career also saw him work in investment banking at J.P. Morgan. In 2016, Obi left Uber and with his Co-founder Ife Oyedele II, Kobo360 was launched in a bid to disrupt Africa’s $150bn logistics sector through the power of technology. Since then, the team has raised $37.3m in institutional investment from global VCs, as well as build a truly pan-African logistics brand.  

Speaking on the double win, Kobo360 co-founder and CEO, Obi Ozor says, “I am extremely honoured to be the recipient of the ‘Young Business Leader’ and ‘Innovator of the Year’ awards, and grateful to CNBC Africa for supporting the Kobo360 narrative over the years as well as bringing Africa stories to Africans and the rest of the world. 

“Our story is one which young business leaders can resonate with – turning African problems into African opportunities, for the benefit of the entire continent and its people. However, in the logistics sector, our focus has not been exclusive to one group of people. Kobo360 is for our drivers, it is for SMEs and it’s also for major businesses who need to move goods. These are groups who have all felt the pain points of the current fragmented logistics sector and we are continuously committed to innovating around their needs.”

Backed by international and African investors, including Goldman Sachs, International Finance Corporation [IFC], Y Combinator and TLcom, Kobo360’s tech-enabled full truckload offering enables the development of an efficient supply chain for end-to-end long-haul freight operations, connecting and supporting cargo owners, truck owners & drivers, and cargo recipients at scale. To date, the company has moved 500Mkg of goods, aggregated a fleet of over 17,000 drivers and trucks, and services over 600 SMEs and works with over 80 large enterprises such as Dangote Group, DHL, Unilever, Olam, African Industries, Flour Mills of Nigeria, and Lafarge. With operations in Nigeria, Togo, Ghana and Kenya, the e-logistics company is building a Global Logistics Operating System [G-LOS] that will power trade and commerce across Africa and emerging markets.

Ozor concludes: “Winning this award would not have been possible without the inspiration I have received from my family, my Co-founder Ife Oyedele, the Kobo360 team located across Africa and of course our investors, for whom I have the deepest respect for. We will only get better at what we do and remain committed to building a world-class organisation that will drive efficiency, reliability and affordability across the global supply chain ecosystem.” 

The AABLA in Partnership with CNBC Africa is an empowerment driven initiative intended to distinguish and uphold the achievements of inspiring corporate front-runners on the African continent. 

Kobo360 is a digital logistics platform that aggregates end-to-end haulage operations to help cargo owners, truck owners and drivers, and cargo recipients to achieve an efficient supply chain framework. Developing an all-in-one logistics ecosystem, Kobo360 leverages data and technology to reduce logistics frictions, empowering rural farmers to earn more by reducing farm wastages and helping manufacturers of all sizes to find new markets. Kobo360 enables unprecedented efficiency and cost reduction in the supply chain, providing 360-visibility while delivering products of all sizes safely, on time and in full. The Kobo360 mission is to build the Global Logistics Operating System that will power trade and commerce across Africa and emerging markets. With operations in Nigeria, Togo, Ghana and Kenya, Kobo360 is one of the fastest growing tech start-ups out of Africa.

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Rasha Kelej, the CEO of Merck Foundation makes it to the list of 100 Most Influential Africans 2019, for empowering many women through Merck More Than a Mother Movement
December 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

Rasha Kelej has been recognized for her efforts to empower women in general and infertile women in particular through the “Merck More Than a Mother” campaign

NAIROBI, Kenya, December 10, 2019/ — Merck Foundation CEO, Rasha Kelej, featured in the list of 100 Most Influential Africans, released by New African Magazine, for poignant “Merck More Than a Mother” Movement; The campaign has been empowering childless women across Africa and Asia.

Merck Foundation CEO, Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother has been featured in the list of 100 Most Influential African 2019, released by New African Magazine .

Rasha Kelej has been recognized for her efforts to empower women in general and infertile women in particular through the “Merck More Than a Mother” campaign, which is a historic movement that aims to empower childless and infertile women through access to information, education and change of mind-sets.

Rasha Kelej, who hails from Egypt, commenting on her inclusion, emphasized, “I am thrilled and honored to receive this recognition and to be included in this prestigious list among such an eminent group of people. As an African and an Egyptian woman, I strongly feel the need to empower girls and women, to be able to help them reach their true potential. Through our Merck Mother Than a Mother Campaign, we have always strived to bring a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility on all levels: By improving awareness, training local experts in the fields of fertility care and media, building advocacy in cooperation with African First Ladies and women leaders and by supporting childless women in starting their own small businesses, in addition to empowering girls in Education and women in STEM fields. It’s all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child.”

She added, “this recognition will motivate me to do more. It is my turn now to empower other women in my beautiful continent, I promise to use my influence and experience to support women and girls as much as I can.”

H.E. PROF. GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of Malawi and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother said, “Congratulations to Dr Rasha for this recognition, she deserves it. We will continue to support our people. Africa needs women like her who are able to mentor others”.

Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of Health of Uganda said, “I would like to congratulate our adored Sister and distinguished global leader, Dr. Rasha Kelej upon this well-deserved achievement. She has beyond description worked hard to get on this list; serving Africa and the African People with honor, dignity, diligence and distinction. You make us ALL PROUD, Dr. Rasha”.

The list includes 100 personalities from various African countries, and from various fields like political, economic, social and sports. It includes many other prominent personalities of Africa like,
H. E. NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFO-ADDO, The President of Ghana was re-appointed as the Co-Chair of Sustainable Development Goals Advocate Group by UN Secretary General;
H.E. Paul Kagame, The President of Rwanda for his sheer dynamism and the impact his decisions have on other countries;
Mohamed ‘Mo’ Salah, Football Player from Egypt, for showcasing extra ordinary talent in the game. He has so many followers that he no longer belongs to Liverpool or for that matter, Egypt – he belongs to the world;
Alaa Salah, an activist from Sudan who is called ‘Lady Liberty’, one of the iconic symbols of Sudan Uprising;
Siya Kolisi, Captain of South African Rugby team came from a desperately poor beginning, his parents could not afford basic school fees, let alone his rugby kit. Fast forward 2019….he is the World Cup Champions Captain;
Eliud Kipchoge, from Kenya who has been crowned as Male Athlete of The Year by World Athletics;
Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General, United Nations is one of the most respected female figures in the world today for her determination to advance poverty eradication, gender equality and inclusive development in a peaceful world.
Thando Hopa, born with Albinism, this activist, model and professional lawyer from South Africa became a powerful voice and advocate for diversity and inclusion in the beauty and fashion industry, among others.

About ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign;
“Merck More Than a Mother” is a strong movement that aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and change of mind-sets. This powerful campaign supports governments in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe and effective fertility care. It defines interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention, management and male infertility. In partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information, Education & Gender, academia, policymakers, International fertility societies, media and art, the initiative also provides training for fertility specialists and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.

With “Merck More than a mother”, we have initiated a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility on all levels: By improving awareness, training local experts in the fields of fertility care and media, building advocacy in cooperation with African First Ladies and women leaders and by supporting childless women in starting their own small businesses. It’s all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child. 

The Ambassadors of “Merck More Than a Mother” are:

H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of BotswanaH.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The GambiaH.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique
H.E DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The First Lady of BurundiH.E. CONDÉ DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea ConakryH.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia
H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African RepublicH.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of LiberiaH.E AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADO, The First Lady of Niger
H.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, The First Lady of ChadH.E. PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of MalawiH.E FATIMA MAADA, The First Lady of Sierra Leone
H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo BrazzavilleH.E. DR. MAESAIAH THABANE, The First Lady of LesothoH.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGW, The First Lady of Zimbabwe
H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of GhanaH.E. KEÏTA AMINATA MAIGA, The First Lady of MaliH.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia

Merck Foundation provided for more than 140 candidates, three months to six months clinical and practical training for fertility specialists and embryologists in more than 35 countries across Africa and Asia such as: Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, CAR, Cote D’IVOIRE, DRC, Congo Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malaysia, Liberia, Mali, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Niger, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, The Gambia, Togo, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia & Zimbabwe.

Merck Foundation is making history in many African countries where they never had fertility specialists or specialized fertility clinics before ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ intervention, to train the first fertility specialists such as; in Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, Niger, Chad, Guinea, Ethiopia and Uganda. 

Merck Foundation launched new innovative initiatives to sensitize local communities about infertility prevention, male infertility with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and empowering infertile women as part of Merck more than a Mother COMMUNITY AWARENESS CAPAIGN, such as;

  • Merck More than a Mother media recognition award and health media training 
  • Merck More than a Mother fashion award 
  • Merck More than a Mother film award 
  • Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it
  • Children storybook, localized for each country
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University Of Toronto Creates Global Database Of Atrocities On Cameroon Crisis
December 9, 2019 | 0 Comments
This footage shows the destruction of Kuke Mbomo, 25km (16 miles) north of Mount Cameroon.Photo Credit BBC

(Toronto) On the eve of Human Rights Day 2019, University of Toronto faculty in Canada today

launch a global Database of Atrocities to collect and store documentation on killings and other

atrocities being perpetrated in the Anglophone Crisis in Cameroon, Africa. 

The information is being collected to counter the culture of impunity that has pervaded this crisis

since 2016. It is being collected in the spirit of promoting non-violence, justice, and peace.

The database will aggregate, verify, secure, and publish information about atrocities or crimes

against humanity committed by Cameroonian military and non-state armed groups. It is non-

partisan and apolitical.

All documentation will be securely stored and published online with four

main objectives in mind: international justice processes; a possible national truth, justice, and

reconciliation commission; advocacy, journalism, academic research; and deterrence from

further violence and gross impunity.

Individuals or organizations with photos, videos, documents, or other proof of atrocities from

October 2016 to present from Cameroon’s Anglophone North-West Region and South-West

Region, can anonymously and securely upload them to the database. 

Step 1: Anyone anywhere any time can upload photos, videos, and documents.

Step 2: The information is verified by a team of open source researchers.

Step 3: Once validated, the information is published online in the database and can be viewed by

anyone, anywhere, any time.

NO identifying information will be collected from people who upload. The Database of

Atrocities is hosted at University of Toronto because of its strong cybersecurity systems,

neutrality, and location in Canada.

No member of the database team is affiliated with the government of Cameroon or any other

warring party. Amnesty International’s Digital Verification Corps (University of California-

Berkeley, University of Toronto, University of Pretoria, University of Essex) in conjunction with

University of Toronto will be responsible for verification and publication. 

University of Toronto and its partner universities and nonprofits are committed to protecting

those suffering from violence and promoting human rights and peace.

To upload photos, videos, or documents to the database, go to:

To view verified information, go to:

For more information on the database, go to:

*Source University of Toronto

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