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Africa Grapples with disaster response Through New Key Mechanisms
November 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

 

Twenty One countries in the Africa Risk Capacity East, West and Southern countries ended a two day workshop on 31 October on Thursday in Harare. The two days’ workshop was attended by among them worth hit countries affected by Cyclone Idai in 2018. The three countries Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi attended the workshop.

Since 2012 Africa Risk Capacity has used US $400 million for risk coverage in the whole region .This has been used to cover on floods, disasters, diseases, hunger and famine risks and some risks of the said nature. Some the problems covered looks at the vulnerable groups, displaced people during outbreaks and affected people.   ARC used in total US$37 million in Insurance pay-out in coverage of related risks.

According to Timothy Gotora one of the top officials at ARC offices based in Johannesburg, South Africa, the main objective of the workshop was to focus on early detection, warning and solution make up to the problem before time runs out with the coming season.

‘’Our main aim I to give rapid quick responses to outbreaks and epidemics. We have seen several disasters and hazards which relates to cyclones, floods, diseases outbreaks like cholera and malaria. Water, air and food Bourne diseases contributes to loss of lives and financial losses in millions to the continent.

‘’As African Union we have vision to see  and  goals to achieve by   2063 .Failure to  in response to these problems we have exposes us to severe hardships resulting in poverty , hunger , vulnerability and diseases .

Gotora asked on mechanism put in place to reduce  disasters said the Disaster Risk Finance Insurance [DRFI] was initiated in 2012 to give special focus on strengthening financial support  , early warning , information analytics and  risk financing  instruments .

‘’We have put in place key mechanisms. These are early warming, information analytics and risk financing instruments. DRFI Implementation is underway financing at regional level. We have program called the Outbreak and epidemic’’.

‘’Efficient and effective frame works and strategies help us move forward. We get prepared to disasters, bring awareness to communities, sensitise them and bring advocacy.  Therefore we need to be efficient in timing, finance areas of resource need, and reach out communities with correct, accurate and perfect information .’’

Speaking on behalf of the organisation, Spokesperson of ARC Chinedu Moghalu said the whole region had got ready to grapple with enormous challenges of the coming season without hesitation and failure.

‘’Last year there are countries which were affected. Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique were a test metre to our work. We have this time grown stronger because of past experiences. It was like a blessing in disguise. We as an organisation have learnt a lot in terms of what must be done to avoid risks.

‘’The organisation has done enough ground work so far in terms of early  warming , information dissemination , instruments all have been put in place in the African region in east  , west and SADC Region . On top above some work done, we did trainings and capacity building to all stakeholders and those on the side of effects.’’ said Moghalu .

The workshop was attended by 200 delegates, among them 50 to 100 from the African region. It was initially supported by Ministries of Finance in the Regional group. ARC is part and parcel of the African Union.

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Ethiopia wants to import crude products from South Sudan to reduce importing costs
November 2, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is received by South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir at the Juba international airport, in Juba, South Sudan, October 14, 2019. REUTERS/Samir Bol

Juba – Ethiopia is looking to buy oil and gas products from South Sudan to mitigate the higher cost of importing from the Middle East as demand continues to grow.

Ethiopia and South Sudan share a border point which is near a few kilometres from the oil fields and Ethiopia is also one of the countries that took part in the 3rd edition of South Sudan’s oil and power conference.

The oil and power conference is an annual event organized by Africa Oil and power and sponsored by oil and energy companies.

The move, will see Addis Ababa soon importing refined oil and gas from South Sudan as soon as the negotiation is completed in abide to reduce importing’s bill or save 15 to 20 per cent on the 3.4 billion U. S dollar, uses to import refined crude products from the Asia continent.

Dr. Koang Tutlam, Ethiopia’s State Minister for Mines and Petroleum revealed that his country planned to establish oil refinery in the country after negotiation with the Juba government.

He disclosed that they hope to tap into South Sudan market to supply them with crude products, hence reducing on the spiraling import costs incurred when buying crude products from the Middle East.

“It would be very cheaper for us when we start buying the products from South Sudan,’ Dr. Tutlam told journalists on sidelines of the oil and power conference in Juba, if brought from its western neighbor.

Tutlam said they are working with Juba to reach an agreement when all necessary oil infrastructure is put in place like completion of the oil refinery and pipeline connecting the two countries through the border of Pagak.

“We import almost all of our oil and other refined products from the Abroad, especially the Middle East, but owning to the close proximity of about 200 km between the oil fields of Pagak and further from Adar, and the Ethiopia border, we stand to save so much in expenditure,” said Dr. Tutlam.

Minister Tutlam said Ethiopia spends or incurs 3.4 million US dollar annually on imported crude and gas products from abroad.

The horn of Africa nation of 108 million population, creating huge market amid demand for refined crude products from Juba.

“We are demanding 4 million tons of refined oil products yearly and that demand is increasing by 10 to 15 per cent every year,” said Dr. Tutlam. “At the moment, we have an idea of constructing a refinery near the border with South Sudan and we are now exploring how to go forward with it.”

With the revitalized peace deal that is fixed on backing stability and economic recovery comes to realization, Tutlam said Ethiopia will become a big market for South Sudan’s oil and gas.

Tutlam further said that construction of the proposed refineries, including roads may take two to three years period to be completed.

“I think all will be well after two to three years after which the two countries can put up the infrastructure which will benefit both nations,” he said.

South Sudan has the third-largest oil reserves in sub – Saharan Africa, estimated at 3.5 billion barrels and much more still remains unexplored.

In regards to the oil and power conference, Tutlam registered that Ethiopian government has shown the impression on the conference and that would open a door for business between the countries, adding that this would attract many investors to invest in the oil and gas sectors in South Sudan.

“South Sudan oil and power conference is very impressive. It is a conference that can be developed to bring the entire region to attend. I am so impressed and very sure that in the future so many countries across the world will attend,” said Dr. Tutlam.

Dam

However, Ethiopia is already supplying electricity to Tanzania and Djibouti, and has also agreed to extend electricity to Kenya and South Sudan respectively.

“We have the Grand Renaissance Dam under construction and if completed, will product 6,000 megawatts of electricity and that mean Ethiopia will have electricity surplus which the region can benefit from,” said Tutlam.

Petroleum Minister further underscored that they don’t have any bad intention toward Egypt over the Nile water as the Cairo has protested the construction of the mega renaissance dam due to fears that it will reduce Egypt share of water.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy and Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al – Sisi, recently met and discussed the diplomatic rift between the two countries over the Nile River during the just concluded Russia – Africa summit in Sochi.

“What Ethiopia is doing is just to benefit from the Nile. We have no intention of harming anyone – we have no intention of harming Egypt. This is just to satisfy the electricity needs of our people. We want to assure Egypt that no one is meaning any harm,” said Dr. Tutlam.

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S. Sudan pitches its 14 oil blocks to investors as a unity gov’t due next month
November 2, 2019 | 0 Comments
Awow Daniel Chuang, South Sudan’s oil minister

By Deng Machol

Juba – South Sudan, world youngest country is pitching its oil and gas to the international and region investors in a bid to jump-start economic recovery as the country is hoping to put years of war behind it with the formation of a new unity government on November 12. 

The oil-rich country was made another its second foreign investment pitch since declaring an end to civil war in 2018. The country is eager to make up for $4 billion in lost revenue caused by the country’s five – year conflict after president Salva Kiir’s groups and key armed opposition groups, including ex-rebel Riek Machar signed a power-sharing agreement last year, September 20.

The finale, 3rd Oil & Power conference in Juba has become a focal selling point for opportunities in South Sudan. It was attended by six – hundreds of industry executives and dignitaries from South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt, Somalia, Norway, the United States and South Africa, the conference was opened by First Vice President H.E. Taban Deng Gai and Minister of Petroleum Awow Daniel Chuang, among others.

Awow Daniel Chuang, South Sudan’s oil minister, said the government is planning to launch the country’s first oil and gas bidding round within the first quarter of 2020, they are inviting all investors to have a look at these blocks.

“This year we have a lot of plans for us to launch the licensing round by the first quarter of 2020, and for us to invest in those areas as the government is key for us to get the information,” said Awow during third oil and power conference in Juba.

Minister Awow said Juba hopes to establish a data room for the blocks in two months, before licensing them on a competitive basis from early 2020, that will add more value to the country’s national resources.

However, the current data collection which is done by the ministry of petroleum provides a platform for investors to invest in the oil sector.

“In November, we are going to launch an environmental audit and there are a lot of companies that are interested to invest in this area, this will be an opened tender,” Awow said.

Guillaume Doane, Chief Executive of Africa’s Oil and Power, says Africa’s oil reinstates its commitment to supporting the country and its people.

“We believe that investment is the pillar to peace and here the country has demonstrated that stability goes together with economic prosperity,” said Doane.

Meanwhile, Doane said everyday there is a new change, new development and new investment in South Sudan, as a clear indication for investors to invest in, further urges investors to invest in education, health, roads and oil industry, among other sectors.

“Vote with your wallets and invest in the exploration of oil in bridges, invest in the people because South Sudan has talented persons in the oil and gas sector,” Doane added.

NJ Ayuk

Also, African Energy Chamber Chairman, CEO of the Centurion Law Group Nj Ayuk, urged the oil industry to support South Sudan’s recovery with investment, calling for greater inflow of capital and technology into the country to boost recovery and stability

In line with the event’s focus on finance, Ayuk called on the government to continue working towards creating an enabling environment for businesses in order to attract more investments into the country.

“South Sudan’s oil industry will do even better when there is a good governance, free-market capitalism, limited-government and individual freedoms because it helps the people at every level of society to prosper. The government and the oil industry must embrace it and respect the sanctity of contracts,” said Ayuk, during his keynote speech at the opening of the oil and power conference.

As South Sudan launched a new licensing round, Ayuk reminded the country’s authorities of the challenge of having a transparent bidding round and of attracting highly capable companies to explore oil and gas.

“The chamber will support South Sudan without reservation in this effort, because oil and gas is the backbone of the economy,” Ayuk avowed.

Focus on region

South Sudan First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai said having petroleum infrastructure such as oil refineries in the region would help alleviate the fuel crises in many countries.

To reduce imported costs from abroad, Taban explained that building of refineries would help the region save billions of dollars that countries spend on importing refined petroleum products annually.

“I am aware the volume of Ethiopian imports of refine products is from $5 to $7 billion annually. South Sudan can take part in this by building an oil refinery in Poloch,” said Taban. I believe also in DRC, CAR, part of Kenya and Uganda. Let’s think critically about this.”

However, some of South Sudan’s oil wells are located close to Ethiopia’s South Western border.

On the other hand, Ethiopian State minister of Mines and Petroleum, Dr. Koang Tutlan further asked governments to address insecurity, something he says it is affecting stability and growth in the entire region.

 “With Ethiopia’s population of 100 million and huge demand of hydro-carbon, we can provide one of the best markets for South Sudan oil because of proximity,” said Koang.

In the same event, Kenya’s Special Envoy to South Sudan, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, said progress in intra- African trade through the African Continental Free Trade Area (|AfCFTA) would spread the benefits of natural resources to the most deserving areas.

“We must invest in regional institutions that support mutual political and economic objectives and hasten regional integration,” said Musyoka.

New oil discovery

In August, South Sudan made a new oil discovery in the Adar oil field in Block 3, containing more than 37 million barrels of recoverable oil. The discovery was announced by the Dar Petroleum Operating Company, a consortium led by China National Petroleum Cooperation.

Awow revealed that the new discovery in Block 5A and in the Adar oil field will become a game changer as it is the first discovery made since independence, giving hope to investors interested in South Sudan’s energy sector.

Minister Awow stressed that the new discovery will increase the desire of regional and international oil investors to enter the country’s oil and gas sector.

“The number of blocks that we used to say was eight, but we have added more due to more discoveries in the areas we have never demarcated before. All those blocks will be opened for tending, and that is why we are planning to launch the licensing round in a bid by next year,” he said. “As of now we have a lot of investors that are ready to apply, including the companies from the West, America, Russia, India, and China that have shown interest, but of course we can’t negotiate with them until the right time come,” said Awow.

 Now, the Block 5A, which is located in the Muglad-Sudd Rift Basin on the same geological trend as the Greater Nile Oil Project in Sudan will resumption early November.

According to Minister Awow, the Block 5A has a production capacity of 80,000 barrels per day (bpd) of the higher quality Nile blend, the potential resumption of Block 5A comes at a time when the country is about to achieve a durable peace as parties are expected to form a new unity government on Nov. 12.

In order to increase production, Ayuk also urged the oil industry to speed up exploration programs and keep working on putting back damaged oil fields into production.

“We applaud CNPC for its recent 300-million-barrel discovery in South Sudan and hope to see the government speeding up approvals for field development plans,” said Ayuk.

Awow said the issue of finance still remains the biggest challenge in developing the rich resources, include oil in the country.

“Finance is the only thing lacking to develop those resources available in the country so that we can have economy that is viable,” said Awow.

Youth, gender empower

The platform has also shown calls for youth and women to be empowered through training to take part in the oil and gas industry.

The Africa Energy Chamber is supporting several domestic capacity building initiatives in South Sudan.

“it is important to encourage young men and women who find opportunities, have ideas for innovative services in oil and gas, those who have the courage to deploy capital, accept risk, and make it happen. They deserve to be supported,” said Ayuk, while reminding the audience.

Ayuk is strongly believes that local content and women empowerment is key today more than ever, urged the government and the oil industry to enact special programs to promote women.

“You can’t be a true oil man if you don’t support women to grow in the industry. When we support women in oil and gas, we support the African family because women invest more in the family unit today in Africa,” Ayuk explained.

Mr. Ayuk also used this platform to advocate for better stakeholder cooperation, and urged all political factions to make concessions and respect the peace agreement. “The presence of oil should incentivize dialogue between all parties to the current conflict and push for resolution of minor differences to be resolved,” he declared.

Both investors have shown an interest in 14 blocks newly discovered blocks, the blocks would be licensed competitively from next year.

South Sudan gets almost all its revenue from oil and has boosted output, as it struggles to rebuild its devastated economy after a five-year civil war.

South Sudan have recently resumed production at key oilfields following a permanent ceasefire and improving business conditions as attractions to investors.

South Sudan currently produces 175,000 barrels per day, about a third of the potential 500, 000 bpd, despite the sector being largely unexplored.

Last year oil and power conference enabled South Sudan and South Africa to sign three projects deal that would see the former’s Strategic Fuel Fund invest in the latter through the Nile Petroleum company.

South Africa invested $1 billion U to cover oil exploration and production, building of an oil refinery and the construction of a pipeline.

This third oil conference focuses on finance and new investment, and cross-sector involvement from government and private enterprises, also an avenue for the government to have a direct dialogue, negotiations and to make deals with investors interested in oil and gas acreages and future investments in South Sudan.  

With, a holding ceasefire, there is improving investment conditions for the oil and gas sector in South Sudan.

South Sudan has the third-largest oil reserves in sub – Saharan Africa, estimated at 3.5 billion barrels and much more still remains unexplored.

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Extraordinary Meeting of African Development Bank Governors: “Make the right decision” for Africa to achieve its objectives, says Alassane Ouattara, President of Côte d’Ivoire
November 1, 2019 | 0 Comments
The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, with Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire. Photo AFDB

The message was well received by Adesina, who warmly welcomed the presence of President Ouattara, members of his Government, and shareholders
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, October 31, 2019/ — The President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, on Thursday called on the Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB.org) to “make the right decision” to enable the continent to achieve its development goals.

President Ouattara made the remarks at the opening of the 5th extraordinary meeting of the African Development Bank Board of Governors in Abidjan.

“Achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 requires substantial financial resources. Africa cannot achieve these goals without the financial support and technical assistance of partners, including the African Development Bank,” explained President Ouattara.

“We are convinced that the Governors will make the right decision, to agree on a general capital increase,” he continued. The Ivorian Head of State expressed his confidence that “the Board of Governors, (African Development Bank) President Adesina and his team will take all appropriate steps for prompt, full implementation of commitments made for reforms to optimize operational headroom resulting from the additional capital.” 

The message was well received by Adesina, who warmly welcomed the presence of President Ouattara, members of his Government, and shareholders.

“Looking around me, I am delighted to see you, our shareholders, among us. Your presence inspires us. Your support strengthens us. Your advice lights our pathway towards the mission you have entrusted to us,” Adesina said.


Adesina then addressed the Governors: “Your decision on the capital increase will fully replenish us. This is a historic moment for a historic decision! We have climbed the steep slope of the mountain that is development in Africa, but we still have a long path to travel. Your support will fill our lungs with oxygen to keep us climbing upwards until we reach the top.”

With the general capital increase, the Bank will be in a position to develop a range of ambitious initiatives on the continent: Desert to Power aims to provide 250 million people with access to electricity in the Sahel region, while AFAWA (Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa) aims to mobilize $3 billion in new financing. The Bank also plans to double climate funding and make the African continental free trade area a reality.

Nialé Kaba, Minister of Planning and Development of Côte d’Ivoire and President of the Board of Governors, recalled the path travelled over the past two years since the Bank first expressed a wish for this capital increase: ” The goal is to provide the means to address challenges. Africa looks to us, not with apprehension but with hope. I am convinced that we will succeed in joining our efforts to achieve the expected objective.”

*AFDB
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Trump Drops Hammer On Cameroon For Rights Violations
October 31, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy receives a gift from Biya while US Ambassador to Cameroon Peter Henry Barlerin looks on

US president, Donald John Trump has handed down his first major sanction on Cameroon since his administration took office in 2016 for what he terms “persistent human rights violations” which include extrajudicial killings, arbitrary and unlawful detentions, and torture

The sanction to go into effect come January 2020 withdraws Cameroon from the list of beneficiary countries in Africa who gain economic support under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

As per the AGOA, the United State assists economies of sub-Saharan Africa and to improve trade and investments, economic relations while promoting fair trade between the United States and the region.

In a letter to US Congress on October 31, President Trump writes “in accordance with section 506A(a)(3)(B) of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (19 U.S.C. 2466a(a)(3)(B)), I am providing notice of my intent to terminate the designation of the Republic of Cameroon (Cameroon) as a beneficiary sub-Saharan African country under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).”

“I am taking this step because I have determined that the Government of Cameroon currently engages in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, contravening the eligibility requirements of section 104 of the AGOA,” Trump said in the statement.

He regrets the fact that all efforts taken by the US to have the government of Paul Biya respond to the rights abuses have been futile.

“Despite intensive engagement between the United States and the Government of Cameroon, Cameroon has failed to address concerns regarding persistent human rights violations being committed by Cameroonian security forces. These violations include extrajudicial killings, arbitrary and unlawful detention, and torture.”

“Accordingly, I intend to terminate the designation of Cameroon as a beneficiary sub-Saharan African country under the AGOA as of January 1, 2020. I will continue to assess whether the Government of Cameroon engages in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, in accordance with the AGOA eligibility requirements,” his letter to Congress reads.

Commitment To Cameroon Remains Strong says US Embassy

In response to the president’s letter notifying Cameroon on his intention to terminate their eligibility for AGOA, the US embassy in Yaounde in a press release said, the President can reinstate Cameroon as a beneficiary of AGOA when it again meets the criteria,”

Beneficiary countries receiving AGOA benefits are subject to review and President Trump found Cameroon not to be in compliance, the Embassy said in the statement.

“In 2018, Cameroon exported roughly $220 million in goods and services to the United States; $63 million was exported under AGOA, over 90 percent of which was crude petroleum” the embassy said adding “The United States is a committed partner and friend of Cameroon, and we will continue to pursue robust and diverse commercial ties, working with other tools at our disposal toward realizing the enormous potential of this relationship for our mutual prosperity and economic growth”.

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10 Million Young People to Access Dignified and Fulfilling Work Opportunities in Ethiopia
October 31, 2019 | 0 Comments
Dr. Ephrem T. Lemango, Commissioner, Jobs Creation Commission; Reeta Roy, Mastercard Foundation President and CEO, and Alemayehu Konde Koira , Country Head Ethiopia, Mastercard Foundation celebrate the announcement of Young Africa Works in Ethiopia. This initiative aims to see 10 million young Ethiopians access dignified and fulfilling work opportunities by 2030. Mastercard Foundation has committed an initial USD300 million to the initiative.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, October 30th, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Over 10 million young people are expected to access dignified and fulfilling work opportunities in Ethiopia by 2030.
This follows the launch of an initiative, Young Africa Works in Ethiopia, by Mastercard Foundation that will seek to create employment opportunities for the youth in partnership with Ethiopia’s Jobs Creation Commission (JCC). Mastercard Foundation has committed an initial USD300 million to the initiative.

Young Africa Works in Ethiopia is aligned with the Ethiopian government’s plan to create new jobs to spur economic growth and was designed in partnership with the government, the private sector, academic institutions, and young people.

Mastercard Foundation will work with JCC to create programs to catalyze growth in the tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, and ICT sectors. Programs will support entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized businesses to achieve greater productivity and expand income-generating opportunities.

‘Ethiopia’s prosperity will be achieved when we individually achieve our full potential first. Creating jobs for all, particularly, youth and women, is about giving people hope, dignity and the means to build this prosperous future,” says Dr. Ephrem T. Lemango, Commissioner, Jobs Creation Commission.

The Foundation announced its first phase of implementing partners, including the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), Kifiya Financial Technology, First Consult PLC and DAI Europe, Dalberg, Ministry of Innovation and Technology, and SNV. The cumulative value of the first phase of partnerships is over USD119 million and will see more than 1.4 million direct work opportunities contributing to Young Africa Works in Ethiopia’s goal of 10 million work opportunities by 2030. 

“Through my travel across Ethiopia, I’m inspired by the creativity and dynamism of young entrepreneurs and how their innovations are bringing about meaningful change in their communities,” says Reeta Roy, Mastercard Foundation President and CEO. “Young Africa Works will support them by providing access to finance, business development support and skills development so they can further scale their businesses to create more jobs for young Ethiopians.”

Learning from its work in 34 countries on the continent, including Ethiopia, over the past decade, the Foundation will deepen its engagement in 10 African countries. Ethiopia is a priority country because of the government’s commitment to reform the policy and regulatory environment to encourage the development of the private sector and attract foreign investment. Since 2009, the Mastercard Foundation has committed more than USD62 million to advance financial inclusion, education, and youth livelihoods.

“It’s hard owning your own business, and I failed at least twice, but if you follow your passion, then you are able to really impact people’s lives. What keeps me going is knowing that my drive does not come from making a profit, but from creating jobs that are giving people a livable income and helping them flourish and grow. As an entrepreneur, I want to improve the productivity, creativity and sustainable growth of my company but this means access to capital and land so that I can expand and scale my business,” explains 29-year old Semhal Guesh, Founder and CEO of Kabana Leather in Addis Ababa, a start-up that was established in 2017 and now employs more than 80 people, 80% of them young women.

Young Africa Works in Ethiopia will focus on the following priorities:

  • Strengthening agri-food systems, supporting linkages to agro-industrial parks, and increasing access to finance and business development services for agribusinesses.
  • Strengthening micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across priority sectors to grow and create significant jobs.
  • Building a robust pipeline of skilled youth to work in Ethiopia’s industrial parks and enabling them to establish enterprises aligned with the business needs of the parks.
  • Improving the quality and relevance of training offered by academic and training institutions and ensuring Youth are successfully linked to jobs.
  • Supporting the expansion and modernization of the tourism sector by working With the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sports, and Tourism Ethiopia on their strategy, and by engaging with the private sector.
  • Supporting the development of a national digitization strategy with the Ministry of Innovation and Technology and working with the private sector on widespread digitization of payments, financial services, and other key services.

About the Jobs Creation CommissionThe Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Jobs Creation Commission is a new public institution established under the Office of the Prime Minister to advance the government’s goal around employment and job creation. It is positioned to lead, govern and coordinate the jobs creation agenda at the national and subnational levels. In doing so, it guides the interventions of government, the private sector and development partners to high-growth sectors through policy analysis, innovation and market-oriented skill development.

The Jobs Creation Commission works specifically on identifying and designing new job creation opportunities; building a coordination-platform for all job creation initiatives in Ethiopia; developing and implementing sectorial jobs strategies; and formulating and adopting policies that favour job creation, private sector development, and the bridging of skill mismatch in the Ethiopian labour market.

About the Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation seeks a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn and prosper. The Foundation’s work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion for people living in poverty. One of the largest foundations in the world, it works almost exclusively in Africa. It was created in 2006 by Mastercard International and operates independently under the governance of its own Board of Directors. The Foundation is based in Toronto, Canada. 

*AMA


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Companies Boost Mentorship and Training for Young People in Sub-Saharan Africa
October 31, 2019 | 0 Comments
Nestlé founded Alliance for YOUth five years ago to help prepare young people to enter the professional world
ACCRA, Ghana, October 30, 2019/ — Nestlé (https://www.Nestle.com/) and its regional partners have joined forces to launch the Regional Alliance for Youth in Sub-Saharan Africa to promote employability for young people.

The alliance, which will focus on creating and implementing employability programmes, mentorship and training initiatives designed to equip young people with essential workplace skills, is part of the company’s business-driven movement Alliance for YOUth (http://bit.ly/331EBf1), launched in Europe in 2014.

Today’s youth is the largest the world has ever seen – young people aged 15-24 account for one out of every six people globally, with 20% of the total youth population living in Africa alone (http://bit.ly/2BT6Ws8).

This demographic trend is also exacerbated by the 71 million youth worldwide who are unemployed, while over 500 million are under-employed or stuck in uncertain or precarious jobs. Unemployment among youth in Sub-Saharan Africa reached nearly 30% in 2016 (http://bit.ly/34iGd4z). Without concerted action, it is expected that nearly 50% of youth in the region will be unemployed by 2025 (http://bit.ly/2qZqIQJ).

“We believe that investing in youth is vital for thriving, resilient communities, and helps to build our business too,” said Rémy Ejel, Market Head for Nestlé Central and West Africa. “Young people are the next generation of employees who will keep our company competitive, the farmers who will grow the crops we need, and the entrepreneurs who will help us reach new markets, regardless of their field or level of expertise. This is just the beginning,” he added.

The Regional Alliance for Youth in Sub-Saharan Africa

The alliance was launched in Côte d’Ivoire today, October 30th. It will also be launched in Angola and South Africa on October 31st and November 4th, respectively.

With the support of the Government of Côte d’Ivoire through ‘Agence Emploi Jeunes’, a government agency that promotes youth employability and employment, and the International Labour Organization, the regional members of the alliance in Côte d’Ivoire also include Bolloré, Groupe NSIA, MTN, Nielsen, Publicis and Nestlé.

“Nearly 77% of the Ivorian population is aged under 35, which means that concrete actions must be taken to provide more opportunities and help to integrate these young people into the workplace,” said Zain Reddiar, General Manager for Human Resources at MTN in Côte d’Ivoire. “At MTN, we are ready to effectively contribute to this project, which we are sure will help a large part of that population.”

Similarly in Angola, the alliance will be launched in partnership with the Government of Angola, the Swiss Embassy, ADPP, Nestlé and other private companies from different sectors operating in Angola.

“The future can only be built with the next generation, the next sustainable competitive edge, especially on diversifying economies will have to rely on the youth. Young people will be better prepared than ever before for the next challenges, supporting the digital changes of the society we are living in, which at the end of the day will benefit all the stakeholders of the sub-Saharan region. Shaping the young people within our working context, in an inclusive environment, creating new capabilities, allowing within our domain to further develop technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Smart Data, as many others, shall support the youth to create the world of tomorrow that they will be in. We from our side will support the next generation on this journey, creating the basis for tomorrows challenges”, says Sérgio Filipe, Siemens Angola CEO.

Promoting employability

The alliance will combine the efforts of partner companies on hiring, skilling up and training young people by targeting tier three and four universities and vocational schools in and outside of capital cities.

These will be achieved through CV and interview skills-building workshops, identifying career opportunities and accessibility, and offering career-counselling sessions – reaching about 1,000 youths in Angola by 2020, and 5,000 youths in Côte d’Ivoire by the same period. In addition, about 10,000 youths will be reached every year thereafter in Côte d’Ivoire.

As part of the alliance, a flagship initiative will be identified and be jointly owned and implemented by members.


Join the business-driven movement

Nestlé founded Alliance for YOUth five years ago to help prepare young people to enter the professional world. In 2017, it was launched in Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, and in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay a year later. It was also recently launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2019 with 20 other international organisations.

By joining the Regional Alliance for Youth, companies – irrespective of size or turnover – can help to create a long-lasting impact for young people, while also enhancing their business, staying competitive and reaching more consumers

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The Role the Media Plays in Supporting Female Entrepreneurship in Africa
October 31, 2019 | 0 Comments
Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, APO Group Founder and Chairman
What’s exciting about the situation in Africa, is the impact women are making in a traditionally male-dominated environment
LAUSANNE, Switzerland, October 30, 2019/ — By Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, APO Group Founder and Chairman

APO Group (APO-opa.comare delighted to be the founding sponsor of a new AWIEF award: the APO Group African Women in Media Award. The prize has been introduced to recognise, celebrate and empower women journalists who support female entrepreneurship in Africa. Here, APO Group Founder and Chairman Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard discusses the role the media plays in supporting female entrepreneurship across the continent.

I’ve long believed Africa is a hive of entrepreneurial activity. That’s why events like the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) are so important to help inspire and encourage our continent’s next generation of innovators and business leaders.

What’s exciting about the situation in Africa, is the impact women are making in a traditionally male-dominated environment. A 2018 report (http://bit.ly/36hLg75) by the World Bank found that Africa stands alone in having more new female entrepreneurs than male. The MasterCard Index of Women Entrepreneurs 2017 (https://mstr.cd/2JA5Rd4) has also listed two African countries, Uganda (34.8%) and Botswana (34.6%), as having the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs globally. 

But it is also true to say that women face more challenges than their male counterparts. Boardrooms in Africa – and indeed all over the world – tend to be slower to reward female-led initiatives. Getting your foot in the door is harder, and investment is more difficult to secure. That same World Bank study found capital in male-owned start-ups was six times greater than in those run by women.  

Entrepreneurship is hard enough without these unnecessary barriers – and my own experiences have given me a vested interest in trying to break them down. 

12 years ago, I was working as a European correspondent for an African news website Gabonews. I was a journalist. I’d studied law. It never really crossed my mind to try and build a multinational company from the ground up. But then I realised that there was a massive untapped market for a press release distribution service in Africa. A way for journalists to access Africa-related corporate news content easily and securely. And that, in essence, is what entrepreneurship really is: It’s about identifying a unique opportunity, and then turning it into reality.

APO Group started out in my living room – literally – and during the first years I had to be the IT manager, the sales consultant, the PA, HR, Finance, Marketing – everything. I had to learn it all from scratch.

But I’ve never stopped learning.  The past 12 years have been a constant education. When I started, I could barely speak a word of English, but I realized quickly that it was critical to the success of the business, so I made it a priority.

In my experience, creating and developing a company is one of the most difficult things a human being can do. It requires a huge amount of time and energy, a lot of sacrifice, a healthy lifestyle and many other ingredients too.

It goes without saying, you will also need a huge slice of luck! 

If you can survive those first few years, Africa is a continent that can reward you greatly. It is a place where entrepreneurial spirit has always abounded, even if startups have, in the past, lacked the support, financing or international exposure to move to the next level of global recognition.

Life might be tough for many in Africa, but its people are resilient. They understand the value of hard work. I’ve always thought that if you can make it in Africa, you can make it anywhere.  

Events like AWIEF are showing that our collective passion for diversity and equality is driving success and helping entrepreneurs turn their dreams into reality. Remember: Africa is a perfect showcase for rich cultural diversity, as well as a hotbed of ideas and innovation. We are a continent of 54 countries. The birthplace of humanity. It is in our blood to try new things and to push the boundaries. 

I’m proud to say our own attitude to diversity and equality has always been a vital part of APO Group’s success. Five of the nine members of our senior leadership team are women – and all are from different countries. We have built our company culture on fairness and flexibility. We do not want to be a company where employees are forced to choose between their careers and their families. 

We are also in the privileged position of being able to harness the power of media to support entrepreneurship in all its forms – and women in business in particular.

As an official sponsor of AWIEF, APO Group is delighted to be coordinating the APO Group African Women in Media Award (http://bit.ly/2q8L7C4) which is designed to recognise, celebrate and empower female African journalists who support female entrepreneurship in Africa.

The media industry has had its own challenges to overcome in the drive towards equality. Newsrooms have been traditionally male-dominated, but female journalism students now outnumber male all over the world, and the next step is for these changes to materialise at a senior level, with increased numbers of women in leadership positions (http://bit.ly/2MWQCwN).

We hope the APO Group African Women in Media Award inspires more women to follow their passion for journalism and encourages them to persevere in their careers despite the obstacles. 

All nascent business ideas need journalists to support them. A positive mention in the media can mean the difference between success and failure for entrepreneurs and small businesses. AWIEF is the perfect platform for women in the media to get behind women in business by championing the best ideas, technologies and innovations. And the fact that women typically invest 90% of their earnings back into their families and communities (http://bit.ly/2q8CFTn) mirrors APO Group’s own dedication to making sure African people thrive both at a local and a national level.

Our CEO, Lionel Reina, allows APO Group to further bridge the divide between business and media. He has been an important figure in helping future business leaders as they go through the early part of their careers. As a company board member for DAZZL (http://bit.ly/330yBmY) for example, Lionel’s aim is to inspire the next generation of talented tech entrepreneurs offering new technologies to the broadcast industry in Africa.

Even the biggest media companies and PR Agencies tend to promote their executive talent from within, meaning they remain unfamiliar with the cut-and-thrust of the commercial sector. Lionel is a business veteran, uniquely qualified to advise APO Group’s clients on their communication strategies in Africa and the Middle East. For more than a decade, he was CEO for Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Orange Business Services, the B2B division of French telecoms giant Orange – a remit that covered more than 80 countries. He was also Middle East Director in the Gulf region for Accenture. So, when Lionel talks to entrepreneurs and startups, he truly has the inside track to success.

Since I brought Lionel in and stepped aside from CEO duties at APO Group in December 2018, it has given me a chance to follow my own passions for helping entrepreneurship in Africa. I’ve spent a lot of time visiting different countries, meeting new people and giving talks on how the media and business worlds can work better together.

I have particularly enjoyed the conferences I’ve hosted for young journalism students in Senegal, Uganda, Zambia and Ethiopia. It is the start of a continent-wide initiative to help promote entrepreneurship to the next generation of young Africans. I’ve tried to challenge their preconceptions and encouraged them to think big. In many of them, I see myself at their age: inquisitive, passionate – perhaps a little naive – but extremely well-placed to achieve entrepreneurial success.  

Because now is the perfect time to strike. With a decent idea, a strong journalistic ethos and a little bit of luck, there is no limit to what you can achieve. And Africa might just be the perfect place to do it!

*APO
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Cameroon: Foretia Foundation trains Researchers on Health Research Methods
October 31, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Researchers & trainers pose at the end of training

Winners of the Health Research Grant alongside other Young researchers in Cameroon have been empowered on how to influence policy change by carrying out sound scientific research. This was in a 2-days training program organized by the Nkafu Policy Institute of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation was under the theme, “Health Research Methods”

The Nkafu Policy Institute early this year, launched the Public health research grant to promote health research and research-driven health policies in Cameroon. Following this, 10 young and motivated researchers were retained for the grant and were invited alongside other researchers to participate in a two day training that started on Monday October 28.

On Day one, researchers were drilled on various methodological processes involved in carrying out a research piece. Eric Youm, Bio-Statistician at the Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric Aids Foundation edified the participants on the quantitative research design. He equally educated the participants on the basic statistics involved in research.

Speaking on the ethics in research, Dr Ronald Gobina, Coordinator of the Health Research Project stressed on the fact that every research needs to pass through an administrative and ethical clearance. He also gave examples of some ethical clearance boards in Cameroon.

Dr Katte Jean Claude edified participants on how to write a scientific paper, setting the brief for structured scientific writing.

On day two of this training, Dr Katte Jean Claude and Dr Gobina Ronald while tackling project management, educated the researchers on building and understanding research team dynamics, the role of a research/project coordinator, translating research for maximum scientific and societal impact amongst others.

Victorine, a researcher presents her thesis

Trainees were made up of the ten (10) winners selected for the pilot Health research grant program and and 10 other researchers from across Cameroon. To the foundation, these individuals have demonstrated the commitment and know-how to grow as a health researchers in Cameroon.

“It is very refreshing to see the dedication and drive in these young researchers and we hope that this pilot research program will grow in the coming years to provide greater opportunities for research in the country” noted Dr. Denis Foretia, Co-Chair of the Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation.

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Ghana: In Hogbetsotsoza 2019, the Anlo’s look beyond their exodus to foster peace and tranquility
October 31, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica

Hogbetsotsoza is one of the oldest, well known and the most prestigious festivals of the people of Anlo.  It is celebrated on the first Saturday of the month of November every year. The festival is used by the Anlos to commemorate the exodus and the bravery of their forefathers, who through endurance and sacrifice found a new home for them at their present location when they left Nortsie.

Some school of thought explains the term Hogbetsotso, as been derived from three Ewe words – *Ho* to move, *Gbe* meaning day and *Tsotso* as the crossing over. Thus Hogbetsotso means the long journey of the Ewes through Norrtsie in the Republic of Togo to their present settlements in the Republic of Ghana.

The Hogbetsoso, as a unified commemorative event,  has been celebrated for a few decades now,while many of the processes and sacraments such as Nugbidodo (the grand reconciliation) go far back in pre-history and antiquity. The first Hogbetsotso was celebrated in 1962 during the reign of Awoamefia, Torgbi Adeladzea II. This year’s celebration is christened ‘’historic’’ as the festival is set to witness the visit of the Asantehenhene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II from the Ashanti Region, the first-ever in the history of the Anlo state.

The move has been applauded by many who had known the Ewe and the Asante rivalry, even in modern Ghana. Other dignitaries to grace the occasion are The Ewefiaga Torgbui Agorkli XVI of the ancient Nortsie in the Republic of Togo, President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Akufo Addo, and two former presidents of the Republic of Ghana, HE John Dramani Mahama and HE Jerry John Rawlings and other dignitaries from home and abroad. The Hogbe Institute, organizers of this year’s festival estimate patronage to be more than fifty thousand including locals and foreigners who will throng the area in commemorating this day.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Hogbe Institute, Dr Sylvanus Kwashi Kuwor intimated that, the theme for the festival  “Uniting Anlo through its values for the benefit of its citizens and the Nation at large’’ is a clarion call on all Ewe people to utilize available opportunities in the land for the development of the area. He urges the citizenry to go beyond the celebration and foster peace and cohesion among themselves.   

History 

The Anlos –Ewes in the course of their exodus settled briefly at Notsie, currently within the territory of Togo after migrating from Southern part of Sudan, and crossing the Niger, to their present home in Ghana before the 14th Century and the advent of colonialization.

Available historical documents and oral history have it that the Anlos settled at Ketu in the Republic of Benin and Ile Ife in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Before migrating to live briefly in Notsie in the Republic of Togo. Each state of the journey has its epic story. For example when they were leaving Nortsie, the people had to move backward as they exited Nortsie, to deceive any pursuit. This backward movement is incorporated in a dance style called Husego or Misego in Anlo.

The Anlo-ewes are now widespread and located in different countries in West Africa, Togo, Nigeria, Benin and Ghana. They are the largest homogenous ethnic population in Ghana and Togo. They speak the Ewe language (Ewe: Eʋegbe) which belongs to the Gbe family of languages. 

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In Juba, African Energy Chamber Chairman Urges Oil Industry to Support South Sudan’s Recovery with Investment
October 30, 2019 | 0 Comments
The Chamber called on the government to continue working towards creating an enabling environment for businesses in order to attract more investments into the country
JUBA, South Sudan, October 30, 2019/ — During his keynote speech at the opening of the South Sudan Oil & Power Conference & Exhibition in Juba this week, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber (https://EnergyChamber.org/) and CEO of the Centurion Law Group Nj Ayuk called for greater inflow of capital and technology into the country to boost recovery and stability.

Attended by hundreds of industry executives and dignitaries from South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt, Somalia, Norway, the United States and South Africa, the conference was opened by First Vice President H.E. Taban Deng Gai and Minister of Petroleum Awow Daniel Chuang, along with several cabinet ministers.

AEC Chairman used this platform to advocate for better stakeholder cooperation, and urged all political factions to make concessions and respect the peace agreement. “The presence of oil should incentivize dialogue between all parties to the current conflict and push for resolution of minor differences to be resolved,” he declared.

In line with the conference’s focus on finance, the Chamber called on the government to continue working towards creating an enabling environment for businesses in order to attract more investments into the country. “South Sudan’s oil industry will do even better when there is a good governance, free-market capitalism, limited-government and individual freedoms because it helps the people at every level of society to prosper. The government and the oil industry must embrace it and respect the sanctity of contracts,” said Nj Ayuk.

In order to increase production, he also urged the oil industry to speed up exploration programs and keep working on putting back damaged oil fields into production. “We applaud CNPC for its recent 300 millions barrel discovery in South Sudan and hope to see the government speeding up approvals for field development plans,” he added. 

As South Sudan launched a new licensing round, Nj Ayuk reminded the country’s authorities of the challenge of having a transparent bidding round and of attracting highly capable companies to explore oil and gas. “The chamber will support South Sudan without reservation in this effort, because oil and gas is the backbone of the economy,” he declared.


The Chamber is supporting several domestic capacity building initiatives in South Sudan, and Nj Ayuk reminded the audience that “it is important to encourage young men and women who find opportunities, have ideas for innovative services in oil and gas, those who have the courage to deploy capital, accept risk, and make it happen. They deserve to be supported.”

The Chamber strongly believes that local content and women empowerment is key today more than ever, and its Executive Chairman urged the government and the oil industry to enact special programs to promote women. “You can’t be a true oil man if you don’t support women to grow in the industry. When we support women in oil and gas we support the African family because women invest more in the family unit today in Africa,” Nj Ayuk concluded.

*Source Africa Energy Chamber
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Merck Foundation poised to help Africa build a resilient Health systems to end infertility
October 30, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica

The Chief Executive Officer of Merck Foundation and the co-chair of Merck Africa-Asia Luminary Dr Rasha Kelej at the 2nd Anniversary and the 6th edition of Merck Foundation Annual Conference hosted in Ghana has called for a united front to end infertility stigma on the African continent. Addressing First Ladies from the Globe, oncologists, researchers and other health professionals in the field of health and medicine Dr Kelej noted Merck is poised to help African leaders expand its professional capabilities in scientific research, technology and healthcare.

She added improved access, innovation and equitable healthcare solutions under the Merck Foundation will enable the continent to build advocacy to address health, social and economic challenges and empower women and youth in scientific technologies, engineering and mathematics to rid the continent of endemic diseases.

The first lady of the Republic of Ghana, Rebecca Akufo Addo representing the host country, says Merck Africa-Asia Luminary, is gradually becoming an important event on the global scientific calendar. The initiative she observed, has for the past five years provided the platform for brilliant, engaging scientific discussions that have raised awareness and collaboration around Diabetes, Fertility, Oncology and other health issues. 

 She is confident the 6th edition would raise the bar higher as they deliberate on infertility issues confronting women and how to end the blame game, mocking and shunning of perceived infertile couples. Mrs Akufo Addo has stressed that it is everyone’s responsibility to empower infertile couples, fight against stigmatization, change mindsets, influence national policies on fertility and build fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.

 The chairman of the Executive Board and the board of Trustees, Merck Foundation Professor Dr Frank Stangreberg Haverkamp enumerated that in Merck Foundation’s quest to break the stigma of Infertility in Africa, about 196 doctors from 34 countries in Africa have been trained within the past two years. These trainings he said will continue until the disease burden in Africa is reduced to its barest minimum.

 However, the president of the Republic of Ghana who doubles as the co-chair of sustainable development goals SDGs, Nana Akufo Addo who opened the ceremony pledged his support for the First Ladies from the continent in addressing infertility as they strive to a make a difference, by building health care capacity, improving access to equitable health solutions and breaking the stigma of infertility in Africa and Asia. 

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