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NEPAD-IPPF supports African countries to strengthen regional infrastructure: Approves eight projects for US $14.83 million in 2016
February 11, 2017 | 0 Comments

Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, February 9, 2017 – The New Partnership for Africa’s Development Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (NEPAD-IPPF) has continued to support African countries to strengthen regional infrastructure connectivity by providing grants for project preparation and development for complex, cross-border regional infrastructure projects in energy, transport, ICT and trans-boundary water. This directly supports Africa’s integration and industrialization efforts as well as trade in goods and services and helps to improve the quality of lives of Africans by improving access to infrastructure services – electricity, transport, communications and water.

NEPAD-IPPF provides grants to African countries through Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and specialized regional infrastructure institutions such as Power Pools to undertake feasibility, technical and engineering designs, environmental and social impact assessment studies, as well as preparation of tender documents and transaction advisory services to make projects bankable for financing and implementation in support of Africa’s socio-economic transformation.

Taking stock of achievements during 2016 at the Business Strategy Workshop for NEPAD-IPPF held at the headquarters of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on Friday, ebruary 3, 2017, Shem Simuyemba, NEPAD-IPPF Fund Manager, informed the gathering that during 2016, NEPAD-IPPF had approved a total of US $14.83 million for the preparation of eight regional projects covering energy, transport and water.

Five energy/power projects were approved, two in West Africa, two in Southern Africa and one in East Africa. In West Africa, these were, the Nigeria-Benin 330 kV Power Interconnector Reinforcement Project executed by the West African Power Pool (WAPP) and the Feasibility Study for Women in a Changing Energy Value Chain in West Africa under the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREE) intended to unlock business opportunities for women entrepreneurs in the energy value chain. In East Africa, NEPAD-IPPF funded the Uganda-Tanzania Refined Oil Products Pipeline Project with oversight from the East African Community Secretariat. In Southern Africa, approved projects were, the Zambia-Mozambique 400 kV Power Interconnector Project and the Kolwezi (DRC)-Solwezi (Zambia) 330 kV Power Interconnector Project linking the two copper-mining belts of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Northwestern Zambia. The Executing Agency for the two projects is the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP). The Zambia-Mozambique Power Interconnector Project is co-financed with the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).

Project preparation and development work undertaken by NEPAD-IPPF has had a major impact in generating bankable projects, which have attracted financing for implementation. An example is the Power Interconnector, 330 kV North Core Project involving Nigeria, Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso. NEPAD-IPPF provided US $5.9 million for the preparation of this project (one of the largest grants for a single project). The estimated financing cost of the project was US $681.67 million. However, at the North Core Financing Roundtable held on November 9, 2016, under the auspices of WAPP and the countries concerned, the project attracted US $1.205 billion in financing pledges.

 

The two transport projects approved were the Route Multinationale, Kribi-Campo-Bata, the road/bridge over the Ntem River linking Cameroon to Equatorial Guinea, for a grant of US $3.04-million under the Economic Community of Central African States, an important transport and trade corridor in Central Africa. The other was in East Africa,the Lamu Port Development: Transaction Advisory Services and Technical Assistance – Phase 1 for a public-private partnership (PPP) to develop the new Port of Lamu in Kenya to serve the countries of Ethiopia, South Sudan and Kenya under the US $20-billion LAPSEET mega infrastructure project.

One trans-boundary water project, the Multinational, Orange-Sengu River Basin Project, was also approved in 2016. The purpose of the grant is to assist in the preparation of a Climate Resilient Water Resources Investment Strategy and Plan and Multipurpose Project for the Orange Senqu River Basin. The project is co-funded by the Africa Water Facility and the Global Water Partnership (GWP) and is managed by the Orange River Basin Commission. It will benefit the four countries of Lesotho, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia as it serves, among others, Africa’s most dense economic space, the Gauteng Province of South Africa with its mining, agricultural and industrial activities.

 

NEPAD-IPPF is a multi-donor Special Fund hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB), established under the G8 as part of the support to the NEPAD African Action Plan and is managed in close partnerships with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the NEPAD Agency. Donors supporting NEPAD-IPPF include Canada, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Spain and the UK. Since its establishment in 2005, NEPAD-IPPF has approved 72 grants for complex, cross-border regional infrastructure projects resulting in downstream financing of US $7.88 billion, demonstrating the high leverage effect of well-prepared projects.

Under its current Strategic Business Plan (SBP) for the five-year period, 2016-2020, NEPAD-IPPF requires funding of about US $250 million to prepare 80 to 100 regional infrastructure projects expected to generate US $25 billion in infrastructure investments. NEPAD-IPPF is also increasingly linking its project preparation work to financial closure and part of the thrust of its new business orientation is to engage early with project developers, financiers and investment houses to ensure that NEPAD-IPPF prepared projects respond better to investor needs.

“NEPAD-IPPF is a tested brand across Africa in supporting African countries to prepare complex, cross-border regional infrastructure projects and to bring them to bankability and therefore offers a total-project-development-solution,” said Simuyemba. He also observed that NEPAD-IPPF unlocks business opportunities across the “infrastructure value chain”, not just in advisory services, but also financing, construction, equipment supply, technology and skills as well as operations and maintenance.

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African queen: The hardships of doing business in Africa
February 4, 2017 | 0 Comments

What a century-old German ship says about trade in the modern continent

IT IS a little after 10pm when the world’s oldest serving passenger ship makes her first stop. Rolling on a gentle swell, small wooden boats pull up alongside its riveted hull. Lights from the deck illuminate the packed vessels; ropes are flung up and tied to railings. Women in billowing wraps come on board with their suitcases, legs briefly flailing as they are pulled through the hatch. Men load enormous bags into a net hanging from a crane. In the other direction, boxes of gin, batteries, bags of clothes and, at one point, a sewing machine, are passed down perilously by hand. Miraculously, nothing and nobody falls into the black water.

So goes trade on Lake Tanganyika, the world’s longest lake. The ship is the MV Liemba, brought to central Africa as the Graf Goetzen by German colonists in 1913. Originally built in Lower Saxony, she was transported in 5,000 boxes by rail to Kigoma on the north-eastern shore of the lake and reconstructed there. During the first world war she served as a troop transporter and gunboat until 1916. After several skirmishes, fearing capture by either the British or the Belgians, her crew scuttled her. In 1924 she was fished up again and renamed. Among other distinctions, she is thought to be the inspiration for the gunboat Luisa in C.S. Forester’s novel, “The African Queen”.

Over a century later, the Liemba still carries passengers from Kigoma to Mpulungu in Zambia and back. She remains one of the largest boats on any of Africa’s lakes, just behind the MV Victoria further north. Operated by the Tanzanian government, the ship has become a vital link for people around the Great Lakes region of Africa, one of the continent’s most densely populated areas, with tens of millions of people. Yet her importance to the regional economy is also indicative of the failure to spread investment in infrastructure away from coastal cities to the places where most Africans still live.

Apart from a few tourists, most of the roughly 300 passengers on the Liemba are traders. “Almost every person travelling has their cargo,” says the captain, Titus Benjamin Mnyanyi. Middle-aged women buy third-class tickets for 34,000 Tanzanian shillings (about $15), stow their merchandise wherever they can and find spots to sleep on deck. On its way to Zambia, the ship stops at around a dozen places in Tanzania, where they sell their wares. On your correspondent’s journey, the main cargo was tonnes of tiny dried fish and pineapples, which filled almost every space not occupied by a human.

Many of those on board want to make their fortunes. Among them is Fidelis Uzuka, a 38-year-old from a village near Kigoma. Having farmed ginger most of his life, he recently switched to trading it. He pays around 1,000 shillings per kilogram in Kigoma; in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, he can sell it for four times that. On the way back, he brings second-hand clothes. In a black notebook he diligently writes down the prices of different commodities at different places along the route. “I want to be a big businessman, like Donald Trump or Richard Branson,” he says, before asking where he can buy books to help him learn how to make money.

Yet the passengers are not only vendors; they are also customers. As she moves through the darkness, the ship is a continuous festival. Downstairs, men at trestle tables do a roaring trade in cheap cigarettes, plastic packets of konyagi (a cheap Tanzanian spirit) and biscuits throughout the night. According to one crew member, there are prostitutes and drugdealers on board (your correspondent failed to prove this allegation, but the close attention of Zambian customs officials suggests they believe it too).

Normally the Liemba takes three days to reach Zambia. But like much trade in central Africa, there are often interruptions. Sometimes the ship is stranded by mechanical failures, forcing traders to take their wares onwards in small wooden boats instead. At other times, normal service has been disrupted by war. In 2015 thousands of Burundian refugees were moved from beaches just across the border in Tanzania south to Kigoma—600 crammed on the decks at a time. “It was easy to fit them,” says Mwendesha Louloeka, one of the sailors. “They had almost nothing with them.” In 1997 the ship repatriated thousands of Congolese who had fled the bloody war there.

What is the future for this floating temple of commerce? The vibrant Liemba is proof of the abilities of entrepreneurs—they have made this ship their own. But it is also testimony to the poverty of infrastructure in the region. Kigoma was envisaged by the German colonists as a major inland city; the province is indeed now home to over 2m people. Yet there has been almost no new investment since the Germans left after their defeat in 1917. The railway station is still among the grandest in east Africa, but the tracks are poorly maintained. There are no unbroken tarmac roads entering the city. Getting to Bujumbura in Burundi, the nearest big city, only a little over 100 miles away, takes six hours by bus.

This region could be rich. The soil around the lake is some of the most fertile in Africa; the lake is full of fish. From Mpulungu in Zambia a good road leads all the way to Lusaka, from where buses and lorries head to South Africa. Lake Tanganyika could link the manufacturers of southern Africa to the rapidly growing consumer markets of east Africa. Instead, in 2014 Zambia accounted for just 0.6% of Tanzania’s imports. The Tazara railway line, built by Maoist China in the 1970s to connect the two countries, is another link that has fallen into disrepair.

According to the African Development Bank, inter-African trade made up just 16% of the continent’s total trade in 2014. That figure has increased from 10% in 2004, but it is still low compared with other regions of the world. Among the bits of the continent that lose out worst are landlocked countries and areas such as Lake Tanganyika, which are far from both their capital cities and the sea. Poor infrastructure is not the only problem—bureaucracy and other trade barriers matter, too—but it is a significant one. According to a World Bank review, “landlocked developing countries, especially in Africa, bear exorbitant transport costs”. Those aboard Liemba would doubtless agree.

* Economist

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Africa: AGOA Treaty Faces Possible Repeal in Trump Administration
January 27, 2017 | 0 Comments

Photo: Daily Monitor U.S. president Donald Trump

Photo: Daily Monitor
U.S. president Donald Trump.

Nairobi — Sub-Saharan Africa is concerned about the future of a trade pact with the United States after President Donald Trump said it only benefits the corrupt.

President Trump’s new policies may bring an end to the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).

“Most of Agoa imports are petroleum products with the benefits going to national oil companies. Why do we support that massive benefit to corrupt regimes?” he said.

There are now fears that his administration could repeal the Act. “Agoa was extended for 10 years, and my conviction is that trade policy between the US and sub-Saharan Africa will remain despite the statement. But we need to observe how things develop,” said Richard Kamajugo, TradeMark East Africa senior director of trade and environment.

Enacted in 2000 by the Bill Clinton administration, Agoa allows 39 eligible sub-Saharan Africa countries to export certain goods to the US market duty-free. It was renewed in September 2015 by then president Barack Obama, and is slated to expire in 2025.

Repealing the treaty would be difficult considering that the US Congress must approve. The Act has been the cornerstone of US trade policy with Africa, and over 15 years it led to an increase in trade from about $20 billion to $100 billion in 2008. However, this figure declined to $36 billion in 2015.

 Low trade

According to analysts, the fact that non-oil and gas exports into the US under Agoa stood at $4.1 billion in 2015, representing just two per cent of the United States’ total global trade, could have prompted President Trump to dismiss the Act as insignificant.

The non-oil Agoa trade increased marginally from $1.4 billion in 2001 to $4.1 billion in 2015. Apart from oil and gas, textiles, manufacturing, agriculture and artefacts have benefited from the treaty.

Utilisation of Agoa has been low, as just seven out of 39 African countries have taken advantage of the Act.

“Most countries have not benefited from Agoa because of supply constraints. It is for this reason that oil-producing countries have been the main beneficiaries, because it is a fairly mature product,” said Mr Kamajugo.

*Allafrica

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President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf confirmed to deliver keynote speech at the 2017 Tana Forum
January 26, 2017 | 0 Comments

Held every year in the northern Ethiopian city of Bahir Dar, the Tana High-Level Forum is an informal gathering of heads of state and government; leaders of regional organisations; civil society; the private sector; and eminent scholars and practitioners.

The Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa  Secretariat has today announced that the President of the Republic of Liberia, H.E. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, will be the keynote speaker at the sixth Tana Forum to be held on 22-23 April 2017.

H.E. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the 24th and current President of Liberia. She won the 2005 presidential election taking office on 16 January 2006, and was re-elected in 2011. She is the first elected female head of state in Africa. In June 2016, she was elected as the Chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), making her the first woman to occupy the position.

President Sirleaf was jointly awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize with Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakkol Karman of Yemen. The women were recognized “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

“Having H.E. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as the keynote speaker is a great success for the Forum” said Michelle Ndiaye, Tana Forum Secretariat Head. “She can use her leadership to highlight on the role of the state in natural resource governance and to call for a proper inclusion of women in all debates that focus on the utilisation of natural resources in Africa”.

Held every year in the northern Ethiopian city of Bahir Dar, the Tana High-Level Forum is an informal gathering of heads of state and government; leaders of regional organisations; civil society; the private sector; and eminent scholars and practitioners. This year’s theme, “Natural Resource Governance in Africa” , aims to reflect on the centrality of natural resources, both in historical as well as in contemporary times, in understanding the far-reaching implications on state-society relations within the continent, and Africa’s disadvantageous position in global production and exchange.

The Tana Forum  is an annual meeting that brings together African leaders and stakeholders to engage and explore African-led security solutions. The 6th Tana Forum will take place on 22-23 April 2017 in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia.

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Africa Finance Corporation issues US$150 million maiden Sukuk
January 26, 2017 | 0 Comments

Issuance represents the global market’s first USD Sukuk transaction of 2017 and the first Sukuk transaction from an African supranational entity

Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), a leading pan-African multilateral development finance institution and project developer, has issued its maiden Sukuk, the highest-rated ever Sukuk issuance from an African institution.

Andrew Alli, President and CEO of AFC

Andrew Alli, President and CEO of AFC

Following high levels of investor interest, the initial target of US$100 million was more than twice oversubscribed, resulting in the transaction being upsized to US$150 million and a final order book of approximately US$230 million. In addition to being the first Sukuk transaction of 2017, it is also the first Sukuk to be issued by an African supranational entity.

The Sukuk is AFC’s second foray into Islamic finance; the corporation accepted a US$50 million 15 year line of financing from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in 2015 to finance Islamic Finance-compliant projects located across the numerous African IDB member countries.

The privately placed 100% Murabaha Sukuk, which has been awarded an A3 senior unsecured rating by Moody’s Investors Service, has a three year tenor and will mature on 24 January 2020. Emirates NBD Capital, MUFG and RMB acted as Joint Bookrunners and Joint Lead Managers with Emirates NBD Capital also acting as the Sole Global Coordinator.

Andrew Alli, President and CEO of AFC, commented on the announcement: “The core values of Islamic finance, the need to invest ethically in assets that have a tangible positive social impact, made a Sukuk issuance a natural choice for us. We offer global investors the chance to be involved in high-impact infrastructure projects that not only promote social and economic development across Africa but also generate economic returns for our investors.

“This Sukuk represents a milestone in our financing activities, a milestone that will enable us to further diversify our funding sources, to build new relationships with key investors in international markets and help us diversify our portfolio of projects to continue delivering real impact across the continent.”

Ahmed Al Qassim, CEO of Emirates NBD Capital, added: “Emirates NBD Capital is delighted to have supported the inaugural US$150 million 3 year Sukuk issuance. The successful completion of the transaction is a testament to AFC’s standing with the international investor community and AFC’s commitment to develop new sources of funding.

“As the Sole Global Coordinator for the Sukuk, Emirates NBD Capital continues to lead the development of international Sukuk as a product and providing our clients with unique solutions to meet their funding requirements.”

AFC has a diverse funding base, with a range of funding from sources across different markets. Last year the corporation issued its debut Swiss Franc denominated long three-year bond, raising CHF 100 million, and accepted a US$150 million 15 year loan facility from KfW Development Bank. In 2015 AFC’s inaugural 144A/Reg S, US$750 million 5-year international bond was more than six times oversubscribed at over US$4.7 billion, attracting institutional investors from across Asia, Europe, Middle East and the United States.

The Corporation will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2017 at the AFC Live Summit, which will bring together many of the top international players in African infrastructure investment for high level discussions on the industry’s many challenges, and potential solutions.

AFC is a dynamic, international investment grade multilateral finance institution whose mission it is to help bridge Africa’s significant infrastructure gap whilst delivering competitive financial returns, robust economic growth and positive social impact.

 

Established in 2007 to be the catalyst for private sector infrastructure investment across Africa, AFC is now the second highest investment grade rated multilateral financial institution in Africa with an A3/P2 (Stable outlook) rating from Moody’s Investors Service. A successful borrowing programme has raised more than US$3.5 billion for AFC’s activities, including the Corporation’s debut US$750 million Eurobond issue which was over 6 times oversubscribed. In terms of impact, AFC has invested more than US$ 4 billion in projects across 26 African countries to date.

 

AFC’s investment approach combines specialist industry expertise with a focus on financial and technical advisory, project structuring, project development and risk capital tailored to addressing Africa’s unique infrastructure development needs in the core sectors of power, natural resources, heavy industry, transport, and telecommunications.
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Development experts debate Trump’s likely impact on Africa
January 26, 2017 | 2 Comments

By Christin Roby*

A map of Africa. Photo by: Emma Line / CC BY-NC-ND

A map of Africa. Photo by: Emma Line / CC BY-NC-ND

Development experts at the annual Foresight Africa panel hosted by the Brookings Institution believe development and business opportunities for President Trump’s administration in Africa are vast, ranging from technology and infrastructure to road creation and renewable energy.

But they also said it is too early to know exactly what the Trump administration’s priorities are regarding the continent.

Angelle Kwemo said that domestic priorities for Trump and his team will likely take precedence over international ones. “Today we are all speculating,” said the director of Washington Media Group’s Africa practice.

“He [Trump] has not promised anything to the African constituency because we did not support him, so we can’t hold him accountable for anything because he hasn’t given any signals as to what he will do,” Kwemo continued.

But other experts pointed to one prime area of opportunity being mobile telecommunications and the rapid spread of internet connectivity. With an estimated 1 billion cellphone users in Africa, increasing access to 3G/4G networks and stronger internet services, senior international advisor for Africa at Covington & Burling LLP. Dr. Witney Schneidman called the continent an ideal atmosphere for technology adaptation in major African cities.

“There is a tremendous potential to use technology, not only to capture value for filmmakers, designers and other innovators, but in doing so, Africa gets to tell its own story … gets control of the narrative,” Schneidman said.

According to a 2016 smartphone ownership survey conducted by Pew Research Center, Kenya, Ghana and Senegal ranked among emerging countries with the steepest smartphone ownership growth, with Nigeria leading the continent with a 9 percent increase in smartphone ownership since 2013.

Other resources — such as iROKOtv, a Netflix-like service in Nigeria — provide examples of internet capabilities in parts of Africa, Schneidman said. Entrepreneurs across the continent seem to be catching on and have found ways to monopolize on mobile technology with the appearance of Uber in 14 African cities across Egypt, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa and Uber-like taxi hailing mobile apps such as TaxiJet and Africab in French-speaking Ivory Coast.

“Technology can be used as an economic developer and bring people into the mainstream of African economic progress,” Schneidman suggested.

However, the legacies left in Africa by prior administrations gives some experts hope that Trump will support initiatives that are already in place.

The 2000 passing of the African Growth and Opportunity Act by former U.S. President Bill Clinton — which added 300,000 jobs in Africa — forged a bipartisan consensus that the U.S. has interest in Africa worth investing in, explained Schneidman.

George W. Bush’s 2003 President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief that has helped lower HIV/AIDS rates across sub-Saharan Africa to their lowest levels, and the bipartisan creation and recent extension of the 2004 Millennium Challenge Corporation, which has applied a revised selection process to dispersing foreign aid, are other examples of bilateral U.S. agreements that have demonstrated U.S. support in Africa.

“We don’t see a lot of controversy when it comes to engaging,” Kwemo said. “The question is what he [Trump] will do and how far he [Trump] will go.”

Schneidman said it’s natural to be concerned about the future of Africa-focused programs during administration changes when the new president has the power to cut budgets and funding to programs such as the Young African Leaders Initiative and PEPFAR.

Fears around Trump’s plans in Africa increased drastically with the recent publication in the New York Times of a four-page questionnaire from his transition team to the State Department that posed questions such as, “Is PEPFAR worth the massive investment when there are so many security concerns in Africa? Is PEPFAR becoming a massive, international entitlement program?”

Some of the questions clearly had a critical and abrasive tone, including “With so much corruption in Africa, how much of our money is stolen? Why should we spend these funds on Africa when we are suffering here in the U.S.?” This has left some observers wondering if Trump will radically reduce American engagement with Africa.

But others struck a less alarmist note, speculating that Trump’s involvement in Africa could take time to develop, just as it took President Barack Obama an entire term before making a visit to Africa and launching the Power Africa Initiative, which happened in 2013.

Dr. Ken Opalo, assistant professor in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, suggested that the president’s background in business might be good for Africa.

“Business and jobs are what end poverty,” Opalo said. “And if he [Trump] sticks to a pro-business agenda that might be good, especially to the extent that he brings American companies onto the continent.”

But the overall message emerging from the forum was clear: Don’t get too carried away with asking if Africa is a priority for Trump or not because it’s just too early to know for sure.

Kwemo said that, though a continuity in policy would be ideal, she also urged African leaders to “stop waiting for heaven to come from somewhere else” and instead “take responsibility and think about their own strategies.”

*DEVEX

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SADC Universities’ Programmes To Be Aligned With Regional Aquaculture Strategy
January 18, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

David Phiri

David Phiri

A regional initiative whose main thrust is to align SADC
Universities’ teaching programmes and research in aquaculture with the SADC
Aquaculture Strategy in order to more
effectively support SADC Secretariat’s fisheries and
aquaculture programs for the region has been initiated.

According to experts, aquaculture development potential
in the SADC region remains largely untapped, in contrast to other
regions with equivalent resources such as West Africa, creating a need
for strengthening applied research capacity, practical skills and
expertise in aquaculture within the region.

Fisheries and aquaculture are of critical importance to the economic
development and food security of the Southern African Development
Community, with large portions of the populations undernourished and
dependent on both freshwater and marine fishing for their livelihoods.
In a bid to support the development of the fisheries and aquaculture
sector in the region, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in
collaboration with World Fish and the Southern Africa Development
Community (SADC) recently hosted an aquaculture science experts workshop,
which
drew fisheries and aquaculture scientists from across the SADC
region.

FAO Sub-regional Coordinator for Southern
Africa, Mr. David Phiri, reiterated the importance of the aquaculture
and fisheries sectors in securing employment, securing livelihoods and
ensuring food security.

“Aquaculture and fisheries generate employment
and ensure food security and good nutrition to often vulnerable
communities, contributing to the food security and nutrition of
approximately 200 million Africans,” Phiri said.

He also re-affirmed FAO’s support to the sustainable development of
fisheries
in line with the organization’s mandate to eradicate hunger, food
insecurity and malnutrition

According to a statement by Sithembile Siziba, FAO Southern Africa
Communications Coordinator, FAO has been actively supporting aquaculture
development in the
sub-region.

In support of the SADC Aquaculture Strategy, the FAO
Subregional Office for Southern Africa is reported also to be developing a
Technical
Cooperation Program (TCP) that will assist the SADC Secretariat in the
implementation of its Protocol on Fisheries. The project will
contribute to enhanced food security, income generation capacity and
sustained livelihoods along the fisheries value chains in SADC.

David Phiri also added that under the TCP, member countries of SADC and
their partners will be making explicit political commitments in the
form of policies, investment plans, programmes, legal frameworks and
the allocation of necessary resources to eradicate hunger, food
insecurity and malnutrition.

According to FAO, the expert workshop was successful in building on an
already existing
initiative in Zimbabwe on a mechanism for an “Aquaculture Scientific
Mentorship Scheme” for students and young scientists in the SADC
region to develop as professionals equipped with the skill sets
required in the industry.

The meeting also resolved to build and
enhance partnership opportunities amongst tertiary and research
institutions, and private and public sector through regional and
continental platforms and through existing national and regional
partnerships.
University Representatives who were present also
expressed their willingness to influence policy-making processes by
involving policy makers and other stakeholders in science fora. The
holistic planning and guidance tools for aquaculture which were
introduced in the workshop by resource organizations, which were
present, could play an important role and be used as tools in
development and implementation of National Aquaculture plans and
strategies.

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Zambia women’s ‘day off for periods’ sparks debate
January 4, 2017 | 0 Comments

 

Ndekela Mazimba, who works in PR, says Mother's Day helps her manage her period pain

Ndekela Mazimba, who works in PR, says Mother’s Day helps her manage her period pain

Discussing female menstruation publicly is something of a taboo in Zambia.

This is no doubt why a provision in the country’s labour law that allows female workers to take off one day a month is known as Mother’s Day, even though it applies to all women, whether or not they have children.

The legal definition is not precise – women can take the day when they want and do not have to provide any medical justification, leading some to question the provision.

“I think it’s a good law because women go through a lot when they are on their menses [periods],” says Ndekela Mazimba, who works in public relations.

Ms Mazimba is neither married nor does she have children but she takes her Mother’s Day every month because of her gruelling period pains.

 “You might find that on the first day of your menses, you’ll have stomach cramps – really bad stomach cramps. You can take whatever painkillers but end up in bed the whole day.

“And sometimes, you find that someone is irritable before her menses start, but as they progress, it gets better. So, in my case, it’s just the first day to help when the symptoms are really bad.”

Mutinta Musokotwane-Chikopela says there are already too many holidays in Zambia

Mutinta Musokotwane-Chikopela says there are already too many holidays in Zambia

Women in Zambia do not need to make prior arrangements to be absent from work, but can simply call in on the day to say they are taking Mother’s Day.

An employer who denies female employees this entitlement can be prosecuted.

Ms Mazimba’s boss, Justin Mukosa, supports the law and says he understands the pressure women face in juggling careers and family responsibilities.

A married man himself, he says the measure can have a positive impact on women’s work:

“Productivity is not only about the person being in the office. It should basically hinge on the output of that person.”

But he admits there are problems with the current system in terms of losing staff at short notice and also the temptation for people to play the system:

“It could be abused in the context that maybe an individual might have some personal plans they wish to attend to so she takes Mother’s Day on the day.

Not everyone is so supportive of Mother’s Day, and there are many women among the critics.

Mutinta Musokotwane-Chikopela is married and has three children.

She has a full-time marketing job but never takes Mother’s Day, arguing that it encourages laziness in working women.

“I don’t believe in it and I don’t take it. Menses are a normal thing in a woman’s body; it’s like being pregnant or childbirth,” she says.

Ndekela Mazimba's (R) boss Justin Mukosa (L) is supportive of the law

Ndekela Mazimba’s (R) boss Justin Mukosa (L) is supportive of the law

“I think women take advantage of that, especially that there’s no way of proving that you are on your menses or not.”

Ms Chikopela says the provision should have been made more clear in the law.

“The problem in Zambia is that we have too many holidays – including a holiday for national prayers. So I guess Mother’s Day makes those that love holidays happy.”

The Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the umbrella body representing the country’s workers, is also a supporter of the law.

But the entitlement “would have to be forfeited” if a woman were to take it on a day that she was not on her period, says Catherine Chinunda, national trustee at ZCTU.

“We have been educating women about Mother’s Day, telling them that on that day, they are supposed to rest and not even go shopping or do other jobs because that is wrong,” she says.

The law itself provides no guidance about what is allowed and it would appear that very few, if any, employers have internal policy guidance in that respect.

She dismisses the idea that men should also get a day off every month, as has been suggested by some:

“Men sometimes go to drink and miss work…. they don’t know how it feels to be on menses.”

But while praising the concept of Mother’s Day, some argue that the reality is bad for business.

“Your superiors may have planned work for you to do and when you suddenly stay away from work, it means work will suffer, says Harrington Chibanda, head of the Zambia Federation of Employers.

Women in Zambia are traditionally the primary care-givers in the family

Women in Zambia are traditionally the primary care-givers in the family

“Imagine a company that has a number of employees and six or seven take Mother’s Day on the same day. What will happen to productivity?” he asks.

Labour Minister Joyce Nonde-Simukoko, a former trade union activist, tells me that Mother’s Day was initially informally observed in the 1990s before eventually being brought into law.

But she has stern words for anyone thinking of using the entitlement to bunk off work:

“If you absent yourself yet you are found in a disco house, then it will not be taken as Mother’s Day.

“You shouldn’t even leave town, be found doing your hair or shopping. You can be fired. For example, somebody was found farming after taking Mother’s Day and she was fired.”

Lawyer Linda Kasonde says the law recognises the important role Zambian women play in society

Lawyer Linda Kasonde says the law recognises the important role Zambian women play in society

One of the problems with the law is that it does not make this explicit, leading to confusion among employers and employees alike.

But perhaps even more than the practical benefits, it is the intention and the spirit of the legislation that many Zambians support.

As Linda Kasonde, president of the Law Association of Zambia, explains:

“The reason why mother’s day is important within the Zambian context is that it recognises that women are the primary care-givers in our society – regardless of whether they are married or not.”

*BBC

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How Trump can turn a blunder on Africa into a win for democracy
December 29, 2016 | 0 Comments

BY K. RIVA LEVINSON*

Africa watchers were scrambling the day after Christmas, when the spokesperson for president of the Republic of Congo, Thierry Moungalla announced on his Twitter feed that President-Elect Donald Trump would meet with Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso.

It would be Trump’s first encounter with any African head of state!

The purported topic of conversation was to be Libya, a country where ISIS has taken root and an uncontrolled flow of refugees threatens to destabilize neighboring states and undermine the security of Europe.

Plausible. … Sassou is the chair of the Africa Union’s Committee on Libya.

 From that single tweet date-lined Brazzaville, the nation’s capital, the story exploded across the internet and was picked up by US and international media.

“Trump’s first meeting on Africa over Libya, with Congo’s Sassou Nguesso,” wrote Reuters. The Hill reported “Trump will meet with the President of Congo.” “Who is Sassou Nguesso?” the International Business Times wrote. The Francophone media likewise pushed the story out on their platforms.

By early evening on Dec. 26, PST, my iPhone started to ping continuously with notifications based on the Congo news.

“Does this mean that Trump will place the fight against terrorism in Africa ahead of long-standing support for democracy and human rights?” a representative from a prominent NGO asked me on WhatsApp.

“This is a president who changed the constitution so he could run for a third-term, extending his 32 years in office to perpetuity!” She was outraged.

Then a friend living in the West African nation of Liberia, originally from the Diaspora, started a chat with me on Facebook, “Sassou Nguesso represents the strong-men of the past. Is American policy going backwards? Please tell me no!”

Everyone seemed to be tracking the story. A journalist based in London reached out to me by email and asked, “Any idea how this (meeting) got scheduled? And why? Do you know when the Trump people will assign someone to Africa?”

I was just as perplexed as everyone else, but fortunately I didn’t have to speculate for long, because by mid-day on the 27th, Hope Hicks, spokeswoman for the Trump transition team, after being prompted that the story was spiraling, told Reuters, “No meeting had been set with Sassou Nguesso.”

It’s not surprising to me that a single tweet, date-lined Brazzaville, without even secondary verification, went viral on mainstream media. After all, Africa policy has been a black hole for candidate — Trump and the incoming Trump administration.

The continent was mentioned only anecdotally during the campaign, and according to reports, as of Dec. 2, none of the calls Trump and Vice President-elect Pence conducted with foreign leaders included an African head of state.

While it would be convenient to attribute this unforced error to another instance of fake news, it would only be half-true. As in a vacuum of emptiness, rumor and speculation rule. And that’s why the Congo story got legs.

The Trump transition team needs to take the Congo experience to heart, and recognize that an entire part of the world, one where approximately 1.2 billion people reside, a continent that is critical to U.S. food, energy and national security, with vast and untapped potential, needs a placeholder.

Rather than let the Africa policy void be filled by the speculators, or it wait out until the confirmation hearing of the Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson, the new administration should indicate early that it will support the bi-partisan/bi-cameral policy that has defined U.S.-Africa relations for decades — a policy grounded in democracy, rule of law, respect for human rights, private-sector led development and transparency.

And with that as a basis, a good place to start its African outreach would be shouting out to Ghana, which just completed its fourth consecutive peaceful transfer since the country returned to civilian rule in 1993.

Earlier this month, on Dec. 9, the Chairwoman of the Electoral Commission of Ghana, Charlotte Osei, declared Nana Akufo-Addo the president of the Republic Ghana with 54 percent of the vote.

Akufo-Addo, from the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), beat the sitting president, John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), in a highly contested campaign, where many feared violence. It was the first time in Ghana’s history that an incumbent president was defeated.

And in gestures of grace and political maturity, President Mahama called Nana Akufo-Addo to concede the election, and Akufo-Addo, in his acceptance speech, promised to be the president of all the people of Ghana.

Johnnie Carson, the former U.S. assistant secretary of State for Africa Affairs leading the U.S. observer mission from the National Democratic Institute (NDI) called the process one of the best run elections that he had witnessed in the past 20 years. He cited Ghana as “the gold standard” for African democracy.

On Jan. 7, 2017, Nana Akufo-Addo will be inaugurated as the fifth president of Ghana’s Fourth Republic.

So how about it team Trump? Signals are important. Maybe a congratulatory letter to Akufo-Addo and the people of Ghana are in order early in the New Year.

*The Hill.K. Riva Levinson is President and CEO of KRL International LLC a DC-based consultancy that works in the world’s emerging markets, and author of “Choosing the Hero: My Improbable Journey and the Rise of Africa’s First Woman President” (Kiwai Media, June 2016).

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Are more African leaders ready to give up power?
December 29, 2016 | 0 Comments
Adama Barrow's win in The Gambia has inspired many in Africa that a ballot revolution is possible

Adama Barrow’s win in The Gambia has inspired many in Africa that a ballot revolution is possible

It has been a mixed electoral year in Africa, with peaceful handovers of power, alongside allegations of rigging and incumbents refusing to accept defeat. The BBC’s Dickens Olewe looks at the state of democracy in Africa.

The unexpected outcome of the election in The Gambia is by far the biggest political story of the year.

Long-serving strongman President Yahya Jammeh was defeated in an open and free election and willingly conceded to the opposition candidate Adama Barrow.

Even though Mr Jammeh subsequently rescinded his concession and has challenged the results in court, this has failed to dampen the symbolism of his defeat and the confidence it has given to many in Africa that a ballot revolution is possible.

But did this moment, widely celebrated across the continent, represent a political trend?

Two trajectories

“We have two trajectories, one in which autocratic leadership is becoming more entrenched and it is undermining independence of electoral commission and in another where there is democratic consolidation and leaders are more willing to step down like in countries like Nigeria,” Nic Cheeseman, associate Professor in African Politics at Oxford University, told the BBC.

He says that African countries need to build institutions and insulate them from the influence of political leaders.

Electoral commissions also need to be well funded and protected by the law and allowed to be in charge of their own activities, like registering of voters, he says.


Key African elections in 2016:

February:

  • Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni won a fifth term in office in an election marred by violence and allegations of ballot fraud.
  • Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou won a second term after his main opponent Hama Amadou, who is serving time in jail, pulled out of the runoff.

April:

  • Chad’s President Idriss Deby beat his opponent Saleh Kebzabo to win a fifth term in office.

August:

  • Gabon’s election was marred with violence and vote-rigging. President Ali Bongo won by 6,000 votes, after officially getting 95% of the vote on a turnout of 99% from his home province of Haut-Ogooue.

December:

  • The Gambia’s President Yayha Jammeh lost to property developer Adama Barrow and conceded. He later withdrew the concession alleging that there had been voter fraud. He has since gone to the Supreme Court to challenge the results.
  • Ghana’s President John Mahama became the first incumbent to lose an election since Ghana returned to democracy. Opposition candidate Nana Akufo-Addo also made history by winning on his third time of trying.

In Ghana, The Gambia and Nigeria last year, the electoral commissions received a lot of plaudits for overseeing free, fair and verifiable elections.

Despite the political challenges, electoral commissions have to work to earn their credibility.

Demystifying elections

Dennis Kadima, an election observer at the Electoral Institute for Southern Africa (EISA) recalls that leading up to South Africa’s local elections in August the electoral commission was facing a crisis of confidence but ended up conducting a free and fair election, a situation that has reversed its public perception.

Political competition in most African countries is seen as a winner-takes-all competition.

Michela Wrong’s book It’s Our Turn to Eat about corruption in Kenya captures perfectly the overall guiding reason for winning power.

Ken Opalo, from Georgetown University in the US, says there needs to be a process of demystifying elections.

“African countries need to get out of the business of treating each election as a one-off event.”

He adds that allowing for continuous registration of voters and staggering some elections would help manage the perceived stakes.

Only seven countries in Africa are listed as “free” by the 2016 report of the think-tank Freedom House.

Map

Securing the vote

It is often in the vote-counting process that opposition parties say they have been cheated.

In Kenya, the ruling party recently defeated the opposition by passing a law allowing the use of a manual electoral system in next year’s poll.

Counting votesImage copyrightAFP
Image captionGhana’s election was widely praised, with the incumbent accepting defeat

The opposition says the push to use a manual system is a calculated plan to allow vote-rigging by manipulating the voter registration process, and providing for a less foolproof system for voter identification during voting and an easily manipulated system during transmission of votes.

This is denied by the government, which says it is a necessary back-up in case the electronic system fails.

“Part of the reason why it was so much harder to rig in Ghana is because results were announced at the local level – polling stations and counties,” says Mr Opalo.

This allowed for independent verification by news organizations. Disaggregated tallying should be non-negotiable.”

Mr Cheeseman, however, says posting party agents at thousands of polling stations across the country is an expensive undertaking which most political parties cannot afford.

Keep the internet on

He says that governments can easily undermine this aspect of vote watching by shutting off the internet.

Several governments including Uganda, Chad, Niger and Gabon switched off the internet during elections this year, claiming that they wanted to stop the spread of falsehoods.

Mr Cheeseman says that limiting internet access also means stopping the necessary transfer of voting information through internet-dependent applications, which makes life more difficult for election monitors.

He proposes that it might be an important step for election observers to insist on an open and free internet as a key aspect of ensuring a free and fair election.

Mr Kadima says that EISA has a benchmark of what constitutes a free and fair election: “We look at voter registration and work with political parties, civil societies and judiciaries” to ensure that standards are met.

‘Pride in good elections’

Kamissa Camara, West and Central Africa officer at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), says that beyond the use of foolproof electoral systems, positive influences could also be playing a part in helping countries in West Africa hold credible elections.

Protester holding anti-Kabila bannerImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionThe mandate of DR Congo President Joseph Kabila expired in December but he has been unable to organise elections to find a replacement

“We have seen several peaceful elections in Benin, Senegal, Burkina Faso and in Mali and you see people taking pride in holding good elections and that desire to hold a good election is spreading.”

“Democracy is making headway in West Africa thanks to shared positive expertise,” she adds.

Mr Kadima says that in assessing the state of democracy in Africa, it is important not to forget that there are 54 disparate countries on the continent and it would be unfair to compare them.

“All these countries have different histories. Some are evolving while others are in a cycle but one thing is for certain, as we are seeing in DR Congo, the resilience and aspiration of the people for change will never die.”

As for what to expect next year, Mr Opalo says the Kenya election is the one to watch.

He projects that there will be some violence but adds that it would be a reflection of what is at stake, rather than a descent into complete chaos and state failure.

He also says it would be interesting to follow developments in Rwanda, where President Paul Kagame is expected to run for a third term.

*BBC

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Trump Administration Will Discover Reality Of Good Deals In Rapidly Changing Africa-IGD’s Mima S. Nedelcovych
December 5, 2016 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

IGD President Mima Nedelcovych with leading African corporate leaders.

IGD President Mima Nedelcovych with leading African corporate leaders.

In the shrewd businessman that President elect Donald Trump is, the economic potentials and realities of good deals could be a silver lining for U. S Africa relations says Dr Mima S. Nedelcovych President and CEO of the Washington, DC based Initiative for Global Development-IGD.

With some of the world’s fastest growing economies, the African continent is an attractive investment destination and a Trump Administration may take a private sector led development approach and less aid, says Dr Mima who believes that the pick for Secretary of State may offer more clarity on the direction of US-Africa policy.

“Trump’s “America First” mantra is a wakeup call for African government leaders to negotiate better trade deals and focus on improving business environments for the private sector and growing their middle classes to bring greater economic prosperity in Africa,” Dr Mima said.

Based on recommendations from leading African business leaders from the IGD Frontier network, Mima says the Trump Administration and new Congress will be presented with a set of strategic policy recommendations in late January 2017. Expanding access to power, boosting trade and investment and transforming the agriculture sector are some of the key sectors that could shape US-Africa policy per the recommendations, said Dr Mima.

In a bid to change the narrative on doing business in Africa, Mima says the IGD is launching the Africa Rising Campaign to encourage greater trade and investment in the continent. According to Mima, the campaign will help to amplify the voice of Africa’s private sector leaders and use multimedia storytelling to highlight business and investment opportunities.

We start with the outcome of the last IGD Frontier 100 Forum in Washington, DC, how did the Forum go and what was the outcome?

The Frontier 100 Forum is an invitation-only biannual event that convenes the IGD Frontier Leader Network of CEOs and senior executives of African, U.S., European and South Asian companies operating in Africa.

More than 125 African and global corporate leaders and government officials gathered for the exclusive gathering in Washington on Oct. 5 and 6 to offer insight into and put forth action-oriented strategies on the forum theme, “Unleashing an Enabling Environment for Africa’s Private Sector to Achieve Inclusive Growth”.

For our Fall Frontier 100 Forum, IGD teamed up with the African Development Bank to mobilize Africa’s private sector in creating an enabling business environment to rally global support and action on achieving the AfDB’s bold agenda for Africa’s sustainable transformation called the “High 5s”.

We held engaging sessions with both U.S. and African business leaders and government officials, and representatives of the African Development Bank on the “High 5s”, including Light up and power Africa; Feed Africa; Integrate Africa; Industrialize Africa; and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

The Bank’s ‘High Fives’ offers the private sector in Africa an action driven blueprint for promoting sustainable development and inclusive growth on the continent. We’ll continue to build on our partnership with the AfDB on achieving the High 5s in 2017.

Our forums also look at some of the top trends and issues in Africa. We organized a half-day session on “Chinese Investment in Africa” where we had a balanced discussion on China’s role and impact on Africa’s private sector. Indeed, it generated lots of perspectives on the issue.

The Fall Forum also unveiled the Africa Investment Rising campaign, an exciting, new IGD communications and advocacy campaign aimed at changing the narrative on doing business in Africa.

The IGD recently launched the Africa Rising initiative, what is this all about and why such an initiative at this time?

Mima Nedelcovych, President & CEO Initiative for Global Development (IGD) with Akin Adesina, President Africa Development Bank (AfDB)

Mima Nedelcovych, President & CEO Initiative for Global Development (IGD) with
Akin Adesina, President Africa Development Bank (AfDB)

IGD is very excited about the launch of the Africa Investment Rising campaign. The campaign is aimed at changing the narrative on doing business in Africa to encourage greater trade and investment in Africa. The campaign seeks to amplify the voice of Africa’s private sector leaders and showcase business and investment opportunities through multimedia storytelling and strategic traditional and social media outreach. Given the continent’s growing middle class, the campaign will highlight the importance of “minding the middle” to strengthen local economies and build a strong middle class.

What does the IGD ultimately hope to see or achieve with such an initiative?

We hope to change the narrative on doing business in Africa by showing a thriving and dynamic African private sector. Africa’s private sector creates 80 percent of the jobs on the continent. The campaign will raise awareness about the role of African companies in fueling job creation and sustainable and inclusive growth in Africa.

When you look around and see the strong and growing Chinese economic presence in Africa, do you think U.S companies made a mistake in ignoring the African market, and what can they do to make up for lost time?

It’s never too late to invest in Africa. Indeed, we have a lot of work to do in helping more American companies realize the tremendous business and investment potential in Africa. That is why we launched the Africa Investment Rising campaign to showcase the business opportunities on the continent. The African Diaspora in the US can also play a critical role by investing in their home country markets and in encouraging US investors to look into the opportunities to invest in Africa.

As President Obama leaves Office, what kind of legacy will you say he is leaving behind for US-African relations, how much did he do to raise the bar?

I think President Obama has done a good job in promoting greater trade, investment, and development in Africa. He’s leaving behind a legacy of renewing the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and launching the Power Africa initiative to expand electricity across Africa and the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) to support emerging African leaders. The Obama Administration hosted the historic U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington and the US-Africa Business Summit in New York.

We are fortunate that U.S-Africa policy issues often garner support from elected officials from both Democrats and Republicans. We expect that will continue under the Trump Administration.

The Trump Administration will be coming in January and people are clueless on what to expect, you seem to be one of the people who sees a silver lining for US-Africa relations, can you tell us why you are optimistic?

igd-air-hp-slide-yellow-1-risingUnfortunately, Africa was not a topic that came up during the presidential campaign. So, we’re not clear on the direction or foreign policy goals of a Trump Administration. What we do know is that President-elect Trump is a shrewd businessman who is looking for good deals. The silver lining is that the Administration will discover a rapidly changing Africa where there will be lots of good deals to be made.

With some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, the African continent is an attractive investment destination for emerging markets investors. African investments are offering impressive returns. In fact, African stock markets have grown steadily by 9 percent annually. A Trump Administration’s US-Africa policy will likely take a private sector led development approach, with a concerted focus on trade and investment and less on aid.  We’ll have to see who he names as Secretary of State to determine the direction of US-Africa policy.

Trump’s “America First” mantra is a wake up call for African government leaders to negotiate better trade deals and focus on improving business environments for the private sector and growing their middle classes to bring greater economic prosperity in Africa.  The American private sector will in turn find good opportunities in making deals with the rising African business class.

If that Administration came to you for advice on how to frame its African policy, what will your recommendations be to them?

African Business Leaders at the recent IGD Frontier 100 Forum in Washington,DC

African Business Leaders at the recent IGD Frontier 100 Forum in Washington,DC

IGD will be presenting the Trump Administration and new Congress in late-January with a set of strategic policy recommendations to influence and shape U.S.-Africa policy on three key issues: (1) expanding access to power, without which you cannot industrialize; (2) boosting trade and investment, without which you cannot have sustainable growth; and (3) transforming the agriculture sector in Africa from a vocation into a business.  The recommendations will be from leading African business leaders from IGD’s Frontier Leader Network.  The role of the private sector and the political will to enable Africa’s economies to grow sustainably will clearly be front and center.  We’ll share the specific recommendations with your audience in January.

Can Dr Mima tell us a bit about his background and interest in Africa, what makes you passionate about that part of the world when to many Americans it barely exists?

Dr. Mima Nedelcovych, IGD President and CEO

Dr. Mima Nedelcovych, IGD President and CEO

Africa is very close to my heart. I was born in Serbia, but I spent my first 10 years in Ethiopia. I’ve focused on private sector development in Africa throughout my professional career. I served in the Administration of President George Bush from 1989 to 1993 as the U.S. Executive Director to the African Development Bank (AfDB).  While serving at the AfDB, I was instrumental in developing the “private sector initiative” at the AfDB, the African Business Roundtable and the African Export-Import Bank.

In my independent consulting practice, I focused on trade facilitation, project development, project finance, and public-private partnerships in Africa.  As Partner and Chairman of the Schaffer Group we developed some major agro-industrial projects on the continent over the last 20+ years.

For nearly three years, I have now served as the President and CEO of the Initiative for Global Development (IGD). IGD is a network of African and global business leaders who are committed to sustainable development and inclusive growth through business investment in Africa.

Africa has always had a vibrant private commercial sector, but what was lacking was African “born and bred” industries and service providers that add value to the abundant raw materials, and now labor pool on the continent. I have personally witnessed and participated in that transformation.  Africa’s private sector leaders have certainly attained a high level of maturity and effectiveness. Now, the question is which political leaders will achieve those same heights.

What are some other African themed projects that the IGD plans to work on in the coming year?

The roll out of the Africa Investment Rising campaign will be our focus in 2017. We’re delighted that Pan African Visions is coming on board as a media partner and will be sharing the dynamic campaign content with your audience.

The Spring Frontier 100 Forum will be held on May 5 and 6 in Durban, South Africa. Every year, some 10-12 million young people are expected to enter the labor market in Africa. The forum will draw attention to how the private sector can be an agent of change in responding to Africa’s youth employment challenge and ensuring that young people are effectively equipped with the skills, knowledge and know-how for today’s jobs.

 

 

 

 

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Sunrise campaign to break cycle of violence against women launched in SADC region
November 30, 2016 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Colleen Lowe Morna

Colleen Lowe Morna

The Southern African Development Community (SADC)   region has  witnessed  the launch of the sunrise campaign  by Genderlinks meant to break the cycle of  Gender Based Violence (GBV) especially against women.

According to Colleen Lowe Morna, Genderlinks CEO, the sunrise campaign is a Genderlinks programme to enhance the economic independence of women who have experienced Gender Based Violence. Morna says that it is an important tool in the struggle against all forms of GBV.

The sunrise campaign has just been launched in Zimbabwe at the just ended SADC   protocol @work summit and awards event held in Harare on 15 to 17 November, 2016. The Harare summit was attended by alliance members and was held under the theme: 50/50 by 2030! Empower women, end violence. According to Tapiwa Zvaraya, Genderlinks  Monitoring & Evaluation Officer , the sunrise campaign was also  launched last week in  Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Zambia, South Africa, Madagascar and Mauritius.

Genderlinks is a regional organisation headquartered in South Africa committed to an inclusive, equal and just society in the public and private space in accordance with the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.

According to Genderlinks, GBV undermines the agency of women in abusive relationships. The organisation says that economic dependence on abusive partners is the primary reason that women stay in such relationships.

It is reported that the combination of economic vulnerability and abuse often provides few choices for the women. It is said that many stay in the relationships because of perceived financial security provided by the abusive partner.

Under the sunrise campaign, economic justice starts with ensuring that resources and strategies adequately serve women and girls’ needs.

During 2013, Genderlinks piloted a programme called Empower Women: End Violence which involved 1 500 survivors of GBV in 10 countries in the SADC region. It is reported that 100 centres of excellence for gender in local government anchored the project, providing a space to meet, network, access advice, local finance and markets.

According to Genderlinks, the programme demonstrated that GBV can be substantially reduced or overcome through a combination of life skills and economic empowerment. The programme has been called the sunrise campaign because it offers a fresh start to women engaging into it.

“Sun is the most powerful form of light which symbolises hope, the hope of a new day and of sustainable solutions to GBV,” according to Genderlinks.

It is also reported that the five year long programme provides women with the tools to make alternative long term choices and sets out to increase women’s agency and independence. Mentors are selected from both the local council and from existing business men and women within the district, enabling the new entrepreneur to have an accessible advisor to support them over their initial six months business development phase.

According to Genderlinks, the campaign is an evidenced based life and entrepreneurial skills programme for survivors of GBV in southern Africa.

The organisation says that the cost for training and mentoring one survivor of GBV to financial independence is R15 000 or $1000 and is calling for well-wishers from all over the world to support, donate   or sponsor the programme.

Genderlinks aims to offer at least 1000 new women each year in 10 countries in the SADC region the opportunity to gain their financial freedom under the sunrise campaign.

“We kindly ask for donations from the USA, UK and from everywhere to move more women from despair to hope. We are also launching the sunrise campaign in the eve of the launch of the 16 days against GBV on 25 November, 2016 by Genderlinks in the region,” Lowe Morna said at the Harare , summit.

According to the recently launched SADC Gender Protocol 2016 Barometer, it is reported that 11 out of the 15 countries in SADC have put in place domestic violence and sexual assault legislation. Four countries namely Tanzania, Swaziland , DRC and Lesotho are reported to fall short of the target. On sexual harassment, 14 countries are reported to have legislation in the region. Seven countries are reported to have undertaken the GBV baseline research. It is reported that the baseline research shows that between one in four and four in five women in SADC countries have experienced some form of violence over their lifetime.

 

 

 

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