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Next Einstein Forum announces its Ambassadors, champions of science and technology across Africa
December 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

KIGALI, Rwanda, 20 December 2017 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The Next Einstein Forum (NEF) today announces its second Ambassadors Class, 45 scientists and tech champions across Africa, all under 42 years of age, who are solving Africa’s and the world’s challenges.

An initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the NEF will hold its second global forum for science in Kigali, Rwanda, under the patronage of H.E. President Paul Kagame on 26-28 March 2018.

Central to the NEF’s vision of propelling Africa onto the global scientific stage, the NEF Ambassadors will attend the NEF Global Gathering in Kigali, connect with each other and scientists from across the world. While growing their own careers through mentorship and collaborations offered by a growing network of partners, NEF Ambassadors drive the NEF’s local public engagement activities like the NEF Africa Science Week, and will help craft an exciting and high impact forum.

“Two years ago, it was an honor to announce the inaugural Ambassadors Class in Dakar. Today again, I am excited to announce a brilliant NEF Ambassadors Class. The 45 selected Ambassadors, eighteen of whom are women, are helping transform their local community through national campaigns like GirlsInSTEM, through research in renewable energy, food security, fin-tech etc. Beyond just theoretical research, our Ambassadors have developed impressive technologies from their research. We look forward to shining a light on their initiatives and technologies which we believe are solving local and global challenges,” said Mr. Thierry Zomahoun, President and CEO of AIMS and Chairman of the NEF.

NEF Ambassadors are selected using a holistic process that reviews academic achievement, entrepreneurial abilities and recent public engagement efforts, particularly online. Ambassadors also have to demonstrate a passion for raising Africa’s scientific profile and inspiring the next generation of scientific leaders.

“I would like to thank the first Ambassadors Class who ran the first ever NEF Africa Science Week and continue to run impactful campaigns to mentor the next generation of scientists and technologists. Together with this new Ambassadors’ class, they join the newly launched NEF Community of Scientists, an exclusive network that offers members research collaborations, networking and speaking opportunities and career mentorship. In return, members will participate in national and continental policy formulation, cross-cutting research and innovation activities, lead public engagement around science and technology in Africa, and provide mentorship to early-career scientists and students,” said Mr. Zomahoun.

The NEF is currently looking for Ambassadors for the following countries: Angola, Comoros, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinee, Central Africa Republic, Djibouti, Lesotho, South Sudan and Tunisia. Interested applicants can download the application at nef.org/ambassadors. Learn more about the NEF Global Gathering 2018 at gg2018.nef.org

Meet the 2017-2019 NEF Ambassadors:

  •  Meriem Benmardi (Algeria) is a Senior Digital Project Manager at TBWA Worldwide and CEO of BETELA Recruiting, an innovative hiring program. She has over 8 years of experience as a HR specialist and IT project management consultant and has been recognized for her leadership, including being chosen a TechWoman by the US State Department.
  •  Donald Semevo Elian Tchaou (Benin) owns TIC Agro Business Center company, which specializes in the development of communication tools, training of producers and dissemination of good agricultural practices. His company uses exclusively the opportunities offered by the Information and Communication Technologies for a better agricultural extension.
  • Yame Nkgowe (Botswana) is a seasoned service manager with 11 years’ business management experience and a social entrepreneur with 3.5 years bootstrapping two startups from concept to pilot stage. He is currently the founder of Sustainable Cities Africa, a social enterprise focused on ensuring a sustainable African Urban Future through Smart City Strategies.
  • Abdrahamane Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso) holds a Master’s degree in Public Health and is working as a Girl Generation Program Officer in Burkina Faso to end female genital mutilation in Africa. With over 17 years of activism in youth organizations at national, regional and international levels, he is a founding member of the Network of International Youth Organizations in Africa.
  • Paterne Gahungu (Burundi) is an AIMS alumnus, doing a PhD research on stochastic modelling at the African Centre of Excellence for Mathematics and Applications in Benin. Previously, he has worked as volunteer at Centre de Recherche en Didactique des Sciences au Burundi and together with four other students, established a science club that trains students in use of technology, and conduct scientific debates and presentations among themselves.
  • Sara Baptista (Cape Verde) is a PhD candidate in Life Sciences, in the Parasitology field specifically in the Graduate Program Science for Development (PGCD) and is currently working in Instituto de Medicina Molecular- João Lobo Antunes, Lisbon, Portugal at Dr. Maria Mota Lab, which is interested in studying the Biology & Physiology of Malaria. She is working mostly on understanding how the main liver stage protein of the plasmodium parasite, the circumsporozoite protein is processed by the host hepatocyte.
  • Arielle Kitio Tsamo (Cameroon) is a certified mentor and technology enthusiast, currently pursuing her PhD in software engineering for disease surveillance at the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon. Also, she is the founder of CAYSTI, an initiative that works on innovative technologies and methodologies to promote quality education and ensure effective learning.
  • Francis Mbaibo (Chad) won Digital Innovation Award of Reach for Change, and one of the 50 best African startups chosen by the European Union at the EU Africa Forum. As an entrepreneurial technician, he has created a digital startup that introduces young people to digital entrepreneurship.  Today, Francis is working on an agribusiness application, which he hopes to operationalize in 2018.
  • Mandingha Kosso Etoka-Beka (Republic of Congo) research is on malaria in children carrying the sickle cell trait in a laboratory. Currently, she is pursuing a PhD in Molecular Biology and Applied Immunology at Marien Ngouabi University.
  • Raissa Malu (DRC) is a physicist by training, author and editor of “Les Indispensables” textbooks collection. In 2014, Raissa founded with friends a non-profit organization that organizes Science and Technology Week, in Kinshasa DRC. Currently, she is the Head of Technical Support Unit at the Ministry of Primary, Secondary and Professional Education for the Education Project for the Quality and Relevance of Secondary and Higher Education.
  • Ghislain DESSIEH (Ivory Coast) is a consultant in sustainable development and social Innovation, and a lawyer by training. He holds a degree in Business Law from HEC Abidjan and guided by his passion for science and technology, Ghislain is part of Africa 4 Tech’s Young African Innovator Program, which brings together 40 young Africans innovators in the field of technology, health and energy.
  • Dr. Basant Motawi (Egypt) has worked with the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland within the Ageing and Life Course Department. Currently doing a joint PhD in Epidemiology between Ain Shams University in Egypt and University of Maryland in USA. Her research focuses on the hidden health and economic burden of gender based violence, and aspires to advance policies that empower women through her work.
  • Mussie Mengistu Habtom (Eritrea) is doing a masters in special needs education (learning disabilities) Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya. His dream of becoming a teacher, inspired him to join a Teacher Training Institution, and is currently a lecturer and MEd candidate in Kenyatta University, Kenya.
  • Binyam Sisay Mendisu’s (Ethiopia) research interests include the descriptive study of Omotic languages and the study of mother tongue education in Africa. He is currently employed as program officer for teacher education and curriculum development by UNESCO’s International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa.
  • Yannick Ovono (Gabon) is Rabi Institute for Development Studies CEO and Mandela Institute for Development Studies Scholar, passionate about education, leadership, media, politics, and youth development in the continent of Africa. He holds an MSc in journalism from the University of Istanbul, and BA degree in economics from the Istanbul academy of science, with 5 years of work experience in various positions both in the media industry and Academia.
  • David Jeng (Gambia) is the Project Manager for Give1 Project Gambia, whose goal is to create leaders in their communities. The project has implemented 8 tech camps in ICT for girls, leadership and entrepreneurship training, implemented the Akon Lighting Africa pilot project in the Gambia. Currently, he is the Business Support Coordinator at Startup Incubator Gambia, which is the first business incubation hub for startups, having incubated 62 startups and created more than 180 jobs since 2015.
  • Peter Asare-Nuamah’s (Ghana) research interest cuts across disaster management, climate change, education, e-governance and Pan-Africanism. He is a PhD candidate at Pan African University, Cameroon and has served in different leadership capacities. Peter aspires to contribute to academia and society through research and teaching, particularly in the African context.
  • Keita Alpha Kabinet’ s (Guinea) work focuses on the study of the epidemiology of Tropheryma whipplei and the Ebola virus in a global study project in humans and wildlife in Guinea. Currently, Keita is a Postdoctoral Researcher within the UMI233, Translational Research on HIV and Infectious Diseases (TransVIHMI) of the Research Institute for Development (IRD).
  • Dr. Rose M Mutiso (Kenya) is co-founder and CEO of the Mawazo Institute, focusing on African energy sector development. She is a materials engineer by training, with technical experience in the fields of nanotechnology and polymer physics, including nano-electronics and next-generation energy technologies.
  • Michael Sonneyboy Gboneh (Liberia) graduated with a BSc degree in Mathematics, and as well holds an MSc in Mathematical Sciences from the University of Stellenbosch on full scholarship by MasterCard foundation and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS, South Africa). Currently, he is serving the position of Chairperson, Department of Mathematics, University of Liberia where he has dedicated his time to academia and using mathematics to help solve Africa’s many problems, to help young people learn and contribute to the growth of Liberia and Africa in general.
  • Kusai Fteita (Libya) is the founder and mentor of Roboticx4004, the Libyan national robotics team, that represented Libya in FIRST Global Challenge 2017, and co- founder of Google Developers Group Tripoli and Blockchain startup. Recently, he founded Tech Impact, a social enterprise that provides hands-on robotics training for youth.
  • Mireille Harimalala’s (Madagascar) research activities focus on the genetics of plague disease vector flea populations and the study of the country’s flea phylogeny, and leads a team that is working on fleas and its associated diseases. She has completed two years of postdoctoral studies at the Medical Entomology Unit of IPM and currently deepening her research on the same themes, in order to elucidate the phylogeography and dispersal mechanisms of these vector flea populations in relation to the persistence of plague in Madagascar.
  • Chikondi Shaba (Malawi) holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry, with a minor in Statistics and a Master of Science in Analytical Chemistry from University of Botswana. She is a Lecturer and Deputy Head of the Chemistry Department at Chancellor College of the University of Malawi and presently, she is responsible for assessing water chemistry of groundwater on a project “Hidden Crisis”.
  • Souleymane Sogoba (Mali) works as a documentarist at the University of Ségou in Mali, as well, he is the Information Manager of the Scientific and Technical Journal of Mali and Member of the IFLA Information Technologies Section, and Ambassador of the Program IPA of IFLA in Mali, taking part in the construction of the building what he calls “a connected Africa, an informed Africa”.
  •  Abdoulaye Sidiki BA (Mauritania) holds a PhD in Mechanics from the University of Bordeaux as well as a Masters in Engineering in Acoustics and Fluid in the specialty Ultrasonic Non Destructive Control from the University of Paris Diderot. His research work focuses on the design, manufacture, and characterization of a new concept of so-called “intelligent” material called metamaterial.
  •  Lakshana Mohee’s (Mauritius) dream was to become a biomaterials scientist in order to develop innovative and more accessible techniques for improved healthcare around the world. Currently doing a PhD at the University of Cambridge in Biomaterials and Medical Devices, she hopes to start a company in Mauritius to develop such devices.
  • Dr. Lahbib LATRACH (Morocco) is a researcher at the National Center for Studies and Research on Water and Energy, with a PhD in Environment and Water Biotechnology from the University of Cadi Ayyad, and a member of the Laboratory Hydrobiology, Ecotoxicology, Sanitation & Global Change at the Faculty of Sciences Semlalia, Marrakech and the Laboratory of Soil Science and Ecological Engineering Shimane University, Japan.
  • Lars Albino Lemos (Mozambique) is the Lead Trainer of Knowledge Sharing Campaign, a community platform that brings together those who have experience and can share their knowledge and those who are eager to learn, but lack opportunities. He is a developer for Health Information Systems at Global Programs for Research & Learning, Co-Founder of Mukheru Express and CEO of MozDevelopment, a company that provides software development training for the community in learning how to program.
  •  Aibate Hatago Sturmann (Namibia) is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Namibia, investigating polymer science. She holds a Master’s degree in Science with research interest in Ethno-pharmacology, drug discovery and development focusing on non-communicable diseases.
  • Halimatou Hima Moussa Dioula (Niger) is a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge, where she is a Cambridge-Africa Trust scholar, doing research in Development Studies. Halimatou uses the concept of “ilimi”, often translated as knowledge or education, to challenge, question and reimagine educational systems in African countries. Her “ilimi Afrika” initiative hopes to create oases of innovation, learning and imagination in public schools across Niger and Africa.
  •  Obidi Ezezika (Nigeria) is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, in the Interdisciplinary Centre for Health and Society at the University of Toronto Scarborough and in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. He has a PhD in Microbiology from University of Georgia and a Master’s degree in Environmental Management from Yale University. Dr Obidi champions a Nutrition Gamification System called “Nutrido” in Abuja, Nigeria.
  •  Bobson Rugambwa (Rwanda) is passionate about affordable and sustainable financial and energy technology solutions for Africa’s most vulnerable. A software engineer, entrepreneur and energy enthusiast, he is co-founder and CEO of MVend Limited, a Fintech company in Rwanda, developing financial inclusion tools for the unbanked.
  •  Paulo Emanuel D’Alva (Sao Tome and Principe) is an Architect and entrepreneur, with a degree in Architecture and Urban Planning from DeVry FANOR. He has extensive experience in Sustainable Architecture, having worked at the U.S. Green Building Council, and is the Deputy Director of DALVAGAUP, the largest Architecture firm in Sao Tome and Principe.
  • Khadidatou Sall (Senegal) is the founder of a vocational education space where culture mingles with STEM to innovate and bring Senegalese community together, to learn, make and create in a program called Science Education Exchange for Sustainable Development (SeeSD). Through SeeSD, she has empowered over 200 children, through hands-on workshops related to biology, physics, chemistry, 3D printing, coding and electronics.
  • Jessica D’unienville (Seychelles) holds Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology, from Curtin University of Technology. She is currently a Principal Research Officer for Knowledge Management and Education at NISTI, where she is carrying out the R&D and Innovation Survey, a first for Seychelles.
  •  Salwa Supckie Campbell (Sierra Leone) has several professional training certificates in mentorship, devoting her time to mentor and inspire young girls interested in STEM disciplines. With over 11 years’ experience in data analytics and quality checks, she has worked with one of the leading big data analytics companies in the world – Quid Inc.
  •  Dr. Sadiyo Siad (Somalia) is a founder and Chancellor at Hano Academy and a multi-specialist; Medical diagnostic, lecturer, consultant, entrepreneur and a philanthropist. Her medical education includes a PhD in Tuberculosis specializing in Immunology and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of TB, University of Leicester.
  •  Keabetswe Tebogo Ncube (South Africa) is doing her research in Genetics at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, and is currently on a research program in Maryland, USA as part of her doctoral studies, working with the United Stated Department of Agriculture, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center.
  •  Mohammed Kamal (Sudan) is a researcher, working and lecturing at University of Medical Science and Technology (UMST) as well, he teaches short courses at the National University, in the field of material science, -Sudan. Currently, he is developing a drug charging and transportations system through the use of nanostructured system that aims to enhance CT and MRI imaging process to effectively deliver drugs to enhance cancer treatments.
  •  Sifiso Musa Nkambule (Swaziland) is a Lecturer of Physics at the University of Swaziland, Physics Department, with a first degree in Mathematics and Physics at the University of Swaziland and masters in Physics at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Currently, he is involved in “THE PHYSICS SHOW” project, which aims to reach Schools, colleges and the Swaziland community, through showcasing most exciting things in Physics.
  •  Dr. Lwidiko Edward Mhamilawa (Tanzania) is a Medical Doctor and Co-founder of ProjeKt Inspire that works towards discovering talents in STEM. He nurtures kids of 3-14 years through the Rising STEAM Stars project that provides one on one mentorship, job shadowing and Boot camps.
  • Aglago Dodzi (Togo) is the founder of MobileLabo, a scientific laboratory which specializes in the design and sale of laboratory equipment, products and services. Through his mobile lab, he has enabled kids in rural areas to access lab materials for science learning which has inspired half a million students in Togo to pursue science.
  •  Joanitah N Nalubega (Uganda) is an industrial chemist, with a deep passion for technology, currently working to deploy solutions for the health sector using technology in Uganda.
  •  Stephen Malunga Manchishi (Zambia) lectured Animal Physiology and other related biological sciences in the department of Biological Sciences at the University of Zambia, briefly before embarking on PhD studies in Reproductive Neuroendocrinology at the University of Cambridge in the UK. He and his colleague Co-founded the Juniors & Seniors’ Institute of Natural Sciences- mentorship network, an initiative that bridges the information gap to help upcoming scientists make informed decisions early in life.
  •  Ian Nyasha Mutamiri (Zimbabwe) is an electrical and software engineer who is very passionate about leveraging quality technology for social benefits. His research focuses on mobile language learning solutions for children. For his work, he was awarded two FIRE (AFRINIC) Grants in 2013 and 2016.
  • Launched in 2013, the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) is an initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The NEF is a platform that connects science, society and policy in Africa and the rest of the world – with the goal to leverage science for human development globally. The NEF believes that Africa’s contributions to the global scientific community are critical for global progress. At the centre of NEF efforts are Africa’s young people, the driving force for Africa’s scientific renaissance. The NEF is a unique youth-driven forum. At our headline biennial scientific events, 50% of participants are 42 or younger. Far from being an ordinary science forum, the NEF Global Gatherings position science at the centre of global development efforts. The next NEF Global Gathering will be held on 26-28 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda. In addition, through our Communities of Scientists, we showcase the contributions of Africa’s brilliant youth to Africa’s scientific emergence through its class of NEF Fellows, who are Africa’s top scientists and technologists under the age of 42, and NEF Ambassadors, who are the NEF’s 54 science and technology ambassadors on the ground.

    The NEF is also working together with partners such as the African Academy of Sciences, Ministers’ of Education, Science and Research across Africa, foundations and other global scientific and private sector companies, to build an African scientific identity. By bringing together key stakeholders, the NEF hopes to drive the discussion from policy to implementation by leveraging buy in and best practice results from Africa and the world. Have a look at our benchmark Dakar Declaration.

    Finally, the NEF is telling untold stories of scientific research and innovation across the continent through our various platforms. We want to recalibrate what ‘innovation’ means in Africa. We want to make the link between science and technology, even basic sciences, to everyday life. We want the public involved in science and we have recently concluded the first coordinated Africa Science Week – an annual three to five day celebration of science and technology through coordinated science events across the continent. We believe the next Einstein will be African.

    The NEF has been endorsed by the African Union Commission, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Governments of Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa, the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and a growing number of private sector and civil society partners from across the world who are passionate about positioning Africa’s scientific community as an influential member in the global scientific community, which will ensure sustainable human development in Africa and other parts of the world.

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Caf president Ahmad reiterates Cameroon 2019 warning
December 21, 2017 | 0 Comments
Since Ahmad was voted in as Caf president the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon has expanded from 16 to 24 teams

Since Ahmad was voted in as Caf president the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon has expanded from 16 to 24 teams

The president of the Confederation of African Football (Caf), Ahmad, has reiterated his warning to Cameroon about their hosting of the Africa Cup of Nations.

In response to a question about Cameroon holding on to the hosting of the tournament in its new expanded 24-team format in 2019 Ahmad wasted few words.

“If the host country is unable to organise it, we will find a country that will organise it,” he said.

“The authorities in the country, up to the head of state, have always confirmed to us that they will be ready.”

Before Caf approved changes to the format and timing of the Nations Cup, Cameroon’s sports minister Ismael Bidoung had been forced to denypreparations were behind schedule.

Cameroon once again insisted it would be ready to host the tournament soon after Caf moved it to June/July and increased it from 16 to 24 teams.

In August Ahmad said: “Cameroon will have to work to convince Caf on its ability to host the event.”

He again clarified that it will be down to an independent company conducting inspections to let Caf know if Cameroon are fit to host the event.

“We will leave it to the host country to work with an independent private firm without any influence from us whatsoever,”

“It is up to them to provide us with the information that will enable us to say that Cameroon will be ready or Cameroon will not be ready. But we won’t negotiate anything.”

Audit firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers was due to conduct an inspection in August but they withdrew at short notice without giving reasons.

An inspection is now due to happen early in 2018.

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“Now is a time for action” affirms Kofi Annan in final Africa Progress Panel report
December 19, 2017 | 0 Comments
The report presents a bold agenda for African progress, to be taken forward by leaders on the continent and abroad to accelerate Africa’s transformation in the coming decades
GENEVA, Switzerland, December 18, 2017/ — By 2050 more than one in four people on our planet will be African. Bold action is needed now to ensure that all of them have a fair chance of leading healthy, prosperous and fulfilling lives, urges the newest and final report from Kofi Annan’s Africa Progress Panel (APP) (www.AfricaProgressPanel.org).

The report, “Making Progress Towards Attaining the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa”, (http://APO.af/xtXMF1draws from the insights cultivated over the APP’s decade of work (2007-2017), outlining the key opportunities and challenges Africa faces as it strives to realize the Sustainable Development Goals, and create long-term equitable and sustainable prosperity.

The APP’s final report is primarily a call to action. It presents a bold agenda for African progress, to be taken forward by leaders on the continent and abroad to accelerate Africa’s transformation in the coming decades.

“After ten very active years, the Africa Progress Panel will be ceasing its activities at the end of 2017. However, we are convinced that the spirit of our work must continue.” said Kofi Annan, Chair of the APP.

According to Mr. Annan, the APP’s work will be taken forward from 2018 by a new entity, provisionally named the Africa Progress Group, which is to be established by Panel member, and former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo. The new entity, with operational headquarters at the Centre for Human Security and Dialogue of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, Nigeria, will seek to create a network of robust regional and international partnerships focused on pushing for the implementation of the recommendations the APP has made over the years in its Africa Progress Reports and policy statements.

Three core priorities for action are highlighted in the final Panel report: Mobilize sufficient financial resources fast for Africa’s “green and blue” (agriculture and fisheries sector) revolutions, rapidly boost investment in Africa’s energy and transport infrastructure, and fight against illicit financial activities and the mismanagement of Africa’s resources.

The majority of Africa’s poor continue to live and work in rural areas, predominantly as smallholder farmers, whilst millions depend on the ocean for their protein and livelihoods. The absence of flourishing agricultural and fishing industries risks excluding the majority of Africans from the rising tide of prosperity.

More than 600 million Africans still do not have access to electricity, and the number is set to grow in the coming years. In addition to effectively addressing the climate change challenge, Africa must also proactively rethink the relationship between energy and development, and swiftly leapfrog to a new era of low carbon efficient modern energy systems that provide affordable electricity to all Africans. The Panel also emphasises that a culture of accountability, with zero tolerance for corruption at all levels, supported by transparent institutions, especially with regards to financial activities and tax regimes, will also be fundamental to achieving progressive change and positive transformation on the continent.

Additionally, President Obasanjo stresses the importance of ensuring gender equality as soon as possible. “Africa’s future is in the hands of women. Equal education for girls, at all three education levels, is the critical issue”, he said.

Reaffirming the APP’s recognition of the hard work that lies ahead, the final Africa Progress Panel report concludes thus:

“We have seen Africa transform over the past decade, and our work has left us with an unshakeable hope for its future. We also know, however, that this transformation has required hard work, creativity and courage. This will continue to be vital in the coming years, for much remains to be done” 

The ten-member Africa Progress Panel advocates at the highest levels for equitable and sustainable development in Africa

*Africa Progress Panel

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The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) Signs a EUR 110.5 Million Agreement with SENELEC to Boost Senegal’s Energy Sector
December 19, 2017 | 0 Comments
The operation will contribute to secure the supply of petroleum products for electricity generation and power plants in the country
Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol (left), CEO, ITFC exchanges documents

Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol (left), CEO, ITFC exchanges documents

JEDDAH, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, December 18, 2017/ — The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) (www.ITFC-IDB.org), member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group (www.IsDB.org), signed a EUR 110.5 Million Murabaha Financing Agreement (CFA Franc 72.5 Billion), in favor of SENELEC (Senegal National Power Company) to enhance the country’s power system efficiency.

The agreement was signed by Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO, ITFC, and Mr. Mouhamadou Makhtar Cissé, CEO, SENELEC.

Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol  said after signing the agreement , “ITFC is pleased to participate in Senegal’s ambitious power agenda to address the country’s energy needs.”

He continued “The operation will contribute to secure the supply of petroleum products for electricity generation and power plants in the country, and therefore support its economic development. Moreover, the financing is expected to help improve people’s living conditions in Senegal.”

From his side, Mr. Mouhamadou Makhtar Cissé said: “It is an important step for Senegal’s power sector. The financing will have a strong impact in providing much needed power to help sustain the country’s economic growth and implement Senegal’s Emerging Plan (“PSE 2035”).” He added that “The agreement shall therefore, contribute to the Government efforts to eliminate electricity shortage.”

The country has benefitted from more than USD 321 million of financing since ITFC’s inception in 2008.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC).

 

About the International Islamic Trade and Finance Corporation (ITFC): 
The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (www.ITFC-IDB.org) is an autonomous entity within the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group. ITFC commenced operations in January 2008 with the purpose of consolidating all the trade finance businesses that used to be handled by various windows within the IsDB Group. The consolidation of IsDB Group’s trade finance activities under a single umbrella enhanced the Corporation’s efficiency in service delivery by enabling rapid responses to customer needs in a market-driven business environment.

As a leader in Shari’ah-compliant trade finance, ITFC deploys its expertise and funds to businesses and governments in its Member Countries. With the vision of being the leading provider of trade solutions for OIC Member Countries’ needs, the Corporation helps entities in Member Countries gain better access to trade finance and provides them with trade development programmes in order to help them compete successfully in the global market. Operating to world class standards, ITFC promotes IsDB developmental objectives through its two main pillars, Trade Finance and Trade Development, to fulfil its brand promise of ‘Advancing Trade & Improving Lives’.

 

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Interactive network of focal points concerned with AU strategic partnerships established
December 19, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire
An interactive network of focal points concerned with African Union
(AU) strategic partnerships has been formed to build synergies that
would help galvanise all stakeholders at the continental, regional and
national horizons of the African continent.

The AU Commission and the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF)
are jointly hosting a three day conference titled: ‘Lets Talk’ to
establish interactive networks between the Partnerships Management and
Coordination Division (PMCD) at African Union Commission (AUC) and the
focal points concerned with AU strategic partnerships and
international cooperation at different levels.The conference is being
held in Harare, Zimbabwe on 18 to 20 December, 2017.

The stakeholders include Regional Economic Communities (RECs), AU
regional offices, AU organs and specialised agencies, the Economic
Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) and other agencies.
The PMCD of the AUC has a mandate that centres on managing and
coordinating the activities relating to strategic partnerships between
the AU and its global partners.

The activities are aligned to Africa’s development and integration
agenda as pescribed in the AU’s Agenda 2063 and are particularly aimed
at addressing the needs of the African people.

The meeting being convened in Harare is expected to result in the
launch of the African Partnerships Coordination Platform (APCP),
development of the terms of reference for the platform, format for
harmonised views and coordinated plans and interaction with AU
external partners established, challenges and opportunities for
synergy and modalities for building interactions.

According to Dr Levi Madueke, Head of AU Strategic partnerships,
Bureau of the Chairperson, the AU views the engagement of the AU’s
partners as an activity of great strategic importance in the
continent’s plan to achieve integration and development.

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2018 economy: UBS optimistic on good investment For Emerging Markets
December 17, 2017 | 0 Comments
 as Africa’s technological development  materialise

‎By Yinka Ajayi

Optimistic about the year ahead, UBS Wealth Management’s Chief Investment Office (CIO) has forecasts 2018 to be positive as global economic growth continue at the high 3.8% rate witnessed in 2017.

In a statement signed by , Mark Haefele, Global Chief Investment Officer at UBS Wealth Management, stated: ‘Periods of high economic growth often sow the seeds of their demise. But there is little evidence today of an impending recession. Historically, recessions have been caused by one or more of: capacity constraints, oil price shocks, excessively tight monetary policy, contractions in government spending, or financial crises. None look likely to materialize in 2018. In this environment, we remain positive on equities relative to high-grade and government bonds.’

Overall, UBS expects emerging markets to be well prepared to weather gradual monetary tightening globally. In addition, few other regions are better positioned to benefit from growth in the technology sector.

Within Africa, political risks may in some limited cases overshadow investment opportunities. Depending on the outcome of ANC elections later this month, South Africa’s credit rating in particular might deteriorate further after S&P’s downgrade a few days ago, potentially discouraging foreign investment.

In the same vein, Ali Janoudi, Head of Wealth Management Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, France and Benelux International at UBS Wealth Management, added : ‘ African economies supported by demographic trends will  continue to see significant potential and  technological progress. In the case of South Africa, such opportunities seem currently challenged by political risks in the short term.’

Central banks will tighten monetary policy and in some cases raise interest rates in 2018. In certain areas, especially financial services, this will bring opportunities, except in the unlikely event of significant hikes. But amid rising rates, investors will also need to prepare for higher volatility, higher dispersion of returns from individual stocks, and in some cases higher correlations between equities and bonds. Conversely, this may benefit alternative and other active asset managers.

Extreme political scenarios, principally a US-North Korea conflict, remain a low-probability risk for markets. However, politics may have a significant local impact. Investors can either hedge this by diversifying their portfolios globally or by treating it as an opportunity, particularly in the case of longer-term trends such as emerging market infrastructure development.

Likewise, extreme financial outcomes, principally a Chinese debt crisis, are unlikely to materialize in 2018 but worth monitoring. Total bank assets in China are 310% of GDP, nearly three times higher than the emerging market average. However, China’s high growth rate, powerful state, and closed capital account make it less susceptible to debt crises. Our base case is for 6.4% growth versus 6.8% in 2017.

Finally, social, environmental, and technological change continue to present both opportunities and risks. For the stock market, we see the most important long-term tech themes as digital data, automation and robotics, and smart mobility. Investors can also put capital to work in a variety of social and environmental fields across the growing field of sustainable investing, including multilateral development bank bonds and impact investing as well as listed equities.

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Congo, Kasai: Samy Badibanga, ex-Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo issues an urgent appeal for an international donor conference
December 16, 2017 | 0 Comments
According to the World Food Programme, 250,000 children will die if they don’t receive food aid urgently
Samy Badibanga in a handshake with President Joseph Kabila

Samy Badibanga in a handshake with President Joseph Kabila

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, December 12, 2017/ — Samy Badibanga, ex-Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo issues an urgent appeal for an international donor conference:

As honorary prime minister of the DRC, I join the urgent appeal by the Catholic and Protestant churches in the Congo issued to the international community for an international donor conference for Kasai. A humanitarian operation in Kasai is necessary to put an end to a tragic humanitarian situation. We must put aside the question of the elections and stop looking at the Congo merely for its mineral wealth. The violence, insecurity and indiscriminate massacres that are terrorising the population mean that international action in the Congo must be reviewed in full. There is large-scale abuse of basic human rights. The terrorist acts committed against UN investigators and peacekeepers in 2017 must not weaken our resolve. Quite the contrary, as the core values of the United Nations Charter are being put to the test in Kasai. To restore them, urgent humanitarian action is required to bring at least food and medical assistance. Given the cruel lack of resources resulting from a neglected crisis, we need an international donor conference. The Democratic Republic of Congo is Africa’s second most populous country with nearly 100 million inhabitants. The United Nations’ 2030 Agenda will never be achieved without substantial humanitarian progress in the DRC. And that is what is at stake today in Kasai.

According to the World Food Programme, 250,000 children will die if they don’t receive food aid urgently. The joint declaration made by the Congolese Catholic and Protestant churches in Kinshasa on Human Rights Day, December 10th, should serve as an alarm call for the international community. Through them and their networks in the field, urgent action is possible if the funding is there. Over 10 billion dollars’ worth of copper and cobalt are mined in the country every year for export. According to Global Witness, only 6% of the total value of mining exports reaches the State budget. So how can you explain to the Congolese people in Kasai that the international community is incapable of raising 812 million dollars for the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan for the DRC?

Since the beginning of 2017, the number of people displaced because of violence in the Congo has doubled from two to four million, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The Congolese population in Kasai, Kivu and Tanganyika need not only emergency humanitarian aid, in the form of food and medical assistance, but also post-emergency aid, particularly to stabilise Kasai and Kivu. The gravity of the current situation, the distress of millions of women and children, demands an international donor conference to mobilise funds and provide urgent food and medical assistance to the affected populations.

One year after Kasai was hit by an explosion of violence, even though the violence is subsiding, the population has gone from extreme poverty to level 3 extreme humanitarian emergency. Whilst some of those who fled have gradually returned, the time to launch a major humanitarian operation has come, for which the Congolese State, weakened and battered by a severe economic crisis, has not the means to fund. The time has come to call for world solidarity and on the generosity of the international community to mobilise urgent humanitarian aid to the Congo and thus rescue a population in absolute distress.

The intensity of violence and humanitarian crisis assailing the Congolese population is unparalleled on our planet. Throughout the country, there are 4 million displaced persons. This figure tops 1.4 million in Kasai. There are 957,000 displaced persons in Kivu, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The violence and humanitarian crisis in Kasai particularly affect women and children, and over a million of them are directly exposed to famine. Moreover, Médecins Sans Frontières states that “the Kasai crisis been completely neglected”. Only 151 of the 812 million dollars of the humanitarian plan for the country have been financed.

Located in the centre of the country, with lands rich with diamonds yet severely lacking infrastructure, and ravaged by barbaric inexplicable violence for a year, Kasai needs a high level of expertise in the handling of crisis and humanitarian emergency situations. The population has an immediate need for food to avoid a famine. The people also need urgent medical assistance for the victims of violence and diseases. In addition to the wounded, cholera has been spreading in twenty of the country’s twenty-six provinces. The DRC is fortunate to have an immense network of churches and Monusco, which could have a crucial role in deploying emergency humanitarian aid with an force of nearly twenty thousand individuals and substantial levels of equipment.

In addition to urgent aid, the post-emergency phase must also be prepared. We understand how “cash for work” operations can help a population to recover its dignity and provide subsistence whilst improving, for instance, local access roads, which are crucial for reviving agriculture. This is also the best way of preventing unemployed youth living in extreme poverty from being lured into armed conflicts.

Whilst 77 people escape extreme poverty in Asia every minute, every minute in the DRC 3.6 people fall into extreme poverty. Achieving the sustainable development goals is a particularly ambitious objective in central Africa, where the DRC is the largest country with a forecast population of 120 million in 2030. However, the conflicts and violence in the different regions in the DRC stall progress towards fulfilment of the UN’s 2030 Agenda. How can Africa hope to achieve the sustainable development goals if the DRC is unable to do so? How can a population focus on climate change with no food, work or roofs to sleep under after attacks have ravaged their villages?

For all these reasons, as ex-prime minister, citizen and elected representative of my country, I hereby call on the international community to heed the appeal by the churches for an international conference of donors for Kasai. I know that the Congolese people are not alone in being affected by a serious humanitarian crisis. However, no country at peace has so many displaced persons. I know that the capacities for intervention and global solidarity allow swift action to assist a population that, already trapped by extreme poverty, has been ravaged by atrocious acts of violence preventing them from providing for their basic needs. We can move swiftly with the immense network of Catholic and Protestant churches across the Congo, and Monusco. And we must move swiftly. In this 21st century, the international community knows how to mobilise itself to come to the aid of a population in distress. And it is to that community that this urgent humanitarian appeal for an international donor conference for Kasai is addressed.

Emergency appeal to an international donor conference for Grand Kasai – http://APO.af/UPxMKk

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The winner of Kuwait’s Al-Sumait Prize for African Development for 2017 in the field of Education received their award at a special ceremony held in Kuwait City
December 16, 2017 | 0 Comments
His Highness Deputy Amir Crown Prince Nawaf Al Ahmed Al Sabah hands over Al-Sumait Prize to Executive Director of FAWE Africa Hendrina Doroba

His Highness Deputy Amir Crown Prince Nawaf Al Ahmed Al Sabah hands over Al-Sumait Prize to Executive Director of FAWE Africa Hendrina Doroba

KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait, December 14, 2017/ — His Highness Deputy Amir Crown Prince Nawaf Al Ahmed Al Sabah awarded the 2017 prize, which comprises of one million dollars, a gold medal and shield at a special ceremony yesterday morning in Kuwait.

The 2017 Al-Sumait Education category award went to the Forum of African Women Educationalists (FAWE) Kenya, for their sustained efforts towards the achievement across the African continent of equity and equality in education through targeted programs. FAWE Africa Executive Director Hendrina Doroba said, “We feel tremendously honoured by this award that will be used to support our efforts in promoting and developing equity and equality in education on the continent, particularly through our centres of excellence and partnerships with governments across Africa.”

 

Initiated in 2013 by His Highness The Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah, the Al-Sumait Prize for African Development is designed to reward innovative and inspiring initiatives and research by individuals and organizations that address the challenges facing the African continent. The award recognizes and honours individuals or institutions that help advance economic and social development, human resources development and infrastructure in Africa.

Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin, Director General of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) (www.KFAS.org), which administers Kuwait’s Al-Sumait Prize (www.AlSumaitPrize.org) for African Development, told the audience that FAWE’s inclusive and strategic approach to tackling education inequality in particular between girls and boys education was truly inspiring.

The Al-Sumait Board of Trustees comprises prominent international personalities in the field of development in Africa and world-renowned philanthropists. The Board is chaired by H.E. Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait.

Other trustees include Mr. Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Makhtar Diop, Vice President of the World Bank for Africa, Dr. Kwaku Aning, Former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and Mr. Abdulatif Al-Hamad, Director General and Chairman of the Board of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development.

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Togo: The Orabank Group opens a trading room in Lomé
December 16, 2017 | 0 Comments
The Orabank Group wishes to be a key player in the UEMOA money market and to play a leading role in boosting the secondary market for government securities
LOME, Togo, December 15, 2017/ — The Orabank Group (www.Orabank.net), present in 12 countries and in four monetary zones in West and Central Africa, announces the opening of a regional and international trading room in Lomé, Togo. Ever since its formation, the Orabank Group has always had the will and ambition to support its customers (both individuals and businesses), to actively contribute to the financing of the private sector, to optimize the mobilization of local savings and to stimulate growth in African financial markets.

This new trading room provides a concrete answer to each of these four objectives. Indeed, it offers Oragroup a leading position as a financial intermediary that places the bank at the heart of financial exchanges in the countries where it operates, in order to best serve its private and institutional clients, both in Africa and internationally, as well as other regional banks.

In a market previously dominated by players operating from Europe and the United States, Oragroup now offers its clients a competitive and up-to-date offer in Africa, to intervene on the foreign exchange market in the monetary areas where its subsidiaries are established. The Orabank Group wishes to be a key player in the UEMOA money market and to play a leading role in boosting the secondary market for government securities.

The opening of this trading room is also intended to strengthen synergies within the Group, allowing significant economies of scale in foreign exchange hedging transactions between subsidiaries while increasing the share of cash net banking income. This new step is part of the “2016-2018 Strategy – Consolidation and Efficiency” plan, aimed at strengthening the Group’s financial strength.

“This new step illustrates the dynamic of our Group characterized by a strong performance in 2016 and an upward trajectory in 2017, combining profitability, commercial development and innovations, particularly in the deployment of digital solutions. In 2018, Oragroup is set to accentuate its growth along with its values ​​of humanity, commitment, and rigor in order to contribute to the development of the African financial sector as a central engine of our economies. That is our collective will”, says Binta Touré Ndoye, CEO of Oragroup.

Oragroup is present in 12 countries of West and Central Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Chad, Togo) and in four monetary areas (WAEMU, CEMAC, Guinea Conakry, Mauritania). With 143 bank branches and 1,750 employees, Oragroup offers its 400,000 customers (large companies, both national and international, SMEs and individuals) a wide range of products and banking services based on proximity and efficiency.

Oragroup (www.Orabank.net) believes in financial inclusion through the deployment of innovative solutions and focuses on previously neglected segments of the population. This commitment is reflected in its CSR approach, which is an integral part of its strategy, focused on energy transition and environmental as well as social risk management, to the greater benefit of its employees and the public at large.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Partner Lodge achieving Platinum Level Carbon Neutrality:

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

Park and the sustainable development of its surrounding communities.

Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project Implementing Partners:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Digital Frontiers Institute

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

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CCA Leads U.S. Delegation to Sudan on Historic Trade Mission
December 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

Washington, DC – December 14, 2017 Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) led an historic trade mission to Khartoum, Sudan on December 3-7, 2017. This first trade mission to Sudan – less than two months after the U.S. government lifted economic sanctions in place for over 20 years – afforded U.S. companies an up close and hands on experience in Sudan to gain a deeper understanding of Sudan’s current investment climate and business opportunities.

CCA President and CEO, Ms. Florizelle Liser and the Director for Investment and Infrastructure, Mr. Biova Kabine, led the trade mission to Sudan. The 21-person delegation of CCA member and other companies represented sectors from infrastructure, oil and gas, mining, health and medical supplies, and financial services.  Participating companies included A&A Consultants, Inc, ACROW Bridge, All American Logistics, Caterpillar, Diamond Fields International, General Electric, Shell, The Boeing Company, Trade and Development Bank, US Best Medical, Varian Medical Systems and Visa. The trade mission was sponsored by Sudatel and Trade and Development Bank (TDB).

“We received a very warm welcome in Sudan, and we came away with the knowledge that the government and people of Sudan are eager and ready to engage with U.S. businesses” said Ms. Liser. “I am grateful to the major sponsors of the trade mission (including Sudatel and the Trade and Development Bank), the Sudanese Government, the U.S. State Department and embassy in Khartoum, and to the participating companies and trade mission delegates, who made this historic trade mission a reality.”

The delegation was welcomed by senior Sudanese government officials, including meetings with Sudan’s Prime Minister, H.E. Bakri Hassan Saleh as well as its Foreign Affairs Minister, H.E. Prof. Ibrahim Ahmed Abdulaziz Ghandour; and also explored investment opportunities and networked with key business leaders in a market that had been closed off to U.S. investors due to the sanctions.

The delegation started its meetings with a briefing by the U.S. Embassy Khartoum’s Country Team as well as one by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) country representatives which provided companies with an overview of the political and economic environment in Sudan as well as forecasts for Sudan’s economic growth and business prospects. TDB President Admassu Tadesse provided valuable information to the delegates on how TDB can provide financing for projects, serving as a bridge mechanism while commercial banks are still considering when and how to move into the promising Sudanese market.

The trade mission featured a high-level business-to-government forum during which detailed presentations on various Sudanese sectors provided attending U.S. companies with the kinds of in-depth information needed to inform their business decisions. The forum was opened by H.E. Mubarak al Fadil al Mahdi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Investment. The Ministers of Finance and Economic Planning, H.E. Dr. Mohamed Othman Al-Rikabi; Agriculture and Forestry, H.E. Dr. Abdulatif Ahmed Mohamed Al Igeimi; Petroleum and Gas, H.E. Dr. Abdulrahman Osman Abdulrahman; Water Resources, Irrigation and Electricity, H.E. Mutz Mousa Abdalla Salim; Transport, Roads and Bridges, H.E. Engineer Makawi Mohamed Awad; Health, H.E. Bahar Idris Abu Garda Abulgasim; Minerals, H.E. Professor Hashim Ali Mohamed Salim; and Environment, Natural Resources and Physical Development, H.E. Dr. Hassan Abdulgadir Hilal were also in attendance. CCA trade mission delegates then had the opportunity to hold one-on-one meetings with some ministers.

The delegation continued the mission with business-to-business meetings with more than fifty company representatives that are members of the Sudanese Businessmen and Employers Federation and the U.S. Sudan Business Council.  In a briefing by the Sudanese Central Bank, the Sudanese Bankers Association, and the Bank of Khartoum, the delegation heard from senior executives about the Sudanese financial services sector and discussed both the challenges and opportunities related to bank financing of business ventures and projects in Sudan.

The delegation also did several site visits including one to Sudatel’s Data Center – one of only two such centers in the region; and another to DAL Group facilities, which highlighted this premier Sudanese multinational’s multiple business lines and allowed the delegates to visit the DAL Milk Factory and its modern dairy farm.

Due to the trade mission, several delegates have identified new business opportunities and potential local partners, collected key market data and made substantial progress on large transactions.

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

By Ajong Mbapndah L

 

Ambassador Omar Arouna has solid credentials for consistent advocacy for Africa

Ambassador Omar Arouna has solid credentials for consistent advocacy for Africa

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The functions of the Commission on African Affairs are to:

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

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

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

By Mariam Abdullahi*

 

Mariam Abdullahi

Mariam Abdullahi

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

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

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

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

The USD 60 trillion opportunity

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

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

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

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

The building blocks of a reimagined telco business model

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

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

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

The risk of a DIY mindset

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

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

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

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

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

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

*  The author is Telco Industry Lead at SAP Africa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*AMA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Omar Sakr is the founder and CEO of Nawah-Scientific. Omar graduated as a pharmacist in 2005 from Ain Shams University, Egypt, after which he was appointed as a teaching assistant in the department of Pharmaceutical Technology, at the German University of Cairo (GUC) where he got his MSc degree in 2009. Omar then started his PhD journey at the University of Geneva, Switzerland and got his doctoral degree in 2015. As a part of his studies Omar worked for 3 years as a researcher at Capsulution Pharma in Berlin (Germany). Omar’s research activities are focused on nanotech applications for controlled delivery of small molecules and biological drugs. To his name, Omar holds several scientific and business awards for innovative product design. He authored and co-authored several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters that are published in top journals in the field.
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SureRemit targets 250 million immigrants with non-cash remittance service
December 8, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ismail Ahmed, founder and CEO at WorldRemit

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michael Liu, Regional Director, Asia-Pacific

Michael Liu, Regional Director, Asia-Pacific

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rwanda Africa’s ‘City of Innovation’ to host conference on ‘Uniting Africa’
December 7, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Rwanda's Paul Kagame and Chad's Idriss Derby displaying their copies of the African Union Passport

Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Chad’s Idriss Derby displaying their copies of the African Union Passport

Next year Rwanda, one of Africa’s most technologically ambitious
countries, will take over the Chairmanship of the African Union. It
will also play host to eLearning Africa and the organisers are
predicting that it will be the biggest conference in the event’s
13-year history. They believe it could play a signinficant role in
pushing forward the African Union’s 2063 Agenda.

The conference, which is being jointly organised by ICWE GmbH and the
Rwanda Convention Bureau under the patronage of the Rwandan
Government, usually attracts well over 1,000 participants from all
over the world. They are not only teachers, academics and learning
experts, but political leaders, policy makers, investors,
technologists, business leaders and entrepreneurs too. The conference
will also be an occasion for an annual round table meeting of African
education and technology ministers.

In Rwanda, participants in eLearning Africa will have a chance to see
for themselves the achievements of an African government, which has
set about using technology to transform education. In 2014, the
Government signed an agreement to incorporate information and
communication technology into the country’s schools and colleges. The
benefits of “a new system of teaching that emphasises the use of
computers and internet to impart knowledge” are already starting to be
felt across the country. And now the Government is confident that by
2020 all schools in the country will have at least two smart
classrooms and all subjects will have been digitised.

eLearning Africa 2018 will take place from 26 to 28 September in
Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali, which has gained a reputation for its
ICT-based initiatives in a variety of sectors. So great is its
apparent enthusiasm for new technological solutions that some
observers have referred to it as the “Innovation City of Africa.”

In addition to its technological prowess, Kigali is also one of
Africa’s most attractive cities – eLearning Africa participants will
be able to take advantage of its bustling streets, ridges, valleys,
and lush hillsides, not to mention Rwanda’s world renowned Gorilla
trekking tours, only a short journey away.

“It is wonderful that Rwanda is now setting a real example for other
countries in technology-assisted learning and hosting a conference
whose theme is „Uniting Africa“, says conference organiser, Rebecca
Stromeyer. “l am confident that eLearning Africa 2018 in Rwanda will
be the biggest and most exciting eLA yet.”

Under the overall theme of “Uniting Africa,“ conference participants
will also discuss how the benefits of technology can be shared and
help to improve education across Africa, making a reality of the
African Union’s 2063 Vision of a “transformed continent.” A call for
papers has been issued and will remain open until 30 January 2018. The
organisers are looking for contributions on subjects including
“creating opportunities through education,” “boosting competitiveness
and ICT-centric growth,” “matching skills demand and supply,” and
“overcoming barriers.”

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AfDB’s Leadership4Agriculture Forum Sets in Motion Strategies to Spur Africa’s Agricultural Transformation
December 7, 2017 | 0 Comments

ABIDJAN, COTE D’IVOIRE – December 6, 2017 – African Finance and Agriculture Ministers and private sector leaders convened for the African Development Bank’s first high-level convening of the Leadership4Agriculture (L4Ag) Forum to pave a way forward in spurring the continent’s agricultural transformation on November 28 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

The invitation-only L4Ag Forum, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and in collaboration with the Initiative for Global Development (IGD) and Grow Africa was held at the AfDB headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. The event was held on the sidelines of the AU-EU Summit, which took place on November 29-30.

More than 150 public and private sector leaders gathered for dialogue, advocacy and policy action to drive Africa’s agriculture transformation on the theme, “Leadership for Agriculture: Moving African Policy to Action”. African Ministers from Cote d’Ivoire, the Republic of the Congo, Mali, Sierra Leone, Togo, Central African Republic, Seychelles, Ghana, Uganda, Gambia, and Chad were in attendance at the forum.

In a keynote address, Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, president of the African Development Bank, told forum attendees that, more than ever before, governments and private sector must work together to rapidly modernize agriculture in Africa to reach its full potential.

President Adesina challenged African agriculture leaders to become global food producers and move away from importing foods that the continent should be producing, emphasizing that Africa sits on 65% of the world’s uncultivated arable land.

African countries currently spend $35 billion annually on food imports and if current trends continue the continent will spend some $110 billion annually by 2030 on food imports. “There is absolutely no reason for Africa to be a food-importing region,” said Adesina. “Africa has huge potentials in agriculture, but nobody eats potential!”

The AfDB President encouraged African leaders to develop new agrarian systems that combine smallholder farmers with a dynamic generation of medium and large commercial farmers.

African Ministers and private sector leaders offer insights on the panel, “Agriculture Powering Africa’s Economic Transformation: Fueling Agro-industry and Agribusiness”

African Ministers and private sector leaders offer insights on the panel, “Agriculture Powering Africa’s Economic Transformation: Fueling Agro-industry and Agribusiness”

Mamadou Biteye, managing director of the Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office, agreed, noting that “strong and decisive” leadership and partnerships are required to achieve a greater impact in ensuring Africa’s food security, creating jobs and mobilizing investments in the agriculture sector.

The Rockefeller Foundation conceived the Leadership4Agriculture Forum during its 2013 centennial celebrations, where an unprecedented gathering of finance and agriculture leaders from over 20 African countries convened to identify concrete ways to work together and strengthen African agricultural markets and value chains to benefit economies.

“African governments need to be talking and integrating action,” asserted Biteye. He implored governments to draw in the private sector, “so they cease shying away from the sector due to the perception of agriculture being risky, and make greater investment.”

Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych, president and CEO of the Initiative for Global Development reiterated the essential role of the private sector in delivering fundamental change in the agriculture sector.

“Agriculture is a business,” said Nedelcovych. “For far too long, agriculture has been approached largely as a development issue, and Africa’s born- and bred private sector was not actively sought out to be part of the long-term strategy for their country’s agricultural transformation.”

IGD collaborated, in partnership with the AfDB and Rockefeller Foundation, in the planning, execution and outreach to the African private sector for the L4Ag Forum.

By bringing together private sector leaders with high-level African officials to drive action and growth in Africa’s agriculture sector, Nedelcovych said the forum aimed to push for a market-led approach to agriculture.

Moderated by BBC presenter Alan Kasujja, a panel of Ministers and private sector leaders discussed and put forth solutions and strategies on transforming Africa’s agriculture by improving the regulatory environment, enhancing access to improved agricultural inputs and commercializing agriculture during panel sessions.

The forum panel sessions — “Enabling the Business of Agriculture: Increasing Access to Agricultural Inputs to Enhance Productivity and Regulatory Reforms”and “Agriculture Powering Africa’s Economic Transformation: Fueling Agro-industry and Agribusiness” — were guided by recently-released reports by the World Bank’s 2017 Enabling the Business of Agriculture Report and the 2017 Africa Transformation Report by African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET).

Joost W. van Odijk of Grow Africa outlined to forum attendees the Country Agribusiness Partnership Frameworks or CAP-F, a tool that sets policy reforms in motion through cross-sectoral engagements to improve efficiency in the agribusiness value chains and to attract private sector investments.

During the public-private action roundtable sessions, African high-level government officials and business leaders reviewed policy and sub-indicators from the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and brainstormed their aligned interests and achievable goals in reaching policy indicators. The breakout sessions also explored investment opportunities in agribusiness ventures. CAADP is a policy framework for agricultural transformation, food security and nutrition, and advancing country-led economic growth in Africa.

Nedelcovych encouraged attendees to take the wealth of knowledge and bold strategies gained at the forum to build momentum for Africa’s agricultural transformation.

“There’s a tremendous opportunity to work together and deepen public-private sector collaborations and investment in agriculture to harness its full potential and contribute to accelerating the continent’s economic growth,” said Nedelcovych. “We all must be champions for agriculture!”

An action-oriented outcomes report highlighting forum sessions and actions from the public-private sector roundtables will be will be produced in early-January.

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A borderless Africa? Not yet, but some countries open doors
December 7, 2017 | 0 Comments

By RODNEY MUHUMUZA*

FILE - In this Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017 file photo, the crowd watch as Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, center, and Deputy President William Ruto, center right, appear on a video screen at his inauguration ceremony at Kasarani stadium in Nairobi, Kenya. Citing the need to be "more integrated," Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced during his inauguration that the East African commercial hub will now give visas on arrival to all Africans. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

FILE – In this Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017 file photo, the crowd watch as Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, center, and Deputy President William Ruto, center right, appear on a video screen at his inauguration ceremony at Kasarani stadium in Nairobi, Kenya. Citing the need to be “more integrated,” Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced during his inauguration that the East African commercial hub will now give visas on arrival to all Africans. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

For years African leaders have toyed with the idea of free movement by citizens across the continent, even raising the possibility of a single African passport.

Now some African countries are taking bold steps to encourage borderless travel that could spur trade and economic growth on a continent in desperate need of both.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced during his inauguration last week that the East African commercial hub will now give visas on arrival to all Africans. That follows similar measures by nations including Benin and Rwanda.

“The freer we are to travel and live with one another, the more integrated and appreciative of our diversity we will become,” Kenyatta said.

The African Union continental body has cheered such steps, calling it the direction the 54-nation continent needs to take. “I urge all African states that have not yet done so to take similar measures,” AU Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said on Twitter after Kenya’s announcement.

Trade among African countries is at just 16 percent, while trade among European Union states is at 70 percent, Mahamat told AU trade ministers on Friday.

For a continent whose leaders often speak fondly of “African brotherhood” and once pondered the idea of a United States of Africa, the visa policies of many countries for many years suggested little progress in implementing the continent-wide, visa-free ideal advocated by the AU.

Africans can get a visa on arrival in 24 percent of African countries, yet North Americans, for example, have easier access on the continent, according to a 2017 report on visa openness by the African Development Bank. African Union figures show Africans need visas to travel to 54 percent of the continent.

Free migration of people across the continent would help in talent exchange as well as trade, said Ali Abdi, the Uganda chief of mission at the International Organization for Migration. Countries may have to invest more in border patrols but “the benefits far outweigh the costs, in my view.”

Kenya’s decision is a “good move and it’s progressive,” said Godber Tumushabe with the Uganda-based Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies. “It should have been done a long time ago.”

Change is coming, and not just in East Africa. While visiting Rwanda last year, Benin’s President Patrice Talon said his West African country would no longer require visas for other Africans. He said he was inspired by Rwanda, whose government started issuing visas on arrival to Africans in 2013 and recently announced that in 2018 citizens of all countries will benefit from the policy.

“We are happy that other African countries are opening their borders up for Africans to increase foreign investments,” said Olivier Nduhungirehe, a deputy foreign minister in Rwanda in charge of regional integration. Opening borders will spur economic prosperity for the entire continent, he said.

Some African countries are going visa-free by region first. Weeks ago, the Central African Economic and Monetary Community removed visa requirements for citizens of its six members.

Many African countries rely heavily on tourism for foreign currency. Kenya’s new visa policy was welcomed in a country where the threat by Islamic extremists based in neighboring Somalia has deterred some international travelers.

Offering visas on arrival to all Africans could attract the continent’s small but growing middle class.

“Visa-free travel for Africans into Kenya is a great move by the president and a strategic one for the tourism industry,” said Bobby Kamani, who runs the popular Diani Reef Beach Resort and Spa in the second-largest city, Mombasa. “The president’s bold move couldn’t have come at a better time when the tourism sector has experienced uncertainty and is now on recovery mode.”

Conflict and sharp income disparities in many countries are among other factors slowing the adoption of visa-free policies. Even the African Union passport, launched in July 2016 and given to some heads of state, is yet to be offered to citizens.

Some North African countries, notably Libya, struggle with a flow of impoverished African migrants trying to make their way to Europe. South Africa, one of the continent’s top economies, has seen a sometimes violent backlash against African immigrants amid fears about crime and the taking of jobs. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and another of its strongest economies, maintains visa requirements before arrival for many nations across the continent.

Still, many are hopeful for a borderless Africa and urge those regional leaders to follow Kenya’s lead.

“Is a new wind blowing across #Africa?” Wolfgang Thome, a tourism consultant who once led the Uganda Tourism Association, tweeted. “When will the last walls fall? #Nigeria we are waiting!”

*AP

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Dangote: Only African in Bloomberg 50 list of year’s most influential people
December 5, 2017 | 0 Comments
Dangote’s contribution to the world this year revolves around his dynamic attention to lessen food imports into his own country and Africa’s largest nation, Nigeria
Aliko Dangote

Aliko Dangote

NEW YORK, United States of America, December 5, 2017/ — Aliko Dangote was honored last night at the Bloomberg 50 annual gala dinner at New York’s iconic Gotham Hall. Bloomberg’s list of 50 most influential names (http://APO.af/hCnHFd) who have had an impact on the world in 2017 included Dangote, Africa’s richest person, for his outstanding commitment of over $4B USD to increase Nigeria’s food production capacity.

Represented in New York by the CEO of his Foundation, Dangote was joined by electric car visionary Elon Musk; Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmon; Beatrice Fihn, anti-nuclear weapons advocate and Nobel Peace Laureate; Amazon’s Jeff Bezos; Robert Mueller, special counsel investigating Donald Trump’s potential collusion with Russia; and Vitalik Buterin, whose invention of the cryptocurrency Ethereum is revolutionizing the new blockchain craze.

Dangote’s contribution to the world this year revolves around his dynamic attention to lessen food imports into his own country and Africa’s largest nation, Nigeria, by focusing on domestic production of sugar and dairy, with 500 million liters of Nigerian milk to be produced by 2019. Earlier this year he announced a $50B USD plan to invest in renewable energy.

“What sets The Bloomberg 50 apart from other lists is that each person chosen has demonstrated measurable change over the past year,” Bloomberg Businessweek editor Megan Murphy  said.

The event was emceed by actor Keegan-Michael Key, with a performance by Mandy Gonzalez of Broadway sensation “Hamilton.”

Dangote claimed another distinction at the Bloomberg 50; he was the only African.

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Barclays Africa, China Development Bank sign agreement to cooperate on development projects in Africa
December 5, 2017 | 0 Comments
Barclays Africa will leverage the MoU to unlock opportunities in order to strengthen its contribution towards Africa’s economic growth and development
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, December 5, 2017/ — Barclays Africa Group Limited (BAGL) (www.BarclaysAfrica.com) and China Development Bank (CDB) (www.CDB.com.cn) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at strengthening cooperation and exploring opportunities to fund development projects in Africa.

Given CDB’s focus on infrastructure finance for roads, railways and dams, Barclays Africa will leverage the MoU to unlock opportunities in order to strengthen its contribution towards Africa’s economic growth and development. Barclays Africa will also extract synergies from the CDB’s focus on inclusive finance to provide capital to SME’s and low income communities.

In addition, Barclays Africa and CDB will explore reciprocal training and development opportunities for their respective investment teams. In this regard, Barclays Africa has already hosted more than 30 employees from the CDB.

“This MoU represents a long-term commitment by senior leadership at Barclays Africa to strengthen our relationship with the world’s largest development finance institution, which has assets of over US$2-trillion. This partnership will unlock opportunities that are aligned to our Shared Growth approach and could facilitate positive socio-economic impact,” says Barclays Africa’s Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) Co-Chief Executive, Temi Ofong.

Barclays Africa has a history of more than 100 years in Africa, with deep local and regional expertise. As one of the leading Pan-African banks on the continent, Barclays Africa’s in-depth understanding of local markets and sectors, coupled with a strong branch, ATM and customer networks, is well positioned to provide a unique value proposition to local, regional and global clients.

“Strengthening these kinds of relationships will help our Group identify opportunities aligned to our Shared Growth commitment to leave our communities better than we found them. As a Pan-African bank, Shared Growth gives our business an exciting opportunity to make a difference in our communities and to be part of shaping the collective futures of this great continent,” says Ofong.

The CDB was established in 1994 as a policy bank but now operates as a Development Finance Institution (DFI) for the Chinese Government. By 2017, CDB supported more than 500 projects in 43 African countries valued at USD 50-billion.

In 2016, China-Africa trade flow reached US$150-billion, making China, Africa’s largest trade partner for seven consecutive years.

Barclays Africa Group Limited (‘Barclays Africa Group’ or ‘the Group’) (www.BarclaysAfrica.com) is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and is one of Africa’s largest diversified financial services groups. As of June 2017, Barclays PLC is a minority shareholder in Barclays Africa Group.

Barclays Africa Group offers an integrated set of products and services across personal and business banking, corporate and investment banking, wealth and investment management and insurance. We are strongly positioned as a fully local bank with regional and international expertise. We are committed to Shared Growth, which for us means having a positive impact on society and delivering shareholder value.

Barclays Africa Group operates in 12 countries, with approximately 40 000 employees, serving close to 12 million customers.

The Group’s registered head office is in Johannesburg, South Africa and owns majority stakes in banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania (Barclays Bank Tanzania and National Bank of Commerce), Uganda and Zambia. The Group also has representative offices in Namibia and Nigeria.

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Egypt to host six Heads of State and Africa’s leading Chief Executive Officers at the Africa 2017 Forum
December 5, 2017 | 0 Comments
Over 100 speakers and 1,500 delegates to discuss regional integration and job creation in Africa
CAIRO, Egypt, December 5, 2017/ — President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi will be hosting six African heads of state at the Africa 2017 Forum (www.BusinessForAfricaForum.com) that will take place this week in the picturesque beach resort of Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. The President of Guinea, current chair of the AU, will be joining the Forum as well as the Presidents of Chad, Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire, Comoros and Somalia. The Vice President of Nigeria is also expected as is the Prime Minister of Mozambique. The Forum will start with a Young Entrepreneurs Day, with 50 of Africa’s leading start-ups in funding and partner pitches.

This business and investment Forum, whose theme is “Driving investment for inclusive growth’, has been convened to increase intra African investments and cross border collaboration. Egypt in 2015 hosted the signing of the tripartite agreement between the three regional economic communities SADC, COMESA and the EAC, and the Forum has been designed for African business leaders to play a greater role by investing in opportunities throughout the continent.

The first edition of the Forum took place in February 2016. This year the programme has been enhanced to include 2 exclusive Presidential Roundtables, where these business leaders will openly discuss policy with the African presidents present to help create a more conducive business environment, in addition to immense investment and business opportunities available in the continent. Youth and entrepreneurs will also play a prominent role. Over 50 of the continent’s brightest and most promising entrepreneurs have been invited to showcase their businesses and will be presenting them to investors and funds in a Deal room curated by Asoko Insights.

The Forum is being organised by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt and the COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA). Speaking ahead of the Forum, Dr. Sahar Nasr, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt stressed the importance of greater intra-Africa collaboration: “Intra-Africa trade is a valuable component of Africa’s and Egypt’s economic growth strategy,” she said. “For Egypt’s growth strategy, Intra-Africa trade remains a valuable component. Despite European and North American markets dominating Egypt’s trade activities, we have proximity to African markets as well as trade agreements with African nations. The markets where Egypt has seen an increase in its trade include North Africa, specifically Morocco, East Africa, specifically Kenya, South Africa and Sudan.”

Heba Salama, head of RIA, highlighted the responsibility of the private sector to devise innovative solutions. “The private sector can play an important role in filling in the US $93bn infrastructure gap. Manufacturing is another important sector where private sector support is needed. McKinsey Global Institute estimates that Africa could double its manufacturing output in 10 years, which could ultimately create between 6 million and 14 million stable jobs and boost African GDP growth.”

The Forum will take place between the 7-9th of December. The speakers feature some of Africa’s leading CEOs and policy makers, including Isabel dos Santos, Chairperson of Unitel Angola, Daniel Matjila, CEO, Public Investment Corporation, Dr. Ahmed Heikal, Founder of Qalaa Holdings, Tony Elumelu, Chairman of UBA, Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

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

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BUSINESS TRAVELER MAGAZINE NAMES SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS THE BEST IN AFRICA
December 5, 2017 | 0 Comments

SAA recognized as “Best Airline in Africa” and “Best Business Class to Africa”
Fort Lauderdale, FL (December 5, 2017) – South African Airways (SAA), the national flag carrier of South Africa and Africa’s most awarded airline is proud to be the recipient of two of Business Traveler Magazine’s prestigious Best in Business Travel Awards for 2017. Being honored for the 9th consecutive year as “Best Airline in Africa” and the 8th consecutive year as “Best Business Class to Africa” by the readers of Business Traveler is a continued affirmation of SAA’s long-standing position as the preferred carrier for business travel to the continent.

“We are thrilled to have earned these two awards from Business Traveler, a publication whose readers know the very best in travel,” said Todd Neuman, Executive Vice President for South African Airways in North America. “It is a tremendous honor to be named their favorite airline to the African continent for so many years. All of us at SAA will continue to work hard to earn their support and accolades by offering the most convenient schedules and unsurpassed service on our flights to Africa.”

“The business traveller has absolutely taken center stage,” noted Dan Booth, editorial director of Business Traveler Magazine. “Today’s business travel community – empowered by technology – is an ever-expanding platform for new products, new ideas, and new opportunities. For our readers to pick your company as the Best in Business Travel means you have connected with them in a meaningful and innovative way. And your most sophisticated and demanding customers are recognizing you for it.”

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

For further information on South African Airways product and services, please visit www.flysaa.com or for reservations call 1-(800) 722-9675.

South African Airways (SAA), South Africa’s national flag carrier and the continent’s most awarded airline, serves over 75 destinations worldwide in partnership with SA Express, Airlink and its low cost carrier Mango. In North America, SAA operates daily nonstop flights from New York-JFK and direct flights from Washington D.C.-IAD (via Accra, Ghana and Dakar, Senegal) to Johannesburg. SAA has partnerships with United Airlines, Air Canada and JetBlue Airways, American Airlines and Virgin America, which offer convenient connections from more than 100 cities in the U.S. and Canada to SAA’s flights. SAA is a Star Alliance member and the recipient of the Skytrax 4-Star rating for 15 consecutive years.

 

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Senegal’s sports minister Matar Ba aiming for the World Cup semi-finals
December 5, 2017 | 0 Comments
Senegal's sports minister Matar Ba believes the Teranga Lions can reach the last four at the 2018 World Cup

Senegal’s sports minister Matar Ba believes the Teranga Lions can reach the last four at the 2018 World Cup

Senegal’s sports minister, Matar Ba, says the Teranga Lions are aiming to do better than any other African nation at the World Cup and reach the semi-finals next year.

In Russia, Senegal are in Group H along with Poland, Colombia and Japan.

In 2002, at their first ever World Cup, Senegal made it to the quarter-finals.

“We have to have our objectives – those objectives are to get to the second round and do better than in 2002,” Ba told BBC Sport.

“The semi-finals are achievable because today football is not about being European or African or American – football is global,

“You look at the biggest championships in the world – in England in Italy, everywhere – there are Senegalese playing and they are in the teams. So we can rival any of the teams.

“We won’t underestimate any of these teams because all 32 teams who are there have won through the qualifiers and so we have to respect them and we have to take them seriously.”

Senegal will begin their Group H campaign against Poland on 19 June in Moscow before they play Japan on 24 June and finally Colombia four days later.

Ba refused to be drawn into making comparisons between the current team and the squad that play in South Korea and Japan in 2002.

“It’s not the same – we can’t compare them,” he said.

“Each generation does its work and this generation want to do better than the team of 2002.

“We have a great team and we have Senegalese coach and we are going to prepare well for a good performance.

“We are ambitious but we are also reasonable and so we are going to set obtainable objective.”

Ba admitted they may not now much about their opponents at the moment but added that can easily be changed.

“Nothing can be hidden these days with the internet. We can see everything we can analyse Colombia’s matches and all the others,” he pointed out.

*Culled from BBC

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HEINEKEN lays the foundation stone of its first brewery in Mozambique
December 4, 2017 | 0 Comments
HEINEKEN makes $100 million investment
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, December 4, 2017/ — HEINEKEN (www.theHEINEKENcompany.com) today laid the foundation stone of its first brewery in Mozambique in the presence of His Excellency Mr. Max Tonela, Minister of Trade and Industry.

This new brewery, incorporating the latest technologies, represents a $100 million (€85 million) investment. Located in the province of Maputo, between the Marracuene and Manhiça districts, the brewery will have a production capacity of 0.8 million hectoliters and will brew high quality beers for the domestic market. The first bottle of beer is expected to come off the production line in the first half of 2019.

HEINEKEN Mozambique started its activities in 2016 through a sales and marketing office, importing international beers including Heineken®, Amstel, Amstel Lite and Sagres in the country to offer more choice to Mozambican consumers. The construction of HEINEKEN’s very first brewery is a major step forward for the company’s presence in the country.

With this significant investment, HEINEKEN Mozambique is expected to create 200 direct jobs and support additional indirect jobs through its entire value chain.

Aligned with the HEINEKEN ambition of sourcing 60% of its agricultural raw materials in Africa by 2020, HEINEKEN Mozambique will explore the possibility of locally sourcing the raw materials it will need to produce its beers. One of the objectives of this project will be to improve crop yields as well as the capabilities and living standards of Mozambican farmers, contributing to the economic development of the country.

Boudewijn Haarsma, HEINEKEN International’s Managing Director East & West Africa, stated: “We are delighted to enter Mozambique, where we see promising long-term economic perspectives. The project is progressing well thanks to the support of the Mozambican Government and its commitment to bring investments into the country. Investing in a new market like Mozambique supports HEINEKEN’s ambition to expand its footprint and be the number one or a strong number two in all markets in which it operates. With our extensive experience and existing business in Africa, we also aim to be a partner for growth today in Mozambique as we already are throughout the continent. I am convinced our presence will contribute to the economic and social development that is already under way in Mozambique.”

Nuno Simes, HEINEKEN Mozambique’s General Manager said: “With HEINEKEN’s passion for quality, our new brewery will deliver high quality beers to Mozambique according to the international standards of the HEINEKEN Company. We look forward to continue to provide enjoyment to Mozambican consumers with our brands.”

HEINEKEN (www.theHEINEKENcompany.com) is the world’s most international brewer. It is the leading developer and marketer of premium beer and cider brands. Led by the Heineken® brand, the Group has a portfolio of more than 250 international, regional, local and speciality beers and ciders. We are committed to innovation, long-term brand investment, disciplined sales execution and focused cost management. Through “Brewing a Better World”, sustainability is embedded in the business and delivers value for all stakeholders. HEINEKEN has a well-balanced geographic footprint with leadership positions in both developed and developing markets. We employ over 80,000 employees and operate breweries, malteries, cider plants and other production facilities in more than 70 countries. Heineken N.V. and Heineken Holding N.V. shares trade on the Euronext in Amsterdam. Prices for the ordinary shares may be accessed on Bloomberg under the symbols HEIA NA and HEIO NA and on Reuters under HEIN.AS and HEIO.AS. HEINEKEN has two sponsored level 1 American Depositary Receipt (ADR) programmes: Heineken N.V. (OTCQX: HEINY) and Heineken Holding N.V. (OTCQX: HKHHY). Most recent information is available on HEINEKEN’s website: www.theHEINEKENcompany.com

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Sierra Leone Parliament Ratifies Key Bumbuna II Project Documents
December 4, 2017 | 0 Comments
This marks another important milestone in the development of the Bumbuna II hydropower project which, when completed, will provide much-needed all-year round power to Sierra Leone
LONDON, United Kingdom, December 4, 2017/ — Following on from the Government of Sierra Leone’s signing of the 25-year Power Purchase and Implementation Agreements with Joule Africa (www.JouleAfrica.com) in August 2017, these important project documents have now been ratified by the Sierra Leone Parliament. This marks another important milestone in the development of the Bumbuna II hydropower project which, when completed, will provide much-needed all-year round power to Sierra Leone.

Under the conditions of the agreement, local project company Seli Hydropower, jointly owned by Joule Africa and its local partner Energy Services Company (ESCO), will build an extension to the existing 50 MW hydro station, Bumbuna I, situated in the north east of the country, adding a further 143 MW of power capacity. Construction on the extension is anticipated to start in the second half of 2018 with operations forecast to start four years later. Seli Hydropower, will be responsible for building, owning and operating Bumbuna II and will also be responsible for operating Bumbuna I.

Commenting on this announcement, Patrick Beckley, Chairman of Seli Hydropower, said:

“We would like to thank the Government of Sierra Leone for their ongoing support and in maintaining their commitment to the Bumbuna II project ahead of General Elections in early 2018. I am delighted that we received approval for ratification in Parliament with no exemptions –  a clear indication that there is unanimous cross-party support for this project.”

“The development of Bumbuna II has always been a key part of the country’s long-term energy strategy and we look forward to being able to deliver affordable, all-year round power for the consumers of Sierra Leone.”

Andrew Cavaghan, Joule Africa’s Chairman and a Director of Seli Hydropower, added:

“I am pleased that we have reached another important milestone in the development of the Bumbuna II project. We are making good progress on all fronts and will look to build on this momentum in the coming weeks and months as we continue to consult with interested parties, appoint a contractor and finalise the relevant financing.”

The Bumbuna II hydropower project is Sierra Leone’s largest infrastructure project and is a key part of the Government of Sierra Leone’s long term Energy Plan.
Bumbuna II will be located 200km from Freetown on the Upper Seli River in North East Sierra Leone.
The project involves building an extension to the existing 50 MW Bumbuna I facility.
When complete, Bumbuna II will add 143MW of new capacity and will provide Sierra Leone with a minimum of 80MW of reliable, all-year round affordable electricity.

Joule Africa (www.JouleAfrica.com) is a developer owner-operator of sustainable power projects across Africa. In addition to Bumbuna II, Joule Africa is developing Kpep, a 485MW hydro project in Cameroon, while considering various options for its third project.
Joule Africa puts sustainable development and transparency at the heart of its business practice. The company works closely with all of its stakeholders to create infrastructure assets that will generate long-term value and is dedicated to working closely with Governments to help deliver projects that complement existing plans for social and economic development.

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