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Kenya:Kimanzi names provisional squad for Zambia friendly
September 29, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Harambee stars coach Francis Kimanzi in action at a training session.Photo credit
 ERICK BARASA

Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi has called up 34 players in Harambee Stars provisional squad for Zambia friendly match.

The match is a build-up to the upcoming back to back Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers against Comoros in November 2020.

Kimanzi handed a call-up to Barnsley defender Clarke Oduor and experienced goalkeeper Arnold Origi.

The 36-year-old custodian has not featured for the Stars for five years now. The ex-Kenya one has been overlooked after it emerged that he had secured Norwegian citizenship.

In May 2020, he told the Nations Sports that he won’t mind playing for Kenya again if given a chance by the coach.

“I have dual citizenship and I’m eligible. It’s always a dream to play for my country. If the coach thinks I’m good enough I will honour the call-up. Of course, I want to achieve more with the national team and there is still time for that because I’m still actively playing and not planning to stop any time soon. The opportunities will still arise to do something great with the national team,” he reiterated.

The last time Origi played for Kenya was in March 2016 against Guinea Bissau at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi. Kenya was humbled 1-0 by their opponents.

Reports indicate that Kashiwa Reysol striker Michael Olunga, captain Victor Wanyama, and midfield Johanna Omollo may miss the match due to the strict COVID-19 protocols imposed by the countries from which they ply their trade.

However, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) is in constant communication with their clubs with a view of having the players released ahead of the friendly.

The match is slated for October 10, at Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani behind closed doors.Provisional Squad

Goalkeepers
Arnold Origi (HIFK, Finland), Ian Otieno (Zesco United, Zambia), Timothy Odhiambo (Ulinzi Stars, Kenya)

Defenders
Brian Mandela (Unattached), Joash Onyango (Simba, Tanzania), Joseph Okumu (Elfsborg, Sweden), Harun Shakava (Nkana, Zambia), Clarke Oduor (Barnsley, England), Hillary Wandera (Tusker, Kenya), Samuel Olwande (Kariobangi Sharks, Kenya), David Owino (Mathare United, Kenya), Johnstone Omurwa (Wazito, Kenya), Collins Shichenje (AFC Leopards, Kenya), Andrew Juma (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Philemon Otieno (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Badi Baraka (KCB, Kenya)

Midfielders
Kenneth Muguna (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Victor Wanyama (Impact Montreal, Canada), Francis Kahata (Simba, Tanzania), Eric Johanna (Jonkoping’s Sodra IF, Sweden), Cliff Nyakeya (Masr FC, Egypt), Antony Akumu (Kaiser Chief, South Africa), Johanna Omollo (Cercle Brugge K.S.V, Belgium), Ayub Timbe (Beijing Renhe, China), Brian Musa (Wazito, Kenya), Lawrence Juma (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Katana Mohamed (Isloch, Belarus), Austin Otieno (AFC Leopards, Kenya)

Forwards
Michael Olunga (Kashiwa Reysol, Japan), Elvis Rupia (AFC Leopards, Kenya), Masud Juma (JS Kabylie, Algeria), Timothy Otieno (NAPSA Stars, Zambia), John Avire (Tanta FC, Egypt), Oscar Wamalwa (Ulinzi Stars, Kenya)

Reserve Team
Robert Mboya (Tusker, Kenya), Stephen Otieno (Sofapaka, Kenya), Michael Mutinda (KCB), Ibrahim Shambi (Ulinzi Stars, Kenya) Chrispinus Onyango (Tusker, Kenya), Benson Omala (Gor Mahia, Kenya

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GE and Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) Successfully Restore up to 360MW in Nigeria Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic
September 29, 2020 | 0 Comments
“PSP31318-10, 9E 3-series Gas Turbine, Compressor, IGV in casing – fully open, People, Belfort, France, Europe, DI-3200×4900, PRA”
With compressive safety measures due to COVID-19 in place, GE and NDPHC quickly ensured both employee safety and on-time project execution.

GE safely completed service interventions on three GE 9E gas turbines at the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) power plants in Calabar and Sapele, Nigeria; With compressive safety measures due to COVID-19 in place, GE and NDPHC quickly ensured both employee safety and on-time project execution; Outages were executed on time and the restored power will enable NDPHC to provide the equivalent electricity needed to power up to 2 million Nigerian homes.

GE (NYSE: GE) today announced the successful rehabilitation of three 9E.03 gas turbines, at three Niger Delta Power Holding Company’s (NDPHC) Power Plants in Calabar and Sapele, Nigeria. These operations reduced the risk of unplanned downtime of its power generation equipment, enabling the plants to reliably secure and restore the supply of up to 360 megawatts (MW) of electricity to the national grid, the equivalent electricity needed to power approximately two million Nigerian homes. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, GE and NDPHC worked together to swiftly implement safety procedures to ensure a safe and on-time execution.

“Being Nigeria’s largest electricity generating company, with a total installed capacity of 4.0 gigawatts (GW), representing about 35% of Nigeria’s generating capacity, we are committed to strengthening Nigeria’s power sector, despite the unexpected logistical challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Chiedu Ugbo, Managing Director, NDPHC. “GE’s efficiency to mobilize local teams on-site with the required technical skills and expertise, as well as GE’s global supply chain scale was crucial to ensure the timely and safe completion of the outages at the sites and help us achieve our goal.”

The outages involved stage three bucket changeouts on three 9E gas turbines as well as additional combustion inspections. Engineers from GE and FieldCore, the field services execution company owned by GE, worked together and in close collaboration with NDPHC  to implement additional safety measures and reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19, including frequent disinfections at the site, physical distancing, standard passive and active temperature screenings for personnel, and the use of personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves.

“We are committed to supporting power plant operators like NDPHC to be able to provide reliable power with exceptional support and services from GE throughout these uncertain times, while ensuring and maintaining the health and safety of our employees and suppliers.” said Elisee Sezan, CEO for GE’s Gas Power business in Sub-Saharan Africa. “The successful rehabilitation of the power generations assets at Calabar and Sapele plants will help increase the 9E gas turbines’ efficiency, while lowering emissions and providing essential power for industrialization, healthcare facilities, homes, schools and businesses.”

This year, GE’s 9E gas turbine fleet celebrates 40 years of operations globally. The 9E is a robust, proven platform that delivers high availability, reliability, and durability while lowering the overall cost-per-kilowatt. It has a large installed base of over 650 units in the world located primarily in Asia, China, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

GE has been collaborating with energy stakeholders to deploy innovative technologies tailored to respond to the needs in the region since the 1950s with reliable baseload and flexible emergency power. In 2018, the company celebrated its 100th power plant in Sub-Saharan Africa and today, up to 17 GW of gas power generation on the grid runs on GE gas turbines. GE delivers across the entire energy ecosystem from generation to transmission and distribution and throughout Nigeria, GE-built technologies are supported by local service and maintenance teams from the company to ensure access to reliable and sustainable energy.

GE Gas Power is a world leader in natural gas power technology, services and solutions. Through relentless innovation and continuous partnership with our customers, we are providing more advanced, cleaner and efficient power that people depend on today and building the energy technologies of the future. With the world’s largest installed base of gas turbines and more than 600 million operating hours across GE’s installed fleet, we offer advanced technology and a level of experience that’s unmatched in the industry to build, operate and maintain leading gas power plants

*SOURCE GE
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African Development Bank named to the board of World Business Angels Investment Forum
September 29, 2020 | 0 Comments
The Forum engages with a wide range of institutions to help shape the global agenda.

 The World Business Angels Investment Forum today announced the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) as its newest Board Member. In this capacity the Bank will represent Africa’s early-stage equity markets, entrepreneurship and startup ecosystems, small and medium enterprises and high-growth businesses, angel investors, and private equity funds. Abdu Mukhtar, the Bank’s Director of Industrial and Trade Development, will occupy the Bank’s Board seat.

“We are delighted to have the African Development Bank Group as a global board member of the World Business Angels Investment Forum,” said Baybars Altuntas, WBAF’s Executive Chairman. I am confident that by including AfDB, WBAF will be able to provide a wide range of opportunities for start-ups, scaleups and high growth businesses in Africa—ones that will open the doors for economic development. By working together across borders, with a common vision, and with these smart dynamics in mind, we are well placed to bring about positive change in the Africa and global economy.”

WBAF promotes access to finance for businesses from start-up to scale-up, with the goal of generating more jobs and social justice worldwide. The Forum engages with a wide range of institutions to help shape the global agenda.

The African Development Bank is Africa’s preeminent Development Finance institution, and the only one with a Triple A credit rating. The Bank fights poverty and works to improve living conditions on the continent by promoting public and private capital investment in projects with the potential to drive regional economic and social development. The Bank has 81 shareholders: fifty-four regional member countries and 27 non-African countries.  As of November 2019, the bank had a capital base of $208 billion.

‘I am excited about joining the WBAF Board and am quite impressed by its vision. Support for innovation, entrepreneurship and SME development is very important to us, especially since these areas are directly linked to some of our development objectives, including job creation and women empowerment, said Director Mukhtar. I look forward to working with the experts on the WBAF Board to advance these objectives. I am sure WBAF and AfDB will create a great impact in the startup, angel investment and SME markets of Africa. The ultimate goal is to produce more jobs and social justice in Africa.”

WBAF is a partner of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI), a platform for G20 members, interested non-G20 countries, and relevant stakeholders to advance financial inclusion, and implement the G20 Financial Inclusion Action Plan. Other  board members include Abdulaziz N. Al-Khalifa, Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Development Bank;  Dr. Abdul Malek Al Jaber, President, Middle East Business Angels Network (MBAN) ; Dr. Hashim S. Hussein, Head of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization – Investment & Technology Promotion Office (UNIDO-ITPO) and Prof Dr Inderjit Singh, Co-president, World Entrepreneurship Forum (WENF).

“I welcome Dr Abdu Mukhtar to the Board, and I look forward to working with him in our mutual efforts to ease access to smart finance to create more jobs and more social justice worldwide. I believe AfDB’s efforts to convert the world and Africa economy to a smart economy in cooperation with the World Business Angels Investment Forum will be very productive,” said Altuntas.

He added, “WBAF is committed to collaborating globally to empower the economic development of the world by fostering innovative financial instruments for startups, scaleups, innovators, entrepreneurs and SMEs and to promoting gender equality and women’s participation in all sectors of the world economy.”

*AFDB
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SouthBridge Group and Brazil Africa Institute sign partnership to bring Brazilian investors closer to the African opportunities
September 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

Both organizations seek to jointly create a platform that will make it easier for Brazilian investors approaching the vast opportunities available on the African continent.

KIGALI, Rwanda, September 28, 2020/ — SouthBridge Group signed a Collaboration Agreement with The Brazil Africa Institute  (IBRAF). The Agreement was signed by Professor João Bosco Monte, President of IBRAF, and Andrew Alli, CEO of the SouthBridge Group.

Both organizations seek to jointly create a platform that will make it easier for Brazilian investors approaching the vast opportunities available on the African continent, creating a fruitful environment for successful future partnerships. The partnership will support the  identification and analysis of the main business possibilities that exist in the short, medium, and long term on the African continent and in which Brazilian sectors can take advantage of working with partners from within Africa and the rest of the world.

The Agreement between SouthBridge Group and IBRAF comes also to endorse the Brazil Africa Forum 2020  as one of the main business environments for partnerships between the two regions. The event will feature the presence of major players from both markets and opportunities for strategic meetings with investors during the forum and beyond.

BAF 2020 takes place on the 3rd and 4th of November in an exciting online edition. The theme for the forum is “Overcoming the Challenges of the Pandemic: What’s Next?”. Registration is free and is now open.

About SouthBridge Group:
SouthBridge Group is the holding company of a pan-African enterprise that provides financial solutions and advisory services to public and private clients across the African continent. The SouthBridge Group has a strong reputation in fund structuring, debt advisory and restructuring, as well as project finance.  It also engages in investments and asset management through SouthBridge Investments.

About Brazil Africa Institute:
The Brazil Africa Institute (IBRAF) is a non-profit organization that aims to promote international cooperation and engagement between Brazil and the African continent, defending the economic development of countries, the convergence of private sector interests, and the enhancement of multilateral relations.

*SOURCE SouthBridge Group

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Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), Huawei Ink Partnership Agreement to Promote Tech-Driven Financial Inclusion, Fintech Capacity Building
September 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

Under the partnership, KBA and Huawei will also aim to promote financial inclusion activities in line with the KBA Strategic Plan for the period 2020 to 2023.

Partnership seeks to promote tech-led financial inclusion as well as Fintech ICT Capacity; The two organizations have convened a summit on ICT and financial inclusion.

The Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) has signed a collaboration agreement with tech-firm Huawei-Kenya that seeks to deepen financial inclusion in the banking sector through further deployment of technology and building fintech capacity.

In the partnership, KBA will work closely with Huawei-Kenya to spearhead industrywide capacity building initiatives aimed at promoting knowledge on financial technology innovation, digital transformation, and other ICT-related programmes in the banking industry.

Under the partnership, KBA and Huawei will also aim to promote financial inclusion activities in line with the KBA Strategic Plan for the period 2020 to 2023. Launched last year, the Plan seeks to promote access to affordable financial services through tech-aided operational efficiency.

Speaking during the signing of the agreement, KBA Chief Executive Officer Dr. Habil Olaka said the cooperation would go a long way in promoting the delivery of efficient banking services in Kenya through knowledge-sharing programmes that will be organized by the two institutions.

“This partnership will further focus on research and knowledge-sharing activities, which will supplement the research initiatives that continue to be spearheaded by the Association’s Centre for Research Financial on Markets and Policy®. In this regard, the collaboration will certainly augment KBA’s and member banks’ knowledge base in engagements with diverse stakeholders from a fact-based perspective,’’ Dr. Olaka added.

The partnership comes on the heels of the the 2020 edition of the Huawei-KBA Online FSI Summit slated for 30th September this Year. The forum is among the initiatives Huawei and KBA are jointly  implementing to promote the delivery of efficient banking services through technology under the cooperation agreement.

Huawei-Kenya Chief Executive Officer Mr. Will Meng welcomed the partnership, saying technology will remain a core driver towards enhancing convenient access to financial services in light of disruptive occurrences such as the ongoing Coronavirus Disease pandemic.

‘’The theme of the upcoming summit is ‘’Building Banking Core Competence through Digital Transformation to Accelerate Inclusive Finance’’. It is one of the initiatives we are rolling out in Kenya in partnership with the Association to ensure we optimally leverage on technology to achieve affordable and accessible financial services in the regional economy,’’ said Mr. Lee.

The summit comes at a time when the global economy is coping with the impact of the Coronavirus Disease. Dr. Olaka noted that the banking industry has continued to tap into the potential of technology to uphold business continuity and supporting customers, a culmination of efficient deployment of technology by the banking sector during this period.

“Beyond the COVID-19 disruption, we see technology as an invaluable enabler of financial inclusion. I have no doubt that the summit along with the KBA-Huawei collaboration will play a significant role in our collective efforts to entrench technology in our operations and sustain our contribution to the national development agenda,’’ Dr. Olaka said.

About the Kenya Bankers Association:
KBA was founded on 16th July 1962. Today, KBA is the financial sector’s leading advocacy group and banking industry umbrella body that represents total assets in excess of USD 40 billion. KBA has evolved and broadened its function to include advocacy on behalf of the banking industry, and championing financial sector development through strategic projects such as the launch of the industry’s first P2P digital payments platform PesaLink. In line with the Government’s policy on public-private partnerships, KBA and Central Bank of Kenya have implemented key projects such as modernization of the National Payments System through the Automated Clearing House, implementing the Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS), and the Kenya Credit Information Sharing Initiative. The KBA members are comprised of commercial banks and deposit taking microfinance banks.

About Huawei-Kenya:
Founded in 1987, Huawei is a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices. We are committed to bringing digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world. We have more than 194,000 employees, and we operate in more than 170 countries and regions, serving more than three billion people around the world
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Ayoba and MusicTime® partner to bring free music listening to Africa
September 28, 2020 | 0 Comments
Listen while you chat

 Ayoba and MusicTime® are proud to announce their partnership to bring free music listening to ayoba users, with the launch of a new feature in the ayoba app titled MusicTime in ayoba.

MusicTime® in ayoba [or MTiA] is now live in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Rwanda, Uganda, Congo Brazzaville, Guinee, Guinee Bissau, Sudan, and Afghanistan.

Each territory offers users free access to 10 playlists with 20 songs in each. In addition, the app has a new mini player that allows you to listen to music while you chat to your contacts with no interruption. Playlists are curated specifically for each territory, and always include music from the region as well. Users can subscribe [free] to the channel as per all ayoba channels, and numbers are rising quickly as users discover the new feature.

An important feature of MTiA is the ability to listen to music with no data costs. Ayoba is zero rated for data in most of its markets via its partnership with MTN allowing MTN users to listen to a limited amount of music with no data costs.

The MusicTime® channels also include editorial content, music video clips and artist polls. A major feature will be channels in partnership with artists, such as the newly launched Sark Nation channel, featuring top Ghanaian rapper, Sarkodie; currently available across Africa. Many more artist partnerships will be launched in the coming weeks.

Ayoba has evolved significantly since its launch in 2019 as an instant messaging app. Users can now enjoy content in more than 50 channels covering topics from Coronavirus news to education to cooking tips, football, Formula 1, music news and more. In 2020, ayoba has also added gaming, and offer users free access to top mobile games. In some markets (Cameroon, Ghana and Uganda) the integration with MTN Mobile Money (MoMo) allows users to send and receive money on ayoba.


About ayoba:
Since its launch in 2019, ayoba has reached over 2 million monthly active users. It offers users free access to an ecosystem of digital and rich media services through channels, micro-apps and payment solutions, embedded within an African super-app.

Ayoba is highly localised and tailored for African and Middle East consumer needs, supporting 20 relevant languages. Users can send and receive encrypted messages, share photos, videos, files and voice notes and can also subscribe to live channels. Localised content is available through curated channels aimed at entertaining, educating and empowering communities as well as a range of games. Ayoba is available for Android users on the Google Store, via its website and on Apple Store.

About MusicTime:
MusicTime is a unique, localized Android app offering “pay as you go” music streaming as well as limited free music listening. It is presently available in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Congo Brazzaville, Cameroon, eSwatini and Zambia. There is a strong focus on local artists, supported by a strong international catalogue.

*SOURCE Ayoba and MusicTime®
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Swaziland PM Dlamini, Sierra Leone’s former President Koroma, US General Ward, NNPC Kyari, others confirmed for African Leadership magazine’s US – Africa Investment Forum, Policy Dialogue and Business Leadership Awards 2020
September 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

Leading African and United States policy and business leaders have confirmed to participate at the African Leadership Magazine’s 5th US – Africa Investment Forum & Policy Dialogue 2020, a virtual meeting taking place from September 29th – 30th 2020, with the theme set as ‘US Africa Relations – A necessary Realignment’.  Already confirmed as keynote speakers are Swaziland’s Prime Minister (Eswatini) HE Rt. Hon. Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini; Sierra Leone’s former President Ernest Bai Koroma and first US AFRICOM Commander, General William Kip Ward. Also confirmed to speak and participate at the forum are Ahmed Shide, Ethiopian Minister of Finance; Hon. Samuel Tweah, Liberian Minister of Finance and Development Planning; Dr Ernest Addison, Governor of the Bank of Ghana; HE Lee Kinyanju, Kenyan Governor of Nakuru; and Mallam Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director of NNPC, among others.

As Africa braces itself for what some expect to be an arduous recovery from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the continent would need its partners more than ever before. Though the United States of America has been a longstanding traditional partner, pundits have argued that the US hasn’t engaged adequately and correctly on the continent of Africa, which has created room for other interests gaining a stronger foothold. However, based on United States (US) Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo’s statement when he said, “no country will rival what the US is doing”. In terms of supporting the fight against Covid-19 in Africa, it is hoped that a realignment would be necessary for the coming months, irrespective of who wins the forth-coming US presidential elections.

The 5th US Africa Investment Forum & Policy Dialogue 2020 is, therefore, expected to bring together policymakers, private sector leaders, Industry Titans, civil society leaders, and all stakeholders in the US-Africa ecosystem during this 2-day forum to contribute to shaping a new future for our common good. Other discussants and honorees at the forum shall include Dr Patrick J. Schena Professor of International Business, at the Fletcher School, Tufts University USA; Hon. Billy Mitchell (GA) President-Elect, National Black Caucus of State Legislators, USA; Mrs Rawya Mansour, Chairperson RAMSCO Group Egypt; Olugbenga Agboola, CEO Flutterwave; Segun Ogunsanya, CEO Airtel Nigeria and Raghav Prasad, President Mastercard Africa, among others.

Key highlights of the forum shall include keynotes, plenary and breakout sessions; industry Roundtables and Thematic Presentations on investment promotions, Defence and security cooperation; and Youth jobs creation. The forum shall also highlight the 2020 edition of the African Business Leadership Awards presentation ceremonies – a prestigious recognition ceremony to reward exceptional corporate practices and outstanding achievers in Africa’s business landscape and its private sector, across various categories.

The award winners were unveiled by the Chairman and Publisher of the African Leadership Magazine, Dr Ken Giami, at the UK Head Office of the group after the editorial board reviewed votes and submissions from the magazine’s over one million subscribers and online followers.

The Publisher, Dr Giami, while unveiling the list of winners, maintained that “Africa depends on businesses and its leaders for sustenance, jobs and wealth creation.” Continuing he stated that, “at this time when there are widespread disruptions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the role and place of the business community to not only serve their clients, but become strong positive references for society on how to thrive amidst uncertainties, and inspire hope in people’s ability to aspire to solve more of the problems facing the African people today, is more important than ever.”

“Our winners and all the nominees truly deserve to be recognized for the outstanding work they have done over the last year, and they continue to do for the development of our continent”. Dr Giami added.

About African Leadership Magazine Group

The African Leadership magazine is published by African Leadership (UK) Limited, a company registered in the United Kingdom. The Magazine focuses on bringing the best of Africa to a global audience, telling the African story from an African perspective; while evolving solutions to peculiar challenges being faced by the continent today.

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Increase Investment in Mini grid Electricity to Get Africa out of Darkness
September 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Mohamed Adow*

Mohamed Adow

Covid-19 is pushing Africa into an education crisis.  Of the 39 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, full learning is only taking place in six of them.

A survey, by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UN Children’s Agency UNICEF, found that of the 33 countries where learning is curtailed, in 14, of them it is completely closed.

Millions of children across the region who have been forced to stay home since March now face the prospect of being part of Africa’s lost generation.  Africa is the world’s youngest continent and we are in danger of failing our young people.

While governments have explored offering schooling through alternatives such as distance learning, it has proven problematic. This is because virtual learning is delivered via gadgets such as computers and smart phones which are powered by electricity. Virtual learning would therefore have disadvantaged millions of children especially in rural areas whose families have no electricity, either because they are poor or live in remote areas, far away from main-grid electricity.

Indeed less than 48% of Africa’s population of around one billion people have access to electricity according to a 2018 World Bank report . In absolute numbers this means that an estimated 600 million Africans are living in darkness, literally, relying on wood fire, kerosene and other forms of dirty energy for lighting. This is why Africans make up the lion’s share of the estimated 790 million people around the world without electricity according to the United Nations.

The world recognises access to energy as a basic human right,  which is why the UN adopted this as its Sustainable Development Goal number seven. One of the major obstacles to ensuring that everybody enjoys this right is the high cost of generation, transmission and connecting users, particularly in far-off, low population areas.

In countries where 100% access has been achieved, such as Europe and the Americas, this has been done through investing in mini-grid electricity which helps light up their more remote corners. Africa is no different and therefore has much to benefit from this largely untapped technology.

Whereas national grids transfer power from dams, power stations or  the likes of Kenya’s Naivasha geothermal fields to urban settlements, mini-grids cover much shorter distances and serve localised populations in rural settlements.

Usually running up to 10kmin radius, they tap power from the sun or wind, store it in batteries and distribute it to users, allowing them to enjoy electricity even when they are living tens of miles away from the national grid. Besides connecting remote communities, the decentralised systems use clean energy sources of wind and solar, helping our continent contribute to lowering harmful emissions responsible for climate change.

Their place in ensuring 100% electricity coverage has been confirmed through a recent survey by the Africa Minigrid Developers Association (AMDA) which found that the mini-grid sector was growing quickly, with operational, installation and capital costs decreasing by as much as 60% over the past five years.

As a result, it costs a national utility such as Eskom in South Africa or ECG in Ghana, a minimum of US$1500 to connect a customer to power compared to only US$733 for a mini-grid company such as Powerhive in Kenya.

Using data from 28 companies in 12 African countries, the survey found that the decentralised systems offered better service reliability with power generated 99% of the time, compared to main grids at 72%. This means that the smaller units actually suffer fewer outages and breakdowns compared to larger systems.

These findings have once again reminded us of the opportunities we continue to waste by failing to exploit our freely available and abundant clean energy resources. They are a wakeup call that we must take advantage of innovation such as mini grids to overcome some of the daunting developmental challenges we face. 

A network of renewable-powered mini-grids, stretching out across the continent’s more remote areas will ultimately strengthen Africa’s resilience to unseen shocks like Covid-19. Had Africa invested much sooner in mini grids our children would be learning remotely from home today.

*Mohamed Adow is the Director of Power Shift Africa a Nairobi-based Energy and Climate Think Tank and can be reached on madow@powershiftafrica.org.Twitter at @mohadow.

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Gambia: Citizens Alliance Party Faults Barrow for Undermining Transitional Justice Process
September 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Dr Ismaila Ceesay

The Citizens’ Alliance Party has accused President Adama Barrow for undermining the passing of the draft Constitutional Promulgation Bill, the Government has now derailed the entire Transitional Justice process, thus jeopardizing the future prospects of this country.

We believes that: “The Government of President Adama Barrow has failed to deliver its promise and mandate to The Gambian people”. 

In a  press release issued for the party by Dominic Mendy and Dr Ismaila Ceesay, President Barrow is taken to task for not living up to its promises.

When Gambia decided to change its trajectory on December 1st 2016, we sought to build a vibrant and new democracy, which was to be inclusive and equitable, knowing that all Gambians had to be equally served under the rule of law. In order to transition from autocracy to democracy, a series of Transitional Justice processes were initiated to ensure the needed reforms that would put The Gambia on the path of democracy and development.

These include the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), The Security Sector Reform (SSR), The Janneh Commission of Inquiry and a Constitutional Reform (CRC). This was to help us break with our dark past and lay the foundations for a new legal, political, social and economic architecture that will ensure the consolidation of democracy, the entrenchment of transparency and accountability, the assurance of minority rights, the elimination of corruption and impunity and guaranteeing civil, political and economic rights.

The Constitutional reform was the lynchpin of this entire process and it was a national priority for both Gambians and the coalition government as it was supposed to smoothly free us from the much tailored 1997 Constitution. A series of consultations with Gambians at home and abroad, and a bill in excess of D116 Million culminated into a consensual new Draft Constitution.

However, the aims and aspirations of birthing a new constitution came to a painful halt at the National Assembly when the Constitution Promulgation Bill 2020 was rejected by 23 National Assemble Members (NAMs). Clearly, these NAMs did not seem to value the voice of The Gambian people and the urgency for change leaving us disappointed and vulnerable as a budding democracy on the world stage. In addition, our current situation is also partly due to wrong choices made from the onset of the transition when, some key partners of the coalition entrusted with midwifing the process put partisan interest before national interest, abandoned the transition MoU, opted for Tactical Alliance, endorsed the gifting of vehicles to legislators, engaged in piecemeal legislation to suit their interests and encouraged President Barrow to renege on his campaign promise of serving for just three years as a transitional leader.

The Government of President Adama Barrow has also failed to deliver its promise and mandate to The Gambian people. By undermining the passing of the Constitutional Promulgation Bill, the Government has now derailed the entire Transitional Justice process, thus jeopardizing the future prospects of this country. Citizens’ Alliance is disappointed that the Government failed to do enough to ensure the passing of a bill it took to parliament after investing so much of our resources. By all indications, the Citizens’ Alliance see no reason why President Barrow should not resign after failing to deliver every promise he made to The Gambian people, thus undermining his own legitimacy.

The defeat of the Constitution Promulgation Bill is an unfortunate situation that has the potential to derail the hopes and aspirations of The Gambian people. The Citizens’ Alliance remains with the zeal and conviction that all is not lost. These events should rekindle our resolve to work harder to build a Gambia for all, taking into account the welfare of future generations, through sacrifice and unity. Our progress depends on our decision as a nation to ensure that our future generations do not inherit the mistakes of the past. We therefore urge our elected representatives to do away with their differences and work together for the interest of the country.

Citizens’ Alliance continues to propagate for needed reforms and calls on the government to immediately unveil a clear strategy and a way forward towards a new constitutional order. Failure to pursue a meaningful constitutional change to provide a new legal framework for the 2021 elections should not be an option.

Citizens’ Alliance reminds Gambians that the ‘New Gambia’ project is not supposed to be based on religion, ethnicity or unbridled partisanship. The purpose is to build a robust constitutional democracy and a just, inclusive and developed society anchored on solidarity and the rule of law. Now, more than ever, is the time to put country first and unite under a common banner of inclusivity, equity and prosperity.

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Sierra Leone Sports : Ban on sporting activities partially lifted.
September 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

Sierra Leone National Side players signing their national anthem before the 2019 Afcon qualifier between Ethiopia and Sierra Leone at the International Stadium in Hawassa, Ethiopia on 9 September 2018 © OmnaTaddele/BackpagePix

Sierra Leone has  partially lifted ban on all sporting activities in the country in order to allow athletes to train and represent the country in international competitions, a press release from the National Sports Authority (NSA) on Friday said.

 This will pave the way for the Leone Stars to start preparation ahead of their international friendly against Mauritania in Nouakchott on October 9, and their back to back 2022 African qualifiers with Nigeria in November.

“On the advice of the National Covid Emergency Response Centre (NaCOVERC) , the Ministry of Sports and the National Sport Authority (NSA) announce the ban on the preparations and training for all pending international competitions lifted,’ ’the release said.

Sporting activities across the country was ban in March due to corona virus pandemic which caused the country’s apex league  to be banned until further notice.

According to the release,  Sporting associations , coaches , athletes, referees, umpires , judges , sports administrators among others are strongly advised to follow all health directives and precautionary measures prescribed by NaCOVERC adding that based on expert advice and specific to any sporting discipline, the NSA and the Ministry of Sports Ministry may prescribe additional measures to mitigate the risk of transmission of covid-19.

“The NSA and the Ministry will conduct national monitoring of all sports and training venues across the country to ensure full compliance with all existing cobid-19 regulations. Further information on the status of the ban on other levels of competitive and recreational sports may be communicated as and when the Ministry of Sports and the NSA are so advised,’’ the release noted.

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Rwanda:– AKADEMIYA2063 Officially Launched
September 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

KIGALI, 25 September 2020 – AKADEMIYA2063 has officially been launched by Hon. Geraldine Mukeshimana, Minister of Agriculture of The Republic of Rwanda, on behalf of The Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente.

The launch was conducted during a virtual seminar on « Policies for Rapidly Transforming Agriculture and Food Systems » with additional participation from Ambassador Josefa Sacko, African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Mr. Jim Barnhart, Assistant to the Administrator of USAID, and Dr. Jo Swinnen, Director-General at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

As an international non-profit organization, AKADEMIYA2063 seeks to build a bridge between the science community and peer organizations around the world to harness the best available knowledge and evidence to advance the African agenda.

With a rich experience of long-standing support to the African Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), AKADEMIYA2063 positions itself as a major science contributor to the Agenda 2063, through research implementation, capacity building, and outreach programs to successfully drive Data Analysis and Knowledge Platform, Expertise for Advanced Economic Modeling, as well as Evidence and Dialogue for Policy Innovation.

Many of the AKADEMIYA2063’s core programs have been on the ground over the last 10 to 15 years, but only now have they been brought together into a single African entity. These programs are the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS), the African Growth and Development Policy (AGRODEP) Modeling Consortium, and the Malabo Montpellier (MaMo) Panel  and Forum.

AKADEMIYA2063’s interest in supporting policies was highlighted by its Executive Chairperson, Dr. Ousmane Badiane, who insisted that: « if the trajectory toward better policies is not sustained, the African continent may experience a return to the era of economic stagnation. Better data and analytics to support evidence based planning and implementation will help raise policy effectiveness for improved development outcomes.»

As soon as it launched its operations, the organization moved to respond to the current COVID-19 pandemic, through a multi-workstream agenda  on the impacts of and responses to the pandemic among African countries.

This includes research work around:

– Vulnerability Hot Spots

– Staple Food Price Tracking

– Production Systems Disruption

– Macro Effects of Trade Disruption

During the  launch seminar, AKADEMIYA2063 and its partners examined various themes including the opportunities of the UN Food Systems Summit from Africa’s perspective, the needs for infrastructure and services for fast transforming food systems and policies to sustain and deepen the current recovery process.

AKADEMIYA2063 is headquartered in Kigali, Rwanda with a regional office in Dakar, Senegal.

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Rwanda: Paul Rusesabagina, fictionalised in hotel Rwanda Movie admits launching armed groups behind deadly attacks
September 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

By MOHAMMED M. MUPENDA*

A policeman handcuffs Paul Rusesabagina, right, whose story inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda”, before leading him out of the Kicukiro Primary Court in the capital Kigali, Rwanda Monday, Sept. 14, 2020.Photo credit loopcayman

Rwandan opponent, has admitted to a Kigali court on Friday that he had formed an armed group but denied any role in their crimes.

Rwandan Businessman, whose role during the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsis was fictionalized in the well-known movie Hotel Rwanda, has been the subject of controversy ever since.

While in exile, from humanitarian to a government critic, he appeared under arrest in Rwanda last month, after apparently being tricked by Rwanda Spy network and boarded  into a private jet knowing that he is heading to neighbouring country,  Burundi.

In recent years Mr Rusesabagina co-founded the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD), an opposition party based abroad.

While he has previously expressed support for the National Liberation Front (FLN), which has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in Nyungwe, near the border with Burundi, his exact role has been unclear.

We formed the FLN (National Liberation Front) as an armed wing, not as a terrorist group as the prosecution keeps saying. I do not deny that the FLN committed crimes but my role was diplomacy,” he told the prosecutor.

“The agreement we signed to form MRCD as a political platform included the formation of an armed wing called FLN. But my work was under the political platform and I was in charge of diplomacy.”

Rusesabagina has been an outspoken critic of President Paul Kagame for several years and is a member of the opposition Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change, which has an armed wing that engaged in a gunfight with government troops in 2018.

Kagame has often warned his critics that those who “betray” the country will be dealt with, and the country’s intelligence network has been accused by international human-rights groups of abducting and killing former allies in Rwanda and abroad. The Rwandan government has rejected the allegations.

*Mohammed M. Mupenda is a news correspondent and freelance reporter, who has written for publications in the United States and abroad. He is also a French and East African language interpreter.

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