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More than a million people to be vaccinated in phase 2 of a huge cholera vaccination campaign in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
July 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

Phase 2 of the biggest ever oral vaccination campaign against cholera is scheduled to take place from 3-8 July 2019 in 15 health districts in the four central provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – Kasaï, Kasaï Oriental, Lomami et Sankuru.  The second dose of vaccine confers lasting immunity against cholera and is being targeted at 1 235 972 people over 1 year of age.  The 5-day, door-to-door campaign will involve 2632 vaccinators recruited mainly from local communities, whose job it is to administer the oral cholera vaccine, fill in vaccination cards and tally sheets, and compile a daily summary of the teams’ progress.

In parallel, 583 community mobilizers  have been selected – 1 mobilizer for every 3 teams in urban areas and 1 mobilizer for every 2 teams in rural districts.   Their job is to alert local people that vaccinators will visit their homes.  They will use loudspeakers to spread the message, particularly in the early evening.  The campaign is organized by the Ministry of Health with technical, logistic and financial support from WHO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC).  It is the second such campaign in this central region of the DRC.  1 224 331 people over 1 year of age were vaccinated during the first round in late December 2018.  The purpose of the vaccination campaign is to contain the serious epidemic which resulted in 9154 presumed cases and 458 deaths (case-fatality rate of 5%) in the 5 affected provinces in Kasaï region between January and December 2018.

This cholera vaccination campaign marks the intensification of our response in the DRC,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, “WHO and our partners are working with national authorities to rollout the vaccine, which comes in addition to multiple interventions introduced since the beginning of the cholera epidemic, including sanitation and water quality control in the affected areas, many of which have little access to a safe water supply.”

Right now, with the second dose, the preventive campaign for which 1 235 972 doses of oral vaccine have been laid in will ensure coverage of all at-risk areas in this central region of the DRC.  The vaccines have been provided from global cholera vaccine stocks managed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

“This vaccination campaign will play a key role in bringing this cholera outbreak under control,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi. “The DRC is currently going through an unprecedented combination of deadly epidemics, with Ebola and measles outbreaks also causing untold misery across the country. It is vital that the global effort to control these outbreaks continues to receive support: we cannot allow this needless suffering to continue.”

In 2018 the DRC reported a cumulative total of 29 304 suspected cholera cases and more than 930 deaths (case-fatality rate 3.17%).  Since the start of 2019 and up to epidemiological week 23 (3-9 June), at least 12 247 suspected cases of cholera and 279 deaths (case-fatality rate 2.2%) have already been reported in 137 health districts in 20 of the 26 provinces of the DRC.  Cholera is a highly contagious communicable disease transmitted via contaminated water or food.  It causes severe diarrhoea and dehydration which must be treated immediately to avoid death after only a few hours and to stop the disease from spreading on a massive scale throughout an environment at risk.

‘‘This cholera vaccination campaign in the 4 central provinces of the DRC is crucial to stop the disease from gaining a permanent foothold in the target areas of Kasaï, Lomami and Sankuru.  The vaccinators will visit every household, even in the remotest areas, to administer the second dose vital for ensuring long-term protection against cholera,“ explains Dr Deo Nshimirimana, Acting WHO Representative in the DRC. ‘‘We must not forget that oral cholera vaccine works in conjunction with other effective prevention measures such as improvement of sanitary conditions, individual and collective hygiene including regular hand-washing (with soap) after going to the bathroom or before meals, and lobbying authorities to improve access to drinking water“.

‘‘This cholera vaccination campaign in the 4 central provinces of the DRC is crucial to stop the disease from gaining a permanent foothold in the target areas of Kasaï, Lomami and Sankuru.  The vaccinators will visit every household, even in the remotest areas, to administer the second dose vital for ensuring long-term protection against cholera,“ explains Dr Deo Nshimirimana, Acting WHO Representative in the DRC. ‘‘We must not forget that oral cholera vaccine works in conjunction with other effective prevention measures such as improvement of sanitary conditions, individual and collective hygiene including regular hand-washing (with soap) after going to the bathroom or before meals, and lobbying authorities to improve access to drinking water“.

 

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Gambian Activists Angrily Protests Against ‘Sexual Violence’
July 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

 Gambians activists have angrily hold a peaceful procession  on Thursday 4 July, 2019 to express solidarity with former beauty queen, Fatou Jallow, who accused she was raped by former President Yahya Jammeh.

Fatou Jallow, knowns as Toufah revealed that recently during an interview with New York Times, which she claimed that former president Jammeh raped her.

That follows by a three women accused Mr. Melville Robertson Roberts, a senior Gambian diplomat of sexually assault, which he denied any wrong doing.

 This prompted activists from all works of life establish a movement called #IAmToufah protest against the alleged sexual vices.

The protesters chanted slogans and carried signs one of which read ‘No Means No’ as they marched from Africell to Westfield on Thursday.

Speaking to journalists during the protest Jallow added “I am glad Gambian women have embraced it (campaign against sexual violence)… This is a step further to make women feel comfortable to talk about their experiences of sexual harassment,”

Madi Jobarteh, a human rights activist said: “For Toufah to come out, that is so significant and that is what has led to this march because we feel these women need support”

Dr Ismaila Ceesay, a lecturer at University of The Gambia said: “We have to accept that there is a problem in our society, then we can be able to raise awareness and come up with the proper solutions”

According to him, the march is to raise awareness on the issue of sexual violence.

Fatoumatta Njie, national assembly member for Banjul South said: “We just want to show our support, show our utter disgust, show that we condemn rape, [and] show that we will stand against it,”

 On 28 June , 2019 at a press conference organized with several activists and human rights organizations. Jallow was a Gambian beauty queen who won Jammeh’s sponsored beauty pageant in 2014 call the Miss July 22 Beauty Pageant.

 The competition was to avail her opportunity to access a scholarship for further studies but instead, she said the former President Jammeh used his proximity to her within those moments to rape her.

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Africa continental intelligence group Discuss Security Issues with Barrow
July 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

 By Bakary Ceesay

CISSA  with President Barrow

CISSA with President Barrow

 The Executive Director of the Committee for Intelligence and Security Services in Africa (CISSA), Mr. Shimeles W. SEMAYAT, has expressed appreciation for the support received from His Excellency, President Adama Barrow. The group is meeting in Banjul and paid a courtesy call on the President on Thursday, July 4th.

“Bringing together security and intelligence services is important and needs support. We are happy that President Adama Barrow is committed to supporting CISSA in achieving its goals and objectives. The role of security and intelligence services is paramount in the quest to maintain peace and stability on the continent,” President Barrow told the continent’s intelligence chiefs at State House.

During the courtesy call, President Adama Barrow was briefed on the outcome of the regional convergence and how impressed they were with the work of the Gambian intelligence services, the SIS; as well as the democratisation that is taking place in The Gambia.

Mr SEMAYAT told the waiting press corps that the work of CISSA is to support the leadership of the African Union, through updating and providing them with needed intelligence that will facilitate proactive and timely decisions in developing policies. Such will help promote peace and stability in the continent.

The CISSA boss highlighted cybersecurity as an emerging threat that requires deep understanding, new ways and designs to effectively deal with them. CISSA as a body provides assistance to the African Union leaders in areas of security and intelligence, with the aim of strengthening capacity and fostering stability on the continent.

The group’s convergence in Banjul was hosted by the State Intelligence Services, whose Director General, Mr. Ousman Sowe, led the to the State House.

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Gambia Female Artistes to Stage Concert Dubbed as ‘Girl Power’
July 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Girl's Power

Girl’s Power

The maiden edition of Girl’s power concert is dedicated to all female artistes in The Gambia on 19th October, 2019 at Alliance Franchise.

 The maiden event is organise by Joy house entertainment will feature  twelve  female  artistes onstage includes: Miss Jobiz, Tanga Chama, Binzy, Sarah Joy, Amy Aisha, Awa Bling, Lena B, Sophia, Kdrizzy, Anges, Synchana Madona, Lady Quincy and Tattou.  The performances are going to be semi- live.

Miss. Sarah Joy, Chief Executive Officer Joy House told PanAfrican Vision that : “Our target is to empower at least 12 female artists. This will include stage performances and recording of at least a couple of songs as well as facilitate radio and TV interviews. We are aware of the challenges attached to such a huge project but we are determined to give female artists in the Gambia the life changing opportunities”

She explained that Joy house entertainment is a music advocacy group established with the optimum objective of empowering female artist in the Gambia that is the reason of this girl’s power concert. “We want to give platform to female artistes to wider audiences,”

 “The girl’s power concert is aimed at harnessing the potential of young female artist and giving them a platform to showcase their talents, so in that we intend to do it as an annual concert,” she said. She assured the fans of quality and maximum entertainment during the concert night.

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African Development Bank to establish Central African headquarters in Cameroon
July 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Akinwumi Adesina, African Development Bank president

Akinwumi Adesina, African Development Bank president

The African Development Bank, AfDB will in the days ahead establish its central headquarters in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde.

This is the substance of an agreement signed this morning at the Ministry of external relations between the government of Cameroon and the African Development Bank.

Signing in for Cameroon was the Minister of external relations Lejeune Mbella Mbella and the Vice President of the African Development Bank, Khaled Sherif signed on behalf of the banking institution.

According to Khaled Sherif, Cameroon was chosen in the central African Sub region as site for the implantation of the ADB regional headquarters because it suits the established criteria, one of which include hospitality.

“The government of Cameroon freely gave us a piece of land and we intend to work here over the long run” Khaled said at the end of the signing ceremony.

 

“The new regional office for development, integration and service delivery in Central Africa, like those established in Southern, Eastern, Northern and Western Africa, aims to bring the Bank closer to its Member States,” a release from the AfDB reads.

 

The signature of this headquarters agreement, which comes almost two months after the approval by the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank, of the Regional Integration Strategy Document for Central Africa (DSIR), approving the Bank’s operations in this region over the 2019-2025 period, will strengthen the institution’s dialogue and support for the process of economic integration in Central Africa.

 

With some 44 active regional projects in the continent, amounting to nearly 632 billion CFA francs, or 1.1 billion US dollars, the AfDB seeks to spur sustainable economic development and social progress in its regional member countries thus contributing to poverty reduction.

 

This new regional office will help improve the efficiency of the Bank’s operations and deepen the dialogue between the Bank and all Central African countries.

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Top 5 medical inventions by Africans that are changing the world
July 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Cardio Pad

Cardio Pad

Long gone are the days when all the African continent was renowned for was its cultural heritage, agricultural prowess, abundant minerals, strong reproductive men, basic societal problems, fetish traditions and a great importer of Western products and technology.

Today, Africa present’s herself as “the future’s” hope and is making considerable strides towards that; with her youths taking on the world.

The continent regarded foremostly as the “dark continent” has over the last decade stun the world. News about people of African descent flood the media daily due to astonishing achievements in their respective spares.

From top-notch intellectuals to the world highest paid engineers to the African kid coding for Uber, outstanding financial experts, artificial intelligence, sportsmen and women, and dozen others, African youths the world over are actively designing tomorrow and changing the narrative one day and an invention at a time.

As mother Africa expands and grows from a laggard to a challenger, competing with Western economies, these top five inventions by African youths are changing the world providing renewed hope for humankind.

This is the bleeding-edge of African innovations. Below is arguable the top five medical inventions from Africa that has taken on the world.

Mama-Ope – Uganda

The world over, pneumonia is responsible for 16% of all deaths of children under five with the death rate also considerably high among adults. This is largely due to the fact that diagnosing the illness is often very slow.

Faced with this, Uganda inventor Brian Turyabagye took decided to invent the biomedical smart jacket proven to diagnose pneumonia four times than a medical doctor does. The award-winning invention is gaining momentum with additional upgrades added to perfect the life-saving jacket from Uganda.

Brian Turyabagye and his work partner Besufekad Shifferaw showing off the biomedical smart jacket.

Koniku Kore – Nigeria

For Nigerian-born Oshi Agabi, the future remains unknown and is all about now. Creating technologies that solve real-life problems. His invention, the Koniku Kore has the capacity to detect the smell of explosives and cancer cells.

The tech-enthusiast who obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of Lagos before furthering his studies in physics and neuroscience in Sweden and Switzerland says his creation can be used for security, agricultural, military, and health situations.

Unveiled in Tanzania in 2017, Oshi expressed hopes that it could be used as a more effective means of airport security to scan numerous guests and also deployed in hospitals as the device is equally adaptable for use to identify different diseases.

Cardio pad – Cameroon

At just 28 years old, Cameroonian Arthur Zang is the inventor of a touchscreen heart-monitoring tablet that has revolutionized medicine in remote areas.

His Cardio pad enables heart patients in remote areas to access healthcare without journeying to the cities where most heart specialists work.

The tablet comes with four electrodes, which are attached to the patient’s chest to determine whether their heart is functioning normally.

The data is then wirelessly transmitted to the tablet and sent, via a mobile phone, to a cardiologist who can interpret the data in under 20 minutes and refer any prescriptions needed to the patient.

The award-winning device is currently deployed in most African countries and Asia as the world continues to embrace it.

Dr. Ndjomo Mba, director of the hospital of Mbankomo and Arthur Zang testing the Cardiopad with patient Jean Abada.

Usalama – Kenya

For this trio Kenyan developers, Marvin Makau, Edwin Inganji, and Kenneth Gachukia, communication could save lives and that is what their Usalama App seeks to achieve.

The app’s panic button sends a distress signal with the shake of a phone to emergency services, the needy person’s next of kin and other Usalama users within 200 meters.

In case of an accident or if confronted with a medical or emergency situation, users of the app can immediately send distress signals by barely shaking the phone three times. This will alert first responders, sharing your live locations so they can come to your rescue.

BeSpecular – South Africa

Commonly regarded as the app “leading eyes to the blind”, South African Chris Venter though blind can now see through the eyes of volunteers the world over who lend their eyes to him and thousands of the BeSpecular blind users.

After losing his sight to a virus, Chris, a former chef was determined to keep cooking and that was when the idea of eyes lending downed on him.

Once a request is submitted via the app, a handful of volunteers (over 10.000 subscribers), or so-called “sightlings”, receive a notification on their smartphones and can from there guide the blind on whatever they want to do.

Be it cooking, crossing the road, walking or any general thing they might need eyes for. With users in over 50 countries the world over, the question of if BeSpecular can help the blind to see it has popped up on several occasions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Visiting US congress delegation reiterates dialogue to resolving Cameroon’s simmering crisis
July 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Congresswoman Karen Bass (L) Cameroon Defense minister(R) during the audience (photo: The Guardian Post)

Congresswoman Karen Bass (L) Cameroon Defense minister(R) during the audience (photo: The Guardian Post)

A delegation from the United States congress has reiterated dialogue without any preconditions as a means to put an end to the ongoing armed conflict that has now claimed over two thousand lives displacing even more from the crisis-thorn North West and South West regions.

Addressing the delegation in an audience Tuesday, the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence, Joseph Beti Asomo, highlighted some of the security challenges Cameroon is currently facing, including cross border crime, maritime piracy, poaching, organized crime and terrorism. Citing the example of the recent Boko Haram attack in Darak, the Minister Delegate said these challenges the nation is facing have had several negative consequences.

The defence and security forces as well as the Multinational Joint Task Force of the Lake Chad Basin, he said, are however doing their best to bring back peace and stability in the affected regions.

With regards to the ongoing armed conflict in the North West and South West regions, Minister Joseph Beti Assomo stated that the information presented to the US congress by instigators of the crisis was imbalanced.

“The information brought to your attention by the instigators of this crisis is simply biased. The real criminals and terrorists are those who kill people, kidnap them, demand ransom, prevent children from going to school and burn down villages, hospitals and patients,” he said.

These persons whose names appear on the lists forwarded to the US government, he added, “raise funds in Western countries to finance the war in Cameroon”.

The US delegation was later presented a video which the Minister Delegate said depicts the “reality on the ground”.

Talking at the end of the encounter, the head of the United States delegation, Honorable Karen Bass said the US congress has taken the stance of peace and dialogue.

“What you can expect from the US congress is a real call for a dialogue, for peace, for all the parties to come together without preconditions,” she said.

She also reiterated her nation’s commitment in helping Cameroon fight terrorism in the Northern regions of the country.

“The United States support for Cameroon’s effort to address Boko Haram is going to continue. That is a partnership that we have experienced, an example of many. We want to make sure that continues,” she assured.

The US congress delegation’s exchange with the defence ministry officials, it should be said, was one of the several audiences granted the visitors by top regime officials, including Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute.

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Nigeria: Buhari set to sign Africa free trade pact
July 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Teslim Olawore

President Buhari

President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari will sign the landmark African free trade agreement during the upcoming African Union meeting in Niger.

The information was revealed in a tweet that was posted on July 2nd by the office of the presidency.

“Nigeria will sign the #AfCFTA Agreement at the upcoming Extraordinary Summit of the African Union in Niamey, Niger,” the presidency tweeted.

African leaders will meet for the AU meeting in Niamey this weekend.

Nigeria had been a key backer of the plan to progressively reduce trade barriers on the continent since talks on the African Continental Free Trade Area got underway in 2002.

However it abruptly changed course shortly before the deal was signed last year following pressure from local unions and businesses fearful that they would be uncompetitive if trade barriers are dropped.

Last week, a special government panel formed to study the potential impact of joining AfCFTA, recommended that Buhari sign Nigeria up.

The trade deal “provides immense opportunities for Nigeria’s manufacturing and service companies to expand to Africa,” the panel’s chair, Desmond Guobadia, said in a statement after submitting its report.

AfCFTA formally came into force at the end of May, after the required minimum of 22 countries ratified the ambitious plan to boost intra-African trade, which has long suffered by high tariffs.

It hopes the progressive elimination of tariffs will help boost regional trade by 60 percent within three years. At present, only 16 percent of trade by African nations is with continental neighbours.

Nigeria is one of only three of the AU’s 55 member states to not have signed up to AfCFTA, with other African economic heavyweights such as Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Africa having ratified the pact.

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REDAVIA Deploys Solar Farm for Leading Ghanaian Agrofoods Business, Movelle Company
July 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

 

REDAVIA Solar at Movelle Company.

REDAVIA, a global market leader of cost-effective, reliable and clean solar power for businesses and communities, deployed a solar farm last week for the Movelle Company, one of Ghana’s leading agrofoods businesses at their site in Takoradi, Ghana.

Movelle trades a high volume of pelagic fish due to the high demand for oily fish in the West African markets. With such a large variety of frozen fish needing to be kept cold, the Movelle site in Takoradi requires a 24/7, constant supply of energy.

In order to save costs on their current electricity bill, Movelle elected REDAVIA to deploy a solar farm at its cold storage site. REDAVIA’s flexible lease contract enabled Movelle to supplement its grid power with more affordable, clean solar power, without the burden of a large up-front capital outlay.

Designed for maximum ease, REDAVIA’s contract also includes installation, maintenance, and 24/7 technical monitoring. Last week, REDAVIA’s onsite engineers deployed an initial 90 kWp of solar at the Movelle site. After a smooth deployment and early operation period, both parties are already planning to scale up the solar farm with a second phase of 84 kWp, for a total of 174 kWp at the site.

“As both a family business and a market leader, we are delighted that the REDAVIA model enables us to balance both environmental concerns and financial viability,” said Alan Osei-Assibey, CEO of the Movelle Group. “Our partnership with REDAVIA will allow us to reduce both operational costs and carbon emissions.”

Erwin Spolders, CEO & founder of REDAVIA, confirms, “Solar power reduces costs, generating savings that can be reinvested into the business, while also reducing the carbon footprint of the business. It’s a win-win scenario.”

About the Movelle Company

The Movelle Company has built extensive capabilities in sourcing and trading commodities over many years. Opportunities exist at the national, regional and global level for a wide range of fish, meat and agricultural commodities; further opportunities exist in global markets for the provision of international trade services. The Group has capabilities in trade financing, risk assessment and management, port operations, specialist transport and warehousing, gained from successfully completing numerous international trade transactions. https://movellecompany.com/

About REDAVIA

REDAVIA offers solar power for businesses and communities in West and East Africa. The REDAVIA system is based on a pre-configured model, including high-performance solar modules and electrical components. It is easy to ship, set up, scale and redeploy. Businesses and communities benefit from a cost-effective, reliable, clean energy solution with minimal upfront investment or technical skills. www.redaviasolar.com

*PR Newswire

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Gambia Sign new ECOWAS agreements on Tourism, Child Marriage, others
July 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Gambia's President Adama Barrow

Gambia’s President Adama Barrow

President Adama Barrow has signed several legal instruments during the 55th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Summit, held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Nigeria.

The Summit, which brought together over a dozen Head of States, focused on the promotion of peace and stability, regional integration, economic growth and social affairs.

The legal acts President Barrow signed include Regional Tourism Policy, Political Declaration against Child Marriage, adoption of ECOWAS Child Policy and Strategic plan, ECOWAS roadmap on prevention of response to child marriage, and ECOWAS Model Mining and Minerals Development and its implementation strategy.

President Barrow also signed the outstanding legal acts from the 54th Conference, among which is the adoption of the ECOWAS Rural Electrification master plan, ECOWAS Common Investment code, and the elimination of double taxation between member states.

At the opening ceremony, the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State, Muhammadu Buhari, commended his counterparts for their commitment to consolidate regional integration. He called on them to put their collective effort in fighting against security threats and safeguard the peace-loving nature of the Africans.

President of ECOWAS Commission, H.E. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, hailed the consolidation of democracy and good governance in ECOWAS member while cautioning about the situation in Guinea Bissau and terrorism.

Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and the Head of UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel, Dr Muhammed Ibn Chambas, said Series of elections are coming up in ECOWAS countries and they will be watching closely for free and fair elections. Beyond military approaches he added, more efforts should be made in addressing the roots causes of extremism, terrorism, and other conflicts in the sub-region.

The President of the International Criminal Court, Judge Chile Eboe- Osuji, stated that there cannot be any meaningful economic development without peace and stability while lauding ECOWAS member states for their confidence in the ICC.

Ata closed session, the Leaders discussed the 2019 Interim Report of ECOWAS, the 42nd Ordinary Meeting of the Mediation and Security Council, 82nd Ordinary Session of ECOWAS Council of Ministers as well as special reports on the political situation in Guinea Bissau, the ECOWAS single currency, and Declaration on Child Marriage. President Barrow retuned on Sunday, 30th June 2019.

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Cameroonian appointed head coach of South Sudan Football team
July 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

From Amos Fofung

Ashu Cyprian Besong (Getty image)

Ashu Cyprian Besong (Getty image)

Cameroonian-born football trainer, Ashu Cyprian Besong was on Monday appointed by the South Sudan Football Association, SSFA as head coach of the country’s national football team.

Initially, Ashu Cyprian Besong, was Cameroon’s U-20 head coach. Taking up his new job, he will replace caretaker coach Ramzi Sebit.

“Ashu Cyprian Besong of Cameroon will be appointed as the coach for South Sudan national team coach. He is confirmed to arrive Juba, tomorrow (Tuesday) to take up his new assignment,” the SSFA said on its official Facebook page.

The coaching position has been vacant since September 2018, following the resignation of Algeria’s Ahcene Ait-Abdelmalek just seven months after his appointment.

Besong becomes South Sudan’s fifth foreign coach following the departure of Ait-Abdelmalek, South Korea’s Lee Sung-Jea, Serbian Zoran Dordevic and Uganda’s Leo Adraa.

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Obsession over customers, not competition – The Impeccable Strategy
July 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Jude Adeyinka

The preliminary theme of the most competitive analysis is a question: Who is your competition? That’s because most companies view their competition as another brand, product, or service. However, insightful leaders and establishments go extensive.

The question is not who your competition is but what it is. The realistic response to this is this: Your competition is any and every difficulty your consumers bump into along their journeys to using your company’s products.  To reinforce my point, I will give a little illustration.

When I read about the fintech industry in Nigeria – I see a lot of work done from all the top players in the sector. I am particularly impressed by what I read and perceive Renmoney on the country’s media. So when I visited Nigeria, I wanted to get a first experience of the brand.  I was going to review from afar the work that fintechs in Nigeria do. In fact, Renmoney was top of the mind for me.

Renmoney operates under the licence of a Microfinance bank but is in practice a fintech lending company. I must say that to have communicated their brand as fintech was indeed a customer-centric idea that I found creative. How else do you want to effectively approach and cater to the public if you drag the tag microfinance around you? Everyone knows how it is such a turnoff.

During my last visit to Lagos, sometime in March this year, I was impressed by the firm’s advertising strength but then that was not all. In fact, much more than that, I was impressed with the perception of most people interacted with about the brand. Having a combination of a mobile kiosk, an online platform and the usual brick-and-mortar are clear indications that this fintech company is headed for a more disruptive 2020. A clear indication of this is Renmoney’s mobile kiosk that I saw around some parts of Lagos from Surulere to Ajah and some other locations. These are the locations I can recall. This service was singularly bringing credit to the public. Imagine, thinking you need the money and as you turn around, you sight a Renmoney mobile lending kiosk. Brilliant, right?

At the end of the day, it’s your customers who have the ultimate idea of what is good and bad about your services. It’s your customers who buy your products; and in all truth, it’s your customers who will keep you in business. There are four good questions to answer in learning about your customers.

  1. Who are they?
  2. What motivates their behaviour?
  3. Where do they spend most of their time doing and at where?
  4. What are they saying about you?

 

Let’s start getting to know your customers, as intimately as possible. In fact, obsess over them.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos once said, “If we can keep our competitors focused on us while we stay focused on the customer, ultimately we’ll turn out all right.”

 

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