SureRemit targets 250 million immigrants with non-cash remittance service
December 8, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
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
“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.
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|
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).
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
Rwanda Africa’s ‘City of Innovation’ to host conference on ‘Uniting Africa’
December 7, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
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
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.
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.
IGAD Softens Position on Riek Machar’s Attendance at Peace Forum
December 7, 2017 | 0 Comments
By John Tanza*
The special envoy of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to South Sudan Ismail Wais told South Sudan in Focus in an exclusive interview Tuesday that he expects rebel leader Riek Machar, who’s been under house arrest in South Africa for months, to attend an upcoming forum on the 2015 peace agreement.
Wais said the high-level revitalization forum will get under way December 17 in Addis Ababa, a day after a consultative meeting.
“The main objective of the forum is to be all inclusive, and it will be fatal to exclude any key stakeholder in this revitalization forum,” Wais told VOA.
“Of course, everybody cannot be invited, but we conducted the mapping exercise of the key stakeholders and this exercise was approved and we will send to all of the key stakeholders and they have accepted that these are the key players of the issues in South Sudan,” Wais said.
The former economic adviser to the president of Djibouti said he and other members of the IGAD consultative team traveled recently to South Africa to meet with Machar.
“We consulted with him. And we discussed the forum and he agreed to the concept that IGAD is proposing for the upcoming forum,” Wais said.
Senior government officials, including South Sudan’s Information Minister Michael Makuei, have said on several occasions that Machar should not attend the forum for reviving the collapsed 2015 peace deal, insisting that someone within Machar’s SPLM-In Opposition could attend in his place.
Asked if Machar will be Addis Ababa in person, Wais demurred.
“We are now in the process of sending the invitations. So far, no one has received an invitation, but be assured when the invitations go out, he will also receive an invitation letter.”
Other South Sudanese opposition officials have criticized IGAD’s track record on efforts to bring peace to South Sudan.
In July, Manawa Peter Gatkuoth, a leading member of the opposition faction allied to Machar, voiced skepticism that the revitalization forum would make a difference and said the forum proves the peace agreement has collapsed. Wais, however, defended IGAD’s participation in South Sudan peace talks.
He noted IGAD has been involved in the peace process regarding the South Sudanese since the 1980s, “and it continued, and when this conflict erupted it was IGAD that was on the table, before any other institution.”
Wais told VOA that the region is united on one issue: “restoring peace to South Sudan.”
A borderless Africa? Not yet, but some countries open doors
December 7, 2017 | 0 Comments
By RODNEY MUHUMUZA*
KAMPALA, Uganda – 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!”
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|
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.
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.
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).
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.
Senegal’s sports minister Matar Ba aiming for the World Cup semi-finals
December 5, 2017 | 0 Comments
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
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
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.
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.
Acting Assistant Secretary Yamamoto Travel to Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, London, and Rwanda
December 4, 2017 | 0 Comments
On December 4, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto attended the Somalia Security Pact Review in Mogadishu. The meeting was chaired by President Farmaajo and provided the opportunity for stakeholders invested in Somalia’s security and stability to discuss the development of Somali security institutions.
Following the Somalia Security Pact Review, the Acting Assistant Secretary will travel to Nairobi, Kenya from December 4-6, where he will meet with representatives of the Kenyan government, as well as with Kenyan civil society. The visit will encourage all sides in Kenya to participate in a national dialogue following the presidential election.
In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Acting Assistant Secretary will meet with senior leaders of the Ethiopian government and of the African Union from December 7-9. In addition to continuing discussions on bilateral issues between the two countries, he will talk with both Ethiopian government and AU officials about regional concerns, including food security, peacekeeping and refugee matters.
In London, Ambassador Yamamoto will participate in the twice yearly gathering of P3 Africa Directors meeting on December 11-12 to discuss current policy issues with defense and development colleagues from France and the UK.
Ambassador Yamamoto will then travel to Kigali, Rwanda on December 13-14, where he will meet with President Kagame ahead of his term as President of the African Union.
*Courtesy of US State Department
Statement from the Archbishop Tutu Fellows to African Heads of State and the International Private Sector, Civil Society and Multilateral Organisations on the Great Stain of Slavery in Libya
November 30, 2017 | 1 Comments
|Slavery in Libya is a crime against humanity and immediate action is required by all stakeholders, including African governments|
|JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, November 30, 2017/ — Statement from the Archbishop Tutu Fellows to African Heads of State and the International Private Sector, Civil Society and Multilateral Organisations on the Great Stain of Slavery in Libya:
Your Excellencies, leaders of private sector and civil society organisations, policy makers at the United Nations and the African Union and fellow Africans,
Slavery in Libya is a crime against humanity and immediate action is required by all stakeholders, including African governments, to put an end to this outrageous practice and hold responsible parties accountable.
There are three Great Stains on humanity; War, Genocide and Slavery.
They are the Great Stains not only because they are the fertile soil for many other debasing evils; they are Great Stains because they are assaults and crimes against humanity.
The prevalence of war, genocide and slavery historically is by no means the measure by which we as humanity can accept such behavior as normative, then or now.
Slavery has spawned intergenerational social and economic disruption to the Continent of Africa and other areas; and has stolen the liberties and lives of people for the commoditization of their bodies against their will.
The slave trade is a crime against Humanity.
It is abhorrent to humanity.
It is monstrous.
It is an assault on the dignity of all.
Slavery can and must be stopped.
We, Archbishop Tutu Fellows, call upon the United Nations Security Council and its related organs to urgently declare the practice of Slavery – particularly in Libya- a threat against humanity and to work closely with civil society and member states to arrest the slave trade and create an effective punitive framework to combat against the slave trade globally.
We call upon the Africa Union to demonstrate continental leadership in aggregating national voices on ensuring slavery remains a historical footnote.
We call upon all African heads of State to take action to hold each other accountable, and to engage with other states beyond the continent who can make a contribution toward eradicating the Slave trade, and to stanch the capital flows and lack of consequence which makes this vile economy thrive.
We call upon businesses invested in countries such as Libya- which have failed to abide by the unwritten laws of humanity- to divest and support the removal of the Great Stain.
We call upon the NGO community invested in the fight against human trafficking, forced labor, involuntary migration, social justice and the betterment of the planet to support the removal of the Great Stain.
We call upon all Africans, in particular the nations of the African North, to support the removal of the Great Stain in all its forms.
We call upon the instruments of justice– national and international- to charge beneficiaries of the slave trade as Enemies of humanity.
As Archbishop Tutu Fellows and as Africans, we request the following immediate course of action:
As a network of more than 300 emerging young African leaders, we, the Archbishop Tutu Fellows, are willing and able to assist where such assistance is needed. We are deeply aware that it is pertinent upon the conscience and humanity of every member of the international community to act against the evils to which our fellow human beings are subject to in Libya. The urgency of the situation is such that we need to act now. Our ancestors fought slavery over hundreds of years and we cannot bear witness to its evils today and do nothing.
The Archbishop Tutu Fellows, of the African Leadership Institute (https://ALInstitute.org), are a diverse group of leading professionals from 42 African countries working at the forefront of positive change on the African continent and representing various sectors – civil society, government, business, the arts, education, healthcare, media and more. Tutu Fellows have undergone the Institute’s flagship programme, the Archbishop Tutu Leadership Programme, which is widely considered the premier leadership training programme on the continent. The goal of the programme is to impact the future of Africa through building and nurturing the capability of future leaders of the continent, drawing upon the globally-respected leadership values of ther Patron, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Since the inaugural class of 2006, the network now boasts 300+ Tutu Fellows.
Sky captain Gyan: Soccer star to launch ‘Baby Jet’ airline
November 30, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Kieron Monks*
(CNN)Ghana’s record goalscorer has traveled the world over the course of his career.
Asamoah Gyan left his homeland as a teenager and took the scenic route around Europe playing in France, Italy, and England, before taking a detour via China and the United Arab Emirates, and then arriving at his current club Kayserispor in the Turkish Super League.
The striker says his motivation is a mix of personal and patriotic: “A desire to help my country, to create more jobs, and also to have a good life after football.”
House Arrest OK’d for Ex-Diplomat Awaiting Corruption Trial
November 29, 2017 | 0 Comments
By ADAM KLASFELD*
MANHATTAN (CN) – U.S. prosecutors lobbied unsuccessfully Monday to ensure the pretrial detention of former Senegalese diplomat awaiting a New York corruption trial.
Once deeply involved in U.S. peacekeeping and anti-terrorism efforts in Africa following the 9/11, Senegal’s former foreign minister Cheikh Gadio was arrested just over a week ago in connection to a three-year bribery scheme.
Alleging violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, prosecutors say 61-year-old Gadio helped Hong Kong-based businessman Patrick Ho funnel $2 million to Chad President Idriss Deby to help tap the nation’s vast oil reserves.
Though a federal magistrate granted Gadio a $1 million bail package, the government contended at a hearing Monday that Gadio should be considered a flight risk since America has no extradition treaty with Senegal.
“People flee, and they flee for rational reasons,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Richtenthal said this afternoon.
U.S. District Judge William Pauley III found house arrest under GPS monitoring enough to ensure Gadio’s appearance at trial.
“He’s going to be confined to his home in Maryland,” Pauley ruled.
Defense attorney Sean Hecker said Gadio’s reputation in the international community would be enough to ensure his appearance in court.
“This is a man of honor, a man of deep and well-deserved reputation,” said Hecker, from the firm Debevoise & Plimpton.
A West African nation roughly the size of South Dakota, Senegal has been a key U.S. partner in the fight against terrorism.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell heralded Gadio’s leadership on the issue the year after the 9/11 attacks.
“Senegal took a strong position against terrorism in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the U.S., and in October 2001 hosted a conference establishing the African Pact Against Terrorism,” a U.S. State Department noted in 2002 press briefing.
WikiLeaks also published a cable in which former ambassador Janice Jacobs emphasized senegal’s outsized peacekeeping role in a region rife with conflict.
“Despite high rates of poverty and illiteracy, Senegal retains a high degree of political stability and coherence thus enabling GOS to be a diplomatic player on a continent replete with conflicts,” the Nov. 8, 2006, cable said. “With U.S. training and assistance, Senegal has also become one of the world’s top ten contributors of peacekeepers.”
Gadio has not formally entered a plea, but his attorney made clear the diplomat will dispute the charges against him.
“The facts will come out,” Hecker said. “We’ll have the chance to tell our side of the story.”
Although he lived in Ohio for a decade, Gadio will await trial with his wife and children in Maryland. Hecker said that his wife works for the United Nations, where she is stationed in Equatorial Guinea.
Prosecutors say Gadio’s bribery scheme lasted from 2014 to this year, well after his tenure in Senegal from 2000 and 2009. Before his arrest earlier this month, Gadio posed for smiling photographs shaking hands both with Powell and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
*Culled from Court House News
AfDB Launches Youth Advisory Group to Create 25 Million Jobs
November 28, 2017 | 0 Comments
|The Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative aims at creating 25 million jobs and impacting 50 million youth over the next ten years by equipping them with the right skills to get decent and meaningful jobs|
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, November 28, 2017/ — The President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org), Akinwumi Adesina, has launched the Presidential Youth Advisory Group (PYAG) to provide insights and innovative solutions for job creation for Africa’s youth, as outlined in the Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy (JfYA) (http://APO.af/nRtVAs).
The Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative aims at creating 25 million jobs and impacting 50 million youth over the next ten years by equipping them with the right skills to get decent and meaningful jobs. It is currently the largest effort going on for youth employment in Africa today.
The advisory group, inaugurated on the sidelines of the 6th EU-Africa Business Forum in Abidjan on Monday, November 27, will work with the Bank to create jobs for Africa’s youth.
“This is a huge opportunity for Africa. If we fix the youth unemployment challenge, Africa will gain 10-20% annual growth. That means Africa’s GDP will grow by $500 million per year for the next thirty years. Africa’s per capita income will rise by 55% every year to the year 2050,” Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) said at the inauguration of the Group.
Adesina, who identified Africa’s greatest asset as its youth, observed that out of the 13 million youths that enter the labour market each year, only 3 million (about 33% of African youth) are in wage employment, while the rest are underemployed or in vulnerable employment. The annual gap of more than 8 million jobs is going to worsen, with the number of youth expected to double to more than 800 million in the next decades.
“Africa has an unemployment crisis among its youth,” he stressed, noting that unless employment opportunities are created for them, Africa’s rapidly growing population of youths can give rise to serious social, economic, political and security challenges.
Africa’s youths, though strong and dynamic, cross the desert or the Mediterranean sea because they do not find decent jobs in Africa. Graduates are wandering in the streets, jobless. The low level of employment opportunities is also fueling violence and extremism in Africa. “40% of African youths engaged in armed violence join gangs or terrorist groups because of limited opportunities in their countries,” Adesina said.
“66 million African youths earn less than $2 a day, less than the price of a hamburger,” the AfDB President emphasized. “66 million is 8 times the size of Switzerland, 6 times the size of Belgium, the same size as UK, France or Italy, and 80% of Germany’s population,” he added.
The Presidential Youth Advisory Group (PYAG) comprises nine members under the age of 40 who have made significant contributions to the creation of employment opportunities for African youth.
The PYAG members are: Ashish Thakkar, CEO, Mara Group, Tanzania (Chair); Uzodinma Iweala, award-winning author, Nigeria; Mamadou Toure, Founder / CEO, Africa 2.0 / Ubuntu Capital, Cameroon; Vanessa Moungar, Human and Social Development Director, AfDB and member of President Macron’s Presidential Council for Africa, Chad; Francine Muyumba, President, Panafrican Youth Union, Democratic Republic of Congo; Jeremy Johnson, Co-founder, Andela, USA; Clarisse Iribagiza, CEO, Hehe, Rwanda; Ada Osakwe, CEO, Agrolay Ventures, Nigeria; and Monica Musonda, CEO of Java Foods, Zambia.
On the rationale behind the setting up of the advisory group, President Adesina explained: “We recognize the enormous amount of energy, creative and innovative thinking, and entrepreneurial excellence that many of our youth bring to the table. For this reason, the Bank must ensure that it is well advised by cutting-edge youth representatives on its policies, actions and programmes, for the benefit of Africa’s youth.”
“The members of the Presidential Youth Advisory Group are expected to actively engage private sector partners, government leaders, civil society, donor partners, and other stakeholders; and support the significant amount of work that the Bank is already doing and promoting across the continent through its Jobs for Youth in Africa strategy,” President Adesina added.
A youth-led economic transformation agenda
PYAG is an opportunity for leading young voices in Africa to develop new and fresh perspectives and recommend innovative solutions that will shape AfDB’s support to African countries, and reduce the scourge of Youth unemployment.
The AfDB is fully committed to working with the PYAG to scale up and expedite results that deliver decent and sustainable jobs for African youth, through formal employment and successful youth entrepreneurship that allows African youth to become their own drivers of economic prosperity, social stability and environmental sustainability.
Ashish Thakkar, CEO of the Mara Group and Chair of the PYAG, said: “It is a great honour to serve our continent in this function. We know that the stakes are high, but we are committed to the task of creating flourishing youth businesses that provide tremendous value. We are also focused on facilitating the achievement of AfDB’s High 5s and Sustainable Development Goals. We have just concluded our work program for the next year and have hit the ground running.”
He described how his family lost everything they had during the genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s.
“I have borrowed $5,000 to launch my business without any form of support. Today, Mara Group has 14,000 employees around the world. I was alone, but imagine what we can do together with the support of an institution like the AfDB.”
“I have never heard of an institution as important as the AfDB setting up and advisory group only made of youth. A Chinese proverb has it that if you want 1 year of prosperity, plant a grain. If you want 10 years of prosperity, plant a tree. If you want a century of prosperity, invest on people,” said Mamadou Touré, a member of the group.
Also speaking, Ada Osakwe said: “40% of entrepreneurs in Nigeria are women, but 73% operate in consumer retail systems. We need to address that and provide youth with more lucrative jobs.”
To make agriculture more attractive to young people, the AfDB last year invested $800 million in supporting young entrepreneurs in agriculture as a business in 8 countries. It will reach 15 countries this year. The Bank expects to invest 1.5 billion per year for the next 10 years to support young agripreneurs.
The AfDB is delivering on its youth strategy
The AfDB has made great progress toward implementing its strategy through three key pillars: innovation, integration and investment. In terms of integration, the Bank entered into partnership with the International Labour Organization to strengthen the capacity of African countries to harmonize Youth Employment into national policies.
The Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund which will serve as a financial and operational instrument, with initial support of USD 4.4 million by Denmark and Norway.
The African Development has also developed the Enabling Youth Employment (EYE) Index to measure youth employment outcomes and enabling policies at country levels.
“With this amazing group of very diverse young individuals, we even hope to exceed the Bank’s goal to create 25 million jobs and 50 million youth equipped with the right skills,” said Thakkar enthusiastically. “It is time to change the narrative about Africa’s youth!”
Folorunso Alakija Inspires 300 Women at Prestigious 2017 Flourish Africa Conference
November 28, 2017 | 0 Comments
|The 66-year-old business magnate has persistently championed the causes of women in Nigeria from her work with widows and orphans|
|LAGOS, Nigeria, November 28, 2017/ — Folorunso Alakija, one of a handful of successful female entrepreneurs on the continent listed as one of Forbes most powerful women in the world, attended the Africa conference. The 66-year-old business magnate has persistently championed the causes of women in Nigeria from her work with widows and orphans through the Rose of Sharon Foundation which Alakija uses as a medium to empower thousands of impoverished women and their children through Flourish Africa (http://FlourishAfrica.com) which is the first platform of its kind designed to create an impact on the lives of women in Africa by providing the tools they need to fulfill their God given potential. Through a series of conferences, workshops and mentorship programs, the platform hopes to bring women from all walks of life together to share in their unique experiences and become who God has destined for them to be.
Initiatives designed to give them a better standard of living
As CEO of Famfa Oil (www.Famfa.com), one of the largest indigenous oil companies in Africa, she has built schools, science labs, roads as well as providing scholarships to thousands of young students all over Nigeria. Her philanthropic work continues this year with the launch of the women empowerment platform, Flourish Africa.
The first Flourish Africa conference took place at the Renaissance Ikeja Hotel in Lagos at an exclusive invitation only event hosted by Forbes Africa Head of Digital Media and Partnerships and West Africa Correspondent, Peace Hyde, which saw applications from over 2000 women vying for the opportunity to be part of the 300 people who were selected to partake in the exchange of knowledge from powerful women like Folorunso Alakija, Ibukun Awosika, Senator Daisy Danjuma, Mrs. Fashola, Juliet Ehimuan Chiazor, Uche Pedro, Ayo Mogbepe and many more.
Flourish Africa (http://FlourishAfrica.com) is the first platform of its kind designed to create an impact on the lives of women in Africa by providing the tools they need to fulfill their God given potential. Through a series of conferences, workshops and mentorship programs, the platform hopes to bring women from all walks of life together to share in their unique experiences and become who God has destined for them to be.
African Union Commission Awards Thirteen Consortia of Institutions to Implement the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security and Africa Support Programme
November 28, 2017 | 0 Comments
|The award ceremony holds on the margins of the 5th AU-EU Summit in Abidjan, Cote d`Ivoire|
|ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, November 28, 2017/ —
The African Union Commission (AUC) (https://AU.int) officially awards grants to thirteen successful consortia of institutions that will serve as Regional Implementing Centres for the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security and Africa (GMES and Africa) (http://GMES4Africa.blogspot.in) Support Programme. The award ceremony holds on the margins of the 5th AU-EU Summit in Abidjan, Cote d`Ivoire.
Following a Call for Proposals in May 2017, a number of African institutions operating in the areas of water, natural resources, marine and coastal areas, applied for the GMES and Africa Support Programme Grants. To evaluate the applications and select the most suitable consortia of institutions that submitted proposals, the African Union Commission instituted a committee supported by a team of assessors comprising African earth observation experts.
Thirteen consortia of institutions were finally selected and the award marks the official announcement of their selection.
1. Central Africa: Agence Gabonaise d’Etudes et d’Observations Spatiale (AGEOS) and Commission Internationale du Bassin Congo-Oubangui-Sangha (CICOS) for Water and natural resources service.
2. East Africa:
4. Southern Africa:
5. West Africa
At the award ceremony, the Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology at the African Union Commission, Professor Sarah Anyang Agbor, felicitated the successful institutions on their selection, which she said was based on their experience and proven capacities. She implored them to deliver the goods, and promised the African Union Commission’s unflinching support.
GMES and Africa (http://GMES4Africa.blogspot.in) Support Programme is a 30 million Euro joint programme co-financed by the European Commission (https://EC.europa.eu) and the African Union Commission. It will use and adapt the Copernicus Programme data and services to the African context. It is designed to specifically respond to African needs with respect to services related to water, natural resources, marine and coastal areas and to address the global needs to manage the environment, mitigate climate change and ensure civil security. It is to enable the implementation of the African Space Policy and Strategy, formulated to harness the continent’s capabilities in utilizing space science and technology for economic growth and sustainable development. In the implementation agreement, the African Union Commission is the ‘delegated authority’ responsible for the management of the programme.
Indeed, GMES & Africa Programme aimed at improving African policy-makers’, planners’, scientists’, business and private sector and citizens’ capacities to design, implement, and monitor national, regional and continental policies and to promote sustainable management of natural resources through the use of Earth Observation data and derived information.
GMES & Africa introduced several key innovations: for the first time, with the inclusion of the North African countries, the Programme is pan African. It is totally managed by the African Union Commission, through the Human Resource, Science and Technology (HRST) Department. It engages the African private sector and national and regional academia.
Merck Foundation conducts 3rd UNESCO-Merck Africa Research Summit – MARS 2017 in partnership with the Office of the President of Mauritius and their Ministry of Health
November 28, 2017 | 0 Comments
|Third edition UNESCO-MARS 2017 continues to build Research Capacity in Africa with special focus on Cancer and Vaccines Development|
|PORT LOUIS, Mauritius, November 28, 2017/ —
As part of Merck STEM program For Women and Youth, Merck Foundation (www.Merck-Foundation.com), a non-profit organization and a subsidiary of Merck (www.Merck.com) KGaA Germany conducts the 3rd edition of their annual “UNESCO-Merck Africa Research Summit” on the 28th and 29th of November 2017 under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Mauritius, Her Excellency Mrs. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim and in partnership with Government of Mauritius, UNESCO, African Union and African Governments.
The President of the Republic of Mauritius, Her Excellency Mrs. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim emphasized during the inauguration; “We are very happy to partner with the Merck Foundation and UNESCO to empower women and youth in STEM. The UNESCO – Merck Africa Research Summit is a valuable opportunity for all those engaged and interested in health research in Africa to learn about the full spectrum of ground-breaking scientific research currently underway, and prepare the road ahead in Africa’s development as an international hub for research and scientific innovation.”
Speaking on Merck Foundation’s support for Research Capacity building in Africa, “We are keen to support young gifted researchers by passing on the knowledge and experience we have gathered over the 350 years of Merck history. Through our ‘Merck STEM Program’ we aim to promote women and youth in scientific research through providing them with training opportunities to advance their capacity with special focus on Cancer care,” Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of Executive Board and Family Board of E.Merck KG & Chairman of Board of Trustees of Merck Foundation emphasized.
“For the third year, Merck Foundation continues their long- term commitment towards building Research Capacity in Africa. Supporting the African research community, with special focus on Women and Youth is one of our most important objectives, this year in partnership with The Head of State of Mauritius together with African Governments, we focus on The Role of Scientific Research in responding to Cancer and Vaccines Development – two critical challenges in Africa”, said Dr. Rasha Kelej, Merck Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer.
UNESCO-MARS 2017 was officially inaugurated by; Her Excellency Mrs. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of the Republic of Mauritius and Dr. the Hon. Mohammad Anwar Husnoo, Mauritius’ Minister of Health and Quality of Life.
Merck Africa Research Summit – MARS Awards 2017
During the Summit Award ceremony, five winners from Cameroon, Nigeria, Rwanda and Mauritius were recognized and awarded respectively for their excellence in research under the category of ‘Best African Women Researchers Award’. Furthermore, three winners from South Africa, Senegal, andBotswana were presented with the ‘Best Young African Researchers Award’ during the 3rd UNESCO-Merck Africa Research Summit held in Mauritius.
For the first time, an additional three female researchers from Mauritius, were presented with special “MARS Best Mauritian Women Researchers Award”.“This is to contribute to the Mauritian government’s efforts to promote women in STEM with special focus on scientific research in cancer,” Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation added.
After previous successful editions of the Summit, UNESCO and Merck Foundation join hands for the third time to respond to Africa’s STISA (Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa) 2024, reinforcing the axiom that only through building local capacities can Africa rise again to becoming an equal partner in advancing STEM research and education.
To this, UNESCO–MARS 2017 brings together African researchers to discuss the generation, sharing and dissemination of research data and to prepare for the road ahead in developing Africa as an international hub for research excellence and scientific innovation. These include researchers from Francophone countries such as Benin, Senegal, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Congo, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burkina Faso, and Anglophone countries such as Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, Ghana, Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan, Egypt, South Sudan and Ethiopia.
More than 60% of young African Researchers attending this year, are women, emphasizing Merck Foundation’s long-term commitment towards empowering women in STEM with special focus on Scientific Research in Cancer and Vaccines Development.
Key African ministers attending the Summit to participate in the Ministerial Panels
This year’s Summit has attracted many African ministers of Health; Education; Science and Technology; Gender and Social Development to participate in the ministerial high-level panels which will focus on ‘Empowering Women & Youth in STEM – with special focus on Scientific Research – Challenges & Solutions to be considered in the national strategy in developing countries.’
The ministers participating in the panel include: Hon. Sarah Opendi Minister of State of Health, Uganda; Hon. Leela Devi Dookun- Luchoomun Minister of Education and Scientific Research, Mauritius; Hon. Dr. George Kronnisanyon Werner Minister of Science and Higher Education, Liberia; Hon. Dr Anwar Husnoo Minister of Health, Mauritius; Hon. Susan Shabangu Minister in the Presidency Responsible for Women, South Africa; Hon. Julia Duncan Cassell, Minister of Gender and Social Development, Liberia; Hon. Chitalu Chilufya, Minister of Health, Zambia; Hon. Malam Adamu Adamu, Minister of Science and Higher Education, Nigeria; Hon. Awut Deng Acuil, Minister of Gender Child and Social Welfare, South Sudan; Hon. Fidelis Macdonald Molao and Deputy Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Botswana. The panel also includes, Hon. Samuel Mvondo Ayolo, Ambassador of Cameroonto France, and Hon. Christine Nina NIYONSAVYE and Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Burundi to UNESCO.
About Last year MARS Awards Winners:
In 2016, five winners from Kenya, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Uganda and Ethiopia were recognized and awarded for their excellence in research under the category of ‘Best African Women Researchers Award’ and four winners from Botswana, Cameroon, Gambia and Zimbabwe for ‘Best Young African Researchers Award’ during the 2nd UNESCO-Merck Africa Research Summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This was the first time the ‘Best African Women Researchers Award’ was launched.
The Merck Foundation (www.Merck-Foundation.com), established in 2017, is a philanthropic organization that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to innovative healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Foundation Website.
Merck (www.Merck.com) is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2016, Merck generated sales of € 15.0 billion in 66 countries.
The laureate of the US$1million 2017 cycle of the Al-Sumait Prize in the field of Education has been announced following its Board of Trustees meeting in Kuwait City
November 28, 2017 | 0 Comments
|The recipient organization of the US$1million prize of this prestigious award is the African Women Educationalists (FAWE), Nairobi, Kenya|
KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait, November 27, 2017/ — Laureate for the 2017 cycle of Al-Sumait Prize (www.AlSumaitPrize.org) for African Development in the field of Education has been endorsed by the Prize’s Board of Trustees for its exemplary work in Education development in Africa.
The recipient organization of the US$1million prize of this prestigious award is the African Women Educationalists (FAWE), Nairobi, Kenya. The decision was announced at the conclusion of Al-Sumait’s Board of Trustees meeting in Kuwait City.
The African Women Educationalists is awarded the prize for its achievements in significantly enhancing gender equity and equality in education through targeted programs, having a profound impact on attitudes and practices towards girls’ education and influencing education policies in 33 African countries.
Commenting, Al-Sumait’s Board Chairman H.E. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, said “Our goal, with this prize, is to promote positive change across Africa, and this newly announced laureate of the Al-Sumait Prize for African Development has been working tirelessly in the field of education to create a positive and sustainable difference across Africa.”
Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin, Director General of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) (www.KFAS.org), which administers the award, said: “The organization awarded the 2017 Al-Sumait Prize in the field of Education represents innovative, exciting initiatives being carried out to address education access and quality as well as gender equity challenges facing Africa”
He added that FAWE will receive the award at the KFAS Prizes Ceremony in December under the patronage of His Highness the Amir of the State Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah.
The 2015 Al-Sumait Prize in the field of Health is was awarded to Professor Kevin Marsh in recognition of his sustained research and fieldwork to control and eradicate malaria. The2016 prize in the field of Food Security was jointly awarded to the International Potato Center (CIP) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
Al-Sumait’s Board is chaired by H.E. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. Other board members include: Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Kwaku Aning, Chairman of the Governing Board of Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Chairman of Ghana Nuclear Energy Institute and Former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Abdulatif Alhamad, Director General and Chairman of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, Tareq Al-Mutawa, Executive Member of the Board of Public Gathering Charity Committee and Makhtar Diop, Vice President for Africa, The World Bank.
Al-Sumait Prize for African Development, which honors individuals and/or institutions who help advance economic and social development, human resources development and infrastructure in Africa, was instigated on the initiative of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah, the Amir of the State of Kuwait.
Al-Sumait award, which covers one of three categories each year: Health, Food Security and Education, is administered by the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) and a Board of Trustees who oversee the selection of the recipients. The award commemorates the legacy of the late Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sumait, a Kuwaiti physician who dedicated his life to addressing the health, education and food security challenges confronting Africa and established the Direct Aid humanitarian organization.
International Trade Centre Joined Forces with ATIGS 2018
November 28, 2017 | 0 Comments
|ATIGS 2018 and the Sustainable Development Goals|
|WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, November 27, 2017/ — GAA Exhibitions & Conferences, organizers of ATIGS 2018 (www.ATIGS2018.com) today announced that the International Trade Centre (ITC) (www.intracen.org) has joined forces with the Africa Trade and Investment Global Summit (ATIGS), to advance the event goals and objectives.
ATIGS 2018 will be held under the main theme “Driving Trade, Unleashing Investment and Enhancing Economic Development: the Gateway to African Markets”, ATIGS 2018 goals and objectives are aligned with two of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): (SDGs 8 and 17).
The vision of ATIGS is built on the model of rotating the location of the summit every two years through a bidding process and organizing country specific ATIGS in between, with upcoming editions in Washington D.C – 2018, Dubai-2020; Beijing -2022; Brussels-2024, Addis Ababa -2026; and, South America-2028. Several high-level speakers have already confirmed to grace ATIGS 2018 from South Africa, Ghana, USA, Nigeria, UAE, Australia, China, and Kenya among others.
The Preliminary Featured Sessions will include: Africa and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, AU Agenda 2063: The Africa Future We Want, Stepping Up the Pace: African Development Bank ‘High 5’, African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), Doing Business in Africa tracks, Investing in Africa tracks, and Investor talks, Public Private Partnership, Government Keynotes, Regional Focus Discussions, Countries Focus Briefings, and Industrialize Africa tracks, among others.
“ATIGS 2018 is designed to contribute to AGOA, Trade Africa, World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), SDGs Agenda 2030 and AU Agenda 2063 by playing an important contribution in enabling companies all around the world and global investors to access African markets as a one-stop shop facilitating international trade and investment partners to support all internationally agreed sustainable development goals and objectives” said Bako Ambianda, director GAA Exhibitions & Conferences.
ATIGS 2018 – www.ATIGS2018.com, will bring together new and established partners from around the world under one roof in to increase business ties and partnerships, highlight and showcase trade and investment opportunities across Africa and enable companies from around the world to expand or establish operations in Africa.
TP Mazembe hold SuperSport to retain Confederation Cup
November 26, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Mark Gleeson*
Congolese giants TP Mazembe held out for a goalless draw in the second leg of the African Confederation Cup final in a cold and rainy Atteridgeville on Saturday to overcome South Africa’s SuperSport United and successfully defend their crown.
Both teams finished with 10 men at the end of a tempestuous tie which Mazembe won 2-1 on aggregate, after home success in the first leg in Lubumbashi last Sunday.
It means Mazembe win a continental title for the third successive year after taking the 2015 Champions League as well.
They played the better tactical game and showed their experience against the South Africans who were in their first ever final.
Mazembe’s line-up had three changes from the first leg in Lubumbashi that suggested they had come to defend their tenuous lead, but came out of the starting blocks in a much more attacking approach than that of their hosts.
They caught SuperSport hopping with their approach and should have been 2-0 up inside the opening quarter-hour, missing two sitters right in front of goal that – had they gone in – would have certainly killed off the tie.
After 10 minutes Rainford Kalaba beat the offside trap and was one-on-one with SuperSport goalkeeper Ronwen Williams but rushed his shot and blasted over the bar.
If that miss was not bad enough, there was further horror for the sizeable contingent of Mazembe supporters from the large expatriate Congolese community who live in South Africa.
Kalaba made a dashing run down the right with a quick burst of pace before cutting the ball back to striker Ben Malongo who slipped at the vital moment, but it fell perfectly for Daniel Adjei behind him, only for the Ghanaian import to somehow fluff his shot just wide when it seemed easier to score.
It took SuperSport at least 30 minutes to settle but as the rain continued to fall they began to win the midfield battles and set up chances.
Centre back Tefu Mashamaite, who had come forward for a free kick, was just offside as his diving header went into the net only to be correctly disallowed by the Senegalese officiating team.
In the second half, Mazembe only allowed SuperSport one clear shot on goal, dealt with competently by goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo.
Mazembe central defender Kasango Chongo got sent off with 10 minutes to go but SuperSport lost their numerical advantage when Thuso Phala got a straight red for a dangerous tackle.
US former Vice President Al Gore to host 24-hour live broadcast about climate activism around the world
November 26, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
Former Vice President of the USA and Climate Reality Founder and Chairman Al Gore will on December 4 to 5, 2017 host 24 Hours of Reality: Be the Voice of Reality, a 24-hour live broadcast focused on the climate crisis and its solutions.
According to a spokesperson, this year’s program will look at the extraordinary climate activism happening all over the world and encourage the millions watching to speak up for solutions.
The Climate Reality Project announced that the seventh-annual 24 Hours of Reality broadcast , a star-studded, 24-hour live event focused on the climate crisis and its solutions will take place December 4-5, 2017.
Hosted by former US Vice President and Climate Reality Founder and Chairman Al Gore, 24 Hours of Reality: Be the Voice of Reality will explore the extraordinary climate activism happening all across the planet, encouraging the millions watching to use their voices to speak up for solutions, science, and truth at this decisive point in history. It will be carried by broadcast partners globally, and streamed live online at 24HoursofReality.org.
It is also reported that a variety of international celebrities, musicians, elected officials, advocates, and other special guests will join the broadcast, including musicians Annie Lennox, Avicii ft Sandro Cavazza – ‘Without You’ performed by Sandro Cavazza, Belinda Carlisle, Billy Bragg, Ellie Goulding, Iggy Pop, Jason Mraz, Jean-Michel Jarre, Maná, Nile Rodgers, Rag’n’Bone Man and Young Paris; actors including Calum Worthy, Helen Hunt and Patrick Adams; elected officials and thought leaders including New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, California Governor Jerry Brown, World Economic Forum Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab; and television personalities including HGTV’s Property Brothers’ Jonathan Scott and Sam Champion.
“We stand at a pivotal moment in our mission to solve the climate crisis,” said Al Gore. “While the Paris Agreement gave the world a critical framework for solving the crisis, it’s up to us – concerned citizens of all backgrounds – to keep this progress going, no matter what actions the Trump Administration takes. This year’s 24 Hours of Reality broadcast will highlight empowered citizens taking action across the world, and will inspire those watching to use their own voices to be part of the solution.”
In the US, where the federal government has retreated from the climate fight, citizens have stepped up to push for practical solutions everywhere and in every way possible. In April, 200,000 Americans marched on the White House to demonstrate broad, bipartisan support for climate action. When President Trump announced his plan to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement, hundreds of thousands of citizens, business leaders, mayors, governors, and more across the nation stood up to say, “we are still in.”
24 Hours of Reality: Be the Voice of Reality will highlight these and many other voices and share inspiring stories of political, business, community, and personal activism that illustrate how we can all make a difference, right now, when our planet needs us most.
“This year’s theme – Be the Voice of Reality – is a call to action for anyone concerned about the climate crisis and everyone who wants to secure a safer future for our children and grandchildren,” said Ken Berlin, Climate Reality President and CEO. “24 Hours of Reality is a reminder of how far we have come and the work that remains, and we hope to encourage people to join the movement and speak out for climate action at all levels of society – from local city halls to the chambers of Congress.”
The program will begin on Monday, December 4 at 6:00 PM EST and will be broadcast live from New York City’s Roosevelt Island. The broadcast will travel around the globe highlighting stories of climate activism in six regions: North America, Oceania, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, Europe, and Central and South America. Al Gore will also share stories and statistics from his slideshow presentation made famous in the film An Inconvenient Truth and the recently-released An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.
Previous 24 Hours of Reality events have each focused on a different theme related to the climate crisis. Last year’s broadcast, 24 Hours of Reality: The Road Forward, examined both the challenges and opportunities for climate action and clean energy in the world’s 24 largest carbon-emitting countries.
Founded by Nobel Laureate and former US Vice President Al Gore, The Climate Reality Project is one of the world’s leading organizations dedicated to mobilizing action on climate change. With a global movement of more than 5 million strong and a grassroots network of trained Climate Reality Leader activists, it is spreading the truth about the climate crisis and building popular support for clean energy solutions.
Miracles and Testimonies on Sale
November 24, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Fr. Wilfred Emeh*
It is baffling to watch or read how modern-day preachers and prophets anticipate miracles and testimonies, almost as a form of advertisement for their ministries or churches. On social media platforms, miracle seekers are quick to ‘share’, ‘like’, or type ‘Amen’ on a story in exchange for some spiritual favor. In these transactions, people are expected to fulfill certain conditions if they wish to experience a miracle, have a breakthrough, or obtain any favor. I recall one of my pastoral visits in Cameroon: a knock at the door brought me into a home where the entire family was glued to “Testimonies and Miracles Show”. As soon as I stepped in, someone changed the channel! This didn’t surprise me at all, because I was aware of the proliferation of healing and prophetic ministries, and I knew that more people were becoming desperate in search for this or that favor from God. Spiritual prostitutes abound, moving from church to church in search for ready-made answers to their problems.
In the case of Cameroon, Pentecostalism gathered momentum in the 1980s, a time of intensifying economic crisis. To console their congregations, the preachers’ messages pivoted on a prosperity gospel, with refrains like, “Poverty is not my portion,” “Suffering is not my portion,” “Death is not my portion,” and so on. Scripture is often twisted to back up such claims, for example in the verse, “Christ became poor so that we should become rich” (1Cor 8:9). But this verse doesn’t refer to material wealth. Paul means richness in Christ, as expressed in Philippians 3:8, “I count all things as loss compared to the surpassing excellence of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” This richness is also summed up in the beatitudes, in which the spiritually rich are those who are poor in spirit, pure of heart, meek, humble, peacemakers, merciful, and so on (cf. Mtt 5:1-12).
Recently, I watched a video clip circulated by many Catholics, in which televangelist Benny Hinn said, “Many miracles are taking place in the Catholic Church.” Though the evangelist is right, true worshipers don’t need miraculous signs or testimonies to substantiate their faith in God. Oh yes, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” (Jn 20:29). Christ never, ever took delight in commercializing miracles, healings, or testimonies. This wasn’t because he didn’t have social media; it was because Christ was neither out to sell miracles nor to self-promote. Instead, sick persons who were healed by Jesus were often instructed not to tell anyone about it (cf. Mk 1:40-45; Mk 7:36; Mtt 8:4). Similarly, after the miraculous multiplication of five loaves and two fish, a huge crowd started following Jesus, but he denounced them for their wrong motives when he said, “Truly, I say to you, you look for me not because you have seen through the signs, but because you ate bread and were satisfied. Work then, not for perishable food, but for the lasting food which gives eternal life” (Jn 6:26-27). This “lasting food” was his own Body and Blood, which he would offer before his transition to heaven (Mk 14:22).
Decidedly, miracles were not the centerpiece of Christ’s message. It was, rather, calling sinners to repentance. Even the raising of Lazarus was only an illustration of Jesus’ power over life and death (Jn 11:38-53). After all, Lazarus would eventually die. That’s why Christ explains, after the resuscitation of Lazarus, “I am the resurrection and the life, those who believe in me will never die” (Jn 11:25). Similarly, all the physical healings and miracles of Jesus were only signs to show that, in Him (Jesus), the Kingdom of God has come. “The kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel” (Mk 1:15). Therefore, miracles were not a substantive part of Jesus’ ministry, they were only signs pointing to the Kingdom. Understandably, when the disciples rejoiced that they had cast out demons, Jesus said to them, “Do not rejoice that the demons bow to you, rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Lk 10:19-20). He tells his followers to seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness and every other thing shall be added unto us (Mtt 6:33).
In no way does the Kingdom-driven message suggest that Jesus doesn’t care about our physical health, social welfare, economy, and so on. Rather, he implores us to make distinctions between the ephemeral and the eternal, so we can set our priorities right—where your treasure is, there your heart will be too (Mtt 6:21). Remember, the booming economy can crumble within the twinkle of an eye, just like the physically healthy can die in an instant. What, then, shall it profit anyone if he gets all the healing, testimonies, and worldly success he asks for, yet loses his soul? There is much more to abundant life in Christ than mere signs and wonders.
Among other reasons, ignorance and the denial of God’s will constitute the main reasons that many people fall for the miracle and healing business today. Scripture rightly says, “My people perish from lack of knowledge” (Hos 4:6). With an unprecedented gullibility, many adherents to modern day preaching fail to identify the characteristics of soothsaying and divination that are exhibited by self-styled prophets. The prophets of God were humble and selfless messengers, called by God to speak on His behalf. The true prophets didn’t preach a prosperity message, neither did they compel their followers to “sow seeds” by giving them money for a luxurious lifestyle. The prophets of God didn’t point fingers, accusing friends and family members of being witches and wizards blocking their progress. The true prophets didn’t promise visas, breakthroughs, wives, or husbands to their clients in exchange for sowing seeds.
In sharp contrast, the prophets preached repentance and conversion. They called out the kings and people against social injustice, bribery, corruption, and persecution of widows, orphans, and the less fortunate in society. They often sounded warnings of impending danger if the people didn’t change their ways (cf. Is 1:4; Jer 8:8-12; Amos 5:10-13). Prophets were not predictors of the future. Rather, the prophets’ primary task was to call the people as a community to accountability and responsibility in their relationship with God. Even when they spoke about the future, it was for the purpose of calling people to be responsible before God in the present (Is 51:7; Jer 20:12).
As earlier indicated, the denial of God’s will is a major spiritual crisis of our time. With their preconceived plans for life, relationships, family, and wealth, many people are in rebellion against God’s will. And when things don’t work out your way, you go in search of quick fixes and instant answers to ordinary, day-to-day challenges. We behave as if our birth certificates stated somewhere that life should be easy! The miracle preachers are already very aware of this desperation, and they use it to prey upon you. Some of them even have agents who survey territories and learn about the people ahead of their miracle crusades, so they can startle you with stories about your own life. Indeed, wonders shall never end!
Of course, it is natural to shout out, “God’s blessings upon you!” to your family and friends. It is impossible to keep quiet after having received some special favor from God. However, Jesus specifically denounced any form vain publicity. For example, he said to the man he had freed from demonic oppression to go tell his family how the Lord had shown him mercy, yet this excited man uncontrollably went spreading the news all over the place (Mk 5:19-20). If Jesus asked us to keep quiet about his own miracles, imagine how much worse it is when testimonies are fabricated and miracles faked as a means to promote a church or ministry. It is sheer extortion when these so-called “men of God” demand that their clients sow a seed by making specific donations in hope of spiritual favor. Inexhaustible forms of duplicity are employed by the modern-day messiahs. Suffice it to say, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. Beware of false prophets prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds’” (Jer 23:16).
Since antiquity, there have always been traders of the Word; these are opportunists who used the Scripture and the name of Jesus for fame and personal aggrandizement. In Acts 8:9-25, we read about Simon the magician, who wanted to buy miraculous powers from Peter and John. He was condemned for thinking that the gift of God could be bought with money. Paul clearly states, “We are not like so many others who peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity as men sent from God” (2Cor 2:17).
In conclusion, it is time to wake up to all the soothsayers and diviners who pose as prophets and preachers with the sole aim of taking advantage of spiritually weak and ignorant followers. Don’t allow yourself to be lured by commercials for miraculous solutions to the ordinary challenges of life. Be aware that all you see on social media and miracle TV channels has been altered or outright faked. In Jesus’ time, testimonies were spontaneous and sincere, because there was no time for rehearsal or make-up, as there is today.
Be aware of your worth as a child of God. Scripture says, “All who have received him he empowers to become children of God” (Jn 1:12). You have power to tread underfoot serpents and scorpions, and if you only believe in Him and do His will, the miracles and testimonies will begin to follow you, and in abundance! No matter how real or exciting someone else’s testimony appears to be, it will never be your own. Therefore, it is better to desist from wasting precious time on miraculous entertainment and testimonies. The best way to use your time profitably is to nourish your mind with good reads. Read and wise up!
*Father Wilfred E. Emeh is a Roman Catholic priest ,Communications Profressional and author of the book New Media and the Christian Family: Experiences from the USA and Africa
National Aviation Services (NAS) Partners with #VisaFreeAfrica
November 24, 2017 | 0 Comments
|#VisaFreeAfrica (VFA), a continental effort to facilitate mobility in Africa|
|KIGALI, Rwanda, November 22, 2017/ — The Kigali Global Shapers (http://APO.af/wpzZY9) has partnered with National Aviation Services (NAS) (www.NAS.aero), the fastest growing aviation services provider in the emerging markets, for an exclusive sponsor of #VisaFreeAfrica (VFA), a global campaign to facilitate mobility in Africa.
For the past 30 years, the African Union has attempted to address free movement on the continent. The “Agenda 2063” plan to introduce a common African passport by 2020 is in motion but African citizens still need visas to travel to 42 out of 54 African countries.
The #VisaFreeAfrica campaign, launched by the Kigali Global Shapers during the World Economic Forum for Africa in 2016 includes a global petition that calls for:
In addition to the petition, Global Shapers across the African continent are engaging their leaders and policy makers in dialogues about the need to ease mobility on the continent. Through this initiative, African youth will find a platform to voice the reasons why facilitating movement of people across the continent now can fast track the continent’s 2063 Agenda.
The NAS and VFA partnership took roots at the World Economic Forum meeting held in Davos, Switzerland in January 2017 and was formalized almost immediately. NAS has made a five-year commitment to support this campaign which will be implemented in several African countries in the coming months.
Michaella Rugwizangoga, Curator at World Economic Forum Global Shapers said “With support from National Aviation Services (NAS), the Kigali Shapers will be able to better coordinate a continental effort towards open African borders and facilitate the removal of visa requirements on the continent.”
On a global scale, Africa’s competitiveness is tied to labor mobility. With the African market set to grow to 2 billion by 2050, greater integration and human mobility is the need of the hour. Liberal visa policies will help boost tourism revenues, foster new business opportunities and facilitate economic growth. It will also open up new job opportunities to the 60 percent* of African youth that is currently unemployed.
Hassan El-Houry, Group CEO NAS, said “NAS has a presence in over ten airports in Africa and continues to grow quickly in the region. As we expand our footprint of operations in Africa, our responsibility towards the local communities also increases. As a partner in Africa’s development, we are aware of the mobility issues faced by youth and businesses in the region. With our investments in the region and by supporting Visa Free Africa we continue to drive efforts for the development of the continent and its people.”
NAS operates across the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia, with a presence at 30 airports, managing more than 31 airport lounges and handling seven of the world’s top 10 airlines. With an employee base of over 8,000 capable and experienced employees at the core of its network, NAS is committed to providing aviation services that benchmark to the best in the world.
The Kigali Global Shapers (http://APO.af/wpzZY9) are part of a global network of 600 Hubs under the umbrella of the World Economic Forum. Hubs are developed and led by young people who are exceptional in their potential, achievements and drive to make a contribution to their communities. The community encompasses 7000 change makers.
The flagship project “Twumve Twumve” Forum, loosely translated “Hear us, we hear you”, empowers Rwandan youth to make their voices heard. Twumve Twumve is a unique opportunity for youth to engage in direct conversation with leaders from the public and private sector on issues facing Rwanda and the continent.
The Kigali Shapers created and lead the #VisaFreeAfrica campaign, a call to action for African leaders and the African Union to ease visa procedures across the continent. The Kigali Hub is partnering with NAS and coordinating actions across youth-led organization in Africa to raise awareness around the issues of mobility and accelerate the ease of travel procedures across the continent.
National Aviation Services (NAS) (www.NAS.aero) is the fastest growing aviation services provider in the emerging markets.
The NAS portfolio of services includes ramp and passenger services, cargo handling, engineering and line maintenance, airport technologies, fixed base operations, terminal management, aviation training, travel solutions, lounge management and meet-and-assist packages.
Secure, Trusted Internet Critical to Advancing African Economy
November 24, 2017 | 0 Comments
|New Internet Society report highlights how Africa can benefit more from the Internet economy|
|ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 23, 2017/ — Many African countries have made significant progress towards creating an Internet sector, with broad reforms that focus on increasing broadband availability. There have been further successes within countries in developing online platforms, fostering growth of local companies and increasing the incentive to go online– says a new report launched today by the Internet Society (www.InternetSociety.org), a global non-profit dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution and use of the Internet.
“Promoting the African Internet Economy” highlights how greater use of the Internet and digitization of the traditional economy will spur economic growth in Africa.
The report further examines Internet adoption and use by companies and governments throughout the region, identifying barriers that must be overcome in order to create an Internet economy that delivers innovative services, job opportunities and income growth across the continent.
Both businesses and citizens can benefit from an Internet economy. Businesses across all sectors gain access to a global marketplace of billions of people, and citizens in both rural and urban areas benefit from enhanced educational and training opportunities and access to new job possibilities.
The report also outlines what needs to be done for Africa to take full advantage of the digital opportunity offered by the Internet. It highlights local successes as well as broader challenges, offering recommendations for policymakers in Africa to adopt.
“The Internet economy presents a major opportunity for Africa. However, Africa needs a secure and reliable Internet infrastructure that users trust in order to bringing large and small businesses online, along with governments and other social services,” explains Dawit Bekele, Africa Region Bureau Director for the Internet Society.
The Internet Society in collaboration with the African Union recently introduced Internet Infrastructure Security Guidelines for Africa to help AU member states strengthen the security of their local Internet infrastructure through actions at a regional, national, ISP/operator and organizational level.
In Kenya, the Internet economy already represents 3.6% of the country’s GDP and in other developing countries 1.3% of GDP comes from the Internet economy. The McKinsey Global Institute predicts that in addition to contributions to GDP, the Internet will deliver productivity gains across Africa. These productivity gains across six key sectors: financial services, education, health, retail, agriculture and government are projected to be valued at between US$148 billion and $318 billion by 2025.
However, a thriving Internet economy in Africa could be put at risk by the increasing number of Internet shutdowns in the region. In 2016 alone, there were at least 56 shutdowns of the Internet around the world. These shutdowns affect individuals and organizations that depend on the Internet for their daily lives and have negative effects on the economy.
“In addition to the economic costs, Internet shutdowns also affect trust. If people don’t know whether they will have connectivity, they can no longer rely on that connectivity to build Internet-based businesses. This will affect entrepreneurs in greatest need of digital-led innovation for their own future, and the future of the Internet economy in Africa,” added Bekele.
Africa must implement 1990 Yamoussoukro agreement for open skies, says AfDB President
November 22, 2017 | 0 Comments
“Together, let’s open up the skies of Africa, and together let’s integrate Africa. By so doing, we will build stronger and more resilient economies.” – Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank
While 20 countries have signed on, the 27-year old accord still faces implementation challenges, Akinwumi Adesina, President of the AfDB said Tuesday at the opening ceremony of the third ICAO World Aviation Forum in Abuja.
“Rigid bilateral air service agreements have made it difficult to liberalize the regional aviation markets. We must make regional aviation markets competitive and drive down costs, raise efficiencies and improve connectivity and convenience,” Adesina said.
The Bank President also emphasized the Bank’s strong support for Nigeria and expressed confidence in the ability of Nigeria to deliver on its policy commitments.
“The hosting of this global forum here in Abuja is a clear mark of confidence in Nigeria. Let me use this opportunity to commend you and the government on the Economic Recovery and Growth Program, to build a more resilient economy,” Adesina said.
“As you know, we provided $600 million to support the government to address its budget deficit challenges and stand ready to continue to fully support the government as it embarks on efforts to diversify the economy and raise the revenue profiles and productivity of the non-oil sectors.”
The Bank President also commended the Government of Nigeria for its efforts to improve the state of aviation in Nigeria. The aviation sector plays an important in opening up doors to investors, he added.
Air transport promotes trade, investments and tourism, and boosts economic growth. Today, Africa’s aviation industry adds US $73 billion to the continent’s annual GDP and employs about 7 million people – an average 130,000 people per country in Africa, according to the Bank President.
The aviation industry is projected to grow by 5% annually for the next 20 years. From serving 120 million passengers in 2015, the industry will triple and serve over 300 million passengers by 2035, Adesina observed.
“That’s the good news,” he said, adding that regrettably Africa’s aviation growth is held back by very restrictive regulatory environments which limit market size, profitability, and drive up costs.
“Aircraft departure fees alone in Africa are 30% above the global average, while taxes, fees and charges are 8% higher. Given lower per capita incomes in Africa, high fares essentially tax the poor out of the air! We may have an open sky policy, but then end up with empty skies!”
The AfDB President called for the development of airport terminal capacity to expand passenger growth, develop regional aviation hubs to improve connectivity, and upgrade air navigational services and air traffic control to improve safety.
“Modern and cheaper technologies such as the satellite based air navigation services now preclude the need for ground infrastructure, and make it possible to serve remote areas with radars. We must also develop within Africa, aircraft maintenance services and strengthen regional and sub-regional aviation safety agencies,” he noted.
The AfDB has invested $20 billion in infrastructure over the past 10 years, with over $1 billion in the aviation sector. The Bank’s investments include building modern airports and terminal extensions in Senegal, Morocco, Kenya, Ghana, Egypt, Cabo Verde and improving airport navigation systems in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The AfDB supported aircraft fleet expansion programs for Ethiopia and Côte d’Ivoire. The Bank also supported regional efforts for improving aviation safety and capacity building.
Adesina congratulated Nigeria on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) certification of two airports in Abuja and Lagos as a consequence of meeting global standards, noting that the feat makes Nigeria the only country with two ICAO-certified airports in West and Central Africa.
The objective of the Bank is to support the ICAO safety and security standards certification of 20 African airports by 2019, Adesina said.
The African Development Bank will soon be going to its Board with a new aviation sector framework to support the revitalization of the aviation industry in Africa, he said.
The Bank, Adesina explained, is working with other partners on establishing facilities to de-risk financing for aircraft acquisition, upgrading of airports, expansion of regional navigational and air safety, and deregulation of the aviation industry to be more competitive and efficient.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) is partnering with the Nigerian Government, the African Union Commission (AUC), and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency to co-host the third ICAO World Aviation Forum from November 20-22 in Abuja, Nigeria.