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Sterling Bank Leads with Lending, Investing and Credit Rating Features on WhatsApp with Clickatell’s Chat Banking Solution
July 29, 2020 | 0 Comments
Oladipo Alabede, Group Head of Digital Banking at Sterling Bank
Oladipo Alabede, Group Head of Digital Banking at Sterling Bank
Customers can now initiate bank transfers, and airtime and bill payments, check balance and BVN enquiries, as well as statement generation directly on WhatsApp with the aid of Kiki.

Sterling Bank Plc, Nigeria’s leading commercial bank, in collaboration with Clickatell , a global leader in mobile communications and chat commerce, today announced a unique and very personalised banking experience for existing customers and prospective account holders through the popular messaging app – WhatsApp. Customers can now initiate bank transfers, and airtime and bill payments, check balance and BVN enquiries, as well as statement generation directly on WhatsApp with the aid of Kiki, a new personalised financial assistant. 

The financial assistant also connects customers directly to customer service, making dispute resolution seamless.

Designed to provide personalised service to every customer of the bank, Kiki possesses conversational intelligence and will answer questions related to personal finances once prompted. Kiki makes initiating banking transactions as easy as chatting with friends through the bank’s verified WhatsApp number – +234 906 000 6449.

Oladipo Alabede, Group Head of Digital Banking at Sterling Bank, said “Delivering banking on WhatsApp for instant messaging is desirous by our customers who want a reliable, convenient, and safe medium to perform basic banking transactions on their mobile devices. It eases the stress of moving between apps before transactions can be concluded.”

According to Alabede, WhatsApp is easy, safe, fast and secure. “It has improved security that prevents fraud and enables customers to have access to all their accounts. The service is designed for self-service registration and the customers can sign on from any location. The current features of the app include Sterling to Sterling and Sterling to other banks’ transfers, airtime top-up, bill payments, balance enquiry, BVN enquiry and statement generation, among others.”

“We are pleased to help Sterling Bank enable chat banking on WhatsApp, making banking services available to its customers anytime and everywhere on a channel they use daily,” says Samson Isa, Director – West Africa for Clickatell. He added, “Chat banking is the future of financial services with bank customers preferring the channel for conducting routine banking, as it is fast, simple, and secure. We are proud to be leading this shift in financial services, along with customers like Sterling Bank.”

For a customer to get started, Alabede explained that he or she would need to follow three simple steps.
Firstly, the customer would have to save the mobile number +234 906 000 6449 as a contact on his/her device and should remember to save the number as “Kiki.”
Secondly, once the number has been saved, the customer should start a conversation by typing “Hi,” “Hello” or “Hey,” among others, and sending the message to Kiki.
Lastly, the prospective customer should agree to the terms and conditions by sending “I AGREE” followed by the account number to Kiki. Thereafter, an OTP will be sent to the registered mobile number for validation. The customer is also expected to set a transaction PIN using his/her debit card.
Alabede said the customer must use the mobile number registered on his/her Sterling account to enjoy the service.

He added that a new set of features will soon be enabled, as the bank is exploring ways to serve customers better with the introduction of micro lending, micro investment, account opening, card request, and credit rating, among others.


About Sterling Bank Plc:
Sterling Bank Plc is a leading national commercial banking establishment in Nigeria. It commenced operations as NAL Bank in 1960. Today, with over N1 trillion in total assets, 180 business offices and over 800 ATMs nationwide, Sterling Bank has grown into a major financial institution. The Bank prides itself as ‘Your one-customer bank’ that celebrates each customer as a unique individual.

About Clickatell:
Today’s consumers choose chat as their preferred method of communication (e.g., text, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, etc.) and expect a high degree of convenience in the way they are served with goods and services. Clickatell (www.Clickatell.com) makes this possible by offering real-time customer engagement and transaction platforms that enable businesses to connect, engage, and transact with their customers via mobile chat and other digital channels. With offices in the US, Canada, South Africa and Nigeria, Clickatell has 15,000 customers, ranging from Fortune 500 organizations to well-known consumer brands and SMEs. We have connected to 6 billion mobile phone users in over 220 countries and territories worldwide.
*SOURCE Clickatell
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After Covid-19, African Energy Chamber Pushes for Renewed Exploration Drive with New Advisory Committee
July 29, 2020 | 0 Comments
Peter Ntephe, President & CEO, ERHC Energy
Peter Ntephe, President & CEO, ERHC Energy
The Exploration Committee members gather decades of experience working in the exploration industry.

The exploration industry has been the hardest it by the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent historic crash in oil prices. Most seismic acquisition and exploratory drilling programmes have been suspended or altogether cancelled as a result of worsening market conditions. While the industry has started its slow recovery, the impact of the 2020 crisis on exploration activities in Africa will be felt even harder in the longer term. In order to advise public and private stakeholders a road to recovery for the exploration industry, the African Energy Chamber (https://EnergyChamber.org/)  is delighted to appoint a dedicated Advisory Committee consisting of:

Folarin Lajumoke, Vice President – Africa, ION

Mark Romanchock, Principal Geologist, Samara Geosciences, LLC

H. Daniel Hogan, General Manager – Lukoil International Upstream West

Robert Erlich, Partner and Executive Director – UpstreamCayo Energy LP

Peter Ntephe, President & CEO, ERHC Energy

Acting in their personal capacity, the Exploration Committee members gather decades of experience working in the exploration industry, and understand the importance of keeping seismic programmes and exploratory drilling going to preserve the future of the industry.

Together with its new Exploration Committee, the African Energy Chamber will be working on a roadmap to exploration recovery. As energy markets become increasingly competitive and new frontiers emerge every year, the need for African jurisdictions to stay competitive and attract capital and technology in the continent’s acreages is more important than ever.

“Africa remains one of the most under-explored region on the planet, yet one where betting on exploration has proven a huge success. Recent discoveries in Senegal or Mozambique have showed what rewards explorers get by betting on Africa. We need to work on a stronger dialogue to make our sedimentary basins competitive and attractive for explorers, and bring back Africa’s rigs count up,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

*African Energy Chamber
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Angola and OPEC are a Strong Pillar of Market Stability
July 29, 2020 | 0 Comments
Minister of Mineral Resources and Petroleum  Diamantino Azevedo
Minister of Mineral Resources and Petroleum Diamantino Azevedo

Angola’s support to global market stability and energy cooperation is significant, and gives confidence to operators and future investors seeking to do business in Africa.

The OPEC-Angola discussions that took place last week is a major pillar of the strong dialogue and cooperation between OPEC and African producing nations.  The Chamber  welcomes these discussions and encourages more collaboration as Angola and others will benefit from market stability.

Such a dialogue is key for compliance with the OPEC global production cuts deal of April, to which all of OPEC’s African member countries have agreed to. Angola’s support to global market stability and energy cooperation is significant, and gives confidence to operators and future investors seeking to do business in Africa.

“In December 2018, OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo made a historic visit to Angola and committed to working with its leadership to improve the industry and strengthen its relationship with OPEC. The OPEC-Africa dialogue has brought this relationship to a new level. African voices are heard and advocated for within the industry’s most influential institution, ensuring that the continent’s interests are represented,” stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

“The Government of Angola, and the country’s Ministry of Mineral Resources and Petroleum have always been strong participants in the global energy dialogue between Africa and institutions such as OPEC. Angola has public officials committed to making energy work for Africans, and to fighting energy poverty in Angola. Such move makes our industry better for Africans and for investors,” declared Sergio Pugliese, President of the African Energy Chamber in Angola.

Under the leadership of His Excellency President João Lourenço and his Minister of Mineral Resources and Petroleum H.E. Diamantino Azevedo, Angola has embarked on a set of bold and market-driven reforms for over two years now. The country is becoming increasingly competitive for regional and international investors and has sent strong signals of its openness to investments, commitment to local content development and determination to fight corruption

*African Energy Chamber

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OPEC-Nigeria Talks Discuss Market Recovery After Covid-19
July 29, 2020 | 0 Comments
Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo, S.G. of OPEC
Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo, S.G. of OPEC
Such a dialogue is key for compliance with the OPEC global production cuts deal of April, to which all of OPEC’s African member countries have agreed to.

The OPEC-Nigeria Bilateral Meeting that took place last week has sent yet another signal of the strong dialogue and cooperation between OPEC and Africa’s biggest producing country.

Such a dialogue is key for compliance with the OPEC global production cuts deal of April, to which all of OPEC’s African member countries have agreed to. Nigeria’s support to global market stability and energy cooperation is significant and gives confidence to operators and future investors seeking to do business in West Africa.

“African producers and service companies are the hardest hit when there is volatility in the market. H.E. Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo and Dr. Ayed S. Al-Qahtani leading these discussions sends a strong message that collaboration and sticking to the principles of a stable market is good for Nigeria, its producers and the economy at large,” stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

“We continue to support the Government of Nigeria, and the country’s Ministry of Petroleum Resources in their effort to improve the environment for investment and getting the industry to rebound post-Covid-19. We believe they are right in making this a priority and we welcome the bold initiatives by Nigeria’s leadership,” he added.

Nigeria’s ongoing Marginal Fields Bidding Round was launched in earlier this year and has already been met with significant success, reportedly attracting hundreds of bidders. The round is expected to result in a new wave of local content development in Nigeria, a country already widely regarded as the most successful example of local content and capacity building across the continent.

*African Energy Chamber
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EU provides over USD 16.5 million for the most vulnerable in Zimbabwe
July 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Janez Lenarčič, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management

The European Union has further increased its support towards the most vulnerable in Zimbabwe by providing an additional EUR 14.2 million (approximately USD 16.63 million) to help support people in need dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, extreme weather conditions – such as persistent drought in the region – and other crises.

 Janez Lenarčič, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, said: “The EU is helping to provide life-saving assistance to impoverished households suffering from crop and livestock losses due to drought. The aid package will also strengthen the preparation and response to the coronavirus pandemic for countries in the region. In parallel, the EU is helping communities better prepare for natural hazards and reduce their impact.”

The additional support to Zimbabwe is part of a €64.7 million (approximately USD 75.78 million) package that the European Union’s Department for Humanitarian Aid provides for countries in the southern Africa region.

 Other countries that benefit are Angola (€3 million), Botswana (€1.95 million), Comoros (€500,000), Eswatini (€2.4 million), Lesotho (€4.8 million), Madagascar (€7.3 million), Malawi (€7.1 million), Mauritius (€250,000), Mozambique (€14.6 million), Namibia (€2 million) and Zambia (€5 million) A further €1.6 million is allocated to regional disaster preparedness actions.

  The funding will target food assistance to vulnerable households and helping farmers in the affected areas restore their means of subsistence, coronavirus prevention and preparedness actions to support local health systems and facilitate access to health care, protective equipment, sanitation and hygiene, disaster preparedness projects that also cover new needs brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

 They include strengthening early warning systems and evacuation plans for communities at risk of natural hazards, and having emergency stocks of personal protective equipment, support for children’s education and providing training to teaching staff. The humanitarian aid funding announced this week comes on top of the more than €67 million allocated to the region in 2019 by the European Union’s Department for Humanitarian Aid following the impact of the two cyclones, drought, and the economic and humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe.

 The southern Africa region has had just one normal rainy season in the last five years, with the last quarter of 2019 being one of the ten driest since 1981 for most areas, causing large-scale livestock losses and damaging harvests. In many places, the current growing season is exceptionally hot and dry, while in several other parts of the region, erratic rains risk undermining harvests in 2020. In some countries, this burden comes on top of already-crippling economic woes. The corona virus pandemic is likely to compound already significant humanitarian needs in the region.

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Namibia under COVID-19 strain, as businesses and institutions forced close
July 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Andreas Thomas

Health and Social Services Minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula
Health and Social Services Minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula

Windhoek – The Namibian parliament on Tuesday closed its door to the public for 14 days as a precautionary measure after a staff member at the National Council tested positive for Covid-19.

In a public notice, national assembly public relations officer David Nahogandja sad staff members have been asked to stay home, and will only resume on 10 August 2020.

“The temporal closure came as a precautionary measure after one of the staff members of the National Council tested positive for Covid-19. The parliament building is a common area used by members and staff of houses of parliament, therefore, members and staff of the national assembly will for the above-mentioned period be working from home,” Nehogandja explained.

The Khomas region council has also closed its head office in Windhoek on Tuesday after a staff member tested positive for coronavirus. Staff members will be working from until 12 August, the Council said in a statement.

The Namibia Water Corporation has also announced the closure of its head office after one of the staff member tested positive of the coronavirus. The company said the office will remain close for 14 days as of Tuesday.

With cases on the rise across the country, several businesses and institutions in Windhoek have sent their staff over the coronavirus disease.  

The country’s main mobile operator, Mobile Telecommunications Limited was forced to shut down its main call centre after a staff member contracted the virus. Bank Windhoek, the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation head office, Windhoek City Police department and the Business and Intellectual Property Authority have also experienced similar incidents.

Health and Social Services Minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula on Tuesday announced 74 new COVID-19 positive cases across the country. The majority of the cases, 57 in total were recorded in Walvis Bay, the epicentre of the virus, while Windhoek recorded four cases. As of Tuesday, 28 July, Namibian has 1 917 confirmed cases, with 104 recoveries, 1805 active cases and eight fatalities.

Shangula has expressed his worry about the increasing cases of COVID-19 and called on Namibians to adhere to preventive measures like wearing of face masks and observing social distancing protocols.

“In recent weeks, we have observed a worrying upsurge in the number of cases reported. Although the town of Walvis Bay remains the epicentre of the pandemic at present, cases are increasing in other parts of the country.

This is and must be a source of concern for all Namibians. It calls for greater vigilance and personal responsibility of every Namibian to do our part to stop the spread of this disease in its tracts. And it can be done,” said the health minister.

“In the past few weeks, we have seen new cases in Khomas and other Regions. Many of these cases are not connected to other known cases, and they are in individuals who have not travelled. This means that people are becoming infected in their localities, during their everyday activities. It is time for all Namibians to change our behaviours and do everything we can to reduce our risk.”

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SITA SELECTS BASIS TECHNOLOGY TO POWER CONTACT TRACING OF INFECTIONS CROSSING BORDERS
July 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

As the world travels again, an airline industry-owned tech company develops a solution for contact tracers to quickly find, notify potentially exposed air travelers.

Travelers wearing protective masks walk through Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Travelers wearing protective masks walk through Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. (July 28, 2020) — Basis Technology announced that SITA — a software provider that is owned by 400 members of the air transport industry — has selected Rosette name matching for its contact tracing solution. Governments will be able to open borders and keep track of who came in contact with confirmed cases of COVID-19 while traveling.

SITA’s Intelligence and Targeting system lets a contact tracer find out whether any person newly diagnosed with COVID-19 travelled in the past 30 days. Displaying airplane seating charts to contact tracers, SITA identifies potentially exposed airline crews and passengers by quickly pinpointing travelers who booked tickets with, or sat in proximity to, a person diagnosed with COVID-19. Within minutes, contact tracers can notify those people via phone or email obtained from travel records. The European CDC states, “The availability of passenger locator data, particularly for airline passengers, is extremely important for the success and effectiveness of contact tracing operations for communicable diseases.” The ECDC estimates up to seven hours of contact tracing are required for each case. This tool is designed to drastically reduce that time, enabling governments to reopen borders with the confidence that new cases can be quickly contained.

“We integrated Rosette name matching from Basis Technology into our SITA Intelligence and Targeting border management system a few years ago. It gave us better results out of the box and was quicker to deploy with a lower cost of ownership,” said Ricardo Letosa, Senior Product Manager at SITA. “There was no question we would use Rosette for contact tracing as well because you don’t check into a hospital with your passport number. When you have no common identifiers between health and travel records besides name and date of birth, you have to go with the best name matching you can get, and for SITA that is Rosette from Basis Technology.”

“We are thrilled to be part of SITA’s response to COVID-19. The airline industry has been hit hard, and we hope this software will help world governments reopen their borders and make air travelers feel safe again,” said Carl Hoffman, CEO of Basis Technology. “Contact tracing is an important tool to contain the spread of COVID-19 as countries reopen. It is vital that we give the contact tracers every possible tool to be successful.” 

About SITA:

Nearly every passenger flight relies on SITA technology. We work with our air transport owners and members to provide technology solutions that make a difference at a community level. We innovate collaboratively, while developing and managing solutions over the world’s most extensive network – one that forms the “communication backbone” of the global air transport industry. For more information, visit www.sita.aero.

About Basis Technology:

Analyzing text — the hardest part of big data — is critical to verifying identity, understanding customers, anticipating world events, and uncovering crime. Companies such as Airbnb®, LexisNexis®, Recorded Future®, Medallia, Société Générale, and agencies across the U.S. intelligence community use Rosette to solve their toughest human language problems. For over 20 years, Basis Technology has been at the forefront of natural language processing applied to enterprise search, social listening, e-commerce, and e-discovery. For more information, visit www.basistech.com or email info@basistech.com.

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The History of Africa with Zeinab Badawi returns for final part of second series .
July 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

Both series are also now available to watch on BBC Africa’s YouTube channel.

In the final five episodes of The History of Africa, presenter Zeinab Badawi returns to tell the compelling story about Africa’s rich past in its fight for freedom.

In the first of the final episodes, The History of Africa delves into the continent’s own account to discover how the transatlantic slave trade has impacted Africa’s past and present. Crucial to understanding how, where and why this trade began, Zeinab travels across the continent to speak to renowned African academics, revealing key moments of African history that have shaped the present day.

The series takes its cue from the pioneering General History Of Africa, an ambitious UNESCO-endorsed project to deliver a history of the continent, as told by Africans themselves, bringing viewers unparalleled insights into the vibrant history of the places and peoples Zeinab visits.

Also in the series, Zeinab travels to South Africa and Zimbabwe to find out about the story of Shaka, King of the Zulus, as she speaks to a descendant of his family to hear how he helped reshape the map of modern southern Africa. In Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Congo, Zeinab brings to life the history of the Kongo Empire, as she hears about the critical role played by women in African history.

To conclude the series, Zeinab sweeps across Africa to examine the continent’s struggle for freedom. She meets the families of three of Africa’s best known independence leaders; Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, Congo’s Patrice Lumuba and Senegal’s Leopold Senghor. She also speaks with Femi Kuti, son of legendary Nigerian singer, Fela Kuti.

Zeinab Badawi says: “It’s clear from socio-political movements today that Africa’s history has been maligned, misrepresented and misunderstood for too long.  It’s necessary to discover the impact of some of history’s grave atrocities by speaking to the people who are still being affected. The History of Africa series is an opportunity for audiences across the world to gain in-depth insight into the continent’s rich and moving past, as told by Africans.”

The first series of The History of Africa began by discovering the origins of humankind, and concluded with the early spread of Islam throughout Africa. The second series continues the journey, ending in the modern day.

The History of Africa will air for five weeks from 1st August 2020 on BBC World News at 0210 and 1510 GMT on Saturdays and 2110 GMT on Sundays. For those who missed previous episodes from series one and two, they are now available to watch on BBC Africa’s YouTube channel.

*BBC

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1.4 million Ugandans to access reliable and affordable energy under new EIB – ENGIE initiative
July 28, 2020 | 0 Comments
EIB financing to overcome barriers to 80% of Ugandans without access to electricity.

Scaling up off-grid solar power model for transforming rural energy access across Africa; EIB financing to overcome barriers to 80% of Ugandans without access to electricity; Local currency financing to accelerate PAYGO solution for affordable green energy.

Millions of people, small holders and entrepreneurs in remote villages across Uganda are set to access reliable and cheap electricity for the first time under a new off-grid solar scheme agreed between ENGIE , through its Solar Home System company Fenix International and the European Investment Bank, one of the world’s largest financiers of renewable energy.

“Access to affordable and clean energy is important to fight poverty, create jobs and empower women and girls. The European Investment Bank is pleased to agree new support for scaling up off-grid solar deployment in East Africa under this new partnership with ENGIE. Over a million people across Uganda will be able to access electricity for the first time that will power communications, provide light and make cooking easier. This scheme will also reduce use of kerosene, charcoal and candles to help families save money, reduce pollution and reduce the risk of accidents. Unlocking sustainable economic and social development through off-grid solar is key for Africa’s future and the EIB is pleased to back this project in Uganda.” said Ambroise Fayolle, European Investment Bank Vice President.

At ENGIE, we see the massive potential of the off-grid electrification sector as a way to bridge energy gaps across Africa, faster and more affordably. Every day families across Africa are able to access electricity for the first time using off-grid solar technology provided by ENGIE Africa. Our new partnership with the European Investment Bank in Uganda will allow Fenix to provide ultra-affordable PAYGO systems to millions of people in villages across the country. This will provide access to clean solar power and financial empowerment. Providing access to energy in Africa is a huge undertaking but I firmly believe that universal access to energy is achievable in the foreseeable future, through smart investments in a combination of national grid extension, solar home systems and mini-grids. With our off-grid platform, we are industrializing and scaling up the development of a wide range of decentralized solutions, with a sustainable business model. As of now, ENGIE is providing decentralized electricity to more than 4.5 million people in 9 countries through solar home systems from both Fenix and ENGIE Mobisol, as well as mini-grids from ENGIE PowerCorner.” said Yoven Moorooven, CEO of ENGIE Africa.

The European Investment Bank has agreed to provide a USD 12.5 million loan to support the deployment of 240,000 high-quality solar home systems in Uganda by Fenix International, a subsidiary of ENGIE.

Solving the last mile challenge to provide power in remote communities across Uganda Only one in five Ugandans living in remote and rural communities has access to reliable electricity. By scaling up adoption of off-grid solar technology this new initiative will provide economic, social, education and health opportunities for families and entrepreneurs who cannot be connected to the national electricity network.

Customers will also be able to benefit from Fenix International’s service centres that provide support in 30 languages across Uganda.

Supporting private sector growth and sustainable development in Uganda

Following the new agreement between Fenix and the European Investment Bank households, entrepreneurs and small holders across Uganda will be able to access electricity for mobile phones, solar lighting, refrigeration, radio and television. This will help farmers to sell produce, create new markets for traders and improve health.

Increased provision of reliable and affordable energy will create new opportunities for women and girls and reduce exposure to indoor pollution from current kerosene use.

“The European Union is committed to supporting sustainable economic and social development across Uganda. This new cooperation initiative between the European Investment Bank and Fenix International, a subsidiary of leading European energy company ENGIE, demonstrates the value-added of European engagement with Ugandan partners to advance the country’s development vision. Harnessing renewable energy through innovative off-grid solar technology, combined with productive uses of power in rural areas, is a direct demonstration of the European Union’s green deal for Africa, providing new opportunities for millions of Ugandans.” said Attilio Pacifici, European Union Ambassador to Uganda.

Unlocking financial empowerment and overcoming currency barriers

Provision of a PAYGO model will allow families who would be unable to afford the upfront costs of solar home systems to repay the cost of equipment over years at less than USD 20 cents a day. The new European Investment Bank financing will also allow repayment of equipment purchased in US dollars in Ugandan shillings. Previously currency fluctuations hindered provision of affordable clean energy solutions to Ugandans without access to foreign currency.

“Providing hundreds of thousands of new solar home systems through the PAYGO model will allow our Ugandan team to transform communities across the country. We are proud to be the latest national off- grid power operation to be supported by the European Investment Bank and we will work tirelessly to illuminate homes and provide clean power until all of Uganda can access electricity.” said Daniel Willette, Managing Director Uganda (Fenix)

Customers will also benefit from cheaper costs and easier repayment through use of mobile banking. This will also provide other financial products and allow customers to expand existing equipment as needed.

Building on the EIB’s renewable energy track record in Uganda and across Africa

Over the last decade the European Investment Bank has provided more than EUR 5.4 billion for clean energy investment across Africa.

In recent years the European Investment Bank has been a leading financial for the Bujagali hydropower project in Uganda, the Lake Turkana Wind Farm, Olkaria Geothermal plant and the Radiant and Eldosol solar schemes, as well as financing last mile connections in Kenya. The EIB is also supporting studies to harness hydropower to transform clean energy in Burundi and the Great Lakes region.

The European Investment Bank (EIB)  is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.

ENGIE (www.ENGIE-africa.com) is the largest independent electricity producer in the world, and one of the major players in natural gas and energy services. The Group has more than 50 years of experience on the African continent and has the unique ability to implement integrated solutions all along the energy value chain, from centralized electricity production to off-grid solutions (solar home systems, mini-grids) and energy services. ENGIE Africa employs nearly 4,000 people, and has 3.15 GW of power generation capacity in operation or construction. It is a leader in the decentralized energy market, providing clean energy to more than 4.5 million people through domestic solar installations and local microgrids.
*SOURCE ENGIE
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Adesina Completely Exonerated by High Level Independent Review Panel led by former Irish President Mary Robinson
July 28, 2020 | 0 Comments
Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina
Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina
In January 2020, sixteen allegations of ethical misconduct were levelled against Adesina by a group of whistleblowers.

A much awaited report by an Independent Review Panel has completely exonerated the President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina of any ethical wrongdoings.

The Independent Review Panel was set up by the Bureau of Governors of the Bank, following a complaint by the United States, to review the process by which two previous organs of the Bank – the Ethics Committee of the Board, and the Bureau of the Board of Governors – had previously exonerated Adesina.

The distinguished three-member Independent Review Panel include Mary Robinson, who is a former President of the Republic of Ireland, a former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Chairperson of the Elders, a global body of wise persons concerned with the world’s wellbeing; the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Gambia, Mr. Hassan B. Jallow; and Mr. Leonard F. McCarthy, a former Director of Public Prosecutions, a former Director for the Office of Serious Economic Offences, and a former Head of the Directorate of Special Operations of South Africa. He also served as the Vice President of Integrity for the World Bank for nine years.

In January 2020, sixteen allegations of ethical misconduct were levelled against Adesina by a group of whistleblowers. The allegations which were reviewed by the Bank’s Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors in March, were described as “frivolous and without merit.” The findings and rulings of the Ethics Committee were subsequently upheld by the apex Bureau of the Board of Governors in May, which cleared Adesina of any wrongdoing.

The report of the Independent Review Panel states that it “concurs with the (Ethics) Committee in its findings in respect of all the allegations against the President and finds that they were properly considered and dismissed by the Committee.”

The Panel once again vindicates Adesina and states, “It has considered the President’s submissions on their face and finds them consistent with his innocence and to be persuasive.”

The conclusions of the Independent Review Panel  are decisive and now clear the way for Governors of the Bank to re-elect Adesina to a second five-year term as President during annual meetings of the Bank scheduled for August 25-27.

Adesina is a highly decorated and distinguished technocrat and globally-respected development economist. He was awarded the prestigious World Food Prize in 2017 and the Sunhak Peace Prize in 2019 for global leadership in agriculture and for good governance.

Since taking over the reigns of the Bank in 2015, he has introduced several innovative reforms including a High5 development strategy; a restructuring of the bank including setting up offices in several African nations to get closer to its clients; an Africa Investment Forum that has attracted $79 billion in investment interests into projects in Africa between 2018 and 2019. He successfully led a historic General Capital Increase campaign that culminated in the Bank’s shareholders raising the institution’s capital from $93 billion to $208 billion, in October 2019.

In June and July respectively, global credit ratings agencies Standard and Poors and Fitch Ratings both affirmed the ‘AAA’ rating of the Bank, with stable outlook.

Under Adesina’s leadership the African Development Bank launched a $10 billion crisis response facility to boost African nations’ ability to tackle the health and economic effects of COVID-19.

Several Governors of the Bank speaking off the record, say it is now time to put recent events in the past; provide the Bank’s President with full support; and bolster the Bank’s efforts on Africa’s critical development issues.
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Construction of Mozambique-Malawi power line to start in March 2021
July 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

The Mozambican government has launched an international public tender to select the contractor who will build the 400 kV electricity transmission line linking Mozambique and Malawi,

The 220 km line has guarantees of funding of 127 million US dollars from the World Bank, the Norwegian government, and German Cooperation (through the German Development Bank. KfW).

For his part, Joao Catine, the official of the Mozambican publicly owned electricity company, EDM, responsible for the transmission line project, said that another international public tender will be launched “within days” to choose a contractor to build a brand new electricity sub-station to raise the voltage in the centre-north power system to 400 kV, and with a capacity of 500 MVA (megavolt amperes).

“This is enough power to satisfy the short and medium term demand in Malawi”, said Catine. “The conclusion of all the procedures for selecting the two contractors is envisaged for December”.

Work on the power line should begin in March 2021, and the conclusion is scheduled for March 2023. Catine added that KfW will also support EDM in installing fibre-optic cables along the regional inter-connection line, and along two other high voltage transmission lines in central Mozambique.

The German government is providing 30 million euros (about 35 million US dollars) for the regional interconnection project and to strengthen internal communications along the EDM transmission lines. The World Bank has provided 42 million dollars, and the contribution from the Norwegian government is 24 million dollars, channelled via the World Bank. These three financing agreements became effective as from this month.

The inter-connection project will link Malawi to the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), which coordinates the planning and operation of electrical power systems among its member utilities. It will ensure diversification of Malawi’s electricity supplies, and allow Malawi to participate in the regional electricity market.

The agreements between EDM and the Malawian Electricity Company (Escom) were signed in April 2019 in Blantyre.

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L’OREAL LAUNCHES THE 2020 EDITION OF ITS AFRICAN HAIR & SKIN RESEARCH GRANT AND A DEDICATED WEBSITE
July 27, 2020 | 0 Comments
File picture from the 2019 awards in Dakar,Senegal

Paris on 27th July 2020 – The L’Oréal group, the World’s leader in beauty products, has announced today the launch of the 2020 edition of its African Hair & Skin Research Grant. The winner, who will be chosen by a panel of nine African and international scientific jury, will be awarded the grand prize of 10,000 Euros to support their one-year research project. Research applications will be received on www.africaderm.com through 28 August 2020 .

Established in 2013, L’Oréal’s African Hair & Skin Research Grant aims at promoting African scientific excellence, through encouraging clinical and basic research, conducted by scientists from the Continent, on African skin and hair – a field that remains largely unexplored. In its 7 years of existence, the grant scheme has received over 40 research proposal submissions from 17 Sub-Saharan African countries. 

Last year, 3 scientists from Kenya, Senegal and Nigeria, focusing on pollution, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and traction alopecia, respectively, were each awarded a research grant at a prestigious ceremony held in Dakar, Senegal on 7 October 2019. 

The Grant also opens the door to African scientists to gain advice from a network of worldwide experts, and offers them greater visibility. Last year, renowned South African dermatologist and previous grant winner, Professor Ncoza Dlova, published her research findings in the prestigious high impact international journal New England Journal of Medicine.

In parallel to the Grant’s 2020 Edition launch, L’Oréal has also unveiled AfricaDerm.com, the first dermatological website dedicated to African skin and hair concerns. The website aims at providing a centralised channel for the exchange of scientific information for all hair and skin experts in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

As such, the website features a directory of African hair & skin experts in Africa, national dermatologist’s societies in the continent, and free education materials for patients. It will be constantly updated with congress information, grant announcements and public outreach programs happening in the continent.  

Dr. Michele Verschoore, Medical Director, L’Oréal Research & Innovation, France, commented: “For more than three decades, L’Oréal has built scientific programs for increasing knowledge on African Hair & Skin. Our collaboration with the medical and scientific communities across Africa have allowed for over 50 scientific publications by African teams in international dermatology journals, 5 Winners of the L’Oréal African Hair & Skin Research grant, and the creation of the first and only dermatology professional association for the whole African continent, the African Society of Dermatology and Venereology (ASDV)”.

ABOUT L’ORÉAL

About L’Oréal

L’Oréal has devoted itself to beauty for over 100 years. With its unique international portfolio of 36 diverse and complementary brands, the Group generated sales amounting to 29.87 billion euros in 2019 and employs 88,000 people worldwide. As the world’s leading beauty company, L’Oréal is present across all distribution networks: mass market, department stores, pharmacies and drugstores, hair salons, travel retail, branded retail and e-commerce.

Research and innovation, and a dedicated research team of 4,100 people, are at the core of L’Oréal’s strategy, working to meet beauty aspirations all over the world. L’Oréal sets out ambitious sustainable development goals across the Group for 2030 and aims to empower its ecosystem for a more inclusive and sustainable society.

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