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Top U.S Senator joins list of U.S / global celebrities to condemn ongoing Nigerian police brutality
October 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Mohammed Mupenda

Senator Mark Warner
Senator Mark Warner

Mark Warner, U.S Senator has joined an endless list of global celebrities such as Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, US rapper Kanye West, footballers Mesut Ozil, Marcus Rashford as well as Nigerian superstars Davido ,Wizkid,Flavour and others in backing protesters and condemning police brutality.

Nigeria’s ongoing protest demanding the Federal Government to end the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and reforms in security organs have sparked protests on the streets of major towns and cities across 21 states of the country.

“The deadly crackdown on peaceful #EndSARS protesters in Nigeria is deeply alarming and unacceptable,” U.S Senator Warner said on Twitter

According to The Premium Times newspaper, twelve (12) people have been reported dead and several others wounded as protesters advance demanding an end to police brutality, extrajudicial executions and extortion by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigerian police tasked with fighting violent crimes.

But protesters have been met with violence and excessive use of force.

In a tweet, Amnesty International Nigeria said it had “received credible but disturbing evidence of excessive use of force occasioning deaths of protesters at Lekki toll gate in Lagos”.

Senator Warner also called on the federal Nigeria government to address the protests concerns.

“The government of Nigeria must exercise restraint and find ways to address the grievances of peaceful protesters, who are young people speaking out against police brutality and impunity”.

Protests began nearly two weeks ago with calls for the Sars police unit, which had been accused of illegal detentions, assaults and shootings, to be disbanded.

President Buhari dissolved the unit on 11 October.

But the demonstrators called for more changes in the security forces as well as reforms

to the way the country is run.

Mr Sanwo-Olu has said that criminals have hijacked the protests.

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

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A Free and Fair Election is the Solution to South Sudan’s Woes
October 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth

Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth is  Former Minister of Petroleum, South Sudan
Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth is Former Minister of Petroleum, South Sudan

In this election, and in true democratic fashion, the losers must congratulate the winners.

The Republic of South Sudan was born – literally out of the ashes – on 9 July 2011 after decades of a debilitating and costly war. The people of South Sudan must be appreciated for their sustained commitment to sovereign independence, and to finally win their freedom, despite the grave costs that we paid in both life and treasure.

Since 2011, our nascent nation of 10 million people has continued to face strife and human misery. Indeed, with the republic secured, internal wars started again in December 2013. This conflict devastated the country and pushed many of our citizens to become internally displaced as well as refugees in neighboring countries.

Another peace agreement was reached in 2015, but the wars continued to flare – even before, it seems, the ink was dry upon the very papers our leaders signed.

Of course, those who have followed the fate of our country are likely familiar with The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM/SPLA – IO) the main political group that has long opposed our central government. However, the SPLM is one of only a number of disparate and armed rebel movements that have sought to destabilize our country – and in turn, an already ravaged region that yearns for peace and stability.

Some of these groups, together with the SPLM, actually signed an historic 2018 peace agreement with the government – one that we all sides had hoped would finally bring this spiraling conflict to its ultimate conclusion. However, instead of working towards a lasting peace, once again opposition leaders thereafter rejected the agreement and formed yet another platform: the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA). Today, SSOMA – while already split into several factions – is negotiating in Rome with official government representatives to sign yet another peace agreement.

To be sure, the lack of a unified opposition voice – one that is collectively lifted in good faith – has made the work of the mediators increasingly difficult. Nevertheless, the government stands ready to make peace and to negotiate with any rebel faction to achieve it. Our country and our people have suffered for too long. Our salvation lies in looking ahead to the future, not picking fights with the ghosts of an ugly past.

His Excellency General Salva Kiir Mayardit, the President of the Republic of South Sudan, and his government is committed to bring peace to the country at all costs.

When and how is this rebellion going to end? Today, this is the central question we must answer – we must answer it together, as one unified people.

In my estimation, a democratic election is the solution that will forge our fate.  The last election South Sudan sought to hold took place in 2010, back when Sudan was one.

For the purposes of securing the peace in South Sudan, now that we have secured our republic, we must have an election that is free and fair and in line with both our regional and international conventions, including the African Charter on Democracy and Elections. For this to happen, we must first agree on a process to disarm and rehabilitate armed combatants; for they too have a right to participate in South Sudan’s future, so long as they commit to peace and to a democratic future. Second, we must complete a credible population census to ensure that every eligible voter is accounted for and duly given the right to cast their ballot. Third, we must undertake a comprehensive voter registration drive so that our voting population is properly accounted for. Only after these steps have been completed can we then organize a truly free and fair election – one that will make both our country and the world proud.

In this election, and in true democratic fashion, the losers must congratulate the winners. And the winners – thus equipped with a national mandate that is underwritten by the genuine will of the people – must begin the work of nation-building and uniting the people of South Sudan. Indeed, the winners of this election, regardless of who it may ultimately be, will lead and represent all of the people, not just those that voted for them.

It is in this spirit that I call upon the African Union, United Nations, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the broader international community to help South Sudan to make sure that this election is free and fair – that it is transparent and accountable to our people. Our people rightly deserve an election in which nobody feels cheated, and in which all factions prove their commitment to ending war and prospering in peace.

Put simply, this is the only viable path forward way to end the rebellion and truly win our freedom in South Sudan.

*Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth is Former Minister of Petroleum, South Sudan
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TymeBank, a leading digital bank in South Africa signs with Network International to empower SME businesses to accept electronic payments
October 21, 2020 | 0 Comments
TymeBank offers a modern alternative to traditional banking brands and aims to make banking more accessible and affordable to all South Africans.

 TymeBank , a leading digital bank in South Africa, looks to empower small and micro businesses to accept card payments, powered by Network International , the leading enabler of digital commerce across Africa and the Middle East.

Following their successful entry into the South African consumer banking market, TymeBank are now planning to build accessible and affordable payment solutions for the small and micro businesses market. A digital-only bank, TymeBank offers a modern alternative to traditional banking brands and aims to make banking more accessible and affordable to all South Africans having already recruited 2.2m consumers in the past two months.

Network International have already enabled TymeBank to become the first new card acquirer in South Africa for more than a decade and have now implemented a solution with both local processing and connectivity to international card schemes. Network will provide a full end-to-end acquiring solution to TymeBank, including the N-Genius™ payment and processing capability through the company’s integrated omni-channel technology platform, Network One. This will enable TymeBank to expand its offering to power digital payment acceptance among South African small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Network International has been at the forefront of driving digital payments acceptance across Africa and the Middle East, offering end-to-end payment solutions to a growing customer base in over 50 countries.

Dieter Botha, Chief Technology & Operations Officer, TymeBank South Africa said: “TymeBank continues to enhance and expand its provision of affordable (low cost) banking and financial services to the South African market. The bank is always on the lookout for capable and forward-thinking service providers who are prepared to join us on our exciting journey. One such service provider is Network International who met and exceeded our criteria. Network provides platforms that are scalable, proven and cost-effective and bring the bank the ability to develop innovative product and service offerings. Network’s acquiring platform, for instance, supports all the many product features and new developments that the bank was looking for. We are therefore proud to announce that the engagement will be launching a differentiated, innovative, low-cost acquiring service to the South African SME marketplace”.

Andrew Key, Managing Director, Network International Africa, said, “Our engagement with digital banking pioneer, TymeBank not only broadens our foothold in South Africa, but also carries inherent synergies that will positively impact digital payment penetration in the country. TymeBank have challenged the traditional banking offering, through technology-driven innovation and we are delighted to support them as they look to increase payment acceptance among the SME sector. We anticipate broadening our relationship with TymeBank with an increased range of services over the coming months.”
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Now is the Time for Africa to fully develop and harness its Natural Gas Potential
October 21, 2020 | 0 Comments
This year in particular has more than ever shown the strong position the Chamber stands to play within Africa’s energy sector.

The African Energy Chamber is set to release its Africa Energy Outlook for 2021. This edition follows a successful initial launch of the series with the 2020 outlook report released in October last year. Join the conversation using the hashtag #ChamberEnergyOutlook2021.

As the discussions around the energy transition and the impact of carbon emissions on the global energy industry continue, it is apparent that abundant resources unlocked by shale and the pressure on oil demand have placed African petroleum producers in a tough position. Our energy markets have to make the call on whether they adapt to the global transition or become uncompetitive.

It goes without saying that COVID-19 has had a heavy hand in accelerating this underlying pressure by causing unprecedented havoc on the global energy market.

Determined to examine the impacts of the pandemic and the low oil price, the Chamber’s 2021 outlook, through comprehensive research and analysis, inspects the current status of oil, gas and power sector projects and how they can best prepare for a strong rebound.

Expanding on topics such as the energy transition, African resources competitiveness, expenditure investment, impacts on the employment sector and oil & gas commodities, the report is also supporting the Chamber’s mission to promote gas developments for fast and steady collective growth on the continent.

“We are excited to once again present this document to industry,” said NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber. “We have worked extremely hard to ensure that we provide a clear picture of what the energy sector can expect in 2021. Our in-depth report is backed by detailed research that not merely touches the surface by presenting the problem but rather, dives deep into how the current challenges can be addressed and what the next first steps are,” he added.

In an effort to be forward-looking the report also recognizes that there have been ongoing issues in project delays in Africa, outside of the pandemic and low oil price. Namely, the Chamber acknowledges that the following can remedy the short-term and have lasting impacts:

– Applying more competitive fiscal regimes can help unlock 4.4 billion barrels of liquids and $100 billion of additional investments.

– Curbing flaring will help improve the carbon emission profile of African petroleum production that is current bottom tier among other continents. Flaring must be curbed by using the gas for domestic purposes or exports to global markets and thereby utilize the natural resources more productively, but also improve efficiency.

– Reducing lead time as higher risk premiums are put on long cycle projects versus short cycle projects.

This year in particular has more than ever shown the strong position the Chamber stands to play within Africa’s energy sector. With this, we have been extremely vocal about encouraging African producers and local companies to utilize this time to their advantage, whether that be they re-strategize on project approaches or rework key frameworks in order to increase their investment drives.

*SOURCE African Energy Chamber
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Cameroon: 20 Youths Selected for the Emerging Leaders 2020 Program
October 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

20 highly skilled and motivated young leaders, below 35, have been selected to participate in the 2020 Emerging Leaders programme. A total of 179 nominations and applications reviewed this year with the class consisting of 11 males and 9 females.

The Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for Democracy launched this unique program targeting promising young leaders based in Cameroon to better prepare a new generation of transformational leaders.

This class represents a highly talented group of very promising young leaders who are destined to make significant contributions to the country and continent,” Fri Asanga, Chief Operating Officer of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation said. “We are very delighted and look forward to working with each of them.”

The Emerging Leaders will participate in a special three (3) day leadership and policy immersion program from the 25th to the 28th of October 2020 in Yaoundé-Cameroon.

Who are the 2020 Emerging Leaders Class?

ACHIELLE MBOUZA

He is an expert in public action. The CEO and Co-founder of ENDY FREDERIC CONSULTING, a firm specializing in investment counsels, market studies and opinion surveys

HAMAN KAMI AIMEE VALERIE

Holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and management – option in economic and financial engineering from Faculty of Economics and Management of the University of Yaoundé II, SOA. Presently an intern at the Ministry of Public Health.

ABÉLÉGUÉ ALLIANCE FIDÈLE

A research Assistant Consultant at Security Studies and Human Rights Center (SSHRC) York University (Canada).  He is monitoring and evaluation Assistant in the ‘Programme d’Appui à l’Initiative Communautaire’ (PAIC). He has also worked as field Coordinator in Mayo-Sava in the Project ‘Transformation Pacifique des conflits’. He is a master’s holder in International Development.

MEDJO MEKO Cyriaque Junior

Master in International Relations, option Regional Integration and Management of Community Institutions from the Institute of International Relations of Cameroon (IRIC). Secretary-General of Family Green Corporation, Yaoundé branch since 2019, he participated in training workshops on personal development (YALI NETWORK). 

EKASSI ELOUNDOU Paule Stéphanie

Master in International Cooperation, Humanitarian action and sustainable development – Option Humanitarian Action- International Relations Institute of Cameroon. Project manager at the NGO EMIDA Cameroon (2020).  Intern at the Ministry of Economy, planning and Regional development (2017), a field agent for the Central Africa Office at the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (2016).

EKO ALAIN EKO

Medical Doctor with relevant training with YALI Accra Regional leadership Center (2020), West Africa, Doctors without Borders (2017), Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation (MINRESI) (2013). He is UN Volunteer Medical Officer, Chief Medical Officer at EKONA Sub-divisional Hospital, Muyuka health district.

ERIC NDELO FELIX

Holder of a Masters in international relations from the Institute of International Relations of Cameroon (IRIC), he is a diplomat, head of the relations with the countries of North-East Africa at the Directorate of African Affairs at the Ministry of external affairs of Cameroon. He participated in the Imperial Garden Cup in China in 2016, delegate to the 2017 United Nations International Model Forum in Beijing, a panellist at the World Youth Forum in 2018, delegate of Cameroon to the Aswan Forum on Peace and Sustainable development 2019.

MBORINGONG FIDELINE AWASIRI

Partnership Coordinator at HerStory Initiation where she supervises operations of programs in Cameroon. She is also a WWF Cameroon Business and Industries Assistant where she advocates and Supports Government in the development of policies that support best practices in the palm oil and extractive sectors in Cameroon. Afrika Youth Movement -Partnership Coordinator where she supports the development and implementation of activities aimed at specifically youth participation and young civil society regionally and internationally.

MBIYDZENYUY FERDINANT SONYUY

Holder of a master’s degree in public health andPresident/CEO of Reconciliation and Development Association- a youth-run development organization. Secretary-General (SG), Cameroon Civil Society NCD Alliance (CACSNA) where he coordinated the Central African sub-region in the development, adoption and implementation of NCD Civil Society Advocacy actions and governance structure.

FONKEING FOTABONG

Trainee with several international organizations such as the UNHCR of Bertoua / Batouri, the Cameroonian Red Cross, Network for the promotion of regional integration in Central Africa. He holds a Masters in international relations, regional integration option and management of community institutions (IRMIC).

ARREY HERNICA BESONG ENAKA

A PhD scholar in sociology of the University of Buea. A highly dynamic, motivated and trilingual Cameroonian. Acquired good working knowledge in community development, monitoring and evaluation of projects. Has experience in Research development, and considerable experience implementing projects. A trained case manager in GBV prevention activities.

To know more about the Emerging leaders batch, visit www.foretiafoundation.org

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Cameroon: IPW, TEM Foundation Belgium & Partners Donates School Materials to Children in Bakingili, Mudeka
October 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Ruth Besong, Executive Director of IPW hands school material to a Child at the Government Secondary School Mudeka
Ruth Besong, Executive Director of IPW hands school material to a Child at the Government Secondary School Mudeka

Investing in People Worldwide (IPW), TEM Foundation Belgium and its partners have made available school items such as school bags, pen, pencils, books, rulers and others to aid children as they go back to school for the 2020/2021 academic year.

“We believe these are the basic school materials that a child needs to continue his/her education,” Ruth Besong Abunaw, Executive Director of IPW told PAV. “This is the little we can do. We know education is our basic human right; every child wherever has to be educated.”

The twin donations to school children at the Government Primary School Bakingili and Government Bilingual Secondary School Mudeka are part of the One Child, One School Bag Project aimed at helping single mothers take care of the children. This year, IPW succeeded in reaching 100 children, up from 45 last year.

The project was sponsored by TEM Foundation and Impelemented by IPW. These two organisations conceived this project to assist IDP children in Women headed households in the conflict affected areas of the south west Region of Cameroon.

“We have a lot of women who have become the head of households; women who are widows because they cannot explain where their husbands are and women who are guardians to these IDPs,” Ruth Besong Abunaw said.

“We aim to assist women, to ensure that we reduce the burden on them to carter for these children single-handedly. We are coming to invest in their education; to ensure that they are giving the opportunity like others even though their fathers are not around but they can continue schooling.”

With the present socio-political crisis going on in the country’s North West and South West Regions, Bakingili has been identified as a hub for Displaced persons. The area like that of Mudeka has been harbouring displaced persons fleeing violence in their area of residence.

The criteria for selection of the beneficiaries involved the children coming from a woman-headed household. These could either be a single mom, handicapped, widow or an IDP guardian.

Stanley Funjong, Head Teacher St Peter Catholic Primary School Mudeka has called on the donors to come back again knowing some children were not able to benefit from the donation. “We are hoping you come back as it will go a long way to help their parents,” He said. 

The donation was a timely exercise looking at the fact that some of the kids have been going to school without the basic school items. Many of the kids have had to go to school with torn bags, plastic bags or bags begged from their friends.

“We have taken a particular interest in this project because it is a women-specific project and we hope to assist women in the best possible way we can,” Ruth Besong added. This is a project that is done every year with last year carried out in Tiko.

Receiving the gifts, the children thank the donors while also promising to make good use of the materials provided to them. “I never had a school bag but now I have a school bag, thanks to Gemeente Mol,” One of the beneficiaries said. “Thanks to Saris Media Factory for my new school bag,” another stated.

Beneficiaries of the One Child, One School Bag Project pose with school officials and members of IPW
Beneficiaries of the One Child, One School Bag Project pose with school officials and members of IPW

Cecilia Namondo said: Thank you to Edward Trailers for the help to support my children to provide these gifts. It will help my child.” Words of gratitude were also extended to TEM Foundation Belgium, Tessa, and all those who made the project a success. 

About Investing in People Worldwide

Investing in People Worldwide aims to build a resilient community in which women, girls, and youths engage in sustainable development activities to attain their full potentials in societies where their rights and their dignities are respected.

About TEM Foundation Belgium

TEM Foundation Belgium is a non-profit organization. Tem is an acronym for Training, Empowerment and Management. Its mission is to train, and empower the underprivileged, the poor, afflicted, marginalized that will better the lives and that of the communities.

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UAE:DAY 2 OF ANNUAL INVESTMENT MEETING’S FIRST DIGITAL EDITION CONTINUES TO GAIN MOMENTUM
October 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

  • H.E. Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade: Our aim is to become the #1 country for foreign investment, target zero contribution from oil to our GDP in the next 50 years.
  • Successful Investment Roundtables for Energy and Agriculture concluded with strategies to facilitate sustainable, smart and scalable investments.
  • Startups took virtual centerstage as they competed at the Global Champions League 2020

Dubai, October 21, 2020 –  After the huge success of its opening day, AIM Digital, the first digital edition of the Annual Investment Meeting, continued to gain momentum as it reached Day 2. The three-day mega digital event, an initiative of the Ministry fo Economy, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, concluded its second day with interactive activities that catalysed investment-generation, knowledge-enhancement, and local, regional and international collaborations.

Joined by more than 15K participants from over 170 countries, including 70+ high-level dignitaries from across the globe, the second day of AIM Dıgital witnessed a wide range of major events, from the Conference, Exhibition, Investment Roundtables, and Regional Focus sessions to Conglomerate Presentations and Startups competitions; all geared towards providing opportunities to achieve a digital, sustainable & resilient future.

In his keynote speech in the FDI session, Ministers Roundtable: Adapting to the New Flow of Trade and Investment, His Excellency Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said: “It is my distinct honor to welcome you to the UAE’s first-ever digital edition of the Annual Investment Meeting. Thank you to everyone participating, including our panelists from the Governments of Costa Rica, Canada, Nigeria and Russia. Today’s discussion on how countries are ensuring the free flow of trade and investment could not be more timely, especially as the world grapples with the economic recovery and moves toward building a more resilient, post-COVID economy. The pandemic has significantly impacted global markets that created new challenges for trade and investment. While the challenges ahead are enormous, the UAE sees tremendous opportunity for governments and business leaders to work together through trade and investment to reshape policies, create new partnerships, leverage new technologies, and build a future global economy that is more diverse, inclusive, and sustainable. We know that FDI can bring new technology and know-how, lead to new jobs and growth, and is often the largest source of finance for economies – making today’s discussion even more imperative.”

He further stated that FDI has played a critical role in the UAE’s economic growth, with policies and measures in place, such as the Foreign Direct Investment Law enacted in 2018 to further open the UAE market to investors in certain sectors, and the issuance of Positive List, which allows for greater foreign investment across 122 activities, and increasing the UAE’s FDI value by 32% in 2019.  He also mentioned that the UAE came in 16th of 190 countries in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business 2020 Ranking due to the country’s digitization strategies and promising business regulatory environment.

His Excellency Al Zeyoudi furthered: “The UAE is continuing to refine and implement policies that will maximize competitiveness, increase collaboration, and provide opportunities to facilitate trade and investment. Our aim is to become the #1 country for foreign investment, target zero contribution from oil to our GDP in the next 50 years, and support research, development, and innovation. The UAE’s trade and investment strategy is centered on economic diversification and focuses on enhanced investment in industries such as communications, Blockchain, artificial intelligence, robotics, and genetics. We are also initiating measures to strengthen our position as a regional leader in supplying financial and logistical services, infrastructure, energy supplies, and other services.”

He added: “The UAE believes that increased partnership and cooperation with governments and the private sector will be key to achieving our objectives. We view platforms such as the Annual Investment Meeting as instrumental in bridging the gap between nations and supporting global efforts to strengthen international trade and investment. Through this platform, we hope that participants will uncover new, innovative ideas and investment opportunities needed to build back better and ensure a strong post-COVID recovery.”

Furthermore, world-class speakers shared their viewpoints in Day 2 of the Conference highlighting Foreign Direct Investment, Foreign Portfolio Investment, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Startups, Future Cities, and One Belt, One Road, including H.E. Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum, Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment of The Federal Republic of Nigeria; Victoria Hernández Mora, Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce of Republic of Costa Rica; Hon. Victor Fedeli,  Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade of Ontario, Canada; and Sergey Cheremin, Minister of Moscow City Government Head of Department for External Economic and International Relations, among others.

Two Investment Roundtables were also held successfully at the second day of AIM Digital, concluding  with strategies to facilitate sustainable, smart and scalable investments. The Energy Roundtable was led by Laszlo Varro, the Chief Economist of International Energy Agency, which works with countries around the globe to structure energy policies towards a secure and sustainable future. Among the notable participants include H.E. Arifin Tasrif,  Minister for Energy & Mineral Resources of the Republic of Indonesia; and H.E. Gabriel Obiang, the Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea. The Agriculture Roundtable was led by Islamic Development Bank Group, the multilateral development bank working to promote social and economic development in Member countries and Muslim communities worldwide, delivering impact at scale.

In addition, the second set of National Winners competed on Day 2 of the AIM Global National Champions League. Overall,  a total of 65 countries competed at this international startups competition. The top five global champions that will win a total prize of USD50,000 will be announced on the last day of AIM Digital. The competition was launched in a bid to help startups in maximizing their potential to attract funding and promote their business ideas to a global audience, getting utmost exposure and expanding their network.

Participating in the Conglomerate Presentation feature of AIM Digital is Elsewedy Electric led by Eng. Ahmed Elsewedy, its President and CEO. Elsewedy Electric began as a manufacturer of electrical components in Egypt 80 years ago, and Electric has evolved into a global provider of energy, digital and infrastructure solutions with a turnover of EGP 46.6 billion in 2019, operating in five key business sectors, namely Wire & Cable, Electrical Products, Engineering & Construction, Smart Infrastructure and Infrastructure Investments. As part of its commitment to sustainability, it has established green energy and smart metering projects across Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

The Regional Focus Sessions featured the regions of Asia and Latin America and explored the risks, challenges and opportunities for growth and regional cooperation.  Regional Focus Session on Asia brought together government officials and investment authorities from the ASEAN Member States and discussed their strategies to create a borderless and sustainable bloc that will push organic growth, as well as their approaches to gain resilience in the economy. Regional Focus Session on Latin America highlighted the significance of regional and international partnerships to combat the current pandemic and boost trade, investments and employment within the region.

Moreover, Country Presentations on Day 2 presented the outstanding features and investment opportunities in Colombia, Egypt and the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia which highlighted the countries’ status as attractive investment destinations.

Another highly anticipated event in the largest virtual gathering of the global investment community is the announcement of winners for the Investment Awards and Future Cities Awards which will take place on Day 3 of AIM Digital.  AIM Investment Awards will grant recognition to the world’s best Investment Promotion Agencies and the best FDI projects in each region of the globe that have contributed to the economic growth and development of their markets.   Likewise, AIM Future Cities Awards will give tribute to the best smart city solutions providers and for outstanding projects that have resulted to enhanced operational efficiency and productivity, sustainability, and economic growth.

Day 1 of AIM Dıgital welcomed the presence of globally renowned personalities such as the UAE Minister of Economy, His Excellency Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri who emphasised the vision of UAE’s  wise leadership for the post-COVID era, reflecting great significance to enhancing the readiness of the country’s government sector, raising efficiencies and performance at the federal and local levels. Keynote remarks were delivered by H.E. Juri Ratas, the Prime Minister of Republic of Estonia; H.E. Rustam Minnikhanov, the President of the Republic of Tatarstan; H.E. Dr. Bandar M. H. Hajjar, the President of Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB Group); H.E. Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa Al Hammadi, the Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED); and Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The UAE Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, His Excellency Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, underlined in his Keynote Address for the SME Pillar, that it is crucial for Startups and SMEs to be given opportunities to bounce back from the impact of pandemic and provide a conducive environment that will empower them to have the capability of supporting growth and success.

The Global Leaders Debate featured prominent keynote debaters such as Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP); Mohamed Alabbar, the Founder of Emaar Properties, Alabbar Enterprises and Noon.com; Mohammad Abdullah Abunayyan, the Chairman of ACWA Power; and Arkady Dvorkovich, the Chairman of Skolkovo Foundation, who discussed the strategies to restructure the economies in overcoming the consequences of the pandemic.

The first digital edition of the Annual Investment Meeting with the theme “Reimagining Economies: The Move Towards a Digital, Sustainable and Resilient Future, will be held until the 22nd of October 2020.

For more information on AIM Digital, visit www.aimcongress.com

About the Annual Investment Meeting

The Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) is an initiative of the UAE Ministry of Economy, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai. AIM is the world’s leading investment platform with over 16,000 participants coming from more than 140 countries. Over 400 exhibitors and co-exhibitors, 60+ high-level dignitaries, 150+ investment specialists and experts have participated in AIM 2019.

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Preparing Ethiopian businesses for the new normal post COVID-19
October 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted our entire working culture. A recent survey indicates that 95% of security professionals are facing added IT security challenges due to the coronavirus.

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA – October,20, 2020   Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP), a leading provider of cyber security solutions globally, hosted a webinar on October 12 through a joint effort with Deliver ICT, an IT solutions company based in Ethiopia, to provide businesses with the essential cyber security strategies needed post COVID-19.

According to Check Point research, the East African region has experienced nearly three times the global average in cyber-attacks. The World Economic Forum warned thatwe should prepare for a COVID-like global cyber pandemic that will spread faster and further than a biological virus, with an equal or greater economic impact.

With cyber security now considered a business enabler, Ethiopian security executives will play a key role in securing their organisations. The webinar presentation, “Coronavirus: The Day After Preparing For The Next Global Crisis – A Cyber Pandemic,” featured Matan Burstein, Security Engineering Manager Africa at Check Point Software, who provided insights into IT security challenges in the new cyber security normal which has arisen due  to shifts in our working culture as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

New cyber security normal                     

Remote work has become the new norm, with country-mandated lockdowns accelerating the transition of employees to work from home, allowing them to access corporate resources through secure access. The crisis has forced companies to accelerate their technological transformation with cloud resources as the top priority. This has created a “Just Do it” mindset, increasing organisations cyber risks as corners are cut to meet the burning demand for connectivity.

Check Point research teams found a dramatic rise in cyberattacks in correlation with the spread of the virus, and an alarming amount of phishing attacks trying to exploit this fear. COVID-19 is not just a virus, it is a major, successful, attack theme. Hackers are taking advantage of this fear factor to target enterprises and consumers alike for financial gains, using different methods and attack vectors.

“What we have seen is that cybercriminals are targeting high unemployment rates and are disguising malware in the form of CV’s. These CV’s seem honest, however when opened within an organisation by HR personal, the infection will occur,” says Burstein.

The pandemic will disappear – Its cyber effect will not

The trends of the coronavirus have dramatically changed the way we work. The accelerated pace of digital transformation, remote access infrastructure, and the rapid move to the cloud—are known trends by cybercriminals. Businesses need to be proactive and secure themselves in the new normal by focusing on:

Real-time prevention: Prevention is better than treatment. Likewise, in cyber security, real-time prevention is the key to protecting our organisations and employees from a cyber-attack of cataclysmic, cyber pandemic proportions.

Secure everything: It is vital for organisations to revisit and check the security level and relevance of their network’s infrastructures, processes, compliance of connected mobile and PC devices, IoT, among others. The increased use of the cloud means an increased level of security, especially in technologies that secure workloads, containers, and serverless applications on multi- and hybrid-cloud environments.

Consolidation and visibility: The highest level of visibility, reached through consolidation, will increase effectiveness. You need a unified management and improved risk visibility to your entire security architecture, and this can only be achieved by reducing the number of point product solutions and vendors.

Biological pandemic vs. Cyber Pandemic

Check Point Software researchers have seen parallels between the COVID-19 pandemic and cyber pandemic. They share many similarities such as infection rate, infection prevention and safety best practices.

“Similar to how a person would adopt best practices such as wearing a mask, maintaining hygiene and social distancing, so to must businesses. Businesses today need remain aware of the current cyber threats, maintain cyber hygiene by ensuring compliance and distance their assets through network segmentation and multi-factor authentication,” says Burstein.

As we have witnessed in the past several months, in times of crisis, we need to be agile and act swiftly. The pandemic will wind down, but its effects are here to stay, and the best way for all of us to stay connected is by being protected.

Melkamu Bade, Director of Deliver ICT, added, “Through our partnership with Check Point, we aim to provide highly influential cyber security and IT solutions starting from the business need, justification up to technical solutions within Ethiopia.

The webinar shed light on the current trends within cyber security and provided insights into preventing future cyber pandemics within East Africa.

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How the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) Has Killed Jobs, Investments and Opportunities for Local Oil & Gas Entrepreneurs
October 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

The African Energy Chamber will file a lawsuit seeking an injunction to stop the implementation of the Bank of Central African States (BEAC)’s reckless foreign exchange (forex) regulations that are anti-African, against small businesses, and against investors.

International energy companies and local services companies spend a lot of time serving people, solving problems, and saving lives with the energy and service they provide. The African Energy Chamber’s (www.EnergyChamber.org) members create jobs, expand economic opportunity for many local communities across Africa and support a prosperous future for all Africans. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, they never stopped working for our continent, and continue to inspire us by getting up every day and working harder because they believe in the power of free market as a force for good in our communities, and in our fight against poverty. At the African Energy Chamber, we get up every day to help them do it. We must fight for the ability of our energy industry to hire, invest, grow, and succeed in Africa.

As 2020 comes to an end, Africans are living in a remarkable moment of uncertainty due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Millions have lost their jobs, and hopes of an economic recovery remains non-existent for a majority of African families. As if that is not enough, bureaucrats at the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) have decided to push through job-killing and investment-killing regulations that are already increasing unemployment, and will ultimately kill any hopes of seeing future investment in Central Africa.

The aspirations of governments and local companies across the CEMAC region to build a vibrant and jobs-creating energy sector have indeed been dramatically affected by the foreign exchange regulations imposed by the BEAC. Such regulations are putting extremely deterring barriers of entry for investors in Gabon, the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, CAR, Equatorial Guinea and Chad, and a bitter halt to any kind of local content development for companies and entrepreneurs in these countries.

While the end goal of the BEAC to fight corruption is noble and must be supported, in essence its regulations prevent the free flow of capital and the repatriation of profits, and deny local companies the ability to compete on equal terms with their foreign counterparts.

Because of the region’s reliance on imports of equipment and material for oil & gas operations, the ability of local companies to establish strong business relationships with foreign partners is central to their competitiveness and ability to secure contracts. However, CEMAC’s forex rules mean its local services companies are now unable to quickly and efficiently pay their foreign suppliers. Concretely, it would take a local services company from CEMAC several months to honour its contractual engagements with an operator, compared to only a few days or weeks for any other competitor not constrained by the same forex regulations.

As a result, companies in Central Africa are condemned to inexorably lose the contracts they have worked so hard to secure from foreign operators and contractors. In a region where oil & gas represents 80% of revenues, the consequences for economic growth and jobs creation could be catastrophic. To make things even worse, BEAC’s Instruction No. 002/GR/2020 of September 2020 on currency transfers outside of the CEMAC region has set up additional taxes of 0.75% on all transfers made outside of CEMAC starting January 1st 2021, on top of existing fees and taxes.

On behalf of the fight against corruption, the African Energy Chamber can only observe a gradual killing of investment in Central Africa, made through the punishment of local entrepreneurs. A big difference needs to urgently be made between fighting corruption and punishing hard working entrepreneurs, and it needs to be done before it is too late. The BEAC cannot love and support jobs while it hates or punishes those who create jobs.

Combined, the CEMAC members produce about 700,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd). They also produce increasing quantities of natural gas, and the region houses up to 5 million tonnes per annum of LNG export capacity, shared between Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon. But as it tries to recover from the Covid-19 crisis and the historic crash in oil prices, we can only expect operators to be forced to contract international companies at the detriment of local ones. In Equatorial Guinea, where the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons has pushed for increasing local content compliance, all such efforts are now jeopardized by the BEAC’s monetary policies. Similarly, the latest local content regulations within the new Hydrocarbons Code of Congo (2016) and Gabon (2019) and the new Petroleum Code of Cameroon (2019) are now all made pointless unless the region’s monetary authority takes a drastic policy turn.

The African Energy Chamber, its partners and members urgently call on the BEAC to act in the CEMAC Zone’s own interest, in the interest of its workers and its companies. The need to have a monetary policy that takes into account the concerns and voice of the region’s biggest revenue-generating industry is dire. At a time when Africa gets ready to roll out the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), CEMAC and its business communities risk being further left behind.

If CEMAC energy markets are to recover from the historic crises of 2020 and improve the standard of living of their population through economic growth and jobs creation, the investment climate and business environment must be supported by market-driven policies and the right financial regulations.

Excessive regulation has become a threat to individual freedom and prosperity, and must be curbed as local companies stand to suffer the most. In an era where capital investment in the energy sector is drying out, especially for African oil and gas projects, CEMAC’s heavy-handed approach is not helpful and is counter-productive.

A policy turn is required to properly fight energy poverty, and a relaxation of foreign exchange regulations must be accompanied with lower taxation on local companies, better fiscal terms for exploration companies, particularly corporate taxes, and the promotion of greater prosperity, individual freedom and investment. 

*SOURCE African Energy Chamber

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Mozambique seeks extradition of ex-Credit Suisse bankers
October 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

Detelina Subeva and Andrew Pearse Source: Bloomberg
Detelina Subeva and Andrew Pearse Source: Bloomberg

The Supreme Court in Mozambique has approved the request of the Public Prosecutor’s Office to try to get three former Credit Suisse bankers, considered to be the masterminds of the so-called “hidden debts” scandal, extradited from America.

The term “hidden debts” refers to the loans of over $2bn granted in 2013 and 2014 by the banks Credit Suisse and VTB of Russia to three fraudulent, security-linked companies, Proindicus, Ematum and MAM.

All three companies are now effectively bankrupt, and so the Mozambican state becomes liable for repaying the loans. Since the loans were negotiated with the London branch of Credit Suisse, the PGR is now suing Credit Suisse through the British courts. It wants the loan guarantees given to Credit Suisse declared invalid, and reparations for the damages this affair has caused the Mozambican state.

According to a report of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, the request for the extradition of Andrew Pearse, Detelina Subeva and Surjan Singh was issued to authorities in the United States on 3 June, and on 16 October the Supreme Court found that the request for extradition was justified.

The three face criminal proceedings in Mozambique. Notícias also reports that the office has issued an international arrest warrant for the three and for Jean Boustani, the shipbuilding executive also implicated in the hidden debts, via Interpol. At the same time, it asked authorities in the United Kingdom, where the three ex-bankers are resident, for legal and investigative support.

Bostani was tried last year in the New York court, and was acquitted merely because his lawyers argued that the crimes did not take place in the United States, and so were beyond the jurisdiction of the Brooklyn court.

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USAID-Ethiopian airlines partnership to source food from local farmers for in-flight meals
October 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

 Ethiopian Airlines and the United States have announced a new partnership agreement that will enable the Ethiopia’s flagship carrier to source locally grown produce and ingredients for preparing in-flight meals for global passengers.

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam and U.S. Ambassador Michael Raynor signed a memorandum of understanding in which the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide Ethiopian farmers and food producers technical assistance and access to financing in order to ensure they are able to meet the airlines’ standards of quality and volume to serve its customers.

 It is reported that the new business linkages will help farmers and local agribusinesses reach a prominent new market and increase their revenue streams  with annual sales as high as US$10 million in total  while providing Ethiopian Airlines farm-fresh ingredients sourced directly from Ethiopia, reducing the need for foreign suppliers’ processed foods for their catering services.

USAID support will help Ethiopian Airlines identify local suppliers for the list of catering materials the airline might potentially require, as well as provide support to farmer cooperative unions, youth groups, women groups and other local agriculture businesses to enable them to meet production requirements. A U.S. government loan facility also will expand access to financing for local companies, farmer cooperative unions, and others to expand their operations as needed to meet the Ethiopian Airlines quality and supply demands.

“We deeply value our relationship with USAID and extend our appreciation to USAID for all the support. The new partnership consolidates our effort to continue providing high-quality inflight meals to global passengers while intensifying our effort in creating an enabling environment for local farmers across the value chain. We would like to maintain our partnership with USAID on a range of spheres,” said Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam.

“The partnership we’re launching today demonstrates what’s achievable when prominent businesses like Ethiopian Airlines invest in other Ethiopian businesses and individuals, resulting in truly home-grown economic success that has the potential to be a model for other sectors,” said Ambassador Raynor.

This partnership agreement will run through December 2022 and will help pave the way for Ethiopian Airlines and local producers and farmers groups to continue these supply linkages and partnerships into the future.

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New funding to improve water security for 10 million people in Africa and Asia by 2024
October 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

New funding from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) will support global research and practice to improve water security for 10 million people in Africa and Asia. The FCDO’s grant to the University of Oxford will now extend to 2024 and increase to £22.5 million, to support the REACH programme improve water security by delivering world-class science to transform policy and practice.

Professor Charlotte Watts, Chief Scientific Advisor and Director of Research & Evidence Division, at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office says, ‘More than ever, we recognise that water security, that is ensuring sufficient quantity and quality of water for different uses with an acceptable level of risk, is critical to the health, well-being and prosperity of people. We know that the poorest, and most disadvantaged, often lack safe and affordable water to drink or wash their hands, and are hit hardest by extremes in weather.  The REACH programme, led by the University of Oxford, has made advances in science, policy and practice to understand and address these inequalities for over two million people since 2015. I am delighted that the FCDO is supporting additional REACH work which will help deliver water security for 10 million poor people in Africa and Asia by 2024.’

The REACH programme’s work, which began in 2015, has already improved water security for more than two million people, working with UNICEF and in partnership with government, private sector and academia in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice Chancellor, University of Oxford, says, ‘The mission of the University of Oxford since the time of its foundation has been to conduct research, to educate the next generation, and to contribute to the world around it. The REACH programme admirably reflects that mission through its advancement of interdisciplinary science for the benefit of those most in need.

‘We at Oxford are committed to supporting the next phase of the work in order to improve the lives of over 10 million people who are desperately in need of support.  We are very grateful to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office for funding this work and to our many partners across the globe who collaborate with us in advancing the goals of REACH.’

Kelly Ann Naylor, Associate Director, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Section, Programme Division, says, ‘UNICEF works to protect the rights of every child, everywhere. We recognise water insecurity as a major threat to millions of children living with unacceptable water, sanitation and hygiene services at home, in schools and in health care facilities. Our partnership with REACH recognises science has a critical role in designing and delivering effective policy and improving practice on the ground. We are delighted to continue this collaboration and build on our work in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Kenya.’

Today, REACH is also launching a new Global Strategy for 2020-2024, which recognises the progress to date and identifies gaps to strengthen future work aligned to four priority themes:  climate resilience, institutions, water quality and inequalities.

REACH’s work on inequalities is of the highest priority to support the UK Government’s commitment to eradicate poverty. Gendered inequalities in pay, legal rights or access to quality education is often increased with floods and droughts which make basic water services unaffordable, unreliable or unsafe to drink. REACH will be working to understand and respond to these inter-sectional inequalities in ongoing work.

According to REACH Directors, Professors Rob Hope and Katrina Charles, ‘The COVID-19 pandemic has starkly illustrated how multiple water security risks affect the lives and livelihoods of billions of people across Africa and Asia. For example, the pandemic has compounded the severity of the impacts resulting from water-related climate hazards, such as floods, droughts and cyclones. Ensuring water infrastructure functions with affordable, reliable and safe services in these complex environments in times of crisis is critical to protect vulnerable individuals, communities, schools and healthcare facilities. Building water secure institutions reduces the need for and the cost of emergency funding to avoid unnecessary hardship on the most vulnerable and increases resilience to future risks and shocks.’

About REACH

REACH has advanced science, new thinking and evidence to collaborate in rethinking law, policy and practice to benefit excluded and vulnerable people.

Oxford-led science has developed biosensor technologies to monitor the health of rivers in Dhaka complemented by studies of river-use behaviours to identify and protect vulnerable people’s lives and livelihoods. Performance-based funding models are providing communities, schools and healthcare facilities with guarantees to keep water flowing for over one million people in rural Africa during droughts, political unrest and COVID-19. Communicating climate science with river basin managers in Ethiopia is strengthening decisions to allocate water more fairly and to model water quality risks across industrial, agricultural, livestock and domestic users.

The REACH programme is led by the School of Geography and the Environment and the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, in collaboration with the Department of Engineering Science and the Department of International Development. UNICEF at the global, regional and county office is a key partner in collaboration with national governments and their relevant ministries.

The Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka University, icddr,b, University of Nairobi and the Water and Land Research Centre (University of Addis Ababa) lead our scientific work in each focus country linked to a global network of partners, including IFPRI, IRC, IWA and RWSN: www.reachwater.org.uk

To find out more about REACH’s work to date, and upcoming plans, you can read the programme’s new Global Strategy 2020-2024.

About Oxford University

Oxford University has been placed number one in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for the fifth year running, and at the heart of this success is our ground-breaking research and innovation. Oxford is world-famous for research excellence and home to some of the most talented people from across the globe.

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