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SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS VACATIONS® OFFERS A FREE TWO-NIGHT STAY IN THE CAPE WINE REGION OF SOUTH AFRICA
November 15, 2017 | 0 Comments

Book the “Best of South Africa” package and receive two free nights in Stellenbosch

Fort Lauderdale, FL (November 13, 2017) – South African Airways Vacations® (SAA Vacations ®), the leisure division of South African Airways, the national airline of South Africa and Africa’s most awarded airline, is offering a free two-night stay in the world-renown wine region in South Africa’s Western Cape town of Stellenbosch, with its “Best of South Africa” air-inclusive package. This offering starting at $4199*, will captivate travelers with the breathtaking scenery and
exhilarating activities in sophisticated Cape Town and a thrilling safari to view Africa’s “Big 5” wildlife in a private game reserve adjacent to the Greater Kruger National Park. Book this package by December 15, 2017, and travelers can explore Western Cape wine region and enjoy South Africa’s culinary and wine capital in Stellenbosch while experiencing world-class service at the luxurious Evergreen Manor and Spa (or similar) complimentary for a two-nightstay.

“Given the success of our Best of South Africa package, we have decided to further enhance the inclusions by offering two free nights in the Western Cape winelands,” said Terry von Guilleaume, president of SAA Vacations®. “This will allow visitors to extend their stay in South Africa and enjoy touring the wine region at an affordable package price.”

“Best of South Africa” package includes:
 Round trip Economy Class air transportation from New York – JFK Airport or Washington,D.C. – Dulles Airport to Cape Town on South African Airways and domestic flights within South Africa.

Four-nights at the Southern Sun Cullinan in Cape Town adjacent to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront inclusive of breakfast
 Full-day Cape Peninsula tour and full-day Winelandstour
 Two nights at the Evergreen Manor and Spa (or similar) in Stellenbosch
 Two nights at your choice of Chapungu Tented Camp, Serondella Lodge, Waterbuck Lodge or n’Kaya Lodge in the Thornybush Game Reserve adjacent to the Greater Kruger National Park
 Twice daily safari game drives at Thornybush Game Reserve
 All daily meals at the Thornybush Game Reserve
 Airport transfers and meet and greet service by South African Airways Vacations
representatives in South Africa.

The “Best of South Africa” package with the free 2-night stay in the Cape Winelands is available for new reservations made by December 15, 2017. The free nights in the Cape wine region is offered for a limited time only, so travelers should hurry and call 1-855-359-7228 to reserve today.
South African Airways Vacations offers air-inclusive package options for all budgets, with their African Specialists available to ensure their clients experience the vacation of their dreams. For more vacation packages throughout Africa, please visit www.flysaavacations.com.

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Juliet Mbonu Targets Human Trafficking In Latest Movie
November 15, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

Governments, institutions, and parents in Africa and other developing countries, all have a role to play in fighting human trafficking says Juliet Mbonu

Governments, institutions, and parents in Africa and other developing countries, all have a role to play in fighting human trafficking says Juliet Mbonu

The fight against human trafficking will get a serious boast when “Break Out”, a movie produced by Juliet Mbonu   premieres on Nov 17 at Bowie Performance Arts Center, in MD, USA.With a cast from Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal, Gambia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Togo, Liberia, and  Sierra Leone, the movie paints a gory picture of human trafficking especially with young women who are lured from developing countries into prostitution.Shot in several locations across Nigeria and the USA,the movie sends a strong message of deterrence to young women who may become unwitting victims of human trafficking ,says Juliet Mbonu.

Your latest movie Break Out is set to premiere on Nov 17, what is the movie about?

Juliet Mbonu: The movie is about Human Trafficking on the international stage, particularly as it affects women in many developing countries, who are lured into prostitution in developed countries

What message do you seek to send to the public with the movie?

Juliet Mbonu:  The movie conveys the many complicated and horrific aspects of being lured into prostitution, outside one’s home country, and delivers a powerful message to deter young women from being victims of human & sex trafficking

Where was the movie shot and how long did it take you get it to this level?

Juliet Mbonu: The movie was shot in multiple locations in Nigeria/Africa and the United States.  It took about one year to complete the research, shooting, and editing of the movie.  Technical crews were flown from the US to Nigeria to capture authentic rarely seen footages in Nigeria.  High-end technology was used in the US to capture the latest cinematography.

 

https://youtu.be/S7jaf1S60EM

 

As you Break Out gets set for its big release, could you introduce the cast for us?

Juliet Mbonu:  Certainly, the most exciting aspect of the movie is that the cast was recruited from the US and at least ten different African countries, in order to capture the diversity of international sex & human trafficking. The cast countries of origin include: Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal, Gambia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Togo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and others..

In Break Out ,Juliet Mbonu delivers a powerful message to deter young women from being victims of human & sex trafficking

In Break Out ,Juliet Mbonu delivers a powerful message to deter young women from being victims of human & sex trafficking

What are some of the challenges that you faced in the production of Break Out?

Juliet Mbonu. The Budget: Raising money for such a huge project was a big challenge, however, where there is a will, there is a way.  My faith in God propelled the movie from a dream to a reality. 2.  Moving a technical production team around the world from the US to Nigeria, and back to the US, represented serious logistical challenges, but it turned out to be a great and exotic adventure.

Any plans for distribution especially in Africa with its huge market and the relevance of the movie’s theme?

Juliet Mbonu: Absolutely, there are Theater Premieres coming up in DC (November 17th), then NY, LA, and other US Cities, after which the Movie moves to South Africa, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, and others

With regards the issue of child trafficking, how serious is this in Africa and what more could be done to get it under control?

Juliet Mbonu: Governments, institutions, and parents in Africa and other developing countries, all have a role to play.  Parents must be restrained in their expectations from their children, and in becoming tacit enablers for child sexual trafficking.  Even though we’ve seen reports of very poor people who give tacit approval to their daughters traveling abroad, with unclear perceptions of various employment opportunities; however a cursory look should alert people to dangers lurking in the horizon.  Finally, young women should be extremely careful in their personal expectations…… there is no glamorous life waiting out there, for people who have not paid their dues in education, training, and other tutelage.

To those who do not know Juliet Mbonu, Producer of Break Out, who is she and how did she find herself in the movie industry?

Juliet Mbonu:  Great question, I actually started out as a computer major in college, I then veered out into the Health Sciences & Nursing Informatics, ultimately getting a doctorate in Nursing Practice.  I was consulting in the area of Healthcare Informatics before diverting my passion and zeal to Movie Productions.  I have a great passion for women and children’s issues.  I also run “Arise” a non-profit that focuses on women and girls issues.

What is your take on the African Movie Industry as it stands today?

Juliet:  Africa has unbelievable talent in the Arts.  The quality is gradually catching up with universal standards.  Those of us who have recent roots in Africa, and are out here in the West, have a duty to move the industry to a world-class level

Break Out premieres on Nov 17 at Bowie Performance Arts Center, in MD, USA

Break Out premieres on Nov 17 at Bowie Performance Arts Center, in MD, USA

What next for you after Break Out, any other projects movie related or otherwise that Juliet Mbonu will be working on?

Juliet Mbonu: Absolutely, my Talk-Show, “Let’s Talk It Out with Juliet Mbonu” will debut in first quarter of 2018. Our Production Company (RFP) is also developing other relevant stories for a world-wide audience.

We end with more information on the movie premiere, venue, cost, and any special guests that people may run into, what will the premiere of Break Out reserve for its audience?

Juliet Mbonu: The DC area (DMV) Premiere, coming up on November 17th, 2017 at 7pm, will be at the full-size Theater “Bowie Performance Arts Center” just outside DC.  The program starts at 7pm, a robust pre-show entertainment, featuring popular artists, and various entertainments.  A guest list of dignitaries and the public are expected.

Tickets for the premiere of Break Out are available at the following link:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/breakout-movie-premiere-tickets-38464495341?aff=es2#tickets

 

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Konnect Africa Brings Wi-Fi to Rural African Communities
November 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
Company unveils SmartWIFI service offering at AfricaCom 2017
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, November 9, 2017/ — Konnect Africa (www.Konnect-Africa.com), the Eutelsat-owned satellite broadband service provider, has unveiled SmartWIFI, a new hotspot service, as part of its ongoing commitment to bring digital opportunities to Africans.

This new service leverages Konnect Africa’s powerful, reliable satellite broadband network to enable sales outlets (retailers, hospitalities, gas stations, etc.) as well as healthcare centres or schools to become a connectivity point and digital gateway to opportunity for the surrounding population. Users will be able to access the internet from a distance of several hundred metres around the hotspot. Access can be extended to several kilometres through off-the-shelf Wi-Fi repeaters.

Users can access the SmartWIFI service through vouchers or mobile payment schemes. In addition, SmartWIFI comes with a unique local data storage system, enabling users in remote areas to access smart digital content free of data charges, including online courses and education programmes, sports and entertainment. Mobile and computer applications will also be available to help support daily business activities.

Konnect Africa CEO, Laurent Grimaldi commented from AfricaCom (http://APO.af/lb7KAQ): “This new Wi-Fi hotspot solution is designed specifically to address the needs of the majority of the African population that lives in rural areas, where there is a need to reduce the digital divide. In leveraging the ubiquity of our satellite network and locally operated hotspots we will foster more productive uses of digital technology to make everyday tasks easier for individuals and allow businesses in more remote areas to expand their footprint – let’s just think of weather apps to assist farmers, mobile phones to display bus timetables, or better information on market days that can help small producers enlarge their catchment area”, he added.

SmartWIFI will be available in all countries covered by Konnect Africa’s satellite broadband service. The new hotspot service will be deployed in partnership with local Internet service providers and telecom operators in strategic areas across Sub-Saharan Africa.

 

https://youtu.be/_R-tlB35QgU

Details on the new hotspot solution were presented by Konnect Africa during AfricaCom’17 in Cape Town.

Set up by Eutelsat in 2015, Konnect Africa (www.Konnect-Africa.com) aims to be the leading player in providing state-of-the-art satellite broadband solutions to telecom operators and internet service providers throughout the African continent. Konnect Africa’s ambition is to boost social and economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa by providing affordable broadband connectivity everywhere thus reducing the digital divide. With the aim of “taking broadband further”, Konnect Africa launched commercial services in June 2017 and is developing partnerships in nine African countries.

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Ericsson Report: 310 million LTE subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2023
November 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
The report also announces that mobile subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa are expected to grow by six percent, between 2017 and 2023, from 700 million mobile subscriptions in 2017 to 990 million subscriptions by 2023
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, November 9, 2017/ —

  • LTE subscriptions will expand by 47 percent from 30 million in 2017 to 310 million by 2023 in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa mobile broadband subscriptions are forecasted to grow by 16 percent from 350 million in 2017 to 880 million by 2023.
  • The first 5G subscriptions in the Middle East and North Africa are expected from 2020, reaching around 17 million subscriptions by the end of 2023.

The latest regional appendix to the upcoming Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) (www.Ericsson.com) Mobility Report forecasts that LTE subscriptions will expand by 47 percent from 30 million in 2017 to 310 million by 2023 in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The report also announces that mobile subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa are expected to grow by six percent, between 2017 and 2023, from 700 million mobile subscriptions in 2017 to 990 million subscriptions by 2023.

Moreover, mobile traffic in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 49 percent while mobile subscriptions for the total MEA region are expected to grow at four percent CAGR between 2017 and 2023, from 1.59 billion in 2017 to 2.03 billion by 2023. This equates to three percent growth in the Middle East and North Africa, from 890 million mobile subscriptions to 1.04 billion subscriptions between 2017 and 2023.

On the other hand, mobile broadband subscriptions are forecast to grow by 15% for the MEA region from 820 million in 2017 to 1.85 billion by 2023. This is broken down into a 13 percent increase for the Middle East and North Africa from 460 million mobile broadband subscriptions in 2017 to 980 million by 2023. Similarly, Sub-Saharan Africa mobile broadband subscriptions are forecasted to grow by 16 percent from 350 million in 2017 to 880 million by 2023.

When it comes to LTE subscriptions, the MEA region is expected to grow by 29 percent from 190 million to 860 million by 2023. This means that LTE subscriptions in the Middle East and North Africa will grow by 23 percent from 160 million in 2017 to 570 million by 2023. For the Sub-Saharan Africa region, LTE subscriptions will expand by 47 percent from 30 million in 2017 to 310 million by 2023.

Rafiah Ibrahim, Head of Ericsson Middle East and Africa, said: “Total mobile traffic for the region is forecasted to grow by around 49 percent annually between 2017 and 2023. This rapid growth is seeing operators increasingly exploring methods of optimizing their networks with more capacity and coverage. We are supporting operators across the region throughout the different phases of the network evolution, enabling best performing networks and differentiated customer experience.”

Finally, the report mentions that in the Middle East and North Africa, strong growth is forecasted for both WCDMA/HSPA and LTE during the period. Combined, these technologies will see a rise from 50 percent to over 90 percent of total subscriptions by the end of the period.

The first 5G subscriptions in the Middle East and North Africa are expected from 2020, reaching around 17 million subscriptions by the end of 2023.

Further highlights from the regional appendix of the Ericsson Mobility Report include:

The Internet of Things (IoT) is facilitating the digital transformation of industries, and providing mobile operators in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa with opportunities to explore new revenue streams.

Cellular IoT subscriptions in the Middle East and Africa are expected to grow from 35 million to 159 million between 2017 and 2023 – a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 30 percent.

Exploring new digitalisation revenues 

For mobile service providers, traditional revenue sources are shrinking, and so new revenue streams are being explored. As the world becomes more connected, industries are experiencing an ICT-driven transformation. Industry digitalization revenues for ICT players come from adopting or integrating digital technologies into a specific industry. 5G-enabled industry digitalization revenues for IoT in the Middle East and Africa are predicted to reach $242 billion through 2026.

5G will be an important technology in growing industrial digitalization, particularly for use cases dependent on extra-low latency and high reliability. This presents an opportunity for service providers that are ready to explore smart revenue streams addressing B2B2X industry players.

IoT and 5G serving communities 

Even though IoT is still in its infancy throughout most parts of the Middle East and Africa, there are still examples of how it has helped improve the livelihood of communities and industries in the region.

For example, in South Africa, Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) is being introduced to address the utilities sector, enabling tools for energy efficiency such as smart meters.

The global edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report will be released later this month.

Ericsson (www.Ericsson.com) is a world leader in communications technology and services with headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden. Our organization consists of more than 111,000 experts who provide customers in 180 countries with innovative solutions and services. Together we are building a more connected future where anyone and any industry is empowered to reach their full potential. Net sales in 2016 were SEK 222.6 billion (USD 24.5 billion). The Ericsson stock is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm and on NASDAQ in New York.

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7th edition of the Orange Social Entrepreneur Prize in Africa and the Middle East, Prize List 2017
November 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
7th edition of the Orange Social Entrepreneur Prize in Africa and the Middle East, Prize List 2017

7th edition of the Orange Social Entrepreneur Prize in Africa and the Middle East, Prize List 2017

A new feature in this year’s 7th edition was a national phase during which each of Orange’s 17 subsidiaries in Africa and the Middle East taking part in the contest studied the projects submitted in their country and appointed local winners

PARIS, France, November 9, 2017/ — Yesterday Orange (www.Orange.com) announced the winners of the 7th Orange Social Entrepreneur Prize 2017 in Africa and the Middle East during the AfricaCom Awards in Cape Town, South Africa.

Each year this Prize rewards innovative projects based on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) which help improve the living conditions of local people through digital, in fields such as education, healthcare, farming, mobile payments or sustainable development.

A new feature in this year’s 7th edition was a national phase during which each of Orange’s 17 subsidiaries [1] in Africa and the Middle East taking part in the contest studied the projects submitted in their country and appointed local winners. These 49 local winners were entered into the international contest.

Open from February to June 2017, the call for applications received nearly 1,200 innovative project entries, which was 60% more than 2016. These projects illustrate the diverse ideas from local entrepreneurs and the potential of ICT in the development of Africa and the Middle East. Amongst the 49 local winners, 11 projects were selected and submitted to a jury made up of professionals, investors, external organisations and Orange organisations. The three winners will receive bursaries of €25,000, €15,000 and €10,000 and the Special Content Prize winner will receive €5,000. The finalists of the Orange Social Entrepreneur Prize will also enjoy priority support for six months from the NGO Grow Movement  and Orange experts.

Bruno Mettling, Deputy CEO of the Orange Group and Chairman and CEO of Orange MEA (Africa and the Middle East) stated that “The Orange Social Entrepreneur Prize is now a staple part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa and the Middle East. It is a great example of our contribution to digital transformation on the continent, a transformation which we would like to be inclusive and sustainable. Congratulations to these entrepreneurs and particularly the winners, I wish them every success in their professional endeavours. ”

The winning projects this year were:

1st prize was awarded to Manzer Partazer  in Madagascar 

The objective of the Malagasy start-up is to reduce food waste by sharing excess food from restaurants, hotels or supermarkets with partner organisations such as orphanages and disadvantaged populations. A collaborative platform will allow direct communication between different stakeholders.

2nd prize was awarded to City Taps  in Niger

CityTaps has developed a solution which bridges the gap between water services and the most disadvantaged citizens: a pre-payment service which includes a smart water meter and billing software.

The beneficiaries use their mobile to prepay for running water with any mobile phone, at any time, for any amount, which improves their household budget.

3rd prize was awarded to eFret.tn  in Tunisia 

eFret.tn is a website based on the freight exchange principle. It links up senders, whether private individuals or companies, with transport and transit professionals in Tunisia. The senders publish adverts describing their needs and receive free quotations from carriers, movers, and international transport companies and customs forwarding agents.

Furthermore, this year a Special Content Prize was added, which was awarded by Orange Content.

The Special Orange Content Prize was awarded to: Génie Edu in Cameroon 

This is an e-learning platform which aims to help students having problems by providing online video courses. The startup wants every student, including those in remote areas, to have access to high-quality courses at a very low cost, anytime and anywhere.

Internet users were also invited to choose their “User Favourite” project. This project automatically qualified for the international final.

This was the Malgasy project Majika which received over 2,800 votes out of 12,242 votes online. Majika is a social company aiming to facilitate economic development conditions in rural zones. It is based on two areas: access to renewable electricity and support for rural entrepreneurship. Majika works on an autonomous and ecological power plant in the village of Ampasindava.

Success stories from previous winners:

  • MedTrucks (2016) supports healthcare players with the deployment of smart trucks which use remote medicine to provide medical treatment in remote areas.
  • Bassita (2015) invents clickfunding: companies submit their social, cultural or environmental project on its platform. If it reaches its click target after being shared on social networks, the project obtains a donation from a sponsor.
  • Station Energy (2014), between a service station and African grocery store, provides access to energy via franchises on a large scale and at an affordable cost.

[1] Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Tunisia, Jordan, Liberia and Burkina Faso.

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African business community commits to invest in skills for employment and job creation for youth at “Africa Talks Jobs” conference
November 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
The youth had a strong voice in the development of the recommendations and made up more than half of the conference participants
AU Commissioner of Human Resources, Science and Technology, Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor at “Africa Talks Jobs” conference

AU Commissioner of Human Resources, Science and Technology, Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor at “Africa Talks Jobs” conference

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 10, 2017/ — More than 400 representatives of youth, business, education practitioners and policy-making from 44 countries across the African continent as well as European partners have called for improving job perspectives of the African Youth through employment oriented education and skills development. The call was made at the recently concluded “Africa Talks Jobs” (ATJ) (www.AfricaTalksJobs.Africa) conference held at the African Union Commission (AUC) headquarters in Addis Ababa. Recommendations developed at the conference will be brought to the upcoming 5th AU-EU Summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

The recommendations call for a stronger engagement of the African business community in providing opportunities for skills training and joint offers with education institutions. Governments shall provide the necessary frameworks as well as favourable conditions for young entrepreneurs. At the same time, education at all levels and youth activities need to better address labour market demands and equip the youth with skills to start their own businesses. Included in the communiqué is also the call to ensure the recognition of degrees and other qualifications across the continent to enable voluntary labour migration. The recommendations were handed over to the AU Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor, and the Head of the EU Delegation Ranieri Sabatucci who will submit them to the 5th AU-EU Summit in Ivory Coast.

“Africa Talks Jobs” conference participants in front of Nelson Mandela Hall at AUC headquarters

“Africa Talks Jobs” conference participants in front of Nelson Mandela Hall at AUC headquarters

120 African companies and business associations, under the auspices of Business Africa, have also committed to investing in skills development and partnership with education institutions for job skills education and training. AUC Commissioner Agbor lauded the business community’s commitment to young people and requested that more companies follow the example set to move from “Africa Talks Jobs” to “Africa Makes Jobs”.

The conference was organized in the headquarters of the African Union Commission (AUC) by the AUC, the New Partnership for Africa`s Development (NEPAD) (www.NEPAD.org) and the continental umbrella organization for the private sector – Business Africa. To back the engagement of the business community AUC, NEPAD and Business Africa signed a declaration of commitment to foster the business community’s role in partnerships with education and job creation.

The conference was supported by the EU and Germany. Stefan Oswald, Director of Sub-Saharan Africa in the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development pointed out that “Jobs are created mainly by the private sector, not by governments. Therefore, we applaud the commitment of the business community. This is an important shift of paradigm.” Ranieri Sabatucci, Head of the EU Delegation, underlined: “We must hear the youth. Working for them is not enough, we must work with them”.

The youth had a strong voice in the development of the recommendations and made up more than half of the conference participants. Among them were 36 fellows selected out of more than 7500 African and European applicants for the AU-EU Youth Plugin-Initiative. The AU-EU YPII is a programme to engage youth in developing a youth agenda to be endorsed at the 5th AU-EU Summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Representatives of AUC, NEPAD, EU, Germany and Business Africa at “Africa Talks Jobs” conference

Representatives of AUC, NEPAD, EU, Germany and Business Africa at “Africa Talks Jobs” conference

Africa Talks Jobs” (www.AfricaTalksJobs.Africa) is a continental dialogue platform on education and skills development for employment and entrepreneurship organized by the AUC, Department of Human Resources, Science and Technology, NEPAD and Business Africa with the support of German Development Cooperation (implemented by GIZ). “Africa Talks Jobs” was launched with a conference at the African Union Commission headquarters in Addis Ababa from 30 October to 01 November 2017. The event was organized as a pre-conference to the 5th AU-EU Summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Africa Talks Jobs shall be further established as a platform for continental dialogue and knowledge exchange for education and skills development for employment.

 

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University of Abomey-Calavi Becomes First Francophone West African University to Join Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program
November 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
300 Next-Generation African Leaders and Entrepreneurs to Receive Quality Education and Entrepreneurship Training
 
Photo credit: Jake Naughton/Intersect for the Mastercard Foundation

Photo credit: Jake Naughton/Intersect for the Mastercard Foundation

COTONOU, Benin Republic, 9 November 2017,– The University of Abomey-Calavi’s commitment to educating next-generation African leaders received a boost today with a seven-year, USD$6.2 million commitment from the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. The new partnership, which for the first time expands the Scholars Program to Francophone West Africa, will benefit 300 bright young Africa leaders and entrepreneurs with a high-quality education, creating pathways to careers in science and technology, as well as business and entrepreneurship for youth whose academic talent and promise exceed their financial resources.

“The University of Abomey-Calavi is proud to collaborate with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, a partnership which has energized our commitment to youth leadership and entrepreneurship education,” explained Professor Brice Sinsin, President of the University of Abomey-Calavi. “We envision leading change in our community by putting students and researchers at the heart of local development, and fostering greater involvement of graduates through social action campaigns and community development projects.”

“Young Francophone Africans deserve every chance to study and thrive,” says Peter Materu, Director of Education and Learning and Youth Livelihoods, the Mastercard Foundation. “Strengthening higher education in Francophone West Africa is critical to ensuring that the region can meet the needs of growing markets. By working with the University of Abomey-Calavi, the Foundation hopes to foster stronger academic relationships and partnerships with other Francophone universities, improving higher education enrollment rates across the region.”

The Scholars Program at the University of Abomey-Calavi will have two components: the first will emphasize access to quality education for 200 Scholars in the fields of agronomic sciences, engineering sciences, computer sciences, and renewable energy. These students will also be admitted into the university’s pre-employment service, a workforce made up of graduates of the University of Abomey-Calavi focused on social entrepreneurship and will enable Scholars to share values and gain valuable work experience.

The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest private foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by Mastercard when the Foundation was created in 2006.
Established in 1970, the University of Abomey-Calavi is the oldest and largest public university in Benin. With a student population estimated at 85 000 registrations for the 2016-2017 academic year, the University is a true place of knowledge having trained the majority of the Beninese nation’s elite. The University of Abomey-Calavi is a higher academic and research institution offering a wide variety of training covering the areas of health science, science and technology, agricultural science, juridical and political science, economic science and management, human and social science, literature, arts and language science, and educational sciences. The University of Abomey-Calavi maintains cooperative relationships with a vast number of institutions of higher education the world over to strengthen their own training and research programmes. The University of Abomey-Calavi is also the recipient of the international prize celebrating the quality of its academic and administrative governance.

The second component of the partnership will focus on providing technical expertise for the development of ‘Startups Valley’, a business incubator program created by the University of Abomey-Calavi. Startups Valley will provide 100 Scholars with an opportunity to sharpen their entrepreneurial skills and mindsets, setting them on the path to successful entrepreneurship and enabling them to launch their own businesses, employ other students, and contribute to their economy.

The University of Abomey-Calavi joins a global network of 29 universities and non-governmental organizations committed to over 35,000 bright young leaders with a deep personal commitment to changing the world around them and improving the lives of others. The Scholars Program provides holistic student support, including comprehensive scholarships, leadership development, pre-employment, and industry-driven career services – developing highly skilled, transformative leaders to catalyze inclusive prosperity in Africa.

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Benin becomes the 17th member of the Africa Finance Corporation
November 10, 2017 | 0 Comments

LAGOS, Nigeria, 10th November 2017,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The Republic of Benin (Benin) has become the 17th Member State of Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), Africa’s premier infrastructure development finance institution.

Hon. Romuald Wadagni, Minister of Economy & Finance, formally acceded to AFC membership by signing the Letter of Adherence on 7 November, 2017. Benin, therefore, joins the list of Francophone African States that are currently AFC member countries. These include: Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, and Guinea-Conakry.

This development augurs well for the peaceful coastal nation, which serves as an economic gateway to several other West African economies. Benin is economically stable, maintaining an average GDP growth rate of 5% over the past five years. Such fundamentals create a natural support system for viable infrastructure investment.

Andrew Alli, President and CEO of AFC commented: “We are happy to welcome the Republic of Benin to the membership of AFC. Benin is strategically located. Through this partnership, we believe that Benin will be able to realise its full potential as an important corridor for economic activities in West Africa. With the right infrastructure; taking into consideration regional economic flows, the country is well positioned to significantly service all its neighbouring countries. As a member of AFC, Benin will have access to AFC’s technical expertise and financial resources in the development, financing and execution of infrastructure projects in the Transportation, Power, Telecommunications, Natural Resources, and Heavy Industries sectors.”

Hon. Romuald Wadagni also commented on the announcement: “We are excited at the prospects of partnering with AFC to drive infrastructure development in Benin and across West Africa. As is well known, investments in infrastructure are directly linked to economic development. Our membership in AFC bodes well for the country and the entire West African region.”

AFC, an investment grade multilateral finance institution, was established in 2007 with an equity capital base of US$1 billion, to be the catalyst for private sector-led infrastructure investment across Africa. With a current balance sheet size of approximately US$3.5 billion, AFC is the second highest investment grade rated multilateral financial institution in Africa with an A3/P2 (Stable outlook) rating from Moody’s Investors Service. AFC successfully raised US$750 million in 2015 and US$500 million in 2017; out of its Board-approved US$3 Billion Global Medium Term Note (MTN) Programme. Both Eurobond issues were oversubscribed and attracted investors from Asia, Europe and the USA.
AFC’s investment approach combines specialist industry expertise with a focus on financial and technical advisory, project structuring, project development and risk capital to address Africa’s infrastructure development needs and drive sustainable economic growth. AFC invests in high quality infrastructure assets that provide essential services in the core infrastructure sectors of power, natural resources, heavy industry, transport, and telecommunications. To date, the Corporation has invested approximately US$4 billion in projects within 28 countries across North, East, West and Southern Africa.
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Politicians steal $50b yearly from Africa – Obasanjo
November 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo

FORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo has alleged that more than $50 billion is stolen and smuggled out of Africa to other countries yearly by political leaders and businessmen as well as other key players in both public and private sectors.

Obasanjo, who spoke on Thursday, November 9, at the maiden yearly anti-fraud conference, organised in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, ACFE, Lagos Chapter, lamented that the smuggling of the huge funds meant for socio-economic growth and development of the African continent is now giving African leaders, past and present, great concern.

He warned that African countries might not develop if leaders and followers refused to show concern about the ugly trend.

Thus, the former president called for concerted efforts towards curbing the trend. He also charged financial professionals and all members of the association and everyone generally to help in curbing the trend not only in Nigeria but Africa as a whole.

Godwin Oyedokun, president and chief executive officer, ACFE, said: “It is really a delight to host Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Your acceptance of our invitation is an indication that you have the love of this nation at heart.” The former president was named Grand patron of the ACFE at the event.

*Courtesy of Real News Magazine

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Caf president Ahmad reassures Guinea over 2023 hosting
November 9, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Mohamed Fajah Barrie*

Ahmad says Caf has no intention of stripping Guinea of the rights to host the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations but warned them to respect the deadlines set for preparations

Ahmad says Caf has no intention of stripping Guinea of the rights to host the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations but warned them to respect the deadlines set for preparations

Confederation of African Football (Caf) president, Ahmad, says he wants to work with Guinea to ensure they can host the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

Ahmad made the offer to Guinea’s head of state Alpha Condé when the two met on Monday.

“Officially Caf has never questioned the allocation of 2023 Afcon to Guinea” Ahmad said.

“We also reaffirmed to President Alpha Condé our willingness to accompany Guinea to organise the 2023 Afcon.”

The Malagasy also warned the West African country to make sure they observe the deadlines to have all the required facilities ready before the commencement of the competition.

“Guinea must be willing to respect the conditions of hosting Afcon. Otherwise, there will always be an alternative,” Ahmad added.

“If Guinea is committed, I think it will respect the Afcon timing. We have the right to worry about the organisation of the Nations Cup, because if it does not work, it is the Caf that is pointed out.”

Ahmad, who chose not to campaign in Guinea to become Caf president, was accompanied to Conakry by his vice-president from DR Congo, Constant Omari, for the one day visit.

They held a meeting with the Guinea FA headed by Antonio Soure, who heads the 2023 Nations Cup Local Organising Committee, and discussed new Caf reforms.

There has been concern in Guinea that they might be stripped off the opportunity to host Nations Cup for the first time following questions about Caf’s decision in 2014 to award the hosting rights for the next three finals to West African Francophone speaking countries.

The President of the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations, Phillip Chiyangwa, who helped campaign for Ahmad to become Caf President called for an inquiry seven months ago.

The Zimbabwean feels West Africa countries were favoured over other regions by the previous Caf regime led by Cameroon’s Issa Hayatou.

However Ahmad once again insisted Caf has never officially considered taking the tournaments away from Guinea, Cameroon (in 2019) and Ivory Coast (in 2021).

*BBC

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President Kagame and Tony Elumelu to headline Young Entrepreneurship Day at the Africa 2017 Forum
November 9, 2017 | 0 Comments
The Young Entrepreneurship Day will bring together some of Africa’s most promising entrepreneurs with investors and new partners to help them scale up their ideas and businesses and the most successful start-ups will gain access to a deal room and also a one week tailored course at Stanford
CAIRO, Egypt, November 8, 2017/ — HE Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and chairman of Smart Africa, and Tony Elumelu, Founder of the $100m Entrepreneurship Programme, will be headlining the Young Entrepreneurship Day (YED) at the Africa 2017 Forum (www.BusinessForAfricaForum.com).

The YED is a new addition to the Forum and will take place on the eve of Africa 2017, on the 7th December. It has been designed to connect some of Africa’s most promising entrepreneurs and also give them exposure to investors, incubators and accelerators as well as to partake in workshops that will give them the skills and tools to scale up their businesses.

Both Kagame and Elumelu have been championing entrepreneurship and will be sharing their perspectives both from government and the private sector as well as engaging in an open platform with some of the upcoming leaders from across Africa

Sitting on the advisory board of the YED are Issam Chleuh and Rebecca Enonchong, two of the foremost players in impact investing and in the technology space in Africa as well as Parminder Vir, CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation. Other speakers at the YED include Ben White of VC4Africa and Wale Ayeni from IFC Ventures, the venture capital wing of the World Bank’s private sector arm.

Commenting on the YED, the Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Dr. Sahar Nasr, whose ministry is organising the Africa 2017 programme alongside COMESA Regional Investment Agency, said that creating a pro-business environment for entrepreneurs to thrive is at the centre of her government’s policies. “Egypt has been at the forefront of making entrepreneurship work. With a bustling population of 90 million, 50% of which are below the age of 30 and tech savvy, Egypt is rightly staking a claim as one of the fastest growing entrepreneurial hubs in the world.”

Africa 2017 has been earmarked as the biggest B2B and B2G gathering to take place in Africa this year. A number of heads of state have confirmed their attendance and there are 30 African investment promotion agencies and government delegations scheduled to attend. Alongside President Al Sisi of Egypt and President Kagame of Rwanda, the Presidents of Côte d’Ivoire, Alassane Outtara will be in attendance as well as the President of Comoros, Azali Assoumani and the Prime Minister of Mozambique Carlos Agostinho do Rosário. Some of Africa’s biggest names from business will also be attending Africa 2017, with the aim to accelerate cross-border investments and partnerships.

The Forum will also be a platform for Egypt to showcase some of the mega projects that are underway and the opportunities linked to these in agribusiness, logistics, mining, energy construction, real estate and tourism.

Africa 2017 Forum (www.BusinessForAfricaForum.com) is held under the high patronage of H.E. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on 7th to 9th December 2017 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and is organized by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt and the COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA).
The 2017 edition builds on the success of the inaugural Africa 2016, which saw participation of 6 Heads of State and more than 1,000 delegates from 45 countries. This year the programme has been enhanced with exclusive Presidential Roundtables with Africa leaders and CEOs as well as a Young Entrepreneurs Day.
Africa 2017 remains the premier business platform to nurture new partnerships; meet investors and fast track your business objectives in Africa.
Take your place and belong in the conversation that will drive new projects, transactions and policy throughout the continent with global business leaders who will lead both dialogue and progress on some of the most important projects in Africa.

To register to attend the Forum, please RSVP I.Callan@ICpublications.com or go to http://APO.af/wVw6CX

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20 Top African Start-Ups Enter World Bank Group Digital Acceleration Program
November 8, 2017 | 0 Comments
Selected from a pool of over 900 applicants, these start-ups specialize in digital solutions for the African market, including fin-tech, transportation, health care, education, human resources, and B2B
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, November 6, 2017/ — Twenty of the most promising African digital start-ups will take part in the XL Africa (www.XL-Africa.com) residency, the flagship initiative of the business accelerator launched last April by the World Bank Group’s (www.WorldBank.org) infoDev program. From Nov. 6-17 in Cape Town, the entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to learn from their mentors and peers, increase their regional visibility, and get access to potential corporate partners and investors.

The residency will conclude with the XL Africa Venture Showcase, a regional event organized in association with the African Angel Investor Summit, in which the entrepreneurs will present their business models to a select audience of corporations and investors. With support from African investment groups, XL Africa will help the start-ups attract early stage capital between US$250,000 and US$1.5 million.

Selected from a pool of over 900 applicants, these start-ups specialize in digital solutions for the African market, including fin-tech, transportation, health care, education, human resources, and B2B. All companies provide a digital product or service currently available in one or more African markets and show potential to scale across the region.

“We are pleased by the interest infoDev and XL Africa generated across the continent in just a few months,” said Klaus Tilmes, Director of the Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice at the World Bank Group. “XL Africa attracted firms with high-growth potential; many have female co-founders, have already raised early stage investment, and have demonstrated significant market traction. The number and quality of applications received are a clear testament to the competitiveness of African start-ups and the key role they play in Africa’s growing digital economy.”

The selection for XL Africa was conducted by a panel of industry experts from the International Finance Corporation (IFC); implementing partners IMC Worldwide, Koltai & Co, and Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A); as well as investors from prominent African funds, including Knife Capital, 4Di Capital LLP, Singularity Investments, TLcom Capital LLP, Goodwell Investments, Nest Africa, and Africa Tech Ventures.

“We encountered very strong companies, particularly in the transportation, HR, and data analytics sectors,” said Danai Musandu, investment associate at Goodwell Investments. “We also observed signals of a nascent pipeline of digital companies beyond the traditional hot spots of Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. These talented entrepreneurs are among those who are going to drive innovation on the continent and offer great opportunities for investors looking at African markets.”

The selected start-ups participating in the event are:

  • Aerobotics (Data, South Africa)
  • Asoko Insight (Data, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, United Kingdom, and Nigeria)
  • Coin Afrique (Marketplace, Senegal and Benin)
  • Edgepoint Digital (Jamii) (FinTech – Insurance, Tanzania)
  • Electronic Settlement Limited (FinTech, Nigeria)
  • Lynk Jobs Ltd. (HR, Kenya)
  • MAX (Transport, Nigeria)
  • ogaVenue (Venue Platform, Nigeria)
  • Ongair (SME Services, Kenya)
  • Pesabazaar.com (FinTech, Kenya)
  • Prepclass (EdTech, Nigeria)
  • Printivo (Printing, Nigeria)
  • Rasello Company Ltd. (SME Services, Tanzania)
  • Rensource (Energy, Nigeria)
  • Sendy Ltd. (Delivery, Kenya)
  • Snapplify (Publishing, South Africa and Kenya)
  • Sokowatch (Delivery, Kenya)
  • TalentBase (HR, Nigeria)
  • Timbuktu (Travel, South Africa)
  • Tizeti Network Ltd. (Connectivity, Nigeria)

XL Africa is funded by the governments of Finland, Norway, and Sweden, and administered by the World Bank Group with implementation support from IMC Worldwide, VC4A, and Koltai & Co.

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African High-Level Officials, Private Sector Leaders to Chart Actionable Plan to Accelerate the Africa’s Agricultural Transformation
November 8, 2017 | 0 Comments
WASHINGTON – November 7, 2017 – Private sector leaders working in Africa’s agriculture sector are invited to request an invitation to attend the African Development Bank’s first high-level convening,  Leadership4Agriculture (L4Ag) Forum on November 28 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
The invitation-only L4Ag Forum, supported the Rockefeller Foundation and in collaboration with the Initiative for Global Development (IGD) and Grow Africa will be held at the AfDB headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, on the sidelines of the AU-EU Summit on November 29-30, 2017.

This action-oriented forum will assemble influential leaders — African high-level officials, private sector leaders and community champions — for dialogue, advocacy and policy action to drive Africa’s agriculture transformation on the theme, “Leadership for Agriculture: Moving African Policy to Action”.

Africa’s agriculture sector and agribusiness are projected to create a $1 trillion agrifood industry in the next decade. Despite this tremendous potential, total investment in the sector falls short of levels required to deliver fundamental change fuel agricultural transformation.

The African Development Bank estimates that between $315-400 billion over the next ten years is required to transform strategic agricultural value chains.

“Recognizing agriculture as a business is a core aspect of the strategy to advance growth in Africa,” said IGD President Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych. “The Leadership4Agriculture Forum is an opportunity for private sector leaders and high-level African officials to strengthen their partnership by identifying their aligning interests so that Africa’s agricultural sector can reach its full potential.”

Guided by recent findings from the World Bank’s 2017 Enabling the Business of Agriculture Report and the 2017 Africa Transformation Report by African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET), the L4Ag Forum will focus on harnessing agriculture and agribusiness as an engine of economic transformation in Africa.

The L4Ag Forum will feature a keynote address and two panel sessions with African Finance and Agriculture Ministers and business leaders from across the African continent.

The first panel, “Enabling the Business of Agriculture: Increasing Access to Agricultural Inputs to Enhance Productivity and Regulatory Reforms”, will focus on improving commercial access to seeds, fertilizer, and mechanization. The second panel, “Agriculture Powering Africa’s Economic Transformation: Fueling Agro-industry and Agribusiness”, will draw attention to commercializing agriculture; adding value and spurring agro-industry; and innovative financing.

Grow Africa Executive Director William Asiko will offer a presentation on applying the panelists’ key points and create actionable steps in achieving policy reforms.

During the Action Roundtable sessions, African high-level government officials and business leaders will have an opportunity to re-imagine government and business engagement, brainstorm achievable goals around a specific agribusiness sector growth policy, and explore investment opportunities in agribusiness ventures.

For more information and for the full agenda on the L4Ag Forum, please click here.

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Ethiopian Airlines celebrates delivery of first 787-9 Dreamliner
November 7, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Ethiopian Airlines and Boeing [NYSE: BA] have taken delivery of the
carrier’s first Boeing 787-9. Ethiopian is leasing the Dreamliner
through an agreement with AerCap, according to Hanna Atnafu,
Manager, Corporate Communications, Ethiopian Airlines.
It is reported that Ethiopian is the first airline in Africa to
operate the 787-9.The Dreamliner carries much-needed medical equipment
and supplies to Ethiopia.

Ethiopian’s newest 787 touched down in Addis Ababa following a
non-stop 8,354 mile (13,444 km) delivery flight from Boeing’s Everett,
Washington, facility.

Ethiopian becomes the first carrier in Africa to operate the 787-9
and extends a tradition of setting aviation milestones.
Ethiopian became Africa’s first carrier to fly the 787-8 in 2012,
and similarly introduced the 777-200LR (Longer Range), 777-300ER
(Extended Range) and 777 Freighter.

“We are proud to celebrate yet another first with the introduction
of the cutting-edge 787-9 into our young and fast growing fleet,” said
Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines. “Today, the
787 is the core of our fleet with 20 aircraft in service. Our
investment in the latest technology airplanes is part of our Vision
2025 strategy and our commitment to our esteemed customers to offer
complete on-board comfort. We will continue to invest in the most
advanced aircraft to give our customers the best possible travel
experience.”

The 787 Dreamliner is the most innovative and efficient airplane
family flying today. Since 2011, more than 600 Dreamliners have
entered commercial services, flying almost 200 million people on more
than 560 unique routes around the world, saving an estimated 19
billion pounds of fuel.

“AerCap is very proud to deliver to Ethiopian Airlines their first
787-9 aircraft, as the airline continues to lead the way in African
aviation,” said AerCap President and Chief Commercial Officer Philip
Scruggs. “The 787-9 will complement Ethiopian’s existing fleet of
787-8 aircraft, bringing further operational efficiencies and scope to
enhance their existing network. We thank our friends and partners at
Ethiopian Airlines for their continued confidence in AerCap and wish
them every success as they continue to optimize their fleet.”

“We are pleased to see the 787-9 enter into Ethiopian’s growing
Boeing fleet,” said Marty Bentrott, senior vice president sales for
Middle East, Turkey, Africa, Russia and Central Asia Boeing Commercial
Airplanes. “The 787-9 will further enhance the Ethiopian network with
its incredible range and capacity.”

Ethiopian Airlines conducted its 32nd Humanitarian Delivery Flight
as part of the 787-9 delivery. In conjunction with the non-profit
Seattle Alliance Outreach, Ethiopian transported goods donated by
medical organizations in the U.S. to Black Lion Hospital and St. Paul
Hospital in Ethiopia.

“We are very happy to continue our longstanding partnership with
Boeing to deliver medical equipment and supplies to public hospitals
in Ethiopia, which benefit the society at-large,” said GebreMariam.

“This is our 32nd humanitarian flight over the course of the last few
years. No airline has provided such sustained support to the delivery
of humanitarian supplies to the African continent. It is a testament
to our commitment to serve the community as a responsible corporate
organization.”

Ethiopian Airlines operates a Boeing fleet of 737, 767, 777, and 787
airplanes in passenger service and six 777 and two 757-200 airplanes
in cargo operations.

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Amnesty International Is This The End?
November 3, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Richards Murphy*
The world is confronting new realities as hitherto power bases succumb to the excessive clout they have built around themselves as communication becomes more democratized, liberalized and diversified. This unravelling extends beyond nations once considered superpowers or corporations deemed too big to fail to now encompass once assumed neutral non-governmental organization, Amnesty International that was imbued with the toga of neutrality but now proven to be partisan and compromised beyond imagination.
Amnesty International has had a good run in misleading the world. Its reports, as it likes to term them, have been pivotal in shaping a global conflict to the extent that they have been used by client colonial powers as justifications for forceful regime change in target countries, whose leaders often meet ends that rubbishes the human right façade of Amnesty International.  If the gruesome end of the likes of Muammar Quaddaffi and Saddam Hussein dismissed as justified, the industrial scale slaughter that have followed the Amnesty International midwifed instability remains a blot on the soul of the world to the extent that not much has been done to consign this outdated relic of human rights monitoring to the negative column in the reckoning of history.
Perhaps, similar to countries and businesses that refused to adapt fast enough to remain relevant in a rapidly changing world where information has become readily available, Amnesty International failed to upgrade its tricks and the strategy of manufacture of dissent – whereby it uses its reports, in conjunction with its franchises to incite citizens against constituted authorities while citing violation of their rights. Oftentimes there would not have been any rights violations prior but citizens that have been incited against their countries must be managed before they hurt or kill others and the very process of containing their insurgency creates a rich picking for Amnesty International to issue reports that often threat offenders as victims and the law enforcement agencies as aggressors.
Nigeria has been on the receiving end of such questionable strategy with Amnesty International issuing reports that have at different times shored up the morale of Boko Haram terrorists, ethnic separatists, militant arsonists and even kidnappers and robbers whose rights are placed not just above those of law enforcement agents but also above the safety and wellbeing of the innocent civilian population. The NGO’s campaign of attrition knowns no bound and for this it regularly procures the collusion of local international partners to demonize critical national institutions.
While the cup of its iniquities was already overflowing to a point that several other groups had declared it persona non-grata in Nigeria, it took Amnesty International’s misstep of peddling its ware before the Presidential Investigation Panel to Review Compliance of The Armed Forces with Human Rights Obligations and Rules of Engagement for its years of deceit to finally unravel. Its several previous reports in Nigeria have now been effectively exposed to have been sham – products of witnesses, interviews, pictures and video manipulation.
Perhaps, indifferent to the trail of credibility questions and doubts about its ethical integrity, marched a crop of its so-called experts to confound the panel at it had done in too many instances across the globe. The international organization was however in for a shocker for the entire duration of the hearing. A member of the Panel at a sitting in Port Harcourt, Professor Hauwal Ibrahim challenged Amnesty International to identity the mass grave it accused the Nigerian military of burying the remains of victims of the alleged human rights abuses it has so much touted. For an organization that has done plenty of abracadabra with geo-location, coordinates and pictures of alleged mass graves of victims that challenge has been met with a deafening silence and inaction.
Instead of showing the physical grave locations, which would have proven its allegations against the military, AI only tendered more of its photoshopped pictures and professionally edited videos. Its target was apparently to dazzle members of the panel with its rehashed accounts while pointing at the pictures and videos as its only evidence.
It took no efforts for those that testified on behalf of the military to pick holes in the methodology adopted by AI in reaching what has now been proven to be its serially jaundiced reports. They easily exposed the international NGO as an ongoing sham that is out to achieve aims other than it tends to make the world believe.
As opposed to the hogwash that AI had fed the world with, an organization like the Save Humanity Advocacy Centre (SHAC) was able to present the findings of its own work in Nigeria’s crisis areas before the panel in a constructive way that offers the way forward as opposed the antagonistic approach of its international counterpart. This glaring discrepancy in the both methodology and output possibly provoked Edward Omaga of SHAC to an extent where he demanded that Amnesty International be shown the way out of Nigeria.
Not even Omaga’s harsh demand places AI in a position to call him out since SHAC paraded experts that easily trounced its line-up. In SHAC’s team were a one-time Sudanese Ambassador to the United Nations – Ambassador Lumumba D’Aping, head of Preventive Diplomacy in Geneva – David Falt, a practicing human rights lawyer in the United States and United Kingdom – Mary Johnson, Professor Shuaibu Danfulani of the University of Abuja and Dr. Ifure Ataifure of the Centre for International Strategic Studies, Abuja. It is left to be seen how AI would again cast aspersions against these persons as it had done in the past against those who dared speak out against its serial misadventures in the country.
The kind of revelations that SHAC made about the state of affairs in Nigeria’s anti-terror effort, which was a stark contrast from the erroneous impression popularized by AI, should make Amnesty International temporarily close shop in Nigeria to review its processes, standards ethics and even personnel in Nigeria. It must, and urgently so, confront all it has done wrong in sinning against Nigeria since the country is proving to be its graveyard. Unfortunately, even this saving grace will not last forever as tales of its misdeed continually spread.
Like its client states that have recently becoming victims of their own scheming, already reaping storms from the wind they sowed, Amnesty International is beginning to face its own days of reckoning. It may not necessarily implode or explode in one fireball moment; its international media partners would see to it that the right propaganda spin retains some measure of defeated respectability for it considering how it has helped them created reports to justify their campaign of calumny against targets in the past. Like its client states the recent flop in Nigeria is the start of a descent into the abyss. Could this be the end for Amnesty International?
*Murphy, a security expert  contributed this piece from Ambu street, Calabar.The views are those of the author.
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SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS AWARDED WITH TOP HONORS BY TRAVEL WEEKLY
November 1, 2017 | 0 Comments

Airline Receives Five Distinguished Magellan Awards

Fort Lauderdale, FL (October 31, 2017) – South African Airways (SAA), Africa’s most awarded airline, has been honored with five premier Magellan Awards from Travel Weekly, one of the leading travel trade publications in the U.S. The Magellan Awards commemorates the best in travel, honoring an array of
travel providers based on their design, creativity, and inspirational messaging in the development and execution of their advertising and marketing platforms. The awards distinguish a broad range of companies within the industry, including airlines and airports, cruise lines, destination tourism boards, tour operators and travel agencies.

For 2017, South African Airways has received recognition from a panel of travel industry professionals with the following Magellan Awards:

Gold: Airline Marketing – Promotional Video South African Airways Next Beginnings Video
Gold: Tour Operators – Marketing-Consumer Collateral 2017 South African Airways Vacations Product Brochure
Silver: Tour Operator Marketing 2017 South African Airways Vacations Product Brochure
Silver: Airline –Overall-International Carrier South Africa Airways Vacation South Africa Travel Planner
Silver: Tour Operator – Marketing-Trade Collateral 2017 South African Airways Vacations Product Brochure

“It is a great compliment to receive these awards and be recognized by travel industry experts on the
value of our marketing collateral that is developed to promote our products through travel trade and consumer channels,” said Todd Neuman, executive vice president of North America for South African Airways.

Todd Neuman, Executive Vice President of North America for South African Airways.

Todd Neuman, Executive Vice President of North America for South African Airways.

“This is the third year that South African Airways has been recognized by the Magellan Awards. This serves to reaffirm that our teams’ commitment in providing quality products and marketing material for our valued travel
partners for the promotion of travel to Africa is being recognized by travel professionals from around the world.”

“This year’s winners represent the most talented and creative people in not just the travel industry but of any industry,” said Arnie Weissmann, editor in chief of Travel Weekly.

“We congratulate South African Airways, as they continue to raise the bar, to inspire travel and enhance the travel experience. Their work leaves a lasting impression on our expert judges and readers.”

South African Airways offers the most daily flights from the U.S. to South Africa with daily nonstop service from New York-JFK Airport and daily nonstop service from Washington, DC-Dulles Airport to Accra, Ghana or Dakar, Senegal, with continuing service to Johannesburg. Via our Johannesburg hub, SAA links the world to over 75 destinations across the African continent and Africa’s
Indian Ocean islands. Onboard, SAA provides an in-flight experience designed for pure comfort for longhaul travel. Our customers enjoy a spacious Economy Class cabin, gourmet cuisine and a selection of complimentary spirits and award-winning South African wines and generous checked baggage allowance. Also included are individual audio / visual entertainment systems that deliver an extensive menu of first-run movies, music choices, and games.

South African Airways (SAA), South Africa’s national flag carrier and the continent’s most awarded airline, serves over 75 destinationsworldwide in  partnership with SA Express, Airlink and its low cost carrier Mango. In North America, SAA operates daily nonstop flights from New York-JFK and direct flights from Washington D.C.-IAD (via Accra, Ghana and Dakar, Senegal) to Johannesburg. SAA has partnerships with United Airlines, Air Canada and JetBlue Airways, American Airlines and Virgin America, which offer convenient
connections from more than 100 cities in the U.S. and Canada to SAA’s flights. SAA is a Star Alliance member and the recipient of the Skytrax 4-Star rating for 15 consecutive years.

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IGD Frontier 100 Forum: African and Global Business Leaders, Investors Gather to Boost U.S. Investment In Africa
November 1, 2017 | 0 Comments
  • Global business leaders offer bold strategies to bolster private sector investment opportunities to scale African companies and growth sectors.
  • Fireside Chat with top U.S. government officials and congressional staffers laid out plans for greater private sector engagement in U.S.-Africa trade and economic policy
  • Forum hosted the Africa investor (Ai) Development Finance-Institutional Investor Roundtable

 WASHINGTON D.C. – October 31, 2017 – Top African and global business leaders and investors gathered for the Initiative for Global Development’s Fall Frontier 100 Forum in Washington on October 11-12, to build momentum and catalyze action on increasing greater U.S. investment in Africa and deepening business relations between U.S. and African companies.

The Fall Forum was held at the Ronald Reagan Building and Covington law office in Washington, DC.

The invitation-only forum convened for two days on the theme “Growing the ‘Middle’: Investing in African Companies for the Continent’s Economic Transformation”, where leading CEOs and senior executives from companies operating on the African continent, investors, and African and U.S. policymakers offered bold solutions to bolster investment opportunities to scale African companies and growth sectors.

Investment in the Sub-Saharan African region continues to lag behind other regions of the world, despite the growth and maturation of Africa’s private sector. The forum sessions sought to put forth solutions and specific targets to bolster investment in the region to fuel rapid job creation and the continent’s economic transformation.

“African companies are the engines of growth in Africa. Our Forums go beyond the typical networking and business discussions. As business leaders, we are all about action and solutions. We know how to solve problems in innovative and collaborative ways to accelerate investment and growth on the continent,” said Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych, IGD President & CEO.

An interactive tri-sector collaboration session led by a team from PYXERA Global generated lively discussions among forum participants on how to create effective cross cutting partnerships between the public, private and social sector through simulation games and role-playing activities.

An investor dialogue captured the perspectives of an investor, Hurley Doddy, Managing Director and Founding Partner, and Co-CEO of Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) and an investee, Bunmi Akinyemiju, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Venture Garden Group, on the opportunities and challenges of finding the right investment partner.

Akinyemiju said a company’s success to scale depends largely on its founders, diversity of skills and the need for both local and diaspora talent. Yet from an investor perspective, Doddy emphasized that to attract investors, a company must structure itself to surpass the founder for the long term. In the end, Akinyemiju whose company has received more than $20 million in investment, noted that finding the right investor is “like a marriage” and the investor and investee must possess aligning interests.

A full-day of forum sessions featured engaging panel sessions on attracting private equity investments, financing Africa’s agro-processing industry, and exploring franchise investment opportunities.

The Fall Forum hosted Africa Investor’s Development Finance-Institutional Investor Roundtable, moderated by Ai CEO Hubert Danso,  with key leaders from the development finance industry with counterparts from the institutional investment community to generate new partnership strategies and vehicles available to de-risk and finance African infrastructure investment assets.

Burkina Faso’s Finance Minister Rosine Sori Coulibaly, in her luncheon remarks drew attention to investment opportunities in the West African country: “Burkina Faso is back and ready for business,” said the Honorable Sori Coulibaly.

Creating an enabling policy environment for investment and engagement with the U.S. and African private sector took center stage on the forum’s opening day.

Top U.S. government officials laid out their agency’s priorities to strengthen engagement with the private sector for sustainable development and inclusive growth in Africa during a Fireside Chat at the Ronald Reagan Building.

Mark Green, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development and former IGD President & CEO, pointed out that the goal of foreign assistance must be to end the need for its existence. “The only sustainable way of reaching that goal is by tapping into private enterprise, turning to all of you to help tackle the challenges, and the opportunities that we all see,” Administrator Green told private sector leaders.

Jonathan Nash, acting Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) spoke about MCC’s mission to reduce poverty through private sector growth and outlined the agency’s achievements in Africa in creating strategic partnerships, building new market opportunities and encouraging American firms to invest in African businesses.

Presenting his remarks immediately after a Capitol Hill hearing on the U.S. Foreign Operations budget, Ambassador Donald Yamamoto, acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs for the U.S. Department of State, spoke about proposed budget cuts to U.S. foreign assistance and underscored the importance of having more American businesses invest in Africa to propel growth.

A policy roundtable on shaping U.S.-Africa trade and economic policy highlighted an urgent need for the U.S. to foster stronger business partnerships for African companies to take full advantage of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the signature U.S.-Africa trade law.

Both Republican and Democratic Hill staffers on panel agreed that bipartisanship is key in increasing the budget for Foreign Operations and moving U.S.-Africa related legislation forward.

An evening reception, sponsored by the African Development Bank, paid tribute to Babacar Ndiaye, former President of the Bank, who recently passed away in Dakar, Senegal. Charles Boamah, Senior Vice-President of the African Development Bank, shared progress on the “High 5s”, the Bank’s agenda for Africa’s economic transformation.

The Fall Forum closed with an evening reception to roll out a grassroots campaign on increasing U.S. investment in Africa. The grassroots campaign is part of IGD’s Africa Investment Rising campaign, a dynamic multimedia communications and advocacy effort aimed at changing the narrative on doing business in Africa.

The African Development Bank and African Export-Import Bank served as Collaborating Partners. Forum sponsors included Covington as Platinum Sponsor; Ex-Im Global PartnersAllAfrica.com and Accenture as Gold Sponsor; Clin d’Oeil Magazine as Silver Sponsor; and Africa investor as Organizational Partner.

Media Partners included Africa InvestorAfrica.comAfrica Trade magazineAfrican Business CentralAfroPop WorldwideAsoko InsightCenter Africa TVFace2Face AfricaQuartz AfricaPan-African Visions, and VoxAfrica.

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Infrastructure investment is breaking ground for new development and growth trajectories in Africa
November 1, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Tshepo Mahloele*

Tshepo Mahloele is the CEO of Harith General Partners with assets under management north of US$1.8bn. Harith celebrates 10 years this year.

Tshepo Mahloele is the CEO of Harith General Partners with assets under management north of US$1.8bn. Harith celebrates 10 years this year.

Historically, strategic infrastructure investments have altered the trajectory of a country’s economic and social development. From America’s Hoover Dam to Dubai’s international airport, infrastructure can transform people’s path to prosperity and propel entire nations to the global stage. I firmly believe we can achieve the same for Africa. It only takes leadership.

Whether it is connecting people to new opportunities through broadband, providing improved electricity access using renewable energy, or reducing geographic divides with world-class airports, investments in 21st century infrastructure has the potential to transform prospects and growth across the continent.

The disruptive power of infrastructure goes a long way. In 1935, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s government invested US$49million in the Hoover Dam (roughly US$840million today) and it took 5000 workers five years to complete. Today, it provides water for 25 million people and hundreds of thousands of hectares of agricultural land, and provides electricity to roughly eight million people.

Major cities like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego, and Phoenix would never have grown as prosperous or strategically important without the Hoover Dam. And, California definitely would not have become the 7th largest economy in the world without it.

As Harith General Partners, together with our partners across the continent, we have made strides over the past 10 years in building a modern and well-developed Africa we can proudly bequeath to future generations.

Our investments are targeted at strategic sectors that are aimed at propelling African economies into higher growth trajectories. Our investment in Main One Cable is one such investment. It’s aimed at fuelling the rapid growth of broadband and internet access and had a particularly profound impact on West African countries. The 7000-kilometer submarine cable has connected Nigeria, Ghana, and other countries to the rest of the world and served as a catalyst for broadband and connectivity.

Main One has helped to reduce the prices for international connectivity services by 80 percent in Nigeria and Ghana. The social impacts of this are immense, with thousands of jobs being created and injecting a necessary boost to the ICT sector in these countries, with positive impacts on economic growth.

The sheer scale of the opportunity for investment and related challenges in Africa will require a collaborative effort between private investors, governments and development finance institutions.

Collectively, these partners will need to invest nearly US$100 billion annually over the next decade to fully reap the benefits available in the power, transportation, telecommunications, water and sanitation, and irrigation sectors.

Central government investments continue to ground much of the continent’s infrastructure development, contributing roughly $30billion needed each year for the maintenance of existing infrastructure.

However, public spending levels overall remain far too low to meet the region’s rapidly growing infrastructure needs. Given this, the private sector will continue to serve as a major player in filling the funding gap and reaching spending targets.

Importantly, while the need for investment is large, the potential return is also very attractive on a risk-adjusted basis. Compared to other developing regions, the growth potential in Sub-Saharan Africa is even greater. Approximately 40 percent of the region’s population lives in landlocked countries, and many economies are largely isolated from global market centres. Investments that help these less connected economies overcome geographic disadvantages, lower transportation costs and engage in trade, will open up a new opportunities for millions of people living across the continent.

Bridging the quantity and quality gaps in infrastructure could increase GDP per capita growth by 1.7 percent points each year, excluding South Africa. For lower-income countries in the region, the power sector offers the largest potential gains, while lower-middle-income countries could see particularly large gains from transportation sector investments.

With the assistance of our anchor investments such as the Government Employees Pension Fund and support from the African Development Bank 10 years ago, Harith was able to take risks and pursue a pan-African vision of infrastructure investments.

At the heart of my decision to pursue a pan African infrastructure investment vision was inspiration from former President Thabo Mbeki’s African Renaissance vision, which reignited Ghanaian President, Dr. Nkwame Nkrumah’s One Africa vision in the 1950s. Nkrumah recognised that Africa’s infrastructure is, to a large extent, a legacy of arbitrary borders and transport networks designed to feed former colonial powers.

Hence it takes up to 28 days for a rail shipment from Durban to reach Malawi. It is easier and cheaper to ship goods from Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo to Durban than through the DRC port of Matadi. The continent is littered with such examples.

The most expensive infrastructure is the infrastructure you don’t have. It is impossible to calculate what growth is lost due to the absence of good quality road or rail networks.

While the US leap-frogged from a primitive agricultural economy to the world’s industrial behemoth in 200 years, Africa’s trajectory is likely to be even more surprising given the advantages of telecommunications and steady advances in education.

With political stability and good governance gradually taking root in many African states, the environment is ripe for both continent-wide and global capital to flow into our shores and, turn Africa into a permanent construction site for mega infrastructure projects to propel the continent into a higher economic growth trajectory.

*Tshepo Mahloele is the CEO of Harith General Partners with assets under management north of US$1.8bn. Harith celebrates 10 years this year.

 

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ICT Offers Africa The Best Opportunity To Bridge The Development Gap-Prof Victor Mbarika
November 1, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

With ICTs Africa can bridge the development gap with the rest of the world says Prof Victor Mbarika

With ICTs Africa can bridge the development gap with the rest of the world says Prof Victor Mbarika

Information and Communication Technology (ICT’s) represent the best hope for Africa to bridge the development gap with the rest of the world, says Prof Victor Mbarika Founder and Board Chair of the ICT University. With campuses in Cameroon and Uganda, under the leadership of Prof Mbarika, Nigeria is on course as the third African country to host the University.

Based in the USA, the ICT University Foundation funds and designs quality education to people who do not have to leave Africa. The Foundation establishes Campuses across the world that have similar standards and curricula like those in the USA. With over 20,000 students served annually, from basic certificate programs to Ph.D. programs, offered onsite and online,the ICT -U has emerged as a formidable hub for education that meets 2st century development challenges.

With President Hage Geingob of Namibia. Prof Mbarika regularly travels across Africa to harp on the merits of investing in ICT as a driver of development

With President Hage Geingob of Namibia. Prof Mbarika regularly travels across Africa to harp on the merits of investing in ICT as a driver of development

The intent is to have a University in each sub region of the continent, and with a campus in Central Africa, East Africa ,and West Africa coming up, the goal is very feasible says Prof Mbarika. With affordable fees, Africans are able to receive education that matches U.S standards and the results have been phenomenal says Prof Mbarika who frequently travels across Africa to harp on the merits of ICTs.

On the affordability of the programs, Prof Mbarika says tuition is kept very low to give opportunities to more Africans. While the fees may still be high for some people, it pales in comparison to what is paid to receive the same education in the USA. In addition, the University Management goes  the extra mile to source and provide scholarships an grants to deserving students from poor backgrounds ,Mbarika said.

Prof Mbarika in discussion with former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan,the goal is to have one ICT University in each sub region of Africa ,Mbarika says

Prof Mbarika in discussion with former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan,the goal is to have one ICT University in each sub region of Africa ,Mbarika says

Support from governments in countries where the Universities are located has been laudable ,Prof Mbarika said. In Cameroon, Prof Mbarika said the registration process was seamless with no bribes requested from him and the university is in the process of starting additional programs in agriculture and medicine. In Uganda, the government has equally been very supportive , Prof Mbarika went on. In Nigeria, where he has had the opportunity of meeting past leaders like General Gowon, Presidents Obasanjo, Jonathan as well as Officials of the current Buhari Administration, the response has been most encouraging ,said Mbarika.

Beyond the countries that host ICT universities in Africa today, many African governments have seen the importance of ICT ,and Prof Mbarika believes that this augurs well for development prospects. In Namibia, Prof Mbarika said he was impressed with the efforts of government to promote ICT. African governments are taking note of the importance of ICT’s and this could be a game changer for the continent, he said.

ICT University 4th Graduation Ceremony, Uganda Campus on May 26,2017.More than 100 students graduated from the ICT University.ICT University alumni are serving in diverse sectors across Africa ,Prof Mbarika says.

ICT University 4th Graduation Ceremony, Uganda Campus on May 26,2017.More than 100 students graduated from the ICT University.ICT University alumni are serving in diverse sectors across Africa ,Prof Mbarika says.

On projects that the University is working on, Prof Mbarika said there were plans to work on the promotion of agriculture using ICT tools. The University is also fanalizing  plans  to start  a Teaching Hopital in Cameroon with strong emphasis on  tele medicine where a professional can be in the USA and be able to treat a patient in a remote part of Cameroon,Prof Mbarika said.

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Heineken® unveils its first Africa inspired fashion collection co-created with talented African designers at Lagos Fashion and Design week
October 31, 2017 | 0 Comments
The initiative is the next chapter in Heineken’s ‘Open Design Explorations’, a global co- creation programme that connects emerging creatives and gives them a platform to showcase their talent
Heineken has a long history of innovation and creativity, and is always eager to learn and absorb fresh inspiration from all 192 countries where it’s present.

Heineken has a long history of innovation and creativity, and is always eager to learn and absorb fresh inspiration from all 192 countries where it’s present.

LAGOS, Nigeria, October 30, 2017/ — In collaboration with Africa’s hottest emerging design talent, Lulu Mutuli and Azra Walji, global beer brand, Heineken® (www.TheHeinekenCompany.com) has launched its first-ever African fashion collection, unveiled on the catwalk of the closing show at Lagos Fashion and Design Week on Saturday 28 October 2017.

The initiative is the next chapter in Heineken’s ‘Open Design Explorations’, a global co- creation programme that connects emerging creatives and gives them a platform to showcase their talent. The Heineken® Africa Inspired Collection is a fusion of the two designers’ concepts and is the first of many design apprenticeships that the brand will roll out across the world, going next to Asia.

After spending a week in Amsterdam developing their designs at top Dutch Fashion House, LEW (www.LeemansenWicker.nl), Mutulo and Walji will go on to benefit from a year-long programme of coaching from the designers, known for eye-catching print design and innovative corporate fashion. The designs will be produced at scale across Africa to be worn by Heineken ambassadors throughout Nigeria, East Africa and beyond.

One of the first global brands to invest in Lagos Fashion and Design Week, Heineken has been a headline sponsor for the past two years as it emerges as one the most important events in the fashion calendar for supporting new talent and inspiring Nigerian and African consumers.

Lulu Mutuli, 24, whose work gives traditional African apparel a futuristic edge, has worked in top fashion houses in New York including RHIE and OMONDI. She said, “My designs took inspiration from the role African fashion has played in the culture of my country. Combining this rich heritage with the progressive character of the Heineken brand was a challenge I couldn’t resist. I used the bold Heineken colour palette, but I added a grey tone and used technical orientated patterns for a modern twist. The asymmetric shapes you can see were a way of incorporating practical elements whilst creating striking and stylish silhouettes.”

Azra Walji, 27, is known for her feminine shapes and African inspired elegance, reflected in her winning designs with Heineken. She said, “I am so grateful to Heineken. Sharing my work at Lagos Fashion at Design Week is a career-defining opportunity. I really enjoyed playing with the bold red and green colours – they are so iconic to the brand but also synonymous with the vibrancy of Africa. My designs are inspired by traditional African apparel but with a twist – I love the modern femininity of the trousers and short dresses.”

Mark van Iterson, Director Global Heineken® Design said, “Identifying and empowering talent remains a critical part of our global agenda. We are constantly seeking new co- creation opportunities, to connect with young emerging designers and give them a global stage to showcase their talent, so we are delighted that this initiative has put a spotlight on such talent. Nigeria is a growing hub for creativity and commerce and Lagos Fashion and Design Week is helping to influence and define the global fashion landscape. Heineken® in Nigeria was one of the first global brands to invest in this vibrant event, seeing the opportunity to support new industry talent with real experience and a global stage. We look forward to extending the programme to other key markets next year.”

The new Heineken® African Inspired Collection with Mutuli and Walji launched in style at Heineken Lagos Fashion and Design Week, with items from the collection displayed in style on the runway. After the reveal, award-winning music star, Tiwa Savage, of Jay-Z’s label Roc Nation, took to the stage to perform international hits including ‘African Waist’ and ‘All Over’ live for a star-studded line up of guests as award-wining flair bartender Tom Dyer served cocktails during the event.

Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2017 is a multiday fashion extravaganza at the Eko Atlantic, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria, where global designers including Maki Oh (whose fans include Michelle Obama and Beyoncé) take centre stage to celebrate African fashion and culture. The judges for Heineken’s Africa Inspired Fashion challenge in Nairobi which brought Mutuli and Walji to Lagos, included fashion powerhouse and founder of the Lagos Fashion and Design Week Omoyemi Akerele, top Nigerian fashion designer Gloria Wavunno and Tanzanian stylist Rio Paul.

Heineken has a long history of innovation and creativity, and is always eager to learn and absorb fresh inspiration from all 192 countries where it’s present. Designing together with upcoming talents from different backgrounds, is a concept that has been successful for Heineken in fueling new initiatives, and provides the creative talents a unique global platform. It’s clearly one of the proof points of the Heineken mindset to ‘open your world’.

Heineken sought to open the world of fashion to upcoming East African talented designers through an exciting ‘’open innovation’’ challenge that invites designers from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to become part of a creative journey to collaborate on a unique Heineken® fashion collection, truly Africa inspired.

The “Africa Inspired Fashion Challenge” is Heineken’s first design initiative in the region extending the brand’s commitment to design and innovation by enriching the consumer experience in bars and at events while celebrating the richness of the East African design culture.

The project seeks to generate a rich textile print and fashion forward range for the Heineken® Collection; a process that will see Heineken co-creating with emerging creative talents and the brand’s partner design studio in Amsterdam. 10 shortlisted finalists benefited from 3 days textile and design workshop in Nairobi – from the 5th to the 7th September – led by the Global Heineken design director Mark van Iterson and his design team, in close collaboration with Amsterdam based fashion design house, LEW.

The judging and organizing panel constituted influential fashion industry players names; Omoyemi Akerele, founder of Lagos Fashion and Design Week (Nigeria), International model Ajuma Nasenyana (Kenya), Stylist and key fashion player Rio Paul (Tanzania), Award winning designer and founder of Kampala Fashion Week, Gloria Wavamunno (Uganda), International model Tarmar Wobotu (Nigeria) and Model and stylist Ochechi Adah (Nigeria).

Heineken (www.TheHeinekenCompany.com) is the world’s most international brewer. It is the leading developer and marketer of premium beer and cider brands. Led by the Heineken® brand, the Group has a powerful portfolio of more than 250 international, regional, local and speciality beers and ciders. We are committed to innovation, long-term brand investment, disciplined sales execution and focused cost management. Through “Brewing a Better World”, sustainability is embedded in the business and delivers value for all stakeholders. HEINEKEN has a well-balanced geographic footprint with leadership positions in both developed and developing markets. We employ over 80,000 employees and operate breweries, malteries, cider plants and other production facilities in more than 70 countries. Heineken N.V. and Heineken Holding N.V. shares trade on the Euronext in Amsterdam.

Prices for the ordinary shares may be accessed on Bloomberg under the symbols HEIA NA and HEIO NA and on Reuters under HEIN.AS and HEIO.AS. HEINEKEN has two sponsored level 1 American Depositary Receipt (ADR) programmes: Heineken N.V. (OTCQX: HEINY) and Heineken Holding N.V. (OTCQX: HKHHY). Most recent information is available on HEINEKEN’s website: www.theHEINEKENcompany.com and follow us on Twitter via @HEINEKENCorp.

About LEW:
Kim Leemans and Merel Wicker both graduated from the fashion department of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam in 2001. It was during their study that they discovered the strength of cooperation and have been partners ever since. Working as freelance fashion designers they decided in 2007 it was time to start their own label: LEW by Leemans & Wicker (www.LeemansenWicker.nl).
LEW is a multidisciplinary studio and works for local and global clients. Over the years the studio specialized itself in designing and creating concepts for corporate fashion. ‘The way LEW balances branding and fashion creates a new approach to corporate clothing: not stiff and predictable, but lively, progressive and open minded.’

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Oil gives short-term life to African economies, IMF says
October 31, 2017 | 0 Comments
Nigerian oil production is supporting broad-based momentum, though the IMF noted crude oil prices are still lower by historical standards.
Oil production gains fuel economic momentum for sub-Saharan Africa, though the potential is limited, the IMF said. File photo by vanhurck/Shutterstock

Oil production gains fuel economic momentum for sub-Saharan Africa, though the potential is limited, the IMF said. File photo by vanhurck/Shutterstock

Oct. 30 (UPI) — The economies of sub-Saharan Africa get some support from oil production in Nigeria and elsewhere, though it flattens out by 2019, the IMF said Monday.

The International Monetary Fund said in a regional report that the downturn for the economy is easing, with growth expected to improve from last year’s 1.4 percent rate to 2.6 percent.

“Growth is expected to reach 2.6 percent in 2017, but the pickup reflects one-off factors, notably a recovery in oil production in Nigeria and the easing of drought conditions in eastern and southern Africa,” the report read.

Nigerian crude oil production averaged 1.85 million barrels per day in September, according to economists with OPEC. That’s up 7.4 percent from July. The national economy came out of recession during the second quarter, after five straight months of contraction, but militancy has been a problem for Nigeria.

The IMF said that growth is supporting regional momentum, though that momentum is lopsided. About a third of the economies in the region are expecting growth at around 5 percent, though a dozen or so others could see their per capita income decline, the IMF said.

While crude oil prices last week reached fresh yearly highs, the IMF said most commodity price levels have stabilized at what it said were relatively low levels, “with oil and iron ore prices less than half their 2013 highs.”

Elsewhere, work is underway to bring the SNE oil basin offshore Senegal into service. When discovered in 2014, the basin was counted among the largest in the world. By the estimates of the companies involved, Senegal could hold more than 1.5 billion barrels of oil off its coast

Nearby Gambia also holds promising prospects, though regional spats over maritime borders and licensing issues with operating companies cloud the prospects.

The IMF said growth continues, supported even by lesser producers, though the momentum will be short lived.

“Growth is expected to continue to recover in 2018 to 3.4 percent, but will likely remain flat in 2019, and well below the levels achieved earlier in the decade,” the report read.

*Source UPI

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U.S. envoy Haley’s blunt diplomacy targets South Sudan, Congo
October 31, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Michelle Nichols*

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley meets South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Taban Deng Gai in Juba U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley meets South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Taban Deng Gai in Juba, South Sudan October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jok Solomun

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley meets South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Taban Deng Gai in Juba
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley meets South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Taban Deng Gai in Juba, South Sudan October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jok Solomun

JUBA, South Sudan/KITCHANGA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) – In a mountainous camp for displaced Congolese, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley wrapped her arm around an inconsolable woman who recounted being raped twice.

“It only makes me more passionate, it makes me more determined,” Haley told a small group of reporters traveling with her during her first trip to Africa. “I’ll carry the voices of the women that I met and things that they said.”

Dispatched by President Donald Trump to Ethiopia, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, Haley’s trip was one of the first tangible signs of interest in Africa by the nine-month old administration.

Her challenge: how to show the United States is actively engaged in Africa, where humanitarian and political crises are often overshadowed by more urgent conflicts elsewhere and at the same time honor Trump’s avowed “America First” policy which puts U.S. economic and national interests ahead of international commitments.

As Africa struggles to win Trump’s interest, U.S. policy is more likely to be increasingly focused on countering militant threats. Washington also has a financial interest at stake as it tries to cut U.N. peacekeeping costs, for which it pays more than a quarter.

Trump has made a point of saying he would not impose U.S. values on others, raising concerns among activists that human rights issues could take a backseat.

Nowhere is that more in focus than in Niger where a deadly ambush killed four U.S. troops who were there to assist local Nigerian forces fighting a local Islamic State affiliate this month. At the same time, Washington has mostly turned a blind eye to the increasingly authoritarian moves of Niger’s former opposition leader, now president Mahamadou Issoufou, as it tries to stop the militant threat from expanding.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (R), meets Democratic Republic Congo's national independent electoral commission's president, Corneille Nangaa Yobeluo, at the commission's headquarters in Kinshasa, DRC, Oct. 27, 2017.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (R), meets Democratic Republic Congo’s national independent electoral commission’s president, Corneille Nangaa Yobeluo, at the commission’s headquarters in Kinshasa, DRC, Oct. 27, 2017.

Haley, a former governor of the U.S. state of South Carolina, was the most senior member of Trump’s administration to travel to the three sub-Saharan states in a trip that showed how she balances her political skills with her nascent foreign policy and diplomacy experience.

She was moved to tears after visiting displaced Congolese in Kitchanga in the conflict-ravaged east of the country. In Ethiopia’s Gambella region, she kicked off her shoes and sat down on the floor to play with South Sudanese toddlers.

“Those kids will be 18 one day,” Haley told a small group of reporters during her trip. “They will be an uneducated adult with no social skills that will have resented the fact that they were put in that situation and that’s dangerous for the United States and that’s dangerous for the world.”

‘BLUNTNESS IS IMPORTANT’

With U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shying away from the spotlight, Haley has carved out a high-profile role for herself. Amid speculation about Tillerson’s future Haley said that if she was offered the job: “I would say no.”

Known for taking a blunt approach that has raised eyebrows among diplomats at the United Nations, Haley took her direct style to lengthy one-on-one conversations with the South Sudanese and Congolese leaders.

“I think bluntness is important, but I also expected it back and I got candid conversations back from them,” she said. “That was very much appreciated because we didn’t want to have to sit there and deal with the political talk, we wanted to get to the realities of the situation.”

It’s not clear yet if South Sudanese and Congolese leaders will heed her message.

In Kinshasa she spoke privately with President Joseph Kabila for 90 minutes. She had said Kinshasa must hold a long-delayed election to replace Kabila by the end of next year or the vote will lose international support.

But the Congolese opposition was critical of her statement there because it conceded there would be no election this year, in violation of a deal Kabila’s camp signed with the opposition last December, without extracting any concessions in return.

“Calling for Kabila to stay in power beyond Dec. 31, 2017 is the equivalent, pure and simple, of making oneself complicit with the evil genius!” opposition leader Olivier Kamitatu wrote on Twitter above a photo of Haley from her visit.

In Juba, Haley met with President Salva Kiir for 45 minutes, showing him photos of refugees from her visit to Gambella.

South Sudan spiraled into a civil war in 2013, just two years after gaining independence from Sudan, sparked by a feud between Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and his former deputy Riek Machar, a Nuer.

The U.S. invested heavily in the process that led to South Sudan’s independence. The Trump administration has been far less engaged, let alone influential, in trying to end the war that erupted.

Haley plans to meet with Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster this week to discuss her trip.

“I’ll give options and then if asked I’ll give the recommendation,” Haley said. “(Trump) very much wants to know how everybody else feels, he very much takes all that into consideration and then he makes his decision.”

*Source Reuters  (Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Additional reporting by Aaron Ross; Editing by Yara Bayoumy and Sandra Maler)

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Young Emerging Entrepreneurs Share Anzisha Prize, Africa’s Premier Award for Young Entrepreneurs
October 27, 2017 | 0 Comments

22 year old, Ibrahima Ben Aziz Konate from Cote D’Ivoire takes Anzisha Grand Prize.

Ibrahima Ben Aziz Konate, the grand prize winner accepting his award.

Ibrahima Ben Aziz Konate, the grand prize winner accepting his award.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, October 25, 2017,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- African Leadership Academy and Mastercard Foundation are pleased to announce that 22 year old, Ibrahima Ben Aziz Konate from Cote D’Ivoire has been awarded the top prize at the seventh annual Anzisha Prize awards gala. Ibrahima Ben Aziz is the founder of Poultry D’Or, a poultry business that often has over 500 sales a day and employs 15 people. Ibrahima was selected from a competitive pool of diverse entrepreneurs from 14 African countries. For the first time ever, Anzisha Prize is thrilled to award the grand prize to an applicant from Cote D’Ivoire. This will truly expand the reach and impact of the Anzisha program across various countries.

“It is hard to believe that I was chosen as the winner of the prize. It has been a dream of mine to join the Anzisha Prize network since I first heard about it. The $25 000 is the difference that I need to scale my business and show the young people in my community that entrepreneurship is possible, even at a very young age,” says Ibrahima.

Each prize winner has founded a business that responds directly to a social or economic need within their community. The two runner-ups were Edgar Edmund, 17, from Tanzania and Victoria Olimatunde, 15, from Nigeria. Edgar Edmund’s business Green Venture Tanzania has created a method of turning recycled plastic materials found on the streets into durable construction blocks. His long-term vision impressed the Pan-African panel of judges and his business model showed potential for making a significant and long-term impact. While Victoria, the founder of Bizkidz, a board game that teaches students financial literacy was chosen from 219 applications from her home country. In her presentation to the judges she demonstrated great leadership potential and a commitment to job creation.

The winner of the Agriculture Sector Prize sponsored by the Louis Dreyfus Foundation was Ignatius Ahumuza from Uganda, founder of Art Planet Academy. Ignatius is already a role model proving that the agricultural sector can provide sustainable and fulfilling livelihoods for young people across Africa. Art Planet Academy’s purpose is to expand agricultural education across rural communities to increase farming skills and food security. This is an example of how a driven, industrious and energetic 21 year old can contribute to his or her country’s economic development.

“It is always a great privilege to meet the newest group of Anzisha Fellows. Their drive and commitment to improving the lives of their families, communities and nations is admirable and inspiring,” said Koffi Assouan, Program Manager, Mastercard Foundation. “Entrepreneurialism is an important driver of economic growth across the continent. As these finalists return home, they will become role models who will inspire the next generation to pursue their dreams.”

The Anzisha Prize is a partnership between African Leadership Academy and the Mastercard Foundation. The 15 Anzisha Prize finalists were selected from an applicant pool of more than 800 entrepreneurs from more than 32 African countries. The finalists and emerging business leaders were recognized at an exclusive, invitation-only ceremony on Tuesday 24 October 2017 in Johannesburg. The 15 finalists presented their ventures to a panel of judges after spending 10 days in a business accelerator camp to strengthen business fundamentals. They join a more than 70 strong pool of Anzisha Fellows and will receive ongoing business-consulting support, access to experts, and access to networking opportunities to enable sustainable venture growth.

“Young African entrepreneurs such as the Anzisha Fellows are a testimony to the need for youth organizations to promote and provide continued guidance on entrepreneurship and self-employment for young people. Ibrahima is an example of how entrepreneurship and self-employment is key for achieving smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.” says Lerato Mdluli, Program Manager for the Anzisha Prize.

Applications for the next cycle of the Anzisha Prize will open on 15 February in 2017. Nominations for promising youth entrepreneurs are welcome all year round.

For more information on the Anzisha Prize and to nominate an entrepreneur, please visit the Anzisha Prize website:

The Anzisha Prize is delivered by African Leadership Academy in partnership with Mastercard Foundation. Through the Anzisha Prize, the organisers seek to catalyse innovation and scale entrepreneurship among youth across the continent.

African Leadership Academy (ALA) seeks to transform Africa by developing a powerful network of entrepreneurial leaders who will work together to achieve extraordinary social impact. Each year, ALA brings together the most promising young leaders from all 54 African nations for a pre-university program in South Africa with a focus on leadership, entrepreneurship and African studies. ALA continues to cultivate these leaders throughout their lives, in university and beyond, by providing on-going leadership and entrepreneurial training and connecting them to high-impact networks of people and capital that can catalyse large-scale change. This year marks ALA’s Decennial, a milestone to reflect on and celebrate its progress to date, while investing the impact ALA will have in the future.

Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest private foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by Mastercard when the Foundation was created in 2006.

The Louis Dreyfus Foundation helps to alleviate poverty and hunger by bringing sustainable solutions to smallholder farmers. The Foundation promotes projects in the areas of sustainable agriculture, food security and self-sufficiency, particularly through education and direct support to farmers, with a specific focus on developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America

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Mastercard Foundation Announces Fifth Annual Symposium on Financial Inclusion
October 27, 2017 | 0 Comments
Government, private sector, and non-profit actors to convene in Accra
Government, private sector, and non-profit actors to convene in Accra
ACCRA, Ghana, October 26, 2017 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/– The Mastercard Foundation today announced that its fifth annual and largest Symposium on Financial Inclusion (SoFI) will take place in Accra, Ghana, on November 7 – 9, 2017. The Symposium champions the idea that, to achieve greater financial inclusion, financial service providers in developing countries must do more to meet the needs and expectations of people living in poverty.

Each year since 2013 the Foundation has convened hundreds of industry professionals to focus on barriers to greater financial inclusion around the world. SoFI has been a platform where experts in the field gather to pave the way toward a more financially inclusive world. They exchange knowledge on a broad range of topics, including client centricity, technology, innovation, best practices, partnerships, and many more.

This year’s event will reflect on progress made over the past five years, explore challenges that still lie ahead, and plan how to expand and deepen financial inclusion for the world’s most underserved people.

“Creating a more financially inclusive world is a daunting task,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation. “Over the years, financial inclusion has increased as a priority for the international development community, as well as governments, business owners, and the clients they serve. After five years of gathering the brightest minds in the field to advance access and resources to modern financial products and services, we’ve made significant progress that will continue to make a difference in the lives of people. This year’s Symposium celebrates the progress made over these past five years and defines the work yet to be done.”

Attendees will hear from an impressive lineup of keynote speakers, including:

● Opening Keynote Address: Juliet Anammah, Chief Executive Officer, Jumia Nigeria
● Keynote Address II: Dr. Ernest Addison, Governor, Bank of Ghana

In addition to hearing from more than 30 other speakers at the Symposium, the Foundation will also award its 2017 Clients at the Centre Prize. This is a US$150,000 award that recognizes an organization most focused on client centricity to enable poor people in developing countries access to formal financial products and services. Finalists competing for the grand prize will present their business models to an audience of approximately 400 industry professionals, who will be tasked with voting for the winner.

The Mastercard Foundation first awarded the Clients at the Centre Prize in 2015 to the Swedish mobile microinsurance firm BIMA. Last year, the Prize was presented to the South African international remittance company, Hello Paisa. Each year draws nearly 100 applicants from companies around the globe. The three 2017 finalists are:

● Jumo,; a large-scale, low-cost financial services marketplace that uses behavioral data from mobile usage to create financial identities for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises;
● ftCash, one of India’s fastest growing financial technology ventures which aims to empower micro-merchants and small businesses with the power of digital payments and loans; and
● Destacame, a free online platform that empowers users by giving them control over their data to build their financial capabilities and to access financial products.

To learn more, visit the Mastercard Foundation’s Symposium on Financial Inclusionwebsite. Follow the conversation with the Foundation on Twitter @MastercardFdn and via the event hashtag, #SOFI2017.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Mastercard Foundation.

About the Mastercard Foundation:
The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest private foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by Mastercard when the Foundation was created in 2006. For more information and to sign up for the Foundation’s newsletter, please visit www.Mastercardfdn.org.
ACCRA, Ghana, October 26, 2017 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/– The Mastercard Foundation today announced that its fifth annual and largest Symposium on Financial Inclusion (SoFI) will take place in Accra, Ghana, on November 7 – 9, 2017. The Symposium champions the idea that, to achieve greater financial inclusion, financial service providers in developing countries must do more to meet the needs and expectations of people living in poverty.

Each year since 2013 the Foundation has convened hundreds of industry professionals to focus on barriers to greater financial inclusion around the world. SoFI has been a platform where experts in the field gather to pave the way toward a more financially inclusive world. They exchange knowledge on a broad range of topics, including client centricity, technology, innovation, best practices, partnerships, and many more.

This year’s event will reflect on progress made over the past five years, explore challenges that still lie ahead, and plan how to expand and deepen financial inclusion for the world’s most underserved people.

“Creating a more financially inclusive world is a daunting task,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation. “Over the years, financial inclusion has increased as a priority for the international development community, as well as governments, business owners, and the clients they serve. After five years of gathering the brightest minds in the field to advance access and resources to modern financial products and services, we’ve made significant progress that will continue to make a difference in the lives of people. This year’s Symposium celebrates the progress made over these past five years and defines the work yet to be done.”

Attendees will hear from an impressive lineup of keynote speakers, including:

● Opening Keynote Address: Juliet Anammah, Chief Executive Officer, Jumia Nigeria
● Keynote Address II: Dr. Ernest Addison, Governor, Bank of Ghana

In addition to hearing from more than 30 other speakers at the Symposium, the Foundation will also award its 2017 Clients at the Centre Prize. This is a US$150,000 award that recognizes an organization most focused on client centricity to enable poor people in developing countries access to formal financial products and services. Finalists competing for the grand prize will present their business models to an audience of approximately 400 industry professionals, who will be tasked with voting for the winner.

The Mastercard Foundation first awarded the Clients at the Centre Prize in 2015 to the Swedish mobile microinsurance firm BIMA. Last year, the Prize was presented to the South African international remittance company, Hello Paisa. Each year draws nearly 100 applicants from companies around the globe. The three 2017 finalists are:

● Jumo,; a large-scale, low-cost financial services marketplace that uses behavioral data from mobile usage to create financial identities for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises;
● ftCash, one of India’s fastest growing financial technology ventures which aims to empower micro-merchants and small businesses with the power of digital payments and loans; and
● Destacame, a free online platform that empowers users by giving them control over their data to build their financial capabilities and to access financial products.

To learn more, visit the Mastercard Foundation’s Symposium on Financial Inclusionwebsite. Follow the conversation with the Foundation on Twitter @MastercardFdn and via the event hashtag, #SOFI2017.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Mastercard Foundation.

About the Mastercard Foundation:
The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest private foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by Mastercard when the Foundation was created in 2006. For more information and to sign up for the Foundation’s newsletter, please visit www.Mastercardfdn.org.
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CCA Working On Trade Mission To Sudan
October 25, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

CCA President Florizelle Liser

CCA President Florizelle Liser

With sanctions eased, U.S companies are relishing the prosepcts of doing business with Sudan .Taking the lead is the Washington,DC based Corporate Council on Africa which is working on Trade Mission to Sudan for its members in early December.

In a recent interview to discuss the state of US-Africa business ties, CCA’s President Florie Liser said, Members were excited with the opportunity of doing business with Sudan. The decision to undertake the Trade Mission follows a briefing to the CCA from State Department Officials on scope of measures taken by the Trump Administration to ease sanctions . Florie Liser also disclosed that during the recent World Bank/IMF meetings , the Sudanese Minister of Finance held a heavily attended interactive session at the CCA to discuss business related opportunities in Sudan.

Revisiting the last US-Africa Business Summit, Florie Liser said it was a success and post summit feedback has been very positive. While the choice of the host country has not been made, Florie Liser did confirm that the next Summit will take place in Africa .Mozambique has so far expressed strong interest and a decision is expected to be made at some point next year.

“I do think that the Trump Administration will want to gauge very positively on the issue of our commercial relationship with the nations of Africa,” said Florie Liser in answering questions on the way forward for US-Africa Business ties. On the encouraging signs, Florie Liser cited the presence of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Wright at the last US-Africa Business Summit,calls from President Trump to African leaders, and the reception he had for a number of African leaders on the sidelines of the last UN General Assembly Meetings.

Florie Liser, good afternoon.

Florie Liser: Good Afternoon.

You are approaching the symbolic one year milestone as president of the Corporate Council of Africa; how is the organization doing under your leadership?

Florie Liser:Well I’d like to say, and I think my board would agree that it’s been, first of all, my one year appointment is at the end of January, so we’re not quite there yet, but I think I’ve been here maybe nine months and it’s been really exciting.  I feel like we have been building on CCA’s brand of twenty three years but I’m also enlivening our vision, doing some new things that we haven’t done before, but also some things we’ve done in the past, but making sure we do them in ways that meet the needs of our members.  So again, we are building on the brand we have, but we are doing some new things and repositioning ourselves in the market and making sure that people understand what CCA brings to the table and our value added for those companies that are members.   We’re growing our membership, since I got here I think we’ve gotten seventeen new members, including some big companies, some medium size companies, some small companies; so I’m very pleased about that.

One of your signature events in the past nine months that you’ve been president, was the USA -S Africa Business Summit last year.  What feedback are you getting from members and participants on post summit progress?

Florie Liser: So, the summit I thought was a big success.  We had over 800 registrants.  We had the Head of State for Mozambique, President Nyusi.  We had the president of the African Development Bank as well, who was the key note speaker. And we also had for the first time, I think we were the first ones to do this, to have someone senior from the Trump Administration, Secretary Wilbur Ross from the Department of Commerce to come and give remarks about the US strategy for engaging with Africa from an economic view point.  So we were very excited about that and thought the summit was a success.  As a result of that, we got some new members.  As a result of that, we have new initiatives that we are working on and continuing as I said to make clear what CCA has to offer to the US and African Business community.

At the time the summit took place, many were still wondering on the approach that the Trump Administration would take towards business ties with Africa.  What is your take on the way his Administration is approaching US Africa business ties?

Florie Liser:I think that if we listen to secretary Ross’ speech, at the US South Africa Business Summit, he made the point that Africa is an important economic partner of the United States, that we have a number of programmes and initiatives with them that are important. He mentioned  the President’s Advisory Council on doing business in Africa.  We call it the pack DBIA and that was something that was launched actually under President Obama, but he himself Secretary Ross, is supportive of it continuing and he has already spoken to the members  of the pack DBIA.  He talked about AGOA, he talked about two way trade between US and African Nations and he made it clear that Africa is a place of opportunity for US Businesses.  He also encouraged African Ministers and other Officials that were there, to consider what US businesses bring to the table when countries are considering bids for different projects.  Sometime American companies are dismissed maybe because of cost but Secretary Ross was saying ‘you do get what you pay for;’ and for US companies, we bring technology, we bring skills transfer and we bring the kinds of partnerships that we think are longer lasting and mutually beneficial which is not  necessarily the case for some of the other kinds of partnerships that Africans may have; but I think his message was a positive one and since then, there have been different interactions.

President Trump has called different African Heads of State, economic issues have maybe not at the The agenda for the call most times I think it’s been security and peace and issues, but the US Africa economic relationship has come up and then during the luncheon that president Trump hosted for African Heads of States, I think there were about eight of them in New York, the issue of the US Africa Economic Relationship also came up there.  So I’m thinking that it may not be prominent in the news and so forth, but I do think that the Trump Administration will want to gauge very positively on the issue of our commercial relationship with the nations of Africa.

I would like you to discuss a few other events that you have had in the course of the year beginning with the World Tourism conference in Rwanda, I think.  How did that go? 

President Trump meeting with African Leaders in New York during the UN General Assembly,I do think that the Trump Administration will want to gauge very positively on the issue of our commercial relationship with the nations of Africa says Forie Liser

President Trump meeting with African Leaders in New York during the UN General Assembly,I do think that the Trump Administration will want to gauge very positively on the issue of our commercial relationship with the nations of Africa says Forie Liser

Florie Liser:Well that went very well, but I want to mention one other that we did in early August, that was in late August but in early August, the Corporate Council on Africa, hosted the AGOA Private Sector Dialogue and this was at the request of the US government.  We’ve done it before and so we were in Togo for that and had several sessions with lots of both US and African companies who recognized the benefits of the African Growth and Opportunity Act and the possibility of increasing and enhancing the kind of trade that the US does with Africa focusing more on value added products, value added agricultural products etc.  So I don’t want to pass that by; and we had companies there like Whole Foods who is sourcing our value added Shea butter products from  Togo and other countries in the region and looking to do more and so we were very pleased with the participating in the AGOA forum which happens annually.

And then in late August, we were in Kigali Rwanda for the World Tourism Conference. As you know the Africa Travel Association became a division of the Corporate Council on Africa in late 2015, and in 2016 we started planning for this world tourism conference which we had in August and it was a great conference in many ways but the thing that I thought that was most interesting was we had sort of people who represent the whole platform in tourism, small travel agents and tour operators but then we also had companies that represents sort of the new platform for tourists in the world.

We had Expedia, we had Uber, Trip Advisor, Tastemakers Africa.  We had a number of organizations and businesses who were doing tourism in Africa in different ways and so we were very pleased to have those both old and new platforms , stake holders, and African Tourism come together.  It was a very successful forum.  President Kagame opened it and we also had as a part of our opening session, the Secretary General of UNCTAD, Kituyi.  UNCTAD had just put out a report on tourism in Africa as a major driver of economic growth and diversification on the continent and so when we reached out to him and said, ‘you’ve just put out this report, we would love for you to come and say some words ,he did do that.

So again we had excellent turn out at the conference and also a really good dialogue about how US and African stakeholders in the tourism sector can work together.

 And on the side lines of the UN General Assembly in September, the CCA also hosted a number of events.  Do you want to shed more light on that?

Florie Liser:Yes, we had several events while we were up there in different sectors, but let me start with the one that was the highlight for us which was a Presidential dialogue on the future of US -Africa Business Relations and at that session we had President Kagame and then Mr Dangote who is  on the CCA Board on a panel that talked about how they perceive the future of the US Africa Business Relationship and the key issues and areas that have to be focused on.  So they talked about regional trade in Africa, how that has to be strengthened, they talked sectors like agriculture where there has to be a lot of focus in African given who Africa is and what Africa is about.

They talked about misperceptions about investing in Africa which even today still exists.  President Kagame said that corruption is not something that is African, this is something that exists all over the world.  The importance of American businesses is having the right perspective about Africa and the opportunities there.   That was a large amount of what they talked about and that the perception of Africa relative to the reality is something that we still need to work on if we are gonna promote greater investment in FDI from the US to Africa, but also more  partnerships.

Mr Dangote talked about the  importance of partnerships where American companies come to the continent not just to sort of do business but to kind of go on their own but where they in a very collaborative way sit down with companies like his own that are doing things all across the continent.  It’s a Nigerian company but they are probably in a dozen countries across Africa in a wide range of product areas from cement to producing value added agricultural products.

As we do this interview, the US lifted sanctions on Sudan. What is the take of your members on doing business in that country?

We look forward to taking members to Sudan so that they can kind of see for themselves what’s on the ground and what the opportunities are there, says Florie Liser

We look forward to taking members to Sudan so that they can kind of see for themselves what’s on the ground and what the opportunities are there, says Florie Liser

Florie Liser:Even before the sanctions were lifted, we were talking with some of the companies from Sudan.  One of them Sudatel is a recent member of CCA, they joined in September. And talking about this, the US government did indeed make the decision in October to lift the sanctions, this would be a big deal, and they’ve been in place for quite some time.  There are still some sanction related restrictions, but for the most part, the sanctions were lifted and would allow for US companies to be there, which in the past they could not.  And so even as we were waiting to hear what the decision would be, we were already talking about what were some of the things they might be able to do from CCA’s perspective and one of them is a trade mission.  The other day, on Monday, we had  meeting here at CCA, it was a packed room.  I have never seen a room like that, it was standing room only.  I’m sure the fire Marshalls might not have been happy if they had come, but we had first US Government people from the Department of State come and brief our members and others about what this meant with lifting of the sanctions and the specifics of what they could now do in Sudan.  But it was a very positive briefing and then we had the Sudanese Minister of Finance and his delegation who had been here for the World Bank IMF meetings  and they came in to also talk about some of the particular sectors that are ripe for investment there.   Everything from renewable energy to mining, IT etc  They have a lot of opportunities there and it’s kind of like a whole new market that Americans haven’t been able to actually get into and so there’s a lot of excitement and we’ve decided and announced during that meeting on Monday that CCA will be organizing a trade mission to Sudan in early December.  So we are very much excited about that and looking forward to taking members to Sudan so that they can kind of see for themselves what’s on the ground and what the opportunities are.

What other measure of activities will the CCA be working on for the rest of the year.  I understand you just mentioned a Trade Mission to Sudan in early December that should be very welcome news for them.  What other activities do you have in place for the rest of the year? 

Florie Liser:So we are looking at a number of things, so for example, similar to that, we have been discussing with Morocco, the possibility, we don’t have anything firm yet, but we’ve been discussing with them the possibility of doing a CCA trade mission to Morocco maybe in the first quarter of 2018.  And so we hope that that will come to fruition.

We’ve also been talking with the UN Economic Commission for Africa, UNECA, about an event that we may organize on the side lines of the African Union Summit in January in Addis.  The major point of it would be to bring companies, both US and African companies there to have an opportunity to say to Heads of State and Ministers, ‘here is what we need in different sectors in order for us to drive more investment and more business;’ because we know that the AU has it’s AU 2063 vision, we know that the SDG’s have been established and talk about private sector, but on the ground, there are still  a number of  various issues and challenges and we thought that while Heads of States are still there, maybe what we could do is talk about them in a couple of key sectors, what do private sector people think people think need to really happen in terms of implementation.  They have the plans and they have the vision, but the question, is the actual implementation.

So one example, Mr Dangote who  as I said is on my board, mentioned there is an AU visa where he wouldn’t have to get individual visas,  country by country,  as he goes throughout the continent to explore business opportunity.  He said in principle, it’s there, but in practice it’s not functioning.  He still has to  go country by country to get visas.  And so these kinds of issues have to be addressed to move both people and goods across Africa in ways that promote, trade, promote investment, promote business.  We really need to address that  and we want to  see if we can get, maybe the first of a number of events like that, but we wanted to see if we could get commitments to do just a couple key things that are identified and then come back maybe six months later, nine months later and see which countries had actually been able to deliver on those commitments and then what kinds of maybe investments or business ventures had come out of that.  Just the lifting of some of those constraints I think would be a major incentive for lots of companies both US and African to do more business in Africa.  So it’s an idea, it’s not 100% certain yet, but it’s kind of moving forward.

I had the opportunity to meet with the new head of UNECA, the new Executive Secretary, her name is Vera Songwe.  We met last Saturday and discussed this again.  This is not the first time we’ve discussed it and I think that it’s something that we will do.  They think that CCA could do it and we think also that we could do this kind of event well, bring the private sector to the table to talk about what needs to happen.  Something concrete and we are looking forward to that.  I’m very excited about the possibility of that.

And no matter what the CCA does, everyone know that it’s  Flagship Programme is  the USA, Africa Business Summit.  The last one took place in Washington and a lot of people left with the expectation that the next one might take place in Africa.  Is this principle still in place and have you settled on the choice of the host country?

President Felipe Nyusi of Mozambique at the last US-Africa Business Forum, Mozambique has express strong interest to host the 2019 Summit

President Felipe Nyusi of Mozambique at the last US-Africa Business Forum, Mozambique has express strong interest to host the 2019 Summit

Florie Liser:Well, we haven’t settled on the choice of the host country yet, but what’s exciting, we do it every other year, so we don’t feel pressed to make the decision right away, but we do have some countries that have already expressed an interest.  One where the Head of State has actually written a letter and said ‘we would like to be the host is Mozambique,’ and I said the next US Africa Business Summit will be in 2019 and so I’m hoping sometime in the first part of 2018, that we’ll make a decision and then actually start the planning for it. Even though, we have a little time but we are not gonna wait till the last minute.

Is it  a certainty that its going to take place in Africa?

FlorieLiser:Absolutely.  It will take place in Africa.

And the last time I had an interview with you, you were also very optimistic, very upbeat about the future of the US Africa Business ties.  Now you have been President of the Corporate Council of Africa for the last nine months; do you still maintain that assessments?  What are the things that you’ve seen that support your assessment?  And what are the impediments to the kind of business ties that you want to see between the US and Africa? 

Florie Liser:So, I mean on the upside, I think that US investments into Africa are increasing but of course as a share of total, outbound FDI, Africa is still  relatively small. When we were in New York and I didn’t mention this, we had several sessions with some countries, either their Heads of State, in the case of Gabon but also with the ministers about five or six ministers from Nigeria and we had the opportunity to talk about the kinds of business environment in those countries and what they are doing. It was very positive. Beyond oil, beyond the gas, a number of the opportunities, we had people of there in the real estate sector, there are a lot of interesting and progressive things happening and in real estate.  We had people from the Health Sector who were looking at not just medical equipment but things that are happening in both the communicable and non-communicable diseases area. And so the continent is right for investment. Lots of countries are investing there. Lots of US companies are investing there. We have companies that are expanding.  Boeing has opened offices in Johannesburg and Kenya. There are various examples though off companies that are really looking at Africa as an opportunity.

Last Friday I took about four CCAs members to meet the Prime Minister of Cote D’Ivoire and we had such an excellent meeting because we talked about the opportunities there in aviation services. They were saying that at the end of their crises that they had in 2010, they had about 1 million people trafficking through there that dropped way off, now they are up to 2 million transiting through Abidjan and we had another company there from CCA that’s looking into equipment that’s been sold there, and the agricultural sector. We had someone there who is doing work in the education sector, and capacity building working with them on export processing zones ,and again we had someone there from one of our energy company who knows specifically what block they would like to bid on for the new oil fields that are in Cote d’Ivoire and we talked about the MCC compact that Cote d’Ivoire will be signing in November. President Ouattara will be here, we hope will have an event to host him and so essentially there are lot of good things that are happening in Africa, and at the CCA we are trying to be at the center of as many of them as we possibly can.

We can’t do everything, we want to be  strategic and we want to make sure that we are supporting our members in the key areas, in the key countries but again we think that we can make a difference from across a wide range of countries and across a wide range of sectors and our members represent that. We can do it for both multinationals as well as our smaller mid-caps and SMEs that are members of the CCA. We are getting ready to launch a membership drive, CCA membership drive to bring in more members into CCA, both US companies and African companies, big and small.  And I’m very excited about that because I think that we have something that we can offer to many companies that are operating on the continent.

Before we get back to membership to conclude the interview, let’s talk about the challenges. What is it that African countries can do to improve their business climate?  What is it that you will recommend they do so  that they can attract more US business interests into the continent?

 with Nigerian Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo,African countries need more reforms to ease the business climate and attract more foreign direct investment says Florie Liser

with Nigerian Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo,African countries need more reforms to ease the business climate and attract more foreign direct investment says Florie Liser

Florie Liser:A number of them are doing it and in some cases they really need to be focused on it. Using Nigeria as an example, their scores on the World Bank  doing business, ease of doing business index, not very good and one of the things that I really admire that they are doing now, is they have a team across a number of industries led by the Vice President Osinbajo,  putting in specific measures, regulations and so forth particularly aimed at specific things that they have to do. Reducing the number of days to get a license to operate, having a one-stop shop so people don’t have to go tracking all around to different ministries to figure out what to do. All of these things they are actually implementing right now.  My assessment is that in another year we will see that their scores will improve because they’ve been focused on it.  They are not just talking the talk but they’re also walking the talk. So things like that, ease of doing business in your country is very important. Governments in Africa take the lead on that. And if they make it easy for companies to do business there, then business will come. If you make it difficult then businesses have lots of choices and they have choices not just across the continent because they can decide I’m coming to this country and not to yours in Africa but they have choices all around the world. They can say well, we are not going to do with African countries because they make it too difficult  and we can go to Latin America or South East Asia or wherever. But I think ease of doing business is one thing. I think some other issues are important, we don’t want to ignore government’s rule of law, these are things that are very important because, you know, you can make it easy for companies to get licenses to operate but if rule of law is really not being honored and respected, if there is corruption etc. companies are gonna say well no it’s too difficult to do business there for those reasons. So I think governments can do a combination of things that make it easier for businesses to be there.

Obviously in areas where there is conflict, those countries really have a lot to do to attract business there. Many countries in Africa frankly are not in conflict and then you know, you have a newly elected president in Liberia, newly elected president in Angola, Kenya we know newly elected president once we know how things will unfold, in Rwanda, President Kagame has been reelected. I think for these different countries, the systems are working, democracy is working, rule of law is working and so I think we’ll see investments and business engagements in those countries. That’s what businesses are looking for.

Last question Florie. You said you are on a membership drive.  Can you make a pitch to companies out there both in Africa and in the USA on why they should join the Corporate Council on Africa. What does the CCA offer them?  

Florie Liser:So, first of all, I think that even though there are competitors out there, there are certain things about CCA that are unique. We are a business Association which has for all of its history been solely focused on, the only place we’ve been focused on is Africa and promoting business between US companies and African companies, between the United States and Africa generally.  We are an advocate ,both here in the United States as well as on the continent for making sure that people understand what the opportunities are and advocating for the kinds of policies, both US policies and African policies that really make it possible both for businesses to operate on the continent. The other thing that’s unique about us, we do have lots of large multinational members, multinational company members, we’ve got a lot of the big guys that are also members of the Chamber of Commerce but we have probably more than half of our members are mid-cap and SME companies.

We also have probably  the biggest associations in terms of membership. We have more African members than any, we feel that we are not just representing the big multinationals on the US side, we feel very strongly that our role is to advocate for more business engagement and so we feel that we can offer African companies something. We can bring them here so that they can have the kind of access and connections to the right people here in the US. We can even introduce African companies that may be smaller to bigger African companies in Africa. So again, our model is actions, access, connections, insight. We think that we provide insight into the doing business environment.  What are the key issues? What are the key challenges?

We think that we can easily speak to those and do so on behalf of our member companies. So again for both big and small US and African, I don’t think that there is an association that can  a more effective lead than us.  I’m not saying that they don’t bring something to the table, I have nothing negative to say about other organizations that are doing some of the same things that we do and then when you look around who is doing trade missions? Who is taking US businesses to Africa to see what is possible on the ground. CCA has been doing this for years and now we are sort of owning it and doing it in  more effective ways. I was just talking to my team about when we go to Sudan, we’ll have meetings with different ministers in charge of all sorts of sectors there but were also gonna take the companies that come with us on trade mission. We want to have them do a site visit, so that they can actually see for themselves some of what is happening on the ground. Because you go to countries, you can sit in conference rooms and hotels and, you know, offices and buildings and really not see for yourself what’s possible and I was saying to my team, ‘we are not gonna do that.  We are going to have those meetings but we are also  gonna get the people out of those meetings and out to see some things  that are on the ground in Sudan. You know people haven’t been there for a long time. A lot of people haven’t had a chance to see. I haven’t been to Sudan. I’ve been to many countries in Africa. I have never been to Sudan.  So I do not want to just sit there in a hotel or office building and see nothing. So another thing unique about CCA’s is that we do trade missions and I think we do them quite well and we’ll be doing them in bigger and better ways, going forward.

Florie Liser, thank you so much for granting this interview.

Thank you for having me. Thank you for coming back and following up.

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Near success against polio calls for greater greater domestic investment into routine immunization programs
October 24, 2017 | 0 Comments
The year 2017 has seen the lowest case count of polio in recorded history, but the job is not done yet
Abidjan, Dakar, Accra, Douala, Lagos, Nairobi, Kampala, Conakry, Lilongwe, Freetown, Monrovia.
DAKAR, Senegal, October 24, 2017,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/-  Fourteen days into a month long campaign to call attention on immunization, civil society across Africa join global efforts to call for continued vigilance to Polio, routine immunization programs and stronger health systems.
Polio cases have been reduced by 99.9% worldwide since 1988. Fewer than 40 cases worldwide were reported for all of 2016, thanks to the 10 billion doses of oral polio vaccine that have been administered since 2000.
“We cannot rest until polio transmission is interrupted and there are zero cases for at least three consecutive years.” Says Salisu Musa Muhammad, Deputy Director at Community Health and Research Initiative in Nigeria, as they have been actively calling the attention of the government performance on budgeting in immunization.
One of three countries still endemic for polio Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, one is in Africa. Although Nigeria has not reported any cases of polio since the August 2016 outbreak, it is possible that the poliovirus is continuing to spread undetected in the Lake Chad region given ongoing inaccessibility, surveillance gaps and a fluid security situation. To stop the outbreak and respond to the ongoing risk in the area, Nigeria and neighboring countries have implemented large-scale vaccination campaigns.
“Global and national efforts to eradicate polio have been significant and sustained. This is why we are so close.” Boubacar Sylla, coordinator of the civil society platform POSSAV in Guinea, . “However, today as with the eradication of polio, comes the timely reduction of ressources allicated to polio. Polio ressources has for many countries supported the cost of routine immunization and strenghtened health services. With the ressouces allcated to polio reducing, countries will have to ensure that they increase their support to routine immunisation.”
In January 2017, African Heads of States endorsed the Addis Declaration on Immunization, through which they acknowledged that despite their endorsement of the Global Vaccine Action Plan, they are largely off track. The ADI reinforces their commitment at the highest level of political engagement.
These political committlents have to turn into adequate policies as well as concrete budget allocations in order to achieve universal access to immunization. To ensure that this time, countries get or stay on tract, civil society organizatons will continue to track the vaccines, the finances and the legislation.
The 33 days to Power Up Immunization campaign is a continuation of what was started with the Africa Vaccination Week and World Health Assembly.
Signed by,
1. Concern Health Education Project (Ghana),
2. Muslim Family Counseling Services (Ghana),
3. AFRIVAC (Senegal),
4. Community Restoration Initiative Project (Uganda),
5. Community Health and Research Initiative (Nigeria),
6. Nigerian Women Agro Allied Farmers Association (Nigeria),
7. PROVARESSC (Cameroon),
8. Coalition 15 (Cameroon),
9. KANCO (Kenya),
10. FENOS-CI (Côte d’Ivoire),
11. Public Health Initiative Liberia (Liberia),
12. POSSAV (Guinea),
13. Malawi Health Equity Network (Malawi),
14. Children Advocacy Forum Sierra Leone (Sierra Leone),
15. Confederation of Meningitis Organizations (CoMo),
16. Niyel.
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WHO AFRO and the Kuwait Fund Catalyze Global Support to End Neglected Tropical Diseases in Africa
October 24, 2017 | 0 Comments
The Kuwait Fund Director General, Abdulwahab Al Bader, World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti and His Excellency Jakaya Kikwete at a formal signing of Kuwait Fund's commitment in support of the World Health Organization's Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases

The Kuwait Fund Director General, Abdulwahab Al Bader, World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti and His Excellency Jakaya Kikwete at a formal signing of Kuwait Fund’s commitment in support of the World Health Organization’s Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases

KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait,24 October 2017,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/-Nearly 60 leaders from Middle East and global governments, the UN, African ministries of health, pharmaceutical companies, non-governmental organizations and the philanthropic community convened in Kuwait City for the “Donors’ Meeting to End Neglected Tropical Diseases in Africa.”

The historic meeting, hosted by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) and the WHO Regional Office for Africa (AFRO), is the first such meeting to be hosted in the Middle East. It seeks to galvanize new financial and other aligned support to reach global control and elimination goals for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Africa.

Africa accounts for nearly 40% of the world’s NTD burden, or nearly 600 million of the 1.58 billion people affected by NTDs globally. “The Middle East is uniquely well positioned to make a significant contribution to the fight against NTDs in Africa, given the risk of disease spread from the region and the Middle East’s own success in reducing the NTD burden in our region,” said KFAED Director General Abdulwahab Al Bader.

This year, the global community marked the fifth anniversary of the 2012 London Declaration on NTDs, which galvanized unprecedented local, national and global action to end NTDs, including a historic $17.8 billion medicine donation commitment by pharmaceutical companies. This led to increased treatment coverage and reduced the number of people that required treatment for NTDs by 333 million between 2012 and 2015.

To further accelerate progress on NTDs in Africa, AFRO launched the Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases in May 2016 with the support of KFAED and other founding partners. “We are grateful to KFAED for its tremendous leadership and long-standing support for NTD control and elimination. This meeting of development partners is a key moment to celebrate progress, raise awareness of this urgent public health issue, examine the financial needs of the programme and further strengthen partnership opportunities with ESPEN. We hope other partners will follow KFAED’s lead and join us in this important fight.” said the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti.

The meeting also featured a Call to Action on NTDs by former President of the United Republic of Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete, who underscored that the event was designed to kick off a series of high-profile events to expand the network of partners dedicated to supporting progress on the WHO’s 2020 NTD goals.

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Landmark Transaction in the Tanzanian Capital Markets
October 20, 2017 | 0 Comments

We are pleased to announce that Absa Corporate and Investment Banking acting through National Bank of Commerce (“NBC”) have advised Vodacom Group on the successful TZS 476 billion ($213 million) IPO of Vodacom Tanzania Public Limited Company (“Vodacom Tanzania”) on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (“DSE”).

Vodacom Tanzania is the leading telecommunications provider in Tanzania, offering voice, data and mobile money services to an estimated 12.4 million subscribers. On 1 July 2016, the Tanzanian parliament legislated that telecommunications licensees in the country are required to list a minimum of 25% of their shares on the DSE. Vodacom Tanzania is the first mobile network operator to list on the DSE fulfilling its license obligations.

 

African equity markets are at a nascent stage of development and in recent years have seen limited capital rising. Against this backdrop, the Vodacom Tanzania IPO stands out as a landmark and transformational transaction in the African capital markets, raising capital from domestic and international investors.

 

At USD 213 million, the Vodacom Tanzania IPO is the fourth largest in Sub-Saharan Africa, outside South Africa, since 2008 and stands out for a number of reasons:

 

  • The IPO size was nearly four times larger than any previous IPOs done on the DSE and approximately equal to the sum of IPOs combined in the previous 10 years.
  • landmark transaction on the DSE, raising the market capitalization of the exchange by c.10%
  • In excess of 40,000 local investors participated in the offer, many who were first time participants in the capital markets
  • Raised the profile of the DSE by offering an attractive, investable company for domestic and international investors
  • Vodacom Tanzania has successfully fulfilled its regulatory obligations to list
  • Vodacom Tanzania was the first telecoms company to market, attracting maximum participation from a developing domestic investor base. It has set the standard for all future telecom IPOs

“This transaction is a milestone in the evolution of the Tanzanian capital markets and consistent with Absa’s vision of Shared Growth in promoting development across the continent,” says Hasnen Varawalla, Co-Head of Banking at Barclays Africa.

“The Vodacom Tanzania IPO was the first IPO of this scale in Tanzania”, says Till Streichert, Chief Financial Officer for the Vodacom Group. “Its success is testament to the nature of the partnership between Vodacom Tanzania, Vodacom Group, the Absa and Barclays team, NBC and other advisors who worked together to deliver a transaction that met domestic regulatory requirements while incorporating international best practice.”

This success was possible as a result of:

 

  • A committed, supportive and experienced management team and shareholders that worked seamlessly with all advisors
  • Extensive investor education campaign driven by management, the Tanzanian broker universe and the receiving bank, NBC
  • Comprehensive roadshow across all major centers in Tanzania
  • Seamless execution by NBC acting as the Receiving Bank, which put a core banking system in place, procured specialised software and dedicated a trained 282-strong IPO team to manage and execute collections for the transaction – processing over 40,000 applications with zero errors

 

Trading of the Vodacom Tanzania stock on the DSE commenced on 15 August 2017.

 

“Through our own Shared Growth vision, paired with our expertise in capital markets, we have delivered a transaction that has transformed the Tanzanian capital markets and provides a platform for similar African IPOs. We congratulate Vodacom Tanzania on its debut as a listed company and wish it well for the future”, concludes Varawalla.

Barclays Africa Group Limited (‘Barclays Africa Group’ or ‘the Group’) is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and is one of Africa’s largest diversified financial services groups.  As of June 2017, Barclays PLC is a minority shareholder in Barclays Africa Group.

Barclays Africa Group offers an integrated set of products and services across personal and business banking, corporate and investment banking, wealth and investment management and insurance. We are strongly positioned as a fully local bank with regional and international expertise. We are committed to Shared Growth, which for us means having a positive impact on society and delivering shareholder value.

Barclays Africa Group operates in 12 countries, with approximately 40 000 employees, serving close to 12 million customers.

The Group’s registered head office is in Johannesburg, South Africa and owns majority stakes in banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania (Barclays Bank Tanzania and National Bank of Commerce), Uganda and Zambia.  The Group also has representative offices in Namibia and Nigeria.

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AfDB seeks global support for Africa’s young farmers
October 19, 2017 | 0 Comments
Highlights agribusiness as solution to Africa’s youth unemployment
Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB)

Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB)

DES MOINES, United States of America, October 18, 2017/ — The African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) has called for global support for Africa’s young farmers and “agripreneurs”, highlighting how agribusiness is the answer to the continent’s youth employment.

In collaboration with the Initiative for Global Development, the Association of African Agricultural Professionals in the Diaspora (AAAPD), Michigan State University, Iowa State University, and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, the AfDB brought together stakeholders to discuss how to expand economic opportunities for Africa’s youth throughout the agricultural value chain, from lab to farm to fork.

The session titled “Making Farming Cool: Investing in future African farmers and Agripreneurs” was held on the sideline of the ongoing 2017 World Food Prize Symposium-Borlaug Dialogue (http://www.WorldFoodPrize.org) in Des Moines, Iowa, and had in attendance young entrepreneurs from Africa (http://APO.af/EcKEVJ), private sector representatives, policymakers and thought leaders.

Africa has the world’s youngest population with 60% being under 35 years old. There are 420 million youth aged 15-35 and this segment of the population is expected to double to 840 million by 2040.

Working with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the African Development Bank is empowering young farmers under the Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment (ENABLE) Youth program.

“Africa’s next billionaires are not going to come from oil, gas, or the extractives. ENABLE Youth is about investing in small agribusinesses today so that they can grow into large enterprises tomorrow,” President Adesina said.

“By empowering youth at each stage of the agribusiness value chain, we enable them to establish viable and profitable agribusinesses, jobs and better incomes for themselves and their communities.”

He explained how attracting a new cadre of young, energetic and talented agripreneurs – who will drive the adoption of new technologies throughout the value chain, raise productivity and meet rising food demands – is an urgent priority.

Recent studies indicate that as African economies transform, there are expanding opportunities for youth employment and entrepreneurship throughout high-potential value chains – literally from lab to fork – where consumer demand is increasing, including horticulture, dairy, oilseeds, poultry and aquaculture.

In addition, there are huge opportunities for engaging African youth in services and logistical sectors in key off-farm activities such as transportation, packaging, ICT and other technology development and light infrastructure – that add value to on-farm productivity and efficiency, in ways that could not envisioned before.

The whole idea of connecting farms to markets, particularly rising urban and regional markets, is where Africa needs to plug in this bulging youth population, Adesina said.

The Bank President highlighted major efforts needed to provide young Africans with new business opportunities, modern and practical skills, access to new technologies, land, equipment and finance that will allow them to transition from subsistence livelihood into higher-paying work, whether these are on or off the farm.

In his words, “This is how we intend to make farming cool!”

Through the ENABLE Youth program, the AfDB and its partners are empowering youth at each stage of the agribusiness value chain with plans to train 10,000 agriculture entrepreneurs, or “agripreneurs”, in African countries, launching at least 300,000 enterprises and creating 1.5 million jobs over the next 5 years.

Africa already has shining examples of successful youth agripreneurs, nine of whom were in the room as Adesina spoke.

He cited three examples of the thousands of young agripreneurs whose fascinating stories fill him with a sense of hope and urgency.

“We need to effectively utilize this African diaspora in the same way done by the Asian countries by leveraging on their expertise to fast-track Africa’s development agenda and allow all Africans to contribute, regardless of whether they are based locally within the African continent, or outside,” Adesina noted.

On agribusiness as a solution to Africa’s youth unemployment, Jennifer Blanke, AfDB’s Vice-President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development, called for access to finance for the youth agripreneurs by re-aligning incentives for commercial banks and other financial institutions to reduce lending risks.

“There are over 15 job groups along the whole agricultural value chain – from farm to fork,” she said.

Noel Mulinganya (http://APO.af/EcKEVJ), a young agripreneur and leader of the Kalambo Youth Agripreneurs (a group of 20 young graduates aged between 25-35 years old from different academic backgrounds engaged in collective agribusiness enterprises), spoke of the need for funding opportunities for young African farmers.

“My aspiration and those of my colleagues is to become business builders,” he said. “We would like this program to be a platform for sharing our knowledge and experiences in order to touch and engage youths as much as we can in agribusinesses.”

Lilian Uwintwali (http://APO.af/EcKEVJ), whose firm provides ICT platforms that serve over 10,000 farmers in Rwanda − linking farmers to markets, banks, insurance companies and extension services, said, “I aspire to get partnerships and investment opportunities here in the USA and I believe the discussions here at conference will help me shape a better business model for my project, m-lima, in Rwanda.”

She speaks of how farming could generate income for African youth.

“I am talking from experience because it has sustained me for the past 5 years,” she said.

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 37 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.

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African multinationals join forces within the AfroChampions Club to foster Africa’s growth and development
October 19, 2017 | 0 Comments
Dangote Group CEO Aliko Dangote, President Thabo Mbeki and President Olusegun Obasanjo organised a successful inaugural meeting in Lagos, which brought together CEOs from 13 African countries
Samba Bathily, Michael Kottoh, Aliko Dangote, Albert Muchanga, AfroChampions Press panel

Samba Bathily, Michael Kottoh, Aliko Dangote, Albert Muchanga, AfroChampions Press panel

LAGOS, Nigeria, October 18, 2017/ — The AfroChampions Initiative  has just taken a new step with the official creation of the AfroChampions Club, a new platform to mobilise African multinationals to accelerate the economic integration of the continent. At the invitation of Mr. Aliko Dangote, Founder and CEO of the Dangote Group (www.Dangote.com) and President of the Club, key business leaders, representing a total of 13 African countries, met in Lagos to attend the inaugural meeting. High-level personalities, including His Excellency Mr. Yemi Osinbajo, Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Mr. Thabo Mbeki, former President of the Republic of South Africa and President of the AfroChampions Initiative, and His Excellency Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Patron of the initiative, also joined the event.

AU Commissioner, Albert Muchanga

AU Commissioner, Albert Muchanga

Participants at the inaugural meeting have launched two workstreams. The first one focused on gathering recommendations from various African multinationals on best approaches to achieve the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA). These recommendations will be shared officially with the African Union, which was represented at the meeting by His Excellency Mr. Albert Muchanga, Commissioner for Trade and Industry.  Discussions focused on visa waivers and trade facilitation between African states. The second workstream focused on drafting an AfroChampions Charter aimed at defining how African multinationals can best contribute to the development of the continent. By working with the local ecosystems, supporting infrastructure projects, fostering industrialization or helping populations enter the digital era, African economic champions can indeed play a strategic role.

President Thabo Mbeki

President Thabo Mbeki

“We have chosen to work on issues of interest to all Africans. The African Free Trade Area will give us the ability to travel and work easily across the continent; it will also foster the creation of regional value chains, integrating SMEs and building capacities in our countries”, said Aliko Dangote. “As for the AfroChampions Charter, it is a commitment by African multinationals to invest more and better in Africa in those projects with strong economic and social impacts. Our primary responsibility is to give our youth jobs and a future. I was very pleased to hear the consensus on this issue and I expect the Charter to be signed by many of my fellow CEOs in the near future,” he added.

A member of the Executive Committee of the AfroChampions Initiative, Edem Adzogenu highlighted the quality of the discussions at this inaugural meeting. “We talked about the role that African multinationals can have as ambassadors of the continent and its talents, and ways to work better with the public sector. This new dynamic of dialogue is precisely what we want to put in place.” A progress report on the work of the AfroChampions Club is planned for the next African Union summit in January 2018.

The emergence and cross-border activities of homegrown African multinationals have contributed significantly to regional integration through intra-Africa investments and regional value-chains. The AfroChampions Initiative is designed to support and harness the emergence of these champion companies for Africa’s transformation. It also aims at facilitating strategic engagements on how these companies can grow from pan-African champions to African global giants.

The Dangote Group (www.Dangote.com) is an emerging African conglomerate based in Nigeria, West Africa, driven by a mission to touch the lives of people by providing their basic needs. Current interests of the Group, which started as a trading company in 1978, include cement, sugar, salt, pasta, beverages and real estate, with new projects underway in the oil and gas and agricultural sectors of the economy. Some of the Group’s 13 subsidiaries are listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). They include: cement, sugar, salt and flour. The Group operates in 16 other African countries and is fully involved in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities.

The AfroChampions (www.AfroChampions.com) Initiative is a set of innovative public-private partnerships and flagship programs designed to galvanize African resources and institutions to support the emergence and success of African private sector multinational champions in the regional and global spheres. The Initiative, driven by the AfroChampions Organization, was founded by the advisory firm Konfidants; and is Co-Chaired by President Thabo Mbeki and Mr. Aliko Dangote, President and CEO of Dangote Group (www.Dangote.com) The Initiative is headquartered in Accra, Ghana, and works with regional and global partners and governments, with the support of other corporate and institutional partners including ADS Group (http://APO.af/8woL9C), the Djondo Fellowship (http://APO.af/HHQjus), Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (http://APO.af/R7tAcC) and Thabo Mbeki Foundation (http://APO.af/Kt2zhJ

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