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Gates Foundation Honors Director of Africa CDC With 2020 Global Goalkeeper Award
September 23, 2020 | 0 Comments

Dr. John N. Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), as the winner of the 2020 Global Goalkeeper Award.Photo credit Reuters

Foundation also announces three Global Goals award winners and launches two innovative partnerships to address COVID-19 impacts in Kenya.

SEATTLE, September 21, 2020 – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today named Dr. John N. Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), as the winner of the 2020 Global Goalkeeper Award. As part of its annual Goalkeepers campaign, the foundation also announced three other Goalkeepers Awards and launched two innovative partnerships that address the impact of COVID-19 on Kenya’s health and economy.

“Dr. Nkengasong and his team at Africa CDC are deeply deserving of this award,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Their commitment to securing the latest innovations from elsewhere in the world—as well as developing them themselves—will go a long way towards ensuring that the continent has the vaccines and medicines it needs to fight COVID-19.”

In addition to Dr. Nkengasong, this year’s awards went to Hauwa Ojeifo of Nigeria, Bonita Sharma of Nepal, and the MASH Project Foundation based in India. Each was recognized for playing a role in addressing the effects of COVID-19 in their communities. More details about each of the awards and their winners follows.

The 2020 Global Goalkeeper Award recognizes an established individual demonstrating significant commitment to health and development, specifically in response to the pandemic. The award is being presented to Dr. Nkengasong, a central voice for Africa’s scientific community. As co-chair of the Africa CDC Consortium for COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Trials (CONCVACT), Dr. Nkengasong is leading the securement of a variety of late-stage vaccine clinical trials on the continent by bringing together global vaccine developers, funders, and local facilitators. This work will be vital to ensure that the most promising vaccine candidates for the African population are identified and scaled up.

The 2020 Changemaker Award, which celebrates an individual who has inspired change using personal experience or from a position of leadership, recognizes Hauwa Ojeifo of Nigeria for her work promoting gender equality (Global Goal #5). Ojeifo is a sexual and domestic abuse survivor and the founder of She Writes Woman, a women-led movement giving the issue of mental health a voice in Nigeria.

The 2020 Progress Award, which celebrates an individual who supports progress via a science, technology, digital, or business initiative, recognizes Bonita Sharma of Nepal for her work promoting good health and well-being (Global Goal #3). Sharma is the co-founder and CEO of Social Changemakers and Innovators (SOCHAI), a youth-led nonprofit working to improve the nutritional health of nursing mothers and young children and to economically empower marginalized women through business opportunities.

The 2020 Campaign Award, which celebrates a campaign that has raised awareness or built a community by inspiring action and creating change, recognizes the MASH Project Foundation for furthering global cooperation and partnership (Global Goal #17). A social enterprise based in India, the MASH Project Foundation is building a global community of social change makers by bridging the gaps between governments, civil society, the corporate sector, youth, and media to drive social impact.

“While the pandemic and the inequalities it highlights will undoubtedly define this era, the world is seeing the very best of humanity emerge,” said Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We’re inspired by the energy and drive of this year’s award winners to create a safer, healthier, and more equitable world.”

The foundation also announced two dynamic, cross-sector partnerships called Goalkeepers Accelerators. These partnerships catalyze progress by bringing together partners from different sectors to pool their collective investment, knowledge, and big ideas to tackle one or more of the SDGs. The 2020 Accelerators—led by Sanergy and Educate!—are actively helping stem the spread of COVID-19 in Kenya while defending against the ripple effects of the pandemic on the country’s economy and a multitude of health issues.

Safe Sanitation for a Healthy, Sustainable World: Led by Sanergy, this Accelerator will scale access to safe sanitation services in Kenya’s informal settlements and help stop the spread of COVID-19 by providing soap, PPE and hand-washing education for residents, with the goal of reaching 1.3 million Kenyans by 2025. As part of this Accelerator, Sanergy will expand to Kisumu—Kenya’s third-largest city and the company’s first market outside of Nairobi—to bring its proven sanitation services to 300,000 Kisumu residents by 2025. Partners involved in this Accelerator driving progress toward SDG 6 include the Kisumu and Nairobi county governments, the Kisumu Water and Sanitation Company (KIWASCO), AFD, and Who Gives a Crap.

Preparing Youth to Thrive in the Informal Economy: This Accelerator, led by Educate!, will launch a new series of skills-based, intensive training bootcamps to provide a pathway to a safe and sustainable livelihood by equipping out-of-school youth with the skills they need to succeed in Kenya’s high-growth informal economy. As part of the Accelerator, Educate! will pilot its eLearning platform NawiriPro to train 100,000 youth to become professional motorbike drivers in Kenya by 2023; launch a new bootcamp model supporting women and rural youth by 2021; and create a marketplace for young people to access business services and resources. Partners involved in this Accelerator driving progress toward SDG 8 include the Kenyan ministries of health and trade, Accenture Development Partners, Aspira, the Atlassian Foundation, Imaginable Futures, the Ray & Tye Noorda Foundation, Rippleworks Foundation, Sendy, the Umsizi Fund, and the Waterloo Foundation.

The announcement of the Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards and the Accelerators follows the release last week of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s annual Goalkeepers Report. This year’s report shows how economic damage caused by COVID-19 has reinforced inequities and derailed achievement of the Global Goals, but also spotlights countries innovating to meet the challenge and outlines a path for a shared global response.

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Mark Suzman and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

About Goalkeepers

Goalkeepers is the foundation’s campaign to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals). By sharing stories and data behind the Global Goals through an annual report, we hope to inspire a new generation of leaders—Goalkeepers who raise awareness of progress, hold their leaders accountable, and drive action to achieve the Global Goals.

About the Global Goals

On September 25, 2015, at the United Nations headquarters in New York, 193 world leaders committed to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals). These are a series of ambitious objectives and targets to achieve three extraordinary things by 2030: end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change.

Project Everyone, co-creators of Goalkeepers, was founded by writer, director, and SDG Advocate Richard Curtis with the ambition to help achieve the Global Goals through raising awareness, holding leaders accountable, and driving action.

*Gates Foundation

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The Democratic Republic of the Congo – A change of perspective on Africa’s problem child
September 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jessica Stang*

Jessica Stang is Community Manager of the Germany Africa Business Forum, a private association that promotes socio-economic relations between Germany and Africa.

According to the World Bank, just under 20 percent of the population in the DRC currently has access to electricity.

Every time I take an Uber, the first topic of small talk is what my roots are. The reactions that I am half German and half Congolese differ greatly between Europe and Africa. Typically, when I mention the DRC in Berlin, I get the following response: a compassionate look and the thought of civil war, child soldiers and Ebola. In Johannesburg, on the other hand, the first associations are of beautiful nature and a country rich in mineral resources such as gold, diamonds and coltan.

These reactions, which could hardly be more different, reflect well the current situation in the DRC: a country with great potential, but also with great challenges. One of the biggest problems is the lack of infrastructure. According to the World Bank, just under 20 percent of the population in the DRC currently has access to electricity. This inadequate infrastructure is also a major focus of Congolese politics. Acting President Félix Tshisekedi tackled this major problem during his election campaign and promised the population that new roads would be built. This election promise even gave him the nickname “Béton” (concrete) and gave the population great hope that much will change. Because it is not complicated quantum physics: infrastructure is the basis of a functioning economy, be it power supply, road construction, education, or digital networking. All this is essential to get the economy going. But how do you manage to build a country both as diverse but also complicated as the DRC , sustainably and effectively?

It almost seems like a vicious cycle: many international companies are deterred from investing in the DRC because of the uncertain situation. However, such investments are inevitable necessary in order to reinforce the infrastructure and thus stabilize the economy. It is therefore important that steps are now being taken by German politicians to include the private sector, in particular, and also to support it in making investments. For instance, Compact with Africa (CwA) is an interesting way for the G20 states to make various African countries more attractive on the international market. Initiated under the German G20 presidency, CwA aims to promote private investment in Africa, including in the infrastructure sector. Even though the DRC is not (yet) a member state, it is a right step to break the vicious cycle aforementioned, which many other African economies are also experiencing. During his visit to Berlin, President Tshisekedi made the case for the DRC as a business location and called for greater investments in the DRC.

A first step towards the manifestation of German-Congolese economic relations is the construction of the Inga III Dam on the Congo River. The German government, led by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Africa Commissioner Günter Nooke, wants to use German technology to combine Congolese energy supply and climate protection. The aim is to reuse the surplus hydrogen in Europe in order to achieve German climate targets. Nevertheless, in such international projects it is important to consider new approaches and turn away from classical development aid, to involve the private sector of all participating countries more strongly. For there is a fine line between economic promotion and market distortion or further dependence on Europe. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us here in Europe how important a stable economy is to survive crises, but also international cooperation.

I look forward to the future results of the Inga III Dam. It is an interesting approach to strengthen German-Congolese economic relations and to integrate the German private sector into the Congolese market. It is highly hoped that this project will benefit both Germany and the DRC and that a sustainable partnership on equal terms can be developed from it.

With projects like these, I hope that the view of the Congo will change here in Germany as well. Hopefully, first association with the DRC will then be positive, even as far as in German Ubers. Undoubtedly, the DRC is a country with infinite wealth and great potential.

*Jessica Stang is Community Manager of the Germany Africa Business Forum, a private association that promotes socio-economic relations between Germany and Africa.
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Cameroonian granted humanitarian release from US Immigration after revealing her fallopian tube was forcibly removed in ICE custody
September 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Pauline Binam, 30, has been in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody since 2017. Courtesy of the Binam family
Pauline Binam, 30, has been in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody since 2017. Courtesy of the Binam family

Pauline Binam, a Cameroonian lady was almost deported last week by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE if not for the intervention of members of US Congress.

Pauline who has been in the US since when she was 2 years old was on the tarmac when members of Congress say they intervened. Pan African Vision has gathered that she was granted humanitarian release.

“It felt like ICE was trying to rush through her deportation,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington state. “I can’t say that for certain, but all of this is extremely troubling.”

Binam, now 30, says she was involuntarily sterilized while held at the privately owned Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia, has been granted humanitarian releaseafter intervention by congress.

Attorney Vân Huynh says Binam’s fallopian tube was removed without her knowledge by the same doctor who is accused of performing forced hysterectomies on several other prisoners, and who is reportedly not a board-certified OB-GYN. Last week, Binam’s deportation was halted at the last minute after pressure from immigration rights advocates and members of Congress.

 

Members of Congress are demanding an investigation into allegations from immigrant women who say they were subjected to medical procedures without their consent while detained at an ICE facility in Georgia. Some women say they underwent hysterectomies or other surgeries that left them sterile.

Jayapal, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, wants Binam in the U.S. so that she can tell her story to investigators. More than 170 U.S. lawmakers have signed a letter calling for an investigation by the Homeland Security inspector general and want investigators to report back on the status of the investigation by next Friday.

According to NPR, ICE denies any link between her allegations and her scheduled deportation saying she was pulled off the plane because of a paperwork snafu with the Cameroonian government — not because of congressional intervention.

In a statement, ICE says that all female detainees receive routine gynecological care and that “a medical procedure like a hysterectomy would never be performed” without informed consent.

Binam’s lawyer, Vân Huynh, says her client sought treatment for an irregular menstrual cycle and thought she was getting a routine procedure known as dilation and curettage to remove tissue from her uterus last year.

“When she woke up from the surgery, the doctor informed her that they had to remove one of her fallopian tubes,” says Huynh, with the non-profit Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, which also helped prepare the whistleblower complaint.

“Of course, Pauline was very upset and sort of appalled that this had happened without her consent,” Huynh says.

The long-term medical implications are not clear, but that the procedure could prevent Binam from conceiving a child, Huynh says.

“Detention itself takes so much away from a person’s life,” Huynh says. “And then for her to have gone through this experience while she was in immigration detention just robs her of so much more than her time.”

Huynh says Binam complained to the staff at the detention center, but those complaints went nowhere. Binam is one of a growing number of over 17 immigrant women complaining about care they received while they were held at the privately-operated Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia.

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Africa Must Grapple with All Forms of Challenges AU Trade Chief Albert Muchanga Warns
September 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu*

AU Trade Commissioner Albert Muchanga
AU Trade Commissioner Albert Muchanga

Africa has been challenged to have collective vision and spearhead African Regional Integration and solidarity. This, Albert Muchanga , Commissioner of Trade and Industry notes is vital especially during this time of covid-19 . He further notes that there are implications that have been brought by covid-19 of which we learn through experiences.

Speaking Virtually to audio- visually connected invited, linked and connected to technology delegates Albert said African countries must learn lessons from covid-19 . This he adds, covid-19 is an experience of a life time to take note of when in Trade. HE Albert Muchanga gave a tirade speech at the TRALAC 2020 Summit in Cape Town on the 1st day. The discussion centered on Trade and doing Business in the covid- 19 era which started on Monday 20 September and is ending Tuesday 21 September.

The Summit is dubbed creating One African Market. It has other important speakers from the African Region. H.E Albert Muchanga , African Continental Free Trade Area Commissioner of Trade and Industry added initially that Africa is grappling with challenges and difficulties due to covid-19 pandemic . He has warned the continent to remain vigilant in the future, keep watch an eye to diseases, disasters, climate change and displacement of people.

” Africa has had challenges and difficulties but this time around, we are challenged by Health issues. The covid-19 pandemic has done us damage to the whole World of-course but as Africa let us stand up and fight whole-heartedly. The continent is grappling with tight challenges and problems that need to be solved. We need to have solutions to problems and such challenges we face as a continent.

”Let us be ready in the future to fight against other disasters like climate-change, diseases and disasters we face. These have over-time affected us time and again. We need to have devices and get responses. Off-course big economies have been affected as well but let us in the future have the devices to fight such challenges, craft polies like we did to lock-down and take more controlled action.”

”This corona-virus does not recognize and respect national jurisdiction and boundaries. It neither respects border controls, so we are in a challenge especially looking at Trade in the region. That is why we called for this Summit. Let us use policies effectively by having National Emergency Powers to lock-down, close boarders, restrict movements” .

Albert Muchanga believes that Trade played a role in improving access to essential goods and services since start of covid-19 . He adds that World Trade Organization Members have used trade measures to expedite access to critical medical goods and services as part of their responses to covid-19 pandemic.

”Trade played a role in improving access to essential goods and services since the start of covid-19 . WTO Members have used trade measures to expedite access to critical medical goods and services as part of their response to covid-19 pandemic. Trade played role as well in improving on the situation of shortages of medical personal and protective equipment. Production and Trade have expanded to meet un-paralleled spike in demand.”

HE Muchanga reveals that data has it that 41 countries which trade in medical goods grew by 38,7% in the 1st half of 202 although sourcing remains a challenge in the developing World. The Report describes wide Trade related measures Members in WTO employed from temporary reductions or deferral of duties, taxes and charges on covid-19 critical medical supplies to simplified customs procedures and boarder clearance.

The Report looks at International related measures to facilitate innovation and access to covid-19 related Technologies such as the one used to prevent it. Secondly, use of compulsory Government licenses to foster access to relevant patent data-bases and steps to make it easy to exchange clinical trial data. WTO Members acted as well to facilitate Tele-Medicine and International movement of Health Workers so that prevention, treatment, care and support could be easy at any cost.

Lessons Learnt From Covid-19 in Africa ..

Countries in the Region have been advised by H.E Muchanga to exercise National Public Health Care so that people’ rights in terms of Health are observed. He said countries must take advantage of the mile -stone taken by WTO in facilitating trade in medicines which have helped millions of people who needed help, care and support.

Regional Secretariates must play role in designing guidelines, procedures for joint responses and harmonized boarder control measures in times of need. Times of disasters must be prepared for in the future so that lives can be saved. Saving lives means as well keeping others safe from new outbreaks, keeping budgets undisturbed and avoiding un-necessary spending by countries.

H.E Muchanga reiterated on the need to come up with many ideas meant to make life easy to manage during disasters. Apart from the spirit of solidarity he digs into issues of practical demonstration on Regional Integration arrangements which he emphasizes must be used to facilitate joint responses ..

”Let us as Africa learn from the experiences. Let us be prepared to take head-on on issues that affect us every day. These are disasters, diseases and climate-change that still up to now affects us as Africa. Let us embrace the spirit of intensive regional integration rather than only looking at spirit of solidarity. This helps us in Regional Integration. There must be arrangements used to facilitate joint responses in Africa.”

Deliberations ..

 Africa and the World is one home according to HE Muchanga . He said Africa and the World is Interdependent. This means then that Africa must work with the World to bring an Integration that brings home openness to free trade that benefits Africa, boosts growth and fosters development.

”Africa and the World is interdependent. We have deliberations then to make it clear that we work with the World in Trade to develop the Industry. We Import and export. We get from outside that we do not have. We give them resources, they make for us technology, we learn as well, we grow on and on that way.

”We have a deliberation to boost Intra-African Trade through Regional Integration that bring us together as one Africa, one continent in fight against poverty. In-Order to win on this, we, come up with trade arrangements to meet challenges related to disasters that affect us every-day. These are related to climate-change and environmental disasters’’.

African Continental Free Trade Area has plans in hand to spear-head economic growth and foster economic development in the African Region. Under new plans there are indications that Trade in Goods and Services under AFCFTA rules start in early 2021. AFCFTA deliberates on State Parties to take concerted effort on commitments to look at ..

-Domestic follow-up action technical assistance

-Transparency

-Development Partners and Support

-Deeper Integration ..

Utilization of Regional Economic Communities remains vital to serve as building blocks – Article 5 of AFCFTA Agreement states this explicitly. There are new arrangements and mechanisms put in place to move Africa forward despite challenges faced. Negotiations Phase 2 Protocols of AFCFTA to be launched relates to Investments, Competition Policy and Intellectual Property Rights. Protocol on e-commerce is to be added to list of protocols to be adopted during Phase 3 of AFCFTA negotiations ..

-The Continent is compelled to be in abreast with ability and technology to convert to African Trade and Industrial development looking at the following concluding points.

-Trade and Economic growth promotion

-Sustainable Development

-Poverty Reduction

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*Nevson Mpofu a seasoned Zimbabwean Journalist is an Advanced Sustainable Development Student working as a Lecturer in the field with students studying Cambridge University, City and Guilds and ABMA Curricular in Zimbabwe ..

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Harvard Center for African Studies to host virtual conference on transformative role of women entrepreneurs to drive socio-economic change in Africa
September 22, 2020 | 0 Comments
The keynote will feature Dr. Vera Songwe, United Nations Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa

Recent studies have pointed to the huge obstacles women entrepreneurs in Africa face when building their businesses: from adverse social and cultural norms to a US$42 billion financing gap, though women operate over 40% of small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in Africa. COVID-19 has added another level of challenges: the global health pandemic and an economic recession, shutdowns and stay-at-home directives that have had consequential economic impact, and a lack of economic security threatens adverse healthcare outcomes. The African Union recently reported that 20 million African jobs are at threat from the pandemic, with a disproportionate impact on women and youth employment. The global pandemic threatens to further exacerbate gender gaps in education, financing, and other socioeconomic outcomes for women entrepreneurs on the continent. To address these issues and more, Harvard’s Center for African Studies announcement of its virtual conference on “Women and the Changing Face of Entrepreneurship in Africa” on 1 and 2 October 2020 comes at an opportune time.

The conference is a collaboration between Harvard University’s Center for African Studies, Lionesses of Africa, which is a 1 million-strong network of women entrepreneurs on the continent and Diaspora, London Stock Exchange Group, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and Standard Bank Group, a leading financial institution with a strong track record of supporting female entrepreneurs on the continent.” The conference is also supported by Empower Africa and will feature the annual Hakeem and Myma Belo-Osagie Distinguished Lecture on African Business and Entrepreneurship at Harvard. Over two days, the deliberations of the conference seek to provide a clearer understanding of the landscape of female entrepreneurship on the continent, identify challenges and opportunities, examine policy frameworks, and define policy actions that would position African women, leaders in global female entrepreneurship, to play a transformative role in the world’s largest emerging market.

Opening the conference will be Professor Wafaie Fawzi, Interim Oppenheimer Faculty Director, Center for African Studies, Harvard University, who said: “The Harvard Center for African Studies has longstanding efforts to ensure that African voices and perspectives inform the research and teaching at Harvard University. We see this conference as advancing the scholarship around African entrepreneurship by highlighting the place of women entrepreneurs who are developing and running large-scale and pioneering businesses. We seek to challenge the mainstream narrative that African women operate largely in the informal sector or in small and medium scale enterprises. We look forward to identifying lessons that are critical to understanding this changing face of female entrepreneurship and to defining approaches that sustain and deepen this important agenda.”

Joining Professor Fawzi in the opening plenary session will be Melanie Hawken, founder & CEO, Lionesses of Africa, and Ibukun Adebayo, Director & Co-Head of Emerging Markets, London Stock Exchange Group.

Commenting on the need for this conference at this particular time of global economic upheaval, Melanie Hawken said: “Lionesses of Africa as an organization gets to see each and every day the potential and possibilities for women entrepreneurs to make a massive positive impact on Africa’s development. The continent is alive with energetic, resourceful, and hard-working women seeking to build businesses and take charge of their economic destinies. Our role is to encourage and practically support their start-up dreams so they can achieve economic security for themselves, their families, their communities, and their countries. This conference will play a significant role in stimulating conversations and opportunities for Africa’s women entrepreneurs to get the support they need to fulfill their potential as real social-economic drivers of change on the continent.”

Speaking about London Stock Exchange Group’s support for the conference and women entrepreneurs, Ibukun Adebayo added: “London Stock Exchange has a long history of supporting the development of local capital markets in Africa. Collaboration and partnership is vital in building the infrastructure and technology needed to support robust and efficient markets and foster economic growth across the continent. A diverse workforce is a proven driver of business success and female entrepreneurs continue to drive positive change in Africa. LSEG’s most recent Companies to Inspire Africa report found that 23% of the senior executives of featured companies were female, a near doubling over two years. Highlighting their success stories and easing access to capital enables women entrepreneurs to continue to positively impact economic growth, lead innovation and support employment across Africa.”

The conference program will feature four panel discussions over two days with a keynote speaker on each day, including:

  • Panel 1: Women Entrepreneurs, Business Agility, and Africa’s Massive Job Creation Challenge.
     
  • Panel Two: Women Entrepreneurs, Value-added Commodity Processing, and Economic Diversification.
     
  • Panel Three: The Digital Economy and Economic Growth for Africa’s Women Entrepreneurs.
     
  • Panel Four: Strengthening Institutional and Policy Frameworks, Funding, and Networks to Advance Women Entrepreneurs.

Speaking on behalf of Standard Bank Group’s support for the conference, and as one of the leading experts on the final panel discussion on finance, Sola David-Borha, CEO Africa Regions, said:

“Our drive to maximize our social, economic and environmental impacts across Africa includes a focus on Jobs and Enterprise Development which is closely aligned to the fifth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) – achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. We believe that sustainable development is only possible if women – a demographic that makes up over half the continent’s population – are afforded their full rights and opportunities. Standard Bank has a number of programs in place aimed at ensuring that women are included in the financial system, have better market access, and have equitable access to education and training. Women have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning the public and private sectors need to work closely together to ensure that recent gains in gender equality are not reversed, but are rather built upon.”

In terms of tangible conference outcomes and to support the published post conference report, the organizers will produce a policy paper that will also highlight key facts and figures on women entrepreneurs with infographics on the sectors they are engaged in. The conference organizers will also create an informal working group with a focus on research and policy. The working group will share its research and policy recommendations with groups of women entrepreneurs and through the respective UN bodies, the Africa Union, the African Development Bank, and the African Export-Import Bank.

Conference website.

The Harvard University Center for African Studies is a globally recognized, interdisciplinary body committed to broadening knowledge about Africa and engagement with African perspectives through scholarship, collaboration, and dialogue.

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Cameroon’s oil refinery, SONARA dragged to court by Swiss Group Glencore over 9.6 billion FCFA unpaid bills
September 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

The State-owned refinery of Cameroon, SONARA has been sued before the High Court of Justice in London by Swiss commodities group, Glencore over unpaid bills.

Glencore Energy UK Ltd (a subsidiary of Swiss commodities trader Glencore), via the law firm Ince Gordon Dadds, is demanding the payment of €14.7 million, roughly cira 9.6 billion FCFA from the state refinery situated in Cameroon’s coastal port city of Limbe in its South West region.

According to Glencore, the amount represents, for the most part, late payment penalties in connection with a supply contract where 1.6 million barrels of crude oil were delivered to SONARA between November 2012 and January 2015. The Swiss trader is suing for non-payment within the contractual deadlines.

The case bought to the England and Wales High Court accuses SONARA of not respecting its contractual commitments. As per reports between 2012 and 2015, four contracts were concluded between the two parties, but the financial requirements were never concluded.

Sonara has not officially reacted to this legal procedure launched before the British courts since June 2020 and revealed by Law360 on August 11, 2020.  

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Report recommends changes to laws that discriminate against women in Gambia
September 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

Dozens of discriminatory gender laws should be repealed or revised in The Gambia to guarantee equal rights for women and girls within the legal framework.

A report – produced jointly by the Government of The Gambia, Commonwealth Secretariat and UN Women – reveals several discriminatory laws and loopholes which allow discrimination.

Aiming to end discrimination in legislation, the report recommends amending 19 laws and repealing 10 in whole or in part. It also proposes enacting two new laws to ensure The Gambia’s legislative framework meets its international obligations on gender equality.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “Laws, which undermine one over the other, are a fundamental barrier to gender equality, an obstacle to sustainable development and threaten decades of progress already made for women.

“I commend the Government of The Gambia for the bold step in undertaking a comprehensive review of its laws to ascertain the extent to which they are compliant with international and regional norms and standards.

“The implementation of the report’s recommendations will make Gambian women and girls even more empowered and will support the government’s efforts to build back better after the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The report stresses that complying with gender equality standards should be a priority in implementing national laws. For this reason, it proposes 14 policy measures to ensure laws fully deliver on women’s rights, which include investing in post-natal care, providing accessible legal aid, and ratifying and complying with international labour laws.

The Gambia’s Justice Minister Abubacarr Ba Tambadou said: “Taking stock of laws from a gender perspective is critical to the health and progress of The Gambia.

“I endorse this report and its recommendations as my government’s step towards the implementation of equality in law for women and girls by 2030.

“It serves as the framework for achieving full de jure equality, which in turn, is the foundation for de facto and substantive equality.”

The report maps and analyses the national laws of The Gambia. The mapping informs a roadmap for thorough legislative reforms through a review of national laws and verdicts to determine their impacts on women’s rights.

The analysis, guided by the country’s international commitments and obligations, reviews the 1997 Constitution, statutes and corresponding legislative and legal instruments through regulations, orders, guidelines, directives as well as case law.

The report is the knowledge product of the technical assistance provided to The Gambia under an initiative to help implement the ‘Equality in Law for Women and Girls by 2030’ strategy, developed by UN Women, Commonwealth Secretariat and other development partners.

The global strategy aims to boost full legal protection for 50 million women and girls in 100 countries from 2019 to 2023 under the law.

*Commonwealth

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Kenya:Teachers directed to report to school on September 28
September 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) Prof. George Magoha

Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has ordered primary and secondary school teachers to report to their respective schools next week on Monday ahead of school re-opening.

Teachers will be required to set everything in order before learning resumes next month as recommended by the Education Response Committee chaired by Sara Ruto of the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD).

The Sara-led committee proposed October 19, 2020, as the opening date and wants standard eight and form four candidates to sit their national exams in April 2021.

The team also recommended a change in the school calendar from January to November cycle to June-May.

Learning institutions in the country were temporarily closed in March following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Initials plans were that primary and secondary schools were to reopen in January.

Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) Prof. George Magoha had declared the 2020 academic calendar lost and ordered students and pupils to repeat classes when schools reopen next year.

However, the team of education stakeholders wants this year’s calendar to reorganize such as the second term begins in October and ends in November, and the third term starts in January and ends in March.

In a bid to manage the spread of the novel virus in schools, the committee came up with two proposals. The first is to have all learners report on October 19 and the government to monitor progress and health concerns.

The second proposal is phased reopening which will see Standard Seven, Standard Eight, Form four and form three students and Grade Four pupils to report back on October 19. Then learners in Pre-Primary One and Two and Grades One to Three, and those in Standard Five and Six to report on November 2 as well as students in Form One and Two.

Meanwhile, Prof. Magoha said that the recommendations will be tabled before a larger committee and thereafter the official dates will be issued.

“It is not for me to give the date for the re-opening, I will table this report before a larger committee for a deliberation on the actual date for the resumption of schooling,” Prof. Magoha said.

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CNN’s Eleni Giokos to moderate discussion on German-African business relations with Chancellor Merkel’s Africa Envoy
September 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

The webinar will be held on 23 September at 15h30 CET.

Eleni Giokos
Eleni Giokos

The discussion will be centred on the topic: Investment and Trade for Africa’s Economic Development; Co-moderated by the Germany Africa Business Forum and spearheaded by H.E Günter Nooke, Africa Envoy to Chancellor Merkel, the discussion also includes NJ Ayuk, Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and René Awambeng of the African Export-Import Bank; The webinar will be held on 23 September at 15h30 CET. To attend, please register here .

With German visibility and participation on the rise in Africa’s energy industry, the Germany Africa Business Forum (GABF) will host its second instalment of its Germany-Africa cooperation focused webinar series.

Germany, through the G20 Compact with Africa initiative, has pledged to increase investment for private sector engagement in Africa in industries such as finance and capital investment, infrastructure, power and energy, agriculture, consumer goods, health care, and information communication technology.

“From Senegal to Kenya and from South Africa to Egypt, African countries have astounding and untapped world-class opportunities for German Public and Private Companies. Our German business and political leaders must work with their African counterparts to urgently capitalize on these prospects, especially in a post Covid environment. This would create jobs and improve lives on both sides.” stated Sebastian Wagner, Executive Chair of the GABF.

The webinar will be moderated by Eleni Giokos, CNN Africa Correspondent, who will facilitate the discussion on how German investments can sustainably strengthen the development of the African continent. Anchored in the topic Investment and Trade for Africa’s Economic Development, the webinar will highlight key efforts to mobilise German funding for African energy projects as a means to advance German-African cooperation. African Gas projects in Mozambique, Tanzania, Nigeria, Equtorial Guinea, Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Congo, Gabon, and Cameroon could see a spike in German interest.

“With H.E. Nooke, Mr Awambeng and Mr Ayuk joining this conversation, we hope to foster stronger ties between Germany and Africa that will drive greater economic growth and bring profit to both places”. concluded Wagner

H.E. Günter Nooke, Africa Envoy to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, will spearhead the webinar with a headline keynote speech. Joining the panel discussion will be NJ Ayuk, Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and Rene Awambeng, Global Head Client Relationship at the African Export-Import Bank.

“We are proud of the work done by the Germany Africa Business Forum to create opportunities for Germans and Africans alike, especially at a time when we must move our relationship with Germany from a relationship based on aid to one based on trade.” stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber “We will continue to support partnerships and initiatives that deepen our ties through commerce and investment between Germany and Africa, especially in a Post Covid era”. concluded Ayuk

The webinar will be held on 23 September at 15h30 CET. To attend, please register: https://bit.ly/3mEjg5J

About the Germany Africa Business Forum:
The Germany Africa Business Forum (GABF) is a private think tank with the mission to strengthen investment relations between Germany and Africa. As a “Private for Privates”, GABF supports German investors in viewing the African continent as a profitable and important investment destination.

*African Energy Chamber

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Gambia:Banjul Mayoress Shortlisted to Contest for Presidency of Mayors of Africa Capital Cities
September 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Banjuk Mayor Rohey Lowe-Saidykhan
Banjul Mayor Rohey Lowe-Saidykhan

The Mayor of Banjul, Rohey Lowe-Saidykhan has been shortlisted to contest the presidency of mayors of 54 Africa capital cities. 

She will contest the prestigious position against three others, Muhamed Sidiq of Rabat Morocco, Madam El Wardani of Dakar, Senegal and Juliana Kaduya of Lilongwe, Malawi. The election will be held in three week’s time.

A preamble announcing the nominations said the nomination of the Banjul mayor by ULCD to contest the presidency is based on the trend of development that has been delivered to the citizens of Banjul barely two years after her election as the first female mayor in Gambia’s history.

The person elected to the presidency of the African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum (ACCSF) will, apart from being the main promoter of the ACCSF to institutions such as AU and during summit or conference if elected, will be in charge of the strategic direction and development.

He/she will also represent entire 54 African capital cities mayors and governors of ACCSF.

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Mozambique LNG Project Could Be Transformational for Mozambique – If Western Environmentalists Don’t Interfere
September 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

By NJ Ayuk*

Mozambique’s first onshore LNG plant would be creating tens of thousands of jobs – and contributing to sustainable, long-term economic growth.

When Anadarko Petroleum Corp. confirmed last year it would be constructing a $20 billion liquified natural gas (LNG) plant in Mozambique, this was major news. Mozambique’s first onshore LNG plant would be creating tens of thousands of jobs – and contributing to sustainable, long-term economic growth that would impact millions of people.

Two additional LNG projects have been announced since then: the $4.7 billion Coral FLNG Project by ENI and ExxonMobil, and the $30 billion Rovuma LNG Project by ExxonMobil, ENI, and the China National Petroleum Corporation. While these two have been postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the original LNG Mozambique project has been moving forward.

French oil major Total acquired the project and finalized project funding in July, even in the face of recent terror attacks in northern Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, where Total’s LNG plant will be constructed.

That’s why it’s so disheartening to learn that a UK-based environmental group is pursuing actions that could jeopardize the project’s timely progression, all in the name of preventing climate change. Friends of the Earth has said it will initiate a legal challenge against the UK’s decision to provide $1 billion in funding for the Mozambique LNG project.

Never mind the project’s importance to everyday Africans. Never mind its potential to grow and diversify the economy. Never mind that projects like this are just what Mozambique needs to address its energy poverty, or that the Mozambique government has invested considerable time and resources into making this LNG project possible.

This is not the first time that not so well informed radical activist have attempted to interfere with Africa’s energy industry in ways that do not help poor Africans but serve their own interest. International organizations, including the World Bank, and private investors, under pressure by environmental groups, have been dropping support for African fossil fuel production. A lot of poor people are suffering from this and hundreds of millions more will if we to change direction.

I find it stunning that, during a time when much of the world is talking about the need to respect black perspectives, environmental groups seem to have no qualms about dismissing African voices.

As I’ve said in the past, I agree that climate change should be taken seriously. And I understand the risks it poses to Africa. The thing is, why are non-African organizations trying to dictate how African countries address those risks? The message in this case seems to be that “they know best.” That idea is insulting, and interfering with an African country’s efforts to build up its economy – simply because fossil fuels are involved – is completely unacceptable.

A ‘Missed Opportunity?’ Really?

UK Export Finance (UKEF) is one of eight export credit agencies to provide funding for Total’s Mozambique LNG project, which includes the construction of a two-train liquefaction plant with a capacity of 12.9 million tonnes per year.

UKEF’s $1 billion commitment includes awarding $300 million in loans to British companies working on the gas project and guaranteeing loans from commercial banks worth up to $850 million. The UK’s parliamentary under-secretary for the Department for International Trade, Graham Stuart, has pointed out that Total’s LNG project could be transformational for Mozambique and create 2,000 jobs in the UK as well.

But Friends of the Earth has said they will seek a judicial review into the UK government’s decision to help finance a project that, as they put it, will “worsen the climate emergency.” The group’s director, Jamie Peters, also expressed his disappointment in a letter to the UK government. The UKEF’s funding decision, Peters said, represents a “lost opportunity” for the UK to be a world climate leader.

My question to Mr. Peters is, what about Mozambique’s opportunities? To help everyday people improve their lives? To earn a decent living? To have a reliable source of energy? I’m talking about an opportunity to nudge the average life expectancy in Mozambique above 59 years, where it stands now.

The Mozambique LNG project is poised to make those things possible. As far as I’m concerned, losing that opportunity would devastating.

What Mozambique Stands to Gain

I can’t overstate the far-reaching implications and potential that Total’s Mozambique LNG project represents for local businesses, communities, and individuals.

Total estimates that its plant will generate about $50 billion in revenue for Mozambique’s government during its first 25 years in operation. That revenue can be directed toward much-needed infrastructure, educational programs, and economic diversification programs.

Consider direct foreign investment in Mozambique: Total’s US$25 billion investment in the LNG plant is more than twice Mozambique’s current GDP.

How about the plant construction project? Not only will it generate tens of thousands of local jobs, but it also will provide training opportunities for local people. Indigenous companies will be contracted to provide goods and services.

This pattern will continue once the plant is operational. Locals can train for and take a wide range of positions, including professional and leadership roles. Over time, subject matter experts who can share their knowledge in Mozambique, and with other African companies, will be cultivated. And, once again, the plant will be looking to local companies to provide products and services.

LNG Can ‘Em-power’ Mozambique

In addition to these far-reaching economic opportunities, the LNG produced at the plant will provide affordable energy for Mozambique.

The need is urgent. Only about 29% of the population has access to electricity today. Medical care is hindered. Education is impacted. And sustainable economic growth is an uphill climb.

Earlier this year, I praised the government of Mozambique for negotiating for part of the LNG production to be diverted to the domestic market, meaning it can be used for power generation. Since then, the government secured financing for a 400MW gas-fired power plant and transmission line to Maputo, the country’s capital, which will dramatically improve power reliability there.

By the way, when the Mozambique government ensured that some of the plant’s LNG production would be available for domestic use, it also laid the foundation for monetization and economic diversification. In Mozambique, LNG will be available to serve as feedstock for fertilizer and petrochemical plants. It can be exported by pipeline to neighboring companies. And that, in turn, can help Mozambique build even more infrastructure and contribute to even greater widespread prosperity.

Mozambique Has Been Working for This

I’d also like to point out the thought and preparation that the Mozambique government has put into making its natural gas operations beneficial for the country as a whole since approximately 180 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves were discovered there in 2010.

Mozambique’s national oil company, ENH, hired global energy research and consulting firm Wood Mackenzie to help it prepare for the responsibility of managing and selling its corresponding portion of the resources. Since then, ENH formed a consortium with international oil and gas trader, Vitol.

The government also has sought the support of more experienced energy producers and international partners. Earlier this year, President Filipe Nyusi met with Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon and signed an agreement for support on natural gas resource management.

But even before that, Mozambique laid the foundation for a successful oil and gas industry with the new Petroleum Law of 2014. And with that legislation in place, the country completed a successful bidding round for exploration blocks. These efforts, along with careful negotiations with international oil companies, is what brought Mozambique to where it is today: on the cusp of becoming a major LNG producer. And these efforts are what will make Mozambique’s LNG industry a success, not just in terms of government revenue, but also in improving the lives of everyday people.

We Must Put People First

Mozambique is not asking for aid to lift its people out of poverty. It’s attempting to capitalize on its own natural resources. The government isn’t trying to make a quick buck. It’s working to lay a foundation for long-term growth. And efforts like the Exxon and Total Mozambique Projects are more than an opportunity for international oil companies, or even Mozambique’s government. They have the potential to improve the lives of millions of everyday people.

I recognize the need to protect our planet and prevent climate change. But interfering with financing for Africa’s fossil fuel projects is not the right path. We must not dismiss the value of projects like these or their ability to make meaningful changes for the better in Mozambique. And we must not put environmental ideals ahead of the pressing needs that are facing people right now.

* Executive Chairman, African Energy Chamber
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Founder and CEO of 54gene Selected as Endeavor Entrepreneur
September 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

 Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong joins the leading global entrepreneur support organisation.

Dr Abasi Ene Obong – Founder and CEO of 54gene

21 September, 2020. Lagos, Nigeria. Endeavor has welcomed a new entrepreneur into its global network; Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong of 54gene, was selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur on September 17, 2020. 54gene is a health technology company whose mission is to advance precision medicine capabilities in Africa through research, advanced molecular diagnostics and clinical programs. 54gene joins 10 other Endeavor Entrepreneur-led companies in Nigeria, and over 1,300 in Endeavor’s 37 markets across Africa, Latin America, Asia, Europe and North America. 

Endeavor is a mission-driven organisation that is leading the global movement for high-impact entrepreneurs and their companies. Endeavor Nigeria selects, mentors and accelerates the best high-impact entrepreneurs in the region, supporting them to scale their companies and drive economic growth. As well as 54gene, this year, Endeavor has welcomed the founders of Daystar Power, Migo and Kobo360 into its local and global network. 

Africa is home to the most genetically diverse population in the world. However, less than 3% of the continent’s genomic data is available for research purposes making it a potentially rich source of new genetic information used for medical discoveries. 54gene is solving this challenge and equalising the access to precision medicine through the advancement of the state of healthcare in Nigeria and on the continent. This is being achieved through local clinical research programs and advanced molecular diagnostics.

“54gene is a critical part of the continent’s push to equalize access to precision medicine for millions of Africans. The rapid pace at which the company has scaled over the past year is testament to Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong’s leadership, his drive and talented team. He is an inspiration to other high-impact entrepreneurs in Nigeria and we are thrilled to welcome him into the Endeavor network.” Says Eloho Omame, Managing Director & CEO of Endeavor in Nigeria.

Since launching in 2019, 54gene has scaled its operations in generating novel insights in human genetics research that will lead to high impact health discoveries. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, 54gene raised funds to increase the country’s testing capacity and launched mobile laboratories across 5 Nigerian states. The company has raised $21 million in investment and also launched the African Centre for Translational Genomics (ACTG) to fund the study of Non-Communicable Diseases in 100,000 Nigerians. In September of this year, the company announced a partnership with Illumina to establish a world class genomics facility in Lagos, Nigeria, which will help expand its sequencing-based research and molecular diagnostics offering.  

Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong, CEO and Founder of 54gene, says, “It is an absolute honour to be selected as an Endeavor entrepreneur. We started 54gene to significantly improve the inclusion of African populations in global genomics research and I am glad to see our work is being recognised. Our mission is to continue driving innovation and change in research and I look forward to the opportunities that arise as a result of being supported by the global Endeavor network in expanding 54gene’s impact globally.”

Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong was successfully selected as part of a cohort of 9 entrepreneurs from 6 markets. With the recent addition of 54gene, Endeavor Nigeria now supports 17 entrepreneurs who lead 11 scale-up stage companies in Nigeria, spanning lifesciences, fintech, renewable energy, entertainment, logistics and retail. 

About Endeavor

Established in 1997, Endeavor is a mission-driven, global organization leading the high-impact entrepreneurship movement. Endeavor was founded on the belief that job creation, innovation, and overall prosperity flourish where there is robust support for high-impact entrepreneurs. To date, Endeavor has screened more than 60,000 entrepreneurs and selected more than 2,000 founders leading over 1,200 scale-up companies. Endeavor Entrepreneurs have created over 4 million jobs, generate more than $20 billion in revenue each year, and inspire future generations to innovate, take risks, and build strong entrepreneurship ecosystems in underserved markets. Headquartered in New York City, Endeavor currently operates in nearly 40 growth markets throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America.

Endeavor launched its Nigeria office in 2018, to select and support the best founders of companies at

the scaleup stage, who have potential to leverage Endeavor’s global resources, mentors and network to create large-scale wealth and jobs. Endeavor Entrepreneurs are committed to multiplying their impact by reinvesting their time and money to help others in Nigeria’s ecosystem take off. Today, in Nigeria, Endeavor supports 17 Endeavor Entrepreneurs leading 11companies. 

About 54gene 

54gene is a health technology company advancing the state of healthcare through large-scale discovery and translational research, advanced molecular diagnostics, and inclusive clinical programs for the benefit of Africans and the global population. Founded in 2019, 54gene utilizes human genetic data derived from diverse African populations, to improve the development, availability, and efficacy of medical products and diagnostics that will prove beneficial to Africans and the wider global population.

About the Founder and CEO

Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong holds a PhD in Cancer Biology from University of London, a Masters in human molecular genetics from Imperial College London and a Masters in Business Management from Claremont Colleges, California. He also worked as a cancer researcher and published a seminal paper on pancreatic cancer immunology, Gastroenterology Journal.

He has extensive experience operating in the US, UK and Nigerian healthcare industries. Prior to 54gene, Dr Ene-Obong worked with leading healthcare organisations, including Fortune 100 pharmaceutical companies, academic and research institutions, and governments as a management consultant with PwC and IQVIA (formerly QuintilesIMS). Dr Ene-Obong was also listed as 1 of 30 most innovative entrepreneurs on the African continent in 2019 by Quartz Africa and recently as one of Fortune’s 40 Under 40 in the healthcare category.

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