Call Us Now: (240) 429 2177

country

Africa needs more scientists and engineers for developments- AU Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat
February 23, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire
The chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) Mr Moussa Faki
Mahamat has said that Africa needs more scientists and engineers to
develop itself and also in-order to minimise its dependence syndrome.
Mr Mahamat made the remarks during his visit to the African Capacity
Building Foundation (ACBF) headquarters in Harare to sign the AUC-ACBF
agreement on the ACBF’s status as specialised agency of the African
Union.
Mr Mahamat said that Africa should now have the capacity to fund
what it needs on its own and also to tell its partners what it needs.
He said that 90% of the human resource capital in Africa is in the
humanities and the arts sector which he said that was not bad, but
called for training of more scientists and engineers for the continent
to boost its development agenda.
Mahamat also expressed concern at the lack of mathematics teachers
in some African countries, a challenge which he said needed to
urgently addressed.
He also urged agencies and partners in Africa to evaluate their
interventions to assess their progress to enhance the continent’s
development. Mahamat also called for more scientific innovation on
the continent adding that the continent needed more researchers.
ACBF Executive Director, Professor Emmanuel Nnadozie, said that Africa was
investing in unemployment due to its major human capacity development
in the humanities, social sciences and the arts.
Nnadozie sid that there was need in transformation of skills and this
is a major issue which the ACBF and other partners was working on
addressing. He said that there was need to mobilise resources to
overhaul the education systems and quality of education on the African
continent.

0
Read More
Merck launches their Merck Foundation in The Gambia in partnership with The First Lady of The Gambia
February 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

Merck Foundation appointed the H.E Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow, the First Lady of The Gambia as an ambassador of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign in The Gambia

  • Merck Foundation (MF) in partnership with the First Lady of The Gambia through her foundation; Fatoumatta Bah Barrow (FaBB) Foundation launched ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign in the Gambia.
  • Merck Foundation provides oncology fellowship program to develop the first medical oncologists in The Gambia.
  • MF appoints H.E. Fatoumatta Bah Barrow, The First Lady of The Gambia as the ambassador of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign in the Gambia.
Merck launches their Merck Foundation in The Gambia in partnership with The First Lady of The Gambia

Merck launches their Merck Foundation in The Gambia in partnership with The First Lady of The Gambia

Merck Foundation (www.Merck-Foundation.com), a non-profit organization and a subsidiary of Merck KGaA Germany (www.Merck.com), partners with the First Lady of The Gambia Foundation; Fatoumatta Bah Barrow (FaBB) foundation. The partnership aims to achieve Merck foundation’s objectives of raising awareness, building professional capacity and improving healthcare access in the field of Cancer and fertility care in The Gambia.

Merck Foundation appointed the H.E Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow, the First Lady of The Gambia as an ambassador of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign in The Gambia.

Merck launches their Merck Foundation in The Gambia in partnership with The First Lady of The Gambia

Merck launches their Merck Foundation in The Gambia in partnership with The First Lady of The Gambia

“It was a great honor to appoint the First Lady of The Gambia, Her Excellency Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow Foundation as an ambassador of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign. Together we acknowledged and encouraged infertile women groups across the country for their courage to share their stories of suffering from infertility stigma. They are ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ Heroines. I am thrilled and proud to be part of this great day.” emphasized, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and president of Merck More Than a Mother.

During the event the First Lady of the Gambia, H.E. Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow explained, “We are engaging in humanitarian ventures to improve the lives of vulnerable groups in the society. My ambition is to meaningfully contribute to the improvement of lives of women and children and address issue of infertility in our society.”

She further emphasized, “Our partnership with Merck Foundation aims at empowering infertile women in The Gambia and ensure that they access information, education and health services by collectively working with stakeholders, communities, traditional communicators, religious leader and healthcare workers. With the support of Merck Foundation, the government is adopting important policies to enhance access and regulate safe fertility treatment.”

Merck Foundation is making history in The Gambia, together with the Ministry of Health and the First Lady’s Foundation, we will train the first oncologist and fertility specialist in the country. According to the Ministry of Health data, The Gambia never had an oncologist or a Fertility Specialist, neither they had a cancer care facility or a fertility clinic in the country.

“I am very proud that Merck Foundation is contributing to shaping the future of The Gambia by working closely with the First Lady, a wonderful lady. She is very passionate about improving healthcare in her beloved country.”  Dr. Rasha Kelej CEO of Merck Foundation and president of Merck More Than a Mother.

In Africa including The Gambia, childless women still suffer discrimination, stigma, and ostracism. An inability to have a child or to become pregnant can result in significant isolation, disinheritance or assaults; this often results in divorce or physical and psychological violence.

During the community program, many infertile women from the community have been acknowledged by both Merck Foundation and the FaBB for their courage to share their sad tales of their suffering from infertility stigma, and ostracism by the society and their families.

Applauding the courage of these infertile women, Dr. Rasha Kelej said, “Merck Foundation salutes these infertile women in The Gambia, who shared their stories of suffering and discrimination. H.E. Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow, the First Lady of The Gambia and myself, appreciate these strong women and encourage them to establish their own business and become independent. I’m very proud of our movement in The Gambia and the rest of Africa.”

The Merck Foundation also commit to support The Gambia through providing their oncology fellowship program to establish their first training oncologists in the country, First Lady of The Gambia emphasized, “Merck foundation helps us to make history in The Gambia; we will have in the next two years our first oncologists and fertility specialists in the country. This will help improve access to Fertility and cancer care significantly as currently, we do not have both specialties, we do not even have cancer care facility in The Gambia.”

The Merck Foundation also maintains its commitment to building capacity and improving access to quality and equitable healthcare solutions with particular focus on cancer and fertility care in Africa.

So far, doctors from Uganda, Zambia, Ethiopia, Namibia, Tanzania, Ghana, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Botswana, Liberia, Rwanda, Kenya, Chad, Niger, Guinea, Gambia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Nepal have benefitted from Merck Foundation training programs in fertility or oncology fellowships. Merck Foundation aims to expand to more African and Asian countries in the near future.

The Merck Foundation (www.Merck-Foundation.com), established in 2017, is a philanthropic organization that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to innovative healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Foundation Website. Please go to www.Merck-Foundation.com to read more and/or register online to interact and exchange experience with our registered members.
Merck Foundation is a subsidiary of Merck KGaA Germany

About Merck
Merck (www.Merck.com) is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2016, Merck generated sales of € 15.0 billion in 66 countries.
Founded in 1668, Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.

0
Read More
Ghana dips in corruption ranking
February 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Ghana has been ranked 81 out of 180 countries in the latest Corruption Perception Index released on Wednesday.

Ghana scored 40 as against last year’s score of 43 – dropping 11 places in the latest CPI. It is Ghana’s worst performance in the last six years in its fight against corruption.

The CPI ranks countries annually by their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys. It is prepared by Transparency International. The CPI score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of zero (being highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

“We have the CPI for 2017 and Ghana performed not too good. Ghana actually dropped so far as our score is concerned. The most important thing on the CPI is the score and so on the scale of 0 to 100, Ghana scored 40 out of 100 points,” the Executive Director of the local chapter of Transparency International, Ghana Integrity Initiative, Linda Ofori-Kwafo said.

She said Ghana’s poor score in 2017 is a reflection of inadequate investigations, prosecutions and sanctioning of corrupt officials.“Since the CPI became comparable from the period 2012 to now, this is the worst performance that Ghana has had. This year, 2017 CPI, we are saying Ghana’s performance from 2012 is the worst so far,” Mrs Ofori-Kwafo noted.

However, she said the future looks positive.

“When we are able to get the gains of the new initiatives; the paperless port, the digital addressing system and the powers of the Auditor General to do the disallowance and surcharging and then office of the special prosecutor that has come on board…if all these initiatives work very well for us, we’re hoping that in a year, two years, three years to come, we should see a rise in Ghana’s CPI,” she stated.

New Zealand and Denmark ranked highest with scores of 89 and 88 respectively while Syria, South Sudan and Somalia rank lowest with scores of 14, 12 and 9 respectively.

0
Read More
President Akufo Addo resumes mediation talks in Togo
February 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

President Akufo Addo has travelled to neighboring Togo to mediate the political impasse between the Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé and the opposition coalition. The government of Togo and the coalition of 14 opposition political parties earlier this week agreed to implement a number of measures aimed at building trust and confidence amongst the political actors in Togo after an intervention by the Ghanaian President.

This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the first dialogue meeting held between the parties.

The communique captures among other decisions “appeasement and confidence building”, initiatives to be taken by the parties, as part of measures to address the impasse. The measures also included the signing of a presidential pardon, for the release of forty-five (45) out of the ninety-two (92) persons detained in the country’s prisons as a result of their involvement in the demonstrations.

The statement continued, “Other prisoners in detention, as a result of their involvement in the demonstrations, would have their cases examined by the Togolese Judiciary to determine their fate after going into the merits of their individual cases.”

The reform of presidential mandates and the voting system, already provided for in the 2006 Comprehensive Political Agreement has never been carried out, despite the fact that it was meant to conciliate a country whose peace has been fragile for some time now.

Faure Gnassingbé‘s party has reiterated in the local media that it would be “out of the question” to discuss the immediate departure of the Head of State or a commitment on his part to leave power.

 

0
Read More
Davido’s ‘If’ hits Diamond, ‘Fall’ goes Platinum
February 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

NIGERIAN popstar ‘Davido’ Adeleke‘s 2017 hit songs ‘If’ and ‘Fall’ have gone diamond and platinum respectively.

Davido at the Columbia Records office

Davido at the Columbia Records office

According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), this means ‘If’ has been sold or streamed one million times and ‘Fall’ has reached ten million record sales.

Davido shared a photo of himself with his awards and plagues on Tuesday through his Instagram page @davidooficial, writing:

“‘IF’ is officially Diamond and ‘FALL’ is officially Platinum in sales!!! My trophies finally came in as well! GOD IS REAL! Thank you Guys for making this happen!! Just getting started!!! Bless to my team @efe_one@asaasika@missamadi@sirbanko.”

The singer signed a record distribution deal with Sony RCA in the United States in 2016, a move that has led to his huge record sales.

The Plaques were presented at the Columbia Records UK office and Efe Ogbeni who executed the record deal for Davido with Sony was present.

The Managing Directors and President of Columbia UK Stacey Tang, Manish Arora and Ferdy Unger-Hamilton. Vanessa Amadi (Management) and Michael Ugwu were also present during the presentation of the Plaques.

Davido’s win came in shortly after he sold out his Brixton ‘O2’ Live show in London, on Sunday.

The ‘Fall’ crooner was recently won the Soundcity MVP award including ‘Best African Act’ and ‘Best Worldwide Act’.

The singer, who owns music label Davido Music Worldwide (DMW), recently released a new hit ‘Flora my Flawa’.

(NAN)/Real News

0
Read More
ECOWAS must achieve Single Currency by 2020 – Akufo-Addo
February 21, 2018 | 0 Comments
Ghana's President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo flanked by other West African leaders

Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo flanked by other West African leaders

The implementation of the Single Currency for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) targeted for the year 2020 cannot be missed, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said.

Delivering his welcome address at the 5th meeting of the Presidential Task Force on the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme held at the Accra International Conference Centre, President Akufo Addo said “The structure of economies bequeathed to West Africa by the colonists was aimed at servicing the colonial masters, essentially, raw material producing and exporting economies.”

He added that “the quest for an ECOWAS Single Currency is not intended to boost the trading of goods produced in third party countries, it is meant to encourage the production of goods and services within the West African region.”

These observations the President said are the reasons why the targeted timeline of 2020 for the single currency realization ought to be attained.

According to Mr. Akufo-Addo, the structural transformation of West African economies cannot be postponed if the region is to meet the aspirations of its young people for jobs.

The President added that “it is incumbent on West African leaders to strengthen the production base of their economies, improve agricultural productivity and industrial production.”

Over the next two years before the deadline of the implementation of the ECOWAS Single Currency, West African leaders ought to give the roadmap all the attention it deserves in order for the region to introduce the proposed single currency.

ECOWAS and the Single Currency

One of the reasons behind the establishment was to ensure the existence of a single currency in the region. The desire to integrate the region into one economic bloc that will lead to the circulation of a single currency has been on the agenda of various regional Head of States conferences, but it was discovered that colonial loyalties and the long existing monetary cooperation of Francophone nations with France was a strong impediment towards the proposal of such a target.

Also, member states have not been able to meet the set of convergence criteria which led to delays and the shifting of dates in establishing a common currency.

In addition, there is the lack of political will and fear of domination among ECOWAS member states. To solve this problem, it was agreed in April 2000 in Accra, Ghana, that a two-fast-track approach strategy be adopted for the realization of a single currency.

For the first track, the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) was to form a second monetary union called the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) by July 2005, which comprises mainly of Anglophone nations.

The second track is the subsequent merging of WAEMU and WAMZ to form a single currency union in the region.

 

 

0
Read More
Only on AP: Migrant recounts forced deportation from Israel
February 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

By RODNEY MUHUMUZA*

Inside the immigration office in Tel Aviv, Yohannes Tesfagabr considered his options. He could not dare return to his native Eritrea, a country he risked his life to flee in 2010. He also hoped to avoid the fate of compatriots who languished in a notorious desert jail for illegally staying in Israel.

So in an emotional confrontation with immigration officials one day last November, the 29-year-old sous chef accepted what Israeli authorities were offering: $3,500 in cash and a one-way ticket to Uganda or Rwanda.

Two weeks later he was on a flight to Uganda, together with five other Eritrean migrants he did not know.

“They told me, ‘If you don’t leave you are going to jail,'” Tesfagabr recalled. “It’s forced. They tell you to say you are going voluntarily, but it is not voluntary. They force you to deport yourself.”

His case highlights the predicament of tens of thousands of Africans in Israel who face jail if they do not accept an offer, allegedly without further assurances of safety, to relocate to an unnamed African country. Both Uganda and Rwanda, widely presumed to be the likely destinations, have denied the existence of any agreement with Israel’s government even though scores of migrants are believed to have already settled in the East African countries.

Tesfagabr said his group of Eritreans was not taken through the official immigration desk when they arrived in Uganda. Instead, they were ushered in via the cargo area, herded by a Ugandan official who stayed quiet most of the time. They were bundled into two taxis and driven to a hotel in the capital, Kampala. Their passports were confiscated by a man who spoke Tigrinya, a language widely spoken in Eritrea, and who Tesfagabr believes had been hired as a translator. Hours later, the undocumented Eritreans were dismissed from the hotel.

The five other men who traveled with Tesfagabr on a Nov. 16 EgyptAir flight to Uganda declined to talk to The Associated Press because of safety concerns. But Tesfagabr, although similarly worried, said he wanted to speak out because he felt he had been harshly treated during Israel’s efforts to remove him from a country he had grown to love.

“My Hebrew is four times better than my English,” he said one recent evening at a Kampala restaurant patronized by Eritreans.

Tesfagabr, a village boy from Eritrea’s highland area of Debarwa who felt hopeless after being forcefully conscripted into the army, arrived in Israel in 2012, the victim of alleged traffickers in Sudan who took him to Egypt and helped him cross a border point in the Sinai after his family was made to pay a $3,900 ransom. He remembered his days in captivity as some of the worst of his life. To force his parents to pay for his freedom, his captors beat him and staged mock executions. At least two of his compatriots were killed in a shootout with Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai, he said.

But after crossing into Israel, Tesfagabr benefited from random acts of kindness, including from an Israeli man who bought him food and new clothes. In Rehovot, the city south of Tel Aviv where he settled, he found a satisfying job as a sous chef in a bistro. He had an apartment and a bank account, but he had to get his visa renewed every two months and sometimes he was required to report back after five days.

When two compatriots with whom he shared an apartment were jailed for overstaying their visas, Tesfagabr knew his days were numbered and seriously began thinking about leaving Israel.

“They take you like a dog, like a donkey,” he said, talking about migrants taken to the Holot detention center in the Negev desert. “They do what they want. They don’t have any law for us … Because I know if I go over there, I can’t be a human being after.”

This month Israeli authorities began distributing deportation notices to some 40,000 African migrants, who have until April 1 to comply. Nearly all are from Eritrea and Sudan, countries with questionable human rights records. Thousands had entered the country until 2014, when Israel completed a massive border fence.

The deportation plan has sparked outrage in Israel, where groups of pilots, doctors, writers, rabbis and Holocaust survivors have appealed to have it halted. They say the deportations are unethical and would damage Israel’s image as a refuge for Jewish migrants.

Israel contends that most of the migrants are job seekers and cites complaints that they have transformed working-class neighborhoods of southern Tel Aviv into unrecognizable slums. Israeli authorities say women, children and families are exempt from the deportation order.

This month thousands of African asylum seekers protested outside the Rwandan Embassy in Israel, calling the deportations racist and urging Rwanda’s government not to cooperate. They claim they have no rights in Uganda and Rwanda and quickly are forced to flee toward Europe through war-torn countries like Libya.

Okello Oryem, Uganda’s deputy minister of international affairs, described reports of a deal to take in migrants from Israel as “fake news,” and in a statement Rwanda’s government insisted it “has never signed any secret deal with Israel regarding the relocation of African migrants.”

Mossi Raz, an Israeli lawmaker who recently traveled to Rwanda and Uganda in a delegation of opposition politicians to investigate the allegations of an official deal with those countries, said his group concluded that the arrangement “does not ensure the safety and well-being of the refugees.”

Raz said the delegation met with two migrants who are believed to be among the few remaining in Rwanda. He said others who were sent from Israel to Rwanda, believed to be in the hundreds or even thousands, were taken to a hotel in the capital, Kigali, for two days and then transferred to Uganda, forced to pay for their travel. He was unsure whether the transfer to Uganda was carried out via official channels.

The two migrants he met, who had been in Rwanda for two and three years respectively, were unable to work and scraped by on the remainder of the money they had received from Israel, he said.

“The refugees will arrive in these countries and will not receive refugee status, their documents will be taken from them and they will be left with nothing,” Raz said. “Rwanda is only participating in this agreement because of the money it will receive from Israel. Senior government officials in Rwanda claimed that such an agreement does not exist and so there is nothing to discuss. We believe such an agreement does exist.”

This month the speaker of Uganda’s national assembly urged the government to explain the alleged deportations. It remains unclear when that will happen. Musa Ecweru, Uganda’s top refugee official, did not respond to a request for comment. The U.N. migration agency’s office in Uganda told the AP it had not been contacted by the government and knew only “bits and pieces” about the alleged deportations from media reports.

Tesfagabr, the Eritrean migrant, is now jobless, without a passport and dependent on his savings to pay the rent. The soft-spoken man said he feels like a prisoner and dreams of relocating to Europe. To relax, he sometimes plays soccer with his friends, fellow Eritreans with a similarly uncertain future.

“I want to start a new life,” he said, fiddling with his phone.

*AP

0
Read More
Ouattara, others in Ghana for ECOWAS meeting
February 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papis Demba

Niger's Mahamadou Issoufou is in Ghana for the Summit

Niger’s Mahamadou Issoufou is in Ghana for the Summit

Heads of State in West Africa are in Ghana for the 5th Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Presidential Task-force meeting. The conference is aimed at attaining a single currency for the sub-region by 2020.

Ivorian leader Alhassane Ouattara, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, and the President of Niger, Issoufou Mahamadou, are already in Accra, while others are expected in the country for the meeting. Governors of Central Banks and foreign Ministers from the ECOWAS are also in attendance.

The four-day meeting is being chaired by Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. The Meetings will among other things, provide member countries with a common platform to deliberate on issues related to the ECOWAS single currency programme and consider/adopt a revised roadmap to accelerate the creation of the single currency by 2020.

ECOWAS was founded with the aim of transforming the Sub-region into an economic and monetary union. This led to the adoption of the Community Authority of the ECOWAS Monetary’ Cooperation Programme (EMCP) in July 1987.The meeting is scheduled to take place at the Accra International Conference Centre from February 21, 2018.

The last meeting of the Presidential Task Force on the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme was held in Niamey, Niger in October, 2017.

0
Read More
John Mahama, Saraki, Yeda, Alakija, Amina J Mohammed to discuss unlocking Africa’s economic potential at Commonwealth Africa Summit 2018
February 21, 2018 | 0 Comments
The event will encourage dialogue on how to strategize and mobilise valuable African resources that are critical to shaping the continent’s emerging economies
LONDON, United Kingdom, February 20, 2018/ — Unlocking Africa’s economic potential by increasing trade, collaboration and philanthropy within the commonwealth will be at the forefront of conversations at next month’s Commonwealth Africa Summit (http://CommonwealthAfrica.com) in London.

The Summit aims to spark new thinking on how to promote collective action, achieve shared prosperity and common good for Africans leveraging on their relationship with the commonwealth family of nations. Through a series of discussions, the event will encourage dialogue on how to strategise and mobilise valuable African resources that are critical to shaping the continent’s emerging economies.

The 5th in its annual series, the 2018 Commonwealth Africa Summit themed Common Good will have as Keynote Speaker H.E. John Dramani Mahama(Former President of Ghana), Amina J Mohammed (UN Deputy Secretary General), H.E. Senator Bukola Saraki (Senate President of Nigeria), Dr. Hassan Ahmed Hilal (Minister of Environment Sudan), Chief Mrs. Folorunso Alakija (Vice Chair – Famfa Oil), Rt. Hon. Mia Amor Mottley MP (Leader of  Opposition and Former Deputy Prime Minister of Barbados), Dr. Babatope Agbeyo (Chairman Cornfield Group) and others to be announced soon.

Past speakers at the CAS Summit have included HRH Prince Andrew The Duke of York, Gen. Yakubu Gowon; Rt. Hon. Baleka Mbete (Speaker of the Parliament of South Africa), Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Baroness Lynda Chalker of Wallasey; Lord Watson of Richmond; Lord Ahmed of Rotherham; Baroness Uddin of Bethnal Green; Simon Walker, Director General of the British Institute of Directors (IOD); Ministers of Government, Ambassadors and many other Global Leaders.

The 2018 summit will also feature as panellist a wide array of senior Cabinet Ministers and Chief Executives of corporations from Africa and across the Commonwealth including Dr. Hassan Ahmed Hilal (Minister of Environment Sudan), Kate Osamor (UK Shadow Secretary for International Development), Ms. Vivienne Yeda (Director General – East African Development Bank), Mark Pursey (CEO BTP Advisers), Henry Sands (SABI Strategy Group), Isha Johansen (President of Sierra Leone Football Association), Muriel Maupoint (CEO Hope for Children), Sally Anne Wilson (CEO Public Media Alliance), Dr. Justina Mutale (Advisory Board Member – World Leaders Forum), Tim Loughton MPJohn Penrose MP (UK Prime Minister’s Anti-Corruption Champion), Mark Stoleson (Chief Executive Officer and Partner at Legatum), Martin Realey (CEO Build Africa), Debbie Ariyo (CEO AFRUCA), Tim Wainwright (CEO Water Aid), Paul Smith Lomas MBE (CEO of Practical Action), Dr. Babatope Agbeyo (CEO Cornfield Group and Botosoft Inc), Parminder Vir OBE (CEO Tony Elumelu Foundation), Lord Alan Watson of Richmond (Former Chair of Coca Cola Europe Advisory Board), Dayo Israel(Africa Regional Director, Commonwealth Africa Initiative), Odein Ajumogobia (Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Nigeria), Lord Hughes of Woodside(Chair of the British Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM)), Paul Kunert (CEO Joule Africa), Dr. V B Narayanamurthy (Professor, India), Sidney Yankson(CEO Ghana Capital Partners Ltd), Dr. Amy Jadesinmi (CEO LADOL Energy), Elikem Nutifafa Kuenyehia (CEO ENS Ghana), Paul Kunert, DJ Cuppy Otedola, Dr. Ken Ikpe, Mark TierneyHelen Tarnoy (Founder, Managing Director Aldwych International Ltd), Mr. Omar Selim (CEO Arabeque), Edward George (Country Head, UK Representative Office – ECOBANK Group), and many others.

Key themes and conversations will include:

  • How can we beat Africa’s Water Crisis?
  • Strong Economic Leadership: An imperative for Common Good
  • From Emerging Markets to Sustainable Market – Creating Sustainable economies across Africa
  • Africa for Africans: A New Era of Africa Philanthropic Giving and its impact on the continent
  • Are there disruptive solutions to solving Africa’s Energy and Infrastructural Challenges?
  • Economic Prosperity, Poverty and Human Trafficking in Africa: Finding lasting solutions
  • Climate Change: Issues, Priorities and Solutions for the Commonwealth Africa
  • Will Brexit Translate to opportunities for African Economy
  • Improving Opportunities for African Women: The role of economy, policy and culture
  • Beyond Philanthropy: How do we drive more access to finance for Africa’s budding entrepreneurs?
  • Investing in Africa: Where are the opportunities? Where are the financing gaps? How to successfully direct invest?
  • Which emerging markets are ripe for next generation of private equity financing?
  • How can Africa profit from its creative industries?

With more than 300 global and African thought leaders in government and business expected to attend over the three days, the stage will be set for discussion on issues ranging from trade and investment, entrepreneurship, job creation, economic development, health, security and counterterrorism, and energy.

To register for the event, visit www.CASevents.org/cas2018 or for more information about CAFI’s global chain of events, visit www.CASevents.org. For exhibition, contact Secretariat@CommonwealthAfrica.com.

0
Read More
Mapping Africa’s natural resources
February 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

An overview of the continent’s main natural resources.

Africa is a key territory on the global map. Rich in oil and natural resources, the continent holds a strategic position.

Rich in oil and natural resources, Africa is the world’s fastest-growing region for foreign direct investment. It has approximately 30 percent of the earth’s remaining mineral resources.

It’s home to more than 40 different nations and around 2,000 languages. Sub-Saharan Africa has six of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies. North Africa has vast oil and natural gas deposits, the Sahara holds the most strategic nuclear ore, and resources such as coltan, gold, and copper, among many others, are abundant on the continent.

The region is full of promise and untapped riches – from oil and minerals and land to vast amounts of people capital – yet, it has struggled since colonial times to truly realise its potential.

Oil and gas

Africa is home to five of the world’s top oil-producing countries, with an estimated 57 percent of Africa’s export earnings from hydrocarbons.

  • Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and Mozambique are all rich in oil and gas.
  • Proven oil reserves have grown by almost 150 percent, increasing from 53.4 billion barrels since 1980, to 130.3 billion barrels by the end of 2012.
  • The region is home to five of the top 30 oil-producing countries in the world, and nearly $2tn of investments are expected by 2036.

Other resources

Besides oil and gas, Africa is rich in precious minerals, forests and:

  • Diamonds: Angola, Botswana, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Gold: Benin, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Mali, South Africa, Tanzania.
  • Nickel and Uranium: Burundi.
  • Pozzolana: Cape Verde.
  • Fish: Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritius, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles.
  • Timber: Liberia.
  • Titanium: Gambia.
  • Graphite: Madagascar. 
  • Tobacco: Malawi.
  • Iron Ore: Mauritania.
  • Phosphates: Western Sahara, Morocco.
  • Aluminium and Gas: Guinea, Mozambique.
  • Cooper: Uganda, Zambia. 
  • *Source Al Jazeera
0
Read More
Coming to America: Lessons from an African Friend
February 21, 2018 | 0 Comments
 By Fr. Wilfred Emeh*
I grew up at time in Africa when many kids believed that places like Nazareth, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem were in heaven. Among the world’s nations, they perceived the U.S.A. as the closest to heaven, a paradise on Earth. Indeed, the United States is still viewed as the promised land, flowing with milk and honey. Little wonder families undertook, as they still undertake, enormous sacrifices to ensure that their sons or daughters can travel to America.

 

Today, African immigrants in the U.S. see that, although living in an advanced democracy has its advantages, living abroad is neither a goldmine nor a paradise. But African immigrants in the U.S. and Europe often get a chilling response from relatives and friends when they attempt to express the harsh realities of life in our new homeland. They ask questions like, “If it is like you say, what are you doing there?” Or they contradict us with, “See how you have grown fat!”, as if being “fat” were a sign of wealth. Not believing us, first-time visitors, friends, and relatives often come to the U.S. with a warped mindset that confuses facts with fiction and myths with reality.

Precisely because of such unrealistic expectations, visitors may not understand or appreciate the enormous sacrifices their friends and relatives make in order to host them abroad; sometimes hosting a visitor entails sacrificing some hours or days of work, to offer the best to the visitor, yet some visitors are hardly ever satisfied. Some return home and vow never to come back! Others may anxiously establish relationships with American people, leading to strained relationships whenever their friends or relatives  try to caution them against spurious relationships. Some reject the advice pugnaciously, accusing their immigrant friends of being jealous of their relational skills, and wanting to “block” their supposed connections with their newfound friends. But, we ask, how is it possible to hastily establish relationships with Westerners without knowledge of their values, mores, and ways of life?

Consider the story of a Nigerian priest-friend of mine, Thom, and his friend, Paddy (not their real names). Paddy was visiting from Nigeria, and Thom, who honestly dedicated time and resources to make his guest comfortable. Thom had taken time to give Paddy an orientation on the people and their culture. He cautioned him against requesting material things from people and presenting himself as a desperate person from an African jungle. From time to time, Thom would call him to order whenever he struck the wrong chord. Thom was later deeply embarrassed to discover that his friend begrudged him all this advice. When he got back home, Paddy complained that Thom was overly intrusive in his affairs, even going so far as to say that Thom left him alone in the house without garri. As Thom narrated his ordeal to me, I could see the pain in his eyes–yes, ingratitude cuts the heart like a dagger.

It is rightly said that what goes around comes around. Paddy thought his trip was extremely successful because he had found new friends whom he could get along with, Thom aside. He was determined to keep in touch with these people on a regular basis. He was confident that America would become his second home, as long as his American friends invited him back. But it didn’t take long before people started talking about Paddy, and it came to Thom’s knowledge that Paddy had not followed the advice he was given.

One thing Paddy failed to understand was that Americans like speaking about their encounters with people from other cultures, especially visitors from Africa. They try to understand other cultures through the behavior of their visitors. If you call them regularly and ask for any form of assistance, they wonder whether that’s “a cultural thing”. It is within this context that the same people started to question their new African friend’s behavior. As is typical with Americans, they related details of their encounter with Paddy among a close circle of friends. Within a few weeks, Thom discovered how extensive Paddy’s outreach had been. Now, Thom was obliged to answer some hard questions—his friends found Paddy’s requests, which would have been normal in Africa, to be inappropriate and overly dependent. They wondered if all Africans were so desperate.Perhaps readers of “Cameroon Panorama” may offhandedly dismiss Thom’s story as just an awala problem. No, it is not. It is our problem.

Many lessons can be drawn from the true story of my friend. First, visitors should keep in mind and appreciate the enormous sacrifices that their immigrant relatives and friends make to care for them. It is absolutely necessary, not only to understand, but to equally respect people and their cultures, and to avoid imposing one’s cultural traits on others. For example, when Americans say, “Please come again,” it is not necessarily an open invitation, nor a desire to have you back soon. This is just a polite and affirmative expression. Newcomers may mistakenly consider it to be an actual invitation to come again soon. In no way does this diminish the spirit of hospitality and kindness of Americans, but visitors may need a lesson or two in cultural differences in order to understand this.

Another cultural difference: casual greetings like ‘Hello’ and ‘Hi’ are very much ingrained in the American culture. They are a courteous people; on the elevator, on the train, wherever your paths cross, people extend kindly greetings and can even initiate amicable conversations sometimes. It is true that salutation is not love. This is all the more evident in shops and malls, where first-time visitors from Africa may completely misconstrue the warmth of customer service. I was fortunate to have learned about this from a good friend of mine, who lost sleep one night because he thought a salesgirl had fallen in love with him!

Eric had just arrived in America and went shopping for the first time. The girl attended to him at the shop with broad smiles. “Honey,” she said, “how are you? Have you been having a good day so far?” “Did you find everything ok?” And so on. Because of my friend’s foreign accent, the lady was even more courteous. My ebullient friend was completely carried away. He even shopped more than he had planned to. According to my friend, the lady had fallen in love with him. I could not have thought differently had I not learned this lesson from my friend before I ever went shopping for the first time. Yes, even with my collar on, I am addressed as “Honey” or “Sweetheart”!

Independence and privacy are highly valued in American culture.As an African priest, I have observed how this way of life impacts the diocesan clergy. Parishioners can see priests mostly on appointments; rectories are not easily accessible to visitors. Many priests don’t employ cooks, while others have only part-time cooks, like the parish in which I work. Therefore, priests prepare their meals themselves. People cherish their privacy and independence; no one wants to be a burden on another, and everything is scheduled. In no way does this casts doubts on the friendliness of the clergy, it is all a matter of the complex structure of the society and the way of life of the people.

In a way, visitors are like tourists who plan for their trips accordingly. They make great sacrifices; they cherish their exposure and experience rather than any material benefits. Unlike in Africa, where visitors can pop in any time, and sometimes even expect their uncle or father to pay their transport fare back home, this would be absolutely insane in another culture.

Because of all these cultural differences, as a first-time visitor, it is necessary to listen to the counsel of your immigrant relatives and friends without prejudice. It is rightly said that you should listen to your elders’ advice, not because they are always right, but because they have had more experience of being wrong. It is folly to resist advice or read too much into calls to be cautious. What do your relatives and friends have to gain from “blocking” you or standing in your way, as you imagine? They simply don’t want you to repeat their mistakes, and it is all for your good. Like in the case of my Nigerian friend, first time visitors have run into serious trouble by tarnishing their reputations and even the reputations of their entire countries. Rotten apples in a barrel can spoil the good ones. After all, your behavior speaks volumes about your background. When you visit abroad, always go slow, like the proverbial newly arrived chicken that stands on one leg in her new home, otherwise you would fall prey to our lingua franca proverb: “hurry-hurry broke trouser”.

Of course, visiting abroad for the first time ignites much excitement. But, no matter how excited you may be, also be considerate and discreet. Your host cannot always offer you the same kind of reception you got at your very first visit because of the social and economic constraints of life in the Western world. Just as your enthusiasm wanes after your first or second visit, so too with your host. It is not because they don’t value your visit, but it is presumed that you are getting familiar with the way of life and you can manage your own affairs.

In conclusion, hospitality, kindness, and generosity are cultural traits across the U.S. It is here that I have been blessed firsthand to meet some of the nicest people in my life and ministry. I am equally honored by evergreen memories of visits of relatives and friends from home. Nevertheless, stories like those of Thom and Paddy compel me to deeper reflection on life abroad, with all its facets, in a bid to spare people from repeating the same mistakes and as a road map to prospective visitors. In order to make one’s visit profitable, one must understand the cultural dynamics of the people and steer clear from unrealistic expectations.

*Fr  Wilfred E. Emeh is a Roman Catholic priest ,Communications Professional and author of  the book  New Media and the Christian Family: Experiences from the USA and Africa

 

0
Read More
Minority in Ghana’s parliament to boycott Special Prosecutor approval.
February 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papis Demba

Amidu

Amidu

The Minority in Ghana’s legislature is likely to boycott the approval of President Akufo Addo’s candidate for Special Prosecutor. This is despite overwhelming approval from their colleagues on the other side of the aisle. A former deputy Attorney General and minority MP for Bolga East, Dominic Ayine is currently at the Supreme court challenging the legitimacy of the President’s nomination. The lawmaker today reminded the Speaker of Parliament about the possible infraction to the law if Martin Amidu was approved by the House as Special Prosecutor.

“Mr. Speaker I am inviting your good self to make a determination humbly on this matter, in respect of this matter which is before the Supreme Court on the qualification or eligibility of the nominee,” Ayine noted, citing his basis from order 93 of the standing orders of Parliament.

However reacting to the intervention, the Majority  leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, argued that precedence before the house suggest the nominee could  be approved by the House despite the pending case at the court. But the minority has resolved to boycott the debate and subsequent approval of the Special Prosecutor nominee.

If finally cleared by Parliament and sworn in by the President, Martin Amidu will become Ghana’s first Special prosecutor. The Special Prosecutor is a specialized agency tasked to investigate specific cases of corruption involving public officers, politically-exposed persons as well as individuals in the private sector implicated in corrupt practices and to prosecute the offences on the authority of the Attorney-General.

The Office is also expected to help reduce the workload on existing investigative agencies and, thereby, enhance their effectiveness. The establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor has become necessary in view of the institutional bottlenecks that impede the fight against corruption.

 

0
Read More
10yr Cashew development plan Launched By Akufo-Addo in Ghana
February 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

 

President Akufo Addo

President Akufo Addo

Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has launched a 10-year Cahsew Development Plan, aimed at diversifying Ghanaian agriculture.

Recounting a commitment he made last year, the Ghanaian President bemoaned the over-reliance of Ghana’s agriculture on the production and export of cocoa, in contrast with the situation in neighboring Cote d’Ivoire.

President Akufo-Addo noted that Cote d’Ivoire has succeeded in diversifying its agriculture, which included the production and export of other cash crops, and, as a result, earned that country some $12 billion from the export of agricultural produce in 2015.

“To that end, I reiterated my commitment to assist in diversifying Ghanaian agriculture, and transforming, amongst others, cashew into a major cash crop and foreign exchange earner for Ghana. This morning’s event, ladies and gentlemen, is the beginning of the realization of this vision,” the President said.

Highlighting the success of the first year of the Programme for Planting for Food and Jobs, which led to an increase in the production of staples, as well as the creation of thousands of jobs in the rural economy, President Akufo-Addo noted that this development has encouraged government to increase the scope of the programme.

“The Programme is expanding its focus not only to the production of staples, but also to the development and production of some selected crops such as cashew, oil palm, rubber, shea, cotton and coffee, for good reason,” he said.

The President also noted that two out of the top five cashew producing and exporting countries can be found in West Africa, i.e. Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire, countries that have the same geography and topography as that of Ghana.

As part of the Plan to boost the production of cashew, the Rural Development Department of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, together with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, are spearheading the initial production of seedlings for the cultivation of cashew in the country.

“Under the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) project, all 216 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives have been given oversight responsibility for the production of not only cashew seedlings, but also for seedlings of oil palm, shea, cotton, rubber and coffee, for distribution to farmers from next year,” the President said.

He continued, “The seedlings, once distributed, and planted by farmers, will ensure that more rural jobs will be created, in addition to an increase in yield. The potential for further job creation down the value chain through agro-processing is enormous.”

Again, towards the improvement of the country’s current yield, the Ghana Export Promotion Authority commissioned a cashew mass spraying exercise, in Wenchi, involving the provision of GH¢1.6 million for the spraying of some 30,000 hectares of cashew plantation. This is expected to increase cashew production for this crop year by some 30%.

These initiatives, the President added, form an integral part of the Cashew Development Plan, with the plan seeking to improve research methods, introduce appropriate production and processing technologies, as well as develop marketing strategies, amongst others, along the value chain.

He, therefore, urged the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ghana Export Promotion Authority also to incorporate, in this Plan, policies and interventions that will create additional businesses and job opportunities in the areas of storage, transport, and packaging of cashew, which will ensure that our cashew farmers earn higher incomes.

President Akufo-Addo reiterated the commitment of his government to follow through fully on the implementation of this Plan, in addition to other programmes, to propel the growth of the cashew industry.

“I urge the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, our Members of Parliament, farmers, and the private sector to do everything possible to support the Cashew Development Programme. This, together with the other programmes for other selected export crops, would drive industrialization in rural Ghana, diversify agricultural exports, and provide the needed jobs for the teeming masses of unemployed youth of this country,” President Akufo-Addo added.

 

 

0
Read More
NEW STUDY: Grid Electricity and Off-Grid Solutions Alone Are Not Meeting Many Africans’ Energy Demands
February 21, 2018 | 0 Comments
On-Grid Customers Still Rely Heavily on Off-Grid Energy Technologies, and Off-Grid Customers Want On-Grid Electricity
 
A man uses a solar energy panel to charge electric devices in Diebly, an Ivory Coast village without electricity. (Photo: Sia Kambou/AFP/Getty Images)

A man uses a solar energy panel to charge electric devices in Diebly, an Ivory Coast village without electricity. (Photo: Sia Kambou/AFP/Getty Images)

Washington – A new study released today by the Center for Global Development found that neither grid electricity nor off-grid solutions alone are currently adequate to meet many African consumers’ modern energy demands. The survey of consumers in twelve African countries found that on-grid customers still rely heavily on off-grid solutions like generators for their daily lives, and that off-grid customers want access to on-grid electricity.

The researchers analyzed data from mobile phone-based surveys to assess energy service quality and demand in twelve African countries: Benin, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. The surveys were conducted between July 2015 and December 2016, and received responses from 39,000 consumers in 28 languages.
“Making electricity more accessible, reliable, and responsive to African demand across the continent should be a priority,” said Todd Moss, a co-author of the report and a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. “While many policymakers debate whether grid or off-grid solutions are most appropriate, African consumers don’t view these options as an either-or question. Customers who are on the grid want to be able to use off-grid electricity too. And customers who have off-grid power want access to grid electricity to meet growing demand.”
“Off-grid customers may appreciate the lights and basic appliances like phone chargers that off-grid systems can power, but want to move up the energy ladder toward higher power appliances like refrigerators enabled by a grid connection. At the same time, on-grid customers face a host of reliability issues and thus see off-grid options as an important backup.”
Key findings from the survey include:

  • Daily outages are a norm almost everywhere. Among those with access to grid electricity, at least half cited electricity outages at least once a day across almost all surveyed countries. Respondents in Mozambique, Ghana, and Zambia reported the highest prevalence of daily outages. The country with the lowest prevalence of frequent outages was Rwanda, where only 18 percent of respondents experienced multiple outages per day. In all countries, the vast majority reported at least one outage per week.
  • On-grid customers still rely heavily on generators, especially in Nigeria. Almost half of on-grid respondents in Nigeria relied on a generator during power outages – the highest of any other country.
  • Off-grid customers still desire grid electricity. In most countries, off-grid respondents are not completely satisfied by off-grid electricity solutions and retain a high demand for grid electricity.
  • Off-grid, non-generator electricity is inadequate for most respondents’ energy needs. A significant proportion of respondents across the surveyed countries reported that their off-grid electricity solution did not fulfill any of their power needs. This includes almost two-thirds (65 percent) of Rwandans with off-grid, non-generator electricity.
  • In all countries, the majority desire a grid connection. Demand for the grid was highest in Zambia and Ghana, where over 50 percent said that they wanted an electrical connection very much. In all other countries except Senegal and Benin, demand appears to be high but less passionate. Over two-thirds of respondents without an electric connection indicated that they wanted an electrical connection to the national grid either a little or very much.
  • Satisfaction with service from the grid varies widely. Reported satisfaction with grid electricity ran from Mozambique (74 percent satisfied) and Rwanda (71) at the high end to Ghana (19) and Zambia (27).
  • Connection costs and distance from the grid are the most common obstacles to grid electricity. When asked about the greatest obstacle to gaining access to the national grid, most respondents cited either the cost of electricity, the cost of connection, or the lack of proximity to the grid.
  • Demand is high for energy-intensive appliances, especially TVs. Off-grid households indicate a high demand for energy-intensive appliances, particularly televisions and refrigerators. The survey also asked respondents what appliance they would like to purchase if they gained a grid connection (refrigerator, television, hot plate, radio, or iron). Televisions are the most common aspirational purchase across most surveyed countries.
0
Read More
IGD U.S. Roadshow Tour will show the thriving business side of Africa-Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych
February 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych President & CEO of IGD

Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych President & CEO of IGD

The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) is seeking to use a road show tour to re-shape perceptions on doing business in Africa by highlighting trade, and investment opportunities. Discussing the road show with PAV, Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych President & CEO of IGD says it will show the thriving  business side of Africa. Running from April 18 to 28, the road show will have stops in Washington, DC, New York, Des Moines, Iowa, and Houston, Texas.

The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) is embarking a U.S roadshow tour to spur action on increasing U.S. investment in Africa, can put this new initiative in context for us?

The African continent is dynamic and rapidly evolving. We’re seeing some of the fast-growing economies in Africa and a rising influence of homegrown African businesses.  Despite the growth and maturation of the African private sector and markets, many U.S. investors still hold negative perceptions about doing business in Africa.

At IGD, we are very excited about launching the U.S. Roadshow Tour to show the thriving business side of Africa and draw attention to its trade and investment potential to business leaders and investors in the United States.

The U.S. roadshow, which will be from April 18 to 28, seeks to re-shape perceptions on doing business in Africa by highlighting trade and investment opportunities in Africa and to build stronger business connections between U.S. and African companies in key growth sectors in four U.S. cities.

With the maturation of Africa’s private sector, U.S. business leaders now have counterparts to do business with in Africa. A decade or so ago, business largely took place between U.S. business leaders and African government officials. That all has changed.  Today, there are more than 10,000 African companies with revenues of $10 million to $100 million.

Homegrown African businesses are the drivers of growth on the continent and are creating more than 80 percent of jobs in their countries.

The U.S. roadshow tour aims to build stronger, mutually beneficial business relations between the U.S. and Africa.

Why now and what does the IGD hope to achieve or see as outcome?

Well, the trade data says it all. The U.S. and Sub-Saharan Africa has markedly declined in the last few years. U.S imported goods from Sub-Saharan Africa totaled $18.9 billion in 2015, an almost 30 percent decrease from 2014, and down 63 percent from 2005.

The US Trade Representative reports that U.S. imports from Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for just 0.8% of total goods imports in 2015.

For U.S. exports, U.S. goods exports to Sub-Saharan Africa in 2015 were almost $18 billion, down 30 percent from 2014.

That has to change. The U.S. roadshow tour aims to show U.S. business leaders that there’s a market in African countries with the right enabling environment and they have counterparts on the ground for business partnerships.

How does the schedule of the roadshow look like in terms of dates, states to be visited and industries or actors who will engage with IGD?

The U.S. Roadshow kicks off in Washington on April 18 with a Capitol Hill reception in Washington and then a forum on U.S. financing of SMEs and Private Sector Engagement Forum on the 19th.

The New York City roadshow stop will be on April 23-24, focusing on finance, trade, and banking industries. Then we’ll travel to Des Moines, Iowa on April 25 to 26 to highlight agriculture and agro-industry. And finally, our last roadshow stop will be from April 27 to 28 in Houston, Texas, looking at opportunities in the energy and power sectors.

The USA is made of 50 States and the IGD is roadshow is limited to four states, what criteria was used in picking the four states and is this initiative a onetime thing or something that will continue ?

The U.S. Roadshow Tour is our first-ever effort to organize gather U.S. and African business leaders across the United States. We selected each city based on our strong connections in that growth sector. We wanted to ensure that we have solid partners on the ground a deliver an engaging and impactful roadshow.

In each city, African delegates will tour a local industry and gain exposure to cutting edge technologies

and innovation in that sector. The next day, a half-day forum and speed networking with U.S. and African private sector leaders will highlight opportunities as well as constraints in the sector, and forge business relationships that will hopefully translate into business transactions.

We’ve partnered with the USAID Trade & Investment Hubs on the U.S. Roadshow Tour to help companies to navigate the African marketplace.

How do you make the case for investment in Africa to the U.S Investors?

The best way to make the case is to show the opportunities. We launched the Africa Investment Rising campaign to showcase Africa’s business and investment potential through multimedia storytelling, blogs and strategic traditional and social media outreach. On a weekly basis, the campaign produces new content for U.S. investors that makes a compelling case for trade and investment in Africa.

 Its been a year of the Trump Administration, what do you make of his African policy?

The Trump Administration’s U.S.-Africa policy seems to be still evolving. Some of the key African Affairs posts still need to be filled and nominations confirmed at the U.S. Department of State and USAID. The nomination for the Millennium Challenge Corporation needs to be confirmed.

Our Government Affairs office will continue to be out front raising awareness about the trade and economic potential in Africa and in helping to shape the key pieces of legislation related to Africa, including swift passage of The AGOA and MCA Modernization Act in the Senate.

One thing we know for sure is that Donald Trump is a shrewd businessman and will be looking for where he can find the best deals. And Africa’s the place.

To those who are interested in joining the roadshow, how can they get on board?

We hope anyone interested in joining the roadshow will log on to our official event site, www.aircampaign.org, to find out more about each roadshow stop and to register.

What other initiatives and programs will the IGD work on in the course of the year?

IGD continues to convene African companies in targeted agricultural value chains to promote market-led solutions to curbing post-harvest losses through the Rockefeller Foundation’s Yieldwise initiative. IGD will, once again, partner with the African Development Bank on the Leadership4Agriculture Forum in Busan, Korea.

We’ll hold a special session on industrialization on the sidelines of the Afreximbank Annual Meeting in Abuja, Nigeria.

The U.S. Roadshow Tour will culminate at our Frontier 100 Forum, to be held on Nov. 5 and 6 in Johannesburg, South Africa, which will be followed by the African Development Bank’s Africa Investment Forum.

0
Read More
AFRICA IS LOSING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO ILLICIT FINANCIAL FLOWS
February 19, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Stephen Yeboah*

Resource-rich African countries are facing significant economic headwinds. Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, depends on oil for over 90% of its foreign exchange earnings and three-quarters of government revenue. The slump in oil prices has adversely affected Nigeria’s economic prospects, pushing GDP growth into negative territory to -1.5% in 2016 before bouncing back to 1.4% in the 3rd quarter of 2017.

Zambia, the second largest producer of copper in Africa, has also registered an increase in fiscal deficits to about 10% of GDP in 2016 and plans to trim its fiscal deficit to 6.1% of GDP in 2018. This is due to falling prices of copper, which contributed about 73% of total exports in 2015. In both countries, rents from extractive resources have failed to leverage sustainable economic growth and development. In Zambia, for example, the incidence of poverty did not change, at 60%, during 2000–10, despite a doubling of economic output.

But there are more to the challenges that low commodity prices presents to the economies of Nigeria and Zambia.

Trade misinvoicing[i] represents an additional challenge to both economies too. Between 1996 and 2014, underinvoicing of oil exports from Nigeria to the United States was worth $69.7 billion, equivalent to 24.9% of all oil exports to the United States. Also, oil import underinvoicing amounted to $45.6 billion over the 1996−2014 period. In Zambia over the same period a record of $28.9 billion of copper exports to Switzerland, which is more than half of all its copper exports, did not reflect in Switzerland’s import statistics.


Figure 1: Sources of illicit financial flows

The practices of misinvoicing in Nigeria’s oil and Zambia’s copper exports and imports reflect the challenges that illicit financial flows (IFFs)[ii] presents to Africa’s extractive sector. IFFs accounts for a significant share of total capital flight from developing and emerging economies. According to the Global Financial integrity’s latest report this year, sub-Saharan Africa leads all other regions for illicit outflows – estimated at between 7.5% and 11.6% of total trade in 2014. These outflows translate into $36 billion to $69 billion.

Trade misinvoicing, which is a major aspect of illicit financial flows, is a bottleneck on Africa’s growth and opportunity [see Figure 1: forms of illicit financial flows]. It denies African governments billions of dollars in foreign exchange and taxes revenue each year. It also weakens political and economic institutions that are key to state building because the underinvoicing of exports and overinvoicing of imports make it harder for concerned state institutions to impose and collect taxes and levies.

In Africa, the extractive sector, which is a major driver of economic growth and source of revenues, is more prone to illicit flows. The features of the extractive sector – high level of complexity and revenue-generating potential; cross border supply chains; high degree of technological specialization – make it particularly susceptible to the various forms of illicit financial flows. From 2001 to 2014, the extractive industries made up nearly two-thirds of exports from African countries – with oil and gas alone accounting for close to 50% of total exports. The expansion of the of the extractive sector has increased foreign direct investment in Africa from $10 billion to $50 billion between 2000 and 2012. Countries like Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mozambique, Central African Republic are expected to register improved growth, to be driven by the extractive industry.

What do the numbers on illicit financial flows reveal in terms of missed development opportunities? African governments are denied the finance needed to bridge the continent’s huge infrastructure deficit. Let’s take energy, for example. Today, two-thirds of Africans – over 645 million people – lack access to electricity. The continent’s power outages is costing it some 2-4% of GDP per year. Africa lost up to US$69 billion from illicit financial flows in 2014. This is more than the total annual financing required to meet Africa’s energy and climate adaptation needs of about $66 billion:  $55 billion for energy [from 2015-2030] and $11 billion for climate adaptation [up to 2020] (see: Figure 2).


Figure 2: Cost of illicit financial vis-à-vis financial needs for energy and climate adaption. Source: 
Africa Progress Report 2015 ‘Power, People, Planet’.

The good news is that some international and regional initiatives have picked up in countering illicit financial flows. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in September 2015, have under Goal 16 a target that countries will “by 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organized crime”.

The High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, established in 2012 at the 4th Joint African Union Commission/United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (AUC/ECA) Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, has undertaken some measures to create awareness at country levels and to initiate steps to strengthen institutions to counter these practices. The African Development Bank, in its High 5 Agenda, has committed to the fight against illicit financial flows. The AfDB is currently in the process of developing a Bank-wide policy and strategic framework on the prevention of illicit financial flows in Africa.

Africa needs to come up with integrated regional measures and countries need their own policies too. The region must have a dedicated tax information exchange across countries, importantly with countries that host multinational companies. Countries must coordinate to ensure data accessibility from other jurisdictions, including arrangements for automatic exchanges of information with other countries.

The African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), launched in 2009 and with 36 member countries, has ramped up its effort to find solutions to curb illicit financial flows. But this is not enough. African countries must sign onto the Addis Tax Initiative to commit to enhance the mobilisation and effective use of domestic revenues.  So far 13 African countries have joined the initiative. Several African countries provide for the negotiation of Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs), but in practice this mechanism is not applied. Other state institutions also avoid undertaking tax avoidance work. Governments must act. One way of boosting domestic resources to finance development is curbing illicit financial flows, which is prominent in the Africa’s extractive sector.

The continent should not only plug the holes of illicit financial flows, but make its political and economic systems work in terms of deploying functional state institutions to enhance taxation. This demands a coordinated regional approach between different jurisdictions.

By: Stephen Yeboah, Political Guru at BBN Times & Former Research Consultant, African Natural Resources Center, African Development Bank (AfDB). This article was first published by the African Development Bank. This is exclusively my view and not that of the AfDB nor BBN Times.

[i] Trade misinvoicing involves illicitly shifting tax liabilities across jurisdictions involving deliberately misreporting the value of a commercial transaction.

[ii] According to the Global Financial Integrity, Illicit financial flows represent illegal movements of money or capital from one country to another. GFI classifies this movement as an illicit flow when the funds are illegally earned, transferred, and/or utilized.

*Source BBN Times

0
Read More
Merck Foundation and Uganda Ministry of Health together empower childless women through “Merck More Than a Mother’ community groups
February 19, 2018 | 0 Comments
Merck Foundation evaluates the economic and social impact of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ program on infertile women groups in Uganda
Dr.Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation and Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of State of Health, Uganda with ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ Heroines

Dr.Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation and Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of State of Health, Uganda with ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ Heroines

KAMPALA, Uganda, February 19, 2018/ — Merck Foundation (www.Merck-Foundation.com), a non-profit organization and a subsidiary of Merck KGaA Germany (www.Merck.com), and Uganda Ministry of Health (http://Health.go.ug) continue their commitment towards childless women through “Merck More than a Mother’ campaign in the heart of Africa. Merck Foundation evaluated the social and economic impact of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ on childless women in Uganda and encouraged them to continue leading an independent and happier life.

In 2016, Merck Foundation in partnership with Uganda Ministry of Health had started ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ Campaign in the country with the aim to raise awareness about infertility prevention and management, build fertility care capacity and break the stigma around infertile women. They established various income generating projects to support infertile women across the country with the aim of empowering them socially and economically. The business set by Merck Foundation has benefitted over 800 women across Uganda.

“The childless women groups we created in each village are doing a great job. I remember last year they had no purpose in life, no respect from their community and no source of income. Today they have a bank account and a steady monthly income; now they are much happier and stronger.” Explained Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation.

“For me, it’s essential to frequently visit ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ heroines across Africa to influence their transformation. The base of change in these villages is remarkable, and with our efforts and passion this change will be sustainable”, she further emphasized.

During the event, Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of State of Health, Uganda said, “The journey that Merck Foundation has started is a very special journey that has touched the lives of women who have been forgotten in the communities. It has touched not only women but also the lives of men who have been mistreating their women thinking that infertility is an issue of women, not know that 50% infertility is due to the malefactor. I want to thank Merck Foundation for thinking about these women.”

“I feel grateful and honored to be a part of the joy and happiness of these amazing women, who suffered the infertility stigma all their lives. I am glad that the efforts of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ paid off. Now, these women are independent and getting the respect and support they deserved from the community.” Dr. Rasha Kelej added.

About ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign; In many Cultures, childless women suffer discrimination, stigma, and ostracism. Their inability to have children results in great isolation, disinheritance, and assaults. “Merck More Than a Mother” empowers such women through the access to information, health, change of mindsets and economic empowerment.

Merck Foundation provided for more than 40 candidates, three months to six months clinical and practical training for fertility specialists and embryologists in more than 15 countries across Africa and Asia.

Merck Foundation is making history in many African countries where they never had fertility specialists or training facilities before ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ intervention, to train the first fertility specialists such as; in Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, Niger, Chad, and Guinea.

Merck Foundation plan supported the establishment of the first public IVF in Ethiopia through providing the clinical and practical training necessary for their staff. Merck Foundation also plans to support the establishment of the first public IVF in Tanzania soon.

Over 1,200 infertile women in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, CAR, Ethiopia, Liberia, Tanzania, Niger, The Gambia and Cote D’Ivoire who can no longer be treated have been empowered socially and economically to lead independent and happier lives through “Empowering Berna.”

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation and Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of State of Health, Uganda addressing the community in Uganda

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation and Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of State of Health, Uganda addressing the community in Uganda

The Merck Foundation (www.Merck-Foundation.com), established in 2017, is a philanthropic organization that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to innovative healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Foundation Website. Please go to www.Merck-Foundation.com to read more and/or register online to interact and exchange experience with our registered members.
Merck Foundation is a subsidiary of Merck KGaA Germany

About Merck
Merck (www.Merck.com) is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2016, Merck generated sales of € 15.0 billion in 66 countries.
Founded in 1668, Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.

https://youtu.be/oZ7zv64MVMk

0
Read More
Rare Presidential debate for Sierra Leone
February 18, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kuripati

On Thursday 15 February, citizens of Sierra Leone were treated to a first by the country’s six leading political parties as they participated in a first ever all inclusive Presidential debate. Previously Sierra Leone did conduct Presidential debates but they were shunned by the ruling party.

Sierra Leone’s leading television stations and radios l aired live the debate. The debate was scheduled to end at 11:00pm but spilled over ending at 01:00am the following day (Friday).

The presidential debate was held at a conference centre in the capital, Freetown. Close to 200 people packed the conference centre as they looked forward to hearing the constructive debates from the six presidential candidates.

The debate was moderated by an ace journalist from the BBC. Most of the questions asked by the journalist centred on national cohesion, the economy and human development. The choice of questions were mainly inspired by the dire social and economic situation prevailing in the country exacerbated by the Ebola outbreak whose devastating effects are still being felt to this day.

The first round of the Presidential election in the country is going to be conducted on March 7.

This year’s elections will be the first time that an incumbent in Sierra Leone relinquishes power at the end of his term without trying to extend it unconstitutionally or otherwise. The outgoing President, Ernest Bai Koroma served two terms of 5 years each. His reign was however affected by the deadly Ebola outbreak that reversed the country’s growth rate and left him with an unsurmountable task of trying to build the nation from scratch.

The highlight moment of the debate was when the candidate of the ruling party (APC Party), Samura Kamara distanced himself from Komora’s record on corruption. The President and his inner circle which Kamara is part of have been accused of looting some of the country’s resources. Kamara did try to prove his innocence but that led to many follow-up questions firstly from the moderator and then from the public as the question and answer segment began.

Before Thursday, a number of other parties contested the decision to allow only six parties to the debate. They argued saying exclusion of other political parties was tantamount to discrimination. However, the case was dismissed as Parliament said only a party with at least four members of Parliament was allowed to participate in the debate.

The six candidates who participated in the debate are Samura Kamara from the ruling All People’s Congress (APC), Rtg. Brig Julius Maada Bio from the main opposition party, Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). Rtg. Brig Julius Maada Bio is a former Sierra Leone military Head of State. Mohammed Kamairamba from the Alliance Democratic Party (ADP), a breakaway party from the ruling APC. Samuel Sam Sumana from the Coalition 4 Change (C4C), another breakaway party from the ruling APC. Samuel Sam Sumana is also a former Vice President of Sierra Leone sacked by the incumbent Koroma. Kandeh Yumkella from the National Grand Coalition, a breakaway party from the main opposition party, SLPP. Musa Tarawally from the Citizens Democratic Party (CDP).

 

https://youtu.be/6Whe5fbzmLg

 

0
Read More
The playboy who got away with $242m – using ‘black magic’
February 18, 2018 | 0 Comments
Photo: Miami Herald

Photo: Miami Herald

One day in August 1995 a man called Foutanga Babani Sissoko walked into the head office of the Dubai Islamic Bank and asked for a loan to buy a car. The manager agreed, and Sissoko invited him home for dinner. It was the prelude, writes the BBC’s Brigitte Scheffer, to one of the most audacious confidence tricks of all time.

Over dinner, Sissoko made a startling claim. He told the bank manager, Mohammed Ayoub, that he had magic powers. With these powers, he could take a sum of money and double it. He invited his Emirati friend to come again, and to bring some cash.

Black magic is condemned by Islam as blasphemous. Even so, there’s still a widespread belief in it, and Ayoub was taken in by the colourful and mysterious businessman from a remote village in Mali.

When he arrived at Sissoko’s house the next time, carrying his money, a man burst out of a room saying a spirit – a djinn – had just attacked him. He warned Ayoub not to anger the djinn, for fear his money would not be doubled. So Ayoub left his cash in the magic room, and waited.

He said he saw lights and smoke. He heard the voices of spirits. Then there was silence.

The money had indeed doubled.

Ayoub was delighted – and the heist could begin.

“He believed it was Black Magic – that Mr Sissoko could double the money,” says Alan Fine, a Miami attorney the bank later asked to investigate the crime.

“So he would send money to Mr Sissoko – the bank’s money – and he expected it to come back in double the amount.”

Between 1995 and 1998, Ayoub made 183 transfers into Sissoko’s accounts around the world. Sissoko was also running up big credit card bills – in the millions according to Fine – which Ayoub would settle on his behalf.

The Dubai Islamic Bank

In 1998 I was living in Dubai, and I heard rumours that the bank was in trouble. When a newspaper reported that the bank was having cashflow problems, crowds of people gathered outside, waiting to withdraw their money.

The Dubai authorities downplayed the crisis. They called it “a little difficulty that did not lead to any financial losses either in the bank’s investments or depositors’ accounts”.

But this wasn’t true.

“The people who owned the bank took a huge, huge hit. It was not covered by insurance,” says Fine. “The bank was saved because the government stepped in to help. But they gave up a lot of their equity in the bank for that to happen.”

And where was Foutanga Babani Sissoko? By this time, he was far away.

One of the beauties of his scheme was that he did not need to be in Dubai to keep receiving the money.

In November 1995, only weeks after putting on the magic display for Mohammed Ayoub, Sissoko visited another bank in New York, and did much more than open an account.

“He walked into Citibank one day, no appointment, met a teller and he ended up marrying her,” says Alan Fine. “And there’s reason to believe she made his relationship with Citibank more comfortable, and he ended up opening an account there through which, from memory, I’m just going to say more than $100m was wire transferred into the United States.”

In fact, according to a case brought by the Dubai Islamic Bank against Citibank, more than $151m “was debited by Citibank from DIB’s correspondent account without proper authorisation”. The case was later dropped.


Find out more

You can watch The Voodoo Bank Heist on BBC World News on Sat 17 Feb 2018

at 09:10, 20:10 and 02:10 GMT or click here for local times


Sissoko paid his new wife more than half a million dollars for her help.

“I don’t know under what legal regime he married her but he called her a wife and she believed she was a wife,” says Fine.

“She understood that there were many other wives. Some from Africa, some from Miami, some from New York.”

Foutanga Babani Sissoko
Image captionPhoto: Miami Herald

With the bank’s money rolling in, Sissoko could fulfil his dream of opening an airline for West Africa. He bought a used Hawker-Siddeley 125 and a pair of old Boeing 727s. This was the birth of Air Dabia, named after his village in Mali.

But in July 1996, Sissoko made a serious mistake as he tried to buy two Huey helicopters dating from the Vietnam War, for reasons that remain unclear.

“His explanation of why he wanted them was emergency air ambulance. But the helicopters he was looking at were pretty big helicopters, they were not the kind that you see running back and forth to hospitals and trauma centres in the United States, they were much bigger than that,” says Fine.

Because they could be refitted as gunships, the helicopters needed a special export licence. Sissoko’s men tried to speed things up by offering a $30,000 bribe to a customs officer. Instead, they got themselves arrested. And Interpol issued a warrant for Sissoko’s arrest too. He was caught in Geneva, where he’d gone to open another bank account.

Tom Spencer, a Miami lawyer who was asked to represent Sissoko, vividly remembers going to meet him in Geneva’s Champ-Dollon prison.

“I talked with the prison warden, who asked me whether or not Sissoko was going to go to the United States,” Spencer says.

“I said, ‘Well, you know, we’ll see.’ And he said, ‘Well, please delay it as long as possible.’ And I said, ‘Well why?’ And he said, ‘Because he’s flying in fantastic meals from Paris every night, for us.’ And that was my first bizarre encounter with Baba Sissoko.”

The Miami court where Sissoko stood trial
Image captionThe Miami court where Sissoko stood trial (now closed)

Sissoko was quickly extradited to the US, where he started to mobilise influential supporters.

The readiness of diplomats to vouch for Sissoko shocked the judge presiding over his bail hearing. And Tom Spencer was stunned when a former US senator, Birch Bayh, announced he was joining Sissoko’s defence team.

“Well, you have to ask yourself, why would anyone get involved for a foreign national who has no apparent value to the United States?” says Fine. “I don’t know the answer to the question. But it’s an interesting one to pose.”

The US government wanted Sissoko held in custody, but he was bailed for $20m (£14.5m) – a Florida record at the time.

Then he went on a spending spree.

His defence team was rewarded with Mercedes or Jaguar cars. But that was just the start.

Sissoko spent half a million dollars in one jewellery store alone, Fine recalls, and hundreds of thousands in others. In one men’s clothing store he spent more than $150,000.

“He would come in and buy two three four cars at the same time, come back another week and buy two three four cars at the same time. It was just, the money was like wind,” says car dealer Ronil Dufrene.

He calculates that he sold Sissoko between 30 and 35 cars in total.

Sissoko became a Miami celebrity. He already had several wives, but that didn’t stop him marrying more – and housing them in some of the 23 apartments he rented in the city.

“‘Playboy’ is the right word to describe him. Because he is very elegant. And handsome. And he dresses with great style. He blew a lot of money in Miami,” says Sissoko’s cousin, Makan Mousa.

Sissoko was also giving away large sums to good causes. His trial was approaching, and he knew the value of good publicity. In one case witnessed by his cousin, he gave £300,000 ($413,000) to a high-school band that needed money to travel to New York for a Thanksgiving Day parade.

Sissoko with members of the high school bandImage copyrightBBC SPORT
Image captionSissoko donated a large sum of money to a high school band in Miami (Photo: Miami Herald)

Another of his defence lawyers, Prof H T Smith, remembers that on Thursdays he would drive around giving money to homeless people.

“I was thinking, is this some modern day Robin Hood? Why would you steal money and give it away? It doesn’t make any sense,” he says.

“The [Miami] Herald did a story just after he left, and I think – I don’t want to exaggerate but I think they said they could chronicle like $14m he gave away. He was only here 10 months. That’s over a million dollars a month.”

Alan Fine took a slightly more cynical view.

“So much of what he did was for image and to perpetuate a belief that he was a very powerful man and fabulously wealthy. He would give away money, but… to my knowledge it was never done in a way that he didn’t get publicity for it.”

Despite this PR drive, when Sissoko’s case came to court he disregarded his lawyers’ advice and pleaded guilty.

Maybe he calculated that this would provoke fewer questions about his finances.

The sentence was 43 days in prison and a $250,000 fine – paid, of course, by the Dubai Islamic Bank, though without its knowledge.

After serving only half this sentence, he was given early release in return for a $1m payment to a homeless shelter. The rest he was meant to serve under house arrest in Mali.

Instead he returned home to a hero’s welcome.

Foutanga Babani Sissoko
Image captionPhoto: Miami Herald

It was around this time that the Dubai Islamic Bank’s auditors began to notice that something was wrong. Ayoub was getting nervous, and Sissoko had stopped answering his calls.

Finally he confessed to a colleague, who asked how much was missing. Too ashamed to say, Ayoub wrote it on a scrap of paper – 890 million dirhams, the equivalent of $242m (£175m).

He was found guilty of fraud and given three years in jail. It’s rumoured he was also forced to undergo an exorcism, to cure him of his belief in black magic.

Sissoko has never faced justice. In his absence, a Dubai court sentenced him to three years for fraud and practising magic. Interpol issued an arrest warrant and he remains a wanted man.

I found transcripts from other trials at which Sissoko failed to appear, including one in Paris. His lawyer claimed he was a scapegoat for Ayoub’s actions and the bank’s money had gone elsewhere, but the court didn’t swallow it and convicted him of money-laundering.

2013 election poster
Image captionSissoko was a member of Parliament for 12 years

For 12 years, between 2002 and 2014, Sissoko was a member of parliament in Mali, which gave him immunity from prosecution. For the last four years, no longer an MP, he has been protected by the fact that Mali has no extradition treaty with any other country.

The Dubai Islamic Bank, nonetheless, is still pursuing him through the courts.

presentational grey line

I flew to Mali’s capital, Bamako, to find people who might tell me about Sissoko.

I tracked down his seamstress, who remembered him fondly.

“The last time I saw him, two or three years ago, I made him a suitcase of clothes. If he didn’t give out presents, he wasn’t happy. It’s his style. He loves to give things to people,” she said.

I also found his driver, Lukali Ibrahim.

“The good thing about him is that when things are going well you can expect a lot of presents from him. He likes to help people with their problems,” he said. “The bad thing, I can tell you a few. This is someone who always gives people hope but instead of telling you the truth, he’s just leading you on.”

In the market I found a goldsmith who had only praise for a client who would call and ask him to make presents for his friends.

I also heard that he could be found living near his native village, Dabia, which had given its name to Sissoko’s short-lived airline, near Mali’s border with Guinea and Senegal.

After a long drive I found a house that fitted the description I’d been given.

Sissoko's home
Image captionSissoko’s home in Mali

Suddenly, surrounded by armed guards, there he was. Babani Sissoko, in person, now perhaps 70 years old.

He agreed to an interview. The atmosphere was edgy and slightly surreal. He began by telling me about his entry into the world.

“My name is Sissoko Foutanga Dit Babani. You know, the day I was born all the villages round here burned down. The villagers went round shouting, ‘Marietto has had a boy.’ The fire leapt and leapt. There used to be a lot of bush around.”

He then talked about his efforts to rebuild the village, which began in 1985, and about the money he made. At one point he had been worth $400m, he said.

A smiling Sissoko
Image captionSissoko says he was once worth $400m – but that he is poor now

Eventually, I asked about the $242m he had received from the Dubai Islamic Bank.

“Madame, this $242m, this is a slightly crazy story. The gentlemen from the bank should explain how they lost all that money. I mean the $242m. Listen, how could that money have left the bank the way it did? That’s the problem. It’s not this man alone [Ayoub] who authorises the transfers. When the bank transfers money it’s not just one person who does it. Several people have to do it.”

I pointed out to him that Mohammed Ayoub had claimed at his trial that Sissoko had put him under a spell.

“The gentleman you’re talking about, I’ve seen him and met him,” he said.

But the heist, he denied.

“The only contact I had with him was when I went to buy a car. The bank bought it for me and I repaid the loan. It was a Japanese car.”

Had he controlled people by means of black magic?

“Madame, if a person had that kind of power, why would he work? If you have that kind of power you can stay where you are and rob all the banks of the world. In the United States, France, Germany, everywhere. Even here in Africa. You could rob all the banks you want.”

I asked him if he was still rich.

His answer was blunt.

“No I’m not rich any longer. I’m poor.”

Defying Interpol, Sissoko has spent a remarkable 20 years on the run, even if he has squandered all his money and can never leave Mali.

He has never spent a day in jail for the black magic bank heist.

*BBC

0
Read More
‘Black Panther’: Why the relationship between Africans and black Americans is so messed up
February 18, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Larry Madowo and Karen Attiah*

Finally! “Black Panther” weekend has hit the United States. Marvel’s newest superhero film was one of the most anticipated movies in 2018, and already it is poised to shatter box-office records (the film is expected to rake in about $250 million this weekend) and Hollywood stereotypes about black movies not being marketable. Black audiences in the United States are planning special outfits and parties and raising funds to take children to see the film. But how do Africans feel about this fictional tale of Wakanda, especially when black people in the United States and Africa don’t always seem to understand one another? I decided to talk to Kenyan journalist and broadcaster Larry Madowo to get his thoughts on the film, Wakanda and… those accents. Enjoy! — Karen

Karen Attiah: Okay, so I know we are basically going to be talking about Wakanda, this fictional African country in “Black Panther.” I finally saw it on Tuesday, and I still feel like African Americans and Africans have still been speaking in silos about the movie, and not to one another.

So as a Kenyan, what did you think about the movie? How did you feel about Wakanda?

Larry Madowo: So Wakanda looks like a place I want to be a citizen of, because it looks like such a beautiful, egalitarian society, where the women wear their hair natural and they are powerful warriors. It is beautiful in that sense, as a utopia of sorts. Considering the mess so many African countries are in, it’s an escape to see what we can be: the richest country in the world, everything, vibranium in excess. And if you just think, if you build a model for the perfect African country, Wakanda is that.

Karen: With everything that Kenya is going through right now politically, with the messiness over elections, what did you take away from Wakanda?

Larry: It did make me think about Kenya because many of the problems that we have in Kenya — and in most African countries — are a byproduct of colonialism. … Wakanda was not colonized, so they had a chance to build a society that was free of European influence, whether British or French. We call ourselves Francophone Africa versus Anglophone Africa. We categorize ourselves based on who our oppressor was. I always find that a strange thing. Our identity is so deeply tied to our oppression.

Karen: What were the parts of the film that did bother you as a Kenyan? What did you think of the accents?

Larry: The accents are all over the place! It was jarring and annoying to me! They wanted to base the accents on Xhosa from South Africa, but some of it sounded Nigerian, others sounded more Ugandan. It was very confusing, and I understand perfecting an accent is difficult, but oh, my goodness, it was so messy! I really liked the costumes. They were great. But ultimately, Wakanda, at least in the film, is an approximation of African culture, an outsider’s version of what African culture might be like — the rituals, song and dance, the rites of passage.

Karen: Or even the ancestors thing.

Larry: As an African, I didn’t feel accurately represented in “Black Panther.” There was only one African artist whose song played in the background — her name is Babes Wodumo, she’s South African. I have nothing against Kendrick Lamar, but it would be good to be more representative of African music. It was a missed opportunity to shine a spotlight on African musicians on a huge platform. It would have enriched the story.

Karen: For me, it was visually exciting. It was like, “Try to find your culture somewhere!” It was like I was in African history class. I could hear the Nigerian accent. As a Ghanaian, I was like, “There’s kente cloth,” or, “Look, Shuri is wearing aggrey beads!”

Larry: It was like African bingo of sorts!

Karen: I was excited because I’m not used to seeing African elements on the big screen. Even African Americans here do not know that history or those cultural elements. I can see both sides, as someone who has to explain to white people and African Americans about the beauty of African culture and history. So in a way, “Black Panther” is a one-stop shop, get it all in an hour!

Larry: You know the worst thing? There hasn’t been an African premiere for “Black Panther.”

Karen: Wait, but wasn’t there a screening in Kenya, in Lupita Nyong’o’s home town?

Larry: That was arranged by a local movie distribution company and Lupita’s dad, who is the governor of Kisumu. But there has been no African premiere where the cast and crew came to an African city like Nairobi or Kampala, Johannesburg or Lagos — like they have done for South Korea, like they did in London or like in L.A. So this film that celebrates blackness has not had an African premiere!

Karen: But maybe that could be in the works? Lagos, Johannesburg and Accra? These cities represent the growth that Africa is experiencing, the modernity of Africa, which is represented in “Black Panther.”

Larry: I could see why they might not have an African premiere. There are less movie theaters in all of Africa than in just in the U.S., so you might not make that much in the grand scheme of things. But it would have been a huge symbolic thing for a movie that unashamedly elevates blackness. I have friends who are going in full Masai wear to the theaters! They feel represented, and yet, the promotion efforts kind of snubbed them.

Karen: So on tribalism and politics: When Killmonger ascends the throne and you realize that this man is an existential threat to Wakanda, you realize the other tribes don’t see things the same way. For me, when I went to Ghana for the elections in 2008, I was struck by how much tribalism played into politics, that the Ashantis were tied to one party, other tribes to other parties, etc.

Larry: Even today, African political parties have tribal vehicles. They will have a tribal chief who will have the power to determine elections. It is very rare across the continent to find a party that is national in nature. A lot of the conflicts across Africa are tribal. Look at Somalia, which has not had a functional government — so much about the clans. Killmonger, King T’Challa and the Jabari Tribe and how they all want different things — that is what goes on in Africa.

Karen: What did you make of the white characters in the film, the Americans?

Larry: When I was in the theater in Nairobi, and the scene where Jabari did not allow [CIA operative Everett Ross] to speak, the audience clapped! Africans and other black people are tired of seeing white men in white-savior roles. This time, a white man was the sidekick. He was getting his instructions from a black woman, Shuri (Letitia Wright). The representation was satisfying. Let us see some black saviors for a change!

Karen: The role of America is interesting in “Black Panther.” Killmonger, who was trained in U.S. military tactics knows how to destabilize countries going through tricky political transitions or right after coups. In history, you think of Patrice Lumumba’s assassination, and Kwame Nkrumah’s fall in Ghana, which the CIA had a hand in. It’s interesting that in the movie, it was Ross, the CIA agent — converted — who came to see the light about Wakanda and becomes an ally in their fight.

Larry: It was appropriate. Yes, for all the Americans who are upset about Russia interfering in elections, I’m like, “Really, America? You’ve been meddling in African elections since the beginning of time! And you don’t hear us complaining. It’s payback time!” The American in the movie knew how to destabilize and just meddle, because that is what America does best.

Karen: A big part of this film is the relationship between Africans and African Americans, and it’s probably the most complicated relationship in the film.

Larry: It was very indicative of the current relationship between Africans and African Americans. There’s so much animus or competition that I have never quite understood. Both groups use derogatory names to refer to each other. In Africa, African American culture is very big and influential in terms of how people speak and dress. But in creating “Black Panther,” Africans and African Americans came together to create art that black people around the world are proud of. But in everyday life, there is no such unity. I think it’s a vision for what can be possible when the two groups work together.

Karen: In some twisted ways, I identified with Killmonger. Growing up, part of my exploration into where my parents came from, I felt a sort of anger towards Africa. Like, how did colonization happen to you? And the poverty? How are these leaders not doing more? And being black in America, when we are going through fights with racism, police brutality, we wonder if Africans even care. And I think, “Well, African nations can’t help us. They can’t impose sanctions on America for its treatment of black people.” Which is why Wakanda is so amazing: It has the power to help other countries.

Larry: When it comes to African solutions … African countries gave aid to Haiti during the hurricane, Rwanda is taking in unwanted African migrants from Israel. But yes, there is so much more we can do.

A lot of people here supported Black Lives Matter and don’t think police should be shooting black people in the U.S., but they are perfectly okay with the Kenyan or Zimbabwean police cracking down on protesters violently. You speak out against an injustice half a world away, but when there’s injustice right on your doorstep, you’re okay with it because of the party or politician you endorse.

Karen: At the end, when Killmonger is dying, he says wants to be buried in the water with his ancestors, who would rather jump off slave ships than be in bondage. It seems then he personally identifies with slaves as his ancestors and not the ancestors of Wakanda. That’s how deep the divisions are [between Africans and African Americans].

Larry: It reminded me of Kunta Kinte from “Roots,” who was a warrior that was taken away. There are people who say of slavery, “I would have not allowed myself to be taken.” I see what he was trying to do there — my ancestors were brave. It is a sort of misplaced bravado.

Karen: And gender in the film? How women are depicted?

Larry: Africa is a deeply patriarchal society. In this film, women are equal to the men. They protect the king! They have a mind of their own. Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) doesn’t want to just get married and be a trophy wife.  All the women wear natural hair. In the continent, where weaves and wigs are big business, it’s a legacy of colonialism that kinky hair is not seen as professional.It’s not what you get married in or wear to the office.

Karen: Ah, so you are #TeamNatural! And the power of the women doesn’t diminish King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman). Africa has had societies in which women played more equal roles before the British came with their Victorian ideas about gender divisions. It made me think that Wakanda’s strength is how it capitalizes on the strengths of both men and women. In this #MeToo moment, part of the tragedy of sexism is that it denies women opportunities to be participants in society. Conversely to how women are treated in Wakanda, Killmonger, he’s this hypermasculine, destructive force. He kills his girlfriend who helps him on his mission.

Larry: I think he’s the personification of toxic masculinity that is so prevalent in black culture.

Karen: I think there’s a very American flavor to his type of anger, but I think of this especially in the wake of the Florida shooting yesterday, in which a teenager walked into a school and killed 17 people. He abused his ex-girlfriend and stalked another girl, before unleashing his anger and violence on others. But yes, I know sometimes that even Africans have an stereotype that black Americans are gangsters and violent.

Larry: Maybe that’s the one overriding stereotype about African Americans here that’s reinforced by hip-hop and quite a few movies. When Africans say, “I’m gangsta,” they’re always referring to the African American caricature.

Karen: Well, thanks so much. Here in the U.S., we’ve gone through a year of Donald Trump. We’ve seen overt anti-black racism. We’ve seen KKK marching in the streets, the attempts to keep out and/or deport black and brown immigrants. The filmmakers could not have predicted that this would be the political moment we would be in; it has come at a moment where we’ve needed something empowering.

Larry: After the kind of year you all have had in America, no one should take this moment away from you. No one should try to diminish it. From those of us from the outside looking in, finally we have a beautiful celebration of blackness. You all absolutely deserve it!

*Culled from Washington Post

0
Read More
FarEye To Benefit 175 Million Online Shoppers of Africa With Its Parcel Shop Technology – ‘Drop&Pick’
February 17, 2018 | 0 Comments
Key Highlights: 
 
  • Kushal Nahata, Co-Founder and CEO, responsible for driving the vision, strategy and growth at FarEye

    Kushal Nahata, Co-Founder and CEO, responsible for driving the vision, strategy and growth at FarEye

    The internet penetration in the African markets is 16% today and is set increase by 50% in 2025. There are 57 million people who have smartphones in Africa and there will be 360 million in 2025.

  • eCommerce-logistics companies of the region must adapt to new technologies in order to support their delivery infrastructure.
  • Parcel shops to book, manage, track and deliver to the end customer – making eCommerce convenient for the seller and consumer. Mobile Application enables already established local stores to become pickup and drop points for parcels – saving time, reducing cost and increasing revenue.
  • FarEye’s technology is enabling paperless delivery of parcels to companies and homes alike, across the world this holiday season.
  • FarEye’s technology is aimed towards major enterprises and logistics firms globally – sees strong enterprise demand.
  • Technology has been designed to meet the huge demand for fast parcel facilitation in the logistics sector, as well as for end users – particularly with the growth of eCommerce and online shopping, providing major benefits to e-tailers, and SMEs who demand fast and convenient delivery services.
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, February 16th 2018 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- FarEye, a digital logistics platform, is pleased to announce the successful introduction of its new parcel shop technology – ‘Drop&Pick’. Launched in January 2017 the technology is already being incorporated by various large businesses like DHL, DTDC, First Flight and many others to facilitate paperless, high speed and secure dispatch/delivery of parcels through its parcel shop network.

FarEye’s ‘Drop&Pick’– aimed at major enterprises and logistics firms globally is built to fulfil the need for fast and convenient dispatch/delivery of parcels with minimal cost of infrastructure. Its successful roll out is now revolutionizing traditional dispatch/delivery processes into efficient and customer-centric approaches.

‘Drop&Pick’ follows a key three phased – book, manage and deliver process, which is based around a simple to use and intuitive mobile application. The app enables any parcel shop to quickly register a parcel, and the sender’s details (including capturing handwritten information), followed by scanning the shipment and adding recipient name, delivery details and parcel size. It then calculates shipping fees which the sender can pay in multiple ways – prepaid, wallets, cash or card. The parcel shop personnel can also book multiple parcels under one sender ID. In the back end – data entry processes convert images to actual data. The parcel is then handed over to the courier and electronic proof of transfer is collected, who then delivers to the end customer and once again, receives electronic proof of delivery from the customer.

This technology while enables quick and seamless dispatch and receiving of parcels – has two additional benefits:

  1. SME Ecosystem development – The technology is providing significant benefits for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro-SMEs who want to sell their products online but cannot build an in-house delivery infrastructure. Their hence need fast and convenient delivery services for their customers. The sellers may easily deposit their parcels at selected parcel shops or they can also raise a parcel booking request online (and prepay it). It generates a ‘parcel label’ which then acts as a unique order ID.
  2. Reduced carbon emissions: Door to door delivery can waste a lot of time and fuel in finding home addresses, while if parcel is dropped at a network shop, it saves resources. The customer can later collect the parcel at his or her convenience.

This technology is also targeted towards logistics businesses offering franchise models. While this model has been available since a long time to book parcels, the need now is to add a layer of visibility and efficiency to the processes to help businesses make real-time data backed decisions and in parallel empower the customers with easy deliveries, event alerts & notifications. The customer gets an option of getting parcel delivered to a nearby ‘parcel shop’, both -during the time of order placement as well as before the actual delivery.

Kushal Nahata, Co-Founder and CEO, FarEye says, “The reaction to FarEye’s parcel shop technology – ‘Drop&Pick’ has been exceptional. The product is built to enable fast & convenient delivery/dispatch of parcels which provides logistics companies innovative and value-added services, thus increasing their revenue streams while enhancing their customers’ experience.” 


Kushal further adds, “There is a sharp increase in online transactions and both sellers & buyers require smart and efficient dispatch & delivery of goods as quickly as possible. The global ecommerce market is about 2 trillion USD and FarEye with its technology excellence is integrating into the systems of major logistics service providers, helping them capture this market. Our Mobile Application for Parcel Shop Delivery is a key aspect of the technology, which is being used by many of our clients including DHL. We expect to see the use of this technology across many key markets in 2018.”

 

About FarEye

FarEye is a carrier agnostic SaaS platform that digitalizes logistics by integrating and optimizing business processes and adding a predictability layer to make them more efficient. FarEye has designed the world’s first BPM Engine for the modern-age logistics function, enabling companies to become agile and reduce their go-to-market time.

The solution uses a blend of mobility and geo-intelligence to provide real-time multi-enterprise visibility of logistics function.

FarEye empowers the logistics & distribution wings of over 75 large organizations across 15 countries globally. With a growth rate of over 360%, FarEye aims to break down operational silos and enables multi-enterprise collaboration thus helping organizations to champion operational efficiency and customer experience. FarEye executes more than 500 million shipments annually and has increased the first-time successful delivery attempts by 25%, reduced the fuel expenses by 28% and increased the successful customer visits by 66%. FarEye has saved 45,000 million sheets of paper & more than 620 million miles of travel in its quest to promote sustainable logistics.

0
Read More
Discovery Channel Don’t Stop Wondering Award returns for a second year
February 16, 2018 | 0 Comments
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, February 15th, 2018,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/-
Following the success of 2017, the ‘Discovery Channel Don’t Stop Wondering Award’ is back for a second consecutive year. After receiving over 200 entries from all over the continent in 2017, Discovery is renewing its partnership with the Jozi Film Festival once again to find its next great African filmmaker.
Submissions for the ‘Discovery Channel Don’t Stop Wondering Award’ open on Monday, 19 February and close on Monday 28 May, calling for 2-5 minute documentaries from filmmakers across Africa which showcase and celebrate unique African stories and capture Discovery Channel’s ethos of sparking curiosity.
“Last year’s entries blew us away, with their creative, emotive and thought-provoking portrayals of the diversity of Africa’s culture and people,” said Amanda Turnbull, VP & Country Manager for Discovery Networks Middle East and Africa. “This year, alongside the Jozi Film Festival, we are excited to once again to recognize and reward Africa’s talented filmmakers, and showcase even more creative stories that fulfill Discovery Channel’s ethos of sparking curiosity.”
“Partnering with Discovery Channel was a wonderful success and thanks to this award we were able to showcase some amazing African talent. This year we look forward to the entries we will be receiving”, said Lisa Henry, Jozi Film Festival Founder and Organiser.
This year’s prize from Discovery Channel will include a Canon XF-405 video camera with Singer Photographic camera accessories worth over $5,800 in order for the winner to use for their next filming project. “We are so pleased to be able to contribute to such an incredible initiative and provide aspiring filmmakers with our equipment which is specifically designed to help them create more of their memorable stories,” said Roger Machin, Canon Product Manager – Professional Imaging Products.
“We believe that given the correct tools and production equipment, these innovative and determined individuals will be able to create even more amazing work and ensure that the continent gets to see high quality story telling”, said Kevin Singer, Singer Photographic Managing Director.
The Top 10 films, as selected by a Discovery and Jozi Film Festival jury, will be broadcast on Discovery Channel in July and August and later at the seventh annual Jozi Film Festival in September. The winning film will be selected by popular vote via the voting tool on Discovery’s website: www.discoverychannelafrica.com and the winner will be flown to Johannesburg to receive their prize at the Jozi Film Festival awards to be held on Sunday, 30 September 2018.
Entrants must be 18+ and be an African resident. Submitted films must be in English or include English subtitles. To enter go to discoveryafrica.com, terms and conditions apply. The closing date is the 28th of May 2018 at 19:00 CAT.
In 2017 Discovery Channel launched its partnership with the Jozi Film Festival with its Discovery Channel Don’t Stop Wondering award. After over 200 entries and over 2000 votes received from across the continent, the inaugural award went to Dusty Van Niekerk’s The Tragedy of Africa, which depicted the sad reality of rhino poaching across Southern Africa, and encouraged viewers to take action to help save our rhinos.
ABOUT DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS
Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) satisfies curiosity and engages superfans with a portfolio of premium nonfiction, sports and kids programming brands. Reaching 3 billion cumulative viewers across pay-TV and free-to-air platforms in more than 220 countries and territories, Discovery’s portfolio includes the global brands Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, Science and Turbo/Velocity, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport, the leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports content across Europe. Discovery reaches audiences across screens through digital-first programming from Discovery VR, over-the-top offerings Eurosport Player and Dplay, as well as TV Everywhere products comprising the GO portfolio of TVE apps and Discovery K!ds Play. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.
ABOUT THE JOZI FILM FESTIVAL
The Jozi Film Festival was initially created to provide a platform for local filmmakers in Johannesburg, and to develop an audience for South African films. While still prioritizing local film, JFF now accept films from around the world – features, short films, documentaries and student films. We are the longest running multi-genre festival in the City of Gold and our motto remains the same from Day One: We Love Jozi. We Love Film.
The Jozi Film Festival strongly supports independent films.
0
Read More
Senegal line-up four friendlies ahead of World Cup in Russia
February 14, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Oluwashina Okeleji*

Senegal will play in Group H of the World Cup in Russia, alongside Poland, Colombia and Japan.

Senegal will play in Group H of the World Cup in Russia, alongside Poland, Colombia and Japan.

The Senegal Football Federation (FSF) has confirmed that the Teranga Lions will play Uzbekistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Luxembourg and Croatia in friendly internationals ahead of the World Cup in Russia later this year.

The West Africans will play Uzbekistan in Morocco on 23 March, Bosnia and Herzegovina four days later in France, Luxembourg on 31 May and Croatia in Zagreb on 8 June.

Senegal see the Eastern Europeans (Bosnia and Croatia) as similar opposition to Poland who they will play in their opening Group H fixture at the World Cup.

FSF officials are also seeking an Asian or a South American opponent for a friendly date on 12 June ahead of the tournament in Russia.

The FSF president Augustin Senghor announced at a press conference on Tuesday that the team will not be playing at home in Dakar in June.

“The team will have most of their preparation camp in Vittel (northeastern France). It was a decision taken because of the weather in Senegal in June and the current state of the pitch at the Léopold-Sédar-Senghor stadium (in Dakar),” Senghor said.

“The choice of a training base in Vittel was strictly chosen by the coach Aliou Cissé.

At their first and only World Cup appearance in 2002, Senegal – led by then captain and now coach Aliou Cisse – reached the quarter-finals and beat a star-studded French side in the group stages.

This time around, Senegal will have to get past Poland, Colombia and Japan in Group H of the tournament in Russia.

Senegal’s sports minister, Matar Ba, has already challenged the Teranga Lions to become the first ever African nation to reach the World Cup semi-finals.

The Teranga Lions will begin their World Cup Group H campaign against Poland on 19 June in Moscow before they play Japan on 24 June and then Colombia four days later.

 *BBC
0
Read More
Sanders on Africa: Democracy and Governance Key To Sustainable Development
February 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L & Prince Kuripati

Amb Sanders at a book signing, much of her advocacy work is still centered around Africa

Amb Sanders at a book signing, much of her advocacy work is still centered around Africa

As the Trump Administration settles on business, trade, and investments as the cornerstones of its African policy, democracy and governance must be added to the dynamic says Ambassador Robin Sanders of the FEEDS Advocacy Group.

Talking to PAV recently in a phone interview, Sanders who served as Ambassador to Nigeria and Congo, believes that good business, trade, and investment can only thrive better in the right democratic environment, with sound principle of governance that can help sustain development.

To Ambassador Sanders, these two tangibles, democracy and governance are crucial because all facets of development are undermined if there is no security, and if the political environment is not open. Business, trade, and investment promotion cannot thrive in an unstable environment, she said.

In reference to the recent unfortunate remarks by President Trump referencing Africa in derogatory slurs, Ambassador Sanders described them as inaccurate and unfortunate. She went on to say that, the views certainly did not represent the perceptions of Americans. It is for this reason that she joined some 77 other former U.S Ambassadors who served in Africa to put distance between themselves and the American people from the remarks of the President.

“We wanted to show that the perception was not only inaccurate and untrue, but certainly not a representative of how Americans feel about a continent of 1.5 billion people,” Ambassador Sanders said.

Ambassador Robin Sanders and former Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnie Carson pictured here here with former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan joined other former US Ambassadors who served in Africa to distance themselves from the President's remarks in a letter

Ambassador Robin Sanders and former Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnie Carson pictured here here with former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan joined other former US Ambassadors who served in Africa to distance themselves from the President’s remarks in a letter

Though unfortunate, Ambassador Sanders said the whole debacle actually helped in opening the eyes of the current US administration on the need to build a relationship with Africa, and the planned visit of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Africa in March will be a step in the right direction, she said.

Ambassador Sanders pointed out that while the current U.S administration may have floundered in terms of making official visits, and cementing existing ties with individual countries, it however, knew the strategic importance of Africa as a business, and security partner as evidenced by the US National Security Strategy document that lays out the importance of Africa to the US security.

Conceding that many Americans still have a pre-1990 view of what Africa is as a continent; Ambassador Sander said a lot of efforts are put in by herself, other Diplomats who served in Africa, and a host of other people and groups to dispel these perceptions. Acknowledging that the anger and disappointment may take a while to cool off, Ambassador Sanders said there are many examples that point to the solidity of U.S –African relations. The U.S government still provides the largest amount of development aid to the African region.

Shedding light on the FEEEDS (Food Security, Education, Environment, Energy, Economics, Democracy-development, and Self-help) program that has kept her actively engaged on Africa, Ambassador Sanders said, the focus areas of the advocacy group are vital both for Africa, and the USA.

Discussing her book “The rise of Africa small and medium enterprises: spurring development and growing the middle class,” Sanders said it highlights the importance of SMEs in the growth and development of Africa. To Ambassador Sanders, millennials are beginning to take control of their destiny as they are building robust SMEs that are putting the continent on the world map. The book also exposes the link between economic development and security, highlighting that economic development is crucial if a country wants to safeguard its security.

Despite the regression witnessed from her assessment of the last 18 months, Ambassador Sanders said Nigeria’s democracy and civil society had really matured in recent years. The 2015 election enabled Ambassador Sanders and her team to get a deeper insight into Nigeria’s democracy and according to her, the election showed the country’s political maturity.

Still very attached to Nigeria, Ambassador Sanders says despite the regression of the past 18 months, democracy and the civil society have matured well in the country

Still very attached to Nigeria, Ambassador Sanders says despite the regression of the past 18 months, democracy and the civil society have matured well in the country

On Congo, Ambassador Sanders said though the country had gone through a brutal civil war, she was impressed with the rebuilding of the country in terms of infrastructure when she visited there a few years back.

Mutual respect must be underscored, Ambassador Sanders said in response to a question on the future of U.S –African ties.

“There needs to be a direct understanding that there is an important partnership that America need to have with Africa, and the people of Africa,” Ambassador Sanders said while expressing hope that misperceptions that Americans have about the continent will eventually be erased. Expressing optimism about the upcoming trip of Secretary of State Tillerson to the continent, Ambassador Sanders said the outcome maybe a change of perspective from him and the administration once he sees the realities of the emerging Africa for himself.

 

 

 

0
Read More
Merck Foundation signs Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with African First Ladies Organization to build Cancer and Fertility Care Capacity in their Countries
February 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
Marking the “World Cancer Day” at African Union Assembly, Merck Foundation pledges to continue their commitment to provide oncology fellowship program across Africa in partnership with African First Ladies
(L-R) H.E. Madam Sia Koroma, First Lady, Sierra Leone, H.E. First Lady of the Republic of The Gambia, Madame Fatoumattah Bah-Barrow and H.E. First Lady of Lesotho Madame Maesaiah Thabane and Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation

(L-R) H.E. Madam Sia Koroma, First Lady, Sierra Leone, H.E. First Lady of the Republic of The Gambia, Madame Fatoumattah Bah-Barrow and H.E. First Lady of Lesotho Madame Maesaiah Thabane and Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, February 12, 2018/ — Merck Foundation, a non-profit organization and a subsidiary of Merck KGaA Germany (www.Merck.com), signs Memorandum of Understanding -MoU with the African First Ladies Organization with the aim to achieve the objectives of raising awareness, building professional capacity and improving healthcare access in the field of Cancer and fertility care in Africa.

Merck Foundation has conducted many educational and fellowship programs in Africa since 2012 in the field of non-communicable diseases through Merck Cancer Access Program, Merck capacity Advancement ProgramMerck STEM Program and Merck more than a Mother campaign.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation emphasized during the signing event, “We are delighted to partner with the African First Ladies Organization, to build health capacity and improve healthcare access in the field of cancer and fertility care, Merck Foundation dedicate majority of their efforts to build healthcare capacity in Africa and developing countries and with this partnership, we will be able to achieve our vision of a world where everyone can lead a healthy and fulfilling life.”

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation with H.E. First Lady of the Republic of Chad Madame Hinda Deby Itno

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation with H.E. First Lady of the Republic of Chad Madame Hinda Deby Itno

The MOU aims to raise awareness optimally about the prevention, management and de-stigmatization of infertility and cancer in women. It will also aim to build profession capacity and improve access to fertility and cancer care in cooperation with the African First Ladies in their countries.

In 2017 alone, MF initiated the following activities in partnership with academia, ministries of health and the offices of First Ladies in more than 35 countries:

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation with H.E. Madam Roman Tesfaye, the First Lady of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Chairperson of African First Ladies Organization during the MoU signing event at The African Union Assembly, Ethiopia

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation with H.E. Madam Roman Tesfaye, the First Lady of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Chairperson of African First Ladies Organization during the MoU signing event at The African Union Assembly, Ethiopia

Merck Cancer Access Program:
Over 30 African physicians received Oncology Fellowship programs spanning one to two years, with the aim to help increase the limited number of oncologists in Africa.

Merck more than a Mother:
More than 40 candidates received three-month clinical training to be embryologists and fertility specialists in Africa and Asia to improve quality, regulated and safe fertility care in developing countries.

Merck Diabetes and Hypertension Awards:
Over 50 medical postgraduates will receive a one-year online diploma in diabetes or preventive cardiovascular medicines, as part of the effort to establish a platform of diabetes and hypertension experts in Africa and Asia.

The Merck Foundation upholds its commitment to building capacity and improving access to quality and equitable healthcare solutions with special focus on cancer and fertility care in Africa. So far, doctors from Uganda, Zambia, Ethiopia, Namibia, Tanzania, Ghana, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Botswana, Liberia, Rwanda, Kenya, Chad, Niger, Guinea, Gambia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal have benefitted from Merck Foundation programs. Merck Foundation aims to expand to more African and Asian countries in the near future.

First Lady of Central African Republic H.E. Madame Brigitte Touadera with Dr Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation

First Lady of Central African Republic H.E. Madame Brigitte Touadera with Dr Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation

The Merck Foundation (www.Merck-Foundation.com), established in 2017, is a philanthropic organization that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to innovative healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Foundation Website. Please go to www.Merck-Foundation.com to read more and/or register online to interact and exchange experience with our registered members.
Merck Foundation is a subsidiary of Merck KGaA Germany

About Merck
Merck (www.Merck.com) is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2016, Merck generated sales of € 15.0 billion in 66 countries.
Founded in 1668, Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.

0
Read More
Kenya’s HydroIQ wins “Startup of the year Africa 2018”
February 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
This year, more than 600 startups from 52 different countries took part, more than 12 000 online votes were gathered, and 41 million people reached on social media
CASABLANCA, Morocco, February 12, 2018/ — Startup.Info (https://Startup.info) has announced the winners of the “Startup of the Year 2018 competition” following an awards ceremony which took place in Casablanca at the end of last month.

Following the success of the first edition of “Startup of the year Africa”, the collaborative startup magazine Startup.Info has reiterated its commitment to supporting African innovation. With the support of major international groups such as OCP, ENGIE, QWANT, FINANCE INNOVATION, PwC, Labs-NS-Avocats, Holmarcom Group, Royal Air Maroc, as well as 70 media and ecosystem partners, Startup.Info launched the 2nd edition of the contest “Startup of the year Africa”.

This year, more than 600 startups from 52 different countries took part, more than 12 000 online votes were gathered, and 41 million people reached on social media.

The jury of experts of the competition « Startup of the year Africa 2018 » on January 24, 2018 to choose the winners of the following awards:

Startup of the Year Africa 2018: HydroIQ (Kenya) (https://Startup.info/hydroiq)

Founded by Brian Bosire & Victor Shikoli, HydroIQ is a virtual Water Network Operator. It brings intelligence in water distribution by preventing leakages on the network and automatic (mobile) billing a payment.

QWANT PUBLIC CHOICE Award: Ecodome (Maroc) (https://Startup.info/fr/ecodomemaroc)

Founded by Youness Ouazri, Ecodome Maroc produces ecotouristic housing made of natural soil in the form of domes.

OCP – AGRITECH Special Prize: GRACE AGRICOLE DE COTE D’IVOIRE (Côte d’Ivoire) (https://Startup.info/fr/graci)

Founded by Brou Kouame Yves Laurent, GRACI is a startup aiming at the development of rice production in Ivory Coast. It proposes a program of production, certification and distribution of Improved Certified Seeds of rice.

ENGIE Special Prize STARTUP OF THE YEAR Award : Peachwater Consulting (Nigeria) (https://Startup.info/powerstove)

Founded by Okey Ibekwe Esse, Peachwater Consulting designs, manufactures and markets Powerstove clean cookstove that is smokeless and generates electricity with 70% less biomass fuel than competitors.

FINANCE INNOVATION – FINTECH DESTINATION AFRICA & 

ROYAL AIR MAROC – AFRICA DIASPORA Award : Semoa (France) (https://Startup.info/fr/semoa

Founded by Edem ADJAMAGBO, SEMOA proposes a solution to the development of e-commerce in Africa by installing payment terminals throughout the continent.

Holmarcom Group Special Prize: THEA (France)

Founded by Dr. Eloi MONKAM, THEA is a medical mobile app that connects patients to doctors for a first diagnosis.

PwC – JURY CHOICE AWARD: Priyo (South Africa) (https://Startup.info/priyo)

Founded by Palesa Mahlatji, PRIYO has developed a portable solar digital smart computer lab to train youth from underprivileged, under-resourced schools and communities in rural and peri-urban areas on how to use the computer. Priyo trains them in IT: End user computing, ICT, Digital Marketing and E-Learning and links job seekers to online employment opportunities.

COMMUNITY MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Project Alpha (Madagascar) (https://Startup.info/fr/projectalpha)

Founded by Muriel RANDRIAMASIMANANA, Project Alpha is an event agency. Its principal activity is based on video games and e-sport phenomena.

JURY and EXPERTS « STARTUP OF THE YEAR AFRICA 2018 »

The finalists of the competition have been selected by a jury of experts, DGs of big international groups and successful startuppers:

  • Selma Bennis, OCP Entrepreneurship Network, Head of Partnership and Finance
  • Amine Homman, Regional director, ENGIE North Africa
  • Eric Leandri, Chairman, QWANT
  • Stéphane Quéré, Director, ENGIE
  • Joëlle Durieux, Executive Director, FINANCE INNOVATION
  • Kossi Adzo, Founder, Startup.Info
  • Bernard Gainnier, Chairman, PwC France and Francophone Africa
  • Fortuné Ahoulouma, Lawyer at Paris bar, PhD, LABS-NS AVOCATS
  • Noël Albertus, Executive Director, PwC Advisory Maghreb and Francophone Africa
  • Kosi Vuti, Executive Director, Midrange Consulting
  • Bruno Pennel, CIO, Bernis Investissement
  • Cécile Saint Jean, Director, PwC France
  • Zouhair Mouhib, Royal Air Maroc, Innovation & Digital partnerships manager
  • Mohamed Laraqui, Holmarcom Group, Project Manager
  • Cyril Armange, Directeur des Partenariats, FINANCE INNOVATION

The Awards Ceremony has been broadcast live (videos & live tweets) during its entire duration. You can have an overview on Facebook and Twitter pages with the hashtag #StartupAfro

The winners will receive the following awards:

Jury Prizes « Startup of the Year Africa 2018 »:

The following rewards will correspond to different kinds of prizes:

The Jury Award « Startup of the Year Africa 2018 »:

  • Main prize: African startup of the year :  10,000€ in Cash and a 10,000€ Visibility Pack (Startup.info website background with 100,000+ views, mention in press campaign, banner in emailing), integration into our partners’ business network.
  • PwC – Jury-s choice award:  Visibility Pack with 50,000 views and integration into our partners’ business network.

Special Partner Awards:

In addition to the jury and the public awards, our partners will grant special awards accompanied with a Startup.Info communication pack :

  • OCP – AGRITECH Special PRIZE: 10000€ visibility Pack offered by Startup.info, visibility in OCP internal network, integration into entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem of OCP Entrepreneurship Network
  • engie – SPECIAL PRIZE : 10,000€ Visibility Pack offered by Startup.info, visibility in ENGIE internal network, integration into entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem of ENGIE
  • FINANCE INNOVATION Fintech destination Africa Award : 10,000€ Visibility Pack offered by Startup.info, a year membership of FINANCE INNOVATION international cluster, integration into FINANCE INNOVATION Business Network
  • Startup.Info Africa diaspora startup of the year : 10,000€ Visibility Pack offered by Startup.info, integration into our partners’ business network.

Public choice awards:

  • QWANT Public choice award : (N1 of public voting top 100) : 2,000€ in cash offered by Qwant, 10000€ Visibility Pack offered by Startup.info, Branding of Qwant’s homepage
  • N 2 to 5 of public voting top 100 : visibility pack with 20,000 views  and integration into our partners’ business network.
  • Started in 2011 by Kossi ADZO  (https://goo.gl/MTFkhW) (Software engineer, Ex Nokia), Startup.Info (https://Startup.info) has become the first collaborative magazine dedicated to the promotion of startups.
    Startup.Info aims at :
    • Making startups known to the innovative startup ecosystem, journalists, investors and early adopters
    • Allowing major groups meet startups necessary for their transformation, via application calls, competitions and tailor made events

    Startup.Info is also a database of 12 000 startups, 3000 of which are available in free access. 100 new startups shared every month, 90 000 subscribed users and more than 100 000 unique visitors per month. Our competition and application calls have already attracted 12000+ startups candidates from 58 countries and more than 150 000 public votes.

  • OCP (www.OCPgroup.ma) is proud to play an important role in feeding a growing global population, by providing essential elements for soil fertility and plants growth.
    With almost a century of experience, OCP Group is a leader in the phosphate rock and derivate markets. OCP provides a wide range of well-adapted fertilizer products to enhance soil, increase agricultural yields, and help feeding the planet in a sustainable and affordable way.
    Headquartered in Morocco, OCP works in a close partnership with more than 160 customers over 5 continents.
    For more information visit: www.OCPgroup.ma

    About ENGIE Group
    ENGIE (www.ENGIE-africa.com) is committed to taking on the major challenges of the energy revolution, towards a world more decarbonised, decentralised and digitalised. The Group aims to become the leader of this new energy world by focusing on three key activities for the future: low carbon generation in particular from natural gas and renewable energy, energy infrastructure and efficient solutions adapted to all its customers (individuals, businesses, territories, etc.). Innovation, digital solutions and customer satisfaction are the guiding principles of ENGIE’s development. ENGIE is active in around 70 countries, employs 150,000 people worldwide and achieved revenues of €66.6 billion in 2016.
    For over 50 years, ENGIE has been active in many African countries through its energy engineering business, its natural gas purchase agreements with Algeria, Egypt and Nigeria and more recently as an independent power producer in South Africa and Morocco with a total capacity of 3,000 MW either in operation or under construction. By 2025, ENGIE aims to become a reference partner in about ten African countries for power plants, energy services to businesses and decentralized solutions for off-grid customers – communities, companies and households.
    For more information, visit www.ENGIE-africa.com

    About QWANT
    QWANT (www.QWANT.com) is the European search engine that respects the privacy of its users. It enables web users to quickly access information and find the content they wish (web pages, news, videos, photos, products, music…) in a pleasant and intuitive user interface, without collecting any personal data when they search. Thus, Qwant guarantees to the user the right to search without being tracked. It delivers non-biased results, not modified according to a commercial profile. With Qwant Junior, it offers a secure and educational search engine for kids.
    Based in France, with subsidiaries in Germany and Italy, Qwant was launched in 2013 by individual entrepreneurs who own the majority of the capital and manage the company. The search engine is also supported by strategic stakeholders, Axel Springer and the Groupe Caisse des Dépôts, as well as by the European Investment Bank.
    For more information visit: www.QWANT.com

    About FINANCE INNOVATION
    Founded in 2007 with the support of public authorities, FINANCE INNOVATION (https://Finance-Innovation.org) aims to accelerate the French position in the global financial services sector by directly supporting the next era technology led financial services innovators from start-ups to institutions.
    FINANCE INNOVATION is the unique cluster for innovation in the French financial sector, has directed concrete actions to accelerate the creation and development of innovative projects devoted to economic, societal and environmental challenges in the service of growth and employment.
    With over 500 members (our members are primarily innovative SMEs, bank and insurance corporation but also major universities, research labs, public authorities), through its programmes and events, ongoing policy and research and promotion FINANCE INNOVATION seeks to address the key barriers and opportunities in the financial ecosystem :
    • Champion France as the principal European hub for FinTech
    • Advocate for a democratic and inclusive financial services industry
    • Support SMEs of the territory in their search for capital and funding
    • Attracting greater investment
    • Promoting Innovation in financial services

    For more information visit: https://Finance-Innovation.org

    About PwC France and Francophone Africa
    PwC (www.PwC.fr) is developing its advisory, audit and accounting services in France and Francophone Africa by leveraging an industry-specific approach.  More than 223,000 people in 157 countries belonging to the PwC international network share their ideas, expertise and innovative views to deliver high-quality service to clients and partner companies.
    Implanted in Africa for nearly 40 years, PwC is located in 34 countries including 23 Francophone countries that gather more than 1,000 people. Being committed in the development of the continent, PwC provides services throughout Africa to private companies, financial institutions, governments and public institutions.
    By working every day to advise clients and support them in their success, PwC actively contributes to the development of the French economy. Through its studies and expert analyses, PwC is also committed to preparing for the economies of the future and developing new technological applications. Lastly, by providing solutions for risk management, PwC creates trust among stakeholders and helps maintain a secure environment at the heart of the economy.
    “PwC” refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity.
    For more information, visit www.PwC.fr

    About LABS-NS Avocats
    LABS-NS AVOCATS (http://LABS-NS.com) is a Parisian Business Law Firm focus on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Social Business and Innovation issues.
    Involved in a digital, social, economic and environmental transformation, LABS-NS AVOCATS provides Legal support to innovating actors as Telecommunication Operators, Incubators/Accelerators, Startups (Fintech, EdTech…) in Africa and in Europe.
    For more information, visit http://Labs-NS.com

    About Holmarcom Group
    Holmarcom (www.Holmarcom.ma) is a Moroccan private group with a privileged role among the major players of Moroccan economy. It operates in several core businesses: Finance, Agro-Industry, Distribution & Logistics and Real Estate.
    Driven by an ambitious business project and human resources mobilized around a common vision, the Group consolidated its leadership by pursuing a policy of innovation and an entrepreneurial growth strategy in the wake of the national economic dynamic. Proud of its roots and its history, Holmarcom continues its investment policy in key strategic sectors for the sustainable growth of Morocco and the African continent, with certain daring, unwavering ambition and thoroughness in execution, combining sound growth and long-term profitability objectives.
    For more information, visit  www.Holmarcom.ma.

0
Read More
The Ecobank Foundation commits US$ 750,000 to help eradicate malaria in Mozambique
February 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
The financial contribution will support a net distribution campaign, while also providing life-saving testing and treatments
LOME, Togo, February 9, 2018/ — As part of its partnership with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Ecobank Foundation (http://EcobankFoundation.org) is donating US$ 750,000 to the Ministry of Health in Mozambique to help combat malaria in the country. The financial contribution will support a net distribution campaign, while also providing life-saving testing and treatments.

“Mozambique has made great progress in the fight against malaria,” says Julie Essiam, CEO of the Ecobank Foundation. “With this financial contribution, we are supporting the Government in its determination to become a malaria-free country. We are a step closer to improving the quality of lives of children, families and whole communities.”

When it renewed its three-year partnership with the Global Fund in December 2016, the Ecobank Foundation committed a contribution of US$ 750,000 for the fight against malaria in an African country. These funds were multiplied through DFID’s (the UK Government’s Department for International Development) matching scheme, which pledges US$2 for every US$1 committed by a private donor. Hence, through this public private partnership brokered by the Global Fund, Ecobank Foundation’s contribution amounts to US$2.25 million for the government-led programme in Mozambique.

The Ecobank Foundation’s cash contribution forms only part of its collaboration with the Global Fund. One of the main objectives of the partnership is to strengthen the financial management capacity of the Global Fund’s grant recipients in Africa. In 2017, implementing partners in Liberia and Chad have been trained to improve their treasury and cash management capabilities. Mozambique will be one of the countries where the capacity building programme will be rolled out this year.

“The Ecobank Foundation shares our mission of building healthier and prosperous communities,” says Christoph Benn, Director of External Relations at the Global Fund. “Ecobank’s commitment to strengthening the financial expertise of our partners will help increase our response to the diseases in an effective manner. Through innovative public private partnerships, we can make long-lasting impact in the communities we serve.”

Together with other key private sector partners of the Global Fund, the Ecobank Foundation is taking part in a high-level mission to Mozambique this week. The goal is to witness first-hand the progress that the country is making in the fight against malaria with support from private sector’s stakeholders to the Ministry of Health. The trip will provide opportunities for the private sector partners to explore closer collaboration to further increase the impact of their interventions, both in Mozambique and across the continent.

The Ecobank Foundation (http://EcobankFoundation.org) was created to positively impact the lives of people across Africa. Established by the Ecobank Group, the leading pan-African bank, the Ecobank Foundation is positioned to contribute towards the continent’s transformation, particularly in the communities in which the bank operates. The Ecobank Foundation partners with organisations to provide relevant experience and expertise in the field of health, education and financial inclusion

0
Read More
Abuja Selected to Host Afreximbank’s 2018 Annual Meetings and 25th Anniversary
February 9, 2018 | 0 Comments
Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance of Nigeria, (left) and Dr. George Elombi, Afreximbank Executive Vice President, exchanging views during the meeting in Abuja.

Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance of Nigeria, (left) and Dr. George Elombi, Afreximbank Executive Vice President, exchanging views during the meeting in Abuja.

Cairo, 09 February 2018: – Nigeria has emerged the host country for the 2018 African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) Annual Meetings (AAM2018) and 25th Anniversary celebrations scheduled to take place from 9 to 14 July, the Bank announced today in Cairo.

Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance of Nigeria, conveyed the country’s readiness to host the event in a recent letter to the Bank in which she stated that the Government and people of Nigeria felt highly honoured at being considered to host the meetings and anniversary.

The two events will be held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja and will feature a series of seminars exploring various aspects of trade and economic development and looking at the transformation of African economies through trade. There will also be the meeting of the Afreximbank Advisory Group on Trade Finance and Export Development in Africa.

Other activities include an investment forum hosted by the Nigerian Government, a trade exhibition, and formal celebratory activities marking the Bank’s 25th Anniversary. The events will conclude with the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders of the Bank.

To kick off preparations for AAM2018 and the anniversary celebrations, an Afreximbank delegation led by Dr. George Elombi, Executive Vice President (Governance, Corporate and Legal Services), traveled to Abuja from 31 January to 3 February for meetings with the Minister and her team and to inspect the facilities to be used.

During the meeting with the Minister, she reiterated Nigeria’s readiness to provide all the necessary support to ensure the success of AAM2018 and the anniversary celebrations.

Earlier, Dr. Elombi noted that holding AAM2018 and the anniversary celebrations in Nigeria was like a homecoming for Afreximbank, given that the first Annual General Meeting of the Bank had been held in the country and that Nigeria played a significant role in the establishment of the Bank.

He also pointed out that the Nigeria accounted for a significant portion of the Bank’s business, with critical financing support extended to many Nigerian corporates and entities.

Several serving and former African Presidents and heads of state, as well as many high-profile political and business leaders, are expected to attend the events where they will be joined by the shareholders of the Bank and other stakeholders.

The full AAM2018 and 25th anniversary event programme will be released in due course. In the meantime, details about the registration and participation procedures, can be found by clicking on the link below:

http://www.afreximbank-am.com/

0
Read More
ATIGS 2018 Will Connect Global Investors To The African Market In A Unique Way- Bako Ambianda, Snr Dir of GAA Exhibitions & Conferences
February 9, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

On June 24 the 2018 Africa Trade and Investment Global Summit (ATIGS), will kick off in Washington D.C.Bringing together new and established partners from around the world to increase business ties, and partnerships,the summit will highlight and showcase trade and investment opportunities and development solutions across Africa and enable companies from around the world to scale or establish operations in Africa and beyond. Since the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit, there have been few summits of this magnitude in Washington DC , and  to learn more about the scope, and objectives of the event, Pan African Visons spoke to a leading member of the organizing team Bako Ambianda, Senior Director of GAA Exhibitions & Conferences 

ATIGS 2018 will welcome delegates from over 40 African countries says Bako Ambianda

ATIGS 2018 will welcome delegates from over 40 African countries says Bako Ambianda

 Could you tell us more ATIGS?

 The Africa Trade & Investment Global Summit (ATIGS) is a unique high-level conference and exhibition, prestigious, biennial business platform designed specifically to promote and facilitate international trade between Americas, Asia, Caribbean, EU, UAE, with Africa; to facilitate foreign direct investment in Africa; and to provide a platform for businesses to expand into new markets. ATIGS is where companies around the world looking to expand or establish their business operations in Africa come to gain strategic knowledge about local investment opportunities, and connect with competent authorities, and businesses from Africa.

Who will attend ATIGS 2018?

The ATIGS 2018 edition scheduled on June 24 to 26, 2018 will gather key economic players from more than 70 countries, including government delegations, African buyers, high-profile African leaders, project developers, and international investors. The event has a well-structured format for facilitating direct peer engagement, for more advanced deal-making, co-investments, strategic partnerships, and business networking.

What is the theme of ATIGS 2018?

ATIGS 2018’s theme is “Driving Trade, Unleashing Investment, and Enhancing Economic Development: the Gateway to African Markets. ATIGS 2018 will provide access to African markets as a one-stop shop, and connect global Investors to Africa market.

 What are the sectors of focus for ATIGS 2018? 

ATIGS program will cover 16 economic sectors particularly manufacturing, agribusiness, power, construction, infrastructure, transportation, IT, tourism, telecoms, healthcare, fintech, textile, and natural resources sectors.

 Which African countries will delegates be coming from?

We anticipate to welcome delegates from over 40 African countries. We currently have confirmed delegates from 32 countries including South Africa, Algeria, Nigeria, Angola, Morocco, Cameroon, Kenya, Namibia, Ghana, Ethiopia, Gambia, and Uganda among others.

Which Western countries will delegates be coming from?

We already have registered delegates from UK, Spain, UAE, Turkey, Brazil, France, Switzerland, and Canada, among others. It must be noted that ATIGS is an Africa-global business event, so we anticipate delegates from more than 70 countries, and we currently have ATIGS country representatives in over 75 countries working on mobilizing delegates from their respective countries.

Who are some key speakers confirmed to grace the Summit?

We currently have 124 confirmed high-level speakers from more than 65 countries, which include  key speakers like Dr. Munir Ahmad Ch, President of Aspire World Investments LLC from United Arab Emirates, Hon Senator Ike Ekwerenmadu, Deputy Senate President of Nigeria, Hon Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, Ghana Minister of Transport, Walid Loukil, Deputy Managing Director of Loukil Group from Tunisia, Xoliswa Daku, Founder & CEO of Daku Group of Companies from South Africa, Asma ALAOU, CEO of Africa Key Partners from Morocco, Belarmino Van-Dúnem, Chairman of Angola’s Investment and Exports Promotion Agency from Angola , Meir Moalem, CEO & Managing Director of Sky and Space Global  from United Kingdom,  Dr. Richmond Annan, President of iRichie Group Inc from Texas, and Andrew Herscowitz, USAID Power Africa Coordinator, among others.

ATIGS 2018 will provide access to African markets as a one-stop shop, and connect global Investors to Africa market ssys Bako Ambianda

ATIGS 2018 will provide access to African markets as a one-stop shop, and connect global Investors to Africa market ssys Bako Ambianda

How is ATIGS different from other summits focused on Africa?

Unlike most talk-shop conferences focused on Africa, ATIGS moves beyond that, and focuses on bringing together investment promotion agencies (IPAs), trade promotional organizations (TPOs), and international development organizations (IDOs) all under one roof to showcase investment opportunities to global investors, and enhance trade engagements between Americas, Asia, Caribbean, EU, UAE, with Africa in an ultimate business platform ideal for conducting G2B, G2G and B2B meetings.

We currently have 58 confirmed trade, investment and development organizations (TIDO’s) which include, Angola’s Investment and Exports Promotion Agency; Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Entreprises Du Cameroun; Ghana Investment Promotion Centre; Gambia Ports Authority; Guyana Office For Investment; Lesotho National Development Corporation; Lagos State Employment Trust Fund;  Namibia Ministry of Industrialization; Trade and SME Development; Nigeria National Economic Council; Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency, among others.  Also, ATIGS is a conference and exhibition.

 Tell us about the exhibition segment of the event?

You know, the exhibition is my favorable part of ATIGS. It will be divided into two sections. The exhibition hall 1 will showcase trade and investment opportunities in Africa by trade and investment agencies, and exhibition hall 2 will be dedicated for companies to showcase their products and services. Some highlights include Agriculture Pavilion, and Real Estate Pavilion. We currently have confirmed exhibitors from Spain, Brazil, Australia, UAE, Kenya, Kenya, and U.S.

 Why Is ATIGS held in June 2018?

ATIGS is held under the umbrella of World Business Week on Africa, and strategically positioned between the 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit (highest-profile event FDI event in USA), and the 27th World Gas Conference (world’s largest global natural gas event). It is estimated that Over 18,000 business leaders, media, and global investors will be in Washington D.C for different business and investment events all happening from June 20 to June 29, 2018.Therefore delegates that will make it to ATIGS 2018 (June 24-26,2018) can easily use one stone to hit three birds in terms of networking, deal-making, strategic partnerships, meetings, and more.

 (Other Flagship Africa-focused small events to be held within the same week include: Arica-China Economic Forum, UAE-Africa Business Forum, US-Africa Manufacturing Forum, EU-Africa International Business Congress, LAC-Africa Business Forum, Africa FDI Shark Tank, Electrify Africa Forum, Africa Smart Cities Forum, Africa Construction and Infrastructure Forum, Africa Consumer Technology Forum, among others.)

 Who are the key partners in the event?

We are delighted to organized ATIGS 2018 in partnership with Trustrade Consulting Group, Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Africa Global Chamber of Commerce, Franchise Africa, The Varanda Network, Ignite Trade Africa, Footprint to Africa Limited, and World Trade Center Antananarivo, among others.

We are also honored to have the endorsement of International Trade Centre for ATIGS 2018. The Council is helping us to invite / arrange external speakers, representatives of government agencies and the media, create and design some important topics to be discus at ATIGS 2018, and will promote the event in the Council newsletter, social media channels and on the Council’s website.

Given the big ambitions ATIGS 2018, how long will the event last?

ATIGS 2018 is a three-day event with unique activities, top rated speakers and high-level participation. The formats are designed to give delegates more opportunities for questions, debate, and peer to peer interaction, but still with the same high-quality content delegates will come expecting from ATIGS 2018. We will have Roundtables, Investors’ Zone, ATIGS Awards Dinner, Meet the FDI Experts, Bilateral Meetings, and Signing Ceremony, among others.

 Why host an African event in USA?

The vision of ATIGS is built on the model of rotating the location of the summit every two years through a bidding process and organizing country specific ATIGS in between. So, the upcoming ATIGS events include: ATIGS 2018 – Washington D.C, ATIGS 2020 – Dubai; ATIGS 2022 – Beijing; ATIGS 2024 – Brussels, ATIGS 2026 – Addis Ababa; and, ATIGS 2028 – South America. As the host country for Africa Trade and Investment Global Summit 2018, The United States of America serves as a model for ATIGS 2018 for several reasons including its high number of embassies in Washington, D.C and the high Access to capital, as the ​United States hosts the most developed, liquid, flexible, and efficient financial markets in the world. Washington D.C also host over 40 African embassies making it easy for companies all round the world to engage with Africa during ATIGS 2018.

 Tell us about some delegations coming to the Summit?

We currently have over 18 confirmed delegation groups from all around the world including Gabon, Algeria, Hong Kong, China, Ghana, Angola, Kenya, Japan, Zambia, Cote d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Guinea, Congo DRC, Nigeria, Singapore, Togo, South Africa, and Ghana, among others. The numbers will increase soon as the event is still developing.

What are you most excited about ATGS 2018 and Beyond?

Good question. I am excited about our portfolio of investment sourcing and trade facilitation initiatives that will connect African businesses to world-class investors and strategic partners, which will help get more African projects off the ground. We are building a pipeline between investors and top scalable, profitable opportunities across Africa that enhance economic development. Some of our innovative programs includes Africa FDI Shark Tank, Bankable Projects Showcase, ATIGS Business Matchmaking, Africa Worldwide Alliance Partnerships (AfriWAPA), Africa FDI Academy, ATIGS Deal Marketplace, and other programs set to lunch, ATIGS CEO Network, and Cities Network on Trade and Investment, among others.

 How do you see Africa in the context of its strategic position in the world?

We all know that Africa is the world’s next major economic success story and has tremendous opportunities. Africa is the second most attractive investment destination in the world and trade flows have expanded by 15 percent per year since 2006, with $2.6 trillion Africa’s collective GDP by 2020, $1.4 trillion Africa’s consumer spending by 2020, and 122 million people will be added to workforce by 2020.

I see Africa position in the world as the forecast that foreign direct investments and international trade will continue to increase rapidly. As Africa’s reputation for a viable location for investment increases, so does its significance in trade.

With interest in the continent growing exponentially, some of today’s newest business players are originating from non-traditional regions such as South America, Eastern Europe, the Gulf, and Africa itself. While well-established and new partners from Europe, North America, and Asia continue to be valued, it is interesting to note that the private sector’s scope of attention is increasingly widening to include, especially among newcomers, consumer-market industries including food, IT, tourism, finance and retail.

Where can people learn more, or register for ATIGS 2018

There is a comprehensive website www.atigs2018.com which contains everything to know about ATIGS 2018 and registration can be done directly on the website.

 What other Information will you like to share about ATIGS 2018

 ATIGS 2018 is shaping up to be an exceptional show with unique activities, multitude of strategic business opportunities, top rated speakers, and high-level participation. I urge you to visit ATIGS 2018 official websitewww.atigs2018.com, for all latest developments.

 Thank you so much for talking to Pan African Visions

The pleasure is mine, and thanks for the great work you do in promoting events like this, and covering Africa in a more positive way.

0
Read More
The AFRICA CEO FORUM sets out its program for transforming the African private sector
February 9, 2018 | 0 Comments
  •  The major annual gathering for the African private sector takes place on 26 and 27 March in Abidjan
 
  • More than 1,200 decision-makers from more than 60 countries are expected to debate the theme of “African Champions: Powering Competitiveness”
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, 8 February 2018, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The AFRICA CEO FORUM will hold its 6th edition on 26 and 27 March 2018 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. More than 1,200 key figures and decision-makers from industry, finance and politics will converge from 60 countries to attend the world’s largest gathering of the African private sector.

With its chosen theme, “African Champions: Powering Competitiveness”, the AFRICA CEO FORUM 2018 aims to enable its participants to formulate action plans for the transformation of the continent’s large companies. The African private sector has developed strongly over the past two decades, most recently showing its capacity to resist a period of economic slowdown. But the number and size of leading companies remains small when measured against other emerging regions. While economic recovery takes shape, the unprecedented technological disruption that is occuring all over the world can be a tool for African champions to grow ever faster, to increase their competitivity, and to challenge their counterparts at a global level. Despite the risks they pose to industry in terms of job creation, these digital revolutions also enable acceleration on a new scale in several fields: financial inclusion, logistics, access to health and education, agricultural competitivity and innovation among them.

Providing the business climate continues to improve and investment to strengthen, this large-scale evolution will also result in a new generation of dynamic African companies.

Through twenty sessions organized by sector and region, case studies by top CEOs, success stories, strategic workshops, and themed task forces (on female leadership and young CEOs), the 2018 edition of the AFRICA CEO FORUM sets out to open the perspective on a new era for the private sector, and to make the next ten years of growth a decade of entrepreneurial transformation in Africa.

Among the key speakers to lead the debate:

Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire; Philippe Le Houérou, CEO of the International Finance Corporation; Jim Ovia, Founder and CEO of Zenith Bank; Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization; Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever; Claudio Descalzi, CEO of ENI; Naguib Sawiris, Executive President of OTMT; Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank; Kuseni Dlamini, Chairman of Massmart; Mohamed El Kettani, CEO of Attijariwafa Bank; Diego Aponte, CEO of MSC; Geoffrey Qhena, CEO of IDC; Zouhaïr Bennani, CEO of Label’Vie; Janine Kacou Diagou, Managing Director of the NSIA Group; Yolanda Cuba, CEO of Vodafone Ghana; Junior Ngulube, CEO of Sanlam; Issad Rebrab, Chairman of the Board of Cévital; Abderrahmane Benhamadi, CEO of Condor; Alassane Doumbia, CEO of SIFCA; Bruno Mettling, Deputy CEO in charge of Africa and the Middle East, Orange; Patrick Akorli, CEO of Ghana Oil Company; Austin Avuru, CEO of Seplat Petroleum; Joshua Oigara, CEO of Kenya Commercial Bank Group; Vuyani Jarana, CEO of South African Airways; Oluwatoyin Sanni, CEO of United Capital; and Tonye Cole, CEO of Sahara Group.

About the AFRICA CEO FORUM
The AFRICA CEO FORUM is organized by Jeune Afrique Media Group, the publisher of Jeune Afrique and The Africa Report, and by rainbow unlimited, a Swiss company specialized in event organization and economic promotion. With the success of its 2017 edition, which welcomed almost 1,200 business leaders from Africa and the world, the AFRICA CEO FORUM has established itself as the main international event for the African private sector to discuss the continent’s development in a highly professional environment ideal for business networking. The 2018 edition is co-hosted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC, part of the World Bank Group).

0
Read More
1 168 169 170 171 172 189