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Raila Odinga: Kenya’s opposition scion makes final gamble
October 24, 2017 | 0 Comments

Tristan MCCONNELL*

Odinga chose to boycott Thursday's elections, saying it would not be fair or credible. But the decision may well doom his hopes of becoming Kenya's leader (AFP Photo/SIMON MAINA)

Odinga chose to boycott Thursday’s elections, saying it would not be fair or credible. But the decision may well doom his hopes of becoming Kenya’s leader (AFP Photo/SIMON MAINA)

Nairobi (AFP) – Raila Odinga, Kenya’s veteran opposition leader and one-time prime minister, has chosen to sit out Thursday’s presidential election re-run, a move that may well end his dream of winning the nation’s top job.

The 72-year-old has been a mainstay of Kenyan politics since the 1980s, but despite four attempts has never won the presidency.

Instead he seems to have inherited the political misfortune of his father, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, who led the opposition for three decades but never the country.

For this year’s election, held in August, Odinga led a coalition called the National Super Alliance (NASA), overcoming traditional opposition divisions in what he saw as a surefire plan to defeat incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta, 55, and his ruling Jubilee Party.

When Kenyatta won Odinga cried foul and took his complaints to the Supreme Court, where a shock ruling overturning the result handed him a rare political victory.

However Odinga dug his heels in over reforms to the electoral commission, and pulled out of the race with two weeks to go, insisting it would not be free and fair.

“All indications are that the election scheduled for October 26 will be worse than the previous one,” Odinga said as he announced his withdrawal.

Odinga called the election commission a “criminal enterprise” and said he would not “participate in an illegality”.

Kenyatta vs. Odinga has been a dynastic rivalry between two families that have dominated Kenyan politics in the independence era. A generation ago, Jaramogi Odinga lost out to Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s first post-independence leader.

– Lifelong presidential hopes thwarted –

Born into political royalty, a member of Kenya’s western Luo tribe, Odinga entered parliament in 1992 during the rule of president Daniel arap Moi. He had spent much of the previous decade in prison or in exile during the struggle for democracy.

He ran unsuccessfully for the presidency in 1997, 2007 and 2013, claiming to have been cheated of victory in the last two votes, as well as this year’s. Many observers agree with Odinga’s view that the 2007 election was deeply flawed.

That result triggered widespread politically motivated tribal violence that left more than 1,100 dead.

To stop the killings, international mediators forced a deal that saw the incumbent, Mwai Kibaki, continue as president, while Odinga took the specially created position of prime minister in a power-sharing government.

He held the post until 2013 when he ran for president, losing to Kenyatta by a very narrow margin — and losing his court challenge of the result.

Odinga once again claimed fraud after August’s vote, but this time the Supreme Court ruled in his favour, annulling the presidential election due to “irregularities and illegalities”.

A decade on, the violence of 2007 still casts a shadow over Kenya’s political landscape and tribal resentment endures.

Odinga’s backers among the Luos believe they are being denied political power by a cabal of Kikuyu elites currently led by Kenyatta.

Odinga argues that a fair election would result in his victory, and his supporters believe him.

He says Kenyatta is attempting “to overthrow our new constitutional order” and impose a dictatorship reminiscent of the Moi regime that Odinga struggled against.

– A polarising politician –

While his supporters consider Odinga a much-needed social reformer, for his detractors he is a rabble-rousing populist unafraid to play the tribal card.

He is renowned as a firebrand speaker capable of galvanising a crowd with his oratory. But Odinga also has a reputation for being stubborn and sometimes short-tempered.

For some observers, he has lost some of his crowd-pleasing skills, which some attribute to ill health and advancing years.

With his speech notes in hand he often stumbles and labours over his words — especially in English. Speaking off-the-cuff in his native Swahili however, he retains the ability to inspire.

Raised an Anglican, he later converted to evangelicalism. In 2009, he was baptised in a Nairobi swimming pool by a self-proclaimed prophet. The Bible crept into Odinga’s campaign this year with his repeated promise to lead his followers to Canaan, the mythical “promised land”.

He studied engineering in communist former East Germany and named his eldest son Fidel, who died in 2015, after the Cuban revolutionary.

However observers say the “socialist” and “communist” labels he was given were more an attempt to discredit him by the Moi regime than an accurate reflection of his leanings.

After returning to Kenya in 1970 Odinga set up as a businessman before following his father into politics.

Nowadays he describes himself as a social democrat who wants to fight inequality.

Married, Odinga has three surviving children: Rosemary, Raila Junior and Winnie.

*AFP

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

This success was possible as a result of:

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Kenya vote chief says ‘difficult’ to have credible election
October 19, 2017 | 0 Comments

By TOM ODULA*

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga, left, dances after arriving at a rally attended by thousands of supporters in the Shauri Moyo area of Nairobi, Kenya Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. The head of the election commission said Wednesday that it is "difficult to guarantee a free, fair and credible election" in Kenya's fresh presidential vote only eight days away, just hours after a top Kenyan electoral official resigned saying the election on Oct. 26 cannot be credible as planned. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga, left, dances after arriving at a rally attended by thousands of supporters in the Shauri Moyo area of Nairobi, Kenya Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. The head of the election commission said Wednesday that it is “difficult to guarantee a free, fair and credible election” in Kenya’s fresh presidential vote only eight days away, just hours after a top Kenyan electoral official resigned saying the election on Oct. 26 cannot be credible as planned. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — It is “difficult to guarantee a free, fair and credible election” in Kenya’s fresh presidential vote just eight days away despite “full technical preparedness,” the head of the election commission said Wednesday as another wave of uncertainty swept through East Africa’s largest economy.

Wafula Chebukati spoke hours after a top Kenyan electoral official resigned and fled to the United States, saying the election on Oct. 26 cannot be free and fair.

“Not when the staff are getting last-minute instructions on changes in technology and electronic transmission of results. Not when in parts of the country, the training of presiding officers is being rushed for fear of attacks from protesters,” said Roselyn Akombe, who had been a commissioner on the electoral board.

Speaking to The Associated Press from New York, Akombe said she fled out of fear for her life.

Kenya’s deputy president, William Ruto, told supporters that the election will continue “even with resignations.”

The Supreme Court last month nullified the August election in which President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner, citing irregularities, and ordered a fresh one.

Kenyans woke up to the latest news in shock. Many opposition supporters backed Akombe’s decision in their comments on social media, while ruling party supporters accused her of attempting to sabotage elections.

Protesters in the opposition stronghold of Kisumu city in western Kenya threw chairs and destroyed tents where an election training camp was being set up for officials.

“There is no way we are going for an election where the referee is partisan,” said Kisumu’s deputy governor, Mathews Ochieng Owili.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga, whose legal challenge of vote-rigging led to the ruling, last week withdrew from the new election because electoral reforms had not been made. Among them, he wants some election commission staffers to be replaced.

Chebukati said he had tried to make critical decisions to reform the election commission but each time was overruled by the majority of commissioners.

“Under such conditions it’s difficult to guarantee free, fair and credible elections,” he said. “Without critical changes in key secretariat staff, free, fair and credible elections will surely be compromised. I therefore call on the staff adversely mentioned to step aside.”

Chebukati also praised Akombe’s work, saying she was driven by nothing else “other than the love of her country and wanting to see democracy thrive in Kenya.”

Odinga on Tuesday suspended opposition protests intended to press for reforms, citing the killings of his supporters by police. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch this week said 67 opposition supporters have been killed in protests since the results of August’s election were announced.

*AP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS VACATIONS® OFFERS SAVINGS OF $500 PER PERSON ON A 5-NIGHT AIR- INCLUSIVE CAPE TOWN AND WINE REGION PACKAGE
October 18, 2017 | 0 Comments

Air, Hotel and Cape Peninsula Tour for $1499* Per Person Fort Lauderdale, FL (October 18, 2017) – South African Airways Vacations® (SAA Vacations ®), a division of South African Airways, the national airline of South Africa and Africa’s most awarded airline, is offering, savings of $500 per person for an air-inclusive vacation to Cape Town and the surrounding Cape Winelands. The “Cape Town and the Winelands Super Saver” starting at $1499* per person, will captivate travelers with the breathtaking views and exhilarating activities in sophisticated Cape Town and a 2-night stay in South Africa’s wine and culinary capital, Stellenbosch. The “Cape and Winelands Super Saver” package is available for sale now through October 31, 2017 for stays through December 09, 2017 and January 10 – March 31, 2018.

“Our focus is to offer travelers the best of South Africa at an incredible value,” said Terry von Guilleaume, president and CEO of SAA Vacations®. “The next few months are absolutely spectacular in Cape Town and Stellenbosch, with mild weather during the Southern Hemisphere’s spring and summer season. This special offer will enable travelers to enjoy spending time in the Cape Winelands region, enjoying the spectacular scenery and visiting the many wineries to indulge in South Africa’s finest award-winning vintages.” THE “CAPE AND WINELANDS SUPER SAVER” – STARTING AT $1,499* INCLUDES: · Round trip international Economy Class airfare from New York-JFK International Airport or Washington, D.C.-Dulles International Airport to Cape Town on South African Airways · 3-nights at the Sun Square Cape Town.

 

  • Full-day Cape Peninsula tour to visit Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope · 2 -nights at the Evergreen Manor and Spa in the Cape Winelands in Stellenbosch · Breakfast on a daily basis · Airport and ground transfers in South Africa “The Cape and Winelands Super Saver” package is available for new reservations made by October 31, 2017. To book this package, contact one of SAA Vacations® Africa Specialists by calling 1-(855) 359-7228. South African Airways Vacations offers vacation options for all budgets to ensure its clients experience the vacation of their dreams. For more air-inclusive vacation packages throughout Africa, visit www.flysaavacations.com.

A division of South African Airways (SAA), South African Airways Vacations® (SAA Vacations®) is highly regarded for its wide array of affordable luxury packages to Africa and uses SAA’s extensive route network to create packages for travel throughout South Africa, Botswana, Victoria Falls, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, Senegal, Ghana and the Indian Ocean Islands. Offering more than 80 air-inclusive packages, which range from value to superb luxury. Our specialty-themed programs offer unique experiences, whether you are interested in safaris, culture, cuisine, romance and adventure. The program is managed and fulfilled by Destination Southern Africa (DSA), which was founded in 2001 and offers an extensive portfolio of tour programs with a variety of hotels, game lodges and safari companies throughout Southern Africa.

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

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Rabobank and UN Environment kickstart US$1 billion program to catalyze sustainable food production
October 17, 2017 | 0 Comments

Nairobi, Tuesday October 17th, 2017: Rabobank – the world’s leading food and agricultural bank – announces its global activation program, ‘Kickstart Food’ to accelerate the transition to a sustainable food supply. One of the first steps in this program will be the launch of a one billion dollar facility to initiate land restoration and forest protection initiatives.

 

Focus on four food issues

 

The facility is being launched in partnership with UN Environment. It marks the start of a three-year initiative to kick-start and scale up Rabobank’s support for clients and partners in the transition to a more sustainable food and agricultural sector. The Kick-start Food initiative has four key focus areas: EarthWasteStability and Nutrition. This facility is part of the first focus area: Earth, which is centered on sustainable and environmentally sound food production. The Waste program will focus on reducing food waste throughout the food supply chain. The Stability program aims to create a more stable and resilient food and agricultural sector. The Nutrition program will focus on ensuring a healthy and balanced diet for everyone. Rabobank has been present in Kenya since opening a Representative Office in 2014.

Mission Critical Initiative

 Chairman of the Executive Board Wiebe Draijer said: “Our global lead role in financing food production urges us to accelerate developments in sustainable food supply. With our knowledge, networks and financing capabilities, we aim to further motivate and facilitate clients in adopting a more sustainable food production practice globally. We are proud of this major initiative with the UN Environment. We will engage others to expand the initiative. It fits very well with our mission of Growing a better world together.”

 

 

 

Commitment to SDG

 With this mission, Rabobank embraces the UN Sustainable Development Goals. With the world’s population growing towards 9 billion, the decline in available arable land, and the impact of agriculture on climate change and the environment; food production is now at a critical juncture. Therefore, Rabobank is increasing its support for efforts to increase food production by at least 60% towards 2050 while reducing the sector’s environmental footprint by 50%.

Around the globe, Rabobank is actively promoting sustainability certification for its clients. The bank is also advising them on sustainable production methods and soil management. The facility together with UN Environment aims to offer grants and open the door for clients to initiate large scale land restoration and forest protection projects. It positively impacts their risk profile, which leads to easier access to loans.

 Building on Existing Initiatives

 Significant progress has already been made in many areas by Rabobank. For example, in Brazil, Rabobank has been promoting and financing Integrated Crop, Livestock and Forestry (ICLF) farming. Working with the World Wildlife Fund and local partners, we will endeavor to restore underutilized or degraded arable land under the management of Brazilian farmers owning 17 million hectares (42 million acres).

Together with clients and influential partners such as UN Environment, the WWF and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Rabobank will increase and scale similar efforts around the world. A kickstart with Justdiggit will be prepared in Africa. Coming at a time when four million Kenyans are facing starvation and drought, this is a timely initiative. Rabobank’s Africa CEO Coert Beerman said “with Rabobank’s Kickstart Food initiative, we are now extending our depth of knowledge, skills, networks and financing resources to the entire value-chain’.   

This joint effort with UN Environment is designed to be an open platform for others to join. Rabobank invites stakeholders from across the entire food and agricultural sector to join the Kickstart Food program.

Rabobank is an international financial services provider operating on the basis of cooperative principles. It offers retail banking, wholesale banking, private banking, leasing and real estate services. As a cooperative bank, Rabobank puts customers’ interests first in its services. Rabobank is committed to being a leading customer-focused cooperative bank in the Netherlands and a leading food and agri bank worldwide. Rabobank employs approximately 44,600 people internally and externally. Rabobank Group is active in 40 countries

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World Food Day: African Development Bank (AfDB) urges African leaders to make agriculture attractive to young Africans and stem migration
October 17, 2017 | 0 Comments
“We must get youths into agriculture and see it as a profitable business venture not a sign of lacking ambition”- Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank
Akinwumi Adesina

Akinwumi Adesina

DES MOINES, United States of America, October 17, 2017/ — On the occasion of the 2017 World Food Day, the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org/en) has highlighted how Africa’s food security depends on attracting young people to agriculture and agribusiness. The sector can potentially create wealth and employment for African youth, thereby stemming migration.

World Food Day, celebrated yearly on October 16, promotes worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and the need to ensure food security and nutritious diets for all. This year’s theme focuses on the need to ‘Change the future of migration; Invest in food security and rural development’.

The AfDB’s ENABLE Youth program, which grooming a crop of young agriculturists, is on course to make this happen.

Mahmud Johnson, 26, is the Founder of J-Palm Liberia which works to improve income for Liberia’s smallholder oil palm farmers by 50-80%. He is also creating additional jobs for over 1,000 young people to work as sales representatives for his products.

“Despite the tremendous odds, we (African youth) are determined to maximize our abundant agricultural resources to create wealth, jobs, and socioeconomic opportunities in our countries and across the continent. We need our stakeholders to view us as serious partners in Africa’s transformation, and to work with us to expand our enterprises,” Mahmud said.

Mahmud and some of his employees have benefited from capacity building programs under the AfDB’s Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment for Youth initiative.

Like Mahmud, many African youth are passionate about staying back on the continent to create wealth and employment, if given the tools and opportunities to put their skills to use. Under the ENABLE Youth program, the Bank is working with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to develop a new generation of young commercial farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs.

“Our goal is to develop 10,000 such young agricultural entrepreneurs per country in the next 10 years. In 2016, the Bank provided US $700 million to support this program in eight countries and we’ve got requests now from 33 countries,” said Adesina.

The Bank considers investment in agriculture as key to making Africa youths prosperous, thereby stemming the tide of migration.

This goal, and theme of 2017 World Food Day, are well aligned with two of the AfDB’s High 5 development priorities – Feed Africa  and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa  – said Jennifer Blanke, Vice-President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development at the AfDB.

“A thriving business sector in Africa will provide the jobs and returns that will attract and retain Africa’s best talent on the continent, while improving the quality of life of all Africans,” she said.

With more than 70% of Africans depending on agriculture for their livelihoods, it is imperative for the sector’s full potential to be unlocked, and by doing so help to vastly improve the lives Africans.

Accordingly, one of the goals of Feed Africa is to eliminate hunger and malnutrition by 2025.

Due to the finite nature of mineral resources such as gold, diamonds, crude oil, among others, African countries must diversify their economies. This cannot be done without a significant emphasis on agriculture given that the great majority of Africans depend on it for their livelihoods.

Increased food demand and changing consumption habits driven by demographic factors such as urbanization (internal migration) are leading to rapidly rising net food imports, which will grow from US $35 billion in 2015 to over US $110 billion by 2025 if trends are left unchecked.

Given that African smallholder farmers are on average about 60 years old, Africa’s food security depends on attracting young people into agriculture and agribusiness and empowering them. Governments can support these shifts through the right enabling environments via policy reforms for increased private investment in agriculture and agribusiness. And also by better articulating the importance of agriculture for their economies in their interaction with the public.

“Food security, rural development are closely interlinked with issues of migration, fragility and resilience. The Horn of Africa and the Sahel provide compelling examples of how global factors such as food insecurity, radical extremism and migration reinforce state fragility and have devastating effects on development,” said Khaled Sherif, AfDB Vice-President for Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery.

“The lack of economic opportunities, infrastructure, employment opportunities and unpredictable climactic changes in these countries are key sources of fragility that often times result in the forced migration of peoples seeking a desperate alternative. The Bank has, where appropriate, adopted risk-based approaches at both country and regional levels in addressing fragility.”

Ahead of the World Food Day, the AfDB joined Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and other developing partners on October 14 in a day-long set of activities to promote agriculture as a business. They emphasized the need for governments to invest in agriculture to create jobs and stem the flow of migration that has undermined the security and economies of African countries.

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

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Zambia’s domestic palm oil plantation aims to substitute imports through new PPP initiative
October 17, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Zambeef Products in Zambia has partnered with the Industrial
Development Corporation (IDC) in a Public-Private Partnership (PPP)
that sees the government’s investment arm take a 90% stake in the
Zampalm palm oil plantation in Mpika.

It is reported that under the agreement, IDC will inject funds to
develop the project, plant an additional 900 hectares of palm and
expand production with a modern 10 tonnes-per-hour self-powering palm
oil mill to process fruit from the plantation.

According to a spokesperson, going forward, the aim is to develop
the full potential of the 20,000 hectare plantation, of which 2,911
hectares is already planted, and build an outgrower scheme for local
farmers.

As part of the investment, IDC will inject $16 million in equity
capital, with a further $2 million dependent on production milestones
over the next five years.

“IDC invests in projects for the long-term benefit of the country,
and so this partnership with Zambeef on the expansion of the Zampalm
project in Mpika makes sense for both parties,” said Zambeef chairman
Dr Jacob Mwanza.
“We look forward to working with the IDC team to build on Zampalm’s
strengths to further develop the nation’s home-grown edible oils
industry, create employment and develop the area around the
plantation.”

IDC’s shareholding in Zampalm complements the investment in Zambeef
by the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA), which is the largest
Zambian shareholder in the company, giving every Zambian citizen a
stake in the food processing and retailing giant.

Zambeef will retain a 10% shareholding in Zampalm following the
investment and will continue to supervise and develop the palm project
under a management contract overseen by a join board comprising IDC
and Zambeef representatives, along with Senior Chief Kopa, in whose
chiefdom the plantation is situated.

Zampalm was incorporated in 2009 to provide a source of crude palm
oil following Zambeef’s acquisition of edible oil processing company
Zamanita as a continuation of its strategy of vertical integration.
The company sold Zamanita to Cargill in 2015 in the light of the
increasingly competitive, technologically complex and capitally
intensive oilseed crushing industry.

“Following the disposal of Zamanita, the Zambeef board reviewed its
strategy for Zampalm and concluded that given the long timescales
required to create value from a greenfield project, it was in the best
interests of Zampalm stakeholders to seek a new majority shareholder.
IDC represent the ideal partner given its mandate of working with the
private sector to deliver long-term economic transformation,” said Dr
Mwanza.

The transaction also ensures continuation of the social
responsibility contribution agreement entered into in October 2009
between Zampalm and the Kopa Community Development Trust.
Zampalm owns 20,238 hectares of land on title in the Northern
Province of Zambia, on the Eastern side of Lake Bangweulu, to the
North-West of Mpika town. Zampalm currently has approximately 413,362
palms planted over an area of 2,911 hectares in the main plantation,
with another 172,000 seedlings in the main and pre-nursery. The first
crushing mill, with a capacity of 2 tonnes per hour, was established
in 2016.

The production and processing of crude palm oil is expected to
drastically reduce the country’s dependence on crude palm oil and
edible oil imports. Current imports stand at over $70 million every
year, a costly exercise for the country which consumes around 120,000
tonnes of cooking oil but only produces 30 to 50% of the total supply.

More than half of Zambia’s edible oil consumption is imported from
the Far East, East Africa and South Africa.
Once at full capacity, the plantation will contribute to
substituting 70,000 tonnes of cooking oil imported into Zambia, saving
the country around $70 million (K511 million) in foreign exchange
outflows every year.

It is also reported that there is also potential for Zampalm to
branch out into the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
market, targeting countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo
(DRC) and Angola, which are also massive importers of the crude palm
oil.

Palm oil is the world’s most used and versatile vegetable oil. In
addition to cooking oil, its derivatives are found in foods such as
margarines and ice cream and is also used as a thickener, preservative
and antioxidant; in personal care products such as shampoo, and
cosmetics, industrial products such as lubricants, paints and inks
and as a renewable fuel.

The palm plant is the most efficient oil producing plant and
can be harvested for 25 years and as long as the tree continues to
yield a harvest.

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SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS PUTS FARES ON SALE TO SOUTH AFRICA
October 16, 2017 | 0 Comments

Fares from $829* (restrictions apply) round-trip to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban

Fort Lauderdale, FL (October 16, 2017) – South African Airways (SAA), Africa’s most awarded airline, has announced special sale fares to South Africa at prices as low as $829* (restrictions apply) round-trip for travel from New York-JFK International Airport or Washington, DC-Dulles International Airport. Fly to South Africa and enjoy the rich culture and urban sophistication of Johannesburg for $829* round-trip. Explore the beautiful city of Cape Town for $859*round-trip, or relax by the warm tropical beaches on the Indian Ocean in Durban, for just $869*round-trip. These sale fares are available for purchase now through October 31, 2017, for travel from October 26th – December 9, 2017 and January 10 through March 31, 2018.

 “These sale fares coupled with the strong currency exchange rate are making it more affordable than ever to visit South Africa.” said Todd Neuman, executive vice president, North America for South African Airways. “SAA’s low fares provide a great opportunity to visit family and friends in South Africa or take that bucket-list African vacation of a lifetime.”

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

 Reservations can be made online at www.flysaa.com, by contacting South African Airways at 1-

800-722-9675 or by contacting your professional travel consultant. Other low fares are also available to many destinations throughout SAA’s extensive route network on the African continent for similar travel periods.

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

 

 

 

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Nigeria to start issuing visas on arrival for Africans: AU
October 14, 2017 | 1 Comments

 

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Nigeria has decided to start issuing visas on arrival for all Africans, the African Union said Friday, in a major step toward the goal of free movement on the continent.

The continental body’s deputy chairman Kwesi Quartey praised the action as a “laudable move towards Africa’s integration agenda” in a Facebook post.

The AU has advocated for a “single African passport” that aims to improve intra-African trade and has called for “the abolishment of visa requirements for all African citizens in all African countries by 2018.”

A spokeswoman for the AU chairperson, Ebba Kalondo, told The Associated Press they were waiting for details from Nigeria as the news was “announced verbally with no formal communication.”

Nigerian officials could not immediately be reached. Nigeria announced the action at a retreat for permanent representatives, the AU’s political affairs office said in a tweet.

 Africans need visas to travel to 55 percent of the continent, according to AU figures.

According to the African Development Bank’s 2017 Africa Visa Openness Report , Africans can get a visa on arrival in just 24 percent of other African countries, while North Americans, for example, have easier travel access on the continent.

*AP/Washington Post

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Women Entrepreneurs in Africa: Overcoming challenges to boost the continent’s development and economic growth
October 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

By *

One of the things that African market places in sub-Saharan Africa have in common is the active presence of women, sailing food, vegetables, clothes and many other consumers’ products. Women are very visible in most capitals, playing a vital role in the socio-economic fabric of the country. Unfortunately, their economic activities are often limited to the informal or domestic areas. Their potential is yet to be unleashed.

According to McKinsey institute in August 2016, in the private sector in Africa, only 5% of women are CEO’s, 29% are senior managers, and 44% have senior positions. Women do not only represent more than 50 percent of Africa’s population but various reports have shown that women spent their revenue in their household, therefore their economic empowerment will unequivocally bolster economies and have a positive impact on health, education and the wellbeing of the communities and the society as a whole. Such gender inequality has a negative economic impact on economies, with an estimated annual lost of revenue of $95 billion lost annually in Africa.

You cannot ignore over 50% of the population of a continent and still hope to harness and exploit its full potential. This is the shift that all decision makers need to make for the betterment of all.

Empowering women goes beyond feminism, or gender inequality. It is an economic imperative.

Although the importance of the role of women is recognized, we still have a lot of cultural and legal barriers that are preventing women entrepreneurs to turn into global businesswomen.

African women entrepreneurship paradox

Women entrepreneurship activities have intensified in recent years. Their global business activities have grown by 10 percent, reducing the gender gap by 5 percent since 2014. Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region where women make up the majority of self-employed individuals.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor reported that Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest percentage of female entrepreneurs in the world, defying the odds but only few of these women-owned businesses reach national and/or global stage. They also have the highest failure rate of 8,4 percent.

Why?

There are several key constraints that hold back African women entrepreneurs such as education, cultural mindset, legal barriers, and lack of access to markets, capital, and networks.

In the banking sector for example, statistics show that close to 1 billion women have no access to financial services. Only 20 percent of women in Africa have access to financial services, more than 50 percent of them have it through their husband and only 1 percent has access to capital in the formal sector.

In the agriculture sector, women represent more than 70 percent of the workforce. They are very active in the entire value chain but yet also lack access to credit and have no land ownership, therefore no capacity to become competitive at the national and export level. Agriculture development is a prerequisite for Africa wants to boost economic growth and reach food sufficiency. For that, mechanisms need to be put in place to transform those women from being subsistence farmers into agribusiness leaders. If women were given the necessary tools, they could succeed like any man or any westerners. Living examples are successful agro-preneurs like Sirebara Fatoumata Diallo in Mali championing “Above ground cultivation”, Korka Diaw producing rice in Senegal and Mosunmola Umoru with Pretty farmers in Nigeria.

It is imperative that we overturn these traditional mind-sets and customs and promote inclusivity in business and in this particular industry, the agriculture sector, by tapping into the immense untapped resources offered by women.

There are several key constraints that hold back African women entrepreneurs such as education, cultural mindset, legal barriers, and lack of access to markets, capital, and networks.

We need to turn women from being job seekers into job creators, becoming entrepreneurs and businesswomen

How do we do that? The complexity of the challenges requires investment from all sectors of society and commitment from all stakeholders.

– The public sector should implement specific policies and create the enabling environment for women to prosper and become competitive. Setting up government agencies in charge of women affairs does not suffice. It needs to be accompanied by an intra-government approach integrating gender parity into all programs from various sectors. Furthermore, greater incentives should be given to encourage women participation into the procurement processes such as giving preference to women-owned businesses.

– We need to depart from postcolonial models of economic production and promote a “made in Africa” market. This will allow African industries to succeed by producing, through their own specific patterns, what they consume and consume what they produce. This approach will make women businesses profitable, especially in the agricultural sector where they are most active.

– Creating the ecosystem for women to create value-added products. Women should be able to turn raw materials into value-added products that can be sold in local and international markets, thereby increasing their income and economic power.

– Capacity building and training are two key tools for helping women understand and produce products for the wider market. Giving them access to information, sharing best practices, providing affordable business development services and improving their financial literacy will also help them access financial services and grow their business ventures.

Above all this, more importantly, women are master of their own destiny. Creating mentoring and networking platforms to share experiences, skills and best practices to support each other will go a long way. “Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talents in the world” said Hillary R. Clinton. It is time to put all our hands to the task, take action and use all our human assets to make Africa’s economic transformation a reality.

*Source Medays.Angelle B. Kwemo is a lawyer by training, author of “Against All Odds”, Africa Director of Washington Media Group and advocate. She is the founder of Believe in Africa, a US based non-profit organization aiming at promoting Africa’ economic prosperity, women and youth empowerment.

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“Internet Refugee Camp” and other takeaways from FIFAfrica17
October 11, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Sodiq Alabi

The 2017 Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa held in Johannesburg between September 27 and 29. According to the organisers, the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) and the Association for Progressive Communication (APC), FIFAfrica is an annual assembly of discussions towards promoting a Free and Open Internet in Africa. I attended the forum as a representative of Paradigm Initiative and I share some important insights I learnt during the 3-day Forum.

  • How Internet Refugee Camps helped Cameroonians during shutdown: Have you ever wondered how people managed to survive the 93-day internet shutdown in parts of Cameroon? The keynote speaker at the Forum, Rebecca Enonchong told the gathering about the resilience and innovation of the people of Cameroon who were denied internet services for more than three months. Internet refugee camps were created in areas where there were internet services. People would travel a great deal of distance to make use of internet in those centres. Sometimes they would give their phones to others travelling to those places so their pending messages and emails could be received. As Ms Enonchong, a tech entrepreneur shared this experience, I began to appreciate more the centrality of internet services to our lives.  It is important that no government should have the right to turn it off just to deny citizens their freedom of speech.
  • Africa as a country: Over the course of several panels with stakeholders from different countries in Africa, I noticed several similarities in many of the stories the panellists and audience shared. These similarities were so strong that it was possible to mistake a discussion on terrible tech policies in Zimbabwe for one on Tanzania. The only major differences are the actors and the countries concerned, but other details of an attempt to stifle dissent, to regulate (read: emasculate) civil society, the use of national security as a defence for internet shut down or regulation, all these details stand. When it comes to the internet, Africa may as well be a country where all the provinces compare notes on how to deny their citizens and residents inalienable rights. Just look at the number of African countries that have used their recently passed Cybercrime laws to persecute dissenters. Look at the number of African countries that have embarked on comprehensive and multiple data capturing of their peoples without a decent data privacy law and framework.  Look at the number of African countries that have passed or are about to pass an NGO regulatory bill, something Kenya has shown to be quite effective in muzzling the voice of an NGO the government does not like.
  • Platform and collaboration remain paramount: For digital rights advocates to be able to put up a decent fight against governments bent on discarding digital rights, there is a need to create, sustain and expand platforms for sharing of ideas and incubating collaborative efforts. Platforms like FIFAfrica and Paradigm Initiative’s Internet Freedom Forum must be sustained and expanded to ensure sufficient coverage of all countries in Africa. In addition, Francophone Africa deserves more attention than they are currently getting and there is a need to nurture platforms in those countries that are currently under-covered. Closely related to that is the issue of collaboration between organisations with interest in digital rights and inclusion. The impact of collaboration could be seen in the way organisations came together to protest against internet shutdown in Cameroon and Togo. Collaboration also extends to sharing of information, ideas and leveraging others’ resources and expertise instead of reinventing the wheel. This is already happening to an extent, but it is important to improve the system and platforms that enable collaboration. As Delta Ndou, a Zimbabwean journalist and digital activist said at the Forum, advocates must also learn to amplify their messages using traditional media, which remains largely the media of the elite and political leaders. That we are working on internet freedom does not mean the advocacy should be limited to online platform. While the coverage of the Forum online was excellent with the hashtag trending throughout the duration of the Forum, the coverage in the traditional media of South Africa was far from perfect. This is heartbreaking because many important issues explored at the Forum would have benefited from media coverage. We must do more to collaborate with print and broadcast media to amplify our messages. This is important because oppressive internet policies affect human rights online and offline. Operators of traditional media should also be more receptive to collaboration on digital rights issues as a gag on online media will affect traditional media eventually.
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