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Gene editing could help Africa build resilient agricultural systems amid climate change.
September 25, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Joseph Maina

New research has identified gene editing as a strong and viable option for improving the food security situation in the developing world amid a rapidly changing climate, with Africa standing to benefit from this technology.

Gene editing, also known as genome editing, comprises a group of technologies that give scientists the ability to change an organism’s DNA. The technology allows for the addition, removal or alteration of genetic material at particular locations in the genome, and is being used to produce high quality crops and livestock that can thrive in diverse settings.

Africa has already made commendable inroads with gene editing, and a number of projects have already been launched in various parts of the continent targeting key agricultural crops and livestock. Earlier this year, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) produced a report titled “Genome Editing in Africa’s Agriculture 2021: An Early Take-off”, which showed some of the gene-editing projects underway in Africa.

The ISAAA report details the efforts by researchers in the continent using gene editing to improve disease resistance in plants and build more robust crop and animal varieties. Among the crops and livestock targeted for improvement are sorghum, maize, bananas, sweet potato pigs, cattle and goats, which are central to food sufficiency in many parts of the African continent.

The study notes that crop production is very sensitive to climate change effects, with an increase of even 1 °C in average temperature having the potential to cause the reduction of between 5-10% in major food crops.

Climate change, which includes high temperatures, more intense rainfall and drought, is projected to have an unfavorable effect on plant agronomic conditions and soil nutrients while increasing threats from diseases, and insect pests.

“As a result, climate-resilient varieties with broad spectrum and long-term tolerance to both biotic and abiotic stresses are required,” the report notes. “The new genetic engineering method for crop enhancement is precise genome editing.”

Signs of a bleak food security situation are already visible, thanks to the changes in climate.

“It is estimated that climatic changes may cause a considerable decrease in maize production in southern Africa,” observes the report. “It may also cause up to 10% decrease in staple crops of south Asia, including rice while more than 10% decrease in millet and maize production”.

India recorded a dip in production of rice by 23% during the period of 2001-2002, attributed to water scarcity. The report added that in Indonesia, about 1 344 million tonnes production of rice has been lost due to flooding.

Added to the changes in climate is population growth, which is seen in many places not to match the dwindling food production.

“By 2050, it is expected that another 2.4 billion people be added to the population of developing countries of the world”, notes the report. “Agriculture in developing countries is a key source of employment, but at present more than 20% of the population falls on an average, in the category of food-insecurity.”

To counter the looming catastrophic food shortages, the study authors suggest that the agriculture sector must expand globally by 60% by the year 2050 to meet the increasing demand due to continuously increasing human population. In order to spare wild lands from being converted to farming, scientists are seeking to develop crop varieties that are more productive under climate change.

Even though traditional crop improvement through genetic recombination or random mutagenesis have had a measure of success in meeting global food demands, it is a time-consuming process that cannot keep up with rising food demand of the modern day and the future.

The authors recommend strong government commitment to formulate or adapt agricultural policies that will overcome or minimize the impacts of climate change on crop production. But while acknowledging that modern technological tools such as gene editing can revolutionize crop improvement programs in terms of production, the authors note that an integrated approach is required to face the challenges of food security under climate change from global to local level as well as from research to policies and investment level.

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Zambia:HH Commits To Agricultural Innovation And Food Security At Un Food System Summit
September 25, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Alice Chisanga

As World Leaders commit to tackling Global Hunger, Climate Change and Biodiversity loss at the first of its kind United Nations Food System Summit 2021, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema has taken a man stand and committed to the cause.

Giving a speech at the Summit, Mr. Hichilema notes the adverse effects of Climate Change on the Agricultural Sector which he says has been compounded by the negative impact of COVID-19 Pandemic posing a danger to food security.

He says the country recognizes that the production of quality food, must be accompanied by robust agricultural value chain which includes the need to establish a good distribution network in addition to investing in food processing, preservation and marketing.

He mentioned the use of appropriate technology, innovation and agricultural research, as key results in enhancing productivity and improving food security.

Mr. Hichilema explains that as part of the commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Country has embarked on promoting Sustainable Agricultural Practice, Forest Management as well as regeneration of indigenous forest species.

This he says adds to the robust tree planting program.

” We expect that these actions will lead to preservation of the eco – system and sustainable development.” He says.

Going forward, Mr. Hichilema says the country has developed five measures expected to have a positive impact on food security.

The measures include; improvement of crop and livestock variety, enhancement of animal disease control, mitigation and irrigation schemes, expansion and improvement of provision of agricultural extension services and equipment.

Mr. Hichilema also made known the need to provide affordable financial products to small scale farmers and rejuvenate land and protect biodiversity.

And UN Secretary General António Guterres has made a call on the world to keep its promises for a better future through food systems that work for people, planet and prosperity. 

 Mr. Guterres say keeping the promise will help meet the commitments countries made to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

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A Beacon of Hope For The Rural Poor In Kenya-ABH 2021 Top 20 Finalist Charlot Magayi
September 25, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Charlot Magayi is the founder and CEO of Mukuru Clean Stoves

Charlot Magayi is the founder and CEO of Mukuru Clean Stoves . She grew up in Mukuru, one of Nairobi’s largest slums, and became a mother at the age of 16. Charlot was inspired to develop better cooking technology for her community when her two-year-old daughter was severely burned by a primitive burner. Mukuru Clean Stoves was developed by her to help moms keep their children safe, save money on fuel, and minimize home pollution. Global Citizen, the World Bank, and the AWIEF have all acknowledged and honored her efforts. Charlot is an Echoing Green Fellow for 2020.

When the Jack Ma Foundation’s philanthropic program, Africa’s Business Heroes, published the applications for this year’s edition, she was one of thousands of people who submitted their applications in the race to win a portion of USD 1.5 million in grant funding. Fortunately, she made it to the Top 50, and after several rounds of interviews, she sailed into the Top 20. She now wants to be in the top ten, which will be announced in less than two weeks.

In an interview with Pan African Visions, she discussed the motivation behind the fast-growing female entrepreneurship in Africa, what inspired them to apply for the ABH competition, how they have managed to make it this far in a tough continent-wide competition, and what advice she has for other aspiring and existing female entrepreneurs in Africa, particularly at a time when the continent is experiencing a surge in female entrepreneurship.

What inspired you to apply for the ABH competition?

The journey of the previous finalists, I believed it would benefit my business if I was able to get access to the resources they had and possibly create more impact like they did.

How did you feel being selected among the ABH 2021 Top 20 outstanding entrepreneurs and how have you managed to make this far in a tight continent-wide competition?

Lucky, the top 50 was made up of outstanding entrepreneurs and to make it to the top 20 felt lucky.

What has the ABH competition meant for you and your business so far?

Visibility and interest from potential partners and stakeholders in the industry and around the world.

What are your impressions about the ABH and how it helps in the growth of entrepreneurship in Africa?

ABH is shining a light on entrepreneurship in Africa which helps businesses get noticed by the right partners.

What will you do if selected in the final 10 and top winners?

Start planning for the next face of growth for the business.

How will the prize change your business operations?

We plan to use the funding to build a second distribution center, increase production capacity and replicate our business model in the next region in Kenya.

What do you think is the motivation behind the fast-increasing female entrepreneurship across Africa?

Female entrepreneurship is not new in Africa. The difference is we are being taken more seriously today, have access to more resources and visibility than ever before.

Any advice to budding female entrepreneurs in your country and in Africa especially at a time when the pandemic has left many African economies struggling?

Create solutions for your communities, especially now, so much can be done, and the world has never been more willing to support female entrepreneurship.

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The rise of an Ivorian media mogul – ABH 2021 ToP 20 Hero Adja Mariam Soro.
September 25, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma & Ajong Mbapndah L

Adja Mariam Soro is the Director of the Ivorian publishing house Voyelles

Adja Mariam Soro is the Director of the Ivorian publishing house Voyelles. This company provides instructive and entertaining content for children that showcases Africa’s historical and cultural richness. Youth periodicals, books, and a variety of games are among them. Voyelles also collaborates on the animation production of African stories with cultural value with her second company, Studio K. Adja’s goal is to help educate a new African elite that is proud of its roots and open to the rest of the world.

Her achievements include selection into the very selective Women In Africa 2020 Program, the Prix d’Excellence 2019 for the greatest women’s initiative, the Prix Sisley 2019, the Prix des services CGECI 2017, and the Prix Spécial Contenu Culturel Afrique et Moyen-Orient 2016.

She shared  her thoughts with Pan African Visions on  what is behind the motivation to the fast increasing female entrepreneurship across Africa, what inspired them to apply for the ABH competition, how they have managed to make it thus far in a tight continent-wide competition, and any tips they have for other budding and existing female entrepreneurs in Africa especially at a time when the pandemic has left many African economies struggling.

When the Jack Ma Foundation’s competition culminates in November, Adja, who is one of the Top 20 ABH contenders for 2021, hopes to receive a share of USD 1.5 million in grant monies. The winner will get $300,000, the first runner-up $250,000, the second runner-up $150,000, and the other seven in the Top 10 will each receive $100,000, in addition to training, networking, and other chances and assistance.


What inspired you to apply for the ABH competition?

I was motivated to apply for the ABH program this year by a very good friend of mine, a finalist entrepreneur in ABH 2020 edition. I had already tried entering in 2019 with no success. I felt not ready yet. I was a bit scared and hesitant to try again, but my friend insisted, and his recommendation was the nudge I needed to get back on the saddle. If, today I am here, it’s because of him and my perseverance. I am having the best experience so far!

How did you feel being selected among the ABH 2021 Top 20 outstanding entrepreneurs and how have you managed to make this far in a tight continent-wide competition?

I felt very honoured, especially at this stage of the competition, we are only two francophones in the running, and I am the only representative of my country which means a lot to me and to my business. It is also the confirmation of the potential and the social impact of my company, two key criteria in the selection of finalists at ABH. Getting this far in such a huge African competition, I think, is a matter of mastering your business and field and the motivation of growing within your company.

What has the ABH competition meant for you and your business so far?

The ABH competition is personally a great human experience. There is really a benevolent dynamic which drives this competition and the team behind it. It is also the connection of some fifty young companies with high potential across the African continent, thus the possibilities of large-scale collaboration. The advantages we get through this experience is beyond words. This is an opportunity to benefit from experienced mentors and judges and get advantage of learning as much as we could. This competition has added credibility to our company, image, as well as our visibility on the continent and beyond.

What are your impressions about the ABH and how it helps in the growth of entrepreneurship in Africa?

I find ABH to be a beneficial initiative for young African entrepreneurs on several fronts. It creates a connecting channel between entrepreneurs who might never have that opportunity otherwise. It provides them with support, visibility, networking and funding, all essential elements for the growth of any business. This is a mission that has a huge social and economic impact for the continent, because it consists of investing sustainably in local potential which we lack in the African continent.

What will you do if selected in the final 10 and top winners?

I think that at first, I will be very moved by the news. It will be a huge upgrade to my company. This journey hasn’t always been easy but has never ceased to be fascinating to all of us. We will definitely celebrate the success no matter what, with my whole team because it will be our common victory.

How will the prize change your business operations?

We are out of most of the back issues of our cultural youth magazine “Bulles”. The latter are in great demand. As a reminder “Bulles” is a magazine that tells the story of Africa to children through comics what we call “Bande déssinée”, country by country. We will therefore be republishing these old issues and we will develop our product catalogue. It will also be our way to expand our market on the continent and in Europe where the African diaspora is very demanding of our content.

What do you think is the motivation behind the fast-increasing female entrepreneurship across Africa?

African women for centuries have always been hard workers. Female entrepreneurship is therefore nothing new on the continent. I think this growth can be explained simply by the fact that contemporary African women have decided to assert themselves a little more and to have bigger ambitions. There is also support for female entrepreneurship which has intensified over the past 10 years, which promotes the emergence of inspiring success stories. A domino effect is therefore put in place in a positive way.

Any advice to budding female entrepreneurs in your country and in Africa especially at a time when the pandemic has left many African economies struggling?

I would like to tell the women entrepreneurs who have been through great hardship lately, to hold on and hold on to their vision regardless. Entrepreneurship can be painful especially when there are insufficient resources to achieve goals. In difficulty, they will need to surround themselves with positive people who can motivate them to move forward and provide them with good advice. Our continent needs the queens, and we are more than ever to get up on all fronts. Good luck!

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A mission to promote organic skin care products – 2021 ABH Top 20 Hero Violet Awo Amoabeng
September 25, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma & Ajong Mbapndah

Violet Awo Amoabeng is Founder and CEO of Skin Gourmet Limited in Ghana

Violet  Awo  Amoabeng,  Founder and CEO of Skin Gourmet Limited in Ghana, is a high energy super hopeful entrepreneur who has always been passionate about people and has attained Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Business administration – specializing in marketing, supply chain management and accounting.

In 2014, Violet created Skin Gourmet with GHS 145 (USD 45.00). Skin Gourmet is now distributed in over 17 different countries and Violet has been featured in Glitz and EMY Magazine as an emerging industry leader. Skin Gourmet has been featured in Forbes, Elle, Pop Sugar and Indian Cosmopolitan for an Editor’s Best Product Pick Award.

Thousands of businesses applied for the 2021 Africa’s Business Heroes competition, which will award a USD 1.5 million grant fund to the winners. She is one of nine ladies who made it to the Top 20 finalists and is now aiming for the Top 10 which will be announced. ABH is the Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic program in Africa to support entrepreneurs, with the goal of identifying, supporting, and inspiring the next generation of African entrepreneurs who are making a difference in their communities, working to solve the most pressing problems, and creating a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future.

What inspired you to apply for the ABH competition?

I applied to the ABH Competition because it offers the opportunity to grow Skin Gourmet through mentorship from industry experts and potential access to reasonable debt financing.

How did you feel being selected among the ABH 2021 Top 20 outstanding entrepreneurs and how have you managed to make this far in a tight continent-wide competition?

To be selected as a Top 20 ABH finalist makes me feel grateful and extremely hopeful. It also motivates me to keep going, to keep trying, to keep working because help is on the way. How did I make it this far?  I don’t believe that I managed to make it this far, I believe we (the Skin Gourmet Team) made it here because we believe in our vision.

What has the ABH competition meant for you and your business so far?

So far, this competition has opened up so many more opportunities for Skin Gourmet. We have been introduced to solutions and strategies we did not even know were at our disposal. This competition has given us exposure and business knowledge through mentorship that most would not have access to. We are extremely grateful.

What are your impressions about the ABH and how it helps in the growth of entrepreneurship in Africa?

I am extremely fascinated with this competition – who knew you could learn so much in so little time? The competition teaches us how to fish – it helps us to help ourselves and I believe that is the answer to real growth in Africa = A true Africa beyond aid.

What will you do if selected in the final 10 and top winners? 

First, I’ll thank God.

Then I’m going to dance and shout for about 5 minutes (maybe more). 

Then I’ll get right back to work.

How will the prize change your business operations?

It will help us take over the world by increasing our export capacity, brand awareness and compliance.

What do you think is the motivation behind the fast increasing female entrepreneurship across Africa?

I believe the number of female entrepreneurs is increasing throughout Africa because gender equality in Africa is on the rise thanks to education and  changes in the African mentality about the role of women in the society. Plus, African girls now have more role models who confirm their dreams that they too can be great.

Any advice to budding female entrepreneurs in your country and in Africa especially at a time when the pandemic has left many African economies struggling?

“Keep walking – every challenge is just an opportunity to improve. Do not give up – adapt.”

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A champion for strong women and safer menstrual hygiene management -ABH 2021 Top 20 Hero Lucy Achieng’ Odiwa.
September 24, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma & Ajong Mbapndah L

Lucy Achieng’ Odiwa, 37, is an Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Advocate, Menstrual Health Hygiene Management Activist

Lucy Achieng’ Odiwa, 37, is an Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Advocate, Menstrual Health Hygiene Management Activist, and Quality Health Access Practitioner. She is the first place winner of the Global SDG&HER female entrepreneurs Award 2018, the first and second place winners of the Seed Star World Africa, Tanga and Dar es Salaam Regions, Tanzania 2018, and the second place winner of the Seed Star World Africa, Tanga and Dar es Salaam Regions, Tanzania Official Winner Invest2 Impact 100 female entrepreneurs Award, 2019, Co-founder & CEO, WomenChoice Industries, Winner New Venture Competition Harvard Business School 2020, Alumnus Young African Leaders Initiative YALI EAST Africa 2019, Alumnus Young African Leaders Initiative YALI EAST Africa 2019, Alumnus Young African Leaders Initiative YALI EAST Africa 2019, Alumnus Young African Leaders Initiative YALI EAST Africa 2019, Alumnus Young African Leaders Initiative YALI E Ms. Odiwa has a clinical medicine diploma and a bachelor’s degree in social sciences and public administration.

Ms. Odiawo is among 20 people in the race to win a share of USD 1.5 million grant funding of the Africa’s  Business Heroes Competition prize, a flagship philanthropy program launched by the Jack Ma Foundation that aims to promote and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs across all sectors.

Pan African Visions reached out to her and interviewed her about her brief journey in the 2021 Africa’s Business Heroes competition, inspired by her efforts in sexual reproductive health. Excepts .

What inspired you to apply for the ABH competition?

Being a champion and a strong women and girls safer menstrual hygiene management advocate, ABH competition, was an avenue and a platform through  which I could better offer myself and engage the global world to addressconsequences of period poverty and showcase the consequences of lack of period management absorbent in Africa.

How did you feel being selected among the ABH 2021 Top 20 outstanding entrepreneurs and how have you managed to make this far in a tight continent-wide competition?

The news of being selected among the top 20 outstanding entrepreneurs was one of overwhelming joy and excitement I reallyshed tears, not only because we won but also because the plight of that young girl in the village of Kwafungo, Muheza, Tanzania who had to miss school, because her parents could not afford her a piece sanitarytowels, that young girl a shamed and stigmatized just because her skirt leaked menstrual blood while in school and had to commit suicide, that young girlforcedby circumstances ‘’ to exchange sex for pad’’ to a Bode boda’’ motor bike riders so she could  be in school and competing with boys, was being recognized. I felt frightened that without the ABH platform the period conversation would ever be  kept silent and girls would continue failing to capture their  best moments in  life and   in nation building, just because of a simple biological challenge, that would have been solved throughopening upof national, regionaland global conversations to  unlock the futureallowinggirlsto lead their own future. The ABH 2021Top 20pronouncement has spurred my inspiration and I have continued taking centre  stage, midfield striking, championingand advocating for safer menstrual hygiene  management conversation through social media platform, engaging likeminded professionals and peopleof Good-will telling them that ‘ the decision-making round  table is for all of us and every one need to be on the table and that Ending period poverty is putting dignity above everything. 

What has the ABH competition meant for you and your business so far?

The ABH 2021 competition, isnot onlya platform of competitiveand outstanding entrepreneurs but a platformforprofessionalism,knowledge gain,challengeand experienceand success stories sharing. It is a forum for interaction and engagement   with great business founders and peopleofgreatacumen, men and women who have in their own capacities in one way or the other challenged the status quo, innovated, and made use of their various idea tosolve some of the most pressing need intheir societies in 21st century. It is with this background thatI feel being partofABH 2021 competition platform, would steer me personally,institutionally, and inspirationally to create cobweb of great champions, advocates inspirators that can be capitalized on to push forward for genderequality andcreate apurposeful world. The ABH2021 Competition hascome at the right   time and strategically placed to connect and link and increase our network tothe great ABH2021 Top 50 institutions. Thementoring session, feedback and trainings have offered and opportunity to translate passion to professionalism by building our business acumen. The publicity hashelped prove WomenChoice industries asa legitimate entity leveraging more connections with potential partners. It is not all about being ABH2021 Top 50 and or Top 20, but it isall about what one delivers that bettershumankind.

What are your impressions about the ABH and how it helps in the growth of entrepreneurship in Africa?

The future is Africa! Besides being a 10 years acceleration and mentorship focused program for Africa, ABH offers growth opportunities for social entrepreneurs, tomake goodtheir ideaand promotesocial wellbeing for all.ABH besides being a 10-year acceleration and mentorship focused program for Africa, offers growth opportunities for social entrepreneurs, tomake good their ideasand promotesocial wellbeing for all.The handy cash offered and associated with winners, best business, high class men and women who have shown great prowess in empowering and creating opportunities for others, would like be able to create first class jobs, promote creativity and innovation, promote quality leadership and governance and social economic balance; bridging the poverty gap and giving opportunity for everyone to take charge of his or her destiny and promoting equitable growth and development for all.

What will you do if selected in the final 10 and top winners?

Following the lives   of great African legends and Icons, Nelson Mandela and of course Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere,whose roles and actions prompted attainability of Africa independence, fighting for afree space of Nation hood, and living a mark as greatest men in the 20th century.I wouldwork hand in hand   with people ofgood will, buildgreat networksofchampions, advocatesthat would be enshrined with the purposeof living amark andbuilding the next generation of men and women leaders who would be able to end period povertyandbringing about dignityabove everyone, going notch toglobal championsafer menstrual hygiene management, opening global conversationaround menstruation, and fightingperiodpoverty.Iwould continue empowering women socially disadvantaged to be agents of change and expand accessto lowpriced sanitary towels in the global world.

How will the prize change your business operations?

The Prize would not only come with handy cash whichwould beappropriatefor   buildingand strengtheningsystems and operations, butalsocomewithfame, recommendations and respect and an increased callfor commitmentsof purpose that would propelWomenChoice Industries to the nextstepinaccomplishing its mission and visonforwhichit was set. The prize money, would becapitalized on further to expand production and distribution, reaching to morewomenand girls,purchase of raw materialsand supplies as well as recruitment and employment of administrative staff.

What do you think is the motivation behind the fast increasing female entrepreneurship across Africa?

Women in Africa have for a long time desired to create change in their lives and that of their families, with limited opportunities women have taken the lead to capitalize on their major strength-resilience, and venture into entrepreneurship. African women have in their own capacities advocated and championed against status quo across Africa. Africa has a fast-growing number of educated women who have felt the pinch of financial male dominancy in social economic spectrum and there’s a declining female dependency over their male counterparts and male-dominated decision-making positions altering every issue to favour male gender and catapulted by the consequences of poverty in a resource rich continent. The continued acceleration programs on women-led business institutions, programs and initiatives across the continent have in one way or the other influenced change of behaviours among the feminist community, enhancing adoption of new plans of action for growth and sustainability of enterprises. The increasingly case scenarios and readily available institutions of financing for women-led projects have been major factors for the growth of female entrepreneurs.

Any advice to budding female entrepreneurs in your country and in Africa especially at a time when the pandemic has left many African economies struggling?

Female entrepreneurs should understand that taking up economic opportunities is a challenge to the status quo just like other female emancipation initiatives and will require the power of the will to continue once you begin. Again, it is time that female entrepreneurs stop downplaying what they do and realise that it is their work that has contributed to the economic growth experienced in Africa and launch higher. The road to entrepreneurship will not be a walk in the path but certainly it will be worth the sacrifice. Always be ready for crisis and strive to learn and acquire those mitigation strategies that will ensure that after the dust has settled you will remain standing. In every situation strive to keep your sanity and self-esteem, mental health is key.

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Woman behind the first Kenyan running shoes-ABH 2021 Top 20 Hero Navalayo Osembo.
September 24, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma and Ajong Mbapndah

Enda Athletic, Inc.’s Co-Founder and CEO is Navalayo Osembo

Enda Athletic, Inc.’s Co-Founder and CEO is Navalayo Osembo. Osembo is a London School of Economics graduate who has worked in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Kenya, where she put her broad abilities as an accountant, a lawyer, a risk manager, and in international development to good use.

She hails from a Kenyan village near Eldoret that has produced generations of world-class distance runners. Prior to founding Enda Athletic Inc., Osembo founded a sports academy in Bungoma, Western Kenya, to offer underprivileged athletes with much-needed professional training without jeopardizing their education.

In order to maximize social impact in Kenya through sports, Osembo teamed up with her Co-Founder to create Enda Athletic Inc., a made-in-Kenya running shoe brand that creates jobs, invests in local communities, and spurs economic development through exports.

Navalayo was privileged to appear in the list of the Top 20 finalists of the Africa’s Business Heroes competition prize, a flagship philanthropy program launched by the Jack Ma Foundation that aims to promote and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs across all sectors. The finalists are in the running to win a share of USD 1.5 million in grant funding.

Pan African Visions interviewed Navalayo to learn  more about her experience in the competition and her expectations in future. Below is what she said:

What inspired you to apply for the ABH competition?

I was inspired by the opportunity to get my brand known at a continental level, the desire to create a better supply chain, marketing and PR networks that will help me expand my business, and also by the opportunity to inspire many African youth that it is possible to grow a global brand from Africa.

How did you feel being selected among the ABH 2021 Top 20 outstanding entrepreneurs and how have you managed to make this far in a tight continent-wide competition?

I was elated! This was my second time applying and in the previous application, I never made it to the top 50. So to get to top 50 and now top 20 is a dream come true. I do not take it for granted. I believe I have managed to get this far because the business and its potential are massive – and I am glad that so far, the judges have agreed with me on the same.

What has the ABH competition meant for you and your business so far?

ABH has been a validation that my team and I are on the right path. Manufacturing, especially, in a new industry isn’t easy but I know for a fact that value addition in Africa is the only way we can lift millions out of poverty. Being among the top 20 is a validation for us, which is important for encouraging myself and the team that the vision we are pursuing is worthwhile.

What are your impressions about the ABH and how it helps in the growth of entrepreneurship in Africa?

ABH has become the continent’s business competition, meaning that viewership is across all over Africa. The judges’ feedback, the media opportunities, the quality of entrepreneurs you meet along the way…. all of it is critical in showing the possibility of how much entrepreneurship on the continent can grow, if only we make the right investments.

What will you do if selected in the final 10 and top winners?

I will say a prayer of gratitude, call my parents and then my team to share the amazing news.

How will the prize change your business operations?

The cash grant will go a long way in making us closer towards our goal of manufacturing 100% of our products either in Kenya or the continent. We have a lot of research and development to do, and the grant will hasten our pace. It will also be great for our company’s reputation. Finally, I am hoping that supply chain and business networks from Asia will help us make great leaps rather than reinvent the wheel.

What do you think is the motivation behind the fast increasing female entrepreneurship across Africa?

I’d say that female entrepreneurship has always lagged, and it is about time we catch up to our make counterparts. Better access to finance, more accelerators, and better education are among the factors fueling the rise.

Any advice to budding female entrepreneurs in your country and in Africa especially at a time when the pandemic has left many African economies struggling?

Find advisors who have walked the journey you are on and seek their knowledge. Information is power and when you have few resources, you want to maximize everything you’ve got. Good advice saves you from time and energy wasted in recreating the wheel. Also, you must constantly think of innovative ways to solve a problem. Just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it’s not possible!

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Meet the Top 9 outstanding African Female Entrepreneurs in the ABH 2021 Top 20
September 24, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma and Ajong Mbapndah

Recent reports indicate that Africa is now a world leader in women business owners. It is evident that unlocking women’s potential can make a massive contribution to the continent’s growth and prosperity.

The Jack Ma Foundation continues its all-inclusive commitment to addressing barriers to economic development and entrepreneurship across Africa with grant funding support to outstanding entrepreneurs who are creating solutions and making a difference in their communities. With an overall goal of supporting African economies grow through entrepreneurship, each year for ten years (2021 being the 3rd edition), the foundation’s philanthropic initiative ‘Africa’s Business Heroes’ (ABH) prize competition awards grant funding to 10 outstanding African startups as follows: the winner receives $300,000, the 1st Runner up receives $250,000, the 2nd Runner up receives $150,000 and seven others in the Top 10 each receives $100,000, all on top of training, networking and other opportunities and support.

This year nine female entrepreneurs are competing together with 11 male African entrepreneurs (making a total of the ABH Top 20), each aiming to be selected among the Top 10 who will be sharing a grant of 1.5 million US dollars in November this year.

These nine female entrepreneurs are from Kenya, Egypt, Ghana, Tanzania, South Africa, Rwanda, and Cote d’Ivoire. They represent eight key sectors mainly: media and entertainment, consulting, beauty and wellness, education, energy, retail, food & beverages, plus construction.

The previous 2 ABH editions, 2019 and 2020, have been won by female entrepreneurs;  Nigeria’s Temie Giwa-Tubosun, Founder and CEO, LifeBank, a medical logistics startup who won in 2019, and Kenya’s Chebet Lesan, Founder & CEO of BrightGreen Renewable Energy, who won last year. Women continue to exhibit incredible potential in founding and managing businesses across Africa.

With a 45% female representation in the ABH Top 20 this year, Pan African Visions interviewed the 9 ABH female Top 20 finalists to learn more about what is behind the motivation to the fast increasing female entrepreneurship across Africa, what inspired them to apply for the ABH competition, how they have managed to make it thus far in a tight continent-wide competition. They have tips for other budding and existing female entrepreneurs in Africa, especially when the pandemic has left many African economies struggling. Here is a wealth of knowledge they shared.

“Always remember that you do not have to walk the journey alone, there are people willing to walk with you, find them and allow them,” said South Africa’s Golden Rewards 1981cc Founder Mampho Sotshongaye.

“Create solutions for your communities, especially now, so much can be done, and the world has never been more willing to support female entrepreneurship,” stated Charlot Magayi, Founder and CEO of Mukuru Clean Stoves in Nairobi’s slum of Mukuru.

“It is time that female entrepreneurs stop downplaying what they do and realize that it is their work that has contributed to the economic growth experienced in Africa and launches higher. The road to entrepreneurship will not be a walk in the path, but certainly, it will be worth the sacrifice. Always be ready for crisis and strive to learn and acquire those mitigation strategies that will ensure that after the dust has settled, you will remain standing. In every situation, strive to keep your sanity and self-esteem; mental health is key,” added Lucy Achieng’ Odiwa.

What inspired female entrepreneurs to apply for the ABH competition?

The entrepreneurs applied for the competition after being inspired by numerous reasons like the Covid-19 pandemic, the journey of the previous finalists, and to inspire African youths that it is possible to grow a global brand from Africa.

“I was inspired by the opportunity to get my brand known at a continental level, the desire to create a better supply chain, marketing and PR networks that will help me expand my business, and also by the opportunity to inspire many African youth that it is possible to grow a global brand from Africa,” said Kenyan Navalayo Osembo-Ombati, Co-Founder & CEO of Enda Athletic Inc.

Lucy Achieng’ Odiwa, Co-Founder&CEO of Women Choice Industries (Tanzania), said, “Being a champion and a strong women and girls safer menstrual hygiene management advocate, ABH competition, was an avenue and a platform through which I could better offer myself and engage the global world to address consequences of period poverty and showcase the consequences of lack of period management absorbent in Africa.”

How have the nine female entrepreneurs managed it so far?

“Getting this far in such a huge African competition, I think, is a matter of mastering your business and field and the motivation of growing within your company,” said Adja Mariam Mahre Soro, Director of the Ivorian publishing house Voyelles Editions in Cote d’Ivoire.

“Our success so far, I would say, comes from our mission which is to foster societies where persons with disabilities and businesses grow together, empowering all and transcending barriers, and our unique way of approaching this issue which is not to go through the charity (pity) approach. This unique approach is what drove the creation of our services and made them stand out and be effective,” added Amena Elsaie, an Egyptian Co-founder and CEO of Helm Ltd.

What is the motivation behind the fast-increasing female entrepreneurship across Africa?

“Even though we still have a long way to go with motivating female entrepreneurship across Africa; but I think today one of the key reasons why female entrepreneurship is fast increasing is because the society is progressively shifting the mindset around women empowerment. And once a woman is empowered and believed-in, she creates impressive ventures,” stated Rwanda’s IRIBA Water Group Ltd Managing Director Yvette Ishimwe.

Violet Awo Amoabeng, CEO & Founder of Skin Gourmet, said, “ I believe the number of female entrepreneurs is increasing throughout Africa because gender equality in Africa is on the rise thanks to education and  changes in the African mentality about the role of women in the society. Plus, African girls now have more role models who confirm their dreams that they too can be great.”


Female entrepreneurship in Africa has no limit to specific industries. Women are working hard across the continent to build successful businesses in various sectors, employing people, impacting communities, and are playing a significant role in changing the African business world – a move that shows the true power of female entrepreneurship. Supporting female entrepreneurship in Africa is supporting the continent’s accelerated growth.

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Cocobod Signs Us$1.5 Billion Syndicated Finance Facility For 2021/2022 Cocoa Season
September 24, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has signed a US$1.5billion Pre-export Syndicated Finance agreement with a consortium of local and international financial institutions to finance cocoa purchases for the 2021/2022 Cocoa Season.

The latest loan facility of USD 1.5 billion provided by a Consortium of 28 banks has an interest rate plus libor of 1.10%, and is repayable in equal installments for seven (7) calendar months beginning February to August 2022.

The loan is projected to help purchase about 600,000 metric tonnes of cocoa for the season under consideration. The signing ceremony which took place in Accra at the Headquarters of Standard Chartered Bank of Ghana was attended in-person and via video-conferencing by officials from COCOBOD, government and representatives of the financial institutions who participated in this year’s syndication.

Speaking at the ceremony, Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo who joined via zoom, expressed his gratitude to the banks for their trust in Ghana’s cocoa industry and assured that the loan will be used for its intended purposes and paid on schedule. He further mentioned that cocoa beans purchased for the 2020/21 season stood at record high.


According to Hon Aidoo, despite the challenges that the cocoa industry faced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the country was able to achieve its target of significantly increasing productivity per hectare, leading to the attainment of a record high production at the end of the 2020/21 crop season.

“I wish to officially inform stakeholders that through our continued implementation of the Productivity Enhancement Programmes (PEPs), at the close of the 2020/21 crop year, cocoa beans purchased stood at one million and forty-five thousand five-hundred metric tonnes (1,045,500mt), breaking the 10-year-old record set in the 2010/2011 crop year which was 1,024,526mt,” he stated.

He expressed confidence in a “blissful future” for Ghana’s cocoa industry and invited all stakeholders along the value chain to challenge themselves to achieve greater milestones in the coming season.

Hon. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister for Food and Agriculture, in a statement at the event, said Ghana’s cocoa industry has served as an icon of good corporate governance in the sub-region and has remained vibrant because of its continued partnership with relevant stakeholders across the globe. He commended the Management of COCOBOD for the prudent leadership of the cocoa sector, especially, in the past couple of difficult years.

The Minister assured the consortium of banks that put together the US$1.5 billion amount that the facility would be fully committed to its intended purpose, which is to ensure prompt payment to farmers for their produce at the buying centers.

Speaking on behalf of the lenders, Mrs Mansa Nettey, the Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank, Ghana Plc, said the financial institutions remain committed to a continuous beneficial relationship with COCOBOD.

She said the facility received commitments in excess of US$1.7billion due to COCOBOD’s impeccable credit profile and market relationships.

A total of 28 institutions, made up of 4 local and 24 international financial institutions participated in this year’s syndication facility. She mentioned the Initial Mandated Lead Arrangers as Standard Charted Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Coöperatieve Rabobank, MUFG Bank Ltd, Natixis, Nedbank Ltd and Ghana international Bank.

The four local banks are EcoBank Ghana Limited, Standard Chartered Bank, Société General Ghana Limited and Absa Ghana Limited. The facility is expected to be repaid in seven (7) equal installments, from February to August 2021.

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Wärtsilä signs Concession Agreement to develop, supply, construct, operate and maintain major 120 MW power plant project in Gabon.
September 23, 2021 | 0 Comments
Nicolas Mathon, Director, Project Development, Africa and Europe, Wärtsilä Energy and Managing Director, Orinko S.A and Akim Daouda, CEO of Sovereign Fund of the Gabonese Republic ©FGIS

The technology group Wärtsilä and Gabon Power Company (GPC), the subsidiary of the Sovereign Fund of the Gabonese Republic (FGIS) dedicated to energy and water, have on 22 September 2021 signed a Concession Agreement with the Government of Gabon for the development, supply, construction, operation and maintenance of a 120 MW gas power plant. Wärtsilä, jointly leading the project development with GPC, will build the plant under a full Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contract and will then operate and maintain the plant under a long-term 15-year Operation and Maintenance (O&M) agreement. The EPC contract and the O&M agreement will be signed in 2022 with Orinko S.A., the joint venture between Wärtsilä and GPC.

The plant will be located at the industrial site of Owendo, close to Libreville, the country’s capital. When commissioned, the plant will supply electricity to Société d’Energie et d’Eau du Gabon (SEEG), the Gabonese utility, under a 15-year Power Purchase Agreement. The project represents one of the largest of its kind in Sub-Sahara Africa and a sizeable energy infrastructure project for Gabon.

“There is currently a structural deficit between the supply capability and the demand for electricity, which is increasing year by year. This project will play an important role in bridging this deficit, and some 600,000 people will ultimately benefit from a more sustainable and economical electricity supply delivered to SEEG. The plant will replace rented generation assets by SEEG and bring significant benefits, in line with Gabon sustainability ambitions,” said Marcelin Massila Akendengue, General Director, Gabon Power Company.

“This is a major and very comprehensive project that will deliver sustainable energy at a competitive price. It highlights many of Wärtsilä’s strengths, including the efficiency and flexibility of our generating sets, our EPC capabilities, our project development skills with insight into the financing arrangements, and our lifecycle support through long-term O&M agreements,” said Nicolas Mathon, Director, Project Development, Africa and Europe, Wärtsilä Energy and Managing Director, Orinko S.A. “The project also emphasises the leadership role that Wärtsilä plays in moving the industry towards a decarbonised future by delivering solutions that enable a transition to renewable energy.”

The project is being developed under a Public Private Partnership framework, with the asset to transfer to the Gabonese authorities at the end of the concession agreement. It has the full support of the government of Gabon, with the Council of Ministers approval received in May 2021, and the Concession Agreement having received approvals by the country’s President, Prime Minister, and the relevant Ministries. When completed, the project will have a major impact on the Gabonese economy.

Wärtsilä’s installed base in West Africa comprises 440 plants with 946 engines producing 4928 MW in 34 countries. In Gabon, Wärtsilä has a long-term presence from projects delivered and contracted with SEEG and private energy intensive companies.

Wärtsilä Energy in brief

Wärtsilä Energy leads the transition towards a 100% renewable energy future. We help our customers in decarbonisation by developing market-leading technologies. These cover future-fuel enabled balancing power plants, hybrid solutions, energy storage and optimisation technology, including the GEMS energy management platform. Wärtsilä Energy’s lifecycle services are designed to increase efficiency, promote reliability and guarantee operational performance. Our track record comprises 74 GW of power plant capacity and more than 80 energy storage systems delivered to 180 countries around the world.

Wärtsilä is a global leader in smart technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasising sustainable innovation, total efficiency and data analytics, Wärtsilä maximises the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers. In 2020, Wärtsilä’s net sales totalled EUR 4.6 billion with approximately 18,000 employees. The company has operations in over 200 locations in more than 70 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki

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Coventry University Group and MasterStart launch online leadership courses in Africa.
September 23, 2021 | 0 Comments

Coventry University Group and MasterStart launch online leadership courses in Africa in landmark development for UK-Africa educational collaboration.

Educational innovators Coventry University Group and MasterStart have combined their acclaimed teaching frameworks to create courses aimed at developing the next generation of leaders and to inspire under-represented groups to gain leadership skills.

The collaboration sees the launch of a range of programmes aimed at improving access to education in a range of in-demand topics and with a key focus on diversity, inclusion and sustainable development.

Coventry University Group will join some of Africa’s leading providers of executive and business education, including University of Stellenbosch Business School – Executive Development, University of Cape Town – Graduate Business School and Gordon Institute of Business Science, by collaborating academically online with MasterStart.

The four new micro credentials, accredited by Coventry University, are the first of their kind in South Africa, as MasterStart expands its provision of career-enabling courses for Africa’s future leaders.

With an intake every month, the seven-week online courses include Digital Marketing, High Impact Sales, Managing Diversity and Inclusion and Data Analysis.

Ben Pike, MasterStart CEO said: “This is a massive step forward for MasterStart’s mission of unlocking leadership potential across under-represented groups. Through partnerships like these between African and UK organisations we aim to tackle inequality through accessible, flexible, and industry-led qualifications with human connection at their heart.”

MasterStart’s educational model focuses on providing a humanised online learning experience where students can apply the course work to their real-world challenges. They can also learn from and with their peers, industry leaders and course faculty.

The collaboration follows the launch of Coventry University’s new Africa Hub in Rwanda in June 2021, which will support academic collaborations such as this and provide organisations and individuals across Sub-Saharan Africa with regional access to the growing academic research and commercial expertise that exists within all areas of the Coventry University Group.

Coventry University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Latham CBE said: “We collaborate with more than 150 academic institutions across the globe as we believe that high-quality education should be accessible to all.

“We know there is a demand for high-quality online education in Africa and we look forward to being able to support MasterStart through these micro credentials.”

Emma Wade-Smith OBE, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Africa at the UK Department for International Trade added:

“It’s encouraging to see leading educational innovators from the UK and South Africa work hand-in-hand to help bridge the skills gap and empower our future African leaders. The launch of Coventry University Group and MasterStart’s online leadership courses in Africa is timely and essential. With the changing corporate landscape and economic challenges of COVID-19, providing upskilling initiatives such as these are key to unlock more job opportunities and open pathways to increase economic inclusion and sustainable growth.”

MasterStart has sold courses in more than 60 countries, has more than 400 enterprise clients and has the ability to train up to 600 learners in a single cohort.

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Zimbabwe to benefit from sustainable solutions initiatives.
September 17, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

On International day of South-South Cooperation (12 September), the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) acknowledges the Global south’s important contribution to alleviate food insecurity and malnutrition in Zimbabwe. The Governments of Brazil, China, India and South Africa, have provided tangible transfer of information, resources and expertise to Zimbabwe over the past years, successfully administered through WFP, to support food security and nutrition in Zimbabwe.

The sharing of expertise that connects farmers to technology has been vital to support business development through e-commerce. China-Aid Agricultural Technology and Demonstration Centre led the exchange in partnership with Knowledge Transfer Africa (eMkambo), supporting up to 500 smallholder farmers with marketing and horticulture training. Additionally, several farmers and Agritex officers (government officers within the Ministry of Agriculture) were supported through a trainer programme, to ensure longevity of the project.

India’s recent contribution through the India-UN Development Partnership Fund focuses on climate change mitigation in Zimbabwe. Farmers will be trained on the advantages of growing drought-tolerant crops such as sorghum or millet, including techniques on how to reduce post-harvest losses. The programme aims to assist around 5,200 smallholder farmers in Chiredzi and Mangwe districts over the coming months.

Similarly, the Government of South Africa donated maize meal to assist families affected by Cyclone Idai in 2019. WFP provided warehousing services to facilitate this partnership. “Cyclone Idai was said to be the worst tropical cyclone on record to affect Africa and the Southern Hemisphere. It is in this regard that when Zimbabwe was one of the countries that were affected in our region in March 2019, the Government of South Africa immediately mobilized resources and pledged our joined support to the affected communities.”, said Dr. Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, when handing over food aid to Zimbabwe. “As a close neighbour and regional member, South Africa has focused on supporting a humanitarian response to Zimbabwe in the face of natural disasters“, he added. 

Through WFP’s Centre of Excellence, Brazil provides research and policy support to homegrown school feeding programmes, which harness a range of elements including education, health, social protection and agriculture.

“We aim to work more closely with our partners to build the skills needed, so that Zimbabwe is able to meet its Agenda 2030 commitments “, said Ms. Francesca Erdelmann, WFP Zimbabwe Country Director and Representative. “Specifically, WFP aims to enhance market linkages between smallholder farmers and strengthen the capacity of national authorities. South-South Cooperation is key to this strategy, and we are determined to unlock its full potential,” she added.

In close collaboration with the Government of Zimbabwe, WFP is currently developing its 2022-2027 Country Strategic Plan, which will promote further collaboration with the aim of establishing sustainable, resilient and shock responsive social protection programmes with a food systems lens.

Agriculture accounts for up to seventy percent of the populations’ livelihood activity in Zimbabwe, which makes it critical to find optimal techniques to grow food sustainably and connect local supply to markets. Middle and low-income countries possess a rich trove of knowledge that can be shared and adapted to overcome development challenges.

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The International Organization for Migration is calling on Journalists to enter the inaugural West and Central Africa Migration Journalism Award 2021.
September 17, 2021 | 0 Comments

MaM Volunteers participate on a hands-on workshop where they put into practice their skills on video interviewing and learned how to edit videos on smartphones. The four days workshop took place in Tambacounda, Senegal.

Dakar, 15 September 2021: The first edition of the West and Central Africa Migration Journalism Award is now open for entries from journalists who have brought attention to the many facets of migration in West and Central Africa.  

Hosted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), entries are now open for free from today, 15 September, until 15 October 2021. Entries, in English or French, can be submitted to The Award will recognise eight winners with rewards of up to USD 1,250 each in prize money. The winning Journalists will also receive a plaque of recognition and will be invited to a virtual Award ceremony that will be broadcast on IOM’s social media platforms. The winning submissions may be republished on a media partner’s platform.  

Aimed at fostering quality reporting on migration, the Award is set to recognise outstanding stories from the region that shed light on migration from various perspectives, including safe migration, migration and climate change, and returning migrant reintegration. It will also focus on environmental migration and irregular migration, and work that debunks false and discriminatory narratives about migration and promotes balanced, evidence-based reporting. 

Christopher Gascon, IOM Regional Director for West and Central Africa, said the competition aimed to celebrate journalists who shone a light on migration and its impact. 

MaM content Creation Workshop in Nigeria. Photo: Amanda Nero / IOM 2021

“Migration issues are multidimensional and are often subject to misunderstanding. The support of journalists is the best way to unpack these complexities and give a clear understanding of all sides of the dynamics of migration. Effective reporting on migration ensures that people are presented with a more complete view of these issues which can provide a true understanding. We look to migration stories being reported in a balanced way to help ensure that migrants can make informed decisions and that the public at large receive objective information.” 

Those journalists who can enter the Award should be nationals of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone or Togo.   

 The competition is open for journalists who cover migration and irregular migration; alternatives to irregular migration; stories of migrant reintegration; awareness raising about migration and migration in the context of disasters, climate change and environmental degradation.  

MaM Volunteers participate in a hands-on workshop where they put into practice their skills on video interviewing and learned how to edit videos on smartphones. Photo: Amanda Nero /IOM 2021

 The journalistic works entered must have been published on radio or television, or in traditional media or digital platforms, between 1 September 2020, and 31 August 2021. Articles should not exceed 5,000 characters while video or audio/radio reports should not exceed three minutes. Only entries in which the applicant is the primary author or the co-author of the submitted piece will be accepted. 

Requirements for entries include: 

  • Must meet journalistic principles and basic requirements, strictly adhering to professional ethics and standards.   
  • Mustbe an original body of work without alterations.    
  • Must bepreviously published. Submitted entries that have not been previously published will immediately be disqualified without notice.  

The winning submissions will be selected by a jury made up of IOM, media and specialists from the four thematic areas:  

1) Migration, Environment and Climate Change  

2) Reintegration   

3) Awareness raising about irregular migration   

4) Alternatives to irregular migration


For more information, terms and conditions, and rules of entry please visit:  

For more information, please contact Alpha Seydi BA from the Regional Communications and Media Unit, at, +221 77 345 74 54. 

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Kenya to host the Africa Digital Finance Summit 2022.
September 17, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Next year, Kenya will host the second annual Africa Digital Finance Summit (ADFS) from February 22 to February 24, 2022.

The three-day event under the theme “The Future of Finance in Africa; our pathway to financial freedom” will see experts from various fields converge in the Eastern African country deliberate and forge a pathway towards the future of finance in Africa.

Participants will be government officials, central banks throughout Africa, exceptional executives representing Fintech global operators, startups, professionals, and decision-makers worldwide in the financial, economic, technological, fintech industry, and blockchain.

The summit aims to position Africa as the continent where innovative solutions in digital and decentralized finance will be found and implemented successfully.

Some of the topics to be discussed during the summit include understanding blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies, Implementation of Defi in Africa, Policies governing disruption in finance, Introduction of central bank digital currencies in Africa and the introduction of NFTs for art. The ADFS 2021 will also be represented and released to the public.

Mary Njoki, Organizer and CEO of Glass House PR, said, “The Africa Digital Finance Summit 2022 (ADFS) will provide Africa with an opportunity to leapfrog the mistakes of the West by reimagining entire systems of production, financial services, and governance fueled by financial innovations & blockchain technologies thus positioning herself as the continent where solutions in Finance will be implemented successfully.”

Also to take place during the summit is an award ceremony. The Africa digital finance summit awards recognizing various players in the African Digital and Decentralized Finance industry to champion for and encourage new innovations and celebrate the startups/ companies that have contributed to the industry’s growth in Africa.

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Empowering Africa’s Youth: The Launching of the African Energy Chamber’s Energy Pioneers Program
September 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

The AEC is taking hands with it’s members, partners and affiliates to support and encourage our youth in their professional development.

By Leon van der Merwe*

The leap from University to the working environment can be somewhat intimidating. The purpose of Academia is not to prepare you with all the skills needed to effectively and efficiently contribute at the workplace. It is, in my view, to assist scholastically in executing practical challenges in your specific profession. 

As a lawyer and part time lecturer, it is my submission that the lack of practical challenges or modules formulated to demonstration “real-world” scenarios are of concern. Time and time again, I have seen how final year students struggle when I task them with practical case studies.

I am not ashamed to admit that the first year or two of commencing employment, it felt like my degree was of no use or purpose! Learning the academics of Law and practicing it are poles apart. What you read about in your academic literature as student suddenly becomes real life situations, loaded with emotions and perils. I was not mentally prepared for the reality of defending a rapist, custody battles or liquidating a 100-year-old family business.

Other skills needed to be a top tier lawyer, engineer, energy expert and many alike, includes administrative, time management, people management, business development and people development skills to name but a few. A lot of these ingredients required, do not form part of your training at University.

Yes, experience comes with practice, but I do believe organisations can do more to reveal to students the actual operations in a specific sector. Specifically, the vast opportunities in the energy sector. Some form of prior practical experience is essential, not only for your personal and professional development, but also to determine if this is a profession and/or an industry you want to dedicate your life to.

I strongly believe that some form of internship programme would have benefited me tremendously. It would have greatly contributed in not only advancing but preparing me for the real-world.

With that said, the African Energy Chamber clearly understand the need and value of internship programmes. They do not only invest in young African professionals but play a crucial role in adding much needed elements in preparing the youth to be the leaders of the future.

It goes without saying that we all have different ambitions and goals in life. My concern is that the so called “big” companies frequently overlook potential interns and candidates who couldn’t afford to obtain their degrees at top ranked international universities. This internship programme will assure that all candidates with the desired qualification will be considered, irrespective of where they obtained their degrees.

The AEC is taking hands with their members, partners and affiliates to support and encourage our youth in their professional development. This is an opportunity that potential candidates must grasp with both hands, as I know I would have.

*African Energy Chamber.Leon van der Merwe is EPP Coordinator

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WFP says to cut food aid to South Sudan over funding crunch
September 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Juba – The World Food Program (WFP) warned that it will suspend food assistance for more than 100,000 displaced people in parts of South Sudan for three months from October due to funding shortages this year.

The UN food agency said while generous contributions from donors have enabled WFP to reach millions in need with lifesaving assistance, many vulnerable people living in crisis areas continue to suffer from the highest levels of food insecurity and cannot survive without sustained food assistance. 

Over 106,000 people displaced in camps in Wau, Juba and Bor South will not receive monthly food rations due to funding crunch for the next three months and until the new year, according to the WFP.

The agency further said it will resume its monthly food assistance for internally displaced people in those camps from January to September 2022.

“Drastic times call for drastic measures. We are forced to take these painful decisions and stretch our limited resources to meet the critical needs of people who were on the brink of starvation and now risk slipping back into catastrophe if their access to food diminishes,” said Matthew Hollingworth, Representative and Country Director of WFP in South Sudan, in the press statement issued in Juba on Monday.

He said the UN food agency requires an additional 154 million U.S. dollars to provide food assistance in sufficient quantities. 

“If funding levels continue to drop, we may have no choice but to make further cuts as the needs of vulnerable communities continue to outpace available resources,” said Hollingworth.

The WFP representative said the three-month suspension is part of a broader reduction in food assistance that the WFP announced in April across all camps that affects 700,000 refugees and internally displaced people who now receive half the caloric contents of a WFP food ration.

Food insecurity in South Sudan has increased in the last few years and now affects more than 60 percent of the country’s population, according to the UN.

This situation was blighted by the current conflict and climate change (floods) in the restive country.

The revitalized peace agreement signed by the warring parties September 2018 has marked the three years without unified forces, not ending the 2013 political conflict which has killed nearly 400,000 people and uprooted four million people from their homes, before ruined the economy in the East Africa’s youngest nation.

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September 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

The President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has on Thursday, September 9, commissioned a food processing factory at Adonkwanta in the Krachi East Municipality of the Oti region.

The factory, CH Foods under the brand name CH Global Limited is a Ghanaian-owned company and has become the first-ever factory to be built in the Oti region under the government’s flagship One-District-One-Factory (1D1F) Programme. The company currently has 52 direct and over 200 trained factory hands as workforce and would be engaged in yam and cassava processing.

According to the Technical and Operations Director of the company, Fred Darko the company would be exploiting the large yam and cassava production potentials of the Oti region for raw materials, with over 800 tubers expected to be processed daily, once the factory fully starts operations.

He said the decision to cite the company in Oti is to ensure that, “Currently, the company has trained over 200 out-growers in the local community and every single day, we have the local farmers bringing us their harvested yam for us to purchase, which is very good for them, which is enhancing their standards of living with a ready market for their produce.”

The Foods factory project which began in 2018 has been funded by the Exim bank at a cost of GHS10 million. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who is currently on a two-day tour of the Volta and Oti regions would be visiting and inspecting other government projects in the two regions.

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Zambia’s forest initiative named as best individual carbon offsetting project in the world.
September 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Zambia’s government and communities in Luangwa District have been recognized for hosting one of the best environmental projects in the world.

The Luangwa Community Forests Project (LCFP), set up by BioCarbon Partners (BCP) in partnership with local communities, has  been named as the Best Individual Offsetting Project in the World in the prestigious Environmental Finance  Annual Global Voluntary Carbon Market Rankings.

“Given the high number of forest carbon projects globally, this is a tremendous accolade for Zambia,” said Dr Hassan Sachedina, BCP Founder and CEO, which also received awards for Best Monitoring Impact Report and was named runner up in the overall and Forestry and Land Use Best Project Developer categories.

“This recognition is testament to the Zambian Government’s leadership in creating an enabling environment granting carbon rights to communities.”

  With carbon ownership, communities partnering in the LCFP have set a new benchmark in improving livelihoods and conserving wildlife, while decreasing encroachment and emissions from deforestation.

  It is reported that with the recent IPCC report saying there is unequivocal evidence of negative climate change impact, the example set by communities in the LCFP shows that quality and scalable community forest carbon projects are eminently possible, added Dr Sachedina.

  “Even more remarkable is that through this partnership the same communities are achieving these project impacts while protecting one of the most important remaining wildlife landscapes left on earth in the Lower Zambezi to Luangwa valleys.”

  In 2020 and 2021, while the Zambian economy is estimated to have contracted by 1.2% and thousands of jobs have been lost as a result of Covid-19, the pandemic has placed immense pressure on Zambia’s rural communities, many of whom rely on the conservation, tourism and agricultural sectors.

   While tourism has been pushed to the brink, REDD+ has continued to bring revenue to local communities, with direct payments of K92 million (US$ 4.8 million) directly paid to communities since the pandemic began. 

  It is added that with close to 1,200 jobs created, the multiplier effect of these benefits is up to K129 million (US$ 6.7 million).

  It is also added that over the last five years, household income has increased 171% in the LCFP, demonstrating how durable and successful the REDD+ model has proven to Zambia’s local economy, said BCP.

  “The project has close to about 1million hectares of land which is being protected. It benefits about 217,000 people in 12 chiefdoms; some are in Eastern Province and some are in Lusaka Province. People also benefit through smart agriculture, wildlife conservation and even the forest itself is being protected. And through the years we have seen a lot of positive changes; some of them the benefits that we have talked about. Other things that benefited is the wildlife itself because through this project we have created a wildlife corridor from the North Luangwa and we have seen some wildlife freely moving through this corridor and that has really improved the tourism sector in the area.”, said His Royal Highness Senior Chief Luembe, Chairman of the House of Chiefs.

   “We are incredibly humbled by this recognition in the global rankings.  We are so grateful to everyone who voted for us, without whose commitment this would not be possible. We thank our community and government partners for their central role in these achievements showing that Zambia is far ahead in implementing quality forest protection at scale, and USAID for their visionary catalytic financial support of the project,” said Dr Sachedina.

  “As far as we know, LCFP is Africa’s largest project at over 1 million hectares, and the largest in the world by social impact. We would not have achieved this without USAID support, at a time when green climate finance was scarce. With the IPPC’s report declaring a ‘code red for humanity’, scale, quality and community participation are critical in the climate change fight. The best thing about projects like LCFP is that they embody hope.  People are benefitting; wildlife is benefitting; and the world is benefitting.”
In addition to the world’s best REDD+ project, BCP was received the award for best impact report, and was runner-up as best developer in the forest carbon sector, and runner up as best carbon project developer, overall.

BCP is a leading African conservation social enterprise with a mission to make wildlife habitat conservation valuable to people. BCP employs over 215 people across 13 chiefdoms in Zambia, partnering to help conserve 1.1 million hectares of habitat in critical ecosystems.
Helping to conserve over 500 million trees, and with close to 7 million tons of carbon emissions reduced to date, both BCP implemented REDD+ Projects have been verified against the Verified Carbon Standard, the world’s leading voluntary Greenhouse Gas program. In 2021, the LZRP is the only project in Africa to receive 8 consecutive verifications and only the second in the World to achieve this! While it is also Africa’s first CCBA Triple Gold Project, with ‘Gold’ level verification against all three categories of the Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Standard (CCBA) for its exceptional climate change impacts and community and biodiversity benefits. The LCFP has achieved CCBA Triple Gold Validation for exceptional community impact. Awarded Best Individual Offsetting Project and Impact Monitoring Report in the World in the Environmental Finance Voluntary Carbon Markets Ranking 2021, and ranked in the top 0.5% of B Corps globally 2021, BCP offers carbon offsets with World class benefits.

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Embrace agriculture as a profession, African youths told.
September 9, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

President Uhuru Kenyatta has rallied African governments to establish aggressive measures to attract young people back to farming, dismissing most youth’s perceptions that agriculture is an outdated profession.

Kenyatta was speaking during an ongoing African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Nairobi. Under the theme of ‘Pathways to recovery and resilient food systems, the virtual event kicked off on September 7 and will culminate on September 10.

About 7000, including African Heads of State, agriculture ministers, and agriculture stakeholders and experts, attend this year’s summit. They are deliberating on ways Africa can change food systems and increase progress to eradicate hunger and poverty.

The participants also discuss ways the youth can be incorporated into the agriculture sector to increase food production in the continent.

According to Kenyatta, Kenya re-introduced 4-K-Clubs in schools to show young people the nobility and profitability of agriculture. The Four Ks stands for “Kuungana, Kufanya, Kusaidia Kenya” in Kiswahili, loosely translating to coming together, to act, to help Kenya.

“We are doing this because Kenya’s 31, 218 primary schools and their enrolment of close to 10 million school-going children, offers a vast network through which knowledge about food and nutrition security can be boosted,” said Kenyatta.

Kenyatta said Kenya is committed to increasing the number of young people receiving school-based agricultural education and growing the uptake of digital agricultural solutions among farmers.

On food security, Kenya’s Head of State called on African leaders to prioritize initiatives that will cause inclusive agricultural transformation.

He disclosed that Kenya is working towards expanding the diversity and quality of diets available to its population by investing more fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, fish, and grain production and heighten climate action to strengthen the resilience of the country’s food systems.

Kenyatta also revealed that his administration has been focusing on attaining 100 percent food and nutrition security through crop diversification, e-voucher programmes that support staple crops, livestock, and dairy chains.

Kenya had also prioritized the growth of indigenous food crops and vegetables, developing seed systems for sorghum, millet, and cassava, and establishing flour blending and fortification policies.

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Heifer International sparks tech innovations for African farmers
September 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, founder and CEO of ColdHubs, a Nigerian business that provides solar-powered, walk-in coolers for smallholder vegetable farmers and Jehiel Oliver, founder and CEO of Hello Tractor, a Kenyan company that has become known across Africa as the “Uber of tractors,” were selected  as the winners of the inaugural US$1.5 million Heifer International AYuTe Africa Challenge.
The winners, known as the 2021 AYuTe Africa Champions and chosen from an impressive field of young agritech innovators from across the continent, were announced today at the 2021 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) Summit.
“Across Africa today, young, creative professionals are deploying tech innovations that are reimagining farming and food production,” said Adesuwa Ifedi, senior vice president of Africa Programs at Heifer International. “We want to do our part to help companies like Hello Tractor and ColdHubs as they provide Africa’s smallholder farmers with much-needed products and services to develop sustainable, profitable business.”
As winners of the AYuTe Africa Challenge, the companies will receive a sizeable monetary investment—a total of US$1.5 million in grants—along with ongoing support from a team of expert advisers—accomplished business veterans—to help them translate their funding into an aggressive expansion strategy. This is part of Heifer International’s efforts to support young entrepreneurs developing affordable tech innovations to scale their businesses. Doing so ensures greater access to services that enable African farmers to overcome long-standing challenges while encouraging a new generation to pursue opportunities in agriculture.
Hello Tractor provides technology that allows farmers to connect with local tractor owners on the Hello Tractor marketplace and book a machine for as long as they need it. ColdHubs owns and operates dozens of compact, walk-in, solar-powered coolers at rural produce markets in central Nigeria. The transportable, stand-alone units give local farmers a way of keeping their beans, peppers, tomatoes and more fresh for days or weeks, reducing waste.
While many agritech competitions focus on early-stage companies and ideas, the AYuTe Africa Challenge seeks innovations that are market-tested, farmer-ready and poised to provide an impact that will cascade across the food systems of multiple countries. Both Hello Tractor and ColdHubs meet those criteria.
“Our ambition is for Hello Tractor to be available across Africa and we’re excited that winning the AYuTe Africa Challenge will help make that happen,” said Jehiel Oliver, Hello Tractor founder and CEO. “The entire continent of Africa sees about 15,000 new tractors every year while India alone sees about one million. Our farmers clearly need a lot more tractors and Hello Tractor offers a proven pathway for increasing access to this important technology.”

“With support from Heifer and the AYuTe Africa Challenge, I think in five years we can grow from 50 to about 5,000 ColdHubs across West Africa and create new income opportunities for smallholder producers,” said Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, CEO of ColdHubs. “Too many African farmers do not get the income they deserve because they have no way of keeping their produce fresh, forcing them to sell it soon after harvest. ColdHubs offers an affordable, pay-as-you go refrigeration option available right in the middle of local markets.”

Heifer International conceived the idea for the AYuTe Africa Challenge (AYuTe stands for Agriculture, Youth and Technology) based on four decades of work as a trusted partner of African farmers—and seeing first-hand the stark difference between local farms that have access to new technologies and those that do not.
“Ikegwuonu and Oliver are examples of young agritech innovators who can help change the negative narrative surrounding farming in Africa—showing how an occupation many young Africans associate with hardship can be profitable, productive, stimulating and rewarding,” said Ifedi.
recent report by Heifer International also pointed to the need for more investments to encourage African youth turning away from agriculture to reconsider opportunities in the sector—especially given the need to generate jobs and repair food systems battered by the pandemic.
“The quality of the competition sends a strong signal that the African agriculture sector contains a wealth of opportunities—as many or more than any other sector,” said Ifedi. “Young entrepreneurs across Africa understand the farming struggles of their parent’s generation and have seen how this has discouraged the people around them from pursuing careers in the agriculture sector. But they also see a pathway through which their innovative products and services can transform farming into a promising future for their generation.”

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Mukuru Clean Stoves Poised For New Heights Thanks To ABH-Top 20 Finalist Charlot Magayi
September 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Featuring amongst the winners would mean we are able to increase our production capacity by 75%, provide sustainable jobs for 50 young men and women and increase household income for 500+ local women , says Charlot Magayi

The 2021 African Business Heroes Prize Competition has given us a better grasp of our business than the previous four years of existence, says Kenyan born Charlot Magayi  as she marvels her presence in the top twenty selection. The founder and CEO of Mukuru Clean Stoves,  a women-led social enterprise that designs and produces clean, reliable and affordable cook stoves for low income households in urban slums in Kenya ,says the mentorship received has greatly changed perceptions she and her team had

Ms. Magayi became orphan at the age of 10, grew up in Mukuru, one of the biggest slums in Nairobi and became a teenage mother at 16.  The idea to start Mukuru Clean Stoves came to her after her two-year-old daughter sustained a serious burn injury caused by a traditional stove. She founded the enterprise to help women keep their children safe, save on fuel consumption and lower household air pollution. Her efforts to make the world smoke-free have not gone unnoticed globally. In 2018, she bagged the World Bank’s global SDGs award and also won the Waislitz Global Citizen Award in 2019. She was further recognized as a fellow at the Echoing Green in 2020.

Cognizant of the merits of amazing African talent in the top selection of the ABH challenge, Charlot Magayi believes that featuring amongst the top laureates will be a game changer for Mukuru Clean Stoves.

“Been amongst the winners would mean we are able to increase our production capacity by 75%, provide sustainable jobs for 50 young men and women and increase household income for 500+ local women business owners while impacting the lives of 1 million people living in poverty by 2023,” says Magayi in response to questions from PAV.

Could you please tell us what Mukuru Clean Stoves is and the logic behind its creation?

Mukuru Clean Stoves (MCS) is the first woman-owned clean cooking solution manufacturer in East Africa that recycles waste metal to produce improved cook stoves with the aim of reducing household air pollution, fuel consumption and households’ expenditures. Mukuru Clean Stoves relies on local women artisans and technicians to design and manufacture the product. Women groups, female entrepreneurs and MFIs distribute the improved cook stoves. This approach creates jobs for women and increases their household income.

What finally pushed you to start this entrepreneurship journey and what were the sources of your funds?

I grew up in Mukuru, one of the biggest slums in Kenya and was orphaned at the age of ten. I became a teenage mom at sixteen and had to drop out of school to fend for myself and my daughter. We relied on charcoal to cook and when my daughter turned two years, she suffered a severe burn injury caused by a traditional stove, this sparked my interest in providing better cooking technologies; I wanted to rewrite the script of possibility for my community.

We have raised a mixture of debt and grants to further our impact from; Nordic Development Fund, USADF, Vista Ventures Social Impact Fund e.t.c.

May we know how the public has reacted to your stoves; how has the product been doing in the market?

Since 2017, over 60,000 Mukuru cook stoves have been sold in 3 counties in Kenya (Siaya, Vihiga and Kisumu County). The cook stoves have allowed more than 300,000 people to benefit from cleaner air in their homes. This positive impact is mainly felt by women, who are generally the main cookers in Kenyan households. Based on kitchen performance surveys, Mukuru’s improved cook stoves reduce, on average, 40% wood fuel consumption, which amount to $8 per month per household (average monthly incomes vary from $30 to $100). By using Mukuru’s energy efficient cook stoves, women spend 50% less time cooking, which allows them to free up time for income-generating activities, such as weaving and farming.

What are some of the challenges that you have faced along the way?

Finding the right partnerships for every stage of my entrepreneurship journey was a challenge. Accelerators and incubators not only helped me identify the stages and what partnerships I needed for each stage, they put me in the same room with these people/organizations.

Fundraising for growth, especially during a global pandemic, was the biggest setback we faced last year, leaving us with slowed growth plans and major redirections.

You have made it into the top 20 list of the ABH Prize competition, how did you receive this news?

With a great deal of gratitude and shock, my email went straight to the spam folder and so I only realized I made it to the top 20 list when I was added to the WhatsApp group. I screamed!

There were some twelve thousand applicants, you made it into the top fifty, and now the top 20, did you expect to come this far in the competition?

Knowing just what African Entrepreneurs are made of, you can never really expect to be one of the best in a pool of 12000 or 50, it’s always a surprise when you make the cut as everyone’s work is unique and achieves a certain amount of impact. It’s always fingers crossed and a great deal of nerves.

What are some of the lessons that you have learned in the course of the competition?

The most important lesson I have learnt is the benefit of having a mentor, during this competition, I have learnt more about my business than I did in the four years I have been running it. Through the questions asked by my mentors, I found myself answering questions I have never been asked before, revealing information about my business I had no idea I had.

How confident are you of making it into the top ten, and should you win, what would change for Clean Stoves if you emerge among the top winners?

I want to say I’m confident but in real sense I’m scared. Making it to the top means I have to beat at least 9 of the best entrepreneurs in Africa right now. I’m holding my breath! Should we make it though, it would change everything for MCS, it would mean we are able to increase our production capacity by 75%, provide sustainable jobs for 50 young men and women and increase household income for 500+ local women business owners while impacting the lives of 1 million people living in poverty by 2023.

What future do you see for Clean Stoves, and to those out there who have not tried your product or know its potential? Can you make a pitch on why they should consider giving your product a trial?

Our vision is to eradicate household air pollution and energy poverty in Africa. To our target consumers, our clean cookstoves enable consumers to save up to $8 monthly on fuel consumption costs, reduce toxic smoke emissions by 50-90%, limit the risk of burns in children by 40% all while reducing cooking time.

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Goat breed standards developed in Zimbabwe
August 28, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

 The Value Chain Alliance for Livestock Upgrading and Empowerment (VALUE) project in partnership with the Goat Breeders Association of Zimbabwe (GBAZ) has developed breeding standards for the Matabele and Mashona indigenous goats.

  It is reported that the standards are meant to promote conservation, utilization of indigenous goat types in Zimbabwe, and provide a training guide for farmers, who keep indigenous goats, to be stud breeders.

 “The development of the breed standards is important given that appropriate genetics are key to attaining the desired production, productivity, and market competitiveness in the goat value chain. This initiative was thus prudent to ensure in as much as the promotion of better framed exotic breeds is happening, breeding of the Mashona and Matabele Goats is not left out,” said Project Team Leader, Newton Chari.

  The development of the indigenous goat breed standards is against a background of low commercial production of indigenous goats and is aimed at promoting indigenous goats stud breeding.

  Renowned indigenous goat expert, Mr Joe Sikosana who was engaged to develop the breed standards said, “The compilation of breed standards will assist farmers to be stud breeders of indigenous goats and aid in the conservation of local breeds.”

  GBAZ  formed in 2018 to address challenges in the goat industry such as the absence of a formal structure, lack of economies of scale, training and value chain integration, low commercialisation, and poor institutional framework believes the development of these breed standards will assist in the promotion of the local breeds.

  Chairperson of GBAZ and Managing Director of Zvikomborero Farms, Dr Divine Ndhlukula said “with over 4 million goats being owned by smallholder farmers, it is time that the goat industry gets the attention and support by ensuring the small holder farmers access technical training and expertise,  work on improving their local breeds to transform the breeds for better growth to achieve commercialization that will in turn give them good financial returns from the goats.”

  The VALUE project is part of the European Union funded Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP) and is funded to the tune of €7.3 million to implement activities in the goat and pork value chains in 20 districts.

  ZAGP is tackling challenges within the country’s livestock sector through financial support from the EU amounting to €40 million.

  The programme is addressing the weaknesses and gaps in livestock value chains that have prevented the sector from increasing productivity, production and incomes to their potential.

  Focus is on increasing profitability, building the capacity of farmers, service institutions, and private sector through increased investment, institutional reforms and policy alignment.

  Under the goat value chain, the VALUE project partners ActionAid, Mercy Corps, COSV, Michview Enterprises and Zvikomborero Farms are working with small scale producer associations in 12 districts namely Buhera, Chikomba, Chipinge, Mudzi, Mbire, Rushinga, Beitbridge, Binga, Gwanda, Matobo, Lupane and Nkayi.

  The project is expected to positively impact on the economic opportunities for 800 000 small-scale goat farmers.

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Ghana:I Will Deploy Military Engineers To ‘Flooded’ Upper West Region If Necessary – Roads Minister
August 25, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

Roads were destroyed by floods in Upper West Region Ghana, August 2021. Photo: Ministry of Roads and Highways Ghana

The Ministry of Roads and Highways said he might deploy officers of the 48th Engineer Regiment of the Ghana Armed Forces to the Upper West Region to help create alternative access routes for residents suffering under the effects of recent floods.

Speaking to the media in response to calls by Former President John Dramani Mahama in Wa for the deployment of the military regiment, the sector minister, Kwasi Amoako-Atta, said the officers will be brought in when the need arises.

According to him the call is not out of place at all. The spread of the floodwater is so extensive that there is virtually no space for creating diversions in terms of the road. So I want to assure them that their call is a relevant one and should it become necessary that we call on the 48th Engineer Regiment of the Ghana Armed Forces to come and assist, it will be done,” he said.

The Minority Caucus in the Upper West Region made the call for the deployment of the 48th Engineer Regiment to assist in the creation of alternative routes in the region.

The spokesperson of the Minority Caucus, Dr Sebastian Sandaare, in making the demand said the deployment of the officers would help bring some relief to the residents.

The opposition party the NDC caucus and representatives of the people of the Upper West Region in Parliament are calling on the relevant authorities to take urgent remedial action to deal with the misfortune that has befallen our kinsmen.

Dr Sebastian Sandare recommend that the Ministry of Roads and Highways should liaise with the Ministry of Defense to as a matter of urgency deploys the 48th Engineer Regiment of the Ghana Armed Forces in the region to create temporary access routes while efforts are made to rehabilitate the roads and bridges.







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Reforms Needed To Maximize Benefits of Cameroon-Nigeria Trade-Experts At Nkafu Trade Initiative Event
August 20, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Experts pose for a pic after the second NOTI panel discussion in at the Muna Foundation in Yaounde

Economic experts say for Cameroon and Nigeria to continue benefiting from their long-standing relationship, both countries should normalize, standardize and digitalize the process of trade between the two neighbouring countries.

These experts were speaking Thursday, August 19 at the Mua Foundation in Cameroon’s political capital Yaounde during the second edition of the Nkafu Open Trade Initiative, NOTI under the theme: “Championing the benefits of Cameroon – Nigeria trade: A quest for Favourable trading terms.”

The Nkafu Policy Institute is a think-tank of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation with discussions centred on the benefits of Cameroon – Nigeria Trade for the different sectors of activity; critically assess the implications of Cameroon – Nigeria Trade on economic growth, employment, and industrialization.

The outline of the development implications of the Cameroon – Nigeria trade on health, education, climate, employment, and consumption was also a point of focus while the experts equally assessed the appropriateness of current procedures in encouraging and supporting trade between Cameroon and Nigeria.

 “Cameroon and Nigeria have strong cultural ties. Unfortunately, numerous exports and import ban has severely distorted the trade between the two countries,” Fri Asanga, interim CEO of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation said in her welcoming statements.

Given the socio-economic context plague by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nkafu Policy Institute organized this session to discuss “the benefit of the trade between Cameroon and Nigeria with the hope of finding solutions and bringing consensus on how trade can be facilitated to make a more prosperous Africa,” Fri Asanga added. 

Some salient issues were discussed upon with several questions on how government can facilitate trade between the two countries. “Free circulation should be facilitated” according to Steve Tametong while Hermine Mbarge proposed “administrative procedure should be digitalized and quality of products controlled.”

“Businesses in Cameroon need government support to enjoy the benefits of trade with Nigeria. This support must not be financial but mostly technical especially in terms of packaging,” Henri Kouam, an economic policy analyst at the Nkafu Policy Institute said on championing the benefits of Cameroon – Nigeria trade.

Cameroon and Nigeria have a long-standing trading relationship between the two countries. Nigeria is one of Cameroon’s largest trading partners with a market of almost one hundred and seventy million consumers. According to Cameroon’s Ministry of Commerce, Cameroon imported 22 per cent and 17 per cent between 2011 and 2012 respectively and her net export worth to Nigeria was 382 billion FCFA,

Cameeroon and Nigeria should both normalize, standardize and digitalize the process of trade

This relationship, however, has been affected recently with both countries banning certain products and even instituting a border closure. In 2020, Cameroon banned cereal exports including millet and corn to Nigeria due to a drop in production. Meantime, Nigeria the year before had closed its land borders with several nations including Cameroon in August 2019 and only opened the border in September 2020 according to the Institute for Security Studies.

“The security issue is fundamental and must be addressed if we want to benefit from trade between Cameroon and Nigeria,” Dr Steve Tamentong said.

“When trade is created, there is automatically the diversification of trade that will follow,” Hermine Mbarga said on promoting trade between Cameroon and Nigeria.

At the end of the discussions, several recommendations were made amongst others that SMEs can benefit from free trade between Cameroon and Nigeria and not necessarily as importers but as intermediaries in terms of exportation; the two countries should have a good strategic vision in terms of free trade; the collaboration of private enterprises is also important; Cameroon and Nigeria need to have a common meeting point to reduce the procedure that business owners face to go through before exporting their products.

Cameroon and Nigeria need to be very transparent in their procedure; Cameroonians should know that this is the procedure in Nigeria and same as Nigerians know that this is the procedure in Cameroon. The procedure too needs to be published; collaboration with stakeholders to needs to be facilitated.

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The new Pan-African movement needs the people’s consent, and the African Diaspora must help build it.
August 19, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Martin M. Niboh*

Prof Martin M .Niboh is Founder & President, of Igniting Africa, an indigenous community development grassroots movement

Mary Jane McLeod Bethune was an American educator, stateswoman, philanthropist, humanitarian, womanist, and civil rights activist who said,

“The drums of Africa still beat in my heart. They will not let me rest while there is a single Negro boy or girl without a chance to prove his worth.”

The drums of Africa have never stopped and will never stop beating. But have these drums been silenced in the hearts of Africans in the diaspora? Are the hearts of Africans in the diaspora so broken and hardened that they are insensitive to Africa’s drumbeats? Why do Africans in the diaspora seem to be sleeping while millions of African children perish in poverty, inadequate infrastructure, ongoing conflicts, and continuing problems with democratic governance? Why do Africans in the diaspora seem so impervious to the thousands of Africans dying in the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea as they flee Africa to seek freedom and prosperity in other countries?

Africans love beauty and art. Many of Africa’s children produce art. Artists are often the first to rely on intuition. Artists do not insist on complete understanding before they write a piece of music or start painting. They trust their intuition and instinct. Doctors, engineers, and scientists are trained primarily to only proceed by evidence. We should be grateful that doctors proceed with logic, evidence, and reason, but the artist, like the mystic, is usually the first to intuit reality. In the last 60 years, every successful African musician has a song intuiting a free, united, safe, secure, peaceful, powerful, and prosperous Africa. But this intuition is not yet actualized into an indigenous Pan-African movement that protects Africa’s children and gives them the best chance to prove their worth.

In 2013, African heads of state articulated a vision for Africa through the following set of aspirations in a document called the African Union’s Agenda 2063 – The Africa We want:

1) A Prosperous Africa, based on Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development

2) An Integrated Continent Politically united and based on the ideals of Pan Africanism and the vision of African Renaissance

3) An Africa of Good Governance, Democracy, Respect for Human Rights, Justice, and the Rule of Law

4) A Peaceful and Secure Africa

5) Africa with a Strong Cultural Identity Common Heritage, Values and Ethics

6) An Africa Whose Development is people-driven, relying on the potential offered by African People, especially its Women and Youth and caring for Children

7) An Africa as A Strong, United, Resilient and Influential Global Player, and Partner

These are worthy aspirations. But the vast majority of Africa is not aware of these aspirations and goals, let alone their role in achieving them. The tendency towards greater fragmentation in several countries demonstrates the inability of Africa’s political leaders to impose the vision of Agenda 2063 without the consent of the people of Africa. They need the consent of the people. Without an indigenous Pan-African movement that is working to protect Africa’s children, give them the best chance to prove their worth, enable the people of Africa to consent to Agenda 2063, and hold their governments accountable for its realization, the grand vision of Agenda 2063 will falter, and Africa’s children will continue to suffer.

What does it say about us as a people when we say we want a united, free, safe, secure, peaceful, powerful, and prosperous Africa and then do little or nothing to achieve it?

The African Diaspora must value Africa’s children more and do more to love, cherish, and protect them. The business, civic, academic, and religious communities abroad must take the lead in building this new Pan-African movement.

Even a casual and honest observation of events in the world reveals a racist disrespect for even the most successful people of African descent. What is behind the racist disrespect shown to President Barrack Obama and the talented African athletes playing abroad?  Why does Donald Trump insult African countries as “shitholes countries”? Can we be honest enough to admit that our failure to unite and build Africa is partly responsible for such disrespect? Is it not evident to us that as long as Africa is in shambles, we as a people will never earn the respect of the foreigners in whose lands we live and work?

Are we going to continue to curse the darkness, or shall we light a candle? Can we prove to ourselves and the world that we can build an indigenous, financially self-sufficient movement of humanitarian entrepreneurs whose calling is to continually expand unconditional love, liberty, and free enterprise, protect Africa’s children, and give them the best opportunities to show their worth? Can we show that we are visionary enough to go beyond sending remittances back home to our families?

Can we in the diaspora show that we can form a new Pan-African indigenous movement that sensitizes, inspires, and mobilizes the hundreds of Africans at the grassroots of Africa to build a united, free, safe, secure, peaceful, powerful, and prosperous Africa.

After 20 years and trillions of dollars spent, some of the lessons of America’s war in Afghanistan is that it is cheaper to build free nations with civic movements than with soldiers and military forces.  And that we cannot do it without the consent of the people. Africa leaders need the consent of their people, and Africans in the diaspora can help build a movement that grants such consent.

**Prof Martin M.Niboh is a Former nuclear physicist, former Professor of Physics and Mathematics ,and a Contemplative Humanitarian Entrepreneur & Activist, He is Founder & President, of Igniting Africa an indigenous community development grassroots movement. He can be reached at

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Agenda 111, Over 20,000 Health Personnel Will Be Employed in Ghana– President Akufo-Addo.
August 19, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

President Akufo-Addo has directed that about 20,000 health professionals would be employed when government’s Agenda 111 hospital projects is completed.

The development involves the construction of 111 District Hospitals, regional hospitals and two psychiatric hospitals.

According to the President, after the project is completed it would provide job opportunities for some 20,000 health professionals and hence enable the Ministry of Health to recruit more doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals.

President Akufo-Addo said there would be many indirect jobs for residents in the local economy after the completion of the project. He said this whiles breaking grounds for the construction of the hospitals at Trede, in the Ashanti Region on Tuesday.

Each of the hospital projects will cost 17 million dollars. Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah on Sunday indicated that “currently, an amount of $100 million has been allocated for the project through the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund. The project when completed in 18 months, will deliver to each underserved district, a world-class health facility capable of attending to all major ailments.

Addressing a durbar, the President said making Ghana the centre of excellence for medical care in Africa by 2030 remains his priority and counted on the projects to attain that feat.

He said a consortium comprising of some 20 Ghanaian consulting firms made up of architects, civil structural, electrical, mechanical engineers, quantity surveyors, biomedical engineers and other technical teams came together to design the hospitals to reflect the country’s unique domestic requirement.

According to the President, he is confident that this important investment will have a positive impact on many lives and livelihoods in the respective communities.

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August 19, 2021 | 0 Comments

‘Fund your Future’ partnership with Sterling Bank in Nigeria to kick off global roll-out

Washington D.C., – 18 August 2021: Nexford University, a Washington D.C. based, next-generation online university – announces a major new partnership with Sterling Bank, one of Nigeria’s largest commercial banks.

The Sterling Bank and Nexford program is called ‘Fund Your Future’ and is part of Nexford’s wider ‘Learn to Earn’ project for emerging markets. It is designed to solve three major challenges:

  • Enabling employers to find qualified entry-level talent;
  • In the World Economic Forum’s index, Nigeria scored 44% on human capital development (measured by skills acquisition) trailing the Sub-Saharan African average of 55%
  • Nigerian employers faced the most difficulties in filling managerial, professional and technical jobs due to a lack of skilled applicants
  • Helping students with affordable access to university
  • 50% of Nigeria’s high school graduates fail to gain admission to local universities and other institutions of learning;
  • Giving students skills they need to actually get jobs

Employers across emerging markets struggle to find qualified entry-level talent, and are forced to invest in expensive and time-consuming training. Paradoxically, despite high emerging market unemployment levels, employers still struggle to find this qualified talent. In a McKinsey survey of young people and employers in nine countries, including major developing countries, 40% of employers noted a lack of skills was the main reason for entry-level job vacancies. 60% said new graduates were not adequately prepared for the world of work.

For Sterling Bank, the benefits are multiple. First is access to student talent – which has been given an education – by Nexford – specifically tailored to their corporate needs. This saves Sterling money on current early-stage training to upskill graduates to the required level. Nexford’s competency-based curriculum also provides Sterling with multiple data points to evaluate applicants’ qualifications, thus saving time on filtering large numbers of applications and the wider recruitment process.

For students, Sterling Bank is playing two roles; it will underwrite loans to fund their tuition fees with Nexford. This will protect students against Naira foreign exchange fluctuations. These fluctuations, plus US dollar restrictions, make budgeting for degree costs difficult.  Sterling will put students back in control of their finances. Secondly, Sterling Bank is providing students with partial scholarships and internships during students’ studies, plus post-graduation job opportunities.

The wider context is, in markets such as the US, employer-funded education has grown significantly, with $82.5 billion spent on upskilling there in 2020. In 2020, the World Economic Forum also stated that 1 billion workers will need to be reskilled by 2030. While the need for upskilling globally is significant, young populations means emerging markets face significant shortages of qualified entry-level talent.

The ‘Nexford for Business’ program which launched in 2020 focuses on reskilling and upskilling employees. Large employers such as Dangote Cement in Nigeria, Indosat in Indonesia, and Hassan Allam Holding in Egypt are employers who have already partnered with Nexford to upskill their employees.

Nexford University’s CEO, Fadl Al Tarzi,

In each market, Nexford will partner with a different organization to fund, and several organizations on the employment side. Employers will identify the skills they need, and Nexford will identify the programs to deliver those skills. When learners complete the programs, they will have a far greater chance of gaining employment opportunities.

Nexford University’s CEO, Fadl Al Tarzi, said:

“Our partnership with Sterling Bank is a perfect example of how Nexford is helping bridge gaps between employers and higher education. We are committed to making access to qualified talent far easier for employers, while making education more accessible and relevant for learners. We are delighted to partner with an institution privileged to have such forward thinking leadership, the Sterling Bank partnership kicks off our global roll-out. This is a perfect match and surely the first of many such partnerships.”

Obinna Ukachukwu

Mr. Obinna Ukachukwu, Divisional Head, Health and Education sectors with Sterling Bank, commented:

“The programme is designed to solve three major challenges of enabling employers to find qualified entry level talent, helping students with affordable access to university and giving students the skills they need to actually get jobs.”

“In the World Economic Forum’s index, Nigeria scored 44 percent on human capital development when measured by skills acquisition, trailing the sub-Saharan African average of 55 percent by 11 percent. Also, Nigerian employers face the most difficulties in filling managerial, professional and technical jobs due to lack of skilled applicants.”

Launched in 2019, Nexford’s leverages machine learning and Artificial Intelligence to create a data and skills-driven curriculum, specifically designed to match employers’ needs with its graduates’ skills. It has learners enrolled from over 65 countries, and has partnerships with Microsoft, LinkedIn Learning and IBM to provide access to tools, courses and programmes to enrich the learning experience.

About Nexford University

Nexford University is a next-generation university, built for leaders, not followers

Via its online learning experience, it will positively impact millions of lives around the world. It believes in taking a different path and standing out from the crowd

The traditional university experience hasn’t changed for 100 years. Nexford believes the experience is no longer fit for purpose, and it is time for a paradigm shift in higher education. One that puts learners first, giving them the skills to succeed now – and in the future. Nexford provides learners with a fully online global education based on mastery of competencies that are relevant in the workplace. It equips learners with the skills needed for lifelong learning and skill development. A global learner community supports learning and success through the innovative use of technology, such as AI and machine learning.

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Vitendo 4 Africa commences construction of school in Kenya.
August 17, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Vitendo 4 Africa (V4A), a non-profit organization based in Missouri, the USA, on August 9, launched the classroom construction project in Sultan Hamud, Kenya’s Rift Valley.

The school will host learners from nursery to class 8 as learning is set to commence in January 2022 after completing one classroom. The class will host nursery kids.

 Joy was written on the face of all attendees during the groundbreaking ceremony as locals sang and danced to celebrate the new dawn.

Geoffrey Soyintet, CEO of Vitendo 4 Africa, told the Pan African Visions that immigrants V4A youths have been fundraising in the last year to build the school to support education for the local Maasai community.

“Students came together and identified a project in Sultan Hamud where there is a need for school,” Mr. Soyintet said, noting that they are partnering with the local catholic church.

“This is part of our youth empowerment programme which helps them to be more focus about life, give them an opportunity to give back to the community and build self-identity,” he added.

He noted the current project is the third one in the country, having undertaken two others in the same region (Rift Valley).

“Vitendo” is a Swahili word meaning action.

Formed in 2010, V4A aims to welcome, connect, and empower healthier immigrant individuals and families by providing supports and services and coordinating resources.

Though it was started as a Kenyan community, now it serves over 27 African nationalities and is still in the process of embracing more from the remaining countries.

“We first build social connections by putting Kenyan community together and formed a committee. Then we later realized that there are other African communities who are going through similar challenges and opened doors for other African nations. Right now we serve over 27 nationalities and impacting more than 22000 African immigrants,” said Soyintet, a Kenyan national based in St. Louis.

The organization provides a platform for discussion of common issues, aspirations, and solutions for advancing individuals and groups from the African Immigrant community in Missouri.

Its activities include sponsoring events organized by Immigrant Communities in St Louis and other neighboring cities, promoting and preserving the diverse African History, Music, arts, and cultures, connecting to opportunities like college enrolment, scholarships, and professional areas.

Soyintet disclosed that soon V4A will be launching projects in other countries like Rwanda, Cameroon, and Ghana.

His struggles when he went to the US through the green card and passion for impacting people’s lives prompted him and thirteen others to form the organization.

“When i arrived there i found there was a great programme for Asian community, Hispanic, but there was no organization for Africa. All those talked to supported a suggestion to have a voice for African community to help those who coming in to navigate the American system,” he reiterated.

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Global Business Growth and Development affliate partnerships , IATA and UNCTAD set to benefit Developing countries .
August 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

UNCTAD Technical and Logistics Director Shamika N. Sirimanne

Air Transport and Global Trade takes a commercial unison  centre stage meant to benefit developing countries at most length of advantage .UNCTAD , United Nations Conference on Trade and Development extended partnerships with IATA , International Air Transport Association in order to facilitate lucrative global trade . This has been learnt through information posted  by an media expert Linden Birns from South Africa who manages Plane Talk communication.

The two organisations promote the adoption of intergration of a globally recognised air cargo which measures standards for automated customs management by each country’s revenue service .

This stands vital to facilitate international trade especially e-Commerce .This has been learnt at a high note .  One hundred countries , 100 , are to choose deploy latest version of ASYCUDAworld . This enables more efficient processing of cargo shipment .

UNCTAD Technical and Logistics Director Shamika N. Sirimanne said through extended partnerships they look forward to leverage leadership of UNCTAD and IATA in their respective fields inorder to boost e-Commerce in developing through improved data exchange .

“Through extended  partnerships we look forward to leverage leadership of UNCTAD and AITA in their respective fields in-order to boost e-Commerce in developing countries through improved exchange of trade data “.

ASYCUDAworld will manage e-Commerce shipments efficiently. It will include adding proper risk management and assessment for mail shipments and facilitating access to IATA enhanced partnerships  identification and continue utilising( epic )  platform .

This enables customs authorities to share advanced cargo mail information requirements across  the digital supply chain ( Air logistics , freight forwading , ground handlers  and third party messaging service providers .

Collaboration will include potential exchange of additional operational electronic information such as air cargo rules , flight schedules and others that can assist customs officials in their risk assessments .

“UNCTAD and IATA are working together to support economic operations for e-Commerce by modernising data exchange needed for customs clearance”

Global standards enable accurate information and effective risk assessments .This in-turn promotes stronger compliance.It will contribute to  a safe supply chain which should give authorities confidence of modern processes.”

Nick Careen , IATA Senior Vice President for operations , safety and security .

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Rwanda to host host eLearning Africa in May 2022.
August 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Africa’s founder and CEO, Rebecca Stromeyer

The Convention Centre in Kigali will be the setting for the next edition of Africa’s leading conference and exhibition on technology-assisted learning, bringing political leaders, investors and some of the world’s leading experts on education and technology to the Rwandan capital for three days of talks, workshops and a ministerial roundtable.

eLearning Africa’s founder and CEO, Rebecca Stromeyer, said  that she hoped the conference would help to establish “a new purpose for education” by facilitating in-depth discussions on “what the world will be like after Covid-19.”

“The pandemic has brought about many changes, some of which will be permanent,” she said. “Now we need a real focus on adaptability, resilience and sustainability in education. And we need an African agenda – not just for Africa itself, but because Africa has so much to teach the world.

“African experience and traditions, such as ‘ubuntu’, will enjoy a new relevance. Equally, African ideas of community and partnership with nature could soon mean that Africa is increasingly recognised as a resource of knowledge, experience and education for the whole world.”

 it is reported that the conference, which will have ‘A New Purpose for Education’ as its main theme will consider issues including,the challenges facing African countries in the aftermath of the pandemic,the suitability of global models in the African context,how to redirect education to meet African countries’ future needs,using technology to enable African countries to respond to specific needs in context,the single African market and the opportunities and requirements of employers and Africa’s contribution to global learning and problem solving.

Featuring plenary sessions, seminars, workshops, debates and discussions, eLearning Africa will be accompanied by a major exhibition, showcasing some of the latest EdTech technologies and solutions. The conference will take place from 11 – 13 May at the Kigali Convention Centre in Rwanda.

“I am delighted that eLearning Africa is back on the road and returning to the splendid, state-of-the-art conference centre in Kigali,” said Ms Stromeyer. “It has been a long wait but I hope this conference will show it has been well worth it. It will be wonderful to see the eLearning Africa family – our amazing network of experts, solutions providers, managers and investors – back together again for what will be the most important programme of discussions in our history.”

Founded in 2005, eLearning Africa is the leading pan-African conference and exhibition on ICT for Education, Training & Skills Development. The three day event offers participants the opportunity to develop multinational and cross-industry contacts and partnerships, as well as to enhance their knowledge and skills.

Over 14 consecutive years, eLearning Africa has hosted more than 18,000 participants from 100+ different countries around the world, with over 80% coming from the African continent. More than 3,830 speakers have addressed the conference about every aspect of technology supported learning, training and skills development.

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