Ethiopia: African Development Bank Group signs grant agreement for $31 million to tackle nutrition and end child stunting
May 14, 2021 | 0 Comments
The African Development Bank and the Government of Ethiopia have signed an agreement for a $31 million grant to boost health and nutrition for children under the age of five.
The African Development Fund’s Board of Directors approved funding for the government’s Multi-Sectoral Approach for Stunting Reduction Project (MASReP) at the end of April. The total budget is $48 million.
The agreement was signed on 10 May by Yasmin Wohabrebbi, State Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Government of Ethiopia, and Abdul Kamara, Deputy Director General of the Bank’s East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office.
Wohabrebbi said, “In the past two years the government spent close to $31 million from its own sources to execute the Seqota Declaration Innovation Phase. The Multi-Sectoral Approach for Stunting Reduction Project (MASReP) we are signing today will complement the government’s investment effort to achieve goals set under the Declaration.” The project targets 40 districts in the Amhara and Tigray regions, where nearly 50% of children under the age of five are afflicted by stunting.
Children will benefit from improved access to parent-grown nutritious food and nutrition services while pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers will receive nutrient-dense food crops, livelihood promotion and nutrition counselling. The wider population will gain greater access to water for domestic use and food production. The health, education and nutrition service delivery will benefit from stronger systems and improved infrastructure.
“The agreement further underscores the African Development Bank’s commitment to support the Ethiopian government’s initiatives to end stunting in children under age two by 2030, in line with its Seqota Declaration,” said Kamara. He said the project would address the multidimensional causes of stunting.
Ethiopia’s Seqota Declaration is a commitment to end stunting in children under two by 2030. The national ministries of health; agriculture, water, irrigation and energy; education; women, children and youth; labour and social affairs; transport; and finance are co-ordinated in this effort.
The Multi-Sectoral Approach for Stunting Reduction Project is consistent with the government’s Ten-Year Strategy and two of the Bank’s High Five strategic priorities, namely Feed Africa and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.
The African Development Bank’s total ongoing commitment in Ethiopia is $1.6 billion, covering the key sectors of basic services, energy, transport, water supply and sanitation, agriculture, governance, and the private sector.
In Niger, a rare scene in the pandemic: Covid-19 wards remain empty, agriculture and business benefit from support programs
May 14, 2021 | 0 Comments
Looking over his hectares of rice in Saga, less than 10 minutes from central Niamey, Garba Soumana’s face is radiant. A gust of wind from the Niger River drowns out his voice, but in no way diminishes his joy. “Thank you, Lord. God is great,” he exclaims. “This is such an achievement, like a thorn taken out of your foot,” he says, again and again, gazing over his vast green expanse.
Just like Garba Soumana, thousands of Nigerien producers have the comfort of knowing that they will have the seeds they need for the next planting season, in June and July, thanks to support from the African Development Bank to help Niger with its country-wide response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition to budget support of more than $100 million, the Bank is also providing funding to low-income member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), including more than $4 million for Niger. The Bank also provided $22 million to help the G5 Sahel countries combat the pandemic.
In this Sahelian country, exceptionally vulnerable to cyclical droughts and climate change, access to seed enhances food security and helps to prevent the health crisis from turning into a food crisis. In Niger, food security is linked to social and political stability.
“The Bank’s support has been particularly important for this country that is already suffering under triple climate, humanitarian and security shocks,” said Nouridine Kane Dia, the Bank’s country manager for Niger.
Not far from Saga, in Niamey, Amadou Tidjani has a contagious smile on his face too. This trader learned, just a day ago, that when it became due later this year, he would not have to pay his import-export licence.
“This is like a shot in the arm; the pandemic has put a stop to our business trips. Our shops are not getting the usual footfall. In this gloomy situation, getting a deferral on payment of the licence is a godsend,” said Amadou, as he bustled about his bags of rice, the staple food during Ramadan.
Several hundred Nigerien traders will benefit from the temporary suspension of taxes and duties. This government measure aims to save hundreds of businesses from bankruptcy.
The Bank’s support for Niger also extends to the most vulnerable groups, including internally displaced persons and refugees. Diffa, in the southeast, and Tahoua and Tillabéri in the northwest are three regions that form the epicentre of terrorist activities. Here, thousands of people have benefited from social protection measures, such as the distribution of food, hand-washing kits, and drinking water facilities, as well as the construction of latrines.
“The support of the Bank has provided Niger, whose financial capacities are being severely tested by the sharp increase in security and humanitarian expenses for the fight against terrorism and the reception of refugees, with the fiscal space and emergency support needed to cope with the additional consequences of the health crisis and preserve gains made in poverty reduction,” added Kane Dia.
The African Development Bank Group’s Covid-19 Response Facility (CRF) has had a considerable effect on the health response in Niger. It has increased the resources allocated to health and strengthened the country’s capacity for screening and caring for people infected with Covid-19, and for recruiting health workers.
Initially, screening was only available in Niamey, at the Medical and Health Research Centre (CERMES). Support from partners such as the African Development Bank helped to set up a number of facilities for the analysis of PCR tests, including at Zinder and Maradi, the most important cities after the capital.
In Talladjé, a working-class district of Niamey, wife and mother Halima Ousseini is preparing to go for a medical consultation. This time, she walks with a confident step, dressed in a flowing boubou. Her medical centre will, like other similar medical facilities, receive a variety of 140 medical products ordered under the emergency health response programme supported by the Bank.
“For us, access to medicines was no easy matter in normal times. It got harder still under the pandemic. Our revenues have fallen, but the prices of medications have stayed the same. So, having access to medicines is a huge relief for people like us of modest means,” said Halima Ousseini, who told us that she makes a living as an informal trader and with the help of her children.
The support of the African Development Bank has also helped Niger to take excellent care of those infected with the virus. Approximately 1,637 new health workers have been recruited and health logistics have been strengthened, including through the donation of three ultramodern ambulances to the Nigerien Ministry of Health.
Of a population of 23 million, 70% of whom are under the age of 25, some 5,000 cases have been detected and 185 deaths have been recorded, making Niger one of the least-affected countries on the continent. This significant support is also building the capacity of the health sector to deal with further public health shocks.
In Niamey referral hospital, the national facility approved to treat Covid-19 cases, beds remain unoccupied for lack of patients. Covid-19 units have been closed and ventilators transferred to other services that need them. “The department is operating at a relaxed pace because we do not have any more Covid-19 patients…The situation is totally under control,” said Dr Amadou Foumakoye, head of the hospital’s Covid-19 unit.
The achievements of this crisis management will be further boosted by the vaccination campaign launched on 29 March 2021, with the support of development partners.
A Myriad of opportunities for Entrepreneurs in Jack Ma Foundation Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition
May 12, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
Entrepreneurs in Africa have a few more weeks to apply for the 2021 Africa’s Business Heroes competition, the Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic program that identifies, supports, and inspires African entrepreneurs.
Speaking to Nigeria’s Channels TV, Zahra Baitie-Boateng, the Head of Partnerships and Programs with the Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition, highlighted the many opportunities that the initiative offers, saying that every entrepreneur who successfully submits their application can benefit from the competition even if they do not make it to the finale and win their share of the USD 1.5M prize.
According to her, the application process is designed to encourage candidates to conduct a thorough analysis and review of the fundamentals of their business. When testing the candidates, judges provide insights and guidance on strengthening their businesses and improving their pitches as they advance, said Zahra.
Participants also have the opportunity to access exclusive mentorship and learning, through a number of multi-disciplinary bootcamps and training sessions and connect to a community of like-minded entrepreneurs.
The Top 10 finalists take home grant funds ranging from USD 100,000 to USD 300,000, increase their public exposure by featuring in the Africa’s Business Heroes show, and have the opportunity to pitch to international business legends at the Grand Finale.
“There are many benefits one can gain depending on where you end in competition,” said Zahra Boateng.
She narrated how the competition has changed lives and businesses in the continent, noting that many heroes have used the grants and the publicity they achieved to make tremendous progress. In particular, she mentioned Nigerian Temie Giwa-Tubuson, the founder and CEO of LifeBank. The ABH Grand Prize winner in 2019, Temie has secured further investments and recently expanded her operations in Kenya and helped tackle Covid-19 by delivering medical oxygen and facilitating testing.
“This is just one example. Several other finalists have gone on to expand their footprint geographically and established collaborations among them,” she added.
She further disclosed that over ten years, the program will recognize 100 African entrepreneurs and allocate grant funding, training programs, and support for the broader Africa entrepreneur ecosystem.
They will also be launching an Africa’s Business Heroes virtual community in the future.
Applications for the ABH third edition officially launched on March 30, 2021, and it will remain open until June 7, 2021. Candidates from all African countries, all sectors, and all ages can submit their applications in French and English here before 7th June.
The applicants must be of African descent, founders/co-founders of the businesses, and their businesses must be registered and operated in Africa. The business must have revenues and have been in existence for at least three years.
WFP AND UNHCR ROLL OUT TARGETED FOOD ASSISTANCE TO MEET NEEDS OF THE MOST VULNERABLE REFUGEES IN RWANDA
May 11, 2021 | 0 Comments
KIGALI – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, have started rolling out a new mechanism in Rwanda to prioritize general food assistance to the most vulnerable refugees.
“The funding shortfalls, which we were already facing due to the protracted nature of the refugee crisis in Rwanda, have been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Ahmed Baba Fall, UNHCR’s Representative to Rwanda. “To avoid these cuts affecting the most vulnerable refugees, we have established a targeting system that will allow us to prioritize extremely vulnerable refugees who depend entirely on humanitarian assistance and to ensure that their basis needs are met.”
“This is the right step at the right time when donors globally are under greater pressure than ever because of the impact of COVID-19 and growing demands,” said WFP Rwanda Representative and Country Director Edith Heines. “By targeting we prioritize funding to the refugees who are most in need of assistance while we work to mobilise more resources and find long-term solutions.”
This shift is in close collaboration with the Ministry of Emergency Management (MINEMA) and with technical support from the Joint UNHCR-WFP Programme Excellence and Targeting Hub. This is the first country in Eastern Africa where WFP and UNHCR have jointly implemented targeting and prioritization of humanitarian assistance, with the support of the hub.
UNHCR, together with the Rwanda authorities, is embarking on a stepped-up livelihoods and economic inclusion strategy that will increase refugee and host community resilience.
“We are confident that by investing in programmes that promote access to livelihoods and economic opportunities, education enrolment and access to land and financial services, part of the refugee population will be able to improve their livelihoods and support themselves. With this, I believe development partners will come forward with additional resources to support programmes targeting refugees and host communities for more sustainable solutions,” added Fall.
Gambia:Prison gets ambulance vehicle worth 2.5m
May 10, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Adama Makasuba
The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry yesterday donated an ambulance vehicle worth 2.5 million-dalasi as well as 100,000 dalasis coupons to Gambia Prison Service, held in Bijilo.
The donations aimed to support prison in the fight against coronavirus.
President of GCCI Edrissa Mass Jobe, said: “This ambulance is yet to help further the agenda of equivalence of healthcare and the right to health is a principle that applies to all prisoners who are entitled to receive the same quality of medical care that is available in the community,”
“Prisons are not isolated from society and prison health is public health. Adding that the vast majority of people committed to prison, prison guards and families interact continuously making prisons the reservoirs of disease.
“At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemics, GCCI realized that the prisons together with the hospitals are the worst and most vulnerable places in the country hence in the spirit of true generosity they focused their material and financial contribution to helping these institutions,” Edrissa said.
Representing the Prison Service Modou Jarju, described the donation as very timely and relevant to their institution needs and current requirements of their prison sub-health system.
“The old ambulance in Mile II is overburdened with pressure of providing paramedic services to both Mile II and Jeshwang prison. Therefore, acquiring an ambulance for the prison is long overdue and will go a long way in improving the provision of health services to the prisons,” he said.
“GCCI and UNDP have provided life changing support services in various ways that have helped to improve the lives of both inmates and officers,” he added.
Fabba Jammeh Director of industry Ministry of Trade said: “We all know that we are still in the pandemic and it has constraint most of our activities so we can imagine those in the prison how they would have been impacted by the Covid and this support coming to them at least will relief some of the burden that they have been going through this covid moment.”
Gambia:UK-based charity donates D7m to EFSTH
May 10, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Adama Makasuba
UK-based charity, Humanity First, through its Gambia branch, has given 7.3 million dalasis worth in consignment of health items to Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul.
The donation comes as part of Ahmadiyya Muslims Jama’at’s humanitarian support to the nation’s health sector to fight against coronavirus and other diseases following the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding between the hospital and the charity organisation.
Humanity First is a UN recognised charity organisation that has its branches in 160 countries around the world. In 2020 the charity’s country branch donated 250,000 dalasis in items like face masks and hand sanitisers to EFSTH.
The materials were shipped in by the UN Agency for World Food Programme.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony in Banjul, chairman of Humanity First The Gambia Baba F. Trawally, Amir of Ahmadiyya Muslims Jama’at, described the donation as great as he said it happened in Ramadan which is a giving month.
“We are gathered for handing over these items as part of complementing the tremendous work of The Gambia government in the fight against Covid-19,” he told the gathering.
“In a pandemic such as this it is not just government but everyone has a responsibility to make a difference,” he said, adding that: “at the level of Humanity First and other partners we are committed to serving humanity irrespective of their religious belief, skin colour, national origin and ethnic background.”
He assured the National Health Services of the United Kingdom and Zeded Laboratory UK that “the items will go a long way in advancing our efforts against Covid-19, in The Gambia” saying “we are profoundly grateful to the National Health Services of the United Kingdom and Zeded Laboratory UK.”
Amir Trawally reminded people that servicing humanity is not only “moral obligation but a religious duty and obligation for all Muslims.”
Dr Baboucarr Sowe said what the charity procured to the nation in the fight against coronavirus in the country is ” to the tune of 7.3 million dalasis.”
He commended the ministry of health and finance as well as government Institutions like Gambia Ports Authority and Gambia Revenue Authority in helping to bring in the container items of materials to the country.
Meanwhile, Chief Medical Director Professor Ousman Nyan, described the help as significant as heaped praise on the charity organisation that the ” material donation have been quite consistent of high quality and relevant.”
“As medical teachers we are particularly more aware about the capacity building that they (Humanity First) have been involved with in the emergency care, surgical skills and in other outreach activities that the members of the medical fraternity of Humanity First have delivered to The Gambian community mostly through our hospital service here at Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital,” the health professor recognised support of the charity.
Representing the minister of health, Lamin Dampha, PS 2 at the ministry of health welcomed the gesture saying the materials will greatly help in the fight against coronavirus. He thanked the donors for the services they have been rendering to the country.
Emirates launches India humanitarian airbridge to transport urgent COVID-19 relief items
May 10, 2021 | 0 Comments
- Emirates will offer cargo capacity free of charge to NGOs, to ship relief items on all its flights from Dubai to nine cities in India
- Airbridge initiative is a major boost from Emirates, supporting the various relief efforts undertaken by the humanitarian community
- In co-ordination with the International Humanitarian City (IHC), first flights carrying WHO cargo departs from Dubai to India
Dubai, UAE, 10 May 2021– Emirates has set up a humanitarian airbridge between Dubai and India to transport urgent medical and relief items, to support India in its fight to control the serious COVID-19 situation in the country.
Emirates will offer cargo capacity free of charge on an “as available” basis on all of its flights to nine cities in India, to help international NGOs deliver relief supplies rapidly to where it is needed.
In the past weeks, Emirates SkyCargo has already been transporting medicines and medical equipment on scheduled and charter cargo flights to India. This latest airbridge initiative takes Emirates’ support for India and for the NGO community to the next level.
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates’ Chairman and Chief Executive, said: “India and Emirates are deeply connected, since our first flights to India in 1985. We stand with the Indian people and will do all we can to help India get back on its feet. Emirates has a lot of experience in humanitarian relief efforts, and with 95 weekly flights to 9 destinations in India, we will be offering regular and reliable widebody capacity for relief materials. The International Humanitarian City in Dubai is the largest crisis relief hub in the world and we will work closely with them to facilitate the movement of urgent medical supplies.”
The first shipment sent as part of the Emirates India humanitarian airbridge is a consignment of over 12 tons of multi-purpose tents from the World Health Organization (WHO), destined for Delhi, and coordinated by the IHC in Dubai.
Giuseppe Saba, CEO of International Humanitarian City, said: “His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid built the International Humanitarian City (IHC), so Dubai, in coordination with humanitarian agencies, would be able to assist communities and families, most in need – around the world. The creation of the humanitarian airbridge between Dubai and India, facilitated by Emirates SkyCargo, Dubai’s International Humanitarian City and UN agencies, to transport urgent medical and relief items, is another example of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s vision for the IHC, being brought to life. Last year over 1,292 shipments were dispatched from the IHC in Dubai, setting the standard for humanitarian response globally. We appreciate the great efforts by IHC’s partner Emirates SkyCargo establishing this humanitarian airbridge between Dubai and India in this time of need”.
The freight division of Emirates has a close partnership with IHC, developed over several years of delivering relief materials to communities across the world impacted by natural disasters and other crises. IHC will support Emirates SkyCargo in channelling relief efforts to India through the airbridge.
Following the Port of Beirut blasts in August 2020, Emirates also leveraged its expertise in humanitarian logistics to set up an airbridge to Lebanon to assist with relief efforts.
Emirates has led the aviation and air cargo industry in its efforts to help markets around the world combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The air cargo carrier has helped transport thousands of tonnes of urgently required PPE and other medical supplies across six continents over the last year by rapidly adapting its business model and introducing additional cargo capacity through its modified mini freighters with seats removed from Economy Class on Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft along with loading cargo on seats and in overhead bins inside passenger aircraft to transport urgently required materials.
In addition, Emirates SkyCargo has partnered with UNICEF and other entities in Dubai through the Dubai Vaccine Logistics Alliance, to transport COVID-19 vaccines rapidly to developing nations through Dubai. So far, close to 60 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been transported on Emirates’ flights, equating to nearly 1 in 20 of all COVID-19 vaccine doses administered around the world.
Through its scheduled cargo flights to close to 140 destinations across six continents, Emirates helps maintain unbroken supply chains for vital commodities such as medical supplies and food.
The Emirates story started in 1985 when we launched operations with just two aircraft. Today, we fly the world’s biggest fleets of Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s, offering our customers the comforts of the latest and most efficient wide-body aircraft in the skies.
We inspire travelers around the world with our growing network of worldwide destinations, industry leading inflight entertainment, regionally inspired cuisine, and world-class service.
KANSANSHI MINE MANAGEMENT IMPLORES WORKERS TO GET COVID-19 VACCINATION
May 6, 2021 | 0 Comments
SOLWEZI, ZAMBIA – Kansanshi Mining Assistant General Manager John Gladston has appealed to employees to accept the COVID-19 vaccination when offered. Mr Gladston encouraged employees at Kansanshi Mine to be ready for the vaccine, which would likely be available to them in the coming weeks.
Speaking during the World Day for Safety and Health at Work at Kansanshi Safety Centre, Mr Gladston encouraged all employees, when offered, to volunteer to receive the vaccination against COVID-19 and to follow the science on its efficacy.
“When the time comes please volunteer yourselves to receive the vaccine to afford protection against the effects of COVID-19; if you are in any doubt please follow the science rather than social media in your decision making” said Mr Gladston.
He said getting vaccinated against COVID-19 was proven to provide high levels of protection and drastically reduce the chances of hospitalisation due to the virus, especially amongst ‘at risk’ groups. This was especially true of the Jenner Institute/Oxford Vaccine Group vaccine manufactured by AstraZeneca which is already being administered in Zambia.
He said the Kansanshi Mine Hospital, in partnership with the Zambia Ministry of Health, anticipated the roll-out of the vaccine in the coming weeks. In line with Ministry of Health protocols, health and essential workers would be vaccinated first followed by vulnerable and at risk groups.
“Along with clean water and safe sewerage, vaccinations remain one of the fundamentals of public health,” Mr Gladston advised employees.
Mr Gladston was delighted with the company’s Occupational Health and Safety Department and the diligence with which it has approached the pandemic; at the time of writing Kansanshi Mine had seen no new Covid-19 cases in the previous week.
The low transmission of the virus was due to strong measures put in place to mitigate the spread of the virus by the occupational health and safety department.
And Kansanshi Mining Safety Manager Teza Kasengele stressed the importance of this year’s theme for the World Day for Safety and Health at Work: Anticipate, Prepare and Respond.
Mr Kasengele commended employees in the Safety Department for being actively engaged in promoting occupational health and safety at Kansanshi Mine.
“I am happy to note that as safety practitioners, you have been very active in spearheading many activities in response to COVID-19 such as enforcing social distancing by marking floors, installing hand sanitizer dispensers in common areas and ensuring face masks are worn by everyone accessing the mine site,” said Mr Kasengele.
Mr Kasengele added that the screening process at the point of entry to the mine has been heightened to ensure that only employees who are fit for work are allowed to access the mine site, and that goes a long way in preventing occupational accidents and the spread of diseases that have potential to affect the operation of the mine.
He assured the safety practitioners that they have support from management in all they do and this was the reason why managers from various departments of the company left their busy schedules and joined the safety practitioners in celebrating the World Day for Safety and Health.
ZAMBIAN BREWERIES RECOGNISED FOR ROLE IN BUILDING GREEN COMMUNITIES
May 4, 2021 | 0 Comments
LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – The Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) has awarded Zambian Breweries with the ZAM Sustainability Award for its leading role in environmental protection and building green communities through its Manja Pamodzi recycling initiative.
Manja Pamodzi is a recycling initiative introduced, by Zambian Breweries, in 2016 in partnership with Lusaka City Council and the Zambia Environmental Management Agency to help rid local townships of packaging waste and improve hygiene and sanitation.
Since its inception, the programme has played a critical role in not only revitalising township streets but also creating a new breed of entrepreneurs in local communities who earn a living by collecting waste and selling it to recyclers.
When receiving the award, Zambian Breweries Better World Manager Elaine Kafwimbi said the ZAM award incentivised manufacturers to do more to protect the environment adding that a large amount of urban waste comprised of packaging material.
She said that: “Environmental protection is everyone’s responsibility. We only have one planet hence we must do all we can to ensure we preserve its natural ecosystems.”
“At Zambian Breweries, our responsibility for our products goes far beyond the last sip. Through Manja Pamodzi, we are changing lives and saving the environment by recycling various recyclable waste materials.”
“Manja Pamodzi also holds sensitisation workshops to educate consumers on the importance of recycling and proper waste disposal to help build a responsible and environmentally conscious society – in line with our ethos “bringing people together for a better world,” she said.
Statistics show that only 26 percent of the estimated 900 tons of waste generated daily in Lusaka is collected by formal services with some 34 percent of that waste being recyclable.
Speaking during the handover ceremony, ZAM Sustainability Board Committee Chairperson Ms. Bridget Kambobe said: “On behalf of Zambia Association of Manufactures we are awarding a very phenomenal practical project that has demonstrated that it is possible to create a model that not only creates employment while cleaning the environment but also contributes to the social economic development of our country. We want to congratulate Zambian Breweries for playing a leading role in this recycling project.”
Over the last five years, more than 800 collectors – 500 of whom are women – have supported their livelihoods through this programme.
And by close of 2020, over 12,000 tons of recyclable waste had been collected from 11 aggregator sites around Lusaka.
About AB InBev in Zambia
Zambian Breweries Plc is part of Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), the largest brewer in the world, with more than 400 beer brands and some 200,000 employees in over 50 countries. It is also one of the world’s largest bottlers of soft drinks.
Zambian Breweries was established in Zambia in 1968 and its product range has grown to include clear beers such as Mosi Lager, Castle, Carling Black Label, Eagle beer, Stella Artois and Budweiser.
Strong Sustainability Performance sees Perseus Mining deliver US$385 million to Ivorian and Ghanaian Economies in 2020
May 4, 2021 | 0 Comments
|As part of its longstanding commitment to the communities in which it operates, Perseus reported increasing community investment by 71% to around US$1.9M in CY20|
Perseus Mining Limited has released its CY20 Sustainable Development Report. The report details the company’s progress over the past 12 months in delivering on its commitment to responsible mining operations in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, including an overall economic benefit to host countries totalling about USD$385M.
As part of its longstanding commitment to the communities in which it operates, Perseus reported increasing community investment by 71% to around US$1.9M in CY20, funding critical health and education infrastructure projects for local communities. Additionally, Perseus announced it had increased its proportion of local procurement from 66% in CY19 to 78% in CY20, totalling US$287M, and further expanded its employment of local populations, with 96% of its current workforce local to Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.
Jeff Quartermaine, Managing Director & CEO of Perseus said:
“Sustainability is deeply rooted in Perseus’s culture and operations and has had a large part to play in our resilience during this challenging year. We believe that responsible gold mining can play a key role in sustainable development, and that investing in our employees and our communities to create enduring social value will remain a guiding force in our growth path and future business operations. I am proud of my team’s effective response to the pandemic which successfully safeguarded our operations as well as our people, enabling us to deliver our Yaouré mine in Côte d’Ivoire this year ahead of schedule. Our approach to sustainability has continued to mature as our business has grown, and in the coming years we look forward to expanding our ESG offering and delivering greater impact across Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.”
Jessica Volich, Group Sustainability Manager at Perseus said:
“Despite the challenges the past year has brought, Perseus’s sustainability agenda has continued to strengthen and evolve alongside its expanding operations. Our wide-ranging efforts and engagement with our local communities and host governments has enabled us to create shared sustainable value for all our stakeholders. We are committed to strengthening these relationships in the coming years as we endeavour to generate socio-economic value for our people, communities and host countries.”
In CY20, Perseus has enhanced its disclosure on sustainability-related risks and opportunities by aligning with the key reporting frameworks used by our stakeholders. These include the World Gold Council Responsible Gold Mining Principles, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
Highlights of the report include:
Economic and Social Contribution
- Total economic contribution of US$385M in CY20 to Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire
- Increased community investment by 71% (from CY19) to around US$1.9M in CY20, funding critical health and education infrastructure projects for local communities and providing COVID-19 support
- Creation of new health clinics near Sissingué to improve health outcomes for the ~27,000 residents of the local communities
- Increased in-country employment, with over 96% of total employees from host countries
- Local procurement spend of $287M, an increase from 66% in CY19 to 78% in CY20
- Held 587 consultations with local communities
- Paid >US$69M in taxes, royalties, and duties to Government
Health & Safety performance:
- Maintained record of zero workplace fatalities and reduced injuries
- Implementation of comprehensive measures and protocols to prevent introduction and spread of COVID-19 and maintain business continuity
- Re-use of 12,495,163 KL of water
- Water intensity of 7.46M3/oz gold produced, benchmarked ahead of peers
- Enhanced tailings disclosures in line with the Investor Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative, and completed independent audits of all our Tailings Storage Facilities (TSFs)
- Worked with independent sustainability risk experts, KPMG, to refresh sustainability materiality analysis and conduct deeper analysis of sustainability risks and opportunities, and start development of a 3-year sustainability roadmap
- Announced appointment of a new Director by the end of FY21 to enhance sustainability skills of the Board
- Release of the first Modern Slavery Statement to address potential human rights risks in Perseus’ global supply chain
- Establish a 3-year sustainability roadmap, and enhance social value and sustainability risk management through updates to the Risk Management Framework and policy standards
- Establish the Yaouré Community Development Fund in FY21
- During FY21 and FY22, Perseus will complete and commence implementation of our biodiversity plan at Yaouré in Côte d’Ivoire mine site in and establish our site nursery, to be staffed by local community members
- Explore strategic opportunities for community partnerships in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana
- Achieve full alignment with the World Gold Council Responsible Gold Mining Principles by FY23
- About Perseus Mining:
- Perseus Mining Limited is a rapidly growing African gold producer, developer and explorer, operating three mines in West Africa with the aim of annual production of 500,000 ounces by 2022. Perseus’s first mine, the Edikan Gold Mine in Ghana, has produced around 1.8million ounces of gold since 2011 and based on current ore reserves, the company expects to recover a further 1.2 million ounces. Perseus became a multi-mine, multi-jurisdiction gold producer in January 2018 when it opened the Sissingué Gold Mine in Côte d’Ivoire and has since completed its third mine and begun commercial operations at its third mine – Yaouré – located in central Côte d’Ivoire.
- *SOURCE Perseus Mining Ltd.
How can Mauritius take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)?
May 4, 2021 | 0 Comments
|The AfCFTA offers an opportunity for Mauritius to promote good governance both globally and across Africa|
By Chido Pamela Mafongoya & Veedushi Mooloo*
Mauritius, being strategically located between Asia and Africa, praise itself as having one of the continent’s most stable regulatory environment. The Mauritius Financial Centre has built a reputation as a safe, trusted and competitive financial center, which has enabled it to position itself as the preferred jurisdiction for Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) flows to the continent, since the country can serve both the Francophone and Anglophone Africa.
Mauritius and the other Africa countries are long known for the ties they share, both politically and economically. Mauritius ranks first in Africa has also made its way to Africa by being a member to two of the continent’s most important trade blocs, namely the Southern African Development Community SADC, and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Through these memberships, many foreign entrepreneurs have set up their businesses in Mauritius to gain from the trade advantages offered.
Apart from SADC and COMESA, Mauritius is now part of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA). Launched on 1 January 2021, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is an exciting game changer for African trade. Currently, Africa accounts for only 2% of global trade and only 17% of African exports are intra-continental, compared with 59% for Asia and 68% for Europe.
The AfCFTA is the world’s largest free trade area in terms of the number of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organization with all African countries being signatories except for Eritrea. The main purpose of the agreement is for members to remove tariffs from 90% of goods, allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent. The general objectives of AfCFTA can be summarized as follows, to:
- Create a single market, deepening the economic integration of the continent.
- Establish a liberalized market through multiple rounds of negotiations.
- Aid the movement of capital and people, facilitating investment.
- Move towards the establishment of a future continental customs union.
- Achieve sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development, gender equality and structural transformations within member states.
- Enhance competitiveness of member states within Africa and in the global market.
- Encourage industrial development through diversification and regional value chain development, agricultural development, and food security.
Mauritius has over the years been an offshore gateway to Africa. It has long been an advocate for developing economic bridges between itself and other African states, leveraging its position as Africa’s best place to conduct business as recognized by The World Bank. Through its Global Business sector, Mauritius has firmly established and promoted itself as a regional hub for facilitating investments on the continent. It is thus undeniable that AfCFTA will add further to the attractiveness of Africa as a place to do business. The AfCFTA provides a platform for Mauritius to contribute significantly to the new African impetus by making available to investors and businessmen an ecosystem that not only makes it easier for them to do business with Africa, but also enhances and safeguards their investments.
The AfCFTA also gives Mauritius market access estimated to be as large as 1.3 billion people across Africa, with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $3.4 trillion which covers most service sectors, including financial services, telecommunications, ICT, professional services, construction, and health. The AfCFTA will eventually reach zero tariffs on most of traded items, boasting trade outside of its boarders.
The Mauritian economy is a mixed developing economy based on agriculture, exports, financial services, and tourism. Since the 1980s, the government of Mauritius has sought to diversify the country’s economy beyond its dependence on just agriculture, particularly sugar production. In 2018, Mauritius Intra-Africa exports accounted for 23% of Mauritius’ total exports and imports for 13% of total imports. Mauritius mainly exports textiles to the rest of Africa. Of the top 10 intra-Africa export products five products are items of clothing or fabric accounting for 30% of Mauritius’ intra-Africa exports for 2018. The AfCFTA will provide the country access to an African textile market worth billions of dollars such that the country will be poised to become a major supplier of textile in the African market. The recent 2020 – 2021 budget of the government has announced one measure that can boost Mauritian exports from the already existing supply capacity to the region. The plan to set up Mauritius Export Warehouse in Tanzania and Mozambique will definitely support a number of Domestic Oriented Industry. Some are already gearing for Tanzania which is a more immediately obvious market than Mozambique. Mauritius has good potential to export a range of services in the context of the priority services lines set by the AfCFTA, namely Business services, Financial Services, Tourism and travel.
Mauritius mainly imports manufactured goods, petroleum products, cars, packaged medicaments from China, India and South Africa. The AfCFTA calls for a reduction in tariff in intra- Africa which means there will be a lower expenditure on importation of the above-mentioned goods from South Africa. As a result, there will be a reduction in the prices, reducing the country’s negative balance of trade.
The movement of goods and services amongst African countries will create employment opportunities for citizens in Mauritius. It will provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to work together in a liberalized trade environment. Further, the AfCFTA will strengthen the existing commitment of deepening regional trade integration initiatives under regional bodies such as the African Union, COMESA and SADC. The geographical diversification brought about by the AfCFTA is likely to open up new markets for Mauritius thus boasting its economy.
The AfCFTA offers an opportunity for Mauritius to promote good governance both globally and across Africa, through the concept of “Trade Integrity” which is defined as international trade transactions that are legitimate, transparent and properly priced as a way to ensure the legitimacy the global trading system. Trade Integrity will provide investors with more confidence to increase their investments in the country.
The AfCFTA will also assist to alleviate some of effects brought about as a result of the COVID-19. The African Development Bank Group’s African Economic Outlook (AEO) 2020 Supplement estimates that Africa could suffer GDP losses in 2020 between $145.5 billion (baseline) and $189.7 billion (worst case), from the pre-COVID–19 GDP estimates. Further, trade in medical supplies and food has been disrupted. It is being fully recognized across the continent that AfCFTA presents a short-term opportunity for countries to “build back better” and cushion the effects of the pandemic. In the longer-term, the impact will increase the continent’s resilience to future shocks.
In conclusion diversifying exports, accelerating growth in its trade, competitively integrating into the global economy, increasing foreign direct investment, increasing employment opportunities and incomes, and broadening economic inclusion are just a few of the positive economic outcomes AfCFTA can bring to Mauritius. Mauritius having undergone a remarkable economic transformation from a low-income, agriculturally based economy to a diversified, upper-middle-income country that has attracted considerable foreign investment should ensure that it fully takes advantage of the opportunities offered by the AfCFTA.
*SOURCE Centurion Law Group. Authors Chido Pamela Mafongoya & Veedushi Mooloo, Centurion Law Group
Ivory Coast First Lady Ropes in Artists in Fight against Child Labour
May 4, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Prince Kurupati
Ivory Coast First Lady Dominique Ouattara is intensifying her fight against child labour in the country. Recently, the First Lady roped in various artists in the country to help her amplify the message on the fight against child labour in all corners of the country. The First Lady took the occasion of the launch of the 5th edition of the Wara Tour to welcome all artists that will help in propagating the message on the fight against child labour.
Speaking at the launch of the 5th edition of the Wara Tour where she assumed the role of ‘godmother’ of the tour, Dominique Ouattara first took time in thanking all the artists who graced the occasion and accepted the call to become ambassadors on the fight against child labour. “I cannot quote you all because, to my great joy, you are very numerous at this ceremony. But know that I have for each of you a great affection and I thank you for your presence,” she said.
In her address, the First Lady of Ivory Coast said that for a long time, she has worked hard for the well-being of vulnerable women and children. She said that her work with Children of Africa Foundation starting all the way back in 1998 is a testament of her determination to raise the well-being of all the vulnerable groups in society. As such, the call to become the godmother of the 5th edition of the Wara Tour Caravan is something she did not think about twice as it aligns with her vision to free the country from all instances of child labour. She went on to state that her ascension to become the godmother of the Tour could not have come at a better time as the theme of the 5th edition – NO TO CHILD LABOUR IN COCA FARMING – resonates with her “personal commitment against child labour”.
The First Lady said that her involvement with organizations fighting child labour including with the National Monitoring Committee has managed to bear some success with regards to uplifting the lives of women and children. However, some of their efforts have been derailed by external parameters which include illegal immigration, the fight against poverty and the income of the planters. It is these external parameters that the First Lady is looking to address and curtail as a way of paving the way for the total elimination of all forms of child labour.
Dominique Ouattara acknowledged that the fight against child labour is something that cannot be done by one man or one organization but it’s something that needs collective support from everyone if the desired end game is to be achieved. “Child labour in general is a problem that concerns us all and against which we can act, each at his level,” she said.
In her concluding remarks, the First Lady praised and thanked the founder of the Wara Tour citizens initiative Abou Nidal stating, “I would like to thank you for your commitment to our children through your various awareness caravans. This year, you have decided to say no to child labour in coca farming. I would like to congratulate you and all the artists who accompanied you for this citizens’ initiative that honours your corporation.”
To ensure that the Wara Tour Caravan records success in achieving its objective in the fight against child labour in cocoa farming, the First Lady said she is “contributing 10 million CFA francs to help you (WARA TOUR Caravan) travel within the country.” She also offered a sum of “15 million CFA to all artists who came to participate in the training seminar on child labour.”
To all the artists who signed up to help in the fight against child labour, the First Lady’s parting message encouraged them to keep working for the betterment and upliftment of the communities, “You have the gift to make us dream, to transport us and to make us feel the most vivid emotions. You also have the power to educate us and awaken our consciousness through your art. Do not hesitate to take up this fight through your respective artistic works, in order to preserve our children against these harmful practices.”
Thompson Reuters ,Adapt IT Expand Relationship to Prioritise Technologal Agility in Sub-Saharan Africa
May 3, 2021 | 0 Comments
|Strategic collaboration will help region’s technology-enabled businesses accelerate digital transformation and operational efficiencies|
A newly expanded collaboration between Thomson Reuters , a leading provider of business information services, and Adapt IT , a reputed service provider of leading specialised software and digitally-led business solutions in Sub-Saharan Africa, will enable more businesses across the region gain competitive advantages through the technology solutions both provide.
With economic recovery and growth for the region forecast at 2.7% for 2021 according to the World Bank, the drive for digital transformation across business in multiple industry sectors is accelerating following a year of contraction driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. The combined capabilities of Thomson Reuters and Adapt IT ensure a broader range of technology implementations, increased operational efficiencies, and enhanced maintenance and service support for existing and new clients in markets across Sub-Saharan Africa.
“In the same way that our clients trust us to empower them with systems and technologies that can scale with their business, our collaboration with Adapt IT will enable us to increase the breadth and depth of our service footprint across this key region,” said Jackie Rhodes, managing director, Asia & Emerging Markets at Thomson Reuters. “The synergies we enjoy in terms of providing best-in-class solutions will benefit our respective clients, ensure a consistent level of quality engagement, and support and deliver a significantly stronger offering.”
Organisations currently leveraging legal, tax, global trade software, regulatory intelligence, and compliance solutions from Thomson Reuters will benefit from the new arrangement with Adapt IT, including access to their business advisory capabilities and established network.
Tiffany Dunsdon, chief commercial officer, Adapt IT, said: “Our alliance with Thomson Reuters means more clients can access more world class technology solutions backed up by local expertise and the deep sector knowledge Adapt IT offers. We’re delighted to be working together to help corporations achieve greater success in an increasingly complex business environment.”
Thomson Reuters is a leading provider of business information services. Our products include highly specialized information-enabled software and tools for legal, tax, accounting and compliance professionals combined with the world’s most global news service
Adapt IT is a provider of leading specialised software and digitally-led business solutions that assist clients across the targeted industries to Achieve more by improving their Customer Experience, Core
Business Operations, Business Administration, Enterprise Resource Planning and Public Service Delivery. Adapt IT is a Level 1 B-BBEE contributor.
Zimbabwe Farmers Gets New Lease of Life, President Emmerson Mnangagwa Launches AFC Holdings Formerly Agri-Bank.
May 1, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Nevson Mpofu
Zimbabwe’s communal and large scale farmers got a slice of shared confidence with the launch of Agricultural Finance Company Holdings. This was formerly Agri-Bank. Speaking in Harare on Friday, 30 April before mid-day President Mnangagwa pinched confidence in farmers highlighting that AFC is premised on playing a strategic and pivotal role within the Agricultural Industry.
‘’ AFC is premised on playing a strategic and pivotal role within the Agricultural Industry. This will go a long way in helping communal and large scale farmers in overcoming farming challenges. AFC is comprised of four  subsidiaries namely AFC Commercial Bank, AFC Insurance, AFC Land and Development Bank and AFC Leasing Company’’.
‘’This makes it easy for farmers to access funding and other services for production meant to support growth of the economy. At the same time let us see the growing up of communal farmers into large scale farmers well financially empowered by AFC. The Agricultural Industry must grow as well in support of our economy’’.
Minister of Finance and Economic Development Minister, Muthuli Ncube points it out that restructuring of AGRI-BANK into AFC was achieved through hard work and it was a long journey taken by the Government of Zimbabwe to make farmers get farming funding without challenges.
He adds that $700 million was injected by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in-order to support Agriculture. Zimbabwe as an Agric economy keeps on pushing to bring the Agricultural sector to traditional functioning that brought it to become a bread basket in the SADC Region in the early 8os when it was responsible for food security when it was SADCC (Southern Africa Development Co-ordination Conference formed by a few countries in Zambia Lusaka in 1980 .
Experts commenting on this destructuralization sees President Mnangagwa moving towards the 2030 vision of the country to become a middle income economy. Secondly the focus on NDS1, National Development Strategy 1 buttresses the optimized growth of the economy. Thirdly to have a bank that aligns the land reform program in the country. This is expected to meet demands of all farmers.
Taking a hide of a swipe , an anonymous expert , an Economist points out that the coming in of AFC is just a renovation on a tattered , old , dilapidating building that other-wise needs to be destroyed first , then build anew . He reiterates,
‘It’s a brilliant idea but the challenge is just one, where do they get funding for all the farmers, the communal and large scale farmers. This is not a move for the first time, history repeats itself’, he notes briefly .
MINE SAFETY KEY TO HIGHER COPPER PRODUCTION, SAYS FQM
April 30, 2021 | 0 Comments
Comprehensive skills development can help boost workforce productivity while minimising accidents.
LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – Strong safety guidelines and training at mines across the country must be implemented with the seriousness they deserve to avoid workplace accidents, says First Quantum Minerals Government Relations Specialist Dr Godwin Beene.
Speaking ahead of World Day for Safety and Health at Work on April 28, the industry leader noted that poor safety standards were not only a leading cause of serious injuries but also threatened the industry and the wider economy by depressing productivity.
“A company’s productivity boils down to its human capital’s efficiency and proficiency,” said Dr Beene. “A healthy and skilled workforce is one of the most important aspects of a business’ success, which in turn feeds into national economic growth. For a copper-dependent country like Zambia, poor mine safety has the potential to derail the country’s development objectives as injuries impact negatively on productivity while fatalities rob the country of its resource and altogether, hamper production of the country’s largest export commodity.”
Dr Beene explained: “As a company that prides itself on fostering community health and contributing positively to Zambia’s economic growth, FQM has made safety its biggest priority.”
The company has put in place a comprehensive skills development programme that is helping to improve operations and boost productivity at its Kansanshi Mine in Solwezi and Sentinel Mine at Kalumbila. Under this initiative, more than 5,000 employees, including management and contractors, have been trained in first aid at different levels, for example.
As a result of its robust safety interventions enshrined in its operational motto ‘No job is so important that it cannot be done safely’ FQM remains above the Zambia Chamber of Mines’ first aid standards, which stipulate that one miner for every five working on a project must be a qualified first aider.
The company continuously strives to provide a safe and healthy work environment for its employees and contractors by making in depth knowledge and application of all relevant laws and regulations.
FQM has put in place a training management system that monitors safety compliance and training requirements to ensure all personnel at the mine comply with the competency requirements of their respective jobs. Under its ‘THINK’ approach to safety, employees endeavor to Think safety by Taking the time to Highlight a hazard, Identify what could possibly go wrong leading to an accident, and then without fail, take the Necessary (safety) action(s) and Keep safe.
World Day for Safety and Health at Work is championed by the United Nations’ International Labour Organization (ILO) to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases. This year’s theme is “Anticipate, prepare and respond to crises – Invest Now in Resilient Occupational Safety and Health Systems”.
About First Quantum Minerals LtdFirst Quantum Minerals Ltd is a global metals and mining company producing mainly copper, gold and zinc. The company’s assets are in Zambia, Spain, Mauritania, Australia, Finland, Turkey, Panama, Argentina and Peru.
In 2020, First Quantum globally produced 779,000 tonnes of copper, 265,000 ounces of gold and 13,000 tonnes of nickel.
In Zambia it operates the Kansanshi mine – the largest copper mine in Africa by production – and smelter and the Sentinel mine in Kalumbila.
Africa’s recovery pathway offers enormous opportunities, African Development Bank head says at EU-Africa Green Investment Forum
April 27, 2021 | 0 Comments
Sounding a note of optimism at the European Union-Africa Green Investment Forum on Friday, African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina reminded global audiences of the continent’s vast opportunities for green growth.
“Africa is a huge market offering incredible opportunities. The recovery pathway offers enormous opportunities. Recovery must be green and build climate resilience. Recovery must boost green investments,” Adesina said in a keynote address.
The hybrid forum was convened by Portugal and the European Investment Bank to mobilize private and public capital towards the green transition in Africa. The high-level event brought together leading government and business figures, international and development financial institutions, civil society and academia.
Adesina identified energy, agriculture and infrastructure as key areas of investment potential for a post-Covid-19 recovery in Africa. With abundant solar, wind, hydro and geothermal energy resources, Africa’s energy transition alone presents a $100 billion per year investment opportunity, he said. Agriculture potentially offers massive investments in climate-smart crops to build more resilient food systems. And climate-resilient infrastructure offers investment potential of between $130 billion and $170 billion, Adesina said in a video address.
Speakers emphasized the need to build back greener collectively. Several congratulated the United States, after President Joe Biden on Thursday committed to cut carbon emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by the year 2030.
“We need to bring everyone on board,” African Union Commissioner Josefa Sako said. She called for a just transition that recognized the historical responsibility of the developed world for climate change. She warned that measures taken should not push vulnerable populations into greater poverty.
European Investment Bank President Werner Hoyer said the partnerships forged in addressing the Covid-19 crisis must now be applied to climate change. “Africa may be the continent that is most vulnerable to the immediate effects of climate change but it is responsible for some of the lowest greenhouse gas emissions per head. This is also the continent where mistakes made elsewhere can be avoided. Africa can invest in innovative technologies and make the right choices for a sustainable and inclusive future.”
In a recorded message during the opening session, António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, said the gathering was an opportunity to strengthen partnerships and boost investment in Africa for the benefit of all.
“I see agendas converging around financing a green transition and greater resilience. African countries are rapidly scaling up renewables, particularly solar and wind power,” Guterres said.
While climate change is a huge challenge for Africa, Adesina urged investors to seize on the opportunities it presents, which would be worth $3 trillion by 2030.
The African Development Bank is in the vanguard of investment in climate adaptation, he said, but over 70% of the financing needed will need to come from the private sector to complement public investments.
“The private sector, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, is critical in mitigating climate change and implementing adaptation methods. This calls for innovative approaches to attract and steer financial flows toward low carbon and climate resilient development,” Adesina said.
A greener Africa must also focus on the circular economy, in which waste can be recycled and turned into wealth. For example, a new plastic recycling plant in Ghana has already created 2,300 green jobs, while converting food waste into organic fertilisers will increase the circularity of the food systems, Adesina said.
Commending the European Commission’s External Investment Plan, Adesina said the Bank looked forward to building a strong partnership with the Commission to deliver more in the context of the new EU strategy with Africa.
“Africa is already green. Africa just needs to get greener. What is needed now is more euros to back Africa’s green growth. Think about the tremendous green investment opportunities available today and many more that will emerge into the future. Think differently, think Africa,” he said.
New reports from African Development Bank, FAO and CGIAR showcase digital agriculture opportunities
April 27, 2021 | 0 Comments
Drones, satellites, geographic information systems, weather stations and advanced analytics are some of the most promising technologies for providing solutions to Africa’s agricultural challenges, according to the joint Digital Agricultural Profiles carried out by the African Development Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and CGIAR in three countries.
The profiles, covering Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda and South Africa, map the challenges and opportunities to scale the adoption of innovative digital technologies in the agriculture sector. These include national digital technology and the policy landscape, user demands along the value chain and available digital agriculture services and applications. The profiles also examine the main barriers to adoption as well as the digital technologies with the greatest potential to transform the sector.
“The future of agriculture is data-enabled. Conventional approaches to food production are no longer able to keep up with Africa’s fast growing food systems demands and the impact of climate change on agriculture. Technological innovations and digitalization offer an opportunity to transform African agriculture to produce higher yields, increase value addition and ensure more nutritious foods on a wider scale,” said Dr. Martin Fregene, Director for Agriculture and Agro-industry at the African Development Bank.
“The Digital Agriculture Profiles provide a snapshot of how a country is positioned in that transformational process,” he added.
The series is based on the concept of the Climate-Smart Agriculture country profiles developed by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. The methodology was designed in close collaboration with the World Bank Group.
The applications of digital technology in agriculture are diverse. For example, using satellite data, farmers can monitor crop health, soil quality and water and fertilizer usage. Sensors, automation and machine learning allow for the adaptation of more precise agricultural operations for specific locations and conditions. Digital payment systems, index insurance and mobile platforms help connect farmers to markets and financial services.
“Agriculture’s digital transformation is an exciting and fast-moving train, and we need to make sure that small-scale farmers, women and rural youth are able to benefit from these technologies. The profiles give international and national financing institutions, policy-makers and public and private investors a good and quick overview of a country’s current digital landscape, as well as the main constraints and opportunities for digital policies and solutions,” said Mohamed Manssouri, FAO Investment Centre Director.
- Rwanda: Up to 85% of rural consumers will have access to basic mobile phone services in the next five years.
- Côte d’Ivoire: Access to digital technologies rose sharply in the last decade; nearly everyone in the working-age population now has mobile phone access, and nearly half of Ivorians use the internet.
- South Africa: Precision agriculture is strongly adopted by large-scale commercial farmers; blockchain, barcoding and fleet tracking solutions offer unique benefits for the traceability of agricultural products.
The profiles also offer analysis on the future of digitalization. Project coordination was led by the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture’s technical community, the Data-Driven Agronomy Community of Practice, with contributions from researchers at the Alliance of Biodiversity International and CIAT (International Center for Tropical Agriculture).
“It is critical that all development partners join forces with governments, the private sector and non-state actors to accelerate agricultural digitalization and ultimately defeat hunger globally,” said Andy Jarvis, Associate Director General of the Alliance of Biodiversity International and CIAT and co-founder of the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture.
The Digital Agriculture Profiles are part of the African Development Bank’s Digital Agriculture Flagship. Profiles have also been produced for countries such as Argentina, Grenada, Turkey, Kenya and Vietnam, with the World Bank.
Banker-turned-poultry farmer becomes champion for African agriculture
April 27, 2021 | 0 Comments
-“If we must satisfy Africa’s food security with our growing population, then there must be high commercialization of agriculture. That is modern farming.” – Ayotomiwa Yinka Ogunsua, poultry farmer.
When Ayotomiwa Yinka Ogunsua got a job as a loan officer at a microfinance bank in Ibadan, Nigeria, after graduating university, he thought he’d done well for himself. Then, he spotted an online advertisement for a youth agricultural training program and signed up, owing to his interest in farming as a hobby.
Selected to interview for a place in the poultry rearing course, Ogunsua promptly quit his bank job and, he says, prayed he would get in. “I knew I wanted to follow my passion for agriculture full-time,” the 29-year-old Nigerian said.
Ogunsua did win a place in the course, organized last March by the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation program, or TAAT, a program of the African Development Bank and partners including the CGIAR, a global research partnership. TAAT works to harness high-impact agricultural technologies to boost crop output and create viable opportunities for workers and entrepreneurs.
Soon after, Ogunsua bought 50 chicks and started a business.
The African Development Bank’s Director for Agriculture and Agro-Industry, Dr. Martin Fregene, said TAAT has the resources, scientific and technological expertise, as well as proven implementation plans to benefit millions of African farmers like Ogunsua.
“As the continent’s leaders gather for the High-level Dialogue on Feeding Africa at the end of the month, Ogunsua’s experience serves as an inspiration for governments to commit to investing in Africa’s food systems,” Fregene added.
“After the training, I saw agriculture as a proper business, not just a passion,” Ogunsua said via telephone from his farm, as roosters crowed in the background. “I realized this is something I must make income from, as something to pay my bills – something that I can build on as an enterprise,” he added.
The CGIAR’s International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, based in Ibadan, southwestern Nigeria, provides TAAT training courses that offer capacity building and technical assistance to African “agripreneurs”.
The training, Ogunsua says, gave him the technical know-how to expand his start-up, Vive Verde, from water, agricultural and environmental services into livestock production. Atops Farms, Ogunsua’s poultry business, grew to include 500 birds by early 2021. Then something wonderful happened.
“We sold out of birds for Easter,” Ogunsua said, noting that he makes more money from agribusiness than he did working as a loan officer.
As head of Atops Farms, Ogunsua does his part to advocate for Nigeria’s agriculture sector, appearing regularly on radio and television programs, and working to change society’s perception of farming as a pastime.
“Farming, for one, is to make profit. It is also to ensure food security of the land, or the nation – of the continent,” he recently told Inspiration 100.5 FM radio. “If we must satisfy Africa’s food security with our growing population, then there must be high commercialization of agriculture. That is modern farming.”
Currently, he is expecting a shipment of new chicks to restock his coop, and while he waits for his chickens to mature, also rears turkeys, rabbits and goats to generate cash flow and build his agricultural business.
“I am still a small farmer, but by the grace of God I am growing and I will get there,” he said.
Click here to register and to learn more about the High-level Virtual Dialogue on Feeding Africa on 29-30 April 2021.
A Social Media Platform for Africans by Africans set to be launched in May 2021(MY!)
April 27, 2021 | 0 Comments
|MY! is an inclusive social media platform that appeals to all age groups|
MyCountry MyWorld is set to launch MY! a social media platform for Africans by Africans providing possibilities in world exploration by giving users the opportunity to bring their country and world to each other.
MY! A social media platform is set to be launched in May 2021. “Having developed the app over a period of two years, with a series of tests; we are now confident that the app is ready to be released to the world”, Samuel Zean Jr, Co- founder, MY!
With over 4 billion internet users across the world and growing by 332 million in the past 12 months and more than 900,000 new users each day, MY! Presents a platform where these users especially from developing economies can tell their story their own way and own the platform. Globally, internet user numbers are growing at an annual rate of more than 7½ percent, but year-on-year growth is much higher in many developing economies.
“Majority of Africans complain of how African nations are portrayed by the western countries on both traditional media and digital media. The MY! app is developed by Africans for Africans to help change this narrative. Whereby, everyone is given a chance to tell their story their way.” Samuel Zean Jr, Co- founder, MY!
MY! is an inclusive social media platform that appeals to all age groups. The app provides unmatched user experience, engagement, interaction and entertainment. The app’s interface is user friendly and easy to navigate through. It enables users to share content effortlessly, by providing feedback and updating a post status. It simplifies the collaboration between users and gives them the full visibility of content created.
Developed and founded by a small group of self-funded African immigrant community from Liberia and Sierra Leone who reside in Minnesota, the app is meant to take on both Facebook and Instagram. “In a time of so much unrest, it brings hope to many seeing this diverse group of people coming together to create something special for the world”. Adam Borgerding, VP of Operations, MY!
Furthermore, the app gives users the opportunity to retain the rights of authentication for their work. MY! allows its users to maximize their creativity to the maximum and rewards them for every uploaded post shared. The app enables users to represent their country by showcasing an individual’s country’s unique attraction sites, features, wildlife, culture, cuisine, art, skills, talent, stories, business hustle, history and so much more.
MY! will officially launch on May 10th, 2021 and will be readily available on Google Play and Apple Store.
MY! provides a global platform that will enable users to travel high above and beyond our planet for a glimpse of earth’s natural beauty, attraction sites, wildlife, culture, history, cuisine, infrastructure, art, talent, from country to country as seen, captured, and shared through the unique lenses of MY!
The app intends to award its users by giving them the opportunity to retain the rights of authentication for their work with an optional feature, patent water stamping technology. Which displays user’s name, city, state, and country of residence on each post a user shares on the platform.
Gambia: Hike in Food Prices amid Ramadan
April 26, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Adama Makasuba
Gambian consumers are complaining of a fresh rise in food prices in the markets amid the Ramadan, leaving dozens of families finding it hard to put food on the table .Hundreds of food buyers are gripped with mixed feelings coping with the rising costs of basic food commodities like rice, cooking oil and other ingredients Ebrima Tamba, a father of five shared how he struggle to make sure at least he puts food on the table for his family, casting concern over the skyrocketing prices of food.“
Before I used to give out 300 dalasis as my house allowance for food but now I am giving out 500 dalasis daily and I have five children who all going to school. And I give each of them 25 dalasis as launch on school going days,” he said.“For now, the living cost is costly in the country and if the situation continues like it will a seriously damage on the people,” he added.Meanwhile, he called on the Barrow-led administration to address the problems facing the nation with diligence.
Mariama Keita, a house wife after complaining of the high cost of living in the country, pleaded to the authorities to address food high price in the market.“I do spend 300 dalasis on vegetables only on daily basis,” she said, adding “And this is painful to us who must bring food on the table for the family.”
Another house wife Mariama Camara said: “I am calling President Adama Barrow to reduce the prices on food because a leader if you see something that is affecting your citizens you should take action about it to address it. People are suffering.”Ms Camara said: “I spend 400 dalasis daily on food for me and I my husband and my six children which is so difficult.”
Egypt’s largest solar plant, Kom Ombo, receives US$ 114 million financing package
April 23, 2021 | 0 Comments
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and Arab Bank today signed a US$ 114 million financing package with ACWA Power for the construction of the largest private solar plant in Egypt.
The development of the Kom Ombo solar plant will add 200 MW of energy capacity, increasing the share of renewable energy in Egypt’s energy mix and further promoting private-sector participation in the Egyptian power sector.
The package comprises loans of up to US$ 36 million from the EBRD, US$ 18 million from the OPEC Fund, US$ 17.8 million from the AfDB, US$ 23.8 million from the GCF and US$ 18 million from Arab Bank. This is in addition to equity bridge loans of up to US$ 14 million from EBRD and US$ 33.5 million from Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP).
The new Kom Ombo plant will be located less than 20 km from Africa’s biggest solar park, the 1.8 GW Benban complex. Once operational, the new utility-scale plant will serve 130,000 households.
ACWA Power, a Saudi Arabian developer, investor and operator of power generation and desalinated-water plants, submitted the lowest tariff in what was the first solar photovoltaic (PV) tender in Egypt. The provision of solar energy through a public tendering process aims to achieve a competitive tariff and promote the growth of solar energy as an affordable alternative to conventional energy sources.
Private-sector participation in the Kom Ombo project is the result of successful policy dialogue with the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy and the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC), as well as a US$ 3.6 million technical assistance programme, co-funded by the EBRD and the GCF, to support the EETC in administering competitive renewable energy tenders. In addition, the project has also benefitted from broader energy-sector reforms supported by the AfDB in recent years to scale up the involvement of the private sector.
EBRD President Odile Renaud Basso said: “We are very happy to team up again with ACWA Power in Egypt, after our successful partnership in Benban, to promote renewable energy in Egypt. Increasing the production of clean energy is an important step to reducing carbon emissions and addressing climate change. This is in line with the EBRD’s strategy to become a majority green bank by 2025. This project also marks the EBRD’s first co-financing project with the AfDB and the OPEC Fund in Egypt and we look forward to future joint investment opportunities for our institutions across Africa.”
OPEC Fund Director-General Abdulhamid Alkhalifa said: “We are pleased to contribute to Egypt’s efforts and strategy to expand its generation capacity in the renewable energy space. We have been at the forefront of advocating for access to affordable clean energy for many years. Kom Ombo will be our third project with ACWA Power and it exemplifies great cooperation between government, development finance and private-sector actors.”
The African Development Bank’s Vice President in charge of Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth Kevin Kariuki said: “The Kom Ombo solar project is a truly remarkable transaction. It not only clearly demonstrates the indisputable competitiveness of solar PV vis-à-vis conventional sources of generation, but it also directly contributes towards the realization of Egypt’s ambitious renewable energy targets, in addition to being an excellent example of what stakeholders driven by a shared objective can achieve”.
Paddy Padmanathan, President and Chief Executive Officer of ACWA Power, said: “ACWA Power is privileged and proud to lead the realisation of the Kom Ombo PV project. The financing package signed today brings us closer to not only the people and the government of Egypt, but also to our finance partners, the EBRD, AfDB, the OPEC Fund, the GCF and Arab Bank and APICORP, reflecting our shared objective of supporting the energy transition to address the threat of climate change. Kom Ombo PV is the fourth project in ACWA Power’s Egyptian portfolio and the conclusion of this financing demonstrates the confidence in the Egyptian government’s ambitious renewable energy plans, being implemented through private-sector participation.”
Yannick Glemarec, Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund, said: “The GCF is proud to support implementation of Egypt’s ambitious renewable energy financing framework. US$ 154.7 million in GCF resources, including US$ 23.8 million for the Kom Ombo plant, catalyses over US$ 850 million in co-financing and unleashes the first wave of private renewable energy projects in Egypt. The GCF looks forward to continuing to support the government of Egypt in delivering on its ambitious climate targets through innovative partnerships with the private sector.”
Nemeh Sabbagh, CEO of Arab Bank, said: “We are proud to capitalize on our long experience in this sector and partner again with EBRD to provide debt financing and related banking services to another renewable energy project in Egypt for our client ACWA Power. Green financing is one of our strategic focus areas and Egypt is a core market for Arab Bank Group, where we have been operating since 1944”.
The Kom Ombo plant will contribute to the Egyptian government’s target to generate 42 per cent of the country’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2035 while delivering one of the lowest generation tariffs on the continent.
Contextualising Ethics in a Dynamic World
April 21, 2021 | 0 Comments
Dr. Kathryn Toure, Regional Director, IDRC Nairobi office for eastern and southern Africa, with assistance from Angela Baiya and other IDRC colleagues
for HUMA-FIFE “Ethical Humanitarianisms” webinar no. 1 on Humanitarianisms: Values, Canons and Ethical Considerations
part of a 9-month series organized Apr.-Dec. 2021 by Institute for Humanities in Africa (HUMA, University of Cape Town, South Africa) and Friedensau Institute for Evaluation (FIFE, Friedensau Adventist University, Germany)
20 April 2021
I was happy to participate in the first session of the nine-month “Ethical Humanitarianisms” webinar series, alongside Carl Manlan of the Ecobank Foundation and Lucy Koechlin of the Oumou Dilly Foundation. This paper summarizes and elaborates my contributions.
Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) has been supporting researchers in the Global South for over 50 years, to respond to local, national, regional, and global challenges and aspirations. Currently, we fund work at about 340 organizations across the African continent. I have worked with IDRC for eight years and draw here on IDRC experiences in discussing research ethics.
Research ethics have to do with the attitudes and practices of researchers that ensure respect for the rights and dignity of individuals and communities. Easier said than done! Especially when even the term “research” is linked in many people’s minds to European imperialism and colonialism, according to Linda Tuhiwai Smith in her book on Decolonising Methodologies.
I will mention the IDRC Corporate Principles on Research Ethics and some findings from research on research ethics in Africa and the Middle East. I will share some lessons we are learning from IDRC grantees, including about participatory research processes and power analysis, and wrap up with some reflections on representation and communications.
On the one hand, research ethics are universal in that that they have to do with respecting rights and dignity, not doing harm, and ensuring community participation in research and benefits to the communities where the research takes place. On the other, context is dynamic and plays a role in determining the ethical considerations in research processes. Tensions exist. How do we ensure that some dominant voices, including those of researchers and research funders, respond to contextual realities and relations rather than dictate ethics to those they research and fund?
I argue for the need to conduct research on research ethics, be cognizant of power relations, promote participation and inclusion, continually learn across cultural, disciplinary, organizational, geographic, linguistic, and other boundaries, and evolve practices to keep up with changing times and situations.
1. IDRC Corporate Principles on Research Ethics
At IDRC, we established an Advisory Committee on Research Ethics (ACRE) to guide Centre employees and promote regular staff learning about research ethics. The IDRC Corporate Principles on Research Ethics are available on our web site. The three principles have to do with respect for persons, animals, and the environment; concern for the welfare of participants in research processes; and the need to treat people fairly, equitable, and with dignity. The research we support endeavours to “adhere to universal concepts of justice and equity while remaining sensitive to the cultural norms and practices of the localities where the research is carried out.”
The IDRC corporate principles on research ethics draw on the Canadian Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2). An online tutorial (TCPS 2: CORE Course on Research Ethics) on the statement on ethical conduct is hosted by the Government of Canada for researchers and members of research ethics committees.
Our principles on research ethics do not exhaust all ethical concerns, but they guide us. IDRC states that research work involving human participants must be carried out in accordance with high ethical standards. In contexts where there is no official institutional or national research ethics body, IDRC suggests the research teams set up an ethics committee for the project.
Similarly, guidelines involving ethical use of animals in experimentation have been established by IDRC. All research teams are expected to provide valid proof of permissions for animal experimentation protocols relevant to their legal jurisdiction. For programs such as the Livestock Vaccine Innovation Fund, no more than 15% of the total budget may be expended on studies involving animals until the requisite approvals are in place and notification to that effect has been provided. To ensure proof of compliance with animal welfare laws, rules, and regulations, research teams must (on an annual basis) provide a signed letter from their Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee Chairperson (or equivalent), attesting that all research undertaken during the reporting period conformed to appropriate animal welfare laws and ethics protocols.
Regarding research involving humans, in southern Africa, leaders of the San peoples are “convinced that most academic research on their communities has been neither requested, nor useful, nor protected in any meaningful way.” Thus, in 2017, the South African San published the San Code of Research Ethics. It requires researchers “intending to engage with San communities to commit to four central values”: fairness, respect, care, and honesty, “as well as to comply with a simple process of community approval.”
2. Research on research ethics
To continually deepen understandings of ethical issues, IDRC funds projects specifically on ethical questions in research. The University of Cape Town is exploring tensions in private sector- or industry-funded research, when commercial interests may be at odds with development goals. The results will inform learning modules and toolkits on managing conflicts of interest in ethics review committees and institutional review boards across the continent, to protect people and the integrity of public health research. The findings will inform, for example, the development of learning modules for ethics review committees and institutional review boards via the Advanced Research Ethics Training in Southern Africa program of Stellenbosch University, a collaboration between the university’s Centre for Medical Ethics and Law and the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Wits University in collaboration with the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA) offers an eight-week online course on Research Ethics and Integrity, with professors from South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria. Those who take the course are expected to learn to articulate the philosophical and moral principles of ethics, resolve ethical problems in decision-making, apply scientific integrity and publication ethics, support research protocol development and good clinical practice, and, finally, and importantly, help sustain a culture of research ethics.
In the Middle East and North Africa, three teams, funded by IDRC, seek to strengthen the application of research ethics. One team is mapping research ethics processes in the social sciences. Another, which includes Birzeit University in the West Bank, is drawing on case studies to produce contextually relevant research ethics protocols in social sciences, public health, and humanities research. A third team is reaching out to young scholars to get their perspectives on ethics.
The Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI) brings together 15 national councils in Africa that makes grants for research. Council staff meet regularly to learn from each other, plan transnational collaborations, and advance African leadership in science. In March 2021, SGCI hosted a seminar on ethics and integrity in research and innovation in Africa. The Scinnovent Center, a think tank in Kenya, commissioned a paper for the webinar.
The participating research council representatives noted the need for training of researchers in research ethics and ongoing learning to enhance the application of best practices. They stressed that organisational ethics and integrity guidelines and standards need to reflect specific sociocultural contexts and be adapted over time as situations evolve. Understanding that the world is bigger than the interests of those who fund research, ethics protocols should be elaborated by or in consultation with the communities served by research.
At the SGCI webinar, there was also interest in how to identify and prevent academic bullying, “an important but ignored factor in science’s backyard.” Academia needs to be intentional about cultivating environments where collaboration is promoted, and bullying called out. United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) has a position statement and forum on preventing bullying and harassment. The Ford Foundation explores the role of funders, in the #MeToo era, in responding to abuses alleged in the organizations it supports.
As part of the work on research ethics with science granting councils in Africa, the Association of African Universities is collaborating with the African Academy of Sciences to fund participatory studies across the continent at national and regional levels on “Deepening knowledge and implementation of research ethics,” including one study from the perspective of gender transformative approaches. These studies promise to be a rich source of information for researchers and communities as well as for research ethics committees and research funders in Africa and beyond.
IDRC work with about 40 policy research organizations in 20 countries around the world revealed that many of these organizations struggle to integrate strong ethical procedures within their organisational culture and processes. The processes, which may not be particularly inclusive, are often check-box procedures which include criteria that may themselves be outdated. If ethics affect us all, and we are all responsible for how they manifest in our reality, then something more is needed at the organisational level: buy-in from organisational leadership; ownership by all organisational members; feedback and learning loops which support and reinforce positive behaviours and attitudes by all those involved in research.
Despite these ongoing challenges, there is increasing awareness about research ethics among researchers and members of research ethics committees and institutional review boards. Non-researchers sit in audience with researchers in these committees and boards to review research proposals and ethical questions and provide guidance. Together, the diverse members of these committees and boards discuss the risks for participants and the potential benefits of the research. A global researcher funder should account for differences in power and resources among researchers in the Global South and the Global North.
Every year, IDRC hosts a dozen young Research Awardees, some of whom conduct research on research ethics. Through their annual work, we stay abreast of developments and new insights. For example, in 2021, a Research Awardee, working with the Home-Based Care program of the Rwanda Biomedical Center, is researching ethical issues around the use of a widely used mHealth tool, which is part of Rwanda’s public health response to covid-19. The work will support Rwanda’s institutional review boards to create an ethics framework regarding home-based or remote care of patients. The research questions have to do with ethical conduct, the influence of patients and healthcare providers on the evolution of the approach and tools, and equitable access to care.
An IDRC Research Awardee in 2018 researched the ethics of conducting adolescent reproductive health work with Syrian refugee girls in Jordan. The researcher found the need to consider cultural norms about reproductive health, respect autonomy and rights, and analyze power relations including with donors. The research showed how some girls were coerced to participate in studies and over-researched (see Figure 1). The researcher recommended richer ethics curriculum and training for researchers, enhanced public and participant ethics awareness, age-specific ethical guidelines, and increased supervision of ethics.
Figure 1: Ethical challenges and themes found in research on the ethics of reproductive health work with Syrian refugees
In 2018 a cohort of IDRC Research Awardees published their findings from case studies on ethics in a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Bioethics titled Ethics and International Development Research. The case studies from around the world relate the experiences of young researchers studying research ethics. The special issue includes a paper on responsible access to data in Tanzania and one on the role of social capital in obtaining ethics approval in Ethiopia.
Research on research ethics is important. Research methods are also important. How can research respond in real time, given that the contexts in which research is undertaken are also changing rapidly and dynamically? How can the research methods used to explore research ethics reflect the complexity and rapid evolution within different contexts? Can participatory methods help close the gap between research participant, researcher, and funder? Will research better account for the complexity of human predicaments when an intersectional lens is employed?
3. Learning from IDRC grantees and other research communities
At IDRC, we depend a great deal on our grantees and other research communities to learn about ethical issues and come to approaches to ethics that are mutually negotiated. We try to listen to the voices and experiences of our grantees in the different contexts in which we work.
For example Just Associates in southern Africa developed a “Feminist Participatory Action Research Ethics and Security Protocol.” Feminist participatory action research (FPAR) accounts for women’s multiple identities and worldviews. It reconstructs conceptions of power beyond male and mainstream perspectives to help people tell their stories. And it is oriented toward action.
The ethics and security protocol was developed in the context of Just Associates’ research on Strengthening women’s voice, power and safety to address gender-based violence in Malawi and Zimbabwe. According to the protocol, ethics are not just rules, regulations, and laws but rather good practices to be observed during research.
The implementation of the protocol helps to ensure that research participants are protected from potential harm throughout the research process and that unnecessary and unwanted pain and suffering are avoided or alleviated. It suggests processes for listening and responding to each other, on the terms of the research participants. “Ethical decisions during research are often difficult and this is the reason why the FPAR process is guided by ethics which are based on care for self, others and the whole environment in which research is taking place.”
The protocol promotes participation and inclusion by those who will be impacted by the research. It proposes a power analysis to expose existing power dynamics and try to ensure that those power dynamics are not reproduced in the context of the research. This includes an analysis of who is funding the research and how the research problems and objectives are determined.
IDRC promotes learning among grantees across disciplinary, national, and linguistic borders. There are also cultural, social, gender, class, and other boundaries. The sharing of lessons and best practices across borders and boundaries can help deepen understandings of ethnical practices. For example, the work of Just Associates on the development and implementation of its research ethics and security protocol inspires grantees like Youth Empowerment Transformation Trust (YETT) and the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU), both in Zimbabwe.
A review of literature and of policies and programs in 14 countries of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, by the “Covid Collective” of the Institute for Development Studies calls not only for participatory approaches but also the use of an intersectional lens in responding to covid-19 and contextualizing data within systems of power. These are ethical concerns, because they have to do with the quality and thus the utility of research and the need to consider humans not as monolithic or in dichotomies (i.e. woman or man, rich or poor, black or white) but as complex multilayered beings with intersecting and intertwining her/histories and identities.
4. Tailoring research ethics
At IDRC we are learning more about research ethics in contexts of multidimensional fragility (including political, societal, economic, environmental, and security dimensions) and in countries, like South Sudan, at critical democratic junctures, where building up the national knowledge system is important for long-term development.
Some question the ethics of referring to “fragile” contexts and consider the term pejorative and the approach deficit (rather than strength or asset) based and prefer more appreciative inquiry. Notwithstanding, “fragile contexts are marked by multiple and mutually reinforcing challenges, including institutional, livelihoods, climate, and economic, and all these render populations and research participants more vulnerable.” The same principles of research ethics apply in fragile situations as elsewhere, and they need be tailored to the circumstances.
Ethical considerations in fragile contexts include the safety of researchers and participants, consideration of trauma, application of the do-no-harm principle, and balancing researcher incentives and risks with societal benefits. Research ownership and localisation of the research agenda matter. People and organizations in the communities in which the research takes place need to be involved for the research to be meaningful, and research partnerships need to be based on equality. The Global Code of Conduct for Research in Resource-Poor Settings highlights key principles to take into consideration.
At a 2019 consultation IDRC organized in Amman, Jordan, the consensus was on the need to “put people at the centre: their vulnerabilities, rights and aspirations, and diversity including gender and ethnicity.” These concepts are being integrated into the guidelines of IDRC’s Advisory Committee on Research Ethics.
Working with migrants and youth and other potentially vulnerable communities of people also brings added ethical considerations. The principle of justice is important, as in the example of Just Associates and its Feminist Participatory Action Research Ethics and Security Protocol. Care should be taken to ensure there is no exploitation of vulnerable groups or any other participants in the research. Researchers need to be aware of and take measures to avoid harmful biases which disempower any group of people. A threat analysis for each group of participants is recommended, because risks vary from context to context and person to person.
Research has for a long time been conducted both in person and virtually. The covid-19 pandemic and the accompanying necessary confinement is bringing more attention to new kinds of research in virtual settings. A researcher from the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development in Bangladesh and co-authors call for sharing innovative methods for “finding out fast” in the context of covid-19 and also for orienting research partnerships across the global North and South for strong Southern leadership. Researchers are also sharing perspectives on doing remote participatory research.
Purbita Sengupta and Megan Douglas, two IDRC colleagues and former Research Awardees, in a forthcoming paper, use a lens of decolonising knowledge to address the ethics of researchers in the Global South conducting virtual research funded by organizations in the Global North. What are the implications of greater physical distance between researchers and communities where research is conducted? How do researchers remain connected to reality? How do donors ensure relevance to changing contexts? How do all actors question existing hierarchies of power and knowledge production?
As more researchers shift to more virtual methods, it is important to consider how researcher-participant relations are changing and what measures should be taken to limit power differentials and encourage participatory methods. The forthcoming paper proposes that a feminist, decolonizing framework can help address power differentials, because it considers the ways in which power is reproduced, acknowledges different forms of understanding, and recognizes that everyone is a holder of knowledge. The paper applies a decolonization lens to the ethical and methodological challenges surrounding privacy and the consent process for virtual qualitative research that uses online interviews and surveys. There are many different approaches to decolonizing knowledge in the virtual research space, such as creating more inclusive funding mechanisms and promoting broader knowledge sharing channels.
Conversations about and actions to decolonize the production and use of knowledge are critical ethical issues, especially when the Black Lives Matter movement is becoming a global phenomenon. IDRC participated in the November 2020 Victoria Forum on “Bridging Divides in the Wake of a Global Pandemic,” hosted by the University of Victoria and Canadian Parliament, with participation of people from around the world, including First Nation peoples, in a session on decolonizing knowledge to bridge social divides.
Research ethics are seen by some as ways to contribute to the decolonization of research, and not just as box-ticking exercises to meet criteria of research ethics committees, showing adherence for example to ethical practices in the biomedical sciences. The debate from this angle leads to understanding more deeply how research should not do harm. Knowledge processes needs to consider culture and history.
5. Ethics in representation and communications
Using appropriate photos and language in communications is important. At IDRC, because research is publicly funded, we try to make sure that the work of grantees is publicly available. We also reflect on how we aggregate and share research findings, to ensure that how we communicate does justice to communities where the research is conducted, promotes equality, and ensures that we do not unintentionally reinforce us-them stereotypes rooted in global power and colonial legacies (example: using words like “field picture” without names or geographical identification). We have been called out, and we have also called out grantees – for example for oversimplifying complex situations by tweeting how a white man is finding solutions to African women’s mobile telephony conundrums. See the New York Times article Foreign Aid Is Having a Reckoning on decolonising the development sector.
Research ethics are important, to ensure that participants in research processes are respected and protected, and that research benefits the communities in which it takes place. Research ethics are evolving conceptually, for example regarding decolonising knowledge and development. They are also evolving practically, for example by employing an intersectionality lens and being participatory instead of extractive. The augmented use of digital tools may also raise new kinds of ethical issues. Research ethics are rooted in dignity for people and society and need to account for power relations in different contexts and be negotiated. Research on research ethics is necessary to highlight existing and emerging ethical dilemmas and inform practices, protocols, and curricula on research ethics. Communities, like the San peoples of southern Africa are developing tools and processes to hold researchers accountable. Research managers and funders in Africa and beyond are updating courses on ethics to take ethics beyond a checkbox activity to promote attitudes, cultures, and practices of mutual respect. Discussion of ethics like in the 2021 HUMA-FIFE webinar series on “Ethical Humanitarianisms” is also part of the process of understanding and evolving ethical practices in research and the meaningful co-construction of knowledge. Such discussions reveal our human predicaments, complexities, and interconnectedness and make us more human.
 Thanks to the following IDRC colleagues for input: Ann Weston, Arjan De Haan, Claire Thompson, Ellie Osir, Kevin Tiessen, Loise Ochanda, Martha Mutisi, Maryam Abo Moslem, Montasser Kamal, Purbita Sengupta, and Roula El-Rifai. Also thanks to former colleague Peter Taylor (now back to Institute of Development Studies) for the review of this reflection on research ethics and his suggestions and additional references.
 Rwomire, A., and Nyamnjoh, F. B. (Eds.) (2007). Challenges and responsibilities of social research in Africa: Ethical issues. Addis Ababa: Organisation for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA).
 Smith. L. T. (1999). Decolonizing methodologies: research and indigenous peoples, cited in forthcoming paper by M. Douglas and P. Sengupta, Virtual qualitative methods: Challenges and opportunities for decolonizing knowledge production.
 Research ethics discourses, practices and leadership in the Middle East and North Africa – Innovative learning platforms in fragile settings (#109379). The case studies are drawn from, among other sources, research on suicide bombers and their families and research on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
 The Scinnovent Center paper on research ethics, forthcoming in 2021, is by Paul Ndebele (George Washington University), Paulina Tindana, University of Ghana, Accra, Mary Kasule, Baylor clinical Research Centre, Gaborone, Botswana, and Zivai Nenguke, Centre for Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights, Zimbabwe.
 “Bullying can consist of inappropriately changing authorship positions, taking credit for ideas or intellectual property for one’s own benefit, verbally abusing others in a regular and progressive way, ridiculing or publicly shaming people, and threatening a bad recommendation or the loss of a job position.” Academic bullying: Desperate for data and solutions | Science | AAAS (sciencemag.org), interview with Morteza Mahmoudi, a nanoscientist at Michigan State University, 16 January 2020.
 2019 article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review magazine
 The Ford Foundation also has a funder’s guide and case studies, with real-world experiences and lessons in navigating challenging situations, to help funders build a system of grantmaking based on values of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
 For more on “gender transformative research,” see Transforming gender relations (27 pages and available in English and French) at: Gender equality | IDRC – International Development Research Centre
 Via the Think Tank Initiative, 2009-2019, co-funded by IDRC, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, UK Aid, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, and NORAD.
 Some of the (draft) research questions: How do ethical policies capture the unique characteristics of mobile health or “mHealth”? In the first year of the pandemic, what benefits and what challenges arose in using mHealth interventions as the primary method of home-based patient follow-up for covid-19? How has patient and provider input helped evolve the approach? How have socioeconomic and gender-based specificities been explored and addressed by healthcare leaders and stakeholders and by mHealth tool designers? How have inequalities in access to care (with and without mHealth) been explored by healthcare providers and policymakers?
 From draft paper “Doing no harm in a fragile context: The ethics of conducting adolescent reproductive health work with Syrian refugee girls in Jordan,” by Adele Heagle (IDC Research Awardee), Malak Douglas (Jordan University of Science and Technology), and Qamar Mahmood (IDRC program officer). Paper presented at 24th Canadian Conference on Global Health, on “Fragile environments and Global Health: Examining Drivers of Change,” 19-21 November 2018, Toronto, Canada.
 Birchall, J. (2021). Intersectionality and responses to covid-19. Covid Collective helpdesk report. Brighton: Institute of Development Studies. See www.covid-collective.net
 According to conclusions from a March 2019 consultation and conference organized in Amman as part of “Research in fragile contexts: A changing landscape and future research agenda” (IDRC project no. 109044). See Doing-Research-in-Fragile-Contexts-Idris-2019.pdf (gsdrc.org).
 Leaving no one behind: Principles for research in fragile contexts | IDRC
 Lupton, D. (Ed.) (2020). Doing fieldwork in a pandemic (crowd-sourced). https://docs.google.com/document/d/1clGjGABB2h2qbduTgfqribHmog9B6P0NvMgVuiHZCl8/edit?ts=5e88ae0a#
 Rahman, H. Z., Matin, I., Banks, N., and Hulme, D. (2021). Finding out fast about the impact of covid-19: The need for policy-relevant methodological innovation. World Development, 140, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2020.105380
 Virtual qualitative methods: Challenges and opportunities for decolonizing knowledge production
Climate Movement calls on Africa’s leaders to push for concerted climate action as Biden’s Leaders Summit starts
April 21, 2021 | 0 Comments
Africa-wide – As 40 world leaders gather to participate in Biden’s first step onto the international climate stage, groups from across Africa are urging its leaders to take decisive action on what is most affecting the climate – and to end fossil fuels now.
Among the 40 world leaders is Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President, Felix Tshisekedi who is the current Chairperson of the African Union and will be representing Africa’s interests and climate ambitions.
The Leaders Summit on Climate will take place on April 22nd and 23rd and aims to underscore the urgency of immediate and stronger climate action. It will be a key milestone on the road to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) this November in Glasgow.
Quotes from spokespeople
During the virtual summit, the world’s major economies will share their efforts to reduce emissions during this critical decade to keep a limit to warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach.
1.5 degrees is our global beacon for climate action. The safety and wellbeing of millions of Africans depends on keeping below it. But it is slipping from our grasp and we need to urgently halve global emissions by 2030, which means that we need to limit fossil fuel consumption and stop new developments such as the EACOP and Mozambique LNG projects that threaten this climate ambition.
Fixing the climate crisis requires more than simply cutting carbon; we need bold action that prioritizes alternative sources of energy that meet the needs of the people and accelerate investments in real climate solutions with the aim of driving a fast and sustainable transition away from fossil fuels. – Landry Ninteretse, 350.org Africa Regional Director
The climate crisis is already destroying vast parts of the African continent. This is tragic and ironic when you think about how Africa is one of the lowest emitters of CO2 emissions and yet it is among the most affected. Leaders must make the decisive move to keep all fossil fuels in the ground! We cannot eat coal and we cannot drink oil.
We demand more from our world leaders than empty promises, empty solutions and empty negotiations at Biden’s Climate Summit. We all need to keep up the pressure on our governments at home as well as on the international stage to take urgent action now to reduce carbon emissions and ensure a Just Recovery by creating a sustainable, fossil-free world. – Vanessa Nakate, Climate Activist in Uganda and Founder of RiseUp Movement
The decision to allow the exploration of oil in protected areas across Africa such as the Virunga National Park is not only a threat to the climate but to the livelihoods of local communities and habitats of critically-endangered species.
We call on Africa Presidents urging them that they have a role to play in limiting the warming of the planet and they need to stop authorizing and licencing fossil fuel companies in their countries such as Efora that seek to benefit themselves while disenfranchising local communities. – Andre Moliro, Climate Activist in the DRC
Governments around the world are switching to clean, efficient and sustainable energy alternatives. With Nigeria being a signatory to the Paris Agreement, there is no more room for carbon emissions resulting from coal mining. After years of granting licences to the fossil fuel industry, Nigeria still experiences extreme power cuts with many people still lacking access to electricity. Furthermore, a huge population remains poor even after promises of economic progress in the country. It is time for the Nigerian government to embrace a green economy, build back better and stop the issuance of any more licences towards fossil fuels exploration in the country. – Michael Terungwa, Campaigner at Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation in Nigeria
Wärtsilä partners with Ambitious.Africa to support young African talents
April 21, 2021 | 0 Comments
Ambitious.Africa supports and encourages young people in Africa and the Nordic countries to actively participate in working for a better future.
Wärtsilä’s commitment to supporting the well-being of society is again emphasised with its recent entry into a strategic partnership with Ambitious.Africa, a young initiative that aims to act as a bridge between Africa and the Nordic countries. Ambitious.Africa supports and encourages young people in Africa and the Nordic countries to actively participate in working for a better future. It aims to increase well-being in these countries by facilitating the sustainable development of local entrepreneurship.
The partnership between Wärtsilä and Ambitious.Africa is based on their mutual values and goals to support the youth of Africa and Europe in striving for a sustainable future. By working together, the partners can connect students, entrepreneurs, start-up companies, financiers, and various stakeholders from both continents to address common challenges through a novel approach aimed at empowering future generations. This collaboration further highlights the need for more cross-pollination of aims and dialogue between businesses and the communities they serve. Diversity and decentralisation are essential if full advantage is to be gained from the opportunities provided by the entire spectrum of fresh ideas and available talent.
Wärtsilä has a strong presence in Africa, and is well placed to encourage local youth to become involved in the company’s work to transition energy production towards a 100 percent renewables future. As a corporation with global and local perspectives, Wärtsilä’s intention is to engage fully with the societies in which it operates. This means going beyond merely encouraging local employment and supply contracts, so by aligning with Ambitious.Africa, the company can add initiatives aimed at providing the knowledge, skills, and training that will support these efforts.
“The challenges we face as a society, from education to income inequality, and civil rights to healthcare and climate change, are crying for novel ideas and solutions. As a company with a long history, both in Africa and the Nordics, we know the real benefit of joining forces across a broad spectrum of ideas and talent. Through our partnership with Ambitious Africa, we seek to engage student and entrepreneur communities to muster the true strength of a digitally native generation whose ideas are not limited by geography or politics. My hope is that we untap the magic of boundaryless creativity, and my dream is that many future leaders will rise through this partnership to change the world for the better” explained Björn Ullbro, Vice President, Africa & Europe at Wärtsilä Energy.
Vincent Forsman, co-founder of Ambitious.Africa, added: “We are not on pace to reach many critical Sustainable Development Goals with the speed at which they are needed – we need to be ready to experiment with new approaches and include youth in the development discourse. We believe that it takes connected ecosystems of Non-Governmental Organisations, start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises, and prominent corporations to solve the problems we are currently facing. From our perspective, Wärtsilä is an ideal partner providing invaluable opportunities, both for young people and the communities in which they live. Combining the experience and know-how that Wärtsilä has, with the passion and ambition of the youth in Ambitious.Africa, is something truly novel – and a significant step towards empowering youth to take a significant role in shaping a sustainable future, both for themselves and their communities.”
Focus of main projects in 2021 is on local communities and university students
In 2021, the partnership will undertake three main projects; two focusing on local communities in Morocco and Nigeria, while the third will involve students at African and Nordic universities. In Nigeria, Ambitious. Africa will be hosting a six-part webinar for Master-Degree students, to learn about various sustainability issues. They will also participate in an Ideathon that could lead to potential solutions for positive change. The programme will end with an on-site event at the University of Ibadan on 24 April, which will include presentations on sustainability developments by experts from Wärtsilä and other world-renowned organisations. The participants will also be invited to participate in a workshop on innovative new solutions to tackle issues raised during the programme.
In Morocco, Pitch it! will feature a competition where local entrepreneurs involved in agri-tech, green innovation and sustainability can pitch their ideas. Climate change threatens the African continent and the goal is to encourage young entrepreneurs to help solve emerging issues with new innovative solutions.
Learn more about Ambitious.Africa
The Inaugural IUCN Africa Protected Congress Officially Relaunched.
April 21, 2021 | 0 Comments
The congress will be convened by the Government of Rwanda, the International Union for Conservation of Nature – World Commission on Protected Areas and the African Wildlife Foundation.
The Government of Rwanda will in March 2022 host the inaugural IUCN Africa Protected Areas Congress (APAC) to discuss conservation of the continent’s protected areas. This comes after the relaunch of APAC in Kigali, Rwanda on 20th April 2021.
The congress which will be held from 7th – 12th March 2022 will be convened by the Government of Rwanda, the International Union for Conservation of Nature – World Commission on Protected Areas (IUCN-WCPA) and the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) in collaboration with partners.
Speaking at the relaunch event, the Chief Guest Dr Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, the Minister of Environment – Republic of Rwanda said: “Having been an IUCN Member since 2016, Rwanda is very proud to take up the global conservation leadership mantle and become the first African country to host the African Protected Area Congress. The Government of Rwanda recognizes the role of protected and conserved areas in ensuring the conservation of nature, sustaining ecosystem services and promoting sustainable development. We are indeed hopeful that through these efforts and deliberations obtained through the congress, Rwanda and the rest of Africa will be on the right trajectory towards recovery of our protected and conserved areas.”
Key conservation organizations and development partners have been actively engaged in the planning process for APAC, the first of its kind continent-wide gathering of African leaders, citizens, businesses and interest groups to discuss the role of protected areas in conserving nature and promoting sustainable development in Africa.
Deliberations convened around the themes Protected areas, People and Biodiversity aim to generate pathways that build and empower the current and the next generation of leaders to realize an African future where wildlife and wildlands are valued as an asset that contributes to development.
Luther Anukur, IUCN Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa said: “Protected and conserved areas play an important role in securing the resilience of ecosystems to help Africa build back better from COVID-19 and to reduce risks of future pandemics. APAC is a joint effort from conservation partners and African leaders. It is expected to contribute to African Union’s Agenda 2063 of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena.”
“One major lesson we have drawn from the past year is that overnight transformational change is possible. A different world, a different economy is suddenly dawning. Through this continental partnership, Africa will be able to present a unified front towards delivering a lasting balance between people, prosperity and our planetary boundaries. African Wildlife Foundation takes great pride in the central role we are playing to raise an African constituency in conservation and this congress is one of the major steps towards achieving this,” said AWF CEO, Kaddu Sebunya.
Through the congress, all partners hope to achieve African leadership commitment towards creating a unified African voice in conservation that will value African people and nature through effective protected areas.
The APAC initiative will enhance the status of conservation in Africa by engaging Governments, the Private Sector, Civil Society, Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, and Academia to shape Africa’s Agenda for Protected and Conserved Areas to better deliver benefits for people and nature.
The Africa Protected Area Congress will be held in Kigali, Rwanda in March 2022. Further details on the participation, venue and duration will be released in subsequent communication after the launch.
About IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas:
IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) is the world’s premier network of protected area expertise, administered by IUCN’s Global Programme on Protected Areas. WCPA works by helping governments and others plan protected areas and integrate them into all sectors; by providing strategic advice to policy makers; by strengthening capacity and investment in protected areas; and by convening the diverse constituency of protected area stakeholders to address challenging issues.
About African Wildlife Foundation:
The African Wildlife Foundation is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and wild lands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. Founded in 1961 to focus on Africa’s conservation needs, we articulate a uniquely African vision, bridge science and public policy, and demonstrate the benefits of conservation to ensure the survival of the continent’s wildlife and wild lands.
*SOURCE The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF)
JAPAN DONATES $6.5 M TO WFP TO STEM FOOD INSECURITY IN SOUTH SUDAN
April 21, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – The government of Japan has donated $6.5 million US dollar to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to mitigate food insecurity in the restive country.
The Government of Japan has funded food assistance to developing countries since 1968. Japan has supported WFP’s work in South Sudan since 2013, contributing more than US$35 million.
This latest contribution consists of US$4.5 million for life-saving food assistance to people who are severely food insecure and US$ 2 million to restore livelihoods and enhance resilience.
However, the WFP has welcomed contribution of US$6.5 million from the Government of Japan.
This contribution is timely at the start of the lean season when more than 7.2 million people in South Sudan are expected to face acute food shortages, said WFP in a press release today.
The WFP will use this contribution to support 115,000 people in Jonglei, Warrap, Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Lakes States, where food insecurity has reached catastrophic levels due to continuing violence, two years of excessive flooding, displacement and the loss of livelihoods, livestock, infrastructure and homes that have left millions of people highly vulnerable and unable to provide for themselves.
“It is our sincere wish that Japan’s grant helps save the people from food insecurity accelerated by natural disaster, communal violence and displacement and bring those suffering people back to a normal living environment which is the precondition to pave the way to nation building and economic development in South Sudan,” said H.E. Tsutsumi Naohiro, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of South Sudan, in the press statement seen by Pan African Visions.
The contribution will also support WFP’s livelihoods and resilience-building programmes, which include creation of community assets such as access roads and multi-purpose water points.
These communal assets are geared towards improving families’ access to local markets to sell their produce and purchase food and other essentials, as well as their access to clean water.
“We are grateful to Japan for this timely contribution at a time when food needs are the greatest but funding for humanitarian assistance is dwindling because of the economic impact of COVID-19. This noble gesture demonstrates the government of Japan’s commitment towards alleviating suffering and contributing to peace in South Sudan,” said Matthew Hollingworth, WFP’s Country Director in South Sudan. “It is a great boost towards our saving lives and changing lives efforts.”
The country’s five year conflict has taken a heavy toll on the oil – rich nation’s economy and investment, founded 10 years ago after two decades of civil war.
It has also blighted by the impact of COVID-19 and unprecedented floods on the lives of the vulnerable locals.
The American e-education startup Holberton announces a new $20 million round of funding to accelerate its development in Africa
April 20, 2021 | 0 Comments
The funding will allow the Californian-based startup to develop its computer engineering training solutions for universities, training centers, and companies on the African continent.
SAN FRANCISCO, April 19, 2021 – Holberton, making software engineering education affordable and accessible globally, announced today that it has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Redpoint eventures with new investor Pearson Ventures and participation by existing investors Daphni, Imaginable Futures, Reach Capital and Trinity Ventures.
Holberton works with institutes in several African countries including Tunisia, Madagascar, and Morocco, which have trained thousands of learners. The group’s ambition is to help more than 500,000 students in Africa gain access to first-rate education by 2030, directly via its Holberton School Network, or indirectly with education institutions and training centers. To reach that goal, Holberton constantly innovates and expands how it delivers education on a large scale.
“We have developed technologies, tools, programs, and teaching methods to complement, extend or fill gaps in the training of students or employees. Our solutions have been designed and created to train learners anywhere in the world and at any level of Commuter Science Knowledge, whether they are beginners or familiar with the computer language”, says Julien Barbier, CEO, and co-founder of Holberton.
With its partners, Holberton has provided education to thousands of students around the world, creating new tools, processes, programs, and methods needed to send students into high-paying jobs at top technology companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google, LinkedIn, Tesla, and more. Holberton has created a new concept that it calls the “OS of Education”. Customers use what they need to either build entire new schools or supplement their current education delivery.
“Since our founding in Silicon Valley in 2015, we have had a vision of making software engineering education affordable and accessible to everybody around the world,” said Julien Barbier. “Africa is a continent with a considerable nursery of young people to train. Our solutions enable public and private institutions to offer modern, tailored education that meets the needs of the job market on the continent.”
Holberton’s offering includes a complete off-the-shelf franchise model, as well as tailored curricula, auto-graded projects, and tools. Customers — who best understand their student needs, job market requirements, and unique accessibility challenges — use what they want or need to fulfill their educational mission. And thus contribute to filling a national pool of highly qualified software engineers.
“Holberton’s OS of Education concept opens up the company’s proven tools to a broader education market,” said Manoel Lemos, managing partner at Redpoint eventures. “They’ve proven successful in breaking down barriers of cost and access while delivering a world-class curriculum. With the concept of ‘OS of Education’ as a service, they provide customers with all the tools they need for success. Customers can be non-profit impact investors who want to improve local economies, education institutions who want to fill gaps in how they teach in a post-COVID learning environment or corporations who want to provide the best training possible as education providers themselves or as employee development programs.”
Founded in Silicon Valley in 2015, Holberton’s innovative and flexible delivery of the “OS of Education” provides a unique portfolio of tools, auto-graded tailored curricula and teaching methods to help its customers – education institutions, universities, corporations and franchisees – successfully train the next generation of digital talent at scale.
About Redpoint eventures
Redpoint eventures is a venture capital firm investing in Latin American startups. The firm partners with visionary founders using technology to create new markets and solve big problems in existing ones. With an experienced team in Brazil and in close partnership with two Silicon Valley firms (e.ventures and Redpoint), the firm helps founders secure the capital, talent and growth to succeed further, faster.
Founded in 2012, Redpoint eventures invests across seed, early and growth stages. It manages over $300 million and has more than 40 companies in its portfolio, including Creditas, Gympass, Minuto Seguros, Olist, Pipefy, Rappi and Resultados Digitais. As part of its mission to support the Brazilian ecosystem, the firm co-founded Cubo , the second largest innovation hub in the world, based in Sao Paulo, where it’s headquartered. For more information, please visit www.rpev.com.br.
America and Europe Diasporas Bring Tourism Investment to Zimbabwe.
April 17, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Nevson Mpofu
President Emmerson Mnangagwa officiated end of this week at a groundbreaking ceremony to mark preliminary beginnings of the construction of an international Centre with a capacity of 6350 delegates and a hippodrome conference center in Harare at a site in Braeside low density suburb. The foreign driven investment project is a brain-child and development strategy of Zimbabwe’s sons and daughters in America and Europe.
‘’This harnesses the diverse strength and competencies of citizens abroad. This spurs economic growth. This comes as we mark 41 years of independence. Let us look into the future. Government will keep on harnessing diverse strength and competencies of all home and abroad to make the economy better.’’
‘’ We achieve objectives of the National Strategy Development and Vision 2030. Zimbabwe as a Tourism destination continues to reach millions around the world. This goes well with the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy with regards to Tourism Infrastructural development to meet international standards, public health requirements and improve Tourism as a vital sector’’. , he said.
The man behind the development Uebert Angel is the Good-Will Ambassador of Zimbabwe to America and Europe. He is a Prophet known for his preaching in Britain and in USA.
US Gives $95 M Humanitarian Aid to South Sudan
April 17, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – The United States (US) has contributed $95 million to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to support the vulnerable people of South Sudan in the face of six year -conflict and floods.
The contribution will be used to assist 7.24 million people likely to face acute hunger this summer.
On Thursday, Ambassador Larry André Jr. told reporters in the capital Juba that the funding will provide critical protection, economic opportunity, shelter, healthcare, emergency food assistance, safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene services to some of the nearly 4 million South Sudanese refugees and internally displaced people in South Sudan.
It also supports refugees and host communities in Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“We are deeply concerned by the increase in the scale, intensity, and geographic spread of local conflicts. “South Sudan is at a critical point for humanitarian assistance. The humanitarian needs arising from severe acute food insecurity at likely famine levels have been compounded by political and intercommunal violence, and successive years of flooding,” said Andrè.
South Sudan is facing the highest levels of food insecurity and malnutrition since its independence in 2011.
The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification assessment this year warned that 7.24 million people will face severe acute hunger at the height of the lean season in May to July, while 1.4 million children will be acutely malnourished.
Meanwhile, Mathew Hollingworth, the Country director of WFP in South Sudan, said the WFP welcomed contributions totaling $345 million from the United States through USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance to support WFP food assistance in South Sudan, where rising food insecurity has pushed 60% of the population into hunger and poverty.
“This funding from our biggest donor, USAID, comes at a very critical time when funding is scarce and needs are enormous,” said Hollingworth. “WFP relies on predictable funding, which enables us to plan ahead to prevent the kind of alarming conditions that precede famine by covering the pressing needs of the most food-insecure communities. These funds will also help WFP to pre-position food stocks for the lean season when humanitarian access is more challenging,” he added.
South Sudanese warring parties signed a peace deal in three years ago but the peace process remains fragile to ends a conflict.
“The peace agreement and humanitarian challenges are closely related….there are key areas of the peace agreement that are yet to be implemented. If South Sudan’s foreign friends see that the political will is there to move the peace process forward then there may be an opportunity for assistance.”
The persistent insecurity, intercommunal conflict, and deliberate attacks against humanitarian aid workers and assets are exacerbating humanitarian needs and preventing life-saving food and nutrition assistance from reaching the most vulnerable.
The US Ambassador called on the Government of South Sudan to do everything in its power to protect humanitarian workers, improve humanitarian access, and expedite delivery of urgently-needed food to vulnerable South Sudanese citizens.
The United States is the single largest donor to the South Sudan crisis response, providing nearly $5.6 billion in humanitarian aid to support vulnerable people in South Sudan and South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries since December 2013.
Despite generous contributions from donors, funding shortages remain a reality in South Sudan, where humanitarian needs outpace the aid response. WFP was forced to cut food rations this April, affecting 700,000 refugees and internally displaced people who now receive 50 percent of a full ration, down from 70 percent.
The impact of COVID-19 and unprecedented floods on the lives of the vulnerable locals, and increased conflicts over the last five years have taken a heavy toll on the East Africa’s youngest nation, founded 10 years ago after two decades of civil war.
AWF and Nature’s Best Photography Announce the Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards Call for Entries
April 15, 2021 | 0 Comments
|Mkapa Photography Awards Entrants have the opportunity to win cash, prizes, and awards totaling $30,000 USD|
African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) (www.AWF.org) and Nature’s Best Photography (NBP) have announced the official “Call for Entries” for the the Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards. Competition participants will have through June 18, 2021 to submit photos for consideration by a panel of judges. Professional, Amateur, and Youth (18 and younger) photographers from Africa and across the globe are invited to enter the competition. The results are scheduled to be revealed at an awards ceremony in November 2021.
Named to honor the late, iconic African leader and former Tanzanian President, H.E. Benjamin Mkapa, this new competition recognizes his leadership in conservation, education, and his passionate support for AWF programs. To help celebrate World Wildlife Day, AWF and Nature’s Best launched the awards as a pre-cursor to the 60th Anniversary of AWF later this year.
Speaking from the launch event last month from AWF HQ in Nairobi, Kenya, AWF CEO, Kaddu Sebunya said, “We value innovation and technological mechanisms. Mechanisms that can scale up AWF’s work and impact, like digital technologies that can create new experiences by more directly connecting people to wild lands and wildlife. Breaking degrees of separation between people and nature and creating ownership, transparency, demonstrated impact, and personalization. This is what the Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards is all about.”
“Bringing Africa to the World and the World to Africa” defines the global competition geared towards creating a platform for Africans to embrace conservation through photography and to value the beauty of its nature.
In line with AWF’s mission to ensure wildlife and wild lands thrive in modern Africa and Nature’s Best’s to celebrate the natural world through the art of photography and visual storytelling, the competition’s goal is to engage, involve, and attract photographers at all levels of expertise, while encouraging young talent to become advocates for generational behavioral change towards wildlife conservation.
The Grand Prize Winner will be awarded $5,000 USD, an interview and portfolio in Nature’s Best Photography magazine; and publication in a special edition of Nature’s Best devoted to the Mkapa Photography Awards. The category Winners will each be awarded $1,000 USD and will be featured in Nature’s Best special edition. Plus, there will be two overall Youth Winners: one African-based and one Global Winner.
The competition will enhance the visibility of African wildlife through the following categories: African Wildlife Behavior, African Wildlife Portraits, Wildlife at Risk, Fragile Wilderness, African Conservation Heroes, Wildlife in Modern Africa: Coexistence And Conflict, Art in Nature, African Wildlife Backyards, Mobile, and through the Africa in Motion/Video category, participants will be able to submit footage of natural wildlife behavior and outdoor experiences in wild lands.
In further elaboration of the new awards, Nature’s Best Photography President, Stephen Freligh, says, “Through my 40 years as a publisher of photographic works, I have personally witnessed the positive impact of combining the creative and documentary talents of professional, amateur, and youth photographers alike. Their memories are our new discoveries, and their stories are the window to the wild.”
Learn more at www.NaturesBestPhotography.com/africa
About Nature’s Best Photography:
Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, Nature’s Best Photography (NBP) was founded to inspire, educate, and motivate a better understanding, appreciation, and conservation of the natural world through the art of photography, storytelling, and personal wellness initiatives. This dynamic public engagement platform has produced award-winning publications, large-format print exhibitions, multimedia televised presentations, and prestigious museum events hosted around the globe.
About African Wildlife Foundation:
The African Wildlife Foundation is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and wild lands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. Founded in 1961 to focus on Africa’s conservation needs, we articulate a uniquely African vision, bridge science and public policy, and demonstrate the benefits of conservation to ensure the survival of the continent’s wildlife and wild lands.
*SOURCE The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF