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Lafarge-Holcim A Profit Business Cement Manufacturer Turns Humanitarian- Non-Profit- ‘’Declaring Climate-Change now a Climate-Crisis’’
November 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

A leading cement manufacturer has drawn two pathway lines besides profit making business diving deep into Humanitarian work in Zimbabwe. This has been confirmed through a learning exercise and process that will remain sustainable for Journalists who do sustainability reporting.

The whole day sustainable reporting journalists’ workshop was conducted on 27 November at a local hotel in Harare. It was attended by 20 Journalists and 10 Practical Action civil society organization and Lafarge-Holcim personnel.

Tsungai Manyeza Lafarge-Holcim Head of Communications has made strong back-up since time reflected with positive results. She has trained a big number of Journalists on Environmental issues. This time it extends to sustainability reporting. On top of that work, she has taken Journalists for a number of tours at their cement manufacturing plant in Harare.

Sustainable Energy Projects for Community Development and the Legal frame-work in Zimbabwe among other presentations attracted attention of journalists who have to report on renewable energy issues on ground following certain regulations to capture International standards. One such example of smart, efficient and reliable energy is solar which has taken shape in many urban and rural communities.

Climate Change and Sustainable Business takes focus to look at issues of combatting green house gases that cause climate change. In a changing World the Green Revolution looks ahead to combat climate change through new ways of mitigation and adaptation.

Taking a fascination of the whole snap-up of the program the idea that its no-longer climate change but climate-crisis takes a snap into the gleam of the future to address climate changing patterns through tools that addresses a crisis.

‘’We no-longer want to call this climate-change. Let us talk about climate-crisis because this turns to be continuous. We have it affecting us on a daily basis. We have to live with it through mitigation and adaptation.’’

Dr Maria Ross of Practical Action, Agriculture Systems and Innovation Leader puts it straight that their organization looks at Agro-Ecology because of its efficiency in terms of use of natural resources.

‘’Our thrust lies on increase in food-security so that we address sustainable and responsible food consumption. This is addressed through sustainable and profitable land use in the country. That is the reason why we talk of Agro-Ecology’’.

‘’Communities must remain sustainable by coming up with proper management of their natural resources, like water and land management. Our role then comes as coming up with solutions to what needs solutions remaining as a challenge and hinderance to sustainable Agriculture.’’

‘’Solutions to fragile systems comes with the fact that we see challenges in terms of sustainable water management, food and some other resources. We now mainly rely on under-ground water, therefore we need to take note of good management of water and natural resources’’.

Humanitarian Work and Corporate Social Responsibility ..

Sustainability reporting comes as an interesting area of focus for Journalists. There is wide need to report on real issues affecting communities. It is clear that its all about climate change that comes with disasters like floods that results in drought and hunger.

Communications Expert Tsungai Manyeza joined again at end of the program inspiring Journalists to take sustainability reporting as daily business looking at what affects us today affects the future.

‘’We have Four pillars Education, Environment, Empowerment and Healthy and Safety. We empower a total of 500 students who pursue their education. This is the 1st key area that has come with positive close results on the ground.

‘’Under Empowerment we invest in supporting girls in terms of Reproductive Health. Empower them to have better choices in life. We do capacity building on sexual reproductive health rights. Our business is just not profit; it is non-profit for the sake of our human environment.’’

‘’ Our work with partners brings us to participate in saving communities that need support. Our involvement in community development matters most if we care for those who need to be involved. Its all about thinking of the future as we move towards sustainable business guided by sustainability reporting of real value and importance. ‘’

‘’There are programs related to health and safety management looking at how we can avoid accidents, disasters that harm young people. On top of that we have trained 200 young people in Conservation Farming programs working with Practical Action’’

‘’Above all in terms of community development we support recycling programs. These have benefitted communities surrounding us. Parents, especially single mothers have managed to send their children to school’’.

The training brought an inculcation of new skills in reporting sustainable development. Other areas of focus looked at sustainable urban expansion and wetlands preservation. The other area, sustainable solid waste management-the challenges and opportunities.

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Youssou N’Dour, Graca Machel, Akinwumi Adesina discuss building back better after COVID-19 at Civil Society Forum
November 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

  • Harness civil society’s “incredible potential to accelerate social change at scale” – Graça Machel
  • “Africa’s time is now. This should not only be words or prayers. It is within reach. I’m sure (the African Development Bank) will be able to meet this challenge” – Youssou N’Dour
  • “We will work much harder, collectively and in unison, to accelerate the impact of our work” – Akinwumi Adesina

Artists should be on the frontline of Africa’s development, given their pivotal role as communicators, Youssou N’Dour, musician, businessman and former Culture and Tourism Minister of Senegal, said at the opening of the 2020 African Development Bank Civil Society Forum.

The two-day CSO Forum kicked off on Thursday under the theme “Engaging Civil Society in building back better after COVID-19”.

The virtual event opened with remarks from senior Bank officials, including Wambui Gichuri, Acting Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Vanessa Moungar, Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society, and President Akinwumi Adesina, with Graça Machel, Chair of the Graça Machel Trust, representing the civil society.

Adesina later engaged in a conversation with Machel and N’Dour.

“The role of civil society in monitoring interventions is crucial and important to ensure they are effectively deployed to reach the poor and vulnerable, who are most affected,” Adesina said, adding that the Bank would step up its efforts in the area.

Adesina said the critical issue was not the amount of funds that are provided by the Bank and others, but who they reach, adding that transparency and accountability are also critical.

Machel noted the Bank’s strong track record of working with governments and the private sector. She appealed for increased Bank funding to directly support civil society efforts to address the impact of the pandemic on the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach families in our societies.

“These organisations stepped up, often with limited resources and in very dangerous conditions, to save lives and restore dignity to communities in the midst of this pandemic,” she said. “Resources for organisations working with women, children and those living with disabilities and in the rural areas are desperately needed.”

Machel noted that channeling resources to strengthen the civil society sector as it responds to the challenges that COVID-19 has unearthed, would harness their “incredible potential to accelerate social change at scale”. Supporting women in particular would help to reap long-term dividends, she said.

For N’Dour, artists should be on the frontline of Africa’s development, given their pivotal role as communicators.

“Even in a place where there is oil, if there is no culture to explain this to the people, there is war…We should be able to say after (President Adesina’s) term that culture has been involved in the development of Africa,” he said, speaking in French via an interpreter.

“Culture is profitable and I’m available to provide my assistance, to work with my staff to create other champions in Africa, to take the African Development Bank’s work to another level,” N’Dour said.

The forum will explore cost-effective strategies and reflect on best practices to enhance collaboration between the Bank and civil society, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The second day of the forum will be dedicated to sessions led by civil society organizations, which will provide a space to develop innovative grassroots ideas.


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AfDB to set up pan-African Private Equity Fund for Agriculture
November 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

AFDB President Dr Akinwumi Adesina places great importance on agriculture

The African Development Bank is currently working with other partners to design a pan-African Private Equity Fund for Agriculture, FAFINA, the AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina revealed on Tuesday.

FAFINA – Fund for Agricultural Finance in Africa, should help African agricultural systems to become modern, integrated, and well-supported to achieve production and processing of food and agricultural products, and farm inputs, at scale.

Talking on Tuesday when he presented the keynote address during a virtual ceremony to mark the 10th Anniversary of the Sahel Capital, Adesina  said Africa should end being a supplier of raw materials by developing competitive national and regional agricultural value chains.

“Experiences from Sahel Capital on the FAFIN Fund will help as we now scale up interventions to support small and medium sized food and agribusiness companies across Africa,” he adding that agriculture is Africa’s number one comparative advantage and that transforming agriculture is the fastest way to create wealth and jobs in the continent.

“We must have chocolate factories, we must have garment and textile factories, dairy factories, and meat processing factories.

“The youth must be encouraged and supported to move into agriculture as a business to create greater value and wealth for the sector, driven by their innovations and business acumen” he said, “I am impressed with the large numbers of youth now moving into agriculture”.

The Bank has provided $406 million to support 23,000 young agripreneurs in 14 countries.

Just last week, the Bank supported $ 120,000 cash prize awards for dynamic youth-owned agribusinesses powering innovations across the agricultural value chains.

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Zimbabwe Shines as It Officially Launches 1st Nissan Electric Car .
November 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu Munhumutapa.

Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority inspired by the need to keep the World Green for sustainable business all around officially launches for the 1st time a Nissan Leaf Electric car.  The event occurred on 26 November at a glamorous ground breaking event in Harare.

The occasion attended by Chief Engineers, Government officials, Captains of Motor Industry marked the launch of an electric car, a modern move to consummate global green World standards. The emerging technology lies on efficiency and reliability. This is towards a low carbon economy.

Energy and Power Development Minister Honorable Soda believes Zimbabwe is towards achievements of its targets in terms of sustainable development. The targets take look at reducing green- house gas emissions, use of clean energy for sustainable development.

‘’This is to promote and encourage the expansion and advancement of technology related to petroleum and electricity ‘’

‘’Our mandate is derived from three [3] legal statutes which are Energy Regulatory Authority Act of 2011, Petroleum Act 2006 and Electricity Act of 2002. It is there-fore time to celebrate dispensation of a pollution free Green World ‘’.

‘’Companies are encouraged to invest in electric vehicles in order to go green all the time. We move the e-vehicle, making it easy to manage on petroleum. It tells more about sustainability for future generations.

He notes that the future of e-vehicle technology is in the hands of everyone.’’ It talks to us about Zimbabwe becoming an upper-middle Income Economy by 2030.’’  He points out clearly that this is in line with President Mnangagwa’s 2030 vision.

‘’e-vehicle will change this World by addressing issues of climate-change and scarcity of fuel’’ , points it out Engineer  Eddington Mazmbani, Chief Executive Officer of ZERA [Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority .

 ‘’Zero emissions from an efficient engine. This is marvelous to all of us as we save energy issues that remain a challenge in our everyday life. We are now in a new smart World of real sustainable development’’,

Consumers are set to receive the best of clean energy all around to save the earth on the effects of emissions of green-house gases. In order to take this for reality by the end of the day in future we propose these cars to be charged electricity at fuel service stations fed with solar energy and hydro-electricity.

‘’We are pushing for service stations to do the charging of electric energy at service stations. These must serve these electric cars using solar and hydro-power. It is not advisable to use Thermal energy. Off-course, using thermal power from Hwange Power Station is as good as defeating the purpose of using this kind of car because we will be using more and more of thermal power derived from coal. It burns more there at the main power station there-by causing more emissions.

‘’Secondly, we have to push for Government to make it a point that those who import such kind of cars into the country have duty free service at the boarders. This encourages more and more buyers. The car is just 30% more in terms of its price as compared to an ordinary vehicle of the same type which are not electrified.

‘’Technology is here to stay but it started long back in 1930. Thus, when solar powered vehicles were talked of but only that it was a time when cars were few, we had less challenges in line with transport at the same time the era of climate-change was not yet there.’’  Says ZERA Consumer Services Manager Engineer Nobert Mataruse .

Rwanda 1n 2019 launched a Volkswagen vehicle which was the 1st one in Africa. It is however noted clearly that some other countries have similar type of cars. The Nissan Car was bought from Development Power Africa subsidiary of ECONET a mobile Service provider.

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A common roadmap to spread the benefits of West Africa’s blue treasure
November 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

ECOWAS has adopted a common and detailed plan to unlock the potential of fisheries and aquaculture for nutrition, welfare and sustainable growth


Freshly harvested fish from aquaculture.
photo credit©FAO/ Mamadou Sene

Fish is key to the economy of Sierra Leone, where it contributes up to 10 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). However, the enormous potential of West Africa’s ‘blue treasure’ – its fisheries and aquaculture resources – is yet to be fully unlocked.

Treasures, however, must be managed wisely. Otherwise, there is a risk that a few reap all the benefits, or that a short-term approach results in the wealth being squandered away. This is why the ECOWAS member states have recently validated a common new roadmap (the Comprehensive Strategic Framework for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, or CSFS FAD) to sustainably develop the sector and make it work for nutrition, welfare and sustainable growth.

Building on a series of diagnostics of the situation and policies of fisheries and aquaculture in each of the member countries, and taking a participatory, inclusive and fair approach (both arising from the European Union-funded FIRST and PESCAO programmes), the new framework aims at coordinating the efforts of all stakeholders (governments, small-scale fisherfolk, private actors, women, youth…) from all countries.

There is no shortage of challenges in sustainably spreading this blue wealth. Missing strategic orientation and weak governance, legislative and regulatory basis, together with a lack of transparency and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing practices have contributed to fisheries resources depletion in the region. A coordinated and sustainable management of shared resources (e.g. through harmonized rules and policies) applied by skilled government authorities, in collaboration with non-state actors will be key.

In this regard, adopting an inclusive and top-down approach to regulate the sector can contribute to an effective solution, but will not suffice. Small-scale fisheries are a recognized driver of sustainable development, and policies and regulations affecting the sector will need to bring fisherfolk fully onboard to protect and strengthen their livelihoods. Protecting tenure and user rights is essential for a sustainable management of small‑scale fisheries and a sound development of aquaculture.

The fisheries resources are being exploited at their maximum levels and  protecting the resources and the fisherfolk may not be enough for fisheries and aquaculture to boost rural livelihoods and nutrition. Fish-based agrifood value chains need to be further developed and modernized. Post-harvest losses in the region are unsustainably high, due to the lack of infrastructure (e.g. transport or cold chains), and access to regional and international markets.

Achieving such modernization – and promoting fish consumption throughout the
region – will require more investments from public and private actors alike, while key partners such as the European Union and regional and international development banks continue to support the sector. In order to inform investment priorities, track progress and guarantee accountability, more data and information systems are needed: technical partners like the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) can make a major contribution in this field.

The recently-validated CSFS FAD provides a sound vision and a pertinent and coherent roadmap for ECOWAS member countries and all stakeholders to participate in protecting this invaluable natural resource and impartially sharing its benefits across sectors, countries and communities. With this framework, the boat is ready for all stakeholders to jump onboard and work together for a good (and sustainable) catch in the years to come. 

*Dr Amadou Tall is the leader of the Component 1 of PESCAO Programme (ECOWAS)

*Dr Sidibé Aboubacar is the policy officer of the Eu-FAO FIRST Programme in the ECOWAS.

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Zimbabwe: Parliament Beams Spotlight on Covid induced Gender Based Violence
November 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu Munhumutapa

Zimbabwe Parliamentary -Portfolio Committee on Gender has launched 16 days of gender- based violence, opening up can of worms in line with covid-19 and gender -based violence. Prevalence rate of GBV [Gender Based Violence] is high owing attention to other factors besides covid-19, Experts in Gender-Based-Violence speak out.

There are other line-affecting factors lying side-by side close to women and children especially those disabled, exposed to gender-based violence and stricken in poverty leading to vulnerability. The 2020 16 days is run under the theme   , ‘’Orange the World —- Fund ,Respond , Prevent and Collect’’ ….

Giving a thrilling presentation in Harare at a virtual platform UNFPA [United Nations Fund for Population Agency] Country Representative Esther Muia points out that women and children remain exposed to effects of gender-based violence in families and communities.

‘’Women and children remain burdened especially during this time of covid-19. Women are close to children; children are close to mothers because they get basic support from matriarchal parent. During covid-19, gender-based violence increased, exposing women and children further deep into poverty and vulnerability’’ .

‘’Women remain un-economically empowered during this time resources are scarce and out of reach. Women do domestic work of which they stand responsibility of food security especially in rural communities where they are 60% in Agriculture’’.

African countries must stand firm and resilient against a number of challenges artificially and naturally. Many of them become extremely impacted by several factors’ likely disasters, floods, hunger and drought caused by climate shocks above all.

‘’There are standing, blocking issues and core hindering factors which have reversed gains of women in communities. This is because of covid-19. Therefore, we need to see to it that they have support of men staying out of gender- based violence.’’

‘’In Africa the other side of the challenge story is a result of climate disasters, floods, drought and hunger that has affected many families exposing women and children mainly to hunger vulnerability. Those in large number are from rural marginalized communities ‘’.             

Speaking in perfect tones in line with peace, Lorraine Makawa a Parliamentarian notes that peace brings women in collective action, working together and social justice to address peace. She elaborates that peace in the African region is a weapon addressed by solving gender in-equality. This realizes the outcome of human development in the light of women empowerment.

 Interviewed at a Regional view point she notes that peace is the only weapon that has given freedom, liberal rights and emancipation of women in countries like Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, Angola which faced civil wars. She continued to state that war-torn African countries looked first at peace and conflict resolution, addressed equality then looked at women empowerment with children sorely at the center.

‘’Peace has freed women in war torn countries in the African continent like in Rwanda. Where there is no peace, gender- based violence increases. Like in the time we are we are affected. We have come up with one stop centers to accommodate survivors.

‘’We are implementing this in spot-light districts where gender-based- violence has been rife. We bring all services under one roof, police services, legal services and resources, tools, food and basic amenities to address this challenge.

‘’Women must engage in economic activities so that they must take care of children in terms of food provision. Empowerment there-fore is vital , crucial and important especially in covid-19 era . Action is the way out of such challenges. We note there are gaps. Our interventions are from funding partners. There has been Humanitarian crisis, thus the challenge among bigger challenges.’’ She says.

In the years back gender-based-violence in Africa has been fueled by patriarchy, male domination, culture, tradition and African customs among other causes. The mentioned factors are no-longer standing negatively impactive in the post-modern society of educated young people who no-longer have the aura of gender-based -violence perpetration. This escalating scenario bearing remorse on the shoulders of women and the Zimbabwean Government, makes it lose on Sustainable Development Goal number 5 [Five] on Gender-Equality.

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Siemens Gamesa works through COVID challenges to help feed 250MW of clean energy to South Africa’s grid
November 25, 2020 | 0 Comments
Siemens Gamesa has installed over 850MW of wind power in the country, close to one third of market share.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, November 24, 2020/ — 109 wind turbines installed in Kangnas and Perdekraal wind farms with a combined capacity of 250MW; Both projects represent one of the first ‘Bid Window 4’ wind farms to feed power to South Africa’s national grid; Siemens Gamesa has installed over 850MW of wind power in the country, close to one third of market share.

Siemens Gamesa has officially started production of Mainstream Renewable Power’s 110MW Perdekraal East and 140 MW Kangnas wind farms in South Africa, supporting additional green power supply into the country’s national grid.

The Perdekraal East site is located 80km northeast of Ceres in the Western Cape and the Kangnas wind farm is situated near Springbok in the Northern Cape. The wind farms are equipped with a total of 109 2.3MW capacity onshore wind turbines and will help provide enough clean electricity to power a total of 250,000 South African homes. Additionally, the wind farms will emit zero carbon emissions using almost no water during the power generation process.

Despite COVID-19 challenges, the two projects have been completed in line with the original timeline set by Mainstream Renewable Power. Mainstream fully developed the projects, managed the construction process and will manage the operations and maintenance of the plants. The global developer of renewable energy is based in Dublin with offices in Cape Town. Kangnas wind farm was even completed significantly ahead of schedule.

Part of the “Bid Window 4” of the government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), both Perdekraal and Kangnas wind farms will together add to the 1.3GW to the country’s clean energy generation capacity.

In compliance with the REIPPPP regulations, the wind projects were built by the 30% black owned subsidiary of Siemens Gamesa in South Africa and, by its South African staff utilizing South African contractors thereby creating jobs  while supporting local communities, driving local manufacturing and development projects within local communities.

“Siemens Gamesa is taking a step forward in its mission to provide a cleaner, more sustainable future for South Africa in its journey to a low carbon economy, having contributed as of today with more than 850MW of wind capacity to the national grid. We are also proud to demonstrate our engagement towards improving living standards across the country, despite the disruption witnessed due to the Covid-19 lockdowns earlier this year,” said Janek Winand, Managing Director Siemens Gamesa South Africa.

Beyond the completion of its wind projects in the country, Siemens Gamesa remains committed to the local communities in need through several social actions led across the regions where it is operating. Among these initiatives, the company helped provide relief to Tembisa residents suffering from the impact of the COVID19 crisis through the donation of vital supplies benefitting over 300 families. The team also supported recently the Witzenberg Association for Persons with Disabilities (WAPD) near the Perdekraal wind farm through the donation of a mobile day care.

“As a responsible company, we are eager to assert further our contribution to South Africa’s increasing energy demand, but beyond that, we are strongly committed to provide continuous support through rapid responses to the challenges faced by the local communities in need, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic,” added Janek Winand.

About Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy:
Siemens Gamesa is a global leader in the wind power industry, with a strong presence in all facets of the business: offshore, onshore and services. The company’s advanced digital capabilities enable it to offer one of the broadest product portfolios in the sector as well as industry-leading service solutions, helping to make clean energy more affordable and reliable. With more than 107GW installed worldwide, Siemens Gamesa manufactures, installs and maintains wind turbines, both onshore and offshore. The company’s orders backlog stands at €30.2 billion. The company is headquartered in Spain and listed on the Spanish stock exchange (trading on the Ibex-35 index).

About Siemens Gamesa in Africa:
Siemens Gamesa has been pioneering wind energy projects in Africa for 20 years. Installations total 4GW in countries such as Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, Kenya, Mauritania, Mauritius Islands, Tunisia and Algeria representing 60% of all wind power on the continent. Siemens Gamesa is driving Africa’s energy transition to deliver cleaner, more reliable, more affordable energy for millions of African people and support long term sustainability and economic growth. It has the broadest product portfolio in the industry with leading technology and innovation, the scale and global reach to provide proximity to customers, and high standards of health, safety and environmental protection.
*SOURCE Siemens Gamesa

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Cameroon: SMEPA Trains Youths, SMEs on Job Creation, Entrepreneurship
November 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Young Entrepreneurs taking part in the Training of Trainers programme organized by SMEPA
Young Entrepreneurs taking part in the Training of Trainers programme organized by SMEPA

The Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Promotion Agency, SMEPA, in partnership with the International Labour Office have trained youths and SMEs under the programme “start your business and other tools of the SME Agency.”

The Training of Trainers programme which took place at the Buea Mountain Hotel from November 17 to November 20, 2020, had the aim of assisting Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, SMEs who face tough competition. “This programme is to upgrade the standards of SMEs of the North West and South West Regions,” Jean Marie Louis Badga, General Manager SMEPA told reporters.

“We are training these trainers to help them have all the tools to accompany these SMEs to be resilient in the field, become more competitive. We have these programmes so we train SMEs to promote entrepreneurship for young people. It is also to accompany those on the field to become more competitive and with high standards.”

SMEPA hopes to train at least one thousand SME workers in each Region between now and the next two years. It is a robust plan which falls in line with the objectives of the National Development Strategy Plan for 2020 and 203, which the Prime Minister launched November 16.

According to SMEPA General Manager, this programme falls in line with the Head of State’s vision to accompany youths in their projects, provide solutions to problems faced by businesses through modules that were designed for them. He went on to express his wish to see that the trainees put to use the skills acquired for the benefit of themselves and their communities.

The Small and Medium Size Enterprises sector has been identified as one of those sectors that provide opportunities for the youths in terms of job creation. It is that sector which equally contributes a great deal to the economy of the country.

In Cameroon, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are regarded as vectors for job and wealth creation. Statistics from the Ministry of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Social Economy and Handicrafts, which show there are more than 400,000 companies in the informal sector and out of these, 99%, are SMEs.

This dynamic presence helps to generate growth and redistribute wealth in society. Their important role in reducing poverty in Cameroon is also gaining recognition. Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) contribute around 36% of Cameroon’s GDP, make-up over 90% of businesses in Cameroon, and employ above 60% of the population.

The business environment in Cameroon is good but the lack of resource harmonization in the Cameroon Entrepreneurship sphere is considered as among the main causes of short-run business failure and poor competitive capacity. SMEs in Cameroon face significant challenges regarding Managerial skills, lack of capital, networking and lack of dedicated agencies to assist the existing and potential entrepreneurs, lacking communication skills, low quality and standards, poor human resource management skills.

Addressing the officials, David Mafani Namange, Mayor of Buea urged the youths to make use of this programme so that “the building of our communities will be done with the help of your expertise.” “While we thank you for giving us a Centre for Enterprises it serves no purpose if the structure that is to help these enterprises to become sustainable is not present. We, therefore, request you see the possibility of opening a branch of the Small and Medium Size Enterprises in the South West Region. We are a Region that needs one and the environment is conducive enough. The time cannot be better than now,” David Mafani Namange, Mayor of Buea told SMEPA General Manager.

One of the trainees Joshua Tembang said: “I am leaving here and I believe I will be an expert in entrepreneurship and I will be able to train others in my community and empower the youths. At this particular time, the youths are facing considerable challenges and without jobs, we are calling on the youths to become entrepreneurs and push our economy ahead.”

The Ministry of Small and Medium Size Enterprises, Social Economy was created in 2004 as one of the means to reduce increasing rates of poverty and unemployment. Statistics according to ENS stands at 3.8 per cent in 2020. Youth unemployment stands at 5.84 per cent in 2020, according to statistics from the ILO.

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African Energy Chamber (AEC)’s Latest Top 25 Movers & Shakers Watch List 2021 Shows Strong Women Leadership in Energy
November 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

The latest list released this week by the Chamber demonstrates the growing role played by women in the fight against energy poverty.

The number of women within the African Energy Chamber’s Top 25 Movers & Shakers Watch List has made a significant jump from 3 to 8 between 2020 and 2021. Released annually, the list highlights the government officials, public and private executives whose work and decisions can profoundly impact the way Africans access and consume energy.

The latest list released this week by the Chamber demonstrates the growing role played by women in the fight against energy poverty, not only from the ground but also from African and global boardrooms where their leadership and decisions are shaping up the future of African energy.

Across the continent, the Chamber expects several women to make headlines in 2021 through key projects and actions. These notably include Rebecca Miano’s leadership in increasing geothermal production capacity by the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), Khadija Amoah’s piloting of the Pecan field development in Ghana, or Ugandan Minister Kitutu’s ability in shaping up the development of an inclusive hydrocarbons industry in Uganda. Further north in Morocco, Amina Benkhadra is spearheading Morocco’s efforts to further develop its natural gas industry in her role as Director General of the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM).

Women are also positioning themselves to be at the centre of key financial and investment decisions. Vibhuti Jain at the US International Development Finance Corporation, or Hu XiaoLian at the Export-Import Bank of China, are both overseeing key investment programmes that could significantly support capital inflow into Africa’s energy sector in 2021. The same goes for Heather Lanigan, Regional Director for sub-Saharan Africa at the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), which currently supports several important midstream gas and gas-to-power projects in West Africa.

The Chamber continues to believe that building an inclusive and sustainable energy industry that works for every African goes through the hiring and promotion of more women across the value-chain. From engineers to executives, women must be given more opportunities to participate in the continent’s fight against energy poverty. 2021 will tell if they continue to seize such opportunities and become the energy advocates the continent needs.

*African Energy Chamber

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ARIPO elects new Director General for the period 2021 to 2024
November 18, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Forty-Fourth Session of the Administrative Council of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) has voted Mr. Bemanya Twebaze, a candidate from Uganda, as the Organization’s next Director General (DG) for a fixed term of four years that will start on January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2024.

“Thank you to the Administrative Council of ARIPO for entrusting me to lead ARIPO for the next four years. I will give my best energy to make meaningful transformations at ARIPO,” said Mr. Bemanya Twebaze at the close of the voting on November 17, 2020.

Mr. Twebaze will be the sixth DG at the ARIPO Secretariat following the current and outgoing DG, Dr. Fernando dos Santos from Mozambique, whose eight-year term ends 31 December 2020.

Mr. Twebaze is the Chief Executive Officer of Uganda Registration Services Bureau, the National Intellectual Property Office of Uganda.

Mr. Twebaze’s election by the ARIPO Administrative Council was made through an online voting system. He emerged as the winner ahead of two other candidates.

ARIPO is an intergovernmental organization based in Harare, Zimbabwe. It was created in Lusaka, Zambia, on 9th December 1976 under the Lusaka Agreement. 

ARIPO grants or register intellectual property rights such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, utility models, industrial designs, plant varieties, traditional knowledge, folklore expression, and geographical indications. ARIPO also contributes to the shaping of the African and global intellectual property landscape through capacity building, awareness creation and sharing of technological information.

ARIPO currently has 20 Member States: Botswana, The Kingdom of Eswatini, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, The Kingdom of Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.


Read More responds to ICBC reportedly withdrawing financing from the Lamu Coal Plant
November 17, 2020 | 0 Comments

Global — The Save Lamu campaign has learned that the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has decided not to finance the Lamu Coal Plant anymore, due to cited environmental and social risks associated with the project. Save Lamu has previously submitted various petitions and complaints to ICBC citing extensive environmental destruction and social risks that would be encountered once the project is operational. 

The 1,050MW Lamu coal plant was expected to be the largest coal plant in East Africa and first in Kenya. It was proposed to be built at Kwasasi, Lamu County. According to the project documents, it was expected that ICBC would finance the project at a tune of US $1.2 bn. A reliable source at ICBC has now said the bank will not make this investment. 

In reaction to the announcement, commented on the following:

“This is a result of ongoing efforts by the Save Lamu coalition. We congratulate ICBC on this important step in the right direction. As a member of the core group of the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), and as a member of the China-UK TCFD pilot group, ICBC must show leadership and stop its new coal financing in other parts of the world. ICBC’s record on coal financing is one of the worst among the largest banks in the world according to the recent ranking by BankTrack and is involved in other controversial projects such as the Sengwa power station in Zimbabwe, Hunutlu power station in Turkey, Bengkulu Coal Power in Indonesia and many more. In all these places ICBC faces fierce opposition from local groups on the same ground as Lamu of environmental and social risks. It’s time for ICBC to assess correctly those risks and stop its financing to these and all other coal projects.” Yossi Cadan, Finance Campaign Manager at

“ICBC is the latest major partner to pull out of Lamu’s controversial project, after that of AfDB and GE. This is a new victory for the communities and organizations that have been advocating against the development of the dirty energy models on the continent. The construction of a coal plant in Lamu is an unnecessary endeavour, which will extensively damage the fragile environment and with it the livelihoods of thousands of people who depend on fisheries and tourism. We call on ICBC to withdraw from all the coal plants that they are currently part of across the African continent. Local communities across Africa deserve affordable, clean and safe energy. Financiers, energy companies and our respective African governments should accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy, investing in renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.” Landry Ninteretse, Africa Team Leader at

“This is a major win not only for local communities in Lamu but also for the climate movement across the world. We congratulate Save Lamu campaign for withstanding the Lamu coal power plant for years and welcome ICBC’s decision to step back from the project. In the age of climate crisis, financing a fossil fuel project is unacceptable and ICBC’S withdrawal from Lamu coal power plant is a great opportunity for the bank to reassess its coal projects around the world. Just like in Lamu, the people of Adana in Turkey do not want ICBC’s Hunutlu coal power plant project that will threaten local communities, livelihoods and the fragile ecosystem of the region. It’s time for ICBC to stop financing coal and commit to climate-friendly financing enshrined in its own reports.” Efe Baysal, Turkey Campaigner at

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Senesie Foundation Joins The Development Train in Sierra Leone
November 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Education is of importance not just to the young people we seek to uplift, but also for the future of Sierra Leone , says Francis Senesie
Education is of importance not just to the young people we seek to uplift, but also for the future of Sierra Leone , says Francis Senesie

As way of complementing government’s Free Quality Education, the Senesie Youth Empowerment Foundation based in the United States of America has donated 80 million Leones worth of school materials to vulnerable children in ten schools through its youth Empowerment Project learning material support to the less privilege in Moyamba District, Southern Sierra Leone.

The donation targeted ten schools in the Moyamba District with each of the school receiving one hundred bags and one hundred books as part of the one thousand vulnerable school children targeted as a way of helping them with school materials.

Prior to that the Foundation led its CEO Francis Senesie with support from his wife Wendy Senesie had donated an assorted consignment of Personal Protective Equipment to help some communities cope with the COVID 19 pandemic.  

With the development challenges facing Sierra Leone, the Senesie Foundation is angling to be a key partner in complementing efforts from the government. Discussing the Foundation in an interview with PAV, Francis Senesie, a graduate of Howard University in Washington, DC, says plans are in gestation to expand its initiatives and projects to other parts of the country.

Could we start with an introduction of the Senesie Foundation that you lead, when was it created and what is its mission?

The Senesie Youth Empowerment Foundation is a charitable organization based in United State of America with an establishment in Sierra Leone. The purpose of the organization is to intervene in the lives of vulnerable children, youth and vulnerable women (aged) through education and also the provision of individualized rehabilitated services such as counselling and pro poor activities.

The Senesie Youth Empowerment Foundation has a vision to develop children, youth, and women to contribute to chiefdom, district and national development.

The mission of the Senesie Youth Empowerment Foundation is also to actively engage the children, youth, women in social life and innovative approach in developing themselves. By doing so, they continue in building and sustaining development in line with our motor which is developing the community to develop the nation.

Since its creation, what are some of the achievements that the Senesie Foundation has registered since its creation?

The creation of the Senesie Youth Empowerment Foundation in June 2020 coincided with the Covid 19 pandemic which affected the vulnerable and the country at large. Though young, the Senesie Youth Empowerment Foundation deemed it necessary to join the Sierra Leone Government in fighting the pandemic. In fighting the covid 19, the Senesie Youth Empowerment Foundation provided assorted food items, face masks, infrared thermometers, and sanitary supplies to more than hundred (100) families and households in Moyamba District. These items were distributed under the supervision of the stakeholders in District.

School children in the Moyamba district, Southern Sierra Leone pose with bags and books donated recently by the Senesie Foundation
School children in the Moyamba district, Southern Sierra Leone pose with bags and books donated recently by the Senesie Foundation

Recently the Foundation made a huge donation estimated at 80 million Leones worth of school materials to vulnerable children in ten schools in the Moyamba district, Southern Sierra Leone, can you shed some light on this?

In October 2020, the Senesie Youth Empowerment Foundation donated over Eighty Million Leones (80,000,000) worth of school materials to ten schools in the Moyamba District in the Southern Region Sierra Leone. This was done as way to complement the Government of Sierra Leone flagship programme which is the Free Quality Education launched by His Excellency Retired Julius Maada Bio. Education is something we cherish, and we believe that with our contribution, we can complement the worthy efforts that the government is putting in.

May we know why you focused on education and Moyamba district?

Education is of importance not just to the young people we seek to uplift, but also for the future of the country. With education, opportunities are opened for young people who can in turn contribute to building a better Sierra Leone. Moyamba District is just a starting point. We had to start from somewhere, and considering the educational challenges facing the Moyamba District, we believe that from that we can slowly but steadily expand to other parts of the country.

What mechanisms do you have in place to ensure that the donations get to those in need and are used for the intended purpose?

We worked with authorities in the District in compiling the list of vulnerable and needed pupils who got support from the Foundation. The process was open and very transparent. Those kids are the future Teachers, Doctors, Engineers, Nurses, and so on. This is just the beginning and there is much more that will be coming from the Senesie Foundation in the years ahead.

At what point should other parts of Sierra Leone expect to benefit from such initiatives from the Senesie Foundation?

The other parts of the Country in Sierra Leone expect benefit from the Senesie Youth Empowerment Foundation as soon as possible. We decided to start it at this level because there is an adage which says that a little drop of water makes a mighty ocean. Charity begins at home and ends abroad. Whatever initiatives you are embarking on start with your very self. Definitely we will get to the other parts of Sierra Leone, it will just be a matter of time.

Wendy Senesie is part of the Foundation management working on resources for bigger projects
Wendy Senesie is part of the Foundation management working on resources for bigger projects

Looking at the current situation or state of Sierra Leone, in what way do you think Foundations like yours and others could help in meeting the development needs of the country?

There are lots of ways in meeting the development of Sierra Leoneans especially when the country is going through economic challenges. As I mentioned earlier, during COVID 19, we contributed safety material to people.   The government cannot be expected to do everything for the people.  We must do our part and Foundations like ours can contribute in small and modest ways to support government action in making a difference in the lives of our people. There are other Foundations doing great work, and we encourage others to take other initiatives that could help bring development to the people of Sierra Leone especially those in the rural areas of the country.   Because we knew that the Covid 19 might have affected the parents in terms of business, farming and education, the Senesie Youth Empowerment Foundation thought it wise to come to  the aid of the parents in providing learning materials in order to cushion the challenges.

What are some of the challenges that the Senesie Foundation has faced in its mission so far?

As a young Foundation, the start is certainly always challenging .The Senesie Youth Empowerment Foundation went through a lot of odds during the distribution of the learning materials to the beneficiaries, especially when the programme took place during the raining season. To access these areas during the raining season it was exceedingly difficult, but due to an incredibly good team spirit, my staff were able to navigate their way to various locations. Challenges will always be there, from funding of our projects, to expansion to other parts of the country and so on, but the Foundation will be up the task. Where there is the will, there will always be the means. Our Foundation is resolute in its commitment to make a difference in the lives of young Sierra Leoneans and contributing in  its own modest quota in the overall development of that great, beautiful and promising country.

Any projections for the future, what should the people of Sierra Leone expect from the Senesie Foundation and its leadership?

Our journey of a thousand miles has just begun. We will continue to build on the successes of our recent initiatives, work on putting in place our structures across the country and expanding our programs. The vision of the Foundation is big and there is still much work needed to put everything in place. Definitely expect the Foundation to shift gears when it comes to its engagement with your people. You should also expect to see programmes of the Foundation expanding slowly but steadily to other Districts across Sierra Leone.

*Culled from November Issue of Pan African Visions Magazine

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