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Kenya’s Shift to Green Economy Should Generate USD 45 Billion by 2030
April 25, 2014 | 1 Comments

New Study Shows Kenya’s Shift to Green Economy Should Generate USD 45 Billion by 2030, Build Climate Resilience and Boost Food Security / Positive Returns Projected within Seven to Ten Years download (6)Kenya’s transition to a green economy could produce major economic benefits – equivalent to an estimated USD 45 billion by 2030 – as well as greater food security, a cleaner environment and higher productivity of natural resources, according to a new study launched Tuesday by the Government of Kenya and the UN Environment Programme. The Green Economy Assessment Report: Kenya finds that the transition to an inclusive, low emission , resource efficient green economy will result in stronger economic growth and increased wealth creation opportunities by 2021. Under a green economy scenario, with an investment of two percent of GDP, national GDP would exceed a business-as-usual scenario by about 12 per cent, or KES 3.6 trillion (equivalent to USD 45 billion), by 2030. Per capita national income would nearly double from KES 39,897 (USD 498.70) to KES 69,702 (USD 871.30). Under a business-as-usual investment scenario and a two per cent investment, GDP would only increase to KES 53,146 (USD 664.30) over the same period of time. As green economy measures mitigate the impact of climate change, the report finds the country’s aggregated Green House Gas Emissions measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent would be 9 per cent lower by 2030 under a green economy scenario with an investment of two per cent of GDP compared to a business-as-usual scenario and a two per cent investment. In the agriculture sector, the report finds that green economy investments would increase the average agriculture yield by about 15 per cent from its current baseline. Agriculture accounts for approximately one quarter of Kenya’s national GDP annually and up to 65 per cent of its exports. Kenya is already implementing policies and initiatives to move towards a green economy, and this approach is recognized in the country’s long-term development blueprint and in the government’s Second Medium Term Plan (2013-2017). The report finds that further green energy investments could lead to about a two per cent reduction in energy consumption and an expanded supply of electricity from renewable sources compared to business-as-usual. For example, under a green economy scenario, renewable energy would double geothermal capacity by 2030, compared to business-as-usual, and other renewable energy resources would also grow during this period, contributing to 20 per cent of the total power supply. To accelerate these efforts, the report urges the government to consider adopting targeted clean energy solutions for households and institutions, such as energy efficient lighting and appliances; and, making additional investments in renewable energy, such as geothermal, solar, wind and biofuel energy. While Kenya’s manufacturing sector has continued to contribute about 10 per cent to the country’s GDP for over many years, it is still one of the largest in Sub-Sahara Africa and considered a key pillar for the country’s future growth. However, the report finds that to green this sector, more public policies are needed to encourage and incentivize investment in resource-efficient and clean production processes, recycling and eco-labelling, among other transformative strategies. The country’s transport sector is also critical to its green economy goals. This sector is expected to triple between 2010 and 2030, and vehicles on the road have already doubled during the last decade. To better regulate this sector and reduce emission of harmful gaseous pollutants, the report suggests that the government needs to create incentives to lower the age of its passenger and freight fleet, as well as promote more mass transit and non-motorized transport . UNEP supported a consortium of Kenyan institutions that formed the “Inter-Ministerial Committee on green economy” to lead the green economy in the country. The Committee comprised members from various government ministries and the private sector organizations. The report, which examines the economy-wide impacts of green investments under different scenarios, reveals that positive returns could be realized within seven to ten years. It confirms that an overall green economy, resources efficiency and recycling policy framework is fundamental to underpin the success of these sector initiatives. Several areas where further government action is needed are identified, from improving regulatory compliance and developing national standards, resources efficiency and resource productivity targets ; to securing financial resources and introducing fiscal instruments like tax rebates on environment friendly technologies and innovations “Green Economy driven by resource efficiency is the basis for sustainable development and poverty eradication. A green economy revolution is already taking place in Kenya, where the harvesting of geothermal energy from the East African Rift is just one of the many renewable energy projects underway across the country. By learning to more accurately value our own natural resources, Kenya will be able to better harness these strategies as it moves towards a holistic, inclusive green economy in the future.”Cabinet Secretary of the Kenyan Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Judi Wakhungu “The next wave of investment and innovation in Kenya will be driven by the need for new energy sources, wealth generation and job creation. Kenya is already demonstrating leadership by pioneering green economy approaches in the energy, urban and natural resources sectors as a vehicle to deliver its national development goals. This report confirms that the country can achieve even greater prosperity and well-being by scaling up its green investments in key sectors, while also factoring the conservation and efficient use of its natural capital into future decisions related to infrastructure, investment in the development of the energy, transport, agriculture and industry sectors.”UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said: *Source UNEP/APO]]>

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Controversial former Barclays UK head set to acquire Rwandan bank
April 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

Paul Redfern and Alex Ngarambe* brdAtlas Mara, the banking venture set up by controversial UK banker Bob Diamond and African billionaire Ashish Thakkar, has signed a deal to acquire the commercial arm of Rwanda’s state-controlled Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD).

Atlas Mara is buying 77 per cent stake in BRD.
“This partnership is in line with Atlas Mara’s vision of building a leading African financial services group. Rwanda is a model economy that will continue to benefit from the engagement of the private sector,” said Mr Diamond.
Mr Diamond is one of the most controversial bankers to emerge from the financial crisis in the UK, and is the man ousted as boss of Barclays after a direct intervention by the Bank of England.
The 32-year-old Mr Thakkar is the chief executive of Mara Group, a conglomerate of IT, real estate and manufacturing companies with operations in 26 countries, 19 of which are in Africa, employing more than 7,000 people.
The two financiers are understood to have approached investors to raise the $250 million necessary to set up the company Atlas Mara, which plans to buy stakes in existing African banks.
Rwanda and the investors have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding to pursue a privatisation of BRD.
“Rwanda is a country that holds a very special place in my heart. It is remarkable that today we signed this MoU with BRD, a great bank, with even greater potential. I am proud to have this opportunity to play a role in creating access to capital for the millions of young Rwandan entrepreneurs like me,” Ashish Thakkar was quoted by Britain’s Daily Telegraph as saying recently.
The BRD deal comes less than a week after Atlas Mara announced a deal to buy a major stake in Botswana-based BancABC for $265m. Mr Thakkar said that further deals are likely to be announced in the near future.
Atlas Mara’s objective is to establish an African financial services group. The company said that BRD is an opportunity for Atlas Mara to create a privately run financial services group in Rwanda, which will serve as a platform for the firm to expand into the East African market.
Virgin market
Rwanda’s financial sector is relatively virgin with limited banking services and products, thus a small banked population.
The country’s financial inclusion is currently below 25 per cent, but with more financial institutions entering the market, government targets over 70 per cent by 2020.
Analysts are upbeat that the Atlas Mara Group will revamp the operations of BRD. The government privatised BRD to revamp its operations which were suffering due to inefficiencies. “The Development Bank in Rwanda, like in the region, has functioned like parastatals with a lot of inefficiencies and with the commercial operations. We expect to see more loans to the private sector with improved conditions,” said Prof Herman Musahara, an economist and lecturer at the University of Rwanda.
According to the Monetary Policy and Financial Stability statement for the first quarter of this year, credit to private sector rose by 13 per cent, from $1 billion by the end of 2012 to $1.2 billion last year.
With Atlas Mara going into commercial operations after the takeover, the private sector will have more options for relatively affordable credit.
Rwanda’s private sector, especially agriculture, which employs over 80 per cent of the population, is suffering from limited affordable loans.
The BRD deal is the latest of a number of bids by foreign banking institutions that are eyeing Rwanda’s lenders. AB Bank Rwanda Ltd, a member of international network of microfinance banks launched its operations in Rwanda last year.
In 2012, I&M bank Ltd, a Kenyan bank, bought a stake in Rwanda Commercial Bank (BCR) where it acquired 80 per cent equity from private equity firm ACTIS, which was the majority shareholder from 2004.
Analysts said with more players in the market, Rwandans could enjoy favourable interest rates. Currently, the average lending interest rate is 17 per cent. Kenya too has been awash with acquisitions and share deals involving financial institutions.
Last week, Old Mutual announced it has bought a 67 per cent controlling stake in Faulu Kenya — the second largest deposit-taking microfinance institution — for Ksh3.6 billion ($42.4 million).
Late last year, Nigeria’s Guaranty Trust Bank acquired the majority stake in Fina Bank through a share purchase from current shareholders and direct investment in a deal valued at $100 million (Ksh8.54 billion). *Source The East African

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April 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

1977439_766296983403982_3978456715859341068_nFor a while now in Cameroon, the people and particularly the fourth estate has been awash with the allocations made by parliamentarians to themselves as car allowances for the current mandate. The Speaker of the house was given 80 million FRS CFA ($160.000), the first Vice speaker had 65 million FRS CFA ($130.000) with the other five vice speaker taking home 60 million FRS CFA each ($120.000). All the questors had 50 million FRS each ($100.000) and the rest of the bureau members each bagged 45 million FRS CFA ($90.000). These allocations do not include free housing for all bureau members, two servants, a lump sum as sitting allowances and one third of the said allowances as car maintenance allowance besides other undeclared allowances. In all, about 2 billion FRS CFA ($4million) was allocated by these bureau members to themselves (21 in all). Wao!

Indeed, this scandal came to the limelight because the other members of parliament felt cheated since the rest of them were each given ‘just’ a paltry 10 million FRS CFA ($20.000) out of this looting or should I say booty? Is this not rather interesting in a Country that is talking of emergence only in 2035? How can the peoples representatives go this far to pilfer from the public purse in the name of comfort at work?

A vast majority of Cameroonians live beyond the poverty line with big cities like Yaounde and Douala in dire need of portable water  and affordable habitable standards and the law makers can afford to divert such huge financial resources that could have been used for development as per diems? How do you explain the fact that Bamenda, Cameroons third major city has no roads and our leaders selfishly see only under their nostrils? The South West region produces more than  60% of Cameroons resources but lack roads and yet we tolerate such waste? Cameroon is one of the only Countries steeped in a vast array of sub soil resources ranging from petroleum, all varieties of agricultural products, timber, diamonds, iron ore amongst others and yet fifty three years after independence cannot boast of a double carriage way in any of its major cities.

It is still amongst the limping few who use more than 65% of the annual budget for the running of the administrative machinery largely made up of octogenarians who are recycled always to keep syphoning public funds. Cameroon has been described as “Africa in miniature” because we are endowed with human and natural resources compared to no other Country on the African continent but due to an entrenched culture of waste and misuse of public resources, we have been reduced to beggars and amongst the wretched of the earth and this due to the lack of political will to turn things around by our leaders.

Due to such mismanagement, unemployment has attained monumental proportion as the churning out of graduates by the higher institutions of learning is far greater than the available opportunities. Reasons why the youths have devised all the dubious means to survive in a cruel society that has refuse to hearken to their yearnings. They are therefore involved in feymania, falsification of documents in a bid to get through to opportunities denied them by no fault of theirs and are blacklisted in most countries of the world. It also explains why the best Cameroonian brains and technicians are in diaspora. Indeed, one of the best high profile surgeons in the US now is a Cameroonian when we need them badly at home

Cameroonians live far below the poverty line with a vast majority struggling to ebb out what is left of life from less than a dollar a day. Such corrupt practices are rife and such brazen thievery and embezzlement of public funds in the name of allowances can go unchecked because the president leadership appears incapable of calling the shots as it should be. Public funds seemingly remains a free for all affair in so far as you can boast of a godfather or just finding yourself makes it a condition sine-qua-non to be able to benefit of such unprotected peoples patrimony. The war against graft is cosmetic because the real perpetrators are left off the hook to keep parading themselves with such reckless abandon while those of them who dare to raise their eyes towards the royal throne are blacklisted, arrested and remanded to custody without much ado..

The Cameroon parliament has proven to be a toothless bulldog only when it comes to acting as a check to the executive. They complain of party discipline and their hands being tied but such party discipline is thrown to the dogs when it comes to rewarding themselves for no work done. This time around, all acted in complicity as even the opposition parliamentarians in the bureau maintained seal lips over the issue simply because a mouth dripping with palm oil does not talk for fear of tainting the outfit. What a shame. In fact, it is quite strange that the western world listens to this and goes ahead to give aid to such regimes!

It is very clear that Cameroons parliamentary leadership is involved in theft and embezzlement and should be probed else, it would suffice for any budget manager to sit and decide what gets into his or her pocket at any time they deem so. As law makers, they should produce a document spelling out salaries beginning from the Head of state, senators, parliamentarians and judges including allowances and not just doing them at the spur of the moment.

Cameroon has the necessary resources to emerge even tomorrow if our so-called leaders can decide to work for the interest of their people more. The culture of waste is so entrenched in the fabric of leadership life in Cameroon and that explains why the President of the defunct economic and social council also allotted to himself a whopping 100 million FRS CFA ($200.000) as car allowances. It is even worse with the Senators just newly elected. It is a real pity that this is happening in Cameroon with its people drowning in an ocean of poverty lacking basic amenities like portable water, electricity, schools, and hospitals and affording three decent square meals a day.

Alan Paton, the South African novelist puts it very aptly “Cry the beloved Country” for we are crying for our beloved Cameroon going down the drain every other second.


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Cuisine: Giant Strides For The African Brand in the U.S
April 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

images (3)Restaurant owners put in a lot of hard work to keep clients happy as the African food brand grows in stature. It is such hard work and business acumen that has help Meskerem restaurant to stand tall after 29 years in business. Americans like Roberta Bryer King ,Christopher Brown and Nicole Glover share their take on African cuisine in the Washington DC Metro area. Desmond Amingwa makes some criticisms of services while Mamo Tiruzer talks about her clientele.   In business for 29 years, Mohaba Mohaba owner of Meskerem Restaurant in Washington DC sheds light on what makes his spot tick .   Roberta Bryer King in the company of her three kids at Meskerem Restaurant share their love for Ethiopian food and efforts to get more Americans to get a taste of Ethiopian cuisine.   At Dukem Restaurant  in Washington DC,Christopher Brown shares his take on Ethiopian Restaurants     Introduced to it by Nigerian friends,Nicole Glover shares her fondness for West African food at Kitchen Near You in Hyattsville.     Desmond Amingwa reconnects with his roots through African food with a critique of some lapses that he sees in African restaurant services.   Mamo Tiruzer on the clientele she serves at Abol Ethiopian Cuisine in Silver Spring,MD.  ]]>

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Africa’s Biggest Music Stars & Launch ‘Cocoa na Chocolate’ to Revolutionize Agriculture
April 1, 2014 | 0 Comments

19 recording artists. 11 countries. 10 languages. ONE message to African Leaders: Do Agric, It Pays! doagricNigeria, March 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ ( today launched one of the continent’s biggest musical collaborations ever, ‘Cocoa na Chocolate’, in support of a new campaign to boost investments in agriculture: ‘Do Agric, It Pays’ ( Nineteen of the top recording artists from across Africa, including D’Banj and Femi Kuti from Nigeria, DR Congo’s Fally Ipupa, Cote d’Ivoire’s Tiken Jah Fakoly, Kenya’s Juliani, and South Africa’s Judith Sephuma, have come together to help rebrand agriculture and tell African youth that their future lies literally beneath their feet—and in their hands. The participating artists are: A.Y. (Tanzania), Bufallo Souljah (Zimbabwe), Dama Do Bling (Mozambique), D’Banj (Nigeria), Diamond (Tanzania), Dontom (Nigeria), Fally Ipupa (DRC), Femi Kuti (Nigeria), Judith Sephuma (South Africa), Juliani (Kenya), Kunle Ayo (Nigeria), Vusi Nova (South Africa), Liz Ogumbo (Kenya), Nancy G (Swaziland), Omawumi (Nigeria), Rachid Taha (Algeria), Tiken Jah Fakoly (Cote d’Ivoire), Victoria Kimani (Kenya) and Wax Dey (Cameroon). These artists are using their voices to inspire young people to join, and tell political leaders ahead of the African Union summit in June that the time has come to adopt better agricultural policies that will help tackle youth unemployment, provide better support to small holder farmers, boost productivity, increase value chains, and help lift millions of Africans out of extreme poverty. The song is available for download for free at after signing the ‘Do Agric’ petition that tells African leaders to invest in our farmers, our food, and our futures. Dr. Sipho S. Moyo, Africa Executive Director, said: “These brilliant artists are role models who connect with African youths. Their voices, in support of African agriculture, are sending a powerful message to the young generation: it’s time for African leaders to scale up public investments in agriculture and ensure policy interventions are targeted to benefit smalholder farmers who provide 80% of the food we eat on the continent. According to the UN-FAO, agricultural growth is 11 times more effective at reducing poverty than growth in other sectors like mining and utilities. Do Agric is a continent-wide push to appeal to African governments to commit to spending at least 10% of national budgets on effective agriculture investments—a commitment they originally made in Maputo in 2003—and to do so through transparent and accountable budgets. We are indeed proud and greatly privileged to be partnering with such an inspiring group of individuals to spread the message that not only can Africa feed itself, but it can help to feed the world.” Nigerian music superstar D’banj said:“As African musicians, agriculture is the single most important cause we could champion together and I am proud to say we are doing it with ONE voice. Here in Nigeria alone, while 70% of Nigerians depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, the federal agriculture budget has been trending downwards, and is now at just 1.47%. This is a serious concern, especially because Nigeria spends billions of Naira importing food every year. Through this song, we are calling on youths to go online and join, to get more involved in agriculture, and to ask our governments to step up and improve agricultural investments, so that the youths can have a better chance of succeeding in it.” 925-mtp_0445These artists are joining to show the current generation of young people that not only can agriculture be cool, but it is also a great way to earn a living. But without strong political will and public support for agriculture, African youth will not be able to take advantage of the potential that agriculture presents. is partnering with the popular voices of African artists in calling on political leaders, private sector investors and the youth to “do agric”— because “it pays”. In 2003, African governments committed to spend 10% of their national budgets on agriculture. To date only 8 countries have consistently kept that promise and as a result, agriculture productivity in Africa is stuck at 1961 levels. To change that, launched Do Agric, It Pays to pressure African governments to commit to spending at least 10% of national budgets on effective agriculture investments, through transparent and accountable budgets. At the heart of the Do Agric campaign is an effort to push political leaders to adopt better policies that will boost productivity, increase incomes and help lift millions of Africans out of extreme poverty. ‘Cocoa na Chocolate’ was co-produced by Cobhams Asuquo and DeeVee of DB Records. Godfather Productions directed the music video that will launch April 3 on Trace, MTV, Channel O, Soundcity and Canal France International. The verses were written by each participating artist, and the hook was written by D’Banj, whose company, DKM Media partnered with ONE to undertake the project. •          There are 19 artists from 11 different countries in the song: Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Mozambique, DRC, Cote d’Ivoire, Algeria & Cameroon. •          The song and music video were recorded and shot over three days in Johannesburg, South Africa in support of’s ‘Do Agric, It Pays’ Campaign. •          Each participating artist wrote his or her own verse. •          There are 10 different languages in the song: English, Arabic (Algerian), Malinke, Lingala (DRC), French, Swahili, Shona (Zimbabwe), Pidgin (Nigeria), Portuguese, & Xhosa (South Africa). •          Agriculture in Africa is an economic game changer: agriculture is up to 11 times more effective at reducing poverty than other sectors such as mining. •          Cocoa na Chocolate marks one of the largest Pan-African music collaboration ever on the continent. About Do Agric: The collaboration is part of Do Agric, It Pays, ( a campaign, launched on 29 January in Addis Ababa with civil society partners including the Pan African Farmers Association (PAFO), ActionAid International, Acord International, Oxfam AU, East and Southern African Farmers Forum, ROPPA, Southern African Confederation of Agriculture Unions, the Africa Union Commission, Becho Welisho and the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).  ONE has alos partnered with several grassroots organizations across the continent including Agricultural Non-State Actors Forum (ANSAF) of Tanzania, East and Southern African Small Scale Farmers (ESAFF), National Association of Nigerian Traders. Download the song:]]>

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African Union Commission and ADEA pledge collaboration to improve education as Africa’s young population booms
April 1, 2014 | 1 Comments

slide-image-1African Union Commission (AUC) and the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work closely together on the development of education across the continent of Africa. The Signing ceremony took place in Tunis on March 24, in the premises of the African Development Bank (AfDB), which hosts ADEA

The AUC and ADEA will jointly develop and implement programs aimed at achieving Africa’s collective goals in education. The MoU focuses on continuing the implementation of strategies and programs in the key priority areas spelled out in the African Union’s Second Decade of Education for Africa (2006 to 2015) Plan of Action (PoA). These are: gender and culture; education management information systems (EMIS); teachers’ professional development; higher education; technical and vocational education and training; curriculum and teaching and learning materials; quality management. The two parties will also design programs aimed at reaching specific goals for education in Africa, including the Millennium Development Goals and the Post 2015 agenda where they relate to education and the Education for All initiative. They will also work together to further develop continental and regional integration through education. In a wider sense, the collaboration on improving education in Africa will contribute to the African renaissance by building renewed understanding and appreciation of Africa’s cultural and social heritage, including its languages, and to the continued development of the continent. During the signing ceremony, which took place on March 24, 2014, at the African Development Bank in Tunis, the Africa Union’s Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, H.E. Martial De Paul Ikounga said: “ADEA is much more than an Association. ADEA is a partner that has proved to be essential to implement the African Union’s overall programs in education.” He added “ADEA also develops critical thinking in areas which are of prime importance, such as the use of ICT to improve teaching and learning… This is an indication of the role we would like to see ADEA play increasingly.” The Commissioner also stated that he would help ADEA build on its relationships with governments, including African governments, in order for it to be more visible and attract more resources. “More support and resources will enhance ADEA’s capacity to act and to serve our common cause” he said. Mr. Hamidou Boukary, Acting Executive Secretary, said that the MoU was in fact a renewal of a first MoU designed to facilitate implementation of the AU’s Second Decade of Education PoA. He   2/2 pointed out ADEA’s contribution in this regard and progress made in three areas of the Plan of Action: ADEA facilitated the development of a continental education management information system (EMIS) and produces annual statistics (AU Outlook publication) enabling the AU to monitor progress in its 7 priority areas for education. It contributed to implementing the AU’s Pan-African university project and is helping the AU implement its teacher development program (PACTED) in the areas of mathematics and Science. ADEA has also convinced the AU to bring in two important priority areas which were not in the initial PoA: Early Childhood Development and Non-Formal Education. Mr. Boukary added that the new MoU (2014-2019) was designed to further progress made in the 7 priority areas. He added that it would also position ADEA to support the AU’s new strategy for the next 50 years (2013-2063) and the Post 2015 development priorities spelled out by African countries, which emphasizes development of technical and scientific skills. “ADEA’s Strategic Policy Framework adopted by the AU’s Heads of State is in line with these priorities and positions ADEA to be a major actor to support Africa’s sustainable development” he said. Representing the Vice President, Operations II Complex, of the AfDB, his senior advisor, Mr. Sering Jallow, said the African Development Bank fully supported the collaboration between ADEA and the AUC. He noted that both ADEA’s Strategic Policy Framework stemming from the 2012 Triennale and AU’s Second Decade of Education Action Plan were paving the way for Africa’s future development through the strengthening of education, training and skills throughout Africa. “We hope that even greater synergies will be developed between ADEA, the AfDB and the AUC, in line with the Bank’s 10-year strategy which underscores skills development and technology, which remain a pillar for the Bank, as we try to achieve more inclusive and green growth in Africa”. The AUC-ADEA agreement comes at a time when education is of prime importance in Africa as its young population continues to grow at a faster rate than elsewhere in the world. In 2010, there were 411 million children aged 14 years or under, and, according to the UN, that number will more than double to 839 million by 2020. ADEA is hosted by the African Development Bank. It is a partnership between African Ministries of Education and development partners, a Forum for policy dialogue of education and training in Africa, a network of education decision makers, practitioners and researchers, and a catalyst for education reform in view of Africa’s accelerated and sustainable development. ADEA’s programs are implemented by its Secretariat based within the AfDB, and its Working Groups, Task Forces and Inter-Country Quality Nodes, which address specific education topics and challenges. The AUC, through its Human Resources, Science and Technology department, runs education programs designed to develop and harmonize education policies across Africa, supporting access to quality education for all African children and citizens.  ]]>

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US $870m Financing Agreements Get Signed as Biggest Clean Power Energy Project in Africa
March 26, 2014 | 0 Comments

Lake Turkana Wind Power – Africa’s biggest Wind Power Project reaches key milestone harith-1The Lake Turkana Wind Power Project ( meant to add an existing 300MW of reliable, low cost wind energy to the national grid of Kenya reached a critical milestone following the signing of the financial agreements in Nairobi, Kenya. The signing of the over US $870m financing agreements represents a major breakthrough to actualizing the biggest clean power energy project in Africa, spanning years of negotiations and fundraising, says Tshepo Mahloele, CEO of Harith General Partners ( The project will be financed with a mixture of equity, mezzanine debt and senior debt. The Lake Turkana Wind Power project is the first of its kind in East Africa and will be the largest wind project on the continent to date, says Mahloele. The Project will benefit Kenya, and specifically the Turkana area where unemployment is high, with jobs, economic development and, most importantly, electricity which is a vital element in any economy. LTWP has signed a 20 year Power Purchase Agreement with the government of Kenya through its electricity entity, Kenya Power. The parties at the signing ceremony were represented by lead developer and independent power producer, Aldwych, which is majority owned by the Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund (PAIDF). LTWP is primarily responsible for the financing, construction and operation of the wind farm and comprise a grouping of investors and lenders with extensive financial and technical capabilities and experience on the African continent. They include FMO, Vestas, Finnfund, IFU and a strong local sponsor KP&P on the equity side. The syndicate of banks is led by the African Development Bank and comprises Standard Bank, Nedbank, EIB, DEG and Proparco. The project will be located on one of the best sites for a wind farm in the world. Not only are the wind speeds exceptionally high but the wind is only from one direction, is not seasonal, and is low in turbulence. The project site is situated on the southeast border of Lake Turkana between two high ranging mountains in the Turkana Corridor where a low level jet stream originating in the Indian Ocean creates favourable wind conditions. Mahloele says the LTWP will essentially assist diversify Kenya’s energy mix and reduce the country’s reliance on power production from oil and diesel power generators. The Kenya government will save millions per year on importing fuel.  The LTWP tax contribution to Kenya alone will be approximately $27m annually and $548m over the life of the investment. Mahloele says the combination of international financial and technical expertise has ensured that the project is structured in a bankable and sustainable form in accordance with international standards. This project also forms part of Harith’s commitment to the United States backed Power Plan announced last year by the US President Barack Obama to bring more than 10 000 MW of electricity to sub Saharan Africa. Through Power Africa, Harith has committed $70m for wind energy in Kenya and $500m across the African power sector through a new fund. Mahloele says the investment is the result of the forward thinking and planning on the part of the Kenyan leadership who had undertaken comprehensive power sector reforms over the past decade. [caption id="attachment_8996" align="alignright" width="199"]Tshepo Mahloele, CEO of Harith General Partners Tshepo Mahloele, CEO of Harith General Partners[/caption] In Kenya, electricity is mainly generated from hydro, thermal and geothermal sources. Wind generation accounts for less than six megawatts of the installed capacity. Currently, hydro power comprises over 52 percent of the installed capacity in Kenya and is sourced from various stations managed by the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen). It is our assertion that the Lake Turkana Wind Project will greatly reduce Kenya’s over reliance on hydropower which is playing a critical role in ensuring security of electricity supply but is however vulnerable to periodic draught seasons, says Mahloele. Harith General Partners ( is the leading Pan-African fund manager for infrastructure development across the continent. Based in South Africa, Harith manages Africa’s first and only 15-year infrastructure fund, the Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund (PAIDF) and also owns London based asset manager Frontier Markets Fund Manager Limited (FMFML). FMFML has USD1.1bn asset under management and manages two funds: The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF); and GuarantCo. The PAIDF US $630m fund is invested in a number of major projects in diversified sectors such as energy, transport and information, communication and telecommunications.]]>

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Philips to establish Research & Innovation Hub in Africa
March 23, 2014 | 0 Comments

The Philips Africa Innovation Hub in Kenya will be the center for developing innovations “in Africa-for Africa” in the areas of healthcare, lighting and healthy living WordmarkRoyal Philips ( (AEX: PHI, NYSE: PHG) today announced the establishment of its Africa Innovation Hub in Nairobi, Kenya, which underlines the company’s commitment to invest in Africa. The Philips Africa Innovation Hub will work both on the creation of new inventions, as well as bringing these inventions to the market. The Philips Africa Innovation Hub will do application-focused scientific and user studies to address key challenges like improving access to lighting and affordable healthcare as well as developing innovations to meet the aspirational needs of the rising middle class in Africa. The Philips Africa Innovation Hub will be located at the Philips East African Headquarters in Nairobi, where African talents and international researchers will operate on the concept of “open innovation” and will work in close collaboration with the R&D ecosystem of Kenya and Africa. Philips is in discussions with local organizations and Universities on R&D collaborations to co-create meaningful solutions for Africa. “We welcome the establishment of Philips’ Innovation Hub in Kenya; Philips is a globally recognized innovation powerhouse and their selection of Nairobi as the site to establish their African Innovation hub is a testament to the Kenyan government’s commitment to nurture the drive for research and innovation in the region”, says, Hon’ble Adan Mohammed, Cabinet Secretary for Industrialization and Enterprise Development. “We lend our full support to the investment being made by Philips and look forward to the outcomes of their Africa-specific research and projects that can contribute to transforming society, business and government across the continent”. JJ van Dongen, Senior Vice President & CEO Philips Africa states: “Philips is passionate to invent, apply technology and partner to help people succeed. Our ambition is to create impactful innovations that matter to people and address the key challenges that confront society. With Kenya as a leader in the continent in science and entrepreneurship as well as a hub of collaboration on technology and innovation, Nairobi, is the ideal location to establish Philips’ African research presence. We want to tap into the city’s vibrant R&D eco-system and contribute to the process of co-creating new solutions, new business models and meaningful partnerships to provide innovations that make an impact.” Enhancing people’s lives in Africa though meaningful innovations Some innovations that Philips was already working on have now become part of the Innovation Hub, hence, the Philips Africa Innovation Hub will kick-off with ventures that are under development as well as in the pilot phase; these include: Respiratory rate monitor to support pneumonia diagnosis: Pneumonia is the leading cause of death among children under the age of five, resulting in 1.1 million deaths worldwide annually (1). Of these, 99% of deaths occur in developing countries in low-resource settings, which typically entail rural areas with very limited or poor healthcare facilities or with low-skilled health workers. The current diagnostic tools in such settings are not easy to use, can easily distract the workers from an accurate conclusion, and thus lead to a poor diagnosis. The Innovation hub is working on the development and clinical testing of a robust and affordable Automated Respiratory Rate Monitor that aims to support the diagnosis of pneumonia among infants and children, using smart sensing technology on the body which is intended to be more accurate and reliable compared to manual processes being currently observed. This device will be specially designed for use by community health workers and nurses in rural areas. In Kenya, discussions are on with the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) to further develop this project and co-create an effective solution tailored to circumstances in rural Africa. Community care services: The development and testing of a work-flow innovation designed to reduce the number of avoidable maternal and child deaths. The purpose of the workflow is to enable remote area health centers to diagnose, triage, treat, stabilize and (prepare for) transport expectant mothers that come in for a check-up and treatment. [caption id="attachment_8944" align="alignright" width="200"](JJ van Dongen, Senior Vice President & CEO Philips Africa) (JJ van Dongen, Senior Vice President & CEO Philips Africa)[/caption] Smokeless cook stove: Philips has designed and is manufacturing this innovative stove to improve the lives of those who rely on wood or biomass for their daily cooking. These specially designed stoves are extremely efficient and significantly reduce the use of wood as fuel. The cook stove can reduce smoke and carbon monoxide emissions by more than 90% compared to an open fire (2)  thus reducing the health risks of indoor cooking. The contribution of the innovation hub is to create new go-to-market models for these stoves. Consumer solar solutions: Today an estimated 560 million Africans live without electricity; Philips is committed to improving access to lighting in Africa, for the majority of the population that lives in off-grid communities. The Innovation hub is designing and developing new consumer products using the combination of solar power and energy efficient LED technology. New go-to-market models are also being established to ensure these solutions become accessible to people that would not be able to afford them otherwise. The Philips Africa Innovation Hub while headquartered in Kenya, will be responsible for pan-African research and projects and will have operations across Africa, linked to the Philips regional offices across the continent; the hub will be headed by Dr. Maarten van Herpen and will work in close collaboration with the Philips research labs in Bangalore, Shanghai and Eindhoven. Royal Philips ( (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a diversified health and well-being company, focused on improving people’s lives through meaningful innovation in the areas of Healthcare, Consumer Lifestyle and Lighting. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips posted 2013 sales of EUR 23.3 billion and employs approximately 115,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. The company is a leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as male shaving and grooming and oral healthcare. News from Philips is located at *Source Royal Philips/APO]]>

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Ministerial Working Group on Tourism meets in Seychelles to brainstorm on making Africa the preferred destination for tourism in the context of AU Agenda 2063
March 18, 2014 | 0 Comments

The African Union Ministerial Working Group on tourism sector development strategy have concluded a two-day brainstorming meeting on 14 March 2014 in Seychelles in view to strategise on how to make an African brand through tourism while attracting visitors to chose Africa as major destination. Key speakers at the opening ceremony of the Ministerial Working Group include, Dr. Elham Mamoud Ibrahim, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy of the African Union, Mr Jean-Paul Adam, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles, Mr Alain ST Ange, Minister of Tourism and Culture of the Republic of Seychelles, Mr Marthinus Van Schalkwyk, Minister of Tourism of the Republic of South Africa and Mr Regis Immongault, Minister of Mines, Industry and Tourism of the Republic of Gabon in the presence of the Ambassador of the Republic of Seychelles in Addis Ababa, Mr. Joseph Nourrice, representatives of the diplomatic corps in Seychelles, AUC officials and invited guests. Addressing the participants Commissioner Elham Ibrahim recalled that the idea of organizing the Ministerial working group meeting, was initiated and discussed in Seychelles some times ago, between the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles. “For sure, there could not be a better venue for this meeting than this place which embodies the very spirit of tourism of our continent. For me, the name Seychelles immediately creates in my mind, images of all that is beautiful with Africa.”, she noted. The Commissioner underscored that the Ministerial Group Meeting will define the long term aspirations of the continent in the tourism sector. images (1)The African Union Commission, Commissioner Elham Ibrahim said, is in the process elaborating its long term strategy for speeding up development and integration of the continent. “This strategy which envisages Africa’s prosperity in the next fifty (50) years since 2013 is known as the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063. It will be comprehensive and articulate on the aspirations of the African peoples in all their socio-economic endeavors”, she underlined. The Commissioner added that, the African Union Commission is well aware of the huge direct and indirect contribution of tourism to the economies of African countries at both macro and micro levels. (See complete statement of the AUC Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy on the AU website: ). The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles reiterated the need for AU Member States to strengthen the role and place of tourism within the political discourse in Africa so as to build on the African brand by harmonising policies on the tourism sector. Minister Jean-Paul Adam reassured the AU Commissioner that his country will work with the AU Commission to further strengthen this sector to achieve all the dreams expressed in the 2063 agenda. The Minister of Tourism and Culture of the Republic of Seychelles, on his part , hoped that the Ministerial working group will prepare a robust long-term strategy on tourism in Africa that will strengthen the role of the private sector and take into account the promotion of air connectivity among other infrastructures within the continent. “It is important for us as Africans to better connect our countries to create shared opportunities”, Minister Alain ST Ange added. He pointed out that Africa has a huge tourism potential in all aspects of the sector such as natural environmental wonders, exotic wildlife and plants, ancient cultures and historic relics. All these have not yet been well exploited and promoted to the extent of generating commensurate benefit to African countries. A presentation on the AU Agenda 2063 was done during the Ministerial Working Group on Tourism. According to the agenda, the Ministerial working group was called upon to identify and implement interventions that are required to optimize the role of tourism as an engine and a catalyst for economic development and growth in Africa. Some examples, within the AU Agenda 2063 framework were highlighted such as: undertaking joint marketing including packaging and promotion of cross-border tourism attractions; promoting joint projects for infrastructure development and investment– for example, promoting African cross-border investment in hotels, airport, roads, ports; capacity building for people working in the tourism industry; and removing tourism visa constraints among others. *SOURCE African Union Commission (AUC)/APO]]>

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‘Rights and revenue’ – unveiling Africa’s hidden treasure
March 18, 2014 | 0 Comments

J Fraser-Moleketi*


Gender1-27-02-2014Global notions of ‘North’ and ‘South’ may mercifully be the polarities of the past, but consider this contrast: how is it that enough men in ‘the North’ worry out loud that they are somehow ‘finished’, while here in the South it is painfully clear to almost all of us that women have barely started?

The North, of course, has a long way to go to establish true and full gender equality.  But its girls get better grades at school than its boys, and more of its women than its men go to university.  Manufacturing work, traditionally a male preserve, has declined, while jobs in services have expanded, and are there for the taking by women.  We can make the case that women are the economic drivers of the world.  As half of the American workforce (up from a quarter a century ago), women generate GDP.  We estimate that the increased employment of women in all the developed countries has contributed more to global growth in the last 10 years than China.  At the same time women drive demand, not least in that they take most of the consumer buying decisions.  In the emerging world of brain not brawn, women may well be better investments, and investors, than men.

The opposite, it seems, is true of Africa, whose women constitute a treasure that remains largely hidden. This is above all a matter of human rights, and of the demand for equality and fairness for those who ‘hold up half the sky’.  Women are of course different, but they are no better or worse than men: all they need is to be given the same opportunity.

A continent in which there are countries where a woman needs permission from her husband to travel, to work, or to open a bank account; in which she cannot buy or inherit land; or in which she bears the brunt of the impact of conflict; has a long way to go.  How often do we repeat the fact that half of Africa’s people bear considerably more than half of its problems?  Two-thirds of the continent’s children out of primary school are girls; and two thirds of its adults living below the poverty line are women.

But the issue goes beyond morality, since women’s economic empowerment means national economic growth. Women have been engines of growth in India and China, and they will be in Africa.

Africa hurts itself by keeping the lid on the bottle of female economic potential.  In the instances where it empowers women it reaps the reward, but where it restrains them, it knocks percentage points off its GDP.  It is not only morally wrong that women cannot fully contribute to and benefit from the growth on this continent: it is economically damaging.  Africa has grown at an average 5% a year for a decade: enough to effect transition, but not transformation.  We estimate that the physical infrastructure gap on the continent costs it $40 billion (or 2% GDP growth) a year; and the gender gap may cost it as much, or more.  We know for sure that political empowerment often brings economic empowerment.  We often hear that in Rwanda – where it was the women who were the first to bring about healing and rebuilding in the wake of the genocide – well over half of the country’s MPs are female, and the proportion has doubled in ten years.  Less well known is that female-owned manufacturing businesses have grown dramatically in the same period.

So women need to have their place at every level of society, from the top down and from the bottom up.

We are right to strive for an Africa in which women own companies, serve as directors on company boards, and buy and sell on stock exchanges.  But of 33 of The New African’s business nominees for the top 100 Africans of 2013, only three were women.

But above all, we need to work from the bottom up, with the hundreds of millions of African women who are economic actors facing visible or invisible barriers to what they do. The reality is that African women operate largely in the informal sector, in small firms, and in traditional sectors like agriculture. Our collective task is to enhance this current reality, while also moving towards a new reality where women work in the formal sector, in larger firms, and in new, high-value services and industries.

One way of turning the present into the future is in turning subsistence agriculture into agribusiness.  Agriculture itself encapsulates the challenge and the response, on a continent where women provide 70% of all agricultural labour and produce 90% of all food, while owning 1% of the land and receiving 1% of agricultural credit.  Studies show that if women are given the rights, the credits, the seeds, the fertiliser, the technology and the market access, then they use it, and often better than men.

Where governments lead, societies and financiers must follow.  The first prerequisite is education for girls, and vocational and business training for young women.  The second is women’s ability to own and control assets, above all equity and land. That means bringing customary law into line with constitutional rights.  The third is improved access to finance (and knowledge about finance) for women who – every study tells us – will almost always pay it back with interest.  The stark fact is that two in three of the adult population of Africa (and four in five women in Sub-Saharan Africa) have no access to financial services: they are unbanked, uninsured and uninvested.

The African Development Bank is currently working alongside the Graca Machel Trust and other partners to provide 10 million women in Africa with improved access to credit and finance.  The inalienable rights of half the population bring the realisation of tangible goods for the whole.  As the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day reminds us, equality for women really is ‘progress for all’.

*Source AFDB

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Rwanda Tops First African Retail Development Index
March 18, 2014 | 0 Comments

Ground breaking Report Sheds Light on Retail in Africa atkearneyRwanda, Nigeria, Namibia, Tanzania and Gabon occupy the top five places of the inaugural A.T. Kearney African Retail Development Index (ARDI). South Africa ranks seventh due to the developed nature of its retail market. The ARDI is a useful framework for retailers because it not only identifies the markets in Africa most attractive for retail expansion today, but those that offer the most potential for the future. Africa is brimming with opportunities, not only for local and regional players, but also for large global brands and retailers. South African brands and retailers have been at the forefront of African expansion but may soon see global competition coming in. For South African players to keep their competitive advantage, sound strategies and investment plans will be required. With a billion people and growing economies, seven of the top 10 ARDI countries are among the 10 fastest growing ecomomies in the world. “Formal” retail, which takes place in malls, shopping centres, and other defined trade areas, remains in the early stages in most Sub-Saharan Africa countries, with the exception of South Africa, and is limited primarily to a handful of urban areas. Low rates of formal retail coupled with increasing urbanization and the relative stability of many African economies represent massive room for retail growth. Mirko Warschun, A.T. Kearney partner and ARDI co-author says, “The top 10 countries in the Index are diverse in terms of scale and growth potential.” “It is essential that retailers understand where African countries are in the evolution of the retail landscape and the stages of market development to craft their expansion strategies for Africa.” ARDI Results The ARDI is based on four elements: Market Size, Market Saturation, Country Risk and Time Pressure and ranks the potential and urgency of moving into each country accordingly. The top 10 markets in the Index are segmented into three high level approaches: Start with the Basics, Move Quickly and Differentiate. Start with the Basics: The vast majority of Africa, including Rwanda, Tanzania, Gabon and Ethiopia, has limited market saturation, but also low maturity. While these markets are promising because of favorable demographics and recent growth trends, the major retail markets remain small, scattered and informal. The largest opportunities available in these markets revolve around offering basic consumer packaged products at low prices. Move Quickly: The countries in this group – currently only Nigeria and Gabon from the Top 10 – have rapidly evolving retail dynamics and demographics, with some established retail players and many other global retailers planning entries. According to A.T. Kearney, there is no time to spare entering these markets before these first movers gain an advantage as they establish their brands early and secure loyal customer bases. Differentiate: These markets, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, have Africa’s most advanced retail sectors as well as an existing presence of international retailers. These markets offer opportunities for retailers that can offer differentiated products or formats that are hard to find and appeal to a growing middle class and globally minded citizens. Bart van Dijk, A.T. Kearney partner and ARDI co-author says, “There are wide differences in infrastructure and supply chain development across African countries. Understanding the opportunities and limitations from country to country is a critical element of the retail expansion decision.” By 2020, nearly half of all Africans will be living in cities. As disposable incomes rise, consumer spending will grow to almost $1 trillion. Even with the challenges of entering and succeeding in Africa, the opportunity is impossible to ignore. “Although there are many challenges, Africa has reached a point in its economic development where global retailers must evaluate the significant potential for growth in this market,” says A.T. Kearney partner and ARDI co-author Mike Moriarty. The 2014 Africa Retail Development Index Ranking and Recommended Approach ( Index Rank: 1 Rwanda How to approach: Start with the basics Index Rank: 2 Nigeria How to approach: Move quickly Index Rank: 3 Namibia How to approach: Differentiate Index Rank: 4 Tanzania How to approach: Start with the basics Index Rank: 5 Gabon How to approach: Move quickly Index Rank: 6 Ghana How to approach: Start with the basics Index Rank: 7 South Africa How to approach: Differentiate Index Rank: 8 Botswana How to approach: Differentiate Index Rank: 9 Mozambique How to approach: Start with the basics Index Rank: 10 Ethiopia How to approach: Start with the basics Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of A.T. Kearney (Pty) Ltd. To read the full 2014 Africa Retail Development Index, please go to: Issued by HWB Communications on behalf of: A.T. Kearney (Pty) Ltd Press Contacts: Katie Horne / Olivia Whittaker Tel: 021 421 0430 / Cell: 084 311 0197 / 074 114 7103 Authors A.T. Kearney (Pty) Ltd Bart van Dijk             Partner, Johannesburg Marieke Witjes                      Consultant, Johannesburg Patience Kikoni                     Consultant, Johannesburg Mike Moriarty                       Partner, Chicago Mirko Warschun        Partner, Munich Matti Rucker              Principal, Munich About the Study The Africa Retail Development Index ranks Sub-Saharan Africa countries on a 0-to-100 point scale: the higher the ranking, the higher the potential and urgency to enter the country. The countries considered for the rankings were pre-selected based on three criteria – a country risk of 35 or higher in the Euro money country-risk score, population size greater than 1.5 million, GDP PPP per capita of more than $1,000. The ARDI scores are based on Country and Business Risk (25 percent), Market Size (25 percent), Market Saturation 25 percent), and Time Pressure (25 percent). A.T. Kearney ( is a global team of forward-thinking partners that delivers immediate impact and growing advantage for its clients. They are passionate problem solvers who excel in collaborating across borders to co-create and realise elegantly simple, practical and sustainable results. Since 1926, they have been trusted advisors on the most mission-critical issues to the world’s leading organisations across all major industries and service sectors. A.T. Kearney has 58 offices located in major business centres across 40 countries. *Source A.T. Kearney/APO]]>

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Ethiopian Airlines To Commence Flights To Vienna
March 16, 2014 | 0 Comments

Ethiopian-Boeing-787-Dreamliner-533x400Ethiopia’s flag carrier Ethiopian Airlines says it has completed preparations to commence flights to Vienna, Austria four times a week beginning June 2nd.

Vienna will be the ninth European city served by Ethiopian and is the capital and largest city of Austria, hosting major international organisations such as Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). This milestone by the company is possible as a result of the airline’s partnership with fellow Star Alliance member, Austrian Airlines, which has strong connections in Central and Eastern Europe. “We are very happy to spread our wings to Vienna, which is one of the most popular convention and conference centres in Europe. In addition to serving the growing travel needs between Vienna and Africa, we will be able to offer efficient connections between Africa and Central/Eastern Europe in cooperation with our Star Alliance partner, Austrian Airlines. Europe, which is still the largest trading partner of Africa, is an important region for us,” Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethopian Airlines said. The airline, which was initially serving 79 international destinations across 5 continents, will now be serving 80 as a result of this development. This is in line with Ethiopian’s Vision 2025, a 15-year development plan where the company plans to have a total of 120 fleets, carrying over 18 million passengers and 720,000 tonnes (710,000 long tons; 790,000 short tons) of cargo across 90 destinations with staff strength of 17,000 employees. *Source Ventures Africa       This plan was adopted in 2010 after the company succeeded in not only achieving but exceeding “Vision 2010″ targets through cost management and an aggressive market campaigns.]]>

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