Demand for Educational Ghanaian TV Channel Grows Amid COVID-19
June 30, 2020 | 0 Comments
Free-to-Air educational TV channel becomes a critical resource for senior high school students across West African sub-region.
Accra, 30 June 2020–Joy Learning, the free-to-air (FTA) not-for-profit TV channel dedicated solely to Ghanaian educational content, has proven to be a critical source of learning for senior high school (SHS) pupils across the West African sub-region while schools have been closed to combat the spread of COVID-19.
This is according to Abdulai Awudu, General Manager of Joy Learning, who says the channel can be accessed by TV viewers throughout the sub-region as part of the FTA direct-to-home (DTH) MultiTV platform on SES’s Astra-2F, by using a standard decoder or TV with built-in DTH tuner. “While this channel was originally created to give Ghanaian SHS students access to educational content while they were away from school – as a result of the double-track system – it has recently proven useful to all English-speaking West African countries who follow the West Africa Examination Council curriculum.”
The Joy Learning channel, which was officially launched on 30 December 2019, was part of a corporate social responsibility initiative undertaken by the Multimedia Group (MGL) through its Educare Foundation, in partnership with e-learning platform Wolo TV; service provider K-Net; and SES, the leader in global content connectivity solutions. SES provides the satellite capacity and broadcast services; K-Net provides local backhaul and teleport services; Wolo creates and supplies the educational content; and MGL runs the channel.
“By coming together to offer a free educational channel to SHS students, the partners in this venture have been able to address not only some of the challenges posed by the implementation of the Free SHS Education Policy in Ghana, but also some of the educational challenges brought about by the indefinite closure of schools across the country amid the COVID-19 crisis,” says Theodore Asampong, General Manager of Media Platforms at SES Video.
“The Ghana SHS double track system means that while some kids are in school, others are at home waiting their turn for two months or so,” says Joe Anim from Wolo TV. “The idea behind the Joy Learning channel was to allow those at home to keep up with their studies by broadcasting well-organised and world-class educational content that they could access for free on a daily basis.”
“While the intention was to have a direct positive impact on the lives of millions of young people, thereby contributing to the future development of the country, we are thrilled that our satellite TV platform has enabled access to quality education for young people across the broader sub-region, who are currently unable to attend school as a result of the COVID-19 crisis,” says Asampong.
The Joy Learning channel’s wide reach is driven by SES’s prime orbital position at 28.2 degrees East, which reaches 97% of all satellite TV homes in Ghana. From that orbital slot, SES hosts Multi TV, a FTA (Free-to-Air) platform that provides viewers free access to over 100 TV channels of high quality content, including the Joy Learning channel. while giving broadcasters access to the highest reach in West Africa.
SES has a bold vision to deliver amazing experiences everywhere on earth by distributing the highest quality video content and providing seamless connectivity around the world. As the leader in global content connectivity solutions, SES operates the world’s only multi-orbit constellation of satellites with the unique combination of global coverage and high performance, including the commercially-proven, low-latency Medium Earth Orbit O3b system. By leveraging a vast and intelligent, cloud-enabled network, SES is able to deliver high-quality connectivity solutions anywhere on land, at sea or in the air, and is a trusted partner to the world’s leading telecommunications companies, mobile network operators, governments, connectivity and cloud service providers, broadcasters, video platform operators and content owners. SES’s video network carries over 8,300 channels and has an unparalleled reach of 367 million households, delivering managed media services for both linear and non-linear content. The company is listed on Paris and Luxembourg stock exchanges
Africa has a once in a generation opportunity to ‘recover better’ with sustainable energy
June 30, 2020 | 0 Comments
Sustainable Energy for All sets out clear, practical steps for African countries to recover better from COVID-19 and close energy access gaps.
As countries continue to rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic, a new guide by Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) shows how clean energy investment can support countries to ‘Recover Better’, and use this unique moment to reset their economies and close energy access gaps.
According to The Recover Better with Sustainable Energy Guide for African Countries that was released by SEforALL today, countries that commit to an ambitious recover better strategy today can deliver long term economic growth, new jobs, and sustainable energy for all in the long-term.
This is particularly key for Africa after COVID-19 has highlighted the deep regional divide on energy access progress. Africa is a region full of promise and a growing economic powerhouse, yet this progress is stifled without access to sufficient, reliable and affordable energy.
The latest data on Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) – access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030 – shows that progress in Africa is still off track to meet global targets. 565 million people still lack access to electricity, and a further 900 million lack clean cooking solutions. The pandemic risks setting progress even further behind.
By acting on the enabling measures put forward in The Recover Better with Sustainable Energy Guide, countries across Africa will benefit from increased GDP, affordable energy provision, and improved agriculture, gender and health outcomes. This re-set can also spark progress at the speed and scale needed to meet SDG7 and help put the global economy on a trajectory in line with the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.
“COVID-19 has changed the world as we know it. As countries rebuild economies from the impact of the pandemic, they are faced with a unique, once in a generation opportunity to ‘Recover Better’ with sustainable energy”, said Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy. “There has never been a better time to invest in clean, efficient renewable energy. Countries that recover better with sustainable energy will see the pay off in the form of resilient economies, new jobs, and faster energy development. By making this investment, African countries can develop a competitive advantage.”
Speaking on the launch of the guide, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, said: “COVID-19 has presented a unique opportunity to accelerate transition to that clean, affordable, reliable and renewable energy source offered by the sun. Nigeria is committed to the full utilization of this abundant solar energy source. The Federal Government has already removed fossil fuel subsidies and included 5 million solar connections in our post COVID economic sustainability plan – first steps to new jobs and a cleaner, healthier environment. We commend Sustainable Energy for All for producing this practical ‘Recover Better’ guide that will help African governments close the energy access gap and deliver economic growth for the benefit of our people.”
The global economy is increasingly being powered by clean and efficient sources of energy. According to research, dollar for dollar investments in clean energy creates three times the number of jobs compared to fossil fuels. Every 1,000 customers connected to decentralized energy solutions – solar home systems or solar mini grids – supports approximately 25 jobs.
Also speaking in support of the guide, Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations, said: “Access to sustainable energy is pivotal to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement. As we work to recover better from the impacts of COVID-19, African countries have the opportunity to drive faster progress on the energy transition with efficient, renewable energy that protects the most vulnerable, delivers sustainable growth and supports climate action.”
Riccardo Puliti, World Bank Global Director for Energy and Extractive Industries and Regional Director for Infrastructure in Africa, said: “Access to energy is crucial for Africa to recover from the ongoing health, economic and social challenges caused by the pandemic. We welcome this new guide from Sustainable Energy for All that outlines ways in which African countries can seize this unique moment, and in return, unleash economic growth with clean, sustainable energy.”
As countries seek to recover better, SEforALL have highlighted key policy measures that governments should adopt to ensure a successful energy transition in this period. This includes:
- Ease of doing business: Governments should create a supportive business environment that ensures investments are driven as fast as possible, including significantly reducing red tape, reducing the number of permits required and time it takes to get permits / waivers (if available) for renewable energy and clean cooking equipment and appliances.
- Set robust policies and empower national institutions to drive development: Governments need to work now to establish or empower institutions such as regulators and rural electrification agencies to ensure the right frameworks are in place to successfully drive the development of renewables, increased electrification and access to clean cooking.
- Eliminate fossil fuel subsidies: With the price of oil the lowest it has been for 18 years; governments must take this opportunity to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. When the price of fossil fuels rises again, governments should refrain from re-introducing the subsidy.
- Move towards cost-reflective tariffs: The natural tendency for countries will be to cut the cost of electricity, but this should be avoided. The reality is that electricity is largely consumed by wealthier residentials or by industrial / commercial clients. Governments should allow cost-reflective tariffs that allow utilities to perform better and increases investments in energy access and clean energy.
Other key elements outlined in The Recover Better with Sustainable Energy Guide for African Countries include: Invest in robust data, declare a moratorium on new coal-fired power, invest in energy efficiency and invest in people so they can take advantage of new clean energy jobs. Read in full here .
SEforALL has developed The Recover Better with Sustainable Energy Guide for African Countries to support African countries as they develop their post COVID-19 recovery plan and stimulus packages. The guide is part of a series which includes guides for countries in the Caribbean region and Southeast Asia region due to be released soon.
Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) empowers leaders to broker partnerships and unlock finance to achieve universal access to sustainable energy, as a contribution to a cleaner, just and prosperous world for all. SEforALL exists to reduce the carbon intensity of energy while making it available to everyone on the planet.
SEforALL is led by Damilola Ogunbiyi , CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy. Ms. Ogunbiyi took office on January 1, 2020.
New Agreements to Expand Access to 20 Lifesaving Cancer Medicines for Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia
June 29, 2020 | 0 Comments
Cancer Access Partnership is expected to result in a 59 percent savings on procured cancer medicines
The American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) today announced agreements with pharmaceutical companies Pfizer, Novartis, and Mylan to expand access to 20 lifesaving cancer treatments in 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Purchasers are expected to save an average of 59 percent for medicines procured through the agreements.
“With the rapidly growing burden of cancer in Africa, it is crucial that we improve and expand access to high-quality, affordable treatment. These agreements build on those announced in 2017 that have already delivered substantial savings and increased treatment availability in several countries, including Nigeria. By targeting the treatment needed for the cancers that cause the most deaths, these new agreements will help us to improve on quality of lives and close the mortality gap for Africans with cancer,” said Professor Isaac Adewole, co-chair, African Cancer Coalition and former Health Minister of Nigeria.
Medications included in the agreements cover recommended regimens for 27 types of cancer and enable complete chemotherapy regimens for the three cancers that cause the most deaths in Africa—breast, cervical, and prostate. These cancers are highly treatable and account for 38 percent of cancers in the countries covered in the agreements. The new agreements include both chemotherapies and endocrine therapies aligned to evidence-based guidelines harmonized for sub-Saharan Africa, and expand access to additional formulations, including those essential for treating childhood cancer.
“With cancer cases increasing at such a rapid rate in sub-Saharan Africa, access to affordable cancer treatment that meets the quality standards set by a stringent regulatory authority is imperative,” said William G. Cance, MD FACS, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, American Cancer Society. “This collaboration has the potential to drastically impact access to care and save countless lives.”
Sub-Saharan Africa’s cancer burden is significant and growing. In 2018, there were an estimated 811,000 new cases of cancer and 534,000 deaths from cancer in the region. Cancer patients in sub-Saharan Africa are twice as likely to die as those in the United States, often due to late diagnosis and lack of access to treatment. Based on population aging alone, annual cancer deaths in sub-Saharan Africa are projected to almost double by 2030. The new agreements reach 23 countries in Africa, covering 74 percent of the annual cancer cases.
The new initiative includes Pfizer, Novartis, and Mylan, and will expand access to the priority medications and formulations in the agreements to additional countries. All of the medications included in the agreements meet the quality standards set by a stringent regulatory authority such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the European Medicines Agency (EMA). These medicines will be available for purchase at newly and independently negotiated prices in the designated countries, and the companies have committed to monitoring the impact of their respective agreements with CHAI.
This new Cancer Access Partnership is an initiative of Allied Against Cancer and an expansion of the Chemotherapy Access Partnership. ACS and CHAI began working together in 2015 to improve care and treatment of cancer in sub-Saharan Africa, working with governments and cancer treatment institutions to address market inefficiencies, improve supply chains, and increase procurement to ensure quality medications were available at affordable prices. This collaboration has shown that access to high-quality cancer treatments can be expanded in a sustainable way.
Dr. Iain Barton, Chief Executive Officer of CHAI stated, “While we have made strides in increasing access to lifesaving cancer treatments in sub-Saharan Africa over the last several years, there is much more work to be done. This collaboration is a significant step in delivering high-quality cancer treatment to more patients, bringing us closer to equitable cancer treatment for all people.”
In 2017, Allied Against Cancer members ACS and CHAI announced agreements with Pfizer and Cipla to expand access to 16 essential cancer treatment medications in six countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The market access agreements secured competitive prices, allowing these governments to realize substantial savings and improve the quality and quantity of treatment available. As a result of the agreements, several African governments and hospitals increased their commitment to procuring necessary cancer medicines by using the cost savings to increase the volumes of medicines procured, setting up innovative systems to supply high-quality cancer medications, and increasing budgets for cancer care and treatment. Countries that accessed products through the agreements saved an average of 56 percent. As a result, patients have new levels of access to quality chemotherapies in nearly all of the countries included in the original agreements. Three new countries were added in November 2019.
“Since entering into partnership with CHAI and ACS in 2017, we have seen the positive impact that sustainable access to quality, affordable cancer medicines can have on patients in vulnerable communities in Africa,” said Rhulani Nhlaniki, Pfizer Cluster Lead for sub-Saharan Africa and Country Manager, South Africa. “We remain committed to this model that helps to reduce the overwhelming burden on patients and healthcare systems, and we are pleased to be able to expand our chemotherapy offerings under the program to better serve the needs of patients.”
“Novartis is reimagining medicine and access to healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa with the patient at the center of everything we do,” said Racey Muchilwa, Head of Novartis sub-Saharan Africa. “This agreement is an important step to provide lifesaving medicines to more cancer patients across Africa. Having personally seen the growing toll cancer takes on the patients and many affected families in Africa, I am very excited about this collaboration of multiple stakeholders to dramatically improve access to cancer medicines in many countries.”
“Mylan is proud to join CHAI, ACS and this important group of industry stakeholders to help expand access to critical medicines for oncology patients. Mylan has a long-standing commitment to support those impacted by non-communicable diseases, including cancer, which significantly impact low- and middle-income countries. We look forward to continuing to do our part by expanding access to treatment through initiatives like the Cancer Access Partnership and working with all involved in the healthcare system to help serve the community,” said Rakesh Bamzai, President, India and Emerging Markets, Mylan.
The market access agreements are part of a broader effort to improve access to quality cancer care in Africa. In 2019, ACS, CHAI, the African Cancer Coalition, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), and IBM joined to form Allied Against Cancer. This coalition is leveraging the strengths of each organization to connect with and empower the African oncology community to deliver high-quality cancer care and is working to pursue additional market-based collaborations to increase access to cancer medicines in the region.
NCCN, ACS, and CHAI are also working with the African Cancer Coalition, which comprises 110 leading oncologists from 13 African countries, to adapt the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) to create the NCCN Harmonized Guidelines™ for Sub-Saharan Africa. These NCCN Harmonized Guidelines™ for Sub-Saharan Africa outline pragmatic approaches that provide effective treatment options to improve the quality of care in resource-constrained settings and are available free of charge to health care providers on www.nccn.org/harmonized. IBM and ACS also developed ChemoSafe, a suite of training resources for regional healthcare personnel to guide the safe transportation, storage, administration and disposal of hazardous drugs.
The countries included in the agreements are: Botswana, Cameroon, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, in Africa; and Vietnam, India, and Myanmar in Asia. Oncologists, government officials, and nonprofit organizations in many of these countries contributed to these agreements by sharing information and feedback to the CHAI team.
You can learn more about the Chemotherapy Access Partnership and see medicines available by country here: www.alliedagainstcancer.org/access-partnership
About the Team
The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of 1.5 million volunteers dedicated to saving lives, celebrating lives, and leading the fight for a world without cancer. From breakthrough research, to free lodging near treatment, a 24/7/365 live helpline, free rides to treatment, and convening powerful activists to create awareness and impact, the Society is the only organization attacking cancer from every angle. The Society also works in low- and middle-income countries to expand access to high-quality chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and pain relief, as well as getting patients diagnosed and into treatment earlier. For more information go to www.cancer.org. ACS does not endorse any product or service nor any particular brand of cancer drugs. ACS is not a provider of medical services and is not responsible for any drugs, screening, diagnosis, or medical treatment.
The Clinton Health Access Initiative, Inc. (CHAI) is a global health organization committed to saving lives and reducing the burden of disease in low-and middle-income countries. We work with our partners to strengthen the capabilities of governments and the private sector to create and sustain high-quality health systems that can succeed without our assistance. Learn more at: clintonhealthaccess.org.
At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products, including innovative medicines and vaccines. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world’s premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, we have worked to make a difference for all who rely on us. We routinely post information that may be important to investors on our website at www.Pfizer.com. In addition, to learn more, please visit us on www.pfizer.com and follow us on Twitter at @Pfizer and @Pfizer News, LinkedIn, YouTube and like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Pfizer.
Novartis is reimagining medicine to improve and extend people’s lives. As a leading global medicines company, we use innovative science and digital technologies to create transformative treatments in areas of great medical need. In our quest to find new medicines, we consistently rank among the world’s top companies investing in research and development. Novartis products reach nearly 800 million people globally and we are finding innovative ways to expand access to our latest treatments. About 109,000 people of more than 145 nationalities work at Novartis around the world. Find out more at
Mylan is a global pharmaceutical company committed to setting new standards in healthcare. Working together around the world to provide 7 billion people access to high-quality medicine, we innovate to satisfy unmet needs; make reliability and service excellence a habit; do what’s right, not what’s easy; and impact the future through passionate global leadership. We offer a portfolio of more than 7,500 marketed products around the world, including antiretroviral therapies on which approximately 40% of people being treated for HIV/AIDS globally depend. We market our products in more than 165 countries and territories. We are one of the world’s largest producers of active pharmaceutical ingredients. Every member of our approximately 35,000-strong workforce is dedicated to creating better health for a better world, one person at a time. Learn more at Mylan.com. We routinely post information that may be important to investors on our website at investor.mylan.com.
African Development Fund approves COVID-19 Response grants for six Southern African countries and São Tomé & Príncipe
June 27, 2020 | 0 Comments
The Board of Directors of the African Development Fund on Tuesday approved nearly $8.9 million in grant funding to bolster COVID-19-related control measures in six Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries. Separately, the Board approved $683,000 in grants to São Tomé & Príncipe, to support the two-island nation’s response to the pandemic and its impacts. The grant funding comes under the Bank’s COVID-19 Response Facility.
The funds will facilitate the procurement of laboratory and medical supplies, including testing kits, personal protective gear and non-invasive ventilators in Lesotho, Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe, all SADC nations. The SADC Secretariat is the recipient and the implementing agency of the grant.
The financing will reinforce the SADC ’s capacity to coordinate pandemic response measures, including surveillance and sensitization in the six beneficiary countries.
The SADC countries and São Tomé & Príncipe have inadequate resources and capacity to effectively manage the COVID-19 pandemic, which has put a strain on already fragile health systems in the countries. “As a result, these countries are now struggling to respond effectively to the fast-evolving situation posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Bank noted.
Although the spread of COVID-19 has been slow in Africa, it continuous to steadily spread through the continent, leaving in its wake disruptions and hardship caused by economic lockdowns.
The pandemic is projected to have a substantial economic impact on the SADC member countries. For instance, real GDP in all the SADC countries, except Zimbabwe, is forecast to contract in 2020.
The approved project aligns with two of the Bank’s High Five priority areas: improving the quality of life for the people of Africa and integrating Africa, as well as the SADC Disaster Preparedness and Response Mechanism to fight disasters and pandemics.
The 16-nation SADC region had recorded around 120,000 COVID-19 cases out of a continent-wide total of 325,000 cases as of 24 June 2020. Reported cases in São Tomé and Príncipe stood at about 700, in a population of around 211,000 people.
Gabon: African Development Bank approves 100.5 million euros budget support for COVID-19
June 27, 2020 | 0 Comments
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has approved a 100.5 million euros loan to the government of Gabon as budget support to mitigate against the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The loan will support the central African nation’s Budget Support Programme in Response to the COVID-19 Crisis or PABURC, which aims to strengthen the health system and mitigate the socio-economic impact of the pandemic on households and businesses.
“The response is focusing on containing the spread of the virus, increasing public resources allocated to the health sector, and boosting the resilience of the most vulnerable communities, as well as to maintain livelihoods and shore up domestic business and industry in order to maintain the production system and pave the way for rapid recovery,” said Abdoulaye Coulibaly, Bank Director, Governance and Public Financial Management.
The novel coronavirus is exerting strong pressure on a national health system that is not equipped to deal with major pandemics. Faced with a high risk of community transmission and the re-emergence of infectious and parasitic communicable diseases, health facilities in Gabon are insufficient.
The country has four recently constructed hospital centres, 9 regional hospitals, 47 departmental hospitals, 34 health centres, 413 dispensaries and 157 health huts, but only has 58 intensive care beds.
The drop in global demand and the sharp fall in oil prices has hit the oil-rich nation, contributing to a sharp deterioration in Gabon’s terms of trade and a significant drop in budget revenues. Given the limited budgetary margins, and the insufficient human and financial resources allocated to health, the country faces a crisis. The national social security system and family benefits scheme, which has been mobilized to respond to the crisis, requires improvement.
Bank analysts warn that Gabon, like much of the globe and the rest of the continent, could fall into recession in 2020, and estimate a negative real GDP growth rate of -1.7% for the country, due to the pandemic.
Gabon recorded its first confirmed case of COVID-19 on 12 March 2020. As of 24 June 2020, the number of cases stood at 4,849, with 39 deaths and 2,107 recoveries. The hotspot of the pandemic remains the capital Grand Libreville and Port-Gentil.
Cameroon: “Reconstruction is a pathway to peace” – Paul Tasong
June 24, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
The Head of the Presidential Plan for the Reconstruction and Development (PPRD) of the North West and South West Regions (NOSO), Paul Tasong has noted that the ongoing reconstruction efforts for the two English-speaking regions are a pathway to bringing peace to the badly affected regions.
Minister Paul Tasong is on a five-day consultation and awareness campaign in Bamenda, North West Region which seeks to bring together development stakeholders of the region to chart a way forward. He is equally to hold a similar activity with officials of the South West region in the coming days.
“Reconstruction is a pathway to peace. It will be done gradually from the secured areas to the most volatile,” Minister Paul Tasong said. “People cannot live on assistance forever. The same story has been told to us for four years and the only thing we see is misery. We have to reconsider”, Paul Tasong highlighted.
The Anglophone crisis that started in November of 2016 has had led to human, financial, and material damage. Homes, bridges, hospitals, markets, schools have been burnt and several lives have been lost in a crisis that is in its fourth year.
Separatist fighters in a move to frustrate the activities of the PPRD had called for ghost towns to be observed in the days the officials will be in Bamenda.
The Mayor of Bamenda City Council Tembang Achobong reiterated to the minister that there was a need for the reconstruction programme to take into account the following tenets;
The plight of the teachers, especially those of the mission schools and lay private sector that has gone for months and years with little or no salaries. They too need construction.
Provision for an adequate fund for the rehabilitation of the Bamenda municipal stadium as the PWD elite one football club goes international next season, regrettably without a training ground at the moment.
The need for work to begin on the Bamenda-Babadjou highway which has become a nightmare for travellers making their way in and out of the region using this stretch.
Mayor Achobong noted: “… Now they’re choices to be made, as the time and days of lamenting and mourning on the calamities of yesterday and seeking for avenues of revenge are long over”.
“..It’s time to strengthen, comfort, forgive and reconcile ourselves and look into the future with hope and expectations”. “As for me the city mayor and the people of Bamenda, we have chosen to forgive one another”.
“We of the North West in one way or the other, individually and collectively in our silence and indifference, in our utterances, in our actions and inactions contributed to the Anglophone crisis,” Mayor Achobong said as quoted by mnews237.
“The entire infrastructure is down but with the coming of the Minister, there is hope. If we convey the right messages, the projects initiated will last long” Mayor Tanjong Martin of Tubah municipality said as quoted by the Observer237.
The Observer 237 went on to report that the Mayor of Bafut, Ngwakongoh Lawrence saluted the initiative and says he will begin making calls to the people of Bafut to welcome the reconstruction process. “When I asked them to return, they told me they have no homes, no shelter. This is a move in the right direction,” Ngwakongoh noted.
The Cameroon government has moved swiftly to ensure the return of peace to the English-speaking part of the country. This has been done through the creation of the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) Centres (in Buea, Bamenda, and Maroua), the release of detainees who were arrested for misdemeanours and the Organization of the Major National Dialogue
Cameroon: Steering Committee begins Phase Two of Reconstructing NOSO
June 24, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
As reported by the country’s public media, CRTV, the second phase of the reconstruction process is set to run from June 22 to July 5. This phase consists of carrying out a mission to raise awareness and popularize the Presidential Plan within the North West and South West regions (NOSO). During the period, the teams comprising all social categories will evaluate their main priority areas in line with their plan of reconstruction for the next two years.
The Steering Committee headed Minister Delegate to the Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Paul Tasong Njukang was appointed on April 3, alongside his assistant Donatus Njong Fonyuy. They have been tasked to lead the efforts in reconstructing Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions hard hit by the ongoing Anglophone crisis. They have two years to put the two regions back on track.
In an inclusive approach, discussion sessions will be organised between the team and delegations from each of the divisions to discuss the Plan and the priorities of the populations for the reconstruction.
Process and mechanism for implementing the earmarked projects as well as the methods of organization of beneficiaries of the Presidential Plan, especially in the village will also be discussed with the local communities.
Local authorities will be called upon to ensure the security of project sites while representatives of communities as well as civil society will also be integrated into the projects so that they can claim ownership of the Plan.
The responsibilities to secure community infrastructure and equipment will also feature in the discussion.
The Divisional delegations will be composed among others, of the Senior Divisional Officer, the elected officials including Members of the National Assembly, Senators and Mayors, 05 representatives of religious authorities, traditional authorities at the rank of 1st and 2nd-degree chiefs, 02 representatives of women’s associations, 02 representatives of youth associations and the presidents of village development committees. Maximum membership is 50 people in line with COVID-19 requirements.
The United Nations Development Programme, UNDP is one of many government partners in the reconstruction and development of the two English-speaking regions affected by more than three years of socio-political crisis.
The UNDP is expected to hold separate working sessions with UN agencies present on the ground and certain civil society organizations for a thorough understanding of the challenges of reconstruction and the methods of implementing activities.
The UN body also plans to develop humanitarian, recovery or peacebuilding programs and develop the analysis of operational risks and priority areas due to their geographical features.
It will also help in risk analysis and to coordinate and synchronize the interventions and division of tasks between state and non-state actors. They will also develop a security mapping of the intervention areas.
The Presidential Plan for the reconstruction and development of the North West and South West regions drawn up and approved by the President of the Republic seeks to provide immediate social, economic and infrastructural needs of the populations affected by the security crisis in the English speaking regions. FCFA 90 billion has been allocated for the Presidential Plan for Reconstruction and Development of the North West and South West is
New Survey Reveals Self-Reliance is the Dream of Africa’s Youth
June 24, 2020 | 0 Comments
Accra, Ghana – A new survey conducted by Junior Achievement (JA) Africa in partnership with global consultancy firm, Oliver Wyman, reveals that a staggering 91% of African youth aspire to start a business in their country. The survey captures youth’s perspectives and aims to understand their needs in order to shape the private sector of the future and equip youth for the ever-changing job market. More than 2,600 African youth in six countries took part, revealing their views on employment prospects in the African private sector and on entrepreneurship.
With a youth population that is expected to reach 830 million by 2050, the continent needs to maximize sustainable growth by utilizing its rich youth resource.
The survey also found that 76% of youth feel positively about the private sector’s contribution to the economy and are optimistic about private sector development on the continent in the near future.
Other key findings:
- 83% of youth expect the private sector to grow in the next five years.
- 57% believe youth typically lack the years of experience required by job opportunities.
- 54% of students believe that there is lack of desirable opportunities for graduates.
- 66% of employed youth find lack of job security as a key deterrent to the private sector.
- 50% of youth believe there is a shortage of job opportunities in the private sector.
- 40% of employed youth see nepotism as a key challenge in the private sector and
- 93% of youth believe they need to update their current education and skills to adapt to the labor market.
JA Africa believes the findings of this survey will inform both government and private sector decisions regarding how to harness youth potential for growth. Sharing her take on the findings, JA Africa’s CEO, Elizabeth Elango Bintliff said, “Whether young people aspire to entrepreneurship by design – because they understand its potential- or by default – because they don’t see other viable employment options; a key takeaway from the survey is that an overwhelming 93% of youth don’t believe their education is preparing them sufficiently for the world of work. And this is what all stakeholders need to be attentive to in order to not fail them.”
Oliver Wyman, the firm which conducted the study is also confident that the survey will be helpful in addressing some of the challenges facing the private sector. Paul Calvey, Partner and Head of Oliver Wyman, South Africa said, “as key ecosystem stakeholders, educational institutions, private sector players and governments should use the survey to highlight and address the issues that the youth of the continent are faced with today. The collaboration of these stakeholders is essential to tackling existing challenges and preparing African youth for the working world. It is however extremely encouraging that despite the challenges faced, 83% of the youth are optimistic about the growth of the private sector.”
The challenge now lies in figuring out how Africa can leverage on youth interest in entrepreneurship to create opportunities for young Africans and bring development to the continent.
About Junior Achievement Africa
Junior Achievement Africa prepares youth for the future of jobs by bridging the gap between school and the world of work. Through the delivery of financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship training and in collaboration with schools, technical/ vocational centers and other partners, JA Africa works in 15 countries reaching 250,000 youth each year.
About Oliver Wyman
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SATO introduces innovative handwashing solution, SATO Tap for families in Nigeria and other developing nations to enhance hygiene practices
June 24, 2020 | 0 Comments
|LIXIL committing $1m for accelerated rollout of the product to fight COVID-19.|
SATO , LIXIL Group Corporation’s social business that aims to solve water, sanitation, and hygiene problems by providing affordable and easy-to-install sanitation systems to local communities around the world, has today introduced its new handwashing solution called the ‘SATO Tap’.
According to UNICEF, 40% of the world’s population still do not have access to basic handwashing facilities at home. In Nigeria, 73.5% of the population use contaminated water and live with poor sanitation facilities. To address this immense challenge, LIXIL has committed USD 1 million in line with its promise to support the commitments of development partners and others, which could impact 5 million people with improved handwashing.
“The COVID-19 situation underscores the vast inequities in access to water, sanitation, and hygiene for households in Africa and globally. We know that washing your hands with soap is one of the effective interventions against disease transmission. By bringing SATO’s design and engineering expertise, combined with global LIXIL support, we aim to accelerate this new handwashing innovation to market, making it available to households to reinforce handwashing behaviour change and to refine it for long-term offering in the SATO product portfolio.” said Erin McCusker, Vice President & Head of SATO.
SATO has worked with partners during the design process, receiving valuable technical inputs and helping to validate the efficacy of the SATO Tap design which consists of a plastic base with a nozzle that can be fitted with widely available plastic bottles. It is compact and can be used both within the home and as a handwashing station at public facilities. The unique design ensures minimal contact between the user and the tap, thereby reducing the spread of disease, while the trickle action minimizes water use, meaning fewer refills, while maintaining a solid flow of water.
In addition to providing an affordable handwashing facility to disadvantaged households through the SATO Tap, LIXIL’s existing partnership with UNICEF will also expand activities in handwashing and sanitation in response to COVID-19. These activities range from collection of commercial and behavioral insights to strengthen behavior change, joint advocacy to promote hygiene programming and maximizing existing public and private sector networks and supply chains to expand access to handwashing.
“We know that one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of diseases is to wash your hands. But for the poorest and most vulnerable children and families, the immediate risk of COVID-19 is compounded by a lack of basic handwashing facilities,” said Kelly Ann Naylor, UNICEF, Associate Director, WASH. “This global pandemic has made it more essential than ever to work closely with governments and private sector partners, like LIXIL, to ensure handwashing is possible for all.”
Speaking on the need for innovative hygiene solutions, Daigo Ishiyama, Chief Technology and Marketing Officer SATO, said, “We believe the SATO Tap will help advocate life changing behavior. It will promote hygiene and reinforce handwash behavior change by mitigating risks while conserving water. Our vision is well-aligned with the Government of Nigeria’s vision and priorities for its people in promoting hygiene and advancing SDG 6 by 2030.”
The first SATO Taps will be manufactured in India, and will be made available for partners in September 2020, with ramp up of production and retail availability through early 2021. LIXIL is also working to establish other licensing partners to expand to other markets in Africa.
SATO a part of LIXIL, is a line of innovative, durable and affordable toilet solutions for a better and more hygienic toilet experience. Designed for people living in rural and peri-urban areas, SATO is also the main vehicle for enabling LIXIL to meet its commitment to helping 100 million people obtain safe sanitation by 2025. In 2012, American Standard (one of the brands of LIXIL Corporation) received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) for development of a low-cost toilet for pit latrines. This resulted in the launch of the original SATO pan. Since then, 3.8 million units have been shipped to over 38 countries, improving sanitation for 18.6 million people.
LIXIL makes pioneering water and housing products that solve every day, real-life challenges, making better homes a reality for everyone, everywhere. Drawing on our Japanese heritage, we create world-leading technology and innovate to make high quality products that transform homes. But the LIXIL difference is how we do this; through meaningful design, an entrepreneurial spirit, a dedication to improving accessibility for all, and responsible business growth. Our approach comes to life through industry leading brands, including INAX, GROHE, American Standard, and TOSTEM. Approximately 75,000 colleagues operating in more than 150 countries are proud to make products that touch the lives of more than a billion people every day.
Equatorial Guinea adopts New Petroleum Regulation
June 24, 2020 | 0 Comments
The new Regulation modernizes Equatorial Guinea’s existing regulatory framework and is intended to maintain the country’s attractiveness for foreign investors.
The Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons (MMH) of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea has announced the adoption of the new Regulation of Petroleum Operations, Regulation No. 2/2020 of June 15th, 2020.
The new Regulation modernizes Equatorial Guinea’s existing regulatory framework and is intended to maintain the country’s attractiveness for foreign investors. It notably covers key matters such as the extension of the productive life of mature fields though mechanisms allowing operators to generate greater value from these assets; the exploration of marginal and onshore fields along with investments in deep and ultra deep water acreages; the monetization of gas and the development of the petrochemicals industry, along with further integration of the national workforce and local companies across the value-chain.
“This new Regulation gives an opportunity to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea to continue being a world reference in the hydrocarbons sector. To maintain our position, we must be prepared, with updated norms and policies, to respond to the great challenge that the recovery of commodity prices, the creation of employment and the execution of projects after the Covid-19 pandemic will pose for the sector,” declared H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons. “It is for this reason that the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons, in its desire to continue betting on the growth and economic diversification of the country, has decided to update the regulations to answer all the questions of the industry, as well as create a space of trust with all the actors in the country’s hydrocarbon sector,” he added.
The new Regulation is seen as a pillar of Equatorial Guinea’s recovery strategy post Covid-19, and clarifies several aspects of petroleum operations in the country. It also comes as Equatorial Guinea pushes for additional local participation across the value-chain, and is developing several gas monetization and downstream projects. The Regulation notably stipulates that refining, petrochemicals and commercialization activities can be realized under a specific license granted by the MMH (Article 93) on the basis of technical and financial capabilities notably.
It also strictly prohibits gas flaring, except under very specific circumstances, and stipulates that Field Development and Production Plans must always be designed in such a way as to allow the use, conservation or commercial exploitation of associated gas (Article 149). It also clarifies new rules and frameworks on exploration and production from mature and marginal fields, defining the former as a field that has entered into decline and is no longer economically viable, and the former as a field that has produced 90% of its proven hydrocarbons reserves (Article 41). Such fields will benefit from 10-year contracts, which can be renewed every five years after study and assessment by the MMH.
How Rwanda is spurring a generation of women in technology
June 22, 2020 | 0 Comments
Rwanda is renowned as a pioneer for gender equality.
In 2020, it was the only African country ranked in the top 10 of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report.
It ranked in the top four in the Report’s political empowerment category, in recognition of the high proportion of Rwandese women lawmakers and ministers.
The country therefore seemed a natural fit for a 2018 pilot program of the African Development Bank’s Coding for Employment initiative, with Nigeria, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal.
The Coding for Employment flagship program is establishing 130 ICT centers for excellence in Africa, training 234,000 youths for employability and entrepreneurship to create over 9 million jobs.
Hendrina C. Doroba, Manager in the Education, Human Capital and Employment Division at the Bank, explains how Rwanda is empowering women in technology.
How has the government of Rwanda enabled women to pursue careers in technology, and STEM in general?
The government of Rwanda has been a foremost champion of women in ICT and in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (also known as STEM), by driving initiatives like the establishment of the Carnegie Mellon University-Africa campus, for which the Bank provided funding. Students from 17 different countries pursue highly specialized ICT skills at the Africa campus.
The country also hosts the African Institute of Mathematics (AIMS) which is now recruiting balanced cohorts of women and men. Lastly, the Bank-funded University of Rwanda College of Science and Technology has for many years produced women leaders in the ICT sector in Rwanda and globally.
Rwanda’s government also supports initiatives such as the Miss Geek Rwanda competition, an initiative of Girls in ICT Rwanda, which aims to encourage school-age girls, even those in remote areas, to develop innovative tech or business ideas and to generally immerse themselves in ICT. The Miss Geek initiative has now been rolled out in other countries in the region.
What role has the Bank played in supporting Rwanda’s digital strategy, especially in relation to women?
The strategy of the Bank’s Coding for Employment center of excellence in Rwanda has been to join forces with the Rwanda Coding Academy through a grant agreement to support the school’s activities, like ICT equipment, teacher training and career orientation. The Rwanda Coding Academy started in January 2019 and has so far enrolled one cohort, which is now going into their second year.
Besides the Rwanda Coding Academy, the Bank’s Coding for Employment program held a two-day masterclass for girls and young women entrepreneurs at the 2018 Youth Conneckt summit, where over 200 beneficiaries were trained in using digital tools to amplify their businesses. The session was attended by women entrepreneurs as well as students from girl schools in Kigali, including those from White Dove School, which is an all-girl school fully dedicated to training in ICT. The masterclass culminated into a pitching exercises from various groups who presented their ideas to a panel of judges.
What lessons can other African countries learn from Rwanda’s approach to the 4IR, in particular the role of women?
The government of Rwanda has been a trailblazer in using innovation to improve public services across the country using the e-governance platform Irembo, to bring government services closer to citizens. In addition, the government is driving national digital skilling campaigns by championing digital ambassador programs and platforms such as Smart Africa, which has organized the annual Transform Africa summit since 2013.
Still, gender equality remains a concern, and gender gaps are evident even in schools. Rwanda’s ambitions extend to piloting the Kigali Innovation City, also Bank-funded, to serve as the country’s knowledge and innovation hub by attracting new businesses and incubating ideas. At the same time, the country has created a business environment which is pro-entrepreneurship and welcomes global inventors to test their ideas and concepts. Zipline, a company which uses drones to deliver medical supplies in remote areas, is one example.
Lastly, Rwanda promotes women leaders in the ICT and innovation sector. The country’s Minister of ICT and Innovation is a woman, as is the CEO of the Irembo platform. Appointments such as these are helping to dispel the myth that women are not as capable as men in ICT.
Africa Climate Reality project initiates petition to save the Congo basin peatlands from oil exploration and corruption
June 20, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
The African Climate Reality Project has initiated a petition to United Nations Member States and six other decision makers to save the Congo Basin peatlands from oil exploration and corruption.
It is reported that plans to drill for oil in one of the planet’s most critical carbon sinks could release a climate time-bomb of carbon dioxide.
The Congo Basin, home to the world’s second largest tropical rainforest after the Amazon, is often referred to as the world’s second lungs or Africa’s lungs. At its heart is Cuvette Centrale (Central Basin), where the world’s largest tropical peatlands lay hidden until their discovery in 2014.
The Cuvette Centrale peatlands store an estimated 30 billion tonnes of carbon, “equivalent to three years worth of fossil fuel emissions”.
It is reported that rich in nature, Cuvette Centrale is more valuable if left untouched to thrive. It is a vast expanse of green forest and lush wetlands, home to rich and diverse biodiversity, and the indigenous and local populations that rely on the basin’s resources for their livelihood.
It is added that preserving these peatlands is essential to protecting both the social and ecological benefits, with the latter playing a critical role in international efforts to keep the global average temperature increase well below 2˚C in line with the Paris Agreement. Despite the urgent need to protect the Cuvette Centrale, it is the latest target for oil exploration with a backstory rife with dirty deals.
It has also been added that an investigative report by Global Witness, Der Spiegel and Mediapart, in conjunction with the European Investigative Collaborations media network reveals concerning findings behind the outdated Environmental Impact Assessment, wildly exaggerated claims of vast oil reserves, and several serious corruption red flags.
Congo’s Environment Minister Arlette Soudan-Nonault has claimed that the oil block named Ngoki – ‘crocodile’ in the local Lingala language – “is not in the peatlands”. However, the environmental impact assessment for the drilling was based on studies carried out in 2013 – a year before scientists discovered the vast peatlands in 2014. As it turns out, the Ngoni oil block could contain over 6000 square kilometres of peatland, which if drained for oil drilling could release more carbon dioxide than Japan’s total annual emissions – 1.34 gigatonnes.
In August 2019 Petroleum Exploration and Production Africa (PEPA), spearheaded by Congolese oil baron Claude Wilfrid “Willy” Etoka who has close ties to the country’s presidential family, announced that the deposits under Cuvette Centrale could contain hundreds of millions of barrels of oil – enough oil to quadruple the Congo’s oil production and drag the country out of corruption-linked debt.
It is added however, that even oil giants Shell and Total rejected offers to invest in 2015. Evidence reveals that the size of the oil reserves was severely embellished, and that the project may not even be economically viable.
It is reported that opening up this climate critical carbon sink to oil exploitation holds high risks of oil spills that threaten the Congo basin ecology, as well as further rampant deforestation to make way for access roads and oil pipelines.
It is added that draining the Congo’s peatlands for oil would also make it impossible to meet global Paris Agreement emissions reduction targets. Furthermore, investors could end up being stuck with stranded assets as the world transitions to a just and low-carbon economy. The record drop in oil prices during the COVID-19 pandemic is one example, serving as a stark reality check for what happens when demand for fossil fuels fall.
Based on the findings of the investigation by Global Witness, Der Spiegel and Mediapart, in conjunction with the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) media network, and their recommendations, the African Climate Reality Project strongly urge that, oil majors, including but not limited to Shell, Total, and ENI, must publicly state a strict commitment to not invest in oil exploration anywhere in or around the Congo Basin, on environmental grounds,banks must increase and improve their transparency policies, and publicly report on all potential risks for financing or providing supporting services to industrial developments anywhere in or around the Congo Basin,banks must introduce and implement a strict and infinite moratorium on lending to all new fossil fuel projects, and declare that carbon sinks such as tropical rainforests and peatlands are sensitive areas, and rule out all investments that have the potential to lead to the destruction of these regions,the Central African Forest Initiative Partner Countries (Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon), Donor Countries and Organisations (European Union, France, Germany, Norway, United Kingdom), as well as South-South Partners (Brazil), must demand the termination of any oil and mining projects anywhere in or around the Congo peatland well ahead of 2025 when the Congo peatlands will be granted a special legal protected status and the African Union Member States, as well as the Member States of the United Nations, must adopt legislation that bind all companies and financiers to report on due diligence to identify, mitigate, and prevent human rights and environmental risks associated with their operations and investments, and be held accountable to these.
This petition is being led by the African Climate Reality Project under Sink Our CO2, the campaign aimed at creating awareness around forest management, restoration, and protection as carbon sinks, and inspire people to plant and protect trees.
“Please add your voice to this call to protect the planet’s carbon sinks!” they said.
The petition can be found here: