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

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*African Energy Chamber

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

In reaction to the announcement, commented on the following:

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

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

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

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

By Amos Fofung

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Culled from November Issue of Pan African Visions Magazine

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Winner announced for AfDB “African Utility of the Future” Competition
November 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

Winning company Konexa named during final panel of Africa Energy Form 2020, receiving prize fund of USD $5,000. The competition inspired team-building and innovative ideas to transform current utilities into Advanced, Futuristic, SMART, Sustainable and Agile African Power Utilities.

The overarching principle was to create a platform for current and aspiring asset-owners to come up with innovative, realistic, practical and implementable ideas for “leap-frogging” existing utilities in the future.

In the face of steep competition, Konexa’s anonymous submission was chosen by the panel of judges based on its transformative value across 5 pillars of sustainable utility operation as defined by the African Development Bank.

Konexa aspires to own and operate grid and off-grid power assets across Africa. They are pioneering an integrated utility model that accelerates access to reliable power by leveraging cost efficient and disruptive technologies.

Batchi Baldeh, Director for the Power Systems Development Division at AfDB commented; ”The Bank in partnership with EnergyNet is happy to announce the winner of the African Utility of the Future Design Competition for 2020 as Konexa, with their innovative integrated Distribution Franchise model.

The proposed model challenges financing institutions such as the African Development Bank to begin “leap frogging” into the future and to develop financing mechanisms to match the needs of these futuristic utilities, by providing opportunities and mechanisms for access to low cost infrastructure finance, and mechanisms to address local and hard currency challenges.”

CEO of Konexa Pradeep Pursnani added; “We’re honoured to be awarded this prize. Konexa’s Integrated Utility model aims to help governments and utilities deliver their vision of 24/7 power for everyone in the country on a far more rapid timeframe.

Konexa is the first integrated utility deploying long-term capital to 1) make grid investments, 2) deploy off-grid technologies, 3) install embedded generation & storage capacity, and 4) integrate cutting-edge information and operational technology in our technology platform. We’ve been working with the Nigerian Government and Kaduna Electric to bring this vision to life and have made progress on attracting commercial investment from Climate Fund Managers as our anchor partners on this early journey.”

The winning team was announced during the final ceremony of the Africa Energy Forum online at 12:30 GMT on 13th November 2020.

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Norway donates $10 million for ‘safe’ reopening of schools in South Sudan
November 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Juba – On Thursday, the Government of Norway has provided NOK 90 million [$10 million] to support a safe return to school for children in restive South Sudan.

 The funds will ensure as many children as possible are returning to school in the 2020-2021 academic year.

In March 2020, all education facilities were closed due to COVID-19 putting the total number of children out- of- school at a staggering 4.2 million.

According to the children’s agency, children have carried most of the consequences of COVID-19 restrictions and funds have also “dried up.”

Most of the candidate classes in South Sudan resumed in October 2020. The government announced that the rest of the classes will resume in April 2021.

The new funds are also expected to support the provision of nutrition for children and their mothers in flood-affected States.

In the signed agreement between the government of Norway and the UN children agency stated that the funds will be managed by UNICEF.

This flexible funding that comes from Norway allows a complete package for a child to be healthy and learning well, said Andrea Suley, UNICEF’s country acting representative.

“As we all know we need to have a child who is nursed, a child who is safe and has access to water and sanitation so that they are ready to come to school and learn in a safe environment and community around them safe,” Andrea Suley stated.

Suley further said that they will continue supporting teachers and also provide learning materials.

She also revealed that they have a report that shows that many girls are already married off [during the covid 19 pandemic] and are going to miss school.

“With 2.2 million children not enrolled before the pandemic while getting ready for all schools to reopen in a safe way, a massive mobilization of communities and parents is needed to ensure children fill up the classrooms as soon as the reopen,” said Suley

Meanwhile, the Norwegian Ambassador to South Sudan, Siv Kaspersen said her country wants to ensure children return safely to school – especially girls and vulnerable children.

She urged the government to play a greater role in strengthening the education sector.

“This support is aimed at strengthening every effort towards a safe return to learning in South Sudan, support to nutrition for children and their mothers in flood affected States,” said Ms. Kaspersen. “I will also take this opportunity to call upon the government of South Sudan to allocate more finances to the education sector and pay teachers decent salaries on time,” Ms. Kaspersen told those who attended the signing ceremony in Juba, Thursday afternoon.

On the other hand, South Sudan’s Minister of General Education – Awut Deng appreciated the government of Norway for the funds, saying it “comes at the perfect time and such support is vital for the safe reopening of schools.

 “Too many children are already missing out on education,” said Deng. As a country, we cannot afford for more children to be left behind and therefore we are thankful for the support from Norway.

“As we are preparing to reopen all schools in April 2020, we believe that these funds will positively contribute to education in South Sudan. It will strengthen our efforts to tackle imposed by Covid-19,” she said.

Development agencies say South Sudan was already one of the countries with the highest proportion of out-of-school children.

This latest contribution is earmarked to education but is said to be flexible to allow UNICEF and other education partners to invest in what is most needed and close existing education gaps.

The Government of Norway is “one of UNICEF’s largest education donors globally and has always been a great supporter of UNICEF’s education programmes in South Sudan.

“The government of Norway is an education partners you can count on,” said Mohamed Ag Ayoya. In a year where children have carried most of the consequences of covid 19 restrictions and funding has dried up, the contribution from Norway is more important than ever to get back on track supporting a better future for children in South Sudan.”

The longer children are out of school due to covid 19 pandemic, and ignited by the current flooding and conflict, remain the harder and challenges, to get them back to the classrooms in the East Africa’s youngest nation.

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With Afina Unitisation, Ghana Gives Explorer Springfield E&P a Boost and Ensures Production Growth
November 12, 2020 | 0 Comments
First oil was achieved from the Sankofa Gye Nyame fields within the OCTP license in 2017 and was followed by first gas in 2018.

The recent decision by the Ministry of Energy of Ghana to unitize the Sankofa and Afina fields located within Eni’s Offshore Cape Three Points (OCTP) Block and Springfield E&P’s West Cape Three Points Block 2 (WCTP2) is a step in the right directon.

The decision paves the way not only for an Africa’s independent to participate in the development of one of Ghana’s biggest producing assets, but also to ensure continued and increased production of oil and gas.

First oil was achieved from the Sankofa Gye Nyame fields within the OCTP license in 2017 and was followed by first gas in 2018. Three years later, OCTP has become Ghana’s biggest gas producing asset and its second biggest oil production hub. Because it has been officially confirmed that the same Cenomanian Channel straddles both the OCTP Block and WCTP2 Block, a unitization of Sankofa with the Afina discovery made last year by Springfield E&P is the fairest and most logical thing to do.

The upcoming unitization will notably give Springfield E&P, Ghana’s leading local company, a boost by ensuring its participation in the development of a world-class deep water asset. Such developments are not only positive from a capacity building and technology transfer perspective, but are also the most cost-efficient way to maximize the development of reserves found within similar structures even shared by various licensees.

“The African Energy Chamber wishes to highlight the pragmatism of the Government of Ghana and the Ministry of Energy when it comes to providing an enabling environment for local players and preserving the interests of the industry at large,” stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber. “Springfield E&P is led by a very capable leader, Kevin Okyere, who has proven to be an astute African entrepreneur. There is no doubt that Springfield will rise to the challenge in the development of such an asset along with a partner like Eni,” concluded Ayuk.

Within its Africa Energy Outlook 2021 released this week, the African Energy Chamber has notably identified subsea tie backs and brownfield expansions as the biggest drivers of future upstream developments on the continent. Because such projects are cheaper, they are the most likely to get sanctioned under current market conditions, and remain the fastest way to reserve sub-Saharan Africa’s production decline. As Ghana still works on sanctioning a new development plan for its flagship Pecan Field, the upcoming development of Afina provides a great opportunity to maintain upstream momentum in the market.

*African Energy Chamber
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Camco Clean Energy joins Green Climate Fund’s list of accredited entities
November 12, 2020 | 0 Comments

London, 11 November 2020: Camco Clean Energy (Camco) had been approved as an accredited entity by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) at the 27th Board meeting being held this week.

As an accredited entity, Camco can now put forward proposals to the Fund and then oversee, supervise, manage and monitor these proposals when approved.

The GCF was set up by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2010 and is the world’s primary mechanism for helping developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and enhance their ability to respond to climate change.

The GCF’s second replenishment has recently exceeded US$10 billion of pledges, and the Fund has already committed over US$7 billion for climate action, with accredited entities ranging from the world’s largest development banks to micro organisations. According to its accreditation status, Camco will be able to propose private sector projects and programmes based in any developing country that are up to US$250 million in size and are low to medium risk.

Commenting on the GCF Board’s approval, Geoff Sinclair, Managing Director at Camco, said: “We are delighted and proud to be welcomed as a GCF accredited entity and are committed to supporting its aim of creating a paradigm shift in climate action and driving forward the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“It’s taken two years and a lot of hard work to get to this point and this marks a huge achievement for us and I would like to thank the GCF Secretariat, Accreditation Panel and Miles Austin at Advisory 42 for working with us. Now it’s time to begin work on presenting several exciting and innovative concepts notes for the GCF’s consideration, all of which will support the kind of active engagement of the private sector that is critical for catalysing wide-scale climate action.”

Camco has been providing innovative financial solutions and management services to enable renewable energy development and deploy climate finance for more than 30 years. The company is based in offices in Accra, Helsinki, Johannesburg, London and Nairobi, and has on-the-ground experience and world-leading financial expertise in originating, developing, financing and implementing renewable energy and electrification projects in developing and established markets across the world.

Since 2015, Camco has been the investment manager of the UK Government-funded Renewable Energy Performance Platform, a £148 million fund to support the growth of small scale, distributed renewable energy in countries across Africa.

“Being a relatively small company gives us the freedom to be fast-acting and nimble, which are important qualities for developing the small and distributed renewable energy markets in developing countries, which often falls outside the scope of many of the larger GCF-accredited entities,” added Sinclair.

“Combined with our diverse team’s experience in finance and investment, risk management, development, engineering, policy, and sustainability, we have every confidence that we will prove to be a very useful new tool in the GCF toolbox.”

About the Green Climate Fund

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is the world’s largest dedicated climate fund. GCF’s mandate is to foster a paradigm shift towards low emission, climate resilient development pathways in developing countries. GCF has a portfolio of over USD 6 billion in projects and programmes across more than 100 countries. It also has a readiness support programme to build capacity and help countries develop long-term plans to fight climate change. GCF is an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and serves the 2015 Paris Agreement, supporting the goal of keeping average global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius.

About Camco Clean Energy

Camco Clean Energy (Camco) is an FCA-authorised and regulated fund manager that specialises in climate finance and meaningful sustainable development impact in emerging markets. Its long-established position within Africa’s renewable energy sector enables the company to provide project developers and sponsors with a trusted combination of global access and local presence, enabling them to source the right financing solutions to develop and build projects.

Camco was formed in Nairobi over 30 years ago and, since then, has provided creative finance solutions to 180 projects worth US$15 billion.

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How to keep African oil and gas industry strong? AEC 2021 outlook answers with “workable solutions”
November 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber NJ Ayuk

The African Energy Chamber (AEC) has officially launched the second edition of its African Energy Outlook 2021, which details all of the major challenges facing African oil and gas stakeholders, as well as workable solutions that will keep the industry on a strong and stable growth path.

Africa’s oil and gas industry is facing extraordinary circumstances. An ongoing energy transition and new efforts to decarbonize the world are weighing on oil demand. The shale revolution is exacerbating these pressures. And of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought havoc on markets around the world, accelerating and intensifying existing trends.

Restrictive fiscal regimes, inefficient and carbon-intensive production, and difficulties in doing business are preventing the industry from reaching its full potential.

According to the Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, NJ Ayuk, to remain competitive, African producers and governments must cut red tape to make life easier for hardworking Africans, businesses and investors to work and grow the energy sector.

“We know from experience this will reduce the cost of doing business, speed up approvals and make life better for Africans,” he said. “We must never be ashamed of supporting an industry that has brought so much to Africa and will continue to bring people out of poverty and reduce reliance on foreign aid.

“We believe the short-term outlook will improve if countries apply more competitive fiscal regimes. Emissions can be reduced by curbing flaring and monetizing gas, improving and future-proofing the carbon profile of African petroleum production.”

The world still needs oil and gas, and Africa still holds enormous untapped potential.

Ayuk believes that developing gas-to-power infrastructure will increase access to affordable energy for all sectors of the economy, offering massive knock-on benefits and making it easier to do business.

“Reducing lead times to limit risk premiums put on long cycle projects will further bolster the industry’s viability and growth prospects” he said noting that “It will not be easy, but these reforms are necessary.”

The full report can be read here

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Towards gender equality: Equipping women farmers in South Africa and Malawi with financial literacy skills
November 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

Keneilwe Nailana

Standard Bank and United Nations (UN) Women are currently providing financial literacy training to thousands of women farmers in African key markets including Malawi and South Africa.

In October 2019, in an Economic Empowerment of Women in Africa through Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) agreement, Standard Bank and UN Women launched a partnership aimed at empowering women through modern farming technologies that increase productivity and income potential while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

UN women is executing the programme under its ‘HeForShe’ campaign as part of championing the advancement of gender equality. Standard Bank is a global champion of ‘HeForShe’. The CSA programme is aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly with regards to the pursuit of gender equality, decent work and economic growth.

Standard Bank has committed US$3 million over a three-year period to end-2021 for the project, which is targeting 50,000 women. “Through this three-year CSA initiative, we aim to contribute to the economic empowerment of women across Malawi through climate smart agriculture and practical business skills,” says Graham Chipande, Head of Relationship Banking at Standard Bank Malawi.

In addition to critical farming skills and tools, the beneficiaries receive training for key technical skills including financial literacy. This is an important component of the project in that it will help to ensure the long-term success of the farmers.

While Covid-19 and social distancing requirements have posed challenges, significant progress has been made since CSA’s launch. In the first half of 2020, 40 business clusters were formed in Malawi to provide basic business management skills such as record keeping, gross margin analysis, price discovery, and the development of business plans, among other skills. The business groups have more than 4,000 smallholder farmer members between them – three-quarters of whom are women.

By the end of 2020, 5,000 women farmers in the country are expected to have received financial literacy training. The beneficiaries farm primarily groundnuts, which are processed into oil, flour and peanut butter. “Through the project’sholistic and comprehensive approach to empowering women farmers, we are helping to improve their functional skills as well as financial skills so they can manage and grow their farming businesses,” Chipande said.

In the South Africa leg of the project, approximately  950 women farmers have received training in business management and digital and financial literacy in the first half of 2020. The UN Women office in the country has continued to work throughout the national lockdown, and Standard Bank has remained fully operational as a designated essential services provider.

In the six months to end-June, agricultural inputs – drought-resistant seeds of various crops, fertilisers and organic manure, farming equipment, and training on climate smart agriculture – were delivered to 2,753 women farmers in South Africa.

Besides business skills, the CSA programme is designed to increase productivity, facilitate access to higher value markets and supply chains, and yield high quality produce.

 Graham Chipande

“By the end of the programme, we want to ensure that women farmers are well equipped to thrive in a changing climate,” said Keneilwe Nailana, senior manager Agri Business, Standard Bank South Africa. “They will also be better placed to move up the value chain and access new markets and finance, and ultimately to grow their businesses.”

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Capital for oil and gas projects in Africa at risk, as the continent continues to operate carbon inefficient production
November 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

As the world is moving towards the energy transition in order to curb greenhouse gas emissions and meet the targets in the Paris agreement, the oil and gas industry is doing its share.

Meanwhile, Africa continues to operate carbon inefficient production, which further impacts its ability to raise capital for oil and gas projects, says African Energy Chamber (AEC) in its new report African Energy Outlook 2021.

While Africa benefits from conventional and easy to extract hydrocarbons, the inability to prevent gas flaring nevertheless catapults the continent to the overall least carbon efficient continent at about 31kg CO2 emitted per barrel of oil equivalent produced.

However, AEC understands that flaring and upstream emissions are not always easy to reduce, it nevertheless does represent an enormous opportunity for Africa to reduce its carbon emission per production unit and thereby increase the resources’ competitiveness in a world with an increasingly constrained carbon emission budget.

“In this context, political will and industry compliance will be key,” says AEC adding that initiatives such as the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialization Program are extremely positive steps in that direction and must be encouraged and supported by all stakeholders.

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The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF), International Finance Corporation (IFC) launch Global Competition for Private Sector and Social Enterprises in Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Hosting Area
November 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

Innovative businesses and social enterprises from around the world are invited to submit proposals for private sector projects at Kakuma.

The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) and its partners IFC , a member of the World Bank Group, the United Nations Refugee Agency UNHCR, and the Turkana County Government today launched a global competition for private sector and social enterprise projects to support investment, development, and job creation in northern Kenya’s Kakuma refugee hosting area.

Innovative businesses and social enterprises from around the world are invited to submit proposals for private sector projects at Kakuma, home to roughly 300,000 people of different nationalities, almost 200,000 of whom are refugees and asylum seekers. The competition, implemented by AECF, will accept applications from November 10 to December 22, 2020.

Winning entrants will be awarded performance-based grants and given technical support to implement commercially viable and sustainable projects that have the potential to raise incomes, provide goods and services, create jobs, and improve living standards in both the Kakuma camp and the adjacent host community.

The competition is open to entrants from all sectors but with a focus on renewable energy, agribusiness, and financial services for private firms. Social enterprise project submissions should prioritize the water, sanitation, recycling, or childcare sectors. 

The competition is being implemented through the IFC/AECF Kakuma Kalobeyei Challenge Fund (KKCF). The performance-based grants will also require co-financing on the part of the winning businesses.

Victoria Sabula, AECF Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are very happy at AECF to be a partner to this innovative program that will bring new opportunities to people in Kakuma. AECF is dedicated to supporting businesses in places that are seen as riskier for commercial investors. We look forward to seeing the innovations this fund inspires and working with the competition winners as they transform lives and livelihoods.”

Jumoke Jagun-Dokunmu, IFC Regional Director for Eastern Africa, said, “Refugees rely on humanitarian aid for immediate support, but the private sector has an important role to play providing longer-term development solutions and opportunities. This competition aims to nurture the business opportunities that abound in the Kakuma refugee hosting area, support job creation, and help global businesses deliver quality goods and services to the roughly 300,000 people who live there.”

Fathiaa Abdalla, UNHCR Representative in Kenya, said, “The KKCF, in line with the Global Compact on Refugees, has the potential to attract more resources from the development and private sectors, which will provide new economic opportunities and competences to refugees and the communities hosting them by investing in jobs, entrepreneurship and innovative solutions.”

H.E, Honorable Josphat Koli Nanok, Governor of Turkana County, said, “Turkana County’s emphasis is to create opportunities and a conducive environment so that private sector investment will benefit both refugees and the local community. At least 3 percent of GDP in Turkana comes from refugees, underscoring the economic strength and opportunities there. IFC, UNHCR, and AECF are our good partners, and through this competition we welcome businesses from around the world to invest in projects in Turkana that will support development and create jobs.”

The five-year, $25 million KKCF initiative is jointly implemented by IFC and AECF, in partnership with UNHCR and the Turkana County Government, and is supported by the European Union, KfW, SDC, FCDO and the Government of the Netherlands. It was designed to support private sector investment and unlock the economic potential of refugees and those living in the surrounding host communities in Kenya’s Turkana County. 

IFC’s groundbreaking Kakuma as a Marketplace study, published in 2018, helped change the perception of refugees by highlighting the development possibilities, entrepreneurial spirit, and market opportunities found in the Kakuma camp.

Webinars will be held with applicants to answer all technical questions.

About IFC:
IFC —a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in dev eloping countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.

About AECF:
The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) is a leading development finance organisation that supports businesses to innovate, create jobs and leverage investments in order to create resilience and sustainable incomes in rural and marginalised communities in Africa. Launched in 2008, AECF has invested in 292 businesses across more than 40 value chains and 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. AECF focuses specifically on agribusiness, renewable energy and climate technologies, while also addressing the cross-cutting themes of gender, youth and fragile contexts. In just over a decade, AECF has impacted more than 27.7 million lives, created close to 24,000 jobs, and leveraged over US $740 million in matching funds.

AECF is headquartered in Kenya, with offices in Côte d’Ivoire and Tanzania.

*SOURCE Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF)
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Malawi’s TNM selects Canonical’s Charmed OpenStack to help lead virtualisation charge
November 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

10 November 2020 – Canonical, the publisher of Ubuntu, today announced that its Charmed OpenStack, an open source private cloud solution that allows businesses to control large pools of computer, storage and networking in a datacentre, has been selected by Telekom Networks Malawi Plc (TNM), to modernise and virtualise its entire telecommunications infrastructure. TNM is Malawi’s leading telecoms provider and aims to create faster time to market across its product range through the move.

TNM has been a pioneer of mobile and data solutions in Malawi, having been the first mobile operator to launch 4G broadband services, while its network is the fastest in the country, covering all cities and major towns. Charmed Openstack will enable TNM to separate network hardware and software, turning legacy components into software based network services . This means they can be updated quicker with continuous integration and development, while ensuring the network is robust and scalable.

The move towards Charmed OpenStack has been driven by TNM’s existing use and advocacy of open source software. The deployment, including two private clouds, will happen immediately and give TNM access to virtual network functions (VNFs), which will open up access to a wide range of network services to build on top of the initial deployment.

Adopting a cloud-based architecture with Charmed OpenStack will accelerate TNM’s ability to develop new technologies and services while benefiting from reduced CAPEX investment. TNM will also adopt Canonical’s Managed OpenStack service, which allows TNM to have a fully managed private cloud on its own servers. The managed service allows TNM to take advantage of Canonical’s open source expertise and allows them to focus on adding business value elsewhere.

Michiel Buitelaar, Chief Executive Officer at TNM, said: “This is a big step in an ongoing programme for us to evolve our infrastructure and deliver the best possible solutions for customers. Utilising Canonical’s expertise via OpenStack was an obvious choice, and by increasing our open source footprint we now have access to a wider range of services, optimising how we will deliver future technologies.”

Nicholas Dimotakis, VP of Field Engineering, Datacentre at Canonical, said: “TNM is joining a wave of telco companies moving to OpenStack, to modernise their infrastructure to software based network services, and it’s fantastic for us to be part of this migration. TNM understands what can be delivered through an open infrastructure and is now able to take advantage of open source technology more broadly, collaborating with the community to improve its offering.”

TNM’s decision represents a bigger trend within the telecoms industry, while in Africa specifically, companies are turning to OpenStack to modernise their network and future proof for the adoption of new technologies such as 5G. Through a long-term investment in the technology, TNM will now have more agility to innovate at scale and consistently meet customer demands.

TNM’s cloud will be built on Canonical’s Charmed OpenStack, and utilise Canonical’s open source tools to automate the deployment and operations of their infrastructure. TNM has adopted Juju – Operator Lifecycle Manager to manage and operate a set of software applications for a model-driven architecture to onboard virtual network functions (VNFs) applications, while MAAS is used as the cloud-provisioning tool. The company will also benefit from Canonical’s Managed OpenStack offering for the ongoing maintenance and support of operations.

Learn more about how Canonical is helping telecommunications companies globally by joining CEO, Mark Shuttleworth’s, keynote at AfricaCom on Wednesday 11th November at 12.35pm SAST.

About Canonical

Canonical is the publisher of Ubuntu, the OS for most public cloud workloads as well as the emerging categories of smart gateways, self-driving cars and advanced robots. Canonical provides enterprise security, support and services to commercial users of Ubuntu. Established in 2004, Canonical is a privately held company.

About TNM

TNM is a strong brand in Malawi. This strength comes from being the first mobile operator and more especially that it is a Malawian company, with innovative products and services.

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Civil Society calls on the African Development Bank (AfDB) to finance a Just Recovery
November 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

Africa-wide — In an Open Letter led by and African Climate Reality Project, 167 organisations have come together to call on the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) to finance Africa’s Just Green Recovery and light up the continent with 100% renewable energy, ahead of the first-of-its-kind Finance in Common (FIC) Summit. Taking place from 9 to 12 November 2020,the summit aims to obtain commitments from participating banks to align their policies with climate, sustainable development, and biodiversity goals.

Yasmine Luhandjula, the Campaigns Coordinator for African Climate Reality Project said,

“We could solve Africa’s energy poverty if governments and financial institutions were to prioritise investments in renewable energy, along with having strict measures in place to ensure that no fossil fuels projects are funded. We are calling on the AfDB to prioritise the development of a fossil fuel finance exclusion policy that states that the bank will not fund, provide financial services, or capacity support to any coal, gas, and oil project on the African continent – and to ensure that civil society has the opportunity to weigh in on this policy during the development process. AfDB can and must do more to support Africa’s resilience and climate ambitions, with investments in youth skills development at the forefront of their efforts.”

Landry Ninteretse, the Africa Team Leader of said,

“We as the civil society and concerned citizens of Africa are firm that the future the world needs is one that no longer burns fossil fuels for energy generation. It is totally unacceptable that public financial institutions continue to fund fossil fuel projects while millions hardest hit by the climate and pandemic crisis are struggling to get appropriate healthcare, social protection and economic assistance. Development banks such as the AfDB need to lead the way and direct public money to a truly healthy, equitable, sustainable and just recovery. That would be a first and solid step towards building real resilience for the people and the planet.”

At this iconic gathering, 450 global public development finance institutions,  controlling approximately $2 trillion in public money across the globe, will identify appropriate measures to facilitate a just recovery from COVID-19 as well as a transition to more sustainable economic systems for all. Discussions will also centre on addressing the common need for new forms of prosperity that build the resilience of people and the planet. 

Civil society organizations are calling for the rapid and just energy transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. A just transition is urgently needed not only to combat climate change, but also to solve energy poverty and provide economic empowerment through access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for the 580 million Africans without access to electricity. 

The President of the AfDB, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, stated in September 2019 at the United Nations Climate Action Summit that the Bank would be “getting out of coal”, which the same civil society groups have commended on several previous engagements with the Bank. However no clear commitments or policies have been introduced by the AfDB since this statement, and fossil fuel projects have continued to be supported through the Bank across Africa.

The Open Letter including the list of signatories can be read here, and individuals can add their name to the corresponding petition here.

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Cultural Protection Fund to address climate change threat to cultural heritage in East Africa
November 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

  • International cultural protection partners to collaborate across East Africa
  • Projects tackle the threat to cultural heritage in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda from climate change
  • Advancing knowledge and sharing skills within the global heritage community

Siyu Fort in Lamu © National Museums Kenya

The British Council is pleased to announce the Cultural Protection Fund has awarded funding to five global heritage projects, which will use technology, skills development and community engagement to respond to the risk of climate change to heritage in East Africa.

Selected as part of the Cultural Protection Fund’s Disaster and Climate Change Mitigation round, the projects will address the threat to valuable cultural heritage in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda by increasing capacity and resilience through risk planning, training programmes and digital innovation. The Fund continues a partnership between British Council and UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport partnership to protect threatened heritage in and around the Middle East and Africa.

East African organisations and experts will partner with counterparts in the UK and Italy to support the exchange of knowledge and shared solidarity within the global heritage community. The partnerships aim to advance regional cultural protection by further engaging communities and empowering local organisations with the skills to protect tangible and intangible cultural heritage, such as restoration techniques, digital documentation and traditional crafts.

The five projects awarded funding are:            

Ancient rock churches, Ethiopia

  • £106,700 to support risk assessments and action planning for 23 ancient rock churches. Plans include production of conservation manuals and local skills training to protect traditional conservation materials and techniques.
  • Partners: Federal Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage, (Ethiopia), Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia), Mekelle University Institute of Paleoenvironment & Heritage Conservation (Ethiopia), Womersley’s (UK). 

Photographic history preservation, Kenya

  • £109,744 to digitise and protect the physical collection of late 19th Century paper and photographic collections at the McMillan Memorial Library chronicling key Kenyan historical events, which is at risk from climate-related heat and moisture.
  • Partners: Book Bunk Trust (Kenya), African Digital Heritage Foundation (Kenya), Built Environment Surveyors & Infrastructure Consultancy (BESIC) Group (Kenya).

Coastal heritage, Kenya

  • £109,430 to develop disaster risk management strategies for preserving Kenyan coastal heritage sites at risk due to rising sea levels, coastal erosion, salt evaporation and storms. Plans include the development of site staff to manage risks, implement interventions and host community training programmes to support local engagement.
  • Partners: ICCROM (Italy), National Museums Kenya (Kenya).

Coastal heritage, Tanzania  

  • £60,501 to assess risks and digitise the UNESCO World Heritage coastal sites of Kilwa Kisiwani and Bagamoyo, Tanzania. Mitigating against future rising sea levels will run alongside documenting risk to intangible heritage of coastal communities, such as oral traditions and craft skills.
  • Partners: University of Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania), St. Andrew’s University (UK).

Flood threats to communities and monuments, Uganda

  • £76,447 for protection against the impact of melting snow and flooding rivers on Uganda’s Bakonzo and Alur communities due to global warming. Interventions to protect national monument Wang Lei will support knowledge sharing with Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire, UK. Additional recording of tangible and intangible cultural heritage will run alongside community training and awareness initiatives.
  • Partners: International National Trusts Organisation (UK), Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda (Uganda).
ICCROM – Inside the Shimoni caves © National Museums Kenya

Stephen Stenning, Head of Arts & Society, British Council, says:

‘The Disaster and Climate Change Mitigation pilot to support cultural heritage at risk from climate change is an urgent area of focus for the global heritage community. With continued support from DCMS, this alert to our shared environmental vulnerabilities has resulted in some extraordinary international partnership projects. Sharing concerns and solutions around the impact of climate change, from North Yorkshire in the UK to the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda, is a great example of the mutually beneficial collaborations at the heart of the Cultural Protection Fund.’

The Disaster and Climate Change Mitigation Fund was announced in 2019, as part of an additional funding round of the Cultural Protection Fund.

Established in 2016, the original £30 million Cultural Protection Fund, is a partnership between the British Council and the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, to protect heritage at risk in countries in and around the Middle East and North Africa.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. Last year we reached over 80 million people directly and 791 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive a 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.

About Cultural Protection Fund

The Cultural Protection Fund is managed by the British Council – the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations – in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). It aims to foster, safeguard and promote cultural heritage overseas.

The Fund is a key part of the British Council’s work in Culture and Development overseas, which focuses on ambitious, artistic and creative initiatives that foster social cohesion, freedom of expression, inclusive institutions, dynamic communities, and improved social and economic well-being.

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Secretary General of UNWTO Officially Launches Namibia Tourism Expo 2020
November 6, 2020 | 0 Comments

On 4 November 2020, the Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, Zurab Pololikashvili, officially launched Namibia’s biggest tourism event, the Namibian Tourism Expo 2020. This years theme is 10 degrees South. At the occasion, the Secretary General applauded Namibia for being one of the few countries in the world to hold the travel expo amid the Covid-19 pandemic and for being one of the few countries in the world to open up for international tourist arrivals. He also launched a Covid-19 Tourism Safety Protocols and Guidelines Toolkit to ensure adverse of Covid-19 prevention measures by Namibia’s tourism industry.

For the first time, Mr Pololikashvili had been on an official 3-day visit to help strengthen Namibia’s tourism revival strategy and to pay tribute to the local efforts so far to save livelihoods and jobs. He paid a courtesy visit to the Vice President, Hon. Nangolo Mbumba and confirmed the hosting of ‘Brand Africa Conference’ in Namibia IN 2021. He also shared planned efforts to support tourism conservation initiatives for developing rural tourism. Brand Africa is an intergenerational movement to inspire a great Africa through promoting a positive image of Africa, celebrating its diversity and driving its competitiveness. The Secretary General emphasized the importance of making Africa’s tourism potential more visible to the world to encourage tourist to visit to create jobs and safeguard livelihoods.

During his stay, he visited the UNESCO World Heritage site at Sossusvlei desert called Namib Sand Sea. It is the only coastal desert in the world that includes extensive dune fields influenced by fog. Thereafter, he flew to one of Namibia’s main tourist attractions, Swakopmund where he launched Namibia’s Gastronomy booklet, a project that the UNWTO has been working on with Namibia to promote African Gastronomy to the world. He also paid a visit to the Ramsar Wetland site at the Walvis Bay lagoon where he expressed fascination over Namibia’s progress on biodiversity.

The Secretary General was amazed by Namibia’s unique contrasting landscapes and diverse cultures. He said that it’s like seeing the world in one country as you see a bit of different parts of the world in Namibia and that it makes Namibia deserve a lot more tourists to visit. Mr Pololikashvili says he is confident that Namibia is ready for international tourist arrivals because the country is safe in terms of tourists’ personal safety and Covid-19 prevention.

Mr Pololikashvili is convinced that Namibian’s tourism industry is in good hands which has made it strong as he was surprised by the high quality of the industry in terms of organization and accommodation establishments. He could tell that by the way his travel logistics in Namibia were well arranged and of high standard.

As part of its Agenda for Africa, UNWTO works with Namibia on four (4) key initiatives:

  • UNWTO and UNESCO jointly endorsed Namibia’s draft National Strategy on Sustainable Heritage Tourism.  Once adopted, the strategy will promote cultural heritage and tourism across many local communities.  It is due for submission to Cabinet for consideration.
  • Completion of a Namibian Gastronomy Booklet, aimed at introducing the rich and varied Namibian cuisine to the world.
  • Preparation of a Namibia Biodiversity and Tourism Project aimed at supporting the country in biodiversity and environmental conservation, and
  • Publication of a Supplement on Namibian Tourism, which will showcase Namibian tourism products and the gradual re-opening of the country to international visitors. 
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Are African Development Bank (AfDB)’s financing policies climate-friendly?
November 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Wangeci Migwi, Amy Giliam and Nicole Rodel

Amy Giliam is the Branch Manager at African Climate Reality Project


The twin crises, COVID-19 and the climate emergency, have made it clear, even for global financial institutions, that we must seize this moment to transform.

With the climate crisis threatening over half of the global GDP, there can be no business-as-usual when the world begins to plan for a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, we have a unique opportunity to change our relationship with nature by shifting our development pathway to one that is equitable and sustainable. Development Finance Institutions may be the “visible hand” that can guide and finance the future we want – but Africa will remain under the proverbial thumb of skyrocketing debt and climate catastrophe if the new vision of development financing remains all talk and no action at the upcoming Finance in Common (FiC) Summit .

450 public development banks across the world are coming together, to address the common need for new forms of prosperity that build the resilience of people and the planet. The twin crises, COVID-19 and the climate emergency, have made it clear, even for global financial institutions, that we must seize this moment to transform.

Among the key partners of this iconic summit is the African Development Bank (AfDB), who in 2019 made a commitment to get out of coal and build the “largest solar zone in the world” in the Sahel region. Sound like music to your ears? Well, why let facts get in the way of solid excuses? In 2020, AfDB made an Expression of Interest to join the landmark $20 billion Mozambique LNG financing . At a time when fossil fuels are proving to be a bad investment, AfDB appears to have difficulties in openly committing to withdrawing from fossil fuels.

Mozambique has been plagued by the resource curse akin to many fossil fuel producing nations. The expectations associated with this abundance has brought the nation to its knees. The 2009 announcement of massive natural gas discoveries in Cabo Delgado, and the vision of leaping into middle-income status was all too promising. Over a decade later, the people of Mozambique have nothing to delight in. Instead, they experienced unfolding massacres, displacement, and untold misery. Yet, AfDB continues to invest in this misery to a tune of $400 million . According to the Bank’s Acting General Counsel, Souley Amadou, “This is a first in class transaction that sets a new standard for mega-projects on the African continent.” Disturbingly, this is how AfDB gaslights the continent in the name of investing in public development for the future.

The effects of financing fossil fuels were witnessed during Cyclones Idai and Kenneth, with more than 2.2 million people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi displaced. AfDB committed a whopping $100 million to finance the three countries , a fraction of their overall investment  in fossil fuels. This comes as studies confirm that mass green public investments are the most cost-effective means to revive ailing economies, ensure long-term stability, and nip climate change in the bud. A failed realization of the devastating impacts of climate change and consequent investment in dirty fossil fuels suggests AfDB is complacent to the consequences of climate change. The bank’s investments in fossil fuels have fueled the transition of funds from public coffers into the bank accounts of private companies who pay insignificant taxes and drive the emissions causing the climate catastrophe.

As the world grapples with the twin crises, we must interrogate current definitions and frameworks of development. Throughout history, projects across Africa in the name of ‘development’ have prioritised profits and GDP growth over people. Many of these developments lead to the loss of people’s rights, livelihoods, and their lives, along with the destruction of Africa’s ecosystems and biodiversity. This begs the question, who is development for?

According to the International Panel on Climate Change, Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents to the accelerating climate crisis. Food insecurity, water shortages, cyclones, forced migration, gender-based violence , and an exacerbation of conflict are a few ways the climate crisis is already threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions of Africans. What’s more, COVID-19 has exposed the underlying structural flaws of our current socio-economic systems, which have ultimately failed to address the climate and social crises.

There has never been a more urgent time for a rapid and just transition of African economies away from their reliance on fossil fuels. Recent research  indicates that wind, solar, and other sources of green technology generate more than one-third of the world’s power, with solar photovoltaics surpassing coal and natural gas as the new cheapest energy source in most nations according to the International Energy Agency . Experts also indicate that renewable energy has significant long-term prospects  and may emerge stronger than before – if governments and financial institutions prioritise and integrate clean energy into COVID-19 recovery programmes.

Despite repeated calls from civil society to AfDB over the past few years, the bank is yet to publish a fossil fuel finance exclusion policy stating the bank will not fund any coal, gas, and oil project on the African continent. It is time for AfDB to take a more decisive leadership role in fighting the climate crisis. The bank can and must do more to substantially expand their support for building Africa’s resilience and leaving fossil fuels in the past, by ensuring the continent leapfrogs to 100% renewable energy and sustainable development.

If the realization of AfDB’s greenwashing troubles you, why not amplify the call for a just recovery  during the upcoming Finance in Common Summit? By working together, we can ensure another generation is not lost to a lifetime of hardship, because a sustained collective movement would force governments and public finance institutions to take drastic action and snap out of fossil fuel investments. This revolution is possible if enough people demand it.

*Wangeci Migwi is the Africa Campaigner at, Amy Giliam is the Branch Manager at African Climate Reality Project and Nicole Rodel is the Communications Officer at African Climate Reality Project.

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Afreximbank, International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) and Arab Bank For Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) launch Collaborative COVID-19 Pandemic Response Facility (“COPREFA”), US$1.5bn Facility to support African Resilience and Recovery amid Global Pandemic
November 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

COPREFA will be accessed by eligible central banks, commercial banks and businesses to finance the import of medical supplies as well as agricultural equipment.

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) (, the pan-African multilateral EXIM bank, partners with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) (, the Trade Finance Arm of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group; and the Arab Bank For Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) (, to launch a US$1.5-billion Collaborative COVID-19 Pandemic Response Facility (“COPREFA”) to support African economies with rapid financial assistance to reduce the impact of COVID-19.

COPREFA will be accessed by eligible central banks, commercial banks and businesses to finance the import of medical supplies, as well as agricultural equipment and fertilizers essential for addressing the pressing food production deficit.

COPREFA is also designed to support African economies to overcome a myriad of challenges, including commodity price shocks, a significant drop in tourism, and disruption to supply chains and export manufacturing. It will also addresse the sudden declines in financial flows, including a drop off in trade and project finance, migrant remittances, portfolio investment and Foreign Direct Investments.

A key attribute of the COPREFA facility is the speed at which financial assistance can be provided through all partners involved. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be fast-paced, requiring support that can be deployed quickly and flexibly to prevent sharp declines in national economies.  Standard eligibility criteria and credit appraisal process have been developed by COPREFA partners in order to facilitate implementation of the facility. Support will be available through direct funding, lines of credit, confirmation and refinancing of documentary credits; guarantees, cross-currency swaps and other similar instruments.

The co-financed facility, led by Afreximbank  leverages strategic partnerships with other Multilateral Financial Institutions and other international financial institutions in co-financing, risk sharing of transactions and promoting integrated trade solutions,  to support African economies on navigating the impact of COVID-19.

Afreximbank has a strong track record of supporting African economies during financial crises. In 2015, the Bank disbursed more than US$10 billion through a Counter-Cyclical Trade Liquidity Facility (COTRALF) to help member countries manage the adverse economic fallout of commodity price shocks. In March 2020, a financial package called the Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA) was launched solely by Afreximbank to support economies through the pandemic – a facility of which over US$5 billion has been disbursed, will be implemented alongside COPREFA.

Forty four years had elapsed, since the establishment of  BADEA as international development finance institutions (DFIs) with objective of supporting economic, financial and technical cooperation between Arab and African countries through a wide spectra of financing instruments that have been enhanced and diversified to meet the  economic needs of beneficiary countries.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said:

The COVID-19 pandemic has devasted many economies. Africa has not been spared. Afreximbank’s priority has always been to step-up when markets fall. That is why we are supporting African economies forcefully at the time of great difficulties. COPREFA, a product of a unique international partnership, is a major contribution to the global fight against the pandemic and will work alongside our other programs to ensure Africa’s future remains bright beyond this economic shock. We thank our partners for the confidence.

Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of ITFC, said:

Providing fiscal bandwidth and practical support to SMEs and medical communities in African countries will deliver immediate relief from the supply side restraints on personal protective equipment caused by the pandemic. ITFC has worked extensively since the very start of the COVID-19 outbreak to provide comprehensive support to some of the most vulnerable countries. The multilateral arrangement that ITFC is embarking upon with our strategic partners will boost economic activity when and where it is needed most and help many countries maintain food security at a time when global commodity supply chains are being challenged and import activity sharply reduced.

Dr. Sidi Ould TAH, Director General of BADEA, said:

DFI’s as the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), with its partners, have been and will always be; supporting the continent through tough and good times as a reliable, strong  and resourceful financial institution. And since the COVID-19 pandemic posed drastic challenges that are reshaping the scene of the global economy, we sought that it will require an unprecedent cooperation and measures to tackle these challenges.

BADEA has joined the fight against the pandemic by allocating a gross amount of more than USD 350 million in the COPREFA and other initiatives. These allocations will be utilitzed to ease the negative impacts of the pandemic on African economies and ensure the flow of essential strategic commodities to the continent.

About Afreximbank:
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution with the mandate of financing and promoting intra-and extra-African trade. Afreximbank was established in October 1993 and owned by African governments, the African Development Bank and other African multilateral financial institutions as well as African and non-African public and private investors. The Bank was established under two constitutive documents, an Agreement signed by member states, which confers on the Bank the status of an international organization, and a Charter signed by all Shareholders, which governs its corporate structure and operations. Afreximbank deploys innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that are supporting the transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, accelerating industrialization and intra-regional trade, thereby sustaining economic expansion in Africa. At the end of 2019, the Bank’s total assets and guarantees stood at USD$15.5 billion and its shareholders funds amounted to US$2.8 billion. Afreximbank was “African Bank of the Year” in 2019. The Bank disbursed more than US$38 billion between 2016 and 2020. Afreximbank has ratings assigned by GCR (international scale) (A-), Moody’s (Baa1) and Fitch (BBB-). The Bank is headquartered in Cairo, Egypt.

About the International Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC):
The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) is a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group. It was established with the primary objective of advancing trade among OIC member countries, which would ultimately contribute to the overarching goal of improving socioeconomic conditions of the people across the world. Commencing operations in January 2008, ITFC has provided more than US$51 billion of financing to OIC member countries, making it the leading provider of trade solutions for these member countries’ needs. With a mission to become a catalyst for trade development for OIC member countries and beyond, the Corporation helps entities in member countries gain better access to trade finance and provides them with the necessary trade-related capacity building tools, which would enable them to successfully compete in the global market.

About BADEA:
The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa– BADEA is a multilateral development bank owned by eighteen (18) Arab countries, members of the League of Arab States (LAS). The Bank has been operational for the last 45 years with footprints in about 44 countries.

BADEA aims at promoting economic development in Africa and fostering cooperation between the beneficiary countries and the Arab World through investment and trade.  To this end, BADEA’s operations revolve around four strategic pillars :
i) Infrastructure investment in energy;
ii) Private sector and trade financing
iii) Agriculture value-chains; and
iv) Entrepreneurship and SMEs. In addition, capacity development weighs in as a cross cutting pillar.

*SOURCE International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC)

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African Academy of Sciences invites nominations for Olusegun Obasanjo Prize for scientific discovery for African scientists
November 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

The African Academy of Sciences is inviting nominations for the Olusegun Obasanjo prize for scientific discovery or technological innovation intended to  honour African scientists who have made outstanding contributions in scientific discovery or technological innovation.

  It is reported that the prize has been named in honour of the former President of Nigeria, H.E. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in recognition of his exemplary statesmanship and leadership at the national, regional and international levels and his contributions to political well-being, socio-economic development and the positive role he has played in nurturing the spirit of scientific discovery and technological innovation in the African continent. 

  It is reported that the Prize shall be awarded every two years and  has four components, a cash award of US$5,000 (this may be reviewed and adjusted by the Governing Council (GC) of AAS),an Inscribed Gold Medal,a citation in form of a certificate and  election into AAS Fellowship. 

   It is added the Prize may be awarded to an individual or jointly to two or more persons who will share the cash award in equal amounts.  

  The Prize is open to all African scientists and technologists and does not recognize gender, ethnic, or geographical differences.  National scientists and Fellows in the employment of or who serve as senior advisors to AAS are not eligible for nomination.  Similarly, the award may not be made to any person who is a current member of the governing organs of the AAS. 


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Africa’s energy masterplan takes shape as African Development Bank and AUDA-NEPAD release key report
October 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

The African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and the African Development Bank have released recommendations of a baseline study that looked into the development of a continental energy grid and market.

The study, supported by the European Union, is the first step in an ambitious project to create an efficient, competitive energy sector that helps to serve Africa’s vast non-connected population, which is key to the continent’s economic prospects. The recommendations were discussed at a roundtable meeting between the partners organized by the African Development Bank on Wednesday 28 October.

African Energy Ministers directed AUDA-NEPAD to promote a continental transmission masterplan during the AU Specialized Technical Committee meeting on Infrastructure (Transport, Energy and Tourism) held in Nouakchott and Cairo in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

“This will be a game changer, since, in the long term, a continental transmission network will allow energy trade within Africa, as well as off the continent, with Europe and Asia through existing links,” said Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD.

The baseline study constitutes the first of two phases of the masterplan. The next phase entails the development of the plan itself.

The European Union (EU) agreed to support Phase 1 under its EU Technical Assistance Facility (EU TAF) for sustainable energy, under the scope of the African Union-European Union partnership to harmonize the African Single Electricity Market Regulatory Framework.

The baseline study goals included: a review of the existing masterplans developed by each of the five regional power pools in Africa and to identify power generation capacity and power demand up to 2063 and to develop the terms of reference for phase 2.

“Our continent has a vision to develop a single electricity grid that will guarantee secure, reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity supplies to enhance the economic prospects of the continent, especially for our children. This can only be realized with a well-coordinated, widely accepted and highly articulated masterplan,” said Cheikh Bedda, Director Energy, at the African Union Commission.

The recommendations of the baseline study include: establishing a permanent unit to develop the masterplan in order to produce a skills transfer within AUDA-NEPAD and the five regional power pools, and aligning the plan with existing infrastructure projects, such as those identified under the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), a joint initiative of the African Union Commission, AUDA-NEPAD and the African Development Bank.

The next steps are to develop the terms of reference for phase two and to discuss how the masterplan will be funded.

“The continental masterplan will provide a holistic roadmap to connect countries to each other within a single regional power pool and to connect the power pools into a single electricity market, promoting energy access and regional integration,” said Kevin Kariuki, Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate & Green Growth at the African Development Bank Group.

Over 640 million Africans have no access to energy, corresponding to an electricity access rate for African countries at just over 40 percent, the lowest in the world. Per capita consumption of energy in sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) is 180 kWh, compared to 13,000 kWh per capita in the United States and 6,500 kWh in Europe.


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Africa Energy Forum and AFSIA celebrate winners in 15 categories during the AFSIA Solar Awards 2020
October 29, 2020 | 0 Comments
The winners of the Africa Solar Industry Association (AFSIA) Solar Awards 2020 were unveiled during first-of-its kind online event.

The inaugural AFSIA Solar Awards, organized in partnership with the Africa Energy Forum (aef) , culminated in a grand show streamed online on 29th October. During this ceremony, the winners of 15 categories were unveiled and celebrated.

More than 130 entries were submitted across the different categories from all over the continent over the past few months. The Jury, composed of leading experts in solar energy in Africa, have carefully evaluated each entry to identify the most deserving companies and individuals to be awarded the grand prize during this online ceremony.

Among the 15 categories in competition this year, the most disputed titles included “C&I Project of the Year” and “Mini-Grid Project of the Year”, which is reflective of the increased activity of both of these segments of the African solar industry. “Woman in Solar of the Year” has also been particularly popular among participants. This highlights the very positive trend of the growing involvement of women in the solar industry across the continent.

Utility Scale Project of the year
Sterling & Wilson Solar
for the multi-projects 322 MW contribution to Egypt’s 1.6 GW Benban Solar Complex
Commercial & Industrial Solar Project of the year
CrossBoundary Energy
for the Jabi Lake Mall project in Abuja, Nigeria
Mini Grid Project of the year
Africa GreenTec
for their productive-use based Mini-Grid projects in Mali, Niger and Senegal which are often subject to high security risks
Solar Home System Company of the year
for achieving the target of reaching 100 million people with solar energy
Residential Project of the year
Munyax Eco
for exceptional achievement in the field of Solar Water heaters having installed more than 1,000 units across Rwanda saving 8,000 tons of CO2 per year
African Solar company of the year
ANKA Madagascar
for securing 5 MW worth of mini-grids across Madagascar and for the company’s innovative AgriGrid model
African Solar SME of the year


Solar Box Gabon
for reaching 80,000 Kenyans with Solar Home System solutions while achieving cash-flow break-even and profitability

for developing the “Solar Cube” which doubles the production of traditional solar panels
Financial Advisor of the year
Synergy Consulting Infrastructure and Financial Advisory Services
for their advisory services to cutting-edge large-scale projects across the continent such as the 2×50 MW tender in Botswana, the 32MW Djermaya project in Chad or the world’s first PV-CSP hybrid 200MW project in Egypt
Legal Advisor of the year
Eversheds Sutherland
for their contribution to the Open Solar Contracts with IRENA, the International Renewable Energy Agency, and the Terrawatt Initiative, providing open source standardized contracts to governments across the globe
Technical Advisor of the year
for technical advisory to the Fekola Gold mine hybrid project in Mali, a first of its kind off-grid hybrid project composed of 36 MW of solar, 15.4 MWh of storage, saving 13 million litres of heavy fuel oil annually
DFI of the year
African Development Bank (AfDB)
for establishing SEFA, the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa which has contributed among others First of its kind inventory finance facility for solar irrigation products in East Africa
Woman in Solar of the year
Olaedo Osoka
CEO of Daystar Power Ghana, for leading the expansion of the company from Nigeria to Ghana, Togo and Senegal and realizing C&I projects of 8MW in this 2-years period… only at the age of 27!
Solar Innovation for the year
for their work on the RevivED Water Innovation project, a solar-powered desalination and purification systems for brackish water based on electrodialysis technology providing up to 2000l of clean drinking per day
Solar Picture of the year
Alexandre Skander Allegue – Pawame
for a beautiful picture highlighting the impact of lighting in the most remote areas
Solar video of the year
Joanna Gentili – African Minigrids
for a super inspiring and motivating video about electrifying a village in Malawi
An exceptional and global platform

The awards ceremony was organized in collaboration with aef and was conducted online.

This year, aef joined forces with the African Utility Week & POWERGEN Africa plus Oil & Gas Council’s Africa Assembly this October to host a ‘Digital Africa Energy Festival’ – the largest ever energy event for the African continent.

John van Zuylen, Founder of AFSIA, commented; “AFSIA Solar Awards is delighted to be hosted by this much respected programme and to unveil the winners during a digital ceremony on October 29th.

The event was organized as a great show celebrating exceptional achievement in the solar industry and hosted several African personalities such as Ndumiso Lindi, the host of the awards, and the African band and dance troupe ‘Les Merveilles de Guinee’ who gave a thrilling performance. Several leaders of the global industry such as Huawei, Trina Solar and Jinko Solar also provided their support to make this a truly exceptional event.”

Meet the jury

Applications to the AFSIA Solar Awards were evaluated by some of the most experienced professionals of the African solar industry. These experts reviewed every application independently and selected the best ones in each category.

This year the jury was composed of Eng. Lamya Abdel Hady, Head of Sector Private Projects, EETC (Egypt), Bah F.M. Saho, Executive Director, ECREEE (Cape Verde), Jo Dean, Board Member, SAPVIA (South Africa), Jasandra Nyker Managing Director, Denham Capital (South Africa), Aaron Leopold, CEO, AMDA – Africa Minigrid Developers Association (Kenya), Linda Munyengeterwa, Regional Industry Director for Infrastructure, IFC (South Africa), Izael Da Silva, PhD, Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Research and Innovation Department, Strathmore University (Kenya) and Simon Gosling, Managing Director, EnergyNet (UK).
*SOURCE Africa Energy Forum
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A Ghanaian maize farmer thrives on the ashes of destroyed forest .
October 28, 2020 | 0 Comments
Hundreds of farmers are benefitting from a project that repurposes degraded forest land.

For years, Christiana Akwabea admired the vast fields she visited in neighboring districts to buy maize for reselling and dreamed of one day owning a plot of land where she could grow the staple crop.

But there wasn’t much land for commercial farming in Seikwa in Ghana’s Bono Region, and the local soil is more suitable for cultivating cashew and yam.

In 2017, the mother of six got her wish fulfilled through forest plantation management company Form Ghana, which received a loan from the African Development Bank for a transformative forestry project.

After registering as a farmer with the Form Ghana program, Christiana received land that had once been a forest in Berekum, about 30 km from Seikwa. She harvested around 6,800 kg of maize from the 5-hectare field through intercropping, which involves simultaneously cultivating multiple crops on a particular plot farmland.

“I had always wondered about how I would get farmland for maize and even get money to clear and spray it. But now, all I wait for at the beginning of every farming season is a call from Form Ghana to complete the registration and land will be allocated to me for farming. The memory of this alone is encouraging and gives me a sense of reliability. I’m not burdened with how I will get land and money to prepare the field,” Christiana said.

Form Ghana partnered with the African Development Bank, the Forest Investment Program of the Climate Investment Funds and the government of Ghana, to undertake an innovative public-private partnership in its forest sector. The project entails the reforestation of degraded forest areas in Ghana .

The state of Ghana’s forests has been in decline since the 1970s due to severe overpopulation. Ghana now has over 300,000 ha of highly degraded forest reserve land.

To address the issue, the African Development Bank and the Forest Investment Program of the Climate Investment Funds agreed in 2016 to fund the Restoration of Degraded Forest Reserves through the Certified Plantation project, financed through a $10 million concessional loan from the Climate Invest Funds and $14 million from the African Development Bank.

In the forests managed by Form Ghana, illegal farming was widespread in the past. The company currently offers 629 farmers the option to participate in intercropping.

“Form Ghana sets an example for me as a chief. Amongst my community members, I now promote the planting of trees as a long-term investment. This will give farmers additional income,” said Ɔsabarima Ofori Mensah, Chief of Oforikrom in Berekum.

The Form Ghana project offers a replicable model for larger-scale debt finance for plantation expansion.

“This project and the collaboration between African Development Bank and Form Ghana Ltd. can be a very important step towards enabling the expansion of large-scale reforestation and landscape restoration projects in Africa,” said Paul Hol, Executive Director, Form Ghana Ltd.

The possibilities are already evident for Christiana and her household. She looks forward to doubling the size of her current acreage and has great ambitions for her family.

“I have been able to put up a two-bedroom house. I also funded my son’s trip to attend school in Europe and all my children are in school,” she said.

“I aim to expand my current residence into a full compound house with the inscription ‘Form Ghana Nti’ (‘For the sake of Form Ghana’). I also look forward to continually improving the standard of living of my family and support my children to the highest levels of education.”

Download Document: Ghana – Pioneering Public-Private Partnership in the Forestry Sector.

The African Development Bank Group is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 41 African countries with an external office in Japan, the Bank contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.

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Announcing the operationalisation of a new business model to scale up renewable energy in Zambia and subsequently other countries in Southern Africa
October 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

Africa GreenCo Group, together with its Lusaka-based operating company GreenCo Power Services (together GreenCo), is delighted to announce the investment of USD 1.5m by Denmark’s Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) and Private Infrastructure Development Group’s InfraCo Africa (InfraCo). This investment completes GreenCo’s operational establishment in Lusaka as an intermediary renewable energy buyer/supplier and power services provider and is a precursor to the 2021 capitalisation of our credit support for IPPs.

GreenCo’s transformative role is to mobilise significant private sector investment for renewable energy, to strengthen the national and Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) electricity markets, and to facilitate a shift away from the current single buyer model. The region has great renewable energy potential and is in urgent need for more energy generation to support economic recovery and provide clean and affordable energy to its citizens. GreenCo’s model offers key innovations in the architecture of the electricity market and achieves better value – with more electricity generation and improved security of supply – in partnership (rather than in competition) with established industry players. GreenCo and its investors are focused on supporting the Government of Zambia, as well as the governments of other countries in the SADC region, in the opening of their electricity markets. The company’s operations will contribute towards the implementation of the Government of Zambia’s vision for the electricity sector as set out in the National Energy Policy 2019 and subsequent new energy sector legal and regulatory framework. This represents an important step in scaling-up renewable energy investment to help mitigate climate change, improve security of supply, and increase efficiency in the power sector.

Zambian Minister of Energy, Honourable Matthew Nkhuwa states, “The operationalisation of GreenCo is a great example of national action, and indeed international cooperation, as we strive to deliver affordable energy for all. Notwithstanding the current global economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that we plan for the future, one where renewable energy helps drive sustainable social and economic growth in Zambia.

Honourable Alexander Chiteme, Minister of National Development Planning, said, “Today, we need true paradigm shifts toward low-emission and climate-resilient sustainable development in order to reduce the negative impacts of climate change on sustainable development and growth of Zambia and the Southern African region.  We are delighted to be working with GreenCo and a number of Zambia’s key cooperating partners to ensure that new business models, innovation and systemic change is delivered on the ground and felt by those most in need. Through this model we can attract the significant amount of funding required to harness Zambia’s abundant renewable energy resources.

CEO of IFU, Torben Huss said, “GreenCo is an innovative business model providing a solution that can reduce the financial risk when investing in renewable energy and consequently pave the way for more private investors, which are highly needed if Africa is to succeed in delivering affordable and green energy for all.

Gilles Vaes, InfraCo Africa’s CEO, added that, “GreenCo’s initiative of intermediary power off taker and power trading company is highly innovative and will help the Zambian electricity sector prepare for the future, working together with ZESCO and other key sector stakeholders. The challenges of developing new renewable electricity production in Zambia are great and will require the combined efforts of initiatives such as GreenCo. We look forward to working with GreenCo in helping it to become operational”.

Managing Director of ZESCO, Victor Mundende said, “Innovative solutions such as GreenCo could play an important part in providing alternative offtaker participation in the Zambian ESI, to make new generation projects more easily bankable whilst encouraging the maturation of electricity markets to encourage electricity trade. We look forward to working with GreenCo to deliver a mutually beneficial business model.

CEO of GreenCo, Ana Hajduka added, “We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Government of Zambia, our industry partners and particularly IDC, for their leadership role to date. Our sincere gratitude goes to ZESCO, the Department of Energy, ERB, OPPPI, the Zambian NDA/MNDP and EAZ, and the funders who have supported GreenCo to this point. Their continued support, plus the investments made by IFU and InfraCo Africa are invaluable for the future success of GreenCo. We commend our investors’ continued support of a partnership that delivers clean and affordable electricity to Zambia and, on expansion of GreenCo’s activities, to the region.”

GreenCo’s innovative business model was incubated with grant funding and strategic input from The Rockefeller Foundation, Convergence and the P4G. GreenCo also benefits from the support of SADC PPDF via the Development Bank of Southern Africa and USAID’s Power Africa, of which Africa GreenCo is a private sector partner. Additionally, in December 2018, the Board of Agence Française de Developpement (AFD) approved the provision of a guarantee by AFD to GreenCo. This follows the approval of a guarantee by the European Commission in June 2018 through the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) under the EU External Investment Plan.

About IFU, InfraCo Africa (PIDG), and GreenCo

IFU, the Danish Investment Fund for Developing Countries, is an independent government-owned fund offering advisory services and risk capital to companies doing business in developing countries and emerging markets. Investments are made on commercial terms with the aim of creating economic and social progress as well as supporting the Sustainable Development Goals. For more information please see:

The Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) is an innovative infrastructure development and finance organisation which encourages and mobilises private investment in pioneering infrastructure in the frontier markets of sub-Saharan Africa and south and south-east Asia to promote economic development and combat poverty. PIDG delivers its ambition in line with its values of opportunity, accountability, safety, integrity and impact. Since 2002, PIDG has supported 157 infrastructure projects to financial close and provided 209 million people with access to new or improved infrastructure. PIDG is funded by six governments (the UK, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden, Germany) and the IFC. PIDG TA can provide technical assistance and capital grants to the PIDG Companies to meet a range of needs associated with an infrastructure project’s lifecycle. PIDG TA can also provide up-front viability gap funding grants to support PIDG projects that require concessional funding to make a project with strong development impact financeable. For more information please see:

InfraCo Africa is part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG). InfraCo Africa seeks to alleviate poverty by mobilising private investment into high-quality infrastructure projects in sub-Saharan Africa’s poorest countries. It addresses the risks and costs of early-stage project development: funding teams of experienced developers and providing risk capital to those projects which need the financial commitment and leverage that InfraCo Africa can bring. InfraCo Africa is funded by the governments of the United Kingdom (through FCDO), the Netherlands (through DGIS) and Switzerland (through SECO). For more information please see:

Africa GreenCo Group via its operating entity GreenCo Power Services Limited acts as an intermediary offtaker and service provider, purchasing power from renewable IPPs and selling that electricity to utilities and private sector offtakers (i.e. commercial and industrial users) and markets of the SAPP. GreenCo will mitigate the risk of purchaser default through an ability to secure alternative buyers or through short-term trading on the SAPP electricity markets. Through its participation in competitive power markets, GreenCo will promote cross-border power transactions and a more dynamic and liquid short-term power market. Through its activities, GreenCo will increase the supply of, and demand for, finance for energy projects, and mobilise private sector capital more quickly towards critical and transformative capacity addition.

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Covid-19 Sees Growth of eLearning in Africa, just in time for
October 26, 2020 | 0 Comments
New German-backed platform brings Free, Premium eLearning to Africa’s Jobseekers just as African eLearning Market booms.

BERLIN, Germany, October 26, 2020/ —, a free-to-use eLearning platform, is now available in 54 countries across the continent. Africa’s e-learning market has seen substantial growth due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with the use of e-learning applications and platforms surging as schools and universities are forced to deliver lessons virtually, and people use eLearning platforms to improve their skills profiles during national lockdowns.

The platform joins this market with a particular focus on reaching marginalised populations that previously have not had access to high-quality education. The platform delivers access to best-in-class learning content for Africa’s citizens, transforming lives with training that improves their job prospects and supports entrepreneurial activities. Through connecting people with free, premium educational resources, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH seeks to support African economic growth by closing the skills gaps at home. Moreover, atingi aims to ensure that all members of society can gain the skills necessary to unleash the power of digital transformation – and it has partnered with leading international organisations like the World Bank and Smart Africa, with its 30 member countries to do this.

Commenting on the atingi platform, German Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Gerd Müller said “Digitalisation can help Africa make enormous strides in its development. This new platform offers eLearning opportunities to young people in remote and rural areas. We must harness the full potential of modern technology to create new opportunities for young Africans to enter training, the agricultural sector, medicine or the tech business.”

One of the many changes that have been brought about by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has been the strong growth of eLearning, particularly in Africa. In fact, according to a report by Global Market Insights , the African e-learning sector is expected to reach a market value of US$1.8bn by 2024. Unlike other eLearning platforms, the atingi learning content is developed in cooperation with specialised local African partners, and carefully considers local needs and market, making it unrivalled in contextual relevance. Furthermore, learners that have successfully completed courses are awarded certificates as proof of their learning achievements.

“One of the focus areas of atingi is vocational education, as we know that this will help Africans create and optimise employment opportunities at home (…). We decided to put our learnings to work through contextually relevant content, via state-of-the-art digital learning methods, that anyone with an internet connection can easily access at no cost to them,” explained Michael Krake, the Deputy Director

General for the Private sector, Trade, Employment and Digital Technologies at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The platform is available for use by people throughout Africa and the content on the platform, available in both English and French, is optimised for use on any internet-enabled device, providing learners with flexible learning options to suit their learning styles. In addition to the current self-study learning programmes, in the future, aims to add courses that will be supported by tutors, and even hybrid courses that will combine real-life elements with online sessions.

In many African countries, access to education – especially for girls and rural populations – is a significant inhibitor to economic and social development. We hope that our platform can, in some small way, contribute to breaking this cycle of educational exclusion and promote access to job opportunities for all. We strongly encourage all Africans to visit the platform, register, and take the courses most relevant for their aspirations. It is our mission to help Africa unlock her potential by ensuring her people achieve their employment ambitions, whatever they may be,” concludes Deputy Director General, Michael Krake.

About atingi:
atingi ( is the new digital learning platform of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The platform provides people in Africa with free access to high-quality digital learning content tailored to the local needs and markets. atingi was developed by a team of education and digital experts and works closely with partners on national level, with Smart Africa, an alliance of 30 African digital ministries, and other partners from politics, business, civil society and science.

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Apex Industries Commits to Fund Top Students at National University of Equatorial Guinea
October 24, 2020 | 0 Comments
 Leoncio Amada Nze
Leoncio Amada Nze

As part of Apex Industries social program, the company commits to financially support qualifying students during their academic progress for the next 5 years

Apex Industries, an oil and gas conglomerate based in Equatorial Guinea and headed by Don Leoncio Amada Nze has entered into a 5 year Funding Partnership Agreement with the National University of Equatorial Guinea which will see the company issue scholarships to top talent at the country’s main institution of higher learning. As part of Apex Industries social program, the company commits to financially support qualifying students during their academic progress for the next 5 years.

Apex Industries is a leading oil and gas services company in the central African region. Its activities include the delivery of offshore engineering and maintenance services, oil field logistics services and facility maintenance services. The company, which is headed by its founder and CEO Don Leoncio Amada Nze has an ambitious growth plan to widen its footprint across Africa and along the entire energy value chain.

In order to achieve that, it will have to ensure that it can rely on a constant supply of highly qualified youth. ‘’Our initiative is aimed at offering students in Africa the opportunity to quality education which the National University of Equatorial Guinea provides. We are enthusiastic about this partnership because the youth are the future, not just for Apex Industries, but for the entire continent. They will be in the position to meet the continent’s socio-economic needs and create an impact in their communities,’’ said CEO of APEX Industries and President of the African Energy Chamber, CEMAC Region.

APEX Industries and the African Energy Chamber continue to stress the importance of supporting African institutions and universities by highlighting the shortfalls and implementing strategic plans to address with them adequately, including financing shortfalls. This collaboration also includes a commitment of continuous assessment, in an effort to mobilise the energy sector as a whole to support talent development in Equatorial Guinea in particular and Africa in General.

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Development finance institutions pledge to sustain COVID-19 mitigation, livelihood recovery
October 22, 2020 | 0 Comments
They discussed how to achieve maximum impact in their relief efforts, and the debt sustainability of beneficiary countries.

Multilateral development finance institutions on Wednesday pledged to continue to collaborate in their efforts to mitigate the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and accelerate the recovery of economies and livelihoods.

At an extraordinary virtual meeting to discuss the impact of their responses to the pandemic and the worsening debt situation, the organizations said that sustaining their joint efforts would protect livelihoods, especially among vulnerable populations, preserve macroeconomic stability and promote a stronger private sector role after COVID-19. 

The meeting, chaired by Hajjar Bandar, President of the Islamic Development Bank Group, was attended by the heads of 12 Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs). They discussed how to achieve maximum impact in their relief efforts, and the debt sustainability of beneficiary countries.

Bandar said the collaboration by the MDBs had proven meaningful in their efforts to swiftly provide crucial financial relief to member countries in the wake of the pandemic.

“In the face of this unprecedented crisis, we have shown our responsibility and unity…The total package has already started disbursing and is bearing fruits,” Bandar said.

The joint effort of the MDBs has seen a COVID-19 response envelope of about $230 billion. In addition, the IMF has provided financing to 81 member countries totaling over $100 billion since mid-March, with further room for member countries to tap into its $1 trillion lending capacity through program arrangements.

He urged members to sustain the collaboration to steer financing towards development, help communities out of poverty and spur digitization and promote education. “This forum is where partnerships make a difference. We need to join forces to support our member countries better.”

President of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, said collaboration among development partners has become more vital than ever to help economies recover from the pandemic and attract private financing to rebuild infrastructure.

“We are really…in very extraordinary times. There’s no doubt about it, in terms of the devastation that this pandemic is causing. The challenge is huge and the collective resolve must be strong as MDBs,” he said.

He said efforts must be deepened to help member states mobilize more domestic resources and attract private creditors to participate in financing capital projects.

“It’s time for us to change the paradigm to get the private sector, with incentives, to do a lot of private-public partnerships,” Adesina said, restating the Bank’s commitment to helping Africa rebuild boldly and smartly.

The African Development Bank Group introduced a COVID-19 Response Facility (CRF) of up to $10 billion to support Regional Member Countries and private sector clients in their efforts to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

MDBs represented at the meeting include the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), International Finance Corporation (IFC), International Monetary Fund (IMF), the New Development Bank (NDB), World Bank Group and the African Development Bank.

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Merck Foundation partners with Burundi First Lady to build healthcare capacity, empower girls in education and break the infertility stigma
October 22, 2020 | 0 Comments
Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation & President, Merck More Than a Mother during her meeting with H.E. Madam ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE, The First Lady of Burundi and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother
Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation & President, Merck More Than a Mother during her meeting with H.E. Madam ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE, The First Lady of Burundi and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother

The First Lady of Burundi was also appointed as the Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother during the meeting.

Merck Foundation , the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany partnered with The First Lady of Burundi, H.E. Madam ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE, during a high-level meeting held between Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and Burundi First Lady. During the meeting, Merck Foundation underscored their long-term commitment to continue their efforts to build healthcare capacity, empower girls in education and break the infertility stigma in Burundi. The First Lady of Burundi was also appointed as the Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother during the meeting.

H.E. Madam ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE, The First Lady of Burundi and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother expressed, “I am very happy to partner with Merck Foundation and excited to capitalize on their valuable programs in our country. These programs will create a very significant impact on our people’s advancement, as health is very critical to our social and economic development. As the Ambassador of Merck More than a Mother, I will work closely with Merck Foundation to sensitize our communities to better understand infertility and empower women through access to education, information, health and change of mindset and also empower our girls through education”.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother emphasized, “I am very proud of our partnership with Burundi First Lady and welcome her as the Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother and new member of Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative-MFFLI . We have discussed our long-term collaboration and partnership with her Foundation and Ministry of Health & Ministry of Education to build healthcare capacity in Burundi, by providing training to doctors in the fields of Cancer, Fertility, and Diabetes care. With the outbreak of the global pandemic, building healthcare capacity is more significant than ever, and through our long-term partnership we are looking forward to creating a strong medical army in Burundi.

The Burundi First Lady had also attended Merck Foundation’s first Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative (MFFLI) VC Summit held last month, which was attended by a total of 13 African First Ladies and introduced her development programs in Burundi”.

Merck Foundation has conducted their capacity building programs in Burundi for the past three years through their partnership with Burundi government and Former First Lady of Burundi, H.E. MADAM DENISE NKURUNZIZA 

Merck Foundation has provided specialty training to more than 31 doctors from Burundi and will continue doing so for the next 10 years plan.

Merck Foundation made history by providing training to the first oncologist and fertility specialists and embryologists in Burundi.

So far 10 doctors have completed the fertility and embryology training, and together with Burundi First Lady, more doctors will be trained to improve access to quality and equitable fertility care in the country.

Merck Foundation has also trained the first Oncologist in Burundi and will continue enrolling doctors for oncology fellowship program as a contribution to improve cancer care in the country.

Moreover, Merck Foundation has provided Diabetes care training to twenty doctors and is going to train more doctors, one from each province. After completion of the training, these doctors should be able to establish a diabetes clinic in his/her Health Centre or Hospital with the aim to help prevent and manage the disease in their respective communities.  

“We will continue our new important Program “Educating Linda”, in partnership with the First Lady of Burundi together with the Ministry of Education. Under this program, we have sponsored 20 girls in 2019 and will sponsor the education of 20 best performing girls in their secondary schools this year and fir the next 10 years. We strongly believe that Education is one of the most critical areas of women empowerment”, added Dr. Rasha Kelej, One of 100 Most Influential Africans (2019, 2020).

Merck Foundation also announced a winner from Burundi for their “Stay at Home” Media Recognition Awards from French speaking African Countries.

About ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign:
“Merck More Than a Mother” is a strong movement that aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and change of mind-sets. This powerful campaign supports governments in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe, effective and equitable fertility care solutions. It defines interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention, management and male infertility. In partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information, Education & Gender, academia, policymakers, International fertility societies, media and art, the initiative also provides training for fertility specialists and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.

With “Merck More Than a Mother”, we have initiated a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility at all levels: By improving awareness, training local experts in the fields of fertility care and media, building advocacy in cooperation with African First Ladies and women leaders and by supporting childless women in starting their own small businesses. It’s all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child.

The Ambassadors of “Merck More Than a Mother” are:
H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana
H.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia
H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia

The First Lady of Burundi
H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana
H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic
H.E. CONDÉ DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea Conakry
H.E. AISHA BUHARI, The First Lady of Nigeria
H.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, The First Lady of Chad
H.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of Liberia
H.E FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone
H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo Brazzaville
H.E. MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of Malawi
H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia
H.E. DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI, THE First Lady of Democratic Republic of Congo
H.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique
H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe
Merck Foundation launched new innovative initiatives to sensitize local communities about infertility prevention, male infertility with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and empowering infertile women as part of Merck More than a Mother COMMUNITY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN, such as;
‘Merck More than a Mother’ Media Recognition Awards and Health Media Training
‘Merck More than a Mother’ Fashion Awards
‘Merck More than a Mother’ Film Awards
Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it
Children storybook, localized for each country
About Merck Foundation:
The Merck Foundation , established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to quality & equitable healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Foundation

*SOURCE Merck Foundation
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Cameroon: 20 Youths Selected for the Emerging Leaders 2020 Program
October 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

20 highly skilled and motivated young leaders, below 35, have been selected to participate in the 2020 Emerging Leaders programme. A total of 179 nominations and applications reviewed this year with the class consisting of 11 males and 9 females.

The Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for Democracy launched this unique program targeting promising young leaders based in Cameroon to better prepare a new generation of transformational leaders.

This class represents a highly talented group of very promising young leaders who are destined to make significant contributions to the country and continent,” Fri Asanga, Chief Operating Officer of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation said. “We are very delighted and look forward to working with each of them.”

The Emerging Leaders will participate in a special three (3) day leadership and policy immersion program from the 25th to the 28th of October 2020 in Yaoundé-Cameroon.

Who are the 2020 Emerging Leaders Class?


He is an expert in public action. The CEO and Co-founder of ENDY FREDERIC CONSULTING, a firm specializing in investment counsels, market studies and opinion surveys


Holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and management – option in economic and financial engineering from Faculty of Economics and Management of the University of Yaoundé II, SOA. Presently an intern at the Ministry of Public Health.


A research Assistant Consultant at Security Studies and Human Rights Center (SSHRC) York University (Canada).  He is monitoring and evaluation Assistant in the ‘Programme d’Appui à l’Initiative Communautaire’ (PAIC). He has also worked as field Coordinator in Mayo-Sava in the Project ‘Transformation Pacifique des conflits’. He is a master’s holder in International Development.

MEDJO MEKO Cyriaque Junior

Master in International Relations, option Regional Integration and Management of Community Institutions from the Institute of International Relations of Cameroon (IRIC). Secretary-General of Family Green Corporation, Yaoundé branch since 2019, he participated in training workshops on personal development (YALI NETWORK). 


Master in International Cooperation, Humanitarian action and sustainable development – Option Humanitarian Action- International Relations Institute of Cameroon. Project manager at the NGO EMIDA Cameroon (2020).  Intern at the Ministry of Economy, planning and Regional development (2017), a field agent for the Central Africa Office at the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (2016).


Medical Doctor with relevant training with YALI Accra Regional leadership Center (2020), West Africa, Doctors without Borders (2017), Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation (MINRESI) (2013). He is UN Volunteer Medical Officer, Chief Medical Officer at EKONA Sub-divisional Hospital, Muyuka health district.


Holder of a Masters in international relations from the Institute of International Relations of Cameroon (IRIC), he is a diplomat, head of the relations with the countries of North-East Africa at the Directorate of African Affairs at the Ministry of external affairs of Cameroon. He participated in the Imperial Garden Cup in China in 2016, delegate to the 2017 United Nations International Model Forum in Beijing, a panellist at the World Youth Forum in 2018, delegate of Cameroon to the Aswan Forum on Peace and Sustainable development 2019.


Partnership Coordinator at HerStory Initiation where she supervises operations of programs in Cameroon. She is also a WWF Cameroon Business and Industries Assistant where she advocates and Supports Government in the development of policies that support best practices in the palm oil and extractive sectors in Cameroon. Afrika Youth Movement -Partnership Coordinator where she supports the development and implementation of activities aimed at specifically youth participation and young civil society regionally and internationally.


Holder of a master’s degree in public health andPresident/CEO of Reconciliation and Development Association- a youth-run development organization. Secretary-General (SG), Cameroon Civil Society NCD Alliance (CACSNA) where he coordinated the Central African sub-region in the development, adoption and implementation of NCD Civil Society Advocacy actions and governance structure.


Trainee with several international organizations such as the UNHCR of Bertoua / Batouri, the Cameroonian Red Cross, Network for the promotion of regional integration in Central Africa. He holds a Masters in international relations, regional integration option and management of community institutions (IRMIC).


A PhD scholar in sociology of the University of Buea. A highly dynamic, motivated and trilingual Cameroonian. Acquired good working knowledge in community development, monitoring and evaluation of projects. Has experience in Research development, and considerable experience implementing projects. A trained case manager in GBV prevention activities.

To know more about the Emerging leaders batch, visit

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New funding to improve water security for 10 million people in Africa and Asia by 2024
October 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

New funding from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) will support global research and practice to improve water security for 10 million people in Africa and Asia. The FCDO’s grant to the University of Oxford will now extend to 2024 and increase to £22.5 million, to support the REACH programme improve water security by delivering world-class science to transform policy and practice.

Professor Charlotte Watts, Chief Scientific Advisor and Director of Research & Evidence Division, at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office says, ‘More than ever, we recognise that water security, that is ensuring sufficient quantity and quality of water for different uses with an acceptable level of risk, is critical to the health, well-being and prosperity of people. We know that the poorest, and most disadvantaged, often lack safe and affordable water to drink or wash their hands, and are hit hardest by extremes in weather.  The REACH programme, led by the University of Oxford, has made advances in science, policy and practice to understand and address these inequalities for over two million people since 2015. I am delighted that the FCDO is supporting additional REACH work which will help deliver water security for 10 million poor people in Africa and Asia by 2024.’

The REACH programme’s work, which began in 2015, has already improved water security for more than two million people, working with UNICEF and in partnership with government, private sector and academia in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice Chancellor, University of Oxford, says, ‘The mission of the University of Oxford since the time of its foundation has been to conduct research, to educate the next generation, and to contribute to the world around it. The REACH programme admirably reflects that mission through its advancement of interdisciplinary science for the benefit of those most in need.

‘We at Oxford are committed to supporting the next phase of the work in order to improve the lives of over 10 million people who are desperately in need of support.  We are very grateful to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office for funding this work and to our many partners across the globe who collaborate with us in advancing the goals of REACH.’

Kelly Ann Naylor, Associate Director, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Section, Programme Division, says, ‘UNICEF works to protect the rights of every child, everywhere. We recognise water insecurity as a major threat to millions of children living with unacceptable water, sanitation and hygiene services at home, in schools and in health care facilities. Our partnership with REACH recognises science has a critical role in designing and delivering effective policy and improving practice on the ground. We are delighted to continue this collaboration and build on our work in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Kenya.’

Today, REACH is also launching a new Global Strategy for 2020-2024, which recognises the progress to date and identifies gaps to strengthen future work aligned to four priority themes:  climate resilience, institutions, water quality and inequalities.

REACH’s work on inequalities is of the highest priority to support the UK Government’s commitment to eradicate poverty. Gendered inequalities in pay, legal rights or access to quality education is often increased with floods and droughts which make basic water services unaffordable, unreliable or unsafe to drink. REACH will be working to understand and respond to these inter-sectional inequalities in ongoing work.

According to REACH Directors, Professors Rob Hope and Katrina Charles, ‘The COVID-19 pandemic has starkly illustrated how multiple water security risks affect the lives and livelihoods of billions of people across Africa and Asia. For example, the pandemic has compounded the severity of the impacts resulting from water-related climate hazards, such as floods, droughts and cyclones. Ensuring water infrastructure functions with affordable, reliable and safe services in these complex environments in times of crisis is critical to protect vulnerable individuals, communities, schools and healthcare facilities. Building water secure institutions reduces the need for and the cost of emergency funding to avoid unnecessary hardship on the most vulnerable and increases resilience to future risks and shocks.’


REACH has advanced science, new thinking and evidence to collaborate in rethinking law, policy and practice to benefit excluded and vulnerable people.

Oxford-led science has developed biosensor technologies to monitor the health of rivers in Dhaka complemented by studies of river-use behaviours to identify and protect vulnerable people’s lives and livelihoods. Performance-based funding models are providing communities, schools and healthcare facilities with guarantees to keep water flowing for over one million people in rural Africa during droughts, political unrest and COVID-19. Communicating climate science with river basin managers in Ethiopia is strengthening decisions to allocate water more fairly and to model water quality risks across industrial, agricultural, livestock and domestic users.

The REACH programme is led by the School of Geography and the Environment and the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, in collaboration with the Department of Engineering Science and the Department of International Development. UNICEF at the global, regional and county office is a key partner in collaboration with national governments and their relevant ministries.

The Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka University, icddr,b, University of Nairobi and the Water and Land Research Centre (University of Addis Ababa) lead our scientific work in each focus country linked to a global network of partners, including IFPRI, IRC, IWA and RWSN:

To find out more about REACH’s work to date, and upcoming plans, you can read the programme’s new Global Strategy 2020-2024.

About Oxford University

Oxford University has been placed number one in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for the fifth year running, and at the heart of this success is our ground-breaking research and innovation. Oxford is world-famous for research excellence and home to some of the most talented people from across the globe.

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