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Botswana: African Development Bank supports development finance agency BDC with $80 million Line of Credit
February 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

Gaborone, Botswana, 24  February 2020 – The African Development Bank and the Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) on Friday signed a Line of Credit (LOC) totaling $80 million to help scale up key investments in the southern African country.

BDC will on-lend to specific target groups, focusing on industrialization including manufacturing, transport and service sectors that have significant development impact.

Repayment will be over 10 years, including a two-year grace period.

Signing on behalf of the Bank, Mohamed Kalif, Manager, Financial Intermediation and Inclusion Division, said: “The African Development Bank is excited to collaborate with BDC to promote private sector development, as well as support broad-based economic growth in Botswana.”

Kalif noted that the facility is the largest to be extended to a financial institution in Botswana and that the Bank is very proud of its partnership with BDC, the country’s main development finance agency. The institution is also one of the largest investors and a key promoter of the country’s industrialization agenda.

This support will contribute immensely to BDC’s efforts to broaden access to credit for transformative sectors in Botswana, thereby contributing to building resilience and diversifying the Botswanan economy. The loan “will contribute positively to growing the manufacturing sectors as well as reduce funding constraints on local enterprises,” Kalif added.

The facility will also be used to promote private sector development and to foster broad-based economic growth through job creation, increased productivity and to enhance household incomes. It will complement the government of Botswana’s efforts to diversify, expand and transform the economy and support value chain projects that enhance regional economic activities.

The BDC, wholly owned by the state, was established in 1970 as a limited liability company. Its goal is to promote and facilitate the development of industrial, commercial, and agricultural enterprises in line with the government’s plan for economic development.  

The company is mandated to invest locally and outside of Botswana, linking local businesses with intra-Africa enterprises. It is a key player in the development of industrial parks and warehousing facilities to support industries and logistics enterprises.

The intervention by the Bank is well aligned with its flagship High Five priorities, in particular“Industrialize Africa”, and “Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa”, as well as the Bank’s Ten-year Strategy, which aims to assist African countries to attain inclusive growth and gradually transition to green growth.

*AFDB


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Cameroon: Market Competition is a sector that needs Regularization — panelists say at Nkafu Debate
February 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Panelists noted that Cameroon has to come up with strategies to develop its economy
Panelists noted that Cameroon has to come up with strategies to develop its economy

Panelists at the last edition of the Nkafu debate have said that Market competition is good for Cameroon’s economy as it encourages innovation and creativity. The panelists for and against were arguing on the motion, “Is Market Competition Good for Cameroon’s Industrialization”?

The event organized by the Nkafu Policy Institute of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation in partnership with Atlas Network sought to compare the views of different Cameroonian experts on the best way to spur industrialization in Cameroon. The Nkafu debates are non-politicized debates which are based on evidence, facts, and statistics.

Main areas of concern included Industrialization, Structural Transformation, Market Competition, Economic Development, International Trade, and Economic Emergence Public Policies.

Dr. Louis Marie Kakdeu, Economist and Policy Fellow at the Nkafu Policy Institute said that market competition is a sector that needs to be regularized by the state to avoid any unfair competition, as he argues for the fact that Market competition is good for Cameroon’s industrialization.

Competition is a major pillar of free-market systems. Competition policy is about applying rules to make sure businesses and companies compete fairly with each other. It encourages efficiency, creates a wider choice for consumers and helps reduce prices and improve quality.

To Chanceline Boutchouang, Economits, Consultant and Researcher said: “Cameroon has to come up with strategies to develop its economy. We have to initiate intelligent protectionism, and organize the economy’s industrialization by sector. The economy should only be opened if strict rules are set,” Boutchouang says in his argument for.

Panelists and participants debating on whether Market Competition is good for Cameroons Industralization

According to liberals, competition is inevitable and good for countries. They believe an important advantage of competition is innovation. Indeed, innovation spurs the invention of new and better products, or it helps to create lower-cost manufacturing processes. As a result, it drives economic growth, creates more employment opportunities and increases standards of living. Another advantage of competition is that of economies of scale and technology transfers. Companies can increase their global presence by operating in more and more overseas markets.

Contrary to the above arguments, protectionists believe competition is not good for an economy. Mr. Rene Mezene, Entrepreneur and CEO at Proxy Services in his argument against said it is not the time for Cameroon to open its market economy because of the reality of the local context. To him, “We do not have the technical capacity to open our market frontiers to competitors.”

The point of view was supported by Dr Lamine Himbe, Civil Administrator and Researcher at MINDMIT, in his stance against market competition being good for Cameroon’s industrialization. According to him: “Competition becomes complex in International market because it is difficult to input measures to protect weaker countries.”

According to protectionists, small companies do not have all the extra benefits or capital to expand and outsource like large companies. In addition, protectionists argue that competition decreases market share and shrinks customer base, especially if demand for products or services is limited from the start.

In 2019, the government of Cameroon has drafted the National Strategy for Development 2020-2030. This strategy lays more emphasis on industrialization and the structural transformation of the economy. Indeed, the secondary sector is only 15.6% of companies while the tertiary sector represents 84.2% of companies according to the second General Census of Companies (2016). Also, small businesses dominate the economic fabric in Cameroon as they represent 98.5% of the total of companies.

The main areas of concern at the Nkafu Debate included Industrialization, Structural Transformation, Market Competition, Economic Development, International Trade.
The main areas of concern at the Nkafu Debate included Industrialization, Structural Transformation, Market Competition, Economic Development, International Trade.

However, Cameroon faces major structural challenges and negative shocks including an alarming poverty level, government remaining the largest employer, the worsening security situation in the North West and South West Regions, the conflict with Boko Haram in the North Region, and the recent currency crisis as a result of excessive imports. In addition, small businesses in Cameroon face major obstacles that prevent them from growing. These obstacles include high tax rates, financial exclusion, and corruption.

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The International Energy Agency (IEA) appoints first Africa Programme Manager to expand engagement on energy issues across the continent
February 25, 2020 | 0 Comments
Maximilian Jarrett
Maximilian Jarrett
IEA seeks to expand its analysis and partnerships with African countries, as the continent’s role in global energy affairs expands

PARIS, France, February 24, 2020/ — The International Energy Agency (IEA) (https://www.IEA.org/) hired Maximilian Jarrett as its first Africa Programme Manager to help expand the Agency’s reach and coordinate its work as it deepens its engagement across the continent.

Mr Jarrett brings 30 years of experience in the fields of international economic affairs, media production and strategic communications. He most recently served as the Director-in-Charge of the Geneva-based Africa Progress Panel, which was chaired by the late Kofi Annan, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former UN Secretary General.

The IEA has long focused on Africa’s energy sector, including work on the continent’s energy access issues since 2002. This work has since expanded significantly and will continue to do so in the coming years. Last year, Dr Kandeh Yumkella, a former United Nations Under-Secretary-General, became (http://bit.ly/37SViLt) an advisor to the IEA on Africa and energy access issues.

In October, the IEA published Africa Energy Outlook 2019 (http://bit.ly/37TlIfS) its most comprehensive and in-depth work to date about the continent, with a particular emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa. The special report, part of the IEA’s flagship World Energy Outlook, highlighted Africa’s increasing role in global energy affairs and included detailed energy profiles of 11 countries that represent three-quarters of the region’s gross domestic product and energy demand, including Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya and Ghana.

The IEA is also strengthening its relationships with African energy decision-makers (http://bit.ly/37UPXDe). South Africa and Morocco are part of the IEA family as Association countries. In May 2019, the IEA and the African Union Commission co-hosted their first joint ministerial summit at which the two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding to guide future collaboration. A second ministerial forum will be held in 2020, with South Africa offering to host the event in line with its 2020 presidency of the African Union.

Prior to his role with the Africa Progress Panel, Mr Jarrett spent over a decade working with the United Nations in Africa. He had started his career in 1990 as a programme presenter and senior producer with the BBC World Service. He worked on Focus on Africa and Network Africa, the BBC’s daily current affairs programmes for its audience in Africa.

The International Energy Agency (https://www.IEA.org/), the global energy authority, was founded in 1974 to help its member countries co-ordinate a collective response to major oil supply disruptions. Its mission has evolved and rests today on three main pillars: working to ensure global energy security; expanding energy cooperation and dialogue around the world; and promoting an environmentally sustainable energy future.

* SOURCE International Energy Agency (IEA)
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Africa Water crisis: A security issue-Ugandan speaker of parliament.
February 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica

Speaker of parliament for the Republic of Uganda, Rt Hon. Speaker Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga has made an urgent call to African countries to treat issues relating Potable drinking water and sanitation and Hygiene WASH in Africa as a security issue. At the opening ceremony of Water Association International Congress and Exhibition (AfWA-ICE2020) ongoing in Kampala Uganda Rt. Hon. Speaker who officially opened the 20th congress for African countries to deliberate on WASH issues bedeviling the continent, bemoaned how water scarcity is causing rape and other forms of social vices in her country. Entreating the AFWA 2020 and the Professional women for water Networks and key partners to come up with workable solutions to address the situation in respective countries. The extent of this WASH issues she said is preventing men from performing their conjugal duties. Since the women have to wake up very early in search for water, preventing men having access to their wives.  

Abderrahim El Hafidi, AfWA’s president, said African countries are faced with immense water and sanitation challenges. And the need to face the challenge and focus on identifying new breakthroughs. Both scientific research and good practices is rife for every country. Calling for a common front to foster interactions with development partners, financing institutions and solution providers towards achieving universal and equitable access to safe drinking water and quality sanitation on the continent.

The biannual congress which is being hosted by Uganda’s National Water and The African Water Association International Congress and Exhibition 2020 (AfWA-ICE2020) aims to provide a platform for African water and sanitation experts to reflect on Africa’s progress in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Clean water and sanitation. Theme: “Breaking new grounds to accelerate access to safe water and sanitation for all in Africa holds from February 24–27, at the Kampala Serena International Conference Center, in Kampala, Uganda–to share ideas and resources; to look for new breakthroughs and innovations; to cooperate between nations, between generations and between disciplines–been more urgent as a continent in addressing WASH and achieving SDG6.

The congress coincides with the celebration of the 40 years anniversary of the African Water Association (AfWA) and the launch of the African Water and Sanitation Academy is a huge platform for solutions for water issues in Africa, he added. According to  El Hafidi the African Water Association (AfWA), known as Union of African Water Suppliers (UAWS), a professional association of establishments, enterprises and utilities operating in the areas of drinking water, sanitation and environment in Africa have come a long way with the subject since its inception in 1980; its membership cuts across over 40 countries on the African continent. About 2,500 participants from over 100 countries are in attendance

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A cup of ‘Filth’ for breakfast in Africa
February 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica

It was a typical Monday morning; I recall. While monitoring the media landscape in Ghana to check which stories,were making headlines as I braced for the day’s work. I am not surprised at the usual party politics that dominates the airwaves amidst the looming danger; -the filth engulfing the capital pose to public health. Oh!  Come Saturday is a Sanitation Day!! the presenter exclaimed in a local palace entreating citizens to go out in their numbers to clean their environment. What about it, the party communicator quizzed? Every day is sanitation day, he replied. They brushed it aside while a heated argument about free SHS sets in. Unlike political stories that mostly dominate the airwaves, ‘’A cup of filth for breakfast’’ it is for Razack unawares while he drinks his cup of porridge with other prospective buyers. Probably, the sanitation topic on the radio would have reminded her to be conscious of her environment and the food she sells.

Muniratu Yakubu has sold millet porridge for 3 years, sitting close to garbage at her usual spot at Nima- a densely populated suburb in Accra. -’I am Munira Yakubu I sell millet porridge for close to three years at this very spot. The reason the place is filthy is that the garbage container is full.  But residents keep pouring on until authorities come to pick it up.’’  To the buyers, it was just hunger they want to quench, not knowing it was a cup of filth’’ they are consuming. The phenomenon of selling close to filths is getting too comfortable for some traders as they sell a cup of the filth to every buyer who buys breakfast and pre-prepared foods like smoked fish among others.

Countries, like Ghana in the sub-Saharan Africa, are struggling with Sanitation issues. Where governments plan to address rural- urban Migration, attitudinal issues coupled with improper waste management remains a challenge. A report published by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and the Urban sanitation research initiative reveals Ghana is one of the most urbanized countries in Africa. As a result, infrastructure has not kept pace with cities’ expansion and a high level of its rural-urban migration. According to the report sanitation management has been at the bottom on government priorities in Africa making it difficult for them to achieve the SDGs 6.

 Programs Manager, for African Ministers Council on water AMCOW, Kitchinme Bawa Gotau said although, African countries have taken the step to structure its systems for achieving success in the WASH area across board it is crucial that strategies are fast-tracked to save the continent from endemic diseases in association with lack of WASH facilities. Commending countries who have taken the steps in creating independent ministries to spearhead ‘WASH’ issues, he maintained until sanitation issues are address those steps will be fruitless. ‘’ AMCOW is 18 years. We have had a high impact in the ‘WASH’ sector. Countries have taken the bold steps to create and start independent entities to tackle WASH. But they need to do more to the attainment of a free sanitation continent devoid diseases’’.  Sub-Saharan Africa still struggle with cholera and other public health issues amidst plans, programs to improve ‘WASH’.

However, civil societies Organizations plying the sector believe, a concerted effort it needs a concerted effort to drive home demands and resources for African countries to address its ‘WASH’ issues. As a result, Communications, Advocacy and Policy Opportunities and Outreach for Poop (CAPOOP) a voluntary alliance of organizations committed to achieving access to adequate and fair sanitation and hygiene for all has a common front poised at ending open defecation, pay special attention to girls and women on the continent. The alliance which comprises 16 different Civil Society Groups including Speak up Africa a West African based strategic communications and advocacy organization have selected eight sanitation Media Fellows across the African in Uganda to champion WASH projects in their respective countries.

The selected journalists were Jessica Ahedor (Ghana), Kenneth Kavulu (Uganda), Likpete Kokou Jesdias (Benin Republic), Amani Mounkaila (Niger Republic), Mouniratu Lougue (Burkina Faso), and Abdullahi Tsanni (Nigeria). Others include Nadege Christelle Bowa Tchantchou (Cameroon), and Jenipher Asiimwe (Uganda).

The Fellows from both Anglo and Francophone countries will work on their respective projects aimed at achieving sustainable development goal 6 with a financial and technical support from CAPOOP and speak up Africa alliance pool.

The programs officer for Speak up Africa Aida Kabo is optimistic the alliance will be an impactful one because the players are chatting a common path unlike the individual pockets of works done in the past.  ‘’This is will propel us towards achieving one goal because the pocket of works done over the years were in isolation’’ 

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African Development Bank issues call to strengthen fertilizer value chains at Argus Africa Fertilizer Conference
February 22, 2020 | 0 Comments
Participants also discussed the need for closer cooperation between development partners and commercial banks to create exclusive fertilizer financing opportunities throughout Africa

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, February 21, 2020/ — The African Development Bank (https://www.AfDB.org) urged development finance institutions, NGOs, farmer cooperatives, and the private sector to develop more effective financing solutions for Africa’s fertilizer value chains. The Bank’s call to action came during the Argus Africa Fertilizer Conference held on 19 February. The conference’s theme was Supporting the fertilizer value chain to improve agricultural productivity and economic growth in the region.

“Appropriate investment and financing of the entire fertilizer value chain has become a precondition for achieving our continental objectives in the area of agricultural development,” said Marie-Claire Kalihangabo, coordinator of the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism, during a forum on the side-lines of the Conference. 

AFFM is a Fund managed by the African Development Bank to accelerate agriculture development in line with the Bank’s High-5 priority, Africa Food Security Vision, the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Bank and AFFM staff presented tools and strategies to remove pain points in the fertilizer value chains of African countries, including fertilizer guarantee instruments (http://bit.ly/2Vb3PGY), loans to support fertilizer production (http://bit.ly/32h1CLB) as well as access to inputs like seeds and crop protectants.

“The success of Africa’s agriculture agenda requires a synergistic approach that will bring down barriers and silos that are still hampering the development of the fertilizer sector in Africa,” said Mahamadou Nassirou Ba, Economic Affairs Officer at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

Participants also discussed the need for closer cooperation between development partners and commercial banks to create exclusive fertilizer financing opportunities throughout Africa and bolster small and medium enterprises in the fertilizer sector. SMEs are thought to represent the key to providing smallholder farmers with quality fertilizer.

Edward Mabaya, Manager of the Bank’s Agribusiness Development Division said digital solutions like the e-wallet in Nigeria could play a more significant role in revitalizing and connecting the fertilizer supply chain. “The digital transformation can greatly help actors of the fertilizer value chain to streamline their processes and achieve better results.” Mabaya said during the AFFM’s forum.

The Forum provided an opportunity for Mali to showcase how effective public-private collaboration and better organization of value-chain actors helped raise the country’s fertilizer use to 50kg of nutrients per hectare. In achieving this, the country met a target set in the 2006 Abuja Declaration on Fertilizer for the African Green Revolution (http://bit.ly/2P9WHGU)

“The success story of Mali’s fertilizer expansion is partly due to the presence of inter-professional committees per crop,” said Oumar Guindo, General Manager of the Toguna Agro Industries, a fertilizer company based in Mali.

*AFDB
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One step closer to clean energy for 30 million people in Africa
February 21, 2020 | 0 Comments
  • Africa’s first regional PPP hydropower project reaches key milestone
  • Finance Minister signs grant agreement with European Investment Bank in Bujumbura
  • EUR 9 million European support unlocks final preparatory works for Ruzizi III hydro project
  • Follows 10 years of EIB and EU financial support for preparation of 147MW hydropower scheme
  • Project backed by Burundi, Rwanda, DRC and private consortium to transform regional energy

The first Public Private Partnership (PPP) project to generate renewable energy from shared resources in Africa came closer to reality today following signature of a key agreement to enable preparatory works to commence.

The Ruzizi III hydropower project will generate reliable electricity from the Ruzizi river to be shared equally between the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Rwanda.

The regional renewable energy project will benefit an estimated population of 30 million people, 70% of whom are living under the poverty line and at present only 6% of whom can access electricity.

“Harnessing the full potential of the Ruzizi River has been a dream for Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo for generations. The long-standing support of international financial partners and close cooperation with regional governments has been crucial to enable technical, political and environmental planning to progress. Today’s agreement with the European Investment Bank will enable project financing to be agreed in the coming months and the Ruzizi III project to finally begin. Burundi thanks all partners involved for their dedication to transforming access to clean energy in the Great Lakes” said Domicien Ndihokubwayo, Finance Minister of the Republic of Burundi.

“The European Investment Bank, the European Union and the project financiers have worked closely with the Burundi, Rwandan and DRC government for more than 10 years to ensure that Africa’s first three country PPP clean energy project can become a reality and ensure access to electricity for millions of people. Today’s agreement demonstrates the European Union’s firm commitment to supporting renewable energy in Africa and unlock support of private investors for sustainable development.” said Ambroise Fayolle, European Investment Bank Vice President. 

“The European Union is committed to supporting access to clean energy in Africa and our close cooperation with local and international partners is enabling geotechnical work for Ruzizi III to finally start. The Ruzizi III project represents the EU Green Deal for Africa in reality.” said the European Union Delegation to Burundi.

“The signing of the €9.1 M grant for the project is a significant moment for the project as it complements sponsor contributions from IPS and SN Power towards the funding of the pre-financial close development activities.  For this, IPS and SN Power are truly grateful to EIB and the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund who have availed the grant, thereby considerably de-risking the Project. It is an impressive example of how public-private cooperation can facilitate early stage development of complex projects”. said Mr Galeb Gulam, CEO of Industrial Promotion Services.

Earlier today Domicien Ndihokubwayo, Finance Minister of the Republic of Burundi, and representatives of the European Investment Bank, signed a EUR 9.1 million grant agreement to enable preparatory work to commence. This follows the signaurtre of the grant agreemnt in January by the Finance Minister of

Rwanda and the private sector developer IPS/SN Power. The grant will be provided by the European Union through the EU-Africa Infrastructure  Trust Fund and managed by the European Investment Bank.

Ensuring access to reliable renewable energy for the Great Lakes region

Once commissioned, Ruzizi III will double Burundi’s current electricity generation capacity, increase Rwanda’s installed capacity by 33% and provide much-needed baseload power in Eastern DRC, a region that is otherwise isolated from DRC’s interconnected grid.

Protecting African forests and reducing dependence on charcoal

The Ruzizi III project will support regional integration and reduce reliance on expensive thermal generation and reduce the local dependence on wood fuel and charcoal; a major threat to the countries’ forests and biodiversity. The project will be supported by concessional funding to ensure affordable electricity tariffs.

Project progress follows decade of technical preparation and political agreements

Today’s milestone signature follows agreement between the governments of Burundi, DRC and Rwanda and the private sector sponsors of the Power Purchase Agreements in July last year.

Flagship European Union support for private sector clean energy investment in Africa

The European Union, the EIB and other European financial partners have supported the Ruzizi III project since 2009 and followed international technical, environmental and social best practice.

International financial institutions including the European Investment Bank, the European Union, Kreditanstalt Für Wiederaufbau (KFW), the French Development Agency (AFD), the African Development Bank (AfDB), as well as the World Bank are supporting the project.

Fostering regional cooperation in the Great Lakes

Today’s Ruzizi III is also supported by regional organisations including the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (ECGLC), the  Nile Basin Initiative and the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program (NELSAP).

Financial close of the Ruzizi III hydropower project is expected to be agreed by mid-2021.

Background information:

About the European Investment Bank:

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.

Press contacts:

European Union Delegation to Burundi

Tony Nsabimana, Attaché Presse et Information

Tel: +257 22 20 22 54

Email: tony.nsabimana@eeas.europa.eu

European Investment Bank

Richard Willis, r.willis@eib.org, Tel.: +352 4379 82155, +352 621 555 758

Website: www.eib.org/press – Press Office: +352 4379 21000 – press@eib.org

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Beyond policy and public investment: the SDG imperative for business
February 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Karnika Yadav *

Karnika Yadav is Associate Partner - Business Consulting & Research, Intellecap Advisory Services Private Limited
Karnika Yadav is Associate Partner – Business Consulting & Research, Intellecap Advisory Services Private Limited

There is only one road left to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set for Africa for 2030 and that’s through sustainable businesses. For the sluggish progress to date has been primarily a consequence of ‘putting all our eggs in one basket’ and expecting the state to deliver the SDGs, which it cannot.

A prime obstacle in that is finance. The SDG Center for Africa estimates the financing gap to achieve the SDGs is running at between $500bn and $1.2tn a year. That is simply beyond the reach of the public sector, with the Center estimating that delivering basic state functions of health care, education, water, energy, and road infrastructure requires more than 50 per cent of the GDP of most African countries.

However, for the private sector, pursuing the 2030 goals of eradicating Africa’s hunger, poverty, and inequality and improving healthcare will deliver its own rewards, creating business opportunities worth more than a trillion dollars a year, according to United Nation estimates.

In the absence of that private sector mobilisation, progress remains achingly slow.

The 2019 Sustainable Development Goal Three-Year Reality Checker Report found only five countries in Africa – Seychelles, Mauritius, Morocco, Egypt and Algeria – that had met the SDG target of three per cent poverty by 2015.

Yet the problem is substantially one of mindset. For, while achieving the right policies and public investment is necessary for delivering the SDGs, we need to abandon the idea that it is enough and focus more rigorously on developing SDG aligned businesses.

It is not viable to expect nation states to achieve a tax take, or a debt load, of 50 per cent of GDP to deliver basic services when the continent is home to a vast informal sector that contributes no government revenue at all. That ‘basic needs’ bill is just unmeetable without a leap forward in business and GDP growth.

And just as public sector SDG success depends on private sector take-off, so too does the private sector’s success.

Investing in SDG-focused businesses, calculates the UN, would create over 85 million jobs in Africa by 2030, which would in turn create new consumers and new markets.

Indeed, even relatively small investments in SDG-focused businesses can produce huge returns. For instance, investing in agriculture technology to reduce food waste could generate $57bn a year in additional revenues, based on evidence from Rwanda, where small metal silos or plastic crates have reduced post-harvest losses by over 60 per cent and increased smallholder farmers’ incomes by more than 30 per cent.

If private businesses collaborate with local governments to provide larger infrastructures, such as ports, oil and gas extractives, power plants and automotive, shared revenue of over $296bn could be generated and nearly 16 million jobs, according to the UN’s estimates. There could be further benefits too from using local materials for such works.

Likewise, providing affordable housing, clean water and sanitation, infrastructure and energy solutions, such as solar lanterns and improved cooking stoves to urban dwellers, has a potential revenue value of $214bn a year and could create over 32 million jobs.

Such growth is typical for businesses focused on achieving SDGs. Indeed, research conducted by the Business and Sustainable Development Commission (BSDC) shows that business that is focused in SDG areas also achieves more value locally.

For instance, reports the BSDC, 71 per cent of the value of food and agriculture businesses is retained in developing countries, 60 per cent of health and wellness businesses, 54 per cent of energy and materials, and 54 per cent of the value of upgrading and developing new cities.

Overall, business models that are directed towards achieving Africa’s SDGs have proven to work to the benefit of both consumers and businesses, which is why thy lie at the heart of all we are doing at Intellecap and at next week’s 7th Sankalp Summit for entrepreneurs in Nairobi.

Our initiatives to support private sector SDG initiatives include research, partnerships and projects spanning ideal adaptive technologies, such as rural solar mini-grids; private sector capacity building among communities displaced by projects such as the Olkaria geothermal plant; and assisting small producers into value addition and niche markets, in tea, in bamboo, and multiple other high potential areas.

We have no doubt that without a recalibration of our private sector SDG efforts, the 2030 goals for Africa will go unmet, whereas if we now see and seize this opportunity, no African will be left untouched by the benefits borne of SDG-focused entrepreneurs.

*Karnika Yadav , Associate Partner – Business Consulting & Research, Intellecap Advisory Services Private Limited

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Paradigm Initiative Selects Inaugural Digital Rights and Inclusion Learning Lab (DRILL) Fellow
February 20, 2020 | 0 Comments
Folasewa Olatunde

Accra – Ghana,  February 18, 2020 – Folasewa Olatunde, a second-year doctoral student at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, USA, has been selected  as the pioneer fellow for the newly introduced Digital Rights and Inclusion Learning Lab (DRILL) at Paradigm Initiative. 

“We are pleased to announce the selection of Folasewa Olatunde, and we’re also excited about the quality of applications the fellowship, though just starting, attracted,” said ‘Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative. 

“There are both enormous challenges and opportunities for realizing the ambitious task of creating an inclusive, healthy, safe and open Internet in the coming decade for all Africans and we hope this fellowship will offer a space for big thinking, evaluation of digital rights and digital inclusion programs, and future-proofing of ecosystem activities,” Mr. Sesan added.

Digital Rights and Inclusion Learning Lab (DRILL) is Paradigm Initiative’s project to host innovative learning around digital rights and inclusion in Africa.

Headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, the learning lab serves as a space for both practice and reflection, aimed to involve and connect different stakeholders and create dialogue amongst researchers, social innovators, policymakers and actors, the private sector, as well as civil society.

Learning activities will take place at the lab in order to evolve new thinking on digital rights and inclusion strategy for Africa. There are a variety of activities that will take place, including but not limited to, focused future-facing research; presentations; ecosystem meetings and discussions focused on digital rights and/or inclusion hosted within the ecosystem; and general communication about the lab’s activities.

Meanwhile, the Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellowship, another Paradigm Initiative project, has attracted 116 applications from 19 countries.  This is according to a statement released by Paradigm Initiative, a social enterprise working on digital rights and inclusion in Africa.

The pioneer Digital Rights and Inclusion Learning Lab fellow, Folasewa Olatunde, is a second-year doctoral student at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, studying Communication Rhetoric and Digital Media. She is a communication and digital media practitioner, researcher and instructor. She is interested in researching the intersections of the internet, social media and mobile phones – and other digital technologies –  in (not) empowering the global south.

Her current research focuses on evaluating informal and formal basic digital skills interventions in Nigeria and how their functions can be improved. Fola’ believes that more social science research should be policy-driven. She is passionate about how Nigerians across different age groups can (continue to) learn to use digital technologies to improve their socio-economic conditions.

About Paradigm Initiative

Paradigm Initiative(PIN) is a social enterprise that builds ICT-enabled support systems and advocates for digital rights in order to improve the livelihoods of under-served young Africans. The organisation’s digital inclusion programs include a digital readiness school for young people living in under-served communities (LIFE) and a software engineering school targeting high potential young Nigerians (Dufuna). Both programs have a deliberate focus to ensure equal participation for women and girls. 

The digital rights advocacy program is focused on the development of public policy for internet freedom in Africa, with offices in Abuja, Nigeria (covering the Anglophone West Africa region); Yaoundé, Cameroon (Central Africa); Democratic Republic of Congo (East Africa) and Lusaka, Zambia (Southern Africa). 

Paradigm Initiative has worked in communities across Nigeria since 2007, and across Africa from 2017, building experience, community trust and an organisational culture that positions us as a leading social enterprise in ICT for Development and Digital Rights on the continent. Paradigm Initiative is also the convener of the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF), a pan-African bilingual Forum that has held annually since 2013. 

For any inquiries about this press release, please send an email to media@paradigmhq.org 

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ENGIE Africa brings Off-Grid Power to over 4 Million People, establishing its Position as Market Leader on the Continent
February 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

ENGIE has achieved this through the development of its three A2E off-grid energy solution companies: Fenix International, ENGIE Mobisol, and ENGIE PowerCorner

NAIROBI, Kenya, February 18, 2020/ — ENGIE Africa (http://www.ENGIE-Africa.com) is pleased to announce that it has successfully accelerated the Access to Energy (A2E) strategy that it launched in 2018. ENGIE has achieved this through the development of its three A2E off-grid energy solution companies: Fenix International, ENGIE Mobisol, and ENGIE PowerCorner.

With these three innovative entities, ENGIE Africa is bringing decentralized electricity to more than four million people in nine countries (Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Nigeria, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, and Mozambique). This growth is in line with the Group’s ambition to reach millions of households and businesses with clean, distributed energy across Africa.

Fenix, which was acquired by ENGIE in 2018, expanded its operations significantly in 2019. To date, it has sold more than 700,000 solar home systems that power 3.5 million people in rural communities across six countries. Now employing 1,200 full-time team members, Fenix launched sales in Mozambique in June 2019. In the last month, the company has reached milestones in multiple markets, with 150,000 solar home systems sold in Zambia, 50,000 sold in Benin, and 20,000 sold in Côte d’Ivoire.

ENGIE complemented its range of solar home system solutions by finalizing the acquisition of Mobisol in October 2019. The higher capacity (40–200W) of ENGIE Mobisol’s products offers consumers access to modern energy services and appliances to establish solar-powered small businesses. ENGIE Mobisol has operations in Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya, and has installed more than 150,000 solar home systems, providing clean and reliable energy to 750,000 people and counting in East Africa.

Mini-grid developer and operator ENGIE PowerCorner now has 13 mini-grids in operation across two countries (Tanzania and Zambia), serving 15,000 beneficiaries. It is constructing new mini-grids in Uganda (in joint venture with Equatorial Power), Benin and Nigeria, with the aim to triple its number of customers this year. ENGIE PowerCorner focuses on powering income-generating activities and productive usages, thus contributing to the increase of the economic welfare of its rural customers.

Fenix’s inclusive solar home systems for household usages, combined with ENGIE Mobisol’s focus on larger households and small business appliances, together with ENGIE PowerCorner’s focus on income-generating activities and small-scale industries, enables ENGIE to offer affordable energy products and to extend its customer base from rural to urban areas.

Yoven Moorooven, CEO of ENGIE Africa, says: “We strongly believe in the huge potential of the off-grid electrification sector and that it will be instrumental in rapidly and cost-effectively bridging energy gaps across Africa. We will build upon our successes to sustain and meet our long-term ambition of impacting tens of millions of lives across Africa. ENGIE has an important role to play in industrializing and scaling up the off-grid solar business. We are keen to offer the lowest cost and best quality Access to Energy solution that addresses our customers’ needs.”

ENGIE is expanding its offerings beyond electricity provision, integrating cost-effective and tailor-made solutions “as a service” to accompany customers every step of the way. This expansion links energy access to other products and services: internet, water, productive appliances, clean cooking, financial services and products.

Universal electrification is the seventh of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that the global community has committed to achieve by 2030. ENGIE is confident that universal access to energy is achievable in the foreseeable future, through smart investments in a combination of national grid extension, solar home systems and mini-grids.

About ENGIE Africa:
ENGIE (https://www.ENGIE.com/) is the largest independent electricity producer in the world, and one of the major players in natural gas and energy services. The Group has more than 50 years of experience on the African continent and has the unique ability to implement integrated solutions all along the energy value chain, from centralized electricity production to off-grid solutions (solar home systems, mini-grids) and energy services. ENGIE Africa employs nearly 4,000 people, and has 3.15 GW of power generation capacity in operation or construction. It is a leader in the decentralized energy market, providing clean energy to more than four million people through domestic solar installations and local microgrids.

*SOURCE ENGIE


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The Nigeria Natural Resource Charter (NNRC) Launches the 2019 Benchmarking Exercise Report (BER), Holds a Policy Dialogue in Abuja, Nigeria: Thursday, 20 February, 2020
February 18, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Nigeria Natural Resource Charter, a non-profit policy institute on natural resource governance launch its flagship Benchmark Exercise Report (BER)  in Abuja on Thursday, 20th of February 2020 in Abuja. The Report presents the biennial findings from an assessment of Nigeria’s petroleum sector which covers from 2017 to 2019.

The BER which identifies petroleum sector progress and areas for improvements empowers stakeholders to advocate for best practices within their various spheres of work in the sector. It assesses Nigeria’s petroleum sector against 12 Precepts to offer guidance on key decisions faced by the government, beginning with whether to extract resources in the first place, and ending with decisions that determine how generated revenue can produce maximum good for citizens. The 2019 Report provides an update on the last two years of petroleum sector governance, examined gaps in sector transparency and reported changes.

The dialogue will focus on its overarching precondition for effective petroleum resource management; precept 1 determining whether Nigeria’s ‘strategy, legal and institutional framework governing the petroleum sector ‘secures the greatest benefit for citizens through and inclusive and comprehensive national strategy, clear legal framework and competent institutions.’

According to the Program Coordinator, Nigeria Natural Resource Charter (NNRC), “the release of the Report comes at an opportune time given the recent reforms instituted by the government and the omnibus reform in the form of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) being championed by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources”. Adding that “the governance gaps have been well articulated in the 2019 BER and we believe that if appropriately addressed in the bill and subsequently implemented, Nigeria would have made appreciable improvement captured with a ‘green’ in areas where it largely still remains at a ‘red’. From the findings, there were marginal changes from the 2017 BER with 10 ‘ambers’ and 2 ‘reds’ being recorded. The ‘reds’ have persisted against precept 5 and 6, the precepts that assesses the impacts of extraction on host communities and the commercial effectiveness of the national oil company; NNPC.

The major focus of the dialogue will be on those areas where there have not been any forms of improvement as captured with ‘reds’, notably precepts 5 and 6 and the other two precepts that will be affected when the PIB is passed; precepts 3 and 4. The four key benchmarks Nigeria must attain and focus on as it targets reforms are the Natural Resource Charter (NRC)’s precepts 3, 4, 5 and 6 consecutively which ask pivotal questions on whether the government encourage efficient exploration production operations, and allocate rights transparently’, ‘does the current fiscal framework enable the government realize the full value of its resources consistent with attracting necessary investment, and should be robust to changing circumstances?’, ‘does the government pursue opportunities for local benefits and account for, mitigate, and offset the environmental and social costs of resource extraction projects?’ and ‘is the national oil company accountable, with well-defined mandates and an objective of commercial efficiency?.’

It is the NNRC’s belief that if all these questions are adequately tackled, Nigeria has the potential to compete more effectively globally and stands a chance of raising some of its 187 abjectly poor citizens out of poverty.

We hope to see these tenets guide the government as it makes its decisions and pushes to reform the petroleum sector to boost economic growth and wealth for the nation. 

-END-

For media enquiries, contact:

Anthony Ihianle

aihianle@nigerianrc.org

Kelechi Anyanwu            
kelechideca@gmail.com

About the Nigeria Natural Resource Charter: The Nigeria Natural resource Charter (NNRC) is a non-profit policy institute that implements the Natural Resource Charter (NRC), a set of principles intended for use by governments, civil societies and the international community to determine how best to manage natural resource wealth for the benefit of current and future generations of citizens.  It is led by an esteemed panel of experts on natural resource governance that convenes on a biannual basis to analyse the governance issues relating to the petroleum sector in the country.

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Data: Africa’s “new blood”, rather than the “new oil”
February 18, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boko Inyundo*

Data protection and privacy regulation in most, or even all, African countries are often less mature – particularly when compared to the EU’s General Data Protection (GDPR) regime. As such, economies on the continent present both risks and opportunities when it comes to data.

At the recent Africa Tech Summit Kigali 2020, we ran a workshop on data protection and privacy regulations, and a panel discussion on digital transformation in Africa. As such it was, for us at least, a poignant moment when, during this major global tech industry gathering, one of the delegates stated that data was, in fact, Africa’s “new blood” rather than the “new oil”, with this delegate clearly recalling when, in 2017, the Economist memorably declared that the world’s most valuable resource was no longer oil but data!

Below are some insights from those sessions an integrated team from DLA Piper’s Kigali, Lagos, Nairobi, Casablanca and London offices hosted, and from the summit as a whole.

Panel discussion

The panel we led recognised data as the lifeblood for Africa’s pursuit for competitive advantage. Mark Ihimoyan, director of business development (Middle East and Africa) at Microsoft, discussed how this tech giant has, in 2019, opened its first data centres on the continent through new cloud regions in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Microsoft’s goal is to accelerate global investment in Africa and create greater economic opportunities for businesses based there.

Patricia Obozuwa, chief communications and public affairs officer for GE Africa, shared insights from the GE Lagos Garage, a hub for advanced manufacturing skills development focused on building the next generation of Nigerian entrepreneurs. Interventions like this are playing a critical role in building the capacity of human capital on the continent.

And Henri Nyakarundi – CEO and founder at ARED, a renewable energy startup – spoke about some of the challenges that entrepreneurs and investors face in Africa. These include the process of accessing capital. ARED has sought funding to help it scale out of Rwanda into Ethiopia, Senegal and the Ivory coast this year with it planning to do so through the flexibility and agility offered by a licensing model.

Key trends from summit sessions

Fintech players OPay and Flutterwave reflected on open banking regulations coming to Africa. Mehdi Kettani, Partner in our Casablanca office in Morocco, highlights how these are set to oblige banks and telcos to share their customers’ data – with permission – with authorised providers of app-based services.

Moses Kiiza, Partner at Equity Juris Chambers (DLA Piper Africa, Rwanda), noted how agritech companies like Twiga Foods are leading the structural transformation of Africa’s food retail markets and, therefore, successfully addressing food insecurity on the continent by connecting farmers with retailers and consumers.

Sandra Oyewole, Partner at Olajide Oyewole LLP (DLA Piper Africa, Nigeria), noted how e-commerce businesses such as Sokowatch are revolutionising access to goods and services, with their rapid pan-African growth fuelled by macro-environmental forces like the recently agreed African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. When implemented, this should widen the scope for regional strategies.

The “new blood”

Over the two-day summit, the wider industry conversation around Africa and tech was summed up by a delegate’s observation that data is Africa’s “new blood,” particularly in relation to inherent risks around big data. The delegate noted that organisations leveraging large consumer data sets could be seen by those same consumers as effectively taking their blood, only to sell it right back to them through tools designed to exploit their data at scale.

Africa’s “new blood” does run the risk of being ‘contaminated’. Global cybersecurity firm Dark Trace presented a keynote with case studies showing how the company’s ‘Enterprise Immune System’ and ‘Antigena’ technologies have detected and responded to previously unidentified threats against enterprise clients operating in Africa.

Cyber risk repeatedly came up as a critical issue. William Maema, partner at IKM Advocates (DLA Piper Africa, Kenya), noted that many African countries have no specific cyber legislation. For the few jurisdictions where cyber laws exist, there is a general lack of awareness about the importance of investing in cyber resilience through preventive measures, incident response and post-incident remediation.

The result is a conducive environment for cybercrime in Africa. Between them, corporates, governments and investors must:

  • design and implement governance structures to protect them and their directors;
  • deploy tools to assess risk and comply with evolving regulatory requirements;
  • refine sound corporate policies and strategies to create and maintain a culture of security; and
  • implement responsible supply-chain and vendor risk-management techniques and contract support.

DLA Piper’s position in the wider industrial ecosystem lets us appreciate the inherent risks and barriers to the adoption of technology, including in under-regulated economies in Africa.

After all, in today’s ‘big data’ reality, and as Africa’s infrastructure and connectivity continues to improve, we can anticipate the volume and complexity of data flows into and across Africa to rise exponentially. This then reinforces how apposite the aforementioned delegate’s observation that data is Africa’s “new blood” rather than its “new oil” was, noting that some criticised the comparison of data to oil given what some believe is the finite availability of the latter, in contrast to this age of data abundance.

For now, our thanks to Andrew Fassnidge and his team for putting together a fantastic event in Kigali. In the meantime, we look forward to continuing this conversation when we connect again with international tech leaders and investors at its sister event, the fifth annual Africa Tech Summit London 2020 to be held on 22 May at the London Stock Exchange.

Some of our relevant tools and resources

We provide a range of products and services for clients and the wider market, including:

  • Data Protection Laws of the World, a comparative guide;
  • Data Privacy Scorebox, enabling organisations to assess their level of data protection maturity; and
  • our cybersecurity services.

Also our latest GDPR Data Breach Survey revealed that data protection regulators have imposed EUR114 million (USD126 million / GBP97 million) in fines under GDPR regime for a wide range of infringements – not just data breaches.

*Boko Inyundo is a senior marketing and business development professional aligned to the international Technology Sector team at global business law firm DLA Piper. He is also a council member at the Royal African Society, a member of the board at the African Foundation for Development, and a non-executive advisor to the Africa and tech-focused consultancy De Charles.

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