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African Development Bank named to the board of World Business Angels Investment Forum
September 29, 2020 | 0 Comments
The Forum engages with a wide range of institutions to help shape the global agenda.

 The World Business Angels Investment Forum today announced the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) as its newest Board Member. In this capacity the Bank will represent Africa’s early-stage equity markets, entrepreneurship and startup ecosystems, small and medium enterprises and high-growth businesses, angel investors, and private equity funds. Abdu Mukhtar, the Bank’s Director of Industrial and Trade Development, will occupy the Bank’s Board seat.

“We are delighted to have the African Development Bank Group as a global board member of the World Business Angels Investment Forum,” said Baybars Altuntas, WBAF’s Executive Chairman. I am confident that by including AfDB, WBAF will be able to provide a wide range of opportunities for start-ups, scaleups and high growth businesses in Africa—ones that will open the doors for economic development. By working together across borders, with a common vision, and with these smart dynamics in mind, we are well placed to bring about positive change in the Africa and global economy.”

WBAF promotes access to finance for businesses from start-up to scale-up, with the goal of generating more jobs and social justice worldwide. The Forum engages with a wide range of institutions to help shape the global agenda.

The African Development Bank is Africa’s preeminent Development Finance institution, and the only one with a Triple A credit rating. The Bank fights poverty and works to improve living conditions on the continent by promoting public and private capital investment in projects with the potential to drive regional economic and social development. The Bank has 81 shareholders: fifty-four regional member countries and 27 non-African countries.  As of November 2019, the bank had a capital base of $208 billion.

‘I am excited about joining the WBAF Board and am quite impressed by its vision. Support for innovation, entrepreneurship and SME development is very important to us, especially since these areas are directly linked to some of our development objectives, including job creation and women empowerment, said Director Mukhtar. I look forward to working with the experts on the WBAF Board to advance these objectives. I am sure WBAF and AfDB will create a great impact in the startup, angel investment and SME markets of Africa. The ultimate goal is to produce more jobs and social justice in Africa.”

WBAF is a partner of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI), a platform for G20 members, interested non-G20 countries, and relevant stakeholders to advance financial inclusion, and implement the G20 Financial Inclusion Action Plan. Other  board members include Abdulaziz N. Al-Khalifa, Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Development Bank;  Dr. Abdul Malek Al Jaber, President, Middle East Business Angels Network (MBAN) ; Dr. Hashim S. Hussein, Head of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization – Investment & Technology Promotion Office (UNIDO-ITPO) and Prof Dr Inderjit Singh, Co-president, World Entrepreneurship Forum (WENF).

“I welcome Dr Abdu Mukhtar to the Board, and I look forward to working with him in our mutual efforts to ease access to smart finance to create more jobs and more social justice worldwide. I believe AfDB’s efforts to convert the world and Africa economy to a smart economy in cooperation with the World Business Angels Investment Forum will be very productive,” said Altuntas.

He added, “WBAF is committed to collaborating globally to empower the economic development of the world by fostering innovative financial instruments for startups, scaleups, innovators, entrepreneurs and SMEs and to promoting gender equality and women’s participation in all sectors of the world economy.”

*AFDB
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SouthBridge Group and Brazil Africa Institute sign partnership to bring Brazilian investors closer to the African opportunities
September 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

Both organizations seek to jointly create a platform that will make it easier for Brazilian investors approaching the vast opportunities available on the African continent.

KIGALI, Rwanda, September 28, 2020/ — SouthBridge Group signed a Collaboration Agreement with The Brazil Africa Institute  (IBRAF). The Agreement was signed by Professor João Bosco Monte, President of IBRAF, and Andrew Alli, CEO of the SouthBridge Group.

Both organizations seek to jointly create a platform that will make it easier for Brazilian investors approaching the vast opportunities available on the African continent, creating a fruitful environment for successful future partnerships. The partnership will support the  identification and analysis of the main business possibilities that exist in the short, medium, and long term on the African continent and in which Brazilian sectors can take advantage of working with partners from within Africa and the rest of the world.

The Agreement between SouthBridge Group and IBRAF comes also to endorse the Brazil Africa Forum 2020  as one of the main business environments for partnerships between the two regions. The event will feature the presence of major players from both markets and opportunities for strategic meetings with investors during the forum and beyond.

BAF 2020 takes place on the 3rd and 4th of November in an exciting online edition. The theme for the forum is “Overcoming the Challenges of the Pandemic: What’s Next?”. Registration is free and is now open.

About SouthBridge Group:
SouthBridge Group is the holding company of a pan-African enterprise that provides financial solutions and advisory services to public and private clients across the African continent. The SouthBridge Group has a strong reputation in fund structuring, debt advisory and restructuring, as well as project finance.  It also engages in investments and asset management through SouthBridge Investments.

About Brazil Africa Institute:
The Brazil Africa Institute (IBRAF) is a non-profit organization that aims to promote international cooperation and engagement between Brazil and the African continent, defending the economic development of countries, the convergence of private sector interests, and the enhancement of multilateral relations.

*SOURCE SouthBridge Group

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Ayoba and MusicTime® partner to bring free music listening to Africa
September 28, 2020 | 0 Comments
Listen while you chat

 Ayoba and MusicTime® are proud to announce their partnership to bring free music listening to ayoba users, with the launch of a new feature in the ayoba app titled MusicTime in ayoba.

MusicTime® in ayoba [or MTiA] is now live in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Rwanda, Uganda, Congo Brazzaville, Guinee, Guinee Bissau, Sudan, and Afghanistan.

Each territory offers users free access to 10 playlists with 20 songs in each. In addition, the app has a new mini player that allows you to listen to music while you chat to your contacts with no interruption. Playlists are curated specifically for each territory, and always include music from the region as well. Users can subscribe [free] to the channel as per all ayoba channels, and numbers are rising quickly as users discover the new feature.

An important feature of MTiA is the ability to listen to music with no data costs. Ayoba is zero rated for data in most of its markets via its partnership with MTN allowing MTN users to listen to a limited amount of music with no data costs.

The MusicTime® channels also include editorial content, music video clips and artist polls. A major feature will be channels in partnership with artists, such as the newly launched Sark Nation channel, featuring top Ghanaian rapper, Sarkodie; currently available across Africa. Many more artist partnerships will be launched in the coming weeks.

Ayoba has evolved significantly since its launch in 2019 as an instant messaging app. Users can now enjoy content in more than 50 channels covering topics from Coronavirus news to education to cooking tips, football, Formula 1, music news and more. In 2020, ayoba has also added gaming, and offer users free access to top mobile games. In some markets (Cameroon, Ghana and Uganda) the integration with MTN Mobile Money (MoMo) allows users to send and receive money on ayoba.


About ayoba:
Since its launch in 2019, ayoba has reached over 2 million monthly active users. It offers users free access to an ecosystem of digital and rich media services through channels, micro-apps and payment solutions, embedded within an African super-app.

Ayoba is highly localised and tailored for African and Middle East consumer needs, supporting 20 relevant languages. Users can send and receive encrypted messages, share photos, videos, files and voice notes and can also subscribe to live channels. Localised content is available through curated channels aimed at entertaining, educating and empowering communities as well as a range of games. Ayoba is available for Android users on the Google Store, via its website and on Apple Store.

About MusicTime:
MusicTime is a unique, localized Android app offering “pay as you go” music streaming as well as limited free music listening. It is presently available in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Congo Brazzaville, Cameroon, eSwatini and Zambia. There is a strong focus on local artists, supported by a strong international catalogue.

*SOURCE Ayoba and MusicTime®
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Swaziland PM Dlamini, Sierra Leone’s former President Koroma, US General Ward, NNPC Kyari, others confirmed for African Leadership magazine’s US – Africa Investment Forum, Policy Dialogue and Business Leadership Awards 2020
September 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

Leading African and United States policy and business leaders have confirmed to participate at the African Leadership Magazine’s 5th US – Africa Investment Forum & Policy Dialogue 2020, a virtual meeting taking place from September 29th – 30th 2020, with the theme set as ‘US Africa Relations – A necessary Realignment’.  Already confirmed as keynote speakers are Swaziland’s Prime Minister (Eswatini) HE Rt. Hon. Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini; Sierra Leone’s former President Ernest Bai Koroma and first US AFRICOM Commander, General William Kip Ward. Also confirmed to speak and participate at the forum are Ahmed Shide, Ethiopian Minister of Finance; Hon. Samuel Tweah, Liberian Minister of Finance and Development Planning; Dr Ernest Addison, Governor of the Bank of Ghana; HE Lee Kinyanju, Kenyan Governor of Nakuru; and Mallam Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director of NNPC, among others.

As Africa braces itself for what some expect to be an arduous recovery from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the continent would need its partners more than ever before. Though the United States of America has been a longstanding traditional partner, pundits have argued that the US hasn’t engaged adequately and correctly on the continent of Africa, which has created room for other interests gaining a stronger foothold. However, based on United States (US) Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo’s statement when he said, “no country will rival what the US is doing”. In terms of supporting the fight against Covid-19 in Africa, it is hoped that a realignment would be necessary for the coming months, irrespective of who wins the forth-coming US presidential elections.

The 5th US Africa Investment Forum & Policy Dialogue 2020 is, therefore, expected to bring together policymakers, private sector leaders, Industry Titans, civil society leaders, and all stakeholders in the US-Africa ecosystem during this 2-day forum to contribute to shaping a new future for our common good. Other discussants and honorees at the forum shall include Dr Patrick J. Schena Professor of International Business, at the Fletcher School, Tufts University USA; Hon. Billy Mitchell (GA) President-Elect, National Black Caucus of State Legislators, USA; Mrs Rawya Mansour, Chairperson RAMSCO Group Egypt; Olugbenga Agboola, CEO Flutterwave; Segun Ogunsanya, CEO Airtel Nigeria and Raghav Prasad, President Mastercard Africa, among others.

Key highlights of the forum shall include keynotes, plenary and breakout sessions; industry Roundtables and Thematic Presentations on investment promotions, Defence and security cooperation; and Youth jobs creation. The forum shall also highlight the 2020 edition of the African Business Leadership Awards presentation ceremonies – a prestigious recognition ceremony to reward exceptional corporate practices and outstanding achievers in Africa’s business landscape and its private sector, across various categories.

The award winners were unveiled by the Chairman and Publisher of the African Leadership Magazine, Dr Ken Giami, at the UK Head Office of the group after the editorial board reviewed votes and submissions from the magazine’s over one million subscribers and online followers.

The Publisher, Dr Giami, while unveiling the list of winners, maintained that “Africa depends on businesses and its leaders for sustenance, jobs and wealth creation.” Continuing he stated that, “at this time when there are widespread disruptions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the role and place of the business community to not only serve their clients, but become strong positive references for society on how to thrive amidst uncertainties, and inspire hope in people’s ability to aspire to solve more of the problems facing the African people today, is more important than ever.”

“Our winners and all the nominees truly deserve to be recognized for the outstanding work they have done over the last year, and they continue to do for the development of our continent”. Dr Giami added.

About African Leadership Magazine Group

The African Leadership magazine is published by African Leadership (UK) Limited, a company registered in the United Kingdom. The Magazine focuses on bringing the best of Africa to a global audience, telling the African story from an African perspective; while evolving solutions to peculiar challenges being faced by the continent today.

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Rwanda: Paul Rusesabagina, fictionalised in hotel Rwanda Movie admits launching armed groups behind deadly attacks
September 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

By MOHAMMED M. MUPENDA*

A policeman handcuffs Paul Rusesabagina, right, whose story inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda”, before leading him out of the Kicukiro Primary Court in the capital Kigali, Rwanda Monday, Sept. 14, 2020.Photo credit loopcayman

Rwandan opponent, has admitted to a Kigali court on Friday that he had formed an armed group but denied any role in their crimes.

Rwandan Businessman, whose role during the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsis was fictionalized in the well-known movie Hotel Rwanda, has been the subject of controversy ever since.

While in exile, from humanitarian to a government critic, he appeared under arrest in Rwanda last month, after apparently being tricked by Rwanda Spy network and boarded  into a private jet knowing that he is heading to neighbouring country,  Burundi.

In recent years Mr Rusesabagina co-founded the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD), an opposition party based abroad.

While he has previously expressed support for the National Liberation Front (FLN), which has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in Nyungwe, near the border with Burundi, his exact role has been unclear.

We formed the FLN (National Liberation Front) as an armed wing, not as a terrorist group as the prosecution keeps saying. I do not deny that the FLN committed crimes but my role was diplomacy,” he told the prosecutor.

“The agreement we signed to form MRCD as a political platform included the formation of an armed wing called FLN. But my work was under the political platform and I was in charge of diplomacy.”

Rusesabagina has been an outspoken critic of President Paul Kagame for several years and is a member of the opposition Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change, which has an armed wing that engaged in a gunfight with government troops in 2018.

Kagame has often warned his critics that those who “betray” the country will be dealt with, and the country’s intelligence network has been accused by international human-rights groups of abducting and killing former allies in Rwanda and abroad. The Rwandan government has rejected the allegations.

*Mohammed M. Mupenda is a news correspondent and freelance reporter, who has written for publications in the United States and abroad. He is also a French and East African language interpreter.

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UNGA: Gambia Needs Bailout from International Community
September 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

President Adama Barrow
President Adama Barrow

The Gambian President Adama Barrow has appealed for support package from the United Nations and the International community for the least developed countries amid the disruption of weak economies by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Critics say Gambia transition government lost track with recent rejection of the draft constitution by the National Assembly and slow pace of institutional reform due political interest by the President.

He was addressing the 75th annual United Nations General (UNGA) virtual meeting on Thursday from State House in Banjul.

Barrow told UN General Assembly that: “Small and developing nations have been struggling to manage their debt burdens, while trying to develop their economies. The outbreak of the pandemic has reversed our gains, with low revenue earnings and high public expenditure becoming the norm,”.

He claims that The Gambia’s economy has shrunk to 2% of GDP, and it continues to contract as tourism sector, which is a major employer and foreign exchange earner, is devastated, and unemployment is increasing rapidly.

“Developing countries, such as The Gambia, will continue to require support packages or bailouts from the United Nations and the international community in order to survive the ongoing economic decline. In this light, The Gambia reiterates the strong call by the African Union for debt relief or debt cancellation, enhanced access to global finance, reduction of transaction costs on remittances and increased global solidarity and partnership.”

Barrow said the implementation of our National Development Plan, 2018-2021 has been hampered by the pandemic. “We hope that the unique circumstances and challenges of the Least Developed Countries, especially countries in transition like The Gambia, will be accorded special and speedy consideration.”

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We must imagine and create the Africa we want- Transformunity CEO Arrey Obenson
September 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Joseph Besong

Africa’s greatest problem lies in the mindset of its people, says Arrey Obenson

Faced with a myriad of challenges, Africans must imagine and create the continent they want as a way forward, says Arrey Obenson. In an interview with PAV, Obenson, Co-Founder and CEO of Transformunity, a consulting firm that harnesses opportunities of corporations and organizations to transform the world, says the re-imagination is not feasible only within government and corporate board rooms , but also in the streets and market squares of Africa.

“We have cultured a master-servant mentality in our society that has become so pervasive in the African society. We need a massive mindset shift to accept that every child that is born in Africa deserves the same opportunities as a child that is born in the most advanced economies in the world,” Obenson says.

Founder of I Am Cameroon with a mission to inspire, educate and engage Cameroonians to accept and assume responsibility for the development of Cameroon, Obenson in this interview dwells on efforts he is leading to supplement Africa’s response to COVID-19 , and his stewardship with Junior Chambers International, JCI, where he served in diverse capacities for close to two decades.

PAV: Mr. Obenson, thank you for accepting to grant us an audience for an interview could we start with an introduction of Arrey Obenson in his own words?

Arrey Obenson: I am a global citizen, who is committed to being an actor in the common destiny of humanity as opposed to being a spectator. Born in Cameroon, educated as a lawyer, I am a husband to an incredibly beautiful wife – Queen and father to two awesome boys. I am a Strategic Consultant and CEO of a Consulting Firm called Transformunity with mission to help organization harness their opportunities. I am also Founder of I Am Cameroon with a mission to inspire, educate and engage Cameroonians to accept and assume responsibility for the development of Cameroon. 

I am passionate about finding solutions to complex challenges. I am invested in empowering young people and lately in helping small organization and businesses identify opportunities and develop strategies that will help them achieved their greatest potential.

PAV: Can you shed light on your engagement with the civil society, governments, and   leadership roles?

Arrey Obenson: At the age of 23, I joined an organization called Junior Chamber International (JCI) as founder member of my Local Organization in Limbe Cameroon. This organization gave me the opportunity to get involved in the development of my community. In 1997 serving as its Local President, we were able to raise funds and completely renovate 9 wash houses at the Limbe Regional Hospital, saving lives of thousands of patients who used that hospital.  This experience led me to understand how much power lies in the hands of citizens to will change in their communities. I thereafter resolved to be an actor rather than a spectator in my community. I then took to building the organization, creating more opportunities for other young people to get involved and benefit from the same experience that I had had. In under two years, I traveled thousands of kilometers across Cameroon starting up Local Organizations and growing the membership of JCI Cameroon by over 500%. I was then tapped by the World Headquarters to work as its Director for Growth in Africa. In that capacity we grew Africa’s membership by over 100% in 5 years and expanded the organization to the Middle East. I was the given the opportunity to serve as Executive Director, Deputy Secretary General and eventually Secretary General. 

One of the remarkable achievements which we made at JCI was strategically positioning the organization and its members as solution providers to the complex challenges of our society. The organization became therefore an active player in development by being at the intersection of government, corporations and the civil society. I led the organization through 3 strategic plans, developing a new mission, vision and long-term strategic positioning.  We took on bold initiatives like mobilizing young people around the world to come peace actors with a global peace campaign. We were one of the first global NGOs to embrace and adopt the Sustainable Development Goals and made this the core of projects young people did in over 100 countries. We also developed and copyrighted a framework for the development of communities that eventually has been adopted by several other organizations around the world.

In accomplishing the foregoing, we had to collaborate with all sectors society. I worked closely with the United Nations, engaged with regional organizations, business leaders, countries leaders, community leaders and celebrities to achieve our common goals. I also spent a lot of time traveling, and inspiring young people in over 100 countries.

I am a student of leadership, learning at every opportunity. My style of leadership is essentially giving people the opportunity to share leadership. The best leaders to me are this who can rely on the people around them. You can only do that by building trust, having a clear vision and being a motivator. 

PAV: The COVID-19   pandemic hasn’t spared Africa. What role have you played in helping the continent cope with the pandemic?

Arrey Obenson: I hesitate to say that the pandemic has spared Africa. We have had over 30,000 confirmed deaths which is largely under reported due to the poor state of healthcare in most African countries. That said, based on what was projected Africa has seen less deaths and it is a blessing. We are still to assess though the impact on its economy, and the mental wellbeing of its people. Time will tell. 

I have been playing a role in slowing down the spread of the virus through a project we launched last April called the I Am Cameroon COVID-19 Diaspora Response. As earlier mentioned, I am the Founder of I Am Cameroon and when we saw the devastating impact of the pandemic in Europe, we knew then that we had to do something for Cameroon. We then launched a campaign in amongst the Cameroonian Diaspora to raise money to procure and distribute PPE to healthcare workers in Cameroon, who are in the frontline of fights against COVID-19.  Thanks to sup[port and  efforts of these several associations and contributions of over 150 individuals particularly in the Diaspora succeed in raising of nearly $30,000 (US Dollars) and the distributions of 10,000 surgical masks, 2500 face shields, 10,000 surgical gloves and 100 coveralls. Theses PPE have been distributed in 5 regions of Cameroon reaching at least 15 hospitals. 

We signed a signed Memorandum of Understanding with the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services (CBCHS), Cameroon’s second largest healthcare provider, with 80 hospitals and clinics in all 10 regions of Cameroon. The coalition relies on the CBCHS to facilitate the identification of the areas of need and distribution of PPEs as and when needed. The coalition continues to work with the National Association of Cameroonian Private Doctors in Cameroon and the National Association of Cameroonian Pharmacist for guidance in its action.

Going forward, the I Am Cameroon Diaspora COVID-19 Response has secured two 40 feet containers of sanitary gel (hand sanitizers) from a sponsor company called Saraya Co Ltd form Japan. These donations include 24,000 1L bottles and 220,000 100 ML bottles respectively worth nearly $500,000. Working with local partners, these sanitary gels will be distributed on arrival in Cameroon with 60% going to the CBC network of hospitals and the rest distributed to other healthcare institutions. The task ahead remains colossal, and while the coalition has saved lives, the need largely outweighs the means. As the I Am Cameroon Diaspora COVID-19 Reponse plans its phase two distribution, there continues to be a need for more resources, as well as the need to build resilience in the Cameroonian society. An impact survey conducted shows that healthcare workers are stressed, frightened about the lack of protection as well the lack of awareness in the population. The outcome of the survey tells us we must provide more PPEs, but also support the mental health of healthcare workers as well provide more education or awareness about COVID-19 in Cameroon. 

We are also launching fitness challenge campaign that will mobilize Cameroonians to keep healthy while fundraising to support healthcare workers in Cameroon. (See attached project write up). We have a goal of raising another $50,000 to support healthcare workers in Cameroon.

Obenson has been leading a big effort to support the COVID-19 response in his native Cameroon

PAV: Your success story speaks volume. What are your secrets?

Arrey Obenson: I do not see myself as a success. I strive to be successful at every endeavor. Sometimes I fail woefully, and I learn the most from those failures. My secret is asking the right questions. I like to challenge the status quo and not accept things to be the way they are but the way the can or ought to be. It is a mindset – one that focuses on what is possible rather that what is not. 

PAV: As someone who is in consultation with governments and organizations in Africa, what is Africa’s greatest problem? 

Arrey Obenson: We, the people of Africa are in the way of Africa’s development. It is hard for Africans to imagine an alternative Africa other than what they currently see. Yet we must imagine and create the Africa we want. This re-imagination of Africa cannot happen only in the corridors of government or board rooms of corporations but in the streets and market squares of Africa. We have suffered the hangover of our colonial past for too long that we do not see ourselves as equals.  We have cultured a master-servant mentality in our society that has become so pervasive in the African society. We need a massive mindset shift to accept that every child that is born in Africa deserves the same opportunities as a child that is born in the most advanced economies in the world. That will mean accepting that every human being, every Africa deserves the human dignity that every human being deserves. 

I believe that when we Africans begin to accept ourselves as equals and can accord to each other the dignity that every human being deserves then we will not accept that 400 million people live in extreme poverty, or that children still die of preventable disease or that only person can be leader for 40 years in country full of talented people. 

Africa’s greatest problem lies in the mindset of its people. Ironically that mindset is the greatest opportunity. I am working on the secret to unlock that greatest opportunity – one person, one project at a time. It may not happen in my lifetime, but I am certain that when we can change that mindset, Africa will transform.

PAV: Thanks for granting this interview

Arrey Obenson: Thank you.

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S. Sudan Urges International Community to Convince Sudan’s Holdout Groups As D – Day looms
September 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Abdulaziz Al-Hilu, the SPLM-North | Credit | Eric Reeves

Juba – South Sudan has urged the international community to convince Sudan’s holdout groups to join the peace process as the final signing ceremony of Juba peace agreement scheduled on the 3rd of October in Juba draws near.

Sudan peace deal was initiated by President Salva Kiir and has been negotiated and mediated by South Sudan to help his foe country to ending the country’s 17 conflict, following the ousted of former autocracy president Omar al – Bashir, who took power in a coup in 1989, was indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2009 and 2010 for crimes against humanity. Bashir is in jail in Khartoum convicted of corruption, is also now on trial for the 1989 coup in which he grabbed power, and in which hundreds of thousands of people were killed.

Last month, transitional government of Sudan and Sudanese revolutionary movements signed the Juba peace agreement, but groups including SPLM-N led by Abdelaziz al – Hilu and Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Wahid al – Nur opted out.

Deputy Defense Minister, Malek Rueben said the final peace agreement will be finalized in Juba early next month and further invited the international and regional bodies to come and witness, what both Sudanese and mediators described it as a comprehensive and historic deal in Sudan era.

“This agreement is going to be finalized on the 3rd of October here in Juba, the invitation has already been sent by his Excellency the president and many invitation cards have been dispatched to the regional heads of states to come and witness the signing ceremony,” said Ruben, a member of Sudan peace talk’s mediation while addressing the international agencies in Juba on Wednesday.

 Ruben said the groups which remained out of the peace deal that Sudan reached with opposition groups must be convinced to embrace the initiative to ensure holistic peace in the neighbouring country.

He urged support from the international community to fact track the peace process in Sudan, noting that the people of Sudan have witnessed the bitterness of war and therefore, their current peace initiative needs both material and moral support.

“The agreement is owned by the Sudanese people and it will be successfully – we just need your [international community] support/back up in many ways in this peace – you need to give resource, political and moral supports which are very important,” said Ruben. “There is need for them to be brought on board so that the problems are solved once and for all,” he added.

Meanwhile, Deng Dau Deng, deputy minister for foreign affairs said peace and stability in Sudan is also a peace in South Sudan.

“Peace in Sudan will clement the peace in our border towns and this will open up movement of the people and goods between Sudan and South Sudan, hence benefiting the states that are bordering Sudan,” said Deng.

Deng said South Sudan have a huge populations that require support from its foe Sudan.

Ruben, however said it were Sudanese resolved their problems by themselves but their [mediators] roles were just to advice and gave experience.

“This agreement wasn’t enforced to them – they all come to consensus and agreed to have a peaceful Sudan with the new dynamic because they have already felt out the bitterness of the war,” said Ruben.

The Juba peace agreement addresses all the key issues in the resolution of Sudanese conflict, including but not limited to, offers rebels political representation, power sharing, wealth sharing, transitional justice, land ownership, security arrangements or the dismantling of armed forces and the integration of former combatants or forces and the chance of return for internally displaced persons and refugees among others.

The deal covered five negotiation tracks of Darfur, eastern Sudan, northern Sudan, central Sudan and South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

The armed groups that has signed the initial deal with Khartoum regime are the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Minni Minawi’s Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), both of the western region of Darfur, and a wing of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) led by Malik Agar, present in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Sudan’s rebels are largely drawn from non-Arab minority groups that long railed against Arab’s domination of the government in Khartoum under ousted Bashir.

Of recently, Ambassador of Democratic Republic of Congo to South Sudan, described it as “peace in Sudan, mean a peace in South Sudan and a peace in South Sudan, mean a peace in the region. “We all in Africa, we need only a peace – we don’t need more war and conflict so that we give our people’s hope for bright future.”

Mannase Lomule, Chairperson of Relief Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) said “this agreement is a landmark for transformation of the region – it is also consistent with the commitment of the African Union (AU) that the problem of African should be resolved by African themselves – African must find solution to their own problems and to make sure that silence of guns is observed in this continent.”

The deal would grant self-rule for the southern states of Kordofan and Blue Nile. The deal also includes a six-month deadline for achieving peace in Sudan, which ran out in February.

The agreement stipulated extension of the transitional period in Sudan for extra 39 months, to begin starting September 1, 2020.

Omer Asalm, Sudanese Musician told the Pan African Visions that “We have opened a new page in our life and then we will go together to build a future for development in Sudan.”

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Zimbabwe:Sustainable Development Goals 1,3 and 5 Faces Tight Battle Versus Covid-19
September 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

A coronavirus awareness billboard at a highway in Harare [Aaron Ufumeli/EPA]
A coronavirus awareness billboard at a highway in Harare [Aaron Ufumeli/EPA]

Three [3] Sustainable Development Goals , SDGs Goal 1 on No Poverty , 3 on Zero Hunger and 5 on Gender Equality face a tight rope pass through to succession by the year 2030 . The three[3] are hanging in doubt to bring sustainability due to several factors related to lock-down , covid-19 restrictios and other factors to note .

Taking a snap-shot on the effects to the Informal Traders , Women Bureau Programmes Manager  Memory Muchenga said the up-surge of corona-virus known as covid-19 is a threat to the In-Formal Traders Sector  of which its people , families and the business on the ground has gone down in terms of in-come generation , productivity and total output from families .

” Sustainable Development Goals on No poverty , goal 1 , Zero Hunger Goal 3 and Gender Equality Goal 5 are  difficult to win a country reduce extreme poverty , hunger and bring gender equality in a World of equal society at par-level in terms of gender-balance .

”The target is under the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations of which these are far away from winning because of several issues at hand .

”There are a number of challenges faced already of which we have no control over. These have reduced the effort on the ground of Informal traders who make the country generate income for its economic growth . Therefore at the same time the economic and social welbeing of women is affected ”.

”The up-surge of covid-19 has come with a threat to the liveli-hoods of many people in the country who many of them are  in the In-Formal Sector . Most of these are cross-boarder traders who fend for their families through  several means of tactical survival .

Zimbabwe Women Bureau notes with concern that  many families have been thrown into poverty . This it notes further makes it difficult to win on Goal number 1 one on No Poverty . Secondly , the fact that restrictions were put in place after 21 days of lock-down makes it as well difficult to eradicate hunger . This is Zero Hunger . The last one is Goal 5 on Gender Equality which is still not to be won after many families , marriages split because of conflicts .

Prisca Mudondo Zimbabwe Women Bureau Board Memmber pointed out that several forms of poverty have come to surface since the start of covid-19 . She adds that because of  restrictions that were put in place after 21 days lock-down , many families were exposed to extreme poverty , absolute and in-come poverty .

”Families were exposed to all forms of poverty , worse still to in-come poverty . This was due to restrictions put in place after 21 days of lock-down . This extended to hunger in families as income depreciated . Due to confinement at home  ,many divorces took place .Divorces occured and familuies split .”

It is now a doubt to see Zimbabwe winning on Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations after the effects of the corona-virus . Besides , survey on ground puts it straight that drought has contributed more , perhaps more than the virus itself . This has as well forced women to force crossing boardesrs at their expense .  Overall from country , Regional to Global level , it is a disturbing force to Agenda 2030 of the United Nations and Agenda 2063  of the African Union.

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Centurion Law Group’s Oneyka Cindy Ojogbo receives African Legal Awards’ Private Practice Rising Star award
September 24, 2020 | 0 Comments
Oneyka Cindy Ojogbo
Oneyka Cindy Ojogbo
Presented by Legal Week, the annual ceremony aims to celebrate Africa’s legal talent and recognize the legal community’s achievements each year.

South Africa, September 24, 2020/ — Centurion Law Group (Centurion) was also nominated in the categories International Law Firm of the Year and In-House Rising Star; Centurion attorneys have previously received awards and been nominated by the African Legal Awards.

Last week Centurion Law Groups (Centurion) Senior Attorney and Business Lead, Oneyka Ojogbo was named the Private Practice Rising Star by the African Legal Awards (ALA) 2020.

Presented by Legal Week, the annual ceremony aims to celebrate Africa’s legal talent and recognize the legal community’s achievements each year through presenting categories such as International Law Firm of the Year, African Law Firm of the Year, General Counsel of the Year and Legal Department of the Year.

“I am honored to be recognized in this category with the other nominees who are by all account heavy hitters. I am grateful for a firm that really allows one discover themselves and grow and for the most supportive team ever; they make all things possible. I can only hope to continue the good work that has brought us this far,” said Ojogbo.

“We are delighted once again to have one of our attorneys be recognized by the ALA, with a prestigious recognition” said NJ Ayuk, CEO of Centurion Law Group. “ While I am not surprised, this is yet another testament to the work Oneyka and her team does on a daily basis, we are extremely proud of Oneyka and I can’t wait to see where she will be in five years,” he added.

Oneyka Ojogbo is a Senior Associate Attorney at Centurion’s Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria and South Africa offices with significant experience in banking, energy, infrastructure and projects financing. She holds an LL.M. from the Columbia Law School and an LL.B. From the University of Ibadan.

View the full list of awards at The African Legal Award here 
About Centurion:
Headquartered in Johannesburg with offices in Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Cameroon and Mauritius, Centurion is an all-African law firm transforming the way law is done on the continent.

Our internationally trained lawyers (the UK and the US) are renowned for advising governments, foreign investors, local companies, other law firms and the private sector, and are able to draft and negotiate deals in English, Spanish, French and German.

Our team has unrivaled oil and gas expertise across Africa – advising on a number of first-of-a-kind deals in our core jurisdictions and with our affiliate firms in South Sudan, Uganda, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Angola, Nigeria, Zambia, Gabon and Senegal.

Ask us about services: info@centurionlg.com
*SOURCE Centurion
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Gambian Rapper’s Album Motivates Youths to Move Higher
September 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Sadiq, a rising Gambia’s rap artiste has strongly advised the young folks that in life giving up shouldn’t be an option use the negatives as a motivation to keep pushing into waking up the people and reshaping the norms for the future generations.

‘Stages’ is Sadiq debut album  available in all digital platforms worldwide. It  consist of nine tracks recorded at ‘The Playroom’ in Gambia, all beats produced by “The Misfit” all tracks mixed and mastered by Sidy Talla (2Be Musik) Senegal Dakar, Executive producer Retsam.

The album depcit friendship, Money, Girls, Sex & Drugs; a few of the stages people go through growing up.

Sadiq explained that: “Most of the time we drown in our sorrows due to the way society is wired and that leaves us not knowing how to express emotions”

He added that: “As tough as it is growing up in a society where your every move is questioned and support is limited, giving up shouldn’t be an option use the negatives as a motivation to keep pushing into waking up the people and reshaping the norms for the future generations”

“Although I haven’t experienced as much as I’ve put in the project, I try to use the “what if” narrative in the most positive way to make it more relatable and captivating to the ears of the listener” the rising sensational artiste said.

‘STAGES’- available now in all digital platforms:stream/Download here https://sadiqstages.fanlink.to/dKrs

About Sadiq

Habib commonly known as Momo by his peers and Sadiq on stage, is a Gambian Hip Hop recording artist. He has been working under Chambaii Music (www.chambaiigroup.com).
Sadiq, the younger brother of the Rapper, Entrepreneur and Activist Retsam of Grandiz Kroo/Chambaii Music .

The brother to Producer MAB-The Last One (HeartCold Records). He was born in September 1999 in The Gambia.

The name was given to him at his tender age by Retsam who thought that his brother was a both a friend (in Arabic “Sadiq”) and jokingly a sadist (in French “sadique”).

At the age of 11, Sadiq recorded his first song which was a remix of “Coming Home” by Puff Daddy. In the same vein, he had his first amateur video clip uploaded on Youtube (search Sadiq-Mo “Coming Home” remix or follow this link:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHgm8qNy1lM).

Sadiq grew up in different neighbourhoods, from Kotu, Pipeline, Kanifing and Bakau and later relocated to Madrid, Spain before returning to The Gambia in 2013.

In 2016, Sadiq recorded various songs such as “Respect”, “We On It” and “Payback” with schoolmates. Since his graduation from High School, he began to build more interest in making music and released a remix of “Panda” by Desiigner which attracted a lot of attention.

He was advised to take his time and work on himself and his craft. During that period, Sadiq was unheard, as he was recording tracks and planning to release an EP as his first studio project. But still, he has been interacting and acquainting himself with the people and his environment.

Sadiq has performed in few events such as the Brotherhood, Killa Ace, Abaking of Grandiz Kroo and The Cypher concerts.
Sadiq has chosen to put his worries, anger, thoughts and dreams into music. He takes his time to dig deep into his soul for lyrics that characterize his generation.

Sadiq is a brilliant artist that has passion for success. He has worked on a piece of art that makes him the next big thing. His tracks are soulful and relatable.

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New Report on COVID-19 In Africa Highlights Need for Increased Access to Health Care Services and Protections for Health Care Workers
September 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

More than 24,000 adults in 18 AU Member States provide insight into indirect impacts of virus.

People living in Lagos State in Nigeria, simulate sneezing into their elbows during a coronavirus prevention campaign. Photo UNICEF/Ojo

Most African Union (AU) Member States swiftly implemented public health and social measures (PHSMs) to contain COVID-19; these measures likely slowed the spread of the virus, and caseloads in Africa have remained lower than projected. Though many governments have since loosened restrictions, allowing some economic activity to resume, new research from the Partnership for Evidence-Based COVID-19 Response (PERC) highlights substantial indirect burdens of the virus across Africa and offers recommendations to governments as countries scale up or scale down PHSMs to control the pandemic.

Almost half of people surveyed reported to have skipped routine care during the pandemic, according to PERC’s latest report —the second in its “Using Data to Find a Balance” series—which draws from a survey of more than 24,000 adults in 18 AU Member States, as well as social, economic and epidemiological data from a range of sources. Up to 70% respondents reported problems accessing food in the past week, and just as many survey respondents reported earning less money compared to the same time last year. Still, support for PHSMs remained strong, and 85% of respondents reported wearing a face mask in the previous seven days. 

“African Union Member States have responded decisively to COVID-19,” said Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. “The data presented in PERC’s new report will allow decision makers to go beyond COVID-19 caseloads alone and instead consider a fuller picture of health and wellbeing,  and tailor response measures accordingly.”

Governments and international aid organizations need to act quickly to restore access to health services for care unrelated to COVID-19 and to build back public demand for services. 

Of survey participants who have needed health care during the pandemic, almost half reported skipping or delaying care; among those who needed medications, almost half reported increased difficulty in obtaining them. The most commonly delayed or skipped health care services were routine checkups, followed by care for malaria, diabetes, cardiovascular issues, antenatal care, and care for children under 5 years old.

“As in past outbreaks, we are seeing a high cost from missed and delayed health care,” said Dr Zabulon Yoti, Acting Regional Director, Emergency Preparedness and Response Cluster, World Health Organization.  “Even routine check-ups are critical for screening and treating people for both communicable and noncommunicable diseases. We must protect access to health care by making sure that facilities are equipped to handle COVID-19 infections, and that health workers are protected.”

Most respondents supported reopening their national economies, but reported anxiety about resuming normal activities was also high. The data suggest that COVID-19 is seen as a serious threat, but for many, economic needs outweigh concern about catching the virus. 

Still, adherence to the “3 W’s”—wearing a mask, washing hands, and watching distance from others—remained high, pointing to a way forward for policymakers. Effective government support for these behavioral measures could mitigate the need for more restrictive measures in the future.

“COVID-19 has threatened progress toward all Sustainable Development Goals, and PERC’s data clearly show the importance of targeted relief measures,” said Dr. Elsie S. Kanza, Head of the Regional Agenda, Africa; Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum, “These are needed to help our economic recovery, to protect health and to prevent inequality from widening.”

The report also highlights gaps in reporting key data, including data on community transmission and adherence to preventive measures, which limits the speed and impact of efforts made to manage local outbreaks, and makes it difficult to calibrate PHSMs.

“Data is essential to our defense against COVID-19, and the more governments in AU Member States can rely on it to support their decisions, the more effective their response will be,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies.           

Key findings in the report include:

  • 44% respondents in need of health care said they or someone in their household had skipped or delayed needed services, and 45% respondents in need of medicine reported the same for accessing medication.
  • 70% of people reported problems accessing food, mainly due to lost income or higher food prices
  • 70% of survey respondents reported earning less money compared to the same time last year
  • Lower income families were more likely to experience a decline in income. About 80% of households with less than US$100 in monthly income saw their income fall, compared to 60% of households with at least US$500 in monthly income
  • Six in 10 respondents agreed that the economy needs to be reopened, and that the health risks of COVID-19 are minimal if social distancing rules are followed
  • 85% of respondents reported wearing a face mask in public in the previous seven days, but as expected given recent relaxing of some PHSMs, a lower share (60%) said they avoided religious gatherings and only half reported staying home instead of going to work, school or other regular activities
  • While more than two-thirds of respondents agreed that many people in their country would be affected by COVID-19, less than one-third (29%) believed their own personal risk of infection was high
  • While most respondents indicated basic knowledge of COVID-19, misinformation about the virus is common, particularly those positing foreign interference in treatments and vaccines. About one in three survey respondents agreed with the assertion that foreigners were discrediting African medicines and testing vaccines on Africans

Recommendations include that governments:

  • Prioritize “boxing in” the virus, by ensuring an adequate supply of testing kits and reagents to identify positive cases, tracing their close contacts, and isolating cases, rather than relying on wide-scale lockdowns
  • Make it as easy as possible for communities to adhere to low-cost personal protective measures, “the 3 W’s”—wearing a mask, washing hands, and watching distance.
  • Protect health care workers by establishing COVID-19 protocols, increasing availability of personal protective equipment and training on infection prevention and control; then encourage people to seek care for health services unrelated to COVID-19 by engaging community leaders
  • Prioritize evidence-based measures to increase food security and economic recovery, including cash transfers and direct food support, with a focus on the lowest income households and vulnerable populations
  • Address misinformation by sharing consistent, evidence-based messages with trusted community members as messages messengers
  • Invest in data collection, analysis and reporting, including core indicators about cases and the public health response, rapid mortality surveillance, data about COVID-19 infections among health workers, and data on utilization of health services.

About the Partnership for Evidence-Based COVID-19 Response (PERC)

The Partnership for Evidence-based Response to COVID-19, a consortium of global public health organizations and private sector firms. PERC member organizations are Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team and the World Economic ForumIpsos andNovetta Mission Analytics bring market research expertise and years of data analytic support to the partnership PERC was created in March 2020 with the objective of providing AU Member States with real-time information and guidance to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on the continent. PERC’s first regional report, Responding to COVID-19 in Africa: Using Data to Find the Balance, was published in May of 2020. 

About Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Africa CDC is a specialized technical institution of the African Union that strengthens the capacity and capability of Africa’s public health institutions as well as partnerships to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks, based on data-driven interventions and programmes.

About the World Health Organization 

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of the global health organization Vital Strategies, focuses on preventing deaths from cardiovascular disease and by preventing epidemics. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

About the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team

The UK-PHRST is funded by UK aid from the Department of Health and Social Care and is a partnership between the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Public Health England (PHE). University of Oxford and King’s College London (KCL) are academic partners. Through the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team (UK-PHRST), the UK has the capacity to respond rapidly to disease outbreaks in low- and middle-income countries around the world and conduct operational research into epidemic preparedness, playing an important role in global health security. The team also works to help countries to build their own capacity for an improved and rapid national response to outbreaks.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the third largest market research company in the world, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people. Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. Our 75 business solutions are based on primary data coming from our surveys, social media monitoring, and qualitative or observational techniques. “Game Changers”—our tagline—summarises our ambition to help our 5,000 clients navigate with confidence our world of rapid change. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since 1 July 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service

About Novetta

Novetta delivers scalable advanced analytic and technical solutions to address challenges of national and global significance. Focused on mission success, Novetta pioneers disruptive technologies in machine learning, data analytics, full-spectrum cyber, open source analytics, cloud engineering, DevSecOps, and multi-INT analytics for Defense, Intelligence Community, and Federal Law Enforcement customers. Novetta is headquartered in McLean, VA with over 1,300 employees across the U.S.

About the World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. In response to the COVID-19 emergency, the World Economic Forum, acting as partner to the World Health Organization (WHO), launched the COVID Action Platform. The platform is intended to catalyse private-sector support for the global public health response to COVID-19, and to do so at the scale and speed required to protect lives and livelihoods, aiming to find ways to help end the global emergency as soon as possible.

*Courtesy of Vital Strategies

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