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Ada Labs Africa and AI Center of Excellence (AICE) lead Next Generation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Innovation in Africa with NVIDIA
June 9, 2021 | 0 Comments

The relationship will strengthen the capability of data science and AI rollouts in Africa as the two organizations collectively work to build capacity to train AI engineers in Africa
John Kamara, Founder at Ada Labs and AICE Africa speaking at the just concluded second inaugural quarterly AI for Leaders Roundtable in Zambia. He reinforced his sentiments on AICE Africa supporting the development of AI engineers in Zambia

Ada Labs (www.AdaLabsAfrica.com) Africa and AI Center of Excellence (AICE) have today announced an initiative with NVIDIA to contribute to the digitization of the African continent through artificial intelligence (AI) and collaborate on a number of data science and AI projects.

The CEO of Ada Labs Africa, John Kamara, said the relationship will strengthen the capability of data science and AI rollouts in Africa as the two organizations collectively work to build capacity to train AI engineers in Africa. The new initiative will also address the scarcity and cost of skilled AI engineers.

“Our journey in contributing to digitize the African continent has taken another important leap because of this initiative. We have invested heavily in infrastructure and platforms that will enable digitization of some of the key sectors affecting African growth and understand the critical role of AI in achieving our mission efficiently. However, if we do not have enough qualified people to manage AI systems, our efforts will be futile.

“This collaboration will help develop solutions, methodologies and best practices that are mutually beneficial for our companies, clients and market as a whole,” said Kamara.

The AI center for excellence in Nairobi (www.AICEAfrica.com) has already started training the first cohort of 40 AI engineers as part of this initiative and launched a CEO roundtable series to demystify AI for C-level executives across Africa. The first roundtable in the series was held in January, and another session took place at NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference in April. More sessions are planned for the coming months.

The initiative also aims at strengthening the buildup of the next generation of socially impactful and commercially driven entrepreneurs who will change the world from Africa. Ada Labs Africa and AICE will contribute together to several open-source AI technologies that will help innovators design, develop, deploy and monitor predictive models more quickly and efficiently.  

NVIDIA’s Head of Emerging Areas, Kate Kallot, said, “Bringing together our combined expertise and experience in the market will help provide relevant solutions and contribute to a robust AI industry in Africa. We are looking forward to addressing the opportunities and challenges with AI technologies to benefit people and society across the continent.”

The companies will collaborate to train over 4,000 AI engineers in five cities in Africa, starting with Nairobi, Kenya, over the next three years and will include fostering applied AI research dedicated to solving challenges relevant to local ecosystems. 

The collaboration also aims to strengthen relations with key stakeholders, including policymakers in the technology, computing and innovation ecosystem, and to build a transformational tech space on the continent.

About Ada Labs Africa:
Ada Labs is a smart venture building hub with a mission to build, incubate and launch impact driven  technology companies and entrepreneurs working to solve some of Africa’s  most pertinent challenges.

Ada Labs uses smart technologies (AI and Blockchain) as building blocks to create solutions that are SDG focused, commercially viable and scalable across Africa and other parts of the world. 

Currently Ada Labs has built 13 companies including in AgriTech, HealthTech, WomenTech, FinTech, AdTech, SmeTech and other industries and is headquartered in Nairobi Kenya, with a presence in NIGERIA, ZAMBIA, SOUTH AFRICA, SWAZILAND, TANZANIA AND UNITED KINGDOM.

About AICE AFRICA:
Artificial Intelligence Centre of Excellence (AICE) Africa champions AI solutions, builds capacity, demystifies Artificial Intelligence in Africa and creates ethical AI solutions that tackles Africa’s challenges.  

AICE is built on the belief that the right education and competencies can unlock human potential and make the world a better place. Driven by the desire to train African AI engineers to solve African problems and create a platform for further collaboration where multi-industry stakeholders from development partners, civil societies, entrepreneurs, academia, government, private sectors, and all industry players can harness the common good of the potential of AI in enhancing health, agriculture, education, good governance, financial independence and general economic growth.

The Centre of Excellence is built on three models; AI Knowledge Sharing & Capacity Building, AI Research & Development that will create opportunities for adoption and utilization of AI across Africa and beyond; and Provision of AI as a Service in Africa.
.*SOURCE Ada Labs

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Cameroon: Persons with Disability at higher Risk of Harm during Fighting
June 9, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Persons with disabilities find it difficult fleeing violence. Pic credit Global Giving

Human Rights Watch research in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Israel/Palestine, Syria, and South Sudan found that “persons with disabilities faced several difficulties fleeing armed attacks on their communities.”

The problems of these persons with disabilities have been compounded by the ongoing crisis in the North West and South West Regions with many unable to flee the violence.

People who are blind or have low vision may require support from others to flee. Persons with hearing, developmental, or intellectual disabilities often cannot hear, know about, or understand what occurs during attacks, HRW reported.

A 43-year-old man with hearing and intellectual disabilities who lived in the North West Region of Cameroon According to the Human Rights group was killed by Rapid Intervention Battalion soldiers because he did not answer their questions. “He was shot in the head and the chest,” a witness said.

Human Rights Watch research in 2019 in Cameroon also found that older persons with disabilities often would stay behind in villages, including during attacks, due to the risks of fleeing in inaccessible terrain and potentially complicating their family’s or neighbours’ escape attempts.

This has led to many persons with disabilities being left behind by their families as they escape into the bushes.

Persons with disabilities displaced by armed conflict can face serious obstacles to meeting basic needs such as food, sanitation, and health care due to service provision by states, civil society and relief organizations, religious institutions, and local charities that are inaccessible.

In 2019 in Cameroon, Human Rights Watch interviewed displaced persons with disabilities, of whom only 9 of the 45 interviewees received humanitarian assistance.

One UN employee based in the South West Region in Cameroon told Human Rights Watch, “There is a large swathe of the Anglophone regions where the crisis has hit the local population hard, but where aid organizations are yet to deliver anything.”

Note these challenges facing persons with disabilities, Human Rights Watch has urged all states and humanitarian aid agencies to ensure access to basic services for persons with disabilities in internal displacement camps, including by providing priority or separate access to food and sanitation services for displaced persons.

The Human Rights group has also called on states to support and accelerate measures to ensure all public buildings are accessible by building ramps and making toilets and other facilities accessible.

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Cameroon: HRW Calls for “Immediate” Release of Rights Lawyer Amungwa Tanyi
June 9, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Barrister Amungwa Tanyi Nicodemus. Pic Credit, CHRDA

June 7 marked one week since Cameroonian human rights lawyer, Amungwa Tanyi Nicodemus, was thrown behind bars “on bogus charges of inciting terrorism,” HRW said.

Amungwa was arrested on May 31 at the Groupement Territorial de la Gendarmerie in Cameroon’s capital Yaoundé while he was assisting a client, HRW reported. He is presently being held at the SED.

According to Barrister Amungwa, he was arrested by gendarmes because he was vehemently contesting the arbitrary nature of their investigations and arrest of his client. Whereas the report of the gendarmes who arrested him is to the effect that he took photos, an act which prompted the gendarme officers to seize his phone and in the course of searching for such photos, they found other content and post related to Anglophone struggle and killings of military officers, CHRDA reported.

“Possessing photographs that provide evidence of abuses in the English-speaking regions is not a crime, far less an act to incite terrorism. Cameroonian authorities should immediately release Amungwa and ensure both his due process rights and his role and privileges as a lawyer is respected,” HRW said.

Human Rights Lawyer Amungwa Tanyi is one of the lawyers representing jailed separatist leader Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and a host of others in connection to the ongoing crisis in the North West and South West Regions.

“Amungwa’s arrest is a direct attack on the legal profession,” Ayukotang Ndep Nkongho, one of Amungwa’s lawyers, told HRW.

“His arbitrary detention reveals a system geared towards stifling and undermining the role and activities of lawyers involved in key human rights cases.”

“CHRDA condemns this arrest as it is a direct attack on human rights defenders and call for his immediate release. The telephone of a lawyer as well as journalist and other human rights defenders is not subjected to any arbitrary search without a warrant. By dint of the fact that such persons deal with information which is obtained from all sources including social media, the presence of such information in their keeping must not be subjected to any criminal prosecution.”

According to the human rights group, several Anglophones have been arrested and detained and some tried on counts of terrorism for the mere fact that their telephones were arbitrarily searched by military officers and images and other content related to the Anglophone crisis was found in their possession.

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Kenya:Former Chief Justice David Maraga slams Uhuru for disregarding the law
June 9, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Retired Kenyan Chief Justice (CJ) David Maraga has launched a scathing attack at President Kenyatta over his failure to appoint six judges who were among 40 recommended by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) judges’ and Magistrates’ employer in 2019.

Last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed 34 out of 40 but rejected the six claiming they have integrity issues.

Among those rejected are Judges George Odunga and Joel Ngugi, who were part of the five-judge bench that nullified the Building Bridges Initiatives (BBI) last month. Others were Weldon Korir, Aggrey Muchelule, Evans Kiago, and Judith Omange.

 Justices Odunga, Ngugi, Korir, and Muchelule were recommended to be appointed as Judges of the Court of Appeal.

In an interview with the local KNT television, the former CJ told off Mr. Kenyatta that his sole responsibility is to appoint judges and then raise concerns with the Judicial Service Commission.

“Article 166 (1b) of the Kenyan law states that the President shall appoint all the Judges in accordance with the recommendations of the JSC subject to the approval by the National Assembly (in the case of the Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice. ) ” the former CJ said.

Maraga argued that Uhuru’s decision is ruining the lives and careers of the judges and that of their families.

“These judges have been condemned unheard, in the eyes of the public, these are the corrupt judges the President was talking about. The President cannot come and say he has intelligence reports that these people have integrity issues and expect that we take his word for it,” stated Maraga

He also disclosed that the names of the appointees first given to the JSC whose integrity were question had changed.

“I confirm that the names have changed. Those who were said to have integrity issues, some have been added to that list some have been removed. For the good of persons concerned I won’t name them,” Maraga he added.

The ex-President of the Judiciary boldly noted that he will remember Uhuru as a President who disregarded the law.

Maraga’s predecessor Dr. Willy Mutunga also accused the Head of State on Tuesday, June 8, of breeding impunity. Dr. Mutunga said Uhuru’s reluctance to appoint the judges was driven by personal resentment and not principle.

He further questioned why the President had to take more than two years to appoint the judges.

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Kenya:Uhuru sets ablaze illegal guns recovered from wrong hands
June 9, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday led security agencies in destroying  5,144 illegal firearms recovered from wrong hands in 2020.

The event took place at the Regional Police Traffic Training Centre in Ngong, southwest of Nairobi.

Kenya’s Head of State said most of the weapons recovered were made locally, extending an offer to makers of homemade guns-promising to give them steady jobs at the newly launched weapons facility in Ruiru, central Kenya.

“This is to those making illegal guns, come we make legal money and jobs. Come forward and declare you can make a gun and you will get a job. Don’t wait for police to come for you,” said President Kenyatta.

He reminded them that their skills are seriously needed at the facility.

Any individual interested in the offer was directed to contact security officers, reject the past and apply for government jobs.

“Instead of waiting for police bullets, I know you are there come to us and tell us that you have stopped that crime, the skill you have, help us make legal weapons,” he added.

On Tuesday of June 8, 2021, the Interior Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Fred Matiang’i, said the ministry in the last two years recovered 14,000 firearms held by wrong people.

“Because we’ve become intensely materialistic, people are running money-laundering rackets that have been under cover for a very long time. In two years alone, we have collected close to 14,000 guns and over 400,000 bullets from wrong hands,” said Dr. Matiang’i.

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Cameroon: New Biometric Passports to be Available from July 1
June 9, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Cameroon to begin production of this new passport from July 1. 2021

The Republic of Cameroon will begin using a new biometric passport from July 1, 2021, according tothe Secretary-General of the General Delegation for National Security, (DGSN) Police Commissioner Dominique Baya.

The new passports are expected to be delivered to the applicants within 48hrs if no mistakes are found in the applications process which will be conducted online.

Dominique Baya told media practitioners on Tuesday, June 8 during a press conference to present the new procedure for the production of biometric passports in Cameroon. The new passports will be produced by the INCM-AUGENTIC consortium with which the DGSN signed a contract on September 17, 2020.

“The commissioning of this passport will thus put an end to the difficulties currently encountered by users in the process of obtaining passports,” He said.

According to officials, the passport production system had to be commissioned at the end of March 2021, but enrollment and production equipment were not delivered on time, owing to the economic and industrial slowdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the meantime, EMI-Immigration stations will continue receiving enrollments till June 23rd 2021, but Diplomatic Missions will stop enrollments on June 15 to prevent transmission delays. The current passport production system will not be interrupted.

The INCM-AUGENTIC Consortium will make use of the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) for 10 years before transferring the system to the state of Cameroon.

The cost of acquiring this new passport has been set at FCFA 110,000, upwards of the 75,000 FCFA for a normal passport. Enrollment for the passport will be done online with new payment methods of credit cards of Mobile Money.

The new production system is equipped with machines that have a daily production of 1500 passports in normal production and 2200 passports in optimal production.

The issuance procedure will take place in four stages such as online pre-enrollment through the DGSN Website from an android phone or internet café; Enrollment in the centre chosen by the applicant which requires the physical presence of the applicant; Passport production; all data of passport applicants will be securely transferred to the severs of the production centre in real-time.

Collection of passports; a notification email and text message will be sent to the applicant for subsequent collection of produced passport.

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Guinea: African Development Bank approves $430,000 grant for Ebola emergency relief project.
June 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has approved a $430,000 grant to Guinea to fight the spread of the Ebola hemorrhagic fever epidemic throughout the country.

Since mid-February 2021, Guinea has been facing a resurgent Ebola-related epidemic, following the major crisis of 2014. This new epidemic comes against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, which poses both health and socio-economic challenges to the West African country. The project was approved on 3 June.

The funding from the African Development Bank will enable Guinea to strengthen the diagnostic and sample management capacity of six regional laboratories. These laboratories will receive sample collection kits, reagents, and infection prevention and control equipment. Four regional laboratories will also receive GeneXPert equipment and genome sequencers, and biologists will be trained in Ebola virus diagnosis.

The project will also provide personal protective equipment and triage, isolation and case management facilities. In total, some 200 pieces of personal protective equipment will be distributed, including to health and community workers. Some 400 health workers and community volunteers will receive refresher training in infection prevention and case management, including survivors, in the affected regions.

The project responds to one of the African Development Bank’s High 5 strategic priorities, namely, Improving the quality of life of African people.

*AfDB

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Mozambique: African Development Bank grants $1.6 million to support national Covid-19 response.
June 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

Mozambique has received a $1.6 million grant from the African Development Bank to purchase emergency health materials in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The grant, which forms part of a $9.7 million grant to support the Covid-19 emergency response and strengthen health systems in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and in São Tomé and Príncipe, was approved by the African Development Bank Group’s Board of Directors last year.

The $1.6 million allocation was used to provide medical supplies to increase testing and screening and acquire equipment, including: adult and pediatric intensive care unit ventilators, and BiPAP devices that work like a mechanical respirator in the treatment of lung diseases. The funding was also used to purchase oxygen masks, personal protective equipment and Covid-19 test kits. Some of the supplies were presented to the government on Wednesday.

The project was implemented by the SADC Secretariat in partnership with the World Health Organization and the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mozambican Minister of Health, Dr. Armindo Tiago, held a formal handover ceremony at the Ministry of Health Office, attended by African Development Bank Country Manager Pietro Toigo and WHO Representative, Dr. Joaquim Saweka.

Mozambique has shown a decrease in Covid-19 infections, but health authorities are on alert due to the threat of new variants and the risk of a third wave.

“Even though vaccination started on 8 March in Mozambique, there is still some way to go. This support comes at the right time, when Mozambique urgently needs to strengthen the health system’s capacity in order to cope with the emerging Covid-19 variant in neighbouring countries,” Minister Tiago said.  

The partnership with WHO will complement the efforts of the African Development Bank and the government to support the private sector and the national budget, the Bank’s Toigo said. “The Bank is deeply committed to supporting Mozambique to put the pandemic behind it, and to protect lives and, crucially, support the economic recovery to put the country back on the development trajectory it deserves,” he said.

Dr. Joaquim Saweka, the WHO Representative in Mozambique, said the donation was part of a long-standing partnership with the African Development Bank. He said it was “an expression of WHO’s commitment to ensure that the government strengthens its capacity” in order to serve those affected by the pandemic and beyond.

Other Bank support to Mozambique to reduce the impact of Covid-19 includes $42 million in emergency budget support to strengthen health systems, expand social security and assist the private sector. The Bank also mobilized $4.5 million from existing projects to support initiatives to protect workers and accelerate border-tracking activities in the transport sector. The funds also subsidized credit to reduce the impact on small agricultural businesses and to support young Mozambican artisans to produce masks.

*AfDB

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Bank-funded project boosts water supply in Zimbabwe’s second-largest city
June 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

Limited investments in water and sanitation infrastructure across Zimbabwe’s urban centers in recent times have largely contributed to poor service provision, which has left citizens scrambling for the precious liquid. Bulawayo, the country’s second-largest city, was not spared. Frequent droughts in nearby regions worsened the water woes. 

“The situation worsened in 2018, where we would go for three weeks without water. It was a difficult period as we had to endure long queues at a nearby borehole just get to enough water for the day,” explained Nothando Maphosa, a 35-year-old mother of two from the Bulawayo suburb, Nketa7. “It was so bad that we had to come up with a time table for flushing the toilet, which is unhygienic,” she said.

Bulawayo experienced severe drought from 2018 to 2020, which led to the introduction of a six-day water shedding program. Before then, the city was already grappling with water pumps installed more than 40 years ago, and were plagued with costly breakdowns, requiring extensive maintenance. The water lifting capacity was low, and used high energy with little output. In addition, many manufacturers no longer had such dated replacement parts available.

To improve water, sewer treatment and pumping capacity, the African Development Bank funded the $33 million Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP) to replace obsolete pumps at Fernhill and Ncema pump stations. The new installations include three pumps at each station, two working in tandem as duty pumps and one standby pump. Funding also supported a supervisory control and data acquisition system, which will control and monitor the new equipment locally and remotely, further supporting the city’s vision of being a leading smart urban center by 2024 through the use of various technologies.

Since the water distribution began through the new pumps in February 2021, Bulawayo has gradually reduced disruptions from six to two days per week, with a gradual plan towards a citywide uninterrupted water supply. The increased pumping capacity has further assisted the replenishing of the raw water reservoir, which had dried up in 2020 due to drought.

The newly installed water pumps have increased the treatment capacity for the City of Bulawayo from 92 megaliters to 145 megaliters a day – exceeding the city’s daily water demand of 135 megaliters a day. The increased raw water capacity from the pumps, coupled with a refurbished water treatment system, is assisting the city to meet the daily water consumption demand of Bulawayo’s 770,000 residents in all its 165 suburbs.

“Since sometime in February 2021, we have been receiving regular water supplies. We now go for as long as three weeks without water rationing and, even when it happens, it does not take one full day [for water to come back],” Maphosa said.

Project implementation began in 2016. It also included strengthening institutional capacity, enhancing service delivery and efficiency, and improving environmental sanitation. The project, administered by the Government of Zimbabwe via the Bulawayo City Council, is expected to be completed in December 2021.

*AfDB

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“We need to build a different Africa”
June 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

2021 Ibrahim Governance Weekend concludes with rallying call from Mo Ibrahim: use pandemic response to build a more self-reliant Africa.

London, 8 June 2021 – Discussing the impact of COVID-19 on Africa, the 2021 Ibrahim Governance Weekend (IGW) heard that Africa has demonstrated strong and coordinated leadership in response to the pandemic, and the continent can now leverage the recovery from the crisis to build lasting change for generations to come.

Held in a virtual format for the first time, the IGW brought together prominent voices from across Africa and beyond, including 100 members of the Now Generation Forum, a network of young African leaders from over 40 countries. Discussions were informed by the Foundation’s latest research: COVID-19 in Africa one year on: impacts and prospects, a comprehensive analysis of how the pandemic has impacted health, politics, society and economics in Africa.

Across the three days, contributors called for urgent action to ensure that Africa is vaccinated as soon as possible, and outlined the opportunities ahead for a sustainable, African-led recovery. Concluding the event, Mo Ibrahim, Chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, said: “Crises are useful in understanding what doesn’t work and how we need to change. We cannot continue to rely on old paradigms and empty commitments. We need to build a different Africa. We need to move forward and be self-reliant, leveraging the integration of our continent and the full potential of our youth.”

Mo Ibrahim speaking to panellists during the virtual 2021 Ibrahim Governance Weekend

The first session of the Ibrahim Forum – Lessons from the pandemic: an urgent call to strengthen Africa’s health capacities– explored the impact of COVID-19 on health systems, access to vaccines, and how African nations can address the critical issue of inadequate basic healthcare capacity.

Delivering the keynote address, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organisation, said: “The pandemic has underlined why it’s so important to invest in Universal Health Coverage, based on primary healthcare and strong community engagement. How can we take on a new and deadly virus if we cannot provide care for basics like maternal healthcare and the treatment of diabetes? Global health security begins in our local clinics and health systems.”

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Co-Chair, The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response,said: “How can we prevent it from happening it again? First, we must stop transmission of the current virus. This requires immediate action such as vaccine redistribution, provided in an equitable manner, worldwide. Second, we need to transform the international system of pandemic preparedness and response.”

Addressing the issue of vaccine inequity, Dr John Nkengasong, Director, Africa CDC, said: “I have a message for the leadership of the G7, which is meeting very shortly. We need vaccines now and we need them quickly on the continent. Anyone who has excess doses of vaccines, the time is now to redistribute those doses so that we can vaccinate our people at speed and at scale. If we don’t do that, Africa will definitely move towards the endemicity of this virus on the continent, and that doesn’t bode well for our collective global health security.”

Prof. Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine,said: “The top priority now is to ensure global vaccine equity. This is not only a moral imperative, but also critical for pandemic control everywhere.”

Highlighting the opportunity to boost Africa’s homegrown manufacturing capacity, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General, World Trade Organization,said: “Investing in longer-term production capacity is very important. 80% of vaccine exports come from 10 countries, in North America, Europe and South Asia. We’ve seen that that concentration does not work. It is anomalous that a continent like Africa, with 1.3 billion people, imports 99% of its vaccines and 90% of its pharmaceuticals. Production of vaccines and pharmaceuticals ought to be better decentralised.”

Prof Agnes Binagwaho, Vice Chair, Africa Europe Foundation Health Strategy Group, said:“We should trust in the capacity of Africa to innovate and contribute to the solution. Especially now, we should support the African leaders who are struggling to create in Africa the capacity to manufacture vaccines, drugs and medical tools, to stop this pandemic but also to help the continent be ready for the next one.”

Reeta Roy, CEO, Mastercard Foundation, said: “The pandemic is a crisis and an emergency, but it is more than just a public health emergency. It also taps right into some of the underlying economic risks and opportunities here on the continent.”

Gayle Smith, Coordinator for Global COVID response, US State Department, said: The US is looking at investment in local manufacturing both in the short-term – in some places injections of capital could increase production very quickly – but also in the long-term. The latter is important because Africa has a disproportionate dependence on vaccines produced outside the continent.”

Representing the Now Generation Forum, Mandipa Ndlovu, PhD candidate, Leiden University, said: “We really need to push not just for intergenerational conversation, but intergenerational cooperation. There are young people on the ground doing things that people at the top, who have seats at the table, are talking about, but there is just no communication and cooperation.”

Speaking during his one-to-one conversation with Mo IbrahimCharles Michel, President, European Council, said: “We need a global approach in order to address global challenges. This is my personal approach and it’s also the DNA of the European project… Even if sometimes it’s difficult, and sometimes there are frustrations, the multilateral approach is the best tool we have in our hands in order to make progress together.”

In the second session – Managing the fallout: setbacks in democracy and rights, and new triggers of instability – panellists discussed how COVID-19 has impacted the political and social landscape across Africa, with setbacks to recent progress in education and gender equality, and is exacerbating social unrest.

Delivering the keynote address, Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations,said:“The pandemic has reversed many of the development gains we have witnessed in recent years and made our task of achieving the SDGs by 2030 even more difficult. For the first time in two decades, we are seeing a rise in extreme poverty. Many informal workers in Africa, the majority of whom are women, have lost their jobs or experienced a dramatic loss of earnings. School closures and digital divides are jeopardising hard-fought gains in learning. While progress towards gender equality might be pushed back a generation.”

Laurence Chandy, Director of Global Insight and Policy, UNICEF, said:“Of all the least visible effects of the crisis, those on learning come near the top. Although it is relatively easy to observe the number of kids who aren’t going to school, or the number of schools that have shut their doors, it’s much harder to quantify how far children are falling behind on their learning.”

Comfort Ero, Africa Programme Director, International Crisis Group,said:“You can use whatever language you want, but it all boils down to governance. The generation of today doesn’t want to go backwards, doesn’t want a continuation of the past, but is demanding change, and we’re going to see more protest by youth across the board.”

Reflecting on the impact of COVID-19 on democratic processes, Elhadj As Sy, Chair, Kofi Annan Foundation, said: “The paradox is, on the one hand, one will say that democracy is important and we should still move ahead and uphold elections in times of COVID-19. But at the same time, governments are restricting people from gathering, blaming COVID-19. We need to prepare for shocks and hazards, to respond to them and to create an enabling environment for the democratic process to happen, while protecting people at the same time.”

Patrick Youssef, Africa Director, International Committee of the Red Cross,said:“The pandemic has been devastating for areas affected by conflicts and violence, and where healthcare systems are weak. But we can all agree that, beyond the predicted fatalities directed from COVID-19, we are all concerned about the knock-on effects, the secondary reverberating impacts on people’s welfare and security at large.”

Representing the Now Generation Forum, Abiy Shimelis, Co-founder, Addis Sustainable Life, said: “As a young person, I feel let down… Young people are changing how we express frustrations and aspirations. We are not waiting for elections, we do it constantly through social media, protests, and civic activism. Young people try to have healthier ways to express frustration, but they need to feel they are being heard.”

The final session – Looking ahead: a key opportunity to reinvent Africa’s growth model– looked at the opportunity to create more resilient, sustainable and self-sufficient economies, in response to the pandemic laying bare stark vulnerabilities in Africa’s growth model.

Delivering the keynote address, Dr Donald Kaberuka, Special Envoy on COVID-19, African Union,said: “Africa’s demographic momentum is unstoppable. For a long time in the years to come, there will be more African doctors, more African engineers, more African farmers, more African economic actors than from elsewhere in the world. We have to figure out how, within the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, we provide opportunities for our young people.”

Representing Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO, AUDA-NEPAD, Hamady Diop, said: “At the regional level one of the challenges that we have is the issue of coordination. You may have different programmes that seem consistent and coherent at the national level, but when you put them together, they are misaligned.”

Highlighting the importance of investment for Africa’s economic recovery, Dr Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa,said: “Governments need to continue, where possible, on the path of reform of the business sector, to ensure that we can attract more investment. And not just external investment, there is a lot of African investment that can go around.”

Rosa Whitaker, President and CEO, Whitaker Group, said: “This pandemic illustrates how profoundly dependent Africa is on the choices, the blunders, the actions, and even sometimes the self-interest, of others. So, as we look for a post-pandemic recovery, we should look to dismantle Africa’s dependency on western countries. One thing we could start with is vaccine dependency.”

Sandra Kramer, Africa Director, European Commission, said: “The donor-recipient thinking is behind us. What we are talking about here are equal partnerships, with responsibilities on both sides of the equation. We see partnerships as something that is to do with our policy priorities and interests, but obviously also with the interests and policy priorities of our African partners.”

Representing the Now Generation Forum, Ma Soukha Ba, said: “All the challenges Africa is facing are business opportunities for the youth. We are trying to solve each challenge, one at a time. But the problem is, we are facing multiple constraints.”

During the IGW, H.E. Mahamadou Issoufou, Former President of Niger,was honoured as the recipient of the 2020 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in Africa Leadership.Speaking during his one-to-one conversation with Mo Ibrahim at the conclusion of the weekend, President Issoufou said: “I am passionate about African integration and I can see that this is a passion that you, Mo, also share. We will work hand in hand to bring about the Africa we want: a prosperous Africa, a united Africa, a peaceful Africa, and an Africa managed by our children.”

*Mo Ibrahim Foundation

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Gambia:T. Smallz Suso’s ‘Sembo’ Album Hits Digital Platforms
June 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

T-Smallz-Suso, Austria based Gambian International artiste has released his most anticipated album ‘Sembo’ in all Digital platforms.

The All Africa Music Awards nominee in 2016  is expected to release another album called ‘Triumphant’ in October and will do a double album launching concert at Independence Stadium in Gambia on 6th November 2021 celebrating more than 15 years in music across the globe. Accredited as one of the most widely travelled Gambian international artiste T. Smallz toured Africa, Europe and always returned to Gambia to entertain and share love with family and friends in the Gambia.

The ‘Sembo’ master piece which is his fourth album comprising 20 tracks was released in live streamed and geared 24, 286 streams in 5 minutes. The Name of the Album is called ‘Sembo’ which means Mandinka language  (Power). It is produced by different producers across the globe including Peter Pann, Yung Alpha, Juwhiz, JLive, Ras Askia, Skool and Reach. 

After a successful wave of his maiden hit ‘Chono Life’ in 2010, T. Smallz Suso has been one artist who has never got off track until last year when the world became dark and at the same time light for him. T. Smallz smallz lost his beloved Mother who he loved so much and three months later his first son Khalil was also born, a very difficult and joyous moment at same time.

He told Pan African Visions that the album was planned to be released in 2019 but it wasn’t possible because he has to be there for his song, King Khalil and his baby mother.

Little did we know T-Smallz was still holding onto power despite his little absence in the music industry, after listening to the whole album we confirmed YES Kings can’t lose power easily. 

The 20 tracks are as follows:  1. Sembo, 2. Kaya (feat. Young Alpha & Harrysongs, 3. Diiriyankeh, 4. Holidays, 5. Jongoma, 6. Belly Dance, 7. Everyday Hello, 8. Ealfta Nlafta, 9. Respect, 10. Etawa Ngantawa, 11. Ayeeh Wuleeh, 12. Problem (feat. Omaro), 13. Teler, 14. Jambar, 15. King Tang Baa, 16. Neekuya, 17.Fambondi, 18. Kanala, 19. Tamala, 20. Jollof.

Here is links below to stream in your favourite platforms:
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/2vMPxQIvVeDNgU93TYfp4O...
ITunes: https://music.apple.com/de/album/sembo/1566775421
Audiomack: https://audiomack.com/t-smallz-suso/album/semboalbum

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Kenyans stranded in India to be flown back home on Thursday.
June 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Edward Ochieng and his father are among Kenyans who are now struggling to stay afloat, after travelling to India for treatment. Photo courtesy

Kenya Airways (KQ) has provided a special charter flight to evacuate Kenyans stranded in India due to the Covid-19 crisis.

The majority of Kenyans struck in India are patients and their caregivers.

The plane will leave Mumbai for Nairobi on June 10 at 9:30 am and would be expected to touch down at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport fifteen minutes past one during the day.

Only passengers with a negative RT-PCR test report and a QR code will be allowed to board the plane, announced the airline.

“This will be happening on a case by case basis as approved by the government,” said KQ CEO Allan  Kilavuka.

Passengers will be forced to dig deep into their pockets to cater to the hiked transportation fee as each person must pay ksh120,000 ($1200).

A one-way ticket from India before the pandemic outbreak used to cost an individual between ksh31,000 and ksh36000 ($310-360).

In 2020, the carrier charged between ksh90,000 and ksh100,000 ($900-1000).

There are fears that not all stranded Kenyan will manage to fly back to the country on Thursday. The majority told the Nation that they cannot afford the plane ticket.

“The flight is already full … I brought my four-year-old daughter, Ruby Jayne Magati, to this country two months ago for an urgent eye surgery that was very expensive. I am unable to afford tickets back home. My husband too is not in a position to raise money for two tickets,” the Nation quoted Linda Bosibori Magati.

On April 30, 2021, Kenya temporarily suspended passenger flights to and from Mumbai due to an upsurge in coronavirus infections in the South Asian country.

“All passenger flights between India and Kenya are suspended. Only Kenyans and Indians who are residents in Kenya are allowed to travel from India to Kenya, provided they possess a Covid-19 PCR negative test result conducted within 96 hours before travel and submit an antigen test on arrival,” announced Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA)

Statistics show that India has recorded more than 28 million Covid-19 cases and above 350,000 Covid-19 related deaths.

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Zimbabwe’s COVID-19 vaccine cold chain system supported by Japan government.
June 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

The Government of Japan has extended its support to the COVID-19 response through its partnership with UNICEF, by improving the COVID-19 vaccines cold chain, ensuring crucial vaccines can be adequately transported and stored.

 It is reported that the funding aims to assist the government’s capacity to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. The support from Japan includes procurement of cold chain equipment as well as strengthening health facility capacity to manage the equipment for a smoother roll out of the COVID-19 vaccines.

The grant is a continuation of Japan’s support towards UNICEF’s multi-sectoral response action to address the direct impact of the pandemic in Zimbabwe, the Japanese Embassy said in a statement.

The Ambassador of Japan to Zimbabwe, H.E. Mr Satoshi Tanaka, emphasised that “Providing equitable access to vaccines is key to addressing COVID-19. This grant from the people of Japan will help to ensure that the vaccines can reach each and every person in all corners of Zimbabwe as soon as possible, thus helping to contain the pandemic. In this regard, Japan is grateful to rely on the skills and expertise of UNICEF.”

The programme is facilitating the training of 180 health care facility staff in all 63 districts in the management of the vaccine cold chain. In addition, eight Provincial Cold Chain Technicians will be trained in the maintenance and repair of the specialized equipment.

Furthermore, the funds will go to the development of the One Cold Chain Management Strategy and its incorporation into the broader Immunization Supply Chain Strategy. To this effect, coordination, data collection and policy formulation consultations will be held to update the 11 Provincial Cold Chain Maintenance Plans.

“UNICEF is grateful to the Government of Japan for its support in ensuring a robust cold chain is in place and immunization services are strengthened in Zimbabwe,” said Dr Tajudeen Oyewale, UNICEF Representative in Zimbabwe.

“The availability and equitable distribution of vaccines is critical for putting an end to this global pandemic, and for the protection of children from childhood illnesses. The funds provided will be invaluable in helping us to continue supporting the Government with the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines while strengthening the health system,” he said.

It is expected that 10 provincial centres and 50 district centres will receive new cold chain equipment. In addition, 97 health centres can look forward to new Solar Direct Drive refrigerators, 500 vaccine carriers and new cold boxes will be supplied to over 130 health centres.

Zimbabwe began its COVID-19 vaccine campaign in February, starting with prioritized categories of people such as teachers and frontline workers and is now open to everybody.

*UNICEF Zimbabwe

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Okere City, Uganda a People Power Model of Agriculture, Solar, and Social Enterprise.
June 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

AFRICA400/HandRadio on Wednesday, June 9th @2pmEST will host special guest Ojok Okello Founder and Developer of Okere City a village in Otuke District of Northern Uganda.

Okello wanting to reconnect with his identity and ancestral roots discovered a village of 4,500 people waiting to be birth into a sustainable city in a changing African geopolitical landscape.

Founded in 2019 upon his return to Okere City; it now stands as a holistic ecosystem and model which promotes an integrated rural development of generational possibility and potential based upon a participatory cultural process of economic development inclusive of all families.

To volunteer, donate, or travel to Okere City in Northern Uganda visit okerecity.org.

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Kenya: President Kenyatta in Ethiopia for a one-day state visit
June 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

President Kenyatta with Ethiopian PM Abiy

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday left the country for neighboring Ethiopia for an official visit.

The plane carrying Kenyatta and his delegates landed at Bole International Airport in the afternoon. He was received by Ethiopia’s senior government officials led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Mr. Kenyatta was accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries Raychelle Omamo (Foreign Affairs) and Joe Mucheru (ICT).

While in Ethiopia, he will discuss issues of mutual concern with Ethiopian government officials and witness the issuance of a telecommunications license to Safaricom.

Ethiopia Communication Authority last month awarded an operating license to a consortium led by Kenya’s Safaricom and Japan’s Sumitomo. The authority revealed that Vodacom, Vodafone, and British development finance agency CDC Group paid $850 million to bag the license.

The Ethiopian government tries to end monopoly in the communication sector and liberalize the country’s economy. Ethio Telecom is the leading supplier of telecom services in the country.

The consortium will provide 4G and 5G internet services, and by 2023 a low-orbit satellite will be established to provide nationwide 4G coverage.

The license is set to create job opportunities and investments

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Kenya launches guidelines for probing crimes linked to police officers.
June 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Interior Cabinet Secretary (CS), Dr. Fred Matiang’i,

Through the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP), the Kenyan government has unveiled procedures to be followed when investigating and prosecuting police officers involved in human rights violations.

The guidelines are dubbed the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). The SOPs were launched alongside the ODPP excellence charter by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Noordin Haji. It will ensure justice for all Kenyans.

The event was also attended by the Interior Cabinet Secretary (CS), Dr. Fred Matiang’i, president of Court of Appeal Justice Daniel Musinga, Inspector General of police Hilary Mutyambai among others.

The charter provides a strategy to transform the office through six key strategic commitments: reshaping prosecution, leadership, organizational effectiveness, and interagency networks. Others are independence and integrity, and lifelong learning.

The plan will be implemented in the next three years at the cost of ksh3 billion ($30 million).

Dr. Matiang’i lauded DPP Noordin Haji for the crucial role he plays in transforming the justice sector, calling for cooperation among agencies to achieve their goals.

“From our end as security sector players, we are obliged to measure up to the expectations of fighting crime through prosecution-guided investigations and inter-agency collaboration, and this is what the and this is what the Excellence Charter launched today brings on board,” said Matiang’i.

He asked the public to play a more active role in fighting crimes by reporting crime cases.

“The Charter represents a greater commitment to reforms within the ecosystem of the criminal justice system, but this journey requires collaboration with the public through crime reporting,” said the CS.

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RISCH: ACCOUNTABILITY FOR TRAGEDIES IN CAMEROON IS GOOD FIRST STEP
June 8, 2021 | 0 Comments
For nearly four years, the English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon have experienced one of most neglected human tragedies on the African continent ,says U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho)

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, applauded Secretary Blinken’s announcement today that the United States will impose visa restrictions on individuals who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the peaceful resolution of the crisis in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon.

“For nearly four years, the English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon have experienced one of most neglected human tragedies on the African continent. Countless atrocities and grave human suffering continue without much notice or intervention from the rest of the world,” said Ranking Member Risch. “I’m glad the United States is taking more definitive action against those undermining a peaceful resolution to the armed conflict in Anglophone Cameroon, and is acting on the Senate’s call for targeted sanctions in a bipartisan resolution that I introduced. Today’s action is a good first step to increasing accountability for those undermining peace in Cameroon.”

On January 1, 2021, the Senate agreed, by unanimous consent, to a bipartisan resolution introduced by Ranking Member Risch regarding the Anglophone crisis (S.Res.684). A key provision in the resolution urged the United States government to consider imposing targeted sanctions on individual government and separatist leaders responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.

*U.S Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

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Announcement of Visa Restrictions on Those Undermining the Peaceful Resolution of the Crisis in the Anglophone Regions of Cameroon.
June 7, 2021 | 0 Comments

We continue to call for both the Cameroonian government and separatist armed groups to end the violence and engage in a dialogue without preconditions to peacefully resolve the crisis., says U.S Secretary of State Anthony Blinken

The United States is deeply concerned by the continued violence in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon.  We continue to call for both the Cameroonian government and separatist armed groups to end the violence and engage in a dialogue without preconditions to peacefully resolve the crisis.  It is important that children can attend school and that humanitarian aid can be delivered.  We urge all relevant stakeholders in Cameroon and in the diaspora to engage constructively and seek a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

We condemn those who undermine peace through engaging in or inciting violence, human rights violations and abuses, and threats against advocates for peace or humanitarian workers.

I am establishing a policy imposing visa restrictions on individuals who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the peaceful resolution of the crisis in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon. This decision reflects our commitment to advance a dialogue to peacefully resolve the Anglophone crisis and support respect for human rights.  The United States strongly supports the Cameroonian people, and we remain committed to working together to advance democracy and mutual prosperity for both our countries.

* Statement

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Divorce In View As Africa Oil Week Picks Non-African Venue
June 7, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

The relocation is is not just disrespectful to Africans whose resources are being talked about but considerably delusional,” says Robin Vela, Chairman, Lonsa Group Limited, Mauritius.

Initially scheduled for 1-5 November in Cape Town South Africa, there is growing furor across the continent following the relocation of the 2021 edition of the Africa Oil Week (AOW) to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates from 8-11 November 2021.

“Delivering the event to the high standard to which our audience is accustomed and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our attendees has always been our top priority. We believe that hosting the 2021 edition in Dubai will enable us to ensure that the event experience is both safe and premium for our customers,” the AOW said in a statement posted on their website recently.

Reactions did not take long to come with the African Energy Chamber led by NJ Ayuk leading the charge in calling for a stronger commitment to conferences of African nature being held on African terrain.

Mothballing a conference in South Africa, an African nation that has handled the Covid-19 pandemic remarkably well, is a clear sign of opportunism and detachment from the pledge to support African venues and our continent, the Chamber lashed out.

“While Dubai is a fabulous venue in its own right, we do believe that events of African nature should show strong commitment to African communities, cities and the local workforce. An event of the magnitude of Africa Oil Week is a big local employer. Reneging on its long-standing partner, the African people and the continent, is a truly unfortunate sign of disinterest in African values of trust, loyalty and companionship, and is in fact very unscrupulous in nature,” said NJ Ayuk, Executive Chair of the African Energy Chamber.

“Keeping to Covid-19 travel restrictions and how they have particularly placed a strenuous burden on the conferencing industry, there are smart ways to hold hybrid conferences of both online and offline nature. Further, vaccination rates are increasing rapidly across the Northern hemisphere, which would allow business travelers to visit South Africa in a safe manner by November,” Ayuk added.

The discontent from the African Energy Chamber on the AOW decision has resonated with many Africans who are using diverse platforms to call for the prioritization of African venues for African events.

The event’s move from Cape Town to Dubai was wrong, short-term in its thinking, and sends a negative message about Africa, says Florival Mucave, President of Mozambican Oil and Gas Chamber (CPGM).

“The move underestimates our preparedness to host events that define our future economic and energy sector success. Imagine the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament being hosted in Dubai because one company says Africa is not the right place anymore because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mucave said in condemnation of the relocation.

The excuses and final decision to move the event are both unacceptable and wrong, and sends a message that when things are hard because of COVID-19, Africa should be abandoned for other locations irrespective of the loyalty and the sponsorship Africa has shown for more than two decades, Mucave charged.

“As a former Patron of the African Institute of Petroleum, I concur that a move of AOW from an African location to any other continent is not just disrespectful to Africans whose resources are being talked about but considerably delusional,” says Robin Vela, Chairman, Lonsa Group Limited, Mauritius.

“I thought I was the only one who saw something very wrong with this decision. Africa as a continent is the least affected by COVID in the whole world, we have lesser death rates, came up with several initiatives and innovations to tackle the scourge. In my opinion, Africa handled the pandemic even better than the rest of the world, so why should the continent be counted out on grounds of the global pandemic,?” Margaret Nongo -Okojokwu  , a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow and social entrepreneur from Nigeria questions.

To  the CEO  of Turaco Aviation Group Abdul Bigirumwami  from Rwanda ,African events should stay in Africa, Rwanda has handled the COVID-19 pandemic well and can support such events.

For Senior Tax and Legal Counsel from Senegal Abdoulaye DIA, “we cannot make Africa without Africans and out of Africa.”

“This is so sad for our struggling South African Event/Expo Industry . It’s all about money and bugger everyone else. “Africa” Oil Week… Dubai has never been or will ever be in Africa. Change the name of the event,” Simon Aubrey Onsite, Project / Site Manager for Overlay of Exhibitions / Sport Events opines.

The event’s move from Cape Town to Dubai was wrong, short-term in its thinking, and sends a negative message about Africa, says Florival Mucave, President of Mozambican Oil and Gas Chamber

Given the relentless attack that the oil and gas industry is facing, there is no better time for the oil and gas industry to stand with Africa but now, says the African Energy Chamber as it pledges to continue pushing for discussions on energy transition, fiscal responsibility, free markets, upstream, midstream, downstream, renewables and petrochemicals in Africa.

Beyond the criticisms on moving the AOC to Dubai, the controversial decision has prompted the Africa Energy Chamber to start exploring other avenues on what it perceives as injustice.

“As a first step, the Chamber will encourage, advocate and provide support for an energy event in October or November this year with African ministries, entrepreneurs, NOC’s, IOC’s, Civil society and possibly four African heads of States. The Chamber will continue to be the voice of the sector and work towards building bridges that brings together governments and companies in the African energy industry to find a common ground.,” a recent statement read.

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5th Africa Climate Resilience Investment Summit to be held virtually
June 7, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

The Fifth Africa Climate Resilient Investment Summit ACRIS V under the theme “Embedding and financing climate resilience for Africa’s green recovery” will be held virtually on 16th – 17th June 2021.

 It is reported that the two-day programme  will deal with investments for climate resilience. The panel discussions will deal with cross-border energy, resilience, nature-based solutions, smart agriculture, innovative finance, and Africa Climate Resilience Investment Facility. 

The Africa Climate Resilience Investment Summit (ACRIS V) is in its fifth year, following the highly successful ACRIS IV held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in June 2019.

ACRIS V will be held in partnership with The World Bank, Nordic Fund and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

The overall objective of ACRIS V is to strengthen the capacity of African institutions, including national governments, river basin organisations, regional economic communities, power pools and others, together with the private sector to plan, design and implement investment in relative sectors. These sectors include cross-border energy, resilience, nature-based solutions, smart agriculture, innovative finance to increase their resilience to climate change. The AFRI-Res (Africa Climate Resilient Investment Facility) will be discussed during ACRIS V.

ACRIS V will assist governments, planners, private developers in Africa to integrate climate resilience in project planning and design whilst also introducing global technology and service providers that can deliver resilience solutions.

  According to the organizers, bilingual Live broadcast of panels, live Q&A, and will organise Open Chat discussions on topics such as Media and Climate Change Communication, Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience, Plant-for-the-Planet and Climate Science will be organised during the summit. There will also be pre-recorded presentations on exciting and relative specialised topics for participants to view and download. 

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Ghana:Takoradi Gold Limited sues Minerals Commission for unlawful assignment.
June 7, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

Ghanaian owned licensed large-scale mining operator, Takoradi Gold Ghana Limited is suing the regulator of the country’s mining industry, the Minerals Commission, and for what it claims are attempts to divert two of its mining concessions to another company.

Takoradi Gold contends that the moves by the Commission to hand over a land that it has vested interest in without any reference to it is wrongful and unlawful.

According to the writ filed at the Tarkwa High Court, Takoradi Gold Ghana Limited avers that two mining concessions – CV597 and CV598 – are mining concessions originally granted by the colonial government to Paa Grant but the residue of the terms of those certificates of validity became assigned to one George Blay Kwofie by the administrators of the Estate of Paa Grant.

TGGL explained subsequently that George Blay Kwofie entered into a Joint Venture Agreement with them in respect of the said CV597 and CV 598 and the government of Ghana has since 1985 approved not only the said agreement but also the transfer of the mineral rights in those concessions to the Plaintiff. 

The gold-mining company contends that as a result of that approval, the government by the then Sector Minister/ Secretary executed an agreement with its predecessor-in-title Goldex Prospecting N. Limited and granted her prospecting license No. 8147/86 in respect of both CV597 and 598

Takoradi Gold Ghana Limited says having acquired vested mining right in both CV597 and CV598, they have since discharged all their responsibilities to the government and to the knowledge of the 1st Defendant (Minerals Commission) invested over $3 million in carrying out prospecting activities on the subject Certificates of Validity (CV597 and 598).

The plaintiff contends that it has complied and/or continue to comply with the relevant provisions in the Minerals and Mining Act 2006 (Act 703) in so far as her prospecting activities on the 2 CVs are concerned, and that they have not at all surrendered their interest in the CVs to the 1st Defendant nor has the 1st Defendant written to revoke or cancel Plaintiff’s mineral right in those CVs.

TGGL stated in the writ that it became aware of the dubious moves by the Minerals Commission to divert its concessions to another company when it came across a publication of notice by the Commission in 2019, adding that that publication has the potency of infringing on the company’s mineral rights.

“The Plaintiff states that somewhere in February 2019, she stumbled upon a Publication of Notice made by the 1st Defendant that, that had the potency of infringing on her mineral rights in the 2 CVs and she duly by a letter dated 22/02/2019 addressed to the 1st Defendant and by that letter raised her protests and or opposition to any intention of the 1st Defendant to make a grant of any mineral right or interest in CV597 and CV598 to any other body or body of persons,” the writ stated.

Takoradi Gold Ghana Limited (Plaintiff) stated that the Minerals Commission has failed to respond to the company’s queries concerning the said action.

The Plaintiff avers that when 1st Defendant failed and or refused to respond to her concerns in the letter of 22/02/2019, she caused an official search to be conducted on the CV’s 597 and 598 at the 1st Defendant’s office.

The Minerals Cadaster Map dated 24/05/2021 as furnished Plaintiff by the 1st Defendant, the CV’s 597 and 598 (subject of this suit) have been shown as having been proposed by the 1st Defendant to be granted to the 2nd Defendant,” the writ indicated.

TGGL is praying the High Court to annul any possible arrangement and/or agreement between the Minerals Commission (1st respondent) and Mining and Construction Limited (2nd respondent).

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Father Reported Son For Deportation: A Young Ghanaian Entrepreneur Surviving Abroad
June 7, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

A young Ghanaian man, Eric Watson narrated how his father connived to have him deported back to Ghana. He said he lost hope when his biological father reported him to law enforcement in the US as an illegal immigrant.

He said his father made false reports about his first marriage with an African American lady, which would have guaranteed his green card. And permanent stay in the United States.


According to Eric he first met his wife in school, and got married. My wife filed for me and for some reasons; it took more than the usual six months of a response from the immigration office. So he had to follow up on it. Eric was arrested at the same point for having a fake marriage. This was reported by an unknown caller. Apart from my roommate, nobody knew about it.

The young man formerly known as Eric Okyere said he had a tough time with his father while schooling. He revealed how his father forced him to pay for house rent while schooling and his refusal to settle his tuition fee. He had no option than to search for a job to see himself through school whiles living with a fellow Ghanaian.

Further said he went for schooling here for one year, and made a called to his dad. He agreed to allow him to stay with him. So that made him came to America to meet him for the first time in his life at age 26. He was excited, but he wasn’t. He asked him to leave the house, and he had stayed for only a few months and asked him to pay rent. He then was a student, and he couldn’t afford it. The stepmother loved him so much and paid his school fees for the first semester. But the dad won’t do it. All the work he was doing, he was saving up for the next semester. Then he met a Ghanaian brother who then took him in just like that, and he is the same person that connected him to the job he was doing. And a stranger called Yaw and he helped him.

He then narrated the months spent in jail because of his dad reports about allegations of a fake marriage. He disclosed how Good Samaritan paid 30,000 dollars to have him released and his decision to remain in the US to pursue his life opportunities.

When he was arrested, a lady in church asked about him from the pastor in the church. She had to pay about 30,000 dollars to release him. Afterwards, he then was asked to choose between going back to Ghana and staying in the US. He then chooses the US because the system in Ghana wasn’t working. He was processed for court, and the audio of the caller was played in court. It was nobody but his father. “I was lost for words, and I nearly collapsed,” he shared.

Eric Okyere changed his name to Eric Watson when he realized that his Dad refused to plead for a change. When the need arises and had to resort to using his mother’s maiden name Watson. He has survived through all the pains and has successfully achieved a career through his experience. He owns two hotels in Ghana and currently in the Real Estate business. He has a medical transportation business in the US. He has employed about 30 Ghanaian citizens and with high hopes to start more business in Ghana.

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536 Alleged Witches In The Northern Part Of Ghana – Report
June 7, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

The Sanneh Institute Legon, a research institute has discovered more than 536 witch camps exist. There are five (5) camps in total. One was successfully closed down in 2014. All the camps are in the former Northern Region, now in the re-demarcated Northern and North-East Regions.

These figures are not absolutes as victims move out and new one move into the camps regularly. These camps are, Gnani Camp, near Yendi with 200 inmates, Kukuo Camp, near Bimbilla with 149 inmates. Eighty two (82) inmates are located at the Gushegu Camp. Whiles the Kpatinga Camp, near Gushegu has 27 inmates. The Gambaga Camp has 78 inmates bringing the total to 536.

Executive Director of the Sanneh Institute, Prof. John Azumah says demographics show that the overwhelming majority of the victims in the camps are from the Konkomba ethnic group. More than 80%. Followed by Dagomba, Mamprusi and Bimoba in that order” .

 According to him, nearly all the victims are accused by family members, some by their own children, and others by chiefs. But anytime a victim dies, the family will show up to convey the body home and perform the funeral rites”.  He revealed.

It reveals that in all the camps, except Gushegu, there are traditional shrines and priests known as Tendanas, who perform the rituals and act as overseers of the camps.

There are neither walls nor gates at the camps. But there are gatekeepers! All the priests say the victims are free to return home anytime their families wanted them back.

 But there are caveats! Some of the priests openly admit that most of the accusations are fabrications out of pure malice, hatred, jealousy, poverty and ignorance The victims fend for themselves, and their daily feeding is a huge challenge Most are afraid to return home for fear of the accusers and for fear of been accused again Some of the priests say only government and the chiefs can bring about closure of the camps.

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Oil and Gas Industry should host African Energy Week to Outline Agenda for Support of Our Oil and Gas Industry ahead of COP26
June 7, 2021 | 0 Comments

Africa Oil Week’s move to Dubai, and away from its home in Cape Town, is wrong, short-term in its thinking, and sends a negative message about Africa. The move underestimates our preparedness to host events that define our future economic and energy sector success. Imagine the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament being hosted in Dubai because one company says Africa is not the right place anymore because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Africa Oil Week was always seen as a crucial gathering for African NOC’s and international IOC’s to interact as well as a forum for African governments to discuss policy decisions and seek contributions from the oil and gas industry. In 2021, this particular conference would be taking place at a crucial time, when the debate about net zero gas emissions by 2050 is threatening the future economic developments of several African countries.

This year’s Africa Oil Week was expected to amongst other very relevant matters, allow Africans and its energy sector to craft a narrative for COP 26 that takes into account the developmental and poverty reduction objectives of our oil and gas producing and non-producing countries. We can’t give up in Africa. We should build our own platform with Africa Energy Week in October.

“I am deeply concerned about the decision to move the Africa Oil Week to Dubai under the guise of protecting participants from COVID-19 contaminations in Cape Town. Their excuses and final decision to move are both unacceptable and wrong. It sends a message that when things are hard because of COVID-19, Africa should be abandoned for other locations irrespective of the loyalty and the sponsorship Africa has shown for more than two decades,” stated Florival Mucave, President of the Mozambique Oil & Gas Chamber.

“When you take commerce or business opportunities out of Africa, you are taking jobs and opportunities away from Africans. Africa Oil Week has made their decision, the onus is on us to demonstrate that as a continent, we are capable and willing to organize a conference that proudly showcases the African oil and gas industry and takes into account all COVID-19 protocols and preventive measures” continued Mucave.

“I have great respect and admiration for Dubai and their remarkable socio-economic development. However, Dubai and Africa cannot be interchangeable insofar as the social development of the African continent is concerned. Africa deserves partners that are unreservedly committed to showcasing its valuable resources and potential” concluded Mucave.

This boycott of Africa in favour of Dubai should not be accepted and promoted by the oil and gas industry and African governments.  With the signing of the Paris Agreement, which called for an unprecedented commitment to decarbonize economies, the African oil and gas industry has come under tremendous pressure and there have been unprecedented calls for investors and energy companies to stop investment into African oil and gas.

Important discussions about how we in Africa can work with government and upstream companies to create an environment which attracts the required oil and gas investments, local content in a post COVID-19 Africa, economic diversification, financing our gas developments, financing independents in asset acquisitions from major IOCs, licensing rounds and also climate change should be held in Africa and not in Dubai.

The Mozambique energy sector believes an energy conference in Cape Town in October that deals with key issues like making our regulatory and fiscal framework attractive for investment, deal-making with international and local companies, governments outlining new projects and deals, consolidating Africa’s narrative for COP26, and standing strong with our oil and gas sector is key.

An African Energy Week in Cape Town should unite governments, oil and gas companies, financial institutions, service companies, marginal field producers, commercial banks and more. This meeting is vital for our continent’s energy sector success.

*Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Mozambican Oil and Gas Chamber (CPGM).

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Merck Foundation CEO felicitates winners of ‘Merck Foundation More Than A Mother’ Africa Media Recognition Awards 2020 through a virtual award ceremony.
June 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

6 new awards 2021 were announced by Merck Foundation in partnership with the 20 African First Ladies.

50 Winners from 16 African Countries were celebrated at Merck Foundation Africa Media Recognition Awards Ceremony; 6 new awards 2021 were announced by Merck Foundation (Merck-Foundation) in partnership with the 20 African First Ladies; During the online video conference, Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej welcomed the winners of the awards to the Merck Foundation Alumni.

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, celebrated the winners of ‘Merck Foundation More Than A Mother’ Africa Media Recognition Awards 2020 during the Award Ceremony held via a Video Conference. The winners were applauded for their best media coverage about infertility, infertile women & couples, with the aim to raise awareness about infertility prevention and male infertility. The awards were announced by Merck Foundation in partnership with the African First Ladies, who are also the Ambassadors of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother emphasized “I am proud to recognize and appreciate our winners, who became the voice of the voiceless and the storytellers of infertile women and break the stigma around them and also raised awareness about male infertility. I am extremely happy to meet and celebrate our winners, through our online Award Ceremony. As you know, I truly believe that Media plays a crucial role in educating and sensitizing our communities through their influential media work. Through these awards, we were able to inspire many African journalists to write and create awareness about infertility stigma in their communities. We would like to encourage our winners to become Merck Foundation Champions and work together towards further eliminating infertility stigma and empower girls through education in developing countries and underserved communities”.  

“We also welcome the winners as Merck Foundation Alumni, to join us to create a culture shift as a part of ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother’ and ‘Educating Linda’ programs”, Senator, Dr. Kelej added.

Here is the list of Award Winners of Merck Foundation More Than A Mother’ Africa Media Recognition Awards 2020:

Here are the winners from Southern African Countries in partnership with The First Lady of Malawi, H.E. MONICA CHAKWERA; The First Lady of Namibia, H.E. MONICA GEINGOS; and The First Lady of Zimbabwe, H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA:

SOUTHERN AFRICAN COUNTRIES

PRINT CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • Roselyne Sachiti, The Herald Newspaper, ZIMBABWE

SECOND Position:

  • Memory Kutengule, Malawi News Agency, MALAWI
  • Mugugunye Moses, The Standard, ZIMBABWE

THIRD Position:

  • Patrick Musir, The AfroNews, ZIMBABWE
  • Takudzwa Chihambakwe, Zimpapers Group, ZIMBABWE

SPECIAL AWARD FOR A NOVEL

  • Nyasha Clementine Rwodzi, ZIMBABWE

ONLINE CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • Sharon Kavhu, The Southern Times, NAMIBIA
  • Gracious Mugovera, The Patriot, ZIMBABWE

SECOND Position:

  • Happy Njalam’mano, Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS), MALAWI

THIRD Position:

  • John Manzongo, The Herald, ZIMBABWE

MULTIMEDIA CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • Abel Dzobo, HELA TV, ZIMBABWE

SECOND Position:

  • Rosa Teixeira, Independent Journalist, NAMIBIA

RADIO CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • Linda Banda, Chanco Community Radio, MALAWI
  • Veronika Haulenga-Haufiku, Omulunga Radio, Future Group, NAMIBIA
  • Tashie Masawi, ZBC Radio Station Classic 263, ZIMBABWE

SECOND Position:

  • Mathilde Ndinelao Hinanifa, Independent Journalist, NAMIBIA
  • Ikemisetseng Marou, Radio Lesotho, LESOTHO
  • Rutendo Makuti, ZBC Radio Zimbabwe, ZIMBABWE

THIRD Position:

  • Memory Nkwe Ndhlovu, ZBC Radio Station Classic 263, ZIMBABWE

Here are the winners from West African Countries in partnership with The First Lady of Liberia, H.E. CLAR MARIE WEAH; and The First Lady of Nigeria, H.E. Dr. AISHA MUHAMMADU BUHARI:

WEST AFRICAN COUNTRIES

PRINT CATEGORY WINNERS:

  • Chioma Obinna, Vanguard Media Limited, NIGERIA

ONLINE CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • Martins Ifijeh, ThisDay Newspapers, NIGERIA

SECOND Position:

  • Never G Lomo, New Public Trust, LIBERIA
  • Chinedu Asadu, Cable Newspaper Limited, NIGERIA

RADIO CATEGORY

  • Abubakar Sulaiman, Sawaba FM 104.9 Hadejia, NIGERIA

Here are the winners from East African Countries:

EAST AFRICAN COUNTRIES

ONLINE CATEGORY

  • Sharon Kantengwa, The New Times, RWANDA

MULTIMEDIA CATEGORY

  • Walter Mwesigye, NTV, UGANDA

RADIO CATEGORY

  • Mercy Tyra Murengu, Upendo FM, KENYA

Here are the winners from African French Speaking Countries in partnership with The First Lady of Burundi, H.E. ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE; The First Lady of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, H.E. DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI; The First Lady of Guinea Conakry, H.E. CONDÉ DJENE; and The Former First Lady of Niger, H.E. AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU:

AFRICAN FRENCH SPEAKING COUNTRIES

PRINT CATEGORY

FIRST Position:

  • Richard TAMONE, Le Standard, GUINEA

SECOND Position:

  • Koami Agbetiafa, Le Républicain, NIGER

ONLINE CATEGORY

FIRST Position:

  • Lokale Odia Prisca, ACTUALITE.CDDEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

SECOND Position:

MULTIMEDIA CATEGORY

FIRST Position:

  • Fatou Fadiga, House Media RTG, GUINEA

SECOND Position:

  • Jean Népomuscène Irambona, Radio TV Buntu, BURUNDI

RADIO CATEGORY

FIRST Position:

  • Remy Rukundo, Radio TV Buntu, BURUNDI
  • Makan Soumaoro, ESPACE FORET, GUINEA

SECOND Position:

  • Magendero Bénigne, Radio TV Buntu, BURUNDI
  • Aminata Bah, GUINEA
  • Innocent Ndihokubwayo, Radio TV Buntu, BURUNDI

THIRD Position:

  • Paulette Mugisha, Radio TV Buntu, BURUNDI
  • NZEYIMANA Emelyne, Radio TV Buntu, BURUNDI

Here are the winners from Ghana in partnership with The First Lady of Ghana, H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO:

GHANA

PRINT CATEGORY

FIRST Position:

  • Jonathan Donkor, The Ghanian Times

SECOND Position:

  • Zadok Kwame Gyesi, Graphic Online

THIRD Position:

  • Ama Tekyiwaa Ampadu Agyeman, New Times Corporation

ONLINE CATEGORY

  • Dzifa Tetteh Tay, New Times Corporation

MULTIMEDIA CATEGORY

FIRST Position:

  • Esi Benewaa Otoo, TV 3 Network

SECOND Position:

  • Akua Oforiwa Darko, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation

RADIO CATEGORY

  • Doreen Ampofo, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation Radio

Here are the winners from Zambia in partnership with The First Lady of Zambia, H.E. ESTHER LUNGU:

ZAMBIA

PRINT CATEGORY

  • Jessie Ngoma -Simengwa, Times of Zambia

MULTIMEDIA CATEGORY

  • Effie Mphande, Zambia Broadcasting Corporation Radio

RADIO CATEGORY

  • Josias Muuba, Radio Musi-O-Tunya

Link of the Award Ceremony livestreamed on social media: bit.ly/2THP5AE

Merck Foundation additionally rewarded the winners by providing them with one-year access to an online educational training program called “MasterClass”. The MasterClass is an immersive online experience and self-paced learning course in English that can be accessed anywhere with the Internet.

To underscore the important role that media, art, fashion, music and film plays in raising awareness about sensitive issues like Infertility Prevention, and Empowering Girls and Women through Education, and continuing the best prevention practices during the second wave of coronavirus, Merck Foundation in partnership with 20 First Ladies of Africa announced the following 6 awards:

1. Merck Foundation Africa Media Recognition Awards “More Than a Mother”: Media representatives are invited to showcase their work to raise awareness about Infertility Prevention, Breaking Infertility stigma, and Empowering Girls and Women through Education.

Submission deadline: 30th August 2021. Click here to view more details.

 2. Merck Foundation Film Awards “More Than a Mother” 2021: All African Filmmakers and Students are invited to create and share a FILM or a DOCUDRAMA to deliver strong and influential messages to break Infertility stigma, and /or Empowering Girls and Women through Education and at all levels.

Submission deadline: 30th August 2021. Click here to view more details.

3. Merck Foundation Fashion Awards “More Than a Mother” 2021: All African Fashion Students and Designers are invited to create and share designs to deliver strong and influential messages to raise awareness about Infertility Prevention, Breaking Infertility stigma, and/or Empowering Girls and Women through Education.

Submission deadline: 30th August 2021. Click here to view more details.

4. Merck Foundation Song Awards “More Than a Mother” 2021: All African Singers and Musical Artists are invited to create and share a SONG with the aim to Empower Girls and Women through Education and at all levels.

Submission deadline: 30th August 2021. Click here to view more details.

5. Merck Foundation “Mask Up With Care” Media Recognition Awards 2021: Media representatives are invited to showcase their work to raise awareness on how to adapt best protection measures such as wearing your masks to show you care and love your family & community; to encourage your community to choose to vaccinate when it is available and to sensitize them to support healthcare workers who are at the forefront of COVID 19 pandemic.

Submission deadline: 30th September 2021. Click here to view more details.

6. Merck Foundation “Make Your Own Mask” Fashion Awards 2021: All African Fashion Designers and Students are invited to create and share designs of masks and other clothing items that carry messages to encourage people to wear masks to show they care and at the same time make it creative and fun!

Submission deadline: 30th September 2021. Click here to view more details.

Entries for all the awards to be submitted via email to submit@merck-foundation.com

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej also emphasized, “Through the awards under the “More Than a Mother” campaign, we would like to join hands with media, film, music and fashion fraternity to make a change and Break Infertility Stigma, a message that must reach every door, every community, every mind, and every heart. Another important message is to emphasize the importance of girl education in our communities. Moreover, given the unprecedented times and second wave of coronavirus, it is important to sensitize communities and raise awareness about following best practices. Raising awareness about coronavirus in our communities will also contribute to supporting health workers who are at the forefront of COVID-19 response – providing high-quality, respectful treatment, and care. Hence, we came up with awards for media persons and fashion designers, so as to encourage people to wear masks during the Coronavirus pandemic and protect themselves and others. The two Media Awards have also been launched for Latin American countries.”

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

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

The Ambassadors of “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” are:

H.E. NEO JANE MASISI,
The First Lady of Botswana
H.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The GambiaH.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia
H.E. SIKA KABORE, The First Lady of Burkina FasoH.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of GhanaH.E. AISHA BUHARI, The First Lady of Nigeria
H.E. ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE,The First Lady of BurundiH.E. CONDÉ DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea ConakryH.E FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone
H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African RepublicH.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of LiberiaH.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia
H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo BrazzavilleH.E. MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of MalawiH.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe
H.E. DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI, THE First Lady of Democratic Republic of CongoH.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique
The Former First Lady of Burundi, H.E DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The Former First Lady of Chad, H.E. HINDA DÉBY ITNO, The Former First Lady of Malawi, H.E. PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA and The Former First Lady of Niger, H.E AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU have worked successfully with Merck Foundation as Merck Foundation More Than a Mother Ambassadors to break the stigma of infertility and empower infertile women in their countries.

Merck Foundation launched new innovative initiatives to sensitize local communities about infertility prevention, male infertility with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and empowering infertile women as part of Merck Foundation More than a Mother COMMUNITY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN, such as;
• ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Africa Media Recognition Awards and Health Media Training
• ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Fashion Awards
• ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Film Awards
• Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it
• Children storybook, localized for each country

About Merck Foundation:
The Merck Foundation, established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to quality & equitable healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Foundation Website. 

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Future Energy Series: Africa announces the 2021 event edition will be held in Dubai, 8-11 November
June 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

Future Energy Series: Africa (FESA), part of Hyve Group plc, announces that the 2021 edition of the event will be held in Dubai, 8-11 November at the Madinat Jumeirah.

After careful evaluation of government guidelines and consultation with customers, the organisers have made the decision to move the dates and location of Future Energy Series: Africa 2021 (FutureEnergySeriesAfrica.com). Originally scheduled from 1-4 November in Cape Town, South Africa, the event will now take place in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) on 8-11 November 2021 in the Madinat Jumeirah alongside the 27th edition of Africa Oil Week.

Simon Ford, Portfolio Director at Hyve Group plc said: “Delivering the event to the highest standard and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our attendees has always been our top priority. We believe that hosting the 2021 edition in Dubai will enable us to ensure that the event experience is both safe and premium for our customers.”

He added: “Though we are very disappointed not to be able to host our event in Cape Town this year, we believe that Dubai is the next best location. The country has demonstrated exceptional progress in its vaccination programme and has also led the way in safely reopening successful, large-scale international events that attracted business travellers from more than 150 countries. This is consequently increasing business confidence and accelerating the revival of all major sectors in the country. As such, in order to allow our customers ample time to make travel arrangements, we have made the decision to move the dates and location – we are confident that Dubai will be a safe and highly desirable destination to host both the Future Energy Series: Africa and the 27th edition of Africa Oil Week.”

The organisers have vowed that despite the location change, Future Energy Series: Africa will be the must-attend event with Africa at its core, a platform dedicated to fostering relationships, and promoting a sustainable energy transition in Africa. An event that will drive thought leadership, catalyse innovation and stimulate deal-making, attracting a uniquely senior global delegate pool whilst maintaining a distinctively African focus.

The organised have confirmed the participation of the leading Government Ministers and regulatory bodies from across Africa, as well as senior representatives from strategic partner organisations including AFUR, EITI and REEEP, confirming the event’s position as the gathering shaping the future of African energy.

Future Energy Series: Africa will take place in accordance with the latest health & safety and government guidance and will reunite industry leaders with a shared vision of driving green economies and ensuring universal power access for the continent.

About Future Energy Series: Africa:

The vision of FESA is to drive green economies to ensure universal power access for the African continent. The event is the deal-making and project origination platform of choice for the continent’s most influential low-carbon energy stakeholders. FESA takes an Africa-centric approach to the energy transition, which prioritises sustainable development and solving the continental power deficit. It will run alongside Africa Oil Week, 8-11 November 2021 in Dubai, UAE.

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Zamfara state gripped by humanitarian crisis as violence escalates.
June 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

An MSF nurse examining a child on oxygen support in Anka general hospital. Nigeria, April 2021 | © MSF/GHADA SAAFAN

Spiralling violence between armed groups in Nigeria’s northwest has driven thousands of people from their homes; Conditions in the resulting displaced people’s camps are dire, with a lack of food, water and shelter; We are urging for an immediate scale up in the humanitarian response in Zamfara state to meet people’s basic needs.

Rising violence in northwest  Nigeria’s Zamfara state is causing a humanitarian crisis, warns Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). MSF is calling for an urgent humanitarian response for people in the region, who are desperately short of food, drinking water, shelter, protection and basic services, including healthcare.

 “Our teams in Zamfara state have witnessed an alarming rise in preventable illnesses associated with a lack of food, drinking water, shelter and vaccinations,” says MSF’s Dr Godwin Emudanohwo, speaking from the hospital MSF supports in the town of Anka. “Children keep on arriving here in a very bad condition.”

“In the first four months of 2021, our teams in Anka, Zurmi and Shinkafi treated 10,300 children for severe acute malnutrition, measles, malaria, watery diarrhoea and respiratory infections,” says Dr Emudanohwo. “This is 54 per cent higher than in the same period last year.”

What began as occasional clashes between farmers and herders, competing over increasingly scarce land and water resources, has now evolved into generalised random violence by armed groups, who use kidnapping and plundering as a lucrative source of income.

People who make it to MSF health facilities say that the surge in violence has driven them to flee their homes, farms and grazing lands. Some have sought protection in Zamfara’s larger towns, such as Anka, where they are sheltering in camps, both formal and informal.

Living conditions in the camps are dire, with no regular food distributions or proper shelter and with insufficient water and sanitation facilities, according to MSF teams. Other people have stayed in villages, too afraid to travel on insecure roads and delaying their trips to seek healthcare or fulfil other basic needs.

“There’s hardly any food to give to my children,” says Halima, two of whose children are being treated for severe acute malnutrition by MSF in Anka hospital. “We can no longer grow crops because criminals attack our farms.”

“Two of my children got measles and they were growing very thin. The roads are very dangerous, but I had to risk our lives and bring them to hospital,” says Halima. “Last time, when their elder sister got measles, I decided too late to travel by road and bring her to hospital. She had complications and now she is blind.”

In February 2021 there were more than 124,000 displaced people living in in Zamfara state, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) – an increase of more than 12,000 since August 2020. In Anka town alone, our teams have counted more than 14,000 displaced people, with around 1,599 arrivals in the past four months.

“We had to flee our grazing lands and most of our cattle were stolen,” says Nana, who is sheltering in a camp for displaced people on the edge of Anka. “Now there’s very little for us to eat. I make a living by selling cows’ milk to local people.”

The 150 beds in MSF’s paediatric ward in Anka hospital are already full, but staff fear the worst is yet to come.

“We are currently running over our bed capacity in Anka hospital,” says Dr Emudanohwo. “Families tell us they won’t be able to farm for the new season, which means a new cycle of hunger.”

“And the rainy season is yet to start, when malaria and other seasonal diseases increase,” continues Dr Emudanohwo. “People here need food, safe water and vaccinations now.”

“The survivors are afraid to take the roads, so they usually arrive at our clinics too late to prevent sexually transmitted infections, with serious mental trauma and in desperate need of protection”. Dr. Noble Nma, Msf Medical Activity Manager in Shinkafi.

Rise in kidnapping and sexual violence

As the violence spirals, reports of kidnappings, killings, armed robbery and sexual violence have multiplied.

“From January to April, our teams in Zamfara have received over 100 victims of sexual violence,” says Dr Noble Nma, MSF medical activity manager in Shinkafi, where we run a clinic for survivors of sexual violence. “Women and sometimes men are abducted by armed men and subjected to violation for a few weeks before being returned to their community. This is in addition to the violence faced by women within the community itself.”

Fear of travelling along dangerous roads means that rape survivors often seek support late, or not at all. “The survivors are afraid to take the roads, so they usually arrive at our clinics too late to prevent sexually transmitted infections, with serious mental trauma and in desperate need of protection,” says Dr Nma. “They tell us that there are more survivors out there who are afraid to travel here, so we fear that we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg.”

MSF is one of just a few aid organisations working in Zamfara state. This is not the first time we have raised the alarm on the urgent need for increased humanitarian assistance and protection in the region.

“Our teams have witnessed the speed at which the situation in Zamfara state has deteriorated,” says Froukje Pelsma, MSF head of mission in Nigeria. “The lives of people in northwest Nigeria are now dominated by hunger, abuse and preventable diseases.”

“What is happening here is a humanitarian emergency that needs urgent attention and a fast and proper response,” says Pelsma. “The authorities and all relevant stakeholders should assume their responsibilities towards affected communities.”

*MSF

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CELEBRATING THE PAST, DEFINING THE FUTURE: LOOKING BACK TO LOOK AHEAD
June 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

Canon reflects back on its key milestones and achievements setting a tone of meaningful contribution, collaboration and progress for the future.  

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, June 4th 2021: Each year, Africa day is celebrated on May 25th to pay a tribute to the undying spirit of the great African continent as well as to recognize its diverse cultures, remarkable heritage along with the prolific progress made by the continent as a whole. To celebrate this significant day, Canon takes a walk down the memory lane, reflecting and rejoicing some of its major moments of contribution and change in the African landscape.  

WALK DOWN THE MEMORY LANE 

“Corporate philanthropy is not just about being part of the conversation, it is about starting a conversation and as a company, we truly stand by these words. Our philosophy has always been to make real and meaningful impact in people’s lives, to ensure that we provide opportunities that bring about a wave of change and progress in the society. A leader is someone who can channel creative energy, impulse and hope through the people. We have aspired to do exactly so in the past through our various initiatives and collaborations in Africa, and really gone an extra mile to create copious local employment opportunities across the continent, thereby ensuring we are hitting directly at the grass-root level with our efforts reducing gender bias and creating employment opportunities for men and women alike. A glimpse at our management & in-country sales team across Africa proves what we stand for, a balanced team of visionary minds, regardless of any prejudice. We are a company for the people and by the people, our strength lies in empowering individuals, our employment drives across the continent have been vital in ensuring success, stability and equilibrium for Africa. As we celebrate Africa Day, I am extremely proud to look back at all our accomplishments that have set a visionary tone of collaborative contribution for the future,” remarks Somesh Adukia, Managing Director – Canon Central and North Africa.  

TORCHBEARERS OF CHANGE AND INNOVATION 

Being the torchbearers of change and innovation, this past year saw Canon set up myriad initiatives to promote and inspire the young talent in Africa. Through its Miraisha programme, Canon recognized and awarded ten young students from Kenya with scholarships to aid in the development of their visual storytelling skills. The elected scholars are poised to work towards a certificate in film technology, studying twelve subjects including video camera operations, screenwriting, editing, photography and film production techniques. Through this exclusive partnership with the KCA University, Canon aims to empower the African youth with creative opportunities that contribute not just on an individual level but also on the community level.  

In keeping up with its endeavor to promote young talent, Canon also unveiled its ‘Student Development Programme’ for 2021 for the fifth consecutive year. An initiative designed to supplement young photographers with a real-time experience of working with an industry expert, this life-changing opportunity is presented to 250 students from across Europe, Middle East and Africa. As a result, each candidate is able to participate in a unique and bespoke educational programme designed to enhance students’ visual storytelling skills thereby advancing their careers. 

ARTS, CULTURE AND HERITAGE: LEVERS FOR BUILDING THE AFRICA WE WANT 

Canon has paid particular attention to the 2021 theme of ‘Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want’ in all of its initiatives, carving out a road-map that builds on a strong foundation of these pillars. To maintain its commitment in a changing world, not only did the brand strategize encouraging initiatives for the younger African population but it also implemented peer-to-peer business partnerships in order to provide support and inculcate a collaborative spirit. Aiming to create a win-win situation for both the company and its partners, Canon employed its ‘closer to customer’ strategy in the African continent to strengthen its distribution network as well as to provide opportunities to the local players.  

As a result, this collaborative bandwagon will see Docutech and Al Mactab focus on advancing Canon’s Wide Format print solutions in Ghana and Libya respectively, while Express Automation will amplify Canon’s Professional Print services in Kenya and Digimate will boost Document Solutions and Large Format Print offerings in Morocco. Partnering with local business players has been the go-to strategy for Canon in order to streamline the supply process and facilitate growth and opportunities in the remotest of areas.  

On a similar note, Canon’s annual Service Conference held earlier this year in March, witnessed its partners and distributors come together from more than 30 African countries to virtually participate in a thought-provoking session of cutting-edge business ideas and innovation. The conference presented Canon’s Service partners an opportunity to get up-to-date on the Business and Service direction of CCNA.  

With the undeniable global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canon has made sustainable efforts to improve its remote service capabilities by designing virtual conferences that encourage its partners to receive optimum training to operate and implement services such as e-Service and e-Maintenance thereby ensuring seamless and unobstructed support to its customers.  

WORKING TOGETHER FOR COMMON GOOD 

Canon’s corporate philosophy of Kyosei – living and working together for the common good, ensures that all elements of its universe from its business partners to employees to customers are looked after and taken care of. The flywheel of Canon’s various activities in Africa focus on delivering real value thereby creating sustainable impact through its consistent contribution towards the pursuit of keeping creativity and innovation alive.  

In 2020, Canon expanded its world-renowned Ambassador Programme to over 100 leading international photographers and filmmakers, once again staying true to its commitment of nurturing creative talent without any boundaries. A first of its kind, the Canon EMEA Ambassador Programme was created to represent and support current and future generations of photographers and filmmakers by sharing their passion and technical know-how with fellow professionals, as well as enthusiastic amateurs who want to develop their skills.  

The consistent drumbeat of Canon’s efforts in the African continent have proven particularly important in creating a positive impact despite various challenges faced in the past year. Coming together as a company and promoting the ‘Kyosei’ culture has manifested in a thriving environment that is symbiotic for all the stakeholders, be it a consumer or a company employee.  

Adding on to this, company MD Mr. Somesh Adukia says, “At the heart of our business, lies our commitment to be change-makers, to be a company that recognizes its power and position to bring about a social change thus positively impacting the very people it serves. This is what sets us apart, our dedicated efforts in relentlessly pursuing the greater good, for one and all. As we celebrate Africa today, it is extraordinary that we also celebrate a key milestone – five years of Canon Central and North Africa. From the time we set foot on the African continent, we have walked on the path of creativity, collaboration and curiosity and we will continue to do so. Each and every day, we endeavor to work towards the development and progress of Africa and its people. We are optimistic to be spectators of tremendous growth and opportunities for Africa, we believe the future is full of possibilities.” 

About Canon Central and North Africa 

Canon Central and North Africa (CCNA) (Canon-CNA.com) is a division within Canon Middle East FZ LLC (CME), a subsidiary of Canon Europe. The formation of CCNA in 2015 was a strategic step that aimed to enhance Canon’s business within the Africa region – by strengthening Canon’s in-country presence and focus. CCNA also demonstrates Canon’s commitment to operating closer to its customers and meeting their demands in the rapidly evolving African market. 

Canon has been represented in the African continent for more than 15 years through distributors and partners that have successfully built a solid customer base in the region. CCNA ensures the provision of high quality, technologically advanced products that meet the requirements of Africa’s rapidly evolving marketplace. With over 100 employees, CCNA manages sales and marketing activities across 44 countries in Africa.  

Canon’s corporate philosophy is Kyosei – ‘living and working together for the common good’. CCNA pursues sustainable business growth, focusing on reducing its own environmental impact and supporting customers to reduce theirs using Canon’s products, solutions and services. At Canon, we are pioneers, constantly redefining the world of imaging for the greater good. Through our technology and our spirit of innovation, we push the bounds of what is possible – helping us to see our world in ways we never have before. We help bring creativity to life, one image at a time. Because when we can see our world, we can transform it for the better. 

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Mozambique and Tanzania need better cooperation to combat terrorism, says official
June 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

Mozambique needs to adapt its model of defence in response to the terrorist threat in Cabo Delgado province, the permanent secretary of the defence ministry has said.

Casimiro Mueio was speaking during the third session of the joint commission on defence and security held between Mozambique and Tanzania.

“It is becoming increasingly evident that the so-called classic conflicts tend to be replaced by low intensity conflicts characterised by asymmetric warfare actions, in which terrorism stands out”, Mueio said.

He added that the two countries needed to cooperate better to respond to regional threats including terrorism, piracy, illegal immigration and drug smuggling.

The terrorists’ progress is being helped by Mozambique and Tanzania having a different approach to the conflict.

The Mozambican government says that Tanzania is not doing enough to control the border, and Tanzania says that the conflict in Cabo Delgado is internal and must be resolved by Mozambique.

Tanzania’s new president has never taken part in meetings of the Southern African Development Community to discuss the insurgency, and has made clear that it will not send troops to Mozambique, the news sheet added.

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Cameroon: AfCFTA is Vital for Economic Growth, Job Creation – Ecobank Cameroon’s Gwendoline Abunaw
June 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA is crucial for “our economic growth and job creation” said Gwendoline Abunaw, Managing Director of Ecobank Cameroon.

The Managing Director of Ecobank Cameroon, ranked 4th out of the 16 banks in Cameroon was speaking during a webinar on June 3, 2021, organized by the Nkafu Policy Institute. Moderated by Dr Denis Foretia, Executive Chairman of the Nkafu Policy Institute, the session was under the theme “Africa’s Road to Recovery – A Conversation with Gwendoline Abunaw.”

With 20 years of experience, Gwendoline Abunaw, the first female Managing Director in the country has occupied C-suite roles since 2011, including Head of Corporate bank Cameroon including coverage of 6 other countries in Central Africa and Deputy Managing Director at Ecobank Cameroon.

“All I can say is that we survived. There was a fear that Africa will disappear in the way we were going to manage the pandemic. It was also because of the quick reaction in closing the borders and also the youthful population in most African countries,” said Gwendoline Abunaw, a board member at Ecobank Cameroon and Chad.  

“A lot of work still needs to be done. We are in a stable but wait and see the situation as everyone is taking the baby steps into going back to normal.

There economic situation in most African countries is dire. The banking sector according to the Managing Director of Ecobank is still trying to get on its feet while the number of custom or tax collection has reduced due to the pandemic. It has also affected the rate at which investment is done in a particular country. “What we are seeing now is the inflows of support being given to the various governments in their fight against the pandemic.”

Gwendoline Abunaw, Managing Director of Ecobank Cameroon

The IMF programme is important as it helps make sure that our countries can develop. We need more of that support and we are going to see more as the countries slowly come out of the pandemic.

According to many analysts, the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically affected many Small businesses across the Africa continent. In Cameroon, some 90% of businesses in the country are SMEs. With the problems that this sector is currently facing, the pandemic has made things worse for small-scale businesses.

The pandemic has not been all gloomy according to the Managing Director of Ecobank. “Because of the pandemic, creative space has been created for SMEs. Government has provided tax reliefs to some of the like in the transport sector and those involved in tourism (to help the SMEs cope with the challenges involved).”

Many of these SMEs have had to come up with innovative ways to reach their customers than they were doing before the pandemic hit. Small-scaled businesses have incorporated technology into their businesses. Social media platforms have been a major boost to these companies.

“Ecobank has also stepped in to assist these SMEs with the launch of the Elevate Programme and also provided the SMEs digital software to enable them better manage their businesses. All these efforts have enabled SMEs to thrive, despite the partial lockdowns that were instituted in some areas of the country,” said Gwendoline Abunaw, chairperson of the boards for both Pan African savings and loans (microfinance) and Ecobank Development Corporation (EDC), an investment bank.

Dr Denis Foretia, Executive Chairman of the Nkafu Policy Institute

Responding to the question on the challenges and hurdles of the AfCFTA, Gwendoline Abunaw said there is a need to finalize and put the framework in place and the creation of infrastructure to assist. “Leaders have t make it a domestic policy. We have to be open to industrialization and liberalization as COVID has shown that there is a need to develop some companies providing essential services,” She said.

The implantation relies on the political will and has to be driven by the government. This can also only be possible when there is peace and security and it is vital for the AfCFTA. When there is peace, it will help attract investors into a country.”

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