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International Energy Agency’s Africa Dialogue Needs to be Inclusive for a Workable Africa’s Energy Transition
July 1, 2020 | 0 Comments
The Chamber reiterates its support to inclusive dialogues that take into account the realities of African economies and of energy poverty.

The African Energy Chamber  takes notes of recent initiatives taken by the International Energy Agency (IEA) to support Africa’s energy transition and salutes the leadership of the IEA in this dialogue. Such conversations notably echo the Chamber’s recent statement on African Lives Matter, questioning the OECD and IEA’s recent call to phase out fossil fuels. While the conversation of Africa’s energy transition continues, the Chamber reiterates its support to inclusive dialogues that take into account the realities of African economies and of energy poverty.

Unfortunately, the Africa Ministerial Roundtable organized this week has sidelined key stakeholders and actors within Africa’s energy sector, preventing its ability to be truly inclusive and impactful on the ground. Africa’s energy transition will not be possible without the inclusion, and participation of, the continent’s petroleum and gas ministries and companies.

The Chamber strongly believes that key institutions like the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO), led by its Secretary General Dr. Farouk Ibrahim, need to be part of this dialogue, along with representatives of the petroleum ministries of producing countries such as Algeria, Nigeria, Angola, Equatorial, Libya, Congo or Gabon and key National Oil Companies such as Sonatrach, GEPetrol, Gabon Oil, NNPC or Sonangol. The African private sector was not invited while we note the invitation and participation an international oil company. Given the importance of the oil & gas sector for several African economies, the Chamber questions the relevance of an energy debate that would exclude them from the conversation.

“Energy poverty is as real as climate change, and the global debate on Africa’s energy transition tends to forget that hundreds of millions of African have no access to energy and still rely on firewood for cooking. Their needs must be at the center of the energy transition debate, which should not be made at the expense of any particular source of energy,” stated Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber. “This generation of Africans are not tickled by foreign aid and handouts that resulted in poor governance and mismanagement. Jobs, sustainable power and gas that drives development, along strong market-driven economies, are what Africans want. In order to accomplish a true African energy transition, petroleum producing countries, their National Oil Companies, civil society, African entrepreneurs and independent producing companies need to have a seat at the table,” he added.

The African Energy Chamber remains concerned that global conversations on Africa’s energy transition would result in a new foreign aid narrative by which Western stakeholders and investors would blindly push a renewable energy agenda at the expense of proper private sector-led development supporting jobs and entrepreneurship. While the Chamber strongly supports diversified energy mixes and wishes to see cleaner energy developments across Africa, solar and wind projects are still relying on global value chains which restrain their ability to support local content development. As a result, most solar and wind projects in the continent continue to have local content participation of less than 50%. Such issues need to be at the core of the energy transition debate so Africa’s cleaner future does not serve only the interests of big multinational corporations but also translates into private sector development and opportunities in Africa. It is time to put the voices of African businesses at the center of the debate.

As Africa seeks new ways to develop and grow in a post Covid-19 world, let’s remember the words of Nelson Mandela: “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom. Do not look the other way; do not hesitate. Recognise that the world is hungry for action, not words. Act with courage and vision.”
*African Energy Chamber
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World Bank Realigns Africa Region into Two Vice Presidencies for Greater Focus on Country Progress
July 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

Ousmane Diagana will join as Vice President for Western and Central Africa;

Hafez Ghanem to become Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa  

Ousmane Diagana, Vice President for Western and Central Africa

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2020—As a sign of its strong commitment to Africa, the World Bank’s Sub-Saharan Africa Regional portfolio will now be managed by two Vice Presidents, covering Western and Central and Eastern and Southern Africa, respectively. The institution announced the change in early 2020, which took effect today. 

This year the World Bank is expected to lend about $50 billion to 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa – significantly more than any other Region and making up about one-third of the World Bank’s entire portfolio. These financing volumes are almost double what the region delivered ten years ago. The Bank’s portfolio includes projects and programs in areas such as agriculture, trade and transport, energy, education, health, water and sanitation. Furthermore, the growth in financing to fragile states has been even higher with about two-thirds of World Bank financing to fragile states happening in Africa. 

The region has been led since 2018 by Hafez Ghanem, who today takes on the role of Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa. 

“Our commitment to Africa gets stronger every day, and I am thrilled to work alongside Ousmane Diagana to deliver even more resources to the people who need them the most,” said Hafez Ghanem, World Bank Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa“We are two Vice Presidents, but we see Africa as one, and will continue sharing lessons, expertise, and ideas across the continent.” 

The creation of an additional Vice Presidency Unit is part of the World Bank Group’s continuous efforts to align resources with priorities. This will help drive the reforms and policies needed to achieve sustained and broad-based growth, alleviate poverty and raise living standards for people on the continent.

Hafez Ghanem, World Bank Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa.
Hafez Ghanem, World Bank Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa.

Ousmane Diagana becomes Vice President for Western and Central Africa today.  

“I am honored to lead the Bank’s efforts in West and Central Africa, with a strong focus on innovation, impact, and transformation,” said Ousmane Diagana, Vice President for Western and Central Africa“Working together with Hafez, I know we can and will do more to put countries and people first and find ways to confront today’s development challenges using all of the tools at our disposal.” 

Diagana’s appointment comes as the Bank is looking to strengthen the delivery of its Africa program and further improve its operational focus on regional portfolios to better support the transformational improvements that are possible in Africa.

About Ousmane Diagana

A Mauritanian national with more than 25 years of development experience, Diagana joined the Bank in 1992. As the Vice President of Western and Central Africa, Diagana will lead the World Bank’s strategic, analytical, operational and knowledge work in Western and Central Africa. 

Since joining the Bank, Diagana has held several technical and managerial positions including Country Director for Mali, Niger, Chad, Guinea and Country Director for Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Benin and Togo. Diagana has worked extensively in Fragile, Conflict and Violence (FCV) affected countries. 

Prior to this appointment, Diagana was the World Bank Group Vice President for Human Resources. He also served as Vice President for Ethics and Business Conduct and World Bank Group Chief Ethics Officer. As World Bank Group Vice President for Human Resources, he has been central to many initiatives to bring staff closer to clients, particularly in FCV client countries.

About Hafez Ghanem

Hafez Ghanem, an Egyptian and French national, is the Regional Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa. A development expert with over 30 years of experience, Dr. Ghanem leads relations with 26 countries, and oversees over 280 projects totaling more than $49 billion.

Prior to his appointment, Dr. Ghanem served as the Vice President for Africa. Under his leadership, the World Bank supported inclusive growth and poverty reduction by financing projects that boost human capital, support private sector development, raise agricultural productivity, improve access to infrastructure, build resilience to climate change, and promote regional integration. Intensifying assistance for fragile and conflict-affected states, promoting gender equality, and providing economic opportunities for youth were core to his vision for the Africa Region.

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SyncFloor Partners with Mavin Records, Launches Afropop-centric SyncSite
June 30, 2020 | 0 Comments
Afropop is golden, and Mavin Records is a powerhouse of African talent,” explains SyncFloor CEO Kirt Debique

SyncFloor, the commercial music marketplace, is announcing its partnership with Mavin Records, bringing the label’s catalog to more potential sync buyers via syncfloor.com and its newly launched Mavin Records SyncSite. SyncFloor’s SyncSites allow its rights holder partners to surface a sync-oriented website that presents thematic, customized blocks of tracks and allows potential users to search for and find tracks from within the partner’s one-stop catalog, using natural language and cultural references.

“Afropop is golden, and Mavin Records is a powerhouse of African talent,” explains SyncFloor CEO Kirt Debique. “We are honored to get their beautiful music in front of production professionals worldwide.”

SyncFloor recently launched its commercial marketplace, along with a sister site SongsForPodcasters. Mavin’s one-stop catalog will also be featured in the podcast focused marketplace, making their infectious sounds and rhythmic vibrations accessible to the growing podcast phenomenon.

"SyncFloor's groundbreaking service promises immense access, making them fitting partners to expand our dealings in commercial music licensing," says Oghenejobo P. Tega, Chief Operating Officer, Mavin Records
“SyncFloor’s groundbreaking service promises immense access, making them fitting partners to expand our dealings in commercial music licensing,” says Oghenejobo P. Tega, Chief Operating Officer, Mavin Records

“SyncFloor’s groundbreaking service promises immense access, making them fitting partners to expand our dealings in commercial music licensing,” says Oghenejobo P. Tega, Chief Operating Officer, Mavin Records, “Over time, Afrobeats, and African culture, in general, have converted audiences across the globe with massive moments. We’re glad to offer our vast catalogue to brands and platforms looking to tell global stories in film and digital content.”

About SyncFloor

SyncFloor is a revolutionary new marketplace designed to unleash the full potential of music in commerce. We are revolutionizing music licensing, from music discovery through license clearance, for advertisements, film, TV, video games, and more. 

About SongsForPodcasters

SongsForPodcasters is a marketplace of commercial music to be used in podcasts of all types.  Built on the SyncFloor platform, SongsForPodcasters simplifies the discovery and licensing of music for podcast creators and producers through customized discovery, pricing, and licensing workflows.

About Mavin Records

Mavin Records was founded in 2012 by legendary Afrobeats producer, Don Jazzy, and produced some of the definitive music and artists such as Wande Cole, Tiwa Savage, and Reekado Banks. Currently, its roster spans a variety of genres with artists including Korede Bello, Johnny Drille, Di’ja, D’Prince, Dr. SID, LadiPoe, DNA, Rema, Crayon and DJ Big N. Today, Mavin is a community of amazing people dedicated to creativity, innovation and breaking new frontiers.

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Nigerian Actress / Screen Writer Pens Coronavirus hit African lockdown series
June 30, 2020 | 0 Comments
Tunde Aladese

Tunde Aladese is an African film actress and screen writer, she won an Africa Academy Award in 2018, she has recently been a studying BA in Filmmaking at MetFilm School .As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, a  popular series called, Shuga went into a mini-series nightly show titled MTV Shuga Alone Together highlighting the problems of Coronavirus on 20 April 2020. Tunde is the screenwriter.

The show was originally  to be broadcast for 60 nights, but it’s now been increased to 65 nights and its backers include the United Nations. The series is based in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Cote D’Ivoire and the story is told through with on-line conversations between the main characters. In the Q and A below she discusses the series and her career plans

Do you remember how you fell in love with films and writing? Was there a particular film/ script?  Did it make to feel a particular way? Anything growing up that pushed you in this particular direction? 

This is a difficult one because it’s never really just one thing. It’s the gradual growth of a lifelong romance. My love for writing started with prose, making sorry imitations of any book I enjoyed in order to somehow prolong the experience that the book had given me. Cinemas weren’t much of a thing in Nigeria at the time when I was growing up but VCR was big business and watching movies was a big family pastime.

It’s hard to pick just one film because the exposure was constant, and the genres were varied. It was the eighties so there was a lot of that B movie style action. Also, a lot of the glam mini-series type content, usually centred around a woman who succeeded against all odds. There was ‘The Sound of Music’ which my siblings and I could quote in its entirety. Arthouse came later, as options widened. I didn’t have a proper understanding of how films came to be for quite a while and a couple of appearances on kids’ variety shows were a surreal experience.

I guess primary school drama club was my first proper sense of trying to create a narrative out of thin air and get other people to help bring it to life. But I can say that I fell in love with the film business, this idea of actors and directors and storytellers on screen after reading biographies of some old Hollywood movie stars between the ages of 10 and 13.

I think that was when I began to understand the process of how all that came to the screen. The possibility of anything like that being a tangible and viable career plan, came much later. 

Please expand on the origins of when and why you decided that career in the screen industry was for you. 

I’m not quite sure I decided. I think the timing was fortunate for me. My first job after university led to an introduction between my boss and a producer who was about to make a radio drama series for the BBC in Nigeria. My boss showed him some ideas I had put down and I got invited to be part of a writers’ room, something I’d never heard of. I couldn’t believe someone paid me that much money (not a huge amount but at the time I was making almost nothing) to do something I’d been doing for fun all my life. I figured ‘I could get used to this…’ Success was not immediate but over the next couple of years, enough opportunities came my way that when an international cable company became interested in producing Nigerian series, I actually had a little experience under my belt and could pitch myself for some writing opportunities.

Tunde Aladese  won an Africa Academy Award in 2018
Tunde Aladese won an Africa Academy Award in 2018

Why did you choose Metfilm school? What’s unique about it? What were you experiences there? What were your education experiences beforehand? Where did you grow up and where did you go to college / university… what did you study before? 

My first degree was in English Literature, from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. After almost 10 years working professionally  as a screenwriter, mostly in television, I wanted new challenges and a wider canvas. I thought learning formally about all aspects of film production would help me with that. Choosing Metfilm was a combination of timing, location (Berlin had been popping up a lot in my timeline in the months preceding), language and investigating their alumni and the things they had gone on to do since leaving the school. It’s a great way to study the European arthouse film aesthetic, which I was very interested in, without having to take the time to learn a whole new language. And because it’s an English speaking school in a very European city, you get to study with students from a wide variety of countries from all over the world.

Tell me about MTV Shuga – how did the project come about about? 60 episodes – it’s quite an ask… how did you manage to complete it? 

We’re still trying to! And I’m not going to deny that it is a challenge. I just take it one block at a time, and fortunately I don’t have to do it all on my own. There’s a co-head writer and co-director who alternates blocks with me and of course, the SAF team. I had worked on 2 previous seasons of the series, including one season as Head Writer and had therefore had some contact with some members of the team. They reached out within the first couple of weeks of lockdown in Germany and told me about this idea they were throwing around, and asked whether it was something I would be interested in coming on board for. I’d been sitting home for 2 weeks, reading about everything going on all around the world, from news headlines to social media posts sharing people’s emotions, so I knew as soon as they asked that there was potential here. I didn’t imagine at the time that it would be 65 episodes (yeah, it’s 65 now)! We’re recording 41-50 this week and then my co-head takes over again for the next batch.

What’s the response been like? From the audience and the industry? 

To be honest? I don’t know. I usually try to stay away from comments because you get drawn in by the good stuff and then one negative comment and you might spend the rest of the day overthinking. I do understand that reactions and feedback from the first few episodes was quite exciting. It’s been challenging trying to find ways to maintain and increase the momentum and interest. But I did say I was looking for challenges, right?

Tunde is the screenwriter  of the mini-series nightly show titled MTV Shuga Alone Together highlighting the problems of Coronavirus
Tunde is the screenwriter of the mini-series nightly show titled MTV Shuga Alone Together highlighting the problems of Coronavirus

What are you working on now, what are your plans for the future? 

I’m almost done with this season of Shuga and there are a couple of things lined up for me to switch over to from next month. But nothing that I am at liberty to talk about right now.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about becoming a screen writer / considering a career in the screen industries? 

Read a lot of books, watch a lot of movies. Figure out what you like, what excites and moves you and why. And then try to put it into your own work. Write, write, write. Even when you hate it, keep at it. I had a period of about 6 years from secondary school into university where, everything I wrote, I hated soon after. But that made me question why I hated it and what I needed to do differently. The trick is to keep writing so that when an opportunity comes your way, you have something to show of your ability that will make them at least consider you. Don’t wait for someone to find you and make you a writer. And then of course, seek out those opportunities. I know this is a bit glib, and won’t work out for everyone, but it will for some. Oh, and I should mention this magic trick. The first time I went to a writers’ workshop, everyone there introduced themselves as a writer except me. I didn’t think I had the right to claim that about my hobby. The people present in the room made me say it ‘I’m a writer’. When I returned to my life, I started introducing myself that way. And people remembered. And the calls started coming.

*Q & A facilitated by Ruth Sparkes and MetFilm School

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Demand for Educational Ghanaian TV Channel Grows Amid COVID-19
June 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

Free-to-Air educational TV channel becomes a critical resource for senior high school students across West African sub-region.

Abdulai Awudu, General Manager of Joy Learning
Abdulai Awudu, General Manager of Joy Learning

Accra, 30 June 2020–Joy Learning, the free-to-air (FTA) not-for-profit TV channel dedicated solely to Ghanaian educational content, has proven to be a critical source of learning for senior high school (SHS) pupils across the West African sub-region while schools have been closed to combat the spread of COVID-19.

This is according to Abdulai Awudu, General Manager of Joy Learning, who says the channel can be accessed by TV viewers throughout the sub-region as part of the FTA direct-to-home (DTH) MultiTV platform on SES’s Astra-2F, by using a standard decoder or TV with built-in DTH tuner. “While this channel was originally created to give Ghanaian SHS students access to educational content while they were away from school – as a result of the double-track system – it has recently proven useful to all English-speaking West African countries who follow the West Africa Examination Council curriculum.”

The Joy Learning channel, which was officially launched on 30 December 2019, was part of a corporate social responsibility initiative undertaken by the Multimedia Group (MGL) through its Educare Foundation, in partnership with e-learning platform Wolo TV; service provider K-Net; and SES, the leader in global content connectivity solutions. SES provides the satellite capacity and broadcast services; K-Net provides local backhaul and teleport services; Wolo creates and supplies the educational content; and MGL runs the channel.

“By coming together to offer a free educational channel to SHS students, the partners in this venture have been able to address not only some of the challenges posed by the implementation of the Free SHS Education Policy in Ghana, but also some of the educational challenges brought about by the indefinite closure of schools across the country amid the COVID-19 crisis,” says Theodore Asampong, General Manager of Media Platforms at SES Video. 

“The Ghana SHS double track system means that while some kids are in school, others are at home waiting their turn for two months or so,” says Joe Anim from Wolo TV. “The idea behind the Joy Learning channel was to allow those at home to keep up with their studies by broadcasting well-organised and world-class educational content that they could access for free on a daily basis.”

“While the intention was to have a direct positive impact on the lives of millions of young people, thereby contributing to the future development of the country, we are thrilled that our satellite TV platform has enabled access to quality education for young people across the broader sub-region, who are currently unable to attend school as a result of the COVID-19 crisis,” says Asampong.

The Joy Learning channel’s wide reach is driven by SES’s prime orbital position at 28.2 degrees East, which reaches 97% of all satellite TV homes in Ghana. From that orbital slot, SES hosts Multi TV, a FTA (Free-to-Air) platform that provides viewers free access to over 100 TV channels of high quality content, including the Joy Learning channel. while giving broadcasters access to the highest reach in West Africa.

SES has a bold vision to deliver amazing experiences everywhere on earth by distributing the highest quality video content and providing seamless connectivity around the world. As the leader in global content connectivity solutions, SES operates the world’s only multi-orbit constellation of satellites with the unique combination of global coverage and high performance, including the commercially-proven, low-latency Medium Earth Orbit O3b system. By leveraging a vast and intelligent, cloud-enabled network, SES is able to deliver high-quality connectivity solutions anywhere on land, at sea or in the air, and is a trusted partner to the world’s leading telecommunications companies, mobile network operators, governments, connectivity and cloud service providers, broadcasters, video platform operators and content owners. SES’s video network carries over 8,300 channels and has an unparalleled reach of 367 million households, delivering managed media services for both linear and non-linear content. The company is listed on Paris and Luxembourg stock exchanges

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Africa should stop relying on Externalities for Diagnostics — Director Africa CDC
June 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Dr John Nkengasong, Director Africa CDC
Dr John Nkengasong, Director Africa CDC

John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control (CDC), has called on African leaders to develop their own diagnostics, which they can sell to other countries, and stop relying on externalities.

The webinar which took place June 29, 2020, was under the theme: “COVID-19 & Africa’s Health System — Conversation with the Director of the Africa CDC.” It was moderated by Denis Foretia, co-chair of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation, and Executive Chairman of the Nkafu Policy Institute. 

The two had an extensive discussion on the response to COVID-19 in the continent, level of preparedness, testing capacity, and challenges involved.

Since the first case of COVID-19 case in Africa was confirmed in Egypt in February 2020, the pandemic has spread to every nation on the African continent. As at 30 June 2020, the African continent has recorded 393,232 cases of the virus. 186,952,553 have recovered while 9,880 people have died. 

“I hate to say, but I told you so. The threat (COVID-19) came in from Europe. But we were looking at China, facing Eastward,” Dr Nkengasong noted.

According to the Director a lot was put in place to make sure that the continent was prepared. The first thing that they did was to establish a policy, while also establishing a task force. Airports and airlines were also prepared ahead of time as according to the Director, they knew there was going to be a lot of misinformation. 

On the testing capacity of the continent, Dr Nkengasong noted that the testing capabilities of the continent have always been there. He added that Africa has been lagging behind with respect to the testing capabilities. He noted that some 4 million tests have been conducted at the moment for a population of about 1.3 billion people. “I want to see 13 million a month test on the continent… We have been buying supplies and donations from Jack Ma foundation,” Dr Nkengasong said.

Speaking on the response of African countries to COVID-19 Dr Nkengasong noted that Africa at the moment is witnessing a delayed pandemic. He said: “It is still very early to classify whether countries have done well or not. We had a delayed pandemic because of the things we did.”

As a measure to curb the COVID-19 pandemic in the African continent, countries took varied approaches. Some took severe measures like implementing lockdowns, and other took more measured approach. “Lockdown has help countries like South Africa, and if they did not take such measure their cases might have gone up. We are having a delayed pandemic because the numbers are sky rocking with an increase of 20-25%,” Dr Nkengasong told Denis Foretia.

Dr Denis Foretia, Co-chair of D & L Foretia Foundation
Dr Denis Foretia, Co-chair of D & L Foretia Foundation

With the COVID-19 pandemic countries in Africa, and the world have had to grapple with an increasing in cases and deaths. The health systems in most African countries are not up to date and have not been strengthen. The Director on this issue said the health systems in Africa are weak and have not been strengthen with the other health issues the countries have had to grapple with such as the Ebola virus.

The Director of the Africa CDC has noted that regarding drug and vaccine development they will not win the COVID if they do not have a vaccine. “Africa should play a leading role. We cannot sit and wait for others to do so.”

There are numerous trials going on around the world to come up with a vaccine against the coronavirus pandemic. As noted by the Director of the Africa CDC, just one clinical trial has started in South Africa. To the Director, it is unacceptable that in Africa just one clinical trial is ongoing on the continent. “We (Africa) need to be involved in the research of how vaccines behave in Africa. We need more clinical trials in Africa, and we need to look at history and learn from it,” Dr Nkengasong said. 

Responding to questions from participants, Dr Nkengasong said as with any new disease one expects a lot of fears and people look for anything to hang on because of the fear. He added that it is a collective effort as they are working with the risk communication and behavioural scientists on this issue of misinformation and helping individuals.

Countries need to expand their testing capacity. We can only win the fight collectively. It cannot be won only by the government. We have to maintain the hygiene measures, social distancing, and washing of hands. It is a deadly virus and anyone who has underestimated it has paid for it. I am equally appealing on government to focus on contact tracing,” Dr Nkengasong concluded.

Background

Dr. John Nkengasong

Dr. John Nkengasong is Director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prior to his current position, he served as the acting deputy principal director of the Center for Global Health, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC), and Chief of the International Laboratory Branch, Division of Global HIV and TB., U.S CDC. He received a Master’s in Tropical Biomedical Science at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, and another Master’s Degree in Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Brussels School Of Medicine, and a Doctorate in Medical Sciences (Virology) from the University of Brussels, Belgium between 1993-95.

He was Chief of the Virology and the WHO collaborating Center on HIV diagnostics, at the Department of Microbiology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium. He joined the U.S. CDC in 1995 as Chief of the Virology Laboratory, U.S. CDC Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Dr. Denis Foretia

Dr. Foretia is Co-Chair of the Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation and Executive Chairman of the Nkafu Policy Institute, a leading Cameroonian think tank. He shapes and approves strategy, advocates for the foundation, and helps set the overall direction. A surgeon by training, Foretia has always been involved in philanthropic activities and international development.

He is Founding President of the Association of Cameroonian Physicians in the Americas (ACPA) and the Co-Founder of the Cameroon Professional Society. He holds a Bachelor’s degree with honors in Biological Sciences from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, a Medical degree from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and completed surgical training at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta where he was a Global Health Research Scholar. Denis holds an MPH from Bloomberg School of Public Health at the Johns Hopkins University and an MBA from the Carey School of Business also at the Johns Hopkins University.

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African Nations Cup Postponed to 2022
June 30, 2020 | 0 Comments
Cameroonian President Paul Biya (centre) receives a gift from Caf President Ahmad Ahmad at the State House in Yaoundé on October 2, 2018. Looking on is Cameroonian soccer legend Samuel Eto’o.File Picture.

Initially billed for 2021 in Cameroon, the next edition of the African Cup of Nations has been moved to 2022. The decision to move the continents most important sporting event is contained in a press statement following an Executive Committee meeting of the Confederation of African Football that took place via video conference today.

For the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) Cameroon 2020,the final tournament has been postponed till January 2021 in Cameroon.

“The CAF Executive Committee is satisfied with t the Cameroonian authorities for their commitment towards the hosting of the two competitions. Cameroon is ready to host either competition and are within schedule,” CAF President Ahmad Ahmad said.

Below is the full statement from CAF

Decisions of CAF Executive Meeting – 30 June 2020

The CAF Executive Committee held a meeting on Tuesday, 30 June 2020, via video-conference to discuss the future of competitions and other related issues following the COVID-19 pandemicThe committee decided as follows;

Total Africa Cup of Nations Cameroon 2021

After consultation with stakeholders and taking into consideration the current global situation, the tournament has been rescheduled for January 2022. The date for the final tournament and the remaining matches of the qualifiers will be communicated in due course.  

Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) Cameroon 2020

The final tournament has been postponed till January 2021 in Cameroon.

“The CAF Executive Committee is satisfied with t the Cameroonian authorities for their commitment towards the hosting of the two competitions. Cameroon is ready to host either competition and are within schedule,” CAF President Ahmad Ahmad said.

Interclubs 2019/20 season

The Total CAF Champions League and Total CAF Confederation Cup, will resume in September with a Final Four (4) format. Semi-Final matches will be played in a single match.

Total CAF Champions League

Venue for Final Four to be decided

Total CAF Confederation Cup

Morocco will host the Final Four

Total Women’s Africa Cup of Nations 2020

Due to challenging conditions, the 2020 edition of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations has been cancelled.

Meanwhile, the CAF Women’s Champions League will be launched in 2021. The format and other details will be communicated in due course.

Zonal Qualifiers for U-20 & U-17 Africa Cup of Nations

A meeting with the Organising Competitions for Youth Football and the Zonal Unions has been proposed to finalize the arrangements for the zonal qualifiers. Meanwhile, the U-17 AFCON will take place in July 2021.

Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations 2020

Following the withdrawal of Uganda, a new hosting bid will be launched for the organization of the final tournament either in 2020 or 2021.

Headquarters Agreement 

CAF President Ahmad Ahmad commended the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt under the leadership of His Excellency Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who appended his signature to the 10-year agreement on 24 June 2020.

With the new agreement, CAF and its officials will benefit from immunities and privileges granted to diplomatic missions in the territory of the Arab Republic of Egypt in accordance with the 1961 Vienna Convention.

CAF Ordinary General Assembly

The 42nd CAF Ordinary General Assembly has been rescheduled for December 2020 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

As per the recommendations of the CAF Governance Committee, the Elective General Assembly will be held on 12 March 2021.

CAF Awards 2020

Cancellation of the 2020 edition. Major partners for the event, Pickalbatros Group, has re-affirmed their contractual commitment towards the next two (2) editions.

Financial Support to Member Associations

CAF has allocated an additional USD 16.2 Million to assist Member Associations to mitigate challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each Member Associations will be entitled to USD 300,000.

Appointment of Commercial Director

Confirmation of the appointment of Ali Aissaoui as Commercial Director. Prior to joining CAF, the Moroccan served as Business Development Manager of FC Barcelona.

Update on Transform CAF 2021

There has been giant stride in the execution of Transform CAF 2021 which was launched during the CAF Executive Committee in Doha, Qatar, last February. The CAF Administration will continue with the implementation of the major points towards achieving the targets of the project.

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International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation Finances Afreximbank with US$200 Million COVID-19 Response Package for the Agriculture Sector in Sub Saharan Africa
June 30, 2020 | 0 Comments
Hani Salem Sonbol, ITFC CEO and Benedict Okey Oramah president signing a finance agreement in 2019
Hani Salem Sonbol, ITFC CEO and Benedict Okey Oramah president signing a finance agreement in 2019

Murabaha financing agreement delivers critical support for thousands of farmers exporting food commodities across the continent as COVID-19 impacts global food commodity prices.

The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) , member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, signed a US$200 million syndicated Murabaha financing agreement with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), a multilateral financial institution established by African governments and institutional investors. The facility seeks to help African countries address some of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This syndication is supported by number of partners and financial institutions who allocated resources to the agriculture sector in African.

The agreement, which is indicative of ITFC’s ongoing commitment to and trust in Africa, will finance the export of soft commodities, such as raw cashew nuts, cocoa, sesame seeds and maize. The financing will provide critical support for the agriculture sector (the continent’s largest employer and a key driver of SME development) of 11 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Commenting on the Murabaha financing agreement, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, ITFC CEO, said: “The financing of agricultural exports during these extremely challenging economic conditions will provide a lifeline to exporters affected by the impact that COVID-19 has had on the price of commodities. Hundreds of millions of people in Africa rely on agriculture for employment and many countries’ food security rests on the smooth and affordable import and export of foodstuffs. We thank our financial partners for joining ITFC in this syndication, particularly for their unabated support in this turbulent time, to allocate resources for Africa. This new partnership with Afreximbank will go some way to supporting businesses and ordinary people as we navigate the coronavirus pandemic.”

The Africa region has been a priority for ITFC since its inception in 2008, mandated to answer to the developmental and economic requirements of the member countries in the continent. For this reason, ITFC disbursed US$2.38 billion in Africa in 2019 alone, taking the total since 2008 to US$15.6 billion, helping OIC member countries in the region to achieve sustained economic growth, job creation and value creation in the key export sectors of agriculture, energy and manufacturing.

It is worth mentioning that ITFC first partnered with Afreximbank in 2017 with the signing of a US$100 million agreement with the aim of facilitating and financing exports amongst African countries and between Africa and the rest of the world. Afreximbank is also a key partner in the Arab Africa Trade Bridges (AATB) Program initiated by ITFC, a program with a mandate of enhancing economic integration between the Africa and Arab regions and strengthening SME export development across key sectors.

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


The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution with the mandate of financing and promoting intra-and extra-African trade. Afreximbank was established in October 1993 and is owned by African governments, the African Development Bank and other African multilateral financial institutions as well as African and non-African public and private investors. The Bank was established under two constitutive documents, an Agreement signed by member states, which confers on the Bank the status of an international organization, and a Charter signed by all Shareholders, which governs its corporate structure and operations. Afreximbank deploys innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that are supporting the transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, accelerating industrialization and intra-regional trade, thereby sustaining economic expansion in Africa. At the end of 2019, the Bank’s total assets and guarantees stood at USD$15.5 billion and its shareholders funds amounted to US$2.8 billion. Voted “African Bank of the Year” in 2019, the Bank disbursed more than US$31billion between 2016 and 2019. Afreximbank has ratings assigned by GCR (international scale) (A-), Moody’s (Baa1) and Fitch (BBB-). The Bank is headquartered in Cairo, Egypt

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Kenya:Two Legislators Test Positive For Covid-19
June 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi

The National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi on Tuesday, June 30 rubbished a report published on a local daily saying 6 Members of Parliament have tested positive for the Coronavirus.

The speaker said only 2 MPs have contracted the deadly disease and one of them is in a stable condition and is undergoing treatment in one of the hospitals in the country.

 The second one has been discharged and now is now being isolated.

“As of today, June 30, 2020, far from the speculations reported in the media and elsewhere, information available to the office of the speaker indicates that we have two cases of the virus that have been reported among members of parliament,” he told the House.

He refused to reveal the identity of the ailing lawmakers noting that their medical details are confidential.

Reports published by The Standard on Monday, June 29 indicated that a number of MPs rushed to hospitals for check-up after having contact with the alleged infected colleagues. The Standard further disclosed that one of the six lawmakers is battling his life in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

“There is a major scare. Many of those who interacted with him have had to go for tests, and this figure might even be high by Monday (today) when the results of the majority who voluntarily did the tests are released. I know at least six MPs have so far turned positive and are in hospitals, one is in ICU,” said an MP quoted by the paper.

Muturi cautioned the media against sensationalising the coronavirus cases in Parliament.

“I have deliberately given this information to reassure the public and dissuade the ongoing speculation. Whilst the need for information is critical to the public, the media should in the first instance note that the medical details of individuals, including Members of Parliament, are confidential and ought to be treated as such,” he said.

Kenya’s Parliament has adopted limitation of the numbers of the MPs in the chamber, working from home for staff members, designation of holding areas for the legislators and virtual sittings for committees as measures to combat the spread combat the spread of the novel virus.

As of Tuesday, the East African nation had reported 6,366 cases, 148 deaths and 2,039 recoveries.

The cumulative tests now stand at 169,936.

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In Times When Black Lives Finally Matter, Building Purpose-Driven Businesses is Key to Economic Empowerment
June 30, 2020 | 0 Comments
Kase Lawal
Kase Lawal
The Opportunity Fund will invest only in companies led by people of color, and is the first such fund to be created in response to growing protests.

Earlier this month and following the death of George Floyd, SoftBank announced a $100m investment fund for minority-owned businesses. The Opportunity Fund will invest only in companies led by people of color, and is the first such fund to be created in response to growing protests, in the US and worldwide, against racism and lack of equal opportunities for black people. While the initiative is not the first of its kind in the US or abroad (South Africa has several financial institutions dedicated to providing financial support to black entrepreneurs), its significance is much stronger now.

The US is in fact home to several financial institutions dedicated to supporting low- and moderate-income communities of color. However, as their relevance grows in the wake of the current crisis, their number has been steadily declining over the past years. One of the oldest such institution still in business today is the Unity National Bank. It is Texas’ only black-owned bank and an example of what purpose-driven businesses can accomplish for their communities and their country.

The Unity National Bank was established in the early 1960s and has since then supported the banking and capital needs of low- and moderate-income communities across Texas. While it used to operate in a banking industry with 47 African American-controlled banks in the early 2000s, the recession of 2008 took its toll on its peers. In 2019, the US had only 22 remaining black-owned banks.

Since 2005, the Unity National Bank is majority-owned by Nigeria-born oil executive Kase Lawal and his family. Kase Lawal is also Chairman of CAMAC International and seen as one of the few successful black entrepreneur in the energy sector, which remains an industry widely dominated by white men. He currently serves as Board Chairman of the Unity National Bank and, under his leadership, the bank has been able to weather the storm since 2008 and keep expanding. In 2018, it opened in Atlanta, its first expansion beyond the state of Texas, in order to consolidate and serve the African American community better.

Its lending program is focused on supporting and rebuilding its community, especially via commercial and mortgage loans. Unity National Bank has forged a network of partners and agents that are able to support the very core of its activities, from lending to supporting financial literacy across community.

While the bank, like other African American-owned banks, has struggled in recent years due to its smaller size and financial performances, its management is putting the foundations in place for the business to continue growing. It recently partnered with Citigroup and introduced a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which reportedly allowed the saving of 3,000 jobs. The PPP loans, acclaimed for their support to small black-owned businesses, even earned Unity National Bank a visit by Vice President Mike Pence this year.

“Kase Lawal is real, a legend. He is an improbable driver for black empowerment through entrepreneurship, even as most people never saw him coming and counted him out. I am not surprised that he will rise to the occasion, walk the walk and execute during these times when our communities are dealing with the scourge of Covid19 and difficult economic conditions,” stated NJ Ayuk Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber. “His humanity and humility lets him walk with the little guy and still keep his virtue. He may seat with Presidents and Ministers yet never loses the common touch or forgets where he came from. He is always thinking about the poor and the upward mobility of those who have not been dealt a fair hand by our economy,” added Mr Ayuk.

Now that the Covid-19 pandemic has taken its toll on American jobs and lives, and even more so for African American communities, and at a time when the world calls for better support to black entrepreneurs and businesses, the Kase Lawal-chaired institution is set to benefit. It remains one of the few institutions in the US with a true purpose of working with communities and linking their fate together to create a better future for African American families and gives countless of talented young women and men the means to build a successful future.

As the world seeks new ways to build equal societies, developing successful business models that promote equal opportunities and bring much-needed capital to talented communities is becoming the need of the hour. In doing so, looking at black-owned banks and businesses and learning from their experience would prove very beneficial. Beyond looking at pure business principles and balance sheets fundamentals, these companies are driven by a true social purpose which could well be the kind of basis the world needs to build fairer societies.

*Africa Energy Chamber
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Africa has a once in a generation opportunity to ‘recover better’ with sustainable energy
June 30, 2020 | 0 Comments
Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy with the Vice President of Nigeria Yemi Osinbajo
Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy with the Vice President of Nigeria Yemi Osinbajo

Sustainable Energy for All sets out clear, practical steps for African countries to recover better from COVID-19 and close energy access gaps.

As countries continue to rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic, a new guide by Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL)  shows how clean energy investment can support countries to ‘Recover Better’, and use this unique moment to reset their economies and close energy access gaps.

According to The Recover Better with Sustainable Energy Guide for African Countries  that was released by SEforALL today, countries that commit to an ambitious recover better strategy today can deliver long term economic growth, new jobs, and sustainable energy for all in the long-term.

This is particularly key for Africa after COVID-19 has highlighted the deep regional divide on energy access progress. Africa is a region full of promise and a growing economic powerhouse, yet this progress is stifled without access to sufficient, reliable and affordable energy.

The latest data  on Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) – access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030 – shows that progress in Africa is still off track to meet global targets. 565 million people still lack access to electricity, and a further 900 million lack clean cooking solutions. The pandemic risks setting progress even further behind.

By acting on the enabling measures put forward in The Recover Better with Sustainable Energy Guide, countries across Africa will benefit from increased GDP, affordable energy provision, and improved agriculture, gender and health outcomes. This re-set can also spark progress at the speed and scale needed to meet SDG7 and help put the global economy on a trajectory in line with the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.

“COVID-19 has changed the world as we know it. As countries rebuild economies from the impact of the pandemic, they are faced with a unique, once in a generation opportunity to ‘Recover Better’ with sustainable energy”, said Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy“There has never been a better time to invest in clean, efficient renewable energy. Countries that recover better with sustainable energy will see the pay off in the form of resilient economies, new jobs, and faster energy development. By making this investment, African countries can develop a competitive advantage.”

Speaking on the launch of the guide, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, said: “COVID-19 has presented a unique opportunity to accelerate transition to that clean, affordable, reliable and renewable energy source offered by the sun. Nigeria is committed to the full utilization of this abundant solar energy source. The Federal Government has already removed fossil fuel subsidies and included 5 million solar connections in our post COVID economic sustainability plan – first steps to new jobs and a cleaner, healthier environment. We commend Sustainable Energy for All for producing this practical ‘Recover Better’ guide that will help African governments close the energy access gap and deliver economic growth for the benefit of our people.”

The global economy is increasingly being powered by clean and efficient sources of energy. According to research, dollar for dollar investments in clean energy creates three times the number of jobs compared to fossil fuels. Every 1,000 customers connected to decentralized energy solutions – solar home systems or solar mini grids – supports approximately 25 jobs.

Also speaking in support of the guide, Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations, said: “Access to sustainable energy is pivotal to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement. As we work to recover better from the impacts of COVID-19, African countries have the opportunity to drive faster progress on the energy transition with efficient, renewable energy that protects the most vulnerable, delivers sustainable growth and supports climate action.”

Riccardo Puliti, World Bank Global Director for Energy and Extractive Industries and Regional Director for Infrastructure in Africa, said: “Access to energy is crucial for Africa to recover from the ongoing health, economic and social challenges caused by the pandemic. We welcome this new guide from Sustainable Energy for All that outlines ways in which African countries can seize this unique moment, and in return, unleash economic growth with clean, sustainable energy.”

As countries seek to recover better, SEforALL have highlighted key policy measures that governments should adopt to ensure a successful energy transition in this period. This includes:

  • Ease of doing business: Governments should create a supportive business environment that ensures investments are driven as fast as possible, including significantly reducing red tape, reducing the number of permits required and time it takes to get permits / waivers (if available) for renewable energy and clean cooking equipment and appliances.
  • Set robust policies and empower national institutions to drive development: Governments need to work now to establish or empower institutions such as regulators and rural electrification agencies to ensure the right frameworks are in place to successfully drive the development of renewables, increased electrification and access to clean cooking.
  • Eliminate fossil fuel subsidies: With the price of oil the lowest it has been for 18 years; governments must take this opportunity to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. When the price of fossil fuels rises again, governments should refrain from re-introducing the subsidy.
  • Move towards cost-reflective tariffs: The natural tendency for countries will be to cut the cost of electricity, but this should be avoided. The reality is that electricity is largely consumed by wealthier residentials or by industrial / commercial clients. Governments should allow cost-reflective tariffs that allow utilities to perform better and increases investments in energy access and clean energy.

Other key elements outlined in The Recover Better with Sustainable Energy Guide for African Countries include: Invest in robust data, declare a moratorium on new coal-fired power, invest in energy efficiency and invest in people so they can take advantage of new clean energy jobs. Read in full here .

SEforALL has developed The Recover Better with Sustainable Energy Guide for African Countries to support African countries as they develop their post COVID-19 recovery plan and stimulus packages. The guide is part of a series which includes guides for countries in the Caribbean region and Southeast Asia region due to be released soon.

Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) empowers leaders to broker partnerships and unlock finance to achieve universal access to sustainable energy, as a contribution to a cleaner, just and prosperous world for all. SEforALL exists to reduce the carbon intensity of energy while making it available to everyone on the planet.

SEforALL is led by Damilola Ogunbiyi , CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy. Ms. Ogunbiyi took office on January 1, 2020.

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Commonwealth Secretary-General congratulates Malawians and newly elected President,urges unity
June 29, 2020 | 0 Comments
President Lazarus Chakwera

The Secretary-General congratulates the people of Malawi for their resolute commitment to democracy demonstrated in the conduct of the 23 June 2020 election. 

“Malawians have demonstrated to the world a resolve to chart their own democratic path in the constitutional way,” she observed. “I congratulate the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), political parties, security forces, religious leaders, civil society groups, the media, and all national stakeholders for playing their respective roles in advancing their country’s democracy.”

The Secretary-General congratulates President Lazarus Chakwera and Vice-President Saulos Klaus Chilima on being sworn in at the ceremony on Sunday 28 June 2020, and offers them her very best wishes as they take up the responsibilities of high office and leading their nation.

She has commended former President, Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika, for his leadership over the past five years, and looks forward to his continued collaboration with the Commonwealth on the promotion of our fundamental political values.

The Secretary-General further congratulates the people of Malawi on their commitment to the rule of law. As always, she encourages any grievances to be pursued through the prescribed legal channels.

“This is the time for nation-building, and I encourage every citizen to channel the same determination shown at the ballot box towards the achievement of this collective goal. The Commonwealth stands in readiness to support the people of Malawi in this endeavour.”

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