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Merck Foundation and Uganda Ministry of Health together empower childless women through “Merck More Than a Mother’ community groups
February 19, 2018 | 0 Comments
Merck Foundation evaluates the economic and social impact of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ program on infertile women groups in Uganda
Dr.Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation and Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of State of Health, Uganda with ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ Heroines

Dr.Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation and Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of State of Health, Uganda with ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ Heroines

KAMPALA, Uganda, February 19, 2018/ — Merck Foundation (www.Merck-Foundation.com), a non-profit organization and a subsidiary of Merck KGaA Germany (www.Merck.com), and Uganda Ministry of Health (http://Health.go.ug) continue their commitment towards childless women through “Merck More than a Mother’ campaign in the heart of Africa. Merck Foundation evaluated the social and economic impact of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ on childless women in Uganda and encouraged them to continue leading an independent and happier life.

In 2016, Merck Foundation in partnership with Uganda Ministry of Health had started ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ Campaign in the country with the aim to raise awareness about infertility prevention and management, build fertility care capacity and break the stigma around infertile women. They established various income generating projects to support infertile women across the country with the aim of empowering them socially and economically. The business set by Merck Foundation has benefitted over 800 women across Uganda.

“The childless women groups we created in each village are doing a great job. I remember last year they had no purpose in life, no respect from their community and no source of income. Today they have a bank account and a steady monthly income; now they are much happier and stronger.” Explained Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation.

“For me, it’s essential to frequently visit ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ heroines across Africa to influence their transformation. The base of change in these villages is remarkable, and with our efforts and passion this change will be sustainable”, she further emphasized.

During the event, Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of State of Health, Uganda said, “The journey that Merck Foundation has started is a very special journey that has touched the lives of women who have been forgotten in the communities. It has touched not only women but also the lives of men who have been mistreating their women thinking that infertility is an issue of women, not know that 50% infertility is due to the malefactor. I want to thank Merck Foundation for thinking about these women.”

“I feel grateful and honored to be a part of the joy and happiness of these amazing women, who suffered the infertility stigma all their lives. I am glad that the efforts of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ paid off. Now, these women are independent and getting the respect and support they deserved from the community.” Dr. Rasha Kelej added.

About ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign; In many Cultures, childless women suffer discrimination, stigma, and ostracism. Their inability to have children results in great isolation, disinheritance, and assaults. “Merck More Than a Mother” empowers such women through the access to information, health, change of mindsets and economic empowerment.

Merck Foundation provided for more than 40 candidates, three months to six months clinical and practical training for fertility specialists and embryologists in more than 15 countries across Africa and Asia.

Merck Foundation is making history in many African countries where they never had fertility specialists or training facilities before ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ intervention, to train the first fertility specialists such as; in Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, Niger, Chad, and Guinea.

Merck Foundation plan supported the establishment of the first public IVF in Ethiopia through providing the clinical and practical training necessary for their staff. Merck Foundation also plans to support the establishment of the first public IVF in Tanzania soon.

Over 1,200 infertile women in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, CAR, Ethiopia, Liberia, Tanzania, Niger, The Gambia and Cote D’Ivoire who can no longer be treated have been empowered socially and economically to lead independent and happier lives through “Empowering Berna.”

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation and Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of State of Health, Uganda addressing the community in Uganda

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation and Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of State of Health, Uganda addressing the community in Uganda

The Merck Foundation (www.Merck-Foundation.com), established in 2017, is a philanthropic organization that 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 innovative 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. Please go to www.Merck-Foundation.com to read more and/or register online to interact and exchange experience with our registered members.
Merck Foundation is a subsidiary of Merck KGaA Germany

About Merck
Merck (www.Merck.com) is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2016, Merck generated sales of € 15.0 billion in 66 countries.
Founded in 1668, Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.

https://youtu.be/oZ7zv64MVMk

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Rare Presidential debate for Sierra Leone
February 18, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kuripati

On Thursday 15 February, citizens of Sierra Leone were treated to a first by the country’s six leading political parties as they participated in a first ever all inclusive Presidential debate. Previously Sierra Leone did conduct Presidential debates but they were shunned by the ruling party.

Sierra Leone’s leading television stations and radios l aired live the debate. The debate was scheduled to end at 11:00pm but spilled over ending at 01:00am the following day (Friday).

The presidential debate was held at a conference centre in the capital, Freetown. Close to 200 people packed the conference centre as they looked forward to hearing the constructive debates from the six presidential candidates.

The debate was moderated by an ace journalist from the BBC. Most of the questions asked by the journalist centred on national cohesion, the economy and human development. The choice of questions were mainly inspired by the dire social and economic situation prevailing in the country exacerbated by the Ebola outbreak whose devastating effects are still being felt to this day.

The first round of the Presidential election in the country is going to be conducted on March 7.

This year’s elections will be the first time that an incumbent in Sierra Leone relinquishes power at the end of his term without trying to extend it unconstitutionally or otherwise. The outgoing President, Ernest Bai Koroma served two terms of 5 years each. His reign was however affected by the deadly Ebola outbreak that reversed the country’s growth rate and left him with an unsurmountable task of trying to build the nation from scratch.

The highlight moment of the debate was when the candidate of the ruling party (APC Party), Samura Kamara distanced himself from Komora’s record on corruption. The President and his inner circle which Kamara is part of have been accused of looting some of the country’s resources. Kamara did try to prove his innocence but that led to many follow-up questions firstly from the moderator and then from the public as the question and answer segment began.

Before Thursday, a number of other parties contested the decision to allow only six parties to the debate. They argued saying exclusion of other political parties was tantamount to discrimination. However, the case was dismissed as Parliament said only a party with at least four members of Parliament was allowed to participate in the debate.

The six candidates who participated in the debate are Samura Kamara from the ruling All People’s Congress (APC), Rtg. Brig Julius Maada Bio from the main opposition party, Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). Rtg. Brig Julius Maada Bio is a former Sierra Leone military Head of State. Mohammed Kamairamba from the Alliance Democratic Party (ADP), a breakaway party from the ruling APC. Samuel Sam Sumana from the Coalition 4 Change (C4C), another breakaway party from the ruling APC. Samuel Sam Sumana is also a former Vice President of Sierra Leone sacked by the incumbent Koroma. Kandeh Yumkella from the National Grand Coalition, a breakaway party from the main opposition party, SLPP. Musa Tarawally from the Citizens Democratic Party (CDP).

 

https://youtu.be/6Whe5fbzmLg

 

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‘Black Panther’: Why the relationship between Africans and black Americans is so messed up
February 18, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Larry Madowo and Karen Attiah*

Finally! “Black Panther” weekend has hit the United States. Marvel’s newest superhero film was one of the most anticipated movies in 2018, and already it is poised to shatter box-office records (the film is expected to rake in about $250 million this weekend) and Hollywood stereotypes about black movies not being marketable. Black audiences in the United States are planning special outfits and parties and raising funds to take children to see the film. But how do Africans feel about this fictional tale of Wakanda, especially when black people in the United States and Africa don’t always seem to understand one another? I decided to talk to Kenyan journalist and broadcaster Larry Madowo to get his thoughts on the film, Wakanda and… those accents. Enjoy! — Karen

Karen Attiah: Okay, so I know we are basically going to be talking about Wakanda, this fictional African country in “Black Panther.” I finally saw it on Tuesday, and I still feel like African Americans and Africans have still been speaking in silos about the movie, and not to one another.

So as a Kenyan, what did you think about the movie? How did you feel about Wakanda?

Larry Madowo: So Wakanda looks like a place I want to be a citizen of, because it looks like such a beautiful, egalitarian society, where the women wear their hair natural and they are powerful warriors. It is beautiful in that sense, as a utopia of sorts. Considering the mess so many African countries are in, it’s an escape to see what we can be: the richest country in the world, everything, vibranium in excess. And if you just think, if you build a model for the perfect African country, Wakanda is that.

Karen: With everything that Kenya is going through right now politically, with the messiness over elections, what did you take away from Wakanda?

Larry: It did make me think about Kenya because many of the problems that we have in Kenya — and in most African countries — are a byproduct of colonialism. … Wakanda was not colonized, so they had a chance to build a society that was free of European influence, whether British or French. We call ourselves Francophone Africa versus Anglophone Africa. We categorize ourselves based on who our oppressor was. I always find that a strange thing. Our identity is so deeply tied to our oppression.

Karen: What were the parts of the film that did bother you as a Kenyan? What did you think of the accents?

Larry: The accents are all over the place! It was jarring and annoying to me! They wanted to base the accents on Xhosa from South Africa, but some of it sounded Nigerian, others sounded more Ugandan. It was very confusing, and I understand perfecting an accent is difficult, but oh, my goodness, it was so messy! I really liked the costumes. They were great. But ultimately, Wakanda, at least in the film, is an approximation of African culture, an outsider’s version of what African culture might be like — the rituals, song and dance, the rites of passage.

Karen: Or even the ancestors thing.

Larry: As an African, I didn’t feel accurately represented in “Black Panther.” There was only one African artist whose song played in the background — her name is Babes Wodumo, she’s South African. I have nothing against Kendrick Lamar, but it would be good to be more representative of African music. It was a missed opportunity to shine a spotlight on African musicians on a huge platform. It would have enriched the story.

Karen: For me, it was visually exciting. It was like, “Try to find your culture somewhere!” It was like I was in African history class. I could hear the Nigerian accent. As a Ghanaian, I was like, “There’s kente cloth,” or, “Look, Shuri is wearing aggrey beads!”

Larry: It was like African bingo of sorts!

Karen: I was excited because I’m not used to seeing African elements on the big screen. Even African Americans here do not know that history or those cultural elements. I can see both sides, as someone who has to explain to white people and African Americans about the beauty of African culture and history. So in a way, “Black Panther” is a one-stop shop, get it all in an hour!

Larry: You know the worst thing? There hasn’t been an African premiere for “Black Panther.”

Karen: Wait, but wasn’t there a screening in Kenya, in Lupita Nyong’o’s home town?

Larry: That was arranged by a local movie distribution company and Lupita’s dad, who is the governor of Kisumu. But there has been no African premiere where the cast and crew came to an African city like Nairobi or Kampala, Johannesburg or Lagos — like they have done for South Korea, like they did in London or like in L.A. So this film that celebrates blackness has not had an African premiere!

Karen: But maybe that could be in the works? Lagos, Johannesburg and Accra? These cities represent the growth that Africa is experiencing, the modernity of Africa, which is represented in “Black Panther.”

Larry: I could see why they might not have an African premiere. There are less movie theaters in all of Africa than in just in the U.S., so you might not make that much in the grand scheme of things. But it would have been a huge symbolic thing for a movie that unashamedly elevates blackness. I have friends who are going in full Masai wear to the theaters! They feel represented, and yet, the promotion efforts kind of snubbed them.

Karen: So on tribalism and politics: When Killmonger ascends the throne and you realize that this man is an existential threat to Wakanda, you realize the other tribes don’t see things the same way. For me, when I went to Ghana for the elections in 2008, I was struck by how much tribalism played into politics, that the Ashantis were tied to one party, other tribes to other parties, etc.

Larry: Even today, African political parties have tribal vehicles. They will have a tribal chief who will have the power to determine elections. It is very rare across the continent to find a party that is national in nature. A lot of the conflicts across Africa are tribal. Look at Somalia, which has not had a functional government — so much about the clans. Killmonger, King T’Challa and the Jabari Tribe and how they all want different things — that is what goes on in Africa.

Karen: What did you make of the white characters in the film, the Americans?

Larry: When I was in the theater in Nairobi, and the scene where Jabari did not allow [CIA operative Everett Ross] to speak, the audience clapped! Africans and other black people are tired of seeing white men in white-savior roles. This time, a white man was the sidekick. He was getting his instructions from a black woman, Shuri (Letitia Wright). The representation was satisfying. Let us see some black saviors for a change!

Karen: The role of America is interesting in “Black Panther.” Killmonger, who was trained in U.S. military tactics knows how to destabilize countries going through tricky political transitions or right after coups. In history, you think of Patrice Lumumba’s assassination, and Kwame Nkrumah’s fall in Ghana, which the CIA had a hand in. It’s interesting that in the movie, it was Ross, the CIA agent — converted — who came to see the light about Wakanda and becomes an ally in their fight.

Larry: It was appropriate. Yes, for all the Americans who are upset about Russia interfering in elections, I’m like, “Really, America? You’ve been meddling in African elections since the beginning of time! And you don’t hear us complaining. It’s payback time!” The American in the movie knew how to destabilize and just meddle, because that is what America does best.

Karen: A big part of this film is the relationship between Africans and African Americans, and it’s probably the most complicated relationship in the film.

Larry: It was very indicative of the current relationship between Africans and African Americans. There’s so much animus or competition that I have never quite understood. Both groups use derogatory names to refer to each other. In Africa, African American culture is very big and influential in terms of how people speak and dress. But in creating “Black Panther,” Africans and African Americans came together to create art that black people around the world are proud of. But in everyday life, there is no such unity. I think it’s a vision for what can be possible when the two groups work together.

Karen: In some twisted ways, I identified with Killmonger. Growing up, part of my exploration into where my parents came from, I felt a sort of anger towards Africa. Like, how did colonization happen to you? And the poverty? How are these leaders not doing more? And being black in America, when we are going through fights with racism, police brutality, we wonder if Africans even care. And I think, “Well, African nations can’t help us. They can’t impose sanctions on America for its treatment of black people.” Which is why Wakanda is so amazing: It has the power to help other countries.

Larry: When it comes to African solutions … African countries gave aid to Haiti during the hurricane, Rwanda is taking in unwanted African migrants from Israel. But yes, there is so much more we can do.

A lot of people here supported Black Lives Matter and don’t think police should be shooting black people in the U.S., but they are perfectly okay with the Kenyan or Zimbabwean police cracking down on protesters violently. You speak out against an injustice half a world away, but when there’s injustice right on your doorstep, you’re okay with it because of the party or politician you endorse.

Karen: At the end, when Killmonger is dying, he says wants to be buried in the water with his ancestors, who would rather jump off slave ships than be in bondage. It seems then he personally identifies with slaves as his ancestors and not the ancestors of Wakanda. That’s how deep the divisions are [between Africans and African Americans].

Larry: It reminded me of Kunta Kinte from “Roots,” who was a warrior that was taken away. There are people who say of slavery, “I would have not allowed myself to be taken.” I see what he was trying to do there — my ancestors were brave. It is a sort of misplaced bravado.

Karen: And gender in the film? How women are depicted?

Larry: Africa is a deeply patriarchal society. In this film, women are equal to the men. They protect the king! They have a mind of their own. Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) doesn’t want to just get married and be a trophy wife.  All the women wear natural hair. In the continent, where weaves and wigs are big business, it’s a legacy of colonialism that kinky hair is not seen as professional.It’s not what you get married in or wear to the office.

Karen: Ah, so you are #TeamNatural! And the power of the women doesn’t diminish King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman). Africa has had societies in which women played more equal roles before the British came with their Victorian ideas about gender divisions. It made me think that Wakanda’s strength is how it capitalizes on the strengths of both men and women. In this #MeToo moment, part of the tragedy of sexism is that it denies women opportunities to be participants in society. Conversely to how women are treated in Wakanda, Killmonger, he’s this hypermasculine, destructive force. He kills his girlfriend who helps him on his mission.

Larry: I think he’s the personification of toxic masculinity that is so prevalent in black culture.

Karen: I think there’s a very American flavor to his type of anger, but I think of this especially in the wake of the Florida shooting yesterday, in which a teenager walked into a school and killed 17 people. He abused his ex-girlfriend and stalked another girl, before unleashing his anger and violence on others. But yes, I know sometimes that even Africans have an stereotype that black Americans are gangsters and violent.

Larry: Maybe that’s the one overriding stereotype about African Americans here that’s reinforced by hip-hop and quite a few movies. When Africans say, “I’m gangsta,” they’re always referring to the African American caricature.

Karen: Well, thanks so much. Here in the U.S., we’ve gone through a year of Donald Trump. We’ve seen overt anti-black racism. We’ve seen KKK marching in the streets, the attempts to keep out and/or deport black and brown immigrants. The filmmakers could not have predicted that this would be the political moment we would be in; it has come at a moment where we’ve needed something empowering.

Larry: After the kind of year you all have had in America, no one should take this moment away from you. No one should try to diminish it. From those of us from the outside looking in, finally we have a beautiful celebration of blackness. You all absolutely deserve it!

*Culled from Washington Post

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FarEye To Benefit 175 Million Online Shoppers of Africa With Its Parcel Shop Technology – ‘Drop&Pick’
February 17, 2018 | 0 Comments
Key Highlights: 
 
  • Kushal Nahata, Co-Founder and CEO, responsible for driving the vision, strategy and growth at FarEye

    Kushal Nahata, Co-Founder and CEO, responsible for driving the vision, strategy and growth at FarEye

    The internet penetration in the African markets is 16% today and is set increase by 50% in 2025. There are 57 million people who have smartphones in Africa and there will be 360 million in 2025.

  • eCommerce-logistics companies of the region must adapt to new technologies in order to support their delivery infrastructure.
  • Parcel shops to book, manage, track and deliver to the end customer – making eCommerce convenient for the seller and consumer. Mobile Application enables already established local stores to become pickup and drop points for parcels – saving time, reducing cost and increasing revenue.
  • FarEye’s technology is enabling paperless delivery of parcels to companies and homes alike, across the world this holiday season.
  • FarEye’s technology is aimed towards major enterprises and logistics firms globally – sees strong enterprise demand.
  • Technology has been designed to meet the huge demand for fast parcel facilitation in the logistics sector, as well as for end users – particularly with the growth of eCommerce and online shopping, providing major benefits to e-tailers, and SMEs who demand fast and convenient delivery services.
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, February 16th 2018 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- FarEye, a digital logistics platform, is pleased to announce the successful introduction of its new parcel shop technology – ‘Drop&Pick’. Launched in January 2017 the technology is already being incorporated by various large businesses like DHL, DTDC, First Flight and many others to facilitate paperless, high speed and secure dispatch/delivery of parcels through its parcel shop network.

FarEye’s ‘Drop&Pick’– aimed at major enterprises and logistics firms globally is built to fulfil the need for fast and convenient dispatch/delivery of parcels with minimal cost of infrastructure. Its successful roll out is now revolutionizing traditional dispatch/delivery processes into efficient and customer-centric approaches.

‘Drop&Pick’ follows a key three phased – book, manage and deliver process, which is based around a simple to use and intuitive mobile application. The app enables any parcel shop to quickly register a parcel, and the sender’s details (including capturing handwritten information), followed by scanning the shipment and adding recipient name, delivery details and parcel size. It then calculates shipping fees which the sender can pay in multiple ways – prepaid, wallets, cash or card. The parcel shop personnel can also book multiple parcels under one sender ID. In the back end – data entry processes convert images to actual data. The parcel is then handed over to the courier and electronic proof of transfer is collected, who then delivers to the end customer and once again, receives electronic proof of delivery from the customer.

This technology while enables quick and seamless dispatch and receiving of parcels – has two additional benefits:

  1. SME Ecosystem development – The technology is providing significant benefits for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro-SMEs who want to sell their products online but cannot build an in-house delivery infrastructure. Their hence need fast and convenient delivery services for their customers. The sellers may easily deposit their parcels at selected parcel shops or they can also raise a parcel booking request online (and prepay it). It generates a ‘parcel label’ which then acts as a unique order ID.
  2. Reduced carbon emissions: Door to door delivery can waste a lot of time and fuel in finding home addresses, while if parcel is dropped at a network shop, it saves resources. The customer can later collect the parcel at his or her convenience.

This technology is also targeted towards logistics businesses offering franchise models. While this model has been available since a long time to book parcels, the need now is to add a layer of visibility and efficiency to the processes to help businesses make real-time data backed decisions and in parallel empower the customers with easy deliveries, event alerts & notifications. The customer gets an option of getting parcel delivered to a nearby ‘parcel shop’, both -during the time of order placement as well as before the actual delivery.

Kushal Nahata, Co-Founder and CEO, FarEye says, “The reaction to FarEye’s parcel shop technology – ‘Drop&Pick’ has been exceptional. The product is built to enable fast & convenient delivery/dispatch of parcels which provides logistics companies innovative and value-added services, thus increasing their revenue streams while enhancing their customers’ experience.” 


Kushal further adds, “There is a sharp increase in online transactions and both sellers & buyers require smart and efficient dispatch & delivery of goods as quickly as possible. The global ecommerce market is about 2 trillion USD and FarEye with its technology excellence is integrating into the systems of major logistics service providers, helping them capture this market. Our Mobile Application for Parcel Shop Delivery is a key aspect of the technology, which is being used by many of our clients including DHL. We expect to see the use of this technology across many key markets in 2018.”

 

About FarEye

FarEye is a carrier agnostic SaaS platform that digitalizes logistics by integrating and optimizing business processes and adding a predictability layer to make them more efficient. FarEye has designed the world’s first BPM Engine for the modern-age logistics function, enabling companies to become agile and reduce their go-to-market time.

The solution uses a blend of mobility and geo-intelligence to provide real-time multi-enterprise visibility of logistics function.

FarEye empowers the logistics & distribution wings of over 75 large organizations across 15 countries globally. With a growth rate of over 360%, FarEye aims to break down operational silos and enables multi-enterprise collaboration thus helping organizations to champion operational efficiency and customer experience. FarEye executes more than 500 million shipments annually and has increased the first-time successful delivery attempts by 25%, reduced the fuel expenses by 28% and increased the successful customer visits by 66%. FarEye has saved 45,000 million sheets of paper & more than 620 million miles of travel in its quest to promote sustainable logistics.

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Discovery Channel Don’t Stop Wondering Award returns for a second year
February 16, 2018 | 0 Comments
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, February 15th, 2018,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/-
Following the success of 2017, the ‘Discovery Channel Don’t Stop Wondering Award’ is back for a second consecutive year. After receiving over 200 entries from all over the continent in 2017, Discovery is renewing its partnership with the Jozi Film Festival once again to find its next great African filmmaker.
Submissions for the ‘Discovery Channel Don’t Stop Wondering Award’ open on Monday, 19 February and close on Monday 28 May, calling for 2-5 minute documentaries from filmmakers across Africa which showcase and celebrate unique African stories and capture Discovery Channel’s ethos of sparking curiosity.
“Last year’s entries blew us away, with their creative, emotive and thought-provoking portrayals of the diversity of Africa’s culture and people,” said Amanda Turnbull, VP & Country Manager for Discovery Networks Middle East and Africa. “This year, alongside the Jozi Film Festival, we are excited to once again to recognize and reward Africa’s talented filmmakers, and showcase even more creative stories that fulfill Discovery Channel’s ethos of sparking curiosity.”
“Partnering with Discovery Channel was a wonderful success and thanks to this award we were able to showcase some amazing African talent. This year we look forward to the entries we will be receiving”, said Lisa Henry, Jozi Film Festival Founder and Organiser.
This year’s prize from Discovery Channel will include a Canon XF-405 video camera with Singer Photographic camera accessories worth over $5,800 in order for the winner to use for their next filming project. “We are so pleased to be able to contribute to such an incredible initiative and provide aspiring filmmakers with our equipment which is specifically designed to help them create more of their memorable stories,” said Roger Machin, Canon Product Manager – Professional Imaging Products.
“We believe that given the correct tools and production equipment, these innovative and determined individuals will be able to create even more amazing work and ensure that the continent gets to see high quality story telling”, said Kevin Singer, Singer Photographic Managing Director.
The Top 10 films, as selected by a Discovery and Jozi Film Festival jury, will be broadcast on Discovery Channel in July and August and later at the seventh annual Jozi Film Festival in September. The winning film will be selected by popular vote via the voting tool on Discovery’s website: www.discoverychannelafrica.com and the winner will be flown to Johannesburg to receive their prize at the Jozi Film Festival awards to be held on Sunday, 30 September 2018.
Entrants must be 18+ and be an African resident. Submitted films must be in English or include English subtitles. To enter go to discoveryafrica.com, terms and conditions apply. The closing date is the 28th of May 2018 at 19:00 CAT.
In 2017 Discovery Channel launched its partnership with the Jozi Film Festival with its Discovery Channel Don’t Stop Wondering award. After over 200 entries and over 2000 votes received from across the continent, the inaugural award went to Dusty Van Niekerk’s The Tragedy of Africa, which depicted the sad reality of rhino poaching across Southern Africa, and encouraged viewers to take action to help save our rhinos.
ABOUT DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS
Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) satisfies curiosity and engages superfans with a portfolio of premium nonfiction, sports and kids programming brands. Reaching 3 billion cumulative viewers across pay-TV and free-to-air platforms in more than 220 countries and territories, Discovery’s portfolio includes the global brands Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, Science and Turbo/Velocity, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport, the leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports content across Europe. Discovery reaches audiences across screens through digital-first programming from Discovery VR, over-the-top offerings Eurosport Player and Dplay, as well as TV Everywhere products comprising the GO portfolio of TVE apps and Discovery K!ds Play. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.
ABOUT THE JOZI FILM FESTIVAL
The Jozi Film Festival was initially created to provide a platform for local filmmakers in Johannesburg, and to develop an audience for South African films. While still prioritizing local film, JFF now accept films from around the world – features, short films, documentaries and student films. We are the longest running multi-genre festival in the City of Gold and our motto remains the same from Day One: We Love Jozi. We Love Film.
The Jozi Film Festival strongly supports independent films.
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Sanders on Africa: Democracy and Governance Key To Sustainable Development
February 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L & Prince Kuripati

Amb Sanders at a book signing, much of her advocacy work is still centered around Africa

Amb Sanders at a book signing, much of her advocacy work is still centered around Africa

As the Trump Administration settles on business, trade, and investments as the cornerstones of its African policy, democracy and governance must be added to the dynamic says Ambassador Robin Sanders of the FEEDS Advocacy Group.

Talking to PAV recently in a phone interview, Sanders who served as Ambassador to Nigeria and Congo, believes that good business, trade, and investment can only thrive better in the right democratic environment, with sound principle of governance that can help sustain development.

To Ambassador Sanders, these two tangibles, democracy and governance are crucial because all facets of development are undermined if there is no security, and if the political environment is not open. Business, trade, and investment promotion cannot thrive in an unstable environment, she said.

In reference to the recent unfortunate remarks by President Trump referencing Africa in derogatory slurs, Ambassador Sanders described them as inaccurate and unfortunate. She went on to say that, the views certainly did not represent the perceptions of Americans. It is for this reason that she joined some 77 other former U.S Ambassadors who served in Africa to put distance between themselves and the American people from the remarks of the President.

“We wanted to show that the perception was not only inaccurate and untrue, but certainly not a representative of how Americans feel about a continent of 1.5 billion people,” Ambassador Sanders said.

Ambassador Robin Sanders and former Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnie Carson pictured here here with former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan joined other former US Ambassadors who served in Africa to distance themselves from the President's remarks in a letter

Ambassador Robin Sanders and former Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnie Carson pictured here here with former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan joined other former US Ambassadors who served in Africa to distance themselves from the President’s remarks in a letter

Though unfortunate, Ambassador Sanders said the whole debacle actually helped in opening the eyes of the current US administration on the need to build a relationship with Africa, and the planned visit of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Africa in March will be a step in the right direction, she said.

Ambassador Sanders pointed out that while the current U.S administration may have floundered in terms of making official visits, and cementing existing ties with individual countries, it however, knew the strategic importance of Africa as a business, and security partner as evidenced by the US National Security Strategy document that lays out the importance of Africa to the US security.

Conceding that many Americans still have a pre-1990 view of what Africa is as a continent; Ambassador Sander said a lot of efforts are put in by herself, other Diplomats who served in Africa, and a host of other people and groups to dispel these perceptions. Acknowledging that the anger and disappointment may take a while to cool off, Ambassador Sanders said there are many examples that point to the solidity of U.S –African relations. The U.S government still provides the largest amount of development aid to the African region.

Shedding light on the FEEEDS (Food Security, Education, Environment, Energy, Economics, Democracy-development, and Self-help) program that has kept her actively engaged on Africa, Ambassador Sanders said, the focus areas of the advocacy group are vital both for Africa, and the USA.

Discussing her book “The rise of Africa small and medium enterprises: spurring development and growing the middle class,” Sanders said it highlights the importance of SMEs in the growth and development of Africa. To Ambassador Sanders, millennials are beginning to take control of their destiny as they are building robust SMEs that are putting the continent on the world map. The book also exposes the link between economic development and security, highlighting that economic development is crucial if a country wants to safeguard its security.

Despite the regression witnessed from her assessment of the last 18 months, Ambassador Sanders said Nigeria’s democracy and civil society had really matured in recent years. The 2015 election enabled Ambassador Sanders and her team to get a deeper insight into Nigeria’s democracy and according to her, the election showed the country’s political maturity.

Still very attached to Nigeria, Ambassador Sanders says despite the regression of the past 18 months, democracy and the civil society have matured well in the country

Still very attached to Nigeria, Ambassador Sanders says despite the regression of the past 18 months, democracy and the civil society have matured well in the country

On Congo, Ambassador Sanders said though the country had gone through a brutal civil war, she was impressed with the rebuilding of the country in terms of infrastructure when she visited there a few years back.

Mutual respect must be underscored, Ambassador Sanders said in response to a question on the future of U.S –African ties.

“There needs to be a direct understanding that there is an important partnership that America need to have with Africa, and the people of Africa,” Ambassador Sanders said while expressing hope that misperceptions that Americans have about the continent will eventually be erased. Expressing optimism about the upcoming trip of Secretary of State Tillerson to the continent, Ambassador Sanders said the outcome maybe a change of perspective from him and the administration once he sees the realities of the emerging Africa for himself.

 

 

 

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Merck Foundation signs Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with African First Ladies Organization to build Cancer and Fertility Care Capacity in their Countries
February 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
Marking the “World Cancer Day” at African Union Assembly, Merck Foundation pledges to continue their commitment to provide oncology fellowship program across Africa in partnership with African First Ladies
(L-R) H.E. Madam Sia Koroma, First Lady, Sierra Leone, H.E. First Lady of the Republic of The Gambia, Madame Fatoumattah Bah-Barrow and H.E. First Lady of Lesotho Madame Maesaiah Thabane and Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation

(L-R) H.E. Madam Sia Koroma, First Lady, Sierra Leone, H.E. First Lady of the Republic of The Gambia, Madame Fatoumattah Bah-Barrow and H.E. First Lady of Lesotho Madame Maesaiah Thabane and Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, February 12, 2018/ — Merck Foundation, a non-profit organization and a subsidiary of Merck KGaA Germany (www.Merck.com), signs Memorandum of Understanding -MoU with the African First Ladies Organization with the aim to achieve the objectives of raising awareness, building professional capacity and improving healthcare access in the field of Cancer and fertility care in Africa.

Merck Foundation has conducted many educational and fellowship programs in Africa since 2012 in the field of non-communicable diseases through Merck Cancer Access Program, Merck capacity Advancement ProgramMerck STEM Program and Merck more than a Mother campaign.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation emphasized during the signing event, “We are delighted to partner with the African First Ladies Organization, to build health capacity and improve healthcare access in the field of cancer and fertility care, Merck Foundation dedicate majority of their efforts to build healthcare capacity in Africa and developing countries and with this partnership, we will be able to achieve our vision of a world where everyone can lead a healthy and fulfilling life.”

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation with H.E. First Lady of the Republic of Chad Madame Hinda Deby Itno

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation with H.E. First Lady of the Republic of Chad Madame Hinda Deby Itno

The MOU aims to raise awareness optimally about the prevention, management and de-stigmatization of infertility and cancer in women. It will also aim to build profession capacity and improve access to fertility and cancer care in cooperation with the African First Ladies in their countries.

In 2017 alone, MF initiated the following activities in partnership with academia, ministries of health and the offices of First Ladies in more than 35 countries:

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation with H.E. Madam Roman Tesfaye, the First Lady of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Chairperson of African First Ladies Organization during the MoU signing event at The African Union Assembly, Ethiopia

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation with H.E. Madam Roman Tesfaye, the First Lady of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Chairperson of African First Ladies Organization during the MoU signing event at The African Union Assembly, Ethiopia

Merck Cancer Access Program:
Over 30 African physicians received Oncology Fellowship programs spanning one to two years, with the aim to help increase the limited number of oncologists in Africa.

Merck more than a Mother:
More than 40 candidates received three-month clinical training to be embryologists and fertility specialists in Africa and Asia to improve quality, regulated and safe fertility care in developing countries.

Merck Diabetes and Hypertension Awards:
Over 50 medical postgraduates will receive a one-year online diploma in diabetes or preventive cardiovascular medicines, as part of the effort to establish a platform of diabetes and hypertension experts in Africa and Asia.

The Merck Foundation upholds its commitment to building capacity and improving access to quality and equitable healthcare solutions with special focus on cancer and fertility care in Africa. So far, doctors from Uganda, Zambia, Ethiopia, Namibia, Tanzania, Ghana, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Botswana, Liberia, Rwanda, Kenya, Chad, Niger, Guinea, Gambia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal have benefitted from Merck Foundation programs. Merck Foundation aims to expand to more African and Asian countries in the near future.

First Lady of Central African Republic H.E. Madame Brigitte Touadera with Dr Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation

First Lady of Central African Republic H.E. Madame Brigitte Touadera with Dr Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation

The Merck Foundation (www.Merck-Foundation.com), established in 2017, is a philanthropic organization that 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 innovative 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. Please go to www.Merck-Foundation.com to read more and/or register online to interact and exchange experience with our registered members.
Merck Foundation is a subsidiary of Merck KGaA Germany

About Merck
Merck (www.Merck.com) is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2016, Merck generated sales of € 15.0 billion in 66 countries.
Founded in 1668, Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.

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Kenya’s HydroIQ wins “Startup of the year Africa 2018”
February 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
This year, more than 600 startups from 52 different countries took part, more than 12 000 online votes were gathered, and 41 million people reached on social media
CASABLANCA, Morocco, February 12, 2018/ — Startup.Info (https://Startup.info) has announced the winners of the “Startup of the Year 2018 competition” following an awards ceremony which took place in Casablanca at the end of last month.

Following the success of the first edition of “Startup of the year Africa”, the collaborative startup magazine Startup.Info has reiterated its commitment to supporting African innovation. With the support of major international groups such as OCP, ENGIE, QWANT, FINANCE INNOVATION, PwC, Labs-NS-Avocats, Holmarcom Group, Royal Air Maroc, as well as 70 media and ecosystem partners, Startup.Info launched the 2nd edition of the contest “Startup of the year Africa”.

This year, more than 600 startups from 52 different countries took part, more than 12 000 online votes were gathered, and 41 million people reached on social media.

The jury of experts of the competition « Startup of the year Africa 2018 » on January 24, 2018 to choose the winners of the following awards:

Startup of the Year Africa 2018: HydroIQ (Kenya) (https://Startup.info/hydroiq)

Founded by Brian Bosire & Victor Shikoli, HydroIQ is a virtual Water Network Operator. It brings intelligence in water distribution by preventing leakages on the network and automatic (mobile) billing a payment.

QWANT PUBLIC CHOICE Award: Ecodome (Maroc) (https://Startup.info/fr/ecodomemaroc)

Founded by Youness Ouazri, Ecodome Maroc produces ecotouristic housing made of natural soil in the form of domes.

OCP – AGRITECH Special Prize: GRACE AGRICOLE DE COTE D’IVOIRE (Côte d’Ivoire) (https://Startup.info/fr/graci)

Founded by Brou Kouame Yves Laurent, GRACI is a startup aiming at the development of rice production in Ivory Coast. It proposes a program of production, certification and distribution of Improved Certified Seeds of rice.

ENGIE Special Prize STARTUP OF THE YEAR Award : Peachwater Consulting (Nigeria) (https://Startup.info/powerstove)

Founded by Okey Ibekwe Esse, Peachwater Consulting designs, manufactures and markets Powerstove clean cookstove that is smokeless and generates electricity with 70% less biomass fuel than competitors.

FINANCE INNOVATION – FINTECH DESTINATION AFRICA & 

ROYAL AIR MAROC – AFRICA DIASPORA Award : Semoa (France) (https://Startup.info/fr/semoa

Founded by Edem ADJAMAGBO, SEMOA proposes a solution to the development of e-commerce in Africa by installing payment terminals throughout the continent.

Holmarcom Group Special Prize: THEA (France)

Founded by Dr. Eloi MONKAM, THEA is a medical mobile app that connects patients to doctors for a first diagnosis.

PwC – JURY CHOICE AWARD: Priyo (South Africa) (https://Startup.info/priyo)

Founded by Palesa Mahlatji, PRIYO has developed a portable solar digital smart computer lab to train youth from underprivileged, under-resourced schools and communities in rural and peri-urban areas on how to use the computer. Priyo trains them in IT: End user computing, ICT, Digital Marketing and E-Learning and links job seekers to online employment opportunities.

COMMUNITY MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Project Alpha (Madagascar) (https://Startup.info/fr/projectalpha)

Founded by Muriel RANDRIAMASIMANANA, Project Alpha is an event agency. Its principal activity is based on video games and e-sport phenomena.

JURY and EXPERTS « STARTUP OF THE YEAR AFRICA 2018 »

The finalists of the competition have been selected by a jury of experts, DGs of big international groups and successful startuppers:

  • Selma Bennis, OCP Entrepreneurship Network, Head of Partnership and Finance
  • Amine Homman, Regional director, ENGIE North Africa
  • Eric Leandri, Chairman, QWANT
  • Stéphane Quéré, Director, ENGIE
  • Joëlle Durieux, Executive Director, FINANCE INNOVATION
  • Kossi Adzo, Founder, Startup.Info
  • Bernard Gainnier, Chairman, PwC France and Francophone Africa
  • Fortuné Ahoulouma, Lawyer at Paris bar, PhD, LABS-NS AVOCATS
  • Noël Albertus, Executive Director, PwC Advisory Maghreb and Francophone Africa
  • Kosi Vuti, Executive Director, Midrange Consulting
  • Bruno Pennel, CIO, Bernis Investissement
  • Cécile Saint Jean, Director, PwC France
  • Zouhair Mouhib, Royal Air Maroc, Innovation & Digital partnerships manager
  • Mohamed Laraqui, Holmarcom Group, Project Manager
  • Cyril Armange, Directeur des Partenariats, FINANCE INNOVATION

The Awards Ceremony has been broadcast live (videos & live tweets) during its entire duration. You can have an overview on Facebook and Twitter pages with the hashtag #StartupAfro

The winners will receive the following awards:

Jury Prizes « Startup of the Year Africa 2018 »:

The following rewards will correspond to different kinds of prizes:

The Jury Award « Startup of the Year Africa 2018 »:

  • Main prize: African startup of the year :  10,000€ in Cash and a 10,000€ Visibility Pack (Startup.info website background with 100,000+ views, mention in press campaign, banner in emailing), integration into our partners’ business network.
  • PwC – Jury-s choice award:  Visibility Pack with 50,000 views and integration into our partners’ business network.

Special Partner Awards:

In addition to the jury and the public awards, our partners will grant special awards accompanied with a Startup.Info communication pack :

  • OCP – AGRITECH Special PRIZE: 10000€ visibility Pack offered by Startup.info, visibility in OCP internal network, integration into entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem of OCP Entrepreneurship Network
  • engie – SPECIAL PRIZE : 10,000€ Visibility Pack offered by Startup.info, visibility in ENGIE internal network, integration into entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem of ENGIE
  • FINANCE INNOVATION Fintech destination Africa Award : 10,000€ Visibility Pack offered by Startup.info, a year membership of FINANCE INNOVATION international cluster, integration into FINANCE INNOVATION Business Network
  • Startup.Info Africa diaspora startup of the year : 10,000€ Visibility Pack offered by Startup.info, integration into our partners’ business network.

Public choice awards:

  • QWANT Public choice award : (N1 of public voting top 100) : 2,000€ in cash offered by Qwant, 10000€ Visibility Pack offered by Startup.info, Branding of Qwant’s homepage
  • N 2 to 5 of public voting top 100 : visibility pack with 20,000 views  and integration into our partners’ business network.
  • Started in 2011 by Kossi ADZO  (https://goo.gl/MTFkhW) (Software engineer, Ex Nokia), Startup.Info (https://Startup.info) has become the first collaborative magazine dedicated to the promotion of startups.
    Startup.Info aims at :
    • Making startups known to the innovative startup ecosystem, journalists, investors and early adopters
    • Allowing major groups meet startups necessary for their transformation, via application calls, competitions and tailor made events

    Startup.Info is also a database of 12 000 startups, 3000 of which are available in free access. 100 new startups shared every month, 90 000 subscribed users and more than 100 000 unique visitors per month. Our competition and application calls have already attracted 12000+ startups candidates from 58 countries and more than 150 000 public votes.

  • OCP (www.OCPgroup.ma) is proud to play an important role in feeding a growing global population, by providing essential elements for soil fertility and plants growth.
    With almost a century of experience, OCP Group is a leader in the phosphate rock and derivate markets. OCP provides a wide range of well-adapted fertilizer products to enhance soil, increase agricultural yields, and help feeding the planet in a sustainable and affordable way.
    Headquartered in Morocco, OCP works in a close partnership with more than 160 customers over 5 continents.
    For more information visit: www.OCPgroup.ma

    About ENGIE Group
    ENGIE (www.ENGIE-africa.com) is committed to taking on the major challenges of the energy revolution, towards a world more decarbonised, decentralised and digitalised. The Group aims to become the leader of this new energy world by focusing on three key activities for the future: low carbon generation in particular from natural gas and renewable energy, energy infrastructure and efficient solutions adapted to all its customers (individuals, businesses, territories, etc.). Innovation, digital solutions and customer satisfaction are the guiding principles of ENGIE’s development. ENGIE is active in around 70 countries, employs 150,000 people worldwide and achieved revenues of €66.6 billion in 2016.
    For over 50 years, ENGIE has been active in many African countries through its energy engineering business, its natural gas purchase agreements with Algeria, Egypt and Nigeria and more recently as an independent power producer in South Africa and Morocco with a total capacity of 3,000 MW either in operation or under construction. By 2025, ENGIE aims to become a reference partner in about ten African countries for power plants, energy services to businesses and decentralized solutions for off-grid customers – communities, companies and households.
    For more information, visit www.ENGIE-africa.com

    About QWANT
    QWANT (www.QWANT.com) is the European search engine that respects the privacy of its users. It enables web users to quickly access information and find the content they wish (web pages, news, videos, photos, products, music…) in a pleasant and intuitive user interface, without collecting any personal data when they search. Thus, Qwant guarantees to the user the right to search without being tracked. It delivers non-biased results, not modified according to a commercial profile. With Qwant Junior, it offers a secure and educational search engine for kids.
    Based in France, with subsidiaries in Germany and Italy, Qwant was launched in 2013 by individual entrepreneurs who own the majority of the capital and manage the company. The search engine is also supported by strategic stakeholders, Axel Springer and the Groupe Caisse des Dépôts, as well as by the European Investment Bank.
    For more information visit: www.QWANT.com

    About FINANCE INNOVATION
    Founded in 2007 with the support of public authorities, FINANCE INNOVATION (https://Finance-Innovation.org) aims to accelerate the French position in the global financial services sector by directly supporting the next era technology led financial services innovators from start-ups to institutions.
    FINANCE INNOVATION is the unique cluster for innovation in the French financial sector, has directed concrete actions to accelerate the creation and development of innovative projects devoted to economic, societal and environmental challenges in the service of growth and employment.
    With over 500 members (our members are primarily innovative SMEs, bank and insurance corporation but also major universities, research labs, public authorities), through its programmes and events, ongoing policy and research and promotion FINANCE INNOVATION seeks to address the key barriers and opportunities in the financial ecosystem :
    • Champion France as the principal European hub for FinTech
    • Advocate for a democratic and inclusive financial services industry
    • Support SMEs of the territory in their search for capital and funding
    • Attracting greater investment
    • Promoting Innovation in financial services

    For more information visit: https://Finance-Innovation.org

    About PwC France and Francophone Africa
    PwC (www.PwC.fr) is developing its advisory, audit and accounting services in France and Francophone Africa by leveraging an industry-specific approach.  More than 223,000 people in 157 countries belonging to the PwC international network share their ideas, expertise and innovative views to deliver high-quality service to clients and partner companies.
    Implanted in Africa for nearly 40 years, PwC is located in 34 countries including 23 Francophone countries that gather more than 1,000 people. Being committed in the development of the continent, PwC provides services throughout Africa to private companies, financial institutions, governments and public institutions.
    By working every day to advise clients and support them in their success, PwC actively contributes to the development of the French economy. Through its studies and expert analyses, PwC is also committed to preparing for the economies of the future and developing new technological applications. Lastly, by providing solutions for risk management, PwC creates trust among stakeholders and helps maintain a secure environment at the heart of the economy.
    “PwC” refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity.
    For more information, visit www.PwC.fr

    About LABS-NS Avocats
    LABS-NS AVOCATS (http://LABS-NS.com) is a Parisian Business Law Firm focus on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Social Business and Innovation issues.
    Involved in a digital, social, economic and environmental transformation, LABS-NS AVOCATS provides Legal support to innovating actors as Telecommunication Operators, Incubators/Accelerators, Startups (Fintech, EdTech…) in Africa and in Europe.
    For more information, visit http://Labs-NS.com

    About Holmarcom Group
    Holmarcom (www.Holmarcom.ma) is a Moroccan private group with a privileged role among the major players of Moroccan economy. It operates in several core businesses: Finance, Agro-Industry, Distribution & Logistics and Real Estate.
    Driven by an ambitious business project and human resources mobilized around a common vision, the Group consolidated its leadership by pursuing a policy of innovation and an entrepreneurial growth strategy in the wake of the national economic dynamic. Proud of its roots and its history, Holmarcom continues its investment policy in key strategic sectors for the sustainable growth of Morocco and the African continent, with certain daring, unwavering ambition and thoroughness in execution, combining sound growth and long-term profitability objectives.
    For more information, visit  www.Holmarcom.ma.

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Abuja Selected to Host Afreximbank’s 2018 Annual Meetings and 25th Anniversary
February 9, 2018 | 0 Comments
Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance of Nigeria, (left) and Dr. George Elombi, Afreximbank Executive Vice President, exchanging views during the meeting in Abuja.

Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance of Nigeria, (left) and Dr. George Elombi, Afreximbank Executive Vice President, exchanging views during the meeting in Abuja.

Cairo, 09 February 2018: – Nigeria has emerged the host country for the 2018 African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) Annual Meetings (AAM2018) and 25th Anniversary celebrations scheduled to take place from 9 to 14 July, the Bank announced today in Cairo.

Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance of Nigeria, conveyed the country’s readiness to host the event in a recent letter to the Bank in which she stated that the Government and people of Nigeria felt highly honoured at being considered to host the meetings and anniversary.

The two events will be held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja and will feature a series of seminars exploring various aspects of trade and economic development and looking at the transformation of African economies through trade. There will also be the meeting of the Afreximbank Advisory Group on Trade Finance and Export Development in Africa.

Other activities include an investment forum hosted by the Nigerian Government, a trade exhibition, and formal celebratory activities marking the Bank’s 25th Anniversary. The events will conclude with the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders of the Bank.

To kick off preparations for AAM2018 and the anniversary celebrations, an Afreximbank delegation led by Dr. George Elombi, Executive Vice President (Governance, Corporate and Legal Services), traveled to Abuja from 31 January to 3 February for meetings with the Minister and her team and to inspect the facilities to be used.

During the meeting with the Minister, she reiterated Nigeria’s readiness to provide all the necessary support to ensure the success of AAM2018 and the anniversary celebrations.

Earlier, Dr. Elombi noted that holding AAM2018 and the anniversary celebrations in Nigeria was like a homecoming for Afreximbank, given that the first Annual General Meeting of the Bank had been held in the country and that Nigeria played a significant role in the establishment of the Bank.

He also pointed out that the Nigeria accounted for a significant portion of the Bank’s business, with critical financing support extended to many Nigerian corporates and entities.

Several serving and former African Presidents and heads of state, as well as many high-profile political and business leaders, are expected to attend the events where they will be joined by the shareholders of the Bank and other stakeholders.

The full AAM2018 and 25th anniversary event programme will be released in due course. In the meantime, details about the registration and participation procedures, can be found by clicking on the link below:

http://www.afreximbank-am.com/

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ATIGS 2018 Will Connect Global Investors To The African Market In A Unique Way- Bako Ambianda, Snr Dir of GAA Exhibitions & Conferences
February 9, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

On June 24 the 2018 Africa Trade and Investment Global Summit (ATIGS), will kick off in Washington D.C.Bringing together new and established partners from around the world to increase business ties, and partnerships,the summit will highlight and showcase trade and investment opportunities and development solutions across Africa and enable companies from around the world to scale or establish operations in Africa and beyond. Since the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit, there have been few summits of this magnitude in Washington DC , and  to learn more about the scope, and objectives of the event, Pan African Visons spoke to a leading member of the organizing team Bako Ambianda, Senior Director of GAA Exhibitions & Conferences 

ATIGS 2018 will welcome delegates from over 40 African countries says Bako Ambianda

ATIGS 2018 will welcome delegates from over 40 African countries says Bako Ambianda

 Could you tell us more ATIGS?

 The Africa Trade & Investment Global Summit (ATIGS) is a unique high-level conference and exhibition, prestigious, biennial business platform designed specifically to promote and facilitate international trade between Americas, Asia, Caribbean, EU, UAE, with Africa; to facilitate foreign direct investment in Africa; and to provide a platform for businesses to expand into new markets. ATIGS is where companies around the world looking to expand or establish their business operations in Africa come to gain strategic knowledge about local investment opportunities, and connect with competent authorities, and businesses from Africa.

Who will attend ATIGS 2018?

The ATIGS 2018 edition scheduled on June 24 to 26, 2018 will gather key economic players from more than 70 countries, including government delegations, African buyers, high-profile African leaders, project developers, and international investors. The event has a well-structured format for facilitating direct peer engagement, for more advanced deal-making, co-investments, strategic partnerships, and business networking.

What is the theme of ATIGS 2018?

ATIGS 2018’s theme is “Driving Trade, Unleashing Investment, and Enhancing Economic Development: the Gateway to African Markets. ATIGS 2018 will provide access to African markets as a one-stop shop, and connect global Investors to Africa market.

 What are the sectors of focus for ATIGS 2018? 

ATIGS program will cover 16 economic sectors particularly manufacturing, agribusiness, power, construction, infrastructure, transportation, IT, tourism, telecoms, healthcare, fintech, textile, and natural resources sectors.

 Which African countries will delegates be coming from?

We anticipate to welcome delegates from over 40 African countries. We currently have confirmed delegates from 32 countries including South Africa, Algeria, Nigeria, Angola, Morocco, Cameroon, Kenya, Namibia, Ghana, Ethiopia, Gambia, and Uganda among others.

Which Western countries will delegates be coming from?

We already have registered delegates from UK, Spain, UAE, Turkey, Brazil, France, Switzerland, and Canada, among others. It must be noted that ATIGS is an Africa-global business event, so we anticipate delegates from more than 70 countries, and we currently have ATIGS country representatives in over 75 countries working on mobilizing delegates from their respective countries.

Who are some key speakers confirmed to grace the Summit?

We currently have 124 confirmed high-level speakers from more than 65 countries, which include  key speakers like Dr. Munir Ahmad Ch, President of Aspire World Investments LLC from United Arab Emirates, Hon Senator Ike Ekwerenmadu, Deputy Senate President of Nigeria, Hon Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, Ghana Minister of Transport, Walid Loukil, Deputy Managing Director of Loukil Group from Tunisia, Xoliswa Daku, Founder & CEO of Daku Group of Companies from South Africa, Asma ALAOU, CEO of Africa Key Partners from Morocco, Belarmino Van-Dúnem, Chairman of Angola’s Investment and Exports Promotion Agency from Angola , Meir Moalem, CEO & Managing Director of Sky and Space Global  from United Kingdom,  Dr. Richmond Annan, President of iRichie Group Inc from Texas, and Andrew Herscowitz, USAID Power Africa Coordinator, among others.

ATIGS 2018 will provide access to African markets as a one-stop shop, and connect global Investors to Africa market ssys Bako Ambianda

ATIGS 2018 will provide access to African markets as a one-stop shop, and connect global Investors to Africa market ssys Bako Ambianda

How is ATIGS different from other summits focused on Africa?

Unlike most talk-shop conferences focused on Africa, ATIGS moves beyond that, and focuses on bringing together investment promotion agencies (IPAs), trade promotional organizations (TPOs), and international development organizations (IDOs) all under one roof to showcase investment opportunities to global investors, and enhance trade engagements between Americas, Asia, Caribbean, EU, UAE, with Africa in an ultimate business platform ideal for conducting G2B, G2G and B2B meetings.

We currently have 58 confirmed trade, investment and development organizations (TIDO’s) which include, Angola’s Investment and Exports Promotion Agency; Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Entreprises Du Cameroun; Ghana Investment Promotion Centre; Gambia Ports Authority; Guyana Office For Investment; Lesotho National Development Corporation; Lagos State Employment Trust Fund;  Namibia Ministry of Industrialization; Trade and SME Development; Nigeria National Economic Council; Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency, among others.  Also, ATIGS is a conference and exhibition.

 Tell us about the exhibition segment of the event?

You know, the exhibition is my favorable part of ATIGS. It will be divided into two sections. The exhibition hall 1 will showcase trade and investment opportunities in Africa by trade and investment agencies, and exhibition hall 2 will be dedicated for companies to showcase their products and services. Some highlights include Agriculture Pavilion, and Real Estate Pavilion. We currently have confirmed exhibitors from Spain, Brazil, Australia, UAE, Kenya, Kenya, and U.S.

 Why Is ATIGS held in June 2018?

ATIGS is held under the umbrella of World Business Week on Africa, and strategically positioned between the 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit (highest-profile event FDI event in USA), and the 27th World Gas Conference (world’s largest global natural gas event). It is estimated that Over 18,000 business leaders, media, and global investors will be in Washington D.C for different business and investment events all happening from June 20 to June 29, 2018.Therefore delegates that will make it to ATIGS 2018 (June 24-26,2018) can easily use one stone to hit three birds in terms of networking, deal-making, strategic partnerships, meetings, and more.

 (Other Flagship Africa-focused small events to be held within the same week include: Arica-China Economic Forum, UAE-Africa Business Forum, US-Africa Manufacturing Forum, EU-Africa International Business Congress, LAC-Africa Business Forum, Africa FDI Shark Tank, Electrify Africa Forum, Africa Smart Cities Forum, Africa Construction and Infrastructure Forum, Africa Consumer Technology Forum, among others.)

 Who are the key partners in the event?

We are delighted to organized ATIGS 2018 in partnership with Trustrade Consulting Group, Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Africa Global Chamber of Commerce, Franchise Africa, The Varanda Network, Ignite Trade Africa, Footprint to Africa Limited, and World Trade Center Antananarivo, among others.

We are also honored to have the endorsement of International Trade Centre for ATIGS 2018. The Council is helping us to invite / arrange external speakers, representatives of government agencies and the media, create and design some important topics to be discus at ATIGS 2018, and will promote the event in the Council newsletter, social media channels and on the Council’s website.

Given the big ambitions ATIGS 2018, how long will the event last?

ATIGS 2018 is a three-day event with unique activities, top rated speakers and high-level participation. The formats are designed to give delegates more opportunities for questions, debate, and peer to peer interaction, but still with the same high-quality content delegates will come expecting from ATIGS 2018. We will have Roundtables, Investors’ Zone, ATIGS Awards Dinner, Meet the FDI Experts, Bilateral Meetings, and Signing Ceremony, among others.

 Why host an African event in USA?

The vision of ATIGS is built on the model of rotating the location of the summit every two years through a bidding process and organizing country specific ATIGS in between. So, the upcoming ATIGS events include: ATIGS 2018 – Washington D.C, ATIGS 2020 – Dubai; ATIGS 2022 – Beijing; ATIGS 2024 – Brussels, ATIGS 2026 – Addis Ababa; and, ATIGS 2028 – South America. As the host country for Africa Trade and Investment Global Summit 2018, The United States of America serves as a model for ATIGS 2018 for several reasons including its high number of embassies in Washington, D.C and the high Access to capital, as the ​United States hosts the most developed, liquid, flexible, and efficient financial markets in the world. Washington D.C also host over 40 African embassies making it easy for companies all round the world to engage with Africa during ATIGS 2018.

 Tell us about some delegations coming to the Summit?

We currently have over 18 confirmed delegation groups from all around the world including Gabon, Algeria, Hong Kong, China, Ghana, Angola, Kenya, Japan, Zambia, Cote d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Guinea, Congo DRC, Nigeria, Singapore, Togo, South Africa, and Ghana, among others. The numbers will increase soon as the event is still developing.

What are you most excited about ATGS 2018 and Beyond?

Good question. I am excited about our portfolio of investment sourcing and trade facilitation initiatives that will connect African businesses to world-class investors and strategic partners, which will help get more African projects off the ground. We are building a pipeline between investors and top scalable, profitable opportunities across Africa that enhance economic development. Some of our innovative programs includes Africa FDI Shark Tank, Bankable Projects Showcase, ATIGS Business Matchmaking, Africa Worldwide Alliance Partnerships (AfriWAPA), Africa FDI Academy, ATIGS Deal Marketplace, and other programs set to lunch, ATIGS CEO Network, and Cities Network on Trade and Investment, among others.

 How do you see Africa in the context of its strategic position in the world?

We all know that Africa is the world’s next major economic success story and has tremendous opportunities. Africa is the second most attractive investment destination in the world and trade flows have expanded by 15 percent per year since 2006, with $2.6 trillion Africa’s collective GDP by 2020, $1.4 trillion Africa’s consumer spending by 2020, and 122 million people will be added to workforce by 2020.

I see Africa position in the world as the forecast that foreign direct investments and international trade will continue to increase rapidly. As Africa’s reputation for a viable location for investment increases, so does its significance in trade.

With interest in the continent growing exponentially, some of today’s newest business players are originating from non-traditional regions such as South America, Eastern Europe, the Gulf, and Africa itself. While well-established and new partners from Europe, North America, and Asia continue to be valued, it is interesting to note that the private sector’s scope of attention is increasingly widening to include, especially among newcomers, consumer-market industries including food, IT, tourism, finance and retail.

Where can people learn more, or register for ATIGS 2018

There is a comprehensive website www.atigs2018.com which contains everything to know about ATIGS 2018 and registration can be done directly on the website.

 What other Information will you like to share about ATIGS 2018

 ATIGS 2018 is shaping up to be an exceptional show with unique activities, multitude of strategic business opportunities, top rated speakers, and high-level participation. I urge you to visit ATIGS 2018 official websitewww.atigs2018.com, for all latest developments.

 Thank you so much for talking to Pan African Visions

The pleasure is mine, and thanks for the great work you do in promoting events like this, and covering Africa in a more positive way.

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The AFRICA CEO FORUM sets out its program for transforming the African private sector
February 9, 2018 | 0 Comments
  •  The major annual gathering for the African private sector takes place on 26 and 27 March in Abidjan
 
  • More than 1,200 decision-makers from more than 60 countries are expected to debate the theme of “African Champions: Powering Competitiveness”
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, 8 February 2018, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The AFRICA CEO FORUM will hold its 6th edition on 26 and 27 March 2018 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. More than 1,200 key figures and decision-makers from industry, finance and politics will converge from 60 countries to attend the world’s largest gathering of the African private sector.

With its chosen theme, “African Champions: Powering Competitiveness”, the AFRICA CEO FORUM 2018 aims to enable its participants to formulate action plans for the transformation of the continent’s large companies. The African private sector has developed strongly over the past two decades, most recently showing its capacity to resist a period of economic slowdown. But the number and size of leading companies remains small when measured against other emerging regions. While economic recovery takes shape, the unprecedented technological disruption that is occuring all over the world can be a tool for African champions to grow ever faster, to increase their competitivity, and to challenge their counterparts at a global level. Despite the risks they pose to industry in terms of job creation, these digital revolutions also enable acceleration on a new scale in several fields: financial inclusion, logistics, access to health and education, agricultural competitivity and innovation among them.

Providing the business climate continues to improve and investment to strengthen, this large-scale evolution will also result in a new generation of dynamic African companies.

Through twenty sessions organized by sector and region, case studies by top CEOs, success stories, strategic workshops, and themed task forces (on female leadership and young CEOs), the 2018 edition of the AFRICA CEO FORUM sets out to open the perspective on a new era for the private sector, and to make the next ten years of growth a decade of entrepreneurial transformation in Africa.

Among the key speakers to lead the debate:

Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire; Philippe Le Houérou, CEO of the International Finance Corporation; Jim Ovia, Founder and CEO of Zenith Bank; Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization; Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever; Claudio Descalzi, CEO of ENI; Naguib Sawiris, Executive President of OTMT; Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank; Kuseni Dlamini, Chairman of Massmart; Mohamed El Kettani, CEO of Attijariwafa Bank; Diego Aponte, CEO of MSC; Geoffrey Qhena, CEO of IDC; Zouhaïr Bennani, CEO of Label’Vie; Janine Kacou Diagou, Managing Director of the NSIA Group; Yolanda Cuba, CEO of Vodafone Ghana; Junior Ngulube, CEO of Sanlam; Issad Rebrab, Chairman of the Board of Cévital; Abderrahmane Benhamadi, CEO of Condor; Alassane Doumbia, CEO of SIFCA; Bruno Mettling, Deputy CEO in charge of Africa and the Middle East, Orange; Patrick Akorli, CEO of Ghana Oil Company; Austin Avuru, CEO of Seplat Petroleum; Joshua Oigara, CEO of Kenya Commercial Bank Group; Vuyani Jarana, CEO of South African Airways; Oluwatoyin Sanni, CEO of United Capital; and Tonye Cole, CEO of Sahara Group.

About the AFRICA CEO FORUM
The AFRICA CEO FORUM is organized by Jeune Afrique Media Group, the publisher of Jeune Afrique and The Africa Report, and by rainbow unlimited, a Swiss company specialized in event organization and economic promotion. With the success of its 2017 edition, which welcomed almost 1,200 business leaders from Africa and the world, the AFRICA CEO FORUM has established itself as the main international event for the African private sector to discuss the continent’s development in a highly professional environment ideal for business networking. The 2018 edition is co-hosted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC, part of the World Bank Group).

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Cash or custody: Israel kicks off deportation of African migrants
February 6, 2018 | 0 Comments

Out of 6,800 requests reviewed so far, Israel has granted refugee status to 11 migrants. It has at least 8,000 more requests to process.

Israeli authorities have said Israeli officials will keep in touch with migrants accepted in a third country to oversee their progress. Rwanda has said it will only accept migrants who have left Israel of their own free will.

Nonetheless, the U.N.’s refugee agency has urged Israel to reconsider, saying migrants who have relocated to sub-Saharan Africa in the past few years were unsafe and ended up on the perilous migrant trail to Europe, some suffering abuse, torture and even perishing on the way.

Rights groups in Israel say the government is simply ridding itself of people it should be recognizing as refugees in Israel and that there was no real guarantee for their safety.

A fence Israel has built over the past few years along its border with Egypt has all but stopped African migrants from entering the country illegally. Beginning in the previous decade, when the border was porous, a total of 64,000 Africans made it to Israel though thousands have since left.

Emmanuel Asfaha from Eritrea crossed into Israel in 2011 with his wife and baby son. His second child was born in Israel.

A narrow grocery store stockroom stacked with bags of flour leads to their two-room apartment in Tel Aviv, a poster of Jesus hanging on the cracked walls above his son’s bed. Asfaha is concerned Israel will eventually deport families too.

“I am worried about the situation,” he said while cooking Shiro, a traditional stew. “Tomorrow it will be for me also.”

A few kilometers away, in a hip, upscale part of Tel Aviv, Ben Yefet, a 39-year-old stockbroker, said he had signed up with Miklat Israel to house two or three migrants in his two-room apartment.

“As Israelis and Jews we are obligated. We have a moral compass, we just have to do it,” he said.

*Source Reuters

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