African Union calls for Libya ‘slave market’ probe
November 18, 2017 | 0 Comments
Tripoli (AFP) – The African Union on Friday called for Libyan authorities to investigate “slave markets” of black Africans operating in the conflict-torn nation, following the release of shocking images showing the sale of young men.
The demand follows the release of CNN footage of a live auction in Libya where black youths are presented to north African buyers as potential farmhands and sold off for as little as $400.
Guinean President Alpha Conde, who is also Chairman of the African Union, demanded an enquiry and prosecutions relating to what he termed a “despicable trade… from another era”.
Meanwhile Senegal’s government. commenting on Facebook, expressed “outrage at the sale of Sub-Saharan African migrants on Libyan soil,” which constituted a “blight on the conscience of humanity”.
African migrants from nations including Guinea and Senegal but also Mali, Niger, Nigeria and The Gambia make the dangerous crossing through the Sahara to Libya with hopes of making it over the Mediterranean Sea to Italy.
But testimony collected by AFP in recent years has revealed a litany of rights abuses at the hands of gangmasters, human traffickers and the Libyan security forces, while many end up stuck in the unstable north African nation for years.
More than 8,800 stranded migrants have been returned home this year, according to the International Organization for Migration, which is also amassing evidence of slavery.
Conde further appealed for the Libyan authorities to “reassess migrants’ detention conditions” following revelations over squalid jails and detention centres that await migrants who are caught trying to reach the coast.
“These modern slavery practices must end and the African Union will use all the tools at its disposal,” Conde added.
Libya has opened an investigation into the practice, CNN reported Friday, and pledged to return those taken as slaves to their country of origin.
Africa: Nurturing Young Entrepreneurs as the Next Generation of Hunger Fighters
November 18, 2017 | 0 Comments
|By Bunmi Oloruntoba|
DES MOINES, United States of America, November 18, 2017/ — Considered the “Nobel Prize of agriculture,” the World Food Prize is awarded each year for a specific and exceptionally significant contribution to the production or distribution of food. This year, the prize was awarded to Akinwumi Adesina, a former Nigerian agriculture minister – and currently the president of the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) – for his contributions to increasing productivity in that country’s agricultural sector.
A list of Adesina’s achievements as minister of agriculture from 2010 to 2015 spans several pages. But for the World Food Prize, the focal point was his introduction of the Electronic Wallet (E-Wallet) platform to Nigeria’s food production and distribution chain.
Through the E-Wallet, Adesina pioneered a new way for the Nigerian government to deliver subsidized farm inputs, such as fertilizer and seeds, to local farmers through private agro-dealers. The farmers, in turn, get to redeem these subsidized inputs from the agro-dealers using e-vouchers, which they can access through their mobile phones.
To implement the platform, Adesina initiated a Growth and Enhancement Support Scheme (GES). He powered the scheme by orchestrating the successful registration of more than five million Nigerian farmers, whose information and mobile phone numbers were added to the GES database. The database, coupled with the E-Wallet, now allows Nigerian farmers to receive directly from the government everything from fertilizer to high-yield rice seeds and palm oil seedlings.
In the past, such subsidized inputs would have bypassed the farmers and fallen into the hands of black marketers who would have sold the inputs on the open market or in neighboring countries. According to the World Food Prize, through the E-wallet Adesina succeeded in breaking the “back of corrupt elements that had controlled the fertilizer distribution system for 40 years.”
The platform also helped solve other previously intractable problems in the way of commercial large scale food production in Nigeria.
For example, the country’s paddy rice farmers, through the E-Wallet, were able to receive from the government award-winning, high yield NERICA rice varieties, which saw their output rise from five to six tons per hectare. Thousands of paddy farmers producing a consistent grade of rice soon created the opportunity for several agro-based companies to switch from rice importation to local rice production, and standardization of the country’s rice output led to large private sector investments in rice milling.
The World Food Prize compares the spread of Adesina’s efforts in scale to the “Green Revolution” work of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug. In the 1970s and 1980s, Borlaug introduced high-yield dwarf wheat to Latin America and Asia, spawning “Green Revolutions” on two continents.
As other African countries start to adopt E-Wallet platforms to get subsidized inputs – and even financial services – directly to their farmers, the World Food Prize claims Adesina’s E-Wallet is “sparking a Borlaugian ‘Take It to the Farmer’ revolution across Africa.”
Farming creates jobs for young people
In his more recent job as president of Africa’s premier multilateral development finance institution, the African Development Bank (AfDB), Adesina embraces the continent’s “youth bulge” both as an opportunity and a resource in working for economic transformation.
Africa’s labor market is expected to absorb 11 million youths every year for the next decade. Despite rapid growth in formal wage sector jobs, the World Bank estimates that most of the continent’s young people “are likely to work on family farms and in household enterprises, often with very low incomes.”
Adesina wants to drive Africa’s economic transformation by empowering the continent’s youth population and making agriculture the hottest startup sector for young people. To achieve this goal, he wants to change the perception of agriculture in Africa from being a survival activity to a vehicle for wealth creation; from a hobby to a business.
It therefore came as no surprise when Adesina, halfway through his acceptance speech for the World Food Prize, declared to the crowded room in the American Midwestern city of Des Moines that “there will be no rest for me until Africa feeds itself, and for that we need the youth.”
“Even though I don’t have the cheque in my hand right now,” he continued, “I hereby commit my quarter of a million dollars… prize award to set up a fund fully dedicated to providing grants, fellowships and financing for the youth of Africa in agriculture as a business.”
Adesina’s vision for Africa’s youth and agriculture becomes prescient as the world’s geopolitical winds shift the focus of policymakers.
Britain’s Brexit vote to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States mark a rightward shift in the geopolitical landscape, with increasing numbers of countries appealing to more nationalistic agendas and responding to calls to stem immigration.
Creating jobs for young people in agriculture can both help Africa’s economic transformation and offer a solution to some of the challenges facing the continent and the world: the high rate of youth unemployment in Africa; human trafficking and the high rate of illegal migration of young Africans into Europe; sustainably kickstarting Africa’s industrialization; and preventing religious radicalization and combating terrorism.
To gain a clearer understanding of these issues, the lectures and speeches Adesina has given around the world are a good place to start:
On Youth Unemployment and Illegal Migration to Europe
Africa’s rapid population growth, specifically the growth of the working-age population, complicates a precarious labor market characterized by poor-quality employment, which in turn creates the urge for the youth to seek better opportunities elsewhere. The International Labor Organization estimates that in the next four years an additional 12.6 million youth in sub-Saharan Africa will enter the labour force.
Data from the International Organization for Migration (https://goo.gl/5f3Bd7) reveals that more than 154,000 young Africans have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe in 2017 so far. More than 2,900 have died trying to make the crossing. In 2016, more than 352,000 Africans crossed into Europe and more than 4,750 died.
Adesina, in remarks (https://goo.gl/Seb1Lp) leading up to the 2015 Action Plan for African Agricultural Transformation conference in Dakar, pointed out that “the agricultural sector [in Africa] has four times the power to create jobs and reduce poverty than any other sector.”
“That is why we make the claim that we can diminish the migrant crisis in Europe by supporting agricultural transformation in Africa,” he said.
In remarks at the 2017 G7 Summit in Taormina, Italy, back in May, Adesina expanded on this vision when he said that “the future of Africa’s youth does not lie in migration to Europe” nor should it be “at the bottom of the Mediterranean.” He proposed rather that an agribusiness-driven economy could be one of the economic reasons Africa’s youth choose to remain on the continent.
“We must turn rural areas from zones of economic misery to zones of economic prosperity,” Adesina said. “This requires new agricultural innovations and transforming agriculture into a sector for creating wealth. We must make agriculture a really cool choice for young people.”
“The future millionaires and billionaires of Africa will come initially from agriculture.”
On Africa’s Industrialization
Industrialization has been referred to as the most effective driver of structural poverty reduction. Experts remind us that no developing country has transitioned into a developed country without industrializing.
Adesina, in his opening speech at the Dakar conference, questioned the theory that assumes labour must move from the agricultural sector to the industrial sector. Rather, Adesina suggested an economic theory of industrialization that sees Africa’s industrialization starting from the agricultural sector.
“The reality,” he said, “is that agro-industrialization has greatest potential for Africa to achieve more rapid and inclusive growth – and create jobs… If you want industrialization of Africa, and massive job creation, focus on industrializing the agriculture sector.”
He went on to add, “to rapidly modernize agriculture, we must get the youth engaged in the sector. We must change the perception of the youths of agriculture – they must see agriculture as a business.”
On radicalization and terrorism
The Africa Center for Strategic Studies has warned (https://goo.gl/u5Re4c) that one of the “key effect of ISIS’s continued loss of territory and operational capacity in Iraq and Syria will be an increase in the number of ISIS fighters returning to regions in Africa already facing a threat from violent Islamists.”
In his opening remarks (https://goo.gl/v8HPjX) at the West African Ministerial Conference in October 2016, Adesina observed that “today, across Africa, unemployed youths are turning into gangs, getting into kidnappings for a living, getting recruited to join terrorist groups. And those are the wrong kind of jobs.”
At his speech at the 2017 G7 conference in Italy, he referred to the deadly combination of extreme rural poverty, high youth unemployment and environmental climate degradation as the “triangle of disaster. Where these factors are found, they provide rich recruitment zones for terrorists.”
In Adesina’s view, agribusiness – more than any other economic sector – has the power to bring wealth to the rural parts of Africa
“I believe that the future millionaires of Africa will come from agriculture, not from the oil and gas industry. Agriculture will become Africa’s new oil.”
Adesina has also announced that his World Food Prize money will be used to establish a World Food Prize Global Youth Institute for Africa, an organization he said will support a new generation of agricultural scientists and innovators across Africa. This organization will nurture and produce graduates known as Borlaug-Adesina Fellows, who will become the next generation of hunger fighters.
Arsenal welcomes WorldRemit as first-ever Official Online Money Transfer Partner
November 17, 2017 | 0 Comments
|Leading digital money transfer company WorldRemit and Arsenal partner to use the power of football to find a better way to connect communities|
LONDON, United Kingdom, November 17, 2017/ — WorldRemit (www.WorldRemit.com) becomes the first Official Online Money Transfer Partner of the Premier League club, Arsenal (www.Arsenal.com). The leading digital money transfer business, formed by a UK-based entrepreneur from Somaliland, has joined forces with Arsenal to accelerate the company’s growth and help more people save money on international transfers.
The global partnership will provide WorldRemit with a range of rights and player access to support its expansion plans. The partnership agreement includes match day LED branding for every Premier League, League Cup and FA Cup match along with TV interview backdrop presence for every home Premier League match along with global digital and social media rights across Arsenal’s online and mobile platforms.
WorldRemit will work closely with Arsenal’s first-team players to create unique content that will support new and existing community engagement initiatives around the world.
The partnership will also reward WorldRemit’s customers and Arsenal supporters through exclusive events and experiences using the power of football to inspire people. The company will launch the partnership with the first in a number of competitions to win travel to London and tickets to watch the team play at Emirates Stadium.
WorldRemit was founded by Chief Executive Officer Ismail Ahmed, to offer a better way to send small sums of money more frequently, bringing family and friends closer together – wherever they are.
WorldRemit’s service is available to senders in 50 countries and the company offers money transfers to more than 140 destinations across Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the Americas.
The company is a global leader in international transfers paid out as mobile money – where funds can be held on mobile telephone accounts. WorldRemit connects to over 130 million mobile money accounts, enabling money to be sent safely to friends and family even if the recipient doesn’t have access to a bank account.
The partnership will support WorldRemit’s growth ambitions by helping them reach Arsenal’s 74 million followers on their official social media channels and 185 supporters’ clubs worldwide.
Vinai Venkatesham, Arsenal’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “This is an exciting new partnership with WorldRemit who under their inspirational CEO are looking to transform the way people can transfer money to family and friends around the world. We share mutual values and look forward to working together to build their global presence through our broadcast, social and digital channels which reach millions around the world. We look forward to a long and successful partnership.”
Ismail Ahmed, WorldRemit Chief Executive Officer, said: “Football is a language that everyone understands. Growing up in Somaliland, you would always see kids playing football – even during the war. It’s a passion which connects people all over the world and we are proud to sponsor a club whose values are so closely aligned to our own and those of our customers. This partnership with Arsenal creates opportunities for us to thank and reward our loyal customers and to connect with new audiences around the world. We look forward to using the power of football to support and inspire young people to fulfil their potential and to the opportunities which we can create to together.”
Arsenal (www.Arsenal.com) is one of the leading clubs in world football with a strong heritage of success, progressive thinking and financial stability.
WorldRemit (www.WorldRemit.com) is creating a better way to send money. By making it easy to send smaller sums of money more frequently, WorldRemit is bringing friends and family closer together.
Agrofood & Plastprintpack West Africa 2017 featuring a record participation of 90+ exhibitors from 21 countries
November 17, 2017 | 0 Comments
|West African food imports increased to 14.4. Billion US$ in 2015 compared to 13.1 billion US$ in 2014, a plus of 10% (WTO World Trade Organization)|
|HEIDELBERG, Germany, November 17, 2017/ — Organized by the German trade fair specialists Fairtrade (www.Fairtrade-Messe.de) the 4th edition of Agrofood (www.Agrofood-WestAfrica.com) & PlastPrintPack West Africa (www.PPP-WestAfrica.com) will take place on 05 to 07 December 2017 at the Accra International Conference Centre in Accra, Ghana. More than 90+ exhibitors from 21 countries including 5 national pavilions from Algeria, France, Netherlands, Poland and Sri Lanka, make the 2017 edition the biggest ever. The figures of rising food imports confirm that the largest food market in Africa is still undersupplied. Rising technology imports indicate massive investments in processing, plastics and packaging equipment and a revival of local production.
West Africa’s 4th International Trade Show on Agriculture, Food & Beverage and Plastics, Printing & Packaging Solutions and Technology takes place on the background of positive economic data as figures of WTO and VDMA indicate a clear upward trend for West Africa’s Agrofood & PlastPrintPack industry. Ghana, Ivory Coast and Senegal are the largest importers of finished food as well as of agricultural and food processing and packaging technology in West Africa – apart from Nigeria.
Largest food market in Africa still undersupplied
West African food imports increased to 14.4. Billion US$ in 2015 compared to 13.1 billion US$ in 2014, a plus of 10% (WTO World Trade Organization). The figures of rising food imports show that the largest food market in Africa is still undersupplied.
Rising technology imports indicate massive investments and a revival of local production
Rising technology imports confirm massive investments in processing, plastics and packaging equipment and indicate a revival of local production and an extremely promising medium-term development.
“This year 90+ exhibitors from 21 countries are represented, making the 2017 edition the biggest ever”, says Leonie Ganser, project manager at Fairtrade. “The exhibitors come from Algeria, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Iran, Italy, Korea, Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom.”
In addition to many global players, 5 national pavilions participate from:
Agrofood & PlastPrintPack West Africa 2017 is supported by the Ghanaian Ministry of Food and Agriculture and of Trade and Industry, the Delegation of the German Industry and Commerce in Ghana AHK, the French Agrofood association adepta and AVEP – Associación Valenciana de Empresarios de Plásticos.
Fairtrade (www.Fairtrade-Messe.de) was founded by Martin März in 1991. Since long, Fairtrade ranks among the leading organisers of professional international trade fairs in emerging markets, especially in North and Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Managed by its shareholder and committed to the values of a family business and the team spirit, Fairtrade maintains a powerful network of partnerships throughout the world. Fairtrade organizes shows in the sectors Agrofood, Building, CIT Solutions, Energy, Environment, Industry and PlastPrintPack and strives for a high level of customer satisfaction. By means of innovative products and excellent service Fairtrade organizes professional platforms for valuable business contacts between exhibitors and visitors. A member of UFI the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, Fairtrade’s management system is ISO 9001: 2008 certified.
Germany backs renewable energy projects in Africa with the launch of RLSF – an innovative liquidity facility managed by ATI
November 16, 2017 | 0 Comments
|The facility is designed to provide a viable solution to one of the biggest challenges facing independent power producers (IPPs) operating in Africa|
LONDON, United Kingdom, November 16, 2017/ — KfW (www.KfW-entwicklungsbank.de), the German Development Bank, and the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) (www.ATI-ACA.org) announced, on the side lines of the annual Africa Investment Exchange: Power and Renewables Meeting, a new instrument to support renewable energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa that targets small- and mid-scale (up to 50 MW) green power renewable energy projects.
The facility is designed to provide a viable solution to one of the biggest challenges facing independent power producers (IPPs) operating in Africa, specifically the requirement to provide project lenders with a liquidity guarantee. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through KfW will provide funding of up to 32.9 million EUR to the facility, which aims to enable small-and mid-scale renewable energy projects in Africa to reach financial close by addressing liquidity requirements that lenders frequently require in order to fund such projects.
The launch of the new facility is happening at an opportune moment when emerging markets are seeing record investments in the renewable energy sector. The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects sub-Saharan Africa’s renewables capacity to grow by 73% (24.4GW) over the period 2017-22. In addition, small-scale projects are seen as a potential solution to Africa’s energy deficit because they are easier to implement and can target energy requirements at source, but these projects find it difficult to access the type of guarantees needed to reach financial closure. The facility will kick in by providing immediate liquidity to keep the IPP afloat during periods of payment delays that are beyond the grace period provided in the power purchase agreement.
Günther Nooke, Personal Representative of the German Chancellor for Africa, BMZ, said “The Regional Liquidity Support Facility will address a key challenge in renewable energy project finance and de-risk private sector investments. We are pleased to provide the funding to this innovative instrument underlining Germany’s commitment to the objectives of the African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI).”
The RLSF is designed to help independent power producers (IPPs) developing renewable energy projects in Africa to obtain the liquidity they need in the event that their off-taker (frequently a state owned entity) delays payment. The facility will provide immediate cash collateral supported by guarantees to a commercial bank that will in turn open a standby letter of credit to the benefit of the IPP. The amount provided will enable the IPP to operate and service the debt for up to 6 months. Furthermore, unlike most IPP letters of credit (which tend to be 12 month tenors) the facility is designed to be in place for multiple years.
Dr. Thomas Duve, KfW Director Southern Africa and Regional Funds, noted “We highly appreciate the opportunity to partner with ATI on this innovative instrument. The RLSF is a strongly market-driven concept, emphasizing KfW’s strategy to support and leverage the resources of local partners and the private sector.”
The facility, in combination with ATI’s traditional suite of political and trade credit risk insurance products (in particular ATI’s arbitration award default cover), means that ATI is able to cover the full range of political and financial risks facing investors on such projects.
Speaking at the launch, John Lentaigne, ATI’s Chief Underwriting Officer commented “We are delighted to be working with the German government, represented by KfW, on an initiative that directly targets one of the main bottlenecks preventing green power projects from being financed in Africa.”
Jef Vincent, Senior Advisor to ATI, who has overall responsibility for the initial implementation of the facility, added “Unlike some of the alternative solutions to the liquidity issue, ATI’s guarantee (as provided via the RLSF) will not require a counter-guarantee from the relevant Ministry of Finance, and as such we are confident this will be a very useful tool for those projects that we expect to support.”
KfW (www.KfW-entwicklungsbank.de) is one of the world´s leading and most experienced promotional banks. Established in 1948 as a public law institution, KfW is owned 80 per cent by the Federal Republic of Germany and 20 per cent by the federal states (“Länder”).
KfW Development Bank is Germany’s leading development bank and an integral part of KfW. It carries out Germany´s Financial Cooperation (FC) with developing countries on behalf of the Federal Government. The 600 personnel at headquarters and 370 specialists in its 68 local offices cooperate with partners all over the world. Its goal is to combat poverty, secure the peace, protect the environment and the climate and make globalisation fair. KfW is a competent and strategic advisor on current development issues.
ATI (www.ATI-ACA.org) was founded in 2001 by African States to cover the trade and investment risks of companies doing business in Africa. ATI provides a range of Political and Credit Risk, insurance covers and has a particular focus on supporting Foreign Direct Investment. As of 2016, ATI had supported over US$25 billion in trade and investments across Africa in multiple sectors and now supports trade and investments equivalent to an average of 1% of GDP annually in member countries. ATI is one of the most trusted institutions in Africa with an ‘A/negative’ rating for Financial Strength and Counterparty Credit by S&P.
The future of African ports is also the future of Africa’s economic success
November 16, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Gilbert Saggia*
Ecobank Group Research reveals three key emerging trends for Africa
November 16, 2017 | 0 Comments
|Digital innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa is being driven by the explosion in mobile phone usage, enabling African consumers to leapfrog existing business models and technologies|
|LONDON, United Kingdom, November 16, 2017/ —
The 2017 version of Ecobank Research’s Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities (FICC) Guidebook, which provides expert knowledge and analysis on African markets for investors and businesses, was launched today at AfricaFICC. Indicating a positive outlook for the continent, three key trends are forecast to take hold during the next 12 months.
The first indicates an economic rebound in sub-Saharan Africa (https://goo.gl/f1PQQm) driven by a recovery in the region’s economic heavyweights, Nigeria and South Africa, and ongoing growth in the top performers, Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire and (more recently) Ghana.
The second emerging trend points to West Africa’s gas sector becoming a hive of activity in 2018 (https://goo.gl/L6NEkF) from Senegal to Angola, with the development of gas pipelines, floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) platforms and major gas field projects.
The third trend suggests Fintech innovation in Africa picking up speed in 2018 (https://goo.gl/Z52dpk) buoyed by a new generation of Africans who are ‘digital natives’. The proliferation of tech hubs across Africa (notably in South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire) will nurture the next wave of African start-ups and help connect them with investors.
Edward George, Head of Ecobank Group Research, said: “The digital world moves apace, and so must we. The AfricaFICC website is a key way that we can deliver our regional market analysis and expert local knowledge of 41 African markets – which is often hard to access – to a much wider audience. We think these three trends are strong evidence that Africa has weathered the storms of late and is very much on track for improved growth in 2018.”
The Ecobank Research Centre (https://Goo.gl/1pUKzB) is dedicated to providing the highest quality research for clients to help them navigate the complex African marketplace. Areas covered include; Economics, Banking and Financial services, Oil, Gas & Power, Soft Commodities, Trade and Digital Innovation. A team of seasoned analysts based across Ecobank’s 36-country footprint is able to draw upon on extensive local knowledge to provide insights for clients and identify investment opportunities. The insights focus on Middle Africa – the region between North Africa and the Rand Zone, which has the richest potential for growth but is poorly understood. Ecobank Research provides regular market updates, briefing notes and detailed studies on the region’s macroeconomics, currencies, fixed income, equities, commodities, trade and digital innovation. Additional information about the research team and an archive of published reports can be found at https://Goo.gl/1pUKzB.
Incorporated in Lomé, Togo, in 1988 Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) (www.Ecobank.com) the parent company of Ecobank is the leading independent pan-African banking group. It currently has a presence in 36 African countries, namely: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group employs over 20,000 people in 40 different countries in over 1,200 branches and offices. Ecobank is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals.
What has become of Africa’s deposed leaders?
November 16, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Carley Petesch*
DAKAR, Senegal — As shock continues over the fate of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, who vowed to rule until death but now finds himself in military custody, here’s a look at other larger-than-life African leaders who spent years in power, then lost it.
Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh
Jammeh took power in 1994 in a bloodless coup, ruling the tiny West African nation for more than 22 years. His regime was accused of overseeing human rights abuses to silence opponents. In a stunning turn of events, Gambians last year elected opposition coalition candidate Adama Barrow, who was forced to wait in neighboring Senegal during a weeks-long political standoff until Jammeh finally flew into exile in Equatorial Guinea with his family and close aides. Jammeh has not been heard from since.
Congo’s Mobuto Sese Seko
Mobutu seized power in a military coup in 1965, five years after the vast, mineral-rich nation gained independence from Belgium. His leadership had the support of the United States and other Western governments. After a legendary, corrupt dictatorship that lasted more than 30 years and left the country then called Zaire in shambles, he was overthrown in 1997 by Laurent Kabila. Mobutu took refuge in Morocco in 1997, where he died of prostate cancer.
Uganda’s Idi Amin Dada
Idi Amin’s eight-year rule was defined by the deaths of up to 300,000 people. He was famously mercurial, targeting certain ethnic groups but also journalists, lawyers and others he saw as possible opposition. Yet for more than 25 years he was never punished for bringing misery to the once-prosperous country and never expressed remorse. He sought exile in Saudi Arabia after his government was ousted in 1979. He died there in 2003 after being on life support and suffering from kidney failure.
Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi
At age 27, Gadhafi emerged in 1969 as leading a group of officers who overthrew the monarchy of King Idris. Gadhafi became a symbol of anti-Western defiance in a Third World recently liberated from European colonial rulers. He ruled with brutality during his nearly 42 years in power, leaving behind an oil-rich nation drained of its institutions. Rebels overwhelmed the capital in 2011 and drove him into hiding in Sirte, where he was pulled from a drainage tunnel and killed. He became the first ruler killed in the Arab Spring uprisings that swept the region.
Liberia’s Charles Taylor
Former warlord Taylor was president between 1997 and 2003 and was accused of greed and savagery. The second of the country’s back-to-back civil wars, which together killed more than 250,000 people, occurred under his rule. He fled to Nigeria in 2003 as part of a deal to end the war, which he had financed by trafficking in diamonds from neighboring Sierra Leone. He was extradited to face charges of crimes against humanity at a U.N.-supported Special Court for his role in fomenting conflict in Sierra Leone. In 2012 he became the first former head of state convicted by an international war crimes court since World War II. He is serving a 50-year sentence in Britain.
Burkina Faso’s Blaise Compaore
Compaore came to power after a bloody 1987 coup that killed the West African nation’s revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara. After ruling for more than 27 years, Compaore tried to amend the constitution to seek another term in office. Faced with a popular uprising, he was forced to step down in 2014. He fled into exile and is now living as a citizen of Ivory Coast. Human rights groups want him extradited to face justice for several murders he is accused of during his reign, including that of Sankara.
Chad’s Hissene Habre
Habre’s rule from 1982 to 1990 was marked by human rights abuses that eventually saw him forced from power by current President Idriss Deby. For more than 20 years, Habre lived a life of luxurious exile in Senegal until paramilitary police took him into custody. The Extraordinary African Chambers was created by the African Union and Senegal to try him for crimes committed during his presidency. In May, he was found guilty of crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture and sex crimes and was sentenced to life in prison. It was the first conviction of a former head of state by an African court for crimes against humanity.
Ethiopia’s Mengistu Haile Mariam
Mengistu Haile Mariam ruled Ethiopia from 1974 to 1991 and is blamed for the killing of hundreds of students, intellectuals and politicians during the “Red Terror” against supposed enemies of his Soviet-backed military dictatorship. He fled a rebellion in 1991 and was taken in by Mugabe in Zimbabwe. His army had helped to train Mugabe’s guerrillas in their struggle for independence from white rule. Mengistu was convicted in absentia by an Ethiopian court in 2006 of genocide and later sentenced to death, but Zimbabwe has refused to extradite him.
Namibia to host 2017 edition of NEPAD Programme for Infrastructure for Africa (PIDA) week
November 16, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
SADC Ministers responsible for Transport and Meteorology have
revealed that the 2017 edition of the NEPAD Programme for
Infrastructure for Africa (PIDA) Week aimed at highlighting
infrastructure development in Africa would be hosted by Namibia.
In a recent communique released in Malawi by the ministers, PIDA week
is hosted on a rotational basis and this year it is SADC’s turn.
Ministers agreed to support Namibia and to participate in PIDA Week
activities and meetings from 10 to 14 December 2017 in Swakopmund,
At the Malawi meeting, ministers analyzed the sluggish
implementation of cross-border infrastructure projects through the
lens of national ownership of the regional programmes. They concluded
that regional cross-border infrastructure, particularly in the areas
of transport, and meteorology, has the potential to facilitate
intra-regional trade and investment including unlocking national
and regional comparative advantages. Ministers underscored the need to
address the special needs of landlocked countries to access the rest
of the world.
Ministers concluded that partnership is the main strategy to implement
regional projects. They also agreed that placing regional projects on
the national agenda is the core of creating an enabling environment,
because the projects only kick off after they get attention of
national politicians and policy makers.
The ministers have also reported that the high ratio of landlocked
countries, the long distances to gateway ports, the lack of an
integrated and liberalised road transport market in the East and
Southern African regions pose numerous obstacles and impediments to
The ministers also noted that to bring a solution to the
challenges the Tripartite Transport and Transit Facilitation
Programmes (TTTFP) that they approved in 2015 has since been approved
by COMESA and the EAC. Ministers also noted that the Tripartite
Ministers responsible for Infrastructure launched the TTTFP in Dar es
Salaam Tanzania as it is a Tripartite flagship programme.
SADC Secretariat on behalf of the Tripartite coordinates the
programme. The TTTFP purpose is to develop and implement harmonised
road transport policies, laws, regulations and standards for efficient
cross border road transport and transit networks, transport and
logistics services, systems and procedures in the Tripartite region.
According to the Programme for Infrastructure for Africa (PIDA) more
needs to be done to improve railways operations so that at least 30%
of Africa’s international traffic is moved by rail. It is reported
that through the implementation of the Regional Railway Revitalization
Initiative (RRI) Pilot Rail Study Project, the NEPAD Business
Foundation commenced execution of the North South Corridor Study in
African Innovation Foundation and African Academy of Sciences sign MoU to drive STI-led research into solutions addressing challenges across the continent
November 16, 2017 | 0 Comments
Agreement aims to unlock African potential to catalyze research-led innovations into sustainable enterprises
Nairobi, Kenya| Thursday, 16 November 2017: The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The African Academy of Sciences(AAS) today in Nairobi, to create more value and enhance cooperation, interaction, and knowledge sharing in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in Africa. The agreement was signed by Ambassador Walter Fust, Chairman of the Board, AIF and Prof. Felix Dapare Dakora, President of AAS. The MoU underpins the commitment by both organizations to catalyze research-led innovations into sustainable enterprises and to create opportunities for collaboration and knowledge exchange between researchers and grassroots innovators.
Africa’s investment in research and development (R&D) is less than 1 per cent of the global investment share, and STI infrastructure and resources continue to fall short. These factors are amongst the reasons that very few scientific discoveries translate into viable solutions that solve real African challenges. Furthermore, there is a need for increased collaboration between researchers and innovators to facilitate knowledge transfer that will enable the creation of more impactful and marketable innovations across the continent.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Prof Dakora said: “This far reaching partnership combines the expertise and knowledge from the AAS and the AIF bringing added value and developing a strategic way forward for rallying support and providing answers for the needs of African innovators. We are thrilled with the partnership.”
Walter Fust, commented, “We are pleased to sign the MoU with AAS and welcome them as one of our major science and technology partners. This partnership is a vital step towards enabling research-driven innovation in Africa. Currently, the bulk of emerging scientific ideas on the continent are driven by abstract pieces of research that do not always correlate to African needs, rendering many African innovations commercially unviable. Our partnership with AAS aims to bridge the gap between science and research outputs, and support the development of affordable and accessible solutions needed across Africa.”
The partnership provides a framework for AIF and AAS to harness each other’s expertise and networks to promote scientific capacity building to enhance ownership, support and sustainability of African innovations. It seeks to introduce and implement joint initiatives to create awareness about the role of STI in African countries and strategically support the development and growth of African innovation ecosystems across the continent. The partnership enables exchange and access to key innovation insights, offering AIF’s network of innovators, innovation enablers and partners’ exclusive access to AAS events, scientific information and other opportunities.
As part of the MoU, AAS will extend its support towards promoting the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA), a landmark initiative of AIF aimed at spurring growth of innovative, market-driven African solutions to African challenges. In addition to promoting national or regional innovation initiatives, AAS and AIF will seek to mobilize other partners and necessary resources to ensure benchmarking and scaling of innovations relevant for sustainable development in Africa.
During the MoU signing ceremony, AIF and AAS jointly hosted a roundtable on the role of science in driving viable and inclusive innovation opportunities in Africa. Themed, “Catalyzing African Innovations into Sustainable Enterprises”, the roundtable brought together representatives of government, policy makers, business leaders, innovators, academia, and innovation enablers. The panelists included Ambassador Walter Fust, Chairman of the Board, AIF; Prof. Felix Dapare Dakora, President, AAS; Dr Kamal Bhattarchaya, Chief Innovation Officer, Safaricom; Mr. Michael Murungi – Manager, Policy & Government Relations, East Africa (Google); and Mr. Alex Mwaura Muriu, IPA 2015- 2nd Prize Winner who shared insights on how science and research enablers can collaborate with business stakeholders and grassroots innovators to increase the impact of African innovation.
Since 2011, AIF has proactively supported strengthening African innovation ecosystems through collaborative programs and strategic partnerships with governments and innovation influencers across the continent through the IPA. The annual Award celebrates outstanding breakthroughs that deliver practical and commercially viable African solutions that are innovative and sustainable. The call for entries for IPA 2018 is currently underway with a submission deadline of 10 January 2018 at 23:59pm GMT. Innovators from across the continent can submit their applications by clicking on https://ipa.africaninnovation.org or watching the video on https://youtu.be/MdO0I9GKfJU for more details.
The African Academy of Sciences is a pan African organisation headquartered in Kenya that aims to drive sustainable development in Africa through science technology and innovation. It has a tripartite mandate of pursuing excellence through recognising scholars and achievers; providing advisory and think tank functions for shaping the continent’s strategies and policies; and implementing key science, technology and innovation programs that impact on developmental challenges through the new agenda setting and funding platform, the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA). AESA was created by AAS and the NEPAD Agency.
African Innovation Foundation (AIF) works to increase the prosperity of Africans by catalyzing the innovation spirit in Africa.
Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) is a landmark initiative of the AIF. Its goal is to strengthen African innovation ecosystems through supporting a culture of innovation and competitiveness, whilst spurring growth of innovative, market-driven African solutions to African challenges.
On World Children’s Day, African youth share their vision of the Africa they want
November 16, 2017 | 1 Comments
|Live stream of the youth on stage on 20 November at: http://AfricaDialogues.com|
|DAKAR, Senegal, November 15, 2017/ — Eager to make their voices heard, 10 youth from eight African countries will take over the stage in Accra (Ghana) on World Children’s Day to tell the world about the Africa they want to live in, through a series of short, powerful talks.
The 10 girls and boys aged 12 to 19 year old from Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Togo will deliver inspirational talks at the Africa Dialogues (www.AfricaDialogues.com) event on issues affecting children and youth on the continent, sharing their vision of what they want Africa’s future to be.
“The problems facing Africa affect children first, so they feel the impact of the problems more than the adults,” said Andrew Adansi-Bonnah, 17-year-old from Ghana, who will speak about hunger and malnutrition in Africa. “Giving children a platform to speak on issues bothering them can help to reduce their sufferings. I expect that this event is going to boost up children’s level of motivation and aspirations.”
The event is a collaboration between the People Initiative Foundation (www.ThePeoplesInitiative.org) and UNICEF (www.UNICEF.org) to mark World Children’s Day, the anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. On that day, a series of global events will see children and youth around the world ‘take over’ key roles in media, politics, business, sport and entertainment to help save children’s lives, fight for their rights and fulfil their potential.
In Accra, the youth will address some of the critical issues facing Africa now and in the future:
The youth takeover of Africa Dialogues will be streamed live at http://AfricaDialogues.comduring a public event in Accra on 20 November 2017 between 9am and 3pm (GMT). Recordings will later be made available on the Africa Dialogues website.
Africa Dialogues (www.AfricaDialogues.com) is an Africa thought-leadership platform that focuses on broad-ranging discussions on governance and human rights, education, youth unemployment, infrastructure, public health, gender and income inequality, Africa’s economies and urban development towards helping our continent attain the African Union Agenda 2063 and the global Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
GE’s Hardware and Digital Upgrades Help Increase Efficiency and Output at Azito Power Plant in Ivory Coast
November 16, 2017 | 0 Comments
|Plant’s output will increase by up to 30 Megawatts, helping the country to meet its electricity needs|
|ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, November 15, 2017/ —
To improve performance and provide valuable insights and visibility into plant and turbine operations, GE’s Power Services business (NYSE: GE) today announced it has signed an agreement with Azito Energie S.A. (Azito) to upgrade two gas turbines at the company’s combined-cycle power plant. GE’s hardware upgrade and Operations Optimization digital solutions will help increase power output by up to 30 megawatts (MW) and will equip Azito with the insights it needs to increase efficiency and improve operations at the power plant. The project, located in the Yopougon district of Ivory Coast, marks GE’s first GT13E2 MXL2 gas turbine upgrade order in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“As the electricity sector has undergone significant reform in Ivory Coast, new regulations have helped foster a more welcoming environment to help Ivorians gain access to electricity,” said Luc Aye, managing director of Azito Energie. “At the center of this agreement with GE is our commitment to provide the people of Ivory Coast with access to more reliable electricity. With GE’s upgrade package and digital solutions, we will produce more power, improve the efficiency of the plant and reduce our carbon footprint.”
In addition to increasing power output by up to 30 MW, upgrades on the turbines are expected to deliver a combined-cycle efficiency increase, resulting in significant fuel savings and reduced CO2 emissions. GE’s solutions will also extend inspection intervals for the gas turbines, reducing maintenance and repair expenses—which, in turn, will reduce overall plant costs and result in improving profitability.
“With the Azito power plant producing more than a third of the electricity in Ivory Coast, these improvements will have a wide-reaching impact on the country’s energy landscape” said Elisee Sezan, general manager, GE’s Power Services business for Sub-Saharan Africa. “Until two decades ago, the country was heavily reliant upon hydroelectric power and fell into an energy crisis when the electricity output from its dams was drastically reduced due to droughts. With this project, we look forward to supporting Azito Energie in its efforts to help Ivory Coast achieve its strategic energy objectives to increase existing plants’ efficiency and double the installed capacity it had in early 2013 by 2020.”
The installation of GE’s Predix*-based Operations Optimization solution will provide numerous operational benefits at the Azito plant. Slated for installation in mid-2018, the software will equip Azito with deep insights and key performance indicator (KPI)-based analytics to help improve overall plant performance. It delivers enterprise data visibility across power plant and fleet-wide footprints, providing a holistic understanding of operational decisions. The solution also can provide operational benefits such as:
“With GE’s Operations Optimization software, Azito will be able to improve productivity across its worldwide fleet with fact-based actions that align to KPIs,” said Narendra Asnani, Executive Sales Director, GE’s Power Services business for Sub-Saharan Africa. “It will also enable them to tackle operational issues, meet business demand, align people and systems, and reach true plant capacity while reducing cost and downtime.”
GE is a historical player and a pioneer in Ivory Coast, particularly in the power sector. For example, the first ever gas turbines (Vridi, 1984), the first independent power production project (Ciprel, 1994) and the first combined-cycle power plants in the country (Azito and Ciprel, 2015) all run mainly on GE technology. In 2015, the company demonstrated its commitment to help bolster the Ivorian power sector to meet future demand increases and challenges with the signing of a cross-sector Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Ivory Coast. In the MoU, GE agreed to support the country in attaining its infrastructure development goals, which include adding 1 gigawatt of power to the Ivorian national grid.
Azito Energie S.A. (www.AzitoEnergie.com) develops, owns, and operates the Azito power plant that produces electricity using natural gas resources in Ivory Coast. The company was founded in 1997 and is based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. As of November 1, 2010, Azito Energie S.A. is owned by Globeleq Generation Limited and Industrial Promotion Services (West Africa). Azito Operations and Management (Azito O&M), a subsidiary of Globeleq, is operating and maintaining the plant under an operation and maintenance agreement between Azito O&M and Azito Energie.
GE (NYSE: GE) (www.GE.com) is the world’s Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive. GE is organized around a global exchange of knowledge, the “GE Store,” through which each business shares and accesses the same technology, markets, structure and intellect. Each invention further fuels innovation and application across our industrial sectors. With people, services, technology and scale, GE delivers better outcomes for customers by speaking the language of industry
GE Power (www.GEpower.com) is a world energy leader that provides technology, solutions and services across the entire energy value chain from the point of generation to consumption. We are transforming the electricity industry by uniting all the resources and scale of the world’s first Digital Industrial company. Our customers operate in more than 150 countries, and together we power more than a third of the world to illuminate cities, build economies and connect the world.