Call Us Now: (240) 429 2177

guinea-bissau

Ghana to pass RTI bill soon – Akufo-Addo
March 7, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has served notice he will give impetus to his fight against corruption by impressing on Parliament to pass the Right to Information Bill (RTI) before it goes on recess.

The RTI Bill has been gathering dust since 2013 when it first went to Parliament. The right to information is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the country’s 1992 Constitution and recognized as a right under International Conventions on Human rights. The bill will give substance to Article 21 (1) (f) of the Constitution which states that “All persons shall have the right to information subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary in a democratic society”.

Speaking at the 61st Independence Day celebration at the Black Star Square on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, Ghana’s President promised the RTI will come to being to strengthen the fight against corruption.

“Fellow Ghanaians, corruption, or, more specifically, the stealing of public funds, continues to hold back the development of our nation. Corruption is not a partisan matter and we must all act to protect the public purse. With the office of the Special Prosecutor now in place we can expect more prosecutions for corruption in the coming months and public officials, present and past, should be on notice that they would be held accountable for their stewardship of our public finances,” he noted.

He added: “There is, however, one piece of the anti-corruption framework that is yet to be put in place; The Right to Information Act. It would increase transparency and add another critical weapon to the armoury in the fight against corruption. After many years of hesitation, we intend to bring a Bill again to Parliament and work to get it passed into law before the end of this meeting of Parliament.

“The protection of the public purse is a social common good, and it depends on all of us. It is in all our interest that corruption does not thrive, and we police each other’s behaviour. Going Beyond Aid means Ghanaians should not serve as fronts for foreign companies to defraud our country. It will mean we all pay our taxes, and it will mean we all help to take care of government property as though it were our own.”

He commended the Auditor General for his vigilance recently which saved the country well over Gh¢5.4 billion which “can certainly finance the Free SHS for five years.”

President Akufo-Addo said his government will continue to put in measures to block all leakages to ensure massive development in Ghana.

0
Read More
GHANA AT 61: I’m in a hurry, but realistic – Akufo-Addo
March 7, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Akufo Addo

Akufo Addo

President Akufo-Addo has said even though he is in a hurry to see Ghana prosper, he is also realistic that the growth he desires will not be achieved without pragmatic and deliberate efforts.

Delivering his Independence Day address at the Black Star square in Accra, Mr. Akufo-Addo said it is unacceptable for Ghana to be in its current state in spite of the resources at its disposal. “Ghana Beyond Aid is not a pie in the sky notion, other countries, including some of our peers at independence have done exactly that.  It is doable and we must believe that what others, with less resources, have done, we can do.

“However, we are not going to achieve the transformation in our economy which is necessary for a Ghana Beyond Aid by just talking about it. We have to DO something about it!,” he said.

He further stressed: “As a start, we have to do things differently. Business as usual will not do it. It cannot happen by waving a magic wand. And it cannot be achieved overnight. Indeed, the most rapid cases of economic and social transformation in history, those in South East Asia, generally spanned a period of about 30 years; about a generation. We cannot wait that long; we have wasted enough time already. We have to hurry but we must be realistic.

“To get to a Ghana Beyond Aid, we will have to effectively harness our own resources and creatively and efficiently deploy them for rapid economic and social transformation. This will require hard work, enterprise, creativity, and a consistent fight against corruption in public life. It will also require that we break from a mentality of dependency and adopt a confident can-do spirit, fuelled by love for our dear country, Ghana.  We cannot subordinate the common good to build a prosperous nation to the selfish interest of a few”.

The President also called on Ghanaians to help protect the public purse.

“To get to a Ghana Beyond Aid, we will have to effectively harness our own resources and creatively and efficiently deploy them for rapid economic and social transformation. This will require hard work, enterprise, creativity, and a consistent fight against corruption in public life. It will also require that we break from a mentality of dependency and adopt a confident can-do spirit, fuelled by love for our dear country, Ghana. We cannot subordinate the common good to build a prosperous nation to the selfish interest of a few.“Fellow Ghanaians, we have started on the right path with the concrete steps we are taking to restore macro-economic stability and economic growth”.

0
Read More
Ghana beyond aid not a slogan; it’s doable – Akufo-Addo
March 7, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Akufo Addo

Akufo Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has boldly stated that the ‘Ghana beyond Aid’ mantra is not just a slogan but meant to propel us into the frame of mind that would quicken our pace of development.

The Ghanaian President delivering a speech during the 61st Independence Day Celebrations at the Black Star Square, stated that Ghana is not a poor country but a country blessed with immense natural resources adding that Ghanaians must be selfless and take advantage of the country’s natural resources to help transform the economy.

According to him, a ‘Ghana beyond Aid’ will not be achieved by merely talking but with the right attitudes and commitment from citizens, doing the right things and the willingness from all to see the country prosper and develop.

“My fellow Ghanaians, ours is a country that is well endowed with many natural resources such as gold, bauxite, diamonds, oil, timber, cocoa, water, fertile land etc. The truth, however, is that the state of our nation does not bear out that we have these natural endowments. Poverty continues to be our lot. We have huge infrastructural deficits.

“Mismanagement, corruption and high fiscal deficits have become the hallmarks of our economy, which we finance through borrowing and foreign aid. It is time to pursue a path to prosperity and self-respect for our nation. A Ghana Beyond Aid is a prosperous and self-confident Ghana that is in charge of its economic destiny. It is not a pie in the sky notion, other countries, including some of our peers at independence have done exactly that. It is doable and we must believe that what others, with less resources, have done, we can do.

“We are not going to achieve the transformation in our economy which is necessary for a Ghana Beyond Aid by just talking about it. We have to DO something about it! As a start, we have to do things differently. Business as usual will not do it. It cannot happen by waving a magic wand. And it cannot be achieved overnight. Indeed, the most rapid cases of economic and social transformation in history, those in South East Asia, generally spanned a period of about 30 years; about a generation. We cannot wait that long; we have wasted enough time already. We have to hurry but we must be realistic.

“To get to a Ghana Beyond Aid, we will have to effectively harness our own resources and creatively and efficiently deploy them for rapid economic and social transformation. This will require hard work, enterprise, creativity, and a consistent fight against corruption in public life. It will also require that we break from a mentality of dependency and adopt a confident can-do spirit, fuelled by love for our dear country, Ghana. We cannot subordinate the common good to build a prosperous nation to the selfish interest of a few.

“Ghana Beyond Aid is meant to be more than a slogan. It is meant to propel us into the frame of mind that would quicken our pace of development. It is meant to change our mindset from one of dependency to one of achieving our destiny. It is meant to put us in charge of our own affairs and make us truly independent.”

 

 

0
Read More
Shepherd Bushiri: Meeting the man who ‘walks on air’
March 6, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Pumza Fihlani*

Prophet Shepherd Bushiri

Prophet Shepherd Bushiri

There is clapping, dancing, jumping up and down as he makes his way into the hall, flanked by bodyguards.

Such is the excitement that a few of the congregants – some of whom have been waiting patiently for five hours to catch a glimpse of the man – collapse.

But why wouldn’t you? After all, this is a man who says he has cured people of HIV, made the blind see, changed the fortunes of the impoverished and, on at least one occasion, appeared to walk on air.

Prophet Shepherd Bushiri has come a long way from his upbringing in Mzuzu, a city in northern Malawi.

Nowadays, he can fill sports stadiums with tens of thousands of his devoted followers – followers who are prepared to travel across the world to see him preach in person.

He has regular visitors from the US, the UK and even Asia – today their flags fly proudly inside the packed church hall at the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) Ministries.

I meet the man known as “Major One” in his church complex in the South African capital, Pretoria.

We have been ushered into his sanctuary, which is marked by a red-velvet rope and a red carpet lined by bodyguards on either side.

Healing the lame

The 30-something preacher is well aware of the allegations he is little more than a scam artist, but they are accusations he shrugs off.

“My ministry is not for everyone, it is for those who have faith,” he tells me. “I’m just a messenger of God’s work. God heals people in our meetings.

“One time I got doctors here in Pretoria to bring patients with HIV – they tested them before to show they are HIV, I prayed for them and again afterwards and now they were HIV-negative.”

Presentational grey line

Who is Shepherd Bushiri?

  • Malawi-born “prophet” who now runs churches from Ghana to South Africa
  • Reportedly banned from Botswana over “miracle money”
  • Claims to have cured people of HIV
  • Appeared to walk on air in a video shared widely on social media
  • Owns four private jets
Presentational grey line
This "miracle oil" is on sale outside the church

This “miracle oil” is on sale outside the church

Outside the room, his followers agree. They believe he is not only imbued with the power of prophecy, but also to heal the sick and pray for one’s prosperity.

“The miracles and the teachings that our father [Prophet Bushiri] teaches every week are so amazing,” 24-year-old Xolani Msibi tells me.

She said her sister who had trouble walking had been healed by the prophet “without even laying hands on her”.

“I’ve also been struggling to get a job and came here and I got two jobs at the same time and it was a matter of choosing.”

Men and women who proclaim to be able perform miracles are not unique to South Africa or even the continent – they are found in many parts of the world.

These include US-based Israeli church leader Benny Hinn, Grace Copeland and German evangelist Rienhard Bonnke to name a few.

While Christianity has been well-established in Africa for more than a century, many believe the more radical form we see today has some traces to the charismatic movement abroad.

‘Prosperity inspires my followers’

But back to Mr Bushiri. On a regular Sunday, about 40,000 people will gather to hear the Prophet preach, and potentially pick up some of the specially designed merchandise on sale at stalls dotted around the large church complex – anything from “miracle oil”, calendars and wrist bands, to branded towels, T-shirts and caps, all emblazoned with his face.

The vendors tell patrons that all the wares have been prayed over by Mr Bushiri and so have healing powers.

Over the years Mr Bushiri has amassed vast wealth. What about those who question how he has accrued the money?

“Racism,” he tells the BBC.

There is no readily available record of his net worth but he is known to have interests in several mines and owns four private planes and a number of hotels through his investment company Shepherd Bushiri Investments, headquartered in Johannesburg’s plush suburb of Sandton.

Prophet Shepherd Bushiri entering a planeImage copyrightECG MINISTRIES
Image captionHe does not believe that preachers should live modest lives

Questions over the manner in which his fortune was amassed are not exactly welcomed.

“My success should inspire people to be entrepreneurs,” he says.

“I am a businessman and that is separate from being a prophet. My prosperity is from private businesses. Such questions are not asked from leaders of white churches but when an African man prospers, then it’s a problem.”

Then, slightly agitated, he adds: “How is selling merchandise in my church different to the Catholic church selling a rosary and the UK churches selling the bible? It’s not fair.”

*BBC

0
Read More
Top 10 Breathtaking Landmarks and Natural Wonders in Africa
March 6, 2018 | 0 Comments

By 

The African renaissance monument in Dakar,Senegal

The African renaissance monument in Dakar,Senegal

Africa is referred to as the cradle of mankind and a continent of cultural diversity. Some of the world’s most famous natural wonders and man-made phenomena are found on the continent. Here are a few breathtaking natural attractions and landmarks in Africa you should know about.

10. Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro is considered to be one of the tallest mountains in the world. This natural phenomenon is approximately 19,341 feet (Link 1) above sea level. The free-standing mountain is located in Tanzania and near the Kilimanjaro National Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site member. The mountain is a stratovolcano that began forming in layers of hardened volcanic ash about a million years ago. The last volcanic activity occurred some 200 years back. Thousands of tourists visit Mount Kilimanjaro every year and most visitors engage in hiking. The first people to ascend to the top of the mountain were geographer Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller. Kilimanjaro is known as one of Africa’s ice-capped mountains and it takes approximately 6-8 nights to ascend the mountain.

Kilimanjaro is photo-friendly so please do not forget your camera for capturing memorable moments. After hiking, visitors can treat themselves to some fine East African cuisines served at various restaurants and hotels.

9. Table Mountain, Cape Town

The Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain overlooking the city of Cape Town in South Africa. The highest point is 3,563 feet above sea level and the mountain is one of the most photographed places in the world. The natural wonder continues to attract millions of visitors from around the world.

Most people enjoy partaking in hiking to the top of the mountain.
Antonio de Saldanha was the first person (Link 2) to hike and reach the mountain peak in 1503. In addition, Saldanha named the mountain Taboa do Cabo which means Table of the Cape. Visitors who choose not to hike can use the cableway transport system which was first established in 1929. The transport system has the capacity to carry about 60 people. The mountain is believed to be one of the oldest in the world with rocks that are approximately 600 million years old. The types of animals found on the phenomena are snakes, birds, porcupines, lizards, and frogs. The plant life is mostly endemic and approximately 2,200 species of plants are found on the mountain.

8. The Fish River Canyon, Namibia

The Fish River Canyon is located in the south of Namibia close to the border of South Africa. The canyon gets its name from the Fish River in Namibia. The river is the longest in the country at approximately 403 miles making it one of the longest in Africa. The canyon formed through wind and water erosion with the help of tectonic plate movements.

The natural phenomenon stretches for 100 miles and approximately 550 meters (Link 3) deep. The formation is the second largest canyon in the world behind the Grand Canyon. The animal life includes zebras, leopards, scorpions, baboons and birds. Archeologists have found evidence of human existence dating back 50,000 years ago. The canyon is one of southern Africa’s most popular hiking trails with thousands of people visiting each year. Between the months of May to September, visitors can safely and comfortably hike the canyon. The river is seasonal and only flows from January to April.

7. The Sahara Desert, North Africa

This desert is the third largest in the world and stretches for approximately 3.6 million square miles across North Africa. Can you guess the name of this landmark? The Sahara desert has sand dunes that reach up to 590 feet in height making it a massive sea of soil. The desert covers parts of Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Sudan and Tunisia. The natural wonder is home to different animal species like cheetahs, scorpions, and camels among others.

The Sahara is made up of sand seas, sand dunes, stone plateaus, gravel plains, mountains, rivers, oases and dry valleys. The daytime temperatures are as high as 86 and 100 Fahrenheit respectively. Strong winds called the sirocco (Link 4) originate in the Sahara with winds blowing at 62 miles per hour. A dry landmark, the desert only receives about 3.9 inches of rain per year.

Despite the extremely dry conditions, plants and trees are still found in the Sahara. Acacia trees and palms are able to survive high temperatures. The first European explorers to tour the Sahara were Friedrich Horneman in 1805 and Mungo Park in 1806.

6. Pyramid of Giza, Egypt

Believed to be one of the most magnificent man-made structures in history, the Pyramid of Giza stands tall on the outskirts of Cairo. After approximately 4000 years, the pyramid is still generating debate as to who built the historical landmark. Approximately 2.3 million blocks of stone averaging about 2.5 tons each (Link 5) had to be cut and assembled to build the pyramid. The sides of the pyramid’s base average about 755.75 feet and a height of 481.4 feet. The phenomenon was constructed for Khufu who was the second of the eight kings of the fourth Egyptian dynasty.

The pyramid was used to bury Egyptian kings and establish a tradition. The angled sides symbolizing the rays of the sun meant to help the king’s soul ascend to heaven. To properly care for the king’s spirit, the corpse would be mummified and the body would be buried with everything it needed in the afterlife.

According to Greek historian named Herodotus, it took about 20 years to build the Pyramid of Giza and a workforce of 100,000 men. In recent years, archeological evidence has indicated that it took the labor of about 20,000 people. The pyramid continues to attract millions of visitors from around the world each year.

5. Kano City Walls, Nigeria

Built in order to provide security for a growing population, the Kano City Walls are an 8.69-mile radius man-made structure in northern Nigeria. Sakri Gijimasu initiated (Link 6) the construction of the walls from 1095-1134. The walls were completed in the middle of the 14th century during the reign of Zamnagawa. The man-made structure had gates that controlled the movement of people in and out of the city. Built using mud bricks and logs of wood, the walls stood at a height of about 50 feet after construction. Archeologists visit the walls to conduct research each year and make ground-breaking discoveries.

The Kano City Walls are a major tourist destination welcoming people from all around the world.

4.The Nile River

(Photo by Antonio RIBEIRO/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Africa is home to one of the longest rivers in the world. The Nile River is the world’s longest with a length of about 4,132 miles and spreading across an area of about 1,293,000 (Link 7) square miles. The Nile waters flow at an average of about 79.2 billion gallons per day.
The river basin includes parts of Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Egypt. The river is formed by three streams which are the Blue Nile, White Nile, and the Atbara. In ancient times, the Nile helped in the advancement of civilizations and transportation that made trade easy.

The Nile contains different species of snakes, hippopotamus, rhinoceroses and crocodiles. The name ‘Nile’ originates from the Greek word ‘neilos’ which means river. Millions of people visit parts of the Nile to take pictures, ride on boats and for sightseeing.

3. African Renaissance Monument, Senegal

(Kite Aerial Photography)

Located on a hill in Dakar, is a bronze statue overlooking Senegal’s capital city. The African renaissance monument stands tall at a height of 160 feet(Link 8) and represents the importance of family in African culture. The statue which was inaugurated in 2010 shows a man holding his child and a woman. The child points ahead indicating Africa’s glorious future, while the woman extends her arm behind to indicate the continent’s troubled past. A man with a bare chest torso holds the child in one arm while guiding the woman with the other arm.

The statue was designed by a Senegalese architect named Pierre Goudiaby Atepa and co-signed by former Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade. Today, the architectural masterpiece continues to attract visitors from all parts of the world. The must-visit monument contains conference rooms, cultural exhibitions and a floor at the top of the statue that allows visitors a bird’s eye view of the Atlantic Ocean.

2. Great Zimbabwe Ruins, Zimbabwe

Magnificent stone ruins of an African city are found in the southeastern part of Zimbabwe and situated about 19 miles from the town of Masvingo. The Great Zimbabwe ruins were built in the 11th century and were home to a population of about 20,000 local Shona people.
The construction of the ruins was carried out using granite boulders and rectangular rock blocks. The walls have a width of about 20 feet and a height of 36 feet (Link 9). In addition, the monument was built using no mortar but the large granite boulders are still stacked together after thousands of years.

The ruins are divided into three main areas which are the Hill Complex, the Great Enclosure, and the Valley Ruins. Soapstone figurines in the form of a bird were found at the ruins and later became a national symbol found on the country’s flag. Items like gold, Chinese porcelain, and metal ornaments provide evidence that Great Zimbabwe was engaged in extensive trade with other nations. The ruins became a national monument and selected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site member in 1986.

  1. Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda

The continent of Africa is blessed with numerous national parks and a variety of animal species. The Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda is located where the Nile runs through a narrow gorge that becomes a river. The park was established in 1952 and occupies an area of about 1,483 square miles.

The park contains a variety of vegetation comprised of savannah, woodland and riverine forests. In addition, the park is home to Africa’s “big five” animals which include elephants, buffalos, rhinos, lions, and leopards.

The nature wonder is halved by the Nile River and the falls are 120 feet in height and 23 feet wide. In addition, the water pours over the falls at a speed of around 11,000 cubic feet per second. Visitors can enjoy sailing on a boat or hiking.
Famous people who have visited the park include Prime Minister Winston Churchill and

President Theodore Roosevelt. Churchill described the park as “Kew Gardens (Link 10) and the zoo combined on an unlimited scale.”

*Previously published in All Black Media

0
Read More
African broadband operators increase investment to meet soaring data demand
March 6, 2018 | 0 Comments
An urgent requirement for new investment into telecom and broadband infrastructure in Africa is driving a fresh flurry of deal activity across the continent, says TMT Finance
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, March 5, 2018/ — An urgent requirement for new investment into telecom and broadband infrastructure in Africa is driving a fresh flurry of mergers, acquisitions, IPOs, investment and financing activity, as the region’s key players jostle for position to meet the soaring demand for data across the continent, says global news provider, TMT Finance (www.TMTFinance.com).

Joseph d’Arrast, EMEA Editor, TMT Finance said: “The continent’s growth in the digital economy and the rising demand for data is helping to boost investor confidence in major broadband projects, of which there are many currently underway or in the pipeline. In response to this, many telcos, investors and specialised operators are looking to plough significant amounts of money into key projects, with a number of IPOs, new capex financing and M&A also in the pipeline,” he added.

To discuss the next wave of opportunities, chief executives and leading heads of finance and strategy from Africa’s key broadband infrastructure companies, private equity investors and telecom operators are meeting on a dedicated panel at TMT Finance Africa in Cape Town 2018 (www.TMTFinance.com/capetown) on March 15.

The TMT Broadband Infrastructure panel, which will discuss strategies for regional growth, includes: Nic Rudnick, CEO, Liquid Telecom; Brandon Doyle, CEO, Convergence Partners; Byron Clatterbuck, CEO, SEACOM; Brian Jakins, Managing Director of Africa, Intelsat; and Thomas Hintze, CEO, Wananchi Telecom; and will be chaired by Keith Webb, Investment Banking, Infrastructure Finance, Rand Merchant Bank.

Over 70 key speakers have been announced for the event, with CxOs and senior executives also confirmed from companies including Vodacom, Telkom BCX, MTN, Standard Bank, American Tower Corp, Millicom, Google, Econet Wireless, MainOne, Teraco, Alcatel Submarine Networks, DLA Piper, IFC World Bank, Rack Centre, Investec Asset Management, Citi and Credit Suisse.

Other key session themes announced include: Telecom Leadership Africa; Digital Africa; Mobile Tower Strategies; Mergers and Acquisitions; Private Equity Africa; Spectrum sharing; Regulation and Policy; Financing TMT; Investing in Mobile Data and Services; Mobile Payments and Banking, Fintech and M-Health; and Media and Convergence.

0
Read More
How electricity changes lives: a Rwandan case study
March 3, 2018 | 0 Comments

By *

Men transporting a large bag in the Muvumba river valley in Kigali. A massive Rwandan electrification programme sets out to benefit rural communities. Shutterstock

Men transporting a large bag in the Muvumba river valley in Kigali. A massive Rwandan electrification programme sets out to benefit rural communities. Shutterstock

More than 1.1 billion people in developing countries lack access to electricity. Some 590 million live in Africa, where the rural electrification rate is particularly low at only 14%.

A lack of access to electricity hampers development. It affects everything from people’s ability to learn to the creation of enterprises and the provision of public services like health care. This lies behind the United Nation’s goal of countries achieving universal access to electricity by 2030.

But the investment requirements to meet this goal are enormous. According to the International Energy Agency investments worth $640 billion will be needed if the UN goal is going to be met. About $19 billion is required every year in sub-Saharan Africa alone.

In spite of the importance of electrification, little evaluation has been done on the socioeconomic impact of investments into providing power. We set about plugging this gap in our paper that focuses on Rwanda. We looked at the effects of electrification on households, firms, health centres and schools in rural areas.

Rwanda has implemented one of the most comprehensive electrification programmes in the world. In 2009 only 6% of Rwandans had access to electricity. The government’s aim is to lift this to 70% by 2018.

We studied the connection behaviour and electricity consumption patterns of households and looked at socioeconomic outcomes – such as education, income and health. We also explored the effects of electrification on the uptake of appliances as well as on rural firms and on health centres.

We found that electrification had wide-ranging effects on the living conditions of households whose daily lives were made easier on a range of fronts. We also found that the supply of power had some positive effects on certain businesses and clinics. Overall, our research confirms the importance of electrification has for the rural poor.

Yet, in our final analysis we had two major reservations. The first was that the provision of electricity hadn’t significantly improved the economic lives of people – which is often used to justify the massive costs involved in expanding the grid to all areas of the country.

The second insight was that, given people’s very low levels of consumption (households consume on average around 2 kWh per month per person which is less than 6% of the electricity an average US-American consumes per day), it would make much more sense to extend electricity coverage by promoting off-grid solutions such as solar. This would lead to governments and citizens getting much more bang for their buck.

These reservations aside, our research showed how electricity in the home changes lives, sometimes in the most unexpected ways.

Impact on household level

Among the households we studied we found that lighting consumption had more than tripled among connected households around two years after connecting to the electricity grid.

We also found that having electric lighting yielded significant benefits for households who have done away with torches, wick and hurricane lamps. For example, kids’ study time at home increased by between 19 and 44 minutes after nightfall, although the total time children study did not increase. The reason is that children shift their study time from daytime to nighttime, which nonetheless is an important indication for increased flexibility.

Electricity also had an impact on access to information. The most frequently bought electrical appliances after connection were TVs, radios and mobile phones.

Another major effect of electrification was that it significantly reduced expenditures on energy. The average amount that connected households spent on grid electricity was 1,500 FRW (about $2) per month after they had replaced traditional energy sources like kerosene and batteries. And they no longer needed to spend money on charging their mobile phones outside their homes. In total, they reduced expenditures on energy by around $2.50, which is an equivalent of about 4% of their total monthly expenditure.

Impacts on enterprises and health centres

Another major impact was that it extended people’s average waking hours by nearly an hour. We found that people were awake for 50 minutes per day more on average because they had better access to lighting and entertainment devices.

People didn’t necessarily use this additional time to pursue income generating activities. In fact, we didn’t find that electrification affected how people, many of whom were farmers, generated income.

We found that it had only a tiny effect on micro enterprises like mills, hairdressers, copy shops and welding shops. Mills were the main beneficiaries of being connected to the grid. Most switched from diesel engines to electricity. And new mills emerged because input costs were dramatically reduced and productivity increased.

Hairdressing shops also benefited for cost and convenience reasons. They used electricity for razors, phone charging services and radio or TV to entertain. Before grid electricity they had used power sources such as car batteries which were expensive and cost a lot to run.

Small kiosks, bars and restaurants mostly used electricity for lighting and in a few cases for radio, TV or refrigeration. Electricity meant that they were more attractive to customers.

Overall, we observed only a slight increase in business activities in connected communities. Some enterprises emerged while existing operations marginally extended their operating hours or their range of products and services.

In the case of health centres, those that had been connected to the grid said their work had improved. According to answers to an open question, the main use of grid electricity was for lighting (100%), followed by use for medical machines (79%) and for administrative tasks (43%). Nearly 30% cited medicine storage and sterilising.

The most important benefit was that it reduced costs. Centres that weren’t connected paid three times more for power because they used diesel.

A mixed solution

Our research showed that electricity is highly appreciated by rural communities in Rwanda, often leading to cost reductions and increases in convenience. But it does not significantly transform economic activities and income generation in rural areas.

The fact that electricity consumption levels are generally very low raises the political question of whether the high investment cost of on-grid electrification is justified compared to the lower cost of off-grid solutions. Especially the cost of off-grid solar technologies have decreased considerably in recent years and, while their performance is obviously lower, they still improve the living conditions quite substantially.

These observations suggest that instead of rolling out the grid to every rural village, on-grid investments could be concentrated in certain thriving rural regions with high business potential to create industrial zones where firms could relocate to. Off-grid solar could serve as a bridging technology for the majority of rural areas, potentially accompanied by subsidies to ensure access for the poor who cannot afford paying cost covering prices. Such an integrated on-grid-off-grid strategy would enable industrial development and at the same time achieve broad access to electricity at relatively low cost.

*Source The Conversation.Dr Maximiliane Sievert from RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Researchcoauthored this article.

0
Read More
African SMEs Set to Benefit from USD 74M Guarantee
March 3, 2018 | 0 Comments

SMEs in Africa’s infrastructure sector to benefit from African Guarantee Fund’s increased capacity through GuarantCo’s re-guarantee facility

Felix BIKPO- Chief Executive Officer , AGF and Lasitha PERERA- Chief Executive Officer, GuarantCo

Felix BIKPO- Chief Executive Officer , AGF and Lasitha PERERA- Chief Executive Officer, GuarantCo

LONDON, United Kingdom, March 2, 2018/ — The African Guarantee Fund for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (AGF) (www.AfricanGuaranteeFund.com) has today entered into a re- guarantee transaction of an amount of up to USD 74 million with GuarantCo (www.GuarantCo.com), to increase its guarantee capacity for SME financing. SME’s have a large and growing impact on GDP in emerging markets and are a key source of job creation. Strengthening Africa’s infrastructure is critical for development as it is through this that African countries become more competitive at a global level. With this increased capacity, AGF will be able to support larger local currency transactions for SMEs involved in infrastructure.

Over the past 6 years, AGF has led the guarantee market in Africa by issuing financial guarantees to a tune of USD 690 million. This has enabled its partner financial institutions to issue loans estimated at USD 729 million to about 7600 African SMEs. GuarantCo is part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group, (PIDG), and is a global guarantee fund that has issued over USD 900 million of guarantees since inception in 2005 with a mandate to enable local currency finance for infrastructure.

While commenting on the GuarantCo AGF partnership, Felix BIKPO, AGF’s Chief Executive Officer stated, “AGF is glad to be joined by GuarantCo in bridging the infrastructure financing gap. This partnership aims to put in place an even stronger collaboration that will work on the entire value chain of infrastructure projects in Africa. We are looking forward to supporting other SMEs that work with key players in the infrastructure sector.”

Lasitha PERERA, GuarantCo’s Chief Executive Officer said “We are delighted to be able to partner with the African Guarantee Fund and increase support to SMEs active in the infrastructure sector in Africa. This collaboration between two local currency focussed guarantors offers the potential for us to engage local financial institutions and investors in financing the entire value chain in an African infrastructure project.”

The transaction will enable AGF and GuarantCo to explore further partnership opportunities of working together in contributing towards economic growth in Africa.

About African Guarantee Fund
Officially launched on 1st June 2012, AGF (www.AfricanGuaranteeFund.com) is a Pan-African non-bank financial institution founded by the government of Denmark through the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), the government of Spain through the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). Agence Française de Développement (AFD) joined AGF in 2015 followed by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) in 2016. AGF aims to promote economic development, increase employment and reduce poverty in Africa by providing financial institutions with guarantees and other similar or related financial products specifically intended to support SMEs in Africa. AGF has a rating of AA- by Fitch Ratings Agency. www.AfricanGuaranteeFund.com

About GuarantCo 
GuarantCo (www.GuarantCo.com) was established to mobilise local currency investment for infrastructure projects and support the development of financial markets in low income countries. GuarantCo is part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG).
GuarantCo is supported by the governments of the UK, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Australia and is rated AA- by Fitch and A1 by Moodys. www.GuarantCo.com

About PIDG
The Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) (www.PIDG.org) encourages and mobilises private investment in infrastructure in the frontier markets of sub-Saharan Africa, south and south-east Asia, to help promote economic development and combat poverty. Since 2002, PIDG has mobilised $31.4bn from private sector investors and DFIs, supported 154 infrastructure projects to financial close and provided 222 million people with access to new or improved infrastructure. PIDG is funded by donors from seven countries (UK, Switzerland, Australia, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany) and the World Bank Group. www.PIDG.org

0
Read More
Leila Ndiaye Joins the Initiative for Global Development as Executive Vice-President
March 1, 2018 | 0 Comments

Ndiaye brings 25 years of experience as an African affairs expert and accomplished senior policy and business strategist

Leila Ndiaye

Leila Ndiaye

WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 1, 2018 – The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) announced today the appointment of Leila Ndiaye to the position of Executive Vice-President of the Washington-based network of African and global business leaders who are committed to advancing sustainable development and inclusive growth through business investment.

Ndiaye, a native of Côte d’Ivoire and dual citizen of Senegal, will be responsible for driving the strategic direction for IGD’s programming and policy engagements, overseeing the growth of the Frontier Leader Network, and building strategic alliances with key stakeholders to advance organizational priorities.

With 25 years of experience as an African affairs expert and accomplished senior policy and business strategist, Ndiaye has a proven track record in policy design and implementation at the highest level of African governments and the private sector.

“Leila Ndiaye joins IGD at a time of when the organization is experiencing tremendous growth and impact in strengthening the private sector and boosting private investment on the African continent,” said Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych. “Her vision and deep experience and connections will position IGD to be a leader in igniting innovation and action to fuel Africa’s economic progress.”

Prior to joining IGD, she served as the Senior Director of Policy for African Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In that position, she developed, promoted and executed the US-Africa Business Center’s program of work relating to trade policy and investment between the United States and African countries. She initiated and managed the US-ECOWAS Business Initiative and spearheaded the Chamber’s program in Western and Central Sub-Saharan Africa, from Angola to Mauritania.

Previously, she worked with the government of Côte d’Ivoire as special adviser to the former Head of State, where she advised the Head of State on a range of policy, national security and economic issues to ensure that all duties were carried out in the best interest of the country as a whole.

Ndiaye is an Advisor to McLarty Associates, where she advises clients on trade and investment in West Africa. McLarty Associates is an international strategic advisory firm headquartered in Washington, DC, that delivers diplomatic solutions and advises many emerging companies venturing abroad.

Earlier in her career, Ndiaye held positions in the lobbying arena with Bayh, Connaughton, Fernsteinhem and Malone, law firm of former Senator Birch Bayh, in Washington, D.C. where she developed and managed the Africa portfolio and at the World Bank as a consultant.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce presented Ms. Ndiaye with the “US-Africa Business Center Outstanding Leaders’ Award 2018” in recognition of her exemplary leadership in US-Africa relations.

She is a recipient of the 2016 Excellence Award by the Women Ambassadors Foundation in Washington DC and was nominated in 2008 as one of the 50 most influential people of Côte d’Ivoire by the magazine l’Intelligent d’Abidjan and received the same year the Women’s Private Sector Initiative Award in Côte d’Ivoire.

In 1990, she was the first Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar from Côte d’Ivoire to South Africa during apartheid.  Leila Ndiaye is a member of the African Leadership Network, a membership community of the most dynamic and influential new-generation leaders in Africa.

Leila Ndiaye holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the School of International Service (SIS), at The American University in Washington DC, earned a Master of Arts in Diplomacy with merit from the Diplomatic Academy of London at the University of Westminster, and a PhD degree in International Relations and Diplomacy, from the Centre d’Etudes Diplomatiques et Stratégiques (CEDS), Paris.

 The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization that harnesses the power of the private sector to create sustainable development and inclusive growth in Africa. We bring together CEOs and senior executives from leading African and global companies through our Frontier Leader Network to catalyze greater business investment and impact on the continent

0
Read More
Speak Up Africa New York Announces New Name: The Access Challenge and New Policy Campaign Aimed at Achieving Universal Health Access
March 1, 2018 | 0 Comments
Together with Former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, 
The Access Challenge Launches a High-Level Policy Campaign Centered on African Union and President-to-President Engagement
WHO Director General Dr. Tedros and HE Jakaya Kikwete

WHO Director General Dr. Tedros and HE Jakaya Kikwete

NEW YORK, United States of America, 1st March 2018, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Speak Up Africa New York, a leading not-for-profit advocacy organization focused on universal access to healthcare and education for the world’s most vulnerable families, today announced its organization’s new name, The Access Challenge, and its first initiative, One By One: Target 2030.

The name change reflects the group’s mission to ensure that every person -wherever in the world he or she may be-has access to basic tools and services in order to survive and thrive. Speak Up Africa New York focused its efforts on Africa. The Access Challenge will continue this Africa-based work while expanding to other regions with a focus on high-level policy engagement.

In keeping with this new focus, The Access Challenge today launched a new campaign, One By One: Target 2030, in partnership with His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, former president of Tanzania and a world-renowned maternal and child health advocate. One By One: Target 2030 will promote universal health access in Africa, focusing first on immunizations, maternal health and Neglected Tropical Diseases, ensuring that even the poorest families have access to critical health interventions.
President Kikwete and The Access Challenge have launched the campaign in support of the World Health Organization’s Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ call for Universal Health Coverage. President Kikwete is committed to making Universal Health Access a reality on the continent of Africa.
President Kikwete said, “Ensuring equal access to health – especially for the most vulnerable – is an issue very close to my heart. As I travel from country to country across Africa, I will work with the African Union and heads of state that have the power to put these issues at the top of the agenda.”
“We are eager to begin our initiative with President Kikwete. Over the past six years, we have driven awareness of critical health issues on national and global levels,” said Kate Campana, founder and CEO of The Access Challenge. “With Dr. Tedros’ mandate, we think that more leaders and more countries will be inspired to step up and effect real change. By broadening our geographic reach, we hope to reach even more of the world’s most vulnerable and provide a leadership platform that expands to South-South collaborative learning.”
The Access Challenge, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, inspired by a vision of a world where every person has an equal ability to survive and thrive regardless of where she or he is born, advocates for universal access to health and education. It works with heads of state and other public officials to understand and focus on particular issues; partners with cultural luminaries to bring key issues to the attention of government and corporate leaders who can galvanize support; produces high-profile public events that shine a spotlight on governmental commitments and hold leaders accountable; and launches powerful multimedia campaigns to raise broad awareness and change cultural expectations about critical access issues.
0
Read More
Mastercard Uses Facebook Messenger To Help Small Businesses Go Digital
March 1, 2018 | 0 Comments

Launches Masterpass QR bot for Messenger to enable Nigerian businesses to set up digital money accounts and accept QR payments

 

Barcelona, SPAIN – February 28, 2018 – At Mobile World Congress, Mastercard today announced that it will use Facebook Messenger to provide technology to small businesses in Africa and Asia to drive affordable acceptance of electronic and mobile payments. Access to digital payments will help these businesses expand to new markets, and unlock financial services and products that enables them to grow their livelihoods.

This Messenger experience will launch in Nigeria, where Mastercard will pilot a new Masterpass QR bot to help business owner’s move beyond cash transactions to accepting QR payments. Ecobank and Zenith Bank will support this inaugural program. The pilot in Nigeria is the beginning of a larger plan by the two companies to include more businesses into the digital economy.

According to research done by The Fletcher School and Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, of the $301 billion of funds flows from consumers to businesses in Nigeria, 98 percent is still based on cash.

“Every business owner is looking for ways to increase sales and draw new customers into their stores. By offering QR-based digital payments, smaller retailers can achieve these goals and create greater customer stickiness with little to no investment beyond the phone they already have,” said Jorn Lambert, executive vice president, Digital Channels and Regions, Mastercard. “Masterpass QR opens up new commerce channels for these merchants and enables them to create auditable transaction records. These advances open doors to other financial tools and products such as loans to drive added business growth.”

To get started, businesses can send a request to the bot to enable QR payments, receive approval from the bank, set up an account and start accepting digital payments in a fast, simple and secure manner. Once the account set up process is complete, business owners can print and display the QR code in their stores or save the code on their phones. Customers can pay by either scanning the code from their smartphone or by entering the merchant ID associated with the QR code into their feature phone.

“Brands and developers around the world are turning to messaging to connect with the 1.3 billion people who use Messenger each month,” said Kahina Van Dyke, director of Payments and Financial Services Partnerships at Facebook. “We are pleased that Mastercard is developing a service on the Messenger Platform to help small merchants use messaging to manage their business and connect with their customers.”

Launched in 2016, Masterpass QR provides people with any type of mobile phone the ability to safely accept and make in-person purchases without cash or a plastic card. It provides greater choice in payments and complements Mastercard’s investment in contactless payments to provide merchants of all sizes – from international chains to individual shop owners and street vendors – a fast, secure and inexpensive way to accept payments.

Quotes from partner banks in Nigeria:

 

“In line with our goal to serve 100 million Africans by the end of 2020, Ecobank is delighted to collaborate with Facebook and Mastercard to enable underserved and unbanked micro-merchants with the opportunity to open an Ecobank account almost immediately and begin to receive instant payments using Ecobank Masterpass QR on the Facebook Messenger platform. Micro merchants in Nigeria are already benefiting from Masterpass QR and will soon be in 32 markets across Africa, enabling them to move away from cash. That is true economic empowerment,” said Patrick Akinwuntan, Group Executive, Consumer Bank, Ecobank Group.

 

 

“Our Bank is partnering with Facebook and Mastercard to introduce Masterpass QR as a means of driving financial inclusion and creating a new payment ecosystem for MSMEs and consumers,” said Mr. Peter Amangbo, MD/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc. “This initiative will help us encourage financial inclusion within the country in line with the strategic thrust of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Buyers and sellers now meet and conclude transactions in-store, online and on social media, so we are ensuring payments can also be made on these platforms via QR codes, without having to log onto other solutions or even take a break from what you are doing on Facebook.”

 

About Mastercard

Mastercard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry.  Our global payments processing network connects consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories.  Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone.  Follow us on Twitter @MastercardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

0
Read More
Over 150 High-Level Speakers to Grace the Africa Trade & Investment Global Summit (ATIGS) 2018 in Washington, D.C
March 1, 2018 | 0 Comments
Over 150 High-Level Speakers to Grace the Africa Trade & Investment Global Summit (ATIGS) 2018 in Washington, D.C
“Driving Trade, Unleashing Investment and Enhancing Economic Development: the Gateway to African Markets”
WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, February 28, 2018/ — Business leaders and prominent personalities are expected to speak at the Africa Trade & Investment Global Summit (ATIGS) 2018 (http://ATIGS2018.com) to be held on June 24 to June 26 at World Trade Center – Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. The prestigious biennial business conference and exhibition will bring together delegates from more than 70 countries including government delegations, 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, showcasing fundable companies, co-investments and financing engagements, strategic partnerships, and business networking.

The 2018 Summit will feature as panelist and speakers a wide array of senior officials and distinguished personalities including, Hon Senator Ike Ekwerenmadu, Deputy Senate President of Nigeria; H.E. Adonia Ayebare, Uganda’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations;H.E.Clyde Rivers Ph.D. Ambassador of Republic of Burundi, and Advisor to the President of Burundi; Hon Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, former Minister for Trade & Industry, and former Ambassador of Ghana to the USA; Hon. Ibrahim Awaal Mohammed, Minister for Business Development in Ghana; Hon. Sebastian Kopulande, CEO, Zambian International Trade and Investment Centre (ZITIC) in Zambia; Andrew Herscowit, Coordinator, Power Africa – U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in USA; Asma ALAOU, CEO, Africa Key Partners in Morocco; Arnon Rosenbaum, VP Global Projects, Netafim in Israel; Belarmino Van-Dúnem, Chairman of Angola’s Investment and Exports Promotion Agency (APIEX); Maria Goravanchi,Director, Overseas Private Investment Corporation in USA; Dr. Mohamed Doumbouya, Minister of Budget, Republic of GuineaRaj Kumar, Founding President of Devex in United States, Dr. Belachew Mekuria, Industrial Park Division Deputy Commissioner of Ethiopian Investment CommissionDr. Mima S. Nedelcovych, President & CEO of Initiative for Global Development in USA; Pablo Martín Carbajal, Deputy head for African Affairs, and CEO of Proexca, Government of the Canary Islands; Bernadette Fernandes, Founder of The Varanda Network in Canada; Chris Kirubi, Director, Centum Investment in Kenya; Chris Knight, Global Commercial Director for fDi Intelligence, Financial Times Group in UK; Dr. Richmond Annan, President, iRichie Group Inc in USA; Dr. Munir Ahmad Ch, President, Aspire World Investments LLC – United Arab EmiratesDr. Mima S. Nedelcovych, President & CEO of Initiative for Global Development in USA; Joseph Lititiyo, Deputy Executive Secretary of Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries in Rwanda; Matthew Downing, Chairman & CEO, Ethium Group in Australia; Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, President of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Nigeria; Vanessa Adams, Director of Strategic Partnerships of DAI in France; Walid Loukil, Deputy Managing Director of Loukil Group in Tunisia; Xoliswa Daku, Founder & CEO, Daku Group of Companies in South Africa; Zekarias Amsalu, Founder and MD of IBEX Frontier, IBEX Financial Consultancy Ltd in Ethiopia, and many more.

For all speaker’s line-up and for all latest developments. visit www.ATIGS2018.com

ATIGS 2018 will feature unique activities, top rated speakers, and high-level participation. To register for the event, visit www.ATIGS2018.com/eventbrite, and for exhibition, contact ATIGS@gaadvancement.com

0
Read More
Solar success in rural Senegal: “Seize the obvious”
March 1, 2018 | 0 Comments
“Two limitless local resources—energy from the sun and local confidence— that’s what it takes to win,” asserts CEO of Energy Resources Senegal, Moustapha Sene
Moustapha Sene, CEO of Energy Resources Senegal

Moustapha Sene, CEO of Energy Resources Senegal

DAKAR, Senegal, February 28, 2018/ — Moustapha Sene is soft-spoken, but he is sure of what he’s doing, and has proved a rare knack for seeing the obvious. A company his family started 25 years ago, Sahel Gaz, has been transforming free air from the atmosphere to produce oxygen for local hospitals. The idea of converting nature into revenue while building communities has become a passion.

One afternoon in 2015 while the sun beat down on his SUV in Dakar traffic, Sene, whose family-owned cluster of companies including edible oil, metallic construction, and industrial and medical gases, was struck again by the obvious. “Widely available technology, dropping cost of solar panels, and free, unlimited sunshine,” he reasoned. “What business person would not see the value of acquiring your primary ingredient as a gift from Nature?” The value-proposition for Sene was secured with imagination and confidence.

Three years later, Senegal’s first indigenous solar power station has begun to produce 20 megawatts of electricity which Sene’s company Energy Resources Senegal (ERS) (www.ERSenegal.com) sells back to the state-owned power company Senelec as part of a well-structured power purchase agreement.

Beyond the free sunlight — his 40-hectare solar farm in the Koalack region 200 kilometers from Dakar receives 3000 hours of direct sunlight a year — Sene woke up to another truth:  Senegal’s priority for quality education produces great local technical talent and highly skilled labor. “Why should we think we need to import brains?” he asks. His entire team is Senegalese and locally educated from the electrical engineers to his financial advisors. ERS employs 15 people, and is growing.

Senegalese President Macky Sall has placed renewable energy high on his list of national goals, and four solar plants have come online in the last 18 months with the percentage of citizens using clean energy in this West African nation of 15 million, rising at an astounding pace from about 10% to over 21% in less than two years. President Macky Sall predicts the rate will rise to over 30% in the near future. “At this rate, solar and wind energy will entirely drive Senegal’s power needs sooner than we anticipated,” Sene adds.

The Kahone solar plant is already bringing electricity to over 150 000 households in this central region of the country where everyone feels the need for electricity. One local tailor remembers the days he was unable to work at all because the current was cut. “We were at a standstill until the juice for our sewing machines came back. Those days are over.”

Energy Resources Senegal is helping to keep local businesses in business, and is now even able to help provide basic services to communities that have been socially off-the-grid as well. One of Sene’s personal goals is to renovate and upgrade the often decrepit structures used for community schools.

Moustapha Sene who was educated in Dakar and in Canada could have opted for a corporate position in Europe or North America, but his respect for his father, Alla Sene, who started the first family business in the streets of Dakar back in the 50s with no education and no cash, combined with his hope for his children to believe in a truly emerging Africa has kept him invested in a Senegal that he has helped evolve. His 22 year old daughter finishes an MBA at NYU this semester in energy and the environment and plans to bring her knowledge back home too.

“What we have done in Koalack with the Kahone solar plant we can share with local entrepreneurs across West Africa and beyond,” he told a group of regional investors. “We have the local know-how and engineering, we have local financial talent to provide and structure economic models for the Industry. And of course there is no shortage of sun. We have to learn how to master technologies on our own and start to invest more in our own confidence to produce local wealth,” he says.

The Senegalese Ministry of Energy and the pro-active Senelec, with its Plan Yeesal (meaning renewal in Wolof), is proving to be among Africa’s most ambitious players in the renewables sector. Power Purchase Agreements, the kind that Energy Resources Senegal has signed — a 25-year engagement — is proving that as long as the sunlight is free, native solutions to old problems in the energy sector have arrived.

“Curiously,” Sene adds “the greatest challenge to creating new wealth is not the cost of innovation as many think; it is the work to get beyond our traditional reflexes.”

If Sene keeps seizing the obvious ERS’s ambition to develop and build a total of 500MW solar and wind projects on the African continent before end of 2025, just may happen.

0
Read More
WHY U.S. COMPANIES NEED TO INCLUDE AFRICA IN THEIR GLOBAL GROWTH STRATEGIES
February 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

Grant T. Harris, CEO of Harris Africa Partners LLC, makes a compelling case on why U.S. companies need to map out how Africa’s dynamic markets fit into their company’s business plan

By Grant T. Harris*

When it comes to talk of Africa’s economic outlook, do not believe the gloom – or the hype. The “Africa rising” storyline took a big hit when commodity prices crashed, but the truth is, no monolithic narrative could ever accurately capture the continent’s dynamism, challenges, and sheer economic potential.

Nonetheless, there are some clear regional trends that should compel American businesses to ask themselves, “How does Africa factor into my company’s growth strategy?”

Frankly, there is no need for a simplistic soundbite about Africa’s economic potential. The region is a complex and diverse ensemble of markets, opportunities, and political and investment climates which, for many different reasons, are undergoing what the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has described as “multispeed” growth. For instance, while the commodity-dependent countries are currently less buoyant, four economies in East Africa – Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda – are predicted to see growth above six percent through 2020.

Nevertheless, even as we eschew sweeping generalizations that pretend to lump 54 African countries into one market, there are some region-wide trends that should make businesses sit up and take notice. To get straight to the point: Africa’s long-term economic outlook remains strong, underpinned by a young and growing population that is increasingly urban and technologically savvy. Consumer spending is projected to reach $2.1 trillion by 2025, while African economies as a whole are estimated to be valued at $3 trillion by 2030 – by which time half of the population will live in urban areas. Moreover, demographic shifts mean that Africa’s place in the global economy is only likely to grow. By 2034, Africa will have more working-age people than either India or China. With a current median age of just 19.5 years, Africa will make up a quarter of the world’s population by 2050, bringing inevitable social, cultural, and economic impacts.

Of course, there is no denying that African governments have a lot of work to do to improve investment climates at national and regional levels. According to a recent African Development Bank report, “the continent’s infrastructure needs amount to $130-170 billion a year, with a financing gap in the range of $68-108 billion.” In sub-Saharan Africa, roughly two-thirds of people lack access to electricity. And it is not just insufficient infrastructure; the recent commodities crash highlighted several other persistent challenges, particularly the need for resource-rich countries to diversify their economies. Many African governments would be wise to follow the IMF’s advice to enact “policies to enhance macroeconomic stability, improve education outcomes, bolster governance and transparency in regulation, and deepen financial markets.” Importantly, many countries are working hard to realize these changes. According to the World Bank, governments in sub-Saharan Africa carried out a record number of business reforms in 2016 and 2017 – more than any other region.

Above all, it’s time to realize that misconceptions about Africa’s economic potential – that it is too risky, too poor, or simply irrelevant to most businesses – amount to lost opportunities. As when considering any emerging market, investors must to do their homework, not fall victim to oversimplified narratives, and determine how to navigate political and policy risk. Armed with the right information and foresight, investors should map out how Africa’s dynamic markets fit into their company’s business plan. As the region’s demographic and economic trends make clear, Africa can no longer be considered an “optional” component of global growth strategies.

*courtesy of IGD.Grant T. Harris is CEO of Harris Africa Partners LLC and was President Obama’s principal advisor on sub-Saharan Africa in the White House from 2011-2015. Harris Africa Partners LLC is an organizational partner for IGD’s U.S. Roadshow Tour.

 

0
Read More
In Africa, citizen diplomacy fills in where Trump leaves holes
February 27, 2018 | 0 Comments

BY K. RIVA LEVINSON*

More than 13 months into the Trump administration, the senior State Department job on Africa remains unfiled, along with appointments for U.S. ambassadors to South Africa, Morocco, Tanzania, and other high-profile political posts.

In addition to these diplomatic vacancies, the Trump administration is proposing a 30 percent cut in foreign assistance for the 2019 Fiscal Year budget, on top of recent reductions, which will disproportionately impact the African continent.

These Washington realities, when considered in conjunction with the controversy over the U.S. president’s alleged remarks labeling an entire continent of 54 unique nations as “s—holes,” would appear to paint a pretty bleak picture for America’s future engagements in Africa.

However, traditional diplomacy is being increasingly supplemented by an explosion of citizen-to-citizen contacts, which are creating shared value, good-will and relationships of consequence. This work is more important now than it ever has been, and can be found in unexpected places.

NBA Africa, led by Managing Director Amadou Gallo Fall and the league’s commissionerAdam Silver, have helped to transform the NBA’s footprint in Africa. In doing so, they have become part of the front-line of private sector institutions which celebrate a continent unhampered by inaccurate clichés, and defined by its potential, its people, and its diversity.

Fall, originally from Senegal, came to the U.S. on a basketball scholarship in the late 1980s, graduated with honors, and returned to Senegal to work for the Senegal Basketball Federation. He would later be hired as a scout for the Dallas Mavericks and eventually recruited by the NBA.

Sports through Education and Economic Development in Senegal (SEEDS), which Fall founded upon his return from studying in the U.S., has become embedded into the culture of NBA Africa, and holds that through a love of sport, basketball can be a tool for social, economic and personal development.  The league has taken its commitment to community to heart through the NBA Players Association, and programs like NBA Cares, and Basketball Without Borders.

Fall and Silver lobbied to bring an NBA exhibition game to Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2015. Importantly, it would be the first game involving any major North American professional sports league to take place on the continent of Africa.

Team Africa against the World,” as it has become known, is now played annually and this year will be dedicated to the life and legacy of the former South African president, Nelson Mandela, on the centennial of his birth year.

At the NBA Africa luncheon on Saturday, 17 February, on the margins of 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles,  Silver explained that, “basketball is witnessing an explosive growth in Africa.” He explained that one of the cardinal objectives of NBA Africa is to grow the game and to see more young players competing at the highest level. Silver predicts more than 100 million Africans will eventually play the game.

“But it’s not just about the sport,” Fall told me in an interview.  “Yes, we celebrate the fact that this year 12 African-born players will be playing for the NBA. But as NBA Africa, we must reach beyond the players.”

Fall believes it is his responsibility to give a greater voice to African innovation, African excellence, and to help reclaim the narrative on Africa.  And last weekend in Los Angeles, just hours before NBA All-Star Saturday Night, that’s exactly what NBA Africa did.

Silver, Fall, African legends and players like Dikembe Motumba and Serge Ibaka assembled — not to talk the sport, but to lead a discussion on youth, development and entrepreneurship.

The luncheon was titled #AfricaNow and featured a panel of African entrepreneurs to showcase the human potential of the continent through the eyes of prominent innovators and changemakers.

Said panelist Richelieu Dennis, founder of Shea Moisture:

“It is our culture and our story. We must own it. We must define it. And it is we who must monetize it.”

On stage, and at the head table sat officers from the World Bank along with private sector players, like Invest Africa.  The African Development Bank noted it would unveil later this month a multi-year program with sport as the foundation for a youth empowerment program.

Perhaps eventually the Trump administration will prioritize diplomatic engagement with Africa, appointing senior officials and propose a budget which better reflects our national security interests. In the meantime, I find inspiration in our citizen diplomats, no matter their excessive height

*Source The Hill.K. Riva Levinson is president and CEO of KRL International LLC,a D.C.-based consultancy that works in the world’s emerging markets, award-winning author of “Choosing the Hero: My Improbable Journey and the Rise of Africa’s First Woman President” (Kiwai Media, June 2016). You can follow her on Twitter @rivalevinson.

0
Read More
Africa: Shortlist Announced for €20.000 Henrike Grohs Art Award
February 27, 2018 | 0 Comments

The winner will be announced on 6 March and awarded on 13 March in Abidjan

Em’kal Eyongakpa (Cameroon)

Em’kal Eyongakpa (Cameroon)

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, February 26, 2018/ — Em’kal Eyongakpa (Cameroon), Georgina Maxim (Zimbabwe) and Makouvia Kokou Ferdinand (Togo) have been shortlisted for the first Henrike Grohs Art Award, conceived by the Goethe-Institut (https://goo.gl/nKYUpW) and the Grohs family. The winner will be announced on 6 March and awarded on 13 March in Abidjan.

Em’kal Eyongakpa is an intermedia artist who approaches the experienced, the unknown, as well as collective histories through a ritual use of repetition and transformation. His recent ideas draw from indigenous knowledge systems and aesthetics, ethnobotany, applied mycology as well as technology.

Georgina Maxim’s work combines weaving, stitch work and the utilisation of found textiles creating objects that evade definition. The dresses are deconstructed, and at times reconstructed to find new ways of giving tribute to and reflection upon the person that owned the original garment.

In Makouvia Kokou Ferdinand’s sculptural and performance work, he plays with borders and mixes memories, materials and cultural references. Building on traditional Mina culture, his gaze on contemporary society is unique, sometimes ironic and often moving.

The Henrike Grohs Art Award is a biennial prize dedicated to artists who are living and working in Africa and practicing in the field of visual arts. It recognises the lifetime achievements of the former Head of the Goethe-Institut in Abidjan, Henrike Grohs, who was killed on 13 March 2016 in a terrorist attack in Grand-Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire.

The prize “aims at strengthening artists and encouraging them in their quest for a world of togetherness and dialogue”, said jury members Koyo Kouoh (Artistic Director, RAW Material Company, Dakar), Laurence Bonvin (artist and representative of the Grohs family, Berlin), Raphael Chikukwa (Chief Curator, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare) and Simon Njami (Curator, Paris).

More about the shortlisted artists

Em’kal Eyongakpa
Video portrait:

 https://youtu.be/xkagubNL6ZA 

Em’kal Eyongakpa (born 1981 in Mamfe, Cameroon) is an intermedia artist who approaches the experienced, the unknown, as well as collective histories through a ritual use of repetition and transformation. His recent ideas increasingly draw from indigenous knowledge systems and aesthetics, ethnobotany, applied mycology as well as technology in his explorations of the personal and the universal. Eyongakpa is also known for self-organised community research projects and autonomous art hubs like KHaL!SHRINE in Yaoundé (2007-2012) and the recently launched sound art and music platform ɛfúkúyú. He holds degrees in Plant biology and Ecology from the University of Yaoundé and was a resident at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam.

Eyongakpa’s work has recently been exhibited at the Jakarta Biennale (2017), the 13th Sharjah Biennial (2017), La Biennale de Montreal (2016), the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo (2016), the 9th and 10th Bamako Encounters (2011, 2015), the 10th Biennale de l’art africain contemporain, Dak’art (2012) and at several international art spaces and museums around the world.

More information: https://goo.gl/aT7aWZ  

Georgina Maxim 
Video portrait: https://youtu.be/2sTfNETFLM4 

Georgina Maxim (Zimbabwe) - Photo by Cynthia Matonhodze

Georgina Maxim (Zimbabwe) – Photo by Cynthia Matonhodze

Georgina Maxim was born 1980 in Harare, Zimbabwe. Maxim is known for both working as artist and curator with over a decade of arts management and curatorial practice. Maxim together with two other artists (Misheck Masamvu and Gareth Nyandoro) co-founded Village Unhu in 2012, an artist collective space that has been providing studio spaces, exhibitions, workshops and residency programs for artists – young and professional.

Georgina Maxim’s work combines weaving, stitch work and the utilisation of found textiles creating objects that evade definition. The dresses are deconstructed, and at times reconstructed to find new ways of giving tribute to and reflection upon the person that owned the original garment. Maxim describes it as ‘the memory of’. Currently, Maxim studies African Verbal and Visual Arts – Languages, Curation and Arts at the University of Bayreuth in Germany.

Makouvia Kokou Ferdinand 
Video portrait: https://youtu.be/lZCcRSab2hA

Makouvia Kokou Ferdinand – a student at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris – shares his life and work between Lomé and Paris. Both his sculptural and performance work emanate from the personal experiences of the artist. He plays with borders and mixes memories, materials and cultural references. Building on traditional Mina culture, his gaze on contemporary society is unique, sometimes ironic and often moving. He is a recipient of the Dauphine Prize for Contemporary Art, the Young Talent Revelation Prize for Plastic Arts ADAGP as well as the Aurige Finance and the Amis des Beaux-Arts et Juvenars-IESA Prize. His work will be displayed at Du Salon Du Dessin in Paris (23-25 March, 2018), as part of a group exhibition at Anne de Villepoix Gallery during the first half of 2018 and in a solo show at Vincent Sator Gallery in April and May 2019.

About the Henrike Grohs Art Award

“The Henrike Grohs Art Award is a biennial award dedicated to artists living and working in Africa. Yet the message sent goes far beyond the continent. It is a universal address, a call for reflection and action”, said the jury members Koyo Kouoh (Artistic Director, RAW Material Company, Dakar), Laurence Bonvin (artist and representative of the Grohs family, Berlin), Raphael Chikukwa (Chief Curator, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare) and Simon Njami (Curator, Paris).

The prize recognises the lifetime achievements of the former Head of the Goethe-Institut in Abidjan, Henrike Grohs, who was killed on 13 March 2016 in a terrorist attack in Grand-Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire. The award intends to continue her special commitment to support artists in Africa and make a contribution towards international dialogue.

The award will be awarded biennially to an artist or an arts collective practicing in the field of visual arts. Artistic quality is the most important criteria for the award. Collaborative partnership, imparting knowledge to other artists and social engagement are decisive elements for recognition.

Makouvia Kokou Ferdinand (Togo) - Photo by Peter Houston

Makouvia Kokou Ferdinand (Togo) – Photo by Peter Houston

Henrike Grohs Art Award: Mission Statement

“On 13 March 2016 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, Henrike Grohs was killed by the blindest hatred as she was spending time with friends at the beach. Two months before, a young photographer, Leila Alaoui, 32, was shot in Burkina Faso by the ‘same people’. Many more, too many more, have fallen simply because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time; simply because a handful of fundamentalists started a war of terror. We are facing troublesome times and it is our duty to refuse to surrender to fatalism. All those deaths must be transformed into something stronger than death, into something bigger than ourselves. Henrike was working for a better world. A world where, ‘a proud heart can survive a general failure because such failure does not prick its pride.’” (Chinua Achebe: Things Fall Apart).

The Henrike Grohs Art Award is established as an answer to all those who think that we cannot live together in a world where sharing would be the main aim. Where borders would have no meaning and where humanity would be the only matter to fight for – that is humanity as a whole, as something that cannot be destroyed and that remains untouched. The message is clear: we shall not surrender. We shall, as Henrike did, stand for what we believe in, without any compromise.

The award is dedicated to artists practicing in Africa. Yet the message that is sent is a universal address, a call for reflection and action. Art is probably the one field where no translation is needed. It is that universal language which transforms the ‘chaotic world of sensations’ that we all share, into forms of representations and relations. The Henrike Grohs Art Award aims at strengthening artists and encouraging them in their quest for a world of togetherness and dialogue. Art knows neither borders nor religion. It is the very expression of that flame that keeps us going, from North to South and East to West. It is the best expression of our unbreakable faith in our humanity.”

The Jury members:
Koyo Kouoh, Laurence Bonvin, Raphael Chikukwa and Simon Njami


Henrike Grohs Art Award: video statements about the prize

Johannes Ebert (Secretary General of the Goethe-Institut, Munich): https://youtu.be/uAmVNxggLek
Koyo Kouoh (Jury member; Artistic Director, RAW Material Company, Dakar): https://youtu.be/lXnerwvJea4 
Laurence Bonvin (Jury member; artist, representative of the Grohs family, Berlin): https://youtu.be/HHrUN1-UqsA
Raphael Chikukwa (Jury member; Chief Curator, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare): https://youtu.be/pIzNF5waGGQ 
Simon Njami (Jury member; Curator, Paris): https://youtu.be/wPWqYf0ETsQ 

0
Read More
“Do Not Ignore Africa” – President Akufo-Addo Appeals To US Governors
February 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has urged Governors of the United States of America not to ignore Africa, stating his belief that “this can be Africa’s century”.

According to President Akufo-Addo, growth in Africa, in 2015 was second only to that of Asia, adding that six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies, this year, are in Africa.

“We are rich in natural resources, and in possession of nearly 30 percent of the earth’s remaining mineral resources. We have a vibrant young population, and, though we still have important security challenges, we are more at peace than before,” he said.

The President noted that with the historic decision of the African Union to bring into being, on 21st March, 2018, the Continental Free Trade Area, the agenda of regional integration, which will establish a market of some 2 billion people in 20 years, presents immense opportunities to bring prosperity to Africa with hard work, enterprise and creativity.

“This is the time to look at Africa”, he added.

President Akufo-Addo made this known when he delivered the keynote address at the National Governors Association 2018 Winter Meeting, in Washington DC, United States of America, on Sunday, 25th February, 2018.

Whilst acknowledging the disheartening spectre of African youths crossing the Sahara desert on foot and drown in the Mediterranean Sea, in a desperate bid to reach the mirage of a better life in Europe, President Akufo-Addo explained that the current structure of African economies, which are dependent on the production and export of raw materials, cannot create prosperity.

“These economies cannot produce wealth and prosperity for the masses on the continent. It, therefore, drives the determination to seek a much better standard of living out of Africa, thereby, fuelling the refugee crises and the numerous counts of illegal migrations,” he said.

The large wave of migrations into the United States from Ireland and Italy, in the 19th century, the President added, has completely subsided because the economies of the two countries are working properly.

It is for this reason that President Akufo-Addo stated that “the only way to ensuring prosperity in Africa and jobs for our young populations is through value addition activities, in a transformed and diversified, modern economy, in which we take full advantage of the digital revolution.”

He continued, “In other words, the industrial development of our continent, and we are determined to ensure the realisation of this, so that our young people can stay and devote their great energies to the building of a great Africa.”

The President was confident that it is only Asians who can engineer, in a generation, their transition from poverty to prosperity.

“We are determined to do that in our generation in Ghana, on the continent, and ensure that succeeding generations will be neither victims nor pawns of the global order,” he added.

This, the President indicated, will serve as the impetus for re-shaping the continent and charting a new path of growth and development in freedom, which will lift the long suffering African masses out of poverty into the realms of prosperity and dignified existence.

*Presidency Ghana

0
Read More
Entrepreneurship is not a choice but a MUST for all Africans-Badou Kane
February 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

All Africans have to learn how to become entrepreneurs’ whether you went to school or not says Badou Kane

All Africans have to learn how to become entrepreneurs’ whether you went to school or not says Badou Kane

When dreams for a career in basketball were scuttled by injurious, Badou Kane found a calling in entrepreneurship, mentoring and empowering the next generation of African Youth. From his base in Senegal, Badou Kane  is using a variety of programs, and initiatives to instill positive values, and hope in the African youth on how to turn adversity into opportunity. Pained by the travails of those who risk it all to leave Africa in quest of greener pastures; Badou is taking  on the onerous task of helping young Africans to understand that with their potential, it is possible to make it big in Africa. Entrepreneurship is not a choice, but a must for all Africans, says Badou in an  exclusive interview with PAV to shed light on his vision and projects.

Badou Kane is one of the most inspiring entrepreneurs in Africa, let’s start this interview by paraphrasing a quote we got from a talk you gave at the Cheick Anta Diop University in Senegal in July of 2014, having a positive impact on others is how Africans in all walks of life should measure leadership, in 2018, how much of this are you seeing in the continent? 

I would say not much… numbers don’t lie. The fact that we have over 500 million Africans living under $1.50 a day shows that there isn’t enough sharing among us. Two things are to be shared knowledge and money in order to have a positive impact on others.

You equally said Africa is the richest continent with the poorest with the poorest people, not because not because we are poor but because we are poor in minds, in this age and time, what needs to be done to change this mindset? 

Wow! A good question with many solutions I will quote a few:

Let s start by stopping lies and getting rid of our complexes of inferiority and superiority. As long as you are on the right path do not worry about what people think of you or what you do. Then:

  1. We have to regain the control of our education. Our curriculum should be written by Africans that understand the realities of the continent.
  2. All Africans have to learn how to become entrepreneurs’ whether you went to school or not, whether you went far into your schooling or not. Entrepreneurship is not a choice but a MUST for all Africans.
  3. We have to all learn how to go from nothing to something. At least be able to earn 4 dollars a day.
  4. Every one of us has a hidden treasure but to find it we have to be willing to sweat cry and bleed. Through a strong will, endurance, and perseverance we will find our hidden treasures
  5. We have to all start some type of a business (small, medium. or big). Do not be afraid to start small. If you don t know how to go from nothing contact me I will show you how.
  6. Last but not least once you achieve success NEVER FORGET WHERE YOU COME FROM and share part of the knowledge and money you earned by teaching others your path to success. Find honest hard working people and show them the way to success that you know.

From your entrepreneurship and the mentorship that you have done, what difference have you succeeded in making, what are some of the positive stories that you can share with us? 

Another good question. We have thousands of stories to tell. As a matter of fact we are preparing a book. You will already find lots of the testimonies on my social media pages. We have created multi-millionaires in CFA. We have kept people out of jails. We have saved families that were struggling to eat one decent meal a day today they are eating at least 2 meals a day. We have prevented people from risking their lives and dying at sea or in the desert through illegal migration (a major problem in Africa). I can go on; we have changed or impacted thousands and thousands of lives in Africa.  We have saved relationships between fathers and sons, prevented people from blaming governments and environments in general. Some of the people we trained built houses for their mothers. Let me just say that thanks to the Almighty we have done a lot through our training centers, our conferences in schools and different institutions, our interventions on TV s and radios.

You literally grew up in America; you made it there, what motivated you to move back to Senegal and any regrets? 

You know that old saying: “there is no place like home”. I had a mother and father that gave a lot to Africa their names were Madeleine Sidibe and Bocar Kane. I wanted to follow on their footsteps. I remember one day we were having lunch at the house; a neighbor walked in and said that he did not have something to feed his family and my mom asked us to stop eating. We were all eating in a big bowl; she took it poured more foods in it and gave it to the man to take to his house. Then she told us to eat ” shaï” (bread and butter + hot tea) I always wanted to help develop a larger middle class in Africa. I love the fact that I was given a chance to be able to change lives and I have zero regrets.

At a time when many young people are risking life crossing the Sahara, ending up as slaves in Libya, dying in overloaded boats that sink in the Mediterranean, just to get to Europe, how challenging is it to make  a convincing case to them that in Africa, they can still make it and make it big? 

It’s very challenging but with a very good argument they will stay. They just want better alternatives and concrete solutions. The youth of Africa has lost the last piece of hope that they had left in them. They have been betrayed by their respective country leaders. But today we give them hope again by showing them that yes it is possible to make it here in Africa. Once upon a time the Italians and the Irish were fleeing to America; today they are proud to stay in their countries. I have faith that one day the Almighty will give us the leaders that will finally save the Africans. And our people will stay. It’s always been about Africa but not about the Africans but I can feel in the air that it is about to be about the Africans themselves as they will gain a better hold of their environment.

And on the flipside, when you look at the economic and political realities of the continent, the corruption, the leaders in power for over three decades, do you actually fault them and some may even say oh if Badou Kane did not have the opportunities he had out of Senegal, he may not be as successful as he is ,what is your take on this? 

Of course our leaders are to be blamed for some of it but not all. A bad head of state can’t stop a Badou Kane from washing cars to feed his family for example. We cannot spend the next 5 decades pointing the finger at them as it is a waste of time. Let us focus on ourselves on how we can do it ourselves. It is possible as I am showing the people in Senegal. Senegal gave me a peaceful environment, and people willing to do it themselves but as far as the rest is concerned we snatch what we want through discipline and hard work. We create opportunities NOTHING is handed to us.

Could you shed more ore light on your company LXG International Inc and your other programs that are used in helping to the build the next generation of entrepreneurs in Senegal, a young Senegalese told us that within five years you have turned atleast ten young Senegalese into millionaires, is this true and if so how have you done this? 

The major program is called Risk Innovation Social Entrepreneurship. I started it in Senegal on December 12 2012 to fight unemployment and poverty in Africa. I don t believe in poverty in Africa and we have the solution. Every African should be at least able to cover his basic needs of having a place to live, food to eat, a decent education, and the capability to pay for basic medical bills.

The RISE program is an entrepreneurship and leadership program that teaches any individual how to go from nothing to something. It’s a very tough program and at the end of it the best candidates receive an investment of 4 to 18 thousand dollars. Directly linked to me, 6 have made millions the rest are on the way. Indirectly, meaning those that were trained by us but went on their own, quite a few.

Since 2012 we have trained thousands and thousands of people, hundreds have started their own small businesses and we have invested in at least 15.

Another program is called DSB which stands for ” Demal Suñu Bopp” meaning it lets  do it ourselves. It is an economic movement that I created again to fight unemployment and poverty. It is a continuation of RISE, to help us raise awareness with a broader audience to teach them the same thing: how to go from nothing to something. The motto of the movement is “get richer to serve more”. There are thousands of members throughout Senegal with one thing in common, they are doing it themselves, and all we provide is the coaching through a system that allows them to get it done without the help of the government, or any form of entity.

What criteria are used in selecting those who benefit from your knowledge and resources and how has the government of Senegal viewed or supported these initiatives? 

The criteria are quite simple: discipline, a good heart, a willingness to learn and get better, and a capacity to grasp our teachings. The government has supported me by letting me do what I do without bothering me. I couldn’t t tell you what their views are.

One of the latest initiatives you are floating now is an entrepreneurship competition or program with the concept of people starting and growing a business with $3.50, can you shed more light on this? 

We have 500 Million people living under $1.50 a day. To fight this and the illegal migration that you mentioned earlier we launched this challenge. The candidates have to start a business with $3.50 or less and a month later they will have to show their financial results and immediate social impact. There will be 3 rounds. The winner will take home about 2000 dollars and there will also be a special prize for the best female entrepreneur. The objective is to spread the fact it is possible to start with little or no money, and to help people understand that they can do it themselves.

Is this new initiative going to be limited just to Senegal or there are plans to expand the concept to other parts of the continent? 

It is opened to all Africans. They can participate in Senegal.  And anybody in any given country can run with the concept and we will assist him or her.

Africa has a very strong diaspora, how can this diaspora be turned into a solid force that can participate in a more significant and impactful  way in transforming the continent ? 

Our leaders have to create a healthy secure welcoming environment that will make them want to come back. In the meantime the diaspora cannot wait for our leaders. They have to at least share their experiences with the people that did not have a chance to leave the continent. For example they can try to at least share their knowledge with someone on the continent. Nowadays through social media “everyone far is close”. We need everyone in order to get this ship moving. Remember there are always two things to share knowledge and money.

You are also author of the book Fortress of a Leader, what is the message that you see to convey with the book? 

Some characters that one might need to become a leader. It is more like a handy pocket guide to leadership.

A last question on how you view the future for young Africans and the continent as a whole, what are your hopes and fears? 

Hopes: a new generation of very strong leaders with new foundations are on the RISE.

My fears are that our youth gets consumed by sports music dance or politics thinking that those are the only ways to make it in Africa.

Thanks for granting this interview Badou

Thanks for having me. Stay blessed Ajong.

 

0
Read More
Africa’s little miracle nation turns fifty
February 23, 2018 | 0 Comments

From apparently hopeless beginnings, Mauritius has become one of Africa’s most celebrated countries. But tough challenges are on the horizon.

BY SEÁN CAREY*

Mauritius. Credit: Miwok.

Mauritius. Credit: Miwok.

The story of how Mauritius defied the gloomy predictions of its fate is well told. A few years before independence in 1968, Nobel-prize-winning economist James Meade wrote the little island in the Indian Ocean off as a basket case. A few years after independence, writer V. S. Naipaul dismissed the nation as an “overcrowded barracoon”.

Yet Mauritius proved them wrong and went on to become one of Africa’s most lauded nations. It regularly tops indices for political freedoms, rule of law and human development on the continent. It has had ten competitive elections and seven peaceful transfers of power. And it is frequently held up as an exemplar of political stability and cohesion, containing within it several ethnic groups – including Hindus, Muslims, Afro-Creoles, and Sino- and Franco-Mauritius – all living together in relative harmony.

In 2011, the island’s various successes even led Joseph Stiglitz to wax lyrical about what he called “The Mauritius Miracle“. The Nobel laureate called on the US and other advanced economies to emulate the country and learn from its approach to free education, healthcare and strong social security net.

As it prepares to turn 50 years old on 12 March, the current government is understandably keen to build on this reputation and legacy. Among other things, the ruling coalition, led by the 56-year-old Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth, has said it wants Mauritius to go from being an upper-middle-income country to a high-income one in the coming years.

As a plucky outsider that has always exceeded expectation, this may seem like a viable goal for the island. However, as it settles into its fifth decade of independence, Mauritius may find that it has to come up with some new ways of thinking if it is to continue to develop – both economically and politically – rather than stumble into a mid-life crisis.

Betting on blue

Economically, Mauritius’ growth over the last five years has been in the range of a modest 3-4%. The Bank of Mauritius has forecast growth of 4.2% for 2018. This would be enviable for many countries, but is a significant slowdown compared to the heady years of 1980s and 1990s when the economy expanded mostly on the back of the sugar industry, tourism, textiles and financial services.

The big hope of the current government is that a similar boost could now come from the ocean economy. The idea is that activities such as fishing, the extraction of hydrocarbons and minerals, marine biotechnology, and the generation of renewable energy will supercharge GDP for years to come.

So far the most significant development on this front has come from fish farming, with some products now being exported to Europe and the US. Overall, however, it is evident that significant financial and technical expertise from overseas will be required if other more capital-intensive businesses are going to take off. As a 2017 World Bank report warned, doubling Mauritius’ ocean economy “is possible and worthwhile, but it will take time”.

In trying to attract foreign direct investment, Mauritius certainly has an advantage in the fact that global institutions have long heaped praise on the island for its stable governance, democratic norms and openness to business. It also has the benefit of having a reputation for having shown vision and flexibility to new economic challenges in the past. As the Bertelsmann Stiftungs’ Transformation Index (BTI) 2018 country report puts it: “Mauritius’ governments have shown their creativity in the past at adapting to new geopolitical and geo-economic circumstances”.

Mauritius’ dynastic politics

Socially, Mauritius has been praised for how its several different ethnic groups co-exist cooperatively. One dynamic contributing to this stability may be the fact that the island has no indigenous population, meaning no single group has any greater claim to the island than any other. Another factor that may add to good relations is the high population density; 1.3 million citizens squeezed onto 2,040 square km enhances the need for cordial interchanges.

However, a third important factor is the unspoken division of political power. For example, Franco- and Sino-Mauritians do not seek political office by and large, leaving the field open to aspiring Hindus, Muslims and Afro-Creoles.

This avoids certain tensions and rivalry, though it has also contributed to the fact that Mauritius’ political system has always been dominated by middle-class men from the Hindu community, a group that makes up just over half the population. In fact, despite having enjoyed seven transfers of power, the very top of Mauritius’ politics has been even more exclusive. For 48 of the past 50 years, the country has been led by either Seewoosagur Ramgoolam or Anerood Jugnauth, or more recently by their respective sons Navin and Pravind.

Although this has occurred against a backdrop of impressive democratic engagement and vibrancy, there are signs the Mauritian people are getting tired after half a century in which the premiership has been almost completely controlled by just two families. In January 2017, Anerood Jugnauth passed power to his son without the say-so of the electorate. Knowing how much this move contributed to its unpopularity and deepened its reputation for corruption and cronyism, the main party in the ruling coalition, the Mouvement Socialiste Militant (MSM), decided to avoid contesting a recent by-election.

The Chagos question

Whatever their political differences, there is one cause that currently unites all mainstream Mauritian politicians: the Chagos islands.

This archipelago had been an integral part of Mauritian territory since 1814. But a few years before Mauritius gained independence from the UK, the islands were carved off to become the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). The UK lent the archipelago’s largest island, Diego Garcia, to the US to use as a strategic military base. In the process, around 1,500 islanders were forcibly removed and abandoned in Port Louis, the Mauritian capital, and, to a lesser extent, the Seychelles.

Without questioning the continued operation of the US base, Mauritian policy in recent years has been to dispute the UK’s claim to BIOT and its appalling treatment of the exiled islanders. A Mauritian resolution at the UN to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the Chagos’ sovereignty was passed in June 2017 by 94 to 15. Interestingly, most European countries – including France, Germany and Italy – as well as China abstained, despite considerable pressure from the UK and US. The Court in The Hague is due to give its verdict later this year or in 2019.

New challenges

As the Chagos issue, together with the country’s economic progress and resilience illustrates, Mauritius has come a long way in establishing its independence. However, the Jugnauth father-to-son transfer of power last year along with the alleged involvement of political elites in corruption and drug scandals casts a shadow on the country’s positive prospects.

Among other things, it clearly shows the increasingly urgent need for Mauritius reconfigure its political leadership. As the forthcoming BTI report 2018 puts it: “New and younger politicians, not strongly affiliated with the ruling elite, can help to further the country’s image as a post-colonial success story, which is highly likely to continue.”

As Mauritius reaches the 50th anniversary of its independence, Meade’s and Naipaul’s predictions have been proved decisively wrong. However, building on this and becoming a high-income country may be more challenging than the current government is prepared to admit.

*Culled from African Arguments.Seán Carey is honorary senior research fellow in the School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester and fellow of the Young Foundation.

0
Read More
Adesina Urges America to Support African Agriculture as a Business
February 23, 2018 | 0 Comments
I do not seek aid for Africa. I seek investments in Africa – Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank
Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank and Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture

Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank and Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture

ARLINGTON, United States of America, February 22, 2018/ — The President of the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has made a strong case for increased American and global investments to help unlock Africa’s agriculture potential.

He made the remarks as the Distinguished Guest Speaker, at the USDA’s 94th Agriculture Outlook Forum (www.USDA.gov/oce/forum) in Virginia on Thursday, on the theme The Roots of Prosperity.

According to Adesina, “For too long, Agriculture has been associated with what I call the three Ps – pain, penury, and poverty. The fact though is that agriculture is a huge wealth-creating sector that is primed to unleash new economic opportunities that will lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.”

Participants at the Forum included the Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue; Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Stephen Censky; President of the World Food Prize Foundation, Kenneth Quinn; Chief Economist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Robert Johansson; Deputy Chief Economist, Warren Preston; and several top level government officials and private sector operators.

Adesina appealed to the US private sector to fundamentally change the way it views African agriculture.

“Think about it, the size of the food and agriculture market in Africa will rise to US $ 1 trillion by 2030. This is the time for US agri-businesses to invest in Africa,” he said. ‘’And for good reason: Think of a continent where McKinsey projects household consumption is expected to reach nearly $2.1 trillion and business-to-business expenditure will reach $3.5 trillion by 2025. Think of a continent brimming with 840 million youth, the youngest population in the world, by 2050.”

The U.S. government was urged to be at the forefront of efforts to encourage fertilizer and seed companies, manufacturers of tractors and equipment, irrigation and ICT farm analytics to ramp up their investments on the continent.

“As the nation that first inspired me and then welcomed me with open arms, permit me to say that I am here to seek a partnership with America: a genuine partnership to help transform agriculture in Africa, and by so doing unlock the full potential of agriculture in Africa, unleash the creation of wealth that will lift millions out of poverty in Africa, while creating wealth and jobs back home right here in America,” the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate  told the Forum.”

Adesina told more than 2,000 delegates that the African Development Bank is spearheading a number of transformative business and agricultural initiatives.

“We are launching the Africa Investment Forum, as a 100% transactional platform, to leverage global pension funds and other institutional investors to invest in Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa from November 7-9.”

The World Bank, International Finance Corporation, the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Islamic Development Bank, are partnering with the African Investment Forum to de-risk private sector investments.

The African Development Bank is also pioneering the establishment of Staple Crop Processing Zones  in 10 African countries, that are expected to transform rural economies into zones of economic prosperity and save African economies billions of dollars in much needed foreign reserves.

“We must now turn the rural areas from zones of economic misery to zones of economic prosperity. This requires a total transformation of the agriculture sector. At the core of this must be rapid agricultural industrialization. We must not just focus on primary production but on the development of agricultural value chains,” Adesina added. “That way, Africa will turn from being at the bottom to the top of global value chains.”

In his keynote address U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, said:

“The U.S. Administration has removed more restrictive regulations to agriculture than any other administration. Our goal is to dismantle restrictions that have eroded agricultural business opportunities.”

“Agriculture feeds prosperity and accounts for 20 cents of every dollar. As global prosperity grows, it in turn fuels the demand for more nutritious food and business opportunities,” he added.

In his concluding remarks, Adesina informed participants about a new $ 1 billion initiative, Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) to unlock Africa’s huge potential in the savannahs.

Expressing strong optimism that the future millionaires and billionaires of Africa will come from agriculture, Adesina said:

“Together, let our roots of prosperity grow downwards and bear fruit upwards. As we do, rural Africa and rural America will brim with new life, much like I witnessed in Indiana, during my time as a graduate student in America. Then, we will have changed the 3 ‘Ps’ to – Prosperity, Prosperity and Prosperity!”

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 44 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.

0
Read More
ACBF appointed African Union specialised agency for capacity development
February 23, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission with African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) management after ceremony in Harare

Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission with African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) management after ceremony in Harare

The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) has been appointed as a specialised agency for capacity development by the African Union (AU) at a ceremony endorsed by Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of
the African Union Commission in Harare.

Under the new framework, capacity development activities ACBF is going to undertake under will include enhancing skills required to achieve sustainable development,strengthening the human and institutional capacity of national and regional institutions,promoting economic and social transformation through policy formulation,implementation, monitoring and evaluation focusing on Africa’s developmental agenda and generating and sharing knowledge on capacity development.

It is reported that the African Union Commission shall, subject to its applicable internal procedures facilitate effective collaboration with ACBF Agency through the commission and other relevant organs of the Union, collaborate with the ACBF Agency in joint resource mobilization initiatives for the financing of
capacity building interventions in the continent and facilitate the ACBF Agency role in coordinating capacity building initiatives on the African continent.

The ACBF agency shall also create a consultative forum in which Africans may participate as full partners in the establishment of priorities and the development of policies and programs to promote capacity building in policy analysis and development management, establish processes for coordinating capacity building efforts in
policy formulation and implementation that would lead to greater efficiency and effectiveness of
ongoing donor efforts, coordinate resource mobilization to provide funding and resources for capacity building in Africa, lead, coordinate and champion production of fit-for-purpose, high-quality, and timely capacity development knowledge in support of the implementation of Africa’s development priorities, coordinate
knowledge connection (government, private sector and academia), facilitation and sharing to improve development practices, coordinate capacity development advisory services and training at continental, regional and country levels to translate capacity development knowledge and learning into relevant and innovative methods and
practices, support the emergence of a knowledge-based economy to sustain development results
in Africa, publish and disseminate information related to capacity building and capacity
utilization in Africa, collaborate with national, bilateral or multilateral institutions carrying out specific capacity building and capacity utilization activities in Africa.

0
Read More
The politics of fear is dying out in Africa
February 23, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Netsanet Belay*

FROM LEFT: President Uhuru Kenyata, former President Jacob Zuma and former Prime Minister Hailemariam

FROM LEFT: President Uhuru Kenyata, former President Jacob Zuma and former Prime Minister Hailemariam

Lenin was once quoted as saying, “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” This could perfectly describe the past week in Africa. Across the continent, a number of game-changing political developments have followed each other in quick succession in one of the most tumultuous weeks of any decade.

In South Africa, Jacob Zuma resigned after a presidency marked by corruption and impunity. Shortly after, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn stood down following months of intensifying public protest. In the same week, Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe’s long-standing opposition leader, passed away after a lifetime spent challenging human rights violations under former President Robert Mugabe.
The pace of these successive changes has been significant, but the ground has been stirring for some time. Last year Africa bid farewell to its three longest-serving leaders: Yahya Jammeh of Gambia (22 years), José Eduardo dos Santos of Angola (38 years) and Zimbabwe’s Mugabe (37 years) — all leaders of governments known for their brutal repression of dissent.
Given the scale and long history of the repression enacted by these governments, many thought they would not live to see their end. In Gambia, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia, recent developments were unthinkable — until they happened.
Who could have imagined that the gates of Ethiopia’s notorious prisons would open so widely, allowing thousands of prisoners of conscience to walk free? That Eskinder Nega, the courageous journalist who spent seven years behind bars for criticizing the government, would finally be reunited with his family?
Who in Gambia would have believed that Ousainou Darboe and Amadou Sanneh, two former Amnesty International prisoners of conscience who spent years in jail for speaking out against repression, would be ministers in the new government?
Who would have dared to question the reign of dos Santos and see his family lose its grip over Angola’s oil industry and wealth?
The growing resilience of people standing up against repression and demanding respect for human rights is a cause for hope in uncertain times. It suggests the politics of fear may finally be withering away.
Since 2016, mass protests and people’s movements — often articulated and organized through social media — have swept the continent.
#Oromoprotests and #amaharaprotests in Ethiopia, #ThisFlag in Zimbabwe and #FeesMustFall in South Africa were some of the most powerful manifestations of this growing defiance. These protests were often spontaneous, viral and driven by ordinary citizens, in particular young people who bear the triple burden of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
This trend continued in 2017. From Lomé to Freetown, Khartoum to Kampala and Kinshasa to Luanda, people went out to the streets in large numbers, ignoring threats and bans on protests and refusing to back down even in the face of brutal clampdowns.
The triggers for these protests vary. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, it was delays in publishing the electoral calendar that got people out on the streets; in Chad it was an increase in the fees charged to traders at the N’Djamena Millet Market; in Togo it was hikes in oil prices; in Kenya it was frustrations over the electoral process.
But what unites them is the strength in defiance and the demand for change, inclusion and freedom. While some of these protests had violent elements — mostly in reaction to heavy-handed clampdowns — the majority were peaceful and driven by a demand for basic rights and dignity.
And there is every reason to believe that this trend is unstoppable.
Amnesty International’s report on the state of the world’s human rights documents how 2017 saw the arbitrary and brutal suppression of the right to peaceful protest in more than 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including through unlawful bans, excessive use of force, harassment and arbitrary arrests.
But this did little to silence dissent despite the best efforts of those who want to crush and silence dissent. In fact, it is becoming clearer that failing to respect freedoms and fulfill human rights obligations is ultimately self-defeating.
This should serve as a wake-up call to all governments that the solution to lasting peace and stability lies in guaranteeing more freedoms, not less. Political shifts mean nothing if they don’t result in greater respect for human rights. People who care about freedom and equality are ultimately concerned not with which leader is in power, but whether or not they respect human rights.
Only time will tell what these political changes will truly mean for us Africans — especially for the poor, the young, the marginalized, the repressed and silenced.
But what is clear is that people across the continent are not willing to wait decades to find out.
*Culled from CNN.Netsanet Belay is Amnesty International’s director of Africa research and advocacy. The opinions in this article belong to the author.
0
Read More
Africa needs more scientists and engineers for developments- AU Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat
February 23, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire
The chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) Mr Moussa Faki
Mahamat has said that Africa needs more scientists and engineers to
develop itself and also in-order to minimise its dependence syndrome.
Mr Mahamat made the remarks during his visit to the African Capacity
Building Foundation (ACBF) headquarters in Harare to sign the AUC-ACBF
agreement on the ACBF’s status as specialised agency of the African
Union.
Mr Mahamat said that Africa should now have the capacity to fund
what it needs on its own and also to tell its partners what it needs.
He said that 90% of the human resource capital in Africa is in the
humanities and the arts sector which he said that was not bad, but
called for training of more scientists and engineers for the continent
to boost its development agenda.
Mahamat also expressed concern at the lack of mathematics teachers
in some African countries, a challenge which he said needed to
urgently addressed.
He also urged agencies and partners in Africa to evaluate their
interventions to assess their progress to enhance the continent’s
development. Mahamat also called for more scientific innovation on
the continent adding that the continent needed more researchers.
ACBF Executive Director, Professor Emmanuel Nnadozie, said that Africa was
investing in unemployment due to its major human capacity development
in the humanities, social sciences and the arts.
Nnadozie sid that there was need in transformation of skills and this
is a major issue which the ACBF and other partners was working on
addressing. He said that there was need to mobilise resources to
overhaul the education systems and quality of education on the African
continent.

0
Read More
Ghana dips in corruption ranking
February 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Ghana has been ranked 81 out of 180 countries in the latest Corruption Perception Index released on Wednesday.

Ghana scored 40 as against last year’s score of 43 – dropping 11 places in the latest CPI. It is Ghana’s worst performance in the last six years in its fight against corruption.

The CPI ranks countries annually by their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys. It is prepared by Transparency International. The CPI score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of zero (being highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

“We have the CPI for 2017 and Ghana performed not too good. Ghana actually dropped so far as our score is concerned. The most important thing on the CPI is the score and so on the scale of 0 to 100, Ghana scored 40 out of 100 points,” the Executive Director of the local chapter of Transparency International, Ghana Integrity Initiative, Linda Ofori-Kwafo said.

She said Ghana’s poor score in 2017 is a reflection of inadequate investigations, prosecutions and sanctioning of corrupt officials.“Since the CPI became comparable from the period 2012 to now, this is the worst performance that Ghana has had. This year, 2017 CPI, we are saying Ghana’s performance from 2012 is the worst so far,” Mrs Ofori-Kwafo noted.

However, she said the future looks positive.

“When we are able to get the gains of the new initiatives; the paperless port, the digital addressing system and the powers of the Auditor General to do the disallowance and surcharging and then office of the special prosecutor that has come on board…if all these initiatives work very well for us, we’re hoping that in a year, two years, three years to come, we should see a rise in Ghana’s CPI,” she stated.

New Zealand and Denmark ranked highest with scores of 89 and 88 respectively while Syria, South Sudan and Somalia rank lowest with scores of 14, 12 and 9 respectively.

0
Read More
President Akufo Addo resumes mediation talks in Togo
February 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

President Akufo Addo has travelled to neighboring Togo to mediate the political impasse between the Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé and the opposition coalition. The government of Togo and the coalition of 14 opposition political parties earlier this week agreed to implement a number of measures aimed at building trust and confidence amongst the political actors in Togo after an intervention by the Ghanaian President.

This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the first dialogue meeting held between the parties.

The communique captures among other decisions “appeasement and confidence building”, initiatives to be taken by the parties, as part of measures to address the impasse. The measures also included the signing of a presidential pardon, for the release of forty-five (45) out of the ninety-two (92) persons detained in the country’s prisons as a result of their involvement in the demonstrations.

The statement continued, “Other prisoners in detention, as a result of their involvement in the demonstrations, would have their cases examined by the Togolese Judiciary to determine their fate after going into the merits of their individual cases.”

The reform of presidential mandates and the voting system, already provided for in the 2006 Comprehensive Political Agreement has never been carried out, despite the fact that it was meant to conciliate a country whose peace has been fragile for some time now.

Faure Gnassingbé‘s party has reiterated in the local media that it would be “out of the question” to discuss the immediate departure of the Head of State or a commitment on his part to leave power.

 

0
Read More
Davido’s ‘If’ hits Diamond, ‘Fall’ goes Platinum
February 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

NIGERIAN popstar ‘Davido’ Adeleke‘s 2017 hit songs ‘If’ and ‘Fall’ have gone diamond and platinum respectively.

Davido at the Columbia Records office

Davido at the Columbia Records office

According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), this means ‘If’ has been sold or streamed one million times and ‘Fall’ has reached ten million record sales.

Davido shared a photo of himself with his awards and plagues on Tuesday through his Instagram page @davidooficial, writing:

“‘IF’ is officially Diamond and ‘FALL’ is officially Platinum in sales!!! My trophies finally came in as well! GOD IS REAL! Thank you Guys for making this happen!! Just getting started!!! Bless to my team @efe_one@asaasika@missamadi@sirbanko.”

The singer signed a record distribution deal with Sony RCA in the United States in 2016, a move that has led to his huge record sales.

The Plaques were presented at the Columbia Records UK office and Efe Ogbeni who executed the record deal for Davido with Sony was present.

The Managing Directors and President of Columbia UK Stacey Tang, Manish Arora and Ferdy Unger-Hamilton. Vanessa Amadi (Management) and Michael Ugwu were also present during the presentation of the Plaques.

Davido’s win came in shortly after he sold out his Brixton ‘O2’ Live show in London, on Sunday.

The ‘Fall’ crooner was recently won the Soundcity MVP award including ‘Best African Act’ and ‘Best Worldwide Act’.

The singer, who owns music label Davido Music Worldwide (DMW), recently released a new hit ‘Flora my Flawa’.

(NAN)/Real News

0
Read More
ECOWAS must achieve Single Currency by 2020 – Akufo-Addo
February 21, 2018 | 0 Comments
Ghana's President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo flanked by other West African leaders

Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo flanked by other West African leaders

The implementation of the Single Currency for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) targeted for the year 2020 cannot be missed, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said.

Delivering his welcome address at the 5th meeting of the Presidential Task Force on the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme held at the Accra International Conference Centre, President Akufo Addo said “The structure of economies bequeathed to West Africa by the colonists was aimed at servicing the colonial masters, essentially, raw material producing and exporting economies.”

He added that “the quest for an ECOWAS Single Currency is not intended to boost the trading of goods produced in third party countries, it is meant to encourage the production of goods and services within the West African region.”

These observations the President said are the reasons why the targeted timeline of 2020 for the single currency realization ought to be attained.

According to Mr. Akufo-Addo, the structural transformation of West African economies cannot be postponed if the region is to meet the aspirations of its young people for jobs.

The President added that “it is incumbent on West African leaders to strengthen the production base of their economies, improve agricultural productivity and industrial production.”

Over the next two years before the deadline of the implementation of the ECOWAS Single Currency, West African leaders ought to give the roadmap all the attention it deserves in order for the region to introduce the proposed single currency.

ECOWAS and the Single Currency

One of the reasons behind the establishment was to ensure the existence of a single currency in the region. The desire to integrate the region into one economic bloc that will lead to the circulation of a single currency has been on the agenda of various regional Head of States conferences, but it was discovered that colonial loyalties and the long existing monetary cooperation of Francophone nations with France was a strong impediment towards the proposal of such a target.

Also, member states have not been able to meet the set of convergence criteria which led to delays and the shifting of dates in establishing a common currency.

In addition, there is the lack of political will and fear of domination among ECOWAS member states. To solve this problem, it was agreed in April 2000 in Accra, Ghana, that a two-fast-track approach strategy be adopted for the realization of a single currency.

For the first track, the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) was to form a second monetary union called the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) by July 2005, which comprises mainly of Anglophone nations.

The second track is the subsequent merging of WAEMU and WAMZ to form a single currency union in the region.

 

 

0
Read More
Only on AP: Migrant recounts forced deportation from Israel
February 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

By RODNEY MUHUMUZA*

Inside the immigration office in Tel Aviv, Yohannes Tesfagabr considered his options. He could not dare return to his native Eritrea, a country he risked his life to flee in 2010. He also hoped to avoid the fate of compatriots who languished in a notorious desert jail for illegally staying in Israel.

So in an emotional confrontation with immigration officials one day last November, the 29-year-old sous chef accepted what Israeli authorities were offering: $3,500 in cash and a one-way ticket to Uganda or Rwanda.

Two weeks later he was on a flight to Uganda, together with five other Eritrean migrants he did not know.

“They told me, ‘If you don’t leave you are going to jail,'” Tesfagabr recalled. “It’s forced. They tell you to say you are going voluntarily, but it is not voluntary. They force you to deport yourself.”

His case highlights the predicament of tens of thousands of Africans in Israel who face jail if they do not accept an offer, allegedly without further assurances of safety, to relocate to an unnamed African country. Both Uganda and Rwanda, widely presumed to be the likely destinations, have denied the existence of any agreement with Israel’s government even though scores of migrants are believed to have already settled in the East African countries.

Tesfagabr said his group of Eritreans was not taken through the official immigration desk when they arrived in Uganda. Instead, they were ushered in via the cargo area, herded by a Ugandan official who stayed quiet most of the time. They were bundled into two taxis and driven to a hotel in the capital, Kampala. Their passports were confiscated by a man who spoke Tigrinya, a language widely spoken in Eritrea, and who Tesfagabr believes had been hired as a translator. Hours later, the undocumented Eritreans were dismissed from the hotel.

The five other men who traveled with Tesfagabr on a Nov. 16 EgyptAir flight to Uganda declined to talk to The Associated Press because of safety concerns. But Tesfagabr, although similarly worried, said he wanted to speak out because he felt he had been harshly treated during Israel’s efforts to remove him from a country he had grown to love.

“My Hebrew is four times better than my English,” he said one recent evening at a Kampala restaurant patronized by Eritreans.

Tesfagabr, a village boy from Eritrea’s highland area of Debarwa who felt hopeless after being forcefully conscripted into the army, arrived in Israel in 2012, the victim of alleged traffickers in Sudan who took him to Egypt and helped him cross a border point in the Sinai after his family was made to pay a $3,900 ransom. He remembered his days in captivity as some of the worst of his life. To force his parents to pay for his freedom, his captors beat him and staged mock executions. At least two of his compatriots were killed in a shootout with Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai, he said.

But after crossing into Israel, Tesfagabr benefited from random acts of kindness, including from an Israeli man who bought him food and new clothes. In Rehovot, the city south of Tel Aviv where he settled, he found a satisfying job as a sous chef in a bistro. He had an apartment and a bank account, but he had to get his visa renewed every two months and sometimes he was required to report back after five days.

When two compatriots with whom he shared an apartment were jailed for overstaying their visas, Tesfagabr knew his days were numbered and seriously began thinking about leaving Israel.

“They take you like a dog, like a donkey,” he said, talking about migrants taken to the Holot detention center in the Negev desert. “They do what they want. They don’t have any law for us … Because I know if I go over there, I can’t be a human being after.”

This month Israeli authorities began distributing deportation notices to some 40,000 African migrants, who have until April 1 to comply. Nearly all are from Eritrea and Sudan, countries with questionable human rights records. Thousands had entered the country until 2014, when Israel completed a massive border fence.

The deportation plan has sparked outrage in Israel, where groups of pilots, doctors, writers, rabbis and Holocaust survivors have appealed to have it halted. They say the deportations are unethical and would damage Israel’s image as a refuge for Jewish migrants.

Israel contends that most of the migrants are job seekers and cites complaints that they have transformed working-class neighborhoods of southern Tel Aviv into unrecognizable slums. Israeli authorities say women, children and families are exempt from the deportation order.

This month thousands of African asylum seekers protested outside the Rwandan Embassy in Israel, calling the deportations racist and urging Rwanda’s government not to cooperate. They claim they have no rights in Uganda and Rwanda and quickly are forced to flee toward Europe through war-torn countries like Libya.

Okello Oryem, Uganda’s deputy minister of international affairs, described reports of a deal to take in migrants from Israel as “fake news,” and in a statement Rwanda’s government insisted it “has never signed any secret deal with Israel regarding the relocation of African migrants.”

Mossi Raz, an Israeli lawmaker who recently traveled to Rwanda and Uganda in a delegation of opposition politicians to investigate the allegations of an official deal with those countries, said his group concluded that the arrangement “does not ensure the safety and well-being of the refugees.”

Raz said the delegation met with two migrants who are believed to be among the few remaining in Rwanda. He said others who were sent from Israel to Rwanda, believed to be in the hundreds or even thousands, were taken to a hotel in the capital, Kigali, for two days and then transferred to Uganda, forced to pay for their travel. He was unsure whether the transfer to Uganda was carried out via official channels.

The two migrants he met, who had been in Rwanda for two and three years respectively, were unable to work and scraped by on the remainder of the money they had received from Israel, he said.

“The refugees will arrive in these countries and will not receive refugee status, their documents will be taken from them and they will be left with nothing,” Raz said. “Rwanda is only participating in this agreement because of the money it will receive from Israel. Senior government officials in Rwanda claimed that such an agreement does not exist and so there is nothing to discuss. We believe such an agreement does exist.”

This month the speaker of Uganda’s national assembly urged the government to explain the alleged deportations. It remains unclear when that will happen. Musa Ecweru, Uganda’s top refugee official, did not respond to a request for comment. The U.N. migration agency’s office in Uganda told the AP it had not been contacted by the government and knew only “bits and pieces” about the alleged deportations from media reports.

Tesfagabr, the Eritrean migrant, is now jobless, without a passport and dependent on his savings to pay the rent. The soft-spoken man said he feels like a prisoner and dreams of relocating to Europe. To relax, he sometimes plays soccer with his friends, fellow Eritreans with a similarly uncertain future.

“I want to start a new life,” he said, fiddling with his phone.

*AP

0
Read More
Ouattara, others in Ghana for ECOWAS meeting
February 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papis Demba

Niger's Mahamadou Issoufou is in Ghana for the Summit

Niger’s Mahamadou Issoufou is in Ghana for the Summit

Heads of State in West Africa are in Ghana for the 5th Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Presidential Task-force meeting. The conference is aimed at attaining a single currency for the sub-region by 2020.

Ivorian leader Alhassane Ouattara, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, and the President of Niger, Issoufou Mahamadou, are already in Accra, while others are expected in the country for the meeting. Governors of Central Banks and foreign Ministers from the ECOWAS are also in attendance.

The four-day meeting is being chaired by Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. The Meetings will among other things, provide member countries with a common platform to deliberate on issues related to the ECOWAS single currency programme and consider/adopt a revised roadmap to accelerate the creation of the single currency by 2020.

ECOWAS was founded with the aim of transforming the Sub-region into an economic and monetary union. This led to the adoption of the Community Authority of the ECOWAS Monetary’ Cooperation Programme (EMCP) in July 1987.The meeting is scheduled to take place at the Accra International Conference Centre from February 21, 2018.

The last meeting of the Presidential Task Force on the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme was held in Niamey, Niger in October, 2017.

0
Read More
John Mahama, Saraki, Yeda, Alakija, Amina J Mohammed to discuss unlocking Africa’s economic potential at Commonwealth Africa Summit 2018
February 21, 2018 | 0 Comments
The event will encourage dialogue on how to strategize and mobilise valuable African resources that are critical to shaping the continent’s emerging economies
LONDON, United Kingdom, February 20, 2018/ — Unlocking Africa’s economic potential by increasing trade, collaboration and philanthropy within the commonwealth will be at the forefront of conversations at next month’s Commonwealth Africa Summit (http://CommonwealthAfrica.com) in London.

The Summit aims to spark new thinking on how to promote collective action, achieve shared prosperity and common good for Africans leveraging on their relationship with the commonwealth family of nations. Through a series of discussions, the event will encourage dialogue on how to strategise and mobilise valuable African resources that are critical to shaping the continent’s emerging economies.

The 5th in its annual series, the 2018 Commonwealth Africa Summit themed Common Good will have as Keynote Speaker H.E. John Dramani Mahama(Former President of Ghana), Amina J Mohammed (UN Deputy Secretary General), H.E. Senator Bukola Saraki (Senate President of Nigeria), Dr. Hassan Ahmed Hilal (Minister of Environment Sudan), Chief Mrs. Folorunso Alakija (Vice Chair – Famfa Oil), Rt. Hon. Mia Amor Mottley MP (Leader of  Opposition and Former Deputy Prime Minister of Barbados), Dr. Babatope Agbeyo (Chairman Cornfield Group) and others to be announced soon.

Past speakers at the CAS Summit have included HRH Prince Andrew The Duke of York, Gen. Yakubu Gowon; Rt. Hon. Baleka Mbete (Speaker of the Parliament of South Africa), Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Baroness Lynda Chalker of Wallasey; Lord Watson of Richmond; Lord Ahmed of Rotherham; Baroness Uddin of Bethnal Green; Simon Walker, Director General of the British Institute of Directors (IOD); Ministers of Government, Ambassadors and many other Global Leaders.

The 2018 summit will also feature as panellist a wide array of senior Cabinet Ministers and Chief Executives of corporations from Africa and across the Commonwealth including Dr. Hassan Ahmed Hilal (Minister of Environment Sudan), Kate Osamor (UK Shadow Secretary for International Development), Ms. Vivienne Yeda (Director General – East African Development Bank), Mark Pursey (CEO BTP Advisers), Henry Sands (SABI Strategy Group), Isha Johansen (President of Sierra Leone Football Association), Muriel Maupoint (CEO Hope for Children), Sally Anne Wilson (CEO Public Media Alliance), Dr. Justina Mutale (Advisory Board Member – World Leaders Forum), Tim Loughton MPJohn Penrose MP (UK Prime Minister’s Anti-Corruption Champion), Mark Stoleson (Chief Executive Officer and Partner at Legatum), Martin Realey (CEO Build Africa), Debbie Ariyo (CEO AFRUCA), Tim Wainwright (CEO Water Aid), Paul Smith Lomas MBE (CEO of Practical Action), Dr. Babatope Agbeyo (CEO Cornfield Group and Botosoft Inc), Parminder Vir OBE (CEO Tony Elumelu Foundation), Lord Alan Watson of Richmond (Former Chair of Coca Cola Europe Advisory Board), Dayo Israel(Africa Regional Director, Commonwealth Africa Initiative), Odein Ajumogobia (Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Nigeria), Lord Hughes of Woodside(Chair of the British Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM)), Paul Kunert (CEO Joule Africa), Dr. V B Narayanamurthy (Professor, India), Sidney Yankson(CEO Ghana Capital Partners Ltd), Dr. Amy Jadesinmi (CEO LADOL Energy), Elikem Nutifafa Kuenyehia (CEO ENS Ghana), Paul Kunert, DJ Cuppy Otedola, Dr. Ken Ikpe, Mark TierneyHelen Tarnoy (Founder, Managing Director Aldwych International Ltd), Mr. Omar Selim (CEO Arabeque), Edward George (Country Head, UK Representative Office – ECOBANK Group), and many others.

Key themes and conversations will include:

  • How can we beat Africa’s Water Crisis?
  • Strong Economic Leadership: An imperative for Common Good
  • From Emerging Markets to Sustainable Market – Creating Sustainable economies across Africa
  • Africa for Africans: A New Era of Africa Philanthropic Giving and its impact on the continent
  • Are there disruptive solutions to solving Africa’s Energy and Infrastructural Challenges?
  • Economic Prosperity, Poverty and Human Trafficking in Africa: Finding lasting solutions
  • Climate Change: Issues, Priorities and Solutions for the Commonwealth Africa
  • Will Brexit Translate to opportunities for African Economy
  • Improving Opportunities for African Women: The role of economy, policy and culture
  • Beyond Philanthropy: How do we drive more access to finance for Africa’s budding entrepreneurs?
  • Investing in Africa: Where are the opportunities? Where are the financing gaps? How to successfully direct invest?
  • Which emerging markets are ripe for next generation of private equity financing?
  • How can Africa profit from its creative industries?

With more than 300 global and African thought leaders in government and business expected to attend over the three days, the stage will be set for discussion on issues ranging from trade and investment, entrepreneurship, job creation, economic development, health, security and counterterrorism, and energy.

To register for the event, visit www.CASevents.org/cas2018 or for more information about CAFI’s global chain of events, visit www.CASevents.org. For exhibition, contact Secretariat@CommonwealthAfrica.com.

0
Read More
1 166 167 168 169 170 180