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Gambia: Turkey’s Ambassador Yuceer bids farewell to Foreign Minister Tangara
December 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

The Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, Dr. Mamadou Tangara, on 3rd December, 2019 received the out-going Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey, His Excellency Mr. Ismail Sefa Yuceer, in his office in Banjul and they had a kind and friendly talk with each other.

Ambassador Sefa Yuceer was in the Minister’s to bid him farewell. In his statement, he paid tribute to Gambians whose character, resilience and peaceful nature made the 2016 change to democratic system of governance possible.

He lauded the good relations that exist between the two countries and promised to continue to support The Gambia. He was confident that his successor will take the relationship to higher heights.

Minister Tangara said that the friendly relations and cooperation between The Gambia and Turkey developed satisfactorily in recent years under the guidance of the principles of mutual respect, mutual trust, mutual benefit and win-win.

He believed that the relations of the two countries would further develop with the joint efforts of the two sides. He also commended the President of Turkey and the Turkish government for the cooperation between the two countries.

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Lux Afrique Boutique Now Offers International Luxury Brands a Way into 54 Countries in Africa Through Their Online Luxury Shopping Platform
December 3, 2019 | 0 Comments
Alexander Amosu, CEO of Lux Afrique Boutique
Alexander Amosu, CEO of Lux Afrique Boutique

Brands like Louis XIII, David Morris, Yoko London, Montegrappa, Boadicea, Stephen Webster are just a some of the brands already signed up to the shopping platform
LONDON, United Kingdom, December 3, 2019/ — Lux Afrique Boutique (LAB) , is the first luxury online shopping platform that offers its VIP clients an opportunity to purchase and take delivery of luxury goods anywhere in Africa.

Strong ambitions

Historically, luxury brands have traditionally been associated with developed nations, as a result of this, it became common practice for both Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) & High Net Worth (HNW) markets of African nations to dominate well known international luxury retailers such as Harrods, Saks, Harvey Nicholls and other respected retailers. Subsequently with the growing trend of online buying, luxury retailers entered the same market.

For example, Net-A-Porter first made its appearance in the year 2000 and has now firmly solidified itself as one of the market leaders in Europe for online luxury brands. This too can be said for FarFetched, Lane Crawford in Asia Pacific, and Nordstrom for North & South America.

What remains to be explored is a market leader for the continent of Africa. This is where the expertise of Lux Afrique has a clear benefit and advantage to partnering brands.

Brands like Louis XIII, David Morris, Yoko London, Montegrappa, Boadicea, Stephen Webster are just a some of the brands already signed up to the shopping platform, with more joining on a daily basis. The online shopping platform offers its HNW clients across the African continent an opportunity to shop at the same prices as retail outlets in Paris, London or Milan from the comfort of their homes.

The growing world of luxury constantly draws in new consumers and in fact, according to a recent study published by Bain & Company , the market is expected to grow by 5% in 2019. This growth is due in particular to the developing digital world, and to Generation Z, Millennials – who will represent around 55% of the market in 2025 and will contribute 130% growth during this period – and the increase in a new-found demand of customers in emerging countries.

Alexander Amosu, CEO of Lux Afrique Boutique states: “We already have great experience with the requirements of the African HNW market, a classic example is a client in Lagos, Nigeria going to an event in 48hrs and needing the perfect ensemble right through from cocktail dress, to matching shoes and accessories. As soon as she placed her order, LAB got it on a plane for our client to receive it the very next day. LAB offers a variety of logistic services, however in this case what was required was the pinnacle, being an expedited white glove delivery service. Essentially, African luxury consumers now have a company they can rely on to deliver all their favourite luxury brands to their homes or office anywhere on the continent.”

Trendy products

Luxury brands will continue to capture the imagination and set trends, even in an environment of dynamic financial conditions, typical of emerging markets. Additionally, the global luxury market is constantly looking to reach untapped markets, especially in Africa. LAB already offers a selection of luxury products that correspond to current trends and are aligned with the expectations of HNW customers. “LAB’s unique advantage is that Through its client base, it can support the growth of its luxury brand partners on the African continent in any market where they wish to strengthen their presence. With the rise of new forms of commerce linked to the digital economy, this is an opportunity for LAB and we are better placed to meet consumer demand in Africa,” Amosu adds.

Made in Africa

Lux Afrique Boutique is delighted to and will offer a selection of Africa’s most talented and respected designers as part of our ‘Made in Africa’ range.

Elegant and luxurious creations from across the continent will be featured on the online platform, side by side, with traditional western luxury creators.

Lux Afrique Boutique , is part of the Lux Afrique Group that offers a lifestyle and concierge services cantering to UHNW across Africa, as well as a luxury multimedia platform for marketing and promoting luxury brands, targeting an audience on the African continent. It introduces luxury-focused brands to the high net-worth consumer markets growing throughout Africa, through a number of means, including high-profile events, such as the Lux Afrique Annual Polo Day.
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Comoros: World Bank Group Pledges $175 Million in Additional Support for Development Programs
December 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

PARIS, December 3, 2019— The World Bank Group pledged an additional $175 million over the period 2020-2022 to support Comoros’ development through its National Emergent Plan. The announcement was made at the Development Partners Conference for Comoros, held in Paris on December 2 and 3, 2019.
This funding consists of grants and concessional credits from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s arm that provides grants and low to zero-interest loans to the world’s poorest countries and contributions from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a sister organization of the World Bank that provides financing for the private sector in developing countries. The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), another member of the World Bank Group, will also support Comoros through the implementation of the National Emergent Plan.

The IDA funds will help strengthen human capital development through better investments in nutrition and social protection programs. They will support the country’s recovery and reconstruction of infrastructure, roads and housing after cyclone Kenneth. The World Bank Group’s support will also help promote private sector and value chains development in agriculture and tourism, boost inter-island connectivity, renewable energy supply, and digital finance while increasing financial inclusion.

IFC will leverage IDA funds and other Development Partners’ programs to scale up private sector financing contribution to the National Emergent Plan and its reform agenda. IFC will focus on improving the investment climate and is ready to invest and provide advisory services following the successful implementation of the required reforms.
Comoros is a country with huge potential and important natural resources. However, two Comorians out of 10 live in extreme poverty and a third of the children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition. The human capital index of the Comoros is 0.41, meaning that a child born today in Comoros will have only 41% of the productivity he could have had if he had benefited from an education, comprehensive health care and nutrition.

With this new financing, the World Bank is committed to accompany Comoros in its efforts to achieve an inclusive and sustainable growth. We stand ready to work with other development partners to support the Government and the people of Comoros to address some of the urgent development issues, including enhancing the human capital and promoting better and more connected people”, said Mark Lundell, World Bank Country Director for Mozambique, Madagascar, Mauritius, Comoros and Seychelles.

IFC looks forward to continuing the collaboration with the Government of Comoros and its development Partners to strengthen the investment climate, including in areas related to property rights and access to credit. These building blocks will enable IFC to mobilize private investment to support food security, financial inclusion and sustainable job creation”, said Ousseynou Nakoulima, IFC Regional Director for Western Europe.

“MIGA is committed to supporting Comoros’ development goals and the government’s program to boost foreign private sector participation in key sectors. MIGA will play a critical role in de-risking private investment by insuring cross-border investors against non-commercial risks in sectors such as telecommunications, energy, and transport”, said Hoda Moustafa, MIGA Regional Head for Africa. 

*World Bank

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Considerations for School Choice at the K-12 Level
December 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

By John Nkemnji, Ph.D*

Prof John Nkemnji
Prof John Nkemnji

At the beginning of each school year, parents and guardians enroll their children in a K-12 school: public, private, religious,magnet, chartered, or online school. K-12 schools can be divided into three levels (elementary, middle and high school). Children under the age of 18 are mandated by the state to enroll and complete high school or obtain a GED.  Educational institutions in the USA fall into two general categories: private and public. Private schools are usually for-profit, and public schools are covered by local, state, and federal funds. Regardless of the type of school, each state provides regulations and standards that must be followed. This paper examines why some parents prefer to enroll their children in private institutions (which are typically costly) over neighborhood public schools (which are relatively inexpensive).

It is often assumed that attending private schools leads to better outcomes in comparison to receiving public school education. However, research/available information does not support this claim. Since state assessments are used to measure academic attainment and growth in student proficiency, the curriculum of private schools and public schools are the same. Therefore, any differences in outcomes stem from other variables and not curriculum.

Some reasons why parents may prefer private schools over public schools pertain to school building maintenance, specialized instructional support staff, low student-teacher class size ratio, and religious affiliations. The higher cost of tuition that comes with private schools also entails well-maintained buildings and specialized instructional support staff (e.g. guidance counselors, social workers, school psychologists, school nurses, language and technology experts). If a classroom has a high student-teacher ratio, it results in students receiving less personal attention from teachers. Large class sizes may also present discipline problems and make it difficult to control problems like bullying. The ideal class size for the primary to high school age population is 20 students or less.

Most immigrant parents (especially from developing countries) do everything in their power to give their children a good education in the USA, in an attempt to narrow the achievement gap. Some parents fear that if their children do not go to or succeed in college it may be because of a poor educational foundation. They place a high value on good education and do not want to take chances.

The advantages of enrolling children in public schools are location, cost, and keeping children in a familiar environment. Neighborhood public schools are in closer proximity to a family’s home and result in a shorter commute time to get to school. Given the public schools are funded by the government, the financial burden on parents is minimal. The amount of money that can be saved by choosing public schools may result in parents having the ability to spend more time with their children at home. It is essential to balance the time spent at work with time spent with your child/children at home. Assistance at home with school related activities like reading and writing and quality time with parents and family eliminates the hefty school expenditure in private schools. Children’s academic results are determined by the expectations set by themselves, their parents, and the schools. Children have a better opportunity to achieve their goals if parents are active participants in their lives, school assignments, and their welfare.

Additionally, the student demographics in a neighborhood school will reflect the demographics that students are exposed to within their community. This lessens the chance of being put in an unfamiliar environment and potentially having difficulty integrating into the new environment.

Some schools have a history of crimes related to the use of alcohol, illicit drugs and firearms. Parents strive to avoid such school. One disadvantage that may be associated with public schools is that not all public schools offer specialized programs. Parents may wish to have their children in STEM programs, bilingual emersion programs or other programs like gifted and talented, special education, band, choir, sports, after-school activities, and others.

As discussed, it is not the type of school that determines/dictates better outcomes. All things being equal, there is no significant achievement discrepancy for students in private schools over those who attend public schools. Rather, low student-teacher ratios, available school resources, parental support/involvement, socioeconomic/racial background, and school environments that cater to the needs of the students are the determining factors that impact a student’s performance in school. Schools not only prepare students academically, but the content they learn and how they learn help prepare them for life.

Proper afterschool followup of homework and social activities should be provided by parents and adults whether the children attend public schools or private schools.  Children should be monitored and not allowed to use electronic toys, tablets, or computers endlessly.  These tools cannot substitute parental or adult supervision. The extra time spent at work (sometimes on two jobs) to raise funds to support an expensive private education could be more useful if such time and effort were spent with the children on after-school educational tasks. It is only for very specialized academic programs that an expensive school choice makes sense. Such a choice will ensure that the school embodies a culturally responsive, inclusive, sound physical, emotional, and social safety of the students. Demographics, class size, teacher preparation, discipline and location, and safety, play a role in school choice. Most schools are accredited and held accountable by the accrediting agency (private or public) for effective learning. This paper does not extend its conclusions to school choice issues beyond the K-12 cycle (college education issues). School choice for a college career requires a different type of analysis, especially given the fact that financial disparity is not usually much.

*John Nkemnji is Professor Emeritus, Educational Technology. He has family both in public and private K-12 schools.

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UN Rights Expert warns Zimbabwe is on the Brink of Man-Made Starvation
December 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

Hilal Elver, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food has warned that Zimbabwe is on the brink of man-made starvation. In her report, Hilal Elver said that 60 percent of the Zimbabwean population was now food insecure.

The UN special rapporteur visited Zimbabwe on an 11-day fact-finding mission. The mission took Hilal Elver and her team to several parts of the country worst hit by the El Nino induced drought. Elver’s assessment concluded that about 5.5 million rural Zimbabweans and a further 2.2 million people based in the urban areas face food insecurity.

“The people of Zimbabwe are slowly getting to a point of suffering man-made starvation…More than 60 percent of the population of a country once seen as the breadbasket of Africa is now considered food insecure, with most households unable to obtain enough food to meet basic needs due to hyperinflation,” Elver said.

The UN envoy went on to state that “These are shocking figures and the crisis continues to worsen due to poverty and high unemployment, widespread corruption, severe price instabilities, lack of purchasing power, poor agricultural productivity, natural disasters, recurrent droughts and unilateral economic sanctions.” Elver did acknowledge that hyperinflation and the poor rains experienced in the 2018-19 agricultural season have exacerbated the food crisis.

With the situation untenable, Elver expressed concern that the food crisis will inevitably lead to an escalation in political stability. “A government official I met in Harare told me ‘Food Security is national security.’ Never has this been truer than today’s Zimbabwe. As food insecurity and land management increase the risks of civil unrest, I urgently call on the government, all political parties and the international community to come together to put an end to this spiralling crisis before it morphs into a full-blown conflict.”

In her address, Elver said that women, children and infants were the biggest victims of the food crisis. “ I saw the ravaging effects of malnutrition on infants deprived of breastfeeding because of their own mother’s lack of access to adequate food.” She went on to state that, “Chronic malnutrition and stunting is endemic throughout the country, where 90 percent of children aged six to 24 months consume the minimal diet to survive. The vast majority of children I met in the rural parts of Masvingo and in Mwenezi, as well as in informal settings in the suburbs of Harare, appeared severely stunted and underweight due to reduced food availability caused by high levels of poverty and the consequence of the recurrent drought and floods.”

The food crisis also leads women to degrade themselves in the quest to source for food for themselves and their children. “In a desperate effort to find alternative means of livelihood, some women and children are resorting to coping mechanisms that violate their most fundamental human rights and freedoms. As a result, school dropouts, early marriage, domestic violence, prostitution and sexual exploitation are on the rise throughout Zimbabwe.”

As recommendations, Elver called on the government to take steps to reduce the country’s dependence on imported food, particularly maize, and to support alternative kinds of wheat to diversify the diet. “ I call on the government to live up to its zero-hunger commitment without any discrimination.”  She also stated that “steps could be taken at the national level to respect, protect and fulfil the government’s human rights obligations, and internationally, by putting an end to all economic sanctions.”  

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New Next Einstein Forum Ambassadors to drive shift in perceptions about science and technology in Africa
December 3, 2019 | 0 Comments
NEF Ambassadors 2019-2021
NEF Ambassadors 2019-2021

KIGALI, Rwanda, December 2nd, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Today, the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) announces its new class of Ambassadors, the third cohort of young science and technology champions from across Africa. Ambassadors, one from each African country, will drive public engagement activities to promote science and technology education, research and innovation in their countries.

Dr. Youssef Travaly, NEF Vice-President of Science, Innovation and Partnerships said: “This selection comes at a time when we are working to accelerate science diplomacy and collaboration to solve Africa’s and the world’s grand challenges. This new cohort is already working to advance the frontiers of science and technology to solve societal problems through research and outreach. Leveraging their momentum and the wider NEF community of scientists, we hope to influence a clear policy and public opinion shift, spurring action and investment. Congratulations to all ambassadors.”

NEF Ambassadors are selected through a rigorous process that includes review of academic achievements, entrepreneurial abilities and track record of public engagement efforts. Ambassadors also have to demonstrate a passion for grassroots scientific initiatives in their countries and inspiring the next generation of scientists.

“Our ambition is to multiply the number of role models by building a strong community of scientists who are active in their communities. This will help improve coordination and accelerate impact. Ambassadors, in particular, help advance the NEF’s objective to make science and technology a central part of regional and local development through the organization of Africa Science Week’s in their countries. We look forward to working with each of them,” said Nathalie Munyampenda, NEF Managing Director.

NEF Ambassadors will represent their country at the NEF’s premier science and innovation gathering on 10-13 March in Nairobi, Kenya. They will get to interact with other members of the community as well as network with leading scientists and business leaders.

In this cohort, the NEF has selected Ambassadors in 45 countries. The NEF is accepting applications for Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Namibia, Central African Republic, Burundi, Libya and Mozambique. Interested applicants can download the application at Learn more about the NEF Global Gathering 2020 at

Meet the 2019-2021 NEF Ambassadors

Fadoul Hissein Abba (Chad) combines electrical engineering and entrepreneurship. Currently the manager of WenakLabs, he founded HiraTech-a startup of tele-irrigation, that enables farmers to remotely control irrigation systems at their farms.

Omar Ibn Abdillah (Comoros) is the founder & CEO of OIA Group. He was selected as a 2019 Obama Leader, and is deputy president of Ideas for Action Africa. He is a Techstars Startup facilitator and head coach at 100startups.

Sophia Yusuf Abeid (Tanzania) is an Electronics and Telecoms Engineer. She co-founded Blueprint Innovations, and is known for her award-winning File Tracking System. She was the youngest awardee recognized at NEF Africa Week 2018 in Tanzania.

Manara Asad Begira Arbab (Sudan) graduated from the University of Khartoum’s Faculty of Science in the Department of Zoology. She became the first Youth Advocate at UNICEF Sudan, while playing an active role in organizing NEF Africa Science Week for the Sudan.

Mohamed-Lamine Bamba (Cote d’Ivoire) is Head Teacher at Happy Coders Academy, a school that teaches children Coding, 3D design and Robotics. He has worked as a web developer and managing director of Digit’Com.

Abdoulaye Oury Barry (Guinea) returned to the Guinea after a doctorate in France and a postdoc in Belgium, to set up a first-of-its-kind research laboratory at the University of Conakry, his alma mater. He is the founding president of TechnoTransGuinée.

Sakina Benabdelkader (Algeria) is a biologist and project leader. She was honored as “The Woman Entrepreneur 2017” and “The Best Idea 2016” in Algerian contests. She has served as ambassador for foundations that promote youth and women in sciences.

Salma Bougarrani (Morocco) holds a PhD in Environment and Water Treatment from the Faculty of Sciences at Mohammed V University in Rabat. A recipient of Excellence in Research Awards, she has managed “Women in Water Field” project at Peking and is co-founder of Green WATECH.

Baltazar Cá (Guinea Bissau) is a Researcher at the National Institute for Public Health in Guinea-Bissau, presently coordinating MAF-TB project fieldwork. He is tracking the genetic diversity of circulating Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex in Guinea Bissau.

Yusuf Chimole (Malawi) started receiving international awards from the age of 16. The founder of Lync Systems and vice president of Robotics Foundation Limited, he is chief designer of Malawi Pavilion for Dubai Expo 2020 and World Expo 2025.

Chioma Chukwu (Nigeria), a software developer, is the Founder of STEMteers, in partnership with the Ministry of Education in Nigeria, which has launched STEM clubs in over 21 schools reaching about 500 students, of which 50 percent are female students.

Mamadou Tourad Diallo (Mauritania) who holds a PhD in Computer Science and Telecommunications is currently working in Mauritania as a lecturer at the University of Nouakchott – Al Asriya. He is passionate about artificial intelligence, smart grids and IoT.

Sicelo Dube (Zimbabwe) advocates for STEM education as senior lab technician at Hellenic Academy. He is also founder of LEC Biotec, co-founder of Elevante Trust and president of the Zimbabwe Science Laboratory Technicians Trust.

Shymaa Enany (Egypt) is an associate professor of Microbiology at Suez Canal University, Egypt. An award winner, she was the first Arab scientist to apply bacterial proteomic techniques to help reveal good markers for bacteria spreading in community.

Anyse Sofia Fernandes-Pereira (Cabo Verde), a PhD student, is investigating the medicinal power of plants to demonstrate the scientific validity of plant-based traditional medicine use. She hopes to forge a link between traditional and scientific knowledge.

Ousia A. Foli-Bebe (Togo) founded EcoTecLab to foster youth innovation and STEM education. He co-designed and built MoLab, a mobile STEM lab that facilitates STEM workshops across schools and villages in Togo.

Ines Gasmi (Tunisia) holds a PhD in Agricultural Sciences with specialization in desertification, environment and climate change. Her work centers on finding solutions to Tunisia’s water shortage and climate change direct impact.

Oliver Jolezya Hasimuna (Zambia) is an Aquaculturist in Zambia’s Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock. He offers consultancy and training services in aquaculture and fisheries, in addition to outreach service and youth mentorship in STEM.

Eric Gabriel Jenn (Liberia) works to improve road construction in Liberia. As a transport and geotechnical engineer and an infrastructure policy specialist, he is among the 150 Fellows from over 100 countries collaborating with the EU Joint Research Center in Italy.

Annick Laurence Koussoube (Burkina Faso) holds a Master’s degree in Communications from the African Institute of Management (IAM) in Ouagadougou. She is Communications Specialist at Pananetugri Initiative for the Wellbeing of the Woman.

Ntiea Ephraim Letsapo (Lesotho) is a water and water environment scientist working at the Department of Water Affairs of Lesotho as Head of Water Law Section. He is involved in various phases of water resources development projects.

Devina Lobine (Mauritius) is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Mauritius. She is investigating Mauritian medicinal plants to manage Alzheimer’s disease, and is actively engaged in promoting STEM and bio-innovation among the youth.

Mario Lopes (Sao Tome & Principe) is co-founder of Tela Digital Media Group and editor of STP Digital. He is a board member and policy advisor in the National Youth Council of Sao Tome and Principe and vice-president of the NGO Galo Canta.

Philippa Ngaju Makobore (Uganda) is an award-winning innovator who designs medical devices appropriate and affordable for low resource contexts. She is the Department Head of the Instrumentation Division at the Uganda Industrial Research Institute.

Elie Mandela (Rwanda) holds a Bachelor of Sciences with Honors in Pharmacy from the University of Rwanda. Currently he serves an Associate Program Analyst at Mastercard Foundation in charge of Youth Engagement, he supported Johnson and Johnson Global Public Health to establish a mental health research in Rwanda and is the founding director of Hult Prize Rwanda.

Alda Manuel (Angola) works as an Electrical Engineer at Anglobal, an Angolan energy and telecommunications company. Her goal is to empower girls in STEM and bridge the gender gap in Angola.

Paulcy Des Merveilles Mboungou (Congo Brazzaville) is the co-founder & CTO of MALAMU Inc, a service that seeks to provide more efficient health care delivery system. Previously at ThoughWorks where he gained experience delivering software using Agile, he is the co-founder of Knowledge Sharing Campaign.

Dikabo Mogopodi (Botswana) holds a PhD in Analytical Chemistry. She has recently joined The University of Botswana where she works as a Lecturer in Analytical Chemistry. A blogger and author, she is involved in intellectual property advocacy in science and technology.

Sebay J.B. Momoh (Sierra Leone) is a petroleum engineer and holds an MSc (with distinction) in Petro and Environmental Technology from Coventry University, England. A STEM enthusiast, she works at Sierra Leone’s Petroleum Directorate.

Gladys Mosomtai (Kenya) is a passionate mentor of girls in STEM and user of earth observation technologies. A PhD Fellow in Kenya and at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, she is a recipient in 2018 of L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Fellowship.

Talla Ndiaye (Senegal) is involved in extending Senegal’s use of Data Intelligence, currently working as Big Data engineer at Orange-Sonatel in Dakar. He coordinates and/or contributes to Open Algorithms, Flux Vision, Data4Development, Senagro and Walùjiggen.

Abdou Idris Omar (Djibouti) is a doctoral candidate on Construction and Climatic Energy at the University of Djibouti and Claude-Bernard University in Lyon. He is helping communities to advance off-grid solar power plans to light up Djibouti.

Justina Adwoa Onumah (Ghana) is a Senior Research Scientist at the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute of the CSIR-Ghana. A PhD Fellow at the University of Ghana, she is working to foster a stronger research-policy-industry nexus in Ghana.

Moussa Hasan Ousseini (Niger) is pursuing a doctorate in SVT at Abdou Moumouni University, holding degrees in Zoology and Applied Physiology. A poultry nerd, he won best prize at the 2018 Africa Science Week’s “Your thesis in 3 minutes” contest in Niger.

Beranger Constantin Nsa Oyono (Gabon) is an information systems design engineer and holds a Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics. The Head of Research and Development in a government agency, he assists the Gabonese government with promoting STEM in young people.

Beryl Birgitta Payet (Seychelles) is a Communications and Electronics Engineer with the Department of Information Communications Technology (DICT) in Seychelles. She is a member of SYAH-Seychelles and Global Shapers-Victoria Hub; two Seychelles Youth-led Non-Government Organizations undertaking life-changing community projects in Seychelles. She is an advocate for STEM education and passionate about the empowerment of women and girls. She is one of Seychelles’ Mandela Washington Fellow for 2019.

Randrianavelo Tsiry Nantenaina Rakotondratovo (Madagascar) works as project manager at Institut Pasteur of Madagascar, he is involved in youth development and civic engagement in STEM through his organization “Move up Madagascar”.

Jeshika Ramchund (South Africa) is an award-winning scientist and lead engineer at Bosch Projects (Pty) Ltd, South Africa. She has been celebrated by Mail and Guardian in 2018 and named South African’s Young Engineer of the Year 2019.

Hassan Sillah (Gambia) at 11th grade represented his country in the 21st Edition of the Pan-African Mathematics Olympiad. He is an IT Manager at the SBEC International School, the president of the Robotics Hub Gambia, and co-founder of Sakina software startup.

Lwandle Simelane (Eswatini), is a senior science officer in the Department of Research, Science, Technology and Innovation of Eswatini. She is currently responsible for the portfolio of international collaborations, resource mobilization and ethics.

Fadimatou Noutchemo Simo (Cameroon) is the founder and president of Young African Aviation Professional Association and CEO of HEFA Group, her aviation consultancy firm. She won the IATA High Flyer Award 2019 and the Commonwealth Point of Light.

Andebet Gedamu Tamirat (Ethiopia) is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Kotebe Metropolitan University, Ethiopia. He is conducting research in the area of next-generation rechargeable battery, and is in charge of technology transfer at KMU.

Vidjinnangni Grégory Thoto (Benin) advises business leaders and supports start-ups/SMEs in their digital communication strategy. He is the managing director of Guerra Tech Hub, that trains young graduates in novel skills of digital technology.

Mohammed Traore (Mali) was selected as an early stage researcher in the ForSEAdiscovery project, under which he did a PhD in Spain. Passionate for all things science, he is currently Assistant Professor at the National Engineering School of Bamako.

Josephine Ndeze Uwase (DRC) was crowned Miss Geek Africa 2019, thanks to her project aiming to reduce maternal mortality rate in rural Congo using cell-phone technologies. She is a student in computer science in Goma, DRC.

Read their full profiles here.

About the Next Einstein Forum
Launched in 2013 by the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), the Next Einstein Forum’s (NEF) work is shaped by our belief that the next Einstein will be African. The NEF is working to make NEF a global hub for science implementing programs that connect science, society and policy in Africa and the rest of the world – with the goal to leverage science for human development globally. The NEF believes that Africa’s contributions to the global scientific community are critical for global progress. At the centre of our efforts at NEF, is Africa’s young people, the driving force for Africa’s scientific renaissance.

The NEF organized biennial global gatherings, Africa’s largest science and innovation conference. Far from an ordinary science forum, the NEF Global Gatherings position science at the centre of global development efforts. In the presence of political and industry leaders, and with a strong focus on youth and women, the voices of global science leaders’ have the opportunity to be heard and to have major impact on Africa’s scientific future. The NEF Global Gathering 2020 will be held on 10-13 March 2020 in Nairobi, Kenya.

In addition, the NEF organizes an Africa Science Week in over 30 countries each year. This year’s edition will be held in 40 countries in October 2019. To make science relevant for everyone, the NEF publishes a public magazine Scientific African Magazine.
* Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of the Next Einstein Forum.
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African universities, Mastercard Foundation chart ways of improving higher education
December 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Jean d’Amour Mugabo

University community deliberate on improving higher education during the Mastercard Foundation's workshop in Kigali last week. Photo courtesy.
University community deliberate on improving higher education during the Mastercard Foundation’s workshop in Kigali last week. Photo courtesy.

At least 13 universities’ leaders from across Africa have come together to find ways of strengthening higher education for economic transformation and youth employment on the continent.

At the three-day workshop held in Kigali, Rwanda, last week, the academicia and politicians committed to scaling up innovations at universities, increase the mixture of technical and general education courses to ensure that graduates are prepared to meet the labour market’s needs and improve universities’ management, among other drivers of quality education.

Opening the workshop on Tuesday, Rwanda’s Minister of Education, Dr Eugène Mutimura, called on universities’ leaders to embrace the incessant changes of a disruptive era the continent has stepped in.

“We, in African countries, have already started to change. Therefore, it clearly indicates that we should consider repackaging our programmes to deliver programmes that create the future leaders of Africa and ensure that we help them optimise the opportunities presented to them,” he said.

Minister Mutimura also encouraged universities across the continent to broaden partnerships among themselves, with others beyond the continent and with private sector.

Mastercard Foundation’s Chief Programme Officer, Peter Materu, said the foundation targets to offer 15,000 university scholarships by 2030 to disadvantaged young but talented Africans including refugees who will take up 25% of the scholarships. In order to bridge the gender gap in higher education, Mr Materu said female young people will take 70% of the scholarships.

Through its Scholars programme, the foundation has so far offered 36,000 scholarships across Africa including 25,000 for secondary schools and 11,000 for tertiary education.

Materu said that Mastercard Foundation considers adding seven African universities in addition to the current 10 on the list of 24 Scholars Programme’s partner universities across the world. The ten include Nkwame Nkrumah University and Ashesi University in Ghana, Makerere University in Uganda, Carnegie Mellon University in Rwanda, African Institute for Mathematical Sciences based in Rwanda Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania, University of Gondor in Ethiopia and University of Cape Town in South Africa, among others.

Mr Materu encouraged other African universities to apply for the partnership with Mastercard Foundation but reminded that they have to check well with their programmes, quality of education and facilities if they are to succeed in securing the partnership.

The University of Rwanda’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of institutional advancement, Dr Charles Muligande, said the university considers applying for Scholars Programme’s partnership and expressed confidence in securing it.

“We need to review our programmes. Some of the programmes were developed at a time when there wasn’t enough resources to do a comprehensive skills assessment, identify the skills gap and map out skills profiles that are needed. Therefore, we ended up developing programmes that are producing graduates who do not meet what the market needs,” he said. Dr Muligande added that UR also considers training the lecturers continuously to update them on the current changes of the job market.

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We Want Gambian Artists to Compete on the World Stage- President Barrow tells Musician Jizzle
December 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Jizzle and his team with President Barrow
Jizzle and his team with President Barrow

On the margins of the ongoing President’s Meet the People tour, President Adama Barrow granted an audience to popular Gambian singer Jizzle to congratulate him for successfully launching his latest music album at a mega-concert at the Independence Stadium.

“We are very proud of you. In the past, it is only foreign artists that fill up the stadium. But now we have our own Gambians, very young people like you filling up the stadium. We should all be proud of that. It is a big thing; not for you alone but for the whole country and my government’’, President Barrow said while pointing out that the singer will be counted in history as one of the few to ever fill up the stadium.

Jizzle, born Jerreh Jallow, recently ‘’Finally’’ album concert in front of tens of thousands.The president expressed his personal will and commitment to support every Gambian to explore their creative potentials, stating that ‘’we want Gambians to be competing at the world stage’’.
‘’We don’t want foreign musicians to come to the Gambia to play and make huge amount of money and leave with it… it is not good for the economy. We have to make sure everything remains in The Gambia.’’

While pledging the government’s continuous support for arts and culture, the president revealed that his government has increased the budget allocation to an unprecedented amount for the promotion of the sector.

He advised Jizzle to remain committed to music as a career and profession in order to keep the momentum.

On his part, Jizzle said he was honoured to be received by the president to offer his personal congratulations. He called for continuous government support for the music industry.

Alagie Muhammed Darboe, the spokesperson for the artist also thanked the president for taking time out of his busy schedule to meet them.


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Gambia: Gov’t Purchases 7 Containers of Medicines and Surgical Items
December 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Health Minister with Chinese Ambassador
Health Minister with Chinese Ambassador

The government of The Gambia has procured Seven containers of medical supplies and surgical items, disclosed the Minister of Health, Dr. Ahmad Samateh.

He made the revelation in the President’s Meet the People tour at a meeting in Kabada, Kiang East. The drugs are already in-country and will be distributed to health centers across the country soon, Dr. Samateh added.

The gathering was also informed that the government of The Gambia, under the direction of President Barrow, is embarking on a major rehabilitation program of health centers and replacing dysfunctional medical equipment at major hospitals.

The Health Minister announced plans of his Ministry to construct seven (7) health centers with funding from GAVI and UNICEF, assuring that the communities on the Kabada belt of the Lower River Region will be beneficiaries.

New Ambulance Service

The Minister also inform the public of the introduction of a new ambulance service in the country, especially hard-to-reach areas of the provinces.

The initiative will allow villages to be able to directly call for help in case of emergencies, ensuring that patients are picked from their

Blood Donation

Due to acute shortage of blood in health centers leading to avoidable deaths, particularly in maternity, Minister Samateh called on the general public to become regular blood donors.

Blood donation is fulfilling and saves lives. He dispelled myths around giving blood, stating that lab scientists will not take blood from anyone to whom it will be detrimental.

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Gambia:President Barrow visits accident victims at EFSTH
December 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Barrow visits victims at EFSTH

President Adama Barrow on Sunday evening visited the victims of an accident that occurred in Foni during the welcoming of the Presidential tour party from the nationwide Meet the People Tour.

Fatou Sanyang, a young girl of five years from Bwiam was confirmed to have lost her life on the spot while three other people sustained serious injuries. They are now receiving medical care at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul.

The President expressed heartfelt sympathy to the victims and used the opportunity to hear first-hand information from the victims themselves about how the accident happened.

According to Maimuna Banja, a sister to one of the victims, the accident occurred when a commercial vehicle in the welcoming entourage of the swerve and fell off the road after the President’s motorcade had passed.

“We appreciate your coming to see our sister. It was destined that it will be meted to her,” Kumba told the President. She assured that the medical staff are doing all that they can to provide the best support and treatment to her sister.

President Barrow, who was visibly remorseful, expressed regret and sadness over the incident.
“We sought prayers and blessing just to avoid such occurrences before I departed on this tour. I am indeed very sorry that you have to experience such pain”.

The President handed over an undisclosed amount of cash to the victims through their family representatives looking after them at the hospital.

The President extended his deepest condolences to the family of the deceased and prayed for the speedy recovery of those hospitalized.

As a sign of respect for the untimely death of Fatou Sanyang, the scheduled meeting for Bwiam on the 2nd December 2019 as part of the President’s Meet the People Tour has been cancelled

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Alert: new cyclone may affect Mozambique
December 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Arnaldo Cuamba

A new cyclone in formation in the Indian Ocean may affect Mozambique in the coming days, warns the National Institute of Meteorology that says there is uncertainty about its trajectory, but is more likely to affect the southern Africa country.

“A system of low atmospheric pressure is being formed in the Indian Ocean, north of Madagascar” warns the institution that adds that “according to the current atmospheric conditions, the possibility prevails that the same system may evolve and reach the level of Moderate or severe Tropical Storm”.

There is uncertainty about the fate of the storm, however, according to INAM, there is great potential for its trajectory to make the movement towards the Channel of Mozambique, where it could reach the continent on December 4.

Following the alert, the Mozambican President, Filipe Nyusi, urges the communities to protect themselves from bad weather.

“I invite all Mozambicans to pay attention and take precautions due the reported formation of a low pressure system” said Nyusi. “It is expected to evolve from 1 December to a tropical storm stage. There is a possibility of rainfall, thunderstorms and strong winds, especially in the provinces of northern Mozambique,” explained the President of the Republic.

If effective, the cyclone will be called Ambali – the first to form in cyclonic season 2019 – 2020.

This year Mozambique registered two cyclones whose effects are still strongly felt. Cyclone Idai, which hit central Mozambique in March, destroyed infrastructure and caused 604 deaths, affecting about 1.5 million people in the centre of the country, while Cyclone Kenneth, which hit the north in April, killed 45 people and affected 250 thousand.

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Gambia: Group Announces Protests To Force Out Barrow
December 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

President Adama Barrow

Operation Three Years Jotna, a group of concerned Gambians advocating for three years transitional mandate for President Adama Barrow has revealed that they will stage peaceful demonstration   walk from Westfield to State House in Banjul on 16 December, 2019.

The movement has officially written letter to the Inspector General of Police requesting a permit to stage a ‘public procession’ next month to demand President Adama Barrow step down by honoring the coalition three years  transitional agreement.

Recently President Adama Barrow has warned anyone who wants to use illegal means to unseat will face full force of the law

The movement said they will not allow President Adama Barrow to continue until 19 January 2020.

Sheriffo Sonko, Executive Director of operation 3years jotna has said that they are peaceful movement form by the Gambians determined comes out in December and whole leaders accountable for what they have promised during campaigns.

 Sonko said that the 3years liberated Gambia from dictatorship and the only plan which happens to usher dictatorship in the country was the 3years coalition agreement.

 Sonko stressed that 3years Jotna is not to only calling the President Adama Barrow to respect the 3years coalition agreement but they are also telling him that the power belong to the people.

Sonko pointed out that 3years jotna is a peaceful movement which was form by the Gambian people determined come out in December and whole leaders accountable for what they have told us.

 “We are not going to use force. If we live this as a tradition to our leaders, they will do it all the time,  leader should not go out and say whether you like it or not am going to stay till 2021 because those citizens voted for you,”

 Hagie Suwanneh, spokesperson for the operation 3years jotna said they are on their preparation but all in accordance with peace and the respect of the rule of law.

“We voted for democracy and democracy has to go with certain responsibilities part of them is holding leaders accountable this is what operation 3years jotna believe,” he said.

“We wants to make sure that there is legitimacy in our democracy for today and tomorrow, and our politicians should be accountable but with respect and maintain peace and stability, peace is what we preach and advocate,”

He assured that 3years jotna will go out and protest if President Adama Barrow didn’t take the necessary steps to honor the promise he gave to the citizens during the 2016 presidential campaign but all with peace.

Momodou Cham, alias MC Cham jnr, Youth President Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) explained that 3 years jotna is campaign movement that want to remind President Adama Barrow his promises during the campaign.

“We want to stop politician from giving empty promises and deceiving people all the time, I believe that the campaign is in line with the laws and I support the movement,”

Cham, clarified GDC is neutral in this campaign and so far, no political party has officially declared support for the campaign.

“…but it is our constitutional rights to remind the president to respect his promises and stop deceiving the public,” he stressed.

 Three Years Jotna is a pressure group that was formed last year following President Barrow’s sensational about-face. He had in 2016 promised to be in office for just three years but he has changed his mind saying he will now be in office for five years. The group has vowed to ensure he fulfills his three years promise.

It has now emerged the group will hand President Barrow borrowed time of one month to leave State House, which will officially mark the end of a three-year term. Should the president refuse to step aside, the group plans to stage a protest to demand he leaves office, a protest that will be different from the 16 December procession.

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