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Solar Project in Senegal wins Phanes Group’s second Solar Incubator
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

International evaluation panel selected winning project for commercial and technical support from global solar company

Winner of the 2018 Phanes Group Solar Incubator

Winner of the 2018 Phanes Group Solar Incubator

Kigali, Rwanda – November 12, 2018: Phanes Group, an international end-to-end solar provider headquartered in Dubai, UAE, has announced Mr. Mbaye Hadj and his Gossas Solar Farm Project (30 MW) as the winner of the second edition of its Solar Incubator. The announcement was made at the “Unlocking Solar Capital: Africa” conference in Kigali, Rwanda, where three finalists presented their proposal to a panel of international industry experts from responsAbility, ECREEE, Hogan Lovells, Phanes Group, RINA, and African Development Bank.

“We are proud to announce Mr. Hadj as the winner of this year’s Solar Incubator. It was a difficult decision as we received a strong response of project proposals with the potential to positively impact their communities. Our experience now in the second year of the incubator encourages us to continue with this initiative because there is a great deal of local talent on the continent who have the potential to benefit from such a platform,” said Andrea Haupts, COO of Phanes Group.

Maintaining a long-term stake in the project, Mr. Hadj and Phanes Group will work collaboratively, aiming to bring the solar energy project to financial close. The Solar Incubator phase will kick off with an intensive face-to-face workshop for Mr. Hadj in Dubai, UAE, where he will work with Phanes Group’s team and its incubator partners to set the foundations to deliver a bankable project. During that phase,  Mr. Hadj will gain access to commercial and technical know-how covered by experts from project finance, project development and execution, legal and CSR, followed by further remote mentoring sessions in the succeeding months.

“Ultimately, Mr. Hadj’s project convinced the evaluation panel not only with its strong CSR component but also with his knowledge and commitment to the region where he hails from. We believe in Mr. Hadj’s determination to bring his project to life in a challenging market environment, where our expertise and training can make a difference,” Mrs. Haupts added. “We look forward to welcoming him to Dubai, and want to encourage the other candidates to keep persevering in bringing their proposals to fruition, as everyone would have deserved to win.”

The goal of the Phanes Group Solar Incubator, held under the theme, “Your Project, Our Expertise, For a Sustainable Future,” is to provide access to commercial and technical knowledge, and eventually funding, to promising PV projects in sub-Saharan Africa, and to help entrepreneurs overcome obstacles that could prevent solar initiatives from reaching fruition.

More About Phanes Group

Phanes Group is an international solar energy developer, investment and asset manager, strategically headquartered in Dubai with a local footprint in sub-Saharan Africa, through its office in Nigeria, the region’s largest economy. Cumulatively, the company’s global clean power contribution is in excess of 70 MW, with a further 1.5 GW in different development stages – including 227.5 MW of grid connected PV solar in Nigeria across three different projects.

Two of the three Nigerian projects are backed by among the Nigerian government’s 14 first solar PPAs. In addition, the group is developing off-grid solar solutions to ensure communities across the region have access to a stable and clean energy supply.

Established in 2012, Phanes Group’s integrated approach, combining financial and engineering expertise, enables the company to deliver end-to-end solar energy solutions. The group has a growing portfolio of solar investments and developments spanning multiple geographies with a distinct focus on emerging markets, especially Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia (MENA ‘plus’) and sub-Saharan Africa. In the Middle East, Phanes Group is delivering the region’s largest distributed solar project (DP World Solar Power Programme) and completed phase I (33.4 MW) of the largest solar project in the Caribbean (Monte Plata).

More about Phanes Group’s Solar Incubator

Phanes Group’s Solar Incubator, held under the theme of “Your Project, Our Expertise, For a Sustainable Future”, is supported by top-tier international partners such as ECREEE, responsAbility, Hogan Lovells, RINA, and Solarplaza. The initiative aims to select and develop PV project opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa that haven’t been able to gain access to funding and necessary know-how. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an integral part of this initiative; along with the project details a solid CSR concept must be submitted and will be jointly developed with Phanes Group during the incubator phase, and implemented in parallel with execution of the PV project.

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MPs slam report of fresh ICC investigation against Deputy President Ruto
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

William Ruto

William Ruto

A section of Members of Parliament from the ruling party, Jubilee, have dismissed reports of fresh probe by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to revive crimes against humanity case against the deputy president William Ruto.

The leaders claimed that the case is being pursued by Ruto’s adversaries who employ every means to curtail his presidential bid.  They labeled such leaders selfish saying they are after derailing country’s development.

“These so-called ICC reports are not coming from heaven but from within; those propagating it are the opponents of the people. But no evil scheme will stop an idea whose time has come,” reiterated Kikuyu Member of Parliament Kimani Ichungwa.

The leaders who accompanied Ruto to a church service in Nyeri County termed the issue as one aimed at distracting both President and Ruto from Big Four agenda of development which include Universal healthcare, food security, house affordability and manufacturing.

On his part, Tetu Member of Parliament James Gichuhi said Ruto had no hand in the allegations which prosecution had taken against him.

“You were taken in the Netherlands with the President, you emerged victorious. You will still emerge a winner in this episodic witch-hunt, and eventually be our president,” said Mr. Gichuhi.

They also lauded the President and his deputy for creating conducive environment for development and peaceful co-existence among Kenyans.

Last week the ICC President Chille Eboe Osuji, one of the judges who listened to the case revealed to the United Nations new information relating to the case have been discovered and the court my consider re-opening it.

“The office of the prosecutor continued to receive information on the commission of crimes against humanity during the post-election violence of 2007-2008,” read the annual report.

The case against Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang was terminated in April 2016 on the ground of insufficient evidence. The prosecutor decry over witness tampering and political peddling.

Fierce chaos that rocked the East African country after 2007 presidential election outcome left 600,000 people homeless and more than 1,300 people lost their lives.

Case against President Uhuru Kenyatta, former Industrialization Minister Henry Kosgey, former Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Muthaura and former police chief Mohamed Hussein Ali was also dropped by the Hague over insufficient evidence.

 

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Martin Fayulu: DR Congo opposition pick presidential candidate
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments
Martin Fayulu (centre) is better known as an entrepreneur than as an opposition leader

Martin Fayulu (centre) is better known as an entrepreneur than as an opposition leader

Opposition leaders in the DR Congo have chosen the businessman Martin Fayulu as their candidate in December’s much-postponed presidential election.

He will be up against the governing coalition’s pick, former interior minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.

The outgoing president, Joseph Kabila, is not seeking re-election.

He refused to leave office after his term ended in 2016 and officials said at the time it was too dangerous to call an election.

Opposition groups, however, saw it as a ploy by Mr Kabila to extend his time in office.

The selection of 61-year-old Martin Fayulu came after days of talks between seven opposition leaders in the Swiss city of Geneva.

Voters go the polls in DR Congo on 23 December.

Presentational grey line

A crucial move

By Louise Dewast, BBC News, Kinshasa

Mr Fayulu is a surprising choice: while he is a member of parliament, he is widely seen as an investor and businessman rather than as an opposition leader.

The two other contenders for the position, Felix Tshisekedi and Vital Kamerhe, will now rally behind Mr Fayulu.

The opposition’s decision to unite is crucial because in a single-round election multiple candidates would fracture the vote.

Meeting as seven for the first time, they also agreed on a joint programme and team. The campaign is scheduled to start later this month.

*BBC

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Novel approach brings African scientists closer to a malaria vaccine
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

Scientists analysing data at the South-South Malaria Research Partnership project laboratory in Kenya. Flora Mutere-Okuku

Scientists analysing data at the South-South Malaria Research Partnership project laboratory in Kenya. Flora Mutere-Okuku

Malaria is still a major problem in Africa. There are over 200 million clinical cases each year and approximately half a million deaths.

There are different ways in which malaria can be controlled. Preventive measures include use of insecticides in bed nets or indoor spraying programmes. Medicines can also be used to prevent or treat malaria, but resistance often develops and drugs lose their effectiveness.

The World Health Organisation reported that progress in controlling malaria has stalled.

As an immunologist, I dream that one day we will have an effective vaccine that will help eliminate malaria. I think this is possible because for over a century, we have known that humans do become immune to malaria. In places where there is lots of malaria adults don’t succumb to the disease, but their young children do.

In experiments conducted over 50 years ago, researchers showed that blood could be taken from adults who had become immune and used to treat children admitted to hospital with malaria.

Antibodies in the blood were responsible for this effect; in other words, antibodies could treat malaria. Researchers have been trying to isolate the exact antibodies that do this. The challenge is that our bodies make millions of antibodies, so pulling out those with the antimalarial activity has been difficult.

One way to identify these “good” antibodies is to compare the blood samples of people who get malaria with those who don’t with the aim of identifying the differences. This type of research has been going on for about 30 years, but the results have been inconclusive.

Part of the reason is that in almost every study, the investigators do things differently.

It’s like cooking your favourite dish. You may have a particular recipe but if you check in with friends and ask how they prepare the very same dish, you will find that each of them does something slightly differently. In the same way, differences in the way scientists have conducted their experiments have contributed to a lack of clarity in the results.

We’ve embarked on a project that breaks this cycle.

The project

In experiments conducted over 50 years ago, researchers showed that blood could be taken from adults who had become immune and used to treat children admitted to hospital with malaria.

We used the latest technology to analyse our samples. We designed a small glass slide on which we stuck over 100 carefully selected proteins from the malaria parasite. With less than a drop of blood, we were able to simultaneously measure antibodies to all these proteins.

This was a major step-change. When I started this research 14 years ago, I used to measure antibodies to one parasite protein at a time, using a lot more blood, and in samples from one area in Kenya.

Developments in technology now mean that it’s possible to do this much more efficiently. And we’re really excited that we have been able to exploit these new innovations in Africa.

My team analysed antibodies in over 10,000 samples in three months. We are now working through the statistical analysis of this data to understand how people who are immune to malaria do it.

My team is also working on understanding how antibodies kill malariaparasites. It’s still unclear if the antibodies attack the parasite from different angles or whether different antibodies are synergistic in their actions.

We also don’t know how much antibody is necessary.

What we know

So far, our studies suggest that having a bit of one antibody is not good enough, and we may need high concentrations of antibodies against combinations of parasite proteins.

We are also learning that antibodies kill parasites in many ways, and that studying any one of these in isolation may not adequately reflect reality.

I believe the key to making a better malaria vaccine is right here with us. With patience, perseverance and continued hard work, we will find the recipe required to make a really good malaria vaccine.

*Culled from The Conversation

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Ali Bongo: Gabon leader ‘seriously ill but recovering’
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments
The Gabonese president is being treated in Saudi Arabia

The Gabonese president is being treated in Saudi Arabia

Gabonese President Ali Bongo is seriously ill but on the mend, his spokesman says, ending weeks of official silence on his condition.

Speculation has mounted on the health of President Bongo, 59, with some reports saying he suffered a stroke.

He is being treated in Saudi Arabia, with the initial announcement last month saying he was suffering fatigue.

His spokesman Ike Ngouoni said Mr Bongo was “recovering all of his physical abilities”.

No mention was made of a stroke but the president had suffered “bleeding which required medical care”, Mr Ngouoni said.

Ali Bongo succeeded his father Omar Bongo as president in 2009, who governed the western African nation for more than 40 years.

He narrowly won re-election in 2016 in a poll marred by violence and accusations of fraud.

Earlier this month, with President Bongo away in the Saudi capital Riyadh, Gabon’s opposition leader Jean Ping again claimed victory in the poll.

On Friday a Gabonese newspaper was suspended for three months for saying the country was on “autopilot” and that the prime minister should be appointed interim leader.

*Source BBC

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PDP Tells V.P Osinbajo to Answer N33bn Corruption Allegation
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Teslim Olawore

Osinbajo

Osinbajo

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has asked  Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to stop preaching and parading himself like a saint until he clears the air on the N33 billion  fraud  allegation as exposed by the House of Representatives.

The party in a statement on Saturday by Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity Secretary said Vice President owes it as a personal moral burden, both as a preacher and  professor of law, to directly explain how the fund meant for the well being of Nigerians suffering in the North-East  was mismanaged, instead of the lame attempts to dismiss the allegation and divert public attention from the scandal.

He said, “Nigerians were thoroughly appalled to learn, from the House of Representatives, how Prof. Osinbajo, as Acting President, in June 2017, unilaterally pulled N5.8 billion  from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation, purportedly for emergency intervention on food in the North- East, which has now turned scandalous.

“Professor Osinbajo should explain how, according to findings by the House of Representatives, all the six states of the North-East failed to receive the emergency intervention for food security, for which a major part of the money was claimed to have been expended under his direct supervision as Chairman of the  Board of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA.

“What has Professor Osinbajo got to say on the revelation at the public hearing conducted by the House of Representatives that there was no evidence the World Food Programme, WFP, received the 5000 metric tons of rice, which NEMA claimed to have bought and donated to WFP for distribution to victims of insurgency in the region?

“What has our Vice President got to say to the report indicating that four of the companies that supplied food items to the region financed their projects through N2bn they each received as loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN?” The PDP concluded that the Vice President should therefore advice himself properly by responding to the huge corruption questions and stop his unnecessary posturing.

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Oshiomhole reveals why he was invited by DSS
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Olayinka Ajayi

Nigeria’s ruling party national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC),Adams Oshiomhole has reiterated reasons he was invited by operatives of the nation’s Department of State Services (DSS).

Adams Oshiomole

Adams Oshiomole

PAV gathered that the APC chairman travelled out of the country after he was interrogated by the DSS over allegations of collecting bribe during his party’s primary elections.

Speaking during an interaction with editors in Lagos on Saturday, Oshiomhole said he “saw DSS only once and it was a conversation, not an arrest or detention”.

He said: “The conversation centred around APC primaries. The question now is whether or not it is the DSS job to interfere in a political party’s issues. And if there’s an allegation of corruption, it is the responsibility of EFCC and ICPC.”

The former governor of Edo noted that the DSS did not ask him to return the next day, contrary to media reports.

Oshiomhole said he was billed to travel abroad on Monday but postponed the trip for a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari. He said he eventually left the country on Tuesday.

Furthermore, the APC chairman said he was not released on administrative bail, adding that Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi, did not come to pick him up from the DSS office.

He said: “I was the one who called Yahaya Bello and he came but I drove home in my own car.”

Oshiomhole lashed out at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for calling on Interpol to arrest him, and for insinuating that he had fled the country over the matter.

He said: “What would they have said if it was the PDP chairman that was invited by DSS, for instance over the dollar bazaar at their Port Harcourt primary?

“They would have said democracy is under threat and would have fired a letter to the UN as they often ridicule themselves.”

The former labour leader alleged that “a few important members of APC may be conniving with PDP because they preferred the impunity of the PDP era”.

Governors Rochas Okorocha of Imo and Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun are aggrieved over the APC primaries. They blame Oshiomhole for their inability to get the gubernatorial tickets of the party for their preferred candidates.

Amosun has said he did not have a hand in Oshiomhole’s invitation by the DSS.

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Africa’s Corruption Burden Costs It US 148 Billion Yet It Needs US 93 Billion For Infrastructural Development
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Dr Otiende Amollo

Dr Otiende Amollo

Harare—-Corruption continues to prevail despite efforts by several African Governments to come up with Legislation, stringent policies and holistic strategies on stamping it. Africa has the highest number of countries muddled in corrupt activities. Corruption is in two types, grand, of high rankings and petty corruption of low rankings.

A Kenyan Legal Expert Honourable. Dr Otiende Amollo a Legislator, Ombudsman Emeritus, Kenya is currently in Zimbabwe. He is attending a Legal Resources Foundation Human Rights conference titled, enhancing Human Rights and access to Justice in Zimbabwe and Africa. In a two day emotional symposium, He stressed that corruption drives poverty. To extremes it derails Human Rights and degrades the environment. To the worst of everything, it derails development and impedes Government and private sector growth and development.

‘’It is pathetic that corruption still lives in Africa despite legal framework by several Governments of Africa.. African countries are still muddled in sheer poverty because they are derailed efforts by corruption. Where there is corruption, Human Rights are infringed, abused massively.

‘’Let us note that impunity is bred in situations where Human Rights are not fairly exercised. In circumstances where corruption takes centre stage as the story is told in Africa, Human Rights are trodden under the six feet of the country tunnel.

‘’Africa’s most constraint burden reducing economic growth and development, causing extreme poverty is corruption. Africa needs to under- go a screening exercise to eliminate those who do corruption. They make others suffer. They contribute to economic melt-down.

‘’The kind of corruption is worst at its definition. This is Grand corruption which derails Human Rights, derails growth and development. It also impedes private sector development. As long as there is corruption, African countries will get it difficult to achieve on the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations which targets 2030 to reduce extreme poverty, and hunger, achieve Universal Primary Education and gender equality. .

DR Amollo pointed out that corruption has over past decades caused Human Rights violations. This he said, is evidenced by poverty that has been raised from the ground by violation of human rights in Africa, ‘

‘’Corruption is the cause of Human Rights violations which have made Africa become exposed to extreme Absolute poverty. This poverty still lives, but we need to come up with measures meant to eradicate it.

‘’It is sad to note that corruption continues to cause poverty and vulnerability of African children who are the leaders tomorrow. Research concludes, countries with high corruption have high rates of poverty prevalence, lack of Human Rights and poor Governance.

The Legal Expert also pointed that according to the 2014 Corruption Perception Index out of 173 countries ranked at bottom are Somalia, Sudan, and North Korea. He noted that these countries continue to have high rates of Human Rights violations. These abuses of People’s rights culminates in extreme poverty and vulnerability to orphans and disadvantaged people who fail to access Legal Rights resources because of lack of money and low education.

DR Amollo revealed the Goldenberg scandal, the worst corruption which rocked Kenya between 1990 and 1999. It was about smuggled gold from Congo. The Exporters were paid in Kenyan shillings. This had over 35% of foreign currency earning. It cost 10% of Annual Gross Domestic Product. Since then it has come up with the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission of 2012. Later it came with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

Zimbabwe since the early 1980s has been rocked by massive grand corruption by politicians who got protection from Robert Mugabe. Some of them were ill-treated and killed when they attempted to bare all. A good example is of the Willow vale Motor scandal of 1989 which led to Maurice Nyagumbos suicide. The country had exported a big fleet of Japanese Toyota Cressida type of cars to Ghana. The story is still told in the Zimbabwean history. It brought a number of challenges in terms of Gross Domestic Product. Those are some of the Zimbabwean economic challenges with impacts socially and politically on the lives of people pinned in poverty and vulnerability

Giving a key note address Justice Charles Mkandawire , President of the Commonwealth Judges and Magistrate Association and Judge of the High Court of Malawi  said the major challenge which impedes development in Africa is that despite some laws enshrined in International protocols and national constitutions , corruption continues to disadvantage majority of Africans .

He said these at last are plunged into muddled conditions of poverty. At last these communities fail to access  basic needs because of lack of finance , education and less legal resources at their disposal .Those who engage in grand corruption in decision making positions creates a situation where-by Human Rights are violated at the expense of humanity , well-being and proper administration at Governance levels .

‘’Corruption circumvents wheels of Justice Delivery and the rule of Law. This is the path to Human Rights violated to certain extents which disadvantages the communities at peace. Those whose human rights are violated have no access to Justice because of the poverty created by grand corruption in high offices.

‘’The challenges lies with countries in Africa where those in high rankings if involved in corruption look for legal representation against cases they create. The defence on their side leaves them scot free. The legal battle between the poor affected and the rich of high rankings fails on the side of the poor.

‘’No-wonder why the poor emulates this corruption at their low level causing petty corruption. Most of these cases take long to discover. Even if they get discovered sometimes evidence related to such cases is not found. At most, such cases go undiscovered and unearthed out, this leading to more corruption.

Muchaneta Mundopa Executive Director of Transparency International said although there are International protocols and national laws to combat corruption, many countries are immensely embedded in endless corruption. Some of these International protocols are the United Nations Convention against Transactional Organised Crime [UNCATOC] of the year 2000 which has got 159 Member states. The other one is the Anti-Bribery Convention and the African Union Convention on Protection and combating Crime and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights of 2003.

‘’There are a number of treaties signed by member states which must be followed in terms of their procedures and measures but the challenge still prevails in Africa . Yes, corruption is also a thorny issue in some other countries, but Africa remains the home of massive corruption by people of high rankings. This leads to several violations of human and people’s rights which still need to be addressed.

‘’Civil Society is much worried by these practices which remain unaddressed. The main issue is that, Africa has the history of liberation struggle which gives immunity to some people like leaders who commit such crimes. Although this is lowering down slowly in Africa, the rate of corruption continues to because of abuse of power by politicians and those who follow them. In some instances, corruption rises because of poverty in many communities ‘’

Transparency International Director further cleared the air by urging countries to follow International protocols. She also said constitutions of various countries must spell out on the really definition of corruption by coming up with national laws and policies which do not favour or give immunity to Leaders.

Strengthening measures to prevent corruption, experts suggests need the voices of the people in their constitutions. The need for International co-operation, working together and collective action promotes integrity, dignity and transparency.

 

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56 Political Parties Ready For 2019 General Elections- INEC
November 10, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Teslim Olawore

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says 56 political parties out of the registered 91 parties in the country are set to participate in the February 2019, general elections. The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in charge of Rivers, Mr Obo Effanga, said this while speaking to newsman on Friday in Port Harcourt.

He said that INEC was interested in all the 91 registered political parties, adding that the commission would only deal with political parties that registered for the election in 2019. The REC assured the people of Rivers state that the commission was ready to ensure free, fair and credible elections in the 2019 general elections, stressing that “we assure you that on the day of the elections, every material needed for the elections would be ready to ensure free, fair and credible process.”

Effanga noted that the Card Readers would be used for the 2019 general elections. He explained that any voter who was not accredited by the Card Reader would not cast his or her vote. He, therefore, called on community leaders to advise their youths against disrupting the elections, emphasising that any community that could not control its youths to be of good conduct, INEC would not conduct elections in such community.

The REC urged stakeholders to play their part properly, saying that security agencies, the political class, among others, should ensure that the 2019 general elections were successful. He called on the electorate to pick up their Permanent Voter Cards at their areas of registration to enable them to exercise their franchise on the day of the election.

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Africa agribusiness, a US$1 trillion business by 2030
November 9, 2018 | 0 Comments
Agribusiness will become the ‘new oil” on the continent, African Investment Forum participants said
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, November 9, 2018/ — As project sponsors, borrowers, lenders and investors gathered at the Africa Investment Forum  to make deals on investment opportunities, leaders of the continent’s  top agribusiness companies shared their thoughts on the future of the industry. With its vast agricultural potential, Africa’s agribusiness sector is predicted to reach US$1 trillion by 2030. Agribusiness will become the ‘new oil” on the continent, African Investment Forum participants said, fueling the motor of inclusive growth.

“Agriculture is a key priority for the African Development Bank, through our Feed Africa strategy,” said Jennifer Blanke, the African Development Bank Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development.  “Understand that by transforming Africa’s agriculture sector it will become the engine that drives Africa’s economic transformation through increased income, better jobs higher on the value chain, improved nutrition, and so on,” she said in her opening remarks at an Africa Investment Forum session titled, Agribusiness: investment conversation with industry leaders.

Some agribusiness leaders said there is a need to invest US$45 billion per year to harness the power of agriculture and move up the value chain to create jobs and wealth. At present, only US$7 billion is invested in the sector. Investments from the private sector, leaders said, will create the adequate environment and enhance the emergence of locally owned agro-processing industries, capable of creating jobs and increasing incomes in rural Africa. The continent could become a net exporter of agricultural commodities, replacing US$110 billion worth of imports, as well as doubling its share of market value for select processed commodities.

The full-capacity session was a highlight of the Africa Investment Forum, organised by the African Development Bank. The event brought representatives from multilateral financial institutions, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, government officials and private investors to Johannesburg, South Africa for three days.

Participants in the agribusiness session discussed the industry’s entire value chain. Leading the ‘fireside chat’ was a roundtable of experts that included Aliko Dangote, President and CEO of the Dangote Group; Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, Minister of Finance of Nigeria; William Asiko, CEO, Grow Africa; John George Coumantaros, Chairman, Flour Mills of Nigeria and TP Nchocho, CEO, Land and Agricultural Bank of South Africa

“We need to do the research to produce the right solutions to the issues we might face along the value chain. Youth are particularly involved in this aspect as they know how to develop tools addressing issues such as water management and release”, said Aliko Dangote.

Agribusiness can also promote industrialisation and urban employment, break the ‘productivity gap’ of development, and improve the quality of life for all Africans. Attendees said Africa’s agricultural potential needs to be unlocked.

Session participants said they want to bring African agriculture to the next level. For the small and medium scale farmers, the main challenge remains access to finance. Zainab Shamsuna, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance urged investors and development partners to adapt their policies to accommodate more participants in the agriculture value chain,

“I want us to eat what we grow and consume what we produce”, Shamsuna said.

In closing the session, Edward Mabaya, Manager of Agribusiness Development at the African Development Bank highlighted the vast investment opportunities in Africa’s agribusiness including seed, fertilizer, mechanization, processing and storage.

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Peter Pham appointed as Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa
November 9, 2018 | 0 Comments

Secretary Pompeo is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. J. Peter Pham to serve as the United States Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa. Dr. Pham will be responsible for coordinating the implementation of U.S. policy on the cross-border security, political, and economic issues in the Great Lakes region, with an emphasis on strengthening democratic institutions and civil society, as well as the safe and voluntary return of the region’s refugees and internally displaced persons.

Dr. Pham serves as Vice President and Director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council. He brings to the Department vast Africa experience as the former vice president of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA) and editor-in-chief of its quarterly Journal of the Middle East and Africa; an associate professor of Africana studies at James Madison University, where he was director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs; and on the Senior Advisory Group of the U.S. Africa Command.

Dr. Pham will assume the work previously undertaken by Senior Coordinator for the Great Lakes, Ambassador Larry Wohlers. U.S. ambassadors to the countries of the Great Lakes region remain charged with the conduct of bilateral relations. Dr. Pham will work in close coordination with the Assistant Secretary for African Affairs and our ambassadors in the region to further the Department’s work toward lasting peace, stability, and economic prosperity in the Great Lakes region.

*The statement was issued by Heather Nauert,  State Department Spokesperson in Washington, DC on November 9, 2018

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Africa Enjoys Oil Boom as Drilling Spreads Across Continent
November 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

-Oil and gas rigs across Africa are at a three-year high

-Companies including BP and Total are ramping up projects

By 

Africa is finally seeing the benefits from the recovery in crude prices as companies ramp up drilling from Algeria to Namibia.

 The rigs are returning and wildcatters are getting excited again after a years-long hiatus during the oil-price slump. From majors like Total SA to independents like Tullow Oil Plc, companies are snapping up exploration rights and doing deals.
“When you go for business development, trying to acquire licenses or make partnerships in West Africa, you can sense the competition,” Gilbert Yevi, senior vice president of exploration and production for Sasol Ltd., said in an interview in Cape Town. “It’s like a new California gold rush.”

Just a year ago Africa’s upstream was a very different story. At the continent’s biggest oil and gas conference, crude seemed like it may just hold at $50 a barrel over the long term. Beyond the activity of Africa-focused explorers like Tullow in Ghana, exploration in most countries was in a rut.

But as Africa Oil Week returns to Cape Town on Tuesday, nations throughout the continent are planning to sell exploration licenses or move ahead with major projects.

And the prize — for both companies and countries — could be huge. There could be at least 41 billion barrels of oil and 319 trillion cubic feet of gas yet to be discovered in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a 2016 U.S. Geological Survey report.

Exploration Ramp-Up

In 2018, the number of oil and gas rigs in Africa reached a three-year high, according to Baker Hughes. There are more prospects to come as the Republic of Congo, the newest member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, offers both onshore and offshore blocks.

Cairn Energy Plc is moving forward with its project in Senegal, the largest offshore oil find of 2014, which is expected to produce 100,000 barrels a day. “It has completely changed the potential for Senegal in a very positive way,” CEO Simon Thomson said in an interview. “It shows what can happen through the drillbit, through exploration.”

Exxon Mobil Corp. is targeting western and southern Africa for the world’s next big bonanza and recently bought a stake in a frontier exploration block offshore Namibia. The company is also expected to spend hundreds of millions in Mozambique with partner Rosneft Oil Co. PJSC and other explorers on blocks won in 2015.

Mozambique will see $156 billion in tax revenue from Exxon’s onshore liquefied natural gas project, according to the company. The supermajor is planning the most capacity of any LNG facility planned in the north of the country.

Total and Eni SpA are also nearing production sharing deals for oil and gas in Ivory Coast, two people familiar with the matter said Nov. 1. Both companies signed separate contracts for offshore oil exploration in Algeria last week.

For all the excitement, Sasol’s Yevi did strike some notes of caution. In past booms, the African oil industry has fallen into a number of traps. The first is approving projects quickly enough to ensure they don’t miss out on the benefits of a period of higher prices. “If the cycle is not long, sometimes we only catch the tail end of it in Africa,” he said.

To successfully develop its natural resources, Africa needs to have the capability within governments and regulators to control how the windfall is spent in other sectors, Yevi said.

“Converting volume into value is undoubtedly sub-Saharan Africa’s Achilles heel,” said Adam Pollard, a senior research analyst at consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. Still, that hasn’t dampened enthusiasm because “the continent has been responsible for some company-making discoveries in the past.”

*Bloomberg

 

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