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African Development Bank and partners launch pilot Cities Diagnostics tool in five cities
October 10, 2019 | 0 Comments
PICU Cities Leadership workshop: Launching the city diagnostics for five cities, 25-26 September 2019, Radisson Hotel, Abidjan Cote d’Ivoire
The tool includes key environmental and urban sustainability indicators as well as disaster risk and vulnerability, and urban footprint growth
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, October 7, 2019/ — “The urban opportunities far outweigh the challenges,” said Prof. Davis G. Mwamfupe, the Mayor of Dodoma, Tanzania, during his message to the Cities Leadership workshop, launching the City Diagnostics for five pilot cities in Africa, held on the 25th and 26th September 2019 in Abidjan.

Five cities were chosen for the pilot phase of the Cities Diagnostics for 2019 -2020: Antananarivo (Madagascar), Bizerte (Tunisia), Conakry (Republic of Guinea), Dodoma (Tanzania) and Libreville (Gabon) and were represented by their respective authorities.

The African Development Bank (AfDB.org), the Urban and Municipal Development Fund (UMDF) and the Korea Africa-Economic Cooperation (KOAFEC) organized the workshop to review the cities diagnostic methodologies with city managers and international urban development experts. Amadou Oumarou, Director of the Bank’s Infrastructure and Urban Development Department said, “The new City Diagnostics tool of the Bank will enable city managers and development partners to have a clear understanding of the situation in all the various sub-sectors of the city and allow us to prioritise our work”.

The diagnostic tool includes key environmental and urban sustainability indicators; two baseline studies covering disaster risk and vulnerability, and urban footprint growth. It also includes a public opinion survey covering accessibility and quality of municipal services for water, sanitation, electricity. Drainage, solid waste management, and other measures of quality of life in cities are also included. The tool can measure and assess inclusiveness and resilience parameters, strategies, municipal resource mobilization, investments, and public accounts administration.

The Mayor of Bizerte, Dr. Ben Amara Kamel stressed the challenge of limited municipal budget resources for capital infrastructure and services investments as well the difficulty of recruiting qualified municipal staff to cities, especially given Bizerte’s ambitious projects such as 100% clean energy by 2030. Participants from Conakry and Libreville also mentioned problems of city governance, the low level of municipal tax collection, poor sanitation, and solid waste management.

The five pilot cities exchanged experiences at a panel headed by Ellis Juan, Senior Advisor to the Bank’s UMDF and former head of the Inter-American Development Bank emerging and sustainable cities program (ESC) . Juan highlighted some of the key lessons learned in Latin America which included the following:An integrated approach to city planning and management yields greater impact;Climate change should be integrated into city planning and management;Making cities for the people, or people-oriented cities;Order in the fiscal accounts, increased digitalization of city management and strong governance and transparency make for a credible partner;Efficient management of solid waste, sewerage and drainage systems, and water resources will preserve cities’ environmental assets for future generations while improving quality of life;Integrating mobility into urban planning and investing in quality public transportation services will drive productivity and create citizen-friendly cities;The City Diagnostics program is fully funded by the UMDF, which supports African cities and municipalities to improve their resilience and manage urban growth and development better through planning, governance, and efficient public services as well as improving the quality of life in urban environments in Africa.
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Winners for Africa’s Top Real Estate Developments Announced at The 10th API Summit
October 10, 2019 | 0 Comments
The winning developments, project teams and professionals came from Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, Nigeria, Mozambique, Namibia, Mauritius and Rwanda
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, October 9, 2019/ — Property developers, suppliers and owners were provided an opportunity to showcase their best projects and services from across sub-Saharan Africa at the annual Africa Property Investment (API) (www.APIEvents.com) Awards which were on held on  the  2nd of October 2019, at a gala networking dinner held at the exclusive Alice & Fifth Restaurant. s

A key component of the 10th API Summit, Africa’s largest investment and real estate development, the Awards, now in their third year, recognised innovation and outstanding achievement across the entire property industry across 13 categories. The categories covered projects and the leaders shaping the future of Africa’s real estate sector. These categeries covered: Retail, Office, Mixed Use, Green Building, Hotel, Alternative Asset, Architectural Design, Banking, High-end residential, Logistics and best women in Property.

The winning developments, project teams and professionals came from Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, Nigeria, Mozambique, Namibia, Mauritius and Rwanda, and critically provided a moment of peer recognition for completed projects, says the managing Director of API Events’ Kfir Rusin.

The projects were judged on a wide range of criteria including location, infrastructure and transport access, integration into the environment, originality of the concept, technical and architectural quality, services offered, sensitivity to the local community, innovation, sustainability, corporate staff involvement, response to market demands, financial performance, occupancy, and the impact of the project on economic convergence.

Kfir Rusin, Managing Director of API Events: “We congratulate all the winners and finalists as well as their respective project teams. They have set an exceptionally high standard for real estate developments across sub-Saharan Africa and continue to shape the African built environment landscape. API Events is proud to be associated with these companies and wishes to aid in further pushing the boundaries of excellence for African property development.”

The calibre of entries was world class and the panel of judges had a challenging time selecting the winners, nevertheless they managed to hone in on the worthy projects. Here are the winners for each category from the  2019 Africa Property Investment Awards.

The 3rd Annual API Awards WinnersBEST AFFORDABLE HOUSINGKaribu Homes | Nairobi, KenyaBEST ARCHITECTURAL DESIGNTatu City Education Village (Crawford International School) | Nairobi, Kenya
           Project Team Award Winner: Boogertman+Partners ArchitectsBEST COMMERCIAL OFFICE DEVELOPMENTSU Tower | Accra, Ghana          Project Team Awarded Winner: Boogertman+Partners Architects,BEST GREEN BUILDINGMon Tresor Business Gateway – Office Park | Plaine Magnien, Mauritius
           Project team Award Winner: Omnicane LtdBEST HIGH-END RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENTPurple Haze | Nairobi, Kenya​ 
            Project team Award Winner: Dewbury LimitedBEST HOTEL DEVELOPMENTHilton Garden Inn Mbabane| Mbabane, eSwatini
           Project team Award Winner: Paragon ArchitectsTOP AFRICAN REAL ESTATE BANK OF THE YEARNedbank CIBBEST RETAIL DEVELOPMENTEast Park Mall | Lusaka, Zambia
           Project team Award Winner: Graduare Property Development LimitedBEST MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENTAppolonia City| Accra, Ghana​           Project Team Award Winner: RendeavourBEST INDUSTRIAL & LOGISTICS DEVELOPMENTAgility Logistics Parks| Maputo, Mozambique
            Project team Award Winner:  Agility AfricaYOUNG PROPERTY PERSON OF THE YEARNeltah Mosimanegape | Tempest Gold, BotswanaWOMEN IN AFRICAN REAL ESTATEOluwatosin Ajose | Deal HQ Partners, Nigeria BEST PROPERTY TECHNOLOGY AWARDLand Layby, Nigeria

The Africa Property Investment Summit & Expo (API) is Africa’s largest and most premier real estate event. It connects the most influential local and international Africa property stakeholders, driving investment and development into a wide range of real estate and infrastructure projects and developments across the continent.

The awards were created to recognize the following characteristics:

RECOGNISE: To recognize and reward excellence in the real estate and associated sectors.

ENCOURAGE: To encourage innovative real estate solutions within the industry.

ENHANCE: To enhance quality standards.

PROMOTE: To promote confidence in the real estate and property industry.

SAFEGUARD: To safeguard and strengthen interest of stakeholders in the industry.

PROVIDE: To provide a strategic and reputable platform of interaction for the different stakeholders in the industry.

About API Events:
API Events (www.APIEvents.com) deliver Africa’s most renowned events in real estate investment and development. Our events across the continent have become the ultimate meeting places for Africa’s property market to learn, network and most importantly to do deals. The company also hosts the API Awards – these prestigious awards provide a platform for distinguished developers, suppliers and owners in the African real estate industry, to showcase their best projects and services. Other services provided by API Events include training programmes and the recently launched Skyline Magazine. 

About API Events:
The Africa Property Investment Summit & Expo (API) is Africa’s largest and most premier real estate event. It connects the most influential local and international Africa property stakeholders, driving investment and development into a wide range of real estate and infrastructure projects and developments across the continent.

API Events (www.APIEvents.com) deliver Africa’s most renowned events in real estate investment and development. Our events across the continent have become the ultimate meeting places for Africa’s property market to learn, network and most importantly to do deals. The company also hosts the API Awards – these prestigious awards provide a platform for distinguished developers, suppliers and owners in the African real estate industry, to showcase their best projects and services. Other services provided by API Events include training programmes and the recently launched Skyline Magazine. 
SOURCE API Events


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African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina receives Emeka Anyaoku lifetime achievement award
October 10, 2019 | 0 Comments
Adesina
The Hallmarks of Labour Foundation presented the Outstanding International Icon Award to Adesina at a ceremony held in Lagos on October 6th
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, October 9, 2019/ — Former Commonwealth Secretary-General Emeka Anyaoku has presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to the African Development Bank (AfDB.org) President Akinwumi Adesina, describing him and the Bank’s work as “ legendary, unprecedented and worthy of emulation.”

The Hallmarks of Labour Foundation presented the Outstanding International Icon Award to Adesina at a ceremony held in Lagos on October 6th.

The Hallmarks of Labour Foundation is a non-profit that recognizes Africans who have achieved success through hard work, honesty, integrity, and justice in every field of human endeavour. Previous beneficiaries of the award include Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka.

Thanking the foundation for the recognition, Adesina said that the African Development Bank had helped 181 million people directly through its investments in the past four years

“There is still much to do. We have gone some way, climbing the steep mountainside of Africa’s development, yet there’s still a long way to go until we reach the mountaintop,” he told the gathering of top government officials, industry leaders, and diplomats.

The Bank has connected 16 million people to electricity and provided 70 million people with improved agricultural technologies to achieve food security. The African Development Bank also gave 9 million people access to finance from private sector companies, provided 55 million people access to improved transport, and 31 million people with water and sanitation.

Adesina congratulated his fellow awardees and urged them to be relentless in their efforts to build humanity. 

“Recognition is never the expectation or endgame when you are passionate about your work. But when one’s modest contributions and efforts are found worthy of honor, it is both a surprise and a delight,” he noted.
*AFDB

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INAUGURAL “SAUDI MEDIA FORUM” SET TO DRAW OVER 1000 GLOBAL MEDIA PROFESSIONALS
October 10, 2019 | 0 Comments
  • Fake news, the changing face of journalism and how to keep print media alive in the digital age, are some of the key topics to come under the spotlight at the forum
  • The first-of-its-kind media event will be held in the Saudi capital from December 2-3, 2019

Riyadh, KSA – October 08, 2019: One of the Kingdom’s key independent civil societies, The Saudi Journalists Association (SJA), and the organizers of the inaugural “Saudi Media Forum” (SMF), have announced that the event is well-positioned to attract more than 1000 media leaders and professionals from around the world.

Held under the theme “Media Industry: Opportunities and Challenges” the 2-day forum in Riyadh from December 2-3, will have a wide number of panels, workshops, and meetings that have been curated around discussing the media industry today and bringing together intellectual, cultural, and media leaders each year. The forum seeks to facilitate the exchange of ideas, and to provide a platform where meaningful dialogue can be initiated. It is an annual meeting of the sector’s key players that aims to leave a remarkable and long-lasting impact on the media industry, in the region and beyond.

The selected theme of the forum is centered around viewing media as an interconnected industry and system, now facing the most difficult period in its history in terms of challenges regarding structuring and the media economy. Today’s media is an industry with tremendous opportunity that emerged as a result of the information revolution and rapid digital developments. The Saudi Media Forum represents a chance to learn about innovative, international experiences that have managed to adapt to changes across the industry, and across media platforms.

“We believe that the media industry as a whole is facing major changes and challenges today. Having a strong media presence within this environment is important for any country, as it is essential and an effective means of soft power that can influence real change at home and abroad. The more media is considered effective and influential, the greater the effectiveness of the community it represents,” says Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi, President of the Saudi Media Forum.

Some of the key topics that will soon come under the spotlight at the Saudi Media Forum include the war against fake news, the changing face of journalism and how to keep print media alive in a digital age, in addition to other key pressing topics and issues facing the industry.

“The Forum will act as a key platform for local media professionals to get exposure to media expertise and competencies from many countries. It will also give foreign media an opportunity to learn about Saudi Arabia’s true fiber, particularly in regard to the social and economic changes transforming the kingdom today,” explains Al Harthi.

The inaugural Saudi Media Forum will also be the launch-pad for the Saudi Media Awards. The award categories include both print and digital media, as well as audiovisual production, in a move by the Saudi Journalists Association to encourage competition and invigorate the spirit of innovation and creativity in the media industry.

“We still have a long way to go. However, initiatives such as the Saudi Media Forum and the Saudi Media Awards are a step in the right direction towards the development of the media industry in Saudi Arabia and across the region. Through combined efforts and real-world knowledge exchange, we will continue to enhance Arab media as a whole, build a unique platform in which the changing paradigms of media are tackled, eventually affecting overall quality and freedom of press,” concluded Al Harthi.

About the Saudi Media Forum:

The Saudi Media Forum is an initiative launched by the Saudi Journalists Association, one of the Kingdom’s key civil societies, independent from the government, with an elected board of directors. The Forum acts as an important platform for media professionals and intellectuals to discuss, debate, and exchange opinions and share knowledge and expertise on the industry’s most challenging issues and explore opportunities for improvements and best practices.

For more information on the Saudi Media Forum or on the Saudi Media Awards submissions, please visit: https://saudimf.com/en/

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Ethiosat platform to deliver HD channels to Ethiopian viewers for the first time
October 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

Ethiosat platform to deliver HD channels to Ethiopian viewers for the first time

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 3 October 2019 – For years, Ethiopian TV viewers have had to navigate through a plethora of multinational content in a variety of foreign languages in order to locate their favourite channels. That changes today with the launch of Ethiosat – the first-ever dedicated Ethiopian TV platform to host Ethiopia’s most popular local channels. This has been made possible by agreements between the Association of Ethiopian Broadcasters (AEB), the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC), and the world’s leading satellite operator, SES.

Ethiosat is hosted on SES’s NSS-12 satellite at 57 degrees East and delivers over 30 channels for Ethiopian audiences only, with 12 of those channels already in High Definition (HD) quality.

Amman Fissehazion, Chairman of the AEB, said, “Up until now, the majority of Ethiopia’s content has been broadcast from an orbital location that also supplies content to Middle Eastern and North African countries, which explains the often confusing mix of content. By migrating the most popular Ethiopian TV channels to a new location on SES’s satellite, we’ve created an Ethiopian-only TV offering, that also delivers a variety of channels in HD, a first in Ethiopia.”

Fissehazion added that this is also a great time for the millions of homes in Ethiopia that currently do not receive TV services to bring TV sets into their home. “For Ethiopians looking to buy a new TV set and receive content from the dedicated TV neighbourhood, we recommend purchasing an HD TV whenever possible, as this will allow for a higher picture quality.”

In addition, the launch of Ethiosat will offer Ethiopians a larger offering of both local and relevant international content in the future. Fissehazion said, “We believe consolidating all Ethiopian TV channels and broadcasting them from one orbital position will fuel growth in the Ethiopian media sector, as local networks will now be able to easily expand their audience reach. This will foster healthy and growing advertising markets, which will result in a greater variety of content, and more localised content.”

To access Ethiosat direct-to-home (DTH), Ethiopian TV viewers must have their respective local satellite antenna installer change the position of their antenna. This will allow them to receive the content from SES’s NSS-12 satellite.

“SES is supporting every aspect of this launch and providing on-the-ground services to ensure the success of Ethiosat, which includes training local installers to correctly repoint the satellite dishes of each TV household to ensure a seamless migration. Ethiosat is bringing a completely new television experience to Ethiopians. We intend for the reliability and quality of the new platform to attract many new viewers, fuelling a bright future for the Ethiopian media sector,” said Ferdinand Kayser, CEO of SES Video.

Ethiosat is Ethiopia’s first dedicated TV platform to host the most popular local channels. Ethiosat’s tagline “Colour Your World” is inspired by the colourfulness of Ethiopian culture and tradition. The logo is a representation of the fact that a dedicated platform has been created for Ethiopia via satellite.

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African Diaspora Endorses the Continental Free Trade Agreement
October 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

Organizers and Panelists after the Trade and Development Project session. L-R, Gregory Simpkins, Senior Advisor at USAID, Hope Sullivan, Consultant, OIC of America, Andrew Gelfuso, VP Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center,  Angelle Kwemo, Founder and President of Believe in Africa Foundation, Martin Ezemma Dir of Int Business PG Cty Economic Development Corporation, Felix Obi Commissioner Economic & International Development Task Force MD Governor’s office of Community Initiatives, and Dr Malcom Beech, President Africa Business League -America

A major outcome of the recent Making African Trade Easy Forum in Washington, DC was the resounding endorsement from the African Diaspora towards both the Prosper Africa initiative and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCTA).

At the heavily attended event, policy experts, trade professionals, government officials, and other participants agreed that with its enormous potentials, much was still needed for Africa to enjoy the game changing benefits of trade. In this light, the groundbreaking development in the creation and rapid ratification of the African Continental Trade Agreement was hailed as a harbinger of hope for the future.

Speaking at the event, African Union Trade and Industry Commissioner Albert Muchanga said Africa means business in every sense of the word with the AFCFTA. Typically, agreements like the AFCFTA take about five years to ratify, but within a year of its creation, a majority of African countries have ratified it with the exception of Eritrea which is still working on doing so. Commissioner Muchanga harped on the great work that has been put in, and the myriad of benefits that effective implementation could have on the people of Africa. Speaking with great optimism, Mr Muchanga said political will from the leaders was strong, and there was overwhelming support from Africans across the continent for the AFCFTA. With its Secretariat in Ghana, Mr Muchanga lauded the partnership of institutions like the African Development Bank and financial institutions like the Afrexim Bank, a cosponsor of MATE 2019, which are helping to put the AFCFTA on the right path.

The Award to AU President Moussa Faki was received by African Union Trade and Industry Commissioner Albert Muchanga,(L) flanked here by Gregory Simpkins, Senior Advisor at USAID and Angelle Kwemo, Founder and President of Believe in Africa Foundation. Photo Adam Ouologuem

In appreciation and salute of the progress and renewed optimism that the AFCFTA is bringing to the continent, the African Diaspora represented by Angelle Kwemo Founder and President of Believe in Africa Foundation expressed satisfaction,and encouraged African leaders to do all to ensure that the AFCFTA lives up to its game changing potentials for the continent. 

A seasoned international Trade Professional and Chair of the organizing committee of MATE 2019, Angelle Kwemo presented an award to African Union President Moussa Faki in recognition of the great work that he and his team have put in towards making free trade a reality in Africa. The African diaspora with all its potential will throw its weight behind the AFCFTA and do its part to ensure that it works for the benefit of Africa and its partners,said Angelle Kwemo. 

Accepting the award on behalf of AU President Moussa Faki, Trade and Industry Commissioner Muchanga expressed gratitude for the recognition. The leadership of AUC Faki has been instrumental in facilitating progress made by the AFCFTA, and the award will spur them to keep up the hard work, Commissioner Muchanga said. All hands must be on deck for the AFCFTA to succeed, and the diaspora remains one of the most important partners Commissioner said Commissioner Muchanga.

Equally recognized with awards were prominent business leader ‘Samba Bathily, founder of ADS Group who received the “Pan-African Award for his investments across the continent, and Dr Gloria Herndon, Founder GH Global Group with the Africa Diaspora Award.

Dr Gloria Herndon, Founder GH Global Group (in White) was honored with the Africa Diaspora Award

While Samba Bathily represents the upcoming generation of dynamic young Africans transforming the continent with daring investments, in Gloria Herndon, the award was in recognition of decades of strong, and sustained attachment to Africa. Dr Herndon regaled the audience with humor laced tales of her vast experiences across the continent.My love affair with Africa is far from ended Dr Herndon said, as she accepted her honor.

Organized to coincide with the 5th anniversary of Believe in Africa Foundation, the Making African Trade Easy Forum was organized in partnership with USAID and Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center to promote Prosper Africa and the AfCFTA. MATE was opened by Andrew Gelfuso, VP of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Ian Steff, Director Global Market Bureau at U.S. Department of Commerce with the keynote from Ramsey Day, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa, USAID.  They all recognized the importance of the Diaspora in fostering trade with Africa.

A lot of hard work was put in by the Mate Organizing Team for the successful event

It was two full days of intense panel discussions and exhibitions.From panels on African Economic Outlook, to Building Africa’s Manufacturing Sector, the African Continental Free Trade area, Facilitating Finance in Africa, Investing and building Africa’s health industry, Building Diaspora Trade and Innovation, Making the African Digital Revolution a reality, Investing in Africa, Growing Sustainable jobs under AGOA, Democratizing Africa’s energy sector,and Growing Africa’s Agricultural Industry, participants had more than a full dose of potentials, realities , challenges , and what must be done to improve doing trade in and with Africa.

Led by Capitol Hill Veterans Angelle Kwemo, Founder and President of Believe in Africa Foundation and Gregory Simpkins, Senior Advisor at USAID the MATE Forum brought together the crème de la crème of African trade and advocacy professionals in the USA including Matthiew Rees, Coordinator, Prosper Africa, David Weld, Senior Director for Africa, MCC, Jeremy Streatfield, Director for Africa at USTR, Heather Lannigan, Regio9nal Director for SubSahara Africa at TDA, C.D. Glin, President and CEO, USADF, Dr. Albert Zeufack, Chief Economist for Africa, The World Bank Group, Leila Ndiaye, President and CEO, IGD, Flori Liser, President & CEO, CCA, Dr. Menna Demessie, Secretary, Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund, Jeannine Scott, Board Chair, CFA, Dr. Sharon Freeman, President & CEO, Gems of Wisdom Consulting, Mariama Camara, Mariama Fashion Production Dr. Mima Nedelcovith, Partner, Africa Global, Maureen Umeh, Fox5 news,  Oren Wyche-Shw, Deputy Assistant Administrator at USAID, Alison Germack, Director of Corporate Development, International Development Finance Corporation, Prof. Landry Signe, Fellow Brooklings institutions, Yousuf Daya, Senior Director Trade policy, market Access, Reseach and International Cooperatio, Afrexim Bank, Steve Lande, VP, Manchester Trade, Tamra Raye Stevenson, CEO, WANDA, Kimberley Brown, Amethyst Technologies, Betty Adera, Betty Adera Foundation, Ollowo-N’Djo Tchalla, CEO Alafia, Salma Seetaroo-Bonnafoux, Ivoirienne de Noix de Cajou, Rahama Wright, Shea Yeleen Katie Auth, Acting Deputy Coordinator, Power Africa, and delegations from many African countries.

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The Unrealized Oil Promise of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the era of “Billions At Play”
October 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

Standing in the 12th position amongst African oil producers, the DRC’s petroleum industry is miniscule at best, producing an average of 25 thousand barrels of crude oil per day

President Tshisekedi of D.R.Congo

 By NJ Ayuk *

It is no secret that the DRC’s mining industry is of vital importance in answering the country’s and the world’s mineral needs. Today, copper, cobalt and other byproducts represent the backbone of the DRC’s economic structure at about 85% of its exports. That has been the case for many years, through several regimes, with little change. Besides metals, diamonds and oil represent the remaining of all that the DRC sends abroad, the vast majority of its outbound trade balance being composed of raw unprocessed goods.

Standing in the 12th position amongst African oil producers, the DRC’s petroleum industry is miniscule at best, producing an average of 25 thousand barrels of crude oil per day off its coastal ageing fields. But that seems rather odd. While there is not much talk about this particular fact, when we think of it, it is somewhat perplexing that the DRC, which is bordered by so many oil producers and has territorial waters in the prolific Gulf of Guinea, has never really developed an oil industry or even seemed to be interested in developing one, despite its prospective reserves. With a population of around 80 million people, of which around 75%, most statistics indicate, live in extreme poverty, the DRC is today amongst the five poorest countries in the world. 

One would expect that the country’s leaders would strongly push for the exploration of the country’s natural resources to produce wealth and provide for better living conditions for its citizens. Yet, the DRC’s oil and gas reserves remain largely unexplored, while most studies estimate that there could be around 20 billion barrels of undiscovered oil in the country’s basins, both onshore and offshore. That is a tremendous amount of oil which, if confirmed, would place the DRC as the second biggest petroleum holder in Sub-Saharan Africa, behind only Nigeria, and far outdoing Angola’s reserves of 9 billion barrels of oil.

This is not the Africa we want, and this is not the DRC that we want.

First of all, keeping certain communities in poverty to retain power is a complete mistake. Power stability comes from generalized improvement of life conditions. If the country is wealthier and is capable of improving the lives of those that live in it, the more stable it will be and the more capable it will become of sustaining and giving continuity to that development.

Further, as I have extensively defended over the years, the sanctity of contracts is of paramount importance to attract investment and partnerships into any country. What company would want to invest in a country where a contract can be signed and then cancelled a few months later without further explanation or justification? And it is not just a matter of reputation, but of direct financial burden, lest not forget that just in March this year, an international court ordered the Democratic Republic of Congo to pay South African DIG Oil Ltd USD$617 million for failing to honour two oil contracts. That is 1.6% of the country’s 2017 GDP. How can any leader possibly justify such a loss to its economy. Not to, again, mention the enormous economic potential that could come from actually letting those contracts take shape and allow companies to explore the country’s oil regions.

Stability depends on investment, cooperation and development. To attract investment, conditions need to be created for the business environment to be enabling for industry development. Disrespecting contracts does not achieve that. Nor does keeping people from producing wealth.

Just in May, French super-major Total abandoned its exploration license in the DRC. Bloomberg’s article on the matter was titled “Congo’s Lone Oil Giant Quits Search, Partner Says”. That’s right, it was the last major oil and gas company to abandon the DRC’s oil plays. Others had been there over the years, Shell and Texaco for instance. About 10 years ago, Tullow Oil and partners tried to acquire a license for exploration, signed a contract, paid the bonuses, and saw the contract then cancelled and the same block then sold to yet another company just a few months later. Nothing has been done in the acreage since.

This is the absolute opposite of what must be done.

Oil and gas production can bring enormous wealth to the country and its people, not to mention the ability the country’s gas reserves could have to produce electricity to power homes and industry.

Since January 2019, the DRC is led by a new government. It now has the opportunity to change the status quo of the DRC within the global oil industry and to promote investment. The country’s oil and gas laws are fairly well developed and the potential for discoveries is huge; the problem is reputation. If the country’s leaders can reassure international investors that their contracts will be respected and if investments can be facilitated and transactions made transparent, there is little limit to how quickly the country’s industry could grow and how much its people could benefit. Better living conditions across the country would ease ethnic and social tensions and provide the basis for a level of socio-economic development that the country has never seen before.

If the dependency on the volatile prices of mineral commodities continues, as well as the uneven distribution of wealth, and if the generalized situation of extreme poverty is sustained amongst the population, instability, rather than stability, will be the end result.

Further, the DRC has the opportunity to seek the help and support of international institutions and partners in developing its oil industry, such as the World Bank, the IMF or the Norwegian government, which have vast experience in helping other African oil producers. They can also seek closer proximity with the US, where most of the major companies with the capability, technology and capital to help develop their industry reside. 

The US government also has an interest in promoting these developments in the DRC, as maintaining stability in the sub-continent and the Central African region is of particular strategic importance for US interests. 

It is astonishing to me that the leaders in Kinshasa are not willing to look from their windows just across the Congo river to Brazzaville and want to emulate the steps taken by their neighbour, the Republic of Congo, currently the third biggest oil producer in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Finally, good signs are coming from the current administration. In April, at the latest Africa Petroleum Producers Association’s Conference in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, the DRC’s oil minister announced the country would put 38 blocks on offer for bidding and negotiation, located in three different basins. This is an important step in order to call out investor attention to the country, and I applaud the initiative. Hopefully the regime change, the country’s adherence to the EITI, and the new block offer will help bring investment, but more will have to be done to reassure investors that entering this market will be a profitable and safe bet, and that their interests and rights are protected by the law.

I hope to see these developments happening soon and to be a witness to the fulfillment of the DRC’s oil industry’s full potential.

*NJ Ayuk is the CEO of Centurion Law Group, a pan-African law Conglomerate and the current Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber (EnergyChamber.org), the voice of the African Oil and Gas industry. He is the author is the upcoming book “Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals”.

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Angolan Energy Exec Pugliese Says NJ Ayuk’s New Book Connects Governance and Gas Monetization with African Advancement
October 8, 2019 | 0 Comments
Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy will be published by October 2019
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, October 5, 2019/ — “Bribery is not a smart business model.”

Leading African energy attorney NJ Ayuk maintains that corruption in all its forms is one of the most significant barriers to business growth on the continent.

Ayuk’s position, which he elaborates on in his new book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals, has earned the support of Sergio Pugliese, President of the Africa Energy Chamber in Angola. Pugliese was an executive with international oil companies BP and Statoil and founded Angola-focused oil and gas services firms Motiva LDA and Amipa LDA. 

 “NJ Ayuk is a champion of African energy investments, and that’s clear in his new book,” Pugliese said. “That doesn’t mean he has blinders on, however. In ‘Calling all Leaders! More on Good Governance’, he presents an unvarnished view of corruption’s negative effect on Africa’s business environment. His message is something anyone who is doing business there, or wants to, should hear.”

In particular, Ayuk says that while the continent has become increasingly attractive to investors, the lack of transparency is keeping it from reaching its full potential. Better policymaking would help, but Africans can’t just count on foreign countries as examples. His belief that “free markets, personal responsibility, less regulation, low taxes, limited government, individual liberties, and economic empowerment will boost African oil and gas markets and economies” is firm throughout the book. He is right when he advocates, “we should fight against a new aid and welfare culture that many young Africans are moving towards”. He demands accountability which is good.

“The global reality is that many countries have policies about how individuals and companies should respond to inducements and kickbacks, and in an era of transparency, they expect Africa to have the same—and enforce them,” Pugliese said. “As Ayuk’s book suggests, Africa has a history of looking abroad for aid and inspiration, and it’s time countries on the continent looked to each other to make sure they meet world-class standards for doing business.”

While Ayuk is not reluctant to call attention to issues Africa—and Africans—need to change, Pugliese said that what is special about Billions at Play is the author’s attention to providing a balanced message. Most important, it is based upon Ayuk’s own experiences as an advocate for everyday Africans.

“This isn’t some pedantic assessment of a problem or, worse yet, a glossed-over version of the truth,” Pugliese said. “In his book, Ayuk offers a boots-on-the-ground perspective and is prescriptive about how countries can change.”

As an example, Pugliese cited Ayuk’s coverage of Nigeria’s response to the 2008 global financial crisis, including reforms to bank oversight. Angola, Cameroon, South Africa, Senegal, Gabon, South Sudan, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea can learn from this book but African investors can learn more.

“Ayuk tells us what has been done, what can be done, and what should be done.  He knows the topic of good governance inside and out, and doesn’t hesitate to show us all sides.”

NJ Ayuk is founder and CEO of Pan-African corporate law conglomerate, Centurion Law Group (https://CenturionLG.com/); Founder and Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber (https://EnergyChamber.org/) and co-author of Big Barrels: African Oil and Gas and the Quest for Prosperity (2017).

He is recognized as one of the foremost figures in African business today.

Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy will be published by October 2019

 For more information about the book, follow us on social media @BillionsAtPlay.
*African Energy Chamber
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Mozambique:Police Admits Responsibility in killing of social activist
October 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Arnaldo Cuamba

The Mozambican police confirmed on Tuesday that members of the corporation murdered a social activist Anastácio Matavel, a member of the “Sala da Paz”, an organisation that is preparing to observe independently the general elections scheduled for next week.

Matavel, a key figure from Mozambique’s election observation community and focal point of “Sala da Paz” in Gaza province, south of Mozambique, was murdered on the morning of 7 October upon leaving a training session for national observers.

According to police spokesperson, Orlando Mudumane, 4 of the 5 main suspects responsible for the murder are corporate agents in the Special Operations Group of the Rapid Intervention Unit.

As a result, the General Police Commander, Bernardino Rafael, ordered the suspension of two commanders from the units where the murdering police officers were assigned. On the other hand, a commission of inquiry was created to present a detailed report on what actually happened within 15 days.

On Monday, the “Sala da Paz” called on the press to repudiate and condemn the death, asking those entitled to clarify the crime quickly and to punish the perpetrators.

“The Sala da Paz understands that these acts are against human rights and freedom of expression enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Mozambique,” said Dercio Alfazema, spokesman for the organization “Thus, it calls on the competent authorities, for a thorough investigation to find the perpetrators of this heinous crime and in an exemplary way be punished,” he said.

The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) strongly condemned the attack and also called on the competent national authorities to investigate this violent act and ensure the perpetrators are held to account for their criminal actions.

“Domestic observation is an essential component of a credible electoral process” EU EOM said in a press release published on Tuesday. “Any act that affects or limits the capacity of national observers to perform their essential role is an unacceptable obstacle to the transparency of elections and the respect for the participation of citizens in the country’s political life” they added.

The general elections are scheduled for 15 October in Mozambique, with an election campaign marked by turbulence. Violent clashes between sympathizers of the different political parties have continued throughout the electoral campaign period without a strong, clear and persistent condemnation from political leaders and competent authorities.

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Rwanda inaugurates first smartphones plant in Africa
October 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Kagame was beholden a smartphone produced by Mara Phones

On Monday, president Paul Kagame of Rwanda inaugurated Mara Phone, a first smartphones plant of its kind to be put up in Africa.

The plant is situated in heart of Kigali, in special economic zone, the area that is reserved for industries.

Mara Phones, a subsidiary company of the Mara Group owned by businessman Ashish  Thakkar has started to produce two kinds of smartphones including Mara Z  and Mara X.

President Kagame inaugurating this plant, lauded this achievement and he believes it is going to increase number of Rwandans who use smartphones.

“The percentage is still really low of Rwandans who are already using smartphones, but we want to enable many more who would like to, and this is why dealing with cost and quality is very important.” He said

Kagame inaugurating Mara Phones Plant in Kigali

The cost of first phones produces by Mara Phones ranges between one hundred dollar and two hundred dollar.

Kagame promised that government is dealing with Mara Phones to see how price can be reduced and be paid in instalments.

“The introduction of Mara Phones will put smartphone ownership within reach of more Rwandans. The product is backed by a warranty and  the price can be paid in instalments over two years. They have tried to make it as simple and  possible for Rwandans as they could.”

Kagame revealed that Mara aims to export phones in the  region as well, and beyond.

Ashish Thakkar of Mara Group compares  introducing smartphones plant in Rwanda as African dreams that comes true.

“This is the first plant that produces smartphones on the continent, It has never been done before. This is the time for Africa to make a difference in producing high quality products not only for Africans but also beyond.” he said

These smartphones uses Android system powered by Google.

Mara Phone in Rwanda employs more than two hundred young Rwandans, with few foreign experts.

The plant has capacity of producing about 1 000 smartphones a day, and building that plant has cost more than 50 000 000 USD.

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South Sudan:Unresolved issues can’t stop formation of transitional govt by Nov 12 – says UN Envoy
October 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Special Representative and head of the UN Mission in South Sudan David Shearer (left) meets with President Salva Kiir in the capital Juba.Photo UNMISS/Isaac Billy

Juba – The pre-transitional issues that remain unresolved cannot stop the formation of a transitional government by November 12, the United Nation’s Mission in South Sudan’s Chief, David Shearer.

It’s just over a month to the November 12 deadline for the government that will return Dr. Riek Machar and other opposition leaders to work with president Salva Kiir in a 36 months’ transitional period.

The cantonment, training and unification forces have not been completed and the number of states and boundaries have not yet resolved.

South Sudan is struggling to wriggle out of a five-year conflict that has left thousands of people dead and displaced four million others.

“While we are behind in terms of the program that was envisaged when the peace agreement was signed a year ago, I don’t think that it’s necessary to continually delay the transitional government until certain progress are made,” Shearer told reporters in Juba on Wednesday. “It is very important that we have a transitional government on the 12th of November,” he added.

“The cantonment and the reorganization of forces, likewise the issue of resolving the states and boundaries issues, that can continue in the transitional period and doesn’t need to be delayed.”

While the deadline looms, the international communities are ramping UN progress to ensure the power-sharing arrangement comes to pass.

A UN Security Council team will visit South Sudan on October 25th to monitor progress, he said.

“The security council signaled its strong desire for the momentum of the peace process to be maintained. So much so, that they are travelling as a group to South Sudan towards the end of this month to see the situation first hand and to put their weight behind the political process,” said Shearer.

The UN chief added the UN Mission is also providing technical assistance and contracting an experienced retired general from Ethiopia to help parties determine the country’s security policy.

Early last month, president Kiir and opposition leader Machar met in Juba, made progress on security arrangements, unification of forces and the number of states.

In a statement seen by the Pan African Visions, ex-rebel Machar noted he will travel to Juba with the UNSC team to push forward the peace process.

In response

In the press statement, the SPLM-IO says they are deeply regrets by the UN envoy comment, arguing that the UN should have been an impartial arbiter.

“However, to our dismay and disappointment, the UN Special Envoy to South Sudan seems to be reading from the same script as the – well documented – genocidal regime,” said in the statement seen by this news agency.

The statement further said the statement of UN envoy, David Shearer eerily echo the belligerent words of president Kiir at the recent prayers at presidential palace in Juba, where he said to unilaterally form the unity government on November 12.

“The SPLM/A-IO would like to state for the record that a coerced peace will never prevail in South Sudan and forming the R – TGoNU – under a false pretext that we shall discuss the outstanding issues as a unity government – is a mockery of justice,” said Machar’s group in the statement. “We have tried this in 2016 and it led to the paralysis of the transitional government of national unity (TGoNU). What makes the UN Special Envoy imagine that the same events shall not be repeated.”

A peace deal signed in 2015 collapsed after renewed violence in July 2016 forcing Machar to flee the capital Juba. But in September 2018, the warring parties signed a revitalized peace deal, in which Dr. Machar will take up one of the four vice presidency positions in the transitional government that will run for 36 months.

This peace deal is an attempt to ending the country’s five – year conflict that has killed nearly 400,000 people and uprooted 4 million people both internally and externally from their homes, before ruined the country’s economy.

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President Kiir regrets lack of funds for peace implementation
October 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

President Salva kiir

Juba – South Sudan president Salva Kiir has said that lack of funds was the main hindrance toward speedy implementation of the revitalized peace deal as deadline approaches.

President Kiir and opposition groups, including Dr. Machar signed a new peace deal in 2018 but the implementation is crippled by lack of funds.

“Lack of funds has been one of our main obstacle which is hindrance the successful implementation of the revitalized peace agreement (R-ARCSS), particularly Chapter 2 on the permanent ceasefire and security arrangement,” said president Kiir while addressing the heads of foreign missions over the weekend.

President further urged for more donor support toward the implementation of the new peace deal that aims to ending the country’s five – year conflict.

“You should inform governments of the country you are accredited to that my government has been doing its best to implement the agreement even with our scarce resources to implement the R-ARCSS,” he said.

“We need the commitment of the regional and international community as promised during the negotiation of the R – ARCSS.”

Kiir reiterated that his government remains committed to achieving lasting peace and stability in the restive country.

Re-adjust foreign ambassadors

President Kiir also admitted that the number of South Sudanese diplomats in foreign mission embassies was huge compared to their foreign counterparts in Juba.

“I want us to admit that the number of our diplomats in the embassies is huge and we need to re-adjust immediately. I witness this whenever I visit countries where we have embassies,” said Kiir. “When our diplomats turn up at the airport, it desires a lot compared to when I receive foreign heads of states here in Juba where the number of their diplomats is quiet small.”

He directed the foreign ministry to trim the number of diplomats in foreign countries.

“There should not be two ambassadors in bilateral posting except in multilateral posting, which means a diplomat can deputize an ambassador in bilateral posting and military attaches’ in countries with military cooperation with South Sudan. Immigration attaches should be based in countries with bigger number of South Sudanese,” said Kiir.

The warring parties failed to formed the transitional unity government in May and both agreed to a six – month extension with only one month remaining before the formation of much-awaited transitional unity government on November 12, in which Dr. Machar will be the first vice president, position he held until July 2013.

President Kiir and designated vice president, opposition leader Dr. Machar held serious face-to-face talks in early September in Juba and the two principals agreed to speed up screening and registration of their forces as they enter the over 30 cantonment sites.

The IGAD – revitalized peace deal broker has recently said the parties to the peace deal failed to form the unified force by the September 30, 2019 deadline.

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