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Turkish Airlines Touts Prowess on African Market
April 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

Erkan Erdogan, General Manager of the Washington, DC, Office

Erkan Erdogan, General Manager of the Washington, DC, Office

With its geographical proximity to Africa, Turkish Airlines considers the continent as one of its most important and convenient destinations ,says Erkan Erdogan, General Manager of the Washington, DC, Office.

Speaking during  a recent interactive workshop in Washington, DC, Erkan Erdogan said Turkish Airlines is today the largest non-African Airline operating in Africa with 54 destinations in 34 countries. In addition to flights to ethnic important hubs like Addis Ababa, Asmara, Freetown, Kigali, Mogadishu, Lagos, and Yaoundé, amongst others, Erkan Erdogan said Turkish Airlines also takes pride id servicing exotic destinations like Kilimanjaro, Seychelles, Zanzibar and South Africa.

With Freetown, Sierra Leone, as its newest African destination since February 2018, Erdogan disclosed that the growing popularity of Turkish Airlines with the international traveler saw the company start the year with a record load factor in the company’s history.

To meet the increasing demands of the deluge of passengers transiting through the main hub in Istanbul which has been in full capacity use for several years now, a new airport is in construction, Erkan Erdogan said.

“In its first phase, the new airport will have a capacity to handle 90 million passengers annually and when the final phase is complete, it will have the ability to handle 200 million passengers which would make it one of the largest airports in the world,” said Mr Erdogan.

In addition to running a successful airlines company, Turkish Airlines is also very committed to social responsibility, Mr Erdogan said. From the construction of schools, and clinics to drilling of water wells, in countries affected by drought, the social programs of Turkish Airlines benefit as many as 24 countries, Mr. Erdogan said. Citing the example of the recent drought and famine situation in Somalia, Mr Erdogan indicated that Turkish Airlines ferried in plane loads of supplies like food, water, medicine, and other essential supplies to Mogadishu.

Established in 1933 with 5 aircraft, Turkish Airlines today flies to more countries in the world than any other airlines. With flights to 122 countries, 332 aircrafts, and 305 destinations, the airline carried almost 69 million passengers in 2017. The aim is to carry about 120 million using 500 aircraft by 2023,  Erkan Erdogan said.

The Airlines has won numerous prestigious awards and recognitions in the aviation industry. In addition to its fabled lounge in Istanbul, Turkish Airlines has its lounges in Nairobi, Kenya, and in Washington, DC at the Dulles Airport.

Organized in partnership with the Africa Travel Association ATA, the event was attended by a number of African Ambassadors, media, and people from the business community. It was spiced with exquisite Turkish cuisine and a broad presentation on the luxuries that go with traveling via Turkish Airlines by the Regional Marketing Manager Manuel A.Fernandes.

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African Businesses to License ONEm’s Internet-like Service Technology
April 12, 2018 | 0 Comments
ONEm has also developed a blockchain technology accessible over SMS to support unique applications
LONDON, United Kingdom, April 11, 2018/ — ONEm Communications (www.ONEm.com) is bringing internet-like services to millions of people without the internet. On any ordinary mobile, users can engage in group communication with each other like people do on the internet.

The London high-tech firm plans expansion in Africa through licensing and local partnerships. African business concerns are currently discussing licensing rights and partnerships. The move will see advanced services for rural Africa spread throughout the continent.

In a presentation to African officials Christopher Richardson the CEO of ONEm said. “Africa is a very big and diverse continent. Reaching all rural areas needs significant funding and formidable technical challenges. However, the ONEm’s solution utilizes existing infrastructure to deliver innovative services to rural communities.”

Internet based group communications is the one service that transformed the mobile. An internet identity allowed people to interact with each other globally without borders. Mobile internet allowed friends to share and exchange information anywhere. They could interact with applications for content and services. They could create and own their own content.

“Africa has the talent and resources to develop services that reach all rural areas today.”

Half of the world’s population is without internet. They cannot enjoy the wonders of interactive social communications, content and services. With ordinary mobiles, the internet is completely out of reach.

ONEm’s technology lets applications interact with mobiles without the internet. The technology transforms ordinary voice and SMS into powerful interactive tools. ONEm’s framework lets developers create interactive applications for content and services which are relevant in the local market.

ONEm has also developed a blockchain technology accessible over SMS to support unique applications. There are countless blockchain SMS applications that will usher in life changing innovations. For example, for the first time people will be able to have a history of transactions via SMS. This will provide a solution towards better financial inclusion.

Governments are keen to deploy ONEm Platform as a way to provide rural access to critical services. ONEm can provide nationwide interactive services in security, health, education and commerce. Users need only a basic mobile and can get access to vital information interactively using SMS and Voice. Coordination for development will be with the respective government departments.

ONEm is currently in discussions with Mobile Operators to deploy ONEm services to make their core voice and SMS more internet-like. This innovation enriches the user’s experience and gives these core assets greater value. More than 20 mobile operators have connections with ONEm with many more in the pipeline.

Africa has the talent and resources to develop services that reach all rural areas today. ONEm provides a way for these services to reach them.

About ONEm 
ONEm (www.ONEm.com) is a high tech company based in London established in 2012. ONEm developed and deployed an advanced platform that supports a wide range of unique services. The platform empowers users to enjoy access to a continually growing number of interactive content and applications. What is unique about these services is that they work on any type of mobile without requiring data or Wi-Fi. ONEm has participated in many Telecommunication and Tech conferences around the world including Asia, Africa Europe and The Middle East creating awareness and Partnerships from all around the world.

ONEm’s most recent venture, mCoin (www.ONEm.com/mcoin) is bringing cryptocurrency to the unconnected and unbanked community, in line with its overall vision of an inclusive world that is better connected.

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PRESIDENT BUHARI TO DECLARE 61ST UNWTO/CAF MEETING‎ OPEN
April 11, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Olayinka Ajayi
President Muhammadu Buhari PHOTO: BAYO OMOBORIOWO

President Muhammadu Buhari PHOTO: BAYO OMOBORIOWO

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari is set to declare open the 61st Meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organization/Commission for Africa (UNWTO/CAF), scheduled for 4-6 June 2018 in Abuja.

 Speaking, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this in an advocacy visit to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Mohammed Musa Bello, to intimate him with details of the forthcoming international event.

“Mr. President has accepted to personally declare the meeting open‎. With this visit, the Honourable Minister of the FCT has become the second person to be invited,” he said.

The meeting is an annual platform through which the UNWTO Secretariat informs member states of the general programme of work for the African region and presents the reports of the various standing committees.

He said the theme of the 61st UNWTO/CAF Meeting is “Tourism Statistics: A Catalyst for Development.”

While speaking on the benefits that Nigeria will derive from hosting the meeting, the Minister said it would put Nigeria, and the nation’s tourism industry, under a global focus, in addition to attracting foreign research experts and promoting the necessary network that will form the basis for future cooperation.

“Also, it will provide Nigeria the opportunity to showcase itself to the world, especially in the area of its culture and tourism. And of course, we have a lot to showcase: Our tourist attractions, our rich culture, as well as our music and films, which have taken the world by storm,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed said as the Minister of the Host City, the FCT Minister will play a major role during the meeting, which includes giving the welcome address on the official opening ceremony, another speech at the welcome dinner and also at the official opening ceremony for the Technical Seminar on the second day.

He gave the assurance that preparations for the event are in top gear, and called for the support of Nigerians to make the event a huge success.

In his remarks, the Minister of the FCT, Mallam Bello, commended Alhaji Mohammed for his untiring effort in securing the hosting right of the conference for Nigeria.

Mallam Bello, who expressed delight that this is coming on the heels of another hosting right for the International Press Institute Annual General Assembly also in Abuja, said the gesture is a reflection of how the global community now perceives Nigeria.

“For Nigeria  to get  to approval is something that I am sure involved a lot of hard work,” he said.

Nigeria secured the hosting right for the Meeting during the 59th Meeting of the UNWTO/CAF in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in April 2017.

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African Development Bank is key to Africa’s economic development, say Southern African Governors
April 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

Bank described as trusted partner to jumpstart economic growth

The Southern African Governors of the African Development Bank have described the Bank as the future of Africa’s development, and called on it to lead the way to faster-paced development of the continent.

The Governors – Finance Ministers and Ministers of Economic Planning from Angola, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, São Tomé and Príncipe, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe – shared their thoughts at a regional consultation with African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina and Senior Bank Executives at the institution’s headquarters in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

I thank the Bank for accelerating lending,” said Moeketsi Majoro, the Minister of Finance from Lesotho. He commended the Bank’s decentralization policy for bringing the institution closer to its shareholders.

According to Adesina, “The challenges ahead of Africa are immense, and the need for faster growth is even more urgent than ever before. Therefore, we cannot rest on our oars.”

In 2017, the Bank accelerated the scale and delivery of its lending and achieved the highest disbursement ever in the history of the Bank, with over $7.2 billion.

“It is clear to me today that the continent has a new and exciting sense of purpose as exhibited by the African Development Bank. The Bank is the future of African development, transformation, and respect,” said Mondli Gungubele, Alternate Governor and Deputy Minister of Finance for South Africa.

“I would like to join the chorus of Governors who have expressed appreciation for how the African Development Bank is being run and for its strong adherence to core principles of good governance,” Gungubele said.

“We strongly feel the increase of the Bank’s operations as well as its greater involvement in our country. The Bank came to our assistance when we most needed it. We feel its impact in the public and private sectors,” said Aia-Eza da Silva, the State Secretary of Budget and Public Investment, on behalf of the Governor from Angola.

She called for the Bank’s assistance to enable the country to deliver on project implementation faster.

Speaking further, President Adesina called for collective action on scaled-up implementation of Africa’s development, noting that a faster-paced development and development with pride is what the continent needs.

“We have just 12 years to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals! This is not a clock ticking. It is an alarm bell for the world. And the bell is ringing louder and louder,” he said. “The Sustainable Development Goals will not be achieved by a ‘business as usual’ attitude. And they will not be realized globally unless Africa achieves them completely and comprehensively.”

He assured that all the countries of the Southern region have a great opportunity to accelerate inclusive growth in the next few years and that the African Development Bank would be with them on this journey.

The Minister of Finance and Budget of Madagascar, Vonintsalama Andriambololona, noted that the many challenges faced by Africa require that the continent sits up in order to develop and to grow. She commended the Bank’s leadership in reducing time lags between project conception and first disbursements, which she noted was faster with the African Development Bank than with any other multilateral development institution.

“We are grateful to the African Development Bank for anticipating Africa’s funding needs and addressing them now. Africa needs more resources to grow. As such, we are favourable to a capital increase for the Bank to help it address Africa’s funding needs,” Andriambololona said.

The Governors expressed concern about the Southern African region’s low growth performance in 2017 and the fact that nine out of 10 developing countries will be in Africa by 2030. They identified the Bank as Africa’s trusted partner to lead the way to reverse the situation.

Despite a positive outlook, Southern Africa is facing serious economic challenges, the Southern Africa Regional Economic Outlook released by the Bank has revealed. The analysis presented to the Governors indicates that, like the rest of Africa, the region faces severe job deficits and challenging demographics.

The Governors lauded the Bank’s support in their countries and observed that a General Capital Increase would enable it to play a more effective role in fast-tracking Africa’s economic development, moving from billions to trillions.

According to data provided at the meeting, Bank operations are transforming the lives of millions of Africans. According to figures for 2010-2017, 18 million Africans benefitted from new electricity connections and 57 million Africans benefitted from improvements in agriculture. In the same period, 420,000 small businesses were provided with financial services, while 83 million Africans benefitted from improved access to transport and 49 million Africans benefitted from better access to water and sanitation.

The region’s growth projections for 2018 and 2019 are 2.0% and 2.4%, respectively, which are still insufficient for poverty reduction. The region produces 20% of Africa’s GDP and houses 16% of the population.

The Minister of Agriculture from Swaziland, Moses Vilakati, flagged two major concerns – climate change and the fact that by 2025, half of Africa’s youth are projected to be unemployed.

“We certainly need the Bank’s High 5 development priorities. We also need to increase domestic resource mobilization,” he said.

According to Adesina, “We have introduced strong performance and accountability systems. We are leveraging more resources for Africa. Last year, for example, we leveraged US $6 billion for the landmark Japan-Africa Energy Financing Facility, which will speed the implementation of our Light up and power Africa High 5.”

The Bank’s current portfolio in Southern Africa stands at US $8.3 billion in 201 projects, said Josephine Ngure, the Bank’s Deputy Director General for the Southern Africa region.

“Like other African countries, there is an urgent need for structural transformation to accelerate economic diversification in the Southern Africa region,” said Célestin Monga, the Bank’s Chief Economist and Vice-President, Economic Governance and Knowledge Management.

Botswana (4.3%), Madagascar (4.1%), Mozambique (4.3%), and Zambia (3.8%) led growth in 2016-2017, but South Africa, the region’s economic powerhouse, performed below potential. Significant resources are required for the region’s development and are estimated to be approximately US $7 billion per annum at the country level and US $70 billion for the Southern African Development Community regional programmes and projects.

Additional resources have helped Africa effectively respond to the financial and economic crisis and increased demand for the Bank’s resources in an evolving environment, said Hassatou Diop N’Sele, Acting Vice-President for Finance at the Bank, stressing that a stronger African Development Fund is needed to position the Bank as the leading arranger of Africa’s syndicated co-financing.

The Governors were optimistic that the inaugural Africa Investment Forum (scheduled for November 7-9, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa), would strategically leverage investments in Africa and scale up project preparation facilities and tools.

To facilitate the Bank’s closer relationship with Lusophone countries, President Adesina disclosed that the Bank had scheduled a meeting with a delegation from Portugal, including Portugal’s Secretary of State, to discuss key issues including the acquistion of the Portuguese language by Bank staff and de-risking tools for Lusophone countries.

According to the Bank Governor and Finance Minister for Zambia, Margaret Mwanakatwe, “There is no doubt in my mind that the African Development Bank is the key to unlocking the acceleration of Africa’s economic development.”

The Governors’ consultation on Africa’s development challenges and the Bank’s reforms is the fifth of five regional meetings involving all 54 regional member countries of the institution.

*AFDB

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Zimbabwe invites West to observe vote for first time since 2002
April 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

By MacDonald Dzirutwe*

FILE PHOTO: Zimbabwe's president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, speaks during Africa CEO Forum at the Sofitel Hotel Ivoire in Abidjan, Ivory Coast March 26, 2018. REUTERS/Luc Gnago/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Zimbabwe’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, speaks during Africa CEO Forum at the Sofitel Hotel Ivoire in Abidjan, Ivory Coast March 26, 2018. REUTERS/Luc Gnago/File Photo

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe will invite Western powers to monitor its national elections for the first time in more than 15 years, official papers showed on Tuesday, ending a ban imposed by veteran former leader Robert Mugabe.

The vote, scheduled for July, is seen is a major test for President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s democratic credentials since he came to power in November after a de facto army coup ousted 94-year-old Mugabe.

Zimbabwe will invite the United States, the European Union’s Commission and parliament, Australia and the Commonwealth among 46 countries and 15 organizations, a list released by the foreign affairs ministry showed.

The countries and groups on the list were all previously banned from watching elections in 2002 after Mugabe accused them of favoring his opponents.

The West slapped sanctions on Mugabe and members of his inner circle, accusing them of rigging a series of votes – charges they denied.

Joey Bimha, permanent secretary at the foreign ministry, said the invitations would be sent out soon but declined to give more details.

 The election will pit Mnangagwa against a clutch of opponents including 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa from the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change. It will be the first time that Mugabe has not been on the ballot since independence from Britain in 1980.
*Reuters
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DA 2018 Congress: Emergence of a new political animal or a question of new wine in old bottles
April 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is the main opposition party in South Africa though its influence has been diminished in the House of Assembly owing to the exuberant Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a splinter party started by ousted former African National Congress (ANC) youth leader, Julius Malema.

The DA which had come under immense pressure from most opposition parties in the country including civil society owing to its leadership structure went into the Congress on the trump card of endorsing diversity. For neutrals, diversity meant that the new DA leadership which was going to be elected at the 2018 Congress would see equal representation between whites vs blacks and males vs females.

The outcome in terms of the newly elected DA leadership was not what many neutrals had expected. Only one woman was elected to the top hierarchy of the leadership positions and three blacks in total were elected among the top DA Leadership positions.

New political animal? Or not

The diversity trump card used by the DA before the start of the Congress failed to return the expected results i.e. to the neutrals. Outsiders stated soon after the Congress that the new DA leadership did not reflect South Africa’s demographics as there were more whites compared to blacks and few women in relation to the male/female population structure in the country. On this basis, the conclusion by many was that it was just a case of revitalised ‘wine’ in old bottles.

However, those who have been elected to top leadership positions dispute these claims. Mmusi Maimane, the re-elected president said that “So make no mistake – I have a genuine interest of making sure we’ve got women in all our structures and I think we can’t be quickly dismissive of the fact that in provinces we’ve also seen the election of great female leaders.”

To Maimane, the fact that the top leadership does not reflect South Africa’s demographics should not be used as a yardstick in measuring the diversity of the DA but rather, people have to look more at the grassroots where more women and more blacks hold leadership positions.

Refiloe Ntseke, the only female who was elected to the top DA leadership hierarchy as one of the Deputy Chairs concurred with Maimane. She also said that she is not bothered by being the only woman elected to the top hierarchy saying she will use her position to push forward the agenda of the party. In her own words, “I’m very comfortable that I’m chosen by blacks, whites, coloureds, and Indians as one of the leaders of the organisation. So I’m not particularly worried that I am the black female because, the people who have elected me – for white people to say, I believe you are competent and I want you to serve again, coloured people saying the same, Indian people saying the same thing and my fellow black colleagues – it’s an honour.”

The new DA leadership is as follows:

  • Federal Leader- Mmusi Maimane
  • Federal Chairperson- Athol Trollip
  • Deputy Federal Chairpersons- Ivan Henry
  • Michael Waters
  • Refiloe Nt’sekhe
  • Chairperson of Federal Council- James Selfe
  • Deputy Chairperson of Federal Council- Michael Walters
  • Federal Finance Chairperson- Dion George

 

 

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Ebola, Meningitis, Marburg and Lassa Fever to be piloted in African Risk Capacity Outbreaks & Epidemics Insurance Programme
April 11, 2018 | 0 Comments
An early discussion on pathogen selection for the ARC Outbreak and Epidemic Pilot Programme. Ebola, Marburg, Meningitis, and Lassa Fever were ultimately selected. Photo: African Risk Capacity

An early discussion on pathogen selection for the ARC Outbreak and Epidemic Pilot Programme. Ebola, Marburg, Meningitis, and Lassa Fever were ultimately selected. Photo: African Risk Capacity

JOHANNESBURG, April 10, 2018 – The African Risk Capacity (ARC), an agency of the African Union, is developing an insurance product to facilitate rapid, first-line financial responses to disease outbreaks. In the pilot phase, Ebola, Marburg, Meningitis, and Lassa Fever will be covered. Over 30 countries across Africa are at risk of an outbreak of one or more of these four epidemic-prone diseases.

The Ministries of Health in Guinea and Uganda, the two countries implementing ARC’s Outbreak and Epidemic (O&E) Pilot Programme, selected these four pathogens due to the history-based potential for outbreaks and accompanying devastating impact on populations and economies.

O&E builds on ARC’s successes in implementing climate disaster risk financing programmes in Africa. It is designed as an integrated system to enable governments to respond early and effectively to public health emergencies. The programme will work with countries to determine their epidemic risks and select pathogens to be covered, optimize early warning systems, create pre-established contingency plans for rapid response, and provide access to swift disbursement of financing through parametric insurance.

Mohamed Beavogui, Director General of ARC Agency and United Nations Assistant Secretary General said, Identifying this first set of pathogens for our programme is a significant milestone. After working closely with the governments of Uganda and Guinea, and with WHO AFRO, Africa CDC, and other stakeholders, this is a product that will make a difference for Africa, that targets the public health needs of Africans, and that was built through African and international collaboration.”

The highest global incidence of bacterial meningitis occurs in the “meningitis belt” of Africa, spanning 26 countries from Senegal to Ethiopia. West, East, and Central African nations are at risk of outbreaks of the Marburg virus disease and Lassa Fever, both of which are viral haemorrhagic fevers.

The 2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa resulted in 11,310 deaths in Guinea, Sierra, and Liberia with an estimated economic impact on the three countries of US $2.8 billion, according to the World Bank. Studies estimate that initiating the Ebola response two months earlier could have reduced the fatalities by up to 80%.

On the need to rapidly respond to disasters on the continent, Mr. Beavogui said, “African governments identified the need for faster financing to avoid another tragedy like the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and ARC is working in close collaboration with governments and our partners to address that need. We are creating an innovative system that acts early to finance efficient, effective responses to help stem an outbreak before it reaches a crisis level.”

The ARC O&E Pilot Programme is supported by The Rockefeller Foundation and Swiss Development Cooperation. Metabiota Inc, Health Systems Consult Limited and public health economists affiliated with Columbia University are collaborating with ARC on the development of its pilot product.

When launched as a full product in the fall of 2019 and made available to all African Union countries, O&E will help strengthen African health systems by contributing to national capacities in risk profiling and contingency/response planning, and ensuring that slow and unpredictable funding does not continue to prevent African countries and partners from adequately responding to outbreaks and epidemics.

About African Risk Capacity (ARC)

 ARC consists of ARC Agency and ARC Insurance Company Limited (ARC Ltd). ARC Agency was established in 2012 as a Specialised Agency of the African Union to help Member States improve their capacities to better plan, prepare and respond to weather-related disasters. ARC Ltd is a mutual insurance facility providing risk transfer services to Member States through risk pooling and access to reinsurance markets; it is owned by Member States with active insurance policies as well as KfW Development Bank and the UK Department of International Development (DfiD), as capital contributors.

With the support of the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, France, and the United States, ARC assists AU Member States in reducing the risk of loss and damage caused by extreme weather events affecting Africa’s populations by providing, through sovereign disaster risk insurance, targeted responses to natural disasters in a more timely, cost-effective, objective and transparent manner. ARC is now using its expertise to help tackle some of the other greatest threats faced by the continent, including outbreaks and epidemics.

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CAPITOL HILL RECEPTION TO LAUNCH U.S. ROADSHOW TOUR, ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP ON AFRICA INVESTMENT FORUM
April 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

Charles Boamah, Senior Vice-President of the African Development Bank, to announce partnership with IGD on the Bank’s Africa Investment Forum

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 4, 2018 – The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) will officially launch its inaugural Africa Investment Rising Roadshow Tour with a Special Reception on Wednesday, April 18 from 6:00-7:30PM at the Senate Dirksen Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Charles Boamah, Senior Vice-President of the African Development Bank, will announce the Bank’s partnership with IGD on the Africa Investment Forum (AIF), which will take place in early-November in Johannesburg, South Africa. The AIF is an initiative championed by the Bank to actively engage the private sector and to facilitate projects that have the capacity of transforming the continent. Boamah is leading a delegation of Senior Bank Management to the Spring World Bank/IMF Meetings.

Boamah will offer remarks on the U.S. private sector’s role in accelerating Africa’s investment opportunities at the evening reception.

The U.S. roadshow tour, “Africa Investment Rising: Building Momentum for Investing in Africa’s Economic Prosperity”, taking place from April 18-May 1, is aimed at re-shaping perceptions on doing business in Africa by bringing trade and investment opportunities to U.S. companies and forging stronger connections between U.S. and African business leaders in key growth sectors.

Launching in Washington, D.C., the roadshow tour will travel to New York City to highlight banking, financing, and investment opportunities; Des Moines, IA for agriculture and agro-industry; and Houston, TX for energy and power.

The full roadshow tour will ultimately culminate in Johannesburg, South Africa, where roadshow attendees are invited to attend the IGD Frontier 100 Forum on Nov. 5-6, followed by the African Development Bank’s Africa Investment Forum (AIF) from Nov. 7-9, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The AIF is designed to enhance private-sector cooperation and drive investment in sectors of strategic interest within Africa.

“IGD is pleased to build on our partnership with the African Development Bank through the U.S. Roadshow Tour to accelerate Africa’s investment opportunities and help attract private capital to the continent,” said Dr. Mima S. Nedelcoych. “By bringing U.S. investors to the Bank’s investment forum, they will learn firsthand about bankable projects and will have the opportunities to broker deals that will deliver economic transformation in Africa.”

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group and USAID’s East Africa and Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hubs are Sponsors of the U.S. Roadshow Tour.

Platinum sponsors as ChevronNorton, Rose and Fulbright LLPIowa State University Research ParkAGCOLilium Capital, and Orrick; Gold sponsors, SasolCorteva AgriscienceEndeavor Energy, and AllAfrica.com as Gold sponsors; and World Food Prize Foundation and Millennium Challenge Corporationas Silver sponsors.

Organizational Partners are PAN Diaspora Capital ManagementHarris Africa Partners/Grant T. Harris, The Serendra Group LLC/Robert van Zwieten, U.S. Bilateral African Chamber of CommerceGlobal Farmer NetworkU.S. Small Business Administration, and Invest Africa.

Media partners are Africa InvestorAfrica.com,  Afropop Worldwide, AlloAfrica.com  Asoko InsightFace2Face AfricaPan-African Visions, and VoxAfrica..

The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) is a Washington, DC-based network of African and global business leaders who are committed to advancing sustainable development and inclusive growth in Africa through business investment. IGD brings together CEOs and senior executives from leading African and global companies through our Frontier Leader Network to catalyze greater business investment and impact on the African continent.

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Ecobank Group partners with MTN to deepen financial inclusion across Africa
April 11, 2018 | 0 Comments
(L-R) Charles Kie, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria Ltd; Serigne Dioum, MTN’s Executive, Mobile Financial Services; Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), Rob Shuter, group CEO of MTN and Patrick Akinwuntan, Group Executive, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI)

(L-R) Charles Kie, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria Ltd; Serigne Dioum, MTN’s Executive, Mobile Financial Services; Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), Rob Shuter, group CEO of MTN and Patrick Akinwuntan, Group Executive, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI)

LOME, Togo, April 10, 2018/ — MTN (www.MTN.com) has announced a collaboration with Africa’s leading independent banking group, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) (www.Ecobank.com), enabling both companies  to leverage each other’s assets that will ultimately offer more value to their respective customers across the continent. MTN’s large subscriber base, comprehensive distribution, innovative digital products and drive for mobile financial services are being linked with Ecobank’s trail blazing digital banking products to provide instant bank accounts and remittances through Africa’s largest bank by network.

The two entities, with an extensive footprint on the continent, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop this partnership agreement, which will allow them to innovate and enhance access to affordable financial services via MTN Mobile Money and Ecobank Banking services.

This includes;

  • Enabling Ecobank and MTN Mobile Money customers to transfer money between mobile money wallets and bank accounts.
  • Leveraging of Ecobank and MTN’s assets to digitise international remittance, foster product innovation in the field of mobile saving and lending, and offer digital payment solutions to consumers, merchants and corporates.

Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO of Ecobank said: “The changing landscape of digital banking and mobile telephony is creating unique opportunities in the way and manner customers are served. Africa will need to digitise financial services to rapidly scale up client acquisition and patronage. MTN and Ecobank are taking the big step today at this grand event to support this agenda”

Further he reiterated that “Ecobank’s digital strategy has long been committed to ensuring transaction convenience for the market. We have made giant strides in our mission to ensure financial inclusion and today’s agreement with MTN will greatly accelerate the easy availability of banking services to the previously unbanked.”

Commenting on the collaboration, MTN Group President and CEO, Rob Shuter said: “Partnerships between banks and mobile money operators are fundamental in the mobile money ecosystem, hence our long-standing partnership with Ecobank in many of our markets aimed at driving financial inclusion. We are excited to be taking this partnership to the next level as this latest development will spearhead innovative initiatives which will deepen financial access on the continent.”

About Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’ or ‘The Group’)

Incorporated in Lomé, Togo in 1988, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) (www.Ecobank.com) is the parent company of the leading independent pan-African banking group, Ecobank. It currently has a presence in 36 African countries, namely: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group employs over 17,000 people in 40 different countries in over 1,200 branches and offices. Ecobank is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals. Additional information on Ecobank can be found at www.Ecobank.com.

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WorldRemit partners with Lebara to connect new customers to its money transfer service to Africa
April 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
The strategic partnership unlocks digital money transfers for millions of Lebara customers to send money to over 40 African nations
Left: Graeme Oxby, CEO at Lebara; Right, Ismail Ahmed, CEO at WorldRemit

Left: Graeme Oxby, CEO at Lebara; Right, Ismail Ahmed, CEO at WorldRemit

LONDON, United Kingdom, April 10, 2018/ — Lebara (https://Mobile.Lebara.com) and WorldRemit (www.WorldRemit.com), two leading brands serving international residents, have entered into a strategic partnership making WorldRemit the exclusive global money transfer partner of Lebara, including transfers to over 40 African countries.

The deal allows over 3 million Lebara Mobile and Lebara Money users to use WorldRemit’s digital money transfer service seamlessly, directly from the Lebara app and website. With more than half of WorldRemit’s transfers now going to Africa, this partnership will support the company’s plan to serve 5 million customers connected to the continent by 2020.

Lebara customers living in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Denmark and Netherlands will benefit from WorldRemit’s extensive payout network in over 145 countries. This will provide a more convenient and lower cost alternative to the 90% of migrants who still send money through offline routes.

As part of the deal, WorldRemit will also benefit from co-branding in Lebara’s full retail estate stores and advertising in Lebara Mobile simpacks sold in 260,000 stores across Western Europe.

Ismail Ahmed, founder and CEO at WorldRemit said: “We are delighted to be partnering with one of the world’s premier MVNO brands targeting international residents in Europe, giving its users access to our mobile-first service. With more than 260,000 points of sale, Lebara’s visibility and brand awareness complements WorldRemit’s strong digital capability. This partnership will introduce our safe, fast and low-cost remittance service to millions of new customers.

“WorldRemit has been working with telecommunication partners on the receive side, but this is our first strategic partnership with a mobile operator on the send side. We look forward to strengthening our leading position in the market with equally ambitious partnerships in the future.”

Graeme Oxby, CEO of Lebara Group adds: “This initiative is in response to a growing need of our valued customer base. Many of Lebara’s customers send money home to relatives and friends and we are delighted to be able to partner with WorldRemit to offer a simple to use and highly cost effective service”.

“Lebara mobile’s leadership position in the growing international residents market in Europe, coupled with a surge in smartphone users, creates an ideal platform for launching new and exciting services through partnerships. Our partners get unique access to a customer base which few other mobile companies can match.”

WorldRemit handles a growing share of the $600 billion migrant money transfer market – better known as remittances. Known for its mobile-first approach, one third of its transactions go to mobile money accounts; it currently handles 74% of international money transfers to mobile money accounts globally.

WorldRemit’s digital model allows customers to complete their transactions in just a few taps from a smartphone. Worldremit customers make more than 1 million transactions every month, using its app or website.

WorldRemit was advised by William Blair in this transaction as its financial advisor.

About WorldRemit 
WorldRemit (www.WorldRemit.com), is changing the way people send money. It’s easy – just open the app or visit the website – no more agents.

  • Transfers to most countries are instant – send money like an instant message.
  • More ways to receive (mobile money, bank transfer, cash pickup).
  • Available in over 50 countries and 145+ destinations
  • Backed by Leapfrog as well as Accel Partners and TCV – investors in Facebook, Spotify, Netflix and Slack.

WorldRemit’s global headquarters are in London, UK with offices in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.

About Lebara
Lebara (https://Mobile.Lebara.com) is a leading European mobile telecoms operator enhancing the lives of foreign resident communities by providing high quality and low cost mobile products and services. Lebara provides pay-as-you-go mobile SIM cards and related products and services customised to serve the international communities in 6 European countries – UK, Germany, Holland, France, Spain and Denmark. Customers have recognised Lebara for being trustworthy, honest, simple and offering great value. Lebara is ultimately owned by the Swiss family office Palmarium

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Zambia’s opposition knows impeachment will fail. So what’s its game?
April 10, 2018 | 0 Comments

The opposition’s new strategy to keep questions over President Lungu’s legitimacy in the spotlight just might work.

BY SISHUWA SISHUWA*

Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu has been in power since 2015. Credit: GCIS.

Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu has been in power since 2015. Credit: GCIS.

On 23 March, Zambia’s main opposition party filed a motion seeking the impeachment of President Edgar Lungu. The action was led by the United Party for National Development (UPND) party and backed by a third of MPs.

The ruling Patriotic Front (PF) immediately derided the move. Presidential spokesperson Amos Chanda dismissed it as being destined for failure, noting that the opposition would never get the two-thirds majority in Parliament needed for it to succeed.

In the National Assembly, Deputy Speaker Catherine Namugala recognised that the UPND had complied with the formal requirements for proceedings thus far. But she declined to table the motion before Parliament adjourned on 29 March, saying that the “Constitution does not give a timeframe within which an impeachment motion must be tabled”. The opposition accused her of working with the PF to obstruct their attempt to unseat Lungu.

What this means is that the motion is likely to be tabled in the next siting of Parliament scheduled for June.

The opposition’s impeachment argument

The call to impeach Lungu, who has been in power since 2015, rests on two grounds.

Firstly, the UPND alleges that the president has violated the Constitution and other laws on several occasions. In particular, they point to Lungu’s alleged threats to Constitutional Court judges in November 2017 when he warned there would be chaos if they ruled against his bid to stand for another term in 2021. The opposition also contends that Lungu’s failure to concede power when a petition was filed against his election in August 2016 violated Article 104 (3) of Zambia’s Constitution.

The UPND’s second grounds for seeking to impeach Lungu is that he is allegedly responsible for numerous cases of gross misconduct. The opposition highlights his directive to the state-owned Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines-Investment Holdings to discontinue a legal suit against First Quantum Minerals Limited that sought to recover a huge debt from the Canadian multinational. They also cite Lungu’s reported newfound wealth amassed while in office, his failure to rein in his aides’ suspected “corrupt activities”, and Zambia’s swelling public debt.

Many in Zambia see merit in the opposition’s claims, and the UPND has complied with the law in filing its motion. But the next battle will be to persuade two-thirds of MPs to support it. That will almost certainly be a bridge too far.

Zambia’s National Assembly has 166 lawmakers. 89 (54%) belong to the ruling PF. 63 (38%) belong to opposition parties, of which 58 (35%) are with the UPND. The remaining 14 (8%) are independents. To get a two-thirds majority, the motion would need at least 111 MPs to vote in favour.

Assuming all UPND parliamentarians support the motion, it would begin with 57 votes (one seat is currently vacant after Keith Mukata was convicted of murder). It would therefore need 54 more, but getting these looks like a very tall order.

To begin with, many independents as well as members of the smaller opposition parties MMD and FDD have tended to vote with the ruling party. Many independents are in fact former PF members who failed to win their party primaries. That suggests that it will take big incentives to persuade them to switch sides.

However, even if the UPND manages to convince all of these MPs to back impeachment, it will still need at least 35 parliamentarians from the ruling party to rebel too. There may be up to around five renegades in the PF that would consider this, but not more. Revulsion against Lungu is not as rife inside the party as it is outside it. Moreover, MPs know that impeaching Lungu would mean that Vice-President Inonge Wina, an extremely unpopular figure in the PF, would succeed him.

There have been some claims recently that the UPND has bought off several PF MPs to support the impeachment motion, but these rumours are unconvincing. Despite some greater constraints imposed on the president by the new constitution, Lungu is still generally able to meet the patronage expectations of his supporters. The out-of-power opposition is unable to match or beat these on any significant scale.

Behind the impeachment strategy

Taking all this into account, it is clear that there will be no impeachment. Even the UPND’s leader Hakainde Hichilema cannot seriously believe they will remove the president. So why have they gone to the trouble of filing the motion?

Firstly, the impeachment process can be seen as part of a wider strategy aimed at delegitimising Lungu in the eyes of the public and international community. Since the disputed 2016 election, the UPND has consistently sought to question and undermine Lungu’s legitimacy. Initially, its strategy was limited to the use of legal challenges built around the election petition that was dismissed on a technicality by the Constitutional Court in September 2016.

The PF had hoped that as the elections receded into the past, the question of Lungu’s legitimacy would fade away. The latest move by the UPND suggests otherwise. If anything, it indicates that the opposition is diversifying its strategy. The impeachment motion will fail, but in the process, it will highlight Lungu’s allegedly unconstitutional behaviour, continue to raise questions over his government’s legitimacy, sap the energy of the PF, and aggravate divisions in the ruling party.

In this latest strategy, the UPND may have been inspired by South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a small opposition party that has been a constant thorn in the side of the ruling African National Congress (ANC). Over the course of the last two years, the EFF brought repeated no-confidence motions in former President Jacob Zuma. These inevitably failed in terms of votes, but kept questions around Zuma’s fitness to hold office in the public eye and contributed to his ultimate demise. The UPND may follow the EFF’s template in tabling further impeachment motions when the current one fails.

This may also deepen rifts in the PF. In fact, the existing impeachment process may already be bearing fruit on this front. The orchestrated delay in tabling the motion in Parliament suggests the PF may no longer be so sure of its MPs’ loyalty to Lungu. Particularly aware that the vote may be done through secret ballot, the party seems to want to postpone the process until it can be more confident of its outcome. There are even emerging reports that the PF may seek to find a way of preventing the motion from being tabled in Parliament altogether.

As well as challenging Lungu’s legitimacy, the UPND’s impeachment strategy also allows it to consistently raise questions around his actions in office. The opposition can use proceedings to hammer away at the president’s wealth and remind the public of corruption allegations against him and his inner circle, while positioning the UPND as the party of good governance. The government’s attempts to discredit the impeachment motion on the grounds that it will never pass rather than on its merits only serve to reinforce the perception that the charges against Lungu are in fact credible.

While it knows it will lose the impeachment battle, the UPND’s broader goal is to loudly call into question Lungu’s legitimacy as well as the entire agenda of the government. This newly-developed strategy has already put the PF on the defensive and into a state of panic.

*Culled from Arguments Sishuwa Sishuwa is a Zambian historian and political commentator

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OBASANJO ENDORSES AU REFORM PLAN, SAYS IT’S TIME TO “OWN OUR SECURITY”
April 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
Obasanjo praised the levy, describing the plan as “measurable, equitable and sustainable”.
Obasanjo

Obasanjo

Former Nigerian President and Tana Forum Board Chairperson, H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, officially launched the 7th Tana Forum today, which will take place on 21-22 April 2018. This year’s theme, ‘Ownership of Africa’s Peace and Security Provision: Financing and Reforming the African Union’, corresponds with the ongoing AU reform process to ensure the organization’s long-term financial independence and sustainability. The keynote speaker for the 7th Tana Forum is President Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and also the current African Union (AU) Chairperson. He put together an advisory team whose recommendations on AU reforms were formally adopted by the AU Assembly in January 2017.

Noting that the AU faces a rapidly changing security environment, Obasanjo emphasized that security is only one aspect of the current reform process. “We cannot talk about security without talking about financing,” he stated.

The current financial structure of the AU, where partners cover 60% of the budget, questions how African member states are expected to have ownership over their security while at the same time remaining reliant on external donors.

One of the major components of the reform plan is the 0.2% levy, which will be imposed on eligible imports from outside Africa. Obasanjo praised the levy, describing the plan as “measurable, equitable and sustainable”. He also remained positive when questioned on the political will required from member states to guarantee the reform’s implementation. “It is not the first time such an initiative is happening in Africa. For instance, ECOWAS did it before, and it has been fairly successful in West Africa”.

The Tana Forum’s financial independence – 70% of funds are provided by the Ethiopian government and the African private sector – was also noted as another example that encourages African ownership in setting the agenda and driving the narrative. The Forum’s participants, its board members, its technical committee, its partners, and its organizing secretariat at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) at Addis Ababa University, all represent a diverse grouping of African stakeholders in the area of peace and security.

In response to a question about the Forum’s effectiveness in bringing about changes in African leadership, the former president clarified that the Forum does not require or expect the implementation of its recommendations. Instead, its added value is in creating a space for the exchange of ideas and policies from around the continent. Furthermore, the Forum’s impact might not always be clear or credited, he stated, but “it’s good enough for us that African leaders make use of it”.

On the recently signed Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) Agreement, and the notable lack of Nigeria’s signature, Obasanjo was optimistic that the government would soon sign the agreement after holding national consultations with the necessary actors, including the parliament.

The press conference was later followed by a briefing with ambassadors and partners based in Addis Ababa. IPSS Director, Dr. Kidane Kiros, noted that one of the biggest setbacks with the AU reform agenda is compliance by member states when it comes to the implementation of various policies.

Obasanjo also noted that for effective implementation of AU reforms, trust has to be built between Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the AU Commission and individual African countries.

About the Tana Forum

The Tana Forum is an annual platform that brings together African leaders and stakeholders to engage and explore African-led security solutions. It is a response to the call by African Heads of State and Government for the elaboration of “African-centred solutions“ in the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict in the August 2009 Tripoli Declaration on the Elimination of Conflicts in Africa and the Promotion of Sustainable Peace.

*Source Tana Forum.

 

 

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