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Cameroonian – American Teen Accepted to Nine Prestigious Colleges
May 5, 2016 | 0 Comments
A big feat for Niven Achenjang with acceptance into all 9 prestigious colleges he applied to

A big feat for Niven Achenjang with acceptance into all 9 prestigious colleges he applied to

A local senior, Niven Achenjang of Knox Central High and The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Bowling Green, Kentucky has been accepted into all 9 prestigious colleges he applied to. The humble dual student, gives credit to his teachers, school mates and guidance counsellors at Knox Central and The Gatton Academy as well as his extended family, siblings, friends and St. Gregory church Barbourville for earning his way to this moment.

Niven Achenjang who was recently named a National Merit Finalist by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation received the coveted YES, Congratulations and admission offers from Western Kentucky University, Stanford University, University of Kentucky, (these three under the Early Action program), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Vanderbilt University-TN, California Institute of Technology-Caltech, Georgia Institute of Technology-GeorgiaTech, Massachusetts Institute of Technology-MIT and Harvard College. Rejection letters can worsen what many seniors and their parents consider as a stressful and frustrating college process, but hard work pays and hopefully future seniors would be inspired by this story.

Niven smiles as he quips praising the Lord and adding that he must have something that the highly competitive/selective schools see as being of value in him. May that be true and may I not fail my friends, family, school district and myself as I look forward to define my place in the world and in what the future holds. Mr. Results driven Niven, plans to major in Math and Computer Science technically called Mathematical and Computational Science, with specialization in Software Engineering at Stanford.

Asked why he selected Stanford, he said, he planned on studying computer science and researching in the field adding that it was his understanding that Stanford has one of the top CS programs in the nation. He just returned from the admit weekend visit at Stanford and recalls that he came across satisfied that Stanford offers a flexible curriculum in many subject areas, with a diverse student body, culturally and intellectually. Being a part of Stanford, I believe, will be challenging and help me grow as I am surrounded by people different than me. Stanford also has great weather, many nice places for outdoor activities (running, hiking, etc.), and connections to many big name companies.

Asked what inspires him most, he revealed that he was probably most inspired by impactful ends. When I find something new, he continues, I try to think about what it could lead into and what that could mean for me, the people around me, and the world at large. The dream of being a part of something that has a long lasting effect (on mankind?) is what inspires me to take the steps to achieve that end.

On whether, he felt Knox Central/Knox County had helped him grow, he answered in the affirmative. Definitely, he said, I have been in Knox County for most of my life. It is where I was raised for the most part, and it is where I had the experiences that have made me who I am. If it were not for all the support and advice from family, friends, teachers, and members of the community I have come to know; for all the good times I have had with them; and for all the times I have messed up and been steered right by one of them, I would not have been able to accomplish what I have. For this and more I am grateful to them and thankful to God

Finally, on how he felt looking back on his work and accomplishments, he said, I feel proud. Not only proud of what I have done, but proud of the fact that I did not do it alone. I am elated that I have been able to meet and befriend people who have been willing to help me along the way as I have gone through life.

Niven’s hobbies include track and field, cross country, frisbee, and community involvement.

*Previously published as a Special for The Times Tribune of KY, with caption KNOX COUNTY TEEN ACCEPTED BY TOP COMPETITIVE COLLEGES TO THE CLASS OF 2020!

 

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Africa needs the space to learn (and make mistakes) on its own terms
May 2, 2016 | 0 Comments

As Africa finds its voice after centuries of being silenced, well-intentioned outsiders must be careful to help and not hijack this moment.

by *

South Africans march for action against climate change in Durban. Credit: Ainhoa Goma/Oxfam.

South Africans march for action against climate change in Durban. Credit: Ainhoa Goma/Oxfam.

Just back from the Tana Forum on Peace and Security, held in the sleepy town of Bahir Dar on the shores of Ethiopia’s Lake Tana, my head churns with questions about how African debates like this should be organised.

Should they be held under a Baobab tree or in international hotels? Should they be formal or informal? Should they emulate Western or Asian styles or ignore them altogether? And ultimately, after centuries in which African voices have rarely been heard – from slavery, through colonialism, and up to the present day – who should now talk for Africa about Africa?

In a way these questions have never been more salient. After all, even looking back at the continent’s recent history, there is no shortage of examples of Africa suffering from the sharp end of foreign countries’ self-interest or misguided decisions while its own voice has been silenced.

This is true even after most countries gained independence, as the ideological rivalries of the Cold War turned Africa into a battleground for proxy wars coordinated in distant capitals, giving no room for Africa’s own interests; when structural adjustment in 1980s and 1990s was imposed heavy-handedly from the offices of the IMF and World Bank, their prescriptions ignoring the realities and resistances on the ground; and still today, as the continent is defined in the international media as Hopeless, Rising or anything in between while Africa’s own perspectives remain marginalised.

This is where the Tana Forum comes in, a rare event that is genuinely Africa-led and organised. Established to provide a space for debate about peace and security, it was set up five years ago by the late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in conjunction other African leaders such as former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Thabo Mbeki.

It has been held annually since and the topic of this year’s edition was ‘Africa in the global security agenda’. Among the many speakers were the former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, former president of Timor-Leste Ramon Horta who had just completed a report on peace operations around the world, and Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Also there was Wolfgang Ischinger, Chair of the Munich Security Conference, the world’s leading think tank on peace and security issues. Ischinger took to the floor to re-emphasise the strong partnership between his institution and the Tana Forum which is modelled on the Munich Security Council.

To be frank, not everyone was happy about this year’s Forum. For instance, political analyst Alex de Waal, writing here on African Arguments, expressed his view that the event has become “dull, repetitive and formal”, adding that in contrast to the first edition which was “devoted to intense, informal and candid discussion”, the 2016 event was mostly “taken up by entirely predictable speeches”.

Frank criticisms such as these are all well and good, and all new endeavours will inevitably fall short and fail to please everyone. But as we think ahead to the next conference, and in the context of Africa’s history of being marginalised in its own affairs, the important thing going forwards is that regardless of any limitations, the Tana Forum and projects like it are given the breathing space to learn on their own terms.

After centuries of being lectured, reprimanded and pressured to do things differently, it is crucial that African initiatives are able to correct their own weaknesses and learn by doing. It may take time, but patience is needed if genuinely African perspectives and models are to be built up – ones that is of Africa, by Africa and for Africa.

Across the continent, there are hopeful signs of a new and louder voice emerging as more African research institutes, think tanks and media houses provide increasingly candid reports from African viewpoints. But this newly assertive Africa, admittedly still coming of age, needs to be listened to and nurtured, even when it makes missteps and blunders.

As the continent’s economies develop, its political influence increases, and its population grows, Africa and African initiatives need to be given the breathing space to take charge of their own destinies on their own terms. This should be the new normal, the new name of the game. After over 50 years of independence, the continent is mature enough to discuss its challenges in a robust and rigorous way, and while their views are welcome, well-intentioned outsiders must be careful to help and not hijack this moment of exploration, renewal and growth.

We all, in humility, will gain by listening to what others bring to the table. As Leopold Senghor, the late poet-President of Senegal, said, we must have a “seat at the give and take table as equals”.

*Source African Arguments.Adama Gaye is a Senegalese Author, former editor of London-based West Africa Magazine. and a Tana Regional Fellow. The views expressed here are his own.

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URBAN AFRICA’S BIG CHANCE
April 23, 2016 | 0 Comments

BY AND *

Nigerians participate in a marathon in Lagos, Nigeria, February 6. Lagos is one of three existing megacities—with populations of more than 10 million—in Africa, and more are expected to spring up in the coming decades. STEFAN HEUNIS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Nigerians participate in a marathon in Lagos, Nigeria, February 6. Lagos is one of three existing megacities—with populations of more than 10 million—in Africa, and more are expected to spring up in the coming decades.
STEFAN HEUNIS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

In popular imagination of Africa, the continent is more famous for its savannahs than its skyscrapers. Sub-Saharan Africa’s total urbanized population is just 37 percent, compared to nearly 75 percent of European Union citizens who live in cities.

Africa’s rural population has always been larger than its urban population. But that is changing, and in 2030, the number of urban and rural Africans will be roughly the same: nearly 1.6 billion people altogether. By 2050, nearly two-thirds of all Africans will live in cities. By the same year, nearly a quarter of the world’s workforce will be African—and these workers will be overwhelmingly young.

Africa is the second-fastest urbanizing continent, following closely behind Asia. It is home to three “megacities,” each with more than 10 million residents: Kinshasa, Lagos, and Cairo. By comparison, New York City is the largest city in the United States, topping out at 8.5 million residents. In the coming decades, Johannesburg, Luanda, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Casablanca, and Khartoum will approach megacity status, and hundreds of other smaller African cities will emerge and grow.

Urbanization does not automatically translate into prosperity. But it does seem to be a prerequisitefor sustainable growth. As Africa’s growing, youthful workforce moves to cities, they will become a growth engine for the continent’s economy.

By concentrating consumers and their spending, Africa’s cities can serve as new markets for goods and services. In just fifteen years, consumer spending in African cities is projected to reach $2.2 trillion, a three-fold increase from current levels. These markets will attract attention and investment from both international brands—including clothing, restaurant, and hotel chains catering to African consumers—and local industries that reflect a city’s unique culture. Cities, by design, concentrate people, and these populations form the backbone of valuable urban industries such as manufacturing. The increased business will prime the pump for more government revenue, job growth, and infrastructure investment. These benefits of “agglomeration”—having thousands of people in close spatial proximity to each other—also apply to governments, who face lower service provision costs among dense populations.

Successful cities support strong and stable agriculture by making up the key market for Africa’s many smallholder farms. Concentrating consumers in urban areas benefits such farms, which contribute to urban food security and remain an integral part of the continent’s overall economy.

For entrepreneurs, opportunities are ripe for the picking. Africa’s urban challenges—construction, housing, financing, and communications infrastructure, among others—benefit from the educated citizens and private investment concentrated in cities. In fact, the most innovative and successful businesses have emerged from obstacles to growth; market inefficiencies led to the development of products ranging from cell phones to mobile money to Uber.

Kenya’s support for tech incubator iHub is an example of how African governments can support fast-growing and valuable new industries that harness the creativity of the urban workforce. Nigeria has announced a similar focus on information and communications technology with itsSmartCity Innovation Hub in Lagos.

In spite of its enormous size, Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos, is a prime example of how to govern a megacity. Lagos residents—21 million and counting—benefit from strong local leadership, which has reformed the city’s tax system and used the increased revenues to provide services including waste collection and improved transport systems. The city was integral to preventing the spread ofEbola in Nigeria in October 2014 after an infected Liberian man traveled to Nigeria and later died in a Lagos hospital.

While rapid urbanization has many benefits, it is also a double-edged sword.

Africa’s developing economies have limited time to grapple with serious demographic challenges—including an urbanizing, “youthening” population—while bringing broad economic growth to their populations. And rapid urbanization brings with it very real threats to prosperity and stability. The first is that urbanization is outpacing the ability of fragile governments and developing economies to support their citizens. Financing and building vast infrastructure to accommodate burgeoning urban populations is a critical challenge. As Africa Center Senior Fellow Aubrey Hruby observed in 2015, Africa needs some $50 billion in infrastructure investment annually.

In recent years, China has been one of the most eager investors on the continent, alleviating this infrastructure challenge through concessional and commodity-backed loans. But China’s current economic slowdown and weakened global commodity prices will slow its pace of African investments and curb access to the large pot of Chinese infrastructure financing.

Governments are also struggling to keep up service provision in rapidly expanding cities. Many African governments are already stretched to deliver basic housing, health, education, and public safety to their populations. Vast African slums in cities like Nairobi or Johannesburg, with poor access to clean water, sanitation facilities, electricity, and durable shelter, compound concerns that urban poverty and unemployment can lead to criminality, gang violence, or even radicalization. Education systems will have to keep up with growing populations and industries. Governments, in turn, will have to promote private investment and support new job creation.

A new Atlantic Council study by J. Peter Pham and Aubrey Hruby, Embracing Impact: How Africa Can Overcome the Emerging Market Downturn, outlines how the current emerging market slowdown will constrain African budgets and threaten the steady economic growth many African countries have achieved over the past decade.

Urbanization is a silver lining to these worrying predictions. If managed properly, cities will become Africa’s growth engine and fuel continent-wide investment and development.

  • Source Newsweek.Kelsey Lilley is Associate Director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center and Stephanie Sparrow is an Africa Center intern.
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African Ministers of Energy to discuss opportunities for power sector investment this June
April 4, 2016 | 0 Comments

Over 130 speakers to date have confirmed to attend the 18th annual Africa Energy Forum (AEF), taking place in London this year from 22-24th June.

Ministers officially open the 2015 Forum: Hon. Dr Kwabena Donkor, Minister of Power Ghana; Hon. Mr. Mamadou Frankaly Keita, Minister of Energy and Water Mali; Hon. Mr. James Musoni, Minister of Infrastructure, Rwanda; Hon. Mr. Simon Dujanga, State Minister of Energy, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development Uganda; Hon. Amb. Henry Macauley, Minister of Energy, Sierra Leone; Hon. Mr Charles Zulu, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development Zambia

Ministers officially open the 2015 Forum: Hon. Dr Kwabena Donkor, Minister of Power Ghana; Hon. Mr. Mamadou Frankaly Keita, Minister of Energy and Water Mali; Hon. Mr. James Musoni, Minister of Infrastructure, Rwanda; Hon. Mr. Simon Dujanga, State Minister of Energy, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development Uganda; Hon. Amb. Henry Macauley, Minister of Energy, Sierra Leone; Hon. Mr Charles Zulu, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development Zambia

LONDON, United Kingdom, April 4, 2016/ — Over 130 speakers to date have confirmed to attend the 18th annual Africa Energy Forum (AEF) , taking place in London this year from 22-24th June. Widely considered the meeting place for Africa’s power sector professionals to discuss opportunities for investment into the power sector, 56% of the African continent was represented at the Forum in 2015.

Recent decision-makers confirmed include Honourable John Abdulai Jinapor, Acting Minister of Power, Republic of Ghana, H.E. Honourable Spéro Mensah, Minister of Energy, Petroleum and Mining Research, Water and Renewable Energy Development, Republic of Bénin, H.E. Honourable Mamadou Frankaly Keita, Minister of Energy and Water, Republic of Mali, Nick Hurd, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development, Government of the United Kingdom, Brigadier General Emeldah Chola, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy and Water Development, Zambia and Karén Breytenbach, Head of IPP Projects, IPP Office, South Africa.

The agenda includes government keynote addresses, targeted industry seminars and plenary sessions, discussing topics such as how to accelerate renewable energy uptake, increase the bankability of projects, and encourage partnerships between the public and private sector. An exhibition of 80 solution providers enables attendees to network throughout the three days of the conference.

250New for 2016, North and East Africa regional panel discussions will bring together the regions’ governments to discuss how they can collaborate to support cross-border power developments and energy infrastructure. More specific country-focused sessions will also explore the investment landscapes in countries such as Mozambique, Nigeria and Ghana.

Sponsor of the Forum Access Power will host the ACF competition for local clean power entrepreneurs in Africa, allowing developers to pitch their projects to a panel of specialists for the opportunity to win US$7million in prize funding.

Organisers EnergyNet will host a ‘Festival of Energy’ evening concert on the evening of 23rd June to bring together high profile bands in the UK with African musicians from across the continent. The Festival will highlight the role of commercial trade in delivering energy access to millions living beyond the grid.

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AAI Conversations on Africa Seeks to Set Direction for the Next U.S. President
March 16, 2016 | 1 Comments
President & CEO of The Africa-America Institute Amini Kajunju

President & CEO of The Africa-America Institute Amini Kajunju

NEW YORK CITY – March 15, 2016 – As the U.S. presidential election gears up for the November election, AAI will host its next Conversations on Africa (COA) forum on April 21 on Capitol Hill, where congressional leaders, U.S. Government officials, policy experts and Members of the African Diplomatic Corps will take stock of the White House’s legacy on engagement with Africa and propose U.S.-Africa policy priorities for the next Administration.

The Conversation, Looking Ahead: Setting American Policy in Africa for the Next U.S. President”, will take place at Capitol Hill’s B338 Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

The two-term Obama Administration will come to a close in less than a year. The full-day Conversations on Africa offers a platform for reflections and panel discussions on the White House and the Congress’ strategy and engagement with sub-Saharan Africa.

The Obama Administration laid out overarching pillars for U.S.-Africa policy to: strengthen democratic institutions; spur economic growth, trade, and investment; advance peace and security; and promote opportunity and development.

The White House signature initiatives and high-level events include Power Africa, the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), and the first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit with sitting African Heads of State in 2014. President Obama also became the first U.S. president to visit the African Union in Addis Ababa in 2015.

During President Obama’s tenure, U.S. Congress passed a 10-year extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the U.S.-Africa trade law, and the Electrify Africa Act, which aims to expand access to affordable and reliable electricity in sub-Saharan Africa.

“AAI’s Conversations on Africa forum offers an opportune time for us to look back and reflect on Obama Administration’s legacy on U.S.-Africa policy,” said AAI President Amini Kajunju. “It also is a time to identify what more needs to be accomplished before the end of the congressional session, and hear perspectives in moving forward on future Africa engagement from foreign policy advisors to the top presidential candidates.”

Moderated by Witney Schneidman, Senior Nonresident Fellow at The Brookings Institute, the panel“Africa: What Should the Remaining Priorities for the 114th Congress Be?”, with congressional staffers of the House and Senate Subcommittee on Africa, will review the Administration’s key priorities and give an update on progress to date. Staffers will share where Congress stands on proposed U.S.-Africa policy legislative bills.

The panel “Reflections: The Obama Administration’s Approach to Promoting Education in Africa”, moderated by The Honorable Vivian Lowery Derryck, President & CEO of The Bridges Institute, will offer insight into the White House’s focus on education. Confirmed panelists include Julie Hanson Swanson, Deputy Chief, Education Division, Bureau of Africa, USAID and Her Excellency Mathilde Mukantabana, Rwanda

The Honorable Reuben E. Brigety II, George Washington University’s Dean of Elliott School of International Affairs, will deliver a Fireside Chat on “Identifying Best Practices for U.S. Engagement in Africa” during the Policy Luncheon.

(L) Amini Kajunju and Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma attend Africa-America Institute 60th Anniversary Awards Gala at New York Hilton on September 25, 2013 in New York City. (Sept. 24, 2013 - Source: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images North America)

(L) Amini Kajunju and Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma attend Africa-America Institute 60th Anniversary Awards Gala at New York Hilton on September 25, 2013 in New York City.
(Sept. 24, 2013 – Source: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images North America)

Prior to taking the helm of the Elliot School, Ambassador Brigety was the U.S. representative to the African Union and U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. He also previously served as a deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of African Affairs and in the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, among other positions.

Carol Pineau, award-winning producer, writer, director and journalist will moderate what is expected to be a spirited panel “Beyond the Obama Administration: What Can We Expect for Africa?” with U.S. presidential candidate representatives. Candidate representatives will offer the presidential candidate’s perspective on U.S.-Africa policy and their vision for U.S. strategy for sub-Saharan Africa.

COA panels are still in formation and will be updated accordingly, leading up to the event.

*AAI .For more information, visit the Conversations on Africa event page

To RSVP to cover the event, please contact Shanta Bryant Gyan at email, shanta@sbgcommunications.com or call (202) 412-4603.  

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Africa: Hope As African Leaders Reduce Terms
January 12, 2016 | 0 Comments

By Ciugu Mwagiru*

As some African leaders are going all out to increase their terms in office, it is gratifying that several are calling for reduced ones.

Macky Sall of Senegal

Macky Sall of Senegal

Manoeuvres to prolong presidential terms have included holding referendums aimed at changing constitutions to legalise incumbents’ bids to hold onto power, as happened Congo and Rwanda.

Ironically, Rwanda’s constitutional change that allows President Paul Kagame to stand again next year also shortens the presidential term from seven to five years from 2024.

It also allows Kagame two more terms, extending his rule to 2034.

Gratefully, leaders like Liberia’s President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson have come out strongly calling for laws to cut presidential terms. She wants the term reduced from six to four years, with the presidential terms limited to two.

The call by President Sirleaf did not surprise Liberians.

In 2014, delegates of the country’s national constitution conference voted in favour of the reduction of the presidential term limit from six to four years, while also reducing the terms for senators from nine to six years and those of MPs from six to four.

Ironically, the new presidential terms are the same ones the country had before 1986, when a Constitution Review Committee headed by Dr Amos Sawyer increased it from two four-year terms to two six-year ones.

In the meantime, Senegal President Macky Sall last week honoured a promise he made on his election in 2012 by unilaterally announcing the reduction of his term from seven years to five.

The statement said the reduction would take effect immediately, meaning the next presidential election will be in 2017.

The seven-year term that Senegal inherited at independence from France in 1960 has been controversial.

There were hopes of its reduction in 2000, when incoming president Abdoulaye Wade promised to make it five years.

He, however, did not do so throughout his 12-year-rule, which ended in 2012 after he failed to win a third term.

The announcement by President Sall came just months before an April referendum that was expected to resolve the issue.

A statement from the presidency said the announcement was expected to end the confusion among politicians over holding of the referendum.

Benin's Yayi Boni

Benin’s Yayi Boni

The developments in Liberia and Senegal came months after Benin’s President Thomas Boni Yayi announced in November that he would step down after two terms.

He said his decision came out of respect for his country’s constitution, which barred him from seeking re-election during the country’s polls next month.

The 63-year-old Beninois leader was elected in 2006 and voted in again five years later.

He has been hailed by his French counterpart François Hollande as a paragon of democracy in Africa, and his announcement came at a time when there were mounting concerns about leaders like Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and the Republic of Congo’s Denis Sassou-Nguesso, all of who have been in power for decades and have shown no signs of stepping down.

Towards the end of last year, President Sassou-Nguesso, who has been in power since 1979 provoked opposition protests when he pushed through a new constitution allowing him seek a controversial third term this year.

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Money Sent by African Diasporans to Home Countries Help Pay for Education and Life Necessities
January 1, 2016 | 0 Comments

By *

2015-12-22-1450783671-5462575-MoneyTransfer-thumbThe holidays are a time when Africans living abroad often spread good cheer and gifts by sending money home to their loved ones on the continent.

Africans in the Diaspora sent home $33 billion in 2014 to their relatives or friends to help pay for living expenses, education, health care and even to start a business.

The money sent to home countries from diasporans living abroad, also called remittances, are often the financial lifeline sustaining many African families, benefitting some 120 million people across Africa. Diasporans’ money to family members outpaces international assistance from donor countries, and is the largest international flow of financial resources to Africa.

The remittances are making a significant impact on household spending and improved livelihoods of whole communities. Due to remittances to families, living expenses and emergencies are paid for making life easier in very difficult economic circumstances.

Still, African diasporans pay more to send money to their home countries compared to Diaspora groups in other regions of the world. In some cases, African diasporans pay twice the global average, according to the World Bank. South Africa, Tanzania, and Ghana are the most expensive sending countries in Africa, with fees averaging 20.7 percent, 19.7 percent, and 19.0 percent. Nigerians living overseas sent home $21 billion in 2014, according to the World Bank.

Western Union and MoneyGram are the top money transfer companies in Africa. A diasporan sending money to Africa will frequently incur what economists call a “super tax”, where the sender pays exorbitantly high fees, sometimes up 50 percent more than the global average, reducing the actual amount of funds transferred.

A recent World Bank study revealed that remittances are also boosting the usage of new technologies such as mobile phones in African households. In fact, Africa is the fastest growing region for mobile markets.

The limited access to traditional banking and financial services, particularly in rural communities, is prompting Africans to tap into these services through mobile banking.

The rise of mobile money transfer systems is good news for Diasporans. In 2014, mobile money transactions in sub-Saharan Africa skyrocketed to $656 million, and is expected to more than double to $1.3 billion by 2019, cited a report by Frost & Sullivan.

Increased competition among money transfer operators will help to drive down the high remittances fees to African countries.

While lower money transfer costs are certainly welcome, many Diasporans have raised questions about whether there is a way to guarantee that money sent home is used for its intended purpose.

Yet, ensuring that money sent to Africa goes for its intended purpose can be a sensitive subject to broach with loved ones, given an already tight household budget. However, some Diasporans have expressed a need for a simple, immediate and direct money transfer system to pay for family members’ expenses.

AAI is collecting information on how and why Africans in the Diaspora send money home to family members in their home country. Take the ‘Why Do You Send Money Back Home to Africa?’ survey, and share with other diasporans.

*Source HuffPost.President and CEO, Africa-America Institute (AAI)

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Africa Forward Together: 50 African bankers discuss outsourcing in Mauritius
November 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

The Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) hosts 50 top executives representing 37 African banks at the week-long 2015 Africa Forward Together conference [caption id="attachment_22449" align="alignleft" width="300"]Previous Africa Forward Together participants discovered new opportunities to grow their business in Mauritius Previous Africa Forward Together participants discovered new opportunities to grow their business in Mauritius[/caption] The Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) (MCBgroup.com) hosts 50 top executives representing 37 African banks at the week-long 2015 Africa Forward Together conference which opens on Sunday 15 November at the five-star Long Beach Resort. Africa Forward Together is an annual event organised by MCB since 2009 to showcase its “Bank of Banks” initiative. The Bank of Banks « Bank of Banks » aims at positioning MCB as a regional platform offering bundled banking and financial industry capabilities to its counterparts. Bankers attending the Africa Forward Together event get first-hand knowledge of MCB’s human expertise and technological capabilities while exploring collaboration possibilities that could allow them to boost their services through outsourcing in Mauritius. Over the last few years, an increasing number of African banks have teamed up with MCB to serve their customers better and more efficiently. Some have managed to offer new services to their customers in record times without investing heavily in technology or human resources. Others have discovered opportunities to expand their businesses through intelligent collaboration with one of Africa’s leading banks. A true partner The « Bank of Banks » initiative is a key component of MCB’s African growth strategy. Instead of opening outlets across the continent and competing with local banks, MCB prefers to position itself as a privileged partner for institutions that want to scale new heights. As Africa gradually fulfills its promises and realizes its enormous potential, the continent’s banks are facing new challenges and have to meet growing and changing customer needs. “This is where MCB fits in. We have been there before as we have gradually worked our way up. We have the experience, the expertise and the technology to assist these banks move forward and climb the next steps. And our pricing is extremely competitive so it makes the value proposition even more exciting,” says Raoul Gufflet, Deputy Chief Executive of MCB. Adding value to banking MCB offers a full range of value added services to banks. This includes the issuance of documentary credits, international payments, management of cards services and electronic banking, internal auditing, risk management, non-banking financial services, custody services, SWIFT transfers and consulting services among others. By leveraging MCB’s world-class expertise, rich experience and state-of-the-art technology, other banks have an opportunity to speed up their development while delighting their customers. A regional leader Established in 1838, MCB is today the largest bank in East Africa and the 18th biggest on the continent. It is a blue chip on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius where it accounts for nearly a quarter of market capitalisation. Its strategy is to continuously diversify its services and its markets. To date, MCB’s international operations account for 55% of its results. It is currently present in Mauritius, South Africa, Kenya, Seychelles, Madagascar, Maldives, Mozambique, Réunion, Mayotte and France through a network of branches, associate companies and representative offices. It also has a vibrant network of correspondent banks across Africa and the rest of the world. *APO]]>

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President of Mauritius appointed Vice Chairman and Trustee of the Planet Earth Institute
October 22, 2015 | 0 Comments

PEI will also launch office in Mauritius to run expand science, technology and innovation programmes

  • The President of the Republic of Mauritius HE Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim appointed Vice Chairman and Trustee of the Planet Earth Institute (PEI)
  • PEI will also launch office in Mauritius to run expand science, technology and innovation programmes
  • HE the President will host the official launch of the PEI at the State House in Mauritius on November 23rd 2015
The President of Mauritius, HE Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, has been appointed Vice Chairman and Trustee of the Planet Earth Institute (PEI), an international NGO and charity working for the ‘scientific independence of Africa’. Her Excellency will host the official launch of the PEI on an event at the State House on November 23rd 2015 along with Dr Álvaro Sobrinho, the PEI’s founding Chairman, and the full Board of Trustees. [caption id="attachment_21766" align="alignleft" width="300"]HE Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim HE Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim[/caption] As Vice Chairman and Trustee of the PEI, Dr. Gurib-Fakim will work alongside fellow Board Members, Dr Álvaro Sobrinho, the prominent Angolan philanthropist and businessman, Rt Hon Lord Boateng, a member of the UK House of Lords, Prof. Sir Christopher Edwards, the distinguished academic, and Prof. Sir Magdi Yacoub, the pioneering cardiothoracic surgeon. The PEI’s expansion to Mauritius will build upon its international work to support African science, technology and innovation, as well develop a number of locally focused initiatives to be announced in early 2016. HE Dr. Gurib-Fakim was appointed as President of the Republic of Mauritius in June 2015, following a highly distinguished career as a scientist and businesswoman, including a role as Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Mauritius. In recognition of her significant contributions to scientific research, she was awarded L’Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science in 2007. The PEI’s launch on 23rd November will be an exclusive, high-level meeting for a range of key stakeholders including African government ministries, international institutions, private businesses, local and pan-African universities, and civil society. The private launch will be followed by an expert policy roundtable focusing on ‘Mauritius and Africa’s scientific independence: the role of business’, hosted by HE President Gurib-Fakim and the Board of the PEI. HE Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of the Republic of Mauritius: “Mauritius has a proud track record of investing in scientific excellence and developing research. In the future, science, technology and innovation will be vital in creating jobs and prosperity for our citizens in Mauritius and across the mainland African continent. I look forward to helping lead the PEI’s work as Vice Chairman and Trustee, and in turn to contributing to our continent’s increasing scientific and technological excellence, as the underlying foundations of our sustainable development”. Dr. Álvaro Sobrinho, Chairman of the Planet Earth Institute: [caption id="attachment_21767" align="alignright" width="592"]Dr. Álvaro Sobrinho Dr. Álvaro Sobrinho[/caption] “Although Africa has experienced sustained economic growth over the past decade, scientific and technological output has not kept pace. Yet, if we want to ensure that sustainable development is a reality for all, we must make greater investments in science and technology, and equip our next generations with the skills they need to compete in a globalised, 21st Century workplace. Along with my distinguished fellow Board Members, I am absolutely delighted that HE President Gurib-Fakim is joining the PEI as our Vice Chairman and Trustee. With her distinguished research career and strong commitment to a science-led development agenda for Africa, the PEI is now well positioned to continue to grow and develop as an organisation, and, crucially, to keep increasing our impact on Africa’s scientific agenda”. The Planet Earth Institute (PEI) is an international NGO and charity working for the scientific independence of Africa *Source APO]]>

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11th AFRICAN GAMES – BRAZZAVILLE, REPUBLIC OF CONGO, 04-19 September, 2015
August 27, 2015 | 0 Comments

newsletter-special-brazzaville-2015-englishThe 11th Edition of the African Games is scheduled to take place on 4th to 19th September, 2015, in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. This edition will mark the 50th Anniversary of the African Games, since the 1st edition in 1965 that was also hosted by the Republic of Congo. Approximately 7000 athletes from 50 African countries will converge back to the birth place of the African Games in Brazzaville to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the African Union in the spirit of Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance.

This edition is also a milestone for the AU as it is the first one under the auspices of the African Union as the owner of the Games, following the dissolution of the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa (SCSA) as well as the integration of the functions of the SCSA into the AU. The integrated functions of the SCSA include the ownership, coordination and organization of the African Games.

The opening ceremony will take place on 4th September, 2015, and will be presided over by H.E. Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo, and attended by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, H.E. Dr Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, Commissioner for Social Affairs and H.E. Martial de Paul Ikounga, Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology. The African Games will be preceded by the Bureau Meeting of the Specialized Technical Committees on Youth, Culture and Sport and a Sub-Committee of the STC Ministers of Sport on 3th September, 2015.

During the games, the AU will rally the continent around the spirit of Pan-Africanism through its key message i.e. “I am African, I am the African Union” and through its 50 year Agenda 2063 development framework. Agenda 2063″ is an approach to how the continent should effectively learn from the lessons of the past, build on the progress now underway and strategically exploit all possible opportunities available in the immediate and medium term, so as to ensure positive socioeconomic transformation within the next 50 years. The agenda will assist the continent achieve its vision, i.e. an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena.

“Because of the power of sport, we see this event as an important milestone on the road to achieving the objectives of our continental vision and action plan, which Africa has christened Agenda 2063: the Africa We Want”, said AU Commission Chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

SOURCE African Union Commission (AUC)

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New President of Mauritius to open major conference on Africa’s scientific and industrial development in London next week
July 17, 2015 | 0 Comments

Ministers covering Science & Technology from across Africa will also join, including South Africa, Senegal, Ethiopia and Uganda •          The Planet Earth Institute ‘UnConference’ to be opened by new President of Mauritius, HE Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim on July 21 •          Ministers covering Science & Technology from across Africa will also join, including South Africa, Senegal, Ethiopia and Uganda •          Event will bring together over 200 people as part of the Planet Earth Institute’s #scienceAfrica campaign to evaluate role of industry in scientific development [caption id="attachment_19281" align="alignleft" width="300"]The newly appointed President of Mauritius, HE Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim The newly appointed President of Mauritius, HE Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim[/caption] The newly appointed President of Mauritius, HE Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim will open a major conference on Africa’s science and technology agenda on July 21, hosted by the Planet Earth Institute (PEI) , an international NGO working for the ‘scientific independence of Africa’. African Ministers from across the continent and over 200 delegates working on science and technology will also join the day, held at Ravensbourne University in London and hosted by Rt Hon Lord Paul Boateng, Trustee of the PEI , and Dr Álvaro Sobrinho, Chairman. In her opening address marking her first official visit to the UK, Dr Gurib-Fakim will outline Mauritius’ efforts to boost scientific research, technology and innovation and explore the role that the private sector can play in driving scientific excellence. Before her appointment as President of Mauritius at the beginning of June, Dr Gurib-Fakim won multiple award for her scientific work, including the African Union ‘Women in Science’ award in 2009. In 2015, Mauritius announced new plans to develop the island country into a regional knowledge hub for science and technology. A number of senior African policy-makers will also join the event, including Prof. Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology of South Africa, Prof. Sandy Tickodri-Togboa, Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology of Uganda, Mr Shiferaw Shigutie, Minister of Education of Ethiopia and Prof. Mary Tew Niane, Minister of Higher Education and Research of Senegal. Leading businesses including IBM Research – Africa, Elsevier, TAAG Angola Airlines and Banco Valor will also participate, as partners of the PEI’s #scienceAfrica campaign, alongside dozens of leading African and international universities. Entitled ‘Africa’s scientific independence: no more business as usual’, the ‘UnConference’ will be a highly interactive and collaborative event to explore the linkages between industry and scientific development in Africa. Through panel sessions, workshops and interactive working groups, issues raised will include industrial relevance of PhD training in Africa, supporting start-up businesses and entrepreneurship and funding and investment for science and innovation. To contribute to the debate online please use the #ScienceAfrica hashtag on Twitter and follow @PlanetEarthInstitute [caption id="attachment_19282" align="alignright" width="300"]Dr Álvaro Sobrinho launches the PASET Regional Scholarship & Innovation Fund with HE President Macky Sall Dr Álvaro Sobrinho launches the PASET Regional Scholarship & Innovation Fund with HE President Macky Sall[/caption] In the afternoon, a panel session will be devoted to the ‘Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET)’ programme, which recently launched a new Scholarship and Innovation Fund for Africa, led by the Governments of Senegal, Rwanda and Ethiopia, supported by the World Bank and the PEI. The Scholarship and Innovation Fund for Africa will contribute to 10,000 African PhDs in ten years, with a close focus on linkages to industry. HE Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of the Republic of Mauritius: “Mauritius has a proud history of investing in scientific excellence and creating research. Going forward, science and technology and sustainable development will be the key to create wealth and jobs for our young people, both in Mauritius and across the mainland African continent. I look forward to joining this important event hosted by the Planet Earth Institute and to contributing to the continued pursuit of Africa’s scientific and technological advancement.” Dr Álvaro Sobrinho, Chairman of the Planet Earth Institute: “While Africa continues to make economic progress at a rapid pace, the focus on investing in educational excellence for our future generations should never be overlooked. Excellence in science and technology can equip Africa with a workforce ready to compete in the 21st century, where we can lead the world as scientists, engineers and innovators, and the role of industry is absolutely crucial” *PEI/APO]]>

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Dynamic US-Africa Partnership Lauded at African Day Celebrations in Washington,DC.
May 29, 2015 | 0 Comments

Rev Jackson and Ambassador Teitelbaum in a group photo with African Ambassadors in Washington,DC. Rev Jackson and Ambassador Teitelbaum in a group photo with African Ambassadors in Washington,DC.[/caption] In celebrations to mark the 2015 African Day  in Washington, DC,  dynamic ties between the USA –Africa hailed by the Ambassador of Egypt Mohamed Tawfik. Speaking as co-Chair of the celebrations organized by the African Ambassador’s group, the Egyptian Envoy cited the last US-Africa’s Leaders’ Summit and the support that Africa continues to receive from the US in multiple forms. “The celebration is about Africa’s success”, said Ambassador Tawfik as he enumerated a litany of positive developments taking place in the continent. Africa is one of the fastest growing regions in the world he said, with life expectancy ticking up, and more children in school than at any other time. The continent is increasingly taking charge of its own security challenges and Egypt will be hosting a historic summit soon geared towards the creation of a broader Pan African free trade zone ,said Tawfik. In addition to Women serving as Presidents, and in parliament, Tawfik also cited the example of AU Chair Dlamini Zuma to highlight the progress made by women in the continent. Ambassador Donald Teitelbaum, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State at the State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs delivered the keynote speech in which he highlighted the important role women have always played in the history of Africa. [caption id="attachment_18381" align="alignright" width="586"]Rev Jackson poses with members of the Ivorian dance troupe that animated the celebration Rev Jackson poses with members of the Ivorian dance troupe that animated the celebration[/caption] Celebrated under the theme “Women Empowerment & Development towards Achieving Africa Agenda 2063”, Ambassador Teitelbaum saluted the strides that have been made by the African Union and African countries. Africa’s biggest resource is its people Ambassador Teitelbaum and no country can get ahead if half of its population is left behind. Africa represents a growing a growing market and just this year alone, there have been some 316 million new cell phone subscribers reported ,Teitelbaum said. Programs like the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, PEPFAR, have been helpful in alleviating the health plight of women and children, said. Ambassador Mathilde Mukantabana of Rwanda who heads the African Ambassadors Group in Washington, DC, also spoke on the importance of placing women at the center of development. With Maureen Umeh of Fox TV as MC, the celebration had as special Guest the Rev Jesse Jackson ,Founder and President of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.  Other guests from the African American Community included Melvin Foote from the Constituency for Africa, and Denise Rolark Barnes, Publisher of the Washington Informer. Sponsored by Chevron, Coca Cola, and Exxon Mobile, guests were treated to an art exhibition and entertainment performance of folk dances from Egypt, Rwanda and Ivory Coast.      ]]>

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