Announcing the operationalisation of a new business model to scale up renewable energy in Zambia and subsequently other countries in Southern Africa
October 27, 2020 | 0 Comments
Africa GreenCo Group, together with its Lusaka-based operating company GreenCo Power Services (together GreenCo), is delighted to announce the investment of USD 1.5m by Denmark’s Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) and Private Infrastructure Development Group’s InfraCo Africa (InfraCo). This investment completes GreenCo’s operational establishment in Lusaka as an intermediary renewable energy buyer/supplier and power services provider and is a precursor to the 2021 capitalisation of our credit support for IPPs.
GreenCo’s transformative role is to mobilise significant private sector investment for renewable energy, to strengthen the national and Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) electricity markets, and to facilitate a shift away from the current single buyer model. The region has great renewable energy potential and is in urgent need for more energy generation to support economic recovery and provide clean and affordable energy to its citizens. GreenCo’s model offers key innovations in the architecture of the electricity market and achieves better value – with more electricity generation and improved security of supply – in partnership (rather than in competition) with established industry players. GreenCo and its investors are focused on supporting the Government of Zambia, as well as the governments of other countries in the SADC region, in the opening of their electricity markets. The company’s operations will contribute towards the implementation of the Government of Zambia’s vision for the electricity sector as set out in the National Energy Policy 2019 and subsequent new energy sector legal and regulatory framework. This represents an important step in scaling-up renewable energy investment to help mitigate climate change, improve security of supply, and increase efficiency in the power sector.
Zambian Minister of Energy, Honourable Matthew Nkhuwa states, “The operationalisation of GreenCo is a great example of national action, and indeed international cooperation, as we strive to deliver affordable energy for all. Notwithstanding the current global economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that we plan for the future, one where renewable energy helps drive sustainable social and economic growth in Zambia.”
Honourable Alexander Chiteme, Minister of National Development Planning, said, “Today, we need true paradigm shifts toward low-emission and climate-resilient sustainable development in order to reduce the negative impacts of climate change on sustainable development and growth of Zambia and the Southern African region. We are delighted to be working with GreenCo and a number of Zambia’s key cooperating partners to ensure that new business models, innovation and systemic change is delivered on the ground and felt by those most in need. Through this model we can attract the significant amount of funding required to harness Zambia’s abundant renewable energy resources.”
CEO of IFU, Torben Huss said, “GreenCo is an innovative business model providing a solution that can reduce the financial risk when investing in renewable energy and consequently pave the way for more private investors, which are highly needed if Africa is to succeed in delivering affordable and green energy for all.”
Gilles Vaes, InfraCo Africa’s CEO, added that, “GreenCo’s initiative of intermediary power off taker and power trading company is highly innovative and will help the Zambian electricity sector prepare for the future, working together with ZESCO and other key sector stakeholders. The challenges of developing new renewable electricity production in Zambia are great and will require the combined efforts of initiatives such as GreenCo. We look forward to working with GreenCo in helping it to become operational”.
Managing Director of ZESCO, Victor Mundende said, “Innovative solutions such as GreenCo could play an important part in providing alternative offtaker participation in the Zambian ESI, to make new generation projects more easily bankable whilst encouraging the maturation of electricity markets to encourage electricity trade. We look forward to working with GreenCo to deliver a mutually beneficial business model.”
CEO of GreenCo, Ana Hajduka added, “We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Government of Zambia, our industry partners and particularly IDC, for their leadership role to date. Our sincere gratitude goes to ZESCO, the Department of Energy, ERB, OPPPI, the Zambian NDA/MNDP and EAZ, and the funders who have supported GreenCo to this point. Their continued support, plus the investments made by IFU and InfraCo Africa are invaluable for the future success of GreenCo. We commend our investors’ continued support of a partnership that delivers clean and affordable electricity to Zambia and, on expansion of GreenCo’s activities, to the region.”
GreenCo’s innovative business model was incubated with grant funding and strategic input from The Rockefeller Foundation, Convergence and the P4G. GreenCo also benefits from the support of SADC PPDF via the Development Bank of Southern Africa and USAID’s Power Africa, of which Africa GreenCo is a private sector partner. Additionally, in December 2018, the Board of Agence Française de Developpement (AFD) approved the provision of a guarantee by AFD to GreenCo. This follows the approval of a guarantee by the European Commission in June 2018 through the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) under the EU External Investment Plan.
About IFU, InfraCo Africa (PIDG), and GreenCo
IFU, the Danish Investment Fund for Developing Countries, is an independent government-owned fund offering advisory services and risk capital to companies doing business in developing countries and emerging markets. Investments are made on commercial terms with the aim of creating economic and social progress as well as supporting the Sustainable Development Goals. For more information please see: https://www.ifu.dk/en/about-ifu/
The Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) is an innovative infrastructure development and finance organisation which encourages and mobilises private investment in pioneering infrastructure in the frontier markets of sub-Saharan Africa and south and south-east Asia to promote economic development and combat poverty. PIDG delivers its ambition in line with its values of opportunity, accountability, safety, integrity and impact. Since 2002, PIDG has supported 157 infrastructure projects to financial close and provided 209 million people with access to new or improved infrastructure. PIDG is funded by six governments (the UK, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden, Germany) and the IFC. PIDG TA can provide technical assistance and capital grants to the PIDG Companies to meet a range of needs associated with an infrastructure project’s lifecycle. PIDG TA can also provide up-front viability gap funding grants to support PIDG projects that require concessional funding to make a project with strong development impact financeable. For more information please see: www.pidg.org
InfraCo Africa is part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG). InfraCo Africa seeks to alleviate poverty by mobilising private investment into high-quality infrastructure projects in sub-Saharan Africa’s poorest countries. It addresses the risks and costs of early-stage project development: funding teams of experienced developers and providing risk capital to those projects which need the financial commitment and leverage that InfraCo Africa can bring. InfraCo Africa is funded by the governments of the United Kingdom (through FCDO), the Netherlands (through DGIS) and Switzerland (through SECO). For more information please see: www.infracoafrica.com
Africa GreenCo Group via its operating entity GreenCo Power Services Limited acts as an intermediary offtaker and service provider, purchasing power from renewable IPPs and selling that electricity to utilities and private sector offtakers (i.e. commercial and industrial users) and markets of the SAPP. GreenCo will mitigate the risk of purchaser default through an ability to secure alternative buyers or through short-term trading on the SAPP electricity markets. Through its participation in competitive power markets, GreenCo will promote cross-border power transactions and a more dynamic and liquid short-term power market. Through its activities, GreenCo will increase the supply of, and demand for, finance for energy projects, and mobilise private sector capital more quickly towards critical and transformative capacity addition.
Sierra Leone: Sierra Leone lifts curfew temporarily for four weeks
October 27, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
Sierra Leone has today announced the lifting of its nation-wide curfew introduced in April by the small West African nation in order to stop the spread of the corona virus disease with immediate effect for four weeks, a statement from the National Corona Virus Emergency Response Centre (NaCOVERC) has said.
NaCOVERC said that all other COVID-19 related regulations will remain in full force, and that violations will be appropriately dealt with adding that public behaviour during this dispensation may inform any eventual review of this decision.
“NaCOVERC wishes to inform the general public that this is the 30th week of the Coronavirus outbreak which is not yet over. Whilst the epi-data for the last three (3) months suggests a general decline in number of cases, the manner in which the rest of the Response is managed, and the behaviours and attitudes of ALL, will have a significant impact on the epi-curve and public health,’’the statement reads.
The statement noted that the nation should be reminded that Sierra Leone has implemented some of the toughest measures aimed at preventing and controlling COVID-19 infection stating that the health and safety guidelines instituted from time to time to combat the spread of the virus have often caused great national inconvenience and tremendous social discomfort, yet they deemed it necessary and desirable to keep COVID-19 in check.
“The Response has always focused on creating a balance between ‘saving lives’ and ‘sustaining livelihoods’ which informed relaxation of a range of restrictions. Noting the current epi-data over the last three (3) months and further noting the enormous impact of the curfew on movement of people, goods and services across the country’’
According to the statement , the ban on sports and other forms of entertainment, night clubs and cinema centers, secret societies, large public gatherings including street carnivals, and such other restrictions prior will continue to be in place, and the general public is warned accordingly.
“The public is reminded that the COVID-19 outbreak in Sierra Leone has not ended, and our neighbors in the sub-region continue to record cases. With Western Area being the epi-center, and as we approach the festive season, NaCOVERC urges everyone to comply with the health and safety guidelines, including proper use of face mask, regular hand-washing and keeping safe physical distance,’’ the statement added.
Calls for the lifting of the curfew by the government has been mounting up for weeks with so many Sierra Leoneans, took to social media with the hashtag ‘END CURFEW NOW’ gaining moment on Facebook and other social media platforms in the country.
Cameroon’s Kumba Massacre: Fomunyoh Appeals for Serious Negotiation to Tackle the Conflict
October 27, 2020 | 3 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
Dr Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate for Africa and Regional Director at the National Democratic Institute for International Relations says there is need for serious negotiations to tackle the root causes of the ongoing conflict in Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions of the country.
“#KumbaMassacre shows those who think that this conflict can be resolved militarily and claim all is well and only small pockets of resistance remain are Wrong. As we’ve said four years running, we need serious negotiations to tackle the root causes of the conflict,” Christopher Fomunyoh tweeted.
His call comes after seven (7) school children were killed by yet to be identified gunmen at Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy in Kumba, Meme Division of the South West region of Cameroon.
There have been accusations and counteraccusations about who attacked the school children. Some supporters of the government have blamed the separatist fighters, while others have laid the blamed on Cameroon’s security forces for carrying out the attack. As of now, no one has been apprehended.
“Our hearts bleed for dark Saturday in Kumba. A few decades back and any of those kids could have been any of us. Our deepest condolences to the families, all of Kumba and all of us,” Christopher Fomunyoh added. “If this tragedy does not shock your conscience, nothing will. The killings and atrocities must end.”
This latest assault on school children brings to the memory of many the attack on Ngarbuh, where children and a mother were all killed. During that time, many blamed Cameroon’s security forces for the, though government spokesman refuted it at first, it turned out to be true.
Switzerland has been seen as one of those countries that can help mediate and bring a solution to the crisis. There have been efforts to bring both parties on the dialogue table by Swiss officials, though the Swiss dialogue has not been welcomed by government officials in the country.
While some regard Switzerland’s efforts in finding a solution to the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe, others say Switzerland is yet to make its official stands on the matter.
Cameroon’s President Paul Biya in a tweet condemned in the strongest possible terms what he called “barbaric” and “cowardly” crime against innocent children. “I have also instructed that appropriate measures be taken diligently to ensure that the perpetrators of these despicable acts are apprehended by our defence and security forces and brought to justice,” President Biya tweeted.
In May 2020, the Regional Director at the National Democratic Institute for International Relations on the Swiss proposed dialogue said Switzerland “should come clean on efforts to a negotiated, peaceful resolution of the armed conflict in Cameroon.”
Either you seriously lead peace talks and play your hand fully, or you become complicit in waving the talks every time others want to act. People are dying daily,” Christopher Fomunyoh tweeted, as quoted by Mimi Mefo Infos
“I hope that we would have The courage to look at realities in the face and also to make a sincere introspection in the search of solutions in order not to be carried away by the ease of looking for non-existing scapegoats,” Dr Chris Fomunyoh said
Christopher Fomunyoh, a revered Peacebuilder
Chris Fomunyoh has acquired a reputation of peacebuilder and negotiator in conflicts, recognized not only by the Western world but Africa and Cameroon in particular. His vast knowledge on peacebuilding has led some political observers to conflicts to think Christopher Fomunyoh as a man who can play the role of finding a consensus, due to his expert knowledge.
He has organized international election observation missions to many African countries; and has designed and supervised country-specific democracy support programs with civic organizations, political parties, and legislative bodies in over 20 African countries from Senegal in the West Coast to Madagascar in the East Coasts and the Indian Ocean, and places in-between. He frequently is called upon to mediate contentious issues between political leaders in the countries in which NDI conducts programs.
The Anglophone crisis that started in 2016 and degenerated in 2017 has seen several thousands of persons displaced wither internally or are refugees in neighbouring Nigeria. Security forces and the non-state armed groups have been accused of carrying out gross human rights violations.
The non-state armed groups also known as Ambazonia groups have been faulted for killing ordinary citizens, all in the name of “blacklegs” (a name giving to anyone who collaborates with security forces. The security forces on their part have been accused of extrajudicial killings, torture, rape and even killings.
Insight Into Biden-Harris Agenda for African Diaspora
October 27, 2020 | 0 Comments
-From U.S. – Africa Policy to Immigration, Economy, Education and Healthcare, AD4Biden upbeat on dividends of historic partnership
By Ajong Mbapndah L
As the Democratic Party seeks to recapture the White House, one of the voting blocs that it is counting on is the African diaspora. The importance attached to the bloc is highlighted in the Biden -Harris Agenda for the African Diaspora, an ambitious policy statement on how some of the core issues of interest will be addressed.
“The African diaspora community is one of America’s most diverse communities, inclusive of people who speak multiple languages, come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, and practice various faiths. While unique on some fronts, culturally, people of African descent also share similar values: supporting their families, creating opportunities for their communities, and contributing to America’s growth and prosperity. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris share these values and know that the next administration must understand what the current one does not: in America, no matter where you start in life or where your parents were born, there should be no barriers to your success and no limits to what you can achieve. As president and vice president, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will rebuild our country in a way that brings everyone along,” the policy statement reads in its introduction.
On U.S. – Africa Policy, the agenda states that, “Biden will bring to the presidency decades of foreign policy experience and a demonstrated commitment to Africa. He will renew the United States’ mutually respectful engagement toward Africa with a bold strategy that reaffirms our commitment to supporting democratic institutions on the continent; advancing lasting peace and security; promoting economic growth, trade, and investment; and supporting sustainable development.”
Going further, the platform says if elected, Biden will advance these objectives by:
Asserting America’s commitment to shared prosperity, peace and security, democracy, and governance as foundational principles of U.S.-Africa engagement.
Restoring and reinvigorating diplomatic relations with African governments and regional institutions, including the African Union.
Ensuring the U.S. Government and U.S. Foreign Service reflect the rich composition of the American citizenry, including African diaspora professionals, and
Continuing the Young African Leaders Initiative and deepening America’s commitment to engage with Africa’s dynamic young leaders.
From immigration, to the economy, healthcare and education, the Biden -Harris ticket also proposes a laundry list of things or reforms that could have significant impact on the African diaspora.
“Since the 1970s, the African immigrant population in the United States has roughly doubled every decade. Through employment and educational exchange programs, many African immigrant communities have flourished in the United States, building a new generation of highly educated and socially conscious Africans throughout our country. Representing nearly 2 million first-generation Americans, it is one of the fastest growing immigrant groups,” the Biden -Harris ticket notes.
“As president, Biden will immediately do away with the Trump administration’s inhumane immigration policies,” The platform also expressly indicates commitment to :
-Preserving the longstanding principle of our immigration system to reunite families and enhance our diversity,
-Keeping families together by providing a roadmap to citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants, including Dreamers,
-Reversing the travel bans aimed at decreasing legal immigration to the U.S., including the Muslim travel ban which has severely impacted Nigerian, Sudanese, Somalian, and other diaspora communities, and
Restoring America’s historic commitment as a place of refuge for those fleeing war or persecution.
Harping on education, the platform expresses cognizance of the fact that the African diaspora sees this as a gateway to employment and economic security. In addition to proposing a comprehensive plan to invest in children’s education from birth through 12th grade, as well as for educating and training Americans beyond high school, as President, Biden says he support educators by giving them the pay and respect they deserve. His campaign is also pledging to ensure that zip code, income, race and disability are not determining factors in the ability of children to access education. In what may be music to the ears of many, the democratic ticket is making a commitment to handle student loan debt, while supporting historic Black Colleges, Universities and Minority serving Institutions.
“Members of the African diaspora have bravely stood on the front lines fighting against COVID-19. Many are the doctors and nurses who have been treating the infected and compassionate nursing home staff who have been caring for the elderly,” the platform notes in acknowledgement of the important but often ignored role of the African diaspora in fighting the pandemic.
The Biden-Harris ticket says it will ensure front line workers receive appropriate personal protective equipment, get appropriate COVID-19 testing based on their risk of exposure. The campaign wants access to free COVID 19 testing, and the vaccine when one becomes available.
“The adoption of AD4Biden‘s policy recommendations is yet another affirmation of the Biden-Harris Campaign’s commitment to equity and inclusion of the African Diaspora communities into political process,” says Philomena Desmond, Co-chair of AD4Biden. Describing the move as unprecedented, Philomena Desmond said this is why our community will turn out in record numbers to vote for Biden-Harris and down-ballot Democratic tickets.”
According to Amb Micheal Battle, “Vice President Biden and Senator Harris have put the African Diaspora at the center of their African Agenda.”
Battle, a Theologian and former U.S Ambassador to the AU and ECA , goes further to say “they are committed to promoting peace and prosperity in Africa, and more importantly to building a mutually beneficial partnership with African nations.”
To Aisha Biro Diallo, who co-chairs both VA and Washington DC Women for Joe Biden & Kamala Harris and African Women for Biden -Harris , “we are united behind Joe Biden and Kamara Harris because of their integrity, compassion, unrivaled experience, leadership and commitment to supporting women issues and promoting democracy”
Pastor Ghandi Olaoye of Jesus House DC, who recently convened over 150 Pastors to deliberate on the upcoming elections, says that “in Vice President Biden, we see the type of leadership America needs in order to heal. Joe Biden has the quality to unite our communities, restore justice, equity and fairness to all. He will bring decency back to the presidency and truth to leadership”
With voting already underway for the elections officially scheduled for November 3, the Biden -Harris ticket is working hard to earn the vote of the African diaspora with outreach events on schedule for the remainder of the campaigns.
Though he may not have any specific policies towards Africa or its diaspora, a group of Congolese has cast their lot with President Trump. The group has so far not responded to media questions
Mozambique: Driver and guide jailed over death of 64 Ethiopian immigrants
October 26, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Jorge Joaquim
Two of the seven people accused of the accidental killing of 64 illegal immigrants from Ethiopia were sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment in Mozambique. The immigrants, 81 in total, were heading for South Africa in the back of a lorry, but most of them were found to have suffocated.
Tete is roughly 4,000 kms south of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, and 1,400 kms north of Pretoria, in South Africa.
Silva Nhome, one of those jailed, was the driver of the lorry, and Aiube Juliasse was the supposed guide in the case. The court decided to acquit the other five defendants, including two Mozambican police officers, due to lack of evidence.
Mozambique is located along a migration corridor, the so-called Southern Route, frequently used by migrants from East and the Horn of Africa to travel to South Africa in search of protection, economic and education opportunities. IOM Mozambique has helped more than 400 Ethiopians voluntarily return home since 2018.
According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), in 2019 South Africa was home to about 4.2 million migrants, and 290,000 asylum seekers and refugees. Zimbabwe, Somalia, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia were the main source countries.
Highway deaths, mainly caused by vehicular accidents, claimed the lives of nearly 70 migrants in Mozambique over the last five years, according to IOM’s Missing Migrants Project.
Most were Ethiopians bound for South Africa, although in one incident in 2017, 11 Malawians died in an accident in Tsangano, just inside Mozambique’s border with Malawi. The following year, 12 Ethiopians died and 15 were injured in another crash, also in Tsangano. IOM recorded no deaths of migrants in Mozambique in 2019.
Cameroon: Emerging Leaders 2020 Cohort Urged to be visionaries
October 26, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
Some 20 youth leaders under the banner of the Emerging Leaders 2020 have been challenged to be vision bearers in their communities. The youth leaders are involved in a 3-days training programme organized by the Nkafu Policy Institute of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for Democracy.
The emerging leaders’ programme in policy and public service is a unique leadership and career accelerator programme for Cameroonians below the age of 35-years.
Speaking to the Emerging leaders Dr Peter Masumbe, Policy Fellow, Governance and Democracy Initiative and a lecturer at the University of Buea said these young leaders should be visionaries and if they do not have a vision, then they should not be here (attending the programme).
On the canons of a good leader, Dr Masumbe said a good leader must understand the values which involve a vision statement, otherwise, you are bound to fail and no peacebuilding will take place. “A good leader must be sympathetic and have good communication skills that also encompass how the leader dresses and his/her speech,” He said.
Peace cannot be achieved anywhere where there is injustice. It is the latter that has caused violence in the country and many African countries and around the world. “Some people will look at the injustice and stay quiet, while others will not and it is that which leads to violence,” Dr Masumbe stated while talking on the role of the leader in public policy development process.
“A leader must learn to listen to people’s opinions and must learn to not harm…. A leader must abide by the rules of the game, which is the constitution that gives power.”
Talking about the kinds of leadership, Dr Peter Masumbe stated that democratic leadership is looked like the best type of leadership. According to him, it is considered as the best type in peacebuilding as the leaders give chances to everyone to air out their opinions on every aspect that affects the lives of persons living in that society. It is completely different from autocratic leadership where it is a one-man show, which is common in most African countries.
“Cameroon is suffering from a leadership crunch. This claim can partly be attributed to poor governance institutions, and a decline in democratic norms, human rights, and individual liberties. No thoughtful endeavours have been set up to ascertain and encourage young leaders to respond to the realities of a multi-ethnic and bilingual Cameroon,” a concept not from Foretia Foundation stated.
“It is indispensable we start exposing these young scholars and professional to large-scale policy and public service. The next generation of leaders and public servants are being prepared for the challenges that are involved in realizing the 2035 vision for an emerging Cameroon.”
The African continent is considered rich in resources according to Dr Peter Masumbe which leads countries to share amongst themselves. But egoism he said has caused Africa to be seen as lacking in resources. To him, there is injustice going on in Cameroon as the country has resources but people are too selfishness. “How on earth will you imagine that an area like Yokaduma has a lot of resources but lacks basic needs like roads? Yet companies are there exploiting the timber that is produced in the area…. The little resources that the country has must be shared equitably,” Dr Masumbe stated.
At the end of day one, the leaders were divided into groups of fives. The leaders, in turn, had to come up with topics they will want to work on after the programme. It is all about giving back to the communities that the young leaders are coming from.
Day two which continues this October 27, 2020, will see the Emerging Leaders train on Leadership and equal opportunities, how does leadership improve local economic development, leadership and public opinion building. This second day of training will also see the 2019 Alumni of the Emerging Leaders sharing their experience about the training.
The 2020 Emerging Leaders Programme will round up this October 28, with the cohorts presenting their projects they in turn to carry out in their various communities.
Malawi First Lady partners with Merck Foundation to build healthcare capacity and strengthen COVID 19 response in Africa
October 26, 2020 | 0 Comments
Merck Foundation will enroll the selected Malawian doctors by the First Lady office and Ministry of Health to their various training programs for the next 10 years.
LILONGWE, Malawi, October 26, 2020/ — Merck Foundation appoints Malawi First Lady as the Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother to empower infertile women; Merck Foundation in partnership with Malawi First Lady and Minister of Health to provide speciality training to Malawian doctors in various fields such as; Oncology, Diabetes, Fertility, Embryology, Respiratory Care, Acute Medicines, Sexual and Reproductive Medicines to transform public healthcare sector in Malawi.
Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany announced their long-term partnership with The First Lady of Malawi, during their first Video Conference Summit of Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative (MFFLI).The MFFLI VC Summit was attended by 13 African First Ladies to discuss their joint efforts to build healthcare capacity and strengthen the response to COVID-19 in the country and Africa at large.
Appreciating the programs of Merck Foundation, H.E. Mrs. MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of Malawi emphasized, “I am very happy to be appointed as Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother. I will be fully supporting this campaign as The First Lady of Malawi, as a woman, this cause is very close to my heart. I will work in collaboration with our ministries to sensitize our communities, particularly in rural areas to better understand infertility hence to break the stigma around infertile women and to empower them through access to information, education, health, and change of mindset. Moreover, I am looking forward to building healthcare capacity in the country, through the programs of Merck Foundation, as it will contribute to the social and economic development of Malawi”.
Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother expressed, “We are very happy to partner with The First Lady of Malawi, and underscore our long term commitment to build healthcare capacity, empower girls in education and break the stigma of infertility in Malawi. We are also very proud to appoint The First Lady of Malawi as the Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother. We are going to work very closely with her and the Government of Malawi to make history together by providing training for the First Specialists in many fields such as; Fertility, Sexual and Reproductive Medicines, Oncology, Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Respiratory and Acute Medicines with the aim to improve access to quality and equitable health care in the country”.
Merck Foundation will continue their important program “Educating Linda” together with Malawi First Lady to sponsor the education of 20 best performing girls in their secondary schools till they graduate.
“I truly believe that Education is Power and educating girls is empowering them to make their own decisions, stand up for their rights, and help them to access economic opportunities”, added Dr. Rasha Kelej, One of 100 Most Influential Africans (2019, 2020).
Merck Foundation will enroll the selected Malawian doctors by the First Lady office and Ministry of Health to their various training programs for the next 10 years.
Moreover, Merck Foundation also celebrated three winners from Malawi for their “Stay at Home” Media Recognition Awards from Southern African Countries to raise awareness about COVID 19 in the country.
About Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative Summit – MFFLI:
Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany conducted their first Video Conference Summit of Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative (MFFLI) to define and follow up on different joint programs that aims to advance public healthcare sector capacity and strengthen the response to COVID 19 in their countries.
The MFFLI VC Summit 2020 was hosted by Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg Haverkamp, Chairman of the Executive Board of E. Merck KG and the Chairman of Merck Foundation Board of Trustees and Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother and One of 100 Most Influential African (2019 & 2020) and attended by 13 African First Ladies, who are Ambassadors of Merck More than a Mother; H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe; H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia; H.E. FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone; H.E. AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU, The First Lady of Niger; H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia; H.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique; H.E. MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of Malawi; H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana; H. E. FATOUMATTA BAHBARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia; H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic; H.E. ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE, The First Lady of Burundi; H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana; H.E. ANA DIAS LOURENÇO, The First Lady of Angola.
The MFFLI VC Summit, special edition aims to share experiences, discuss challenges, and define solutions to further strengthen healthcare capacity to better respond to this global pandemic in Africa.
About Merck Foundation:
The Merck Foundation , established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to quality & equitable healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Foundation Website.
Jack Dorsey to Keynote at Africa Fintech Summit 2020
October 26, 2020 | 0 Comments
|As the Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Square, Inc., Dorsey is considered to be one of the biggest influencers in tech ecosystems worldwide and is often revered as a futurist.|
WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, October 26, 2020/ — Dedalus Global and Ibex Frontier are pleased to announce Jack Dorsey as the closing keynote for this year’s Africa Fintech Summit . The Summit is being held virtually on November 9, 10, and 12.
As the Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Square, Inc., Dorsey is considered to be one of the biggest influencers in tech ecosystems worldwide and is often revered as a futurist. Founded in 2009, Square has introduced a suite of innovative tools and services that supports financial inclusion and the growth of businesses. In recent weeks, Square announced it would become one of the first publicly traded U.S. companies to hold Bitcoin on its balance sheet.
Dorsey’s keynote marks a year since the visionary visited Africa to meet with several of the continent’s tech leaders and incubation houses. His listening tour in Africa confirmed the consensus that Africa will define the future (especially the bitcoin one!). He has since held an active and insightful voice on the future of African fintech, in particular, the future of cryptocurrency. With an unbanked population of 66%, and a credit card penetration rate that averages 1.5%, the applications for crypto in sub-Saharan Africa only help solidify Dorsey’s interest in the continent.
Dorsey’s closing keynote on November 12 will revolve around the concepts of decentralized finance and opportunities it creates for financial inclusion.
Throughout the three day event, registrants will have the opportunity to:
Engage and learn from 60 of sector’s most active thought leaders over the course of 12 panel sessions, 3 fireside chats, and related discussion forums
Participate in discussions that dissect some of the sector’s regulatory hurdles
Connect with early-stage startups and the latest innovations through a startup expo
Meet with the industry’s stakeholders – investors, startups, regulators, banking execs, and more! – in curated networking sessions or 1×1
Learn best practices for approaching different types of investors, banking partners, and regulators
The Summit will conclude on November 12 with the regional final of Pegasus Tech Ventures’ Startup World Cup global pitch competition, the winner of which will be invited to compete for US$1M at the global semi-finals in Silicon Valley in May 2021.
Startups apply to exhibit and pitch by visiting and submitting the form at www.AfricaFintechSummit.com/alphaexpo/apply/
Register and view the agenda and speakers for the event at www.AfricaFintechSummit.com
About Dedalus Global and Africa Fintech Summit:
Dedalus Global is a go-to-market strategic advisory focused on emerging tech in emerging markets and is the founding organizer of Africa Fintech Summit (AFTS). As the first fintech event to be held annually in the USA and Africa, AFTS boasts the largest network of African fintech stakeholders from across the globe. In addition to its advisory business, since 2018, Dedalus has organized four fintech summits and a series of policy roundtables, virtual workshops, and startup bootcamps under the AFTS brand. AFTS events have hosted more than 1500 attendees, representing each of the top stakeholder segments, from 51 countries and 6 continents.
About Ibex Frontier:
Ibex is an investment advisory & route-to-Ethiopia-market advisory firm headquartered in Washington D.C. and with a presence in London and Addis Ababa. Through insights and access that spans three continents and 20+ years of experience by its Founding team, Ibex provides premier investment, market entry, and business development advisory services for Eastern Africa with a focus on Ethiopia. Since June 2019, Ibex has been a co-organizer of AFTS events.
*SOURCE Africa Fintech Summit
Covid-19 Sees Growth of eLearning in Africa, just in time for atingi.org
October 26, 2020 | 0 Comments
|New German-backed platform brings Free, Premium eLearning to Africa’s Jobseekers just as African eLearning Market booms.|
BERLIN, Germany, October 26, 2020/ — www.atingi.org, a free-to-use eLearning platform, is now available in 54 countries across the continent. Africa’s e-learning market has seen substantial growth due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with the use of e-learning applications and platforms surging as schools and universities are forced to deliver lessons virtually, and people use eLearning platforms to improve their skills profiles during national lockdowns.
The atingi.org platform joins this market with a particular focus on reaching marginalised populations that previously have not had access to high-quality education. The platform delivers access to best-in-class learning content for Africa’s citizens, transforming lives with training that improves their job prospects and supports entrepreneurial activities. Through connecting people with free, premium educational resources, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH seeks to support African economic growth by closing the skills gaps at home. Moreover, atingi aims to ensure that all members of society can gain the skills necessary to unleash the power of digital transformation – and it has partnered with leading international organisations like the World Bank and Smart Africa, with its 30 member countries to do this.
Commenting on the atingi platform, German Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Gerd Müller said “Digitalisation can help Africa make enormous strides in its development. This new platform offers eLearning opportunities to young people in remote and rural areas. We must harness the full potential of modern technology to create new opportunities for young Africans to enter training, the agricultural sector, medicine or the tech business.”
One of the many changes that have been brought about by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has been the strong growth of eLearning, particularly in Africa. In fact, according to a report by Global Market Insights , the African e-learning sector is expected to reach a market value of US$1.8bn by 2024. Unlike other eLearning platforms, the atingi learning content is developed in cooperation with specialised local African partners, and carefully considers local needs and market, making it unrivalled in contextual relevance. Furthermore, learners that have successfully completed courses are awarded certificates as proof of their learning achievements.
“One of the focus areas of atingi is vocational education, as we know that this will help Africans create and optimise employment opportunities at home (…). We decided to put our learnings to work through contextually relevant content, via state-of-the-art digital learning methods, that anyone with an internet connection can easily access at no cost to them,” explained Michael Krake, the Deputy Director
General for the Private sector, Trade, Employment and Digital Technologies at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The atingi.org platform is available for use by people throughout Africa and the content on the platform, available in both English and French, is optimised for use on any internet-enabled device, providing learners with flexible learning options to suit their learning styles. In addition to the current self-study learning programmes, in the future, atingi.org aims to add courses that will be supported by tutors, and even hybrid courses that will combine real-life elements with online sessions.
“In many African countries, access to education – especially for girls and rural populations – is a significant inhibitor to economic and social development. We hope that our atingi.org platform can, in some small way, contribute to breaking this cycle of educational exclusion and promote access to job opportunities for all. We strongly encourage all Africans to visit the platform, register, and take the courses most relevant for their aspirations. It is our mission to help Africa unlock her potential by ensuring her people achieve their employment ambitions, whatever they may be,” concludes Deputy Director General, Michael Krake.
atingi (www.atingi.org) is the new digital learning platform of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The platform provides people in Africa with free access to high-quality digital learning content tailored to the local needs and markets. atingi was developed by a team of education and digital experts and works closely with partners on national level, with Smart Africa, an alliance of 30 African digital ministries, and other partners from politics, business, civil society and science.
Cameroon: Emerging Leaders 2020 Cohort Begins 3-Days Immersion Training
October 26, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
20 young leaders from the ten (10) regions of the country have begun a 3-day immersion training aimed at impacting in them leadership skills in policy and public service. The opening ceremony took place on October 26, 2020, at the ST Muna Foundation in Yaounde.
The Emerging Leaders Programme 2020, which is in its second year, is organized by the Nkafu Policy Institute of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation, in collaboration with the National Empowerment for Democracy.
“Today’s leaders are not always tomorrow’s winners but today’s winners are always tomorrow’s leaders,” Fri Asanga, Chief Operating Officer of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation told the Emerging Leaders 2020 cohorts.
The organization of this training is in line with the objective of the Leadership and Democracy project which are to train youth leaders in policy and public service. The Emerging Leaders’ programme in policy and public service is a unique leadership and career accelerator program for Cameroonians below the age of 35-years.
Speaking on qualities of a good Leadership Ms Anne Pelagie Yotchou Tzudjom, CEFAP Coordinator said the qualities a good should have are that “the leader should be a humble person, vision, the capacity to guide people and be able to communicate effectively with the team.”
Communication is very important for every leader as without that one cannot consider him/herself as a good leader according to Ms Anne Pelagie. She added that those who fail to have these inert qualities cannot call themselves leaders as they are not.
Che Lena Neh, Team Lead of the Emerging Leaders Programme said: “…This programme saw the need for Cameroonian youths to be enlightened and educated on aspects of Leadership and Democracy. We have gathered 20 highly motivated youths from all over Cameroon, two from each region. They will be giving skills on aspects of leadership and democracy. It is an immersive programme where speakers will come from Cameroon and the USA.”
During day one of the training programme, the young leaders were trained on the effectiveness of leadership in a democratic society, leadership and peacebuilding, public speaking and leadership, the role of a leader in the public policy process and prominent figures of political leadership in Africa.
The training programme continues on October 27 with the closing ceremony on October 28. During the closing ceremony, the 20 emerging leaders will be schooled on the weaknesses of leadership and challenges of democracy. They are expected to present the project they have been working on during the training.
Mbiydzenyuy Ferdinant Sonyuy, one of the emerging Leaders 2020 cohort told PAV: “I was very happy seeing this type of programme happening in Cameroon and giving the context that the country is facing I realize that it does not matter which sector you are working in, you have to understand that you have a role to play in making things better.”
“Coming from a health sector perspective, I applied for the programme because I believe I will have the possibility to sit under people who are renowned and who understand issues which I can learn from them. We need leadership to be able to solve some the kinds of problems in our communities,” Ferdinant Sonyuy said.
Others are breaking the boundaries, showing the world that women are also leaders in their own right and break the stigmatization that has been placed on women being leaders of holding leadership positions. “In my region, women are not considered and their place is seen as in the kitchen. I had to take the bold step to say if my community thinks that I cannot make it in life, I have to make it by going for the Emerging Leaders’ programme,” Aoussinsa Tizi Pierrette, Assistant Coordinator of the World Dynamic of Young People in the Far North region said.
She added: “I expect to learn the qualities of a good leader, how can I emerge in my community (that is in the Far North Region and the North Region where ii come from). Many in my region think that the place of the woman is in the kitchen and this has affected the participation of women in holding a leadership position.”
The Emerging Leaders were divided into four groups of five individuals each after day one of the training. They are expected to organize events displaying their leadership skills learned in the course of the training in their respective regions.
The Emerging Leaders will be incorporated with the Governance and Democracy Initiative of the Nkafu Policy Institute for a yet to be specified period. They shall focus amongst other things on carrying out research, writing short articles, and crafting short policy-oriented videos that can be published on various media platforms.
You booed him but he is right, Kenyans defend Ruto
October 26, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday, October 26, presided over the official launch of Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report at Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi.
The event was also attended by the Deputy President William Ruto, the opposition leader Raila Odinga and other political leaders as well as a section of members of the public.
BBI is the tangible result of the famous handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM party leader Raila Odinga in March 2018 following chaotic 2017 presidential elections.
BBI task force recommended many changes in the constitution to achieve a united nation devoid of chaos after every poll. Some of them include:
Expansion of the executive
The document has proposed the creation of the post of Prime Minister (PM) and his two deputies to achieve inclusivity and do away with the winner-take-all electoral formula. The PM will be nominated or appointed by the president within the seven days of the latter’s election to the office.
House power structure
The report proposes the introduction of a new House power structure that includes the PM, two deputies and the leader of the official opposition.
BBI report recommends the Cabinet Secretaries to be called Cabinet Ministers and appointment of ministers from the Members of Parliament (MPs).
The team also proposed the establishment of the office of the Judiciary Ombudsman to improve Judiciary’s accountability. He or she will be nominated by the president and approved by the Parliament. His or her role is to receive complaints about judges, magistrates, registrars and other judicial officers and conduct inquiries into them before submitting the report to President and Parliament.
Ruto was forced to cut short his speech after delegates heckled him when he called for the reviews of the document he said it has many flaws. He had singled out the establishment of the office of Ombudsman which according to him is a derogation of the independence of the Judiciary.
The second in command said that the creation of the office will take the country back to dark days where the Head of State Used to issue guidelines to judges via phones.
“We need to operationalise the Judiciary fund that is already in the Constitution so that the Judiciary can establish more courts, hire more judges and more staff so that more Kenyans can have access to justice,” Ruto said.
“On the matter of the judiciary allow me to say that there is a huge space to have an improvement on the proposal that has been made… Having an ombudsman appointed by the Executive into the Judiciary is a derogation from the independence of the institution.”
His effort to calm the crowd that was chanting “respect the president” was fruitless.
However, a section of public defended Deputy President labelling BBI a scam.
“I don’t support William Ruto. But William Ruto has asked BRILLIANT questions that, if at all we are talking about Inclusivity, we must find answers for or more neutral ground. It is a constitutional moment. A moment that we all must partake. Painful or sweet,” said Lord Abraham Mutai.
“William Ruto, a man of steel, has nailed it Our irreducible minimum, Independent Judiciary (No Ombudsman ), Strengthen Devolution (Senate Upper House ), Independent Police (Separate Executive from Police), Inclusivity 4 Hustlers and Independent IEBC (No Political Party commissioners),” said Bony Khalwale.
David Makali said, “Ruto laying bare the alternative views. Spot on… my views exactly on the IEBC, Ombudsman, Police Commission, Senate role in revenue sharing, executive make-up and winner-take-all. And the intolerant heckling just shows how this was designed…sad.”
ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi has also called for the review of the report.
OEAS RENEWS DEMANDS ON BIAFRA REFERENDUM
October 25, 2020 | 0 Comments
Washington DC: Biafra is a charter member of the Organization of Emerging African States (OEAS), an international governmental organization that promotes self-determination and the end to colonial era boundaries in Africa. Today the people of Biafra fear the brutality of the Nigerian police who are slaughtering their own citizens and arming herdsman as pro government militias. The situation will surely escalate unless immediate action is taken.
The OEAS renews its call for the Nigerian government to meet the following demands:
1. All federal military and police forces in Biafra to stand down and return to their barracks.
2. A snap referendum on Biafran self-determination to be held within 90 days with OEAS, UNPO, and nonaligned observers supervising the balloting process.
The situation in Nigeria is fast spiraling out of control.
For more information contact:
Ebenezer Derek Mbongo Akwanga, Jr., Secretary General OEAS
Jonathan Levy, PhD. Chief Administrative Officer OEAS