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Rwanda to host prestigious World Travel Awards
July 26, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Jean-Pierre Afadhali

Rwanda will host World Travel Awards for the first time, with the Africa Gala Ceremony 2017 set to take place in the country’s thriving capital, Kigali, on 10th October.

The World Travel Awards established in 1993, serve to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of global travel and tourism industry.

This year awards edition will also takes place in Africa for the first time, which could market the continent as a growing hospitality player in the global tourism industry.

World Travel Awards President and Founder, Graham Cooke, said: “It will be an honour for the World Travel Awards to visit Rwanda for the first time, later this year.”

“The heart of Africa, Rwanda has become rightfully known for its spectacular scenery – think thundering waterfalls, towering mountains and virgin rainforests – and rare wildlife. This is a fantastic opportunity for Rwanda to claim its rightful place as Africa’s rising star.”

In recent years the Great Lakes country has established itself as one of rising Africa’s destination hub; hosting global and continental business events.

According to a news release issued today by organizers, World Travel Awards Africa Gala Ceremony 2017 will take place at the five stars Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre – which features the first convention centre in Rwanda with room for up to 5,000 delegates – alongside the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) and AviaDev Africa (10-12 October).

The leading hotel investment conference that connects business leaders from the international and local markets, driving investment into tourism projects, and infrastructure and hotel development across Africa, AHIF (www.africa-conference.com) is attended by the highest caliber international hotel investors of any conference in Africa.

Simultaneously AviaDev Africa (www.aviationdevelop.com) an event that bring together airports, airlines, governments, industry suppliers and tourism authorities to determine the future air connectivity and infrastructure development of Africa; will take place at the same venue alongside the hotel forum.

AviaDev provides an opportunity for the aviation and hotel development communities to share intelligence on their future plans, catalyzing tourism development on the continent.

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman, and Bench Events, the main organizer said: “I’m delighted that the World Travel Awards has chosen to hold its Africa ceremony on the main stage at AHIF,”

“ The combination of AHIF for hotel investment, AviaDev for aviation route planning and the WTA for excellence in travel, all happening at the same time and in the same place, is bound to focus more attention on the importance of a successful travel and hospitality industry to the economic future of Africa – and that has to be a good thing.”

Organizers say today, the World Travel Awards brand is recognized globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire.

Many industry observers view AviaDev and AHIF as some of the biggest hospitality investments forums in Africa, resulting in business deals and major announcements in the growing tourism sector across the continent.

 

 

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World Bank Review Reveals a Weakening of Policy and Institutional Performance in Africa
July 26, 2017 | 0 Comments
Albert Zeufack, World Bank Africa Region Chief Economist, during the 2017 WBG-IMF Spring Meetings. Photo: Dasan Bobo/World Bank

Albert Zeufack, World Bank Africa Region Chief Economist, during the 2017 WBG-IMF Spring Meetings. Photo: Dasan Bobo/World Bank

OUAGADOUGOU, July 24, 2017-The quality of policies and institutions weakened in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2016 amid challenging economic conditions, according to the latest review by the World Bank. This weaker trend was observed in 40% of the region’s IDA countries, notably commodity exporters and fragile states.

 
The review is the annual World Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) Africa analysis, which scores the progress Sub-Saharan African countries are making on strengthening the quality of their policies and institutions. Since 1980, CPIA ratings have been used to determine the allocation of zero-interest financing and grants for countries that are eligible for support from the International Development Association (IDA)*, the concessional financing arm of the World Bank Group.
 
CPIA scores are based on 16 development indicators in four areas: economic management, structural policies, policies for social inclusion and equity, and public sector management and institutions. Countries are rated on a scale of 1 (low) to 6 (high) for each indicator. The overall CPIA score reflects the average of the four areas of the CPIA.
 
The average CPIA score for the 38 African countries assessed in the 2016 review edged lower to 3.1. Rwanda again led all countries in the region with a score of 4.0, closely followed by Senegal and Kenya, both with a score of 3.8. Although some countries saw a strengthening in policy and institutional quality, the number of countries with worsening overall scores outpaced improvers by a margin of two to one.
 
A common pattern across countries that experienced a weakening in their overall policy and institutional quality was slippage in economic management: monetary and exchange rate, fiscal, and debt policies. This can in part be explained by unfavorable economic conditions-deteriorating terms of trade, sluggish global growth, and difficult economic conditions-that continued to take a toll on countries across the region, deepening macroeconomic vulnerabilities. Weakening of fiscal and external buffers constrained the scope for macroeconomic policies to mitigate the effects of adverse shocks to economic activity.
 
On the upside, Côte d’Ivoire, the Comoros, Cameroon, Guinea, Madagascar, Mauritania, and Sudan have experienced a modest gain in the CPIA score, with most of these countries showing a stronger performance in the quality of governance. In a few countries, the quality of policies for social inclusion and equity also improved, reflecting a strengthening of safety net programs.
 
“Governance underpins all sectors of World Bank Group engagement, and moving forward, despite these slight gains, it will remain critical that Sub-Saharan countries implement or expand governance and public-sector reforms that will upgrade financial management systems, increase transparency, reduce corruption, protect rights, and improve public services,” notes Albert Zeufack, World Bank Chief Economist for Africa.
 
The latest CPIA results reveal that performance on policy and institutional quality in Sub-Saharan Africa’s non-fragile IDA countries is comparable to that of similar countries elsewhere. However, this is not the case for fragile countries, which generally fall behind other fragile countries outside the region. The combination of the two categories of countries pulls the overall CPIA score for the region’s IDA countries below the average for other IDA countries.
 
“African countries exhibiting economic resilience tend to have stronger macroeconomic policy frameworks, better quality of policies that promote sustainable and inclusive growth, and more effective public institutions than other countries,” explains Punam Chuhan-Pole, Lead Economist for the World Bank Africa Region and author of the report. “Nonetheless, there is scope for all countries in the region to speed up policy reforms and strengthen institutional quality.”
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.5 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 54% going to Africa.
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Nigeria releases first photo of ailing president in almost 80 days
July 25, 2017 | 0 Comments
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari receives a delegation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party in Abuja House in London, Britain July 23, 2017. Nigeria Presidency/Handout via Reuters More

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari receives a delegation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party in Abuja House in London, Britain July 23, 2017. Nigeria Presidency/Handout via Reuters
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ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria released a photograph of President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday, the first in almost three months after he left the country on May 7 for medical leave in Britain.

In stark contrast to his first absence, when numerous photos of a notably skeletal leader were published, the presidency had released no images of Buhari during his current medical leave until now. That sparked speculation ranging from his ability to contest the 2019 election for a second term to his death.

The president is on his second medical leave so far this year, the majority of which he has spent being treated for an undisclosed ailment in London.

The picture purports to show Buhari dining in Britain with senior members of his political party on Sunday, according to an accompanying statement from the presidency.

Reuters was unable to verify the authenticity of the photograph.

“The party delegation spent more than an hour with President Buhari over lunch,” said Sunday’s presidency statement, adding that “President Buhari will be back as soon as the doctors give him the green light.”

The refusal of officials to disclose details of Buhari’s illness has triggered fierce speculation in Nigerian media and on social media over the past few months about his ailment and whether he will seek a second term in the 2019 election.

Details of the 74-year-old president’s condition have not been disclosed. Buhari left the capital, Abuja, in May and handed over power to his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, seeking to allay concerns of a void at the helm of Africa’s biggest economy.

The president’s first medical leave began in January and lasted nearly two months.

A thin-looking Buhari was last seen in Nigeria on state television welcoming a group of 82 girls released by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, just hours before he flew to Britain to begin his medical leave.

Buhari reduced his working day to a few hours each day after returning to Nigeria from his first stint of medical leave on March 10, diplomats and government sources said.

He was not seen outside of the presidential villa in Abuja before leaving again on May 7.

*Reuters

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The African trade revolution quietly afoot
July 25, 2017 | 0 Comments

In a tumultuous year for the global trading landscape, negotiations for a huge Africa-wide free trade area are progressing rapidly.

BY DAVID LUKE*

Across the developed world, longstanding advocates of free trade are in retreat. America has withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and stepped back from the World Trade Organisation. Meanwhile, a crisis is brewing at the heart of the European single market.

Recognition has grown that the inequalities generated by trade are not being sufficiently addressed. And this has fuelled an anti-trade populism.

Noting these tumultuous trends, international institutions from the OECD to the International Monetary Fund and G20 have sought to reaffirm the benefits of trade and argued against protectionism.

A quiet revolution

Set against this uproar, an African trade revolution is also quietly afoot. The innovation is the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA). A boldly ambitious endeavour, the CFTA seeks to combine the economies of 55 African states under a pan-African free trade area comprising 1.2 billion people in a market with a combined GDP of $2.19 trillion.

Announced in 2012 by the African Union (AU) heads of state and government, the CFTA is the first flagship initiative of the AU’s Agenda 2063. It will reduce tariffs between African countries, introduce mechanisms to address the often more substantial non-tariff barriers, liberalise service sectors, and facilitate cross-border trade. This will also help rationalise the overlapping free trade areas that already exist within Africa.

The CFTA negotiations are complex. The 55 participating countries span a diversity of economic and geographic configurations. 15 are landlocked, while 6 are Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The biggest (Nigeria) has a GDP of $568 billion, while the smallest (Sao Tome & Principe) a GDP of just $337 million.

Rapid progress

Many outside observers have been quick to cast pessimism upon the project. This is not just because of the challenging world trade environment and complexity of negotiations, but Africa’s history of trade negotiations.

In particular, the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the European Union and African regional economic communities have proved an infamous failure. Despite 14 years of negotiations, only one EPA – that with Southern Africa – has been concluded.

With expectations low, the rapid progress in the CFTA negotiations is therefore all the more remarkable. The first negotiating forum was launched in February 2016. Since then, five more negotiating rounds have been concluded.

The most recent, held in Niger, determined modalities for trade in goods and services. It also pronounced a level of ambition to liberalise 90% of tariff lines – substantially more than aspired to in the EPAs – and establish a review mechanism to gradually lift this further.

The remainder of 2017 will see technical working group meetings and two more negotiating rounds to refine market access offers and the legal text of the agreement. The intention is to finish negotiations by the end of this year.

One African chief negotiator commenting at the last negotiating round remarked that he had “never seen negotiations move so rapidly”.

Boosting intra-African trade

These impressive achievements are being realised by political commitment at the highest level and a pan-African resolve to cooperate and compromise. Pan-Africanist forefathers like Kwame Nkrumah would be proud.

Success also derives from a shared belief in the project. Studies by the UN Economic Commission for Africa and UNCTAD identify the potential for the CFTA to boost intra-African trade. This would help diversify Africa’s exports away from a dependence on commodities that is little changed since colonial times.

Source: CEPI-BACI Trade Dataset, three year average (2012-14).

Source: CEPI-BACI Trade Dataset, three year average (2012-14).

Intra-African trade is substantially more diversified than Africa’s trade with the outside world. It comprises a greater share of value-added and industrial products such as textiles, cement, soap, pharmaceuticals, and even automobiles from South Africa as well as primary and processed food items. Services such as banking, telecoms, energy and transport are also being traded across borders. The CFTA forms part of an African strategy for industrialising through trade.

It could also help piece together Africa’s small fragmented markets to realise economies of scale necessary for industrial investment and growth. Niger’s President Issoufou Mahamadou, the African Union Champion for the CFTA, recently lamented looking upon a map of Africa as a “broken mirror”. The CFTA can help to fix this.

Making it a win-win

The CFTA, however, is no panacea. It must be accompanied by investments in infrastructure, energy and trade facilitation.

This is critical if sufficient jobs are to be created for Africa’s youth. 60% of Africa’s population is 24 or below and about to enter the workforce. Yet a shortage of opportunities contributes to high youth unemployment, poverty rates approaching 70%, and pressures to migrate.

It is also important not to overlook the origins of populist sentiment against free trade elsewhere in the world. Trade produces both winners and losers. The problem is that while gains can compensate losses in theory, that is not happening in practice.

Recognition of this has fuelled rethinking of trade policy across the world. For instance, the Canada-European Union trade agreement (CETA) was reworked following the election of the Trudeau administration to better reflect a new “progressive trade policy”.

The CFTA must likewise be crafted as a win-win agreement that leaves no one behind. Here, the UN Economic Commission for Africa has undertaken a human rights impact assessment of the initiative and advocated for a number of supporting measures.

This includes strategies to protect small-holder farmers and help them integrate into regional agricultural value chains. It calls for improving border controls to help informal cross-border traders, many of whom are women and major players in intra-African trade.

It also demands an approach that benefits Africa’s diversity of countries, including those which are small, island economies, landlocked or fragile states. One way to achieve this is by supporting initiatives for regional value chains and connectivity that have proven successful in Africa’s regional economic communities.

Light at the end of the tunnel

Light shines at the end of the tunnel for the CFTA, but obstacles remain. Implementation is a key but persistent challenge on the continent. To quote Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, former Chairperson of the AU Commission, “I don’t think Africa is short of policies. We have to implement. That is where the problem is”.

The commitment and belief shown in the CFTA by African leaders must be seen through for the benefits of the CFTA to be realised.

The reward would appear to be worth it. Africa’s consumer market is the fastest growing in the world.  In just over 30 years from now, by 2050, it will comprise a population larger than that of India and China combined. This is the right time to seize the opportunities generated by such a large market.

*African Arguments.David Luke is Coordinator of the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

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21 Next Generation African Leaders Announced as Winners of the Resolution Social Venture Challenge
July 20, 2017 | 0 Comments
Mastercard Foundation Scholars to receive seed funding and mentorship to lead impactful projects in their communities
Intersect for the Mastercard Foundation. The 2017 Resolution Social Venture Challenge winners will receive a fellowship that includes seed funding, mentorship and access to a network of young global changemakers to pursue impactful projects in their communities.

Intersect for the Mastercard Foundation. The 2017 Resolution Social Venture Challenge winners will receive a fellowship that includes seed funding, mentorship and access to a network of young global changemakers to pursue impactful projects in their communities.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, July 19, 2017 – Ten teams of 21 budding African social entrepreneurs have been selected as winners of the Resolution Social Venture Challenge at the Baobab Summit in Johannesburg. Winning teams earn a fellowship that includes seed funding, mentorship and access to a network of young global changemakers to pursue impactful projects in their communities. A collaboration between the Mastercard Foundation and The Resolution Project, the Resolution Social Venture Challenge provides a pathway to action for socially responsible young leaders who want to create change that matters in their communities.

“Giving back to your community is an important part of the Scholars Program, yet few young leaders have the opportunity to make an impact at a young age,” explains Ashley Collier, Manager of the Scholars Community. “The Social Venture Challenge equips these young leaders with the tools, resources, mentorship and capital they need to ensure that their venture is successful, and to maximize their impact.”

Winners of the 2017 Social Venture Challenge say that:

“Winning the Challenge is an important milestone that will allow me to address problems faced by tea farmers in my community,” explains John Wanjiku, a Mastercard Foundation Scholar at the University of Pretoria. “With my project Ukulima Halisi, I hope to improve the tea collection process, both reducing the costs associated with spoiled tea leaves, and cutting down on the time Kenyan farmers spend waiting for tea collection. By shortening this process, Ukulima Halisi will provide farmers with additional time to engage in other economic activities that could increase their income, as well as preventing illnesses that occur when farmers spend long hours waiting for tea collection.”

“Winning the Social Venture Challenge will help us achieve our goals, communicating to our community in Baringo County, the huge potential in honey production,” says Sylvia Mwangi, a Mastercard Foundation Scholar from the University of Toronto. “With the mentorship offered to winners of the Challenge, we will design capacity-building workshops in bee-keeping that will change how women spend their days, and we will develop sales channels that will reduce the exploitation by middlemen.”

In 2016, the Mastercard Foundation first partnered with The Resolution Project, offering 16 Scholars on five competing teams the opportunity to pursue their aspirations and increase their appetite for leadership and impact. Winning projects address a wide range of challenges Scholars observed first-hand in their communities, including food security, access to sanitation, and young women’s access to reproductive health education.

Impact evaluation data reported by The Resolution Project shows that, while type and reach of impact varies, an average of 3,200 community members benefit per fellowship awarded. With over 350 Resolution Fellows active in 65 countries, more than 1.2 million people worldwide have been positively impacted by their work. They are driving progress in their communities, making each Resolution Fellow a change agent and a force for good.

“We are fortunate to have such an outstanding partner in the Mastercard Foundation,” says George M. Tsiatis, CEO & Co-Founder of The Resolution Project. “The Foundation saw the work that we were doing and the ideas that their Scholars had-it was a perfect match, and we are thrilled to be expanding our efforts together to give these young leaders a platform from which to launch lifetimes of impact!”

The 2017 cohort of Social Venture Challenge winners include projects based in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ghana Uganda, Rwanda, and the United States:

AgriMatters – Clive Matsika – Arizona State University
With his AgriMatters initiative, Clive will partner with local fertilizer companies in Zimbabwe, harnessing nanotechnology to manufacture Greenfert, a rich, environmentally friendly fertilizer that can be sold to farmers at a reduced cost.

Baringo Asali – Sylvia Mwangi – University of Toronto
By working closely with marginalized communities in Baringo, Kenya, Sylvia aims to increase local revenue generated from honey production. Through partnerships with local and international apiaries, Sylvia will roll out training in advanced beekeeping techniques and local community skills training.

Dash for Girls – Frances Aanyu, Agatha Akello and Lisa Anenocan – Makerere University
Frances, Agatha and Lisa are working to empower the girl child in Karamoja, Uganda, by providing access to correct and accurate information about the dangers of teenage pregnancy so as to help them make informed decisions.

ECO Sanitation Services – Kwabena Adu-Darkwa, Abraham Addy and Justice Nyamadi – Ashesi University College
Kwabena, Abraham and Justice are working together to tackle the problem of the 2.4 billion people world-wide who lack access to safe toilets. Eco Sanitation Services (ECOSaS) provides environmentally friendly and affordable micro-flush toilets to low-income earners, supporting them with a flexible payment system.

Prawji-Mama Food Bank – Pauline Nalumansi and Ephrance Kalungi – Arizona State University
With Prawji-Mama Food Bank, Pauline and Ephrance are working to develop a sustainable food bank system supported by youth entrepreneurship and technology to overcome hunger in rural communities.

Rwanda Youth Initiative for Agricultural Transformation – Annet Mukamurenzi, Gerard Ndayishimiye and Yvette Abizeyimana – EARTH University
By working with vulnerable farming communities across Rwanda, Annet, Gerard and Yvette are committed to improving food security. They will equip smallholder farmers with modern farming skills, strategies and technologies to grow sustainable food security solutions and protect the environment.

Sparky Thermal Dehydrator – Kayiza Isma and Nsubuga Thomas – Makerere University
To address post-harvest losses, a leading cause of food insecurity in Uganda, Kayiza and Nsubuga will introduce the Sparky thermal dehydrator. Sparky, which operates using bio-fuels as a source of energy, is a low-cost, efficient device that dries farm produce 10 times faster than the conventional sun drying methods.

Strong Women, Strong Love – Ritah Arishaba and Alpha Ngwenya – Arizona State University
From Uganda to America, Ritah and Alpha are providing health education and feminine hygiene products to homeless and economically disadvantaged women. In Uganda, the pair will be teaching young women and girls to make their own sanitary products.

Ukulima Halisi – John Wanjiku – University of Pretoria
Most tea farmers in Kangema, Kenya, spend a lot of time waiting for their tea leaves to be collected. But, John believes, if farmers had access to tea leaves collection schedules, farmers would have more time to devote to other farming activities and improve their incomes.

ZAZI Growers’ Network – Thabu Mugala, Tanyaradzwa Chinyukwi and Martinho Tembo – EARTH University
Thabu, Tanyaradzwa and Martinho are committed to empowering and connecting women farmers in rural Zimuto, Zimbabwe. ZAZI Growers’ Network will provide women farmers with technical agricultural training and mentorship to help them improve their crop yields and enhance the community’s development.

The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest private foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by Mastercard when the Foundation was created in 2006.The Resolution Project is a unique pathway to action for aspiring young social entrepreneurs. Founded in 2007, Resolution identifies young leaders through Social Venture Challenges and empowers them to make a positive impact today through Resolution Fellowships. Resolution Fellows receive dynamic, hands-on support to implement their ventures and to develop as socially responsible leaders. With over 350 Resolution Fellows on all 6 inhabited continents, working in diverse, high-impact fields such as education, healthcare, human rights, water resources, and sustainability, Resolution is building a generation of leaders with a lifelong commitment to social responsibility. To date, Resolution Fellows have impacted over 1.2 million people with their work. The Resolution Project, Inc. is a 501(c) 3) nonprofit organization.
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WAEC: Abia State Retains Top Position in 2017 Results Despite Being Disadvantaged
July 20, 2017 | 0 Comments

By, Uchechukwu Ugboaja

Official sources at WAEC have just confirmed that Abia State have yet again retained the top in Nigeria for the 3rd year in a row after the 2017 WAEC examination results were released. This is the 3rd year in a row that Abia is coming first since taking over from Anambra and this this has excited the people and government of Abia state Inspite of its being disadvantaged in tertiary institutions.
According to WAEC sources the interesting part of the story is that Abia state has also emerged number one in science education in Nigeria, based on analysis of result statistics from the foremost examination body.
In a chat with a staff who preferred to speak to our reporter on the condition of anonymity at the state’s Ministry of Education, she greeted the news with great excitement as she said that a lot of work was put into what was being witnessed today and credited most of it to the immediate past Commissioner of Education, Prof Ikechi Mgbeoji who she described as a penchant for excellence.
According to her, “Prof. Ikechi Mgbeoji who was our former commissioner of Education did a wonderful job while in office, and you know he was also a 1st class graduate of law, so he had always put everyone of us on our toes right from his first day in office in 2015 and so we are not surprised at this results at all,” she said.
Although Abia State has remained in the top 5 States in terms of WAEC, NICOLE and JAMB results since the last decade, it has remained bottom in terms of number of tertiary institutions to accommodate the large army of teenagers willing to advance further in various fields of learning.
There are only four tertiary institutions in the whole of Abia state which are Abia State Polytechnic Aba, Abia State University Uturu, Okigwe, Micheal Opara Federal University of Agriculture Umudike, Umuahia and Arochukwu College of Education Astana, Arochukwu.
From the afforestated, Abia State has just one Federal University, one State owned University, one State owned Polytechnic and one state college of education.
Several analysts have called for the improvement of things in terms of providing more opportunities for Abia children to advance further in terms of opportunity available in tertiary education since it is evidently clear for that they are ready to make their future and that of the state brighter if given the opportunity.
Speaking with Mr. Henry Onyebuenyi a final underaduate studying Accounting in Micheal Opara University Umudike, Umuahia on this development.
For him, “Abia students need the federal government to establish at least one more University in Abia State to create room for more students to advance further in learning since they are willing and able to excel in learning and discipline MOUAU is a specialized school offering only Agric related courses.
“We have ready made facilities at the former FEDSAS (NINLAN) Aba for the immediate take off of a conventional University, other states have minimum of 2 while some have as much as 3. Abia is first in education in Nigeria and should be treated likewise.”
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IGD Launches Inaugural “Making Farming Cool!” Podcast Series
July 20, 2017 | 0 Comments
WASHINGTON – July 20, 2017 – The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) is pleased to announce the official launch of “Making Farming Cool!”, a new podcast series that aims to inspire and inform African young people to pursue careers and entrepreneurship in the agricultural value chain through vibrant African music and compelling interviews.

Produced by Afropop Worldwide, a Peabody award-winning radio program and online magazine dedicated to music from Africa and the African diaspora, Cameroonian-born veteran broadcaster Georges Collinet will host the podcast series. The podcast series is a component of the Africa Investment Rising (AIR) campaign, IGD’s dynamic communications and advocacy effort.

Agriculture is the engine driving in many African economies. While job opportunities exist in the agricultural value chain, young people are largely not entering the agriculture sector.

An estimated 25 million young people are expected enter the job market each year in Africa by 2025. To absorb the new entrants in the labor force, more than 10 million new jobs per year will have to be created in rural areas in the next two decades, according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

“We’re thrilled to launch the ‘Making Farming Cool!’ podcast series,” said Mima S. Nedelcovych, IGD President. “The podcast series has a youthful vibe and will feature compelling interviews with private sector leaders and experts working in agriculture to draw attention to the tremendous business opportunities for growth and innovation in the agriculture sector.”

In the first episode, host Georges Collinet will take listeners on a captivating journey through South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province to meet Siehle Zealous Sibisi, a 28-year-old who manages his family’s successful sugarcane farm, TBS Holdings, which produces 30,000 tons of sugar a year. TBS Holdings is a supplier of IGD Frontier Leader Illovo Sugar Group. Listeners will also hear about how the family business is a successful model of South Africa’s post-apartheid land restitution program.

IGD Frontier Leaders listened to a preview of the a podcast episode featuring Dr. Abdu Mukhtar, Group Chief Strategy Officer of Dangote Industries Limitedduring a May 5 evening reception at the Frontier 100 Forum in Durban, South Africa.

The podcast series will roll out new episodes of “Making Farming Cool!” on the Afropop Worldwide website at http://www.afropop.org/37720/making-farming-cool/. New episodes will be released in September and October.

The podcast series will be distributed through IGD’s media partners and initially broadcast in three target media markets: Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. The series will also be distributed in the U.S. through Afropop Worldwide.

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Marrakech to host The World Premier high-level dialogue of leaders on Women, Agriculture and Sustainable Development September 11- 12, 2017 at the Four Seasons Hotel, Marrakech, Morocco
July 17, 2017 | 0 Comments

(Marrakech July 15, 2017.)- BELIEVE IN AFRICA (BIA), will be hosting is second Believe in Africa Day conference on Monday September 11 – 12, 2017, at the Four Seasons Hotel, in Marrakech, Morocco

Believe in Africa has chosen Morocco, the picturesque “Western Kingdom – a place the sun sets,” for this year’s “Woman and Agriculture” conference.  Hosting this conference in the Africa continent closer to home will bring together a cross-fertilization of ideas and home grown solutions from more than 500 delegates representing the diverse face of leading Africans in politics, business, regional/international experts in financing, technology and innovation, climate change and access to markets, including the voices of members of non-governmental organizations and institutions. By bringing people together, BIA 2017 will be the place where the pivotal role African women play, and contribute, in agriculture and sustainable development will be discussed and honoured.

 

Our choice of Morocco is not fortuitous. With the efforts deployed by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, King of Morocco with his clear vision and leadership in advancing African economic integration and enhancing the collaboration between, and within, African countries, was the inspiration behind our decision to choose Morocco for this year’s conference, for the first time in the African continent, “said Mrs. Angelle KWEMO, president of the association and president of the Congress.  She added that “Women and Agriculture” wishes to create a platform to empower women.

Angelle Kwemo

Angelle Kwemo

 Morocco is one of the most economically dynamic African countries. Geographically, and strategically located, Morocco is a bridge to Europe and the U.S. for Africa and a leader for South-South trade. It is certain that during this Congress we will learn a lot from the Moroccan experience in developing and expanding its agriculture sector. With the strong support of our conference partner, the OCP Group, world leader in phosphates and derivatives production, this conference will bring visibility to women who work daily in fields across Africa, concludes Mrs. Kwemo.

Another partner is the United Nations Women organization and BEYA Capital, a pioneer Casablanca-based climate investment and advisory firm that joined several global partners to organize the innovative Global Climate Finance Action Summit 2016 (GCFA 2016) during COP22. GCFA Summit made history by convening high-level international public and private sector leaders to discuss scaling actionable solutions to unlock climate finance flows towards developing countries, with a particular focus on Africa. Mustapha MOKASS, Founder & CEO of BEYA Capital stated “Women are the backbone of Africa food security and Climate change mitigation. Empowering them equals empowering the world”. He added “we are proud to join Believe in Africa in this historical event to showcasing concrete financial solutions to African women entrepreneurs’ projects to Climate Change Adaptation as a prelude to the upcoming gathering of GCFA Investors Platform on September 18/19 during NY Climate Week and during upcoming COP23 in Bonn (Germany).”

To drive our stimulating BIA 2017 agenda, we welcome our strategic partners, Washington Media Group, Reseau des Femmes Artisanes du Maroc (RESFAM), Africa 24 TV, Forbes Africa, AllAfrica.com, Horizon Africa, Inside Consulting and others will soon be joining us in moving our agenda forward.

Believe in Africa (www.believeinafrica.org) is an African diaspora-led initiative founded by former U.S. congressional staffers and African leaders in the U.S. to empower Women and young Africans, to harness the power of the African Diaspora, educate policy makers and the public about African economic growth and highlight the continent’s gradual rise in the global community.

 

 

 

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Africa: Tribute to Babacar Ndiaye – Titan of Africa
July 15, 2017 | 0 Comments

Photo: Africa Economy Builders Babacar Ndiaye (right) presenting the Africa Economy Builders Award to Ambassador Harold E. Doley, Jr. in Abidjan in April.

Photo: Africa Economy Builders
Babacar Ndiaye (right) presenting the Africa Economy Builders Award to Ambassador Harold E. Doley, Jr. in Abidjan in April.

New Orleans — The Greek mythological Titan of Forethought, Prometheus, dared to disobey Zeus’ wishes by sharing fire and heat with humanity. His punishment was to be shackled to the Caucasus Mountains (The derivation of Caucasian comes from the people of the Caucasus Mountains.).

This humane act for humankind led to eternal condemnation. Each day, the eagles ate Prometheus’s organs, but because he was a Titan (i.e. god), the organs grew back. Prometheus endured this daily fate until Hercules broke his chains.

Babacar Ndiaye, who passed away in Dakar yesterday, lived the life of Prometheus. He did what he knew was right and paid the price many times over.

Many people that he helped throughout his life hurt him and hurt him dearly. I personally saw him reconcile with each one of those people, even though just one of those blows could have been mortal.

Babacar was a religious man who knew the Koran as well as the Old and New Testaments and understood that we are all One. He recognized that Ishmael, Abraham’s first son, was the forbearer of Islam. He knew the Old Testament teachings that Noah son Ham’s descendants are Black, cursed to always be the servant of servants (slaves). In the New Testament, Babacar liked to point out that two men carried the cross to Calvary, Jesus and Simon of Cyrene, a black man.

God and history created Babacar, who was a compilation of Prometheus, Ishmael, Ham and Simon of Cyrene.

Bababcar is recognized for his decade (1985-1995) as president of the African Development Bank (AfDB). What is lesser known is that he orchestrated the quadrupling of the capital of that Bank and that he secured the first AAA rating for an African institution or sovereign country. He also was instrumental in creating Shelter Afrique, the African Export-Import Bank and the African Business Roundtable.

One little known anecdote is that – when the superpowers agreed in 1991 that the next Secretary General of the United Nations should be an African – Babacar Ndiaye was next in line for the position, had Boutros Boutros-Ghali not prevailed following a stalemate in the voting. Another unknown gem is that Babacar was asked by Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi to deliver his wish to Washington to reconcile with the United States.

Perhaps most important was Babacar’s behind-the-scenes contribution to ending apartheid. In 1985, the year Babacar became AfDB President, Hughlyn Fierce, senior executive vice president of Chase Bank in New York, won approval for the Bank to refuse to renew the debt of South Africa. This decision immediately put the white government in default, forcing the closure of the foreign currency exchange window and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Less than 60 days later, President P.W. Botha gave his Rubicon speech in Durban and spoke of the ‘new’ South Africa. Within a matter of weeks, Nelson Mandela was moved from prison to a halfway house, and the lengthy negotiations that led to the country’s first non-racial elections in 1994 were underway.

Babacar quietly supported Chase Bank in extraordinary ways, and It was the cooperation of these two men of color – Fierce and Ndiaye – which helped to bring about this remarkable change.

Throughout his career, Babacar handled tens of billions of dollars. Yet he did not die a wealthy man in monetary terms.  What he accomplished was to do his job extraordinarily well.

Now that his earthly chains have been broken, we need not cry for Babacar. We should, however, mourn the fact that Africa has lost a great titan to whom we all are indebted..

*Allafrica.Ambassador Harold E. Doley, Jr. (Ret.) was the first U.S. Executive Director to the African Development Bank and Fund.

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Gambia Poised to Become 4th Country to Eliminate Malaria
July 15, 2017 | 0 Comments

Photo: The Citizen A child under mosquito net to prevent malaria.

Photo: The Citizen
A child under mosquito net to prevent malaria.

The minister of Health and Social Welfare Saffie Lowe Ceesay has stated that The Gambia is poised to become the fourth country to eliminate malaria within its boarder, adding that more resources and collaboration is required to reach these monumental achievements.

The  minister of Health made these remarks at the Sheraton Hotel on behalf of President Adama Barrow at the celebration of the Progress Towards Eliminating Malaria in The Gambia.

She added that support from the private and institutional donors is critical to win this battle against malaria in The Gambia and West Africa as a whole, saying that malaria has historically being one of the leading causes of mortality among children under-5 in The Gambia.

“It is therefore critical that we continue to pay more attention by making services closer to the communities, promote and mobilize communities to utilise the services and also adopt behaviours and practises that prevent infection such as; consistent sleeping under insecticides nets. “My government will continue to create the enabling environment and facilities for Gambia free of malaria scope,” she added.

Minister Ceesay stated that in 2007, The Gambia has the highest record of ITN used by children under-5 and pregnant women in the whole of Africa. Studies conducted by MRC and NMCP revealed that there is a general decline in malaria incidence in the country by 50%. Admissions due to malaria at the hospitals and health facilities, dropped by 74% and deaths attributed to malaria have dropped by 90%, thus malaria parasite prevalence dropped from 4.0% in 2011 to 0.2% in 2014, according to the Malaria Indicator Survey.

 Minister Ceesay added that access to laboratory for malaria has also increased through expansion of high quality and consistent availability of laboratory services in the health centres and hospitals.
 She added that despite successes, there are still challenges facing the Gambia’s ability to eliminate malaria. Malaria transmission is still ongoing, more in the eastern than in the western part of The Gambia.

For her part, the United State ambassador to The Gambia Patricia Alsup said the U.S. government is committed to supporting the ideals of the New Gambian administration. “We are convinced that in a country like The Gambia, with a government like President Barrow’s, and with the right tools and strategies, malaria can be eliminated,” she said.

Ambassador Alsup added that the war against malaria has been waged for many years now. During the past decade, three major initiatives were launched to help control malaria, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in 2002, the World Bank Malaria Booster Programme in 2004, and the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) in 2005.

According to her, malaria prevention and control is a major U.S. foreign assistance objective which fully aligns with the U.S. Government’s vision of ending preventable child and maternal deaths and ending extreme poverty. The U.S. Government has taken extraordinary steps to curb the spread of this preventable and curable disease, including partnerships with host country governments, the Global Fund, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank Booster Programme for Malaria Control, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and many others.

She revealed that the United States is the world’s largest donor to malaria control and elimination programmes, contributing over 50 percent of all donor funding. This funding, she said, is channelled through both international organisations such as the Global Fund, and local organisations involved in anti-malaria efforts.

*Daily Observer/Allafrica

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Cameroon forces ‘kill 97 Nigerian fishermen’ in Bakassi
July 15, 2017 | 0 Comments
Nigeria ceded Bakassi to Cameroon in 2008

Nigeria ceded Bakassi to Cameroon in 2008

Nigeria’s parliament is investigating reports that 97 fishermen have been killed in the Bakassi peninsula, which the country ceded to Cameroon.

Reports say that the killings happened last week when a Cameroonian paramilitary unit was enforcing a $300 (£230) fishing levy.

Nigerian Interior Minister Abdulrahman Dambazau accused Cameroon of breaching an agreement to protect its citizens.

The Cameroonian government is yet to comment.

Cameroon took control of oil-rich Bakassi in 2008 after an International Court of Justice ruling, ending years of border skirmishes.

Survivors of the attack have been arriving back in Nigeria with injuries, reports the BBC’s Naziru Mikailu in the capital, Abuja.

Nigeria’s lower house of parliament resolved that it will investigate the reports in view of the 2005 Green Tea agreement between the two countries, to protect the citizens of the ceded areas from harm.

A five-year UN-backed transition period was put in place exempting the area’s residents, many of them Nigerian fishermen, from paying tax.

Nigeria earlier this week summoned the Cameroonian ambassador to lodge a formal protest note.

About Bakassi:

map

• Cameroon based its claim of sovereignty on maps dating back to the colonial era

• It was administered by Nigeria from independence in 1960 until 2008

• Nigeria and Cameroon nearly went to war over Bakassi in 1981 and bloody clashes claimed 34 lives in 1994

• In 2002, the International Court of Justice ruled in Cameroon’s favour

• 14 August 2006: Nigerian troops withdrew but the area remained under Nigerian administration

• 14 August 2008: Nigeria fully ceded the territory to Cameroon

• 15 August 2013: Cameroon took over full sovereignty and a tax-free exemption for residents came to an end.

*BBC

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How a footballer became Africa’s first Cognac maker
July 15, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Piers Edwards*

Tebily produced his first brand of Cognac in 2013, five years after quitting football

Tebily produced his first brand of Cognac in 2013, five years after quitting football

Footballers have long relied on the terraces for inspiration but when Olivier Tebily does so these days, he is looking at rows of vines – not fans.

While many footballers’ post-playing plans involve staying in the game, the former Ivory Coast international has eschewed that to quietly focus on his second passion.

Footballers and alcohol have long gone together, often badly, but the former Birmingham City defender is unique in actually creating the product.

What’s more, the treble winner with Celtic is doing so in Cognac, home to some of France’s – and the world’s – most celebrated vineyards.

For similar to champagne, only the brandy made in the region can bear the prestigious name Cognac.

As for whether the 41-year-old is just another footballer flashing his cash on a pet project, consider this – he bought his first vineyard in his late teens.

“When I signed my first professional contract, I bought two hectares,” Tebily told the BBC, standing amidst his vines in the south-western French village of Salles-d’Angles.

“I said to myself: ‘If I get an injury and football stops, I will have something to carry on with.'”

Tebily scored few goals during his career but managed two with Celtic, with whom he won a Scottish treble in 2001

Tebily scored few goals during his career but managed two with Celtic, with whom he won a Scottish treble in 2001

“I did that because I used to work on this land to get a little bit of pocket money to go on holiday – to the seaside with my friends – before turning professional.”

“It’s really difficult to become a professional so I bought this straight away to insure myself.”

It was 1993 when Tebily signed for second-tier French side Niort, an hour’s drive from Poitiers, the south-western city on the edge of the Cognac region where his parents relocated from Abidjan when he was a toddler.

It was the start of a journey that took him, following brief spells with Chateauroux and Sheffield United, to the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations, a Scottish treble in 2001 and a four-year Premier League adventure with Birmingham.

After suffering a bad injury just weeks after joining Canada’s Toronto FC, Tebily cut short a four-and-a-half-year contract to return to the vineyards.

There was however a fundamental problem.

Land in Cognac is both expensive and seldom available – and Tebily didn’t have enough of it.

He ran two local restaurants while waiting for a solution, which was laced with tragedy when it came six years later.

Tebily owns 22 hectares after retiring farmer Jean-Michel Lepine chose to sell his business to the Ivorian, a friend of his late son

Tebily owns 22 hectares after retiring farmer Jean-Michel Lepine chose to sell his business to the Ivorian, a friend of his late son

After his neighbour’s only son died, the retiring Cognac farmer had to decide who to sell his business to last year.

“His son was my friend and we had the same name – it’s maybe because of that that he chose me,” says Tebily.

“Around here, all the winemakers are the same,” explains the now-retired Jean-Michel Lepine.

“Because I liked football and because Olivier was not unpleasant to me and helped me in tough times – because I’ve had tough times – I said why not a black man to take over my property? Why not a footballer?

“I never changed my mind, even though many people tried to stop me.”

Tebily is learning how to distil - a key element in creating Cognac since traditional methods require a double-distillation in copper stills

Tebily is learning how to distil – a key element in creating Cognac since traditional methods require a double-distillation in copper stills

Following the deal, the first African maker of Cognac – who says he was initially treated like “a Martian” – was the proud owner of 22 hectares in a prime location.

He also took control of a distillery and although he has yet to master this crucial element of the Cognac process, he is learning from Jean-Michel, now his mentor.

When we meet, Tebily is in his vineyard – wearing a Birmingham City fleece as he goes about his daily business, secateurs in hand, carefully tending to his grapes.

Such sensitivity may seem incongruous for those who remember the burly defender’s on-field reputation.

He once finished a match despite rupturing knee ligaments in the first half while he famously thundered into one challenge with an opponent despite having lost a boot seconds earlier.

“The local people were really, really surprised by an African footballer trying to do what they are doing,” says Tebily, who played for Ivory Coast between 1999-2004.

“But I work Monday to Sunday and people are really surprised – they didn’t think I would do this work because it’s really hard.

“But I don’t do this to impress people. I love this work and want to go as far as I can,” he adds, proclaiming a love of the outdoors.

Like many Cognac farmers, Tebily sells most of his produce – around 90% – to the region’s bigger companies but he keeps the rest for his own eponymous range.

He first produced a bottle in 2013 – smooth upon taste – and although he sells it to local restaurants, he ultimately wants to trade only with Africa.

“That’s my dream,” he says. “I am already selling to some restaurants in Africa, in Ivory Coast. It’s not as much as I want but I’m still happy because it’s the beginning and it’s working.”

After that, and much in the tradition of many of the Cognac farmers, he hopes to hand his business down to his children when he takes a second retirement.

Until then, this gentle giant is revelling in being the only African maker of the world’s most famous brandy.

JAMIE MCDONALD Image caption Tebily played over 80 matches for Birmingham City, many of them in the top-flight

JAMIE MCDONALD
Image caption
Tebily played over 80 matches for Birmingham City, many of them in the top-flight

“It makes me feel really, really happy and that’s why I am fighting to do my business correctly. I try because I am passionate. I love this like I loved football.”

*BBC

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