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IBRAF intermediates project to boost rice production chain in Ghana, with MoU between CAMPO and Intervalle
June 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

The Brazil Africa Institute is the facilitator for an agreement that will boost the rice production and value chain in Ghana, West Africa, opening doors for technology transfer and new business opportunities with Brazil.

On Tuesday (15), representatives of Campo Group and Intervalle Group, two of the largest companies in the agricultural sector in Brazil and Ghana respectively, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for three development projects focused on the modernization and mechanization of the supply and value chain of rice, with transfer of Brazilian technologies, participation of experts and monitoring of the local Ghanaian production chain.

“We will start with the project in the southern region of Ghana and also further north, on the border with Burkina Faso. We are prepared to provide all the technical support and transfer all the technology and knowledge about irrigated rice production that we have, using the best and most sustainable practices for tropical agriculture. We are prepared to provide this support and create this exchange. And we are going to learn a lot, as we are now within an effective production project”, says the Project Coordinator of Campo Group, Cézar Rizzi.

For the CEO of Intervalle Group, Njack Kane, the project marks a transforming moment for the country.

“The momentum is so perfect as Ghana is embarking in these new transformative projects. The big interest of this new partnership is that from day one will be able to jointly demonstrate on something concrete, and being on the basis of this partnership, being able to execute together such a project”, says Intervalle CEO.

Negotiations between the two companies have been taking place for about a year, initiated by the Brazil Africa Institute, which identified the potential for convergence for the initiative.

“The signing of the MoU is just the beginning, as I understand that we have something in front of us with unique possibilities. This project opens doors for governments, the private sector and civil society to engage. I am confident that Campo, for the work it is already doing in Brazil and Africa, and Intervalle, for its vast network and capacity to transform ideas into actions, will have a long life together, with IBRAF being the third arm of this initiative”, says the President of the Brazil Africa Institute. Prof. João Bosco Monte.

The calendar foresees that within a month the two companies will sign the formal contract.

“We were keen on returning to work in Ghana, an organized country, with a land that has the possibility of developing good agricultural work, so the expectation is very good. Even more so with the participation of Professor João Bosco in coordinating this work. We’ve been talking to him for years and now this opportunity arises. I thank IBRAF”, says Emiliano Botelho, CEO of Campo Group.

The Brazil Africa Institute will continue to facilitate the initiative, fostering dialogue with other stakeholders.

“This is a very special moment for the Brazil Africa Institute. We started the materialization of a project that, I hope, will be very intense for the next three, four years”, states IBRAF’s President.

*IBRAF

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Kenya to send 231 soldiers to DRC
June 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

General Robert Kibochi Tuesday handed over the Kenyan flag to the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) proceeding to MONUSCO at Embakasi Garrison. Photo credit Kenya Defence Forces

Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) has released 231 troops to be deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of a peacekeeping mission.

The soldiers will be working under the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) to restore peace in the violence-rocked villages in the Eastern DRC.

The team had completed their training at the KDF Kangaita Camp in Mt Kenya and were handed over Kenya’s flag at an event in Nairobi on Tuesday, June 15.

Speaking during the handover of the flag, the Chief of Defence Forces General Robert Kibochi called on the troops to be peace ambassadors in the central African county.

He also urged them to remain disciplined during the exercise.

He said, “You are joining a mission similar to Amisom because you will be fighting their own people. This is not a peace keeping mission and you are lucky as some of you have served in Amisom and know what it is.”

“Be professional in your mission and ensure you are safe. Know it is not an easy task but with the training you will make it,” he added.

The deployment comes two months after President Uhuru Kenyatta and his DRC counterpart Felix Tshisekedi signed a deal on defence cooperation to promote peace, stability, and security in the region. The agreement was signed during President Kenyatta’s official visit to DRC in April.

Kenyan troops will be working alongside soldiers from Nepal, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Brazil, Malawi, Ghana, Uruguay, and Morocco.

An earlier had report indicated that the KDF contingent would be deployed in the provinces of Ituri, North and South Kivu to fight against the armed group in the eastern part of the nation.

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DP WORLD MAPUTO LAUNCHES FIRST DEDICATED LOGISTICS RAIL SERVICE BETWEEN MAPUTO AND HARARE.
June 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

  • First dedicated logistics rail service between Maputo and Harare launched from DP World Maputo
  • The rail service’s operations will be expanded in coming months, and is key to DP World’s vision in connecting Maputo with Zimbabwe, South Africa and Swaziland by rail
  • The landmark service will reduce transit times for customers in Zimbabwe
LEFT TO RIGHT: Vinay Maharaj, Mark Pretorius, Mark Neel (DP World), Christian Roeder (DP World)

MAPUTO (MOZAMBIQUE) JUNE 14, 2021 – DP World Maputo, which has the concession to manage, develop and operate the Maputo container terminal, last Friday handled the first dedicated container train service connecting Maputo and Harare, Zimbabwe. The new service is part of the company’s continued focus to expand its logistics and supply chain offering in the region, and key to its vision to connect several countries in Southern Africa – namely Maputo with South Africa, Zimbabwe and Swaziland – by rail.

This new offering presents a multitude of new business opportunities for customers in Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Not only will this help enhance DP World Maputo’s position as a gateway to Zimbabwe, the service offers significantly better transit times for customers in Zimbabwe. In the past, transit goods on their way to Harare would often have to be transported far greater distances by sea and road, but this route will give customers a new, direct and faster option for delivery.

Following the launch of the bi-weekly rail service, DP World Maputo will continue to work with all the stakeholders involved to make this a weekly train service between the two cities, to allow even greater cost saving and planning opportunities for businesses and individuals who need reliable, efficient transportation of goods.

Christian Roeder, CEO of DP World Maputo said: “This rail service between Maputo and Harare is key to reopening the route between these markets to drive more efficient logistics in the region. Through this service, which we will facilitate and handle all port and border documentation, we can cut down transit times, give our customers better service and improve the connections between cities.” 

The rail service also follows the recent announcement of DP World Komatipoort in South Africa, handling its first transit import via Maputo, demonstrating that the Maputo Port can be seamlessly used as a gateway to South Africa’s hinterland using DP World Komatipoort. International container imports landed in Maputo port and destined for the South African hinterland, can now be moved under bond to Komatipoort, where full customs clearance can be provided and made ready for delivery across South Africa.

DP World will continue to develop the Maputo Corridor, a vital trade route in Southern Africa, through investing in new infrastructure to meet local demand, while DP World Maputo’s container terminal capacity will also be enhanced, having already doubled in size between 2016 and 2018.

About DP World  

We are the leading provider of worldwide smart end-to-end supply chain logistics, enabling the flow of trade across the globe. Our comprehensive range of products and services covers every link of the integrated supply chain – from maritime and inland terminals to marine services and industrial parks as well as technology-driven customer solutions.   

We deliver these services through an interconnected global network of 148 business units in 60 countries across six continents, with a significant presence both in high-growth and mature markets. Wherever we operate, we integrate sustainability and responsible corporate citizenship into our activities, striving for a positive contribution to the economies and communities where we live and work.  

Our dedicated, diverse and professional team of more than 54,620 employees from 137 nationalities are committed to delivering unrivalled value to our customers and partners. We do this by focusing on mutually beneficial relationships – with governments, shippers, traders, and other stakeholders along the global supply chain – relationships built on a foundation of mutual trust and enduring partnership.  

We think ahead, anticipate change and deploy industry-leading digital technology to further broaden our vision to disrupt world trade and create the smartest, most efficient and innovative solutions, while ensuring a positive and sustainable impact on economies, societies and our planet.  

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Brazil Africa Forum 2021 – Natural Resources: Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development.
June 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

Brazil, June 7th 2021 – Brazil Africa Institute launches Brazil Africa Forum 2021, focusing on natural resources

The Brazil Africa Institute announced, on Monday (7), the 2021 edition of the Brazil Africa Forum. The event will be held on November 23rd and 24th with the theme “Natural Resources: environmental protection and sustainable development”.

Consolidated as the main space for debate between Brazilian and African leaders and fostering dialogue with actors from third regions, the Brazil Africa Forum repeats this year the successful 2020 virtual format, when it remotely brought together more than 60 speakers, reaching an audience of more than 1,200 registered participants.

“The pandemic forced us to make a significant adaptation to the forum’s dynamics, all to ensure that urgent debates could be held. In 2020, our focus was to identify the main challenges brought by the crisis and propose solutions. Now we will continue analyzing the effects of the pandemic, but focusing on the necessary actions so that we can stop the impacts on the exploitation of natural resources”, says the President of the Brazil Africa Institute, João Bosco Monte.

Thematic axes

Natural resources, severely affected by the pandemic, are at risk of irreversible disruption if there are no concrete actions to stop exploration, invest in recovery and prevent future crises.

The international scientific community has solid evidence that there is a direct link between the destruction of nature and outbreaks of COVID-19. Rural areas face increasing pressure, deforestation is on the rise in many vital regions, and there are reports of illegal mining and poaching emerging in the daily news.

BAF 2021 agenda will be divided into four axes, each addressing central themes for the natural resources agenda: land, water, forests and action.

Each axis will bring together the main stakeholders to discuss courses of action, public-private partnerships and solutions that can bring results for Brazil and African countries when dealing with their own challenges, as well as those shared globally.

The event will show once again that even connected only virtually, it is possible to strengthen dialogues, create opportunities, encourage investments and contribute to overcoming this unprecedented crisis.

*IBRAF

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IBRAF Fellowship Program Actively Engages Researchers with International Cooperation.
June 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

By João Paulo Alves*

The Brazil Africa Institute (IBRAF) is currently hosting the first cohort of the IBRAF Fellowship Program on South-South and Triangular Cooperation (IFP). The IFP is an academic project that allows researchers from different countries to engage with each other and interact with specialists in the field of South-South and Triangular Cooperation. From February to September 2021, 10 researchers from 8 different countries (Brazil, Argentina, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Mozambique and Senegal) are producing studies on the importance of international cooperation in multiple areas.

Brazil has been a key promoter of South-South and Triangular Cooperation in recent decades, attracting much attention for its several projects within Latin America and the Caribbean and with Africa in agriculture, industry, health, education and other fields. The IFP focuses on key areas that are important for international cooperation, and in which one can see strong linkages in the promotion of international change: (i) technical and scientific cooperation; (ii) economic and sustainable development; (iii) trade and investments across the South-Atlantic; (iv) agriculture, agri-business and rural development; and (v) demography, urbanization, housing and public health.

Ms. Marina Figueira Lucas presenting her final seminar to conclude the Fellowship programme.

The IFP is formed by a faculty of high-level leaders, such as Dr. Adriana Abdenur, Founder and Executive Director of Plataforma CIPÓ, Dr. Frannie Leautier, CEO of SouthBridge Investments, Dr. Pedro Almeida, Independent scholar and former Head of Basic & Infrastructure Industries, World Economic Forum, Dr. Kapil Kapoor, CEO of Developex, and Dr. Martin Fregene, Director of Agriculture and Agroindustry at the AfDB.

IBRAF supports each of these researchers throughout a six-week period, in which they have contact with academic institutions, international organizations and multiple specialists, including former directors of international organizations and former ministers. The researchers are constantly engaged with specialists in their areas of interest, having space for conversations and interviews that contribute to provide them with international perspectives. Research topics vary from agriculture 4.0, to supply-chain finance, health cooperation, dairy industry, forests conservation and trade and investments facilitation.

Amb. Sarah Agbor, Commissioner of Human Resources, Science and Technology, African Union ©IBRAF

Fellows also have the opportunity to engage in exclusive lectures, come face-to-face with high-level authorities, listen to their insights and dialogue with them. IFP lecturers include Ambassador Celso Amorim, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and of Defense of Brazil, Ambassador Sarah Agbor, Commissioner of Human Resources, Science and Technology at the African Union, Dr. Jennifer Blanke, Non-Executive Director at African Risk Capacity and Ambassador Ruy Pereira, General Director of the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC).

The programme has counted on the close collaboration with UNOSSC and the South-South Galaxy platform. UNOSSC has been an important partner of the IFP, by making the South-South Galaxy Experts database available and facilitating connections with various stakeholders. The South-South Galaxy team has also provided a workshop to inform and engage visiting fellows on the platform, showing them how to take advantage of the content provided, as well as how to contribute to the platform’s development.

Amb. Ruy Pereira, General Director, Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC) ©IBRAF

Fellows are also encouraged to identify and study South-South and Triangular Cooperation good practices and projects within their research areas, contributing to the expansion of the South-South Galaxy Solutions database. By mapping these initiatives, they can collaborate to raise awareness about the history and current development of international cooperation, their results and potential scalability, drawing on useful lessons for new interventions.

The IFP ultimately aims at strengthening the agenda of South-South and Triangular Cooperation, shedding light over its accomplishments, within the scope of scientific evidence, and providing policy makers and academics with useful insights on relevant themes. The IFP research fellows will become champions and active voices in the advocacy for South-South and triangular cooperation, taking foward these learnings for when they become the leaders of the future.

*Projects Coordinator, Brazil Africa Institute (IBRAF)

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US Offers Medical Trainining To Mozambican Troops
June 10, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

The United States government has trained 40 Mozambican soldiers in emergency lifesaving techniques, the US embassy in Maputo has announced. In a statement seen by Pan Afruan Visions, the embassy said that 26 medical staff and 14 soldiers from all branches of the military had received training in providing medical help to soldiers injured on the battlefield.

The techniques will allow them to treat injuries and prevent massive bleeding, which the statement said was the major preventable cause of death on the battlefield.

The training has been funded by the US Department of State, which has provided $730,000-worth of training equipment to help newly certified Mozambican trainers replicate the training programme across the country, the statement added.

The training programme is a clear message that America has increased its presence in Mozambique.

Recently, the US designated the Islamic State group’s Mozambican branch, also known as Al-Shabab and Ansar al-Sunna, as a terrorist organisation together with its leader, a Tanzanian named Abu Yasir Hassan.

The designation requires banks to freeze their assets and bans any US citizen from dealing with them.

Isis in Mozambique has killed over 1,500 civilians since October 2017, and is responsible for orchestrating a series of large scale and sophisticated attacks resulting in the capture of the strategic port of Mocimboa da Praia.

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Merck Foundation CEO felicitates winners of ‘Merck Foundation More Than A Mother’ Africa Media Recognition Awards 2020 through a virtual award ceremony.
June 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

6 new awards 2021 were announced by Merck Foundation in partnership with the 20 African First Ladies.

50 Winners from 16 African Countries were celebrated at Merck Foundation Africa Media Recognition Awards Ceremony; 6 new awards 2021 were announced by Merck Foundation (Merck-Foundation) in partnership with the 20 African First Ladies; During the online video conference, Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej welcomed the winners of the awards to the Merck Foundation Alumni.

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, celebrated the winners of ‘Merck Foundation More Than A Mother’ Africa Media Recognition Awards 2020 during the Award Ceremony held via a Video Conference. The winners were applauded for their best media coverage about infertility, infertile women & couples, with the aim to raise awareness about infertility prevention and male infertility. The awards were announced by Merck Foundation in partnership with the African First Ladies, who are also the Ambassadors of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother emphasized “I am proud to recognize and appreciate our winners, who became the voice of the voiceless and the storytellers of infertile women and break the stigma around them and also raised awareness about male infertility. I am extremely happy to meet and celebrate our winners, through our online Award Ceremony. As you know, I truly believe that Media plays a crucial role in educating and sensitizing our communities through their influential media work. Through these awards, we were able to inspire many African journalists to write and create awareness about infertility stigma in their communities. We would like to encourage our winners to become Merck Foundation Champions and work together towards further eliminating infertility stigma and empower girls through education in developing countries and underserved communities”.  

“We also welcome the winners as Merck Foundation Alumni, to join us to create a culture shift as a part of ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother’ and ‘Educating Linda’ programs”, Senator, Dr. Kelej added.

Here is the list of Award Winners of Merck Foundation More Than A Mother’ Africa Media Recognition Awards 2020:

Here are the winners from Southern African Countries in partnership with The First Lady of Malawi, H.E. MONICA CHAKWERA; The First Lady of Namibia, H.E. MONICA GEINGOS; and The First Lady of Zimbabwe, H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA:

SOUTHERN AFRICAN COUNTRIES

PRINT CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • Roselyne Sachiti, The Herald Newspaper, ZIMBABWE

SECOND Position:

  • Memory Kutengule, Malawi News Agency, MALAWI
  • Mugugunye Moses, The Standard, ZIMBABWE

THIRD Position:

  • Patrick Musir, The AfroNews, ZIMBABWE
  • Takudzwa Chihambakwe, Zimpapers Group, ZIMBABWE

SPECIAL AWARD FOR A NOVEL

  • Nyasha Clementine Rwodzi, ZIMBABWE

ONLINE CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • Sharon Kavhu, The Southern Times, NAMIBIA
  • Gracious Mugovera, The Patriot, ZIMBABWE

SECOND Position:

  • Happy Njalam’mano, Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS), MALAWI

THIRD Position:

  • John Manzongo, The Herald, ZIMBABWE

MULTIMEDIA CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • Abel Dzobo, HELA TV, ZIMBABWE

SECOND Position:

  • Rosa Teixeira, Independent Journalist, NAMIBIA

RADIO CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • Linda Banda, Chanco Community Radio, MALAWI
  • Veronika Haulenga-Haufiku, Omulunga Radio, Future Group, NAMIBIA
  • Tashie Masawi, ZBC Radio Station Classic 263, ZIMBABWE

SECOND Position:

  • Mathilde Ndinelao Hinanifa, Independent Journalist, NAMIBIA
  • Ikemisetseng Marou, Radio Lesotho, LESOTHO
  • Rutendo Makuti, ZBC Radio Zimbabwe, ZIMBABWE

THIRD Position:

  • Memory Nkwe Ndhlovu, ZBC Radio Station Classic 263, ZIMBABWE

Here are the winners from West African Countries in partnership with The First Lady of Liberia, H.E. CLAR MARIE WEAH; and The First Lady of Nigeria, H.E. Dr. AISHA MUHAMMADU BUHARI:

WEST AFRICAN COUNTRIES

PRINT CATEGORY WINNERS:

  • Chioma Obinna, Vanguard Media Limited, NIGERIA

ONLINE CATEGORY WINNERS:

FIRST Position:

  • Martins Ifijeh, ThisDay Newspapers, NIGERIA

SECOND Position:

  • Never G Lomo, New Public Trust, LIBERIA
  • Chinedu Asadu, Cable Newspaper Limited, NIGERIA

RADIO CATEGORY

  • Abubakar Sulaiman, Sawaba FM 104.9 Hadejia, NIGERIA

Here are the winners from East African Countries:

EAST AFRICAN COUNTRIES

ONLINE CATEGORY

  • Sharon Kantengwa, The New Times, RWANDA

MULTIMEDIA CATEGORY

  • Walter Mwesigye, NTV, UGANDA

RADIO CATEGORY

  • Mercy Tyra Murengu, Upendo FM, KENYA

Here are the winners from African French Speaking Countries in partnership with The First Lady of Burundi, H.E. ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE; The First Lady of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, H.E. DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI; The First Lady of Guinea Conakry, H.E. CONDÉ DJENE; and The Former First Lady of Niger, H.E. AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU:

AFRICAN FRENCH SPEAKING COUNTRIES

PRINT CATEGORY

FIRST Position:

  • Richard TAMONE, Le Standard, GUINEA

SECOND Position:

  • Koami Agbetiafa, Le Républicain, NIGER

ONLINE CATEGORY

FIRST Position:

  • Lokale Odia Prisca, ACTUALITE.CDDEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

SECOND Position:

MULTIMEDIA CATEGORY

FIRST Position:

  • Fatou Fadiga, House Media RTG, GUINEA

SECOND Position:

  • Jean Népomuscène Irambona, Radio TV Buntu, BURUNDI

RADIO CATEGORY

FIRST Position:

  • Remy Rukundo, Radio TV Buntu, BURUNDI
  • Makan Soumaoro, ESPACE FORET, GUINEA

SECOND Position:

  • Magendero Bénigne, Radio TV Buntu, BURUNDI
  • Aminata Bah, GUINEA
  • Innocent Ndihokubwayo, Radio TV Buntu, BURUNDI

THIRD Position:

  • Paulette Mugisha, Radio TV Buntu, BURUNDI
  • NZEYIMANA Emelyne, Radio TV Buntu, BURUNDI

Here are the winners from Ghana in partnership with The First Lady of Ghana, H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO:

GHANA

PRINT CATEGORY

FIRST Position:

  • Jonathan Donkor, The Ghanian Times

SECOND Position:

  • Zadok Kwame Gyesi, Graphic Online

THIRD Position:

  • Ama Tekyiwaa Ampadu Agyeman, New Times Corporation

ONLINE CATEGORY

  • Dzifa Tetteh Tay, New Times Corporation

MULTIMEDIA CATEGORY

FIRST Position:

  • Esi Benewaa Otoo, TV 3 Network

SECOND Position:

  • Akua Oforiwa Darko, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation

RADIO CATEGORY

  • Doreen Ampofo, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation Radio

Here are the winners from Zambia in partnership with The First Lady of Zambia, H.E. ESTHER LUNGU:

ZAMBIA

PRINT CATEGORY

  • Jessie Ngoma -Simengwa, Times of Zambia

MULTIMEDIA CATEGORY

  • Effie Mphande, Zambia Broadcasting Corporation Radio

RADIO CATEGORY

  • Josias Muuba, Radio Musi-O-Tunya

Link of the Award Ceremony livestreamed on social media: bit.ly/2THP5AE

Merck Foundation additionally rewarded the winners by providing them with one-year access to an online educational training program called “MasterClass”. The MasterClass is an immersive online experience and self-paced learning course in English that can be accessed anywhere with the Internet.

To underscore the important role that media, art, fashion, music and film plays in raising awareness about sensitive issues like Infertility Prevention, and Empowering Girls and Women through Education, and continuing the best prevention practices during the second wave of coronavirus, Merck Foundation in partnership with 20 First Ladies of Africa announced the following 6 awards:

1. Merck Foundation Africa Media Recognition Awards “More Than a Mother”: Media representatives are invited to showcase their work to raise awareness about Infertility Prevention, Breaking Infertility stigma, and Empowering Girls and Women through Education.

Submission deadline: 30th August 2021. Click here to view more details.

 2. Merck Foundation Film Awards “More Than a Mother” 2021: All African Filmmakers and Students are invited to create and share a FILM or a DOCUDRAMA to deliver strong and influential messages to break Infertility stigma, and /or Empowering Girls and Women through Education and at all levels.

Submission deadline: 30th August 2021. Click here to view more details.

3. Merck Foundation Fashion Awards “More Than a Mother” 2021: All African Fashion Students and Designers are invited to create and share designs to deliver strong and influential messages to raise awareness about Infertility Prevention, Breaking Infertility stigma, and/or Empowering Girls and Women through Education.

Submission deadline: 30th August 2021. Click here to view more details.

4. Merck Foundation Song Awards “More Than a Mother” 2021: All African Singers and Musical Artists are invited to create and share a SONG with the aim to Empower Girls and Women through Education and at all levels.

Submission deadline: 30th August 2021. Click here to view more details.

5. Merck Foundation “Mask Up With Care” Media Recognition Awards 2021: Media representatives are invited to showcase their work to raise awareness on how to adapt best protection measures such as wearing your masks to show you care and love your family & community; to encourage your community to choose to vaccinate when it is available and to sensitize them to support healthcare workers who are at the forefront of COVID 19 pandemic.

Submission deadline: 30th September 2021. Click here to view more details.

6. Merck Foundation “Make Your Own Mask” Fashion Awards 2021: All African Fashion Designers and Students are invited to create and share designs of masks and other clothing items that carry messages to encourage people to wear masks to show they care and at the same time make it creative and fun!

Submission deadline: 30th September 2021. Click here to view more details.

Entries for all the awards to be submitted via email to submit@merck-foundation.com

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej also emphasized, “Through the awards under the “More Than a Mother” campaign, we would like to join hands with media, film, music and fashion fraternity to make a change and Break Infertility Stigma, a message that must reach every door, every community, every mind, and every heart. Another important message is to emphasize the importance of girl education in our communities. Moreover, given the unprecedented times and second wave of coronavirus, it is important to sensitize communities and raise awareness about following best practices. Raising awareness about coronavirus in our communities will also contribute to supporting health workers who are at the forefront of COVID-19 response – providing high-quality, respectful treatment, and care. Hence, we came up with awards for media persons and fashion designers, so as to encourage people to wear masks during the Coronavirus pandemic and protect themselves and others. The two Media Awards have also been launched for Latin American countries.”

About ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother’ campaign:
“Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” is a strong movement that aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and change of mind-sets. This powerful campaign supports governments in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe, effective and equitable fertility care solutions. It defines interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention, management and male infertility. In partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information, Education & Gender, academia, policymakers, International fertility societies, media and art, the initiative also provides training for fertility specialists and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.

With “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother”, we have initiated a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility at all levels: By improving awareness, training local experts in the fields of fertility care and media, building advocacy in cooperation with African First Ladies and women leaders and by supporting childless women in starting their own small businesses. It’s all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child. 

The Ambassadors of “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” are:

H.E. NEO JANE MASISI,
The First Lady of Botswana
H.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The GambiaH.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia
H.E. SIKA KABORE, The First Lady of Burkina FasoH.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of GhanaH.E. AISHA BUHARI, The First Lady of Nigeria
H.E. ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE,The First Lady of BurundiH.E. CONDÉ DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea ConakryH.E FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone
H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African RepublicH.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of LiberiaH.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia
H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo BrazzavilleH.E. MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of MalawiH.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe
H.E. DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI, THE First Lady of Democratic Republic of CongoH.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique
The Former First Lady of Burundi, H.E DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The Former First Lady of Chad, H.E. HINDA DÉBY ITNO, The Former First Lady of Malawi, H.E. PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA and The Former First Lady of Niger, H.E AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU have worked successfully with Merck Foundation as Merck Foundation More Than a Mother Ambassadors to break the stigma of infertility and empower infertile women in their countries.

Merck Foundation launched new innovative initiatives to sensitize local communities about infertility prevention, male infertility with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and empowering infertile women as part of Merck Foundation More than a Mother COMMUNITY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN, such as;
• ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Africa Media Recognition Awards and Health Media Training
• ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Fashion Awards
• ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Film Awards
• Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it
• Children storybook, localized for each country

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. 

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Mozambique and Tanzania need better cooperation to combat terrorism, says official
June 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

Mozambique needs to adapt its model of defence in response to the terrorist threat in Cabo Delgado province, the permanent secretary of the defence ministry has said.

Casimiro Mueio was speaking during the third session of the joint commission on defence and security held between Mozambique and Tanzania.

“It is becoming increasingly evident that the so-called classic conflicts tend to be replaced by low intensity conflicts characterised by asymmetric warfare actions, in which terrorism stands out”, Mueio said.

He added that the two countries needed to cooperate better to respond to regional threats including terrorism, piracy, illegal immigration and drug smuggling.

The terrorists’ progress is being helped by Mozambique and Tanzania having a different approach to the conflict.

The Mozambican government says that Tanzania is not doing enough to control the border, and Tanzania says that the conflict in Cabo Delgado is internal and must be resolved by Mozambique.

Tanzania’s new president has never taken part in meetings of the Southern African Development Community to discuss the insurgency, and has made clear that it will not send troops to Mozambique, the news sheet added.

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A Fair Chance For African Entrepreneurs From All Sectors To Win Big With The ABH Prize Competition
May 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

The search for Africa’s Business Heroes 2021 is ongoing, and the application is open to all entrepreneurs from all African countries, all sectors and all ages.

The Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic program gives all entrepreneurs a chance to showcase their talent and sell their businesses across all sectors.

“As we open our third annual pitch competition, we want to acknowledge the huge inspiration coming from Africa’s extraordinary entrepreneurs, whose business ventures not only are successful and profitable but can generate a positive impact on their local communities,” said Jason Pau, Executive Director of International, Jack Ma Foundation.

Jason Pau, Executive Director of International, Jack Ma Foundation

For instance, the 2020 ABH Heroes represented six key industries: agriculture, fashion, education, healthcare, renewable energy, and financial services.

Apart from taking home grant funds ranging from $100000-$300000, the top ten finalists and also all participants have access to mentorship and through Africa’s Business Heroes Network of Partners and Judges. They will also gain global recognition and exposure through Africa’s Business Heroes Show, and a number of engagements with media across Africa.

“My biggest take-away has been the mentorship l got from the ABH journey. I do not think I would get such world-class mentorship anywhere in my lifetime had l not entered the competition. The mentorship did not prepare me for the ABH grant finale – it prepared me for a lifetime entrepreneurship journey,” said Ethel Mupambwa, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Moneymart (Zimbabwe) – ABH 2nd Runner Up in the ABH 2020.

Ethel Mupambwa, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Moneymart (Zimbabwe) – ABH 2nd Runner Up in the ABH 2020.

Heroes also have the opportunity to pitch business legends and network with like-minded entrepreneurs.

“The best thing that came out of the ABH competition for me was the relationships I formed with fellow entrepreneurs, and the wider network connections we all made. It’s fantastic that ABH provides a platform to bring the entire ecosystem together,” stated Christelle Kwizera, founder of Water Access Rwanda and the 2019 ABH 2nd Runner Up.

All eligible applicants also receive tailored feedback from judges, which will help them grow their business.

Aboubakar Karim, CEO & Founder, INVESTIV (Côte d’Ivoire), one of the finalists in 2020, said, “The judges gave us valuable advice which I am already applying, for example, on how to anticipate future challenges.”

2019 top prize winner Temie Giwa-Tubosun, CEO and Founder of LifeBank

The diversity of ABH’s winners is proof that heroes can be found in all sectors and industries. The 2019 top prize went to Temie Giwa-Tubosun, CEO and Founder of LifeBank, a company that uses data and technology to help health workers discover critical medical products. The 2020 overall winner Chebet Lesan is the CEO and Founder of BrightGreen Energy, a Kenyan company that is saving lives and protecting the planet with energy-efficient biofuel blocks.

Get a chance to win a share of the $1.5 million grant by submitting your application via africabusinessheroes.org latest by June 21, 2021. Entrepreneurs from all African countries, regardless their sector, age and gender are welcome to apply.

Other criteria to be considered eligible include: being of African origin, being the founder or co-founder of a business based and operated in Africa. Your business must also be at least three years old and have revenues.

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DFC Advances COVID-19 Response in Africa with $5 Million Investment in Africa Healthcare Network
May 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

The direct loan will help Africa Healthcare Network expand dialysis center operations across Sub-Saharan Africa.

DFC continues to support global health and sustainable economic growth in developing countries during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” says DFC’s Vice President of the Office of External Affairs and Head of Global Gender Equity Initiatives Algene Sajery.Photo courtesy

WASHINGTON – U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) announced the first disbursement of a $5 million direct loan to Africa Healthcare Network (AHN), the largest operator of dialysis centers in East Africa. The project is part of DFC’s comprehensive COVID-19 Response through which the agency is mitigating the economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and DFC’s Global Health and Prosperity Initiative, under which the agency is working to strengthen global health systems.

“DFC continues to support global health and sustainable economic growth in developing countries during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” said DFC’s Vice President of the Office of External Affairs and Head of Global Gender Equity Initiatives Algene Sajery. “This investment in AHN will expand access to affordable, high quality healthcare across Sub-Saharan Africa through its operation of lifesaving dialysis centers.”

The pandemic has caused disruptions to health services worldwide and has impacted the ability for countries to address and respond to non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Those living with NCDs, including chronic kidney disease (CKD), are at an increased risk of becoming severely ill with COVID-19. Independent studies estimate that there are over 1 million patients with CKD in Sub-Saharan Africa requiring dialysis and the region requires over 50 times the current number of centers to meet the demand. DFC’s financing will help increase patient access to safe dialysis treatment and help mitigate disruption to essential health services.  

AHN is the largest and most expansive dialysis services provider in East Africa with 18 dialysis centers in Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda offering high-quality, affordable care. DFC funding will allow AHN to support growth throughout Sub-Saharan Africa as it continues to build and operate additional dialysis centers through partnerships with leading hospitals in the region.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, DFC has undertaken a multifaceted approach to mitigate the pandemic’s impact by providing rapid response recovery lending to existing DFC clients in developing countries; providing economic recovery lending to new DFC clients in vulnerable regions that support small and medium sized businesses, especially women-owned or women led businesses; and strengthening health systems. Also, as part of the overall U.S. global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, DFC is partnering with the private sector, other DFIs, U.S. government agencies, and other organizations. At a time when developing markets are experiencing liquidity strains, the agency is helping stabilize industries, safeguard jobs, and speed private sector recovery.

In addition to financing this vital project, DFC is strengthening global health systems by working to provide businesses with financing to increase capacity in the manufacturing, production, and distribution of vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine, under DFC’s development strategy Roadmap for Impact. DFC is also prioritizing investments that empower women and advance its 2X Women’s Initiative, as women are often disproportionately impacted by crises, especially when they seek access to capital.

DFC is accepting proposals under its Global Health and Prosperity Initiative. The agency seeks to invest between $5 million and $500 million per eligible project through its full range of financial tools, which includes equity and debt financing, political risk insurance, and technical development. Eligible projects should deliver highly impactful health outcomes in developing countries.

U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is America’s development bank. DFC partners with the private sector to finance solutions to the most critical challenges facing the developing world today. We invest across sectors including energy, healthcare, critical infrastructure, and technology. DFC also provides financing for small businesses and women entrepreneurs in order to create jobs in emerging markets. DFC investments adhere to high standards and respect the environment, human rights, and worker rights.

*DFC

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British High Commissioner Jane Marriott launches development projects in Kenya’s Northeastern
May 26, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriot has launched the Sustainable Urban Economic (SUED) Programme in Mandera, Kenya’s Northeastern.

SUED is part of the North East Taskforce, a Kenya-UK partnership aimed to support stability and development, tackling drivers of instability and symptoms in the area.

The programme aims at building resilient urban centres in reducing the negative impacts of threats.  It will provide jobs, and livelihood opportunities, including for youth most vulnerable to violent extremism.

Marriot said amid the Covid-19 pandemic, locust invasion, insecurity, and adverse climatic change, economic development is key to building security and stability in Mandera County.

During her first visit to the region, Marriott was accompanied by the Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugine Wamalwa. Mandera Governor Ali Roba received them.

Governor Roba decried over security threats he said are derailing development projects.

The visit came months after the UK’s Secretary of State of Defence, Ben Wallace, and Kenya’s Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i signed a refreshed Security Compact to strengthen our fight against terrorism and promote security and stability in the region.

The pact was signed in January this year during Wallace’s two-day visit to Kenya. Before the signing of the deal, the duo co-chaired high-level talks under the third UK-Kenya Security Dialogue.

“The Governments of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Kenya, were therefore delighted to meet once again in this Senior Ministerial forum and agree a refreshed Security Compact, providing renewed impetus and strategic direction for addressing these shared challenges together,” Wallace said.

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No Region Left Behind In Two Years of the Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Prize Competition
May 24, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

All pentagons of Africa, North, South, East, and Central, have been well represented in Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) prize competition, the Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic program that spotlight and support entrepreneurs.

In the last two editions, the competition attracted applications across all 54 African countries from all sectors of the economy. For instance, in 2020, more than 22,000 applications from all regions were submitted.

Over the first two editions in 2019 and 2020, the competition’s top ten finalists have reflected the face of the continent because at least all regions have been represented.

In 2019, Temie Giwa-Tubosun, CEO of LifeBank from Nigeria, bagged the top prize worth $250,000. Her company, LifeBank, uses data and technology to supply health workers and hospitals with critical medical products.

“I learned so much from ABH that I often find myself watching the ABH Grand Finale show, and my pitch, to remind myself of the key lessons, and the importance of not growing too quickly.” she said.

The second and third prize winners were Dr. Omar Shoukry Sakr and Christelle Kwizera, respectively. Shoukry is an Egyptian, whereas Kwizera is from Rwanda. The former walked away with $150,000 and the latter $100,000.

Other finalists were Kevine Kagirimpundu (Rwanda), Waleed Abdi El Rahman (Egypt), Dr. Tosan Joseph M. (Nigeria), Chibuzo Opara (Nigeria), Ayodeji Arikawe (Nigeria), Mahmud Johnson (Liberia), and Moulaye Taboure (Ivory Coast). All were awarded $65,000 each. The finalists were from the West, North, and Central part of the continent.

On the other hand, the top ten finalists in 2020 represented eight African countries, including Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

Chebet Lesan, a Nairobi-based industrial designer, emerged as 1st prize winner last year as she took home $300,000. She is the founder of BrightGreen Renewable Energy that produces life-saving fuel bricks that reduce cooking costs for underserved communities across Africa and save forests.

“The competition was an incredible journey. The 2020 was a challenging year that made us refocus from profitability to survival. I hope my win inspires Africans to believe that we have what it takes to make an impact, no matter where we are. The prize is helping us scale our energy solution across East Africa, and we remain focused to change how Africa cooks, one kitchen at a time,” said Lesan.

Oluwasoga Oni, the CEO&Co-Founder of Mdaas Global in Nigeria, came second, and Ethel Mupambwa, the Co-Founder and CEO of Moneymart from Zimbabwe, emerged third.

Other finalists included Abdulai A Dasana (Ghana), Mame Diarra Bousso Gueye (Senegal), Cyrille Nkontchou (Cameroon), Aboubakar Karim (Ivory Coast), Axel Emmanuel Gbaou (Ivory Coast), Dr. Emma Naluyima Mugerwa (Uganda), and Joan Rukundo Nalubega (Uganda).

The third edition applications are ongoing ahead of June 7, 2021 deadline. Africans whose businesses are registered and operated in the continent for at least three years are encouraged to apply. Applications can be submitted in French and English.

For details or to apply visit https://africabusinessheroes.org/en/the-prize/overview

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Seeking Africa’s superwomen – Africa’s Business Heroes 2021
May 21, 2021 | 0 Comments

Chebet Lesan Winner ABH 2020

The face of female entrepreneurship may be changing across Africa, but access to funding continues to be unequal, with an estimated USD 42 billion finance gap. This doesn’t seem to deter women from seeking income-generation opportunities – Africa has some of the highest percentages of female-led businesses in the world, including the top three countries – Uganda (39.6%), Botswana (38.5%) and Ghana (36.5%).

Limited access to finance has an impact on growth and business success; data gathered by the World Bank indicates male-owned enterprises in 10 African countries on average have six times the capital of those owned by women and enjoy 38% higher monthly profits.

With the multiple challenges currently facing women entrepreneurs across the continent, the Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) competition, is good news. Now in its third year, the annual competition, a philanthropic initiative of the Jack Ma Foundation, pursues an inclusive and grassroots agenda, and it is open to entrepreneurs of any gender, age or background. Ten finalists will win a share of USD 1.5 million in grant funding, and all participants will be able to access training, mentorship, global visibility and to be part of a network of business leaders. Aspiring candidates have until June 7 to apply for the 2021 edition, in English or French.

Zahra Baitie-Boateng, is Head of Partnerships and Programmes with the Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition

The 2021 theme is ‘It’s African Time’. “We want to highlight the people who are driving innovation, challenging stereotypes and solving problems,” says Zahra Baitie-Boateng, ABH Head of Partnerships and Programmes. “We’re particularly interested in businesses that are addressing societal challenges and helping achieve the UN sustainable development goals.”

According to Baitie-Boateng, women’s participation is a top priority: “We are committed to inclusion and thrilled to see growing numbers of women applying and succeeding. Last year, half of our top 50 finalists were women – a 24% increase from 2019. Their stories show how women in Africa are successfully pursuing their business dreams.”

Since the competition started in 2019, both first-place winners have been women: Nigeria’s Temie Giwa-Tubosun, founder and CEO of LifeBank an innovative medical distribution supply company and Chebet Lesan, founder of Bright Green Renewable Energy, a Kenyan company that is saving lives and protecting the planet with energy-efficient biofuel blocks.

Temie Giwa-Tubosun, founder and CEO of LifeBank

Between 2019 and 2020, a total of eight winning women have made it to the Africa’s Business Heroes top 10 so far. All are unanimous that participating has benefited them personally and professionally.

Lesan’s winning grant of USD 300,000 in 2020 enabled her to expand Bright Green’s operations beyond Kenyan borders. She believes the true value of the competition is much more than monetary, it’s a vehicle to reach a far wider audience. “Africa is not short of talent and ideas, there is a big opportunity for growth. ABH highlights the brilliance, determination, and capabilities of the African people. There are many exceptional businesses in this continent. If you have built a business, and it’s working, the world needs to know. I encourage young entrepreneurs to use ABH as a platform to tell your story. ”

Temie Giwa-Tubosun, of LifeBank, Nigeria, shares a similar experience, after winning USD 250, 000 in 2019. “Since the competition, LifeBank has experienced tremendous growth and our revenue has doubled. We are now expanding to more African countries and plan to reach across the continent. I am forever grateful to the ABH team as they not only supported us with the prize fund but also continue to follow up on the community of entrepreneurs afterwards. When I watch my pitch on the recording of the ABH grand finale show, I am reminded of the key lessons and the importance of not growing too quickly.”

Mupambwa, co-founder and executive director of Moneymart in Zimbabwe was second runner up in 2020

For second runner up in 2020 Ethel Mupambwa, co-founder and executive director of Moneymart in Zimbabwe, limited access to finance was the inspiration to start her business. “Fortune favours the brave! Be a solution provider Challenging times provide vast opportunities; those challenges need a generation to solve them. The first step is to believe and start.

Mupambwa treasures the advice, feedback and support given by the ABH judges: “The ABH mentorship did not just prepare me for the grand finale, it prepared me for life. I would not get such world-class mentorship if l had not entered the competition.”

“To those wishing to participate in 2021, please show up. Do not underestimate the vision you have, your passion, and the impact you are making in your society. You have all that it takes, and we are cheering you on from the terraces.”

Mame Diarra Bousso Gueye from Senegal, founder of DIARRABLU

Mame Diarra Bousso Gueye from Senegal, founder of consciouslifestyle brand DIARRABLU, sees the ABH competition as an enormous opportunity. “To anyone thinking about pursuing entrepreneurship or applying to ABH 2021, my advice is to go for it. You never lose, you either win or learn and what you learn can help you win even bigger later.”

Kevine Kagirimpundu, the co-founder of eco-friendly shoe brand UZURI K&Y was a finalist in 2019

2019 finalist Kevine Kagirimpundu, the co-founder of eco-friendly shoe brand UZURI K&Y in Rwanda, also experienced easier access to funding after taking part, over and above her winning grant: “Strive Masiyiwa, one of the judges, introduced us to a very important contact who has been helping us raise more investment. We are now close to building our factory for completion in 2022.” She encourages everyone to enter: “There’s great potential and opportunities for all participants.”

Christelle Kwizera, third place winner in 2019, is the founder of the social enterprise Water Access Rwanda

Mechanical engineer and social entrepreneur Christelle Kwizera, third place winner in 2019, is the founder of the social enterprise Water Access Rwanda, which transforms broken boreholes into state-of-the-art solar-powered water kiosks and pipelines. For her, the best thing to come out of the competition has been the relationships formed with fellow entrepreneurs. “The prize has not only enabled us to survive through many challenges brought about by Covid-19 but also created for us a lot of connections beyond Africa which has resulted in further funding and opportunities from global players. Using the funding we received, we are now servicing more people, targeting 30 million families with clean water and creating over 13,000 jobs in the coming years. It’s a rare opportunity.”

Joan Rukundo Nalubega started her organic soap social enterprise Uganics, to fight malaria and save lives

Joan Rukundo Nalubega started her organic soap social enterprise Uganics, to fight malaria and save lives. “Entrepreneurship is more than starting a business. It is doing something beyond yourself with a willingness and openness to take risks. Young people on the continent, and especially in Uganda, are tackling the problems that were once their nightmares. They are learning, adapting, collaborating, and innovating to find solutions and ultimately become drivers of the change we want to see.”

Nalubega’s advice to people considering entering in 2021: “Apply and be honest, be you. Believe in yourself and put your best foot forward. It is a big competition, and you must stay true to your business and what makes it stand out. You should understand your business at an expert level. Knowing your numbers – financials and your impact – will get you far.”

Dr Emma Naluyima Mugerwa, an ABH finalist in 2020 is founder of MST Junior School in Uganda

Dr Emma Naluyima Mugerwa, an ABH finalist in 2020 and founder of  MST Junior School in Uganda, saw the educational institution as a practical solution to the country’s problem of youth unemployment. “Entrepreneurship is the ability to look at a challenge in your community and think of ways to tackle it while making money. 70% of Africa are youth and many – about three-quarters – do not find jobs after school. This is a massive opportunity, to skill the youth and create a future workforce.”

Mugerwa encourages businesswomen to subscribe to a digital future: “Use social media platforms often, to promote your enterprise and to scout online for opportunities. This is how I landed on the ABH launch announcement during the pandemic.” To prepare her learners for today’s world, Mugerwa invested her prize grant into extending the school’s technology capabilities.

“Entrepreneurial success is key to Africa’s development,” said Baitie-Boateng. “We encourage the women who are succeeding, despite the challenges, to enter this year’s Africa’s Business Heroes before June 7, for unparalleled support that can take their business to a new level.”

How to enter Africa’s Business Heroes 2021

To be eligible to enter the Africa’s Business Heroes 2021, you must be the founder or co-founder of a business based in Africa that has been running for at least three years. African entrepreneurs from all sectors, age groups and genders are welcome, particularly people who are making a positive difference in their communities. Successful applicants go through several evaluation rounds before a grand finale at the end of the year. The top 10 finalists win a share of the USD 1.5 million grant funding, as well as access to training, mentorship, and a dynamic community of international leaders, experts, investors, and accelerators.

For details or to apply visit https://africabusinessheroes.org/en/the-prize/overview

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References

  • 2020 Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs – according to the 2020 Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs, Africa has the world’s top three countries when it comes to women entrepreneurs (as a percentage): Uganda (39.6%), Botswana (38.5%) and Ghana (36.5%).
  • According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2019/20 sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate of female entrepreneurs globally with approximately 26% of female adults engaged in entrepreneurial activity.

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Merck Foundation CEO and Botswana First Lady inaugurate STOP GBV posters awards ceremony together as part of “More than a Mother” Campaign
May 21, 2021 | 0 Comments

21st May 2021, Gaborone, Botswana: Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, together with H.E. Mrs. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana and Ambassador of Merck More Than A Mother, announced the winners of “Stop GBV” Best Poster Contest during award ceremony. The Poster Contest was held with the aim to prevent Gender-Based Violence and child abuse in Botswana.

Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp Chairman of both of Executive Board of E.Merck KG and Merck Foundation Board of Trustees was the Guest of Honor of the ceremony to support the program and advocate for ending Gender-Nased Violence in Botswana and rest of Africa as part of Merck Foundation More than a Mother campaign.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of Merck More Than A Mother, who joined the award ceremony virtually, emphasized “I am proud to announce the winners  of “Stop GBV” Best Poster Contest together with my dear sister H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana and Ambassador of Merck More Than A Mother. We have worked with the jury committee to select the most creative and inspiring work advocating one of the key contest objectives. This initiative is part of Merck foundation more than a Mother campaign.

In 2020, I virtually joined the Botswana First Lady, during her cycling tour to STOP GBV and marked the International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls together. I salute my dear sister, The First Lady of Botswana, for her great efforts and innovative idea to stop Gender-Based Violence and encourage us to take a stand against GBV and child abuse”.

H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana and Ambassador of Merck More Than A Mother said, “We launched the “Stop GBV” Poster Contest together with Merck Foundation, so as to advocate against Gender-Based Violence in Botswana. I am very happy to award the winners, who have shared some brilliant work. We will continue our joint efforts to fight against GBV, protect humanity, especially the girls and women. The COVID pandemic gave rise to violence against girls, women and children. GBV has destroyed families and promoted disunity within communities, both at national and international level; and this initiative to demonstrate our effort to fight for this cause, and eradicate GBV from our societies.”

The “Stop GBV” Poster Contest was held across Botswana and the aim of the contest was to select the most creative and inspiring work. The contest objectives were: 1) Stop Gender-Based Violence, 2) Take a stand against GBV and child abuse, 3) Help people understand that GBV is unacceptable and evil, 4) Promote Zero tolerance of GBV, and 5) Demonstrate that GBV can be emotional, financial, physical, and sexual.

“I am looking forward to joining the next cycling tour and to launch the second edition of this poster contest in partnership with the First Lady of Botswana in 2021”, added Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej.

Merck Foundation will also continue to build healthcare capacity by providing Merck Foundation scholarships of one year diploma and two year master degree in many Medical specialities with the aim to transform the healthcare landscape and improve patient care in Botswana, specially during coronavirus pandemic.

“We have provided till today scholarships to more than 39 Doctors in Botswana in different critical specialities such as: Oncology, Diabetes, Cardiovascular, Endocrinology, Respiratory Medicines, Acute Medicines and Sexual and Reproductive, which is also very important to advancing women health and reproductive health. It is very critical to empower girls and women against many challenges and specially against GBV. Access to health, awareness and education is an important key to stop gender-based violence”, explained Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej.

Link to the Live Streamimg of the award ceremony: https://fb.watch/5AK0UvEgoa/

The first three award winners of the “STOP GBV” Poster Contest are:

First Position: TAMUCHA TULU

Second Position: ELIJAH MAPHAKELA

Third Position:  MOHUMAGADI MORUTI

Moreover, the below 10 winners were awarded with a Sspecial Award:

1.         TSOTLHE MORAKENYANE

2.         THANDIE SIBANDA

3.         THAPELO LETSHWITI

4.         SADE. S RABASHA

5.         THATAYAMODIMO THEKISO

6.         TRUDY BAKWENA

7.         MALEBOGO W. RANTLHOTSE

8.         KUMBULANI MACHOLA

9.         TSHEPANG MOGOTSI

10.      MAIKANO MOJIWA

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We Will Be Part Of Africa’s History; This Is Our Legacy-Senator Rasha Kelej on the Merck Foundation Africa Nexus.
May 20, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

Relentless efforts from Senator Dr Kelej and the Merck Foundation to network with African First Ladies to address diverse health issues are yielding dividends

We envision working closely with our partners that are African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Education, Information & Communication, Gender, Academia, Research Institutions, Media and Art in building and transforming healthcare capacity, and addressing health, social & economic challenges in our beautiful continent, says Senator Dr Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation.

Buoyed by the robust nature of the partnership and the success of the recent Africa -Asia Luminary which held virtually for the first time, Senator Dr Kelej says, the Merck foundation is committed to making history with the transformation of the public healthcare sector in Africa. In sight are training of an army of thousands of well-trained specialized Doctors who will save millions of lives in the continent.

This is my commitment as long as I live, and this is our Merck Foundation vision, says Senator Dr Kelej in an exclusive interview with PAV to review the recent 8th edition of the Africa -Asia Luminary, the depth of Merck Foundation partnerships and operations across Africa and other major projects in the pipeline.

Senator Dr Rasha Kelej what are your impressions after the 8th edition of the Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary?

Senator Dr Kelej: Very very proud of our success. Our annual conference for the first time online due to coronavirus pandemic, however it was even more successful than actual conferences. Everyone was extremely engaged and committed. And of course, we had livestream with 100,000 attendees and more from 70 countries, we have more than 300, 000 viewers on our social media channels. The conference as you know was in partnership with the Government of Zambia. And was inaugurated by the President of the Republic of Zambia, H.E. Dr. EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU and Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp Chairman of both of Executive Board of E. Merck KG and Merck Foundation Board of Trustees; and co-chaired by H.E. Mrs. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of the Republic of Zambia and myself. It is a great honor.

I am very proud to share that 13 African First Ladies participated as guests of honor. The First Ladies of Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, and Namibia, who are also the Ambassadors of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother.

Over 26 African Ministers of different sectors also joined us on the second day, during the high-level ministry’s panel with African Union. Together, we discussed our strategy to define interventions to break infertility stigma and support girl education; and to build healthcare and research capacity and establish a strong platform of specialized trained medical experts in many critical and underserved fields to be the first in their countries. I am very proud that we have so far provided for more than 1100 Doctors from 42 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America with one & two-, three-year specialty training in multiple fields such as Oncology, Diabetes, Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine, Endocrinology, Sexual and Reproductive Medicine, Acute Medicine, Respiratory Medicine, Human Assisted Reproduction and Embryology & Fertility specialty, to be the first in their countries. Moreover, we have now widened our horizons by introducing more scholarships for young doctors in many new underserved specialties across Africa and Asia.

The reach and impact of our 8th edition conference has been great. Even Better than previous editions.  

On Day 2 of the conference, MARS- Merck Foundation Africa Research Summit was held where a High-Level Panel Discussion with 26 African Ministers of Health, Science and Technology, Education, Information and Gender and MARS Researchers was held with the objective to empower African young researchers & women researchers, advancing their research capacity and empower them in STEM. Parallel to this we had other three scientific sessions of diabetes, cardiology, oncology.

The High-level Ministerial panel included:

1) Hon. Dr. Jonas Kamima CHANDA, Minister of Health, Zambia

2) Hon. Dr. Dennis WANCHINGA, Minister of General Education, Zambia

3) Hon. Dr. Brian MUSHIMBA, Minister of Higher Education, Zambia

4) Hon. Elizabeth PHIRI, Minister of Gender, Zambia

5) Hon. Dora SILIYA, Minister of Information & Broadcasting Service, Zambia

6) Hon. Silvia Paula Lutucuta, Minister of Health, Angola

7) Hon. Dr. NDIKUMANA Thadée, Minister of Public Health & Fighting against AIDS, Burundi

8) Hon. Dr. François HAVYARIMANA, Ministre de L’Education Nationale et de la Recherche Scientifique, Burundi

9) Hon. Imelde SABUSHIMIKE, Ministre de la Solidarité Nationale, des Affaires Sociales, des Droits de la Personne Humaine et du Genre, Burundi

10) Hon. Marie Chantal NIJIMBERE, Ministre de la Communication, des Technologies de L’Information et des Médias, Republic of Burundi

11) Hon. Jacquiline Lydia Mikolo, Minister of Health & Population, Republic of the Congo

12) Hon. Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh, Minister of Health, The Gambia

13) Hon. Ebrima SILLAH, Minister of Information, The Gambia

14) Hon. Colonel Remy Lama, Minister of Health, Guinea Conakry

15) Hon. Pr. Amadou Bano Barry, Minister of Education, Guinea Conakry

16) Hon. Amara Sompare, Minister of Information & Communication, Guinea Conkary

17) Hon. Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, Minister of Health & Population, Malawi

18) Hon. Dr. Patricia Kaliati, Minister Of Gender, Community Development & Social Welfare, Republic of Malawi

19) Hon. Agnes Nyalonje, Minister Of Education, Malawi

20) Hon. Ulemu Msungama, Minister Of Youth & Sports, Malawi

21) Hon. Timoth Pagonachi Mtambo, Minister Of Civic Education & National Unity, Malawi

22) Hon. Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, Minister of Health & Social Services, Namibia

23) Hon. Dr. Joyce Moriku Kaducu, State Minister for Health, Uganda

24) Hon. Monica Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information & Broadcasting Publicity, Zimbabwe

25) Hon. Sthembiso Nyoni, Minster of Women Affairs Small & Medium Enterprises, Zimbabwe

26) Hon. Amon Murwira, Minister of Higher & Tertiary Education, Zimbabwe

On the third day, Merck Foundation Health Media Training was organized for the African and Latin American Media fraternity to emphasize the important role that media plays to break the stigma around infertility, in raising awareness about infertility prevention, and empowering girls and women through education. Parallel to this we had Infertility and reproductive care scientific session and respiratory and acute medicines for Covid 19 response session.

From (Left to Right) H. E. Rebecca Naa Okaikor Akufo-Addo, First Lady of Ghana, H. E Brigitte Touadera, Frist Lady of the Central Africa Republic, H. E Neo Jane Masisi, First Lady of Botswana, H. E Aissata Issoufou Mahamadou, First Lady of Niger with Senetor Dr Rasha Kelej at the Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary in 2018, at Dakar, Senegal.

 How will you define the state of the partnership you have established with African first ladies over the years, what is working well, and what needs to be improved upon?

Senator Dr Kelej: I am proud to have partnered with 20 African First Ladies, who are now the Ambassadors of “Merck Foundation More than a Mother” Campaign. It is an extremely successful partnership; we have achieved a lot together at all levels. Through this partnership, we continue to build healthcare capacity in their countries and empower infertile women and break the stigma around infertility and support girls’ education. Together, we have introduced many initiatives in their respective countries. This certainly speaks volumes about the work we are doing.

With the unprecedented times of COVID-19, I cannot travel and meet the First Ladies of other countries we wish to partner with. I hope the world is free of Coronavirus and the lockdown is lifted soon. However, I have been able to meet the new First Ladies to invite them to be new members of Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiate – MFFLI. And they have gracefully accepted to be our Ambassadors such as New First Lady of Burundi, Malawi and DR Congo.

I have also established a new important partnership with Burkina Faso First Lady in 2020.

Here is the list of our partner African First Ladies, who are also the Ambassadors of Merck Foundation, More Than a Mother:

H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana

H.E. SIKA KABORE, The First Lady of Burkina Faso

H.E. ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE, The First Lady of Burundi         

H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic

H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo Brazzaville      

H.E. DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI, The First Lady of Democratic Republic of Congo

H.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia          

H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana

H.E. CONDÉ DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea Conakry

H.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of Liberia

H.E. MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of Malawi

H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia

H.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique

H.E. AISHA BUHARI, The First Lady of Nigeria          

H.E FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone

H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia

H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe

The Former First Lady of Burundi, H.E DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The Former First Lady of Chad, H.E. HINDA DÉBY ITNO, The Former First Lady of Malawi, H.E. PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA and The Former First Lady of Niger, H.E AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU have worked successfully with Merck Foundation as Merck Foundation More Than a Mother Ambassadors to break the stigma of infertility and empower infertile women in their countries.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation & President, Merck More Than a Mother with H:E President Hage Geingob and H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia & Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother

About thirteen African first ladies answered present at the recent Africa-Asia luminary, what are you and the Merck Foundation doing to bring more first ladies to join your initiatives?

Senator Dr Kelej: Honest sincere long-term commitment to the social health and economic development of their country and their people, programs with concrete measurable impact and not only talk. Creativity, smart focused strategy and objectives and also flawless implementation.

Always exceed expectations, all the time we exceed their expectation actually we exceed our own expectation. Therefore, I consider Merck foundation to be the most successful Foundation because we achieve even more than our set goals and exceeds our and our partners expectation and this is how you evaluate success. I consider myself the happiest person in the world because I achieved more than my goals to be part of transforming some people’s lives, but now I am part of transforming millions of people every month. Not only this but together with our partners we transformed the healthcare sector across Africa, revolutionary transformation in few years and still more to come, it is history in the making, as long as I am alive, I will do more and more for Africa. We will create an army of specialized and trained doctors we will save lives together. I want to be one day part of Africa history this will make me proud as an African woman.

I look forward to expanding our footprints and work with more African First Ladies who will help us to realize our vision.

With the challenges from COVID 19, may we know what the Merck Foundation did to help its partner countries in Africa to fight the pandemic?

Senator Dr Kelej: We raced to respond to COVID 19 and came up with many initiatives. One of the most important initiatives which I personally believe in its importance even before Covid 19 times is to continue healthcare capacity building, which has been our strategy since 2012, in partnership with African First Ladies and Ministries of Health, much before the pandemic struck worldwide. Due to travel restrictions, we adopted the online medical speciality education strategy, through providing scholarships for speciality training to doctors in many medical specialties such as Oncology, Diabetes, Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine, Endocrinology, Sexual and Reproductive Medicine, Acute Medicine, Respiratory Medicine, Reproductive and sextual medicines. Moreover, we recently started to provide scholarships in many new underserved specialties including: Emergency and Resuscitation Medicine, Gastroenterology, Laparoscopic Surgical Skills, Mental Health: Psychological Therapies, Orthopedic Trauma Science, Paediatric, Emergency Medicine, Advanced Surgical Practice, Dermatology, Neonatal Medicine, Pain Management, Psychiatry, Clinical Microbiology and infectious diseases, Ophthalmology, Internal Medicine, Neuroimaging for research, Urology, Trauma, and orthopedics. We are very proud to invite applications from African and Asian English-speaking doctors from under-served communities for these scholarships on our mail: info@merck-foundation.com

We also understand the importance of creating community awareness about Coronavirus, so we launched “Mask up with Care” and “Stay at Home” Recognition Awards for Media across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. And also, “Make you Own Mask” Fashion Awards for the Fashion fraternity across Africa: I strongly believe in the critical role that Media and Art play to be the voice of the voiceless and raise awareness about sensitive topics such as breaking Infertility stigma and Covid 19 health precautions.

Also, the lockdown and restricted movement to fight coronavirus had hit most casual and daily workers very hard. Therefore, we supported the African government’s strategy to save the living and livelihood of 1000’s of families of casual workers and women who were affected the most by the lockdown or restricted movement. We invite applications from media personal and fashion designers to these two awards on email submit@merck-foundation.com

Moreover, we launched an inspiring storybook ‘Make the Right Choice’ in partnership with African First Ladies to sensitize children and youth about Coronavirus. The story aimed to raise awareness about Coronavirus prevention amongst children and youth as it provided facts about the pandemic and how to stay safe and healthy during the outbreak. It also promoted honesty, hard work, and the ability to make the right choices even during the most challenging times. We released the story in three languages: English, French and Portuguese.

Also, as my personal contribution, I have produced and directed an inspiring Pan-African song called ‘My White Army’ to thank the doctors and nurses fighting on the front lines of the coronavirus battle, who are risking exposure to the virus so everyone else can stay home and stay healthy. The song, featuring singers from 11 African countries in three languages Arabic, English, and French, has been well appreciated across the continent.

Senetor Dr Rasha Kelej in a group photograph with some Frist ladies of Africa at the Merck Foundation First Lady Initiative (MFFLI) summit 2019

 With regards to the Doctors that you train for infertility specialty and reproductive & sexual health what criteria is used in selection and what feedback are you getting from their in respective countries?

Senator Dr Kelej: Merck Foundation, through its flagship program, ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother’ is providing training in Fertility specialty and Reproductive Health at our partner institutes.  The scientific committee reviews the applications based on the eligibility criteria, such as Medical graduate/Post Graduates, preferably working in the Government sector, who are recommended by our partners such as the First Ladies Office, or Ministry of Health for African countries, and from the President of respective societies. Through this program, Merck Foundation is making history in many African countries where they never had Fertility specialists or specialized Fertility clinics before ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother’ intervention, by training the first Fertility specialists and Embryologists such as; in Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, Niger, Chad, Guinea, Burundi and Malawi. Merck Foundation is proud to have supported the training of the staff of the first public IVF centers in Ethiopia, Myanmar and Rwanda.

Could you shed light on other initiatives that the Foundation will be working on this year, there is talk of the media awards, fashion awards and others, what is the Merck Foundation seeking to achieve with this?

Senator Dr Kelej:We announced two awards for media fraternity, Merck Foundation Africa Media Recognition Awards  “More Than a Mother” 2021 and Merck Foundation “Mask Up With Care” Media Recognition Awards 2021; two awards for fashion fraternity, Merck Foundation Fashion Awards “More Than a Mother” 2021 and Merck Foundation “Make Your Own Mask” Fashion Awards 2021; in addition to Merck Foundation Film Awards “More Than a Mother” 2021 and Merck Foundation Song Awards “More Than a Mother” 2021 during the Merck Foundation Health Media Training that was held as a part of the 8th edition of “MERCK FOUNDATION AFRICA ASIA LUMINARY”. We invite all to apply for these awards on submit@merck-foundation.com

I strongly believe that media, art, and fashion play a significant role in raising awareness about sensitive topics like infertility, hence will contribute significantly to break the stigma around infertile women in Africa, if utilized properly. There are many infertile women out there; we witness their stories of suffering and humiliation every day, it is time to act and make a change. Through the awards under “More Than a Mother”, we would like to join hands with media, art and fashion fraternity to break the silence, be the voice of the voiceless and create a culture shift to Break Infertility Stigma, a message that must reach every door, every community, every mind, and every heart.

1. Merck Foundation More than a Mother Africa Media Recognition Awards 2021: The applications are invited by media professionals to showcase their work to raise awareness about infertility prevention and breaking infertility stigma and empower infertile women and infertile couples in our beautiful continent.

2. Merck Foundation Film Awards “More than a Mother” 2021: All African Film makers and students are invited to create and share a film drama, documentary of docudrama, short or long film to deliver strong and influential message to Break Infertility Stigma and Empowering girls and women through education at all levels. I want them to use their creativity to break the silence. Our soft power is very effective and will educate our community and make a change in short time thanks to social media and new technology of smart phones, everyone can create those own movies

3. Merck Foundation Fashion Awards “More Than a Mother” 2021: All Fashion students and designers are invited to create and share designs that deliver strong and influential messages to raise awareness about infertility prevention, Breaking Infertility Stigma and Empowering girls and women through education.

4. Merck Foundation More Than a Mother – Song Awards 2021- I welcome all African Singers and Musical Artists to create and share a song with the aim to empower Girls and Women through Education at all levels.

Given the unprecedented times and second wave of coronavirus, it is important to sensitize communities and raise awareness about following best practices like wearing a mask, following social distancing, and the importance of Vaccination. With this intention we have launched two awards:

5. “Mask Up With Care” Media Recognition Award: I’d like to encourage all media representatives across Africa, Asia and Latin America to apply for “Mask up with care” Media Recognition Award. This media recognition award will encourage media to sensitize our communities. Raising awareness about coronavirus in our communities will also contribute to supporting health workers who are at the forefront of COVID-19 response – providing high quality, respectful treatment, and care.

6. The “Make Your Own Mask” Fashion Awards invites African Fashion Designers and students to create and share designs of masks and other clothing items that carry messages to encourage people to wear masks to show they care and at the same time make it creative and fun. This is our way of encouraging people to wear masks during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Be creative vibrant and create new ideas and masks to encourage people to wear those masks and protect themselves and others in style. I personally ally, and have more than 50 different masks to match my outfits, so I do not get boredom’s have sone fun.

 Having experimented with virtual events this year, is there hope that when COVID subsides, the 9th edition of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary will be in person?

Senator Dr Kelej: I hope so. However, I feel the 9th edition will still be online, the 10th edition hopefully will be in person although I might apply hybrid method. Online and in person to benefit more and more participants since now we have a great platform, and it will be very difficult to fit all of them on one place specially post Covid.

8.Dr Kelej is now Senator Kelej, what does the new job add to your leadership of the Merck Foundation and how are you able to balance your work and personal life?

I was appointed by The President of The Arab Republic of Egypt in October 2020 as a Senator at The Egyptian Senate. I am currently a member of the Egyptian Senate (2020 – 2025) and serving an important role to advise with regards to African Health, Economic and Social Sustainable Development and collaboration opportunities. Because of the nature of the senate appointment and the rye of experience required, it will add more value if most of my time is spent as the CEO of Merck Foundation and running the programs in Africa. This will create better opportunity to explore new collaboration opportunities to realize better development objectives across Africa which Egypt is part of.

I believe in this concept of Work-Life fusion. I have fused my work life with my personal life to achieve balance. This is very easy to achieve; when you have passion for your work and when you work in healthy environment like Merck Foundation.

Senator Kelej and the Merck Foundation also engage artists to send across poignant messages

 Going forward, how do you envisage the future of the partnership between Merck Foundation and Africa?

Senator Dr Kelej: We envision working closely with our partners that are African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Education, Information & Communication, Gender, Academia, Research Institutions, Media and Art in building and transforming healthcare capacity, and addressing health, social & economic challenges in our beautiful continent. We will together make history and transform public Healthcare sector like never happened before.  We will be building a strong army of 1000’s of well-trained specialized doctors who will save millions of lives every month.

This is my commitment as long as I live, and this is our Merck Foundation vision.

We will be part of Africa’s history; this is our legacy.

*Courtesy of May Issue of PAV Magazine

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Ghana: President Akufo Addo welcomes EUR 170 million EIB support for new National Development Bank of Ghana
May 20, 2021 | 0 Comments

  • EIB President confirms close relationship with Ghana and shared vision for green transition in Africa
  • Largest EIB engagement in Ghana and largest EIB backing for a national bank in Africa
  • EIB backing for National Development Bank of Ghana will accelerate economic recovery from COVID-19 and support investment and job creation by thousands of businesses
  • National Development Bank to transform long-term business financing in local currency

President Akufo Addo of Ghana, Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank and Thomas Östros, Vice President, today formally agreed EUR 170 million EIB backing for the new National Development Bank of Ghana. The EIB backing represents the largest ever engagement in Ghana by the world’s largest international public bank and most significant support for a national development institution in Africa.

Once operational in the coming weeks the National Development Bank of Ghana will increase access to long-term finance and boost job creation for thousands of businesses in key sectors, including agribusiness, manufacturing, ICT tourism and other services across Ghana.

“The European Investment Bank is a key partner for Ghana and Africa. As discussed with President Hoyer today, Ghana and the European Investment Bank share the same goals, and our close partnership will accelerate economic growth in Ghana in the future. The EIB’s backing for the new National Development Bank will support Ghana’s vision of empowering our private sector to embrace new business opportunities, create skilled jobs and successfully overcome COVID-19 challenges. The EIB’s unique technical, environmental and financing expertise is supporting priority business investment and delivering the green transition in Ghana and across Africa.” said President Akufo Addo.

“Since the start of the pandemic, the EIB has worked closely with visionary governments and private sector partners across Africa to ensure that together we can tackle the health, economic and social impact of COVID-19. Together with experts from the Ghanaian government, international financial partners and the EU Delegation in Accra the EIB is pleased to support the new National Development Bank of Ghana. The new institution will transform private sector investment across Ghana, enabling thousands of entrepreneurs and businesses to access long-term financing in local currency and strengthen resilience to COVID-19. Over the last 45 years the EIB has provided more than EUR 626 million to directly support entrepreneurs, agriculture, industry and energy investment across Ghana including the original and renovated Kpong Dam recently inaugurated by President Akufo Addo. As part of Team Europe and thanks to its local presence in Western Africa, the European Investment Bank aims to strengthen its support for ambitious investment in Ghana in the years ahead.” said Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank.

“The European Union has a long-standing partnership with Ghana and we share a broad common agenda to tackle global challenges, such as climate change and pandemics. Today’s new agreement to support the new National Development Bank of Ghana will boost private sector growth and economic resilience to COVID-19 and builds on the European Investment Bank’s enduring engagement to support high-impact investment in Ghana, in a true Team Europe spirit.” said Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships

President Akufo Addo, Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta, EU Ambassador to Ghana Diana Acconcia and President Hoyer highlighted the importance of ensuring that Ghanian businesses can access long-term financing to expand activities, harness new business opportunities and strengthen economic resilience to health and business challenges triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic at a signature ceremony in Brussels.

The announcement took place in Brussels following the African Financing Summit convened by President Macron and attended by President Akufo Addo and President Hoyer, along with heads of state and government, and international organisations from across Africa, Europe and the G7.

Enabling Ghanaian business to flourish and invest in challenging times

The new National Development Bank of Ghana will provide long-term wholesale financing, including working capital and investment loans, to the private sector through commercial banks.

The new institution will transform access to finance by small business and larger companies across Ghana and unlock investment in agribusiness, manufacturing, informational technology and tourism.

The National Development Bank of Ghana has been created by the Government of Ghana and supported by the European Investment Bank, the World Bank and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the German Development Bank KfW.

Supporting green power in Ghana

Construction of the original Kpong Dam in 1976 to harness power of the Volta River was the first energy project in Ghana financed by the European Investment Bank. The EIB is now providing EUR 12.5 million for renovation of the Kpong Dam, alongside the French Development Agency, AFD.

The renovated plant will be more efficient, reliable and safe, as well as saving an estimated 400,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year by contributing 1000 GWh of low-cost hydro energy a year to the national grid.

Building on 45 years of EIB engagement in Ghana

Over the last 45 years, the European Investment Bank has provided more than EU 626 million for investment by entrepreneurs, agriculture, industry and energy across Ghana.

The EIB is the world’s largest international public bank and last year provided EUR 5 billion for public and private investment across Africa supported by nine regional offices across the continent.

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Ethiopia: African Development Bank Group signs grant agreement for $31 million to tackle nutrition and end child stunting
May 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank and the Government of Ethiopia have signed an agreement for a $31 million grant to boost health and nutrition for children under the age of five.

The African Development Fund’s Board of Directors approved funding for the government’s Multi-Sectoral Approach for Stunting Reduction Project (MASReP) at the end of April. The total budget is $48 million.

The agreement was signed on 10 May by Yasmin Wohabrebbi, State Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Government of Ethiopia, and Abdul Kamara, Deputy Director General of the Bank’s East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office.

Wohabrebbi said, “In the past two years the government spent close to $31 million from its own sources to execute the Seqota Declaration Innovation Phase. The Multi-Sectoral Approach for Stunting Reduction Project (MASReP) we are signing today will complement the government’s investment effort to achieve goals set under the Declaration.” The project targets 40 districts in the Amhara and Tigray regions, where nearly 50% of children under the age of five are afflicted by stunting.

Children will benefit from improved access to parent-grown nutritious food and nutrition services while pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers will receive nutrient-dense food crops, livelihood promotion and nutrition counselling. The wider population will gain greater access to water for domestic use and food production. The health, education and nutrition service delivery will benefit from stronger systems and improved infrastructure.

“The agreement further underscores the African Development Bank’s commitment to support the Ethiopian government’s initiatives to end stunting in children under age two by 2030, in line with its Seqota Declaration,” said Kamara. He said the project would address the multidimensional causes of stunting.

Ethiopia’s Seqota Declaration is a commitment to end stunting in children under two by 2030. The national ministries of health; agriculture, water, irrigation and energy; education; women, children and youth; labour and social affairs; transport; and finance are co-ordinated in this effort.

The Multi-Sectoral Approach for Stunting Reduction Project is consistent with the government’s Ten-Year Strategy and two of the Bank’s High Five strategic priorities, namely Feed Africa and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

The African Development Bank’s total ongoing commitment in Ethiopia is $1.6 billion, covering the key sectors of basic services, energy, transport, water supply and sanitation, agriculture, governance, and the private sector.

*AfDB

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UK launches media freedom project in Kenya
May 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

British High Commissioner Jane Marriott. Photo Editor’s Guild

The British High Commission has launched a new programme aimed to support media freedom in Kenya.

Our PROTECT, the new programme, targets the players in the media sector based in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, said the UK High Commissioner to Kenya, Jane Marriott.

The programme has four local partners: ARTICLE19, HIVOS, ICNL (International Centre for Not for Profit Law) and INTERNEWS.

Marriott said that it will provide grants to other organizations such as the Mzalendo Trust, which monitors Parliament, the Civil Society Reference Group. It will also issue grants directly to journalists in Mombasa and Kisumu to support the production of data journalism stories.

Speaking at a virtual event hosted by the  Kenya Editors’ Guild Press Club-media freedom in the East African nation, Ms. Marriott said Our PROTECT programme will focus on five areas that are improving the use of data to hold the government to account on service delivery; contributing to an improved policy and legal environment; supporting female journalists to have a safe and secure operating environment; supporting media houses on future business models; and promoting civic education on the crucial role of the media.

She stressed the need for independent and sustainable media with laws, policies and professionals to play a watchdog role on those in power.

“We need investigative journalists who spend days – weeks, months –getting to the real heart of stories. We need a media that holds power in all its forms– Executive, Legislature, Judiciary, business, civil society, individuals, your own bosses – to account. And we need journalists to be safe in their endeavor, working without fear of interference,” she said.

Marriot added that the British government and partners will also train and mentor individual journalists on data journalism.

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Emirates launches India humanitarian airbridge to transport urgent COVID-19 relief items
May 10, 2021 | 0 Comments

  • Emirates will offer cargo capacity free of charge to NGOs, to ship relief items on all its flights from Dubai to nine cities in India
  • Airbridge initiative is a major boost from Emirates, supporting the various relief efforts undertaken by the humanitarian community
  • In co-ordination with the International Humanitarian City (IHC), first flights carrying WHO cargo departs from Dubai to India
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates’ Chairman and Chief Executive

Dubai, UAE, 10 May 2021– Emirates has set up a humanitarian airbridge between Dubai and India to transport urgent medical and relief items, to support India in its fight to control the serious COVID-19 situation in the country.

Emirates will offer cargo capacity free of charge on an “as available” basis on all of its flights to nine cities in India, to help international NGOs deliver relief supplies rapidly to where it is needed.

In the past weeks, Emirates SkyCargo has already been transporting medicines and medical equipment on scheduled and charter cargo flights to India. This latest airbridge initiative takes Emirates’ support for India and for the NGO community to the next level.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates’ Chairman and Chief Executive, said: “India and Emirates are deeply connected, since our first flights to India in 1985. We stand with the Indian people and will do all we can to help India get back on its feet. Emirates has a lot of experience in humanitarian relief efforts, and with 95 weekly flights to 9 destinations in India, we will be offering regular and reliable widebody capacity for relief materials. The International Humanitarian City in Dubai is the largest crisis relief hub in the world and we will work closely with them to facilitate the movement of urgent medical supplies.”

The first shipment sent as part of the Emirates India humanitarian airbridge is a consignment of over 12 tons of multi-purpose tents from the World Health Organization (WHO), destined for Delhi, and coordinated by the IHC in Dubai.

Giuseppe Saba, CEO of International Humanitarian City, said: “His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid built the International Humanitarian City (IHC), so Dubai, in coordination with humanitarian agencies, would be able to assist communities and families, most in need – around the world. The creation of the humanitarian airbridge between Dubai and India, facilitated by Emirates SkyCargo, Dubai’s International Humanitarian City and UN agencies, to transport urgent medical and relief items, is another example of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s vision for the IHC, being brought to life. Last year over 1,292 shipments were dispatched from the IHC in Dubai, setting the standard for humanitarian response globally. We appreciate the great efforts by IHC’s partner Emirates SkyCargo establishing this humanitarian airbridge between Dubai and India in this time of need”.

Giuseppe Saba, CEO of International Humanitarian City

The freight division of Emirates has a close partnership with IHC, developed over several years of delivering relief materials to communities across the world impacted by natural disasters and other crises. IHC will support Emirates SkyCargo in channelling relief efforts to India through the airbridge.

Following the Port of Beirut blasts in August 2020, Emirates also leveraged its expertise in humanitarian logistics to set up an airbridge to Lebanon to assist with relief efforts.

Emirates has led the aviation and air cargo industry in its efforts to help markets around the world combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The air cargo carrier has helped transport thousands of tonnes of urgently required PPE and other medical supplies across six continents over the last year by rapidly adapting its business model and introducing additional cargo capacity through its modified mini freighters with seats removed from Economy Class on Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft along with loading cargo on seats and in overhead bins inside passenger aircraft to transport urgently required materials.

In addition, Emirates SkyCargo has partnered with UNICEF and other entities in Dubai through the Dubai Vaccine Logistics Alliance, to transport COVID-19 vaccines rapidly to developing nations through Dubai. So far, close to 60 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been transported on Emirates’ flights, equating to nearly 1 in 20 of all COVID-19 vaccine doses administered around the world.

Through its scheduled cargo flights to close to 140 destinations across six continents, Emirates helps maintain unbroken supply chains for vital commodities such as medical supplies and food.

About Emirates

The Emirates story started in 1985 when we launched operations with just two aircraft. Today, we fly the world’s biggest fleets of Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s, offering our customers the comforts of the latest and most efficient wide-body aircraft in the skies.

We inspire travelers around the world with our growing network of worldwide destinations, industry leading inflight entertainment, regionally inspired cuisine, and world-class service.

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ZAMBIAN BREWERIES RECOGNISED FOR ROLE IN BUILDING GREEN COMMUNITIES
May 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – The Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) has awarded Zambian Breweries with the ZAM Sustainability Award for its leading role in environmental protection and building green communities through its Manja Pamodzi recycling initiative.

Manja Pamodzi is a recycling initiative introduced, by Zambian Breweries, in 2016 in partnership with Lusaka City Council and the Zambia Environmental Management Agency to help rid local townships of packaging waste and improve hygiene and sanitation.

Since its inception, the programme has played a critical role in not only revitalising township streets but also creating a new breed of entrepreneurs in local communities who earn a living by collecting waste and selling it to recyclers.

When receiving the award, Zambian Breweries Better World Manager Elaine Kafwimbi said the ZAM award incentivised manufacturers to do more to protect the environment adding that a large amount of urban waste comprised of packaging material.

She said that: “Environmental protection is everyone’s responsibility. We only have one planet hence we must do all we can to ensure we preserve its natural ecosystems.”

“At Zambian Breweries, our responsibility for our products goes far beyond the last sip. Through Manja Pamodzi, we are changing lives and saving the environment by recycling various recyclable waste materials.”

“Manja Pamodzi also holds sensitisation workshops to educate consumers on the importance of recycling and proper waste disposal to help build a responsible and environmentally conscious society – in line with our ethos “bringing people together for a better world,” she said.

Statistics show that only 26 percent of the estimated 900 tons of waste generated daily in Lusaka is collected by formal services with some 34 percent of that waste being recyclable.

Speaking during the handover ceremony, ZAM Sustainability Board Committee Chairperson Ms. Bridget Kambobe said: “On behalf of Zambia Association of Manufactures we are awarding a very phenomenal practical project that has demonstrated that it is possible to create a model that not only creates employment while cleaning the environment but also contributes to the social economic development of our country. We want to congratulate Zambian Breweries for playing a leading role in this recycling project.”

Over the last five years, more than 800 collectors – 500 of whom are women – have supported their livelihoods through this programme.

And by close of 2020, over 12,000 tons of recyclable waste had been collected from 11 aggregator sites around Lusaka.

About AB InBev in Zambia

Zambian Breweries Plc is part of Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), the largest brewer in the world, with more than 400 beer brands and some 200,000 employees in over 50 countries. It is also one of the world’s largest bottlers of soft drinks.

Zambian Breweries was established in Zambia in 1968 and its product range has grown to include clear beers such as Mosi Lager, Castle, Carling Black Label, Eagle beer, Stella Artois and Budweiser.

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Kenya’s community-centered response system highlighted in new report showing how countries successfully beat infectious disease outbreaks before they became epidemics
April 28, 2021 | 0 Comments

New report highlights how African leadership helped beat infectious disease outbreaks before they became epidemics,

Dr Asha Mohammed, Secretary General of Kenya Red Cross

Last year, a single outbreak of deadly infectious disease travelled around the world, changing life as we know it. But every year, there are many near misses—outbreaks that are successfully controlled before they become epidemics. Today, Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, released a first-of-its kind interactive digital report highlighting “Epidemics That Didn’t Happen” to show how the trajectory of an outbreak can be altered when a country invests in and prioritizes preparedness combined with swift strategic action.

Epidemics that Didn’t Happen was developed by Resolve to Save Lives to highlight how investing in and prioritizing preparedness and response systems, such as community vaccination and vaccination programs, can save millions of lives and trillions of dollars. As governments contend with the ongoing devastation of COVID-19—and look for lessons for the next pandemic, the report serves as a call to action to global leaders. The world can learn from the experience that African countries have had with infectious diseases, including COVID-19, Ebola and monkeypox.

Kenya’s community-centered approach to the anthrax outbreak highlighted in the report serves as a lesson to global governments and health leaders on how to respond to future health threats more efficiently. 

“The strength of Kenya Red Cross’s community-based surveillance system, along with its community-engagement work, has been invaluable for building support for and trust in emergency preparedness systems,” said Dr Asha Mohammed, Secretary General of Kenya Red Cross. “Our case study in the Epidemics That Didn’t Happen report demonstrates that through effective surveillance and risk communication, an anthrax outbreak was contained in Kenya.”

The case studies described in the new report show that devastating human and economic losses can be avoided with modest investments, improved health systems, and better coordination and communication by determined leaders who put structures in place to find, stop and prevent infectious disease outbreaks before they spread. And although the story of containing COVID-19 has largely been one of failure, countries including Kenya, Mongolia and Senegal mounted effective responses that reinforce and act upon lessons drawn from earlier outbreaks. The case studies illustrate different aspects of effective public health programs, including: 

  1. Building community trust: How Kenya controlled a deadly anthrax outbreak
  2. A risk-based response: How protective actions stopped yellow fever in Brazil
  3. Effective surveillance: How Uganda detected cases of Ebola at the border
  4. Rapid response teams at the ready: Nigeria’s approach to containing monkeypox
  5. Good governance matters: How Senegal saved lives through government action and early testing
  6. Preemptive action: How an early, strategic response in Mongolia averted a COVID-19 nightmare
  7. COVID-19 Cooperation: Africa’s cohesive, continent-wide response to the pandemic
  8. Investment in public health saves lives: Vietnam’s COVID-19 response is proof.

“This is our now or never moment to invest in public health, to prevent the next pandemic, and ensure that as a world, we are never again so underprepared as we were with COVID-19,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, former CDC Director and current President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives. “Epidemics don’t have to spread uncontrollably and cause devastating loss of life. Epidemics That Didn’t Happen highlights the great work of public health professionals from around the world and shows that if we work together, led by science, we can make the world a much safer and healthier place.” 

These successes demonstrate what works: strong preparedness systems and decisive responses supported by good governance. When countries can prepare and respond appropriately, even if not perfectly, their communities, neighbors and ultimately the world are safer for it.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the need to work together at the global, regional, country and local levels to build a more resilient response to future health emergencies. It has revealed gaps and weaknesses across high-, middle- and low-income countries. Among the key lessons highlighted from successful responses to public health emergencies: 

  • Improve governance to prioritize public health emergencies and address equity gaps
  • Invest in preparedness response and technical assistance 
  • Learn from and adapt effective responses from other diseases and other areas
  • Prioritize early warning and response systems by adopting the “7-1-7” goal by being able to identify any new suspected outbreak within seven days of emergence, start to investigate the event within one day and report and begin response to it then, and mount an effective response within seven days.

“All countries can and must improve their systems for preparedness and the quality of their response,” said Dr. Emmanuel Agogo, Nigeria Country Representative at Resolve to Save Lives. “The actions highlighted in the report save lives and can fundamentally alter the trajectory of future outbreaks and pandemics.”
The case studies were developed with support from health ministries and global health organizations including, Kenya Red Cross, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Infectious Diseases Institute, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Health, Pan American Health Organization and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.  

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of the global health organization Vital Strategies, focuses on preventing deaths from cardiovascular disease and preventing epidemics. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible.0

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13 African First Ladies present during the inauguration of the Merck Foundation 2021 conference
April 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Thirteen First African Ladies graced the inauguration of the8th edition of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary conference as guests of honors.

They included Angola First Lady, H.E. Ana Dias Lourenço, Botswana First Lady, H.E. Neo Jane Masisi, Burkina Faso First Lady, H.E. Sika Kabore, Burundi First Lady, H.E. Angeline Ndayishimiye, Central African Republic First Lady, H.E. Brigitte Touadera, Democratic Republic of Congo First Lady, H.E. Denise Nyakeru Tshisekedi.

Others are Ghana First Lady, H.E. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, Guinea First Lady, H.E. Djènè Condé, Liberia First Lady, H.E. Clar Marie Weah, Malawi First Lady, H.E. Monica Chakwera, Mozambique First Lady, H.E. Isaura Ferrão Nyusi, Namibia First Lady, H.E. Monica Geingos and Zambia First Lady H.E. Esther Lungu.

They shared health capacity-building strategy and building a robust platform of specialized trained medical experts in their respective countries, infertility stigma and support girl’s education.

They expressed their gratitude to Merck Foundation saying their partnership with the philanthropic arm of Merck Germany has supported them in building healthcare capacity and train healthcare providers in their respective countries. Some of the successes highlighted include:

More than 37 local young Namibian doctors will be provided with one-year online diploma from South Wales University, in the fields of Diabetes, Cardiology, Endocrinology, Respiratory Medicines, Acute Medicines and Sexual and Reproductive Medicines, reiterated H.E. Monica Geingos, the First Lady of Namibia.

Mozambique has enrolled 14 doctors in the Diabetes Master Course through Merck Foundation Diabetes Blue Points Project.

Malawi has launched the winners of Merck More Than a Mother Media Recognition Awards to avert the stigma of infertility and become the voice of the voiceless and break the silence. They are also set to launch Film, Song Awards to inspire youth to be innovative.

In Ghana, more than 60 healthcare providers have been trained in fields like Cancer, Diabetes, cardiology, endocrinology, respiratory, acute medicines, sexual and reproductive medicines, Fertility and embryology.

32 Doctors have also been enrolled for the Master Course in Diabetes Management in French accredited by Diabetes UK in DRC.

“Till today we have 33 doctors who have benefited from scholarships that Merck Foundation is providing in Oncology, Fertility speciality, embryology and reproductive and sexual medicines and Diabetes management,” said  Burundi First Lady, H.E. Angeline Ndayishimiye.

Thirteen doctors have also been trained in oncology and diabetes in Central African Republic.

The first ladies noted challenges women and girls are undergoing in Africa such as physical and psychological violence, stigma of infertility, child marriage, etc.

“UN reported that nearly one in five women worldwide has experienced violence in the past year. It means that infertile and childless women are suffering even more and more physical and psychological violence and are now trapped at home with their abusers, struggling to access services, they are lonely suffering in silence,” said Namibia First Lady, H.E. Monica Geingos

They committed to empower infertile women through access to education, information, health, change of mindset, and economic support.

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JAPAN DONATES $6.5 M TO WFP TO STEM FOOD INSECURITY IN SOUTH SUDAN
April 21, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

The WFP will use this contribution to support 115,000 people in Jonglei, Warrap, Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Lakes States, where food insecurity has reached catastrophic levels.Photo WFP/ Gabriela Vivacqua

Juba – The government of Japan has donated $6.5 million US dollar to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to mitigate food insecurity in the restive country.

The Government of Japan has funded food assistance to developing countries since 1968. Japan has supported WFP’s work in South Sudan since 2013, contributing more than US$35 million.

This latest contribution consists of US$4.5 million for life-saving food assistance to people who are severely food insecure and US$ 2 million to restore livelihoods and enhance resilience.

However, the WFP has welcomed contribution of US$6.5 million from the Government of Japan. 

This contribution is timely at the start of the lean season when more than 7.2 million people in South Sudan are expected to face acute food shortages, said WFP in a press release today.

The WFP will use this contribution to  support 115,000 people in Jonglei, Warrap, Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Lakes States, where food insecurity has reached catastrophic levels due to continuing violence, two years of excessive flooding, displacement and the loss of livelihoods, livestock, infrastructure and homes that have left millions of people highly vulnerable and unable to provide for themselves.

“It is our sincere wish that Japan’s grant helps save the people from food insecurity accelerated by natural disaster, communal violence and displacement and bring those suffering people back to a normal living environment which is the precondition to pave the way to nation building and economic development in South Sudan,” said H.E. Tsutsumi Naohiro, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of South Sudan, in the press statement seen by Pan African Visions.

The contribution will also support WFP’s livelihoods and resilience-building programmes, which include creation of community assets such as access roads and multi-purpose water points. 

These communal assets are geared towards improving families’ access to local markets to sell their produce and purchase food and other essentials, as well as their access to clean water.

“We are grateful to Japan for this timely contribution at a time when food needs are the greatest but funding for humanitarian assistance is  dwindling because of the economic impact of COVID-19. This noble gesture demonstrates the government of Japan’s commitment towards alleviating suffering and contributing to peace in South Sudan,” said Matthew Hollingworth, WFP’s Country Director in South Sudan. “It is a great boost towards our saving lives and changing lives efforts.”

The country’s five year conflict has taken a heavy toll on the oil – rich nation’s economy and investment, founded 10 years ago after two decades of civil war.

It has also blighted by the impact of COVID-19 and unprecedented floods on the lives of the vulnerable locals.

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The American e-education startup Holberton announces a new $20 million round of funding to accelerate its development in Africa
April 20, 2021 | 0 Comments

The funding will allow the Californian-based startup to develop its computer engineering training solutions for universities, training centers, and companies on the African continent.

SAN FRANCISCO, April 19, 2021 – Holberton, making software engineering education affordable and accessible globally, announced today that it has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Redpoint eventures with new investor Pearson Ventures and participation by existing investors DaphniImaginable FuturesReach Capital and Trinity Ventures.

Holberton works with institutes in several African countries including Tunisia, Madagascar, and Morocco, which have trained thousands of learners. The group’s ambition is to help more than 500,000 students in Africa gain access to first-rate education by 2030, directly via its Holberton School Network, or indirectly with education institutions and training centers. To reach that goal, Holberton constantly innovates and expands how it delivers education on a large scale. 

“We have developed technologies, tools, programs, and teaching methods to complement, extend or fill gaps in the training of students or employees. Our solutions have been designed and created to train learners anywhere in the world and at any level of Commuter Science Knowledge, whether they are beginners or familiar with the computer language”, says Julien Barbier, CEO, and co-founder of Holberton.

With its partners, Holberton has provided education to thousands of students around the world,  creating new tools, processes, programs, and methods needed to send students into high-paying jobs at top technology companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google, LinkedIn, Tesla, and more. Holberton has created a new concept that it calls the “OS of Education”. Customers use what they need to either build entire new schools or supplement their current education delivery.

“Since our founding in Silicon Valley in 2015, we have had a vision of making software engineering education affordable and accessible to everybody around the world,” said Julien Barbier. “Africa is a continent with a considerable nursery of young people to train. Our solutions enable public and private institutions to offer modern, tailored education that meets the needs of the job market on the continent.”

Holberton’s offering includes a complete off-the-shelf franchise model, as well as tailored curricula, auto-graded projects, and tools. Customers — who best understand their student needs, job market requirements, and unique accessibility challenges — use what they want or need to fulfill their educational mission. And thus contribute to filling a national pool of highly qualified software engineers.

“Holberton’s OS of Education concept opens up the company’s proven tools to a broader education market,” said Manoel Lemos, managing partner at Redpoint eventures. “They’ve proven successful in breaking down barriers of cost and access while delivering a world-class curriculum. With the concept of ‘OS of Education’ as a service, they provide customers with all the tools they need for success. Customers can be non-profit impact investors who want to improve local economies, education institutions who want to fill gaps in how they teach in a post-COVID learning environment or corporations who want to provide the best training possible as education providers themselves or as employee development programs.”

About Holberton

Founded in Silicon Valley in 2015, Holberton’s innovative and flexible delivery of the “OS of Education” provides a unique portfolio of tools, auto-graded tailored curricula and teaching methods to help its customers – education institutions, universities, corporations and franchisees – successfully train the next generation of digital talent at scale.

About Redpoint eventures

Redpoint eventures is a venture capital firm investing in Latin American startups. The firm partners with visionary founders using technology to create new markets and solve big problems in existing ones. With an experienced team in Brazil and in close partnership with two Silicon Valley firms (e.ventures and Redpoint), the firm helps founders secure the capital, talent and growth to succeed further, faster.

Founded in 2012, Redpoint eventures invests across seed, early and growth stages. It manages over $300 million and has more than 40 companies in its portfolio, including Creditas, Gympass, Minuto Seguros, Olist, Pipefy, Rappi and Resultados Digitais. As part of its mission to support the Brazilian ecosystem, the firm co-founded Cubo , the second largest innovation hub in the world, based in Sao Paulo, where it’s headquartered. For more information, please visit www.rpev.com.br.

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US Gives $95 M Humanitarian Aid to South Sudan
April 17, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Juba – The United States (US)  has contributed $95 million to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to support the vulnerable people of South Sudan in the face of six year -conflict and floods.

The contribution will be used to assist 7.24 million people likely to face acute hunger this summer.

On Thursday, Ambassador Larry André Jr. told reporters in the capital Juba that the funding will provide critical protection, economic opportunity, shelter, healthcare, emergency food assistance, safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene services to some of the nearly 4 million South Sudanese refugees and internally displaced people in South Sudan.

It also supports refugees and host communities in Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“We are deeply concerned by the increase in the scale, intensity, and geographic spread of local conflicts. “South Sudan is at a critical point for humanitarian assistance.  The humanitarian needs arising from severe acute food insecurity at likely famine levels have been compounded by political and intercommunal violence, and successive years of flooding,” said Andrè.

South Sudan is facing the highest levels of food insecurity and malnutrition since its independence in 2011. 

The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification assessment this year warned that 7.24 million people will face severe acute hunger at the height of the lean season in May to July, while 1.4 million children will be acutely malnourished.

Meanwhile, Mathew Hollingworth, the Country director of WFP in South Sudan, said the WFP welcomed contributions totaling $345 million from the United States through USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance to support WFP food assistance in South Sudan, where rising food insecurity has pushed 60% of the population into hunger and poverty.

“This funding from our biggest donor, USAID, comes at a very critical time when funding is scarce and needs are enormous,” said Hollingworth. “WFP relies on predictable funding, which enables us to plan ahead to prevent the kind of alarming conditions that precede famine by covering the pressing needs of the most food-insecure communities. These funds will also help WFP to pre-position food stocks for the lean season when humanitarian access is more challenging,” he added. 

South Sudanese warring parties signed a peace deal in three years ago but the peace process remains fragile to ends a conflict.

“The peace agreement and humanitarian challenges are closely related….there are key areas of the peace agreement that are yet to be implemented.  If South Sudan’s foreign friends see that the political will is there to move the peace process forward then there may be an opportunity for assistance.”

The persistent insecurity, intercommunal conflict, and deliberate attacks against humanitarian aid workers and assets are exacerbating humanitarian needs and preventing life-saving food and nutrition assistance from reaching the most vulnerable.  

The US Ambassador called on the Government of South Sudan to do everything in its power to protect humanitarian workers, improve humanitarian access, and expedite delivery of urgently-needed food to vulnerable South Sudanese citizens.

The United States is the single largest donor to the South Sudan crisis response, providing nearly $5.6 billion in humanitarian aid to support vulnerable people in South Sudan and South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries since December 2013.

Despite generous contributions from donors, funding shortages remain a reality in South Sudan, where humanitarian needs outpace the aid response. WFP was forced to cut food rations this April, affecting 700,000 refugees and internally displaced people who now receive 50 percent of a full ration, down from 70 percent.

The impact of COVID-19 and unprecedented floods on the lives of the vulnerable locals, and increased conflicts over the last five years have taken a heavy toll on the East Africa’s youngest nation, founded 10 years ago after two decades of civil war.

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The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business announce major Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
April 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

The MoU will seek to accelerate Canada-Kenya trade and investment, following initial discussion last year in Nairobi
Caroline Kariuki Source USIU Africa

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance and The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business (www.CanadaAfrica.ca) are proud to announce collaboration to promote, support and facilitate bilateral trade and investment opportunities from Canada into Kenya.

The first engagement will be a virtual trade mission to Kenya from Canada in May.

The 3-year agreement MoU was signed today during the Second Session of the Binational Commission meeting between the Governments of Kenya and Canada – and is subject to ongoing renewal.

“This MoU will solidify the existing trade relations between Kenya and Canada and establish strong bonds between the two countries that will go a long way to boost private sector trade and investment. The MOU will also enable us to exchange business information with CACB which is critical especially to our members who wish to expand their coverage to international market,” explained Ms. Carole Kariuki Karuga, KEPSA CEO.

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance is the apex body of private sector in Kenya.

The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business is a 27-years old organization committed to accelerating trade, business and investment between Canada and Africa.

‘Nairobi is a vital gateway not just to Kenya and the region, but the continent’s economies of the future in Africa,’ noted Garreth Bloor, President of The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business.

‘KEPSA is world leader in the private sector, showcasing excellence on the global stage. This MoU is a great honour for The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business, our leadership, and all our members across Canada,’ says Deepak Dave, the organization’s long-standing representative in Nairobi and Chief Risk Officer at the African Trade Insurance Agency.

‘The joint intended results of the co-operation agreement between CACB and KEPSA seeks to increase two-way trade and investment between Canada and Kenya in all sectors – while laying the foundations to explore trade missions to Kenya by The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business and to Canada by KEPSA,’ said Sebastian Spio-Garbrah, Chair of The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business.

Guided by this MOU, CACB and KEPSA will work together towards on a case-by-case basis exploring events together, exchange of business information and reciprocity members of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance to enjoy the privileges of membership afforded to CACB members, and to ensure KEPSA members are well-positioned in the Canadian market for investment and trade in all sectors and that CACB members are well-positioned in the Kenyan market for investment and trade in all sectors.

“As KEPSA, we remain committed to establishing progressive business and trade partnerships with Canada and other similar minded parties for a mutual benefit of our members as well as those of our CACB counterparts,” said Ms. Carole Kariuki Karuga, KEPSA CEO.

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ITFC and the Republic of Cameroon Sign a US$750 Million Three-year Framework Agreement to Support Cameroon’s Key Sectors through Integrated Trade Solutions
April 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

A EUR 98 Million Murabaha financing agreement with SODECOTON was also signed to facilitate the purchase of agricultural inputs and cotton seeds
Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of ITFC and H.E. Alamine Ousmane Mey, Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development (IsDB Governor)

The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) , a member of the Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB) and the Republic of Cameroon have signed on April 12, 2021 two agreements in a virtual signing ceremony between H.E. Alamine Ousmane Mey, Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development (IsDB Governor) and Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO, ITFC.

The first signing is a three-year framework agreement amounting to US$ 750 Million under which ITFC will provide to Cameroon a financing envelop of US $ 250 Million annually over a period of three years to facilitate the imports of key commodities in the strategic sectors of energy, mining, in addition to the health sector with medical supplies including healthcare equipment. It will also sustain its already strong support to the priority sector of agricultural with the exports of agricultural commodities such as cotton, soy amongst others.

Through this framework agreement, ITFC will also be extending its support to SMEs and private sector through financing facilities to local banks and financial institutions. It will also support trade development through capacity building initiatives to strengthen key sectors including healthcare. The agreement also enshrines Cameroon’s membership to ITFC’s flagship program, the Arab-Africa Trade Bridges (AATB) program, which aims to facilitate trade and investment flows between Arab and African regions.

In this regard, H.E. Alamine Ousmane Mey stated that, “We are very pleased with the agreements signed with ITFC. The three-year renewal of our cooperation framework is a sign of the good and strong cooperation between Cameroon and ITFC, and of the continued goodwill to implement a successful planning strategy in the country. The US $750 Million financing will help the Cameroonian government consolidate its economic recovery efforts in the specific context of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, by facilitating the importation of crucial energy products, medical supplies, and agriculture inputs, whilst strengthening the fundamentals of the economy of Cameroon through private sector and SME development. This is an opportunity for us to reiterate Cameroon’s sincere thanks to ITFC.”

The CEO of ITFC, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol reiterated the Corporation’s commitment to supporting economic recovery in Cameroon saying that, “We are keen to continue our successful collaboration with the Government of Cameroon through providing trade solutions that best meet the needs of the country, especially in view of the impact of COVID-19. We are committed to working closer with our partners and to support the country in its efforts to develop important sectors such as agriculture, especially cotton, which is a major export commodity, as well as to support the country’s financial institutions to boost private sector development and SME growth.”

The second signing is related to a EUR 98 Million Murabaha Financing agreement in favour of Société de Développement du Coton (SODECOTON), to facilitate the purchase of agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, seed cotton, and soybeans. ITFC has a long-standing relationship with Cameroon and SODECOTON. ITFC financing to date has enabled the country to achieve a record production of 328,454 tons of seed cotton collected in 2019/2020, of which 115,000 tons of cotton lint were exported despite the COVID-19 pandemic.



About the International Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC):
The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) is a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group. It was established with the primary objective of advancing trade among OIC member countries, which would ultimately contribute to the overarching goal of improving socioeconomic conditions of the people across the world. Commencing operations in January 2008, ITFC has provided US$55 billion of financing to OIC member countries, making it the leading provider of trade solutions for these member countries’ needs. With a mission to become a catalyst for trade development for OIC member countries and beyond, the Corporation helps entities in member countries gain better access to trade finance and provides them with the necessary trade-related capacity building tools, which would enable them to successfully compete in the global market.

*SOURCE International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC)

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U.S. Africa Energy Forum 2021 Launches: Promotes U.S. Role as Primary Investor in African Energy
April 7, 2021 | 0 Comments

The multi-day forum unites U.S. and African policymakers, energy executives and industry leaders to create new linkages and foster discussions

The U.S. Africa Energy Forum 2021 – organized by Africa Oil & Power, in partnership with the African Energy Chamber’s U.S.-Africa Committee – will foster alignment between U.S. and African governments’ energy policies and highlight African oil, gas, power and renewable projects across the energy value chain for U.S. investors; the multi-day forum unites U.S. and African policymakers, energy executives and industry leaders to create new linkages and foster discussions that drive long-term policy formation and project execution; the in-person, two-day summit and gala dinner will be hosted in Houston, Texas (October 4-5, 2021) and an online seminar and in-person networking event will be held in Washington D.C. (July 12).

Africa Oil & Power (AOP) (www.AfricaOilAndPower.com) and the African Energy Chamber are excited to announce the launch of the first-ever U.S. Africa Energy Forum (USAEF). This event aims to create deeper cooperation between the U.S. and Africa on energy policy, to reach alignment on long term sustainability goals, to stimulate greater American investment in the African oil, gas and power sectors, and to engage and reposition the U.S. as the primary partner of choice for African energy developments. 

Under the theme “New Horizons for U.S. Africa Energy Investment” the forum will explore diverse foreign investment and export opportunities across the continent, including natural gas as a vital fuel for the energy transition; energy storage and battery minerals; Africa’s place in global energy supply chains; the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area; evolving energy technologies and how they relate to the future role of petroleum resources; and on-and off-grid power developments. 

An online seminar and in-person networking event will be held in Washington D.C. on July 12, 2021, building up to the in-person U.S. Africa Energy Forum summit and gala dinner, to be hosted in Houston, Texas, on October 4-5, 2021. Africa Oil & Power and the African Energy Chamber invite all U.S.-based companies with an interest in engaging with African industry leaders and project developers to participate in the USAEF Houston summit.

This initiative comes at an important juncture in U.S.-Africa relations. The Biden Administration’s announcements of its intentions to proactively build a stronger U.S.-Africa partnership coincides with the fact that African projects are seeing rising interest from U.S. companies and lending institutions alike. The USAEF event is thus dedicated to enabling dialogue between its participants that advances these developments.

“Our mission has always been to showcase the resource potential that Africa has to offer while at the same time showing its growing preference for sustainable energy policies and technologies. Toward that end, we hope it becomes evident that Africa does not just want investment capital: it wants smart capital and an accompanying partnership with the investors,” says James Chester, Senior Director of Africa Oil & Power. “The U.S. Africa Energy Forum represents the first-of-its-kind opportunity to catalyze U.S. participation in Africa’s energy transformation – via technology, policy support, capital injection and skills development – and turns a new page in the chapter on global energy investment.” 

In partnership with the African Energy Chamber’s U.S.-Africa Committee, AOP will introduce American companies to African opportunities and advance an agenda of sustainable, long-term investment in African energy and other sectors by U.S. organizations. 

“The rise in support from the U.S. to the continent is a credit to Africa itself, which is increasingly viewed as a favored destination for global investors, multilaterals and export credit agencies,” says Jude Kearney, President of Kearney Africa and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Service Industries and Finance at the U.S. Department of Commerce during the Clinton Administration. “Africa continues to command a healthy share of global FDI in oil and gas industries. It has for decades shown that investment in those sectors is favorable compared to other jurisdictions and can be successful by many measures. Even as Africa and the rest of the world wrestles with a global pandemic, Africa’s energy sector shows vitality and resiliency – not only in hydrocarbons but in regard to new opportunities in mining, liquefied natural gas, and agriculture.”

Both African governments and private sector sponsors of African energy projects value highly the combination of investment and partnership that US investors famously convey. The USAEF seeks to enable successful partnerships between its participants such that the energy development goals of U.S. investors and strategic partners and their African counterparts can be achieved.

To find out more on opportunities for U.S.-African energy investment and cooperation, as well as information on the inaugural U.S. Africa Energy Forum, please visit www.AfricaOilAndPower.com and to participate in the USAEF, reach out directly to Senior Director James Chester at james@africaoilandpower.com.

*SOURCE Africa Oil & Power Conference

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President Mnangagwa takes shooting strides in climate-change fight to green African Economies.
April 7, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu 

President Mnangagwa

President Mnangagwa on Wednesday 6th April addressed African Heads of State, Multi-lateral organisations in climate-change, United Nations Agencies, institutions and the general population on a virtual platform from State-House in Harare calling the World to take action on climate change.

The dialogue organised by the African Development Bank and the Global Centre for Adaptation looked at how Zimbabwe by 2030 can be a Green Economy through the combatting of climate change. The country is driving up the ladder to become a Middle-Income Economy fighting its economic challenges and climate-change.

The dialogue specifically looked at covid-19 impact on climate change mitigation report. Countries of the World remain on the edges in terms of their economies Gross-Domestic-Product severely affected by climate-Change, a natural phenomenon likely to continue in the covid-19 era.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa said for Zimbabwe to become a middle-income –economy, there is need to fight effects of climate-change that remain a draw-back to the whole world especially the developing World.

‘’For the country to achieve a middle income  economy by 2030 there is all need to fight climate-change especially in this covid-19 era it helps reduce the adverse effects .’’

‘’Mitigation and resilience in the face of national adaptation programs remains crucial in this fight to become a green economy by 2030. Countries needs to adapt to climate change then mitigate and become resilient and stronger’’.

     Taking the blame to the West .. ……………………………..

The developing World has faced the striking swipe which President Mnangagwa takes head-on blows blaming the Western World for release of more emissions responsible for climate- change .  Africa has less than 3%  carbon emissions constituting less tons not likely to affect the world . Countries like USA , Canada and China have more gas emissions which affects the world at high rate .

‘’We as a country, we have long term low emissions development strategies. These in turn lower global temperature increase.’ Therefore climate smart Agriculture is important for us to remain vibrant in the fight. At the same time water harvesting and infrastructural development is crucial

 ‘’ Africa that is more affected as developing world yet its emissions are low. The developed world should therefore take the task to help us ‘’.

IMF Intervenes in Climate-Change and Covid-19  multiple effects ………………………………

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Ms Kristalina Georgieva said the organisation will soon release Special Drawing Rights. These are meant to resuscitate economies in the covid-19 era in which economies are severely ravaged by the pandemic.

‘’SDR are International Reserve Assets. They help to supplement member countries official reserves. ’These are held by central banks. They can be exchanged for hard currency with another Central Bank. They are used to determine a country’s credit -worthiness’’

‘’IMF is expected to release US$650 billion worth of SDRs to boost country reserves,’’ she notes.

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350.org announces a Global Just Recovery Gathering
April 2, 2021 | 0 Comments

Africa-wide – From April 9th-11th, 350.org and hundreds of organisations will be hosting a three-day online Global Just Recovery Gathering. The program events are free, online, multilingual and will be running six hour cycles over three different time zones to make it a truly global event. 

Choices are being made right now that will shape our society for decades to come; the gathering will bring together speakers who will explore what we need for a just recovery from the compound crises of COVID-19 and climate breakdown. Some of the key speakers include Vandana Shiva (India), Hakima Abbas (Kenya), Ailton Krenak (Brazil), Nnimmo Bassey (Nigeria), Greta Thunberg (Sweden), Eriel Deranger (Canada), Noelene Nabulivou (Fiji), Naomi Klein (Canada), Sharon Burrows (ITUC), Bill McKibben (United States) and many more.

Cultural sessions that accompany each six hour cycle of the gathering will include artists and musicians such as Gilberto Gil,  Patti Smith, Angelique Kidjo, Ana Tijoux, Jazzmeia Horn, Rocky Dawuni and many more.

In addition to the panels and cultural sessions, there will be over 180 workshops and training events to support individuals and campaign groups in designing a new path towards a better future for all.

There will be interpretation in English, Español, Français and Português for all the sessions allowing all communities from across Africa to participate.

Landry Ninteretse: Africa Regional Director at 350.org

“The solutions to the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 must also be the solutions to the climate crisis. As governments plan for recovery, they must ensure that their plans address the recurrent issues of access to healthcare, food, education, and clean energy  as basic human rights. People across Africa are expecting radical, inclusive and sustainable responses that  will strengthen Africa’s resilience to social, economic and environmental disasters exacerbated by pandemic. This is especially so for a continent such as Africa that continues to face numerous climate change issues such as food insecurity, energy poverty, floods and droughts amidst a global pandemic.”

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