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$1 Million Awarded to African Entrepreneurs in Grand Finale of the Jack Ma Foundation Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative
November 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

The aim of the prize is to support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future
ACCRA, Ghana, November 17, 2019/ — Last night the Jack Ma Foundation hosted its first annual Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) (https://www.Netpreneur.Africa/) grand finale awarding $1 million in prize money to 10 entrepreneurs from across Africa.

The ANPI is a flagship initiative of the Jack Ma Foundation, created by Jack Ma after his first trip to Africa in 2017. The aim of the prize is to support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future. In its inaugural year, nearly 10,000 entrepreneurs from 50 countries across the continent applied. The Jack Ma Foundation has committed to running the competition for 10 years.

The finale event, called “Africa’s Business Heroes,” was held in Accra, Ghana, where the top 10 finalists pitched their businesses directly to four prestigious judges including Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba Group and the Jack Ma Foundation; Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group; Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/CEO of The Chair Centre Group; and Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba.

The specifics of the prize pool division is listed below. Each finalist is receiving a share of $1 million.

The top three finalists were:Temie Giwa-Tubosun, founder and CEO, LifeBank  (https://LifeBank.ng/) ( Nigeria) – First Place, winning $250,000Dr. Omar Sakr, founder and CEO, Nawah-Scientific (https://Nawah-Scientific.com/) (Egypt) – Second Place, winning $150,000Christelle Kwizera, founder, Water Access Rwanda (https://www.WARwanda.com/) (Rwanda) – Third Place, winning $100,000
“It was an incredible honor to be named Africa’s Business Hero. I was truly inspired by my fellow winners at today’s Netpreneur Summit. The Africa Netpreneur Prize will give me the resources to grow LifeBank and expand our presence in Nigeria and throughout the rest of Africa. I look forward to continuing my journey to solve problems and make a significant impact on the future of Africa,” said Temie Giwa-Tubosun, Founder and CEO of LifeBank.

The remaining finalists, who each received $65,000, are listed below:Waleed Abd El Rahman, CEO, Mumm (https://www.getMumm.com/) (Egypt)Ayodeji Arikawe, co-founder, Thrive Agric (https://ThriveAgric.com/)(Nigeria)Mahmud Johnson, founder and CEO, J-Palm  (https://www.JPalmshop.com/) (Liberia)Kevine Kagirimpundu, co-founder and CEO, UZURI K&Y  (https://shop.UZURIKY.com/) (Rwanda)Dr. Tosan J. Mogbeyiteren, founder, Black Swan (https://bit.ly/2OjgHFY) (Nigeria)Chibuzo Opara, co-founder, DrugStoc (https://www.DrugStoc.com/) (Nigeria)Moulaye Taboure, co-founder and CEO, Afrikrea (https://www.Afrikrea.com/)  (Cote D’Ivoire)
“The finalists who competed in ‘Africa’s Business Heroes’ should be an inspiration for Africa and for the world. Each of these entrepreneurs looked at big challenges facing their communities, and saw them as opportunities,” said Jack Ma, Founder of the Alibaba Group and Jack Ma Foundation. “It is my strong belief that entrepreneur heroes, like these finalists, will change the world – creating companies that drive inclusive growth and opportunity for the continent. Everyone is a winner tonight.”

“This competition demonstrates the overwhelming entrepreneurial talent that exists across Africa. I’m very excited about the future of industry and entrepreneurship for this continent,” said Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group. “The top 10 truly show the limitless potential of African business.”

“What really struck me about the finalists was that they each addressed specific African problems with a specific African solution in a fresh way, leveraging technology that wasn’t available previously,” said Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/CEO of The Chair Centre Group. “If this is an indication of the future of entrepreneurship on the continent, then Africa’s future looks bright.”

“Africa’s Business Heroes” will be televised in a two-hour special throughout Africa. The journeys of the finalists as well as their pitches and business insights from the judges will all be included in this exciting television event.

You can watch “Africa’s Business Heroes” on the following dates and channels:December 13, 2019 – ROK 3 on DSTVDecember 14, 2019 – NOVELA and Sports Focus on StarTimes
Check your local listings for specific channel and airing times.

The initiative will host a pitch competition where 10 finalists from across the continent will compete for $1 million in total prize money every year through 2028. All entrepreneurs across Africa, are encouraged to apply. Entries for next year’s prize will open in the first half of 2020.

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Mozambique features strongly at 2019 Africa Investment Forum with $24.6 billion project, the largest deal
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

Mozambique’s state oil and fuel company Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH), tabled a $24.6 billion transformative project for Mozambique’s economy, the largest deal to feature at the 2019 Africa Investment Forum.

The project includes the development of the Golfinho and Atum fields and the nation’s first onshore liquefied natural gas plant.

Mozambique’s Prime Minister Agostinho do Rosário made the announcement at a media briefing session during the Forum, the continent’s premier investment marketplace, organized by the African Development Bank and its partners.

The project is an opportunity to create jobs and will revive the Mozambican economy, Agostinho do Rosário told journalists.

State oil company ENH Chief Executive Officer Omar Mitha says the country is already courting global investors to raise US$1.3 billion to fund the company’s share in the Area 1 natural gas project, in which it holds a 15% stake.

For African Development Bank President Adesina, African governments must not carry the burden of infrastructure alone; they must allow private sectors to lessen the load.

Last year’s inaugural Africa Investment Forum secured investment interest worth $38.7 billion of dollars in just three days. For this year’s edition, the Bank and its partners are aiming to cap that figure.

In closing and addressing a question debt, Adesina said, “First and foremost, Africa is not in debt crisis, we have several countries that have challenges in terms of equity ratios tipping at the levels that raise concern. Africa is not one country, Africa is not two countries, Africa is 54 countries…There’s nothing to cause any alarm.”

The three-day Africa Investment Forum is taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa.

*AFDB

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Africa Investment Forum 2019: Unveiling the Boardroom: $67.6 billion dollars of deals tabled, $40.1 billion investor interest secured
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

Africa is winning…Africa is bankable- African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina

It was deals that brought participants to the 2019 Africa Investment Forum and they were not disappointed. The second Forum ended on a high note Wednesday, with 56 boardroom deals valued at $67.6 billion tabled – a 44% increase from last year.

Fifty-two deals worth $40.1 billion secured investor interest compared with $37.8 billion dollars last year.

During the 2018 edition of the Forum, 61 transactions valued at $46.9 billion were tabled for discussions in boardroom sessions and 49 deals worth $38.7 billion, secured investment interest.

Presiding over the session: “Unveiling the Boardroom Deals”, African Development President Akinwumi Adesina said that was the spirit of the Africa Investment Forum: “transactions, transactions, transactions. Deals, deals, deals!”

Over 2,221 participants attended this year’s Forum from 109 countries, 48 from Africa and 61 from outside of Africa. They came from government, the private sector, development finance institutions, commercial banks, and institutional investors.

‘The Forum is a platform that will change Africa’s investment landscape,” Chinelo Anohu, the Forum Senior Director said. “Africa is ready to engage on its own terms.”

Key moments of the Forum included:

  • a $600 million COCOBOD deal for Ghana, for cocoa processing, warehousing and processing
  • $58 million for the Alithea Identity Fund for women
  • A concession agreement for the Accra Sky Train, worth $2.6 billion

The Forum focused on projects and advancing deals spanning several sectors, including Energy, Infrastructure, Transport and Utilities, Industry, agriculture, ICT and Telecoms.

“Now the hard work begins to fast-track these deals to financial closure… Africa is bankable,” Adesina said.

*AFDB

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Africa Investment Forum 2019: Billion dollar boost for African female entrepreneurs
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

EIB Vice President, Ambroise Fayolle.Photo CNBC

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced a $1.1 billion lending programme to help women entrepreneurs on the continent.

EIB Vice President, Ambroise Fayolle, also revealed that the bank has signed three further agreements to boost sustainable development on the continent.

But the major deal is what the EIB has dubbed SheInvest. The EIB expects the gender-lending initiative to allow women to play a more active role in economies.

“This initiative aims to promote female entrepreneurship,” said Fayolle, noting that female entrepreneurs will also gain business skills from the initiative. He explained that the financing will promote gender investment related to climate change and is part of broader European engagement to provide targeted support for new investment that supports increased female economic participation in Africa.

The announcement was made at the Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg, where hundreds of investors, development partners and wealth funds have gathered from 11 to 13 November for the continent’s premier marketplace.

The EIB is the lending arm of the European Union. The EIB has supported investment in Africa for more than 50 years. Last year, it provided a record €3.3 billion to African countries, with more than half the funds being pumped into the private sector.

As one of the largest providers of climate finance, the investment bank has also struck a deal with Guinea-based telecommunications provider, IPT PowerTech Group, which will see the company abandon fossil fuels for cleaner sources of power such as solar and wind.

Mohamed Al Habbal, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at IPT PowerTech Group, says the move to renewable sources of energy such as solar power will help the company reduce its carbon footprint. Habbal estimates that thousands jobs will be created as a result of this deal.

A further deal that was signed on the first day of the second Africa Investment Forum, will see African Trade Insurance increase its membership in Western and Southern Africa. This increased insurance coverage is expected to attract more investment to the continent.

In Southern Africa the EIB confirmed a new lending programme to support access to finance by entrepreneurs across Malawi and confirmed a new scheme to finance smallholders in the country to be launched early next year.

Patricia Hamisi, a Senior Manager at Malawi’s FDH Bank, says the money will help the bank enhance its long-term credit to small businesses owned by women. “The agreement comes with technical assistance which will help the bank enhance its trade financing,” said Hamisi.

The Africa Investment Forum inaugural edition was launched in 2018 in partnership with Africa50, Afrexim Bank, the Trade Development Bank, the Development Bank of South Africa, the Islamic Development Bank, the Africa Finance Corporation, the European Investment Bank.

The 2019 Forum runs from 11 to 13 November in Johannesburg, South Africa.

*AFDB

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Fifth “Bloomberg Africa Business Media Innovators” Forum Convenes in Senegal to Discuss How African Media Can Adapt to New Disruptive Forces
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments
Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne, Minister of State and Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic of Senegal
Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne, Minister of State and Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic of Senegal

Follows the 2019 expansion of the Bloomberg financial journalism training program to five new markets, including Senegal

November 11, 2019, Dakar, Senegal— Media, technology, business, government and community leaders from across Africa and beyond gather in Dakar, Senegal, today for the fifth annual Bloomberg Africa Business Media Innovators forum (ABMI). Under the theme of ‘Business Strategies for African Media’, the forum will explore some of the most promising approaches to fostering a vibrant, competitive media sector on the continent.

At a time when media companies around the world are facing challenges such as competition utilizing new technologies, the spread of misinformation and, in some countries, decreasing press freedom, ABMI will explore how African media can navigate and adapt to the changing landscape. Co-hosted by Justin B. Smith, CEO, Bloomberg Media Group, and Matthew Winkler, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, Bloomberg News, the forum will also address the contribution media organizations make toward enabling economic growth by providing accurate, data-driven reporting and analysis to citizens, business leaders, investors, and public officials.

“The economy in Senegal is becoming increasingly diversified, so it is important that journalism and the media sector continues to develop accordingly,” said Mr. Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne, Minister of State and Secretary-General of the Presidency of the Republic of Senegal, who opened today’s forum. “I am confident that the conversation taking place at the summit will help us continue to drive this growth forward.”

Speakers at this year’s forum include media owners, senior editors, investors, business leaders, government officials and community leaders from 20 countries across the continent and beyond, including: Mr. Amadou Mahtar Ba, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, AllAfrica Global Media; Mr. James Bennet, Editor, New York Times; Dr. Phillip Clay, Former Chancellor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Ms. Kelly Conniff, Executive Editor, TIME; Mr. Sachin Kamdar, CEO, Parse.ly; Dr. Retha Langa, Deputy CEO, Africa Check; Mr. Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, Founder and Chairman, APO Group; Ms. Thabile Ngwato, CEO, Newzroom Afrika; and Ms Louise Stuart, Mergers and Acquisitions Executive, Naspers Limited, among others.

Justin B. Smith, CEO, Bloomberg Media Group and Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne, Minister of State and Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic of Senegal
Justin B. Smith, CEO, Bloomberg Media Group and Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne, Minister of State and Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic of Senegal

“Advancements in technology, new competitors, growth of social media, and the increasing use of mobile devices are requiring media organizations across the globe to explore innovative strategies and build new business models,” said Justin B. Smith, CEO, Bloomberg Media Group. “Africa is home to countries with some of the highest expected growth rates in the global media and entertainment industries. I look forward to discussing the future of media with this community gathered at the forum.”

The latest edition of ABMI follows successful gatherings in Zambia, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa. The annual event is a component of the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa (BMIA), a pan-African program launched by Michael R. Bloomberg in 2014 to strengthen media capacity, promote innovation in the sector and improve access to high-quality data and information on the continent.

In January 2019, BMIA announced the expansion of its Financial Journalism Training (FJT) program to five new markets: Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Ghana and Zambia. These markets follow Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, where 652 delegates from 13 countries have graduated to date. This unique educational offering supports the advancement of financial journalism and contribute to economic development on the continent. Admittance to this event is on an invitation-only basis. For more information, please visit: http://www.bmia.org/innovators.

Follow the conversation online using #ABMI2019

For more information on BMIA please click here.

About the Bloomberg Africa Media Initiative (BMIA) Launched by Mike Bloomberg in South Africa in 2014, the Bloomberg Africa Media Initiative (BMIA) is a pan-Africa program designed to accelerate development of a globally competitive media and financial reporting industry as well as promote transparency, accountability and good governance in Africa and beyond. The initiative has four components: It provides cross-disciplinary educational programs to increase the number of highly trained business and financial journalists, as well as supports research to stimulate new media innovations, convene international leaders to promote interactive dialogue and build strong relationships to enhance the quality of financial coverage and the availability of reliable and timely data on the continent.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies Bloomberg Philanthropies works in 480 cities in more than 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $767 million. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

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African Energy Chamber and Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Discuss Technical Cooperation at Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (ADIPEC)
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments
The Chamber will be assisting in the organization of an OPEC Technical Workshop in Dakar in early 2020
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, November 12, 2019/ — A team of the African Energy Chamber (https://EnergyChamber.org/) led by Executive Chairman Nj Ayuk met with the Secretary General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) H.E. Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo today in Abu Dhabi. Both parties discussed the sharing of best industry practices and technical cooperation with new and upcoming African oil producers.

Given the increasing number of African producers who have rejoined OPEC, and the strong support of non-OPEC African nations for the Declaration of Cooperation, both parties agreed on the opportunity to strengthen the technical dialogue between OPEC and Africa.

In order to cement OPEC’s engagement with new and upcoming producers, the Chamber will be assisting in the organization of an OPEC Technical Workshop in Dakar in early 2020, which will be open to regional technicians from ministries and national oil companies. “As OPEC expands, it is important to open its technical meetings and workshops to non-member countries who could potentially join the Organization later,” explained Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber and CEO of the Centurion Law Group.

H.E. Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo welcomed the initiative as a very timely one, insisting that now is the right time for countries such as Senegal to engage with OPEC and the global oil industry. “Such technical workshops can establish a framework for the long-term sharing of best industry practices for new African producers. They ultimately benefit the development of transparent and sustainable industries, this is good for Africa and Africans.”

*Africa Energy Chamber
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2019 Africa Investment Forum: There’s never been a better time to invest in Africa than now, infrastructure, agriculture investment opportunities abound
November 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

It was a presidential start on Monday to the African Development Bank’s Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Dignitaries and delegates from the continent and around the world gathered to listen to Presidents Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Prime Minister Agostinho do Rosario of Mozambique. 

They engaged in a discussion titled, Invest in Africa’s Space: Conversation with African Heads of State, moderated by Dr. Victor Oladokun, African Development Bank Group Director of External Relations and Communications.

The message from all is clear – Africa is better placed than ever for investment.
President Cyril Ramaphosa identified infrastructure, energy, manufacturing and tourism as the sectors where the most investment opportunities exist in South Africa. And as the tourism capital of the continent, the president claims when God created Africa, he spent more time on the southern tip.

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagama had a positive message to share, “There has been a lot of progress and activities taking place on the continent, raising Africa to a higher level. I have always thought it was Africa’s time – but in the past we have let ourselves down.” He says his country has created a conducive investment environment through good governance systems and security, and according to the World Bank, it is the second easiest African country with which to do business. Rwanda is focusing on three main areas – creating an agribusiness hub, the planned Kigali Innovation City and the Kigali Innovation Fund.

For Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area remains a priority. He says his government is working to strengthen the country’s macro-economy, “We’ve managed to turn around rising inflation, curbed debt, and maintained discipline in the managing of public finances. In just 3 years, our economy is expanding to become one of the world’s fastest growing economies.” The country’s current priorities are infrastructure, agriculture and mineral resources.

Prime Minister Agostinho do Rosario representing the President of Mozambique, says his country has changed a lot. His government is open to investment, fighting corruption and has improved transparency. It has managed to control inflation, reducing it from 27% to 13%. The country has a youthful population, which is ready to work. Mozambique has many investment opportunities, particularly in oil and gas, agriculture and mineral resources.

The four presidents also responded to questions from the audience.
There was a common theme amongst the leaders – continuing governance issues need to be addressed, such as political stability, security and conflict. President Kagama says many African states know what needs to be done, which includes improving accountability, transparency and trust, while promoting the role of women.

Answering a question about the safety of foreign nationals in South Africa, President Ramaphosa reassured the continent that his country has always welcomed people from around the world, especially its neighbors, as South Africa is home to all.

He says his government is taking action and setting up an early warning system.

On agriculture and fisheries sector in Mozambique, Prime Minister Agostinho do Rosario said the industries are vital for job and income creation. He adds that only 10% of arable land in his country is being used. Modernization is needed, as well as expansion in crops like maize, cashew nuts and cotton. Mozambique’s government is also working to maintain peace in the country.

Asked about his government’s approach to the cocoa industry, Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo explained that his country and Côte d’Ivoire produce about 65% of the world’s cocoa, worth about $100bn. Of that money, the farmers producing the product, receive about $6bn. Both countries have decided to take action by forging a common policy with a set cocoa floor price, increasing the farmers’ earnings.

The Africa Investment Forum is an innovative, multi-stakeholder transactional marketplace conceived by the African Development Bank, aimed at raising capital, advancing projects to the bankable stage, and accelerating financial closure of deals.

The 2018 inaugural Africa Investment Forum secured investment interests for deals valued at $38.7 billion — in less than 72 hours.

The 2019 Forum runs from 11 to 13 November in Johannesburg, South Africa.

*AFDB

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“Follow The Money” Initiative in Nigeria wins Council of Europe’s Democracy Innovation Award
November 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

At today’s closing session of the 2019 World Forum for Democracy, the Council of Europe announced that the winner of its Democracy Innovation Award was the initiative “Follow The Money”, a network of grassroots citizens in Nigeria dedicated to tracking government and international aid spending.

Follow the Money” is a participatory advocacy-based initiative that advocates for the proper use of government and international aid funds in grassroots communities, to ultimately ensure that public services work for the people. It is a network of activists, social workers, lawyers, journalists, development consultants, researchers and data analysts, that have signed up on its social mobility platform. It uses media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, as well as mainstream media, to amplify the voices of marginalised communities.

Three initiatives out of the 27 discussed at the Forum were shortlisted for the final vote:

  • Follow the Money (Nigeria) – presented at the workshop “Rebuilding Trust in Institutions”
  • alGOVrithms (ePaństwo Foundation/CRTA, Poland) – presented at the workshop “The Human Brain: The Ultimate FactChecker?”
  • Le Drenche (France) – presented at the workshop “Local journalism at the frontline of the information ?”

The Forum brought together 2,000 participants and 250 speakers from all over the world to discuss information and democracy.

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Saudi Arabia Signs Agreement with the World Economic Forum to Establish a Branch in the Kingdom of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution
November 6, 2019 | 0 Comments
 H.E. Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, Minister of Economy and Planning, and Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of WEF sign agreement in Riyadh Nov 6, 2019
H.E. Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, Minister of Economy and Planning, and Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of WEF sign agreement in Riyadh Nov 6, 2019

RIYADH, November 6, 2019  SPA – His Highness Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah Al-Saud, the Minister of Foreign Affairs; His Highness Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud, the Minister of Culture; H.E. Mohammed Al-Jadaan, the Minister of Finance; H.E.  Abdullah Al-Swaha, the Minister of Communication and Information Technology; H.E. Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, the Minister of Economy and Planning; and H.E. Dr. Fahad bin Abdullah Toonsi, Royal Court Advisor and General Secretary of the Saudi G20 Secretariat; met on Wednesday with Professor Klaus Schwab, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The meeting was also attended by a number of princes, government ministers and senior officials in the Kingdom as well as WEF senior officials. During the meeting, they discussed areas of joint cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the World Economic Forum.

Following this, they witnessed the signing of an agreement between the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the World Economic Forum to establish a branch in the Kingdom of WEF’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the fifth such centre in the world.

The two parties were represented in the signing of the agreement by H.E. Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, the Minister of Economy and Planning, and Professor Klaus Schwab, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

This agreement marks the beginning of cooperation between WEF and the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) with the support and coordination of the Saudi Center for International Strategic Partnerships (SCISP).

KACST will manage the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in cooperation with WEF. The Centre will provide space for the development of the mechanisms, plans and applications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the Kingdom and will contribute to the adoption of technology and best practices in the region and the world, which reinforces the directives of the wise leadership and harnesses the tools provided by the Fourth Industrial Revolution to serve the Kingdom.

This cooperation will bring the Kingdom into the global Fourth Industrial Revolution network with countries such as India, China and Japan. The Centre will also provide the opportunity to cooperate with various government agencies, international institutions and private companies, in line with the efforts to develop effective solutions to the challenges of vital sectors, alongside preparing competencies and capacity-building, and advanced skill development in the areas related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

H.E. Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, the Minister of Economy and Planning, and Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of WEF after signing the agreement Nov 6, 2019
H.E. Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, the Minister of Economy and Planning, and Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of WEF after signing the agreement Nov 6, 2019

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is based on a number of areas, including Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, the Internet of Things, robots, smart cities, the governance and future shaping of technology and data policy, automated mobility, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and the future of airspace.

Later, the ministers and officials hosted a lunch banquet in honor of WEF’s executive chairman. 

The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, is a platform that highlights the challenges and topics of interest to the world, in addition to best practices and practical solutions to these challenges. The Kingdom’s participation in the Forum is an opportunity to enhance economic relations, investment opportunities, and exchange pioneering ideas.

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AU commits to work with China’s Silk Road initiative to drive African development
November 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

In lieu to fostering the socio-economic development of Africa, the African Union representative mission to the United States has committed to work hand-in-hand with the Silk Road initiative so as to achieve its vision 2063; A blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future.

The commitment was reaffirmed Monday November 4, at the AU office in Washington DC during the third annual conference of the Silk Road Summit which sought to explore Business, Trade & Investment Opportunities on the New Silk Road for its partner stakeholders including Europe, Asia and Africa.

Organized by the Eurasia Center and Eurasian Business Coalitionin cooperation with the Silk Road Nations and their Representatives (Europe/Asia/Africa) the gathering witnessed the participation of from representatives of U.S. Government Agencies and the U.S. Congress, Multilateral Development Banks, Corporations and Trade Associations, Policy Centers and Foundations, diplomates and global investors the world over.

Participants sat first at United States Congress and later moved to the African Union Representational Mission were Terek Ben Yousef, Chargé d’Affaires at the representative mission reaffirmed the AU’s position as a promoter of partnership.

Citing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement as a transformative initiative capable of boasting trade in Africa with its partners, the diplomat pointed that US has a vital role in transforming Africa infrastructure, a continent he brandished as “hopeful” with enviable return on investment.

 To Ben Bangoura,Director, Africa Program EuroAsia center the time is ripe for Europe, America and Asia to work towards the development of Africa and its people; as he highlighted the continent potentials of been a market leader in the future. And such development, he added was in course thanks to such gatherings.

He did not fail to enumerate the numerous advantages ushered in by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement specifying that the continent now has a stronger voice to do business internationally.

His opinion was well shared by Scott Ticknor, Senior Adviser at the Corporate council on Africa who tagged the ACFTA as a Pan-African dream come through.

Sharing light on US investments and presence in Africa, a country with six of the world’s tenth growing economies, Scott was optimistic of US-African trade growth and the future of their cooperation.

Dr. Yan Wang, senior consultant at the African Development Bank who previously served at a World Bank Economist, examined the impact of aid to developing countries. Campaigning that Africa needs to look far beyond aid for its infrastructural development, just like other panelist, she shared the optimism of the potential of the young continent.

Other speakers at the summit included; a representative of Ambassador Haïdara Mamadou of the Embassy of Côte d’Ivoire, Ralph Winnie, Jr., China Director, VP Global Business Development, Eurasia Center/EBC, Diana Tsutieva, International Dispute Resolution Attorney, Foley Hoag Sanja Sovran, PhD, CEO, Infinity Global Consulting LLC, Tony Padilla, Director, Cargo and Commercial Sealift, U.S. Maritime Administration, Lyuba Varticovski, Senior Researcher, National Institutes of Health, NCI, CCR, Robert Ichord, Senior Fellow, Global Energy Center, The Atlantic Council William L. Polen, Senior Director, USEA, US Energy Association and Brad Johnson, President, Resource Mobilization Advisors.

Discussions came to an end with the recognition of strategic partners and promoters of Euroasia activities, with the African Union receiving special award for its commitment to promote the silk road initiative within its AU member states.

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Why global and pan African investors need to set their sights on the 2019 Africa Investment Forum
November 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala*

The year 2019 will be one of the defining moments in Africa’s investment landscape. Bigger, bolder and more ambitious projects await delegates and investors as we prepare to kick off the second edition of the Africa Investment Forum.

A multi-billion-dollar petrochemical project in Egypt and the Kigali Innovation City Project in Rwanda, are only two of the projects which featured during the maiden edition of the Forum held in November last year.

Alongside a greater emphasis on helping transactions reach bankability and in pushing ahead the regional integration agenda, project sponsors and investors continue to flock to our digital Platform, with interest already shown in 151 projects from 34 African countries worth $112.4 billion.

Following the immense success in November 2018, the Africa Investment Forum, a brainchild of the African Development Bank, is becoming a firm fixture in the calendars of the global investment community. The 2018 event saw nearly 2,000 participants, representing 83 countries, out of which some 277 were delegates from development finance institutions that are active in Africa.

The 2018 Forum was instrumental in showcasing up to 49 different transactions at different stages of development and with a total value of close to $40 billion. These projects were presented to a large audience of investors and financiers. Judging from the interest generated, the Forum promises to play a major role in catalyzing investment flows into Africa, so instrumental in moving the continent forward into the future.

Some of the key projects for which the Forum is expected to play an invaluable role, include the Desert to Power initiative – which aims to provide 10,000 MW of solar-generated electricity to 250 million people across the Sahel. Projects like the Inga Hydro-electric scheme in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and other major cross-border infrastructure projects in road and rail, are all highly transformative projects with important social and economic impacts.

The timing of the coming into being of the Forum is fortuitous, coming on the heels of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area and the Single African Air Transport Market, ratified by the majority of African Union members.

New investments made possible through the Africa Investment Forum have the potential to spur an explosion in trade, contribute to Africa’s re-industrialization and promote cross-border regional economic integration.

Indeed, while the platform continues to ramp up and grow, the Forum offered some very important lessons. In particular, additional resources are required to adequately prepare projects which are crucial for Africa’s development. Well-prepared projects minimize negative environmental and social issues, while maximizing development and economic outcomes, thus contributing to enhanced bankability. This notwithstanding, projects originated through the Forum will benefit from the Bank’s wider ecosystem and the numerous instruments and partnerships with other development finance institutions which will help transform project ideas into actual investments that create jobs and economic opportunities on the ground.

While the Forum is a practical and transactional platform for project deals and potential financers to interact, it has also become a staging post for new financing product innovations that compliment and contribute to de-risking and making investment opportunities more attractive for investors. Examples of recent innovations in this regard include the co-guarantee platform that was established in 2018 by the African Development Bank alongside its partners the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC), African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) and GuarantCo.

As we prepare again to put Africa on global investors’ radars, I would like to see tied to the Forum more activities with the potential of bringing increased dynamism and depth to African domestic capital markets; initiatives that help mobilize African domestic resources into projects coming to this platform for funding.

Beyond this, there are opportunities for the African diaspora whose annual remittances to the continent now top $60 billion a year, making it an immense pool of money that can actively participate in Africa’s development story and benefit from the myriad investment opportunities.

I would like to see diaspora bond issuances and/or collective investment vehicles discussed and presented at the Forum, as they can represent significant financing that can be put to work for the benefit of Africa’s development.

I also strongly encourage and welcome greater participation of the South African institutional investment management industry.

We look forward to a successful Forum and to greater acceleration of the development of the continent.

*AFDB. Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala is Vice President for Finance and Chief Finance Officer, African Development Bank

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Infinet Wireless negotiates expansion in African market at the Russia-Africa Economic Forum and Summit 2019
November 5, 2019 | 0 Comments

Multiple meetings with heads of state and business leaders were held at the event

Sochi, Russia, 04 November 2019 – Infinet Wireless, a global leader in the design and manufacture of fixed broadband wireless systems, has announced it has made a number of new landmark implementation agreements across the African market, including a project with Camtel, the leading telecom operator in Cameroon, to modernize and expand broadband infrastructure across the country.

At the Russia-Africa Economic Forum and Summit, Infinet CEO Dmitry Okorokov and Technical Support Engineer Ludovic Takam, of Cameroon, held a number of successful meetings with the heads of companies from Egypt, Algeria, Bolivia, Nigeria, South Africa, Congo, Ethiopia and Cameroon.

Following this, Camtel (Cameroon telecommunications), has agreed to create a pilot zone to modernize and expand the existing Camtel telecommunications infrastructure using Infinet equipment. A meeting with the Minister of Information Communication Technology and Courier Services of the Republic of Zimbabwe also resulted in an agreement on the implementation of joint projects.

“Infinet has been represented in the African market for a long time, so we are therefore familiar with the specifics of doing business with our specialized clients: telecom operators and Internet providers,” said Okorokov. “At the forum in Sochi we demonstrated our solutions to a completely new audience, which includes companies from various sectors of the African region’s economy.

“Participation in this event is very important for us, African countries are of particular interest to Infinet because the continent is one of the most promising and fast-growing markets. Key areas for us are security and building a modern telecommunications infrastructure. Infinet is ready to offer its competencies in this area through a range of tried and tested products suitable for the African environment,” Okorokov added.

The large-scale event, which took place on the 23-24 of October 2019 in Sochi, Russia, brought together approximately ten thousand delegates from 54 countries of the African continent, including heads of states, as well as representatives from Russian and international businesses.
Infinet’s booth was attended by crowds of exhibition visitors and presentations were conducted in Russian, English and French.

Infinet will exhibit at Stand C5D at AfricaCom 2019, Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town, South Africa from Tuesday 12 to Thursday 14 November.

Infinet Wireless is in a unique position, being one of the largest privately owned Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) development and manufacturing companies in the world. Since its foundation, Infinet has maintained organic growth through innovation and the ability to deliver complete customer satisfaction throughout. Listening to its customers for more than 26 years, coupled with its innovative approach in research and development, have resulted in a range of advanced fixed wireless connectivity solutions that are a perfect fit for many requirements, making Infinet Wireless the natural choice for global communication corporations and governments, all of whom require uncompromised connectivity.  With over 500,000 deployments from the plains of Siberia to the deserts of the Sahara, Infinet Wireless is active in market segments that deliver Broadband Wireless Access to service providers of all types, government entities, transportation sector (including mobile and nomadic functionality) and Oil & Gas

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