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Agenda 2063 will be a peoples’ document’ says the Commissioner for Economic Affairs
February 4, 2014 | 0 Comments

The Commissioner while emphasizing the ‘bottom-up’ approach of Agenda 2063 as the feature that distinguishes it from previous developmental frameworks, highlighted the important role member states, stake holders, and more importantly the African People have to play in determining the direction of Agenda 2063 so as to truly take ownership of the developmental framework of the continents next 50 years. The already identified stakeholders are the private sector, African academics, think tanks, planning experts and development specialists, civil society organizations, the Diaspora, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), AU organs and sections of society such as women, youth and the media. Reporting the outcome of the consultative process in developing Agenda 2063, Commissioner Maruping presented the wish for a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development, the wish for an integrated continent that is politically united and based on the ideals of Pan Africanism, the wish for an Africa of good governance, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law, the wish for a peaceful and secure Africa, the wish for an Africa with a strong cultural identity, values and ethics, the wish for an Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on Women and its youthful composition, and the wish for a strong Africa that is an influential global player and partner as the consolidated aspiration of the continent. The consultative process involved establishing a technical support team for the continental level discussion on Agenda 2063, providing the forum for participants to share the vision, propose goals, milestones, key drivers, and priority actions, undertaking technical analysis and review of national plans, regional and continental frameworks and the identification of the preliminary indicators and base line information as well as the development of guidelines for national and regional level consultations. Commissioner Maruping announced the plan to submit the final draft Agenda 2063 document to the AU Summit in July 2014 and urged the media to encourage citizens to participate fully in the development of the agenda. *AU/APO  ]]>

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MULK OGI – Oasis Gulf Investment, FZC wins Multimillion USD contract in Sierra Leone
February 4, 2014 | 0 Comments

he Solar Park in Freetown, with a capacity of 6 MW, will be one of West Africa’s largest solar parksSierra Leone, February 3, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Mulk OGI – Oasis Gulf Investment, FZC, a company of the Sharjah-based diversified conglomerate affiliated to Mulk Holdings (http://www.mulkholdings.com), has recently won a multimillion USD contract to provide Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) expertise for the pioneering USD 18 million project, based in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and to become one of West Africa’s largest solar parks. The EPC part of the project will be spear headed by Mr. Khurram Nawab founder of MULK Renewable Energy and inventor of its broad and innovative patented Solar Technologies portfolio. The Solar PV panels will be sourced through a partnership with Masdar PV, a 100% subsidiary of Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s multifaceted initiative for innovative renewable energy technologies, launched and owned by Mubadala Development Company. The Solar Park in Freetown, with a capacity of 6 MW, has been selected from over 80 competitive project applications and countries for the first funding cycle of the prestigious International Renewable Energy (IRENA/ADFD) project facility. All the selected projects contribute towards helping address energy security, improving energy access as well as creating a broad socio-economic impact. Further, each project will inspire and enhance the development of renewable energy projects across the globe. The proposal and implementation of the project in Sierra Leone is going to be carried out by an AED 2 Billion consortium coordinated and initiated by Mr. Bahige Annan – The Consul General of Sierra Leone in Dubai, UAE and IRENA Focal Point, Mr. Siray Timbo – Special Envoy of The President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Mr. Filip Matwin, General Manager of Advanced Science and Innovation Company (ASIC) LLC, who will also act as the manager of the overall project. “I feel glad that our effort to get this clean energy project to the forefront has been successful. From the start, I have been constantly driven to change this thought into reality and now I’m definite thatwith our joint technology expertise and support of The Ministry of Energy of Sierra Leone andAdvanced Science and Innovation Company(ASIC), we will be able to successfully deliver thislandmark project in the best possible way” says Mr. Bahige Annan. The solar park will produce sufficient energy so as to provide electricity to approximately 3000 households on average in Sierra Leone. The overall performance complies with 8.5% of Sierra Leone’s total energy consumption and ensures the supply of energy on a more renewable, affordable and sustainable basis in the future. The goal is to achieve 25% of the country’s energy generation from renewable sources by the year 2015. Mr. Nawab Shaji Ul Mulk, the Founder and Chairman of Mulk OGI – Oasis Gulf Investment, FZC and Mulk Holdings says, “This venture is a big step towards helping us strengthen our base further in the African market and at the same time it has given us a great opportunity to implement our in house patented solar technology in the PV space.” *About Mulk Renewable mulk_slMulk Enpar Renewable Energy provides patented systems for both CSP (Deep Parabolic trough) Technology and PV (Booster Mirror PV Platform)for on grid and off grid solar power generating systems. The organization provides turnkey services which include site selection, engineeringdesign, manufacturing, fabrication, installationand commissioning for solar power projects. The Mulk Enpar Renewable Energy Solar Thermal System is a revolution in trough technology started by its inventor Mr. Khurram KNawab.  He has received considerable worldwide attention for his development and patents on solar light weight metallic composite mirrors for both high concentration and low concentration mirrors under brand Alubond Solar Collector Mirrors & Alubond Booster Mirrors.]]>

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In February, Bloomberg TV Africa will be broadcasting three separate shows: African Business Weekly, Football Dynamics and African Women To Watch
February 4, 2014 | 0 Comments

African Business Weekly: Every Saturday and Sunday at 2pm GMT/ 4pm GMT / 7pm GMT: bloombergtvafricaAfrican Business Weekly brings you the latest business, financial and economic news from across the continent. Anchors Eleni Giokos, Boason Omofaye, and Uche Okoronkwo interview key African figures with the power to make important business decisions. As well as bringing you our weekly market update and the latest stories impacting Africa, we hear from heads of state, including the Senegalese President Macky Sall who reveals his country’s ambitious growth targets. We also sit down with leading CEOs from the biggest companies across the continent, such as Egypt’s biggest investment bank EFG Hermes. And every week, Bloomberg TV Africa (http://www.bloombergtvafrica.com) wants to hear from you, with our special interactive Twitter segment and our Question of the Week. African Women To Watch – Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Special: Every Sunday at 7.30pm GMT throughout February: In our special edition of African Women To Watch airing throughout February, Uche Okoronkwo takes an in-depth look at the life and career of Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. In 2012, Dr Okonjo-Iweala became the first African candidate nominated for the World Bank Presidency. She is also credited with spearheading the $18 billion debt write-off from Nigeria’s creditors in 2005. Now serving a second term as Finance Minister, Dr Okonjo-Iweala offers Bloomberg TV Africa unprecedented insight into her life as one of the world’s most influential women. She opens up about her vision for Nigeria, including a crackdown on oil corruption in 2012 and the launch of the country’s first sovereign wealth fund in 2013. In a special edition of African Women To Watch airing throughout February, Uche Okoronkwo takes an in-depth look at the life and career of Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala) Football Dynamics: Every Saturday and Sunday at 2.30pm GMT/4.30pm GMT/7.30pm GMT: Each week on Football Dynamics Ayesha Durgahee is joined by former Nigerian international Efan Ekoku to bring us a unique insight into the latest football news. With expert commentary from Dave Farrar and BSports contributor Ben Lyttleton, we preview upcoming matches, the game’s key performers and the latest transfers. [caption id="attachment_8326" align="alignright" width="300"]Boason Omofaye and Uche Okoronkwo Boason Omofaye and Uche Okoronkwo[/caption] We discuss our ‘African Team of the Week’ and Efan reveals his ‘African Star’, followed by quickfire questions in ‘Ask Efan’. This is the only show that uses its own data to break down the action, with our unique BSports analytics. (Each week on Football Dynamics Ayesha Durgahee is joined by former Nigerian international Efan Ekoku to bring us a unique insight into the latest football news) “These shows demonstrate an editorial variety that give our advertisers and sponsors the opportunity to appear in a premium business news environment, currently distributed to over 200 million television households across Europe and Africa”, said Rick Plata, International Commercial Director of Bloomberg TV Africa. *In Partnership with APO]]>

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Norway to provide NOK 6 million to AU peacekeeping mission
February 4, 2014 | 0 Comments

“I am very concerned about the situation in the Central African Republic. The presence of a robust international peacekeeping mission is vital to protect the sorely tried civilian population and ensure that humanitarian actors can do their work,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende. The Norwegian contribution was announced at a donor conference arranged by the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa on 1 February. The funds will be used to support the civilian component of the AU mission – the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA). The UN Security Council has given MISCA a mandate to protect the civilian population and help to stabilise the country. The mission consists of a military force of around 5 300 troops in addition to a civilian component made up of police officers and other civilian personnel. “Norway wishes to support the AU in its efforts to deal with conflicts in its own region. Our support to MISCA is an important contribution to this end,” said Mr Brende. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights recently appealed to the international community to intensify efforts in the Central African Republic (CAR). The security and humanitarian situation is dire. The civilian population is being subjected to widespread violence, and law and order has virtually broken down in large parts of the country. The local population and those who have fled their homes are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and protection. On 28 January, the UN Security Council approved the deployment of an EU force to strengthen the international stabilisation effort. In addition to the AU and EU forces, French troops are also engaged in this effort. Norway has previously increased its humanitarian support for CAR. Last year, the country received NOK 58.3 million for humanitarian efforts. Further contributions to the emergency relief efforts are under consideration. “I am also concerned about the regional consequences of the crisis, particularly in the light of the situation across the border in South Sudan. There is a danger that the lawlessness we are seeing in CAR could turn it into a haven for extremists, armed groups and international organised criminals, thus increasing instability in the region,” Mr Brende said. *Source Norway – Ministry of Foreign Affairs/APO]]>

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10 Reasons African-Americans Should Invest in Africa
February 3, 2014 | 1 Comments

G. Thorpe* doing-business-in-africa-600x338Africa has the most natural resources in the world. For example: Just one country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is estimated to have $24 trillion worth of untapped deposits of raw mineral ores, which is equivalent to the combined total Gross Domestic Product of Europe and the United States combined. These raw minerals include cobalt, copper, niobium, tantalum, industrial and gem diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, uranium, coal, petrol and timber. It is believed that 80 percent of the world’s coltan is in the Congo. Besides the raw resources, there are plenty other investment opportunities in Africa and with proper organized initiatives many African-Americans that may want to invest can make plenty of money for their efforts. According to Jerome Almon, a businessman and an economist, “African Americans spend well over a trillion dollars annually, and it does us no good, however investing in Africa through business ventures can create thousands of new millionaires, and dozens of new billionaires in a wide range of categories.” Below are 10 solid reasons why African-Americans should organize campaigns or join other solid initiatives to invest in Africa.  

1. Indication of the new scramble
A good sign that there is a significant amount of wealth that can be made in Africa is the new scramble for the resources on the continent.  Currently, China, Japan, the United States and other countries are positioning strategically to extract the resources from Africa.   For instance, many Chinese companies—some of which are backed by the government—have made significant investments in the Congo and other parts of Africa.  The Chinese government have realized that it’s going to need resources from Africa to fund its growth, its consumption in the future and to make it a wealthier and more powerful nation.
2. Africa is Untapped
Ozii Obiyo, an international business consultant, used the term “untapped” to describe Africa’s potential for positive growth across many sectors, in a recent interview.   For example, besides all the raw materials that are untapped, Africa has 60 percent of the world’s uncultivated arable land.   Experts estimate that the continent’s agricultural output could increase from $280 billion (USD) –the estimate as of July 2010– to $ 500 billion (USD) by 2020 and as much as $880 billion (USD) by 2030. Investing in farming in African can be a lucrative venture.
3.Ground-floor opportunity
There is major ground-floor opportunity for businesses in Africa. For the decade ended Dec. 31, 2009, an African composite index made up of eight countries, including South Africa, Nigeria, and Egypt, returned about 14 percent annualized. South Africa alone returned an average of 13 percent per year over that period. Compare that with the MSCI Emerging Markets Index (Morgan Stanley Capital International), which returned about 7 percent annualized, or the S&P 500, which lost about 3 percent over the same period.
4. Strong growth expectations 
According to projections from the World Bank, nine of the 15 countries in the world with the highest rate of five-year economic growth are in Africa. Experts estimate that Africa is likely to grow by 4.7 percent over the next five years. Economists expect much slower growth in places like the United States and U.K. over the next few years.
5. Profitable companies
There are a number of well-known companies that are based in Africa, including South African Breweries and telecom company MTN. Africa’s total stock market capitalization now exceeds $1 trillion. A past study by two economists, Paul Collier and Jean-Louis Warnholz, found that from 2002 to 2007, the average annual return on capital of African companies was 65 percent to 70 percent higher than that of comparable companies in China, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam. That means the African companies were more profitable. Africa also features about 10 stock exchanges, according to bizcommunity.com. The market capital has risen from $5.5 billion in 1988 to $569 billion in 2005 (excluding South Africa). In addition, small investors are able to access Africa’s growth potential through the T. Rowe Price Africa and Middle East Fund (nasdaq: TRAMX), launched in September 2007. The SPDR S&P Emerging Middle East & Africa (nyse: GAF) exchange-traded fund is another option, according to John H. Christy’s commentary on Forbes.com.
6. Demand for commodities
Ten percent of the world’s oil reserves and 40 percent of the world’s proven gold reserves are found in Africa, according to experts. In addition, Africa contains 90 percent of the world’s platinum reserves, about 80 percent of its cocoa and diamonds, 60 percent of its phosphate, 50 percent of its bauxite and chromium reserves, 20 percent of its titanium, and close to 15 percent of its oil and natural gas.  As other countries like Brazil, Russia, India and China continue industrialize, they’re going to be demanding more and more of these commodities.  (Source: US Geological Survey).
7. Domestic demand
IVM First car manufacturing company in Africa. Nigeria.As people begin to make more money in Africa, domestic demand is set to rise. Consumer spending for goods and services in sectors like telecommunications/Internet services, transportation, wholesale and retail is increasing. Africa’s consumption has grown by $250 billion since 2000,  according to the Global Insight United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, McKinsey Global Institute.  Estimates show that 85 million African households earned $5,000 (USD) or more in 2008. The numbers of households with discretionary income is projected to rise by 50 percent until 2018, reaching 128 million. By 2030, the continent’s top cities could have a spending power of $ 1.3 trillion. African households spent $860 billion in 2008. And African consumers as a class will spend about $1.4 trillion in 2020.
8. Tax-exemption opportunities
Ethiopia, among other African nations, offers significant tax incentives for import of investment capital goods. According to the Ethiopian Embassy, there is a 100 percent exemption on importing investment capital goods like plant machinery and construction material into the country. Also, products developed in Ethiopia are exempt from export tax.
9. Electricity investment
Helping Africa meet its electricity needs can be the light at the end of the tunnel for small investment opportunities that have long-term benefits. Infrastructure development projects are usually the type of investment opportunities reserved for big, institutional investors and project finance endeavors; however, Africa’s need for electricity is so deep that even smaller investors can offer solutions, albeit, on a much smaller scale.  There are a lot of rural communities in Africa that are far removed from electrical grids. Individual systems, small geothermal plants, or diesel generators can be supplied to these communities under carefully crafted arrangements that can turn a profit for the investor/provider.
10. Renewable energy investment opportunities
The surge of renewable energy offers investment opportunities in Africa for small investors and small to medium-size businesses. Renewable sources of energy can be modular in their production and delivery; Africa is blessed with an array of renewable sources of energy like wind and solar. Source: http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/mutual-funds/articles/2010/08/26/12-reasons-to-invest-in-africa?page=2 http://myafricanplan.com/2011/02/52-reasons-to-invest-in-africa/ http://www.ventures-africa.com/2013/06/almon-rallies-african-americans-to-invest-in-africa/ *SOURCE Atlanta Black Star  ]]>

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47 African leaders to attend US summit
February 2, 2014 | 0 Comments

PAUL ARHEWE, WITH AGENCY REPORTS* President Barack Obama will invite 47 leaders to a landmark US-Africa summit in August, seeking to widen US trade, development and security ties with an increasingly dynamic continent to which he traces part of his ancestry. Obama will send out invites to all African nations that are currently in good standing with the United States or are not suspended from the African Union — meaning there will be no place for states like Egypt or Zimbabwe. Obama will hold the talks on August 5 and 6, seeking to cement progress from his trip to Africa last year. A White House statement said the trip would “advance the administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa, and highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people.” The idea for the summit, which takes place with Washington increasingly aware of China’s attempt to enhance its own diplomatic profile in Africa, was first announced by Obama in a speech in Cape Town in June. Egypt, which has caused the Obama administration to thread a foreign policy needle with an erstwhile ally after a military takeover, is not eligible to attend as it is currently suspended from the African Union. The United States maintains sanctions against the Zimbabwean government of Robert Mugabe and key officials over suppression of democracy and what Washington sees as politically motivated violence. Other notable absentees on the invite list include Sudan and Madagascar. Also not on a list distributed by the White House were Guinea- Bissau and Madagascar. Washington has concerns over the subversion of democracy in both nations. There will also be no invitation for Sudan, whose president, Omar al-Bashir, has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC). One notable inclusion is Kenya, where President Uhuru Kenyatta is currently awaiting a delayed trial at the ICC on charges related to violence after an election in 2007 that left 1,000 people dead. The indictment has been one of the reasons why Obama is yet to visit the homeland of his late father as president. But Obama has spoken to Kenyatta on the telephone, and the Kenyan leader has enjoyed more interaction with the outside world since a massacre at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi in September claimed by Somalia’s Al-Qaedalinked Shebaab insurgents. The summit, together with Obama’s trip to Africa last year, and a promised future visit before he leaves office, might go some way to assuaging disappointment that he did not pay the continent more attention in his first term. *Source National Mirror]]>

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China and Japan in Africa: Who is seeking ‘Africa’s interests’ first ?
January 31, 2014 | 0 Comments

Africa was seen by Leopold II as a ‘magnificent African cake’ and still is considered as such by new foreign interests. Between the Chinese and the Japanese it seems the Japanese, like the West, seeks to ‘contain’ China’s influence in Africa. The Chinese aspire to a win-win-South-South cooperation and the restoration of Asia and Africa’s dignity.The logic of foreign powers’ competing interests in Africa denotes a colonial mentality still prevailing toward Africa! What Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent visit to Africa uncovered is a clear plan that Japan and Western powers have: To “contain” China’s influence in Africa. Africa is talked about just as a “walk over”, a battleground for other people’s interests except African people’s interests! Africa has been in that position since the slavery, apartheid, colonialism, neo-colonialism, and now what I call “neo-multi-influencialism”, that is to say, after the Cold War, all major powers are seeking to maintain their influence in Africa to safeguard their strategic interests there (raw materials, geopolitical support at the UN Security Council) without taking the interests of Africans themselves into consideration (making other people rich while remaining poor yourself and being convinced by those you make rich that you are actually poor and you need help, help, help!). It is the strategic interests of these major powers that drive their strategic policies toward Africa (they decide everything about Africa without African themselves). Congo’s natural and mineral resources have been systematically looted in the last 16 years by the same people who are coming to Congo as investors. What does the term “investor” mean in this case? If America and its NATO allies can go and bomb Iraq and Afghanistan back to the stone age and award contracts to American companies to “rebuild” these countries, is that what “globalization” is all about? PANDERING TO WESTERN POWERS’INFLUENCE African countries themselves may have their own policies toward these major powers, but they remain on paper. Africans do not have any means to implement their own policies. Nearly 90 percent of the African Union’s budget itself is financed from outside. So, Africans have only one policy: the bigger the donation, the happier they are! Pandering to Western powers’ influence is exactly what Zimbabwean scholars Jonathan Moyo and Charity Manyeruke think has been happening. According to Jonathan Moyo, the one very clear and disappointing state of politics in Africa today is precisely the issue raised by President Mugabe in the interview on the occasion of his 88th birthday of not just cowardice of the so-called new breed of African leaders but also their treachery (Sydney Kawadza, “Some African leaders coward,” ‘The Herald,’ 20 February, 2012). “It’s not only that they want budgetary support from Western powers or genuinely want to address anything in Africa. It’s simply that they are sellouts by definition. They don’t think about their people but themselves and their pockets.” (Herald Reporter, ‘Political analysts castigate puppet African leaders,’ ‘The Herald,’ 21 February, 2012). Charity Manyeruke stresses that African leaders’ reliance on foreign aid while Western powers have been taking Africa’s resources, is the reason why some economies were still struggling. She thinks too much dependence on the North stifles development in Africa because you cannot make independent decisions. “There is need for us to unite as a continent for genuine regional integration but if we still have other countries singing from the same hymn with the West then we have a problem,” Manyeruke emphasizes. We cannot sacrifice principles for donated money. Otherwise what do we become? What do we make of the sacrifices of Patrice Lumumba – and others – Lumumba whose assassination we commemorated on 17 January 2014 as I was writing this paper because he refused to betray Congo and Africa? The fact that warring South Sudanese factions were driven to the underground part of a hotel in Addis Ababa, which is a night club venue, by the visiting Japanese delegation should have provided a good lesson for them and for all Africans (“South Sudan talks resume in Addis Ababa nightclub Gaslight,”, BBC, 13 January 2014). I remember warring Congolese factions also holding talks in Sun City, the Las Vegas of South Africa. We Africans have gambled with our lives and our future for too long now. It is high time for us to take our destiny into our own hands. JAPAN REMAINS A CATCH-22 FOR AFRICAN DONATION RECEIVERS Japan is an industrial state without natural resources wants to consolidate its interests in Africa to ensure a steady flow of African resources to feed its industries. China too needs natural resources to feed its growing economy. But there are differences between the two Asian countries, as far as their policies toward Africa are concerned: 1. As a Congolese who mourn 6 million of my compatriots massacred by Rwandan and Ugandan invaders, supported by Britain and America in the 16 years, I am troubled by the fact that Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe can visit the controversial Yasukuni Shrine to honor wartime criminals during the invasion of China by Japan, and shortly after that, he visits Africa and several African countries and the African Union just roll out the red carpet for him. I totally agree with Mr. Xie Xiaoyan, Chinese Ambassador to the African Union for reminding the African conscience about Japanese atrocities in China – in pictures (I used the same method in London to highlight the genocide in Congo). There should be no support for apologists of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity anywhere in the world, let alone in Africa where genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity are being committed on a grand scale with impunity, especially currently in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The fact that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Ivory Coast where many of President Laurent Gbagbo’s supporters have recently been massacred on a massive scale is troubling. Africa should treat any apologist of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity as a pariah because Africa has been the victim of such crimes from slavery up to today. The current Japanese government should be treated as “a scar on the conscience of the world”, including by the United States and Europe, its allies. Japan should not bring its contradictions to Africa. 2. Unlike Japan, China is not totally bereft of natural and mineral resources under its soil. 3. Japan’s interests in Africa are not subjected to a near hate campaign, including the accusation of colonialism, like Chinese interests in Africa. As an African I wonder why. The reason is that Japan comes to Africa riding on the back of Western powers to “contain” China’s influence in Africa. The proof is: France and Japan have just formed an alliance to target Chinese influence in Africa. We are witnessing another “pivot to Africa”, involving Japan, the United States and Europe. The recent France-Japan talks focused largely on a stepped-up imperialist intervention in Africa, to destroy China’s rising influence in the continent. Japan pledged to support ongoing French wars in two former French colonies, Mali and the Central African Republic (CAR). The new defense cooperation between Paris and Tokyo comes at a time when Japan and China are embroiled in a bitter dispute over the disputed Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea. These tensions have been largely driven by the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia”—a US policy of forming strategic and military alliance with Japan, Australia, India and other regional powers to surround China (the policy of “a ring of fire around China”) and contain its rising economic influence. Following the talks between French and Japanese ministers, a joint statement was issued apparently criticising China’s declaration of an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) last year that covers the disputed Diaoyu islands. The statement emphasized the importance of ensuring the freedom of flight above the open sea and exclusive economic zones, as well as securing the safety of civilian aircraft. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, stopping short of naming China, said, “The tensions [between China and Japan] are a source of concern. We want this part of the world to find solutions to ease tensions.” (Kumaran Ira, “France, Japan Form Alliance Targeting Chinese Influence in Africa,” ‘World Socialist Web Site,’ 13 January 2014). 4. Japan boasts modern high-technology industries. But unlike China, Japan has never transferred its technology to Africa. Africa does not need big donations forever. Africa needs modern technologies so that it can transform its resources on the spot and create jobs and markets for its people at national, regional. continental and international levels. China has already transferred some of its technologies to Africa (the Hisense company in South Africa and oil extraction technology in Sudan). Indeed, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” (Chinese proverb). 5. History has proven that we Africans can believe and trust China. We trust China when China says that it is ready to cooperate with any other major power in Africa provided that “we put African interests first”. As Chinese scholar Luo Jianbo writes, “of course, it is well known that a nation’s foreign policy always serves its national interests first. China is no exception. China never denies that its African policy aims to pursue its own strategic interests in Africa [nor that it has not made mistakes there]. However, one of the most outstanding features of China’s African policy from the very beginning is its aspiration to promote a win-win-South-South cooperation and the restoration of Asia and Africa’s dignity. China’s engagement in Africa provides Africa with new development opportunities and promotes Africa to integrate in the international system in a more favorable way, that is to say, as an equal partner (Luo Jianbo, “China-Africa relations and China’s international responsibility,” ‘World Economics and Politics,’ 2013, Vol.9, No.397, pp.52-70). Those who want to keep a kind of “master-slave” relationship with Africa are not happy about that. *Source Pambazuka   *Lokongo from Congo]]>

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Edinburgh Business School Celebrates Success of African Graduates
January 31, 2014 | 0 Comments

The event will see 200 graduates from across the continent gather in Johannesburg On the 8th February, Edinburgh Business School (http://www.ebsglobal.net/africa) will mark the achievements of its long-standing presence in Africa with a celebration event for graduates. The event will see 200 graduates from across the continent gather in Johannesburg. Edinburgh Business School has been offering executive education in Africa since 1990 and currently has 3760 students with a further 2000 alumni from its MBA programme. The event will also celebrate the first 23 graduates from the African Scholarship programme launched and funded by Edinburgh Business School in 2010. The scholarship scheme is the largest of its kind; offering 250 people in Africa a fully-funded place on the Edinburgh Business School distance learning MBA (Master of Business Administration) programme. The scholarship programme, which was established in 2010 by Edinburgh Business School, has enabled applicants from across Africa to gain access to advanced management skills and expertise, helping them to effect change in their organisations and communities. The flexibility of the distance learning MBA has also enabled students to continue working while they learn, implementing their new knowledge and skills in the workplace immediately. Professor Keith Lumsden, Academic Director of Edinburgh Business School, the Graduate School of Business of Heriot-Watt University, comments on the school’s presence in Africa and scholarship scheme: “Edinburgh Business School has been active in Africa for over 20 years and to celebrate this long standing relationship, we established The Africa Scholarship Programme in 2010. We are very proud to recognise and celebrate all of our graduates today.  They emerge equipped with skills that will enhance not only their own lives but also the wider communities around them.  All of the people we are recognising at today’s event have worked hard to secure their MBA’s and will no doubt go on to achieve great things”. Graduating student Simon Peter Kavuma from Uganda comments on the opportunity and the impact the MBA and The African Scholarship Programme has had on his life: “Receiving the scholarship was a life changing event, and it’s difficult to see how I would have studied for the MBA without it. My MBA studies have led to career progression and possibilities that would have been impossible without it”. Recently appointed Deputy Chief Finance Office at Citbank Uganda, Simon believes that the MBA was an important factor in securing the new position. Graça Machel, leading educationalist and wife of the late Nelson Mandela, comments on the scholarship programme: “Scholarship programmes offer a wonderful opportunity for students from all over Africa to learn, gain and share invaluable technical, managerial and leadership skills, as well as obtain recognised qualifications. These skills are vital in our future leaders. I hope that as the Edinburgh Business School scholars graduate, they will continue to develop leadership which promote the conditions for the full exercise of citizen’s rights including equity and dignity for all”. In order to apply for a place on the MBA programme, students must be a national or resident in a sub-Saharan African country, have a university degree and at least two years of full time work experience.  You can find out more here http://www.ebsglobal.net/africa For further details and guidance on how to apply to The African Scholarship Programme please visit http://www.canoncollins.org.uk/edinburghmba.html   The ‘Celebration of Achievement Awards’ will be held on Saturday 8th February in Johannesburg. The event will be hosted by Professor Keith Lumsden, Academic Director, and Alick Kitchin Business Director of Edinburgh Business School.   •          The first African Scholarship Programme graduates are from 6 countries: Zimbabwe, Uganda, Malawi, Mauritius, Kenya and Zambia.   Case studies are available for the following graduates:   Erimon Maundu from Zimbabwe completed the MBA in June 2013 and works as Investigations Specialist at Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.   Errol Hove from Zimbabwe completed the MBA in June 2013 and now works as Chief Accountant at Zimasco Private Ltd.   Fazhil Kyeyune Mwesigwa from Uganda completed the MBA in June 2013 and works as Audit Senior Associate at KPMG.   Joseph Isiko from Uganda completed the MBA in June 2013 and was promoted to Manager Audit at KPMG shortly after finishing.   Moses Nsiima from Uganda joined Diamond Trust Bank as Head of Compliance shortly before completing the MBA in March 2013.   Sangwani Mwafulirwa from Malawi completed the MBA in June 2013 and is currently the Director of Media and Public Relations at the Malawi Electoral Commission.   Simon Peter Kavuma from Uganda completed the MBA in December 2012 which helped him secure his current position as Deputy Chief Finance Officer at Citibank Uganda.   Varinka Tandrayen from Mauritius completed the MBA in August 2013 and secured her current position as Manager (Quality Unit, Administration and Enterprise Risk Cluster) at the Financial Services Commission in Mauritius halfway through the programme.   Webster Tembo from Zambia completed the MBA in June 2013 and joined Lafarge Cement PLC as Improvements Engineer midway through the programme.   Willie Ganda from Zimbabwe completed the MBA in December 2012 which enabled him to secure his current position as Director of Research Development and Innovation at the Ministry of Science and Technology Development in Zimbabwe.   Moses Mfune from Zambia completed the MBA in June 2013 which played a significant role in his decision to found customs broking firm Nogza Enterprises.     •          Edinburgh Business School, the Graduate School of Business of Heriot-Watt University, launched in Africa in 1990 and now has 3760 active students and 2000 alumni across the continent. For more information see http://www.ebsglobal.net/africa   •          In order to eligible for the scholarship you must: o          be a national of and ordinarily resident in a sub-Saharan African country o          be able to say how the MBA will benefit you  and your  community o          have a first degree from a recognised university or an a professional qualification such as ACCA o          be at least 25 years old and not older than 45 years old at the time of starting the programme o          have at least 2 year’s full-time work experience o          have an operational Internet connection •          For general information about the school and its activities see http://www.ebsglobal.net/  *In Partnership with APO]]>

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UN WOMEN AND MARA FOUNDATION ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP TO SUPPORT WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS
January 30, 2014 | 0 Comments

 Announced during the Africa Union Summit in Ethiopia, the partnership will see the two entities working side-by-side to provide mentoring, training and business tools designed to meet the individual needs of women entrepreneurs around the world. One such tool, ‘Mara Mentor’, has been developed by Mara Online to help young entrepreneurs connect with their industry peers, as well as gainaccess to valuable business advice, online networking opportunities and training materials. ‘Mara Mentor’ can be accessed via a website (mentor.mara.com), and a recently launched app which helps users connect, anytime, anywhere. UN Women’s Knowledge Gateway for Women’s Economic Empowerment (www.empowerwomen.org), is a global community set up to share resources and tools for women’s economic empowerment, crowd-source feedback on innovative ideas and to connect women entrepreneurs and workers with experts, peers, networks and potential partners.   Combining the strengths of the Mara Mentor online platform and app and UN Women’s EmpowerWomen.org, as well as its network of over 80 country offices around the world, women entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to better connect with policymakers, researchers, teachers, students, civil society activists, investors, social change-makers; access resources and training for the development of business skills; and develop an understanding of how to overcome specific challenges to gender equality. Ashish J. Thakkar, Founder of Mara Foundation, said: “Having founded my own business at the age of 15, I understand all too well the challenges that face entrepreneurs setting up a business. These challenges are even greater for women who continue to lag behind men when it comes to gender equality in the workplace. “I hope that through the combined efforts of UN Women and Mara Foundation, we can create a level playing field for women entrepreneurs and a solid network of women business leaders who will continue to inspire other women in Africa for generations to come.” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, said: “Women’s economic empowerment is essential to ending poverty and advancing gender equality and we are pleased to partner with the Mara Foundation to make greater progress.” “Women have a right to equal opportunities and equal access to resources and training. When women are empowered and barriers removed, the benefits ripple outward to many others, making economies more inclusive and stronger. Through this partnership, we hope to accelerate gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in Africa and beyond.” Over the next 12 months, UN Women and Mara Foundation will jointly host a series of debates on women’s economic empowerment across both platforms. Experts from around the globe will be invited to facilitate discussions and engage members of Mara Mentor and EmpowerWomen.org in order to better understand the barriers faced by women in business in Africa and globally. It is expected that this will further drive innovative approaches to women’s economic empowerment. UN Women and Mara Foundation will be participating in a number of other joint activities and events to raise awareness of the issues women face in business and further strengthen the support provided to them by both the private and public sector. About UN Women UN Women is the global champion for women and girls, dedicated to upholding the rights of half the world’s people. Its 2010 formation, applauded around the globe, offers an historic opportunity to unleash progress for women and for societies. UN Women acts on the fundamental premise that every woman has the right to live a life free from violence, poverty and discrimination, and that gender equality is central to achieving development. UN Women stands behind women’s equal participation in all aspects of life, but pursues a handful of elements proven to unlock rapid transformation, including ending violence against women; increasing women’s participation and leadership, and enhancing women’s economic empowerment. About Mara Foundation Mara Foundation is part of Mara Group, a pan-African multi-sector business with extensive operating experience in both African and international markets. Established in 2009, Mara Foundation focuses on fostering entrepreneurialism in Africa through a myriad of programmes designed to address the complete life-cycle of an entrepreneur’s business idea. The Foundation works to create sustainable economic and business development opportunities for young entrepreneurs via Mara Women, Mara Mentor, Mara Launchpad and the Mara Ad-Venture Capital Fund. Mara Mentor’s online platform and mobile app have been developed by Mara Online – Mara’s online and mobile technology business. The Foundation is active in a number of countries including Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Nigeria. For more information, visit www.mara-foundation.org.  ]]>

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ONE Joins D’banj and African Partners to Launch ‘Do Agric’ at AU Summit
January 30, 2014 | 0 Comments

New campaign aims to help lift more than 85 million Africans out of poverty through targeted investment in agriculture and “enhanced CAADP” policies The ONE Campaign (http://www.one.org) today released a new report and launched Do Agric, It Pays, a campaign calling for African governments to commit to spending at least 10% of national budgets on effective agriculture investments, through transparent and accountable budgets. At the heart of the Do Agric campaign is an effort to push political leaders to adopt better policies that will boost productivity, increase incomes and help lift millions of Africans out of extreme poverty. Nigerian singer-songwriter D’banj was on hand for the Do Agric, It Pays kick-off event in Addis Ababa today. Civil society partners at the launch included the Pan African Farmers Association (PAFO), ActionAid International, Acord International, Oxfam, East and Southern African Farmers Forum , ROPPA, Southern African Confederation of Agriculture Unions, the Africa Union Commission, Becho Welisho and the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Campaign champions include Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, Beninois President Dr. Thomas Yayi Boni and Côte d’Ivoire footballer Yaya Touré, with Touré starring in a new ONE PSA, which debuted today onhttp://www.one.org/doagric. The launch of Do Agric in Addis Ababa coincides with the 2014 January African Union (AU) summit, where heads of state have gathered to discuss key development challenges across the continent. The AU has declared 2014 the Year of Agriculture in Africa. “Now is the time to get our leaders to commit to a big push toward implementing effective agricultural policies, scale up public investment in agriculture and catalyze private sector participation in agriculture development,” says ONE Africa Director Dr. Sipho Moyo. “Of the more than 400 million Africans living in extreme poverty, 70% live in rural areas that depend on agriculture. Remarkably, the multiplier effect of agricultural growth in sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to be 11 times greater in reducing poverty than in other non-agriculture sectors, such as utilities and mining.(1)” D’banj said, “There are massive untapped business opportunities in agriculture that could create jobs for millions of Africans on and off the farm. I want Africans to know that farming is not only the foundation of the economy, but also that farming is cool. I believe that, if the needed attention is given to agriculture, we Africans will not only feed ourselves, but also the rest of the world.” “While other African leaders have made statements of good will, currently only eight countries have kept their promise to invest 10% of their national budgets in agriculture. It is therefore essential to do more, to go further. Agriculture is not only important, it is also vital. Agriculture pays,” said Yaya Touré. A new ONE report, called Ripe for Change: The Promise of Africa’s Agricutural Transformation, calls on African governments to implement an “enhanced CAADP” package of policies to accelerate economic development in Africa through an African-led agricultural transformation agenda steered by the AU’s own CAADP (Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme). The package of policy recommendations, which was developed after a lengthy consultation process with African farmers and farmers associations from all over the continent, includes: 1)        Make time-bound commitments to meet the Maputo pledge of spending at least 10% of national budgets on effective agriculture investments, through transparent and accountable budgets. 2)        Eliminate the gender gap in agriculture. 3)        Strengthen land governance and security of tenure rights. 4)        Reduce barriers to intra-regional trade. 5)        Increase R&D investment to at least 1% of agricultural GDP and bolster extension services. 6)        Integrate sustainability and climate resilience into national agriculture plans. 7)        Prioritise the reduction of post-harvest loss in national agriculture plans. 8)        Design nutrition goals into agriculture sector strategies. 9)        Foster an enabling environment for smallholder integration and responsible private sector investment. 10)      Accelerate implementation of agriculture plans and ensure results for smallholder farmers. oneThe report also highlights recent success stories resulting from increased agriculture investment and enhanced CAADP-style policy reforms, such as those in Ghana, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso. In Ghana, agriculture is the biggest driver of poverty reduction, with initiatives such as credit reform, targeted subsidies for farmers, and new infrastructure supporting private sector investment, particularly in the cocoa sector. Perhaps no country illustrates the opportunities that agricultural investment can unlock better than Ethiopia. Three decades after experiencing a devastating famine that captured the world’s attention, the country has boosted cereal production and emerged as a leader in agricultural innovation, with an agriculture growth rate of 7% on average since 2003. In Burkina Faso, the government spends 10% of its budget on agriculture, resulting in growth rates of more than 6% per year in the sector. Following reforms, cotton production has tripled, leading to export earnings of $165 million and household income growing by between 19% and 43%. Dr. Moyo added, “The good news is there are real success stories across the continent to build upon. These African-led successes must now be scaled, adopted and adapted across the region so that small farms can become small firms, young people can find good jobs and African economies can thrive. This virtuous cycle of agriculture-led industrialization will bring stability and prosperity across Africa. This is the future for African agriculture we can create together, if we seize the great opportunity of 2014.”   Citizens can learn more and sign a petition in support of agriculture investment and the enhanced CAADP reforms at http://www.one.org/doagric.]]>

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IMF and Mozambique to Host Regional Conference Africa Rising on Economic Successes and Challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa
January 29, 2014 | 0 Comments

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Government of Mozambique will co-host a conference on May 29-30, 2014, in Maputo to take stock of Sub-Saharan Africa’s strong economic performance and the ongoing challenges in the region. The Africa Rising conferencewill also explore how to strengthen the partnership between the IMF and its African member countries. The conference will bring together policymakers from Africa and beyond, and leaders from the private sector, civil society, and academia with the goal of exploring avenues to sustain the region’s current growth performance and sharing the benefits more widely among all the populations. “The Mozambique Conference will provide a unique opportunity to address Africa’s achievements and the road ahead. We are very much looking forward to listening to all our partners in Africa,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “The Fund has a very constructive dialogue with African policymakers that we believe has assisted the region in a reform effort that has paid off significantly. So this event will broaden the policy discussion at this crucial juncture, bringing together all those committed to Africa’s continuing success.” An increasing number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa have achieved strong growth in recent years. This performance has increased standards of living and reduced poverty in many countries. It has also made many economies stronger and more resilient, as demonstrated during the global financial crisis. But many challenges remain. Poverty remains high in many countries. For those that have been doing well, the key challenge now is to maintain high growth, while boosting job creation and accelerating structural transformation. For others, notably those that recently have emerged from conflict, the first priority remains to establish political and economic stability to provide the basis for a strong economy. Discussion at the conference will focus on these key issues, along with others that are central to Africa’s efforts to move up the development ladder: fostering inclusion and job creation; harnessing natural resources wealth for the benefit of current and future generations; financing infrastructure; creating deeper and broader financial markets; and overcoming fragility. *Source IMF.For further information, please refer to the Africa Rising website at http://www.africa-rising.org. Courtesy of APO]]>

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IOM Launches Project to Engage Tanzanian Diaspora
January 29, 2014 | 0 Comments

IOM has launched a new outreach project designed to engage Tanzanians living abroad in the country’s development. The project “Enhancing the Migration Evidence Base for the Development of Tanzania” started this week with a three-day diaspora engagement workshop to highlight the ways in which the diaspora can contribute to national development. The event, which ends today, was attended by high-level representatives and key stakeholders from government ministries, academia, civil society organizations and research institutions. In his opening remarks, Tanzania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Bernard Membe said that the Tanzanian diaspora now numbered some 3.7 million. “Engaging with the diaspora and creating opportunities for the transfer of human, social and financial capital could result in enhanced development, particularly in sectors such as education and health, but also in view of expanding private sector investments in Tanzania, which would lead an increase in employment opportunities,” he noted. The minister also highlighted the importance of creating a favourable environment in Tanzania, to enable members of the diaspora who wish to invest, and noted that allowing Tanzanians to obtain dual citizenship will be crucial to maximize contributions from the diaspora and to build confidence between them and the Tanzanian government. The IOM project will also include the creation of a “Migration Profile” to provide better understanding and knowledge of Tanzania’s migration dynamics. The project launch follows the Government of Tanzania’s request for IOM’s technical and financial support to promote enhanced coordination amongst ministries on migration matters; undertake a comprehensive Migration Profile; enhance the understanding of approaches to diaspora engagement; and support the creation of a diaspora website. The project is funded through IOM’s International Development Fund (IDF). *SOURCE International Office of Migration (IOM)/ APO]]>

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