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Development bank for Central African States disburse 90 Billion FCFA to circumvent economic impact of Coronavirus
April 2, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

CEMAC Leaders at a 2019 Summit in Yaounde ,Cameroon.Photo credit PRC.

The Development Bank of Central African States, BDEAC is finalizing plans to doll out cira 90 billion francs CFA to governments of the six member states of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community, CEMAC, to enable them cushion the negative economic impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

This was the major decision reached when Finance Ministers of CEMAC met in Brazzaville, the Congolese capital on March 29, to ponder on the economic slum looming within the sub region, nay the world, because of the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak worldwide.

During what they categorized as an extraordinary meeting, Finance Ministers from Cameroon, Chad Republic, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic and Congo Brazzaville took much time in analyzing the impact of this pandemic on the economic fabric of their nations and the sub region in general.

They noted that with the drastic fall in price of a barrel of oil and the drop in trade deals across the sub region, Africa and the world, there was a need for such a subsidy to enable CEMAC member states face the crisis situation.

In a press release issued by the Permanent Secretary of the CEMAC Economic and Financial Reform Programme, PREFCEMAC, the Bank of Central African States, BEAC will make this money available to the sub region’s development bank. PREFCEMAC specified that the money will be channeled to finance public projects relating to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the strengthening of health systems within member states.

Before this decision emanated from the extraordinary meeting of CEMAC Finance Ministers, the sub regional development bank had already dished out 500 million francs CFA to each member state to enable governments take precautionary measures as the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic was announced.

Development and Central Bank officials also announced that BEAC will double the weekly credits it normally gives to credit banks. This will rise from 250 billion francs CFA to 500 billion francs per week.

This is also in line with the statutes of the monetary policy committee which met a few days before the Finance Ministers’ met and deliberated by videoconference.

The sub region’s monetary officials also assured that all interest rates normally attributed to calls for tender will be lowered by 25 basis points, as well as the revised marginal loan facility rate by 100 points.

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Three Things the G20 must do to support Africa in COVID-19 Pandemic
March 26, 2020 | 0 Comments
The G20 Summit 2019 in Osaka, Japan .Photo Reuters
The G20 Summit 2019 in Osaka, Japan .Photo Reuters

Addis Ababa, 26 March 2020 (ECA) – This is a global crisis affecting the whole world. Africa, however, will be hit harder with a heavy and durable economic toll, which will threaten progress and prospects, widen inequalities between and within countries, and worsen current fragilities.

African countries need support in preparing for the health crisis, and for the economic fallout. The measures being taken in Asia, Europe and North America such as physical (social) distancing and regular hand washing will be a particular challenge for countries with limited internet connectivity, dense populations, unequal access to water and limited social safety nets.

In line with the steps being taken across the globe, African countries are preparing for the worst effects of this pandemic.

Here are the three things the G20 must do:

1. Support for an immediate health and human response

a. G20 leaders should support and encourage open trade corridors, especially for pharmaceuticals and other health supplies, as well as support for the upgrade of health infrastructure and provide direct support to existing facilities. This will enable countries to focus on prevention as much as possible and start building curative facilities. Support should be provided to WHO and CDC Africa with funds channelled through the Global Fund, GAVI and others.

b. G20 leaders should support public health campaigns and access to information including through an expedited private sector partnership for internet connectivityto enable economic activity to continue during social distancing measures and to support the effective sharing of information about the pandemic.

2. Deliver an immediate emergency economic stimulus to African governments in their efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic

a. G20 leaders should announce a US$100 billion (in addition to the $50bn already committed) to fund the immediate health response, social safety nets for the most vulnerable, feeding for out of school children, and to protect jobs. As a proportion of GDP this is consistent with measures taken in other regions. To ensure immediate fiscal space and liquidity, this package should include a waiver of all interest payments, estimated at US$44 billion for 2020.

b. G20 leaders should support a waiver on principal and interest for African Fragile States such as the Sahel, Central African Republic and others who are already struggling with the burden of debt and have limited fiscal space.

c. G20 leaders should endorse for enhanced predictability, transparency and accountability of financial flows so finance ministers can plan effectively and civil society stakeholders can help track flows to ensure reach those most in need.

3. Implement emergency measures to protect 30 million jobs immediately at risk across the continent, particularly in the tourism and airline sectors.

a. G20 leaders should take measures to support agricultural imports and exports, the pharmaceutical sector and the banking sector. An extended credit facility, refinancing schemes and guarantee facilities should be used to waive, restructure and provide additional liquidity in 2020.

b. G20 leaders should support a liquidity line available to the private sector operating in Africa to ensure essential purchases can continue and all SMEs dependent on trade can continue to function.

c. G20 leaders should ensure that national and regional stimulus packages covering private and financial systems include measures to support African businesses through allowing for the suspension of leasing, debt and other repayments to global businesses

*Economic assessments of the impact of COVID-19  presented to the African Ministers of Finance can be found here: uneca.org/vc-covid19-impact-africa

*Source ECA

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Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations donate COVID-19 Medical Equipment to African Union Member States
March 23, 2020 | 0 Comments
Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the Government of Ethiopia received a consignment of medical equipment

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, March 23, 2020/ — Africa’s response to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak received a boost today as the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the Government of Ethiopia received a consignment of medical equipment from the Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations.

The shipment included over 1.5 million laboratory diagnostic test kits and over 100 tons of infection prevention and control commodities.

This relief initiative was launched by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Dr Abiy Ahmed, the Jack Ma Foundation, and Alibaba Foundation as part of actions towards implementation of the Africa joint continental strategy for COVID-19 led by the African Union through Africa CDC.

“On behalf of the Chairperson of the African Union, His Excellency, Cyril Ramaphosa, we thank the Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations for this generous hospitality and contribution to the continent. We thank His Excellency the Prime Minister, and the Government of Ethiopia, for facilitating the donation,” said H.E. Mr Edward Xolisa Makaya, South Africa’s Permanent Representative to Ethiopia and the African Union. 

“This is a great honour and initiative and a great sign of solidarity that the world needs at this critical time. The test kits and other materials will support African countries in their fight against this outbreak. We are facing a humanitarian situation, an economic situation and a security situation in the continent and Africa CDC clearly applauds the initiative of the prime minister and the Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations,” said Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC. 

The COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread rapidly across the continents of the world claiming thousands of lives and huge resources. In just about three months it has caused over 12,000 deaths worldwide and impacted socioeconomic activities, particularly tourism and transport. 

Ethiopian Airlines will help distribute the equipment, consisting 20,000 laboratory diagnostic test kits, 100,000 medical masks, and 1000 protective suits and face shields, to each of the Member States as part of their contribution to the fight against COVID-19 in Africa. 

“We appeal to our ministries of health to ensure that these materials are distributed and used where they are mostly needed,” said H.E. Ambassador Mohamed Idriss Farah, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Djibouti, Dean of African Diplomatic Corps, and Chair of the African Union Peace and Security Council.
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Merck Foundation meets the President of Namibia to underscore their long-term partnership with the First Lady of Namibia to break infertility stigma
March 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

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

Merck Foundation launched their programs in partnership with Namibia’s First Lady together with Ministry of Health & Social Service and Ministry of Education

Merck Foundation to train doctors in the fields Cancer, Diabetes and Fertility Care to build healthcare capacity in the country

Merck Foundation to train media to break the stigma of infertility in partnership with The First Lady of Namibia

Windhoek, Namibia: Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany underscored their commitment to break infertility stigma and build healthcare capacity in Namibia during their high-level meeting held at the State House between The Head of State of Namibia, H.E. HAGE GEINGOB, The F irst Lady of Namibia, H.E MONICA GEINGOS and Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation. The objective of the meeting was to explain and discuss the programs of Merck Foundation, which were launched in partnership with Namibia First Lady and Ministry of Health & Social Service and Ministry of Education.

H.E. HAGE GEINGOB, the President of Namibia emphasized “Namibia needs t he programs of Merck Foundation break Infertility Stigma and train media t o sensit ize communities about health and sensitive issues. Moreover, the training programs for specialized doctors are very critical for our people and their social and economic well- being. I wholeheartedly support Merck Foundation in our country, to enable the success of all their programs.”

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation & President, Merck More Than a Mother with H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia & Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother during the launch event

The First lady of Namibia and Ambassador of Merck More than a Mother, H.E. Mrs. MONICA GEINGOS emphasized the importance of this campaign to break the silence of the Namibian women who suffered from the stigma of infert ilit y . Also emphasized the critical role her office is going to play to be the voice of these women to empower them through advocacy, access to information and change of mindset.

“I am very happy and proud of partnership with the First Lady of Namibia and Ambassador of Merck More than a Mother. This partnership will help us to break the stigma of infertility and empower childless women through access to information, health and change of mindset. It will also help us to train specialized doctors in t he fields of Diabetes, Oncology and Fertility care which will contribute significantly towards social and economic development in Namibia. We are committed to lead Africa to a better future through changing the landscape of healthcare in the continent”, emphasized Dr. Rasha Kelej.

Merck Foundation also plans to introduce other unique initiatives in t he c ountry t o create the desired culture shift with regard to breaking the stigma around infertility.

“Few initiatives include announcing the ‘Merck More than a Mother’ Media Recognition Award and Health Media Training for the first time in the country in partnership with The First Lady of Namibia together with Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education. Also, launching an inspiring children storybook of Paulus and Limbikani to strengthen family values of love and respect since young ages which will reflect on eliminating the stigma of infertility and result ed domest ic violence in the future. Also, involving Fashion industry to deliver the message of breaking the stigma of infertile women to the community in day to day life which will be achieved by out ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ Fashion Awards for Namibia and rest of Africa. We will also be launching our special project ‘Education Linda’, which helps young girls who are unprivileged but brilliant to continue their education.”, added Dr. Rasha Kelej.

About Merck Oncology Fellowship Program

The Merck Oncology Fellowship Program, a key initiative of Merck Cancer Access Program, focuses on building additional capacity through medical education and training.

The lack of financial means is not the only challenge in Africa and developing countries, but a scarcity of trained health care personnel capable to tackle the prevention, early diagnosis and management of cancer at all levels of the health care systems is even a bigger challenge.

Merck Oncology Fellowship Program focuses on building professional cancer care capacity with the aim to increase the limited number of oncologists in Africa and Developing countries. The program provides One-year fellowship program at Tata Memorial Centre – India, One and hal f – years Oncology Fellowship programs at University of Malaya – Malaysia, Two years Oncology Fellowship Program at University of Nairobi – Kenya and Two years Master degree in Medical Oncology at Cairo University – Egypt, in partnership with African Ministries of Health, Local Governments and Academia.

Launched in 2016, Merck Foundation has trained more than 80 Oncology Care Specialists from 26 countries which are: Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, DRC , Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinee, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

About ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign

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

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

The Ambassadors of “Merck More Than a Mother” are: H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana H.E. FATOUMATTA BAHBARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia H.E DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The First Lady of Burundi H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana H.E AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADO, The First Lady of Niger H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic H.E. CONDÉ DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea Conakry H.E. AISHA BUHARI, The First Lady of Nigeria H.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, The First Lady of Chad H.E. C LAR WEAH, The First Lady of Liberia H.E FATIMA MAADA, The First Lady of Sierra Leone H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOUNGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo Brazzaville H.E. PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of Malawi H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia H.E. SYLVIA BONGO ONDIMBA, The First Lady of Democratic Republic of Congo H.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe

Merck Foundation is making history in many African countries where they never had fertility specialists or specialized fertility clinics before ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ intervention, to train the first fertility specialists such as; in Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, Niger, Chad, Guinea, Ethiopia and Uganda.

Merck Foundation launched new innovative initiatives to sensitize local communities about infertility prevention, male infertility with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and empowering infertile women as part of Merck More than a Mother COMMUNITY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN, such as;

‘Merck More than a Mother’ Media Recognition Awards and Health Media Training

• ‘Merck More than a Mother’ Fashion Awards • ‘Merck More than a Mother’ Film Awards

• Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it

• Children storybook, localized for each country

*Source Merck Foundation

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NIGERIA: FORTHCOMING REPORT TO HIGHLIGHT IMPROVING INVESTOR SENTIMENT AS PROJECT PIPELINE MOVES FORWARD
March 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission signs new MoU with Oxford Business Group

Wen Qian Chang, OBG Country Director and Yewande Sadiku, Executive Secretary, NIPC

Nigeria’s efforts to attract foreign investment for sectors of its economy earmarked for growth, despite the challenging external environment prompted by the coronavirus, will be mapped out in a new report by the global research and advisory firm Oxford Business Group (OBG).

The Report: Nigeria 2020 will shine a spotlight on the country’s plans to roll out new transport and other infrastructure projects in the coming years as part of a broader bid to accommodate its growing population and rising levels of urbanisation.

Key topics explored will include the growing emphasis on public-private partnerships in Nigeria’s infrastructural drive that is supporting a push to increase the part played by the private sector in the economy.

With the delayed Dangote refinery back in the spotlight in December, when the huge crude distillation column was inaugurated, The Report: Nigeria 2020 will consider the significant contribution that the facility will make to the national economy by processing local crude and, in turn, reducing fuel imports.

There will also be wide-ranging coverage of Nigeria’s ICT development, which is proving to be crucial in helping the country to reduce its reliance on hydrocarbons and encourage entrepreneurial activity.

In addition, OBG will look at both the benefits that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, signed by Nigeria in July 2019, is expected to bring in terms of strengthening trade and commercial activity across the continent, and the challenges that could hinder its success.

The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) has signed a further memorandum of understanding (MoU) with OBG for its forthcoming publication. Under the agreement, the commission will once again help OBG to carry out the research for The Report: Nigeria 2020 and other content that will be made available across its platforms.

Welcoming the partnership, Wen Qian Chang OBG’s Country Director in Abuja, said she looked forward to teaming up again with the NIPC, which, she added, was one of the Group’s longstanding partners.

“Despite global problems, such as the current coronavirus outbreak and lower oil prices, Nigeria remains an attractive emerging market for the international business community, buoyed by a rapidly growing middle-class population and abundant natural resources,” she said. “Our research for The Report: Nigeria 2020 has already highlighted an uptick in business confidence this year.

The Report: Nigeria 2020 willmark the culmination of more than 12 months of field research by a team of analysts from Oxford Business Group. It will be a vital guide to the many facets of the country, including its macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments.

OBG’s publication will contain contributions from leading representatives across the public and private sectors. It will be produced with the NIPC, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


Oxford Business Group
 (OBG) is a global research and advisory company with a presence in over 30 countries, from Africa, Asia and the Middle East to The Americas. A distinctive and respected provider of on-the-ground intelligence on the world’s fastest growing markets for sound investment opportunities and business decisions. 

Through its range of products – Economic News and Views; The OBG CEO Survey; OBG Events and Conferences; Global Platform, which hosts exclusive video interviews; The Report publications – and its Advisory division, OBG offers comprehensive and accurate analysis of macroeconomic and sectoral developments. 

OBG provides business intelligence to its subscribers through multiple platforms, including its own verified subscribers and the ones of Dow Jones Factiva, Bloomberg Terminal, Refinitiv’s Eikon (previously Thomson Reuters), Factset and more.

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GE Healthcare and ECHOLAB Radiology Train over 200 Healthcare Professionals in Two Workshops across Lagos and Abuja
March 17, 2020 | 0 Comments

GE Healthcare and ECOLAB Radiology team during the training
The training was designed for hospital professionals including radiologists, radiographers, specialists, and general practitioners
LAGOS, Nigeria, March 16, 2020/ — GE Healthcare (www.GEHealthcare.com) in collaboration with ECHOLAB Radiology and Laboratory Services has held two medical clinical workshops in a week across Abuja and Lagos, Nigeria. The events have benefitted over 200 healthcare professionals. The training forums themed ‘Elevating Radiology’ focused on topics including Computed Tomography (CT) & Magnetic Resonance imaging (MRI) in stroke management, among other topics which will help practitioners optimize their work. The training was designed for hospital professionals including radiologists, radiographers, specialists, and general practitioners.

Speaking about the forum, Eyong Ebai, General Manager, West, Central & French Sub-Saharan Africa for GE Healthcare. said, “Precise diagnosis is a result of quality imaging services done by well-equipped and well-trained clinicians. This can greatly help to improve patient satisfaction and the bottom line of both public and private healthcare providers. We are honored to collaborate with ECHOLAB to ensure Nigeria’s medical professionals are equipped with the right skills to continue providing better outcomes for patients.”

Training and skill development have become an essential ingredient in ensuring the efficiency of healthcare staff. Rapidly developing technologies and constant updates in procedures mean that staff need to continually reevaluate their training needs. GE Healthcare’s objectives with the workshops, is to provide equipment’s users with opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills to optimize equipment usage, clinical practice and patient care.

Pius Ihimekpen, Sales and Marketing Director of ECHOLAB said, “Our mission is to provide world class practice delivery of diagnostic services in Nigeria as the ultimate one stop shop with a full range of diagnostic services to investigate a wide range of illnesses and conditions. The trainings delivered in collaboration with GE Healthcare are important in our experts keep up with technological advancements in the healthcare industry and remain relevant in providing patient-centred services.”

Training and education are key to strengthening healthcare systems. GE has a strong commitment to advance education, skills development of healthcare professionals to promote local capacity across Africa. GE Healthcare has established three healthcare training centres and one innovation center to serve the continent. Additionally, GE’s Lagos Garage, launched in 2016 to support SME development in Nigeria has trained 1,000 entrepreneurs so far, to use the latest in advanced manufacturing technologies; 3D printers, CNC mills, and laser cutters as well as business development.
About GE Healthcare:
GE Healthcare (www.GEHealthcare.com) is the $19.9 billion healthcare business of GE (NYSE: GE). As a leading provider of medical imaging, monitoring, biomanufacturing, and cell and gene therapy technologies, GE Healthcare enables precision health in diagnostics, therapeutics and monitoring through intelligent devices, data analytics, applications and services. With over 100 years of experience in the healthcare industry and more than 50,000 employees globally, the company helps improve outcomes more efficiently for patients, healthcare providers, researchers and life sciences companies around the world. 
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Young leaders from Canada, Fiji, Pakistan, Uganda win Commonwealth Youth Awards 2020
March 11, 2020 | 0 Comments
(From left to right: Winners from Canada, Uganda, Pakistan and Fiji)

Four outstanding young people have won Commonwealth Youth Awards for innovative projects that are delivering sustainable development in their countries.

The awards recognise exceptional contributions by young people whose ventures are helping their countries achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The regional award winners are:

  • Africa and Europe: Brian Galabuzi Kakembo, Uganda, turning plastics into eco-friendly briquettes (focus on SDG 8: decent work and economic growth)
  • Asia: Hafiz Usama Tanveer, Pakistan, bringing clean water to poor communities (focus on SDG 6: clean water and sanitation)
  • The Caribbean and Canada: Sowmyan Jegatheesan, Canada, providing one-stop information to prevent human-wildlife conflict (focus on SDG 15: life on land);
  • The Pacific: Sagufta Salma, Fiji, transforming waste into sustainable furniture (focus on SDG 12: responsible consumption and production).
(The Commonwealth Secretary-General presenting the award to Hafiz from Pakistan)

More than 500 award nominations were received from 40 countries. From these, a pan-Commonwealth judging panel selected sixteen finalists. The awards were presented during a gathering at Commonwealth headquarters in London. Recipients received a £3,000 grant for their projects.

2020 Commonwealth Young Person of the Year

As well as the Africa and Europe prize Galabuzi Brian Kakembo of Uganda scooped the overall prize of 2020 Commonwealth Young Person of the Year for his work on transforming biodegradable plastics and organic waste into eco-friendly charcoal briquettes.

Growing up in a poor community, he set up an enterprise to educate women and young people to turn waste into wealth. He has reached more than 800 women and young people, and 600 of them now make and sell briquettes in Uganda.

Brian said: “I want the world to see that unemployed youth is not a problem but an untapped resource that can be trained and supported to bring about a social change.”

(Commonwealth Secretary-General presenting the award to Sowmyan from Canada)

Asia Winner

Hafiz, from Pakistan, has created water purification kits to improve access to clean water in poor communities and refugee camps to help prevent the spread of waterborne diseases. He has reached more than 11,000 people including victims of the Kerala flooding that occurred in the past two years.

He said: “This award is an encouragement to continue on this trajectory to reach more people and to make water non-exclusive.” 

The Caribbean and Canada Winner

Canada’s Sowmyan wants the world to make informed decisions when it comes to protecting wildlife from the effects of climate change.

He has developed one of the world’s largest online information hubs to help communities build resilience by better understanding climate activities, migration patterns and human-wildlife conflict.

(Commonwealth Secretary-General presenting the award to Sagufta from Fiji)

He said: “The business-as-usual practice has led to the endangering of so many species. We must change our course, understand the evidence and make informed decisions to protect our wildlife from changing climate.”

The Pacific Winner
 

Sagufta from Fiji turns waste material into sustainable furniture and home accessories. She says a lack of access to proper waste disposal in Fiji drove her to establish her enterprise, which has now upcycled more than 1,000 tons of waste.

She mainly employs single mothers so they can support their families. She said: “This award will help me create more awareness around sustainable living and empower more women to work in a field that is largely dominated by men.”

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, who presented the awards, said: “For the awards this year, we received nominations from more than 40 Commonwealth countries. Considering them made us aware of a vast range of impressive innovations.

“There were projects for delivering tech-powered learning, to provide clean water and sanitation, and for waste management.

“The entries remind us that there is no lack of ingenuity or ideas. What we tend to lack are mechanisms to support and fund the young innovators who have the imagination and creativity we need to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

“So the Commonwealth Youth Awards are a searchlight picking out some of the best examples of who we are and what we can do as a family of nations.”

During the awards ceremony, presentations on the work being done by finalists to deliver sustainable development were made to diplomats, officials and civil society representative from Commonwealth countries.

*Commonwealth

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GE Healthcare and the Kenya Association of Radiologists host 2nd Radiology with Over 100 Healthcare Professionals
March 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

The one-day forum themed ‘Elevating Radiology’ was focused on Gastrointestinal and abdominal radiology

Jennifer Kinyoe, Senior Vice President Financing for GE Healthcare East Africa and Dr. Elijah Kwasa, Chairperson of the Kenya Association of Radiologists during the Radiology Clinical day in Nairobi

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 9, 2020/ — The clinical radiology trainings by GE (http://www.GE.com) and KAR are geared towards achieving better health outcomes; The first GE Healthcare (http://www.GEHealthcare.com) Radiology Day was held in 2019 on “Interventional Radiology”. 

GE Healthcare and the Kenya Association of Radiologists (KAR) held the ‘2nd Radiology Clinical Day’ to train more than 100 Kenyan radiologists on the latest medical imaging technologies and techniques to improve diagnosis and disease management.

The one-day forum themed ‘Elevating Radiology was focused on Gastrointestinal and abdominal radiology. Topics covered included advanced technologies in body imaging, advanced digital mammography techniques, functional imaging of prostate cancer, imaging of the liver and liver care management among other topics which will help practitioners optimize their work.

According to the Kenya Association of Radiologists, limited training positions and lack of comprehensive post-Masters training opportunities within the country necessitate partnership with industry and other resource parties to promote for the healthcare training and continuous professional development of the radiology fraternity in the country.

Speaking during the session, Jennifer Kinyoe, Senior Vice President Financing for GE Healthcare East Africa said, “Accurate diagnosis is a result of quality imaging services done with quality technology by competent healthcare professionals. We are honoured to partner with KAR to ensure Kenya’s medical technologists are equipped with the right skills to continue providing better outcomes for patients.”

Ms Kinyoe added that the annual Radiology day initiative is part of the company’s efforts to ensure sustainability and long-term utilization of advanced medical technologies and solutions.

Dr. Elijah Kwasa, Chairperson of KAR said, “Kenya, like majority other African countries, still faces acute challenge of trained radiologists and other medical technologists. As a result, expensive medical equipment and machines are underutilized and sometimes damaged within a short period of time. We are excited to partner with GE Healthcare to upskill our radiologists on the latest trends in the industry.”

GE Healthcare’s Annette Angose doing equipment demo with clinicians during the radiology day

Commenting on last year’s Radiology day, the former Chairperson of KAR Dr. Beatrice Mugi noted: “Last year’s Radiology day focused on current trends in neuroimaging and a major outcome of the forum was the stroke imaging guidelines and management shared by one of the invited speakers from India. Kenya, which is a developing country like India currently lacks such unified guidelines and hence a key takeaway for us was the necessity for the country to adopt such guidelines in future to help manage the morbidity and mortality associated with stroke.”

Participants were also exposed to the latest medical imaging technologies and techniques including Definium™ XR120 digital X-ray which brings the world of digital technology to imaging facilities that rely on analogue equipment.

GE Healthcare continues its commitment to capacity building and upskilling initiatives across the region that will sustainably strengthen the local healthcare ecosystem and support governments’ UHC agenda. In Kenya, over 1400 healthcare professionals have now been trained through the Healthcare Skills & Training Institute launched in 2016 in partnership with Ministry of Health. 

A group photo of the Radiology Day attendees

GE Healthcare (http://www.GEHealthcare.com) is the $19,8 billion healthcare business of GE (NYSE: GE). As a leading provider of medical imaging, monitoring, biomanufacturing, and cell and gene therapy technologies, GE Healthcare enables precision health in diagnostics, therapeutics and monitoring through intelligent devices, data analytics, applications and services. With over 100 years of experience in the healthcare industry and more than 50,000 employees globally, the company helps improve outcomes more efficiently for patients, healthcare providers, researchers and life sciences companies around the world.

*Source GE

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Nigeria: Visiting Abia State Governor seeks partnership with African Development Bank to transform state into industrial hub
March 6, 2020 | 0 Comments

A thriving entrepreneurship industry and agricultural base in Nigeria’s Abia State are the foundation for the creation of a potentially viable industrial hub, its governor Okezie Ikpeazu told the African Development Bank Tuesday.

Ikpeazu met with African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire to discuss investment for Abia to help boost job creation and enhance livelihoods.

“Our vision is to leverage the capacity of our people to become the SME capital of Nigeria.  Our people are industrious and innovative. For instance, our people are known as top players in the leather industry. We have a new shoe factory that is producing over 50, 000 shoes. We particularly need the Bank’s help to address the State’s infrastructure deficit,” the governor said.

With a population of over 2.8 million, Abia State is looking to the Bank to help make Enyimba Economic City (EEC), an ambitious economic hub, a reality. The State Government’s goal is to transform the region into a manufacturing and industrial powerhouse and create 700,000 jobs over 5 years.

The project, presented at the Bank’s 2019 Africa Investment Forum, has received significant investor interest, officials said.  Other investment interests include a waste-to-energy project.

The Bank’s support was also sought to facilitate the Abia State Integrated Infrastructural Project which is designed to develop massive infrastructure in the State, especially in the commercial city of Aba and the State capital of Umuahia.

Adesina said Abia State had “huge potential in agro processing and human resources. “The Bank’s role is to support governments like yours to transform their economies and create jobs,” he said.

Ikpeazu also requested the Bank’s support for the development of key agricultural value chains, including palm oil, rice, cocoa, cassava, maize and cashew, that would also create jobs for women and youth.

Accompanying the governor were the Commissioner for Works, Chidozie Bob Ogu, Commissioner for Finance, Aham Uko, Commissioner for Agriculture, Ikechi Mgbeoji and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Inter Governmental Affairs, Chinenye Nwaogu.

“Over the years, Aba has evolved as a centre of entrepreneurship and SMEs.  The city has the potential to be a competitive industrial hub for Nigeria and for Africa. For this reason, the Bank will continue to support your vision,” Adesina concluded.

Since the Bank Group commenced operations in Nigeria in 1971, it has invested about $ 74.5 million in the State, across four critical sectors of power & energy (53%); education (25%); health (15%); and transport (7%). In the years to come, the State will continue to be a key beneficiary of the Bank’s support with the planned Abia State Integrated Infrastructure Development Project and the Enyimba Economic City.

*AFDB

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Somalia Clears Arrears to World Bank Group Bank Group
March 6, 2020 | 0 Comments
Abdirahman D. Beileh, Minister of Finance of the Federal Republic of Somalia

WASHINGTON, March 5, 2020 –The Federal Government of Somalia today cleared its arrears to the International Development Association (IDA), completing the process of normalizing its financial relationship with the World Bank Group. With this clearance, Somalia has fully re-established its access to new resources from IDA and paved the way to receive debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) and Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) to promote growth and recovery over the coming years.

“I congratulate the Federal Government on reaching this critical milestone that will allow Somalia to access the strongest possible support from the World Bank Group to improve peoples’ lives,” said Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank Managing Director of Operations. “This lays the foundations for long term economic and social recovery. I would also like to thank the Government of Norway for its generosity in facilitating the arrears clearance process.” 

The payment of these arrears was made possible through a $365.9 million bridge loan from the Norwegian government. This effort is part of a comprehensive plan for arrears clearance that also includes the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank. “I am pleased that Norway is contributing in a smart and constructive way to Somalia’s efforts to reengage with the international community, clear arrears and restore access to concessional funding from IDA. I am also pleased that this important step paves the way for Somalia to receive deep relief on its remaining debt,” said Ine Eriksen Søreide, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway.The clearance of IDA’s arrears is an opportunity to lock in Somalia’s turnaround. “As we enter this new course, we look forward to strengthening our collaboration with the World Bank Group and building on the pillars we have laid so far to boost the economy and bring prosperity to our people,” said H.E.M. Abdirahman D. Beileh, Minister of Finance of the Federal Republic of Somalia.“We are also grateful to the support from Norway which enabled us to clear arrears with IDA.”

In a meeting of the Bank’s Board last week, Executive Directors expressed support for the government’s strong record of fiscal, political, social and economic reforms in recent years which enabled Somalia to reach this major milestone. They noted their expectation that in addition to accessing new IDA resources, Somalia would also work with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) to support the development of its private sector.

The International Development Association (IDA) is one of the largest sources of funding for fighting extreme poverty in the world’s poorest countries. IDA provides zero- or low-interest loans and grants to countries for projects and programs that boost economic growth, build resilience, and improve the lives of poor people around the world. Since 1960, IDA has provided more than $391 billion for investments in 113 countries. As an institution of the World Bank Group, IDA combines global expertise with an exclusive focus on reducing poverty and boosting prosperity in the world’s poorest countries.

*Source World Bank

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The EurAfrican Forum in search for a common ground between Europe and Africa
March 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

2020 edition will look for new opportunities for both continents as it unveils its theme In Search for a Common Ground

CASCAIS, Portugal, March 3, 2020/ — The 3rd edition of the EurAfrican Forum (www.EurAfricanForum.org) to be held on July 2nd and 3rd in Cascais, Portugal will be gathering over 700 European and African key actors from more than 60 countries; 2020 edition will look for new opportunities for both continents as it unveils its theme In Search for a Common Ground; The program will focus on key topics as Africa and Europe relations, Free Trade Agreements, Climate Change, African Arts and Culture, Infrastructure, Connectivity and Off-grid solutions.

The annual meeting will gather over 700 African and European changemakers such as entrepreneurs, artists, activists, public and private decision leaders, in Cascais, Portugal, on July 2nd and 3rd 2020.

“It is now time to establish a structured cooperation between Africa and Europe, engaging not only public decision makers but creating a denser network, embarking in the discussions entrepreneurs, young people, women, artists, scientists…” José Manuel Durão Barroso, Chairman of the EurAfrican Forum.

Hosted by the Portuguese Diaspora Council and the Municipality of Cascais, with the High Patronage of the Portuguese Presidency, this third consecutive edition will focus on main issues such Africa and Europe relations, Free Trade Agreements, Climate Change, the influence of African Arts and Culture, Infrastructure, Connectivity and Off-grid solutions, under the theme In Search for a Common Ground.

“2020 is a pivotal year for Europe and Africa as this new decade marks the unavoidable collaboration between our continents at a time when climate change, demographic challenges and the technologic revolution are central pieces of Africa and Europe’s sustainable development puzzle”, said Filipe de Botton, Chairman of the Board of the Portuguese Diaspora Council.

As Europe and Africa face common challenges, the EurAfrican Forum exists as a platform to work on future partnerships for sustainable solutions. Exploiting synergies and promoting business opportunities with mutual benefits, the event will be sharing initiatives, in search for a common ground.

About the Portuguese Diaspora Council:
The Portuguese Diaspora Council is a non-profit private association, recognized in 2019 as a non-governmental organization for development. Founded in 2012, its main purpose is to enhance Portugal’s brand and international reputation involving the Portuguese diaspora of proven influence who have distinguished themselves in their field of expertise, namely in Culture, Citizenship, Science and Economics. The “World Portuguese Network” comprises over 100 counsellors, spread on 5 continents.

*SOURCE EurAfrican Forum

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Zimbabwe: African Development Bank Executive Directors conduct consultative mission, tour project sites
February 27, 2020 | 0 Comments
Left to Right: Bank Executive Directors Paal Bjornestad, Amos Kipronoh Cheptoo (partly hidden), Mmakgoshi Lekhethe, Judith Kateera, Mbuyami Ilankir Matungulu, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube
The delegation also met officials from various ministries, civil society, private sector and multilateral financial institutions

HARARE, Zimbabwe, February 26, 2020/ — A seven-member delegation of Executive Directors of the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) visited Zimbabwe on a week-long fact-finding mission where they held meetings with a number of officials including President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa.

The delegation also met officials from various ministries, civil society, private sector and multilateral financial institutions, during which they were briefed on the current macro-economic, social and political environment in the southern African nation.

During the meeting with President Mnangagwa, the delegation appreciated ongoing reform efforts initiated since January 2019 as part of the government’s Transitional Stabilization Program 2018 -2020 under the IMF Staff Monitored Program (May 2019 – March 2020). They welcomed the president’s pledge to recalibrate the Program, which aims to implement a coherent set of policies that facilitate a return to macroeconomic stability.

The reforms include introducing necessary policy and institutional reforms for private sector-led growth, addressing infrastructure gaps, and launching quick-wins to stimulate and restore growth.

“I would like to express my gratitude to the Bank for the commitment towards Zimbabwe. We need more assistance as a country, more so, as we embarked on substantive economic reforms based only on domestic resources without help from the international community,” said President Mnangagwa.

The directors noted that despite some positive results, reform coordination in the country remains a challenge, against a backdrop of a continuing general rise in poverty levels, especially in the urban areas.

Zimbabwe is also still feeling the after effects of Cyclone Idai, which hit the country in March 2019, and the 2019/20 drought, which has left more than 8.5 million people (3 million of whom are in urban areas), food insecure.

The delegation also visited several Bank-funded projects, including the Post Cyclone Idai Emergency Recovery and Resilience Programme (PCIREP), implemented in the Chimanimani district, which was severely affected by Cyclone Idai. The project, funded to the tune of 24.7 million, focuses on public infrastructure interventions aimed at re-establishing sustainable livelihoods and kick-starting economic activities of the affected population.

They commended the government’s rebuilding efforts in Chimanimani and other parts of the country, and reiterated the Bank’s commitment to the people of Zimbabwe and the country’ economic development agenda.

The group urged perseverance in the implementation of reforms and called for early normalization of relations with development partners, which would help unlock more substantive external resources for Zimbabwe, including from the African Development Bank.

Travelling to Zimbabwe were Mbuyami Matungulu who represents a constituency covering Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo); Judith Kateera representing Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe; Kenyeh Barlay for Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Sudan; Paal Bjornestad for Denmark, Finland, India, Norway and Sweden; Amod Kipronoh Cheptoo, for Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda); and  Mmakgoshi Lekhethe, for Eswatini, Lesotho and South Africa.

Eugenio Paulo, Senior ED Advisor, and Josephine Ngure, Acting Director General (RDGS) also participated in the mission.
*AFDB
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Ireland moves closer to becoming the 81st member of the African Development Bank Group
February 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

The delegation, led by  Paul Ryan, Director, International Finance Division of Ireland’s Department of Finance, included Patrick Mulhall and Renee Martin of the Department of Finance, and Laura Gibbons from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, 24 February 2020 –  Ireland moved a step closer to becoming a member of the African Development Bank Group after a government delegation on Monday deposited ratification instruments during an official visit to the Bank’s Abidjan headquarters.

The delegation, led by  Paul Ryan, Director, International Finance Division of Ireland’s Department of Finance, included Patrick Mulhall and Renee Martin of the Department of Finance, and Laura Gibbons from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“For us, it marks the final moments of our decision to become a member of the African Development Bank Group. It’s been a long road, but a very successful one. We are excited that we are at the end,” said Ryan after submitting the documents. “Africa has been one of our key targets for development cooperation, so joining the Bank gives us the opportunity to work with the continent and share knowledge in areas such as financial technology services, energy and climate change, among others ,” he said, indicating that Ireland would complete the process very shortly.

Ireland’s application to join the African Development Bank Group was approved during the Annual meetings of the Board of Governors of the Bank Group in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea in June 2019. Depositing the Instrument of Ratification of the Agreement Establishing the African Development Fund (ADF) marks an important step in the process, Vice-President for Finance, Bajabulile ‘Swazi’ Tshabalala noted.

“The participation of Ireland will provide many partnership opportunities for Africa’s development, particularly in the Energy, Climate Change and Agri-food sectors. Additionally, Ireland is now a knowledge economy, which we as a Bank, are looking at in terms of future development on the continent, “ Tshabalala added.

The group will spend the next two days in Abidjan to meet with various Bank departments and teams  and to learn more about the Bank’s operations and strategies.

The Bank’s Secretary General, Vincent Nmehielle and General Counsel, Godfred Penn welcomed the representatives and received the Instrument of Ratification, a major administrative step in admitting Ireland as a state participant in the African Development Fund. Director for Resource Mobilization and Partnerships, Désiré Vencatachellum and Victor Oladokun, Director of Communication and External Relations also participated in the meeting.

Ireland’s “Strategy for Africa to 2025” includes a commitment to collaborate with the key financial institution on the continent; as well as to explore new partnerships to support policy development and programme implementation; and deepen engagement in blended finance mechanisms for job creation.

Speaking at the meeting, Nmehielle noted that “Ireland is joining the African Development Bank Group at an opportune time. Its participation in the African Development Fund and membership of the African Development Bank will contribute to Africa’s socio-economic development. This is a welcome and timely addition to our efforts to help accelerate achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and AU Agenda 2063 by African countries.”

The membership process for joining the Bank Group includes signing the Agreements establishing the Fund and Bank, deposit of the instruments of acceptance/approval of the Fund and the Bank agreements, and the payment of the initial subscriptions to the Fund and capital stock of the Bank.

The rules also require that a non-African country be a state participant in the ADF, the concessionary lending arm of the Bank, before becoming a member of the Bank. Ireland will become the 81st member of the Bank Group, once finalized.

*Source AFDB

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One step closer to clean energy for 30 million people in Africa
February 21, 2020 | 0 Comments
  • Africa’s first regional PPP hydropower project reaches key milestone
  • Finance Minister signs grant agreement with European Investment Bank in Bujumbura
  • EUR 9 million European support unlocks final preparatory works for Ruzizi III hydro project
  • Follows 10 years of EIB and EU financial support for preparation of 147MW hydropower scheme
  • Project backed by Burundi, Rwanda, DRC and private consortium to transform regional energy

The first Public Private Partnership (PPP) project to generate renewable energy from shared resources in Africa came closer to reality today following signature of a key agreement to enable preparatory works to commence.

The Ruzizi III hydropower project will generate reliable electricity from the Ruzizi river to be shared equally between the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Rwanda.

The regional renewable energy project will benefit an estimated population of 30 million people, 70% of whom are living under the poverty line and at present only 6% of whom can access electricity.

“Harnessing the full potential of the Ruzizi River has been a dream for Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo for generations. The long-standing support of international financial partners and close cooperation with regional governments has been crucial to enable technical, political and environmental planning to progress. Today’s agreement with the European Investment Bank will enable project financing to be agreed in the coming months and the Ruzizi III project to finally begin. Burundi thanks all partners involved for their dedication to transforming access to clean energy in the Great Lakes” said Domicien Ndihokubwayo, Finance Minister of the Republic of Burundi.

“The European Investment Bank, the European Union and the project financiers have worked closely with the Burundi, Rwandan and DRC government for more than 10 years to ensure that Africa’s first three country PPP clean energy project can become a reality and ensure access to electricity for millions of people. Today’s agreement demonstrates the European Union’s firm commitment to supporting renewable energy in Africa and unlock support of private investors for sustainable development.” said Ambroise Fayolle, European Investment Bank Vice President. 

“The European Union is committed to supporting access to clean energy in Africa and our close cooperation with local and international partners is enabling geotechnical work for Ruzizi III to finally start. The Ruzizi III project represents the EU Green Deal for Africa in reality.” said the European Union Delegation to Burundi.

“The signing of the €9.1 M grant for the project is a significant moment for the project as it complements sponsor contributions from IPS and SN Power towards the funding of the pre-financial close development activities.  For this, IPS and SN Power are truly grateful to EIB and the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund who have availed the grant, thereby considerably de-risking the Project. It is an impressive example of how public-private cooperation can facilitate early stage development of complex projects”. said Mr Galeb Gulam, CEO of Industrial Promotion Services.

Earlier today Domicien Ndihokubwayo, Finance Minister of the Republic of Burundi, and representatives of the European Investment Bank, signed a EUR 9.1 million grant agreement to enable preparatory work to commence. This follows the signaurtre of the grant agreemnt in January by the Finance Minister of

Rwanda and the private sector developer IPS/SN Power. The grant will be provided by the European Union through the EU-Africa Infrastructure  Trust Fund and managed by the European Investment Bank.

Ensuring access to reliable renewable energy for the Great Lakes region

Once commissioned, Ruzizi III will double Burundi’s current electricity generation capacity, increase Rwanda’s installed capacity by 33% and provide much-needed baseload power in Eastern DRC, a region that is otherwise isolated from DRC’s interconnected grid.

Protecting African forests and reducing dependence on charcoal

The Ruzizi III project will support regional integration and reduce reliance on expensive thermal generation and reduce the local dependence on wood fuel and charcoal; a major threat to the countries’ forests and biodiversity. The project will be supported by concessional funding to ensure affordable electricity tariffs.

Project progress follows decade of technical preparation and political agreements

Today’s milestone signature follows agreement between the governments of Burundi, DRC and Rwanda and the private sector sponsors of the Power Purchase Agreements in July last year.

Flagship European Union support for private sector clean energy investment in Africa

The European Union, the EIB and other European financial partners have supported the Ruzizi III project since 2009 and followed international technical, environmental and social best practice.

International financial institutions including the European Investment Bank, the European Union, Kreditanstalt Für Wiederaufbau (KFW), the French Development Agency (AFD), the African Development Bank (AfDB), as well as the World Bank are supporting the project.

Fostering regional cooperation in the Great Lakes

Today’s Ruzizi III is also supported by regional organisations including the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (ECGLC), the  Nile Basin Initiative and the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program (NELSAP).

Financial close of the Ruzizi III hydropower project is expected to be agreed by mid-2021.

Background information:

About the European Investment Bank:

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.

Press contacts:

European Union Delegation to Burundi

Tony Nsabimana, Attaché Presse et Information

Tel: +257 22 20 22 54

Email: tony.nsabimana@eeas.europa.eu

European Investment Bank

Richard Willis, r.willis@eib.org, Tel.: +352 4379 82155, +352 621 555 758

Website: www.eib.org/press – Press Office: +352 4379 21000 – press@eib.org

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16 finalists announced for the Commonwealth Youth Awards 2020
February 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

Sixteen extraordinary individuals including innovators, activists and entrepreneurs from 12 countries have been shortlisted for this year’s Commonwealth Youth Awards.

A pan-Commonwealth judging panel met last week and selected the top individuals in each of the award’s four regional categories.

This year, the awards received more than 500 entries from 40 countries. Of those shortlisted, the top candidate from each region will be named as a regional winner. One of these four regional winners will become the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year 2020.

All 16 finalists will each receive a trophy, a certificate and £1,000 to expand the scope of their projects.

The regional winners will each earn a trip to London to attend the awards ceremony on 11 March 2020 and will receive £3,000. The overall pan-Commonwealth winner will take home a total of £5,000.

The judging panel included high commissioners, development experts and youth leaders from across the Commonwealth.

The awards recognise outstanding young people whose innovative projects have made a real impact in helping their countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

The Commonwealth’s head of social policy development Layne Robinson said: “Their talent paired with tangible solutions sends a strong signal that they should be equal partners in the development agenda, not passive allies.

“With now only 10 years remaining to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Commonwealth takes great pleasure in bringing these young people’s invaluable efforts to the global stage so their leadership can inspire others and accelerate meaningful youth participation.”

The 2020 finalists, in alphabetical order by region and individual surname, are:

AFRICA AND EUROPE

Joshua Ebin (Nigeria)

Focus: SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production

Joshua is the founder of ‘Jumela Limited’; an agro-technology venture which specialises in the production of plant-based compost and novel agro-products for crop production farmers in Nigeria. The venture aims to tackle poor food waste management, pollution problems and low agricultural yield in the country. The venture has so far produced two metric tonnes of compost for sale to national clients and created jobs for more than 25 workers.

Galabuzi Brian Kakembo (Uganda)

Focus: SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth

Brian is the founder of ‘WEYE Clean Energy’; a social enterprise that produces and sells eco-friendly briquettes (blocks of compressed charcoal) made from biodegradable plastics and organic waste to home, schools and local institutions. Profits are used to fund community outreach programmes and training for young people and women in smart agriculture. The enterprise’s work has reached more than 800 women and young people of which 600 are now earning income from briquette making or plastic waste recycling.

Salvatory Kessy (Tanzania)

Focus: SDG 4 – Quality Education

Salvatory is the founder of ‘SmartClass’; an online platform which matches low-cost qualified and vetted tutors to students interested in learning basic skills such as numeracy, literacy, computing, agriculture and languages. The offline platform allows users to book face-to-face tuition through a text and the group tuition model allows learners to book tutors collectively and reduce costs. The platform has 5,000 active registered tutors and 20,000 learners in Tanzania.

Elizabeth Wanjiru Wathuti (Kenya)

Focus: SDG 13 – Climate Action

Elizabeth is the founder of the ‘Green Generation Initiative’ which focuses on promoting environmental education and food security in schools, particularly by encouraging a tree growing culture and through its ‘adopt a tree’ campaign. The initiative has so far helped plant 30,000 tree seedlings in more than 40 schools. In addition, more than 20,000 school children have been trained to be environmentally conscious across seven Kenyan counties.

ASIA

Sheikh Inzamamuzzaman (Bangladesh)

Focus: SDG 4 – Quality Education

Sheikh is the founder of ‘Study Buddy’; a start-up that provides an alternative learning platform to children with learning difficulties and their parents. Using interactive approaches such as augmented reality and gaming, the platform conducts personal assessments to match each child with unique learning methodologies and then connects the child with relevant learning tools and special needs professionals. The programme has so far supported more than 800 children and more than 1000 parents.

Vedant Jain (India)

Focus: SDG 4 – Quality Education

Vedant is a co-founder of the ‘Labhya Foundation’; a non-profit that aims to equip children from low socio-economic with critical social and emotional skills. In partnership with the national government and partnered non-governmental organisations, the foundation co-created the ‘Happiness Curriculum’ to educate children in schools on universal human values, emotional wellbeing and mindfulness, and to enhance their critical thinking and soft skills. The curriculum has so far positively impacted more than 1 million students in more than 20,000 schools in India.

Jaya Rajwani (Pakistan)

Focus: SDG 5 – Gender Equality

Jaya is the technical lead for ‘Aurat Raaj’; a social enterprise which creates technology-based products and services to educate girls on health, hygiene and safety. Jaya has led the development of the enterprise’s chat-bot, a tool which uses artificial intelligence to provide young girls with accessible and non-judgmental information on reproductive health. Jaya’s work has seen the ongoing development of the chat-bot to include local languages and videos while in-school training workshops have helped increase the tool’s reach and impact.

Hafiz Usama Tanveer (Pakistan)

Focus: SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation

Hafiz is the founder of ‘PakVitae’; a social enterprise that produces and supplies water treatment products to provide clean and accessible drinking water to rural communities and refugee camps in Pakistan. PakVitae has so far reached over 11,000 people including victims of the Kerala flood, Afghan refugee camps and remote schools in rural areas.

CARIBBEAN AND CANADA

Lalita Gopaul (Guyana)

Focus: SDG 13 – Climate Action

Lalita is an environmental sustainability activist and researcher by profession. Her research work covers eco-friendly agricultural methods, clean energy solutions and green technologies which have been used in Guyana. Her work has educated more than 100 farmers in the country to adopt more sustainable and environmentally-friendly farming methods to boost production and improve livelihoods in a changing climate. Lalita is also the founder of ‘Eco Club’ which mentors young people on environmental education. The club also runs coastal clean-up activities, tree planting sessions and climate-action walks.

Sowmyan Jegatheesan (Canada)

Focus: SDG 15 – Life on Land

Sowmyan is the founder of ‘SystemaNaturae.org’; one of the largest online information sources for global wildlife projects, research and datasets. The platform creates awareness and helps communities build resilience by better understanding global activities around climate change, migration patterns and human-wildlife conflict through the sourced material. The platform has reached more than 100 countries and has been used by research centres, think tanks and universities across the world.

Stephen McCubbin (Jamaica)

Focus: SDG 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Stephen is the founder of ‘Cheer Sensation JA’; a youth non-profit which works to foster holistic development through the sport of cheer. Through its cheerleading programmes and competitions, the organisation provides a safe space for children and adults to become physically active whilst working as a violence prevention tool in volatile communities in Jamaica. Stephen’s work has enabled him to attract international cheerleading bodies to Jamaica to provide technical support to the organisation, further increasing awareness and support for the sport.

Samuel Neil (Jamaica)

Focus: SDG 4 – Quality Education

Samuel is the founder of ‘The Aviation Club of Jamaica’; a national initiative which encourages young people to enter the aviation sector. The programme provides student members with scholarship opportunities and training programmes through its partnerships with training institutions. The programme has introduced hundreds of local young people to the world of aviation and supported many to go on to become qualified aviation professionals.

PACIFIC

Sagufta Janif (Fiji)

Focus: SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production

Sagufta is the founder of ‘The Fusion Hub’; a social enterprise focused on addressing a lack of access to proper waste disposal methods in remote islands by upcycling waste materials and selling them as furniture, home items and accessories. The Fusion Hub has so far upcycled more than 400 tonnes of waste selling hundreds of items to clients. The Hub also employs single mothers giving them a sustainable livelihood and has helped set up two formal businesses that are now part of its supply chain.

Broderick John Mervyn (Fiji)

Focus: SDG 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Broderick is the current President of ‘Ignite4Change’; a youth-led initiative which works to empower and educate underprivileged women and youths to grow inclusive governance, equality, participation and cultural preservation within local communities. The initiative runs several programmes including on public speaking training, local governance awareness, climate change advocacy, youth leadership and the protection of the Rotuman Language and Heritage.

Rinesh Sharma (Fiji)

Focus: SDG 2 – Zero Hunger

Rinesh is the founder of ‘Smart Farms Fiji’; an initiative that aims to provide a sustainable food production system by growing fruits and vegetables in a controlled environment all year round. The Smart Farm system’s produce is monitored through smartphone technology and saves up to 70 per cent more water than traditional farming methods. Smart Farms Fiji also runs the country’s first hydroponics course that teaches local communities to embrace modern farming practices.

Fusi Masina Tietie (Samoa)

Focus: SDG 5 – Gender Equality

Fusi is the founder of ‘Her Voice’; an online initiative that aims to empower young women in the local community by sharing their personal stories through art and videography. The project works in partnership with volunteer photographers, make-up artists, bloggers and fashion designers to curate each young woman’s story and share to Her Voice’s online community. Fusi also provides national training to young women on leadership and gender equality.

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ENGIE Africa brings Off-Grid Power to over 4 Million People, establishing its Position as Market Leader on the Continent
February 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

ENGIE has achieved this through the development of its three A2E off-grid energy solution companies: Fenix International, ENGIE Mobisol, and ENGIE PowerCorner

NAIROBI, Kenya, February 18, 2020/ — ENGIE Africa (http://www.ENGIE-Africa.com) is pleased to announce that it has successfully accelerated the Access to Energy (A2E) strategy that it launched in 2018. ENGIE has achieved this through the development of its three A2E off-grid energy solution companies: Fenix International, ENGIE Mobisol, and ENGIE PowerCorner.

With these three innovative entities, ENGIE Africa is bringing decentralized electricity to more than four million people in nine countries (Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Nigeria, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, and Mozambique). This growth is in line with the Group’s ambition to reach millions of households and businesses with clean, distributed energy across Africa.

Fenix, which was acquired by ENGIE in 2018, expanded its operations significantly in 2019. To date, it has sold more than 700,000 solar home systems that power 3.5 million people in rural communities across six countries. Now employing 1,200 full-time team members, Fenix launched sales in Mozambique in June 2019. In the last month, the company has reached milestones in multiple markets, with 150,000 solar home systems sold in Zambia, 50,000 sold in Benin, and 20,000 sold in Côte d’Ivoire.

ENGIE complemented its range of solar home system solutions by finalizing the acquisition of Mobisol in October 2019. The higher capacity (40–200W) of ENGIE Mobisol’s products offers consumers access to modern energy services and appliances to establish solar-powered small businesses. ENGIE Mobisol has operations in Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya, and has installed more than 150,000 solar home systems, providing clean and reliable energy to 750,000 people and counting in East Africa.

Mini-grid developer and operator ENGIE PowerCorner now has 13 mini-grids in operation across two countries (Tanzania and Zambia), serving 15,000 beneficiaries. It is constructing new mini-grids in Uganda (in joint venture with Equatorial Power), Benin and Nigeria, with the aim to triple its number of customers this year. ENGIE PowerCorner focuses on powering income-generating activities and productive usages, thus contributing to the increase of the economic welfare of its rural customers.

Fenix’s inclusive solar home systems for household usages, combined with ENGIE Mobisol’s focus on larger households and small business appliances, together with ENGIE PowerCorner’s focus on income-generating activities and small-scale industries, enables ENGIE to offer affordable energy products and to extend its customer base from rural to urban areas.

Yoven Moorooven, CEO of ENGIE Africa, says: “We strongly believe in the huge potential of the off-grid electrification sector and that it will be instrumental in rapidly and cost-effectively bridging energy gaps across Africa. We will build upon our successes to sustain and meet our long-term ambition of impacting tens of millions of lives across Africa. ENGIE has an important role to play in industrializing and scaling up the off-grid solar business. We are keen to offer the lowest cost and best quality Access to Energy solution that addresses our customers’ needs.”

ENGIE is expanding its offerings beyond electricity provision, integrating cost-effective and tailor-made solutions “as a service” to accompany customers every step of the way. This expansion links energy access to other products and services: internet, water, productive appliances, clean cooking, financial services and products.

Universal electrification is the seventh of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that the global community has committed to achieve by 2030. ENGIE is confident that universal access to energy is achievable in the foreseeable future, through smart investments in a combination of national grid extension, solar home systems and mini-grids.

About ENGIE Africa:
ENGIE (https://www.ENGIE.com/) is the largest independent electricity producer in the world, and one of the major players in natural gas and energy services. The Group has more than 50 years of experience on the African continent and has the unique ability to implement integrated solutions all along the energy value chain, from centralized electricity production to off-grid solutions (solar home systems, mini-grids) and energy services. ENGIE Africa employs nearly 4,000 people, and has 3.15 GW of power generation capacity in operation or construction. It is a leader in the decentralized energy market, providing clean energy to more than four million people through domestic solar installations and local microgrids.

*SOURCE ENGIE


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Local content and market-driven policies set to shape energy investments in Senegal as African Energy Chamber concludes working visit in Dakar
February 18, 2020 | 0 Comments
NJ Ayuk of the African Energy Chamber with Senegalese President Macky Sall
NJ Ayuk of the African Energy Chamber with Senegalese President Macky Sall

The African Energy Chamber’s delegation advocated for local content as a pillar of the industry’s sustainability efforts

DAKAR, Senegal, February 18, 2020/ — As Senegal’s first oil and gas projects are under-development and first production is expected within two years, the African Energy Chamber (www.EnergyChamber.org) conducted this week a working visit in Dakar to promote investment into the country and support local content development and capacity building.

Led by Executive Chairman NJ Ayuk, the African Energy Chamber’s delegation advocated for local content as a pillar of the industry’s sustainability efforts and offered all its support to continue pushing and financing Senegal’s initiatives to build capacity and build a new generation of Senegalese oil & gas workers and managers. “Oil companies have an unmatched ability, and a profound responsibility, to support H.E. Macky Sall’s bold vision in shaping an economy that works for all Senegalese and preserves their freedoms,” said NJ Ayuk.

The team met with H.E. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal; H.E. Mouhamadou Makhtar Cissé, Minister of Petroleum and Energies, Ousmane Ndiaye, Permanent Secretary of COS-Petrogaz; Aguibou Ba, Director General of the National Institute for Petroleum and Gaz (INPG) and the majority of the oil and gas operators and service companies.   

“Moving closer and closer to becoming a large-scale producer of oil and gas, Senegal’s story is an inspiring one. And, as a hotspot for oil and gas development, it is only fitting that the nation cements market-driven local content frameworks that are rooted in capacity building and are driven by the determination to transform practices in its energy sector,” declaired Nj Ayuk. “That is why initiatives such as the INPG are important in ensuring that industry revenue benefits the state while also guaranteeing employment for citizens. The INPG is a true social contract bringing the private and public sector together to plan for a prosperous future for Senegal,” he added.

The Chamber’s working visit coincided with that of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during which state-owned SENELEC and GE signed an agreement for the development of 300MW of gas-to-power capacity, the modernization of Senegal’s power plants and the creation of a maintenance centre in Senegal. In line with the US’ interests to increase cooperation with Africa, the Chamber reiterated the industry’s call for continued improvements in the ease of doing business and better operating environments for foreign investors.

“President Trump dispatching Secretary of State Pompeo and US companies to Senegal is a brilliant move. US companies understand that investing in Senegal is good business and a sustainable corporate strategy. President Macky Sall’s government has built on positive trends to maximize foreign investments. This includes a commitment to transparency, improving safety and security, strengthening the macroeconomic environment, investing in quality education and skill development in science, technology and innovation, and avoiding the Dutch disease,” added Ayuk.

Last year, the African Energy Chamber and Centurion Law Group hosted a local content forum in Senegal, calling attention to local content development in the country. The ongoing visit serves as a follow up and a showcase of the Chamber’s continued commitment to the growth and development of African economies through ensuring that Africa’s natural resources benefit Africa’s people first.

“Senegal’s emergence as a key player in the oil and gas industry has been remarkable and, as this growth continues to surge, it is important that local communities have a seat at the table, It is also important that we continue to create an enabling environment investors and the oil sector. Cutting unnecessary red tape and fast-tracking project approvals will give the energy operators a boost,” said NJ Ayuk. “This, however, is a goal that is achievable only through the collaboration of the private and public sector. Local content is value creation and it is pertinent that Senegal put in place policies and frameworks that will see the its people benefit from its hydrocarbon industry,” he added.

Last month, Woodside Energy got the green light for its $4.2bn Sangomar oil project, Senegal’s first offshore oil venture where first production is expected in 2023, with a capacity to reach 100,000 bopd. The Phase 1 development concept for the Sangomar field is a stand-alone FPSO facility with subsea infrastructure. Meanwhile, works are ongoing at the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim FLNG project, whose phase 1 will see the commissioning of a 2.5 mtpa facility by 2022. This month, Kosmos Energy, BP, Petrosen and SMHPM signed an agreement with BP Gas Marketing for the supply of 2.45 mtpa of LNG over 20 years.

The MSGBC Basin has become sub-Saharan Africa’s hottest exploration frontier. Senegal is currently holding a licensing round to further attract investment into its acreages and boost existing reserves. The round is expected to generate tremendous interest from foreign investors and further confirm Senegal as a new African energy leader.

The African Energy Chamber (www.EnergyChamber.org) works with indigenous companies throughout the continent in optimizing their reach and networks. Our partnerships with international dignitaries, executives, and companies allow for relevant servicing to other international entities looking to operate within the continent.

The African Energy Chamber brings willing governments and credible businesses together to continuing growth of the African energy sector under international standard business practices.

*Source African Energy Chamber
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Government of Democratic Republic of the Congo and General Electric Sign Infrastructure Agreement
February 13, 2020 | 0 Comments
George Njenga, CEO for GE Renewable Energy (Grid & Hydro) SSA with DRC’s Minister of Hydraulic Resources and Electricity, Hon. Eustache Muhanzi Mubembe and the Minister of Health, Hon. Dr Eteni Longondo during the signing ceremony
George Njenga, CEO for GE Renewable Energy (Grid & Hydro) SSA with DRC’s Minister of Hydraulic Resources and Electricity, Hon. Eustache Muhanzi Mubembe and the Minister of Health, Hon. Dr Eteni Longondo during the signing ceremony
The 3-year MoU seeks to accelerate the economic and social development of the country

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, February 13, 2020/ — The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and General Electric (NYSE: GE) (www.GE.com) have announced signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in infrastructure projects enabling the increase in the supply of electric energy and health modernization programs. The 3-year MoU seeks to accelerate the economic and social development of the country.

Under the MoU, GE will work with the government to explore power solutions that will increase electricity to the country’s grid to benefit thousands of households. GE will also work with the ministry of health for the modernization of the country’s health system at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels as well as the infrastructures and equipment for maternal and child health, cardiology, and oncology. The partnership will also focus on training and capacity building of local talent for the sustainability of the initiatives.

Speaking about the signing, GE Africa President and CEO Mr. Farid Fezoua said, “Partnership with governments and local companies form a very important part of GE’s growth in Africa, and  we are honoured today to collaborate with the government of the DRC as a key strategic partner for the country’s long-term development agenda. This gives us the opportunity to deliver innovative solutions to meet the unmet demand for the millions of citizens without electricity and those without access to quality healthcare.”

GE is currently involved in the rehabilitation of Inga IIB power plant and of Nseke Power Plant in the DRC and has successfully implemented renovation projects with the 1st interventional Cardiology and CT Scanner with 128 systems installed at the HJ Hospital and new imaging center of Camp Kokolo. In the past, GE Healthcare also led the installation of the Scanner 16 slices at Panzi Hospital, giving thousands of citizens access to the latest diagnostic solutions. 

GE first started operating in Sub-Saharan Africa over 120 years ago and in 2011 renewed its focus to meet Africa’s current and future needs. The company has signed MOUs with the Governments of several countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Angola, Ghana and now the DRC to develop infrastructure projects, including sustainable energy solutions as well as improving access to quality healthcare. These MOUs involve significant investments in creating jobs and human capital development.

GE (www.GE.com) drives the world forward by tackling its biggest challenges: Energy, health, transportation—the essentials of modern life. By combining world class engineering with software and analytics, GE helps the world work more efficiently, reliably, and safely. For more than 125 years, GE has invented the future of industry, and today it leads new paradigms in additive manufacturing, materials science, and data analytics. GE people are global, diverse and dedicated, operating with the highest integrity and passion to fulfill GE’s mission and deliver for our customers.

*SOURCE GE
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Young Africans benefit from $500,000 Scholarship funding under the Africa Industrial Internet Programme
February 13, 2020 | 0 Comments
AIIP Class of 2019 Graduation
AIIP Class of 2019 Graduation

Port Louis, Mauritius– 31 January 2020- General Electric (NYSE: GE) and the Africa Leadership University (ALU) have announced the kick-off of the 3rd cohort of the Africa Industrial Internet Programme (AIIP)  which is aimed at equipping young Africans with skills that will enable them to take part in the fourth industrial revolution.

The 2020 cohort has enrolled 35 students from 8 countries across Africa, drawn from Oil & gas, transportation, power, energy, manufacturing, healthcare, telecoms and aviation industries. Over the last two years, the rigorous training programme has graduated 64 students, of which 50 were fully sponsored by GE from a scholarship fund totalling US Dollars 500,000.

GE will give 10 full scholarships for the current cohort.

Launched in 2018, the programme has empowered participants with essential skills for building applications for the Industrial Internet, which enables machine-to-machine communication that results in systems that can collect, analyze, and deliver data in real-time. These features provide significant benefits such as predicting when a device will require maintenance, enhancing logistics management, enhancing quality and optimizing safety.

The training takes place at a time when spending on the Internet of Things is predicted to reach a trillion US dollars by 202[1], with the total number of connected devices being projected to rise to 75.44 billion worldwide by 2025, a fivefold increase in ten years.

Commenting on the Programme,  Farid Fezoua, President & CEO for GE Africa said, “As a digital industrial company, it’s exciting  to see how over the last two years the AIIP has developed an ecosystem of digital engineers that utilise data science as an enabler for their work across industries,  developing solutions for the most pressing challenges. Our partnership with ALU for the AIIP is a testament of our commitment to develop the next generation of leaders that will drive solutions made in Africa for Africa in this transformative digital age.”

The AIIP is designed using a project-based approach where participants get to apply their learning in real world contexts. The Programme includes regular assessments in each module culminating with a final project where participants are tasked with applying their learning to solve an existing problem either in their business or in a partner organization’s business operations. This is achieved through modules in machine learning and big data analytics, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Cloud-based Application Development. A unique aspect of the Programme is a deliberate focus on creating links to industry for participants by inviting industry experts to intensives to share case studies, projects of interest, trends and opportunities, through industry field visits and mentorship opportunities with data science professionals. “African Leadership Group is thrilled to be partnering with GE to build a new generation of digital leaders for Africa” said Fred Swaniker, Founder of African Leadership Group, which includes African Leadership Academy, African Leadership University, and ALX. “We share GE’s passion for data, and what it can bring to the African continent and the world. The Programme enables mid-career engineers to build new skills in data analytics, data science, data engineering and data visualization. By leveraging the power of data,

today’s engineers can significantly improve the performance of high-tech industrial machinery and processes, thereby increasing the bottom line for companies. The Africa Industrial Internet Programme is creating globally competitive, digital engineers right here in Africa, and we can’t wait to see their full impact on the continent”.

In 2019 five female candidates from Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria received the Jay Ireland Africa Rising Scholarship for women in tech in honor of GE Africa’s former CEO, Jay Ireland.

Speaking about her experience with the programme, Funmi Somoye a 2019 cohort graduate from Nigeria said, “More than Machine Learning and Data Science, I have learned more about myself, and what I am capable of doing. I can’t wait to change the world!

About ALU

ALU is pioneering a fresh approach to higher education in the 21st century; offering accredited undergraduate, postgraduate and executive education Programme in a unique and imaginative way. By integrating students’ learning with the real world, empowering students to take ownership of their own learning, equipping each student to think entrepreneurially, and employing the most engaging and inspiring teaching methods, ALU is pioneering a new take on higher education and leadership development.  www.alueducation.com

About GE GE drives the world forward by tackling its biggest challenges: Energy, health, transportation—the essentials of modern life. By combining world class engineering with software and analytics, GE helps the world work more efficiently, reliably, and safely. For more than 125 years, GE has invented the future of industry, and today it leads new paradigms in additive manufacturing, materials science, and data analytics. GE people are global, diverse and dedicated, operating with the highest integrity and passion to fulfill GE’s mission and deliver for our customers.

From the students

Maureen Kibetu, 2019, Kenya (GE)

It is more than just coding and data science. It is practical in that we practice the skills we learnt by using real company data to draw insights. I learnt to see data as a story telling tool. I liked that the program also focused on professional development and I particularly enjoyed the conversations on leadership for the continent and ethics in the field of data science.

Gachanja Muigai 2019, Kenya (GE)

AIIP was a unique eye opener and highly beneficial program to me considering my Engineering Background. Through it I acquired formidable & versatile skills in the areas of Data Analytics, Machine Learning, Application Development and Artificial Intelligence. It is indeed rare to find a program that encompasses so many practical & digital skills & even harder when you add a dedicated, passionate Faculty. Finally my fellow students were a great addition to the program giving it a truly Pan African & Global outlook

Edward Opoku, 2018, Ghana

The AIIP is a unique, experience and dive into the world of data and analytics. It gives you an entire spectrum of what it takes to survive in the world of data science. through AIIP, I was able to meet passionate professionals and challenge our assumptions on the impact of data, and what it can bring to the continent and ultimately to the world.

Funmi Somoye, 2019, Nigeria

More than Machine Learning and Data Science, I have learned more about myself, and what I am capable of doing. I can’t wait to change the world!

Adeyinka Adeyemo, 2019, Nigeria

The AIIP is surely a programme of choice for aspiring data scientists or engineers. The modules are in-depth and well thought out and the focus on other professional development skills is also a plus for me.

Rose Funja, 2019, Tanzania

I like the linking of the theory to practice, every intensive meetup had professionals who advised us and shared interesting use cases.

Matlotlo Magasa, 2019, South Africa (GE)

Came in to the programme feeling like I was just a chemical engineer, worried about python programming and if I would be able to learn it. Now Python is not only a friendly coding language but I have the ability to get data from the plant and analyze this easily using data analytics and visualization, to use design thinking in approaching problems.

Chukwudum Chukwuedo, 2019,Nigeria

I just completed my business trip (enterprise digital competition) here in Houston, Texas and I am privileged that my software minimum viable product demonstration received full funding from the enterprise sponsors. The confidence gained from tackling ALU AIIP’s formative and summative assessments (to do hard things confidently) really came in handy and also key lessons from the leadership series especially working within teams and managing conflicts helped the team quickly go through the storming portions of team dynamics to the performing stage.

Sizwe Ncube, 2019, South Africa

I love the way the programme is structured; it encourages peer-to-peer learning and one gets equipped with new tech skills every day. The practicality of the course means you learn by doing. My biggest lesson from the program was to keep abreast of the constant changes in data science technology. All the techniques and skills we learned may become outdated in the near future, so we need to keep updated on new digital techniques.  –  Tobe Asem, Nigeria

  • My biggest takeaway was the focus on ethics in the field of data science. That with all the power that comes with data, those planning to use it ought to consider ethical implications and biases in any application.  – Maureen Kibetu, Kenya
  • I learned that the world is changing daily at a high speed, so one needs to equip him/herself with the essential data to change Africa for the better and the use of data to solve real human problems is amazing.  – Thula Vilakazi, South Africa 
  • What I loved most about the program was that it laid way for the interaction with a lot of tech-savvy and entrepreneurial minds from the industrial and telecoms space in Africa. Learning from their individual experiences and connecting with them on Africa industrial digital solutions standpoint was a high point for me. It was eye-opening to see that a lot of work is being done in Africa in the AI and ML space by both students on the program and the external facilitators of the program. What’s left now is to apply the skills I have learned now to the industry I work in to benefit Africa at large – Tobe Asem 



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Voith signs memorandum of understanding to build training center in Angola
February 11, 2020 | 0 Comments
Dr. Toralf Haag signed the memorandum of understanding with the Angolan Minister for Energy and Water João Baptista Borges in the presence of Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and the Angolan President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço
  • Agreement signed in the presence of Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel, the Angolan President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço and the Angolan Minister for Energy and Water João Baptista Borges
  • Significant contribution to the training of skilled personnel for technical and commercial occupations in Angola
  • Substantial hydropower potential in Angola still untapped

HEIDENHEIM, Germany. Within the framework of a delegation led by the German Chancellor, technology group Voith signed a memorandum of understanding in the Angolan capital Luanda on 7 February 2020 to build a training center in Angola. The memorandum of understanding was signed by João Baptista Borges, Angolan Minister for Energy and Water, and Dr. Toralf Haag, President and CEO of Voith, in the presence of Dr. Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. A business delegation accompanied the German Chancellor on her visit to South Africa and Angola for political discussions.

Ground-breaking collaboration to build up local expertise
Voith Hydro has had a presence in Africa since the 1930s. Since then, Voith Hydro has been a regular supplier of equipment to the hydropower industry on the African continent, not least through its successful realization of the two hydropower projects Cambambe I in 2012 and Cambambe II in 2017. With a view to stepping up its local commitment, the company intends to build a training center to provide training and professional development in the renewable energy sector of hydropower. The company will receive support in this venture from the Ministry for Energy and Water of the Republic of Angola (MINEA). The establishment of the Voith Academy and associated development of a training center are designed to provide basic and advanced training for skilled workers in Angola in technical and commercial occupations relevant to the hydropower industry.

In accordance with Voith’s long-established dual training approach, it intends to build a training center for the theoretical part of the training. For the practical training component Voith plans to work with the trainees to build a small hydropower plant in the Cuemba region. Voith will consult with MINEA in 2020 to determine a suitable location for the training center. The envisaged total investment will be in the region of several million euros.

Substantial hydropower potential in Africa
Africa has a huge technically feasible hydropower potential, estimated to be more than 470 gigawatts (GW) for the entire continent. However, the current installed capacity in Africa is only around 36 GW, meaning that the continent has the world’s highest percentage of as yet untapped hydropower potential. This is why many countries are accelerating the construction of new plants to produce regenerative energy from water. In remote regions the focus is on small hydropower stations that help facilitate the rapid development of reliable decentralized power grids.

The declared objective of the Angolan government is an increase in electricity generation capacity from the current 5,700 MW to around 9,000 MW for years to come. In addition, the surplus energy expected to be produced is set to be offered to neighboring countries, which will boost Angola’s economic development. Projects like Cambambe II are milestones for the African country on the west coast of the continent as it moves towards a more diversified and stable energy supply for households and industry. Because until now, the existing electricity supply has only covered about 40 percent of the population. This means that more than 15 million people are having to live without electricity, despite the fact that Africa has a huge hydropower potential that has so far not been exhausted. This potential will now be used to expand the regional electricity supply in a sustainable, efficient and low-emission way.

About the Voith Group
The Voith Group is a global technology company. With its broad portfolio of systems, products, services and digital applications, Voith sets standards in the markets of energy, oil & gas, paper, raw materials and transport & automotive. Founded in 1867, the company today has more than 19,000 employees, sales of € 4.3 billion and locations in over 60 countries worldwide and is thus one of the larger family-owned companies in Europe.

The Group Division Voith Hydro is part of the Voith Group and a leading full-line supplier as well as trusted partner for equipping hydropower plants. Voith develops customized, long-term solutions and services for large and small hydro plants all over the world. Its portfolio of products and services covers the entire life cycle and all major components for large and small hydro plants, from generators, turbines, pumps and automation systems, right through to spare parts, maintenance and training services, and digital solutions for intelligent hydropower.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets African leaders to advance conflict resolution and economic security
February 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

Trudeau called for cooperation among international partners and governments to create economic opportunity and prosperity that is broadly shared

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, February 10, 2020/ — Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau convened a meeting for African heads of state, foreign ministers and representatives of the United Nations and other multilateral bodies on Monday to discuss ways to secure peace across the continent as a necessary condition for prosperity. 

Trudeau, the 2020 chair of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, called for cooperation among international partners and governments to create economic opportunity and prosperity that is broadly shared, “…as a way not just of countering the pull of extremism in some places or the cynicism of populism, but as a way of building a real and tangible future for countries around the world.”

The breakfast meeting, which was held on the sidelines of the 33rd African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, was intended to strengthen the Commission’s partnership with the African Union (AU) and to better integrate African priorities in conflict prevention and bolstering economic security. Among issues discussed were the role that international financial institutions and youth job creation can play in Africa in averting extremism and conflict; and the AU leadership in peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts.    

The talks, titled Sustaining Peace and Economic Security, aligned with the Summit’s theme: Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development.   

Trudeau acknowledged that one of the biggest challenges both developed and developing countries face is the perception that governments are indifferent.

“In this time of change, in this time of transformation of the global economy, time of conflict, time of climate conflict, people worry that the system has no place for them and isn’t providing them with what they need,” the Canadian Prime Minister said. 

Among participants were President Roch Marc Christian Kabore of Burkina Faso; the Vice President of Gambia, Isatou Touray; President of the United Nations General Assembly, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and the foreign ministers of Sierra Leone and Rwanda.

President Kabore offered his reflections on the issues. Burkina Faso is one of several nations in the Sahel region that have seen economic growth adversely affected by conflict and instability.    

In opening remarks, African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina noted the shifting nature of conflicts across Africa. While the number of outright wars in Africa has declined substantially, they have been replaced with greater fluidity with rising cases of terrorism, extremism, conflicts from non-state actors.

The root causes of conflict, according to Adesina, include “rising inequalities, lack of political inclusiveness, extreme poverty, management and control over natural resources, youth unemployment that causes social unrest, climate change, to name a few.”

The Bank is at the forefront of helping to address fragility in Africa with several initiatives currently under way. So far, $3.8 billion has been allocated to address issues of fragility through the Transition State Support Facility.  

Adesina recognized the role Canada plays in enabling the Bank’s work.

“The successful replenishment of the Bank’s African Development Fund 15 – to which Canada contributed substantially with $355 million – will allow the Bank to deploy an additional $1.2 billion to address fragility, strengthen resilience and sustain peace and economic security,” he said. 

*Source AFDB

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New US-Kenya trade agreement won’t undermine AfCTA, President Kenyatta assures
February 9, 2020 | 0 Comments

WASHINGTON DC, 6th February 2020, (PSCU)—  President Uhuru Kenyatta has assured that a new bilateral trade deal between Kenya and the US won’t undermine the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

The Kenyan leader spoke shortly after a meeting with the United States  President Donald Trump at the White House during which the two leaders agreed to commence talks leading to a trade pact between Kenya and the US. 

President Kenyatta made the assurance when he addressed over 350 business leaders attending a US-Kenya Trade Forum in the US capital. 

He said the proposed new trade arrangement with the United States of America would in no way undermine Kenya’s commitment to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

At the White House meeting, Presidents Kenyatta and Trump said a new trade agreement would help increase volumes of trade and investment between Kenya and the US.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer who spoke shortly after the meeting between Presidents Kenyatta and Trump said, America recognizes Kenya as a leader in Africa and an important strategic partner of the US.

He said a new trade agreement presents the two countries a rare opportunity to explore ways of deepening Kenya-US economic and commercial ties.

“Under President Trump’s leadership, we look forward to negotiating and concluding a comprehensive, high-standard agreement with Kenya that can serve as a model for additional agreements across Africa,” Amb Lighthizer said. 

In line with the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability law of 2015, the Trade Representative will now officially notify Congress of the US government’s intention to start trade negotiations with Kenya.

Currently, trade between Kenya and the US stands at about USD 1billion a year with over 70 percent of Kenya’s export into the expansive American market in 2018, worth USD 466 million, entering under AGOA.

President Kenyatta told the Kenya-US forum that his administration is committed to developing and concluding the strongest ever trade and investment framework that would deliver increased trade between the two nations.

“Today I want to assure all of you of Kenya’s unwavering commitment in developing the strongest ever trade investment framework with the United States of America.

“We are very keenly looking forward to concluding the trade arrangement between our two countries and I believe that these  trade agreements would not only serve Kenya and United States but  would probably set the base for a new engagement between the United States and  other African countries,”President Kenyatta said. 

He dismissed speculation that Kenya is breaking away from its commitment to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) saying the new arrangement with the US is only aimed at bolstering and deepening trade not only with Kenya but also with other African countries.

“At this juncture I just want to put away a few doubts because there has been a feeling that by Kenya engaging with the US to have a trade arrangement, we are running away from our commitment to the African Continental Free Trade arrangement. And I want to assure you that there can be nothing further from the truth as that is definitely not the case,” President Kenyatta said. 

The Kenyan Head of State pointed out that Kenya was among the first countries to sign and ratify the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and that its commitment to the agreement is steadfast. 

He said Kenya needs to move faster and set the pace for other African countries in formulating new trade and investment arrangements with the US as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) comes to an end in 2025.

“All we are saying is that there are some of us like Kenya who feels that we are ready. We are ready to move forward and what we are saying is, let the rest of the continent see us as pacesetters. 

“Let them see us as the people who are clearing the field for future negotiations with the rest of the African continent because Kenya feels ready for this arrangement,” the President said. 

He noted that even as Kenya and the US work to strengthen their trade and investment ties, there is need to preserve and build on mechanisms and regulatory frameworks that already exist. 

“As you may be well aware, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has been a key mover for trade between Kenya and the USA. Through AGOA, the US is the third export destination for Kenyan products, with a share of about 8 percent of total Kenya’s export globally.  

“Moving forward, we need to maximize the remaining years of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) that ends in 2025,” President Kenyatta said noting that the US is an important source of  Kenya’s foreign direct investments (FDI), with the country holding an FDI stock of over USD 405 million in 2018. 

President Kenyatta challenged American businessmen to explore new investment opportunities in Kenya and assured them of an enabling business environment.

“We have a wide range of potential areas for investment and I urge US companies to consider investing in key sectors of the economy such as; Agriculture & Agro-processing, Manufacturing, Construction & Real Estate development, infrastructure development, ICT, Blue Economy, Energy, Hospitality & Tourism, Health, FinTech & Financial Services, Petroleum, Mining, among others,” the President outlined. 

Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs of the US Chamber of Commerce Myron Brilliant said the American business community is keenly following what President Kenyatta is doing in terms of improving trade between Kenya and the US and assured that the chamber will continue to support him by wooing more American investors to the country.

“We see your vision, we see your ambition, we understand what is happening in Kenya and we want to embrace it and support you,” Mr Brilliant assured the President.

President Kenyatta is accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries James Macharia (Transport), Adan Mohammed (East African Affairs) and CS designate for Trade Betty Maina among other senior government officials.
Credit: State House Kenya

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Charting a course for sustainable hydropower development in Africa
February 6, 2020 | 0 Comments

6 February 2020, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire – Senior African government representatives and leaders from the energy sector, financial institutions and civil society gathered in Abidjan today to chart a course for the sustainable development of the continent’s hydropower resources.

Organised by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Africa High-level Sustainable Hydropower Roundtable looked at strategies for ensuring projects are developed in accordance with international good practice, while overcoming challenges to development and access to finance.

With close to 600 million Africans lacking access to electricity, speakers including Hon Fortune Chasi, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Energy, and Sabati Cissé, Côte d’Ivoire’s Director-General for Ministry of Petroleum, Energy and Renewable Energies, emphasised the social-economic and power system benefits of investing in hydroelectricity.

Africa’s existing hydropower plants deliver 36 gigawatts (GW) of installed generation capacity, but this represents only about 11 per cent of the region’s technical potential, according to IHA (Hydropower Status Report 2019).

“As a renewable energy source offering design options from run-of-river plants to pumped storage plants, hydropower in its different forms adds significant value to power systems and the reliability of energy supply,” said Wale Shonibare, the African Development Bank’s Acting Vice President for Power Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth.

Mr Shonibare said the AfDB is committed to supporting new hydropower projects through its New Deal on Energy for Africa and has already invested close to USD 1 billion for 1.4 GW of expected installed capacity over the past ten years.

“As the Bank’s emphasis on renewable energy sources is growing, so does its interest in hydropower. In order to achieve universal access to energy, it is not enough to bring online the amount of generation capacity required to cover energy demand, it is also essential to do this in a sustainable way that assures power system reliability,” he said.

In his intervention, Minister Chasi noted that Zimbabwe, where more than half the population does not have electricity access, needs international investment and technical assistance to develop renewable energy sources including hydropower. “We consider hydropower to be essential and critical for our generation of power,” he said.

Mr Cissé noted that Africa’s hydropower plants, through increasing electricity access, contribute significantly to poverty reduction and economic growth. “Africa has enormous hydropower potential, which we will need if we want to achieve national policy priorities and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Eddie Rich, Chief Executive of IHA, said it was important to create an enabling policy and regulatory environment to incentivise new projects, while ensuring that both greenfield and rehabilitation projects are built and operated in accordance with internationally recognised guidelines and assessment tools.

“The Hydropower Sustainability Tools, governed by a multi-stakeholder coalition of social and environmental NGOs, governments, banks and industry, must be embedded in decision-making on project selection, planning, financing, development and operation. These tools define good and best practice and help to assess whether a hydropower project is truly sustainable across objective social, environmental and governance performance measures,” he said.

The Africa High-level Roundtable on Sustainable Hydropower Development was organised with support from AFD, the French development agency.

View the list of speakers: https://www.hydropower.org/events/africa-high-level-sustainable-hydropower-roundtable.

About IHA

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) is a non-profit organisation working with a network of members and partners to advance sustainable hydropower. Its mission is to build and share knowledge on hydropower’s role in renewable energy systems, responsible freshwater management and climate change solutions. IHA is also the management body for the Hydropower Sustainability Tools and provides training and accreditation for independent project assessors.

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Roadshow to Help Rwandan Businesses Tap Into AfCFTA
February 6, 2020 | 0 Comments

Afreximbank, PSF Will Showcase Opportunities from IATF2020 Participation

Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank

Kigali, 06 Feb. 2020 – The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has announced a roadshow in Kigali to show the Rwandan private sector how it can become a primary beneficiary of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which will provide significant opportunities to access the largely untapped markets and sectors in an integrated African market of over 1.3 billion people.

Organised in collaboration with Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation (PSF) on 11 February 2020, the roadshow will seek to raise the awareness of the Rwandan private sector about the substantial benefits of attending the second Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2020) which will take place in Kigali from 1 to 7 September 2020.

According to Afreximbank, Rwandan businesses can take advantage of the AfCFTA by establishing new networks of business buyers and sellers from across the African continent, enabling the country to significantly expand its intra-African trade.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said: “Rwanda’s economic transformation is undoubtedly one of Africa’s success stories. Rwandan businesses can further capitalise on this achievement by positioning themselves to take full advantage of the AfCFTA. Its removal of intra-African trade tariffs, progressive dismantling of non-tariff barriers and protectionism, will create a genuine single continental market. By attending IATF2020, they will gain an unrivalled opportunity to showcase their goods and services to buyers from across the African continent, whilst establishing new trade and investment links with a wide network of private and public sector players from more than 55 different countries.”

IATF2020 is expected to be Africa’s main trade event of 2020 and is aimed at providing a marketplace for buyers and sellers of products and services from Africa and beyond to meet and explore business opportunities. It will offer a platform for Business-to-Business and Business-to-Government exchanges, as well as business networking and development opportunities leading to the expected conclusion of trade and investment deals worth $40 billion.

The operational phase of the AfCFTA will commence on 1 July 2020.

* Afreximbank

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Equatorial Guinea agrees on $2M Solidarity Contribution to support China’s Fight Against Coronavirus
February 5, 2020 | 0 Comments
Equatorial Guinea and China Presidents
According to the latest updates, the coronavirus has killed almost 500 people worldwide, mostly Chinese citizens and infected over 24,000 people

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, February 5, 2020/ — Equatorial Guinea’s Council of Ministers has agreed to support China’s fight against the coronavirus with a $2 million solidarity contribution this week. Chaired by H.E. President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the Council of Ministers expressed its deepest support and solidarity to the Chinese Government in their fight against the global outbreak.

According to the latest updates, the coronavirus has killed almost 500 people worldwide, mostly Chinese citizens and infected over 24,000 people. The decision of Equatorial Guinea’s Council of Minister to financially support China’s fight against the virus reflects the deep and long-standing relationship between both countries, whose cooperation has only grown stronger in recent years.

“China has always been a very strong and loyal supporter of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and this contribution is a demonstration that Equatorial Guinea stands in solidarity with China and its people as it fights a global outbreak that has already cost too many lives,” declared H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons. “Our ongoing Year of Investment Initiative will be a testimony to the depth of our cooperation and relationship with China. It is a pleasure for Equatorial Guinea to support its partner in times of need.”

China and Equatorial Guinea have been enjoying successful economic and technical cooperation for decades. China has supported the development of Equatorial Guinea through the construction of critical telecommunications and road infrastructure, along with supporting social infrastructure in the country. Equatorial Guinea has been a long-standing supporter of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Last year, both countries agreed to further strengthen bilateral cooperation during a meeting between President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s special representative Yang Jiechi.
*Africa Energy Chamber
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Gambia China exchange ideas in Combating Coronavirus
February 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

Chinese Ambassador in Gambia with Gambia Foreign Minister Dr Tangara

By Bakary Ceesay

Ambassador Ma Jianchun exchanged views on jointly containing the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) with Hon. Mamadou Tangara

On 3 February 2020, Ambassador Ma Jianchun met with Hon. Mamadou Tangara, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, and exchanged views on further strengthening bilateral cooperation in preventing and controlling the outbreak of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus, also known as the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Ambassador Ma briefed Hon. Tangara on the latest development of the epidemic and the measures taken by the Chinese side. He said that since the pneumonia outbreak, the Chinese government had taken the most comprehensive and rigorous prevention and control measures with a strong sense of responsibility for people’s health.

The safety and health of the Gambian nationals in China are of equal importance as the Chinese people, which has been well taken care of. As a responsible country for the international society, China has also taken many measures to prevent the outbreak from spreading abroad, many of which go way beyond the requirements of the WHO.

The declaration of the epidemic as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) by WHO was a technical decision in accordance with the International Health Regulations and made within its responsibilities.

Ambassador Ma emphasized that as more medical resources being mobilized and transported to the epicenter of the outbreak, we are not far from winning the battle against the outbreak.

Hon. Tangara appreciated China for taking decisive and scientific measures in containing the pneumonia outbreak and ensuring safety of Gambian nationals in China especially those in the epicenter of the outbreak.

He said that the Gambian side has full confidence in China’s ability in winning the battle against the outbreak, and the Gambian people are always in solidarity with the friendly Chinese people.

He further pointed out that the Gambian side will continue to refrain from imposing unnecessary travel or trade restriction on the Chinese people.

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Yale Leadership Forum Amplifies Influence of Next Generation of African Women Leaders
January 31, 2020 | 0 Comments

NEW HAVEN, USA, January 31, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Yale University, in partnership with Fundación Mujeres por África and Banco Santander, convened the Women’s Leadership Forum in Lagos, Nigeria, on January 17. The Lagos forum was the third of the partnership’s events held in Africa since the program began in 2015. It brought together women leaders from across the continent to foster relationships between one generation of African women and the next, and to serve as a catalyst for open dialogue. It was the culminating event of a three-day visit to Lagos by Yale President Peter Salovey.

As a flagship program of the Yale Africa Initiative, the forum is part of a broader leadership development program for senior African women government officials. Additional components of the leadership program have included participation by women from African countries in events hosted on Yale’s campus. Previous forums held in Africa were convened in Accra in 2018, and Addis Ababa in 2019.

In Lagos, opening addresses were delivered by Peter Salovey, the 23rd President of Yale University, and Maria Teresa Fernandez De La Vega, president of the Spanish Council of State and president of Fundación Mujeres por África (Women for Africa Foundation).

In his remarks, President Salovey said, “Building a network of senior African women leaders is essential to promoting sound governance and economic opportunity across the continent and around the globe for generations to come. This program has not only enhanced the knowledge and skills of current women trailblazers but has also bolstered the pipeline for emerging leaders. They are advancing the prospects of their nations, their continent, and our world.”

During the forum, two panel discussions took place, one exploring personal journeys to leadership roles, and the other focused on women defining and creating the leadership they need to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Advocating for gender equality, during her opening address, Ms. Fernandez De La Vega said, “The road to equality is the road to the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The session on the “Role of Women in Achieving SDGs” was moderated by Emma Sky, director of Yale’s Maurice R. Greenberg World Fellows Program and a senior fellow of the Yale Jackson Institute. In her remarks introducing the panel discussion, Ms. Sky emphasized the need to create spaces for women in leadership.

“Women are the hope of Africa. And it is women who are key to ensuring that Africa develops to its potential and to enabling human flourishing. This leadership forum convenes a group of highly accomplished women leaders from across Africa, who are making a difference, who serve as role models for other women, and who are committed to mentoring a new generation of women leaders to participate in addressing the challenges facing the continent,” she said.

During the discussion, which included the voices of strong African women leaders with a track record of significant contribution towards achievement of the SDGs, panelists and participants focused on the importance of empowering women in rural and capital areas, and the need to ensure that no woman is left behind.

Both panels featured program alumni: Obiageli Ezekwesili, former Minister of Solid Minerals and Education (Nigeria); Ramatoulaye Diallo, Minister of Culture (Mali); Adejoke O-Adefulire; Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs (Nigeria); Remi Sonaiya, independent researcher and consultant and professor at Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria); and Nana Oye Lithur, human rights lawyer and former Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection (Ghana).

The “Journey to Leadership” discussion, which featured personal testimonials from the panelists, was moderated by Olabosipo Sawyerr-Bassey, a graduate of the Yale School of Management (Class of 2007) from Nigeria, and Stephanie Busari, the bureau head of CNN Nigeria. A common thread from the stories shared pointed to the importance of African women in shaping the destinies of their countries.

The forum concluded with remarks from Ms. Obiageli Ezekwesili, Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow, presidential candidate of Nigeria’s 2019 election, and former vice president for the World Bank’s Africa Region. She urged participants to make conscious efforts towards connecting SDGs to everyday life so that people in communities can take ownership and demand accountability from the government on their efforts towards achieving these goals and improving their futures.

ABOUT YALE UNIVERSITY
Since its founding in 1701, Yale has been dedicated to expanding and sharing knowledge, inspiring innovation, and preserving cultural and scientific information for future generations.

Yale’s reach is both local and international. From its New Haven, Connecticut campus the University engages with people and institutions across the globe to deliver on its commitment to provide transformative educational opportunities for students and foster innovative discoveries that improve the world today and for future generations.
You can find Yale on social media via: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

*Source African Media Agency

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Gambia: Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Tangara Meets new French Ambassador
January 29, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay 

New French Ambassador with Foreign Minister Dr. Tangara

The Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, Dr. Mamadou Tangara, on Monday 27th January 2020 received in his office the new Ambassador of France to The Gambia, Philippe Lalliot, 

He presented copies of his Letters of Credence to the Honourable Minister before proceeding to the Presidency for the actual presentation of his Letters of Credence to the President Adama Barrow. 

Ambassador Lalliot is accredited to The Gambia and resident in Dakar, Senegal. 

In welcoming the new French Ambassador, the Honourable Minister assured him of the continuous support and collaboration of the Government of The Gambia at all times especially at bilateral and multilateral level. 

The French Ambassador in turn assured the Honourable Minister that he will work diligently to promote and facilitate investment in The Gambia from French companies. 

After his engagement with the Honourable Minister, Ambassador Lalliot was accompanied to State House by the Honourable Minister of Foreign, Permanent Secretary Mr. Sulayman Omar Njie and Director of the European Affairs Division Mr. Ebrima Mboob.


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Erdogan: Turkey-Gambia trade Cooperation is Gaining Momentum
January 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

The visiting Turkish President to The Gambia, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told journalists on Monday at State House that the trade relationship with Banjul is at the desired level of cooperation.

Erdoğan and his host President, Adama Barrow were engaged in a joint press conference shortly after his arrival to the West African state.

“Your government has demonstrated strong support to our transitional programmes with military support to the sum of 17 million US dollars for a period of five years which is ongoing,” Barrow who first spoke said.

He said his government has also gained the support from Turkey to build the capacity of the security forces by training 500 officers on peacekeeping.

“Your excellency, we continue to appreciate the pledges you made during my visit to build a children’s hospital and offices for the parliamentarians.

“Turkish instrumental role in supporting the Gambia to host the OIC Summit and sharing the Turkish experience in hosting such a would event is highly appreciated,” Barrow stated.

Barrow said the formation of the joint economic commission between the two countries has created an investment opportunity which holds a flagship position within their cooperation. According to him, this is vital for the private sectors of both countries.

He believes that the coming of the Turkish president’s visit will strengthen their bilateral ties and it will boost the socio-economic growth for both states.

Meanwhile, President Erdoğan said Gambia’s decisive start had made it an example for other African countries.

“The economic and trade relationship we have with the Gambia is now at the desired level. Between Turkey and Gambia in 2019, the trade value reached 55 million dollars,” he disclosed.

He stated that his wish is to carry on with bilateral trade towards a more balanced structure.

“In 2013, between our countries we signed up on the promotion and reciprocal protection of the investment agreement. We completed the internal ratification of the agreement in our country and we hope that the process will also be completed in the Gambia.

He said the avoidance of double taxation agreement the two states signed in 2014 has been put into force on February 26th, 2018.

He stressed that Turkey would always base their relationship with Africa on just and balanced benefit of both sides.

According to him, aside from selling products, Turkish investors are also creating jobs and are focusing on developing and strengthening the continent of Africa through their projects – ensuring that their firms will be creating more investments in the Gambia.

“In the new Gambia, I believe the Gambia government will give more responsibility to our contractors,” he added.

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Rwanda and Zimbabwe in Partnership For Forum To Boost Regional Integration in Africa
January 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Harare—–Rwanda and Zimbabwe which are COMESA Member States have joined hands of Commercial and Economic solidarity in the spirit of bilateral relations through an Investment and Trade Conference to be held from 4 to 6 March this year in Rwanda Kigali . In the aura of Economic Integration and open for Business partnership, Rwanda President Paul Kagame and Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa will officially open the conference.

This come to note through an invitation advanced to press, Business Executives, Economists, captains of Industry and Government officials who attended a conference hosting ceremony launch in Harare. Speaking to delegates at a hotel in the city, James Musoni His Excellency Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to the Republic of Rwanda promised to kick the ground in a bang. He said the conference is historic and of great opportunity un-ever met.

 ‘’ This is a History making process headed by heads of State of the two countries. The two countries have made bilateral relations which will be tabled in dialogue at the 24 to 26 March conference this year. The objective is to foster Trade and Investment relations among our people. We have to strengthen these relations and partnerships meant to up-lift people out of poverty through Regional Integration.

 ‘’The conference will un-pack available opportunities in Rwanda so that Zimbabwe Business people can penetrate Rwanda. They will explore and identify opportunities in the country.

Rwanda has over the past decade experienced 8% sustained economic growth Annual Gross Domestic Product since 2007. This explains clearly that Rwanda is one of the fastest growing economy. The Ambassador further digs down that vast opportunities are in sectors such as Agriculture, Energy, Tourism, ICT, Infrastructure, Real Estate and Construction.

‘’This is given evidence by recent launch of the first ever made smart phone in Africa.  It is called Mara Smart-Phone . Zimbabwe can import these smart-phones. Business is always easy if done and well managed. We have Rwanda Air which plies the Harare –Rwanda route on a daily basis.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in Zimbabwe David Musabayana said Rwanda has vast investment incentives Zimbabwe can take advantage of. He further cited that registration is easy and accessible than in some other countries.

‘’Zimbabwe will obviously boost its economic growth because of the fast on-line business and registration that only takes a day to facilitate. Access to services like electricity utility is easy. Investors are assured of a country without corruption, investment impediments and inconveniences related to business operations.

‘’A business can be registered in 6 hours while a Bank account can be opened in less than an hour’’,

Rwanda and Zimbabwe are both countries in COMESA, a free trade bloc with 19 countries. It means free movement of people and goods between the two countries. Rwanda is signatory to the 2018 Kigali African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement currently being implemented under the African Union. Rwanda is as well a member of the East African Community like Zimbabwe which is a member of the SADC family consisting of 17 countries.

On the International scene Rwanda is the 7th most efficient Government. It is now a safe destination in Africa. It is now competitive in economic activities. This makes it easy to do business in the Sub-Saharan Africa.

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