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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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