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Kenya to host 14th edition of African dairy conference and exhibition
December 29, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

ESADA

ESADA

The Eastern and Southern Africa Dairy Association (ESADA) will host the 14th edition of the African Dairy Conference and Exhibition (14th AfDa), the leading African Dairy Conference and Expo, on 20 to 24 August 2018 in
Nairobi, Kenya, according to the ESADA secretariat.

According to the secretariat, for more than a decade now, the African dairy conference and exhibition is the only dairy event in Africa that prides itself in bringing the latest trends and developments in the dairy sector,
giving delegates a deeper understanding of what is happening in the African dairy industry and the world at large.

The event will feature conference sessions tailored to explore strategies for the future of a sustainable dairy industry, policy reforms, domestic dairy initiatives, just to mention a few. Also an exhibition with over 100 exhibitors from over 30 countries is expected to be held.This is expected to feature exhibitors involved directly or indirectly in the dairy sector, displaying new technologies and products.Other activities will include dairy Awards and private workshops and seminars for the dairy sector.

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A review of Africa’s successes in 2017
December 26, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati*

In a few days’ time, we are going to wave goodbye entering a new 2018. As we already know, there is much 2018 will offer to Africa, we may not know what exactly (with the exception of future tellers of course!) will happen but major changes will occur. What we know however is what 2017 had much to offer to Africa. 2017 offered both the good and the bad. For the sake of inspiring positivity especially in this festive period, we are going to share with you the good that Africa had in store for us this year.

Ghana (January)

New Ghanaian president, Nana Akufo-Addo set the precedence that later spread to many African countries by opening up the Ghanaian border for all Africans. Akufo-Addo announced the news that Africans no longer need Visas to visit Ghana in the same year Ghana celebrated 60 year after independence. During the course of the year, many African countries followed suit by removing Visas for Africans including Kenya and Namibia while many have promised to so in the near future.

Gambia (January)

ECOWAS stretched its muscles in Gambia as it ordered the incumbent Yahya Jammeh to vacate office after his defeat in the elections. Due to ECOWAS pressure, Jammeh finally decided to leave office paving the way for Adama Barrow to become Gambia’s new President.

Gabon (January- February)

Sport as it has over the years continued in lifting and strengthening the African spirit and pride as Gabon successfully hosted the 31st edition of the Africa Cup of Nations. 24 countries across Africa participated in the tournament that ended with Cameroon lifting the trophy.

Kenya (May)

In May, Kenya launched the $3.2 billion Nairobi-Mombasa railway line. Once complete, it will become one of Africa’s biggest and most innovative railway lines on par with some of the developed countries’ railway systems. The beauty of the Nairobi-Mombasa railway line is that it is a wholly Kenyan affair.

South Africa successfully hosts the World Economic Forum for Africa.

South Africa (September)

The first African museum to exclusively exhibit art from artists from Africa (local and from the diaspora) opens its doors for the first time in Cape Town, South Africa. The museum, Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) also becomes Africa’s largest contemporary art museum.

Egypt (October)

For the first time since their 1990 appearance, Egypt makes their way back to the World Cup to be hosted by Russia in 2018.

Zimbabwe (November)

Long-time Zimbabwean leader, Robert Mugabe submits his resignation to Parliament paving way for Emmerson Mnangagwa to become the country’s second leader since independence in 1980. Mugabe effectively served 37 years as Zimbabwe’s leader starting as Prime Minister in 1980 until 1987 when he became the country’s President.

South Africa (November)

South African model, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters is crowned Miss Universe at a beautiful ceremony held at Planet-Hollywood Casino Resort in Las Vegas, USA. By doing so, she becomes just the second South African to win the title since Margaret Gardiner in 1978.

Liberia (December)

For the first time since 1944, there is going to be a peaceful democratic transition of power in Liberia. The two leading candidates will go to a run off on Boxing Day. The environment in Liberia is calm a day before elections something Liberians have not experienced since 1944.

Zimbabwe (December)

The new leadership in Zimbabwe takes corrective measures to turn around the much maligned Land Reform Program as evicted white farmer, Rob Smart returns to his farm.

*Have more successes to share from your part of Africa ? contact www.panafricanvisions.com via email pav@panafricanvisions.com

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The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) sign First-ever Line of Financing agreement
December 25, 2017 | 0 Comments
The USD 100-million line of financing facility will be utilized by Afreximbank to provide Shariah-compliant financing to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in its member countries in Africa
Afreximbank Executive Vice President Mr. Amr Kamel President (left) and Mr Khaled Al-Aboodi (right), CEO, Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector in handshake during the signing ceremony in Jeddah

Afreximbank Executive Vice President Mr. Amr Kamel President (left) and Mr Khaled Al-Aboodi (right), CEO, Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector in handshake during the signing ceremony in Jeddah

JEDDAH, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, December 24, 2017/ — The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private sector (ICD) (www.ICD-ps.org) and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) (www.Afreximbank.com) signed a Line of financing agreement for a USD 100-million facility.

The USD 100-million line of financing facility will be utilized by Afreximbank to provide Shariah-compliant financing to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in its member countries in Africa. Afreximbank has a solid pipeline of projects in the industrial, communication, technology, healthcare, construction and agricultural sectors that would be financed by the ICD Line of financing.

On this occasion Mr. Khaled Al Aboodi, CEO of ICD, commented: “The proposed financing facility is a token of a good partnership between ICD and Afreximbank, with the purpose of supporting private sector businesses with a Shariah compliant facility structure in our common African member countries”.

“This facility will give a boost to our effort to implement our current strategy which prioritizes intra-African trade; intra –African investments and export manufacturing of the labour intensive type,” said Mr Amr Kamel, Executive Vice President at Afreximbank. “It will also promote our knowledge in Islamic finance and provide us with additional manoeuvring capacity in terms of product offerings to our clients.”

We are delighted that ICD has chosen to partner with us in the pursuit of Africa’s trade development. This collaboration will contribute to, the objective of fostering sustainable economic growth in the member countries of our two institutions, leading to job creations, contribution to export and Islamic finance development, among others,” Mr. Kamel added.

The key economic and financial developmental impact will be, but not limited to; developing private sector, especially SMEs, to help expand the real economic growth based on value creation, and promoting Islamic Finance based on the pipeline of AFREXIMBANK projects. The Line of Finance facility is also expected to have an impact on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in line with ICD’s strategic objectives.

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) (www.ICD-ps.org) is a multilateral organization and a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group. The mandate of ICD is to support economic development and promote the development of the private sector in its member countries through providing financing facilities and/or investments, which are in accordance with the principles of Shari’ah. ICD also provides advice to governments and private organizations to encourage the establishment, expansion and modernization of private enterprises. ICD is rated AA/F1+ by Fitch and Aa3/P1 by Moody’s.

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) (www.Afreximbank.com) is the foremost pan-African multilateral financial institution devoted to financing and promoting intra- and extra-African trade. The Bank was established in October 1993 by African governments, African private and institutional investors, and non-African investors. Its two basic constitutive documents are the Establishment Agreement, which gives it the status of an international organization, and the Charter, which governs its corporate structure and operations. Since 1994, it has approved more than $51 billion in credit facilities for African businesses, including about $10.3 billion in 2016. Afreximbank had total assets of $11.7 billion as at 31 December 2016 and is rated BBB+ (GCR), Baa1 (Moody’s), and BBB- (Fitch). The Bank is headquartered in Cairo.

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ITFC, Afreximbank join Efforts to Support African Trade with $100 Million and €50 Million Murabaha Partnership Agreements
December 25, 2017 | 0 Comments
On the sidelines of the Afro-Arab Trade Finance Forum
DUBAI, UAE, December 24, 2017/ — The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) (www.Afreximbank.com), a multilateral financial institution established by African governments and institutional investors, have signed a US$100-Million agreement and a EUR 50-Million Murabaha agreement with the aim of facilitating and financing exports amongst African countries and between Africa and the rest of the world.

The agreements were signed by Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, the CEO of ITFC, and Mr. Amr Kamel, Executive Vice President, Business Development & Corporate Banking of Afreximbank, in a ceremony held during the Afro-Arab Trade Finance Forum, which was organized by the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) on 21 December 2017 in Dubai under the Arab Africa Trade Bridges Program.

The facilities are intended to be used to support procurement from suppliers from the member and non-member countries, including local purchase, to promote trade across Africa.

On this occasion, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO ITFC, stated: “This partnership comes as part of ITFC’s commitment to support the development of the African member countries’ exports as an important lever toward the sustainable growth, job creation and poverty reduction.”

He pointed out that this partnership will be utilized to finance African OIC member countries under the “Arab-Africa Trade Bridges” Program, a regional trade promotion program that aims at addressing some of the challenges faced in promoting trade between the two regions and supporting South-South cooperation.

Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO ITFC delivered a keynote speech at the opening session of the Forum, that focused on identifying the prospects and opportunities between the Arab countries and Africa, and the best ways to tackle the challenges that hinder the development of the trade flows in these countries.

Mr. Amr Kamel, Executive Vice President at Afreximbank, in his speech at the ceremony, stated that Afreximbank saw the Murabaha partnership agreement as a stepping stone towards greater collaboration in pursuit of the Bank’s shared vision with ITFC. He said that “ITFC has demonstrated that it stands shoulder to shoulder with the African Export-Import Bank as they collaborate to develop the African Continent and promote inter-African trade.”

“I see great prospect for the unfolding Afreximbank-ITFC partnership,” Mr. Kamel added, “but I am mindful that realizing the tremendous opportunities will require determination and hard work. We are committed to invest our resources in that direction.”

The ceremony was attended and witnessed by other participants in the Afro-Arab Trade Finance Forum.

The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation is an autonomous entity within the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group. ITFC commenced operations in January 2008 with the purpose of consolidating all the trade finance businesses that used to be handled by various windows within the IsDB Group. The consolidation of IsDB Group’s trade finance activities under a single umbrella enhanced the Corporation’s efficiency in service delivery by enabling rapid responses to customer needs in a market-driven business environment.

As a leader in Shari’ah-compliant trade finance, ITFC deploys its expertise and funds to businesses and governments in its Member Countries. With the vision of being the leading the provider of trade solutions for OIC Member Countries’ needs, the Corporation helps entities in Member Countries gain better access to trade finance and provides them with trade development programmes in order to help them compete successfully in the global market. Operating to world class standards, ITFC promotes IsDB developmental objectives through its two main pillars, Trade Finance and Trade Development, to fulfil its brand promise of ‘Advancing Trade & Improving Lives’.

About Afreximbank:

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) (www.Afreximbank.com) is the foremost pan-African multilateral financial institution devoted to financing and promoting intra- and extra-African trade. The Bank was established in October 1993 by African governments, African private and institutional investors, and non-African investors. Its two basic constitutive documents are the Establishment Agreement, which gives it the status of an international organization, and the Charter, which governs its corporate structure and operations. Since 1994, it has approved more than $51 billion in credit facilities for African businesses, including about $10.3 billion in 2016. Afreximbank had total assets of $11.7 billion as at 31 December 2016 and is rated BBB+ (GCR), Baa1 (Moody’s), and BBB- (Fitch). The Bank is headquartered in Cairo.

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Paradigm Initiative Releases 2017 Digital Rights in Africa Report
December 23, 2017 | 0 Comments

Paradigm Initiative on December 19 2017 launched its second Digital Rights in Africa Report at the 12thInternet Governance Forum (IGF) in Geneva, Switzerland. The IGF, organized by the United Nations, is a multi-stakeholder annual gathering of international stakeholders on Internet Governance and was a perfect platform to launch the comprehensive report on digital rights issues in Africa.

The 2017 Digital Rights in Africa Report, titled Good for Business: Why Private Sector must work with Citizens, Civil Society for Digital Rights, builds on the 2016 Digital Rights in Africa Report titled, Chocking the Pipe: How Governments hurts Internet Freedom on a Continent that needs more access launched at the 11th Internet Governance Forum in Mexico.

The Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative, ‘Gbenga Sesan, noted that “Paradigm Initiative will continue to use our Digital Rights in Africa Report to record incidents of digital rights abuses, policies and laws which infringe Digital Rights, and monitor the Telecommunications market across the continent to ensure that the human rights online for Africans are respected”

DIGITAL RIGHTS IN AFRICA REPORT 2017-11

The report provides commentary on digital rights violations, policies and other related development in Africa. The report also features in-depth analysis of the state of digital rights in some 21 African countries. The report says inter alia, “across Africa, a shift was also seen in how citizens responded to violations of their digital rights. In addition to direct recourse and appeal to international agencies, African citizens are exploring alternative options. Citizens across the continent have taken recourse to in-country or regional legal action to defend their digital rights.” The report is available here for free downloadbit.ly/DRAReport

The 2017 report launch featured a panel which included Tolu Ogunlesi, Head of Presidential Office for Digital Engagement, The Presidency, Nigeria, Titi Akinsanmi, Government Relations and Public Policy lead at Google; Juliet Maina, Associate in Telecommunications, Media and Technology law at TripleOKLaw Kenya; and ‘Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative.

Tolu Ogunlesi said, “Internet Freedom and Digital Rights are best achieved within a multistakeholder model, and this includes respect for the input and ideas of government. Political office holders cannot be ignored in successful Internet Freedom forums”.

Also speaking at the launch, Titi Akinsanmi reflected that “Regulation will never catch up with Innovation. The cause of development is best served when governments policies and law do not restrict freedom of expression and innovation, rather are skillfully and thoughtfully drafted to stimulate development”.

Julie Maina, Associate in Telecommunications, Media and Technology law added, “Taking a Pan-African view of Internet Freedom and Digital Rights helps us to spot trends and work for the best outcome for all Africans”

If you would like a review copy of the Report, please send your mailing address to sodiq.alabi@pinigeria.org. For more information, contact Sodiq Alabi (Communications Officer) sodiq.alabi@pinigeria.org.

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Amnesty International Appoints Kumi Naidoo As Next Secretary General
December 22, 2017 | 0 Comments
Kumi Naidoo      AFP PHOTO / LEHTIKUVA / Milla Takala *** FINLAND OUT ***        (Photo credit should read MILLA TAKALA/AFP/Getty Images)

Kumi Naidoo AFP PHOTO / LEHTIKUVA / Milla Takala *** FINLAND OUT *** (Photo credit should read MILLA TAKALA/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – Amnesty International has appointed Kumi Naidoo as the next Secretary General of the global human rights movement. From August 2018 Kumi will succeed Salil Shetty, who served two terms as Secretary General from 2010.

“We are delighted to be welcoming Kumi as our new Secretary General. His vision and passion for a just and peaceful world make him an outstanding leader for our global movement, as we strengthen our resolve for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all,” said Mwikali Muthiani, Chair of the Board of Amnesty International.

The Secretary General is the leader and main spokesperson for Amnesty International and the Chief Executive of its International Secretariat. Amnesty International is the largest human rights movement globally, with a global presence including offices in more than 70 countries, 2,600 staff and seven million members, volunteers and supporters worldwide.

Kumi is an activist and civil society leader. His previous leadership roles include Executive Director of Greenpeace International, Chair of the Global Call for Climate Action, Founding Chair of the Global Call to Action against Poverty and Secretary General and CEO of CIVICUS, the World Alliance for Citizen Participation.  He currently chairs three start-up organizations in his home country South Africa: Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity; the Campaign for a Just Energy Future; and the Global Climate Finance Campaign. Naidoo holds a BA in Law and Political Science (University of KwaZulu-Natal) and a DPhil in Politics (University of Oxford).

“I have been an activist and campaigner all my life, so I am excited to be joining the world’s largest people movement for human rights at a time when we need to counter increasing attacks on basic freedoms and on civil society around the globe. This means adapting to a fluid fast-changing global environment with urgency, passion and with courage,” said Naidoo.

“Amnesty International’s campaigns for justice and equality today are more urgent than ever, and I am humbled and honored to be leading the organization in these challenging times.”

“The world is at an exciting moment when people are mobilizing in large numbers to fight against injustice and hold leaders in governments and corporations to account for human rights abuses. I can’t think of anybody better than Kumi Naidoo to build on Amnesty International’s mission to become a truly global people’s movement for human rights,” said Salil Shetty.

“I am delighted to hand over the reins when for the first time in Amnesty’s history, we have both the Secretary General and Board Chair from Africa.”

The Secretary General is appointed by the International Board of Amnesty International for an initial four year term. The appointment followed an extensive global search.

*Amnesty International

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South Sudan Government, Rebel Groups Sign Ceasefire
December 21, 2017 | 1 Comments

By Aaron Maasho*

File Picture .South Sudan's President Salva Kiir exchanges signed documents with South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar  following previous peace accords which collapsed spectacularly

File Picture .South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir exchanges signed documents with South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar following previous peace accords which collapsed spectacularly.Their representatives were present at signing today

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – South Sudan’s government and rebel groups signed a ceasefire on Thursday in the latest attempt to end a four-year civil war and allow humanitarian groups access to civilians caught in the fighting.

The ceasefire aims to revive a 2015 peace deal that collapsed last year after heavy fighting broke out in South Sudan’s capital Juba. It was agreed after talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa convened by regional bloc IGAD.

A decision by President Salva Kiir to sack his deputy Riek Machar triggered the war in the world’s youngest country. The war has been fought largely along ethnic lines between forces loyal to Kiir, who is Dinka, and Machar, who is Nuer.

Tens of thousands have died and a third of the population of 12 million have fled their homes. The conflict has since mutated from a two-way fight into one involving multiple parties and this has made it harder to find peace.

Representatives of Kiir and Machar were both present at the signing.

“I do hope in signing this agreement, you will try to put an end to this tragedy …. This is an encouraging first phase,” said Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union Commission.

Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu, also present, said: “There is no longer any excuse for the violations of human rights. All parties are obliged to observe cessation of hostilities agreement.

Diplomats at the talks told Reuters the next phase of the negotiations would now center on thrashing out a revised power-sharing arrangement leading up to a new date for polls.

*Source Reuters

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Next Einstein Forum announces its Ambassadors, champions of science and technology across Africa
December 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

KIGALI, Rwanda, 20 December 2017 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The Next Einstein Forum (NEF) today announces its second Ambassadors Class, 45 scientists and tech champions across Africa, all under 42 years of age, who are solving Africa’s and the world’s challenges.

An initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the NEF will hold its second global forum for science in Kigali, Rwanda, under the patronage of H.E. President Paul Kagame on 26-28 March 2018.

Central to the NEF’s vision of propelling Africa onto the global scientific stage, the NEF Ambassadors will attend the NEF Global Gathering in Kigali, connect with each other and scientists from across the world. While growing their own careers through mentorship and collaborations offered by a growing network of partners, NEF Ambassadors drive the NEF’s local public engagement activities like the NEF Africa Science Week, and will help craft an exciting and high impact forum.

“Two years ago, it was an honor to announce the inaugural Ambassadors Class in Dakar. Today again, I am excited to announce a brilliant NEF Ambassadors Class. The 45 selected Ambassadors, eighteen of whom are women, are helping transform their local community through national campaigns like GirlsInSTEM, through research in renewable energy, food security, fin-tech etc. Beyond just theoretical research, our Ambassadors have developed impressive technologies from their research. We look forward to shining a light on their initiatives and technologies which we believe are solving local and global challenges,” said Mr. Thierry Zomahoun, President and CEO of AIMS and Chairman of the NEF.

NEF Ambassadors are selected using a holistic process that reviews academic achievement, entrepreneurial abilities and recent public engagement efforts, particularly online. Ambassadors also have to demonstrate a passion for raising Africa’s scientific profile and inspiring the next generation of scientific leaders.

“I would like to thank the first Ambassadors Class who ran the first ever NEF Africa Science Week and continue to run impactful campaigns to mentor the next generation of scientists and technologists. Together with this new Ambassadors’ class, they join the newly launched NEF Community of Scientists, an exclusive network that offers members research collaborations, networking and speaking opportunities and career mentorship. In return, members will participate in national and continental policy formulation, cross-cutting research and innovation activities, lead public engagement around science and technology in Africa, and provide mentorship to early-career scientists and students,” said Mr. Zomahoun.

The NEF is currently looking for Ambassadors for the following countries: Angola, Comoros, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinee, Central Africa Republic, Djibouti, Lesotho, South Sudan and Tunisia. Interested applicants can download the application at nef.org/ambassadors. Learn more about the NEF Global Gathering 2018 at gg2018.nef.org

Meet the 2017-2019 NEF Ambassadors:

  •  Meriem Benmardi (Algeria) is a Senior Digital Project Manager at TBWA Worldwide and CEO of BETELA Recruiting, an innovative hiring program. She has over 8 years of experience as a HR specialist and IT project management consultant and has been recognized for her leadership, including being chosen a TechWoman by the US State Department.
  •  Donald Semevo Elian Tchaou (Benin) owns TIC Agro Business Center company, which specializes in the development of communication tools, training of producers and dissemination of good agricultural practices. His company uses exclusively the opportunities offered by the Information and Communication Technologies for a better agricultural extension.
  • Yame Nkgowe (Botswana) is a seasoned service manager with 11 years’ business management experience and a social entrepreneur with 3.5 years bootstrapping two startups from concept to pilot stage. He is currently the founder of Sustainable Cities Africa, a social enterprise focused on ensuring a sustainable African Urban Future through Smart City Strategies.
  • Abdrahamane Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso) holds a Master’s degree in Public Health and is working as a Girl Generation Program Officer in Burkina Faso to end female genital mutilation in Africa. With over 17 years of activism in youth organizations at national, regional and international levels, he is a founding member of the Network of International Youth Organizations in Africa.
  • Paterne Gahungu (Burundi) is an AIMS alumnus, doing a PhD research on stochastic modelling at the African Centre of Excellence for Mathematics and Applications in Benin. Previously, he has worked as volunteer at Centre de Recherche en Didactique des Sciences au Burundi and together with four other students, established a science club that trains students in use of technology, and conduct scientific debates and presentations among themselves.
  • Sara Baptista (Cape Verde) is a PhD candidate in Life Sciences, in the Parasitology field specifically in the Graduate Program Science for Development (PGCD) and is currently working in Instituto de Medicina Molecular- João Lobo Antunes, Lisbon, Portugal at Dr. Maria Mota Lab, which is interested in studying the Biology & Physiology of Malaria. She is working mostly on understanding how the main liver stage protein of the plasmodium parasite, the circumsporozoite protein is processed by the host hepatocyte.
  • Arielle Kitio Tsamo (Cameroon) is a certified mentor and technology enthusiast, currently pursuing her PhD in software engineering for disease surveillance at the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon. Also, she is the founder of CAYSTI, an initiative that works on innovative technologies and methodologies to promote quality education and ensure effective learning.
  • Francis Mbaibo (Chad) won Digital Innovation Award of Reach for Change, and one of the 50 best African startups chosen by the European Union at the EU Africa Forum. As an entrepreneurial technician, he has created a digital startup that introduces young people to digital entrepreneurship.  Today, Francis is working on an agribusiness application, which he hopes to operationalize in 2018.
  • Mandingha Kosso Etoka-Beka (Republic of Congo) research is on malaria in children carrying the sickle cell trait in a laboratory. Currently, she is pursuing a PhD in Molecular Biology and Applied Immunology at Marien Ngouabi University.
  • Raissa Malu (DRC) is a physicist by training, author and editor of “Les Indispensables” textbooks collection. In 2014, Raissa founded with friends a non-profit organization that organizes Science and Technology Week, in Kinshasa DRC. Currently, she is the Head of Technical Support Unit at the Ministry of Primary, Secondary and Professional Education for the Education Project for the Quality and Relevance of Secondary and Higher Education.
  • Ghislain DESSIEH (Ivory Coast) is a consultant in sustainable development and social Innovation, and a lawyer by training. He holds a degree in Business Law from HEC Abidjan and guided by his passion for science and technology, Ghislain is part of Africa 4 Tech’s Young African Innovator Program, which brings together 40 young Africans innovators in the field of technology, health and energy.
  • Dr. Basant Motawi (Egypt) has worked with the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland within the Ageing and Life Course Department. Currently doing a joint PhD in Epidemiology between Ain Shams University in Egypt and University of Maryland in USA. Her research focuses on the hidden health and economic burden of gender based violence, and aspires to advance policies that empower women through her work.
  • Mussie Mengistu Habtom (Eritrea) is doing a masters in special needs education (learning disabilities) Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya. His dream of becoming a teacher, inspired him to join a Teacher Training Institution, and is currently a lecturer and MEd candidate in Kenyatta University, Kenya.
  • Binyam Sisay Mendisu’s (Ethiopia) research interests include the descriptive study of Omotic languages and the study of mother tongue education in Africa. He is currently employed as program officer for teacher education and curriculum development by UNESCO’s International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa.
  • Yannick Ovono (Gabon) is Rabi Institute for Development Studies CEO and Mandela Institute for Development Studies Scholar, passionate about education, leadership, media, politics, and youth development in the continent of Africa. He holds an MSc in journalism from the University of Istanbul, and BA degree in economics from the Istanbul academy of science, with 5 years of work experience in various positions both in the media industry and Academia.
  • David Jeng (Gambia) is the Project Manager for Give1 Project Gambia, whose goal is to create leaders in their communities. The project has implemented 8 tech camps in ICT for girls, leadership and entrepreneurship training, implemented the Akon Lighting Africa pilot project in the Gambia. Currently, he is the Business Support Coordinator at Startup Incubator Gambia, which is the first business incubation hub for startups, having incubated 62 startups and created more than 180 jobs since 2015.
  • Peter Asare-Nuamah’s (Ghana) research interest cuts across disaster management, climate change, education, e-governance and Pan-Africanism. He is a PhD candidate at Pan African University, Cameroon and has served in different leadership capacities. Peter aspires to contribute to academia and society through research and teaching, particularly in the African context.
  • Keita Alpha Kabinet’ s (Guinea) work focuses on the study of the epidemiology of Tropheryma whipplei and the Ebola virus in a global study project in humans and wildlife in Guinea. Currently, Keita is a Postdoctoral Researcher within the UMI233, Translational Research on HIV and Infectious Diseases (TransVIHMI) of the Research Institute for Development (IRD).
  • Dr. Rose M Mutiso (Kenya) is co-founder and CEO of the Mawazo Institute, focusing on African energy sector development. She is a materials engineer by training, with technical experience in the fields of nanotechnology and polymer physics, including nano-electronics and next-generation energy technologies.
  • Michael Sonneyboy Gboneh (Liberia) graduated with a BSc degree in Mathematics, and as well holds an MSc in Mathematical Sciences from the University of Stellenbosch on full scholarship by MasterCard foundation and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS, South Africa). Currently, he is serving the position of Chairperson, Department of Mathematics, University of Liberia where he has dedicated his time to academia and using mathematics to help solve Africa’s many problems, to help young people learn and contribute to the growth of Liberia and Africa in general.
  • Kusai Fteita (Libya) is the founder and mentor of Roboticx4004, the Libyan national robotics team, that represented Libya in FIRST Global Challenge 2017, and co- founder of Google Developers Group Tripoli and Blockchain startup. Recently, he founded Tech Impact, a social enterprise that provides hands-on robotics training for youth.
  • Mireille Harimalala’s (Madagascar) research activities focus on the genetics of plague disease vector flea populations and the study of the country’s flea phylogeny, and leads a team that is working on fleas and its associated diseases. She has completed two years of postdoctoral studies at the Medical Entomology Unit of IPM and currently deepening her research on the same themes, in order to elucidate the phylogeography and dispersal mechanisms of these vector flea populations in relation to the persistence of plague in Madagascar.
  • Chikondi Shaba (Malawi) holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry, with a minor in Statistics and a Master of Science in Analytical Chemistry from University of Botswana. She is a Lecturer and Deputy Head of the Chemistry Department at Chancellor College of the University of Malawi and presently, she is responsible for assessing water chemistry of groundwater on a project “Hidden Crisis”.
  • Souleymane Sogoba (Mali) works as a documentarist at the University of Ségou in Mali, as well, he is the Information Manager of the Scientific and Technical Journal of Mali and Member of the IFLA Information Technologies Section, and Ambassador of the Program IPA of IFLA in Mali, taking part in the construction of the building what he calls “a connected Africa, an informed Africa”.
  •  Abdoulaye Sidiki BA (Mauritania) holds a PhD in Mechanics from the University of Bordeaux as well as a Masters in Engineering in Acoustics and Fluid in the specialty Ultrasonic Non Destructive Control from the University of Paris Diderot. His research work focuses on the design, manufacture, and characterization of a new concept of so-called “intelligent” material called metamaterial.
  •  Lakshana Mohee’s (Mauritius) dream was to become a biomaterials scientist in order to develop innovative and more accessible techniques for improved healthcare around the world. Currently doing a PhD at the University of Cambridge in Biomaterials and Medical Devices, she hopes to start a company in Mauritius to develop such devices.
  • Dr. Lahbib LATRACH (Morocco) is a researcher at the National Center for Studies and Research on Water and Energy, with a PhD in Environment and Water Biotechnology from the University of Cadi Ayyad, and a member of the Laboratory Hydrobiology, Ecotoxicology, Sanitation & Global Change at the Faculty of Sciences Semlalia, Marrakech and the Laboratory of Soil Science and Ecological Engineering Shimane University, Japan.
  • Lars Albino Lemos (Mozambique) is the Lead Trainer of Knowledge Sharing Campaign, a community platform that brings together those who have experience and can share their knowledge and those who are eager to learn, but lack opportunities. He is a developer for Health Information Systems at Global Programs for Research & Learning, Co-Founder of Mukheru Express and CEO of MozDevelopment, a company that provides software development training for the community in learning how to program.
  •  Aibate Hatago Sturmann (Namibia) is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Namibia, investigating polymer science. She holds a Master’s degree in Science with research interest in Ethno-pharmacology, drug discovery and development focusing on non-communicable diseases.
  • Halimatou Hima Moussa Dioula (Niger) is a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge, where she is a Cambridge-Africa Trust scholar, doing research in Development Studies. Halimatou uses the concept of “ilimi”, often translated as knowledge or education, to challenge, question and reimagine educational systems in African countries. Her “ilimi Afrika” initiative hopes to create oases of innovation, learning and imagination in public schools across Niger and Africa.
  •  Obidi Ezezika (Nigeria) is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, in the Interdisciplinary Centre for Health and Society at the University of Toronto Scarborough and in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. He has a PhD in Microbiology from University of Georgia and a Master’s degree in Environmental Management from Yale University. Dr Obidi champions a Nutrition Gamification System called “Nutrido” in Abuja, Nigeria.
  •  Bobson Rugambwa (Rwanda) is passionate about affordable and sustainable financial and energy technology solutions for Africa’s most vulnerable. A software engineer, entrepreneur and energy enthusiast, he is co-founder and CEO of MVend Limited, a Fintech company in Rwanda, developing financial inclusion tools for the unbanked.
  •  Paulo Emanuel D’Alva (Sao Tome and Principe) is an Architect and entrepreneur, with a degree in Architecture and Urban Planning from DeVry FANOR. He has extensive experience in Sustainable Architecture, having worked at the U.S. Green Building Council, and is the Deputy Director of DALVAGAUP, the largest Architecture firm in Sao Tome and Principe.
  • Khadidatou Sall (Senegal) is the founder of a vocational education space where culture mingles with STEM to innovate and bring Senegalese community together, to learn, make and create in a program called Science Education Exchange for Sustainable Development (SeeSD). Through SeeSD, she has empowered over 200 children, through hands-on workshops related to biology, physics, chemistry, 3D printing, coding and electronics.
  • Jessica D’unienville (Seychelles) holds Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology, from Curtin University of Technology. She is currently a Principal Research Officer for Knowledge Management and Education at NISTI, where she is carrying out the R&D and Innovation Survey, a first for Seychelles.
  •  Salwa Supckie Campbell (Sierra Leone) has several professional training certificates in mentorship, devoting her time to mentor and inspire young girls interested in STEM disciplines. With over 11 years’ experience in data analytics and quality checks, she has worked with one of the leading big data analytics companies in the world – Quid Inc.
  •  Dr. Sadiyo Siad (Somalia) is a founder and Chancellor at Hano Academy and a multi-specialist; Medical diagnostic, lecturer, consultant, entrepreneur and a philanthropist. Her medical education includes a PhD in Tuberculosis specializing in Immunology and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of TB, University of Leicester.
  •  Keabetswe Tebogo Ncube (South Africa) is doing her research in Genetics at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, and is currently on a research program in Maryland, USA as part of her doctoral studies, working with the United Stated Department of Agriculture, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center.
  •  Mohammed Kamal (Sudan) is a researcher, working and lecturing at University of Medical Science and Technology (UMST) as well, he teaches short courses at the National University, in the field of material science, -Sudan. Currently, he is developing a drug charging and transportations system through the use of nanostructured system that aims to enhance CT and MRI imaging process to effectively deliver drugs to enhance cancer treatments.
  •  Sifiso Musa Nkambule (Swaziland) is a Lecturer of Physics at the University of Swaziland, Physics Department, with a first degree in Mathematics and Physics at the University of Swaziland and masters in Physics at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Currently, he is involved in “THE PHYSICS SHOW” project, which aims to reach Schools, colleges and the Swaziland community, through showcasing most exciting things in Physics.
  •  Dr. Lwidiko Edward Mhamilawa (Tanzania) is a Medical Doctor and Co-founder of ProjeKt Inspire that works towards discovering talents in STEM. He nurtures kids of 3-14 years through the Rising STEAM Stars project that provides one on one mentorship, job shadowing and Boot camps.
  • Aglago Dodzi (Togo) is the founder of MobileLabo, a scientific laboratory which specializes in the design and sale of laboratory equipment, products and services. Through his mobile lab, he has enabled kids in rural areas to access lab materials for science learning which has inspired half a million students in Togo to pursue science.
  •  Joanitah N Nalubega (Uganda) is an industrial chemist, with a deep passion for technology, currently working to deploy solutions for the health sector using technology in Uganda.
  •  Stephen Malunga Manchishi (Zambia) lectured Animal Physiology and other related biological sciences in the department of Biological Sciences at the University of Zambia, briefly before embarking on PhD studies in Reproductive Neuroendocrinology at the University of Cambridge in the UK. He and his colleague Co-founded the Juniors & Seniors’ Institute of Natural Sciences- mentorship network, an initiative that bridges the information gap to help upcoming scientists make informed decisions early in life.
  •  Ian Nyasha Mutamiri (Zimbabwe) is an electrical and software engineer who is very passionate about leveraging quality technology for social benefits. His research focuses on mobile language learning solutions for children. For his work, he was awarded two FIRE (AFRINIC) Grants in 2013 and 2016.
  • Launched in 2013, the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) is an initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The NEF is a platform that connects science, society and policy in Africa and the rest of the world – with the goal to leverage science for human development globally. The NEF believes that Africa’s contributions to the global scientific community are critical for global progress. At the centre of NEF efforts are Africa’s young people, the driving force for Africa’s scientific renaissance. The NEF is a unique youth-driven forum. At our headline biennial scientific events, 50% of participants are 42 or younger. Far from being an ordinary science forum, the NEF Global Gatherings position science at the centre of global development efforts. The next NEF Global Gathering will be held on 26-28 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda. In addition, through our Communities of Scientists, we showcase the contributions of Africa’s brilliant youth to Africa’s scientific emergence through its class of NEF Fellows, who are Africa’s top scientists and technologists under the age of 42, and NEF Ambassadors, who are the NEF’s 54 science and technology ambassadors on the ground.

    The NEF is also working together with partners such as the African Academy of Sciences, Ministers’ of Education, Science and Research across Africa, foundations and other global scientific and private sector companies, to build an African scientific identity. By bringing together key stakeholders, the NEF hopes to drive the discussion from policy to implementation by leveraging buy in and best practice results from Africa and the world. Have a look at our benchmark Dakar Declaration.

    Finally, the NEF is telling untold stories of scientific research and innovation across the continent through our various platforms. We want to recalibrate what ‘innovation’ means in Africa. We want to make the link between science and technology, even basic sciences, to everyday life. We want the public involved in science and we have recently concluded the first coordinated Africa Science Week – an annual three to five day celebration of science and technology through coordinated science events across the continent. We believe the next Einstein will be African.

    The NEF has been endorsed by the African Union Commission, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Governments of Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa, the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and a growing number of private sector and civil society partners from across the world who are passionate about positioning Africa’s scientific community as an influential member in the global scientific community, which will ensure sustainable human development in Africa and other parts of the world.

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Caf president Ahmad reiterates Cameroon 2019 warning
December 21, 2017 | 0 Comments
Since Ahmad was voted in as Caf president the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon has expanded from 16 to 24 teams

Since Ahmad was voted in as Caf president the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon has expanded from 16 to 24 teams

The president of the Confederation of African Football (Caf), Ahmad, has reiterated his warning to Cameroon about their hosting of the Africa Cup of Nations.

In response to a question about Cameroon holding on to the hosting of the tournament in its new expanded 24-team format in 2019 Ahmad wasted few words.

“If the host country is unable to organise it, we will find a country that will organise it,” he said.

“The authorities in the country, up to the head of state, have always confirmed to us that they will be ready.”

Before Caf approved changes to the format and timing of the Nations Cup, Cameroon’s sports minister Ismael Bidoung had been forced to denypreparations were behind schedule.

Cameroon once again insisted it would be ready to host the tournament soon after Caf moved it to June/July and increased it from 16 to 24 teams.

In August Ahmad said: “Cameroon will have to work to convince Caf on its ability to host the event.”

He again clarified that it will be down to an independent company conducting inspections to let Caf know if Cameroon are fit to host the event.

“We will leave it to the host country to work with an independent private firm without any influence from us whatsoever,”

“It is up to them to provide us with the information that will enable us to say that Cameroon will be ready or Cameroon will not be ready. But we won’t negotiate anything.”

Audit firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers was due to conduct an inspection in August but they withdrew at short notice without giving reasons.

An inspection is now due to happen early in 2018.

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“Now is a time for action” affirms Kofi Annan in final Africa Progress Panel report
December 19, 2017 | 0 Comments
The report presents a bold agenda for African progress, to be taken forward by leaders on the continent and abroad to accelerate Africa’s transformation in the coming decades
GENEVA, Switzerland, December 18, 2017/ — By 2050 more than one in four people on our planet will be African. Bold action is needed now to ensure that all of them have a fair chance of leading healthy, prosperous and fulfilling lives, urges the newest and final report from Kofi Annan’s Africa Progress Panel (APP) (www.AfricaProgressPanel.org).

The report, “Making Progress Towards Attaining the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa”, (http://APO.af/xtXMF1draws from the insights cultivated over the APP’s decade of work (2007-2017), outlining the key opportunities and challenges Africa faces as it strives to realize the Sustainable Development Goals, and create long-term equitable and sustainable prosperity.

The APP’s final report is primarily a call to action. It presents a bold agenda for African progress, to be taken forward by leaders on the continent and abroad to accelerate Africa’s transformation in the coming decades.

“After ten very active years, the Africa Progress Panel will be ceasing its activities at the end of 2017. However, we are convinced that the spirit of our work must continue.” said Kofi Annan, Chair of the APP.

According to Mr. Annan, the APP’s work will be taken forward from 2018 by a new entity, provisionally named the Africa Progress Group, which is to be established by Panel member, and former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo. The new entity, with operational headquarters at the Centre for Human Security and Dialogue of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, Nigeria, will seek to create a network of robust regional and international partnerships focused on pushing for the implementation of the recommendations the APP has made over the years in its Africa Progress Reports and policy statements.

Three core priorities for action are highlighted in the final Panel report: Mobilize sufficient financial resources fast for Africa’s “green and blue” (agriculture and fisheries sector) revolutions, rapidly boost investment in Africa’s energy and transport infrastructure, and fight against illicit financial activities and the mismanagement of Africa’s resources.

The majority of Africa’s poor continue to live and work in rural areas, predominantly as smallholder farmers, whilst millions depend on the ocean for their protein and livelihoods. The absence of flourishing agricultural and fishing industries risks excluding the majority of Africans from the rising tide of prosperity.

More than 600 million Africans still do not have access to electricity, and the number is set to grow in the coming years. In addition to effectively addressing the climate change challenge, Africa must also proactively rethink the relationship between energy and development, and swiftly leapfrog to a new era of low carbon efficient modern energy systems that provide affordable electricity to all Africans. The Panel also emphasises that a culture of accountability, with zero tolerance for corruption at all levels, supported by transparent institutions, especially with regards to financial activities and tax regimes, will also be fundamental to achieving progressive change and positive transformation on the continent.

Additionally, President Obasanjo stresses the importance of ensuring gender equality as soon as possible. “Africa’s future is in the hands of women. Equal education for girls, at all three education levels, is the critical issue”, he said.

Reaffirming the APP’s recognition of the hard work that lies ahead, the final Africa Progress Panel report concludes thus:

“We have seen Africa transform over the past decade, and our work has left us with an unshakeable hope for its future. We also know, however, that this transformation has required hard work, creativity and courage. This will continue to be vital in the coming years, for much remains to be done” 

The ten-member Africa Progress Panel advocates at the highest levels for equitable and sustainable development in Africa

*Africa Progress Panel

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Interactive network of focal points concerned with AU strategic partnerships established
December 19, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire
An interactive network of focal points concerned with African Union
(AU) strategic partnerships has been formed to build synergies that
would help galvanise all stakeholders at the continental, regional and
national horizons of the African continent.

The AU Commission and the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF)
are jointly hosting a three day conference titled: ‘Lets Talk’ to
establish interactive networks between the Partnerships Management and
Coordination Division (PMCD) at African Union Commission (AUC) and the
focal points concerned with AU strategic partnerships and
international cooperation at different levels.The conference is being
held in Harare, Zimbabwe on 18 to 20 December, 2017.

The stakeholders include Regional Economic Communities (RECs), AU
regional offices, AU organs and specialised agencies, the Economic
Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) and other agencies.
The PMCD of the AUC has a mandate that centres on managing and
coordinating the activities relating to strategic partnerships between
the AU and its global partners.

The activities are aligned to Africa’s development and integration
agenda as pescribed in the AU’s Agenda 2063 and are particularly aimed
at addressing the needs of the African people.

The meeting being convened in Harare is expected to result in the
launch of the African Partnerships Coordination Platform (APCP),
development of the terms of reference for the platform, format for
harmonised views and coordinated plans and interaction with AU
external partners established, challenges and opportunities for
synergy and modalities for building interactions.

According to Dr Levi Madueke, Head of AU Strategic partnerships,
Bureau of the Chairperson, the AU views the engagement of the AU’s
partners as an activity of great strategic importance in the
continent’s plan to achieve integration and development.

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2018 economy: UBS optimistic on good investment For Emerging Markets
December 17, 2017 | 0 Comments
 as Africa’s technological development  materialise

‎By Yinka Ajayi

Optimistic about the year ahead, UBS Wealth Management’s Chief Investment Office (CIO) has forecasts 2018 to be positive as global economic growth continue at the high 3.8% rate witnessed in 2017.

In a statement signed by , Mark Haefele, Global Chief Investment Officer at UBS Wealth Management, stated: ‘Periods of high economic growth often sow the seeds of their demise. But there is little evidence today of an impending recession. Historically, recessions have been caused by one or more of: capacity constraints, oil price shocks, excessively tight monetary policy, contractions in government spending, or financial crises. None look likely to materialize in 2018. In this environment, we remain positive on equities relative to high-grade and government bonds.’

Overall, UBS expects emerging markets to be well prepared to weather gradual monetary tightening globally. In addition, few other regions are better positioned to benefit from growth in the technology sector.

Within Africa, political risks may in some limited cases overshadow investment opportunities. Depending on the outcome of ANC elections later this month, South Africa’s credit rating in particular might deteriorate further after S&P’s downgrade a few days ago, potentially discouraging foreign investment.

In the same vein, Ali Janoudi, Head of Wealth Management Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, France and Benelux International at UBS Wealth Management, added : ‘ African economies supported by demographic trends will  continue to see significant potential and  technological progress. In the case of South Africa, such opportunities seem currently challenged by political risks in the short term.’

Central banks will tighten monetary policy and in some cases raise interest rates in 2018. In certain areas, especially financial services, this will bring opportunities, except in the unlikely event of significant hikes. But amid rising rates, investors will also need to prepare for higher volatility, higher dispersion of returns from individual stocks, and in some cases higher correlations between equities and bonds. Conversely, this may benefit alternative and other active asset managers.

Extreme political scenarios, principally a US-North Korea conflict, remain a low-probability risk for markets. However, politics may have a significant local impact. Investors can either hedge this by diversifying their portfolios globally or by treating it as an opportunity, particularly in the case of longer-term trends such as emerging market infrastructure development.

Likewise, extreme financial outcomes, principally a Chinese debt crisis, are unlikely to materialize in 2018 but worth monitoring. Total bank assets in China are 310% of GDP, nearly three times higher than the emerging market average. However, China’s high growth rate, powerful state, and closed capital account make it less susceptible to debt crises. Our base case is for 6.4% growth versus 6.8% in 2017.

Finally, social, environmental, and technological change continue to present both opportunities and risks. For the stock market, we see the most important long-term tech themes as digital data, automation and robotics, and smart mobility. Investors can also put capital to work in a variety of social and environmental fields across the growing field of sustainable investing, including multilateral development bank bonds and impact investing as well as listed equities.

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The winner of Kuwait’s Al-Sumait Prize for African Development for 2017 in the field of Education received their award at a special ceremony held in Kuwait City
December 16, 2017 | 0 Comments
His Highness Deputy Amir Crown Prince Nawaf Al Ahmed Al Sabah hands over Al-Sumait Prize to Executive Director of FAWE Africa Hendrina Doroba

His Highness Deputy Amir Crown Prince Nawaf Al Ahmed Al Sabah hands over Al-Sumait Prize to Executive Director of FAWE Africa Hendrina Doroba

KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait, December 14, 2017/ — His Highness Deputy Amir Crown Prince Nawaf Al Ahmed Al Sabah awarded the 2017 prize, which comprises of one million dollars, a gold medal and shield at a special ceremony yesterday morning in Kuwait.

The 2017 Al-Sumait Education category award went to the Forum of African Women Educationalists (FAWE) Kenya, for their sustained efforts towards the achievement across the African continent of equity and equality in education through targeted programs. FAWE Africa Executive Director Hendrina Doroba said, “We feel tremendously honoured by this award that will be used to support our efforts in promoting and developing equity and equality in education on the continent, particularly through our centres of excellence and partnerships with governments across Africa.”

 

Initiated in 2013 by His Highness The Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah, the Al-Sumait Prize for African Development is designed to reward innovative and inspiring initiatives and research by individuals and organizations that address the challenges facing the African continent. The award recognizes and honours individuals or institutions that help advance economic and social development, human resources development and infrastructure in Africa.

Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin, Director General of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) (www.KFAS.org), which administers Kuwait’s Al-Sumait Prize (www.AlSumaitPrize.org) for African Development, told the audience that FAWE’s inclusive and strategic approach to tackling education inequality in particular between girls and boys education was truly inspiring.

The Al-Sumait Board of Trustees comprises prominent international personalities in the field of development in Africa and world-renowned philanthropists. The Board is chaired by H.E. Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait.

Other trustees include Mr. Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Makhtar Diop, Vice President of the World Bank for Africa, Dr. Kwaku Aning, Former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and Mr. Abdulatif Al-Hamad, Director General and Chairman of the Board of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development.

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Togo: The Orabank Group opens a trading room in Lomé
December 16, 2017 | 0 Comments
The Orabank Group wishes to be a key player in the UEMOA money market and to play a leading role in boosting the secondary market for government securities
LOME, Togo, December 15, 2017/ — The Orabank Group (www.Orabank.net), present in 12 countries and in four monetary zones in West and Central Africa, announces the opening of a regional and international trading room in Lomé, Togo. Ever since its formation, the Orabank Group has always had the will and ambition to support its customers (both individuals and businesses), to actively contribute to the financing of the private sector, to optimize the mobilization of local savings and to stimulate growth in African financial markets.

This new trading room provides a concrete answer to each of these four objectives. Indeed, it offers Oragroup a leading position as a financial intermediary that places the bank at the heart of financial exchanges in the countries where it operates, in order to best serve its private and institutional clients, both in Africa and internationally, as well as other regional banks.

In a market previously dominated by players operating from Europe and the United States, Oragroup now offers its clients a competitive and up-to-date offer in Africa, to intervene on the foreign exchange market in the monetary areas where its subsidiaries are established. The Orabank Group wishes to be a key player in the UEMOA money market and to play a leading role in boosting the secondary market for government securities.

The opening of this trading room is also intended to strengthen synergies within the Group, allowing significant economies of scale in foreign exchange hedging transactions between subsidiaries while increasing the share of cash net banking income. This new step is part of the “2016-2018 Strategy – Consolidation and Efficiency” plan, aimed at strengthening the Group’s financial strength.

“This new step illustrates the dynamic of our Group characterized by a strong performance in 2016 and an upward trajectory in 2017, combining profitability, commercial development and innovations, particularly in the deployment of digital solutions. In 2018, Oragroup is set to accentuate its growth along with its values ​​of humanity, commitment, and rigor in order to contribute to the development of the African financial sector as a central engine of our economies. That is our collective will”, says Binta Touré Ndoye, CEO of Oragroup.

Oragroup is present in 12 countries of West and Central Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Chad, Togo) and in four monetary areas (WAEMU, CEMAC, Guinea Conakry, Mauritania). With 143 bank branches and 1,750 employees, Oragroup offers its 400,000 customers (large companies, both national and international, SMEs and individuals) a wide range of products and banking services based on proximity and efficiency.

Oragroup (www.Orabank.net) believes in financial inclusion through the deployment of innovative solutions and focuses on previously neglected segments of the population. This commitment is reflected in its CSR approach, which is an integral part of its strategy, focused on energy transition and environmental as well as social risk management, to the greater benefit of its employees and the public at large.

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Luambe National Park Now The World’s Most Carbon Neutral
December 16, 2017 | 0 Comments
The announcement comes just 18 months after the Lower Zambezi National Park – also in Zambia – became the world’s first to achieve carbon neutrality from operations
LUSAKA, Zambia, December 15, 2017/ — Luambe National Park in Zambia has achieved a conservation milestone this week as it became the most carbon neutral National Park in the world.

Luambe’s carbon neutral status is a result of the USAID-funded Community Forests Program (CFP) implemented by BioCarbon Partners (BCP) (http://BioCarbonPartners.com), in partnership with the Zambian Government. This world-first level of carbon neutrality means the emissions of all tourism and conservation management activities within with the park are offset, including all international tourist airline travel. Platinum is the highest possible carbon rating available from BCP.

The announcement comes just 18 months after the Lower Zambezi National Park – also in Zambia – became the world’s first to achieve carbon neutrality from operations. This latest announcement from Luambe secures Zambia’s recognition as a global leader in carbon offsetting.

“Luambe National Park’s carbon neutral status sets a great example for other protected areas in Zambia,” said USAID/Zambia Economic Development Office Director Jeremy Boley. “This status shows the world that Zambia takes emissions reduction seriously.”

Luambe Camp (http://Luambe.com) voluntarily funded the carbon neutrality from their own internal revenues, investing in renewable energy sources and purchasing Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) audited forest carbon offsets generated within Zambia. Luambe Camp began operations in June 2017, and are committed to establishing a new bar of environmental stewardship and sustainability. Mario Voss, Director of Luambe Camp, stated that “as a business that operates as a showcase and celebration of Luambe National Park’s unique beauty and biodiversity, it is crucial that we take responsibility for its conservation. We’re passionate environmentalists and it is important to the whole Luambe Camp team that we can offer our guests a truly eco-friendly experience.”

Funds raised from REDD+ offset sales are reinvested into conservation and community development in buffer zone areas to national parks within Zambia. All countries on earth have now signed up to the Paris Climate Agreement, and there are more signals towards innovative carbon conscious milestones and action. With experts agreeing that Africa is likely to be the continent most vulnerable to climate change, the leadership of Zambian tourism businesses and the Zambian Government agrees to operate with carbon neutrality and set a positive example throughout the continent. Director of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), Mr Paul Zyambo, stated that “We are happy to partner with another innovative carbon-conscious achievement in the conservation and tourism sector in Zambia with partners like Luambe Camp and BCP. Luambe forms a part of Zambia’s famous Luangwa Valley and we hope that this showcases how special this area is, and why it is worth a visit.”

Dr Hassan Sachedina, BCP’s CEO, added, “It is exciting that Zambia now has two of the world’s first carbon neutral parks, which are helping to conserve two of the most important biodiversity strongholds left in Africa. I am really proud to be partnering with these family-owned businesses raising the bar of what eco-tourism to include carbon offsetting.” We hope that this spurs more action globally to address climate change.”

Partner Lodge achieving Platinum Level Carbon Neutrality:

With Luambe National Park being located in a core area of Zambia’s Luangwa Valley, it forms a crucial part of its entire ecosystem. The main objective of Luambe Camp and its operating company Luambe Conservation Ltd. is to primarily conserve the habitat and biodiversity of the National Park by generating profit through sustainable safari tourism. These will be used by Luambe Conservation Ltd. to ensure the future protection of Luambe National

Park and the sustainable development of its surrounding communities.

Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project Implementing Partners:

BioCarbon Partners (BCP) (https://BioCarbonPartners.com) is a Zambian-based social enterprise, which develops and manages long term forest carbon projects in Zambia. The current focus of BCP is on implementing REDD+ projects in the greater Zambezi-Luangwa ecosystem in Zambia. BCP has certified Zambia’s first pilot REDD+ demonstration project known as the ‘Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project’ (LZRP) to CCBA triple gold standards (validation) and VCS verification; the first project in Africa with these certifications. In addition, BCP is proud to partner with USAID/ZAMBIA in the implementation of the Community Forests Program (CFP). This innovative program targets the verification of a minimum of 700,000 additional hectares (ha) across two Provinces in Zambia www.biocarbonpartners.com

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent federal government agency advancing U.S. foreign policy objectives by supporting long-term and equitable economic growth, agriculture and trade, global health, democracy, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance. www.usaid.gov

The Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) is mandated under the Zambian Wildlife Act No. 12 of 1998 to manage and conserve Zambia’s wildlife, its national parks and game management areas; which cover 31 percent of the country’s land mass. DNPW endeavors to integrate the wildlife policy with economic, environmental and social policies to ensure effective contribution to sustainable national development. BCP and DNPW collaborate closely in the implementation of REDD+ activities adjacent to protected areas. www.zambiatourism.com

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New Reports Highlight Salaries and Gender Gap Across Africa’s Fintech Industry
December 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

To better understand and address human talent gaps that exist in Africa’s Fintech landscape, the Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) has released two new reports: the 2017 Fintech Talent Africa Leadership and Employee Engagement Report and the 2017 Fintech Talent Africa Compensation Report. The reports, the first of their kind, provide valuable data and insights for business leaders and entrepreneurs to help attract and retain the best people in Africa’s increasingly competitive financial technology industry.

“There is far too little Fintech talent in Africa, and companies in the industry are feeling the pinch,” said Gavin Krugel, CEO of the Digital Frontiers Institute. “This human capacity gap is leading to escalating human capital costs and hiring delays, stalling business progress within the Fintech industry. Through our research insights and work to develop Fintech management, we aim to help digital finance professionals worldwide cultivate the necessary capabilities and capacity to shape and contribute to more efficient, effective and inclusive financial services.”

With funding from Omidyar Network, this comprehensive report draws on data collected through a cross-sectoral survey of more than 400 leaders, managers and professionals across 69 organisations and 10 sub-Saharan African countries. Among the reports’ key findings:

  • Salary Comparisons by Country: countries such as Kenya and Nigeria consistently rank the highest when it comes to remuneration packages for staff across all levels of expertise, while more developed digital economies such as South Africa, with the largest pool of respondents, consistently rank in the middle and lower tiers of compensation packages.
  • Gender Gap: Similar to current trends in technology and finance industries globally, women are underrepresented at Fintech companies across Africa, both in leadership and operational roles. Of the more than 400 professionals who participated in the survey, only 12.5 percent were women, and on average, women made up 39 percent of teams in Fintech.

The reports also explore the reasons behind disparities and provide advice on what can be done to resolve challenges in recruiting and retaining talent. Ultimately, the reports can empower leaders and decision makers in the African Fintech industry to improve capacity planning, talent development, and remuneration and retention practices, maximizing their opportunities in one of the world’s fastest growing industries.

Both reports are free to download and share from the following link: https://digitalfrontiersinstitute.org/the-institute/2017/12/08/explore-africas-fintech-talent-landscape-digital-frontiers-institute/

About Digital Frontiers Institute

Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) is a capacity building institute focused on digital finance. Our mission is to equip a new generation of FinTech professionals with the knowledge, skills, network & vision required to guide society towards inclusive digital financial solutions. DFI connects more than 1500 industry professionals representing public, private and development sectors in 60 countries through its online community, Switch. The organisation has trained more than 2 000 students in 90 countries.  DFI was founded by David Porteous, Gavin Krugel and Ignacio Mas, current funders include The Omidyar Network, FSD Africa, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and MasterCard Foundation.

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CCA Leads U.S. Delegation to Sudan on Historic Trade Mission
December 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

Washington, DC – December 14, 2017 Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) led an historic trade mission to Khartoum, Sudan on December 3-7, 2017. This first trade mission to Sudan – less than two months after the U.S. government lifted economic sanctions in place for over 20 years – afforded U.S. companies an up close and hands on experience in Sudan to gain a deeper understanding of Sudan’s current investment climate and business opportunities.

CCA President and CEO, Ms. Florizelle Liser and the Director for Investment and Infrastructure, Mr. Biova Kabine, led the trade mission to Sudan. The 21-person delegation of CCA member and other companies represented sectors from infrastructure, oil and gas, mining, health and medical supplies, and financial services.  Participating companies included A&A Consultants, Inc, ACROW Bridge, All American Logistics, Caterpillar, Diamond Fields International, General Electric, Shell, The Boeing Company, Trade and Development Bank, US Best Medical, Varian Medical Systems and Visa. The trade mission was sponsored by Sudatel and Trade and Development Bank (TDB).

“We received a very warm welcome in Sudan, and we came away with the knowledge that the government and people of Sudan are eager and ready to engage with U.S. businesses” said Ms. Liser. “I am grateful to the major sponsors of the trade mission (including Sudatel and the Trade and Development Bank), the Sudanese Government, the U.S. State Department and embassy in Khartoum, and to the participating companies and trade mission delegates, who made this historic trade mission a reality.”

The delegation was welcomed by senior Sudanese government officials, including meetings with Sudan’s Prime Minister, H.E. Bakri Hassan Saleh as well as its Foreign Affairs Minister, H.E. Prof. Ibrahim Ahmed Abdulaziz Ghandour; and also explored investment opportunities and networked with key business leaders in a market that had been closed off to U.S. investors due to the sanctions.

The delegation started its meetings with a briefing by the U.S. Embassy Khartoum’s Country Team as well as one by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) country representatives which provided companies with an overview of the political and economic environment in Sudan as well as forecasts for Sudan’s economic growth and business prospects. TDB President Admassu Tadesse provided valuable information to the delegates on how TDB can provide financing for projects, serving as a bridge mechanism while commercial banks are still considering when and how to move into the promising Sudanese market.

The trade mission featured a high-level business-to-government forum during which detailed presentations on various Sudanese sectors provided attending U.S. companies with the kinds of in-depth information needed to inform their business decisions. The forum was opened by H.E. Mubarak al Fadil al Mahdi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Investment. The Ministers of Finance and Economic Planning, H.E. Dr. Mohamed Othman Al-Rikabi; Agriculture and Forestry, H.E. Dr. Abdulatif Ahmed Mohamed Al Igeimi; Petroleum and Gas, H.E. Dr. Abdulrahman Osman Abdulrahman; Water Resources, Irrigation and Electricity, H.E. Mutz Mousa Abdalla Salim; Transport, Roads and Bridges, H.E. Engineer Makawi Mohamed Awad; Health, H.E. Bahar Idris Abu Garda Abulgasim; Minerals, H.E. Professor Hashim Ali Mohamed Salim; and Environment, Natural Resources and Physical Development, H.E. Dr. Hassan Abdulgadir Hilal were also in attendance. CCA trade mission delegates then had the opportunity to hold one-on-one meetings with some ministers.

The delegation continued the mission with business-to-business meetings with more than fifty company representatives that are members of the Sudanese Businessmen and Employers Federation and the U.S. Sudan Business Council.  In a briefing by the Sudanese Central Bank, the Sudanese Bankers Association, and the Bank of Khartoum, the delegation heard from senior executives about the Sudanese financial services sector and discussed both the challenges and opportunities related to bank financing of business ventures and projects in Sudan.

The delegation also did several site visits including one to Sudatel’s Data Center – one of only two such centers in the region; and another to DAL Group facilities, which highlighted this premier Sudanese multinational’s multiple business lines and allowed the delegates to visit the DAL Milk Factory and its modern dairy farm.

Due to the trade mission, several delegates have identified new business opportunities and potential local partners, collected key market data and made substantial progress on large transactions.

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Ambassador Omar Arouna Appointed To Washington DC’s Mayor’s Commission On African Affairs
December 14, 2017 | 1 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

 

Ambassador Omar Arouna has solid credentials for consistent advocacy for Africa

Ambassador Omar Arouna has solid credentials for consistent advocacy for Africa

Omar Arouna , immediate past Ambassador of  Benin  to the United States ,a 25 year Washington DC resident, and a well-known US Africa policy expert has been named by Mayor Muriel Bowser to the Washington, D.C., Mayor’s Commission on African Affairs.

The newly appointed commissioner, is a Managing Partner of the US-Africa Cybersecurity Group LLC. (https://usafcg.com); a District of Columbia legal liability collaborative organization designed to foster the development and implementation of cybersecurity strategies and initiatives in the public and private sectors in Africa and the Founder and CEO of Global Specialty LLC. (GSL) a District of Columbia leading international business development firm focused on developing business opportunities on the African continent.

Ambassador Arouna serves as Executive Vice President of Goodworks, International, a U.S. multi-national consulting firm founded by former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young. The firm at its height had seven offices in Africa and three U.S. based offices focused on promoting business in Africa and the Caribbean. Clients have included AECOM, Chevron, Delta Airlines, General Electric, Motorola, and Sumitomo Corporation, MGI Management, and Verizon. In addition, he also assisted African governments in improving their relations with U.S. government agencies and, helped governments to reach out to Members of Congress and the White House.

As Ambassador Omar Arouna helped in forging stronger ties between Benin and the USA

As Ambassador Omar Arouna helped in forging stronger ties between Benin and the USA

The Mayor’s commission on Africa Affairs is composed of fifteen (15) members appointed by the Mayor with consent of the Council.   Members of the Commission on African Affairs who have shown dedication to, and knowledge of the African community, are appointed with due consideration for representation from established public, nonprofit and volunteer community organizations concerned with the African community, and members of the public.

 

The functions of the Commission on African Affairs are to:

  • Serve as an advocate for African persons in the District;
  • Review and submit to the Mayor, the Council, and the Office, and make available to the public, an annual report that includes an analysis of the needs of the African community in the District;
  • Bring to the attention of the Mayor and the OAA cases of neglect, abuse and incidents of bias against members of the African community in the administration of District and federal laws;
  • Review and comment on proposed District and federal legislation, regulations, policies, and programs and make policy recommendations on issues affecting the health, safety, and welfare of the African community;

Ambassador Arouna  is expected to be sworn in on Saturday December 16,2017.

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Emerging Technologies: new revenue opportunities for African Telcos
December 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Mariam Abdullahi*

 

Mariam Abdullahi

Mariam Abdullahi

Although Africa’s largest telco operators are generally showing growth in their customer bases, it is public knowledge that revenue growth has somewhat stalled to as little as 1% year on year. This means that despite attracting an increased number of customers, the amount each of these customers spend, is decreasing. In the wake of digitally transforming economies, it is safe to assume that the traditional revenue models of voice, SMS and data revenues are eroding and may soon become irrelevant. Thanks to a combination of maturing technology, regulatory interventions, increasing levels of sophistication and discernment among consumers, the disruption brought by free or low-cost public wi-fi and Over The Top (OTT) powerhouses such as WhatsApp, traditional telco revenue streams are under severe threat.

WhatsApp and its more than 900 million active users around the world, leverage Telco infrastructure to send 30 billion messages per day at no cost. Google’s ever-expanding fibre network in the US is enabling an always-online lifestyle, while China’s WeChat not only connects its 600 million subscribers with instant messaging, but has also established itself as a digital platform providing services ranging from real-time traffic updates to mobile payments.

These OTT players have created loyal customer bases as they provide valuable services at low costs, all leveraging the infrastructure that Telcos built. So, with slowing revenue growth, do Telcos invest in their own OTT apps and products to start reclaiming some of the revenue and brand equity claimed by the likes of WhatsApp?

I would argue that a far better route to the continued success and growth of the African telco industry is not to look back at missed opportunities, but to rather look ahead to the emerging technologies that will shape the business and consumer landscape across the African continent. And there’s no bigger or better emerging opportunity than the Internet of Things.

The USD 60 trillion opportunity

With a projected 50 billion things connected by 2020, the Internet of Things is set to become one of the most significant technological innovations in history. General Electric estimates that investment into the Industrial Internet of Things will reach USD 60-trillion over the next 15 years, while McKinsey predicts the IoT market will attain a compound annual growth rate of 32.6% by 2020.

Within the next few decades, sensors will permeate every aspect of our lives. In this hyperconnected age, everything from cars to machines to livestock and crops will have a sensor. In a recent collaboration between Bosch and SAP, IoT was implemented to monitor asparagus farming operations to improve yield, while also providing farmers with key insights based on accurate data that helps make them more profitable.

The possibilities are endless: for example, a refrigerator provided by a cooldrink vendor with the purpose of storing their product can be remotely monitored to ensure it is indeed stocking the intended products and provide the vendor with real-time insights into the most popular products while alerting them automatically when stocks run low. All of this requires connectivity, and at a surface level IoT is a golden revenue opportunity for Telcos. With so many ‘things’ to connect, it makes sense that Telcos provide the baseline connectivity.

However, IoT works on narrowband connectivity, meaning it can operate without using telco infrastructure. It’s not enough for Telcos to simply provide the infrastructure. For the IoT opportunity to benefit Telcos, they need to develop a comprehensive innovation framework to take advantage of emerging opportunities and create new forms of value.

The building blocks of a reimagined telco business model

To meet the demands of a rapidly changing business and technology environment, many Telcos have bolstered their digital capabilities by appointing Chief Digital Officers. There is an inherent risk to this, however: if it is the prerogative of one person or line-of-business to manage and drive innovation, the telco is unlikely to reap the full benefits of an innovation programme. CEOs should encourage a culture of innovation by enabling all employees to contribute to the process, gaining input from all operational and enterprise teams to limit siloed thinking and do away with internal segregation.

Telcos should look specifically at implementing four key components to drive an effective innovation process, namely:
1) An innovation strategy that highlights how the telco wants to take advantage of emerging technologies such as IoT;
2) An understanding of the business models that would best support their customers’ objectives and approach to business;
3) An accurate and central system of records; and
4) A team of experts to ensure all components in the innovation engine work together seamlessly and effectively.

In one example, Zimabwe’s Econet works with trucking companies by leveraging IoT to collect information for insurance companies. A new business model in this context could include a partnership with the Zimbabwean government to feed data related to road conditions to the government to inform them of road issues and ensure adequate infrastructure maintenance is conducted.

The risk of a DIY mindset

Telcos have traditionally excelled at partnering with handset providers and some OTT players. Notwithstanding, there is an undeniable occasional tendency to take a “we-can-do-it-all” approach. In the context of the emerging technologies such as IoT, partnering strategically is essential to success. A Telco need not be a sensor manufacturer to benefit from IoT. Strategic partnerships with giants like Huawei and Samsung would make more sense. There is emerging a niche, nimble set of players that are competing with these established players in the sensor business. The world of IT is now transformed into a Sense-Compute-Actuate phenomenon. In this context Telcos should focus on their biggest asset – data – whilst forging strategic partnerships with hardware and software leaders to increase the pace of innovation.

By analysing customer data effectively, Telcos can help develop new business models that are tailor-made to the needs of the modern business environment. Companies such as GE Healthcare offer a glimpse at the possibilities: for every machine they connect in a rural hospital, GE Healthcare provides hospital management with connectivity and data on bed occupancy, day-to-day usage trends, and more, giving the hospital vital insights into its operations and creating opportunities for greater efficiency.

Telcos should work with software players as well – and this is where SAP offers immense value. Software companies have already made huge investments on practical, proven solutions to collect, analyse and process huge volumes of data. They can be considered as natural co-innovators in opportunities leading to new business models or revenue streams. SAP’s analysis shows that almost 76% of the world’s transactions touch our very own software systems deployed by clients globally. We see the digitization era bringing in a new set of opportunities to bring our vision of making the world run better and simpler a reality.

However, it is critical that Telcos move fast: major global tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft are all investing in new connectivity solutions for emerging markets. If they work, the Telcos will become even less essential to the success of these companies or the needs of their customers. If Telcos don’t invest in finding innovative ways of supporting these companies, they will simply do it themselves. The opportunity cost could run into trillions of dollars.

While African Telcos have been helped by the slow pace of smartphone adoption on the continent, this is likely to change as low-cost smartphones permeate the market. The availability of exponential technologies, increasing levels of customer sophistication, and the growing availability of broadband and alternative connectivity options are all putting pressure on Telco revenues. After 20 years of relatively manageable business conditions, Telcos are facing a far more competitive and disruptive business environment.

Right now, Telcos have the luxury of investing in innovation and reinventing their business models. The first gold rush is over. But there are more gold seams – from IoT to lifestyle services and more – offering greater revenue opportunities than ever before. It is critical that they heed the warning signs and find new ways of delivering value to businesses and consumers.

*  The author is Telco Industry Lead at SAP Africa

About SAP
As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP (NYSE: SAP) helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device – SAP empowers people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP applications and services enable more than 345,000 business and public sector customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably.
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AFC & Harith launch power giant: Anergi Holdings Limited
December 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

 Africa Finance Corporation (“AFC“) and Harith General Partners (“Harith“), acting on behalf of its portfolio company Aldwych Holdings Limited, are pleased to announce final close of the merger of their respective electricity generation assets into a new operating company, Anergi Holdings Limited (“Anergi” or the “Company“). Following a transaction initially signed in June 2016, all Conditions Precedent to the implementation of the merger have now been met, and the inaugural board meeting of the Company was held on 5 December, 2017.

Anergi is a holding company owning equity interests in seven (7) generation assets with a total of 1,786MW (gross) and 554MW (net) generation capacity across five (5) African countries. Anergi also holds near-term investment rights from its founding shareholders, to invest or acquire interests in new projects under development with a further 500MW capacity.

As of December 2017, Anergi owns long-term economic interests in a portfolio of assets diversified by geography and fuel type. These are the 350MW Kpone IPP tri-fuel power plant (Ghana), the 310MW Lake Turkana Wind Farm (Kenya), the 26MW Cabeolica Wind Farm (Cape Verde), the 90MW Rabai Heavy Fuel Oil power plant (Kenya), the 200MW Amandi Gas-fired power plant (Ghana), the 450MW Azura Gas-fired power plant (Nigeria) and the 300MW Kelvin IPP (South Africa). The future equity investment rights held by Anergi relate to other projects at advanced stages of development in Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Nigeria and Mozambique.

Anergi’s sponsors intend for it to operate as a consolidated energy business focused on acquiring, owning and managing controlling interests in African electricity sector assets, commencing with the initially merged assets. The Company will also seek to consolidate its ownership interests in these assets, through mutually beneficial transactions with its existing co-shareholders. Anergi will commence work immediately towards securing a stock market listing on an international exchange at the earliest feasible date. From inception, Anergi will be the leading diversified electricity business operating in Africa.

At its inaugural board meeting, Andrew Alli (President and CEO of Africa Finance Corporation) was appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of Anergi Holdings Limited, which is incorporated and domiciled in Mauritius. Other board members appointed include Tshepo Mahloele, Oliver Andrews, Alwyn Wessels, Sipho Makhubela and Fola Fagbule.

Andrew Alli said: “we are pleased that the Anergi transaction has come to a final close, and I look forward to working with the board and management to implement the strategy and achieve the operational goals of the business over the next few years”.

Tshepo Mahloele, Chairman of Aldwych Holdings Limited said: “we are excited about this merger and the next phase of growth for our African energy business. As we continue to implement our strategy of creating valuable and permanent operating platforms with significant technical and financial capabilities, Anergi Holdings Limited will be an important part of our future”.

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Addis Ababa hosts the biggest finance event of 2017
December 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

The first ever ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) Africa Members’ Convention was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 6-8 December. The three-day event’s theme centered on: “The impact of socio-economic trends on the future of finance and business in Africa”.

The inaugural event saw significant and relevant issues facing the accountancy profession being discussed. Several influential and renowned finance and business leaders from across the continent were in attendance, including; Ambassador Mumba S. Kapumpa (Corporate Governance Expert, Zambia), Prof. Nii Quaynor, the father of the internet in Africa, Dr. Nigel Chanakira, Chairman Success Motivation Institute, Walter Muwandi, CEO CCG Systems, South Africa, Daniel Asapokhai, Executive Secretary, CEO of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Prof. Patrick Lumumba and South African public speaker – Vusi Thembekwayo amongst many others.

The ACCA President, Leo Lee and other council members were in attendance along with over 750 ACCA members from 31 countries. The highlight of the 3-day conference was the unveiling of the Member Wall to commemorate ACCA reaching a milestone of 200,000 members worldwide.

Jamil Ampomah, director of ACCA Sub-Saharan Africa remarked, “I am delighted that the ACCA Africa Member Convention was able to bring together the best and brightest of the African accountancy profession. This conference was a fantastic opportunity for finance professionals to share their insights and discuss the topical issues they face.

In times of change globally, which we are certainly seeing now, it is important for local and regional communities to come together and forge a positive and sustainable future. By addressing the future role and relevance of accountancy and finance in Africa, this event has enabled ACCA demonstrate its membership capacity, strength and expansive network across Africa and globally”.

The ACCA Africa Members’ Convention addressed critical issues on the future role and relevance of the professional accountant in Africa, the impact of the shifting paradigms of social expectations and the economic focus supported by rapid digital transformation. Some of the topics discussed at the convention included: Innovation and the role of the accountant in the fourth industrial revolution, Ethics in a digital world; Managing and navigating the new economy; and the future of the profession: opportunities across Africa.

Also discussed was ACCA’s groundbreaking research, “Professional Accountants- the future series”, which highlights digital transformation as a major driver of change impacting business, finance and the accounting profession over the next decade. Delegates agreed that a key aspect of promoting the industry is to understand the increasing expectations of stakeholders, and develop effective approaches and systems to deliver real value to them.

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants, offering business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.

ACCA supports its 200,000 members and 486,000 students in 180 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 101 offices and centres and more than 7,200 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.

ACCA is currently introducing major innovations to its flagship qualification to ensure its members and future members continue to be the most valued, up to date and sought-after accountancy professionals globally.

Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. More information is here: www.accaglobal.com

*AMA

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READERS OF GLOBAL TRAVELER HONOR SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS AS “BEST AIRLINE TO AFRICA”
December 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

Fort Lauderdale, FL (December 13, 2017) – South African Airways (SAA), the national flag carrier of South Africa and Africa’s most awarded airline has been selected by the readers of Global Traveler in the U.S. as the “Best Airline to Africa” for the 14th consecutive year in their annual reader survey. The publication presented the award to SAA at a ceremony held on December 12, 2017, at The Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

The magazine, whose readership consists of discerning, high-frequency travelers, polls readers and reports on their preferences in its annual survey that recognizes the best in business travel. SAA’s Premium Business Class service, with its fully flatbed seats, on-demand audio-visual entertainment system in every seat, an exclusive collection of South African wines and warm African hospitality played a key role in SAA winning the award. These service attributes are complemented by SAA and its regional partners offering an extensive route network in Africa providing business travelers with many choices when traveling to, from and within the continent.

“We are grateful that the readers of Global Traveler, who are true road warriors and expect nothing short of premier experience every time they fly, recognized SAA as the Best Airline to Africa,”said Todd Neuman, Executive Vice President – North America for South African Airways. “This award,which we have received for 14 consecutive years, is proof that business travelers recognize our employee’s commitment to excellent service, both on the ground and in the air, our competitively priced fares, and our comprehensive route network throughout Africa”.

“”Congratulations to South African Airways for yet another GT Tested Reader Survey awards win. For 14 consecutive years, our readers have agreed the airline is best in Africa, a true nod to SAA’s service and quality.” said Francis X. Gallagher, publisher and CEO of Global Traveler.

As the leading carrier from the U.S. to Africa, South African Airways offers the most flights with non-stop service from New York–JFK Airport to Johannesburg and daily non-stop service from Washington, DC-Dulles to Dakar, Senegal, or Accra, Ghana, with continued service to Johannesburg. From its hub in Johannesburg, SAA together with its regional partners SA Express, Airlink and Mango offer easy, convenient connections to more than 75 destinations throughout Africa. SAA’s awarding – winning premium Business Class offers 180 fully lie-flat seating with duvet and full-size pillows, gourmet cuisine designed by renowned South African celebrity chefs, a wine cellar featuring some of South Africa’s finest vintages and extensive programming of on-demand audio and visual entertainment.For further information on South African Airways product and services, please visit www.flysaa.com or for reservations call 1-(800) 722-9675.

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African presidents draw strong consensus for inclusive growth at Africa 2017
December 13, 2017 | 0 Comments
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and African leaders pose for a photo in the second day of the Africa 2017 Forum on Friday- press photo

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and African leaders pose for a photo in the second day of the Africa 2017 Forum on Friday- press photo

Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, 11 December 2017, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- African presidents reached a strong consensus to focus on regional integration, inclusive growth and youth empowerment in order to achieve continued and sustained growth on the continent at the Africa 2017 Forum in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. President of Egypt Abdel Fattah Al Sisi hosted African heads of state and business leaders including President of the Republic of Guinea Alpha Condé, President of the Republic of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Côte D’Ivoire Alassane Ouattara, and President of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.

The business and investment Forum titled “Driving investment for inclusive growth” was convened to increase intra-African investments and cross-border collaboration. The message sent was that entrepreneurship and private sector would be the driving force to transform the continent. The Forum was preceded by a Young Entrepreneurs Day which brought together over 200 young African entrepreneurs who were meeting investors to pitch their businesses over the two days of the Forum. Al Sisi highlighted the importance of African youth, saying they should be the cornerstone of development plans in the continent as governments strive to promote innovation and technology.

The second edition of the Forum was another clear statement of intent from the Egyptian President, who, in his opening remarks, highlighted the strong bond Egypt has with the rest of the continent, saying it has always been a partner in African development. Putting Africa on the global map and paving the way for a prosperous future can be achieved by working harder to attract investment and collaborating more closely.

President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, co-chair of the Young Entrepreneurs Day, reiterated the need for more urgency: “We cannot afford to waste opportunities because of unnecessary red tape and associated delays.” Citing the launch of the Tripartite Free Trade Area in Egypt in 2015, he added it was important that African leaders drive the institutional reform of the African Union in order to get the FTA fully operational.

Heba Salama, Director of the COMESA Regional Investment Agency, co-conveners of the Forum, in an emotional address reminded the young and the leaders in the room that if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough. This did not go unheeded by the entrepreneurs in the room many of whom had scaled up businesses that were ripe for take off.

Africa 2017 Forum is held under the high patronage of H.E. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on 7th to 9th December 2017 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and is organized by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt and the COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA).
The 2017 edition builds on the success of the inaugural Africa 2016, which saw participation of 6 Heads of State and more than 1,000 delegates from 45 countries. This year the programme has been enhanced with exclusive Presidential Roundtables with Africa leaders and CEOs as well as a Young Entrepreneurs Day
Africa 2017 remains the premier business platform to nurture new partnerships; meet investors and fast track your business objectives in Africa.
Take your place and belong in the conversation that will drive new projects, transactions and policy throughout the continent with global business leaders who will lead both dialogue and progress on some of the most important projects in Africa.

Omar Sakr is the founder and CEO of Nawah-Scientific. Omar graduated as a pharmacist in 2005 from Ain Shams University, Egypt, after which he was appointed as a teaching assistant in the department of Pharmaceutical Technology, at the German University of Cairo (GUC) where he got his MSc degree in 2009. Omar then started his PhD journey at the University of Geneva, Switzerland and got his doctoral degree in 2015. As a part of his studies Omar worked for 3 years as a researcher at Capsulution Pharma in Berlin (Germany). Omar’s research activities are focused on nanotech applications for controlled delivery of small molecules and biological drugs. To his name, Omar holds several scientific and business awards for innovative product design. He authored and co-authored several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters that are published in top journals in the field.
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Egyptian young businessman Omar Sakr wins ‘elevator pitch’ at the Africa 2017
December 13, 2017 | 0 Comments
Press Photo - Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar awarded CEO of Nawah-Scientific Omar Sakr the elevator pitch prize

Press Photo – Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar awarded CEO of Nawah-Scientific Omar Sakr the elevator pitch prize

Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, 11 December 2017, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Egypt, awarded Omar Sakr, founder and CEO of Nawah-Scientific, the winning prize for the “elevator pitch” competition, which was held at Africa 2017 at Sharm-el-Sheikh, in Egypt. The prize is an entry to a training programme at Stanford Business School in California, the spiritual home of modern day entrepreneurs.

The competition, as part of Young Entrepreneurs Day, offered a chance for African start-ups to gain exposure and raise their profile by pitching their business ideas to an international delegation of executives representing capital prospects, business mentors, and advisors. From over 100 start-ups and entrepreneurs, 18 were selected to make ‘elevator pitches’ – each 3 minute in length maximum – where these young business leaders had the stage to present their idea and opportunity, highlight their needs and generate new leads.

Minister Gaffer mentioned that Egypt understands the important role that entrepreneurship and young entrepreneurs play in job creation and inclusive growth. The government is creating favourable environment to facilitate this, he added.

“I am thrilled to have won this competition,” said Sakr, “There were some amazing start-ups here and I am pleased to have won the opportunity to go to Stanford for the business management exposure.” Nawah-Scientific is the first, private, multidisciplinary research center in Egypt catering for natural and medical sciences. Nawah’s online platform receives task requests from individual scientists or industrial clients, samples to be analyzed are picked up via a partnership with courier services, experiments are carried by high caliber scientists and finally results are sent back online to the client.

Young Entrepreneurship Day partners, were impressed with the calibre of competitors. The judges were, Ben White, Founder and CEO, VC4Africa, Obi Ejimofo, COO, Asoko Insights, UK, Heba Ali, Managing Director, Egypt Ventures, Egypt and Abdelhameed Sharara, Founder and CEO, RiseUp, Egypt

Africa 2017 Forum is held under the high patronage of H.E. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on 7th to 9th December 2017 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and is organized by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt and the COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA).
The 2017 edition builds on the success of the inaugural Africa 2016, which saw participation of 6 Heads of State and more than 1,000 delegates from 45 countries. This year the programme has been enhanced with exclusive Presidential Roundtables with Africa leaders and CEOs as well as a Young Entrepreneurs Day
Africa 2017 remains the premier business platform to nurture new partnerships; meet investors and fast track your business objectives in Africa.

Take your place and belong in the conversation that will drive new projects, transactions and policy throughout the continent with global business leaders who will lead both dialogue and progress on some of the most important projects in Africa.

Omar Sakr is the founder and CEO of Nawah-Scientific. Omar graduated as a pharmacist in 2005 from Ain Shams University, Egypt, after which he was appointed as a teaching assistant in the department of Pharmaceutical Technology, at the German University of Cairo (GUC) where he got his MSc degree in 2009. Omar then started his PhD journey at the University of Geneva, Switzerland and got his doctoral degree in 2015. As a part of his studies Omar worked for 3 years as a researcher at Capsulution Pharma in Berlin (Germany). Omar’s research activities are focused on nanotech applications for controlled delivery of small molecules and biological drugs. To his name, Omar holds several scientific and business awards for innovative product design. He authored and co-authored several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters that are published in top journals in the field.
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Hitachi Vantara appoints new East Africa Regional Director
December 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
Wycliffe Selebwa

Wycliffe Selebwa

Hitachi Vantara, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd, has appointed Wycliffe Selebwa as East Africa Regional Director.

As the Regional Director, Selebwa is tasked with working closely together with sales teams and other stakeholders to drive incremental revenue and market share in East Africa. He will also play an important part in helping clients to leverage Hitachi Vantara’s broad portfolio of solutions to influence business outcomes.

“This is an important chapter in Hitachi Vantara’s development as it strategically aligns its operations and strengthens its technology and IoT offerings, and we are confident that Wycliffe will be a valuable addition to the business as it moves forward,” says Alexander Jenewein, General Manager and Managing Director for Sub-Saharan Africa.

Prior to joining Hitachi Vantara, Selebwa held a Business Development role at Oracle. Before this he headed up Oracle’s Cloud Infrastructure sales team for almost five years. His 15 years of experience in the technology industry also includes a seven-year stint as Managing Director and Enterprise Business Lead at Hewlett Packard as well as two years managing Distribution for Microsoft in Southern and Eastern Africa.

He currently holds a degree in Public Administration and Economics from the Moi University in Kenya as well as a post-graduate diploma in Sales and Marketing from the Institute of Chartered Marketing in the UK.

“I am extremely excited to take on this new role with Hitachi Vantara and look forward to driving consistent and sustainable growth and profitability within the region. By focusing on helping customers to reap the full benefits of Hitachi’s entire solutions portfolio, I believe we can help them to exceed the expectations of both their customers and stakeholders,” The East Africa market boasts of tremendous growth in the IT space with all the vendors fighting for significant market share and growing their customer bases. Hitachi will capitalize on its broad products and solution portfolio to stay ahead of the pack says Wycliffe.

Hitachi Vantara, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., helps data-driven leaders find and use the value in their data to innovate intelligently and reach outcomes that matter for business and society. We combine technology, intellectual property and industry knowledge to deliver data-managing solutions that help enterprises improve their customers’ experiences, develop new revenue streams, and lower the costs of business. Only Hitachi Vantara elevates your innovation advantage by combining deep information technology (IT), operational technology (OT) and domain expertise. We work with organisations everywhere to drive data to meaningful outcomes.
Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE: 6501), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, delivers innovations that answer society’s challenges with our talented team and proven experience in global markets. The company’s consolidated revenues for fiscal 2014 (ended March 31, 2015) totaled 9,761 billion yen ($81.3 billion). Hitachi is focusing more than ever on the Social Innovation Business, which includes power & infrastructure systems, information & telecommunication systems, construction machinery, high functional materials & components, automotive systems, healthcare and others.
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The 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) to be held for the first time in Africa where tobacco industry interference is endemic
December 8, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Organisers of the 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH)
) to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, on 7 to 9 March in 2018,
thave announced the attendance of WHO Director-General Dr Tedros
Adhanom Ghebreyesus, South Africa Minister of Health Dr Aaron
Motsoaledi and Michael R. Bloomberg, a leading actor on tobacco
control and WHO Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases.

For the past 50 years, WCTOH has been the premier international
forum on tobacco control and next year’s event – the first to be held
on the African continent – is expected to attract over 2000
researchers, scientists, civil society, healthcare professionals,
policymakers and media representatives from around 100 countries. It
is reported that tobacco use is the world’s leading preventable cause
of death killing more than 7 million people each year.

“This conference is being held at a critical time, both in the war on
tobacco and the drive to protect public health,” said WHO
Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“Countries have stepped up action to beat back the tobacco epidemic.
But more is needed. By embracing the Sustainable Development Goals,
governments have committed to promoting healthier and stronger futures
for their citizens. Tobacco control offers one of the surest ways to
achieve such ambitions.”

The theme of the conference is Uniting the World for a Tobacco-Free
Generation with an overarching focus on expediting progress to reduce
tobacco use in all populations around the world – using new research
and innovative approaches in public health, as well as powerful but
under-used policies, including tobacco taxation and those aimed at
preventing industry interference.

Michael Bloomberg will preside over the Bloomberg Philanthropies’
Awards for Global Tobacco Control during WCTOH. The awards recognise
leading organisations in low- and middle-income countries doing best
in class work on the most effective tobacco control policies,
collectively known as MPOWER measures: monitoring of tobacco use and
prevention policies,protecting people from tobacco smoke,offering help
to quit tobacco use,warning about the dangers of tobacco,enforcing
bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship and raising
taxes on tobacco.

It is further added that while tobacco use is decreasing in many
countries, smoking rates in Africa are anticipated to rise
dramatically. By 2030 the number of smokers in the region is projected
to increase by 40 percent from 2010 levels, unless there is
significant intervention. Africa continues to be aggressively targeted
by the tobacco industry, as it represents an opportunity for
considerable market growth.

Dr Flavia Senkubuge

Dr Flavia Senkubuge

Dr Flavia Senkubuge, President of the 17th WCTOH and a specialist in
Public Health Medicine at the University of Pretoria, South Africa
said: “The developing world continues to be the most urgent
battleground for those working in tobacco control. We are delighted to
have the commitment of three such prominent public health champions at
the inaugural WCTOH conference to be held in the Africa region.”

Professor Harry Lando, Chair of the 17^th WCTOH organising committee
said: “We are confident that the high quality of the science being
presented in Cape Town will complement the advocacy around WCTOH – we
need both, if we are to make bigger strides in tobacco control,
especially in this part of the world.”

Some of the scientific highlights being featured at WCTOH include a
novel study around HIV and smoking in South Africa, e-cigarette use
and young people, and the impact of tobacco taxation and point-of-sale
changes on consumers.
The 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) is expected to
unite researchers, academics, non-governmental organisations, civil
society, scientists, healthcare professionals and public officials
working on all aspects of tobacco control from around 100 countries.

Convened by WCTOH’s Advisory Board, the Cape Town Consortium and the
Conference Secretariat (The Union), WCTOH is a call for a collective
resolution to fight tobacco use by working together and integrating
tobacco control into our health and development goals. Held every
three years, WCTOH is the premier international conference on tobacco
control.

It is reported that the conference theme – Uniting the World for a
Tobacco-Free Generation – recognises that tobacco control is a global
issue, crossing all geographic boundaries. The World Health
Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) stands
as the backdrop for the conference and for our global response to the
tobacco epidemic. It is the only internationally, legally-binding
health treaty of the 21st century. Only by coming together are we able
to create a tobacco-free generation.

The Union is the Conference Secretariat for WCTOH. The Union is a
global scientific organisation with the mission to improve health
among people living in poverty. We do that by conducting scientific
research, working with governments and other agencies to translate
research into better health for people around the world, and
delivering projects directly in the field. The Union is made up of a
membership body of people around the world who help to advance our
mission, and a scientific institute that implements public health
projects within countries. For close to 100 years, they have been
leaders in the fight against some of the world’s biggest killers,
including tuberculosis, lung diseases and tobacco use.

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SureRemit targets 250 million immigrants with non-cash remittance service
December 8, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

. SureRemit, a global blockchain-based non-cash remittance service has
announced a token sale event to allow investors to contribute to
SureRemit and receive RMT tokens at a 40 % bonus.

A big argument for the potential of blockchain and cryptocurrencies
has been about how the revolutionary technology can impact the $600bn
cross-border remittance market. Several platforms are already enabling
cheaper and faster transfer of money using cryptocurrencies like
Bitcoin; however, a new product, SureRemit, is focusing on a
particular segment: non-cash remittances.

It is reported that there are over 250 million immigrants across
the world. A significant volume of money sent by these immigrants is
intended to serve specific needs of their friends and family at home
like food, clothing, utility bills and education. Senders utilize a
myriad of formal and informal channels to move money, but while there
have been improvements in recent years, the international money
transfer process is far from convenient.
Cash transfers are heavily regulated in order to prevent money
laundering, fraud and terrorist financing, so the systems and
intermediaries involved are forced to create elaborate compliance
processes that result in high fees and less-than-ideal transaction
flows. Furthermore, after sending money home, immigrants have no
control or visibility over the use of funds.

A new blockchain-based remittance service is being created to address
this. Immigrants all over the world with Remit tokens can purchase
digital vouchers that are redeemable for goods and services directly
from local merchants at their specified destinations. This
cryptocurrency removes the cash layer, reduces the cost of transfers
and provides the sender some control and visibility over how the value
is spent.

“International remittance transactions can be frustrating, but it
doesn’t have to be, at least for non-cash value transfers which
constitute about 40% of all transfers” said ‘Laolu Samuel-Biyi,
Director of Remittances at SureRemit. “In very many cases, immigrants
and travelers just want to buy food or pay a bill for someone at home.
Those transactions do not have the same risk profiles as cash
transactions, and they should not be subjected to the same costs,
timelines and procedures.”

Remit tokens are being issued in partnership with Stellar. The tokens
generated will be the primary tool for accessing digital shopping
vouchers, utility bill payments and mobile airtime services within the
SureRemit app. SureRemit already has access to over 500 redemption
points of major retail chains within the SureGifts merchant ecosystem
across Africa, with partnerships to acquire thousands of ecosystem
merchant partners in India and the Middle-East in the works. Expansion
into other major remittance corridors are planned for next year.

SureRemit is a platform for global non-cash remittances. Remit tokens
are being issued in partnership with Stellar. The tokens generated
will be the primary tool for accessing digital shopping vouchers,
utility bill payments and mobile airtime services within the SureRemit
app. SureRemit already has access to over 500 redemption points of
major retail chains within the SureGifts merchant ecosystem across
Africa, with partnerships to acquire thousands of ecosystem merchant
partners in India and the Middle-East in the works. Expansion into
other major remittance corridors are planned for next year. Pre-sale
token distribution begins December 8, 2017.

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WorldRemit raises $40m to target 5 million customers in Africa
December 8, 2017 | 0 Comments
Series C funding round brings the total amount raised to $220m
Ismail Ahmed, founder and CEO at WorldRemit

Ismail Ahmed, founder and CEO at WorldRemit

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, December 7, 2017/ — Leading digital money transfer service WorldRemit  has raised $40m to drive its next phase of global growth, aiming to serve 10 million customers connected to emerging markets. Half of these customers will be in Africa.

As part of the expansion, WorldRemit will enable customers in Africa to transfer money to 148 countries as easily as sending an instant message, using the WorldRemit app. Countries in Africa which now receive remittances through WorldRemit, will become send countries. Most importantly, the new service will make sending money within Africa faster, easier and low cost. According to the World Bank, inter-Africa transfers are amongst the most expensive in the world.

Money transfers to Africa account for more than half of WorldRemit’s total volume of transactions. The company currently handles 74% of remittances to popular mobile money services across Africa like MTN, Ecocash, Tigo Pesa, Vodafone M-Pesa and Airtel Money, making it the global leader in mobile-to-mobile international money transfers.

Ismail Ahmed, founder and CEO at WorldRemit, comments: “This new funding will fuel our growth, and help bring our service to millions more customers across the globe. Africa is a crucial market for us and over the next few years, we will expand our services so customers can send and receive with WorldRemit, getting the benefits of our fast, secure online service.” 

Since its last funding round in 2015, WorldRemit has launched 206 new services across the globe and has grown its transaction volume by 400%. Last month WorldRemit became Arsenal FC’s (www.Arsenal.com) first-ever online money transfer partner.

The Series C round was led by LeapFrog Investments (www.LeapFrogInvest.com) – a dedicated equity investor in emerging markets, supporting fast-growth firms that deliver social impact alongside commercial returns. The round also had significant participation from existing investors Accel (www.Accel.com) and Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV) (www.TCV.com).

Michael Liu, Regional Director, Asia-Pacific

Michael Liu, Regional Director, Asia-Pacific

This latest funding round follows a Series B investment raised from TCV in 2015 and a Series A from Accel and Project A in 2014 – then one of the largest ever Series A rounds in Europe.

WorldRemit (www.WorldRemit.com) was founded in 2010 by a UK-based entrepreneur from Somaliland, Ismail Ahmed, a remittance specialist and former compliance advisor to the United Nations. Personal experience of using money transfer agents convinced Ismail that technology could improve the sending process, enhance compliance and reduce costs to the customer.

In November 2017 WorldRemit became Arsenal FC’s first-ever online money transfer partner in a global sponsorship deal for all Premier League, League Cup and FA Cup games. In June 2017 WorldRemit added Android Pay to its service, offering a new way for WorldRemit’s Android Pay users to safely and securely send money to 130 million mobile money accounts accessible via its network.

WorldRemit has secured $220 million in funding backed by Accel and TCV – early investors in Facebook, Spotify, Netflix and Slack – and LeapFrog Investments.

WorldRemit’s global headquarters are in London, UK with offices in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand.

LeapFrog (www.LeapFrogInvest.com) invests in extraordinary businesses in Africa and Asia. We partner with their leaders to achieve leaps of growth, profitability and impact. LeapFrog companies now operate across 33 markets reaching 111 million people with financial services and healthcare. Over 93.8 million of those are emerging consumers, often accessing insurance, savings, pensions, credit and healthcare for the first time. LeapFrog companies provide jobs and livelihoods to over 114,626 people. These companies have grown on average by 43.3 per cent per annum since LeapFrog’s investment. LeapFrog was recently named by Fortune as one of the top five companies changing the world, the first private equity firm ever to be listed.

Accel (www.Accel.com) is a leading venture capital firm that invests in people and their companies from the earliest days through all phases of private company growth. Atlassian, Algolia, Avito, Cloudera, Crowdstrike, Deliveroo, DJI, Dropbox, Etsy, Facebook, Flipkart, Funding Circle, Kayak, QlikTech, Slack, Spotify, Supercell and WorldRemit are among the companies the firm has backed over the past 30 years. The firm seeks to understand entrepreneurs as individuals, appreciate their originality and play to their strengths. Because greatness doesn’t have a stereotype.

Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV) (www.TCV.com), founded in 1995, is a leading provider of capital to growth-stage private and public companies in the technology industry. With nearly $10 billion in capital raised, TCV has invested in more than 200 technology companies over the last 20 years. Selected investments include Altiris, C|NET, ExactTarget, Expedia, Facebook, Fandango, FX Alliance, GoDaddy, Genesys Software, HomeAway, Netflix, NewVoiceMedia, RealNetworks, Redback Networks, RiskMetrics Group, Sitecore, Splunk, Spotify, Thinkorswim, VICE Media, and Zillow. TCV is headquartered in Palo Alto, California, with offices in New York and London

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Rwanda Africa’s ‘City of Innovation’ to host conference on ‘Uniting Africa’
December 7, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Rwanda's Paul Kagame and Chad's Idriss Derby displaying their copies of the African Union Passport

Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Chad’s Idriss Derby displaying their copies of the African Union Passport

Next year Rwanda, one of Africa’s most technologically ambitious
countries, will take over the Chairmanship of the African Union. It
will also play host to eLearning Africa and the organisers are
predicting that it will be the biggest conference in the event’s
13-year history. They believe it could play a signinficant role in
pushing forward the African Union’s 2063 Agenda.

The conference, which is being jointly organised by ICWE GmbH and the
Rwanda Convention Bureau under the patronage of the Rwandan
Government, usually attracts well over 1,000 participants from all
over the world. They are not only teachers, academics and learning
experts, but political leaders, policy makers, investors,
technologists, business leaders and entrepreneurs too. The conference
will also be an occasion for an annual round table meeting of African
education and technology ministers.

In Rwanda, participants in eLearning Africa will have a chance to see
for themselves the achievements of an African government, which has
set about using technology to transform education. In 2014, the
Government signed an agreement to incorporate information and
communication technology into the country’s schools and colleges. The
benefits of “a new system of teaching that emphasises the use of
computers and internet to impart knowledge” are already starting to be
felt across the country. And now the Government is confident that by
2020 all schools in the country will have at least two smart
classrooms and all subjects will have been digitised.

eLearning Africa 2018 will take place from 26 to 28 September in
Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali, which has gained a reputation for its
ICT-based initiatives in a variety of sectors. So great is its
apparent enthusiasm for new technological solutions that some
observers have referred to it as the “Innovation City of Africa.”

In addition to its technological prowess, Kigali is also one of
Africa’s most attractive cities – eLearning Africa participants will
be able to take advantage of its bustling streets, ridges, valleys,
and lush hillsides, not to mention Rwanda’s world renowned Gorilla
trekking tours, only a short journey away.

“It is wonderful that Rwanda is now setting a real example for other
countries in technology-assisted learning and hosting a conference
whose theme is „Uniting Africa“, says conference organiser, Rebecca
Stromeyer. “l am confident that eLearning Africa 2018 in Rwanda will
be the biggest and most exciting eLA yet.”

Under the overall theme of “Uniting Africa,“ conference participants
will also discuss how the benefits of technology can be shared and
help to improve education across Africa, making a reality of the
African Union’s 2063 Vision of a “transformed continent.” A call for
papers has been issued and will remain open until 30 January 2018. The
organisers are looking for contributions on subjects including
“creating opportunities through education,” “boosting competitiveness
and ICT-centric growth,” “matching skills demand and supply,” and
“overcoming barriers.”

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AfDB’s Leadership4Agriculture Forum Sets in Motion Strategies to Spur Africa’s Agricultural Transformation
December 7, 2017 | 0 Comments

ABIDJAN, COTE D’IVOIRE – December 6, 2017 – African Finance and Agriculture Ministers and private sector leaders convened for the African Development Bank’s first high-level convening of the Leadership4Agriculture (L4Ag) Forum to pave a way forward in spurring the continent’s agricultural transformation on November 28 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

The invitation-only L4Ag Forum, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and in collaboration with the Initiative for Global Development (IGD) and Grow Africa was held at the AfDB headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. The event was held on the sidelines of the AU-EU Summit, which took place on November 29-30.

More than 150 public and private sector leaders gathered for dialogue, advocacy and policy action to drive Africa’s agriculture transformation on the theme, “Leadership for Agriculture: Moving African Policy to Action”. African Ministers from Cote d’Ivoire, the Republic of the Congo, Mali, Sierra Leone, Togo, Central African Republic, Seychelles, Ghana, Uganda, Gambia, and Chad were in attendance at the forum.

In a keynote address, Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, president of the African Development Bank, told forum attendees that, more than ever before, governments and private sector must work together to rapidly modernize agriculture in Africa to reach its full potential.

President Adesina challenged African agriculture leaders to become global food producers and move away from importing foods that the continent should be producing, emphasizing that Africa sits on 65% of the world’s uncultivated arable land.

African countries currently spend $35 billion annually on food imports and if current trends continue the continent will spend some $110 billion annually by 2030 on food imports. “There is absolutely no reason for Africa to be a food-importing region,” said Adesina. “Africa has huge potentials in agriculture, but nobody eats potential!”

The AfDB President encouraged African leaders to develop new agrarian systems that combine smallholder farmers with a dynamic generation of medium and large commercial farmers.

African Ministers and private sector leaders offer insights on the panel, “Agriculture Powering Africa’s Economic Transformation: Fueling Agro-industry and Agribusiness”

African Ministers and private sector leaders offer insights on the panel, “Agriculture Powering Africa’s Economic Transformation: Fueling Agro-industry and Agribusiness”

Mamadou Biteye, managing director of the Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office, agreed, noting that “strong and decisive” leadership and partnerships are required to achieve a greater impact in ensuring Africa’s food security, creating jobs and mobilizing investments in the agriculture sector.

The Rockefeller Foundation conceived the Leadership4Agriculture Forum during its 2013 centennial celebrations, where an unprecedented gathering of finance and agriculture leaders from over 20 African countries convened to identify concrete ways to work together and strengthen African agricultural markets and value chains to benefit economies.

“African governments need to be talking and integrating action,” asserted Biteye. He implored governments to draw in the private sector, “so they cease shying away from the sector due to the perception of agriculture being risky, and make greater investment.”

Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych, president and CEO of the Initiative for Global Development reiterated the essential role of the private sector in delivering fundamental change in the agriculture sector.

“Agriculture is a business,” said Nedelcovych. “For far too long, agriculture has been approached largely as a development issue, and Africa’s born- and bred private sector was not actively sought out to be part of the long-term strategy for their country’s agricultural transformation.”

IGD collaborated, in partnership with the AfDB and Rockefeller Foundation, in the planning, execution and outreach to the African private sector for the L4Ag Forum.

By bringing together private sector leaders with high-level African officials to drive action and growth in Africa’s agriculture sector, Nedelcovych said the forum aimed to push for a market-led approach to agriculture.

Moderated by BBC presenter Alan Kasujja, a panel of Ministers and private sector leaders discussed and put forth solutions and strategies on transforming Africa’s agriculture by improving the regulatory environment, enhancing access to improved agricultural inputs and commercializing agriculture during panel sessions.

The forum panel sessions — “Enabling the Business of Agriculture: Increasing Access to Agricultural Inputs to Enhance Productivity and Regulatory Reforms”and “Agriculture Powering Africa’s Economic Transformation: Fueling Agro-industry and Agribusiness” — were guided by recently-released reports by the World Bank’s 2017 Enabling the Business of Agriculture Report and the 2017 Africa Transformation Report by African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET).

Joost W. van Odijk of Grow Africa outlined to forum attendees the Country Agribusiness Partnership Frameworks or CAP-F, a tool that sets policy reforms in motion through cross-sectoral engagements to improve efficiency in the agribusiness value chains and to attract private sector investments.

During the public-private action roundtable sessions, African high-level government officials and business leaders reviewed policy and sub-indicators from the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and brainstormed their aligned interests and achievable goals in reaching policy indicators. The breakout sessions also explored investment opportunities in agribusiness ventures. CAADP is a policy framework for agricultural transformation, food security and nutrition, and advancing country-led economic growth in Africa.

Nedelcovych encouraged attendees to take the wealth of knowledge and bold strategies gained at the forum to build momentum for Africa’s agricultural transformation.

“There’s a tremendous opportunity to work together and deepen public-private sector collaborations and investment in agriculture to harness its full potential and contribute to accelerating the continent’s economic growth,” said Nedelcovych. “We all must be champions for agriculture!”

An action-oriented outcomes report highlighting forum sessions and actions from the public-private sector roundtables will be will be produced in early-January.

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