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Hilton Launches Africa Growth Initiative
October 7, 2017 | 0 Comments
Initiative expected to add 100 properties to its portfolio over the next five years
DT Hurlingham Nairobi Reception

DT Hurlingham Nairobi Reception

MCLEAN, United States of America, October 5, 2017/ — Hilton  has committed a total of $50 million over the next five years towards the Hilton Africa Growth Initiative to support the continued expansion of its Sub-Saharan African portfolio.

These funds are intended to support the conversion of around 100 hotels (roughly 20,000 rooms) in multiple African markets into Hilton branded properties, namely into its flagship Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand, the upscale DoubleTree by Hilton and the recently launched Curio Collection by Hilton.

Patrick Fitzgibbon, Senior Vice President, Development, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Hilton said: “Hilton remains committed to growth in Africa having been present on the continent for more than 50 years. The model of converting existing hotels into Hilton branded properties has proved highly successful in a variety of markets and we expect to see great opportunities to convert hotels to Hilton brands through this initiative.”

DT Hurlingham Nairobi restaurant

DT Hurlingham Nairobi restaurant

“It enables us to rapidly grow our portfolio and delivers returns for owners by increasing exposure of their business to more international, inter-regional and domestic travellers, and specifically to our 65 million-plus Hilton Honors members, who look to stay with us in our suite of industry-leading brands. We see huge potential here in key cities and airports, as well as allowing us to develop our offering in resorts and safari lodges.”

These hotels will receive all the benefits associated with Hilton’s industry-leading brand proposition and world-class commercial platforms. Guests will also be able to take advantage of  Hilton’s innovative technology platforms such as online check-in and the ability to choose individual rooms when booking via the Hilton Honors App.

Fitzgibbon added: “The range of brands we have at our disposal allows owners the flexibility to pick the right fit for their property. We have already deployed this initiative in the signing of two hotels: our first DoubleTree by Hilton property in Kenya, and our first hotel in Rwanda, and expect to be able to announce further additions before the end of this year.”

DoubleTree by Hilton Nairobi Hurlingham

The first hotel to benefit from this initiative is the 109 guest room Amber Hotel on Nairobi’s Ngong Road, which will re-launch under the upscale DoubleTree by Hilton brand. The hotel, which opened in 2016, is currently undergoing a series of renovations and will join the brand by the end of the year. Following the refurbishment, the hotel will be known as DoubleTree by Hilton Nairobi Hurlingham and will continue to be operated by the owner under a franchise agreement through the leadership of its current General Manager, Elisha Katam.

DoubleTree by Hilton Kigali City Centre

DT Kigali City Centre

DT Kigali City Centre

The 153 room Ubumwe Grande Hotel in the Kigali central business district will trade under the upscale DoubleTree by Hilton brand when it fully converts in 2018. This franchised property – with 134 guest rooms and 19 apartments – opened in September 2016. The hotel will undergo some changes in order to rebrand and will be Hilton’s first property in Rwanda. Once rebranded, the hotel will trade as the DoubleTree by Hilton Kigali City Centre.

Hilton currently operates 19 hotels in the Sub Saharan Africa region with a further 29 in its pipeline. It has held a presence on the African continent for over 50 years.

Hilton  is a leading global hospitality company, with a portfolio of 14 world-class brands comprising more than 5,000 properties with more than 825,000 rooms in 103 countries and territories. Hilton is dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world’s most hospitable company by delivering exceptional experiences – every hotel, every guest, every time. The company’s portfolio includes Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Curio Collection by HiltonTM, DoubleTree by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by HiltonTM, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations.

The company also manages an award-winning customer loyalty program, Hilton Honors. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose exactly how many Points to combine with money, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else and free standard Wi-Fi.

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Off-grid Solar set to triple in Africa
October 7, 2017 | 0 Comments
The IEA has found that the amount of power from solar grew by more than 50%, and has officially increased energy output globally at a faster rate than any other fuel
LAGOS, Nigeria, October 6, 2017/ —

  • Off- grid solar will bring basic electricity services to almost 70 million more people in Asia and sub Saharan Africa

A new report has confirmed that Solar is now the fastest growing energy source in the world, and is making a major impact in Africa. The International Energy Agency’s 2017 report on renewables forecasts that off-grid solar capacity in Africa is set to almost triple in the next five years, saying that it will “bring basic electricity services to almost 70 million more people in Asia and sub Saharan Africa”.

The IEA has found that the amount of power from solar grew by more than 50%, and has officially increased energy output globally at a faster rate than any other fuel. The report specifically highlights off-grid solar as a ‘dynamic’ sector set to accelerate this growth.

Lumos (www.Lumos-Global.com), a company that offers one of the fastest growing off-grid solar services in Africa, is at the forefront of this expansion. Lumos launched its Mobile Electricity Service and the Y’ello Box in partnership with MTN in Nigeria earlier this year. The device transforms the sun’s energy into electricity and is paid for via your mobile phone.

According to the IEA, off-grid capacity in Africa and Asia is set to reach “over 3000 MW in 2022.” CEO of Lumos Nigeria, Yuri Tsitrinbaum, said: “This is the latest evidence that off-grid solar is providing the answer to growing energy demand in Africa. There is no other option available that can provide energy that is as affordable, reliable, and clean.”

“We are changing the way people access electricity, and this is only the beginning. Mobile phones improved millions of lives, and now we are seeing the same thing with mobile electricity.”

Lumos Mobile Electricity Service is available at MTN stores across Nigeria. By subscribing to the service, customers get one of the revolutionary Y’ello Box systems that converts solar energy into electricity for the home, paid for by phone credit and a simple text message. It’s reliable, affordable and powerful.

The IEA report projects that over the next five years, services like Lumos will be the catalysts and drivers of innovative payment solutions that can allow low-income populations access to electricity.

Lumos (Lumos-Global.com) brings affordable, modern and clean electricity to communities that have been living off-grid.
Lumos connects the dots between the mobile payment revolution and solar energy through its patented, self-deployable solar power system, with integrated cellular payment and advanced security mechanisms. With Lumos, households in the off-grid world can replace generators, candles, and flashlights with modern electricity that can power lights, cellphones, fans, laptops, TVs and other small electronic devices, and all for less the cost spent today on generators – on a lease to own basis, subscription via the mobile phone.

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Taking an intelligent approach to Africa’s promising mobility revolution
October 7, 2017 | 0 Comments
Despite the continent’s transport infrastructure lagging behind global standards for decades, Africa is bracing itself for a transport revolution as more countries embrace the onset of new technology
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, October 5, 2017/ —

  • Kevin Pillay - Vice President for Mobility at Siemens Africa

    Kevin Pillay – Vice President for Mobility at Siemens Africa

    Electrification, automation and digitalization of existing infrastructure gives citizens access to safe, reliable and efficient modes of transport

  • Intelligent traffic systems reduce road congestion, automated rail infrastructure improves train efficiency and commuter safety
  • Well-integrated intelligent mobility network promotes a culture of eco-friendly travel and healthier living

Despite the continent’s transport infrastructure lagging behind global standards for decades, Africa is bracing itself for a transport revolution as more countries embrace the onset of new technology.

This sets the scene for a new era of intelligent mobility in Africa, writes Kevin Pillay – Vice President for Mobility at Siemens Africa (Siemens.com).

Intelligent mobility involves the electrification, automation and digitalization of existing transport infrastructure, and gives every citizen access to safe, reliable and efficient modes of transport.

The need and demand for intelligent mobility in Africa has never been greater – World Economic Forum competitiveness data reveals that only three African countries feature in the top 50 globally for quality of roads, quality of rail and quality of ports infrastructure respectively.

World Bank data also indicates that the Sub-Saharan African railway network has declined to 59,634km today, down from 65,661km in 1980 with only about 70% of the railway network in operational state.

At face value, it seems as though the continent faces insurmountable transport challenges. But the reality is that we are already setting the wheels in motion to create interconnected, more modern and efficient African transport networks that keep economies on the move, rather than hindering them. This development will not happen overnight, and will be realised one step at a time.

Intelligent traffic systems 

Many African cities have traffic infrastructure plagued by unreliable power supply. To the frustration of motorists, timing of traffic lights stays the same regardless of actual conditions, and many are faulty and take weeks to repair. This means that the road infrastructure can’t handle peak traffic, not because of technology but because of the lack of proper technological investment.

The challenge is partly that these traffic systems have grown in an unco-ordinated way, with lots of different suppliers and systems cobbled together. Speeding and traffic light violations are a problem, and there is limited technology deployed to support effective traffic law enforcement.

Concern of this situation has been expressed by officials and road users alike, who say congestion and accidents have reached alarming levels. Inefficiencies in these transport systems affect a country’s ability to attract and maintain investment.

So where do we begin?

The adoption of intelligent traffic systems (ITS) will keep Africa’s busiest cities as fast-moving investment destinations. ITS includes deployment of smart sensor systems with intelligent algorithms to automatically adapt to improve traffic flow.

Two-way communication can be enabled by running fibre between traffic junctions and a central control centre to gather information from intelligent networked systems, sensors and cameras at every junction. This allows traffic lights to be adjusted according to demand.

Nigeria’s Edo State government recently announced its intention to upgrade to a technologically-advanced ITS system that provides real-time traffic information in Benin City. As part of the integrated solution, motorists and commuters will be informed about travel times, weather conditions and traffic jams on radio or online.

With all traffic management systems automated and digitalized, technology like automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras can be utilised to efficiently enforce traffic rules.

Average speed over distance (ASOD) technology captures the time when a specific vehicle enters and exits the ASOD zone. The journey time is compared against the distance travelled and authorities are automatically notified if the prescribed speed limit was exceeded.

This improves the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians. It also minimises the risk of corruption, while promoting best practice among traffic enforcement officers who are exposed to a new skillset when trained in operating these new systems.

Automated rail infrastructure 

Another effective means of reducing congestion on overburdened and under maintained roads in Africa is through greater investment in upgrading passenger rail networks.

Some of the world’s cities with the most advanced transport networks feature fast, efficient, safe and clean rail mobility networks powered by Siemens, and African cities can benefit from expertise in centralised traffic management and automation systems, including train control systems with minimum line side equipment linked to modern control centres.

A clear case in point is the Gauteng Nerve Centre (GNC) in South Africa. The 3400 m2 state-of-the art control centre for centralised rail traffic management in South Africa’s economic hub of Gauteng accommodates 35 train control operators in one place, and constantly monitors Gauteng’s rail traffic where over 600 trains carry more than 500,000 commuters on a daily basis.

The GNC boasts world-class automation capabilities and can immediately respond to any operating failures, accidents and other incidents, thereby enabling greater efficiencies in rail operations and train safety, while offering a more reliable service through higher infrastructure utilisation.

Siemens’ proven railway capabilities are set be bolstered further, following the mobility business’ recent announcement of its intention to merge with French railway engineering specialist Alstom.

With a strong presence in, and dedicated commitment to Africa, this anticipated partnership will create an African champion in mobility.

Intelligent, integrated mobility ensures environmental sustainability 

Transportation is the world’s second-biggest producer of greenhouse gases. In 2015 motor vehicles, trains, ships, and planes emitted 7.5 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, accounting for almost a quarter of all CO2 emissions worldwide.

Today transportation-related emissions are already about 60 percent higher than in 1990. One of the reasons for this is the dramatic increase in the number of vehicles in developing countries and emerging markets – of which Africa is home to many.

According to forecasts, transportation-related CO2 emissions will increase by another 67 percent between now and 2050. Clearly, in view of this, the global community must take decisive action to bring about a worldwide transition to sustainable transportation systems.

A well-integrated intelligent multi-modal transport network promotes a culture of eco-friendly travel and healthier living, as it reduces traffic congestion and COemissions by transporting more people more safely and more comfortably, using newer and cleaner technology without relying on fossil fuels.

The time for intelligent mobility is now 

If Africa truly wants to unleash its full potential, then sufficient funds must be responsibly invested in upgrading existing transport and logistics infrastructure like road, rail and ports, in addition to new concepts that include electric bus rapid transport and ferries, to name a few.

Intelligent and integrated traffic systems are part of the future of transport in the world’s advanced cities. If Africa seizes the opportunity, many of its cities will be on that list, and the continent’s citizens will reap the rewards. That is the way forward.

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2018 World Cup: Fifa hands out punishments to several African nations
October 4, 2017 | 0 Comments

Fifa has handed out punishments to eight African nations for various offences committed during September’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

Gabon fielded an ineligible player – Merlin Tandjigora, who should have been suspended – in the 3-0 home defeat by Ivory Coast on 2 September.

The Panthers effectively escape with a fine as the main sanction for the error is to forfeit the match 3-0.

Several teams suffered similar sanctions in 2014 World Cup qualifying.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Football Federation has been fined just over US$30,000 and issued with a warning after fans invaded the pitch when they beat Cameroon 4-0 on 1 September.

DR Congo were also given a warning and also handed a major fine, forced to pay Fifa around US$20,000, for incidents during their match against Tunisia on 5 September.

Fifa ruled that there had been “improper conduct among spectators – throwing objects [bottles] and letting off incendiary devices” at the match, which ended 2-2, in Kinshasa.

The Congolese federation was also sanctioned for failing to fly national flags at the stadium and for not displaying a mandatory “central advertising board”.

There was a US$15,000 fine and a warning for Mali after their home match against Morocco also suffered from “improper conduct among spectators – throwing objects [bottles and chairs]”.

Elsewhere, Zambia must pay US$7,000 after their fans threw objects when they played Algeria in Lusaka.

Morocco’s punishment of US$3,000 and a warning was given after spectators whistled during the national anthem ahead of their match against Mali in Rabat.

Both Burkina Faso and Senegal were issued warnings for delayed kick-offs in their matches against each other on 2 and 5 September respectively.

And South Africa’s Erick Mulomowandau Mathoho had his suspension for a straight red card against Cape Verde increased from one match to two and also fined US$5,000.

He was dismissed in Praia for kicking out at an opponent after the ball had already gone into touch and missed the return match a few days later through suspension.

The increased ban means Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter had to drop him from his squad to face visiting Burkina Faso on Saturday.

He has been replaced by Cape Town City captain Robyn Johannes, who has earned his first call-up since 2008.

*BBC

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Ecobank launches mVisa across 33 African Countries
October 3, 2017 | 0 Comments
Ecobank Scan+Pay with mVisa delivers instant, secure cashless payment for goods and services by allowing customers to scan a QR code on a smartphone or enter a unique merchant identifying code into either a feature phone or smartphone
Ecobank Chief Executive Officer Ade Ayeyemi

Ecobank Chief Executive Officer Ade Ayeyemi

LOME, Togo, October 2, 2017/ — Ecobank (https://Ecobank.com) has partnered with Visa to launch Ecobank Scan+Pay with mVisa solutions to their consumers.
The strategic tie-up signals interoperability on a cross border level – and potentially huge gains – as it affords consumers with the ability to use their mobile phone to directly access the funds in their bank accounts to pay person-to-merchant (P2M) or person-to-person (P2P).
Ecobank Scan+Pay with mVisa delivers instant, secure cashless payment for goods and services by allowing customers to scan a QR code on a smartphone or enter a unique merchant identifying code into either a feature phone or smartphone. The payment goes straight from the consumer’s bank account into the merchant’s account and provides real-time notification to both parties. This serves to accelerate digital commerce and combat some of the challenges merchants have faced using traditional point of sale systems, including the cost of installation coupled with the requirement of electricity and internet connectivity.
Ecobank mVisa solutions also enable customers to send money instantly to any Visa cardholder worldwide. This is a major innovation that serves the need of Africans in the diaspora by enabling them to simply link their Visa card to the Ecobank unified mobile app to send money home to another Visa cardholder quickly and securely.
“We are fulfilling our commitment to give every African the right to participate effectively in the global economy at an affordable price and in a convenient manner. Ecobank Scan+Pay with mVisa helps merchants – particularly small and micro merchants – to grow their sales without the risks of carrying cash whilst also giving consumers the ability to pay for goods and services in a cashless manner from their phones. Consumers can also conduct person-to-person payments and instantly transfer money to their friends and family via their phones at very low cost,” said Ecobank Chief Executive Officer Ade Ayeyemi.
The partnership demonstrates both Ecobank and Visa’s continued commitment to provide financial services to the banked and unbanked in Africa by leveraging digital platforms to offer convenient and affordable payment mechanisms.
Andrew Torre, President for Visa Sub-Saharan Africa said, “We are glad to partner with Ecobank to bring mVisa into the market, a mobile payment solution with real benefits to drive digital transformation backed by advantages of Visa’s global network – security, reliability and global acceptance, allowing consumers to make payments both domestically and internationally.”
Patrick Akinwuntan, Ecobank Group Executive Consumer Banking, pointed out that the Ecobank mVisa solutions rollout significantly strengthens the banks person-to person payments capabilities. “Bringing this added functionality on our Ecobank mobile app connects families in Africa by delivering needed funds instantly anywhere, anytime. That’s real value to our customers,” he said.

Incorporated (‘ETI’ or ‘The Group’)  Incorporated in Lomé, Togo in 1988, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) is the parent company of the leading independent pan-African banking group, Ecobank. It currently has a presence in 36 African countries, namely: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group employs over 17,000 people in 40 different countries in over 1,200 branches and offices. Ecobank is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals.

About Visa Inc.  Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network – enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device, and a driving force behind the dream of a cashless future for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce.

 

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Rx Healthcare Fund Announces Anchor Investors
October 3, 2017 | 0 Comments
The Fund aims to address growing demand for high-quality healthcare services across North African and Sub-Saharan jurisdictions, through investments in high growth potential entities in three key sectors: specialized hospitals, medical diagnostics, and pharmaceuticals
former Egyptian Minister of Health Dr. Hatem El Gabaly

former Egyptian Minister of Health Dr. Hatem El Gabaly

CAIRO, Egypt, October 2, 2017/ — Rx Healthcare Fund (“Rx” or the “Fund”) (www.RxHealthManagement.com), an Africa-focused healthcare private equity fund currently under establishment, today announced that GE Healthcare (www.GEhealthcare.com), a leading global provider of transformational medical technologies and services, is set to become an anchor limited partner in Rx. Following an earlier commitment to Rx by the African Development Bank, the proposed minority investment by GE is subject to completion of fundraising.

Rx, which is led by former Egyptian Minister of Health Dr. Hatem El Gabaly, is a private equity fund managed by a newly setup fund manager in partnership with EFG Hermes, the leading financial services corporation in the Middle East and North Africa. The Fund aims to address growing demand for high-quality healthcare services across North African and Sub-Saharan jurisdictions, through investments in high growth potential entities in three key sectors: specialized hospitals, medical diagnostics, and pharmaceuticals.

“Access to long term development funding is the cornerstone of sustainable healthcare development in Africa”, said Farid Fezoua, President & CEO of GE Healthcare Africa. “As Africa’s banks and financial services industry sharpen their focus on the continent’s expanding health sector, nurturing homegrown strategic funding and financing solutions combined with operators’ and technology domain expertise has the potential to provide a significant boost for local private sector healthcare providers, SMEs and entrepreneurs as well as public-private partnerships.”

“We’re delighted to have completed our lineup of potential anchor limited partners with GE Healthcare, an unrivaled industry specialist with a footprint in more than 100 countries across the world, and African Development Bank, the continent’s leading development finance institution,” said Dr. El Gabaly. “Importantly, GE Healthcare’s added value to Rx goes far beyond its financial investment: We view GE Healthcare and AfDB as strategic partners who would bring deep industry and geography specific knowledge in many of our target markets. We believe our Fund will offer a unique value proposition to the potential investors, in which it will be supported by veteran healthcare professionals, seasoned private equity professionals, and experienced investors.”

“Africa’s healthcare sector is unique in that it offers both the potential for superior risk-adjusted returns as well as the opportunity to invest responsibly in a critical sector that will have measurable impact on the wider economy,” El Gabaly noted.

With the IMF projecting the continent’s GDP growing at 6% (2013-2017) and a population of over one billion that includes an emerging middle class that has grown 60%+ to reach c.313 million over the last 10 years, Africa has a strong macro-economic outlook that could create a significant role for private healthcare providers.
Within Africa, Rx will focus its strategy to invest in opportunities across Kenya, Nigeria and Ethiopia in sub-Saharan Africa as well as in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco in North Africa.

GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services to meet the demand for increased access, enhanced quality and more affordable healthcare around the world.  GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter – great people and technologies taking on tough challenges. From medical imaging, software & IT, patient monitoring and diagnostics to drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies and performance improvement solutions, GE Healthcare helps medical professionals deliver great healthcare to their patients.

Rx Healthcare Fund, is a private equity fund (Under Establishment) that will capitalize on the rapidly growing demand for affordable, high-quality healthcare services across the African continent. The Fund aims to build an integrated portfolio of strategic healthcare assets across the North African countries of Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco with a potential for expansion and replication in the vastly underserved Sub-Saharan healthcare markets particularly Kenya, Nigeria and Ethiopia.

The Fund deploys a rigorous value creation strategy centered around the development of pan-African healthcare platforms along three distinct verticals covering diagnostics & therapeutic services, hospitals (general and specialized), and pharmaceuticals or other complimentary subsectors of healthcare across the continent.

With a current footprint spanning Eight countries in the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan & United States of America, EFG Hermes started in Egypt and has grown over 30 years of success to become a leading financial services corporation with access to emerging and frontier markets. Drawing on our proven track-record & a team of more than 2900 talented employees, we provide a wide spectrum of financial services that include investment banking, asset management, securities brokerage, research and private equity to the entire region.
Combining our strengths and expertise in the region, we offer our clients best-in-class products and services that are tailored to their needs to maximize their investment goals in a rapidly changing environment.

EFG Hermes’ private equity arm is one of the Arab world’s leading private-equity groups with a special focus on investing in infrastructure (particularly renewable energy), healthcare and consumer products. With more than 25 years of experience in investing across a broad industrial footprint, the firm is a leader in infrastructure private equity.

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African Presidents and CEOs Discuss the Future of U.S.-Africa Business at UNGA
October 3, 2017 | 0 Comments
CCA's Florie Liser with Rwandan President Paul Kagame

CCA’s Florie Liser with Rwandan President Paul Kagame

Washington, DCOctober 2, 2017: Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) hosted key meetings on the future of U.S.-Africa business in New York featuring leaders such as Rwandan President Paul Kagame and African Billionaire Mr. Aliko Dangote during the United Nations General Assembly meetings from September 18-22, 2017.

 
CCA hosted five events during UNGA week focused on U.S.-Africa business relations, African economic reforms, healthcare priorities on the continent and investment in several featured African nations. “We engaged in very important conversations this week with business and government leaders on the forefront of some of the continent’s greatest success stories,” said CCA President and CEO, Ms. Florizelle Liser. “CEOs of major CCA member companies had the opportunity to discuss with African government and business leaders on both the challenges and opportunities for enhanced U.S.-Africa business partnerships and increased investment into Africa’s rapidly changing economic landscape.”
 
CCA’s flagship event during UNGA, the Presidential Dialogue on the Future of U.S.-African Business Relations featured H.E. President Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and Mr. Aliko Dangote, CEO of the Dangote Group. The discussion – hosted at Shearman and Sterling LLP’s New York Office and moderated by Ms. Rosa Whitaker, CEO of The Whitaker Group – discussed the business environment in Africa and potential ways to forge U.S.-Africa business relations and partnerships that contribute to increased and move diversified U.S.-Africa trade and investment.
 
Mr. Dangote expressed hope that oil prices continue to remain low to force African economies to diversify. “Agriculture, agriculture, agriculture. Africa will become the food basket of the world,” said Mr. Dangote. He also credited growth in countries like Rwanda to a commitment to good governance. President Kagame highlighted some of the misconceptions many investors still have about Africa. “People have developed a misconception that corruption is the way of life in Africa. This is far from the truth,” he said.
 
On Wednesday, September 20 CCA hosted its Forum on Advancing Health Priorities in Africa and its Africa Finance Forum: Reforming the African Economy. The Health Forum centered around partnerships on non-communicable diseases in Africa, an area of rising concern for international health experts, African governments, and other partners. Much of the discussion centered around the enabling environment for successful public/private partnerships in the African health sector. The Finance Forum, a follow up to CCA’s earlier discussion during the World Bank Spring meetings, focused on critical reforms in African economies that are needed to effectively address bottle-necks to investors and businesses.
 
Finally, CCA held special by-invitation CEO investor roundtables with heads of state and other senior officials of Nigeria, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea. On behalf of H.E. President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Geoffrey Onyeama, was joined by four other ministers in a discussion with CEOs of major companies on the prospects for U.S.-Nigeria trade and investment. At events featuring H.E. Ali Bongo Ondimba and H.E. President Obiang, Presidents of Gabon and Equatorial Guinea respectively, CEOs and senior business officials discussed not only prospects in the oil and gas sectors, but the growing opportunities in diverse sectors across those two countries.
The Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) is the leading U.S. business association focused solely on connecting U.S. and African business interests. CCA serves as a neutral, trusted intermediary connecting its member firms with the essential government and business leaders they need to do business and succeed in Africa
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New UN report reveals momentum for digital payments in Ghana could save over GHS 1 billion within next four years
September 30, 2017 | 0 Comments
With 37 percent of the value of all payments now made digitally, Ghana is on course to be a leader in the region, with great potential to expand economic opportunities for businesses
Sandra Ankah

Sandra Ankah

ACCRA, Ghana, September 27, 2017/ — At an event bringing together key government and business players, the Ghana’s Ministry of Finance  and the UN-based Better Than Cash Alliance  released a report  documenting the country’s progress in creating an economy where everyone can pay and get paid digitally, instead of cash. The results show the country has made significant gains, including almost 100 percent of government payments to people and payments within the government now processed digitally. The findings also reveal there are opportunities for providing more choice to customers.

This move is already translating into direct benefits to people, particularly women, support for small businesses and cost savings for the government. The data also predicts that if the government continues to make progress, savings could reach over GHS 250 million (nearly $60 million) each year, which may result in more than GHS 1 billion ($230 million) by 2020.

“The future really is digitization and how we can leverage on it for the benefit of our citizens. This is why digitizing initiatives such as our flagship conditional cash transfer program Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) (http://APO.af/S3E6EL) is a key milestone,” said Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister for Finance of the Republic of Ghana.

“We recognize that there is still more work to do to transition most of the country away from cash. Yet with great potential for cost savings and opportunities to increase transparency and accountability, we cannot afford not to,” the Minister added.

The report provides key insights on the status of digital payments in Ghana and tangible recommendations on how to successfully move forward. In particular, three priorities emerged to help the government and citizens achieve the most benefits:

  • Investing in infrastructure for digital public utility payments: 80 percent of the population uses public essential services such as water and electricity, but only 20 percent of the population has access to digital technology such as smart meters. By investing in smart distribution infrastructure that digitize end-to-end delivery and payment, it will increase efficiencies and ease of use for citizens – ultimately increasing adoption.
  • Digitizing payment of government fees and fines: With 97 percent of fees and fines currently paid in cash, the Ghanaian government could gain enormous cost savings if they commit to using digital payments exclusively and mandate all government agencies to use a central payment system.
  • Encouraging digital payments in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) value chain to support digitization of small retailers and customers: For FMCG companies operating in Ghana, 96 percent of distributor payments and 59 percent of vendor and employee payments in volume are made in checks. However, 99.9 percentof individual payments for consumption goods by volume are still completed in cash, as individuals continue to purchase essential consumer goods, including food, in the informal economy with small retailers. This indicates the tremendous potential impact any shift to digital payments in this value chain can have on the overall ecosystem. By transitioning away from cash, small business owners can avoid storing large amounts of cash, drive customers’ adoption and boost access to formal saving and loan products which can expand their economic potential. This will especially improve the lives of women, who represent many of the small retailers in the FMCG sector.
Olivia Dei-Alorse

Olivia Dei-Alorse

“We want to congratulate the Government of Ghana for its leadership in building the foundation for an economy less dependent on cash. Under this leadership, the country is making considerable strides to improve transparency, accelerate opportunities for economic growth and empower women by bringing them into the formal financial system,” said Dr. Ruth Goodwin-Groen, Managing Director of the Better Than Cash Alliance. “Ghana is at a tipping point in its shift to digital payments. We at the Better Than Cash Alliance look forward to continued work with our colleagues across the digital ecosystem in government, companies and international organizations to continue this great progress.”

Read the full Ghana Diagnostic report here (http://APO.af/d1d9MT) with recommendations on how to accelerate

Ghana’s journThe Better Than Cash Alliance is a United Nations-based partnership of governments, companies, and international organizations that accelerate the transition from cash to digital payments in order to reduce poverty and drive inclusive growth. ey towards building an inclusive digital payments ecosystem

The Better Than Cash Alliance is a United Nations-based partnership of governments, companies, and international organizations that accelerate the transition from cash to digital payments in order to reduce poverty and drive inclusive growth.

 

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The Pan African University Institute for Water and Energy Sciences including Climate Change (PAUWES) Celebrates its Second Graduating Cohort of 47 Students from Across Africa
September 30, 2017 | 0 Comments
This year’s graduating students will join the next generation of African engineers and policymakers committed to addressing the issues critical to Africa’s sustainable development.
The newly graduated PAUWES Class of 2017 celebrates outside the University of Tlemcen Auditorium

The newly graduated PAUWES Class of 2017 celebrates outside the University of Tlemcen Auditorium

TLEMCEN, Algeria, September 28, 2017/ — The Pan African University Institute for Water and Energy Sciences including Climate Change (PAUWES) (http://PAUWES.univ-tlemcen.dz) celebrated the second graduating class of its both tracks of its two Master programmes earlier today. 47 students from across the African continent have received their diplomas during a ceremony at the University of Tlemcen.

The graduating students and their guests were welcomed and addressed by official representatives of the Algerian government and dignitaries from across Africa and Europe, including Her Excellency Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor, the new African Union Commissioner for Human Resources , Science and Technology, Benyaiche Ali, the Governor of the Tlemcen Wilaya, and His Excellency Michael Zenner, the German Ambassador to Algeria.

This year’s graduating students will join the next generation of African engineers and policymakers committed to addressing the issues critical to Africa’s sustainable development. They have not only successfully completed their coursework requirements, but have conducted practice-oriented research for their master theses based on a multitude of case studies that address the water, energy, and climate-related challenges Africa faces.

The new African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Her Excellency Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor delivers an uplifting address to the graduates

The new African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Her Excellency Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor delivers an uplifting address to the graduates

In order to gain a transcontinental perspective of those same challenges, our students have also completed international internships in the private and public sectors at renowned research institutions cross Africa and beyond. Besides focusing on their studies, the students of the Class of 2017—with the support of PAUWES—launched the first student-lead clubs, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club and the Community of Practice (CoP), which have contributed to the overall sense of community and leadership that our institute strives to promote.

What is more, this cohort of graduating students represents and fulfills one of the key objectives of the Pan African University (PAU) and PAUWES—which is to foster an African learning environment of the most qualified and motivated scholars while revitalizing and nurturing the quality of African higher education. Not only are an array African Union member states and eleven female students represented in the Class of 2017, but this diverse cohort of students have had the opportunity to study alongside an international faculty of over 100 professors and researchers from across Africa and the world.

Supported by PAUWES, the University of Tlemcen and our key thematic partner—Germany, we are confident that students of the Class of 2017 are well positioned to become leaders in public administration, policy-making, research, technology, private enterprise, and civil society. The PAUWES 2017 Class Booklet (http://apo.af/c2fCtF) showcases this year’s graduates and we are very pleased to invite future employers to meet them.

We will proudly welcome our most diverse cohort ever this coming fall as 70 students from 31 African countries will join the PAUWES family as the incoming Class of 2019.
List of Graduates
Yunus ALOKORE Uganda Samuel Olatunde BABALOLA Nigeria Gemma ITUZE Rwanda Irene NANTONGO Uganda Gnamien Constant KOUAKOU Cote d’Ivoire Mahmoud Sayed HEFNEY DIAB Egypt Rolex MUCEKA Uganda Mohamed Lamine BACHIR Mali Erasmus MUH Cameroon Solomon Gebremariam Fissaha Ethiopia Colette ABIMANA Rwanda Hillary KIPRONO Kenya Tonny KUKEERA Uganda Wilson Ofori SARKODIE Ghana Ogechi Vivian NWADIARU Nigeria Salif SOW Senegal Amal Nasser Fahiem ABD ELAZIZ Egypt Amon Kevin Kirathe GACHURI Kenya Andrew MUGUMYA Uganda Jean d’Amour MWONGEREZA Rwanda Cleus BAMUTURA Uganda Michel RWEMA Rwanda Eric Otieno AKUMU Kenya Rehema Maria KHIMULU Kenya Martin LYAMBAI Zambia Brian Omondi ODUOR Kenya Anthere BIZIMANA Rwanda Endalkachew Yeshewas Muche Ethiopia George KIMBOWA Uganda Johnstone Isiah MAINYA Kenya Gninwokan Eden Josias KONE Côte d’Ivoire Jean Marie Pascal KWISANGA Rwanda Mthokozisi MOYO Zimbabwe John Ng’ang’a GATHAGU Kenya Naima HAMDAOUI Algeria Ousmanou NJOYA Cameroon Jemal MOHAMMED HASSEN Ethiopia Mulugeta Ferede MELESE Ethiopia Workinesh Takele TESSEMA Ethiopia Josiane ABONIYO Rwanda Kouadio Pierre Stephane BOFFOUE Côte d’Ivoire Cuthbert TAGUTA Zimbabwe Diana UMULISA Rwanda Eva Muthoni Kimonye Kenya Herman KWOBA Kenya Mukaya MUHAMMUDU Uganda Yassien Kassie Mohammed Ethiopia

PAU (https://PAU-au.net) addresses five thematic areas: Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation; Life and Earth Sciences (including Health and Agriculture), Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences; Water and Energy Sciences including Climate Change (PAUWES); and Space Sciences. The thematic areas are assigned to five flagship institutes hosted by existing universities of excellence across Africa’s five geographic regions. For more information: https://PAU-au.net

As an integral part of the Pan African University,  the Institute for Water and Energy Sciences (including Climate Change) (PAUWES) (http://PAUWES.univ-tlemcen.dz) in Tlemcen, Algeria, contributes to advancing higher education and applied research in the fields of water, energy and climate change – a key contribution to sustainable development in Africa. PAUWES, which is supported by the German government, currently offers four master programmes in the fields of water and energy, covering both engineering and policy

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Investing in Africa Forum: Africa Leapfrogging Through Innovation
September 29, 2017 | 0 Comments
DAKAR, September 27, 2017-The third Investing in Africa Forum (IAF) saw the launch of a thought-provoking report on propelling the economy, called

Leapfrogging Through Innovation. Prepared by the World Bank and China Development Bank, the report discusses opportunities to scale-up innovation in various economic sectors in Africa. The annual Forum took place in Dakar this year, where it was hosted by the Government of Senegal, Chinese Ministry of Finance, China Development Bank, and the World Bank Group.

“We couldn’t have found a better topic for a continent aspiring for emergence. On the path to emergence, we must give ourselves the means to positively and sustainably transform our production system. This will inevitably require innovation, and a new mindset that translates into a real willingness to break with established ideas, practices, and habits. It can no longer be ‘business as usual’, as our Anglophone friends say,” said Macky Sall, President of Senegal.

 The IAF is an annual platform for aimed at increasing China’s investments in Africa, and other multilateral cooperation. This year it focused on a new generation of investment opportunities driven by innovation and the adoption of technologies critical for unlocking Africa’s potential for accelerated, inclusive economic growth.

“The Investing in Africa Forum is an important multilateral platform to strengthen cooperation and spark innovation across the African continent,” said Shaolin Yang, Managing Director and Chief Administrative Officer of the World Bank Group“African leaders recognize the power of embracing new and disruptive technologies. We look forward to working on ways that move words to action by further leveraging finance, global knowledge, and partnerships through supporting dialogues among governments, investors, and civil society. Through the Forum we are igniting change for long-term sustainable impact across the developing world.”

 Several Memorandums of Understanding were signed at the Forum, covering projects in energy, agriculture, and education.

“We have committed to mutually beneficial, win-win cooperation to promote the sharing of development experience, investments and trade,” said Yaobin Shi, Vice Minister of Finance of the People’s Republic of China. “I hope that, through this Forum, China and African countries will coordinate development strategies and find new opportunities for cooperation. We must learn from each other, explore new development paths, integrate our competitive advantages and resources, and develop new financing models to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.”

 The Forum also saw the debut of the Investing in Africa Think Tank Alliance, a global platform for knowledge sharing and partnerships in Africa, China, and elsewhere.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is already working with investments from China to finance development projects through the Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program. This program has financed to date 57 projects across 27 countries, and has notably invested $465 million in Sub-Saharan African countries (Ghana, Kenya, Guinea, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Gabon, Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo).

“The digital economy has high potential to unleash economic growth, jobs, and social inclusion,” said Nena Stoiljkovic, IFC Vice President for Blended Finance and Partnerships“The digitization of economies requires the right regulatory framework, significant private sector investment in broadband infrastructure, and financing and advisory solutions to unlock investments perceived as higher risk.”

 More than 400 participants attended the Forum, which was also well-attended by Chinese and African companies seeking to expand partnerships for new investments.

Established in 2015 through a China Development Bank initiative, the first two Forums were held in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and in Guangzhou (China). During these Forums, participants advocated stronger partnerships to address the acceleration of manufacturing and industrialization, expanding agriculture and agribusiness, and improving infrastructure, regional connectivity and logistics for trade.

 

The next Investing in Africa Forum (IAF 2018) will be held in Hunan, China.

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Top U.S. Development Agency Chief to Deliver Remarks on Engaging the Private Sector in Africa’s Development
September 29, 2017 | 0 Comments
  • USAID Administrator Mark Green will be a speaker for the Fireside Chat.  A Congressional Roundtable will focus on shaping U.S.-Africa trade and economic policy. 

  • African Development Bank and African Export-Import Bank (Afeximbank) will serve as Collaborating Partners for the IGD Fall Forum.

  • Forum to host the Africa investor (Ai) Development Finance-Institutional Investor Roundtable.

Mark Green, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, will deliver remarks at the Initiative for Global Development’s Fall Frontier 100 Forum

Mark Green, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, will deliver remarks at the Initiative for Global Development’s Fall Frontier 100 Forum

WASHINGTON D.C. – September 28, 2017 – Mark Green, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, will deliver remarks at the Initiative for Global Development’s Fall Frontier 100 Forum, to be held on Oct. 11 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

Administrator Green is the former President and CEO of the Initiative for Global Development (IGD).

African and global business leaders will gather on Oct. 11-12 for the invitation-only biannual gathering to drive action and scalable solutions on spurring investment opportunities to grow African companies and forge stronger business relationships between investors and African private sector leaders.

Administrator Green will speak in a Fireside Chat on how USAID can deepen its engagement with the private sector on the African continent and bolster investment opportunities for sustainable development and inclusive growth.

The Fireside Chat will be followed by a congressional roundtable on shaping U.S.-Africa trade and economic policy to improve Africa’s investment environment.

Sworn in as the Administrator in August 2017, he previously served as president of the International Republican Institute and was the senior director at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. From 2007 to 2009, Green was the U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania and had served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Wisconsin’s 8th District.

“We’re thrilled to welcome back Administrator Green to IGD’s Frontier Leader Network, where he will find old as well as new friends,” said Mima S. Nedelcovych, IGD President & CEO.

“Mark is serving as USAID Administrator during a time of tremendous growth and economic potential in Africa and as the former IGD President he knows firsthand about the dynamisms of African companies and the continent’s thriving markets. We’ll hear more about how Africa’s private sector can play a greater role in fueling sustainable development,” said Nedelcovych.

The opening day will conclude with an evening reception, sponsored by the African Development Bank, and will highlight a congressional delegation visit to West Africa.

The Fall Forum will also roll out a grassroots campaign on increasing U.S. investment in Africa, which is part of IGD’s Africa Investment Rising campaign, a dynamic multimedia effort aimed at changing the narrative on doing business in Africa.

Registration is open for the forum, which will be held at the Ronald Reagan Building and Trade Center on Oct. 11 and Covington law offices on Oct. 12 in Washington.

Forum sponsors include the African Development BankAfrican Export-Import BankAfrica investor as Collaborating Partners; Covington as Platinum Sponsor; Ex-Im Global Partners as Gold Sponsor; and Clin d’Oeil Magazine as Silver Sponsor.

Media partners are Africa InvestorAfrica.comAfrica Trade magazineAfrican Business CentralAfropop WorldwideAllAfrica.comAsoko InsightFace2Face AfricaPan-African Visions, and VoxAfrica.

MEDIA CONTACT: Shanta Bryant Gyan, Initiative for Global Development * email, sbryant@igdleaders.org  * phone, 202-412-4603

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Paolo Carli Appointed as the Head of MEA at Merck
September 27, 2017 | 0 Comments
Paolo Carli has decades of business and pharmaceutical experience demonstrating a proven track record of continuous success under his leadership
Paolo Carli, Head of Middle East, Africa and Turkey region, Merck

Paolo Carli, Head of Middle East, Africa and Turkey region, Merck

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, September 25, 2017/ — Merck (www.MerckGroup.com), one of the leading science and technology companies announced the appointment of Paolo Carli as Head of Middle East, Africa & Turkey (MEA) region for its healthcare business. In his new role, Paolo will be responsible for leading the commercial operations for Merck across MEA.

Commenting on his appointment Paolo Carli said “Merck prepares to celebrate its 350th year in the pharmaceutical business in 2018. Being a strategic region for Merck, we are committed to excel innovation and create value for patients across this region. I am delighted to lead the MEA team. Our innovative treatment options and sustainable commitment for patients will move us to the next level.”

Paolo Carli has decades of business and pharmaceutical experience demonstrating a proven track record of continuous success under his leadership. His expertise and industry knowledge will be critical in MEA as Merck builds on strategic innovation to elevate the healthcare standards, improve patient programs and prepares launches of new products.

Paolo Carli joined Merck in 2008, as the member of the Mergers & Acquisitions team in Darmstadt, Germany. In that role, he actively participated in the execution of key transactions for the Merck Group. He successfully led Middle East and Egypt in the last 5 years and now expands his responsibilities to Turkey and Africa.

Prior to joining Merck, Carli worked with Deutsche Bank, both in Italy and in Germany, where he successfully contributed to the regional expansion of the retail franchise in Europe and in several emerging markets such as India, China, Turkey, and Vietnam.

Paolo Carli holds a degree in Economics from the University of Turin and an Executive MBA from Ashridge Business School in the UK. Paolo is settled in Dubai, UAE with his wife and two children.

Merck (www.MerckGroup.com) is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2016, Merck generated sales of € 15.0 billion in 66 countries.

Founded in 1668, Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany holds the global rights to the “Merck” name and brand except in the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.

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When we partner together, we move Kenya forward-Sthe Shabangu,Samsung Africa
September 27, 2017 | 0 Comments

While Kenya is well-positioned to become one of the continent’s most prominent success stories, greater commitment from the private sector is needed to help address challenges like education, unemployment and global warming, says Sthe Shabangu, Lead: Public Relations, Public Affairs and Corporate Citizenship, Samsung Africa Office.

NAIROBI, Kenya, 25 September 2017, /- As political uncertainty continues to hang like a cloud over Kenya, concerns about the impact on the economy are surfacing. Indeed, the extended election period is slowing the growth of the country. And while the government had projected the economy would expand by 5.9% this year, already first quarter growth was just 4.7%.

Amid these concerns it’s more important than ever for the private sector to up its game in partnering with government to drive progress and strengthen confidence in the country. From education to sustainability and employment, private companies are key to driving positive change in the country.

When we partner together significant strides can – and in fact already have – been made.

Using tech to transform education

The education space is a good example of an area in which the sub-Saharan region as a whole has made significant strides. According to Caerus Capital’s report, Business of education in Africa, sub-Saharan Africa has the best record of improvement of any region since the Millennium Development Goals were established in 2000.
Though we are coming off of a low base, the statistics contained in the report are indeed promising. Total enrolment of primary school-age children rose from 91 million in 2000 to 158 million in 2014. Similarly, in secondary education, the number of pupils enrolled jumped from 24 million in 2000 to 56 million in 2014.

Samsung has committed itself to forming part of this success story by enhancing learning in schools through the use of technology. In order to do this it had to take into consideration some of the unique challenges facing education in Kenya such as lack of electricity, learning materials and access to basic technology.

With this in mind, Samsung donated a Solar-Powered Internet School (SPIS) to Arap Moi Primary School in Kajiado County in 2014. The goal of the initiative was to strengthen the efforts of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in integrating ICT in primary schools and ultimately boosting education in more rural areas.

As its name suggests, the primary advantage of the SPIS, is its ability to power technology in the classroom using energy generated by the sun. Equipped with laptops, a printer, electronic board, and most importantly, internet access, it’s a powerhouse designed to create interactive learning experiences for both educators and learners.

Since its launch, the SPIS has benefited, not only Arap Moi, but also nine other schools in the region, including the Kiserian Nakel, Naro Moru, Nkoroi, Ole Kasasi, Oloosurutia, Olteyian and Rongai Primary Schools.

Enhancing learning, improving performance

Fast forward a year and Samsung extended its involvement in the education space, partnering with Starehe Boy’s Centre to launch its innovative Smart School Solution in a more urban classroom environment. In essence, the solution consists of a management tool which delivers content to students and allows for the sharing of screens inside the classroom, while at the same time enabling teachers to track student progress and conduct group activities in real time. It also features a learning management system which provides access to e-books and learning apps.

About more than just exposure to technology, the Smart School plays a role in increasing learner engagement, enhancing learning retention and encouraging a more stimulating academic environment. At the end of the day it helps learners to perform better both inside and outside of the classroom.

Combating global warming

Beyond education, Samsung has also set its sights on helping to reduce the harmful effects of global warming.

According to the Ministry Of Environment and Natural Resources, coverage in Kenya is currently sitting at 7%. The goal, however, is for this to increase to at least 10% by 2020.

To help work towards this goal, Samsung recently partnered with Friends of Karura Forest and Kenya Forest Service to help grow forest coverage in Karura Forest specifically, and Kenya in general.

As part of this commitment, 5 000 trees are being planted in the forest this year and 5 000 in 2018. 200 benches and picnic tables have also been donated towards the sustainability of the initiative.

Reducing unemployment

Perhaps most exciting is that the benefits of a project like Karura Forest will extend beyond the reduction of the effects of climate change. It also has a positive impact on the surrounding communities, in particular the Huruma and Deep Sea informal settlements that border the forest to the north and south, from which residents have been employed to plant the 10 000 trees donated by Samsung.

With all of the incredible progress that has been made, Kenya is poised to become a shining star on the African stage – but now more than ever private companies and government alike need to ensure we are partnering together to keep driving the country forward.

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. inspires the world and shapes the future with transformative ideas and technologies. The company is redefining the worlds of TVs, smartphones, wearable devices, tablets, cameras, digital appliances, medical equipment, network systems, and semiconductor and LED solutions. For the latest news, please visit Samsung Newsroom at http://news.samsung.com
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Solarplaza and GOGLA Build the Leading Conference Brand for Solar Energy in Sub-Saharan Africa
September 25, 2017 | 0 Comments
The 2nd edition of Unlocking Solar Capital Africa will take place in Abidjan come October
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, September 25, 2017/ — Solarplaza (www.Solarplaza.com) and GOGLA (www.GOGLA.org) are proud to announce the second edition of Unlocking Solar Capital (USC) Africa (Africa.UnLockingSolarCapital.com). After hosting last year’s inaugural edition in Nairobi, Kenya, we’ll be organizing its follow-up in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

The high-level 2-day conference centered around unlocking capital for new solar project development in Africa provides an original and exclusive international platform and will take place on the 25-26th of October, 2017. In preparation for the event, Solarplaza analyst Marco Dorothal speaks with 3 of the event’s main driving forces – Lydia van Os and Adriaan van Loon of Solarplaza and Eveline Jansen of GOGLA discussing the challenges and opportunities for African solar development in the region.

The story of ‘Unlocking Solar Capital’ did not start in Abidjan. Why did you choose to hold the first edition in Nairobi and what were the main lessons learnt?

Eveline: “The unique design of the USC Africa conference characterizes how partnerships and collaboration can strengthen the solar sector: The Nairobi edition was the first investor conference to bring the off-grid industry together with on-grid and mini-grid segments of the solar sector. While the needs and demands of the three sectors are diverse, it is vital to maintain open channels of communication in order to effectively advocate for beneficial policy environments and work together towards the shared goal of increased electricity access. The success of this first edition was a testimony of catering to a new demand for a more holistic approach – and clear indication that there is a need to keep that momentum going.”

Adriaan: “Nairobi was chosen to host the first edition of Unlocking Solar Capital because it is the business capital of East Africa. As Eveline mentioned, a truly unique factor was the unique involved mix of on and off-grid players. The fact that a lot of industry players are already established in Nairobi enabled us to grow the conference bigger than we ever imagined. However, as a conference that aims to cover the whole continent, we learned that the best way to have both a strong international and continental presence is to move to other regions as well to be able to reach a larger and more diverse audience and address different markets.”

Lydia: “Currently, we see an extremely promising growth of the solar industry on the African continent. To increase our impact we want to be close to the developments and aim to take our international network to the local sources where opportunities arise. We have a holistic vision regarding the joint potential of on and off-grid energy, as we think both are crucial to work towards fully electrifying African countries. To accomplish this vision we have chosen to organize the conference in Africa, for Africa.”

Now, moving on to Abidjan, what are the differences between the locations and how are you buildingon the success of the previous edition?

Eveline: “Moving the second edition to West Africa is not only essential for a truly holistic approach to the Sub-Saharan Africa market, but also a recognition of the rapidly developing solar market in the region.”

Lydia: “This year the event is going to take place in Abidjan as we want to expand upon the success of last year, while at the same time involving more of the francophone community and investors. Hosting the event in different markets allows us to not only bring the conference platform and our relations to exciting new regions, but also allows us to leverage the knowledge and experience of our previous editions by sharing them with regional partners and attendees.”

 

How did you reflect new regional developments in your program?

Lydia: “Our program focuses on opportunities for both established as well as upcoming market players. With the Solar Incubator, which is co-organized with Phanes Group PV, smaller players in the African solar market are challenged to pitch their projects with the chance of winning mentorship and co-development facilities. At the same time, we will host sessions that focus on utility-scale projects. For instance, we have a panel in which we’ll discuss the bankability of solar projects, which is a recurring challenge, featuring leading regional experts from Standard Bank, Scatec Solar, the EU commission and Africa50.”

Adriaan: “Compared to our previous event, we did see a need for more collaborations between development financial institutions (DFIs) and the private sector in order to spearhead the growth of the solar sector in the more challenging countries. Furthermore, the advancements in mini-grid technology will be represented in our ‘Generations’ track, focusing on bigger mini-grid projects, as well as in our ‘Connections’ track, which focuses purely on micro-grid developments.”

How do you see the future unfolding for the African region; what are the most important things that need to be achieved in order to succeed and how will you hope that USC Africa can contribute to this?

Eveline: “There is a clear need for greater communication and understanding between the different stakeholders in the solar sector, as well as recognizing the patterns and shared challenges in the hugely diverse individual markets. Unlocking Solar Capital Africa accelerates this process by providing opportunities for focused interaction between these stakeholders.”

Adriaan: “We aim to contribute by providing people with a platform to share best practices and meet the stakeholders that you need to further your business. With the conference platform, we seek to solve Africa’s solar energy funding gap by connecting financiers and developers, and having key market players share their practical experiences. Furthermore, the floor will be given to innovative startups to pitch their business models and secure financing.”

Lydia: “There is a lot of dedication among solar industry players to bring electricity to the 600 million Africans that currently do not have access to modern energy solutions. This dedication is easy to understand from both a market perspective, which is obviously very large, as from the conviction that everyone should have access to electricity and that we shouldn’t burden the environment through the use of fossil fuels, while great alternatives are readily available at a competitive price point. We want Unlocking Solar Capital Africa to be the driving platform for Africa’s solar revolution moving forward.”

Learn more about the challenges and solutions to financing of solar projects in Africa at Unlocking Solar Capital Africa, the African region’s largest and foremost conference on unlocking capital for new solar development. The 2-day conference will be held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on the 25-26th of October, 2017 and will be aimed at bringing together hundreds of solar stakeholder, such representative from solar developers, development banks, investment funds, EPCs, IPPs and others. For more information on Unlocking Solar Capital Africa, please visit Africa.UnLockingSolarCapital.com.

  Unlocking Solar Capital Africa (www.Africa.UnLockingSolarCapital.com) is an event entirely focused on connecting solar project development and finance & investment across the entire African solar sector (On-grid Solar, micro-grids, off-grid lighting and household electrification). Unlocking Solar Capital Africa 2017 will bring together hundreds of representatives from development banks, investment funds, solar developers, IPPs, EPCs & other solar stakeholders to engage in extensive discussions to solve Africa’s solar energy funding gap – and get projects realized. As a professional solar event organizer, Solarplaza has hosted over 90 events in 30 countries around the world, ranging from exploratory trade missions in emerging markets to large-scale conferences with 450+ participants. Unlocking Solar Capital Africa 2017 is Solarplaza’s 8th conference on the African continent, and directly builds on our previous Unlocking Solar Capital Africa (Nairobi, Kenya), Unlocking Solar Capital Latam (Miami, USA), Unlocking Solar Capital Asia (Singapore) and Making Solar Bankable (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) conferences. For more information regarding the program, attendees, and registrations, visit www.Africa.UnLockingSolarCapital.com.

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African Small-Scale Farmers Carve a Giant Message for World Leaders in the Very Soil They Farm
September 25, 2017 | 0 Comments

Rome / New York (PRWEB) September 22, 2017

African farmers from a remote village in northern Zambia have teamed up with the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to send a giant message to world leaders gathering in New York this week – invest more in agriculture if you want to end poverty and hunger by 2030.

And to get their message the attention it deserves, the 16 farmers from Kasama, Zambia carved their case for investment into the very soil they farm, producing a giant “Field Report” with a pie chart, graphs and numbers that explain why long-term, transformative investments in smallholder agriculture are so important.

“The Field Report makes the case for investment in agricultural development in the very land that needs it the most,” said Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD. “We were inspired by the sheer power and potential agriculture holds to reduce poverty and hunger, contribute to vibrant, self-sustaining communities and dramatically increase the food needed to feeding a growing population.”

The message from the farmers of Kasama comes at a critical time. According to an IFAD-supported joint UN report launched last week, global hunger is on the rise again, affecting 815 million people in 2016, or 11 per cent of the world’s population.

At the same time, multiple forms of malnutrition are threatening the health of millions worldwide. Of the world’s hungriest people, 243 million reside in Africa. Throughout the region, food insecurity has been exacerbated by violent conflicts and climate-related shocks. In Kasama, farmers have had to deal with erratic rainfall and depleted soils as a consequence of a changing climate.

“When the drought hit, my crops did not have enough water. I had low yields and a shortage of food. I could not feed my children,” said Augustine Chilumba, 60, a bean and maize farmer who contributed to the project. “Farmers in Africa need more support. We need ploughs, fertilizers and good quality seeds.”

The “Field Report” is part of a wider global public awareness campaign launched by IFAD today aimed at raising awareness about the importance of long-term agricultural development to reduce poverty, build local economies, slow migration and feed the world’s growing population.

The contents of the “Field Report” are best seen in aerial footage produced by IFAD. In one shot, a large pie chart carved into the soil reveals that Africa has 25% of the world’s arable land but only produces 10% of its agricultural output. The continent spends US$35 billion on food imports a year, but if this money was invested in developing smallholder farming and rural infrastructure, Africa could feed itself.

Further along, a bar chart filled with local foliage illustrates the growth of urban populations. Year after year, people are leaving rural areas in Africa. Many are young people hoping for jobs in cities and abroad. By 2030, half of all Africans will live in cities. Investing in rural development can create opportunities for the 12 to 18 million young Africans who enter the job market every year.

A line graph at the base of the field shows the steady upward growth of the world’s population, expected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050. With more than 2 billion more mouths to feed by mid-century, agricultural production will have to double.

Small-scale farmers are the world’s largest group of local food producers. Investments in sustainable and climate-friendly farming methods will support them as they play a fundamental role in feeding their communities.

Finally, the footage reveals a giant “11” that makes the point that in sub-Saharan Africa, growth from agriculture can be 11 times more effective at reducing extreme poverty than growth in any other sector. Greater investments in agriculture is critical to lifting millions of people out of poverty and feeding the 815 million people who are undernourished today.

IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided about US$18.5 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached some 464 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub. For more information visit http://www.ifad.org

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An emotional tribute in memory of former AfDB President Babacar Ndiaye
September 24, 2017 | 0 Comments
Babacar Ndiaye, the Bank Group’s fifth elected President, who served two terms between 1985 and 1995, passed away on July 13, 2017 in Senegal
President Adesina and Babacar Ndiaye's family

President Adesina and Babacar Ndiaye’s family

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, September 23, 2017/ — “Goodbye, Papa, farewell to the ambassador for Africa’s development, rest in peace.” In an intensely emotional tribute, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org), Adesina Akinwumi, opened a ceremony honouring Babacar Ndiaye at the organisation’s headquarters in Abidjan.

Adesina announced that the AfDB headquarters auditorium will from now on be named Babacar Ndiaye Auditorium.

Babacar Ndiaye, the Bank Group’s fifth elected President, who served two terms between 1985 and 1995, passed away on July 13, 2017 in Senegal.

With Ndiaye’s widow and several children in attendance, as well as former AfDB President Kantinka Dr Kwame D. Fordwor, members of the Senegalese and Ivorian Governments, representatives of the diplomatic corps, and active and retired AfDB staff members. Adesina fondly recalled Babacar Ndiaye’s complete and passionate commitment to the development of Africa.

“He was an AfDB icon, he was a father and mentor to every one of us, and emphatically launched the career of the Bank Group’s current President. He inspired us. In losing him, Africa has lost one of its best sons.”

President Adesina underlined the personal ties between him and his predecessor, recalling that he knew Ndiaye when he worked for the West Africa Rice Development Association (WADRA), which was then based in Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire.

“Babacar Ndiaye was charismatic, and left an indelible mark on our continent. His legacy is vast, because he always saw the big picture. He was quite simply magnificent,” Adesina stated.

He added, “During the campaign for the AfDB presidency, I naturally went to see him in Dakar. He welcomed me warmly. I took the opportunity to tell him about my vision for the High 5s . He agreed right away, and told me, ‘That’s what Africa needs to transform itself.'”

Arriving at the institution in 1965 as part of the first group of African managers, Ndiaye climbed the organisational ladder to become Division Chief, Director, Vice-President for Finance, and then President in 1985. Babacar Ndiaye was the first AfDB President to be re-elected to a second term of office.

Under his leadership, the pan-African financial institution obtained its first Triple-A rating in 1984.

The former President was the force behind the increase in the Bank’s capital in 1987, which jumped from approximately US $6 billion to $23 billion, a 200% increase, after approving the process of opening the Bank’s capital to non-African countries. He was also responsible for bringing the Bank into the international financial market.

“Babacar Ndiaye accomplished tremendous things for the AfDB and for Africa. He always advocated for excellence. He made the AfDB a credible and respected institution internationally,” stated Donald Kaberuka, former AfDB President (2005-2015), in a message read on his behalf by Victor Oladokun, AfDB Director for Communication and External Relations.

Builder of institutions

Beyond his complete commitment to the Bank’s success and providing it with a solid foundation, Babacar Ndiaye helped establish major pan-African institutions, such as the African Import-Export Bank, Afreximbank; Shelter Afrique; and the African Business Roundtable. Representatives of these organizations were specially sent from Cairo, Lagos and Nairobi to attend the tribute ceremony on Thursday.

“Without Babacar Ndiaye, African industry leaders such as Aliko Dangote or Michael Ibru would undoubtedly not be where they are today. Babacar Ndiaye invested his faith and perseverance in Africa’s business community. We will be eternally grateful to him,” said Bamanga Tukur, President of the African Business Roundtable.

Christopher Edordu, founding President of Afreximbank, highlighted Ndiaye’s visionary approach, which allowed him to look beyond the era’s Afro-pessimism and embrace opportunities to finance African businesses.

“It took more than six years to establish Afreximbank. When others abandoned it, Babacar Ndiaye persevered and had patience. He firmly believed in the future of African trade at a time when that belief was not widely shared. Seeing what we have become today, we have to recognize the fact that he was a true visionary,” Edordu explained.

It was not the only time that the AfDB’s fifth elected President was proven right when confronted with naysayers. At a time when housing was not yet central to urban development in Africa, he encouraged the creation of Shelter Afrique, an organisation dedicated to financing affordable housing on the continent.

Tribute to Babacar N'DIAYE, 21 September 2017

Tribute to Babacar N’DIAYE, 21 September 2017

According to Edmond Adikpe, Shelter Afrique’s regional representative, “Babacar Ndiaye knew how to anticipate. He understood early on that Africa must address the problem of housing. At Shelter Afrique, we are eternally thankful to him for everything he did during our creation and evolution.”

The room was filled with emotion as one speaker followed another, with the audience warmly applauding their words of praise for Babacar Ndiaye, who remains the only President in AfDB history to have risen through the ranks of the organisation.

“He was installed as President in 1985 at the Abidjan Congress Centre in the presence of then Ivorian President Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who held the African Development Bank in high esteem,” recalled Paul Morisho Yuma, former AfDB Secretary General, drawing a standing ovation from the audience.

“Senegal is proud of you”

Although he devoted his life to Africa, Babacar Ndiaye never forgot Senegal, his country of origin. According to the Senegalese Budget Minister, Birima Mangara, AfDB Governor for Senegal, who flew in from Dakar to attend this ceremony, Ndiaye contributed significantly to the development of bilateral cooperation between his country and the Bank. “Between 1972 and now, the AfDB has invested close to 1,400 billion CFA francs in Senegal. We owe that to all of you here, but in particular to Babacar Ndiaye.

“Senegal is proud of you as a son. Babacar Ndiaye is not gone; he is still present in the depths of Africa. We hear his breath in an Africa on the move,” added the Senegalese Budget Minister, paraphrasing the poet Birago Diop.

 

In attendance, Ndiaye’s widow, Marlyne Ndiaye, nodded her head in agreement, with tears in her eyes. Arriving in Abidjan in 1965, Babacar Ndiaye developed a special relationship with Côte d’Ivoire, home of the Bank’s headquarters. No fewer than three Ivoirian Ministers were present in the AfDB auditorium this week.

“He was a friend of Côte d’Ivoire. We all miss Babacar Ndiaye. President Alassane Ouattara misses him, having known him well and greatly appreciated him. He was a roving ambassador for African development,” agreed François Albert Amichia, Minister of Sports and Leisure, who led the Ivorian Government delegation.

His memory lives on

Alassane Ndiaye, son of the deceased, spoke on behalf of his family. He first thanked the Bank for taking the initiative to hold the ceremony to honour and pay tribute to his father. “The entire family is proud of and thankful for this ceremony. What you have done today touches us deeply and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” said the Ndiaye family’s spokesman, in a voice filled with emotion.

He urged those present to pursue the trail blazed by his father.

“He wanted the best for Africa. He believed in and loved the idea of a better Africa. Let’s continue to work for a better future for our continent. That would be the best and most unique way to perpetuate his hopes and his memory,” continued Alassane Ndiaye.

“Replacing darkness with light, well-nourished and healthy children, free flow of goods, people and ideas throughout the continent, and restoring hope to the hopeless – these were the ideals to which President Babacar Ndiaye dedicated his life. The work to realize these dreams continues in the High 5s,” declared AfDB Senior Vice-President Charles Boamah at the ceremony’s conclusion.

Last July, a high-level delegation from the Bank, led by Charles Boamah, along with Vice-Presidents Alberic Kacou and Amadou Hott, Acting Vice-President, Finance, Hassatou N’Sele, and Director of Special Projects Sipho Moyo, attended Babacar Ndiaye’s funeral in Dakar.

During a recent visit to the Senegalese capital, President Adesina visited his predecessor’s home to express his sympathy and support his widow and children.

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 37 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.

*courtesy of AFDB

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4th agrofood & plastprintpack West Africa on 05 to 07 December 2017 in Accra
September 22, 2017 | 0 Comments

Strong upward trend: Exhibitors from 19 countries participate in addition to five official country pavilions  

 (Heidelberg / Accra) The German trade fair specialists fairtrade realise a strong upward trend for the 4th edition of agrofood & plastprintpack West Africa. Exhibitors from 19 countries have confirmed and official country pavilions from Algeria, France, the Netherlands, Poland and Sri Lanka are underway. The event takes place on 05-07 December 2017 at the Accra International Conference Centre.

Organized by the German trade fair specialists fairtrade the 4th edition of agrofood & plastprintpack West Africa 2017 will open its gates on 05 to 07 December 2017 at the Accra International Conference Centre in Ghana. The organisers realise a strong upward trend as exhibitors from 19 countries have already registered, namely from Algeria, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Iran, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom.

In addition to these individual exhibitors, official pavilions are underway from:

Algeria, supported by Safex, the Algerian Fairs and Exports Company

–   France, organized by adepta, the French agrofood association

–   Netherlands, organized in cooperation with GhanaVeg

–   Poland, supported by the Marshal Office of the Wielkopolska Region

–   Sri Lanka, put together by the Sri Lanka Tea Board

Market update Ghana: Imports rise sharply

According to VDMA German Food Processing and Packaging Association, Ghanaian imports of process and packaging technology increased by 10% in 2016 to 77 million euro whereas West African imports of the same also went up by 10% to 557 million euro.

Also Ghanaian imports in the plastics, printing and packaging sectors rose sharply last year:

  • Plastics technology up 4% to 23.4 million euro
  • Printing and paper technology up 32% to 22.4 million euro
  • Packaging technology up 2% to 30.1 million euro Institutional support  
  • agrofood & plastprintpack West Africa 2017 is supported by the Ghanaian Ministry of Food and Agriculture and of Trade and Industry, the Delegation of the German Industry and Commerce in Ghana AHK and the French agrofood association adepta.
  •  
  • fairtrade was founded by Martin März in 1991. Since long, fairtrade ranks among the leading organisers of professional international trade fairs in emerging markets, especially in North and Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Managed by its shareholder and committed to the values of a family business and the team spirit, fairtrade maintains a powerful network of partnerships throughout the world. fairtrade organizes shows in the sectors Agrofood, Building, CIT Solutions, Energy, Environment, Industry and PlastPrintPack and strives for a high level of customer satisfaction. By means of innovative products and excellent service fairtrade organizes professional platforms for valuable business contacts between exhibitors and visitors. A member of UFI The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry
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Senegalese President Sall Hails Africa50’s Cooperation with Senelec to Develop the Malicounda Power Plant
September 22, 2017 | 0 Comments

CASABLANCA, Morocco, September 21 , -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- At its second annual Shareholders Meeting in Dakar on September 12, Africa50, the infrastructure fund for Africa, signed a development agreement with Senelec, Senegal’s electricity provider, for competitive selection of a strategic sponsor to develop a 120 MW combined cycle thermal power plant at Malicounda. Together, the consortium will secure financing and supervise construction and operation of the plant.

The plant, situated in Mbour department 85 km from Dakar, will initially run on fuel oil, but can be converted to natural gas when this becomes available from recently discovered gas fields. Private sector participation follows the Build, Own, Operate and Transfer model (BOOT). The plant will produce at least 956 GWh a year. The Power Purchase Agreement has a duration of 20 years, with a competitive feed-in tariff rate arrived at through a public tender. The electricity generated will be fed into the network through an existing distribution substation.

The project fits in with Senegal’s strategy to increase energy production while, in the medium term, reducing the cost of electricity for consumers. Moreover, this thermal plant will help satisfy base loads, facilitating the integration of intermittent renewable power into the country’s network.

In his opening address to Africa50 shareholders earlier in the day, Senegalese President Macky Sall cited the project as a symbol of the understanding between Senegal and Africa50. Stating that “Africa is open for business,” he emphasized that “Africa is now a growth region where one can invest securely and with a good return.”

The agreement was signed by Africa50 CEO Alain Ebobissé and Senelec Chairman Mouhamadou Makhtar Cissé. Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, African Development Bank President and Africa50 Chairman, who opened the signing ceremony, cited the very valuable cooperation between the AfDB and Africa50 to meet the continent’s growing energy needs.

Africa50 CEO Alain Ebobisse underlined that the strong support from the Senegalese government, including a solid Power Purchase Agreement, helps assure a reasonable return for investors, making this project viable. “We are grateful for the leadership of President Sall who supported this innovative approach of joint development between Senelec and Afica50. This is a model of cooperation between the public and private sectors which, we are convinced, will permit the efficient development of priority projects everywhere in Africa.”

Africa50 is an infrastructure investment platform that contributes to the continent’s growth by developing and investing in bankable projects, catalyzing public sector capital, and mobilizing private sector funding, with differentiated financial returns and impact.

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Senegal and France to host Global Partnership for Education Financing Conference
September 22, 2017 | 0 Comments
The announcement of the co-hosting was made by Presidents Macky Sall of Senegal and Emmanuel Macron of France at a high-level event on education financing held at the United Nations
Presidents Macky Sall of Senegal and Emmanuel Macron of France

Presidents Macky Sall of Senegal and Emmanuel Macron of France

NEW YORK, United States of America, September 20, 2017/ — The Global Partnership for Education (GPE)  is delighted that the governments of Senegal and France  will co-host its financing conference, which will take place on February 8, 2018 in Dakar, Senegal.

The announcement  of the co-hosting was made by Presidents Macky Sall of Senegal and Emmanuel Macron of France at a high-level event on education financing  held at the United Nations, which was attended by Secretary General António Guterres, several heads of state and leaders on global education.

“The Global Partnership for Education has made substantial investments in education helping to get 72 million more children into primary school since 2002, including in Senegal,” President Macky Sall said. “We are honored to host the next GPE Financing Conference in Dakar and look forward to continuing our close partnership with GPE.”  

This is the first time a donor and developing country co-host a GPE financing conference, symbolizing the spirit of true partnership, which is the essence of GPE.

President Macron of France stressed that one of his top priorities is to invest in education. “I call on the international community to join us in February 2018 in Dakar for the Global Partnership for Education Financing Conference, which France will co-host with Senegal,” Macron said.

“The financing conference of the Global Partnership for Education is an opportunity for a much needed step change, allowing donors and developing countries to show their financial commitment to education,” said Julia Gillard, GPE Board Chair“Senegal and France jointly hosting the GPE financing conference demonstrates the determination of both governments to help GPE expand its support for strong and sustainable education systems in developing countries.”

The event in Dakar will bring together donor and developing country governments, the private sector, philanthropic foundations, civil society and international organizations to announce commitments to support education in developing countries.

“This is an exciting and pivotal moment for GPE and for global education,” said Alice Albright, GPE Chief Executive Officer“This financing conference will put GPE on track to become a US$2 billion-a-year operation by 2020 . At that level, GPE can have a far greater impact on providing better quality education  to the world’s children.”

 

GPE’s financing conference seeks to raise US$3.1 billion for 2018 through 2020 to support the education of 870 million children in 89 developing countries that are home to 78% of the world’s out-of-school population.

Currently, 264 million children and youth around the world are not in school and six out of ten children and youth, a total of 617 million, are in school but not learning at the level they need to break the bonds of poverty, poor health and social disadvantage. Though the share of overseas development aid to education has declined over the last six years, leaders around the world are now recognizing the urgency of turning that trend around.

France has been a donor to GPE since 2005. With GPE support since 2006, Senegal has shown great progress raising its investment in education as a share of domestic spending to 24 percent.

“Both France and Senegal are ideally positioned to urge other countries across the globe to increase investments in education,” Ms. Gillard added. “We believe that will make for a successful and productive financing conference and ultimately benefit hundreds of millions of children in some of the poorest countries around the world.

Monze Primary School, Zambia, May 2017

Monze Primary School, Zambia, May 2017

Monze Primary School, Zambia, May 2017

Monze Primary School, Zambia, May 2017

The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) works with developing countries to ensure that every child receives a quality basic education, prioritizing the poorest, the most vulnerable and those living in countries affected by fragility or conflict. GPE mobilizes financing for education and supports developing countries to build effective education systems founded on evidence-based planning and policies.
GPE’s support has achieved the following results in its partner countries:
• 72 million more children in primary school in 2015 compared with 2002
• 76% of children in GPE partner countries completed primary school in 2015 compared to 63%in 2002.
• 74% primary school completion rate for girls in 2015 compared with 57% in 2002
• 78% of GPE partner countries have maintained their education budget at or above 20% of public expenditure, or increased their education budget in 2015.

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Speak up Africa’s second gala convenes the Director General of the World Health Organization, African heads of state and first ladies, foundation partners and business community leaders to celebrate great strides made in African maternal and child health
September 22, 2017 | 0 Comments
His Excellency, President Kikwete, 4th President of Tanzania featured with Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus Director General, World Health Organisation and Dr. Mwele Malecela, Dr. Mwele Malecela is a Director in the Office of the Africa Regional Director, World Health Organization

His Excellency, President Kikwete, 4th President of Tanzania featured with Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus Director General, World Health Organisation and Dr. Mwele Malecela, Dr. Mwele Malecela is a Director in the Office of the Africa Regional Director, World Health Organization

NEW YORK, the United States of America, September 20, 2017, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Monday night, Speak Up Africa hosted its second annual Gala with over 300 African Heads of State, First Ladies, world health experts, leaders from the non-profit and foundation sector, and the business community to celebrate the tremendous strides already made in terms of child and maternal health on the continent.

Headlining the meeting was the recently elected Director General of the World Health organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia. Also attending were: His Excellency Jakaya Kikwete, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, representatives of His Excellency Alpha Condé, President of Guinea, and of His Excellency Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the Africa Union Commission, the First Lady of Malawi, H.E. Gertrude Maseko and Her Excellency Mrs. Toyin Saraki, CEO of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa.

The group turned its attention to the importance of mobilizing African leadership around the next set of healthcare goals for the continent – Universal Health Access, the eradication of Neglected Tropical Diseases, the use of midwifery as a means to lower infant mortality and maternal deaths, and the need to make vaccinations more available to families throughout the continent.

In talking about the power of mothers as advocates for their children, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recalled a recent trip to Yemen where he saw mothers fighting for care for the starving children, even while ignoring the fact that these mothers were themselves starving. Dr. Tedros reiterated his signature call for Universal Health Coverage globally – in conflict areas – and in the United States.

Kate Campana, the CEO of SUA remarked, “African leaders are paving the way for new progress in the fight for maternal and child health.  The world has come so far in reducing preventable child death, but we still have a long way to go in preventing maternal mortality.  It is an honor and a privilege for Speak Up Africa to be called on as the high level advocacy and communications partner of choice for institutions such as WHO, CIFF, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Jakaya Kikwete Foundation. This responsibility is something we take on with focused commitment and sincerity.”

 

His Excellency Dr. Jakaya Kikwete, 4th President of Tanzania and Founder of The Kikwete Foundation commends Speak Up Africa for being drivers of change and the ultimate partner for effective advocacy and communications

Dr. Jakaya Kikwete, the Former President of Tanzania, and a leader in the movement to improve healthcare on the continent, has joined forces with Speak Up Africa. His remarks on Monday night showed his continued resolve to work towards a healthier and more health-educated population, “No woman should die bringing another life into this world.  It is not fair.  It is not right.  Pregnancy is not a disease.  And women should not be dying.  A child’s birthday should be a day of celebration, not mourning.”

Accepting the Speak Up Africa political leadership award on behalf of Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Abba Kalondo,  Spokesperson in the Chairperson’s office, African Union Commission, apologized for Mr. Faki’s absence as he presided over a global security meeting with UN leaders.  She repeated Mr. Faki’s oft-cited link between global security and health security world wide.

Other attendees at the Gala included:

*    First Lady of Malawi, H.E. Gertrude Maseko
*    Mark Suzman, Chief Strategy Officer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
*    Dr. Mwele Malecela – Director of the Office of the Regional Director at AFRO, representing Dr. Moeti
*    Dr. John Simon, Chairman of the Global Fund
*    Dr. Mary Ann Etiebet, Merck for Mothers
*    Ms.Theo Sawa African Women’s Development Fund
*    Mr. Carl Manlan, Ecobank Foundation
*    UNICEF Ambassador to Ethiopia
o    Abelone Melesse

SUA is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to inciting behavioral, political and societal reforms concerning African healthcare. Through strategic advocacy, national and Pan Africa media campaigns, SUA ignites a chain reaction of information, empowerment and mobilization around the most important health issues affecting the continent. Much of its work is conducted through high-profile media campaigns with African cultural rock-stars – artists, athletes, entertainers, and political and faith leaders.

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USAID ADMINISTRATOR GREEN ANNOUNCES PMI LAUNCH AND EXPANSION IN WEST AND CENTRAL AFRICA
September 22, 2017 | 0 Comments
Administrator Mark Green visits a Feed the Future-supported abattoir in Ethiopia/Somali region.Photo credit USAID

Administrator Mark Green visits a Feed the Future-supported abattoir in Ethiopia/Somali region.Photo credit USAID

The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative is Expanding. New countries: Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, and Sierra Leone, and expanding existing program in Burkina Faso.

Today, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green announced that the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), led by USAID and implemented together with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will launch new country programs in Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, and Sierra Leone, and expand its existing program in Burkina Faso.
With the addition of five new focus countries in West and Central Africa, PMI will have programs in 24 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria remains a significant public health problem.  This is in addition to PMI’s two bilateral programs and targeted support in the Greater Mekong Subregion in Asia, aimed at combating antimalarial drug resistance.PMI’s country expansion will benefit almost 90 million additional people at risk of malaria. The U.S. Government will now contribute to ensuring the availability of effective malaria prevention and control interventions to approximately 332 million people at risk across the west-to-central African corridor from Senegal to Cameroon.  While launching and expanding PMI, the U.S. Government remains committed to partnering with existing PMI focus countries to accelerate progress in malaria control and continue the momentum towards elimination.
Together with partner countries, under national malaria control program leadership, and in collaboration with malaria stakeholders, PMI scales up a comprehensive, integrated package of life-saving interventions in communities.  This includes both prevention (insecticide-treated mosquito nets, intermittent preventive treatment of pregnant women, seasonal malaria chemoprevention, and indoor residual spraying) and treatment interventions (malaria diagnosis and treatment with artemisinin-based combination therapies).  PMI support builds overall country capacity and strengthens health systems while improving malaria prevention and treatment services.  PMI support includes strengthening supply chain logistics, malaria case surveillance, and monitoring and evaluation of impact.
More than 480 million people at risk of malaria have benefitted from PMI programs.  In Fiscal Year 2016, PMI protected over 16 million people by spraying homes, distributed more than 42 million long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets, and provided 57 million treatments of life-saving drugs and 63 million rapid diagnostic tests.
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SYMBION AND HIGHLAND GROUP HOLDINGS LTD. SIGN $100M EQUITY INVESTMENT AGREEMENT FOR RWANDA METHANE GAS PROJECTS
September 21, 2017 | 0 Comments
Following the signing between Symbion Energy and Highland Group Holdings Ltd. (HGHL) of an agreement that sees HGHL co-invest $100 million towards the implementation of a $370 million, 106 megawatts of methane gas generated power on Rwanda’s Lake Kivu. L- R: USAID’s Acting Assistant Administrator for Africa Cheryl L. Anderson; Lord Irvine Laidlaw, Chairman at HGHL; Chief Executive Officer, Hon. Clare Akamanzi, Rwanda Development Board and a Member of President Kagame’s cabinet; Alexis Kabuto, CEO, Symbion Lake Kivu; Paul Hinks, CEO, Symbion; Albert Jochems, Laidlaw Capital Management.

Following the signing between Symbion Energy and Highland Group Holdings Ltd. (HGHL) of an agreement that sees HGHL co-invest $100 million towards the implementation of a $370 million, 106 megawatts of methane gas generated power on Rwanda’s Lake Kivu. L- R: USAID’s Acting Assistant Administrator for Africa Cheryl L. Anderson; Lord Irvine Laidlaw, Chairman at HGHL; Chief Executive Officer, Hon. Clare Akamanzi, Rwanda Development Board and a Member of President Kagame’s cabinet; Alexis Kabuto, CEO, Symbion Lake Kivu; Paul Hinks, CEO, Symbion; Albert Jochems, Laidlaw Capital Management.

NEW YORK, USA – SEPTEMBER 21, 2017 –  Symbion Energy and Highland Group Holdings Ltd. (HGHL) today signed an agreement that sees HGHL co-invest $100 million towards the implementation of a $370 million, 106 megawatts of methane gas generated power on Rwanda’s Lake Kivu, it was announced today by Paul Hinks, CEO, Symbion.

Lake Kivu contains an estimated 55 billion cubic meters of naturally occurring methane gas.  The total power generation potential of the resource has been conservatively estimated at more than 500 MW over a 40-year period. Only 25 Megawatts is produced today.

Speaking at the signing ceremony in New York City Hinks said, “We are very excited about our new partnership with HGHL, they are injecting $100 million of cash equity into the Rwanda projects of Symbion Energy.  The work will begin in earnest in November 2017 and this funding means we can fast track at least 22MW of power within 18 months.  Roughly 8 to 10 MW of that can be available by mid 2018 from the existing plant we acquired in 2016 which is known as KP1. It will be rehabilitated and expanded.”

Lord Irvine Laidlaw, Chairman at HGHL and Alexis Kabuto, CEO, Symbion Lake Kivu shake hands following the signing between Symbion Energy and Highland Group Holdings Ltd. (HGHL) of an agreement that sees HGHL co-invest $100 million towards the implementation of a $370 million, 106 megawatts of methane gas generated power on Rwanda’s Lake Kivu.

Lord Irvine Laidlaw, Chairman at HGHL and Alexis Kabuto, CEO, Symbion Lake Kivu shake hands following the signing between Symbion Energy and Highland Group Holdings Ltd. (HGHL) of an agreement that sees HGHL co-invest $100 million towards the implementation of a $370 million, 106 megawatts of methane gas generated power on Rwanda’s Lake Kivu.

Hinks continued, “Rwanda is one of the very few countries in Africa that properly plans ahead of time and they understand that substantial power capacity is necessary to attract investors to create economic growth and deliver electricity to its population. The demand for power in Rwanda is suppressed by the lack of surplus capacity and these two projects will facilitate continued growth. As far as Sub-Saharan Africa is concerned, Rwanda ranks highest in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index and our experience there is a complete endorsement of that.  HGHL’s confidence in the country and in Symbion is evidenced by their willingness to make Rwanda their first large-scale investment in Africa.”

Lord Irvine Laidlaw, Chairman at HGHL, said “This is perhaps the most interesting and exciting project that I have undertaken, inclusive of our recent offshore wind farms in the North Sea, in Germany.” He continued, “We will be producing electricity by utilizing a unique renewable resource, methane from the bottom of Lake Kivu.  Delivering this will be a challenge I look forward to.”  “Even more important, we are generating power for one of the fastest growing countries in Africa, so we’ll be making a major contribution to its continued growth.  As with all my colleagues I am proud to be assisting Rwanda,” said Laidlaw.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board and a Member of President Kagame’s cabinet, Honorable Clare Akamanzi said, “This partnership is a really great example of a co-investment that will fuel our country’s sustainable development and our growth agenda. We are impressed and we are committed to support the investors and the project to attain Rwanda’s full potential in the energy sector.”

During the signing between Symbion Energy and Highland Group Holdings Ltd. (HGHL) of an agreement that sees HGHL co-invest $100 million towards the implementation of a $370 million, 106 megawatts of methane gas generated power on Rwanda’s Lake Kivu. L- R: USAID’s Acting Assistant Administrator for Africa Cheryl L. Anderson; Paul Hinks, CEO Symbion; Lord Irvine Laidlaw, Chairman at HGHL and Chief Executive Officer, Hon. Clare Akamanzi, Rwanda Development Board and a Member of President Kagame’s cabinet.

During the signing between Symbion Energy and Highland Group Holdings Ltd. (HGHL) of an agreement that sees HGHL co-invest $100 million towards the implementation of a $370 million, 106 megawatts of methane gas generated power on Rwanda’s Lake Kivu. L- R: USAID’s Acting Assistant Administrator for Africa Cheryl L. Anderson; Paul Hinks, CEO Symbion; Lord Irvine Laidlaw, Chairman at HGHL and Chief Executive Officer, Hon. Clare Akamanzi, Rwanda Development Board and a Member of President Kagame’s cabinet.

USAID’s Acting Assistant Administrator for Africa Cheryl L. Anderson joined Symbion at the signing, underscoring the continued partnership between Power Africa and Symbion and the importance of American companies in accelerating energy sector investment to bring power to millions of Rwandan households and businesses.

These two power projects will reduce the risk of gases that are trapped in the deep layers of the lake escaping and rising to the surface, endangering the surrounding communities.

Symbion is working closely with the government of Rwanda and its regulatory agencies to ensure that its Lake Kivu projects deliver affordable energy in an efficient and environmentally responsible manner.

Symbion Energy is a developer and investor in Independent Power Projects on the African continent.

Highland Group Holdings Ltd. is one of the investment vehicles owned by Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay. Highland’s total assets are predominantly invested in liquid instruments and renewable energy projects. Highland has successfully invested in and developed the Deutsche Bucht (252MW) and Veja Mate (400MW) offshore wind energy projects in Germany.

 

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CryptoMetalExchange© will usurp the dominant fraudulent paper schemes that are currently perpetrated on COMEX and LBMA
September 21, 2017 | 0 Comments
MetalZoom.Energy aims to disrupt this system by using open source Lynux Hyperledger Fabric blockchain to enable open bid auctions of Cryptocurrency for metal delivery
Marc Ward, Founder of MetalZoom.Energy

Marc Ward, Founder of MetalZoom.Energy

DENVER, United States of America, September 21, 2017/ — MetalZoom.Energy (the “Company”) (www.MetalZoom.energy) advises that it has embarked upon the creation of the world’s first Crypto Metal Exchange. The founder of MetalZoom.Energy Marc Ward tells us “Our Crypto-Metal Exchange will provide a platform for miners to auction physical metal to the global consumer without any interference. The blockchain technology ensures zero corruption and results in untampered supply and demand forces to play out transparently.”

Ward, a Data Scientist who scored a perfect 800 on the quantitative GRE wrote an algorithm that correctly predicted the next move of the Nasdaq 100 futures market 88% of the time, over 4,000 times each trading day.
Ward believes that our markets are rigged by algorithmic dictates causing the price of precious metals to be controlled. “I see it as a closed-loop algorithm that announces the prices continuously throughout the day across all futures markets and humans in brokerage firms reacting to the change in prices”. As it is a closed-loop no one can overwhelm this pricing mechanism.

MetalZoom.Energy aims to disrupt this system by using open source Linux Hyperledger Fabric blockchain to enable open bid auctions of Cryptocurrency for metal delivery. Ward explains that “the futures exchange settles in debt currency instead of metal delivery. We plan to disrupt this by having metal ready for delivery and enabling consumers and investors to bid for that metal delivery with Cryptocurrencies across a transparent yet private blockchain framework”.

There are other facets to MetalZoom.Energy including Crypto Metal Mining which will enable miners to initiate a mine to produce metal. Those who acquire these Metal Delivery contracts will fund the miners directly via smart contracts with Cryptocurrency payouts and expect delivery of the metal extracted by the miners via the MetalZoom delivery services.

MetalZoom.Energy is quickly gaining the support of industry leaders with endorsements from the likes of Bill Murphy, Chairman of GATA (Gold Ant-trust Action Committee), Craig Hemke (aka Turd Ferguson of TF Metals Report), Elijah Johnson of www.FinanceandLiberty.com, Cardwell Lynch of the C-Sigma Show, V of Rogue Money Radio, GManIV and SilverDoctors.

Ward is embarking on a tour to Africa where he aims to promote MetalZoom.Energy to the local crypto community and convince miners to offer their metal for auction on the Crypto Metal Exchange. Ward arrives in Johannesburg on 18 October 2017. He will be the keynote speaker at a business breakfast on Thursday 19 October 2017 being held at the Wanderers Golf Club in Sandton, hosted by Mail & Guardian, before moving onto Cape Town where he will be attending several events.

MetalZoom.Energy is the world’s first private energy firm and the first Cryptocurrency with an honor code. MetalZoom.Energy has created the private-partnership Crypto-Metal Exchange. A private platform where producers and end users can engage in trades based upon unfettered real value.
Web: www.MetalZoom.energy

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SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS VACATIONS® INTRODUCES ITS 2018 COLLECTION BROCHURE
September 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Fort Lauderdale, FL (September 20, 2017) – South African Airways Vacations® (SAA Vacations®) launches its 2018 Collection brochure, featuring an expanded portfolio of affordable air-inclusive vacation packages to a variety of destinations throughout Southern and East Africa. The new 2018 brochure features a curated collection of the most popular value-packed vacation packages along with product information on South African Airways (SAA) and South African Airways Vacations®. Once again, SAA Vacations® is offering a digital version of the Collection brochure to make it easier and more efficient for both travel agents and consumers to explore options and book an African vacation of a lifetime.

For 2018, SAA Vacations® has introduced an array of 15 new hotels and safari lodges, nearly doubling their product offering to some of the most popular destinations throughout Africa. From trendy four and five star hotels in cosmopolitan cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town to luxury safari lodges, where guests can experience the “Big Five” wildlife, the enhancement of the SAA Vacations® portfolio greatly increases travelers’ options of affordable air-inclusive luxury packages to Africa.

“SAA Vacations® offers exciting and varied itineraries to both Southern Africa and East Africa that are fully customizable to cater to both luxury and budget travelers,” said Terry von Guilleaume, president of South African Airways Vacations®. “We are excited to partner with some of Africa’s best hotels and lodges to bring spectacular packages for 2018. And with air-inclusive packages starting at just $1899, travel to Africa is more affordable than ever.”

Highlights of the SAA Vacations® 2018 Collection include exceptional value on some of their most popular air-inclusive packages:

“Captivating Cape Town” This 5-night package is designed for those travelers who want to explore the beautiful city of Cape Town. Starting at $1,899* (restrictions apply) per person and includes five-nights in Cape Town with deluxe accommodations, full day Cape Peninsula tour, half day Cape Wine lands tour with wine tasting , Hop-on-Hop off bus pass and ground transfers.

“Wine and Safari” This vacation package begins with a three-night stay in Cape Town, a full-day tour of the Cape Peninsula and the Cape of Good Hope. Then off to South Africa’s wine region with a two-night stay in the historical town of Stellenbosch and a private Winelands tour. The experience continues with a safari and accommodations at Kapama River Lodge for a three-night stay near the world-famous Kruger National Park to enjoy morning and afternoon game drives to view Africa’s Big Five. The 8-night package starts at $4,399** (restrictions apply) per person.

“Introducing Ghana” Explore Accra with this 5-night package, starting at $2,999* (restrictions apply) per person and includes deluxe accommodations in Accra, Kumasi, and Cape Coast, full day tours, private vehicle transportation and ground transfers.

The South African Airways Vacations® 2018 Collection brochure is available online, click here or below. Travelers are encouraged to contact SAA Vacations’® Africa specialists at 1-855-FLY-SAAV or their professional travel consultant. For more information about our 2018 Collection visit: www.flysaavacations.com.

All advertised air-inclusive packages are commissionable and can be customized for both groups and individuals. Tailor made itineraries are our specialty and our team of Africa Specialists are standing by to assist you in creating a vacation of a lifetime.

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Aliko Dangote at UN General Assembly in New York: “Africa will become the food basket of the world” ; “Five of the twelve million jobs needed in Africa soon must be created in Nigeria”; “We should pray that oil prices remain low”
September 21, 2017 | 0 Comments
Founder and Chief Executive of Dangote Group Aliko Dangote

Founder and Chief Executive of Dangote Group Aliko Dangote

NEW YORK, United States of America, September 20, 2017/ — Nigerian business leader Aliko Dangote told investors “Agriculture, agriculture, agriculture. Africa will become the food basket of the world.”

In a packed room at the headquarters of global law firm Shearman and Sterling LLC  high level business leaders and international diplomats invited by the Corporate Council for Africa to hear Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, and Rwandan president Paul Kagame openly converse on Africa’s opportunities and challenges.

Both leaders underscored the ongoing movement to diversify African economies. In the case of  Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, Dangote stated “we should pray that oil prices remain low. This helps wean us off the dependency on revenues from petroleum. We must take oil to be the icing on the cake. We already have the cake,” he added.

In addition to agriculture Dangote cited Nigeria’s vast mineral resources and gas as well and the need to manufacture more goods locally for domestic consumption. Both he and President Kagame cited continued need for heavy investments in education and connected the need for young people to be well trained for the jobs of tomorrow.

Dangote predicted that “five of the twelve million jobs needed in Africa soon must be created in Nigeria.”

Dangote’s fortune which stems from cement, sugar, and other household commodities has expanded into fertilizer and other processed high-value goods. “Technology of course helps us a lot and our factories are state of the art with the use of robotics but we shouldn’t be overly tech oriented to create wealth,” he told investors.

Mr. Dangote who is often cited as one of the most inspiring business leaders in the world today and a model for young entrepreneurs offered advice to Americans who tend to rely on outdated news and wrong perceptions of Africa, “Don’t be lazy. Go there and find the real story for yourself. Things have changed.”

 

Dangote noted the Rwanda success story where he has business interests as an example of positive change, good governance and leadership, and where corruption has been cured. He cited a personal experience of offering a $100 US tip for services at the Kigali Airport to staff who refused to take money for work they were paid to do. President Kagame was praised for delivering the environment for growth he promised. “There is nothing African about corruption,” the Rwandan president added.

The session was moderated by Rosa Whitaker, former US Trade Representative and author of the AGOA (African Growth Opportunity Act), whose business consultancy is credited for helping both African governments and US companies develop commerce.

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Launching of the new edition of Digital Africa, an innovation competition to take up the challenge of digital transition in Africa
September 21, 2017 | 0 Comments
Deadline for startups to submit their projects on DigitalAfrica.AFD.fr is the 22nd of October
PARIS, France, September 20, 2017/ — For the 40th birthday of Proparco, the subsidiary of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD, French Development Agency) (www.AFD.fr) focused on private sector, AFD, Bpifrance (www.Bpifrance.fr) and the La French Tech (www.LaFrenchTech.com) have launched on 19 September the second edition of Digital Africa, a startup competition and digital innovation to support sustainable development in Africa. The first edition of the Digital Africa challenge, launched in October 2016, received more than 500 applications and rewarded 10 start-ups which convinced the judging panel on the potential impact of their innovation. Building on this success, AFD, Bpifrance and La French Tech have decided to renew the experience with the objective of offering a long-term support to the emergence of mature and solid digital ecosystems, catalysers of new economic opportunities.

Digital technology, a great accelerator of Africa’s development 

Digital revolution is transforming the African continent. It’s an innovative catalyst that revolutionizes economies and societies. Ecology, energy, culture, education, artistic creation, governance, and media: digital technology has a transversal and multiplying impact in all those key sectors.

“Digital innovation is abundant in Africa. Africans are making a technological leap that accelerates the emergence of the continent. Through Digital Africa, AFD supports emblematic start-ups of the digital African ecosystems, and fulfils its mission of development in the service of education and innovation, in the digital age. Development is now moving in both directions, between the two shores of the Mediterranean” – Rémy Rioux, AFD Executive Director.

Nicolas Dufourcq, Bpifrance Executive Director claims “We are proud to participate in the Digital Africa challenge and to support 5 French start-ups in their development on the African continent which nowadays offers great opportunities. This challenge represents a straight continuation of our action for the internalization of enterprises and their cooperation with the African continent”.

Innovation in Africa is showing extraordinary development, ecosystems are being structured, and start-ups are spreading across the continent. By promoting the links between French and African entrepreneurs today, our ecosystems are building a common future. Digital Africa is for French Tech an additional step to bring this ambition with Africa”, David Monteau, La French Tech Director, Ministry of Economy and Finance.

A fully customized program 

All the startup winners of this second edition of the Digital Africa challenge will benefit from a high visibility and access an international network of partners, clients and investors. They will be part of a community that gathers the best talents of digital innovation in Africa and for Africa, in order to share experiences and good practices.

The 5 African winning startups will be accompanied by the AFD through an “acceleration pack”, a customizable, technical and financial support up to a 30.000 euros value.

The 5 French winning startups will be accompanied by Bpifrance up to a 10.000 euros value support pack to strengthen their expertise and develop new opportunities on the African continent: Bpifrance Université training, networking and discovery trip to Abidjan and Cape Town with the French entrepreneurs community in the French Tech Hubs.

“For a young startup, Digital Africa offers a great opportunity to gain a continental and international visibility.” – Dieu-Donné Okalas Ossami, E-Tumba, winning startup of the first edition of Digital Africa.

What are the selection criteria? 

For the second edition of Digital Africa, startups are invited to propose innovative projects linked to the following themes:

  • Territory (urban challenge, rural transformation, and Smart City etc.)
  • Citizenship (e-government, civic engagement, activism, and alternative media etc.)
  • Knowledge and creativity (education, formation, creative and cultural industries etc.)
  • Environment and climate (green tech, clean tech, sustainable transportations, blue economy, and renewable energies etc.)

The relevance of the solutions proposed, their feasibility, sustainability and potential impact will be key criteria in the selection process divided in several steps:

  • An extensive analysis of the projects, of their innovative nature and of their business model;
  • A review of the pre-selected projects by AFD and Bpifrance experts;
  • A final selection by a jury composed by experts of the technological and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa.

Jury:

  • Pauline Mujawamariya, Director of the Innovation Prize for Africa – African Innovation Foundation;
  • Tidjane Deme, General Partner of Partech Venture;
  • Emeka Okofore, TED Global, for Africa;
  • Aissatou Sow, Director of Development in Africa, Intel Corporation;
  • Erick Young, CEO Greentec Capital Partners.

Agence Française de Développement (www.AFD.fr), a public financial institution that implements the policy defined by the French Government, has been working for more than seventy-five years to combat poverty and promote sustainable development.
AFD operates on four continents via a network of 75 offices and finances and supports projects that improve living conditions for populations, boost a sustainable and inclusive economic growth, protect the planet and participate in the stabilization of fragile states and post-conflict situations.
In order to include the new digital concerns for development in its opportunities as well as in its challenges, AFD has set as a main objective to accompany the transformation of African economies and the promotion of human development through the stimulation of digital innovation.

Bpifrance (www.Bpifrance.com) finances businesses from the seed phase to transfer to stock exchange listing, through loans, guarantees and equity. Bpifrance accompanies firms in their innovation projects on an international scale and in their export activities through a wide range of products. The support offered to entrepreneurs also includes consultancy, university, networking opportunities and accelerating programme for startups, SME and middle-market companies.
Thanks to Bpifrance and its 48 regional branches, entrepreneurs benefit from a close, unique and efficient support to accompany them to overcome challenges.
La French Tech (www.LaFrenchTech.com) is the collective name for all those working in the French startup market. It is also an innovative public initiative in the service of this collective. For some years now, French Tech have as a group shown incredible dynamism, driven by a new generation of entrepreneurs, investors, engineers, designers, and other talented people. The French Tech mission is the team that coordinates within the Ministry of Economy and Finance the deployment of the actions of the French Tech initiative launched in November 2013 by the government and structured around 3 axes: federating the ecosystem of startups French, accelerate the growth of startups and spread French Tech internationally. The founding partners of the Initiative are: General Direction of Enterprises, General Direction of the Treasury, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Caisse des Dépôts, Bpifrance, Business France, Commissariat Général pour l’Investissement.

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The Jim Ovia Foundation Pledges $2 Million to the Africa-America Institute to Support Higher Education
September 21, 2017 | 0 Comments
Jim Ovia

Jim Ovia

New York- 21 September, 2017- Mr. Jim Ovia, Founding Chairman of Zenith Bank, announced the establishment of a new scholarship program, The Jim Ovia Foundation Leaders Scholarship Fund, in partnership with the Africa-America Institute (AAI). The two million dollar pledge will finance four-year degree programs for high-achieving African students to attend world-class institutions around the globe. The announcement came during the 33rd Annual AAI Awards Gala.

“The Jim Ovia Foundation Leaders Fund is designed to be a definitive platform that will have an exponential impact in creating a better, brighter future for young Africans. With AAI’s 65-year tenure administering scholarship and deploying development capital for transformative results, we are honored to work together with the Mr. Ovia and his team,” Mr. Kofi Appenteng, CEO and President of the AAI stated.
“I have always been deeply committed to transforming Higher Education in Africa. We need to collectively empower young people and create a network of future leaders and game changers that can propel our continent forward. This fund, and this partnership with AAI are part of my continued dedication,” Mr. Ovia said following the announcement of the new scholarship.
The scholarship program follows a long-standing commitment from the Jim Ovia Foundation in investing in the youth and excellence in education. In partnership with the Africa America Institute, scholarships under the Fund will become available at the beginning of 2018. This marks a seminal moment for AAI with its rich tradition of building leaders in various sectors across the continent, and for Zenith Bank as it continues its global expansion.
Jim Ovia Leaders Scholarship Fund will expand access to education by providing scholarships to young and talented Africans who are under-resourced, from marginalized communities and those who would be the first in their family to attend university. The Fund is an important initiative that will leave a lasting impact on the next generation of Africans.
 Headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, Zenith Bank Plc has over 500 branches and business offices in prime commercial centers in all states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). In March 2007, Zenith Bank was licensed by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) of the United Kingdom to establish Zenith Bank (UK) Ltd. as the UK subsidiary of Zenith Bank Plc.
Founded in 1953, The Africa-America Institute (AAI) is a premier U.S.-based international organization dedicated to strengthening human capacity of Africans and promoting the continent’s development through higher education and skills training, convening activities, program implementation and management. Our primary model is that we identify capacity-building projects and coordinate the programmatic, financial administration and evaluation necessary to deliver high-impact results
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African Women in Agriculture The Marrakech Declaration
September 21, 2017 | 0 Comments
The city of Marrakech hosted on 11 – 12 and 13 September 2017 an important international Congress on the subject “African Women in Agriculture” (AWA).
This unprecedented meeting is organized by the American Association Believe in Africa in collaboration with the PRESMA Agency.
Some 200 participants from 17 African countries and the USA took part in the meeting for three days. Mrs Angelle KWEMO President and Founder of this important initiative, at the opening stated that “in terms of agricultural production in Africa, women do not hold the key but they are the solution to the continent’s food challenge. It is through women that the continent will achieve not only its food self-sufficiency but above all its “food sovereignty”.
Mrs Mbarka Bouaida, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Agriculture in charge of Maritime Fisheries, highlighted the role of women in agriculture in Africa and explained the situation in Morocco.
Mr. Abdelfateh Bjioui, Wali of the Marrakech-Safi region, who gave the participants a warm welcome, congratulated the participants on the choice of Morocco and recalled the ambitious policy of His Majesty King Mohammed VI that God help him develop partnership between countries of the African continent.
Mr. Aziz Mekouar, former Ambassador of Morocco to the USA, explained the importance of the effective involvement of women in the light of the climate change of the planet.
The opening ceremony ended by the keynote address delivered by His Excellency Mr. John Dramani Mahama, former President of Ghana and a great friend of Morocco who recognized that “in Africa, no other sector of the economy has such a large participation of women than of agriculture. “
Work continued over two days and resulted in important resolutions. “All are committed to see the role of African women in agriculture recognized, with the establishment of the” African Prize for the Media in Agriculture and Sustainable Development “to encourage the media to improve the image of African women in agriculture, “says Fawzia TALOUT MEKNASSI, one of the partners of the event.
The words of the end of this agricultural congress was delivered to Mrs. Angelle KWEMO, who said that “it is time for Africa to produce the leadership that will enable the continent not only to achieve food security,  but also enhancing women actions, as pillar of this food security’.
The event was supported by OCP SA. Thus, during the plenary session titled “women central point of the green revolution”, Mrs. Imane Belghiti explained the concrete actions carried out by the OCP in Morocco as in the rest of the African continent.
The Social Development Agency represented by its dynamic Director GeneralM. Yassine HAMZA, shared with the other international agencies its expertise in supporting women’s agricultural cooperatives.
The event was also supported by international bodies such as UNO Women and the US Africa Development Foundation which not only supported rural women’s agricultural associations but also facilitated the participation of many women from the continent including leaders such as Korka Diaw, Korka Rice of Senegal and Mrs. Sirebara Foumata Diallo, President of the Union of Women Cooperatives in Agriculture of Mali. Appointment is therefore given in May 2018, for the second edition of “African Women in Agriculture”. Read the AWA Marrakech Full Declaration
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The G5 Sahel Force: Burkina Faso in the fight against terrorism
September 21, 2017 | 0 Comments
His Excellency, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, President of Burkina Faso

His Excellency, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, President of Burkina Faso

In New York for the 72nd Ordinary Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the President of Burkina Faso, His Excellency Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, participated in a high-level G5 Sahel meeting on Monday 18 September.

The objective of the meeting was to make the international community aware of the urgent need to support the joint anti-terrorist force which will begin operations in October, despite having received just a quarter of its budget. In addition to the funding issue, discussions focused on the relationship between the G5 Force and the UN forces.

The summit brought together the presidents of the five Sahel bloc countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad), French President Emmanuel Macron, African Union President Alpha Condé, President of the AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, the head of European Diplomacy Federica Mogherini and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. As a sign of growing US interest in the issue, a Homeland Security advisor was also present at the meeting. Burkina Faso, which has suffered several jihadist attacks, the first in January 2016 and the latest in July 2017, is tackling the problem head on. Among the measures taken by President Kaboré, who is calling for “a merciless fight against this global scourge”, and his Government are: the setting up of a full Department of Homeland Security and the appointment of a Minister of Defense, the redeployment of the security and defense forces (SDFs) in the north, equipping the SDF, strengthening international cooperation and joint operations with Mali (and with the French Barkhane force in particular).

Roch Marc Christian Kaboré will speak at the United Nations Forum on Thursday, 21 September. He will especially advocate for “a true people’s UN”. For the President of Burkina Faso, the changes of the world and the duty of justice for Africa demand a reform of the United Nations, notably within the Security Council. He will thus call on his counterparts to “build a more modern, stronger and more effective United Nations”. On the sidelines of the general debate, the President of Burkina Faso will take part in numerous panels and will meet with high-level personalities including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. He will attend a High-Level Meeting on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, the Summit for a Global Pact for the Environment, and an African Union (AU) demonstration on Harnessing the Demographic Dividend.

Burkina Faso strengthens economic ties with the US
As part of “Burkina Day”, President Kaboré chaired a roundtable organized by the Atlantic Council and the US Chamber of Commerce on September 18 on Ways and Means of Contributing to the Strengthening of Economic Relations between the United States of America and Burkina Faso. This was an opportunity for the Head of State to present to American businessmen the investment opportunities, the promising sectors and the reforms undertaken by the government to create an attractive business climate and to propose “the organization of a forum for US investors in Burkina Faso in 2018” and a “meeting on democracy and good governance”.

Roch Marc Christian Kaboré thanked the US government for renewing its confidence through the Second Compact of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and explained to investors how the government of Burkina Faso has simplified and made transparent the procedures for the implementation of public-private partnership (PPP) projects. The following day, the President of Burkina Faso, the Prime Minister of Canada, the French President and the US Vice President attended a dinner hosted by the Atlantic Council.

National Plan for Economic and Social Development (PNDES): Focus on investment opportunities.
While at the UN, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré will present his vision on development policy in Burkina Faso and highlight the progress made by his country. Burkina Faso has embarked on an ambitious structural transformation project aimed at improving the living conditions of Burkina Faso through strong, inclusive and sustainable growth. The goal of the National Plan for Economic and Social Development (PNDES) by 2020 is to achieve an average growth rate of 7.7% and create 50,000 jobs per year. Developed through a participatory and inclusive process, the PNDES is based on three strategic pillars: “reforming institutions and modernizing the administration”, “developing human capital” and “Boosting sectors with strong economic and employment growth and job potential”.

At a meeting in Paris in December 2016, multilateral financial institutions, donor countries and private investors committed to mobilizing 28 billion Euros by 2020 to finance the PNDES.

Burkina Faso has thus undertaken major institutional and legislative reforms aimed at attracting, facilitating and securing investments to revive the economy. The desire to strengthen participatory democracy by placing citizens at the heart of the functioning of the State led the country to join the “Open Government Partnership” in 2016. The first National Action Plan is being drawn up with the participation of non-state stakeholders, civil society organizations and the media. Lastly, a preliminary draft constitution will soon be submitted to a referendum.

Located in the heart of West Africa, Burkina Faso is a “crossroads country”. Member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), of which Ouagadougou is the headquarters, Burkina Faso shares its borders with Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. Just a one and a half hour flight from the neighboring capitals, it offers an ideal regional base for traveling in the region and is a strategic transit point for inter-country trade. As a country of dialogue, Burkina Faso is also well integrated in world diplomacy. The population of Burkina Faso is estimated at about 19 million people, 59% of whom are under 20 years of age.
After the popular uprising of 30 and 31 October 2014, Burkina Faso returned to democracy and organized the first free elections in its history. Elected on 29 November, 2015, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré became the first civilian to democratically gain power since the country’s Independence.
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Hitachi Introduces Hitachi Vantara: A New Digital Company Committed to Solving the World’s Toughest Business and Societal Challenges
September 21, 2017 | 0 Comments
Company Formed to Help Customers Achieve Unprecedented Outcomes by Tapping the Full Potential of Their Data
NAIROBI, Kenya, 21 September 2017,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE:6501, “Hitachi”) has launched Hitachi Vantara, a new business entity to leverage the broad portfolio of innovation, development and experience from across Hitachi Group companies to deliver data-driven solutions for commercial and industrial enterprises. This new company will unify the operations of Hitachi Data Systems, Hitachi Insight Group, and Pentaho into a single integrated business as Hitachi Vantara to capitalise on Hitachi’s social innovation capability in both operational technologies (OT) and information technologies (IT).

More Than a Century of OT Expertise Combined with IT Trusted by the World’s Largest Enterprises
Hitachi has been a leader in OT for industries such as finance, government, manufacturing, power/energy and transportation for over 100 years, providing solutions that have positively impacted cities, industrial operations and businesses at large. The company has also been a leader in IT for over 50 years-bringing IT applications, analytics, content, cloud, and infrastructure solutions to market that have transformed the way enterprises do business. Combining Hitachi’s broad expertise in OT with its proven IT product innovations and solutions, Hitachi Vantara gives customers a powerful, collaborative partner in data – unavailable in any one company until today.

“Hitachi Vantara marks a monumental change for Hitachi as we continue to advance our unified corporate vision of Social Innovation,” said Hitachi, Ltd. President and CEO Toshiaki Higashihara. “Hitachi has been helping customers harness the power of their data to support meaningful business action for years. Now as the world is being transformed by digital tools and processes, we are unifying our strongest digital solutions companies together as a new Hitachi company that delivers exponential business impact for our customers and the betterment of society. The formation of Hitachi Vantara underscores Hitachi’s commitment to collaborative creation with customers and partners, and being a true innovation partner for the era of IoT.”

The Opportunity in Data
Hitachi Vantara is uniquely able to help customers extract all the value their data has to offer. By bringing new data-driven solutions and services to market, Hitachi Vantara will help its customers achieve tangible outcomes that positively drive business and society forward.

The market opportunity for mission-critical data solutions has never been greater. Data has become a businesses’ greatest asset-if they can extract actionable insights from it. Data holds the key to new revenue streams, better customer experiences, improved market insights and lower costs of doing business. However, a comprehensive offering has yet to emerge that combines both OT and IT expertise to uncover its true potential-until now.

Filling a Critical Gap in the Emerging IoT Market
Hitachi Vantara will continue to provide superior infrastructure and analytics technologies that enterprises rely on for their mission-critical data in their data centres, in the cloud and at the edge of new innovations. The new company is targeting the emerging IoT market opportunity, in which there is no clear winner yet.

According to Gartner, Inc., “more than $440 billion will be spent on IoT in 2020,”[1] and the firm estimates that by 2020, “there will be more than 21 billion connected sensors and endpoints, and digital twins will exist for potentially billions of things.”[2] in the same timeframe. To address this market, Hitachi Vantara will harness business, human and machine data across OT and IT environments to build comprehensive, data-driven solutions. Customers will be able to manage, store, govern, blend, analyse, and visualise data-and then take action based on uncovered insights.

Hitachi Vantara’s Breadth of Solutions: From the Data Centre to the Factory Floor
Hitachi Vantara will continue to develop the trusted data management and analytics technologies Hitachi is known for, including Hitachi’s popular data infrastructure, storage and compute solutions, and Pentaho software. It will also be driving the development of strategic software and services solutions, including Hitachi Smart Data Centre software and services, Lumada, Hitachi’s IoT platform, now available as a standalone, commercial software offering, and Hitachi co-creation services. Lumada has been fully updated with enhanced artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and advanced analytics capabilities. It also has an elegant, portable architecture that enables it to run both on-premises or in the cloud, and supports industrial IoT deployments both at the edge and in the core.

The company will focus on serving global Fortune 1000 companies with best-in-class data management, infrastructure, content and analytics products and industrial IoT solutions for a number of industries including financial services and insurance, government, industrials/manufacturing, telecom, and transportation.

“No other company brings together more than a century of operational technology expertise with informational technology trusted in the world’s most demanding enterprise environments,” said Hitachi Vantara CEO, Ryuichi Otsuki. “Hitachi Vantara capitalises on this unique combination by creating solutions that meet the needs of an increasingly connected world. Like our customers with whom we partner and co-create, Hitachi Vantara sees data as an opportunity-a path to outcomes that matter.”

Hitachi’s new Lumada IoT platform and Smart Data Centre solutions are on display at the Hitachi NEXT 2017 user conference in Las Vegas, September 19 and 20, where event attendees can see live demonstrations of the company’s software and IoT solutions. For more information, visit HitachiNEXT.com.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Hitachi Limited.

About Hitachi Vantara
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. Visit us at www.HitachiVantara.com.

About Hitachi, Ltd.
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. For more information, please visit the company’s website at http://www.hitachi.com.
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