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Access Power and FMO launch second edition of Solar ‘Shark Tank’ Competition for Innovative Solar Projects
November 22, 2017 | 0 Comments
Access Power and FMO launch second edition of Solar ‘Shark Tank’ Competition for Innovative Solar Projects
Submission window opens as Solar Projects Compete for US$ 100,000 Grant to Develop their Projects
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, November 20, 2017/ — FMO (www.FMO.nl), the Dutch development bank, and Access Power (www.Access-Power.com), a leading developer, owner and operator of power projects in emerging markets, today announced the launch of the 2018 FMO Access Power Solar ‘Shark Tank’ Competition following the competition’s successful first installment in 2016 at the ‘Making Solar Bankable’ conference. The initiative is aimed at helping local solar power developers that require development support to make their innovative solar projects more impactful.

In order to be considered for the grant, the proposed projects must be located in Asia, Africa or Latin America and be based on solar PV technology. They should also meet the capacity criterion of 10MW or more, and be at an advanced stage of development (preliminary feasibility studies should have been completed). Furthermore, eligible projects should have an innovative or impactful angle to the project that can be developed with support of the grant.

Proposals will be screened and scored by a pre-selection committee assembled by FMO and Access Power. Four shortlisted finalists will be invited to present their projects and answer questions from a panel of judges in front of a live audience on the 15th of February 2018 during the second edition of the ‘Making Solar Bankable’ conference, co-organized by FMO and Solarplaza in Amsterdam, Netherlands on 15 and 16 February. The winning project will be announced at the end of the session during the event.

The winner will receive a $100,000 grant towards the development costs of their project from FMO and Access Power. In addition to that, Access Power will pre-qualify the winning proposal of the Solar Shark Tank competition for the 2018 edition of the Access Co-Development Facility (ACF) (https://goo.gl/76qvjJ) competition, subject to meeting ACF qualification requirements. Access Power will provide the ACF winner with technical support, financial structuring and development process management.

Reda El Chaar, Executive Chairman of Access Power, commented: 
“Following the competition’s successful launch in 2016, we are thrilled to have once again partnered with FMO to promote and help development of early stage solar projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In 2016 we received over 36 of applications from 21 countries and 2018 looks set to build on that success. We look forward with great interest to receiving this year’s entries and hearing the judge’s final decision during an exciting live event at the ‘Making Solar Bankable’ conference in Amsterdam”.

Jurgen Rigterink, CEO of FMO, added:
“FMO is proud to partner again with Access Power to help improve access to energy in the regions in the world where it is most needed. The entries of this year’s competition will all contribute to clean and affordable energy, making it possible for people to improve their livelihoods. We look forward to an inspiring event”.

Application procedures close on 5th of January 2018. Visit the Solar Shark Tank page on https://goo.gl/aeoEKg or https://goo.gl/Cn8w9h to download the application form.

About Solar Shark Tank 2018

  • Following a pre-selection process, a shortlist of applicants will be chosen to present their projects to a panel of judges 15th of February 2018 during the ‘Making Solar Bankable’ conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Applicants must present their projects to the judging panel during the conference within a given time and take questions from panel members.
  • Panel members will score each project based on the evaluation criteria, using weighted percentages.
  • Submission period runs from 20th November, 2017 to 5th January, 2018.

Access Power (www.Access-Power.com) is a fast-growing developer, owner and operator of power assets in emerging and frontier markets and is currently developing power projects worth over US$1 billion in 23 countries across Africa and Asia. In late 2016, Access Power commissioned East Africa’s largest solar power plant in Soroti Uganda which currently provides clean energy for over 40,000 homes, schools and small businesses.

FMO (www.FMO.nl) is the Dutch development bank. As a leading impact investor, FMO supports sustainable private sector growth in developing countries and emerging markets by investing in ambitious projects and entrepreneurs. FMO believes that a strong private sector leads to economic and social development, and has a more than
45-year proven track-record of empowering people to employ their skills and improve their quality of life.FMO focuses on three sectors that have high development impact: financial institutions, energy, and agribusiness, food & water. With a committed portfolio of EUR 9.0 billion spanning over 92 countries, FMO is one of the larger bilateral private sector developments banks globally.

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Mercer Launches Francophone Africa Hub in Morocco
November 22, 2017 | 0 Comments
New regional hub increases Health and Benefits footprint to enhance client service and enable the expansion of Mercer’s Wealth and Career offerings in Francophone Africa
CASABLANCA, Morocco, November 20, 2017/ — Mercer (www.Mercer.com), a global consulting leader in health, wealth and career and wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc. (NYSE: MMC) (www.MMC.com), has announced an expanded footprint as part of an important initiative to strengthen service to the Francophone region of Africa. Through its new Casablanca Financial City hub in Morocco, Mercer will bolster its Health business and further penetrate the African market with Wealth and Career solutions.

“Africa is an important part of our growth strategy for Mercer. We’ve been operating on the continent for many years and we continuously look for ways to bring differentiated value to our clients,” said David Anderson, President of Mercer’s Growth Markets Region. “Strengthening our footprint in this growing and thriving region will allow us to improve client service across their Health and Benefits needs, and will allow clients greater access to our world class Wealth and Career services.”

Mercer currently serves clients in 41 of Africa’s 54 sovereign states.  The firm is expanding its market presence to match the burgeoning business landscape. North Africa continues to show great promise and Mercer is committed to being a partner in assisting our clients in the region. Mercer’s ongoing investment in Francophone Africa and throughout the continent will enable the global consulting leader to service evolving client needs with greater flexibility and customization.

“Morocco is the ideal hub for Mercer’s continued growth across Francophone Africa.” said Mustafa Faizani, CEO UAE & India, Middle East, Turkey, and Africa Zone, Mercer. “The new Casablanca Financial City hub and existing strategic partnerships will support the growth of Mercer’s local business in Morocco and enable us to grow the Mercer Marsh Benefits (MMB) footprint. Expanding our presence to Morocco is a critical step toward enhancing our leading position in the region and leveraging the market’s full potential to address our clients’ unique hyperlocal needs, across health, wealth and career.”

Mercer already has a presence in Francophone African markets by providing Africa Health and Risk Solutions (AHRS) for multinational companies seeking standardized benefit structures in more than one country and pricing power through placement of coverages in the international insurance market. Mercer’s existing Moroccan client base is serviced locally through an established strategic partnership with AFMA, the largest brokerage in the country.

The arrival in Casablanca marks the 14th city expansion for Mercer in the growth economies in the past two years. Currently over 15,000 clients in 84 countries are served by colleagues located in 22 countries across our Growth Markets Region.

Mercer  delivers advice and technology-driven solutions that help organizations meet the health, wealth and career needs of a changing workforce. Mercer’s more than 22,000 employees are based in 43 countries and the firm operates in over 130 countries. Mercer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies , the leading global professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy and people. With more than 60,000 colleagues and annual revenue over $13 billion, through its market-leading companies including Marsh , Guy Carpenter and Oliver Wyman  Marsh & McLennan helps clients navigate an increasingly dynamic and complex environment.

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SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS GIVES THANKS BY OFFERING ITS LOWEST FARES OF THE YEAR
November 22, 2017 | 0 Comments

Holiday Sale Offers Exceptional Fares Starting at $599* roundtrip to Africa

Fort Lauderdale, FL (November 21, 2017) – South African Airways (SAA), the national flag carrier of South Africa and Africa’s most awarded airline today announces a holiday sale that offers its lowest fares of the year to selected destinations throughout Africa. For a limited time only, book flights for round-trip travel from New York-JFK International Airport or Washington, DC Dulles International Airport to Johannesburg, South Africa for just $599.00* (restrictions apply) or to Cape Town for $629.00*(restriction apply). Also on offer are nonstop flights from Washington, DC Dulles International Airport to Dakar, Senegal for $629.00* (restrictions apply) round-trip or to Accra, Ghana for $639.00* (restrictions apply) round-trip. These fares are available for purchase through November 28, 2017, for travel between January 10 and March 27, 2018.

“At this festive time of year for giving, we are expressing our thanks by making Africa even more affordable for travelers from North America. There is nothing that can compare to witnessing the beauty of an African sunset, sipping sundowners on a safari, taking in the magnificent sights in Cape Town, or exploring the history and culture of Ghana and Senegal”, said Todd Neuman, executive vice president, North America, for South African Airways. “With these fares, our very lowest of the year, we are encouraging everyone to give the gift of Africa to oneself, a loved one or a friend this holiday season. Giving this gift, on Africa’s most awarded airline, is certainly a terrific way to show your appreciation to that someone special.”

The sale fares are available for 7-days only, so travelers must hurry to purchase tickets by visiting www.flysaa.com or by calling SAA Reservations at 1-(800) 722-9675 to take advantage of these incredible savings.

As the leading carrier from the U.S. to South Africa, South African Airways is the only airline to offer daily nonstop service from New York – JFK and daily direct service from Washington, DC-Dulles to Johannesburg, South Africa. South African Airways also offers nonstop service from Washington, DCDulles to Accra, Ghana, four-days per week and Dakar, Senegal, three-days per week. From its hub in Johannesburg, SAA offers business and leisure travelers’ convenient connections to over 75 destinations on the Africa continent in partnership with its regional airlines SA Express, Airlink, and Mango.

 

 

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African Union calls for Libya ‘slave market’ probe
November 18, 2017 | 0 Comments
Guinea's President Alpha Conde, President of the African Union,demanded an enquiry and prosecutions relating to what he termed a "despicable trade... from another era"

Guinea’s President Alpha Conde, President of the African Union,demanded an enquiry and prosecutions relating to what he termed a “despicable trade… from another era”

Tripoli (AFP) – The African Union on Friday called for Libyan authorities to investigate “slave markets” of black Africans operating in the conflict-torn nation, following the release of shocking images showing the sale of young men.

The demand follows the release of CNN footage of a live auction in Libya where black youths are presented to north African buyers as potential farmhands and sold off for as little as $400.

Guinean President Alpha Conde, who is also Chairman of the African Union, demanded an enquiry and prosecutions relating to what he termed a “despicable trade… from another era”.

Meanwhile Senegal’s government. commenting on Facebook, expressed “outrage at the sale of Sub-Saharan African migrants on Libyan soil,” which constituted a “blight on the conscience of humanity”.

African migrants from nations including Guinea and Senegal but also Mali, Niger, Nigeria and The Gambia make the dangerous crossing through the Sahara to Libya with hopes of making it over the Mediterranean Sea to Italy.

But testimony collected by AFP in recent years has revealed a litany of rights abuses at the hands of gangmasters, human traffickers and the Libyan security forces, while many end up stuck in the unstable north African nation for years.

More than 8,800 stranded migrants have been returned home this year, according to the International Organization for Migration, which is also amassing evidence of slavery.

Conde further appealed for the Libyan authorities to “reassess migrants’ detention conditions” following revelations over squalid jails and detention centres that await migrants who are caught trying to reach the coast.

“These modern slavery practices must end and the African Union will use all the tools at its disposal,” Conde added.

Libya has opened an investigation into the practice, CNN reported Friday, and pledged to return those taken as slaves to their country of origin.

*AFP

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Africa: Nurturing Young Entrepreneurs as the Next Generation of Hunger Fighters
November 18, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Bunmi Oloruntoba
Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB)

Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB)

DES MOINES, United States of America, November 18, 2017/ — Considered the “Nobel Prize of agriculture,” the World Food Prize is awarded each year for a specific and exceptionally significant contribution to the production or distribution of food. This year, the prize was awarded to Akinwumi Adesina, a former Nigerian agriculture minister – and currently the president of the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) – for his contributions to increasing productivity in that country’s agricultural sector.

A list of Adesina’s achievements as minister of agriculture from 2010 to 2015 spans several pages. But for the World Food Prize, the focal point was his introduction of the Electronic Wallet (E-Wallet) platform to Nigeria’s food production and distribution chain.

Through the E-Wallet, Adesina pioneered a new way for the Nigerian government to deliver subsidized farm inputs, such as fertilizer and seeds, to local farmers through private agro-dealers. The farmers, in turn, get to redeem these subsidized inputs from the agro-dealers using e-vouchers, which they can access through their mobile phones.

To implement the platform, Adesina initiated a Growth and Enhancement Support Scheme (GES). He powered the scheme by orchestrating the successful registration of more than five million Nigerian farmers, whose information and mobile phone numbers were added to the GES database. The database, coupled with the E-Wallet, now allows Nigerian farmers to receive directly from the government everything from fertilizer to high-yield rice seeds and palm oil seedlings.

In the past, such subsidized inputs would have bypassed the farmers and fallen into the hands of black marketers who would have sold the inputs on the open market or in neighboring countries. According to the World Food Prize, through the E-wallet Adesina succeeded in breaking the “back of corrupt elements that had controlled the fertilizer distribution system for 40 years.”

The platform also helped solve other previously intractable problems in the way of commercial large scale food production in Nigeria.

For example, the country’s paddy rice farmers, through the E-Wallet, were able to receive from the government award-winning, high yield NERICA rice varieties, which saw their output rise from five to six tons per hectare. Thousands of paddy farmers producing a consistent grade of rice soon created the opportunity for several agro-based companies to switch from rice importation to local rice production, and standardization of the country’s rice output led to large private sector investments in rice milling.

The World Food Prize compares the spread of Adesina’s efforts in scale to the “Green Revolution” work of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug. In the 1970s and 1980s, Borlaug introduced high-yield dwarf wheat to Latin America and Asia, spawning “Green Revolutions” on two continents.

As other African countries start to adopt E-Wallet platforms to get subsidized inputs – and even financial services – directly to their farmers, the World Food Prize claims Adesina’s E-Wallet is “sparking a Borlaugian ‘Take It to the Farmer’ revolution across Africa.”

Farming creates jobs for young people

In his more recent job as president of Africa’s premier multilateral development finance institution, the African Development Bank (AfDB), Adesina embraces the continent’s “youth bulge” both as an opportunity and a resource in working for economic transformation.

Africa’s labor market is expected to absorb 11 million youths every year for the next decade. Despite rapid growth in formal wage sector jobs, the World Bank estimates that most of the continent’s young people “are likely to work on family farms and in household enterprises, often with very low incomes.”

Adesina wants to drive Africa’s economic transformation by empowering the continent’s youth population and making agriculture the hottest startup sector for young people. To achieve this goal, he wants to change the perception of agriculture in Africa from being a survival activity to a vehicle for wealth creation; from a hobby to a business.

It therefore came as no surprise when Adesina, halfway through his acceptance speech for the World Food Prize, declared to the crowded room in the American Midwestern city of Des Moines that “there will be no rest for me until Africa feeds itself, and for that we need the youth.”

“Even though I don’t have the cheque in my hand right now,” he continued, “I hereby commit my quarter of a million dollars… prize award to set up a fund fully dedicated to providing grants, fellowships and financing for the youth of Africa in agriculture as a business.”

Adesina’s vision for Africa’s youth and agriculture becomes prescient as the world’s geopolitical winds shift the focus of policymakers.

Britain’s Brexit vote to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States mark a rightward shift in the geopolitical landscape, with increasing numbers of countries appealing to more nationalistic agendas and responding to calls to stem immigration.

Creating jobs for young people in agriculture can both help Africa’s economic transformation and offer a solution to some of the challenges facing the continent and the world: the high rate of youth unemployment in Africa; human trafficking and the high rate of illegal migration of young Africans into Europe; sustainably kickstarting Africa’s industrialization; and preventing religious radicalization and combating terrorism.

To gain a clearer understanding of these issues, the lectures and speeches Adesina has given around the world are a good place to start:

On Youth Unemployment and Illegal Migration to Europe

Africa’s rapid population growth, specifically the growth of the working-age population, complicates a precarious labor market characterized by poor-quality employment, which in turn creates the urge for the youth to seek better opportunities elsewhere. The International Labor Organization estimates that in the next four years an additional 12.6 million youth in sub-Saharan Africa will enter the labour force.

Data from the International Organization for Migration (https://goo.gl/5f3Bd7) reveals that more than 154,000 young Africans have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe in 2017 so far. More than 2,900 have died trying to make the crossing. In 2016, more than 352,000 Africans crossed into Europe and more than 4,750 died.

Adesina, in remarks (https://goo.gl/Seb1Lp) leading up to the 2015 Action Plan for African Agricultural Transformation conference in Dakar, pointed out that “the agricultural sector [in Africa] has four times the power to create jobs and reduce poverty than any other sector.”

“That is why we make the claim that we can diminish the migrant crisis in Europe by supporting agricultural transformation in Africa,” he said.

In remarks at the 2017 G7 Summit in Taormina, Italy, back in May, Adesina expanded on this vision when he said that “the future of Africa’s youth does not lie in migration to Europe” nor should it be “at the bottom of the Mediterranean.” He proposed rather that an agribusiness-driven economy could be one of the economic reasons Africa’s youth choose to remain on the continent.

“We must turn rural areas from zones of economic misery to zones of economic prosperity,” Adesina said. “This requires new agricultural innovations and transforming agriculture into a sector for creating wealth. We must make agriculture a really cool choice for young people.”

“The future millionaires and billionaires of Africa will come initially from agriculture.”

On Africa’s Industrialization

Industrialization has been referred to as the most effective driver of structural poverty reduction. Experts remind us that no developing country has transitioned into a developed country without industrializing.

Adesina, in his opening speech at the Dakar conference, questioned the theory that assumes labour must move from the agricultural sector to the industrial sector. Rather, Adesina suggested an economic theory of industrialization that sees Africa’s industrialization starting from the agricultural sector.

“The reality,” he said, “is that agro-industrialization has greatest potential for Africa to achieve more rapid and inclusive growth – and create jobs… If you want industrialization of Africa, and massive job creation, focus on industrializing the agriculture sector.”

He went on to add, “to rapidly modernize agriculture, we must get the youth engaged in the sector. We must change the perception of the youths of agriculture – they must see agriculture as a business.”

On radicalization and terrorism

The Africa Center for Strategic Studies has warned (https://goo.gl/u5Re4c) that one of the “key effect of ISIS’s continued loss of territory and operational capacity in Iraq and Syria will be an increase in the number of ISIS fighters returning to regions in Africa already facing a threat from violent Islamists.”

In his opening remarks (https://goo.gl/v8HPjX) at the West African Ministerial Conference in October 2016, Adesina observed that “today, across Africa, unemployed youths are turning into gangs, getting into kidnappings for a living, getting recruited to join terrorist groups. And those are the wrong kind of jobs.”

At his speech at the 2017 G7 conference in Italy, he referred to the deadly combination of extreme rural poverty, high youth unemployment and environmental climate degradation as the “triangle of disaster. Where these factors are found, they provide rich recruitment zones for terrorists.”

In Adesina’s view, agribusiness – more than any other economic sector – has the power to bring wealth to the rural parts of Africa

“I believe that the future millionaires of Africa will come from agriculture, not from the oil and gas industry. Agriculture will become Africa’s new oil.”

Adesina has also announced that his World Food Prize money will be used to establish a World Food Prize Global Youth Institute for Africa, an organization he said will support a new generation of agricultural scientists and innovators across Africa. This organization will nurture and produce graduates known as Borlaug-Adesina Fellows, who will become the next generation of hunger fighters.

*Source Allafrica

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Arsenal welcomes WorldRemit as first-ever Official Online Money Transfer Partner
November 17, 2017 | 0 Comments
Leading digital money transfer company WorldRemit and Arsenal partner to use the power of football to find a better way to connect communities
From Left to Right) - New signing, 1st XI defender, Sead Kolasinac; Arsenal Club Captain, Per Mertesacker; 1st XI midfielder and Arsenal Academy graduate, Jack Wilshere

From Left to Right) – New signing, 1st XI defender, Sead Kolasinac; Arsenal Club Captain, Per Mertesacker; 1st XI midfielder and Arsenal Academy graduate, Jack Wilshere

LONDON, United Kingdom, November 17, 2017/ — WorldRemit (www.WorldRemit.com) becomes the first Official Online Money Transfer Partner of the Premier League club, Arsenal (www.Arsenal.com). The leading digital money transfer business, formed by a UK-based entrepreneur from Somaliland, has joined forces with Arsenal to accelerate the company’s growth and help more people save money on international transfers.

The global partnership will provide WorldRemit with a range of rights and player access to support its expansion plans. The partnership agreement includes match day LED branding for every Premier League, League Cup and FA Cup match along with TV interview backdrop presence for every home Premier League match along with global digital and social media rights across Arsenal’s online and mobile platforms.

WorldRemit will work closely with Arsenal’s first-team players to create unique content that will support new and existing community engagement initiatives around the world.

The partnership will also reward WorldRemit’s customers and Arsenal supporters through exclusive events and experiences using the power of football to inspire people. The company will launch the partnership with the first in a number of competitions to win travel to London and tickets to watch the team play at Emirates Stadium.

WorldRemit was founded by Chief Executive Officer Ismail Ahmed, to offer a better way to send small sums of money more frequently, bringing family and friends closer together – wherever they are.

WorldRemit’s service is available to senders in 50 countries and the company offers money transfers to more than 140 destinations across Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the Americas.

The company is a global leader in international transfers paid out as mobile money – where funds can be held on mobile telephone accounts. WorldRemit connects to over 130 million mobile money accounts, enabling money to be sent safely to friends and family even if the recipient doesn’t have access to a bank account.

The partnership will support WorldRemit’s growth ambitions by helping them reach Arsenal’s 74 million followers on their official social media channels and 185 supporters’ clubs worldwide.

Vinai Venkatesham, Arsenal’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “This is an exciting new partnership with WorldRemit who under their inspirational CEO are looking to transform the way people can transfer money to family and friends around the world. We share mutual values and look forward to working together to build their global presence through our broadcast, social and digital channels which reach millions around the world. We look forward to a long and successful partnership.”

Ismail Ahmed, WorldRemit Chief Executive Officer, said: “Football is a language that everyone understands. Growing up in Somaliland, you would always see kids playing football – even during the war. It’s a passion which connects people all over the world and we are proud to sponsor a club whose values are so closely aligned to our own and those of our customers. This partnership with Arsenal creates opportunities for us to thank and reward our loyal customers and to connect with new audiences around the world. We look forward to using the power of football to support and inspire young people to fulfil their potential and to the opportunities which we can create to together.”

Arsenal (www.Arsenal.com) is one of the leading clubs in world football with a strong heritage of success, progressive thinking and financial stability.
The club was founded in 1886 in Woolwich, south London, before moving to Highbury in north London in 1913. We moved to Emirates Stadium in 2006.
Arsenal has an impressive roll of honour: English League Champions 13 times, FA Cup winners a record 13 times, League Cup winners twice and European Cup Winners’ Cup (1994) and European Fairs Cup (1970) winners once.
In addition, Arsenal Women are the most successful English club in women’s football. They celebrate their 30th season this year. The club has 45,000 season ticket holders, 1.8m digital global members and one of the biggest digital followings in the game with a reach of 74m across all channels.
The Arsenal Foundation uses the power of football and the Arsenal name to inspire and support young people in north London and across the globe. The Arsenal Foundation raises funds each year and works with a number of key partners including Save the Children, Islington Giving, Willow and the Gunners’ Fund. Locally, Arsenal in the Community has delivered programmes to drive positive social outcomes for more than 30 years.

WorldRemit (www.WorldRemit.com) is creating a better way to send money. By making it easy to send smaller sums of money more frequently, WorldRemit is bringing friends and family closer together.
WorldRemit was founded in 2010. The Chief Executive Ismail Ahmed – a UK based entrepreneur from Somaliland – saw the opportunity to give customers a better service by offering faster, lower-cost and more secure digital money transfers compared to traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ agents.
The company has grown quickly: it has ranked in the Sunday Times Tech Track top 100 list of fastest growing tech companies for the past two years in a row. Backed by Accel Partners and TCV – investors in Facebook, Spotify, Netflix and Slack. Dr Ahmed was recently voted the third most influential person in the 2018 Powerlist of 100 people, which recognises those of African and African Caribbean heritage. In 2017 WorldRemit was recognised by the FT and the IFC as the UK’s most Transformative Business in the Transformational Business Awards.
WorldRemit’s global headquarters are in London, UK with offices in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Singapore, the Philippines, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

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Agrofood & Plastprintpack West Africa 2017 featuring a record participation of 90+ exhibitors from 21 countries
November 17, 2017 | 0 Comments
West African food imports increased to 14.4. Billion US$ in 2015 compared to 13.1 billion US$ in 2014, a plus of 10% (WTO World Trade Organization)
HEIDELBERG, Germany, November 17, 2017/ — Organized by the German trade fair specialists Fairtrade (www.Fairtrade-Messe.de) the 4th edition of Agrofood (www.Agrofood-WestAfrica.com) & PlastPrintPack West Africa (www.PPP-WestAfrica.com) will take place on 05 to 07 December 2017 at the Accra International Conference Centre in Accra, Ghana. More than 90+ exhibitors from 21 countries including 5 national pavilions from Algeria, France, Netherlands, Poland and Sri Lanka, make the 2017 edition the biggest ever.  The figures of rising food imports confirm that the largest food market in Africa is still undersupplied. Rising technology imports indicate massive investments in processing, plastics and packaging equipment and a revival of local production.

West Africa’s 4th International Trade Show on Agriculture, Food & Beverage and Plastics, Printing & Packaging Solutions and Technology takes place on the background of positive economic data as figures of WTO and VDMA indicate a clear upward trend for West Africa’s Agrofood & PlastPrintPack industry. Ghana, Ivory Coast and Senegal are the largest importers of finished food as well as of agricultural and food processing and packaging technology in West Africa – apart from Nigeria.

Largest food market in Africa still undersupplied

West African food imports increased to 14.4. Billion US$ in 2015 compared to 13.1 billion US$ in 2014, a plus of 10% (WTO World Trade Organization). The figures of rising food imports show that the largest food market in Africa is still undersupplied.

 Rising technology imports indicate massive investments and a revival of local production 

  • West African imports of agricultural machinery and equipment amounted to 187 million euro in 2016 (German Engineering Federation VDMA)
  • West African imports of food processing and packaging technology increased from 506 million euro in 2015 to 556 million euro in 2016 (VDMA), up 10%
  • West Africa imported plastics technology worth 142.9 million euro in 2016, printing and paper technology of 121.8 million euro and packaging technology worth 240.2 million euro.

Rising technology imports confirm massive investments in processing, plastics and packaging equipment and indicate a revival of local production and an extremely promising medium-term development.

Agrofood & PlastPrintPack West Africa 2017 the biggest ever 

“This year 90+ exhibitors from 21 countries are represented, making the 2017 edition the biggest ever”, says Leonie Ganser, project manager at Fairtrade. “The exhibitors come from Algeria, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Iran, Italy, Korea, Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom.”

In addition to many global players, 5 national pavilions participate from:

  • Algeria, showcasing agribusiness products, solutions and technology
  • France, organized by adepta – offering French know-how and technology for agriculture, livestock and Agrofood production of 8 exhibitors
  • The Netherlands under the motto “Holland-Ghana Growing together” offering seeds, plants, processed foods and tissue culture supplies
  • Poland, displaying Agrofood products and equipment by 12 exhibitors
  • Sri Lanka Tea Board with 5 exhibitors offering Ceylon Tea

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, the French Agrofood association adepta and AVEP – Associación Valenciana de Empresarios de Plásticos.

Fairtrade (www.Fairtrade-Messe.de) 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, Fairtrade’s management system is ISO 9001: 2008 certified.

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Germany backs renewable energy projects in Africa with the launch of RLSF – an innovative liquidity facility managed by ATI
November 16, 2017 | 0 Comments
The facility is designed to provide a viable solution to one of the biggest challenges facing independent power producers (IPPs) operating in Africa
Left to right) Thomas Duve, Director Southern Africa and Regional Funds KfW Development Bank - and John Lentaigne, Chief Underwriting Officer, ATI

Left to right) Thomas Duve, Director Southern Africa and Regional Funds KfW Development Bank – and John Lentaigne, Chief Underwriting Officer, ATI

LONDON, United Kingdom, November 16, 2017/ — KfW (www.KfW-entwicklungsbank.de), the German Development Bank, and the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) (www.ATI-ACA.org) announced, on the side lines of the annual Africa Investment Exchange: Power and Renewables Meeting, a new instrument to support renewable energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa that targets small- and mid-scale (up to 50 MW) green power renewable energy projects.

The facility is designed to provide a viable solution to one of the biggest challenges facing independent power producers (IPPs) operating in Africa, specifically the requirement to provide project lenders with a liquidity guarantee. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through KfW will provide funding of up to 32.9 million EUR to the facility, which aims to enable small-and mid-scale renewable energy projects in Africa to reach financial close by addressing liquidity requirements that lenders frequently require in order to fund such projects.

The launch of the new facility is happening at an opportune moment when emerging markets are seeing record investments in the renewable energy sector. The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects sub-Saharan Africa’s renewables capacity to grow by 73% (24.4GW) over the period 2017-22. In addition, small-scale projects are seen as a potential solution to Africa’s energy deficit because they are easier to implement and can target energy requirements at source, but these projects find it difficult to access the type of guarantees needed to reach financial closure. The facility will kick in by providing immediate liquidity to keep the IPP afloat during periods of payment delays that are beyond the grace period provided in the power purchase agreement.

Günther Nooke, Personal Representative of the German Chancellor for Africa, BMZ, said “The Regional Liquidity Support Facility will address a key challenge in renewable energy project finance and de-risk private sector investments. We are pleased to provide the funding to this innovative instrument underlining Germany’s commitment to the objectives of the African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI).”

The RLSF is designed to help independent power producers (IPPs) developing renewable energy projects in Africa to obtain the liquidity they need in the event that their off-taker (frequently a state owned entity) delays payment. The facility will provide immediate cash collateral supported by guarantees to a commercial bank that will in turn open a standby letter of credit to the benefit of the IPP. The amount provided will enable the IPP to operate and service the debt for up to 6 months. Furthermore, unlike most IPP letters of credit (which tend to be 12 month tenors) the facility is designed to be in place for multiple years.

Dr. Thomas Duve, KfW Director Southern Africa and Regional Funds, noted “We highly appreciate the opportunity to partner with ATI on this innovative instrument. The RLSF is a strongly market-driven concept, emphasizing KfW’s strategy to support and leverage the resources of local partners and the private sector.”

The facility, in combination with ATI’s traditional suite of political and trade credit risk insurance products (in particular ATI’s arbitration award default cover), means that ATI is able to cover the full range of political and financial risks facing investors on such projects.

Speaking at the launch, John Lentaigne, ATI’s Chief Underwriting Officer commented “We are delighted to be working with the German government, represented by KfW, on an initiative that directly targets one of the main bottlenecks preventing green power projects from being financed in Africa.”

Jef Vincent, Senior Advisor to ATI, who has overall responsibility for the initial implementation of the facility, added “Unlike some of the alternative solutions to the liquidity issue, ATI’s guarantee (as provided via the RLSF) will not require a counter-guarantee from the relevant Ministry of Finance, and as such we are confident this will be a very useful tool for those projects that we expect to support.”

KfW (www.KfW-entwicklungsbank.de) is one of the world´s leading and most experienced promotional banks. Established in 1948 as a public law institution, KfW is owned 80 per cent by the Federal Republic of Germany and 20 per cent by the federal states (“Länder”).

KfW Development Bank is Germany’s leading development bank and an integral part of KfW. It carries out Germany´s Financial Cooperation (FC) with developing countries on behalf of the Federal Government. The 600 personnel at headquarters and 370 specialists in its 68 local offices cooperate with partners all over the world. Its goal is to combat poverty, secure the peace, protect the environment and the climate and make globalisation fair. KfW is a competent and strategic advisor on current development issues.

ATI (www.ATI-ACA.org) was founded in 2001 by African States to cover the trade and investment risks of companies doing business in Africa. ATI provides a range of Political and Credit Risk, insurance covers and has a particular focus on supporting Foreign Direct Investment. As of 2016, ATI had supported over US$25 billion in trade and investments across Africa in multiple sectors and now supports trade and investments equivalent to an average of 1% of GDP annually in member countries. ATI is one of the most trusted institutions in Africa with an ‘A/negative’ rating for Financial Strength and Counterparty Credit by S&P.
www.ATI-aca.org

SOURCE
African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI)

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The future of African ports is also the future of Africa’s economic success
November 16, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Gilbert Saggia*

Gilbert Saggia

Gilbert Saggia

NAIROBI, Kenya, 16 November 2017,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Statistics indicate that 90% of imports and exports in Africa are driven by sea. With a global middle class set to reach 5 billion people by 2030, global trade is set to continue to grow at an unprecedented rate1. Reports suggest that global freighter fleet is expected to double over the next decade due to the growing consumption demands of the ever-increasing middle class.

Beyond fulfilling their respective countries’ trade needs, ports act as gateways to land-locked countries such as Ethiopia and Chad, that have significant agrarian and raw materials export potential, and great need for imports of finished and processed goods from the East and West. Without these gateways, land locked countries that have much to offer in world trade are figuratively closed for shop.

If Africa is to play a meaningful role in world trade and benefit from the rapid global growth, its sea ports will be key to ensuring that success. However, African ports face the primary challenges of under-developed infrastructure and inefficient operations, leading to significant losses in potential revenue. According to PWC, of the 72% of world container throughput commanded by developing countries, Africa collectively only sees 1%. A hypothetical improvement from 1% to 3% would increase the economic value of trade by sea by a magnitude equivalent to the GDP of certain African countries. There is clearly a need to drive improved performance at African ports if we are to take advantage of the economic promise that the future holds.

What’s holding back our sea trade success

The primary challenges shared by most African ports are long cargo clearance times; under-developed basic port and hinterland infrastructure; usage of dated equipment and low levels of automation; and container and cargo theft.

To help address some of these challenges, global donor organisations are funding the development of various African trade corridors. This is witnessed in the significant investments that are going into port infrastructure capacity expansion, including parking lot expansions, deepening of canals and the widening of basins. Infrastructure investment is however only one piece of the puzzle required to handle more cargo in a more efficient manner.

The key to efficiency is for ports to do more with their existing resources, particularly those focused on moving cargo. By optimising the utilisation of these resources, ports will not only improve their cargo throughput but also become more profitable. According to SAP global performance benchmarking, ports that leverage technology to drive productivity improvements have a 36% higher operating margin than their peers. As an example, in Asia where ports are largely automated, the turnaround time for vessels – the time it takes to port, offload cargo, reload, and depart – can be as little as 7 hours compared to the 5-day average for an African port. Cargo vessels can also spend a full month longer in an African port than they would in an Asian equivalent.

One of the key differentiating factors of leading global ports is the extent to which they have adopted emerging technologies. For example IoT driven smart logistics platforms and advanced analytics solutions that manage container theft, predict the failure of key equipment, and reduce downtime, in real-time, thereby increasing port throughput and protecting profit margins. By contrast, outdated technology and manual processes remain a burden for African ports with most operators still relying on ageing equipment, disparate systems and a siloed approach to handling core processes and operations.

Moving forward for Africa’s ports

To address the challenges and overcome some of the prevailing inhibitors to their success and growth, African ports are embracing various technologies to achieve performance improvements realised by their counterparts in other geographies. In pursuit of such performance excellence, African port authorities have identified two top-level goals: increasing port throughput and improving terminal operations. To increase port throughput, port authorities are considering ways to accelerate the flow of goods through their port by reducing congestion in the value chain. By leveraging hub logistics, transportation management solutions, and connected warehouse offerings, port authorities can accelerate the rate of information exchange across the multiple stakeholders in the port value chain, and unlock the ability to conduct real-time performance monitoring of key assets. This enables them to track profitability at an asset level, enabling them to identify potential new business opportunities. As an example, the Hamburg Port Authority simplified logistics and truck park management with SAP Hub Logistics, and was able to reduce idle time for carriers, improve its traffic management system, and achieve a higher turnover of traffic from 9 million containers to an eventual 25 million.

To improve terminal operations, African ports need to adopt automation as a means of standardising and simplifying port operations. In addition, these ports require a centralised approach to managing processes, enabled by a single platform for all automation efforts. This will allow them to handle unusual circumstances by pre-empting potential business disruption, recommending remediation actions and facilitating communication between stakeholders across the port value chain, with no duplication of efforts or messaging.

Realising Africa’s economic potential

With 30% of the world’s remaining mineral resources and approximately 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land on the continent, Africa’s relevance in the global food and resource transportation value chain is significant. The success of Africa’s ports and associated transport networks is critical to Africa’s conversion of economic potential to economic success. To adequately facilitate greater trade with the world, African ports need to embrace innovation, automation and simplification. By investing in the right business solutions that offer end to end transportation management, connected warehouse management, vessel and container track-and-trace, and inter alia, improved hub logistics, African ports can take a step closer toward enriching the continent.

Partnering with a global technology provider such as SAP, African ports can adopt innovative business models, streamline operations, and scale their operations to meet future demand and realise their full potential.

As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP (NYSE: SAP) helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device – SAP empowers people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP applications and services enable more than 345,000 business and public sector customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably.
*Gilbert Saggia is  Managing Director,East Africa at SAP Africa
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Ecobank Group Research reveals three key emerging trends for Africa
November 16, 2017 | 0 Comments
Digital innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa is being driven by the explosion in mobile phone usage, enabling African consumers to leapfrog existing business models and technologies
LONDON, United Kingdom, November 16, 2017/ —

  • Rebounding economy after a trying year
  • Gas is West Africa’s new oil
  • Africa’s evolving role in FinTech leadership

The 2017 version of Ecobank Research’s Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities (FICC) Guidebook, which provides expert knowledge and analysis on African markets for investors and businesses, was launched today at AfricaFICC. Indicating a positive outlook for the continent, three key trends are forecast to take hold during the next 12 months.

The first indicates an economic rebound in sub-Saharan Africa (https://goo.gl/f1PQQm) driven by a recovery in the region’s economic heavyweights, Nigeria and South Africa, and ongoing growth in the top performers, Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire and (more recently) Ghana.

  • Growth will be driven by a rise in oil production (notably in Ghana, Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Angola), strengthening infrastructure investment across West and East Africa, and improved weather conditions which bode well for crops.
  • Strengthening economic activity, plus a moderate improvement in oil and mineral prices, will help narrow the current account deficit, but pressure on SSA currencies will remain.

The second emerging trend points to West Africa’s gas sector becoming a hive of activity in 2018 (https://goo.gl/L6NEkF) from Senegal to Angola, with the development of gas pipelines, floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) platforms and major gas field projects.

  • Governments in the Gulf of Guinea and across West Africa have ramped up efforts to secure gas supply in order to boost domestic power generation and diversify their revenues away from crude oil.
  • Deregulating the gas market and allowing market-driven gas prices will be key to unlocking further gas infrastructure investment across the region.

The third trend suggests Fintech innovation in Africa picking up speed in 2018 (https://goo.gl/Z52dpk) buoyed by a new generation of Africans who are ‘digital natives’. The proliferation of tech hubs across Africa (notably in South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire) will nurture the next wave of African start-ups and help connect them with investors.

  • Digital innovation in SSA is being driven by the explosion in mobile phone usage, enabling African consumers to leapfrog existing business models and technologies.
  • African Fintech firms are increasingly driving this innovation, deploying digital tools to build credit profiles for the previously ‘unbankable’, providing electricity to rural households that were previously off the grid, even using artificial intelligence to diagnose health problems remotely.

Edward George, Head of Ecobank Group Research, said: “The digital world moves apace, and so must we. The AfricaFICC website is a key way that we can deliver our regional market analysis and expert local knowledge of 41 African markets – which is often hard to access – to a much wider audience. We think these three trends are strong evidence that Africa has weathered the storms of late and is very much on track for improved growth in 2018.”

The Ecobank Research Centre (https://Goo.gl/1pUKzB) is dedicated to providing the highest quality research for clients to help them navigate the complex African marketplace. Areas covered include; Economics, Banking and Financial services, Oil, Gas & Power, Soft Commodities, Trade and Digital Innovation. A team of seasoned analysts based across Ecobank’s 36-country footprint is able to draw upon on extensive local knowledge to provide insights for clients and identify investment opportunities. The insights focus on Middle Africa – the region between North Africa and the Rand Zone, which has the richest potential for growth but is poorly understood. Ecobank Research provides regular market updates, briefing notes and detailed studies on the region’s macroeconomics, currencies, fixed income, equities, commodities, trade and digital innovation. Additional information about the research team and an archive of published reports can be found at https://Goo.gl/1pUKzB.

Incorporated in Lomé, Togo, in 1988 Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) (www.Ecobank.com) the parent company of Ecobank is the leading independent pan-African banking group. 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 20,000 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.

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What has become of Africa’s deposed leaders?
November 16, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Carley Petesch*

FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016 file photo, Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh shows his inked finger before voting in Banjul, Gambia. Jammeh took power in 1994 in a bloodless coup, ruling the tiny West African nation for more than 22 years. His regime was accused of overseeing human rights abuses to silence opponents. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

FILE – In this Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016 file photo, Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh shows his inked finger before voting in Banjul, Gambia. Jammeh took power in 1994 in a bloodless coup, ruling the tiny West African nation for more than 22 years. His regime was accused of overseeing human rights abuses to silence opponents. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

DAKAR, Senegal — As shock continues over the fate of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, who vowed to rule until death but now finds himself in military custody, here’s a look at other larger-than-life African leaders who spent years in power, then lost it.

Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh

Jammeh took power in 1994 in a bloodless coup, ruling the tiny West African nation for more than 22 years. His regime was accused of overseeing human rights abuses to silence opponents. In a stunning turn of events, Gambians last year elected opposition coalition candidate Adama Barrow, who was forced to wait in neighboring Senegal during a weeks-long political standoff until Jammeh finally flew into exile in Equatorial Guinea with his family and close aides. Jammeh has not been heard from since.

Congo’s Mobuto Sese Seko

Mobutu seized power in a military coup in 1965, five years after the vast, mineral-rich nation gained independence from Belgium. His leadership had the support of the United States and other Western governments. After a legendary, corrupt dictatorship that lasted more than 30 years and left the country then called Zaire in shambles, he was overthrown in 1997 by Laurent Kabila. Mobutu took refuge in Morocco in 1997, where he died of prostate cancer.

Uganda’s Idi Amin Dada

Idi Amin’s eight-year rule was defined by the deaths of up to 300,000 people. He was famously mercurial, targeting certain ethnic groups but also journalists, lawyers and others he saw as possible opposition. Yet for more than 25 years he was never punished for bringing misery to the once-prosperous country and never expressed remorse. He sought exile in Saudi Arabia after his government was ousted in 1979. He died there in 2003 after being on life support and suffering from kidney failure.

Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi

At age 27, Gadhafi emerged in 1969 as leading a group of officers who overthrew the monarchy of King Idris. Gadhafi became a symbol of anti-Western defiance in a Third World recently liberated from European colonial rulers. He ruled with brutality during his nearly 42 years in power, leaving behind an oil-rich nation drained of its institutions. Rebels overwhelmed the capital in 2011 and drove him into hiding in Sirte, where he was pulled from a drainage tunnel and killed. He became the first ruler killed in the Arab Spring uprisings that swept the region.

Liberia’s Charles Taylor

FILE - In this undated file photo, Liberian President Charles Taylor sits on a throne during a ceremony in Monrovia where Ghanian immigrants crowned him Chief Okatakyie, "The Greatest of Warriors". Taylor served as Liberia's president between 1997 and 2003, and was accused of greed and savagery during his leadership. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

FILE – In this undated file photo, Liberian President Charles Taylor sits on a throne during a ceremony in Monrovia where Ghanian immigrants crowned him Chief Okatakyie, “The Greatest of Warriors”. Taylor served as Liberia’s president between 1997 and 2003, and was accused of greed and savagery during his leadership. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

Former warlord Taylor was president between 1997 and 2003 and was accused of greed and savagery. The second of the country’s back-to-back civil wars, which together killed more than 250,000 people, occurred under his rule. He fled to Nigeria in 2003 as part of a deal to end the war, which he had financed by trafficking in diamonds from neighboring Sierra Leone. He was extradited to face charges of crimes against humanity at a U.N.-supported Special Court for his role in fomenting conflict in Sierra Leone. In 2012 he became the first former head of state convicted by an international war crimes court since World War II. He is serving a 50-year sentence in Britain.

Burkina Faso’s Blaise Compaore

FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2012 file photo, the then Burkina Faso's president Blaise Compaore speaks to the media after a meeting with France's President Francois Hollande in Paris. Compaore came to power after a bloody 1987 coup that killed the West African nation's revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara. After ruling for more than 27 years, Compaore tried to amend the constitution to seek another term in office. Faced with a popular uprising, he was forced to step down in 2014. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

FILE – In this Sept. 18, 2012 file photo, the then Burkina Faso’s president Blaise Compaore speaks to the media after a meeting with France’s President Francois Hollande in Paris. Compaore came to power after a bloody 1987 coup that killed the West African nation’s revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara. After ruling for more than 27 years, Compaore tried to amend the constitution to seek another term in office. Faced with a popular uprising, he was forced to step down in 2014. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

Compaore came to power after a bloody 1987 coup that killed the West African nation’s revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara. After ruling for more than 27 years, Compaore tried to amend the constitution to seek another term in office. Faced with a popular uprising, he was forced to step down in 2014. He fled into exile and is now living as a citizen of Ivory Coast. Human rights groups want him extradited to face justice for several murders he is accused of during his reign, including that of Sankara.

Chad’s Hissene Habre

Habre’s rule from 1982 to 1990 was marked by human rights abuses that eventually saw him forced from power by current President Idriss Deby. For more than 20 years, Habre lived a life of luxurious exile in Senegal until paramilitary police took him into custody. The Extraordinary African Chambers was created by the African Union and Senegal to try him for crimes committed during his presidency. In May, he was found guilty of crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture and sex crimes and was sentenced to life in prison. It was the first conviction of a former head of state by an African court for crimes against humanity.

Ethiopia’s Mengistu Haile Mariam

Mengistu Haile Mariam ruled Ethiopia from 1974 to 1991 and is blamed for the killing of hundreds of students, intellectuals and politicians during the “Red Terror” against supposed enemies of his Soviet-backed military dictatorship. He fled a rebellion in 1991 and was taken in by Mugabe in Zimbabwe. His army had helped to train Mugabe’s guerrillas in their struggle for independence from white rule. Mengistu was convicted in absentia by an Ethiopian court in 2006 of genocide and later sentenced to death, but Zimbabwe has refused to extradite him.

*Source AP

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Namibia to host 2017 edition of NEPAD Programme for Infrastructure for Africa (PIDA) week
November 16, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

SADC Ministers responsible for Transport and Meteorology have
revealed that the 2017 edition of the NEPAD Programme for
Infrastructure for Africa (PIDA) Week aimed at highlighting
infrastructure development in Africa would be hosted by Namibia.
In a recent communique released in Malawi by the ministers, PIDA week
is hosted on a rotational basis and this year it is SADC’s turn.
Ministers agreed to support Namibia and to participate in PIDA Week
activities and meetings from 10 to 14 December 2017 in Swakopmund,
Namibia.

At the Malawi meeting, ministers analyzed the sluggish
implementation of cross-border infrastructure projects through the
lens of national ownership of the regional programmes. They concluded
that regional cross-border infrastructure, particularly in the areas
of transport, and meteorology, has the potential to facilitate
intra-regional trade and investment including unlocking national
and regional comparative advantages. Ministers underscored the need to
address the special needs of landlocked countries to access the rest
of the world.

Ministers concluded that partnership is the main strategy to implement
regional projects. They also agreed that placing regional projects on
the national agenda is the core of creating an enabling environment,
because the projects only kick off after they get attention of
national politicians and policy makers.

The ministers have also reported that the high ratio of landlocked
countries, the long distances to gateway ports, the lack of an
integrated and liberalised road transport market in the East and
Southern African regions pose numerous obstacles and impediments to
trade.
The ministers also noted that to bring a solution to the
challenges the Tripartite Transport and Transit Facilitation
Programmes (TTTFP) that they approved in 2015 has since been approved
by COMESA and the EAC. Ministers also noted that the Tripartite
Ministers responsible for Infrastructure launched the TTTFP in Dar es
Salaam Tanzania as it is a Tripartite flagship programme.
SADC Secretariat on behalf of the Tripartite coordinates the
programme. The TTTFP purpose is to develop and implement harmonised
road transport policies, laws, regulations and standards for efficient
cross border road transport and transit networks, transport and
logistics services, systems and procedures in the Tripartite region.

According to the Programme for Infrastructure for Africa (PIDA) more
needs to be done to improve railways operations so that at least 30%
of Africa’s international traffic is moved by rail. It is reported
that through the implementation of the Regional Railway Revitalization
Initiative (RRI) Pilot Rail Study Project, the NEPAD Business
Foundation commenced execution of the North South Corridor Study in
February 2017.

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African Innovation Foundation and African Academy of Sciences sign MoU to drive STI-led research into solutions addressing challenges across the continent
November 16, 2017 | 0 Comments

Agreement aims to unlock African potential to catalyze research-led innovations into sustainable enterprises

 

 

Nairobi, Kenya| Thursday, 16 November 2017:  The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The African Academy of Sciences(AAS) today in Nairobi, to create more value and enhance cooperation, interaction, and knowledge sharing in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in Africa. The agreement was signed by Ambassador Walter Fust, Chairman of the Board, AIF and Prof. Felix Dapare Dakora, President of AAS. The MoU underpins the commitment by both organizations to catalyze research-led innovations into sustainable enterprises and to create opportunities for collaboration and knowledge exchange between researchers and grassroots innovators.

Africa’s investment in research and development (R&D) is less than 1 per cent of the global investment share, and STI infrastructure and resources continue to fall short. These factors are amongst the reasons that very few scientific discoveries translate into viable solutions that solve real African challenges. Furthermore, there is a need for increased collaboration between researchers and innovators to facilitate knowledge transfer that will enable the creation of more impactful and marketable innovations across the continent.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Prof Dakora said:  “This far reaching partnership combines the expertise and knowledge from the AAS and the AIF bringing added value and developing a strategic way forward for rallying support and providing answers for the needs of African innovators. We are thrilled with the partnership.”

Walter Fust, commented, “We are pleased to sign the MoU with AAS and welcome them as one of our major science and technology partners. This partnership is a vital step towards enabling research-driven innovation in Africa. Currently, the bulk of emerging scientific ideas on the continent are driven by abstract pieces of research that do not always correlate to African needs, rendering many African innovations commercially unviable. Our partnership with AAS aims to bridge the gap between science and research outputs, and support the development of affordable and accessible solutions needed across Africa.”

The partnership provides a framework for AIF and AAS to harness each other’s expertise and networks to promote scientific capacity building to enhance ownership, support and sustainability of African innovations. It seeks to introduce and implement joint initiatives to create awareness about the role of STI in African countries and strategically support the development and growth of African innovation ecosystems across the continent. The partnership enables exchange and access to key innovation insights, offering AIF’s network of innovators, innovation enablers and partners’ exclusive access to AAS events, scientific information and other opportunities.

As part of the MoU, AAS will extend its support towards promoting the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA), a landmark initiative of AIF aimed at spurring growth of innovative, market-driven African solutions to African challenges. In addition to promoting national or regional innovation initiatives, AAS and AIF will seek to mobilize other partners and necessary resources to ensure benchmarking and scaling of innovations relevant for sustainable development in Africa.

During the MoU signing ceremony, AIF and AAS jointly hosted a roundtable on the role of science in driving viable and inclusive innovation opportunities in Africa. Themed, “Catalyzing African Innovations into Sustainable Enterprises”, the roundtable brought together representatives of government, policy makers, business leaders, innovators, academia, and innovation enablers. The panelists included Ambassador Walter Fust, Chairman of the Board, AIF; Prof. Felix Dapare Dakora, President, AAS; Dr Kamal Bhattarchaya, Chief Innovation Officer, Safaricom; Mr. Michael Murungi – Manager, Policy & Government Relations, East Africa (Google); and Mr. Alex Mwaura Muriu, IPA 2015- 2nd Prize Winner who shared insights on how science and research enablers can collaborate with business stakeholders and grassroots innovators to increase the impact of African innovation.

Since 2011, AIF has proactively supported strengthening African innovation ecosystems through collaborative programs and strategic partnerships with governments and innovation influencers across the continent through the IPA. The annual Award celebrates outstanding breakthroughs that deliver practical and commercially viable African solutions that are innovative and sustainable. The call for entries for IPA 2018 is currently underway with a submission deadline of 10 January 2018 at 23:59pm GMT. Innovators from across the continent can submit their applications by clicking on https://ipa.africaninnovation.org or watching the video on https://youtu.be/MdO0I9GKfJU for more details.

###

The African Academy of Sciences is a pan African organisation headquartered in Kenya that aims to drive sustainable development in Africa through science technology and innovation. It has a tripartite mandate of pursuing excellence through recognising scholars and achievers; providing advisory and think tank functions for shaping the continent’s strategies and policies; and implementing key science, technology and innovation programs that impact on developmental challenges through the new agenda setting and funding platform, the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA). AESA was created by AAS and the NEPAD Agency.

African Innovation Foundation (AIF) works to increase the prosperity of Africans by catalyzing the innovation spirit in Africa.

Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) is a landmark initiative of the AIF. Its goal is to strengthen African innovation ecosystems through supporting a culture of innovation and competitiveness, whilst spurring growth of innovative, market-driven African solutions to African challenges.

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On World Children’s Day, African youth share their vision of the Africa they want
November 16, 2017 | 1 Comments
Live stream of the youth on stage on 20 November at: http://AfricaDialogues.com
DAKAR, Senegal, November 15, 2017/ — Eager to make their voices heard, 10 youth from eight African countries will take over the stage in Accra (Ghana) on World Children’s Day to tell the world about the Africa they want to live in, through a series of short, powerful talks.

The 10 girls and boys aged 12 to 19 year old from Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Togo will deliver inspirational talks at the Africa Dialogues (www.AfricaDialogues.com) event on issues affecting children and youth on the continent, sharing their vision of what they want Africa’s future to be.

“The problems facing Africa affect children first, so they feel the impact of the problems more than the adults,” said Andrew Adansi-Bonnah, 17-year-old from Ghana, who will speak about hunger and malnutrition in Africa. “Giving children a platform to speak on issues bothering them can help to reduce their sufferings. I expect that this event is going to boost up children’s level of motivation and aspirations.”

The event is a collaboration between the People Initiative Foundation (www.ThePeoplesInitiative.org) and UNICEF (www.UNICEF.org) to mark World Children’s Day, the anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. On that day, a series of global events will see children and youth around the world ‘take over’ key roles in media, politics, business, sport and entertainment to help save children’s lives, fight for their rights and fulfil their potential.

In Accra, the youth will address some of the critical issues facing Africa now and in the future:

  • Hamado Moussa Diallo, 18, from Burkina Faso, will talk about the importance of education
  • Élie Yedou, 18, from Côte d’Ivoire, will talk about a peaceful and hunger-free Africa
  • Fatoumatta A. Camara, 18, from The Gambia, will talk about female genital mutilation
  • Victoria Kweinorki Quaynor, 19, from Ghana, will talk about neglected children
  • Andrew Adansi-Bonnah, 17, from Ghana, will talk about hunger and malnutrition
  • Natasha Adu, 12, from Ghana, will talk about sanitation
  • Hadja Idrissa Bah, 18, from Guinea, will talk about child marriage
  • Fatima Aliyu Gebi, 17, from Nigeria, will talk about the plight and plea of the northern girl child
  • Rebecca Evelyn Deborah Sankoh, 18, from Sierra Leone, will talk about education and development
  • Abra Rosaline Tsekpuia, 19, from Togo, will talk about food security

The youth takeover of Africa Dialogues will be streamed live at http://AfricaDialogues.comduring a public event in Accra on 20 November 2017 between 9am and 3pm (GMT). Recordings will later be made available on the Africa Dialogues website.

Africa Dialogues (www.AfricaDialogues.com) is an Africa thought-leadership platform that focuses on broad-ranging discussions on governance and human rights, education, youth unemployment, infrastructure, public health, gender and income inequality, Africa’s economies and urban development towards helping our continent attain the African Union Agenda 2063 and the global Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

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GE’s Hardware and Digital Upgrades Help Increase Efficiency and Output at Azito Power Plant in Ivory Coast
November 16, 2017 | 0 Comments
Plant’s output will increase by up to 30 Megawatts, helping the country to meet its electricity needs
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, November 15, 2017/ —

  • Project at Azito Power Plant in Abidjan marks GE’s first GT13E2 MXL2 Gas Turbine Upgrade in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Plant’s output will increase by up to 30 Megawatts, helping the country to meet its electricity needs.
  • Upgrade includes GE’s Predix*-based Operations Optimization Solution to improve overall plant performance.
GE’s Hardware and Digital Upgrades Help Increase Efficiency and Output at Azito Power Plant in Ivory Coast

GE’s Hardware and Digital Upgrades Help Increase Efficiency and Output at Azito Power Plant in Ivory Coast

To improve performance and provide valuable insights and visibility into plant and turbine operations, GE’s Power Services business (NYSE: GE)   today announced it has signed an agreement with Azito Energie S.A. (Azito)  to upgrade two gas turbines at the company’s combined-cycle power plant. GE’s hardware upgrade and Operations Optimization   digital solutions will help increase power output by up to 30 megawatts (MW) and will equip Azito with the insights it needs to increase efficiency and improve operations at the power plant. The project, located in the Yopougon district of Ivory Coast, marks GE’s first GT13E2 MXL2 gas turbine upgrade  order in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“As the electricity sector has undergone significant reform in Ivory Coast, new regulations have helped foster a more welcoming environment to help Ivorians gain access to electricity,” said Luc Aye, managing director of Azito Energie. “At the center of this agreement with GE is our commitment to provide the people of Ivory Coast with access to more reliable electricity. With GE’s upgrade package and digital solutions, we will produce more power, improve the efficiency of the plant and reduce our carbon footprint.”

In addition to increasing power output by up to 30 MW, upgrades on the turbines are expected to deliver a combined-cycle efficiency increase, resulting in significant fuel savings and reduced CO2 emissions. GE’s solutions will also extend inspection intervals for the gas turbines, reducing maintenance and repair expenses—which, in turn, will reduce overall plant costs and result in improving profitability.

“With the Azito power plant producing more than a third of the electricity in Ivory Coast, these improvements will have a wide-reaching impact on the country’s energy landscape” said Elisee Sezan, general manager, GE’s Power Services business for Sub-Saharan Africa. “Until two decades ago, the country was heavily reliant upon hydroelectric power and fell into an energy crisis when the electricity output from its dams was drastically reduced due to droughts. With this project, we look forward to supporting Azito Energie in its efforts to help Ivory Coast achieve its strategic energy objectives  to increase existing plants’ efficiency and double the installed capacity it had in early 2013 by 2020.”

The installation of GE’s Predix*-based Operations Optimization solution will provide numerous operational benefits at the Azito plant. Slated for installation in mid-2018, the software will equip Azito with deep insights and key performance indicator (KPI)-based analytics to help improve overall plant performance. It delivers enterprise data visibility across power plant and fleet-wide footprints, providing a holistic understanding of operational decisions. The solution also can provide operational benefits such as:

  • Improved reliability and availability via enhanced predictivity.
  • More accurate performance monitoring and forecasting.
  • Dispatch enhancement via improved visibility into plant capability.
  • Lower production costs and asset generation forecasting for improved asset dispatch.

“With GE’s Operations Optimization software, Azito will be able to improve productivity across its worldwide fleet with fact-based actions that align to KPIs,” said Narendra Asnani, Executive Sales Director, GE’s Power Services business for Sub-Saharan Africa. “It will also enable them to tackle operational issues, meet business demand, align people and systems, and reach true plant capacity while reducing cost and downtime.”

GE is a historical player and a pioneer in Ivory Coast, particularly in the power sector. For example, the first ever gas turbines (Vridi, 1984), the first independent power production project (Ciprel, 1994) and the first combined-cycle power plants in the country (Azito and Ciprel, 2015) all run mainly on GE technology. In 2015, the company demonstrated its commitment to help bolster the Ivorian power sector to meet future demand increases and challenges with the signing of a cross-sector Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Ivory Coast. In the MoU, GE agreed to support the country in attaining its infrastructure development goals, which include adding 1 gigawatt of power to the Ivorian national grid.

Azito Energie S.A. (www.AzitoEnergie.com) develops, owns, and operates the Azito power plant that produces electricity using natural gas resources in Ivory Coast. The company was founded in 1997 and is based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. As of November 1, 2010, Azito Energie S.A. is owned by Globeleq Generation Limited and Industrial Promotion Services (West Africa). Azito Operations and Management (Azito O&M), a subsidiary of Globeleq, is operating and maintaining the plant under an operation and maintenance agreement between Azito O&M and Azito Energie.

GE (NYSE: GE) (www.GE.com) is the world’s Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive. GE is organized around a global exchange of knowledge, the “GE Store,” through which each business shares and accesses the same technology, markets, structure and intellect. Each invention further fuels innovation and application across our industrial sectors. With people, services, technology and scale, GE delivers better outcomes for customers by speaking the language of industry

GE Power (www.GEpower.com) is a world energy leader that provides technology, solutions and services across the entire energy value chain from the point of generation to consumption. We are transforming the electricity industry by uniting all the resources and scale of the world’s first Digital Industrial company. Our customers operate in more than 150 countries, and together we power more than a third of the world to illuminate cities, build economies and connect the world.

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Third Africa Business Media Innovators Summit To Convene Media Visionaries From 20 African Nations in Ghana
November 15, 2017 | 0 Comments
Delegates Gather in Accra to Address the Changing Media Landscape and New Hybrid Models 
ACCRA, Ghana, 12th November, 2017,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- More than 100 senior executives, entrepreneurs and thought-leaders from media, tech, business and civil society will gather in Accra from Sunday 12 to Tuesday 14 November, for the annual Africa Business Media Innovators summit (ABMI), to discuss the changing face of media and new hybrid models.

Convened by Bloomberg Philanthropies in partnership with the Ford Foundation, Africa Business Media Innovators is a part of the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa, a pan-Africa program launched by Michael R. Bloomberg to advance business journalism on the continent.

ABMI 2017 will be hosted by Matthew Winker, Co-Founder of Bloomberg News and Editor Emeritus, and Justin B. Smith, CEO of Bloomberg Media, and will examine the many new trends and approaches in the wider communications sector, from revenue models to content creation and distribution. The forum is designed so that media companies can share their strategies for navigating these changes, and their efforts to impact inclusive and sustainable economic growth on the continent.

H.E. President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana will welcome the delegates from across Africa, the United Kingdom and United States, and open the convening.

The program will include moderated discussions, interactive sessions, extended Q&As, and interviews with, among others: Strive Masiyiwa, Econet; Khanyi Dhlomo, Ndalo Media; Samuel Attah Mensah, OMNI Media Group; Kadija Patel, Mail & Guardian; Amrote Abdella, Microsoft 4Afrika; Omar Ben Yedder, IC Publications; Adama Wade, Financial Afrik; Erik Charas, Verdade; Caroline Southey, The Conversation; Turi Munthe, North Based Media; and Herbert Wigwe, Access Bank.

The event appeals to a global audience with a focus on the media industry in Africa. The topics which will be covered include:

· The changing face of media in Africa and other emerging markets
· Strengthening African media capacity by innovating with new hybrid models
· Leveraging the changes in media practices to enable Africans to tell stories about Africa · The role of business journalism and African media as a driver of inclusive growth

The upcoming forum will also consider: how business leaders across the continent and globally can continue to contribute to a vibrant media sector; what the primary source of revenue will be; what medium consumers will rely on for news in the next five to ten years; and what enabling factors will enhance media and business journalism.

Matthew Winkler, Co-Founder of Bloomberg News and Editor-in-Chief Emeritus says: “As the geopolitical landscape changes with African economies showing the most dynamic demographic opportunity for growth, the continent must continue to build media capacity that will serve Africans’ increasing need for accurate and relevant business information. This annual gathering of global industry peers is testament to the power and determination of the communications industry to drive and maintain growth.”

The ABMI summit was previously hosted in Kenya and South Africa, where stakeholders and influencers of the media and business landscape in Africa addressed the importance of a robust financial journalism sector, and the value of data and data-related technologies to drive international investment and economic growth. Admittance to this event is on an invitation-only basis. For more information, please visit the Africa Business Media Innovators 2017 site.

 

 

“Media professionals hold a very powerful role. They have the power to change mindsets, provide fresh perspectives and influence behavior. This applies to financial markets as well as to geopolitical dynamics, perceptions about gender, and inter-regional dialogue. It is important that media engages in this role responsibly. With modern platforms and technology, ethical reporting is increasingly vital,” Graça Machel, Executive Director and Founder, Graça Machel Trust.

“Media, in whatever shape or form, will strengthen in Africa. There is a desire for better content, for better journalism, for original African content. We will reach a critical mass where commercially we will have the resources to produce this. Right now, things are too fragmented, too few resources are invested in local content, and governments in general are not interested in developing a vibrant media environment.

“That said, I continue to see an unwavering commitment from entrepreneurs and media practitioners to invest money and time to develop the media industry as a whole, so there is no reason why we shouldn’t be able to achieve this. But like all businesses right now, media houses will have to be nimble and know how to adapt to create a sustainable business model, which is easier said than done,” Omar Ben Yedder, Group Publisher and Managing Director, IC Publications.

“We need collaborative thinking about how we manage the stresses and strains being experienced by the media in Africa. New models are being tried and tested all the time. It’s wonderful that Bloomberg is providing the opportunity for these experiences to be shared and for all of us to learn from one another. I’m looking forward to sharing the successes, and the hard knocks, we’ve taken getting The Conversation Africa established in the south, east and west of the continent,” Caroline Southey, Editor, The Conversation Africa.

“We are happy to be partnering with Bloomberg Philanthropies for ABMI 2017, a third in a series of enriching and thought provoking sessions about Africa media. We believe in the transformative power of the media and will continue to support innovative approaches that can leverage on this power to give voice to the voiceless and drive a growth that is inclusive across the African continent,” Paul Nwulu, Programme Officer, West Africa, Ford Foundation.

Bloomberg Philanthropies works in over 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2016, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $600 million.

The Ford Foundation is an independent, non-profit, grant-making organization. For more than 75 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

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Nigeria’s Vice President and Mastercard President and CEO Discuss Role of Technology in Country’s Development
November 15, 2017 | 0 Comments
The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN, GCON with MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga

The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN, GCON with MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga

ABUJA, Nigeria- November 15, 2017-/African Media Agency(AMA)/ – His Excellency, The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN, GCON, met with the Mastercard President and CEO, Mr. Ajay Banga during a private meeting in which the two discussed the importance of developing a digital framework for Nigeria to support the country’s ongoing transformation, ensuring the development of a more inclusive economy.

Vice President Osinbajo recognized the critical role of technology in driving Nigeria’s development, to help enable the country to benefit from the expansion of consumer and business spend as cities become hubs for commerce.

Mr Banga spoke to the company’s investment into the sector with the launch of Masterpass QR, which is geared to help local businesses overcome barriers to growth.

From Left to Right: Paul Tswanya, Vice President, Government Services&Solutions, Mastercard; Omokehinde Adebanjo (Vice President and Area Business Head, West Africa, Mastercard); Raghu Malhotra (President, Middle East and Africa, Mastercard); His Excellency The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN, GCON; Ajay Banga, President and CEO, Mastercard

From Left to Right: Paul Tswanya, Vice President, Government Services&Solutions, Mastercard; Omokehinde Adebanjo (Vice President and Area Business Head, West Africa, Mastercard); Raghu Malhotra (President, Middle East and Africa, Mastercard); His Excellency The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN, GCON; Ajay Banga, President and CEO, Mastercard

He further highlighted the role that technology and innovation is playing in driving new opportunities to enable diversified economic growth, a point that resonates with the government’s development goals. With half of the population residing in cities and generating more than 60 percent of the country’s GDP, it will be vital to find efficient ways to serve the growing demand on services and infrastructure. Current estimates predicate that by 2035 close to 30 million people are likely to live in Lagos, turning it into the largest megacity on the continent.

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Ethiopian wins AFRAA airline of the year award for the 6th year in a row
November 15, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Mr. Busera Awel, CCO, & Mr. Henok Teferra, VP Strategic Planning and Alliances, while receiving the award

Mr. Busera Awel, CCO, & Mr. Henok Teferra, VP Strategic
Planning and Alliances, while receiving the award

Ethiopian Airlines, the largest Aviation Group and SKYTRAX certified
Four Star Global Airline, has won the airline of the year award, for
the sixth consecutive year in a row, by the African Airlines
Association (AFRAA) during its 49th Annual General Assembly held on
November 13, 2017, in Kigali, Rwanda.

The AFRAA annual awards recognize excellence in service delivery,
innovation and competitiveness in airlines, individuals and service
providers in the African aviation industry.

It is reported that Ethiopian Airlines has been chosen for its
remarkable performance revealed through its exceptional profitability
for the financial year ended June 2016, exemplary cooperation with
other African carriers, cargo development in the continent, and
significant expansion of its route network helping to connect Africa
together and with the rest of the world.

Group CEO Ethiopian Airlines, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam said, “As a
truly indigenous and home-grown Pan-African airline owned, managed and
operated by Africans, we are highly honored to receive this
recognition by fellow sisterly airlines in the continent for the 6th
consecutive year. I would like to thank AFRAA and sisterly airlines in
the continent for recognizing our efforts in nurturing cooperation
with other sisterly African Airlines and in availing efficient
passenger and cargo networks within, to and from the continent, while
registering sound financial performance and record profit in 2016.

Africa is at the heart of our 15 year fast, profitable and
sustainable growth strategic roadmap, Vision 2025. Already seven years
into this strategy, we have surpassed all our goals in passenger
number, cargo uplift, fleet size, revenue, profitability and customer
service with our recent 4 Star airline recognition by SKYTRAX, the
premier customer service rating organization in our industry. We
currently serve 55 African cities, the largest network in the
continent, connecting them with each other and to more than 100
international destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the
Americas using state of the art aircraft offering superior on-board
aircraft such as the B787s and A350s.

Air transport is an essential and critical public service and a key
enabler for socio economic development and integration in our
continent. African governments should create more conducive
environment for the airline industry in the continent so that African
carriers are enabled to play their rightful role in ensuring the flow
of investments, trade and tourism to the continent.”

Ethiopian is a multi-award winning airline. On November 8 , 2017,
SKYTRAX, the most prestigious international air transport standards
and quality rating organization, has certified Ethiopian as Four Star
Airline. SKYTRAX has also awarded Ethiopian as SKYTRAX World Airline
Award for Best Airline

Staff in Africa, two times, and earlier in 2017 Ethiopian has received
SKYTRAX World Airline Award for Best Airline in Africa.

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SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS VACATIONS® OFFERS A FREE TWO-NIGHT STAY IN THE CAPE WINE REGION OF SOUTH AFRICA
November 15, 2017 | 0 Comments

Book the “Best of South Africa” package and receive two free nights in Stellenbosch

Fort Lauderdale, FL (November 13, 2017) – South African Airways Vacations® (SAA Vacations ®), the leisure division of South African Airways, the national airline of South Africa and Africa’s most awarded airline, is offering a free two-night stay in the world-renown wine region in South Africa’s Western Cape town of Stellenbosch, with its “Best of South Africa” air-inclusive package. This offering starting at $4199*, will captivate travelers with the breathtaking scenery and
exhilarating activities in sophisticated Cape Town and a thrilling safari to view Africa’s “Big 5” wildlife in a private game reserve adjacent to the Greater Kruger National Park. Book this package by December 15, 2017, and travelers can explore Western Cape wine region and enjoy South Africa’s culinary and wine capital in Stellenbosch while experiencing world-class service at the luxurious Evergreen Manor and Spa (or similar) complimentary for a two-nightstay.

“Given the success of our Best of South Africa package, we have decided to further enhance the inclusions by offering two free nights in the Western Cape winelands,” said Terry von Guilleaume, president of SAA Vacations®. “This will allow visitors to extend their stay in South Africa and enjoy touring the wine region at an affordable package price.”

“Best of South Africa” package includes:
 Round trip Economy Class air transportation from New York – JFK Airport or Washington,D.C. – Dulles Airport to Cape Town on South African Airways and domestic flights within South Africa.

Four-nights at the Southern Sun Cullinan in Cape Town adjacent to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront inclusive of breakfast
 Full-day Cape Peninsula tour and full-day Winelandstour
 Two nights at the Evergreen Manor and Spa (or similar) in Stellenbosch
 Two nights at your choice of Chapungu Tented Camp, Serondella Lodge, Waterbuck Lodge or n’Kaya Lodge in the Thornybush Game Reserve adjacent to the Greater Kruger National Park
 Twice daily safari game drives at Thornybush Game Reserve
 All daily meals at the Thornybush Game Reserve
 Airport transfers and meet and greet service by South African Airways Vacations
representatives in South Africa.

The “Best of South Africa” package with the free 2-night stay in the Cape Winelands is available for new reservations made by December 15, 2017. The free nights in the Cape wine region is offered for a limited time only, so travelers should hurry and call 1-855-359-7228 to reserve today.
South African Airways Vacations offers air-inclusive package options for all budgets, with their African Specialists available to ensure their clients experience the vacation of their dreams. For more vacation packages throughout Africa, please visit www.flysaavacations.com.

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Juliet Mbonu Targets Human Trafficking In Latest Movie
November 15, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

Governments, institutions, and parents in Africa and other developing countries, all have a role to play in fighting human trafficking says Juliet Mbonu

Governments, institutions, and parents in Africa and other developing countries, all have a role to play in fighting human trafficking says Juliet Mbonu

The fight against human trafficking will get a serious boast when “Break Out”, a movie produced by Juliet Mbonu   premieres on Nov 17 at Bowie Performance Arts Center, in MD, USA.With a cast from Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal, Gambia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Togo, Liberia, and  Sierra Leone, the movie paints a gory picture of human trafficking especially with young women who are lured from developing countries into prostitution.Shot in several locations across Nigeria and the USA,the movie sends a strong message of deterrence to young women who may become unwitting victims of human trafficking ,says Juliet Mbonu.

Your latest movie Break Out is set to premiere on Nov 17, what is the movie about?

Juliet Mbonu: The movie is about Human Trafficking on the international stage, particularly as it affects women in many developing countries, who are lured into prostitution in developed countries

What message do you seek to send to the public with the movie?

Juliet Mbonu:  The movie conveys the many complicated and horrific aspects of being lured into prostitution, outside one’s home country, and delivers a powerful message to deter young women from being victims of human & sex trafficking

Where was the movie shot and how long did it take you get it to this level?

Juliet Mbonu: The movie was shot in multiple locations in Nigeria/Africa and the United States.  It took about one year to complete the research, shooting, and editing of the movie.  Technical crews were flown from the US to Nigeria to capture authentic rarely seen footages in Nigeria.  High-end technology was used in the US to capture the latest cinematography.

 

https://youtu.be/S7jaf1S60EM

 

As you Break Out gets set for its big release, could you introduce the cast for us?

Juliet Mbonu:  Certainly, the most exciting aspect of the movie is that the cast was recruited from the US and at least ten different African countries, in order to capture the diversity of international sex & human trafficking. The cast countries of origin include: Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal, Gambia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Togo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and others..

In Break Out ,Juliet Mbonu delivers a powerful message to deter young women from being victims of human & sex trafficking

In Break Out ,Juliet Mbonu delivers a powerful message to deter young women from being victims of human & sex trafficking

What are some of the challenges that you faced in the production of Break Out?

Juliet Mbonu. The Budget: Raising money for such a huge project was a big challenge, however, where there is a will, there is a way.  My faith in God propelled the movie from a dream to a reality. 2.  Moving a technical production team around the world from the US to Nigeria, and back to the US, represented serious logistical challenges, but it turned out to be a great and exotic adventure.

Any plans for distribution especially in Africa with its huge market and the relevance of the movie’s theme?

Juliet Mbonu: Absolutely, there are Theater Premieres coming up in DC (November 17th), then NY, LA, and other US Cities, after which the Movie moves to South Africa, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, and others

With regards the issue of child trafficking, how serious is this in Africa and what more could be done to get it under control?

Juliet Mbonu: Governments, institutions, and parents in Africa and other developing countries, all have a role to play.  Parents must be restrained in their expectations from their children, and in becoming tacit enablers for child sexual trafficking.  Even though we’ve seen reports of very poor people who give tacit approval to their daughters traveling abroad, with unclear perceptions of various employment opportunities; however a cursory look should alert people to dangers lurking in the horizon.  Finally, young women should be extremely careful in their personal expectations…… there is no glamorous life waiting out there, for people who have not paid their dues in education, training, and other tutelage.

To those who do not know Juliet Mbonu, Producer of Break Out, who is she and how did she find herself in the movie industry?

Juliet Mbonu:  Great question, I actually started out as a computer major in college, I then veered out into the Health Sciences & Nursing Informatics, ultimately getting a doctorate in Nursing Practice.  I was consulting in the area of Healthcare Informatics before diverting my passion and zeal to Movie Productions.  I have a great passion for women and children’s issues.  I also run “Arise” a non-profit that focuses on women and girls issues.

What is your take on the African Movie Industry as it stands today?

Juliet:  Africa has unbelievable talent in the Arts.  The quality is gradually catching up with universal standards.  Those of us who have recent roots in Africa, and are out here in the West, have a duty to move the industry to a world-class level

Break Out premieres on Nov 17 at Bowie Performance Arts Center, in MD, USA

Break Out premieres on Nov 17 at Bowie Performance Arts Center, in MD, USA

What next for you after Break Out, any other projects movie related or otherwise that Juliet Mbonu will be working on?

Juliet Mbonu: Absolutely, my Talk-Show, “Let’s Talk It Out with Juliet Mbonu” will debut in first quarter of 2018. Our Production Company (RFP) is also developing other relevant stories for a world-wide audience.

We end with more information on the movie premiere, venue, cost, and any special guests that people may run into, what will the premiere of Break Out reserve for its audience?

Juliet Mbonu: The DC area (DMV) Premiere, coming up on November 17th, 2017 at 7pm, will be at the full-size Theater “Bowie Performance Arts Center” just outside DC.  The program starts at 7pm, a robust pre-show entertainment, featuring popular artists, and various entertainments.  A guest list of dignitaries and the public are expected.

Tickets for the premiere of Break Out are available at the following link:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/breakout-movie-premiere-tickets-38464495341?aff=es2#tickets

 

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Konnect Africa Brings Wi-Fi to Rural African Communities
November 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
Company unveils SmartWIFI service offering at AfricaCom 2017
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, November 9, 2017/ — Konnect Africa (www.Konnect-Africa.com), the Eutelsat-owned satellite broadband service provider, has unveiled SmartWIFI, a new hotspot service, as part of its ongoing commitment to bring digital opportunities to Africans.

This new service leverages Konnect Africa’s powerful, reliable satellite broadband network to enable sales outlets (retailers, hospitalities, gas stations, etc.) as well as healthcare centres or schools to become a connectivity point and digital gateway to opportunity for the surrounding population. Users will be able to access the internet from a distance of several hundred metres around the hotspot. Access can be extended to several kilometres through off-the-shelf Wi-Fi repeaters.

Users can access the SmartWIFI service through vouchers or mobile payment schemes. In addition, SmartWIFI comes with a unique local data storage system, enabling users in remote areas to access smart digital content free of data charges, including online courses and education programmes, sports and entertainment. Mobile and computer applications will also be available to help support daily business activities.

Konnect Africa CEO, Laurent Grimaldi commented from AfricaCom (http://APO.af/lb7KAQ): “This new Wi-Fi hotspot solution is designed specifically to address the needs of the majority of the African population that lives in rural areas, where there is a need to reduce the digital divide. In leveraging the ubiquity of our satellite network and locally operated hotspots we will foster more productive uses of digital technology to make everyday tasks easier for individuals and allow businesses in more remote areas to expand their footprint – let’s just think of weather apps to assist farmers, mobile phones to display bus timetables, or better information on market days that can help small producers enlarge their catchment area”, he added.

SmartWIFI will be available in all countries covered by Konnect Africa’s satellite broadband service. The new hotspot service will be deployed in partnership with local Internet service providers and telecom operators in strategic areas across Sub-Saharan Africa.

 

https://youtu.be/_R-tlB35QgU

Details on the new hotspot solution were presented by Konnect Africa during AfricaCom’17 in Cape Town.

Set up by Eutelsat in 2015, Konnect Africa (www.Konnect-Africa.com) aims to be the leading player in providing state-of-the-art satellite broadband solutions to telecom operators and internet service providers throughout the African continent. Konnect Africa’s ambition is to boost social and economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa by providing affordable broadband connectivity everywhere thus reducing the digital divide. With the aim of “taking broadband further”, Konnect Africa launched commercial services in June 2017 and is developing partnerships in nine African countries.

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Ericsson Report: 310 million LTE subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2023
November 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
The report also announces that mobile subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa are expected to grow by six percent, between 2017 and 2023, from 700 million mobile subscriptions in 2017 to 990 million subscriptions by 2023
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, November 9, 2017/ —

  • LTE subscriptions will expand by 47 percent from 30 million in 2017 to 310 million by 2023 in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa mobile broadband subscriptions are forecasted to grow by 16 percent from 350 million in 2017 to 880 million by 2023.
  • The first 5G subscriptions in the Middle East and North Africa are expected from 2020, reaching around 17 million subscriptions by the end of 2023.

The latest regional appendix to the upcoming Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) (www.Ericsson.com) Mobility Report forecasts that LTE subscriptions will expand by 47 percent from 30 million in 2017 to 310 million by 2023 in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The report also announces that mobile subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa are expected to grow by six percent, between 2017 and 2023, from 700 million mobile subscriptions in 2017 to 990 million subscriptions by 2023.

Moreover, mobile traffic in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 49 percent while mobile subscriptions for the total MEA region are expected to grow at four percent CAGR between 2017 and 2023, from 1.59 billion in 2017 to 2.03 billion by 2023. This equates to three percent growth in the Middle East and North Africa, from 890 million mobile subscriptions to 1.04 billion subscriptions between 2017 and 2023.

On the other hand, mobile broadband subscriptions are forecast to grow by 15% for the MEA region from 820 million in 2017 to 1.85 billion by 2023. This is broken down into a 13 percent increase for the Middle East and North Africa from 460 million mobile broadband subscriptions in 2017 to 980 million by 2023. Similarly, Sub-Saharan Africa mobile broadband subscriptions are forecasted to grow by 16 percent from 350 million in 2017 to 880 million by 2023.

When it comes to LTE subscriptions, the MEA region is expected to grow by 29 percent from 190 million to 860 million by 2023. This means that LTE subscriptions in the Middle East and North Africa will grow by 23 percent from 160 million in 2017 to 570 million by 2023. For the Sub-Saharan Africa region, LTE subscriptions will expand by 47 percent from 30 million in 2017 to 310 million by 2023.

Rafiah Ibrahim, Head of Ericsson Middle East and Africa, said: “Total mobile traffic for the region is forecasted to grow by around 49 percent annually between 2017 and 2023. This rapid growth is seeing operators increasingly exploring methods of optimizing their networks with more capacity and coverage. We are supporting operators across the region throughout the different phases of the network evolution, enabling best performing networks and differentiated customer experience.”

Finally, the report mentions that in the Middle East and North Africa, strong growth is forecasted for both WCDMA/HSPA and LTE during the period. Combined, these technologies will see a rise from 50 percent to over 90 percent of total subscriptions by the end of the period.

The first 5G subscriptions in the Middle East and North Africa are expected from 2020, reaching around 17 million subscriptions by the end of 2023.

Further highlights from the regional appendix of the Ericsson Mobility Report include:

The Internet of Things (IoT) is facilitating the digital transformation of industries, and providing mobile operators in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa with opportunities to explore new revenue streams.

Cellular IoT subscriptions in the Middle East and Africa are expected to grow from 35 million to 159 million between 2017 and 2023 – a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 30 percent.

Exploring new digitalisation revenues 

For mobile service providers, traditional revenue sources are shrinking, and so new revenue streams are being explored. As the world becomes more connected, industries are experiencing an ICT-driven transformation. Industry digitalization revenues for ICT players come from adopting or integrating digital technologies into a specific industry. 5G-enabled industry digitalization revenues for IoT in the Middle East and Africa are predicted to reach $242 billion through 2026.

5G will be an important technology in growing industrial digitalization, particularly for use cases dependent on extra-low latency and high reliability. This presents an opportunity for service providers that are ready to explore smart revenue streams addressing B2B2X industry players.

IoT and 5G serving communities 

Even though IoT is still in its infancy throughout most parts of the Middle East and Africa, there are still examples of how it has helped improve the livelihood of communities and industries in the region.

For example, in South Africa, Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) is being introduced to address the utilities sector, enabling tools for energy efficiency such as smart meters.

The global edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report will be released later this month.

Ericsson (www.Ericsson.com) is a world leader in communications technology and services with headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden. Our organization consists of more than 111,000 experts who provide customers in 180 countries with innovative solutions and services. Together we are building a more connected future where anyone and any industry is empowered to reach their full potential. Net sales in 2016 were SEK 222.6 billion (USD 24.5 billion). The Ericsson stock is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm and on NASDAQ in New York.

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7th edition of the Orange Social Entrepreneur Prize in Africa and the Middle East, Prize List 2017
November 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
7th edition of the Orange Social Entrepreneur Prize in Africa and the Middle East, Prize List 2017

7th edition of the Orange Social Entrepreneur Prize in Africa and the Middle East, Prize List 2017

A new feature in this year’s 7th edition was a national phase during which each of Orange’s 17 subsidiaries in Africa and the Middle East taking part in the contest studied the projects submitted in their country and appointed local winners

PARIS, France, November 9, 2017/ — Yesterday Orange (www.Orange.com) announced the winners of the 7th Orange Social Entrepreneur Prize 2017 in Africa and the Middle East during the AfricaCom Awards in Cape Town, South Africa.

Each year this Prize rewards innovative projects based on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) which help improve the living conditions of local people through digital, in fields such as education, healthcare, farming, mobile payments or sustainable development.

A new feature in this year’s 7th edition was a national phase during which each of Orange’s 17 subsidiaries [1] in Africa and the Middle East taking part in the contest studied the projects submitted in their country and appointed local winners. These 49 local winners were entered into the international contest.

Open from February to June 2017, the call for applications received nearly 1,200 innovative project entries, which was 60% more than 2016. These projects illustrate the diverse ideas from local entrepreneurs and the potential of ICT in the development of Africa and the Middle East. Amongst the 49 local winners, 11 projects were selected and submitted to a jury made up of professionals, investors, external organisations and Orange organisations. The three winners will receive bursaries of €25,000, €15,000 and €10,000 and the Special Content Prize winner will receive €5,000. The finalists of the Orange Social Entrepreneur Prize will also enjoy priority support for six months from the NGO Grow Movement  and Orange experts.

Bruno Mettling, Deputy CEO of the Orange Group and Chairman and CEO of Orange MEA (Africa and the Middle East) stated that “The Orange Social Entrepreneur Prize is now a staple part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa and the Middle East. It is a great example of our contribution to digital transformation on the continent, a transformation which we would like to be inclusive and sustainable. Congratulations to these entrepreneurs and particularly the winners, I wish them every success in their professional endeavours. ”

The winning projects this year were:

1st prize was awarded to Manzer Partazer  in Madagascar 

The objective of the Malagasy start-up is to reduce food waste by sharing excess food from restaurants, hotels or supermarkets with partner organisations such as orphanages and disadvantaged populations. A collaborative platform will allow direct communication between different stakeholders.

2nd prize was awarded to City Taps  in Niger

CityTaps has developed a solution which bridges the gap between water services and the most disadvantaged citizens: a pre-payment service which includes a smart water meter and billing software.

The beneficiaries use their mobile to prepay for running water with any mobile phone, at any time, for any amount, which improves their household budget.

3rd prize was awarded to eFret.tn  in Tunisia 

eFret.tn is a website based on the freight exchange principle. It links up senders, whether private individuals or companies, with transport and transit professionals in Tunisia. The senders publish adverts describing their needs and receive free quotations from carriers, movers, and international transport companies and customs forwarding agents.

Furthermore, this year a Special Content Prize was added, which was awarded by Orange Content.

The Special Orange Content Prize was awarded to: Génie Edu in Cameroon 

This is an e-learning platform which aims to help students having problems by providing online video courses. The startup wants every student, including those in remote areas, to have access to high-quality courses at a very low cost, anytime and anywhere.

Internet users were also invited to choose their “User Favourite” project. This project automatically qualified for the international final.

This was the Malgasy project Majika which received over 2,800 votes out of 12,242 votes online. Majika is a social company aiming to facilitate economic development conditions in rural zones. It is based on two areas: access to renewable electricity and support for rural entrepreneurship. Majika works on an autonomous and ecological power plant in the village of Ampasindava.

Success stories from previous winners:

  • MedTrucks (2016) supports healthcare players with the deployment of smart trucks which use remote medicine to provide medical treatment in remote areas.
  • Bassita (2015) invents clickfunding: companies submit their social, cultural or environmental project on its platform. If it reaches its click target after being shared on social networks, the project obtains a donation from a sponsor.
  • Station Energy (2014), between a service station and African grocery store, provides access to energy via franchises on a large scale and at an affordable cost.

[1] Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Tunisia, Jordan, Liberia and Burkina Faso.

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African business community commits to invest in skills for employment and job creation for youth at “Africa Talks Jobs” conference
November 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
The youth had a strong voice in the development of the recommendations and made up more than half of the conference participants
AU Commissioner of Human Resources, Science and Technology, Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor at “Africa Talks Jobs” conference

AU Commissioner of Human Resources, Science and Technology, Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor at “Africa Talks Jobs” conference

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 10, 2017/ — More than 400 representatives of youth, business, education practitioners and policy-making from 44 countries across the African continent as well as European partners have called for improving job perspectives of the African Youth through employment oriented education and skills development. The call was made at the recently concluded “Africa Talks Jobs” (ATJ) (www.AfricaTalksJobs.Africa) conference held at the African Union Commission (AUC) headquarters in Addis Ababa. Recommendations developed at the conference will be brought to the upcoming 5th AU-EU Summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

The recommendations call for a stronger engagement of the African business community in providing opportunities for skills training and joint offers with education institutions. Governments shall provide the necessary frameworks as well as favourable conditions for young entrepreneurs. At the same time, education at all levels and youth activities need to better address labour market demands and equip the youth with skills to start their own businesses. Included in the communiqué is also the call to ensure the recognition of degrees and other qualifications across the continent to enable voluntary labour migration. The recommendations were handed over to the AU Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor, and the Head of the EU Delegation Ranieri Sabatucci who will submit them to the 5th AU-EU Summit in Ivory Coast.

“Africa Talks Jobs” conference participants in front of Nelson Mandela Hall at AUC headquarters

“Africa Talks Jobs” conference participants in front of Nelson Mandela Hall at AUC headquarters

120 African companies and business associations, under the auspices of Business Africa, have also committed to investing in skills development and partnership with education institutions for job skills education and training. AUC Commissioner Agbor lauded the business community’s commitment to young people and requested that more companies follow the example set to move from “Africa Talks Jobs” to “Africa Makes Jobs”.

The conference was organized in the headquarters of the African Union Commission (AUC) by the AUC, the New Partnership for Africa`s Development (NEPAD) (www.NEPAD.org) and the continental umbrella organization for the private sector – Business Africa. To back the engagement of the business community AUC, NEPAD and Business Africa signed a declaration of commitment to foster the business community’s role in partnerships with education and job creation.

The conference was supported by the EU and Germany. Stefan Oswald, Director of Sub-Saharan Africa in the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development pointed out that “Jobs are created mainly by the private sector, not by governments. Therefore, we applaud the commitment of the business community. This is an important shift of paradigm.” Ranieri Sabatucci, Head of the EU Delegation, underlined: “We must hear the youth. Working for them is not enough, we must work with them”.

The youth had a strong voice in the development of the recommendations and made up more than half of the conference participants. Among them were 36 fellows selected out of more than 7500 African and European applicants for the AU-EU Youth Plugin-Initiative. The AU-EU YPII is a programme to engage youth in developing a youth agenda to be endorsed at the 5th AU-EU Summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Representatives of AUC, NEPAD, EU, Germany and Business Africa at “Africa Talks Jobs” conference

Representatives of AUC, NEPAD, EU, Germany and Business Africa at “Africa Talks Jobs” conference

Africa Talks Jobs” (www.AfricaTalksJobs.Africa) is a continental dialogue platform on education and skills development for employment and entrepreneurship organized by the AUC, Department of Human Resources, Science and Technology, NEPAD and Business Africa with the support of German Development Cooperation (implemented by GIZ). “Africa Talks Jobs” was launched with a conference at the African Union Commission headquarters in Addis Ababa from 30 October to 01 November 2017. The event was organized as a pre-conference to the 5th AU-EU Summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Africa Talks Jobs shall be further established as a platform for continental dialogue and knowledge exchange for education and skills development for employment.

 

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University of Abomey-Calavi Becomes First Francophone West African University to Join Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program
November 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
300 Next-Generation African Leaders and Entrepreneurs to Receive Quality Education and Entrepreneurship Training
 
Photo credit: Jake Naughton/Intersect for the Mastercard Foundation

Photo credit: Jake Naughton/Intersect for the Mastercard Foundation

COTONOU, Benin Republic, 9 November 2017,– The University of Abomey-Calavi’s commitment to educating next-generation African leaders received a boost today with a seven-year, USD$6.2 million commitment from the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. The new partnership, which for the first time expands the Scholars Program to Francophone West Africa, will benefit 300 bright young Africa leaders and entrepreneurs with a high-quality education, creating pathways to careers in science and technology, as well as business and entrepreneurship for youth whose academic talent and promise exceed their financial resources.

“The University of Abomey-Calavi is proud to collaborate with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, a partnership which has energized our commitment to youth leadership and entrepreneurship education,” explained Professor Brice Sinsin, President of the University of Abomey-Calavi. “We envision leading change in our community by putting students and researchers at the heart of local development, and fostering greater involvement of graduates through social action campaigns and community development projects.”

“Young Francophone Africans deserve every chance to study and thrive,” says Peter Materu, Director of Education and Learning and Youth Livelihoods, the Mastercard Foundation. “Strengthening higher education in Francophone West Africa is critical to ensuring that the region can meet the needs of growing markets. By working with the University of Abomey-Calavi, the Foundation hopes to foster stronger academic relationships and partnerships with other Francophone universities, improving higher education enrollment rates across the region.”

The Scholars Program at the University of Abomey-Calavi will have two components: the first will emphasize access to quality education for 200 Scholars in the fields of agronomic sciences, engineering sciences, computer sciences, and renewable energy. These students will also be admitted into the university’s pre-employment service, a workforce made up of graduates of the University of Abomey-Calavi focused on social entrepreneurship and will enable Scholars to share values and gain valuable work experience.

The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest private foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by Mastercard when the Foundation was created in 2006.
Established in 1970, the University of Abomey-Calavi is the oldest and largest public university in Benin. With a student population estimated at 85 000 registrations for the 2016-2017 academic year, the University is a true place of knowledge having trained the majority of the Beninese nation’s elite. The University of Abomey-Calavi is a higher academic and research institution offering a wide variety of training covering the areas of health science, science and technology, agricultural science, juridical and political science, economic science and management, human and social science, literature, arts and language science, and educational sciences. The University of Abomey-Calavi maintains cooperative relationships with a vast number of institutions of higher education the world over to strengthen their own training and research programmes. The University of Abomey-Calavi is also the recipient of the international prize celebrating the quality of its academic and administrative governance.

The second component of the partnership will focus on providing technical expertise for the development of ‘Startups Valley’, a business incubator program created by the University of Abomey-Calavi. Startups Valley will provide 100 Scholars with an opportunity to sharpen their entrepreneurial skills and mindsets, setting them on the path to successful entrepreneurship and enabling them to launch their own businesses, employ other students, and contribute to their economy.

The University of Abomey-Calavi joins a global network of 29 universities and non-governmental organizations committed to over 35,000 bright young leaders with a deep personal commitment to changing the world around them and improving the lives of others. The Scholars Program provides holistic student support, including comprehensive scholarships, leadership development, pre-employment, and industry-driven career services – developing highly skilled, transformative leaders to catalyze inclusive prosperity in Africa.

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Benin becomes the 17th member of the Africa Finance Corporation
November 10, 2017 | 0 Comments

LAGOS, Nigeria, 10th November 2017,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The Republic of Benin (Benin) has become the 17th Member State of Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), Africa’s premier infrastructure development finance institution.

Hon. Romuald Wadagni, Minister of Economy & Finance, formally acceded to AFC membership by signing the Letter of Adherence on 7 November, 2017. Benin, therefore, joins the list of Francophone African States that are currently AFC member countries. These include: Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, and Guinea-Conakry.

This development augurs well for the peaceful coastal nation, which serves as an economic gateway to several other West African economies. Benin is economically stable, maintaining an average GDP growth rate of 5% over the past five years. Such fundamentals create a natural support system for viable infrastructure investment.

Andrew Alli, President and CEO of AFC commented: “We are happy to welcome the Republic of Benin to the membership of AFC. Benin is strategically located. Through this partnership, we believe that Benin will be able to realise its full potential as an important corridor for economic activities in West Africa. With the right infrastructure; taking into consideration regional economic flows, the country is well positioned to significantly service all its neighbouring countries. As a member of AFC, Benin will have access to AFC’s technical expertise and financial resources in the development, financing and execution of infrastructure projects in the Transportation, Power, Telecommunications, Natural Resources, and Heavy Industries sectors.”

Hon. Romuald Wadagni also commented on the announcement: “We are excited at the prospects of partnering with AFC to drive infrastructure development in Benin and across West Africa. As is well known, investments in infrastructure are directly linked to economic development. Our membership in AFC bodes well for the country and the entire West African region.”

AFC, an investment grade multilateral finance institution, was established in 2007 with an equity capital base of US$1 billion, to be the catalyst for private sector-led infrastructure investment across Africa. With a current balance sheet size of approximately US$3.5 billion, AFC is the second highest investment grade rated multilateral financial institution in Africa with an A3/P2 (Stable outlook) rating from Moody’s Investors Service. AFC successfully raised US$750 million in 2015 and US$500 million in 2017; out of its Board-approved US$3 Billion Global Medium Term Note (MTN) Programme. Both Eurobond issues were oversubscribed and attracted investors from Asia, Europe and the USA.
AFC’s investment approach combines specialist industry expertise with a focus on financial and technical advisory, project structuring, project development and risk capital to address Africa’s infrastructure development needs and drive sustainable economic growth. AFC invests in high quality infrastructure assets that provide essential services in the core infrastructure sectors of power, natural resources, heavy industry, transport, and telecommunications. To date, the Corporation has invested approximately US$4 billion in projects within 28 countries across North, East, West and Southern Africa.
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Politicians steal $50b yearly from Africa – Obasanjo
November 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo

FORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo has alleged that more than $50 billion is stolen and smuggled out of Africa to other countries yearly by political leaders and businessmen as well as other key players in both public and private sectors.

Obasanjo, who spoke on Thursday, November 9, at the maiden yearly anti-fraud conference, organised in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, ACFE, Lagos Chapter, lamented that the smuggling of the huge funds meant for socio-economic growth and development of the African continent is now giving African leaders, past and present, great concern.

He warned that African countries might not develop if leaders and followers refused to show concern about the ugly trend.

Thus, the former president called for concerted efforts towards curbing the trend. He also charged financial professionals and all members of the association and everyone generally to help in curbing the trend not only in Nigeria but Africa as a whole.

Godwin Oyedokun, president and chief executive officer, ACFE, said: “It is really a delight to host Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Your acceptance of our invitation is an indication that you have the love of this nation at heart.” The former president was named Grand patron of the ACFE at the event.

*Courtesy of Real News Magazine

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Caf president Ahmad reassures Guinea over 2023 hosting
November 9, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Mohamed Fajah Barrie*

Ahmad says Caf has no intention of stripping Guinea of the rights to host the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations but warned them to respect the deadlines set for preparations

Ahmad says Caf has no intention of stripping Guinea of the rights to host the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations but warned them to respect the deadlines set for preparations

Confederation of African Football (Caf) president, Ahmad, says he wants to work with Guinea to ensure they can host the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

Ahmad made the offer to Guinea’s head of state Alpha Condé when the two met on Monday.

“Officially Caf has never questioned the allocation of 2023 Afcon to Guinea” Ahmad said.

“We also reaffirmed to President Alpha Condé our willingness to accompany Guinea to organise the 2023 Afcon.”

The Malagasy also warned the West African country to make sure they observe the deadlines to have all the required facilities ready before the commencement of the competition.

“Guinea must be willing to respect the conditions of hosting Afcon. Otherwise, there will always be an alternative,” Ahmad added.

“If Guinea is committed, I think it will respect the Afcon timing. We have the right to worry about the organisation of the Nations Cup, because if it does not work, it is the Caf that is pointed out.”

Ahmad, who chose not to campaign in Guinea to become Caf president, was accompanied to Conakry by his vice-president from DR Congo, Constant Omari, for the one day visit.

They held a meeting with the Guinea FA headed by Antonio Soure, who heads the 2023 Nations Cup Local Organising Committee, and discussed new Caf reforms.

There has been concern in Guinea that they might be stripped off the opportunity to host Nations Cup for the first time following questions about Caf’s decision in 2014 to award the hosting rights for the next three finals to West African Francophone speaking countries.

The President of the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations, Phillip Chiyangwa, who helped campaign for Ahmad to become Caf President called for an inquiry seven months ago.

The Zimbabwean feels West Africa countries were favoured over other regions by the previous Caf regime led by Cameroon’s Issa Hayatou.

However Ahmad once again insisted Caf has never officially considered taking the tournaments away from Guinea, Cameroon (in 2019) and Ivory Coast (in 2021).

*BBC

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President Kagame and Tony Elumelu to headline Young Entrepreneurship Day at the Africa 2017 Forum
November 9, 2017 | 0 Comments
The Young Entrepreneurship Day will bring together some of Africa’s most promising entrepreneurs with investors and new partners to help them scale up their ideas and businesses and the most successful start-ups will gain access to a deal room and also a one week tailored course at Stanford
CAIRO, Egypt, November 8, 2017/ — HE Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and chairman of Smart Africa, and Tony Elumelu, Founder of the $100m Entrepreneurship Programme, will be headlining the Young Entrepreneurship Day (YED) at the Africa 2017 Forum (www.BusinessForAfricaForum.com).

The YED is a new addition to the Forum and will take place on the eve of Africa 2017, on the 7th December. It has been designed to connect some of Africa’s most promising entrepreneurs and also give them exposure to investors, incubators and accelerators as well as to partake in workshops that will give them the skills and tools to scale up their businesses.

Both Kagame and Elumelu have been championing entrepreneurship and will be sharing their perspectives both from government and the private sector as well as engaging in an open platform with some of the upcoming leaders from across Africa

Sitting on the advisory board of the YED are Issam Chleuh and Rebecca Enonchong, two of the foremost players in impact investing and in the technology space in Africa as well as Parminder Vir, CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation. Other speakers at the YED include Ben White of VC4Africa and Wale Ayeni from IFC Ventures, the venture capital wing of the World Bank’s private sector arm.

Commenting on the YED, the Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Dr. Sahar Nasr, whose ministry is organising the Africa 2017 programme alongside COMESA Regional Investment Agency, said that creating a pro-business environment for entrepreneurs to thrive is at the centre of her government’s policies. “Egypt has been at the forefront of making entrepreneurship work. With a bustling population of 90 million, 50% of which are below the age of 30 and tech savvy, Egypt is rightly staking a claim as one of the fastest growing entrepreneurial hubs in the world.”

Africa 2017 has been earmarked as the biggest B2B and B2G gathering to take place in Africa this year. A number of heads of state have confirmed their attendance and there are 30 African investment promotion agencies and government delegations scheduled to attend. Alongside President Al Sisi of Egypt and President Kagame of Rwanda, the Presidents of Côte d’Ivoire, Alassane Outtara will be in attendance as well as the President of Comoros, Azali Assoumani and the Prime Minister of Mozambique Carlos Agostinho do Rosário. Some of Africa’s biggest names from business will also be attending Africa 2017, with the aim to accelerate cross-border investments and partnerships.

The Forum will also be a platform for Egypt to showcase some of the mega projects that are underway and the opportunities linked to these in agribusiness, logistics, mining, energy construction, real estate and tourism.

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

To register to attend the Forum, please RSVP I.Callan@ICpublications.com or go to http://APO.af/wVw6CX

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20 Top African Start-Ups Enter World Bank Group Digital Acceleration Program
November 8, 2017 | 0 Comments
Selected from a pool of over 900 applicants, these start-ups specialize in digital solutions for the African market, including fin-tech, transportation, health care, education, human resources, and B2B
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, November 6, 2017/ — Twenty of the most promising African digital start-ups will take part in the XL Africa (www.XL-Africa.com) residency, the flagship initiative of the business accelerator launched last April by the World Bank Group’s (www.WorldBank.org) infoDev program. From Nov. 6-17 in Cape Town, the entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to learn from their mentors and peers, increase their regional visibility, and get access to potential corporate partners and investors.

The residency will conclude with the XL Africa Venture Showcase, a regional event organized in association with the African Angel Investor Summit, in which the entrepreneurs will present their business models to a select audience of corporations and investors. With support from African investment groups, XL Africa will help the start-ups attract early stage capital between US$250,000 and US$1.5 million.

Selected from a pool of over 900 applicants, these start-ups specialize in digital solutions for the African market, including fin-tech, transportation, health care, education, human resources, and B2B. All companies provide a digital product or service currently available in one or more African markets and show potential to scale across the region.

“We are pleased by the interest infoDev and XL Africa generated across the continent in just a few months,” said Klaus Tilmes, Director of the Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice at the World Bank Group. “XL Africa attracted firms with high-growth potential; many have female co-founders, have already raised early stage investment, and have demonstrated significant market traction. The number and quality of applications received are a clear testament to the competitiveness of African start-ups and the key role they play in Africa’s growing digital economy.”

The selection for XL Africa was conducted by a panel of industry experts from the International Finance Corporation (IFC); implementing partners IMC Worldwide, Koltai & Co, and Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A); as well as investors from prominent African funds, including Knife Capital, 4Di Capital LLP, Singularity Investments, TLcom Capital LLP, Goodwell Investments, Nest Africa, and Africa Tech Ventures.

“We encountered very strong companies, particularly in the transportation, HR, and data analytics sectors,” said Danai Musandu, investment associate at Goodwell Investments. “We also observed signals of a nascent pipeline of digital companies beyond the traditional hot spots of Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. These talented entrepreneurs are among those who are going to drive innovation on the continent and offer great opportunities for investors looking at African markets.”

The selected start-ups participating in the event are:

  • Aerobotics (Data, South Africa)
  • Asoko Insight (Data, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, United Kingdom, and Nigeria)
  • Coin Afrique (Marketplace, Senegal and Benin)
  • Edgepoint Digital (Jamii) (FinTech – Insurance, Tanzania)
  • Electronic Settlement Limited (FinTech, Nigeria)
  • Lynk Jobs Ltd. (HR, Kenya)
  • MAX (Transport, Nigeria)
  • ogaVenue (Venue Platform, Nigeria)
  • Ongair (SME Services, Kenya)
  • Pesabazaar.com (FinTech, Kenya)
  • Prepclass (EdTech, Nigeria)
  • Printivo (Printing, Nigeria)
  • Rasello Company Ltd. (SME Services, Tanzania)
  • Rensource (Energy, Nigeria)
  • Sendy Ltd. (Delivery, Kenya)
  • Snapplify (Publishing, South Africa and Kenya)
  • Sokowatch (Delivery, Kenya)
  • TalentBase (HR, Nigeria)
  • Timbuktu (Travel, South Africa)
  • Tizeti Network Ltd. (Connectivity, Nigeria)

XL Africa is funded by the governments of Finland, Norway, and Sweden, and administered by the World Bank Group with implementation support from IMC Worldwide, VC4A, and Koltai & Co.

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