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Ondo State First Lady, Other African Women Leaders, Chart Way Forward For African Women In Agriculture At AWA 2018 Summit
May 17, 2018 | 0 Comments
PHOTO 01: Wife of the Ondo State Governor, Mrs Betty Anyanwu – Akeredolu (right], First Lady of the Republic of Niger, Mrs. Aissata Issoufou (left) and others during the second edition of the African Women in Agriculture (AWA), 2018 Summit in Marrakech, Morocco.

Wife of the Ondo State Governor, Mrs Betty Anyanwu – Akeredolu (right], First Lady of the Republic of Niger, Mrs. Aissata Issoufou (left) and others during the second edition of the African Women in Agriculture (AWA), 2018 Summit in Marrakech, Morocco.

The wife of the Ondo State Governor, Mrs. Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, who led a delegation of women from Nigeria to the 2nd edition of the African Women in Agriculture (AWA) Summit in Marrakech, Moroccoo, yesterday deliberated with other African women leaders and stakeholders across the globe on how to enhance profile of women in Agriculture for the attainment of the sustainable development goal (SDG). Gender inequality, poor access to loans, poor access to farm lands, poor gender inclusion in agricultural policies and governance, amongst other things, were highlighted as constraints inhibiting participation of African women in agriculture.

At the end of the sessions, stakeholders recommended the need for African leaders to formulate and implement policies that are gender inclusive and to consistently train women farmers especially rural dwellers on improved farming methods to maximize productivity.

In her address at the opening ceremony, the Patroness of AWA 2018, Mrs. Aissata Issoufou, First Lady of the Republic of Niger lauded the objectives of the summit to advocate for women’s empowerment through agriculture and promote national, regional and international integration among African countries.

Mrs. Angelle Kweno, Founder, Believe In Africa, described the African Women in Agriculture (AWA) Initiative as a high level annual dialogue between leaders from Africa and across the World to strengthen the role of women in the development of agriculture in Africa.

She also noted that the initiative is very important given the level of participation and engagement of African women in Agriculture which includes cultivation, harvesting, processing, distribution and marketing.

One of the highpoint of the summit was the success story of L and Z Integrated Farm limited, a Kano based company, co-founded by a woman, Mrs. Adija Zubaid Damakka, who shared challenges and solutions of managing a Dairy Farm that started with two Heifers, producing only five liters of milk a day and stands today, producing 3,000 liters of milk processed into L and Z yourguts and Ice cream sold across Nigeria.

Mrs. Ibidunni Ogunleye, a poultry farmer from Ondo State, Nigeria, in her presentation at the summit pointed out some of the challenges faced by women farmers in Nigeria.

Mrs. Ogunleye who shared her success story, encouraged other women farmers to show diligence and determination in their businesses and advised that farmers must understand the ecosystem in which they operate, make consultations with professionals to maximize their productivity.

Other presentations were from Prof. Zoubida Charrouf- Mohammed V University- Morocco and Mr. Patrick Andre – Founder Botanicosm Ethic, France centered on need for better inclusion and participation of women in policy development and implementation especially on gender-based and socio-economic issues to facilitate capacity building, economic prosperity and improved Nutrition and health outcomes.

Other highlights of the event include the delegation’s visit to National Initiative for Human Development, Cooperative Troisieme Millenaire, Rurale Bourous Province, Rhamna Region Marrakech-Safi, a centre that promotes self-help among rural women through the production of couscous for local and international markets.

Also the team visited the Information Communication Technology (ICT) centre equipped with state-of-art facilities that includes HD cameras, Acoustic studios, computerized lecture rooms and centralized internet routers. Gymnasium, Library, Museum amongst other places were also visited.

The second edition of the African women in agriculture (AWA) 2018 summit rounded off with conclusion that there is a need for better inclusion and participation of women in policy formulation and implementation especially on gender-based and socio-economic issues to facilitate capacity building, economic prosperity and improved Nutrition and health outcomes.

*Watchdog Reporters

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Marrakech call from African Women in Agriculture and Art (AWAA)
May 17, 2018 | 0 Comments
Angelle Kwemo, Founder and President of Believe in Africa

Angelle Kwemo, Founder and President of Believe in Africa

The second edition of the Believe In Africa International Congress (“African Women in Agriculture and Art”) (AWAA) was held in Marrakech from May 8 to 10, 2018. This edition aimed at enforcing commitment made during the first edition by taking concrete actions of mobilization of resource, training and optimization of production capacities, processing and marketing of African women’s agricultural products. The main goal remains to work in the fight for food security, against global warming and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations.

We, the women in attendance declare the following:

  • We express our deep gratitude to His Royal Majesty King Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, for his commitment to the empowerment of African women.
  • We warmly express gratitude to:
  • Her Excellency Aïssata Issoufou Mahamadou, First Lady of the Republic of Niger and Founder of the Guri Foundation, Vie Meilleure, for chairing the second edition of the Women and Agriculture Forum, for her leadership and commitment to women empowerment, her presence, her encouragement and infallible support to women, especially in the agricultural and handicraft sectors and for its support for the and for being the honorary chair of the launch of the AWAA initiative;
  • Mrs. Nadira El Guermai, Governor National Coordinator of the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH) for her effective presence and dedication to the empowerment of Moroccan women and those of the rest of the continent, as well as
  • Her Excellency Mrs. Khoudia Mbaye, Minister of Investment Promotion, Partnership and State Development and Teleservices of Senegal, for her commitment to promoting women’s entrepreneurship;
  • Ms. Virginie Nkulu Nemba, Provincial Minister of Gender and Family of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for her support and commitment to empowering women in disadvantaged areas and efforts to promote peace and security and development;
  • Mr. Mohamed Sabri, Acting Wali in the region Marrakech – Safi, for his hospitality and support;
  • Ambassador Sihammed Alphadi, Ambassador of Peace to UNESCO and President of the International Festival of Fashion and Arts (FIMA);
  • Mrs. Olga Johnson, General Manager, Energies for Africa and elected in Paris;
  • The leadership of the Office Cherifien des Phosphates Group (OCP Group) for their commitment and unwavering support to women empowerment in the agricultural sector and to democratization of access to inputs;
  • The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) for its support to women income-generating activities;
  • UN Women, Initiative for Global Development (IDG) and US Africa Development Foundation and Coca Cola Corporation;
  • Our thanks also go to the national and international media that followed our work.
  • After two days of deliberations, the following resolutions were adopted:
  • We decided to unite our efforts by creating the platform named “AWAA”, an initiative aimed at creating a network of stakeholders dedicated to ensuring the effective empowerment of women in agriculture, with emphasis on those of the rural areas and underserved communities, enabling them to become productive, competitive and self-sufficient;
  • “AWAA” covers all the 4 agricultural subsectors namely farming, livestock, fisheries /fish farming and agro forestry and arts and handicrafts;
  • AWAA aims to continuously promote Africa’s socio- economic progress by enhancing the profile of women in agriculture in a bid to contribute significantly to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • AWAA’s mission is to continue to advocate for women farmers, to promote access to education, information and technology, access to financial services, business development services and credit and access to market;
  • We express to INDH, our wish to deepen our partnership.
  • We encourage the willingness expressed by INDH to collaborate with Niger in their poverty reduction program as well as with other African countries hosting AWAA groups;
  • We encourage women participation in the Human Development Forum scheduled to be held in Cameroon in late 2018, of which the INDH is co-organizer;
  • Niger will house the AWAA pilot project;
  • We support and accept invitations to collaborate on African women initiatives such as Sahraouia presented by Mrs. Laila Ouachi, International Festival of African Fashion (FIMA) presented by Ambassadeur Alphadi planned in Dakhla in November 2018, the Association of Women Entrepreneurs Morocco of Marrakech Safi region (AFEM);
  • All the participants of this edition are AWAA and commit to mobilize and take concrete actions to make this initiative operational in their respective countries.
  • Angelle B. Kwemo
  • Approved by the participants of the conference “African Women in Agriculture” representing the following 18 countries: Morocco (host country), Belgium, Benin, Cameroon, Canada, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, France, Gambia, Ghana, Luxembourg, Mali, Nigeria, Norway,  Senegal, Togo and United States of America.
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Gunmen Kill Dangote Cement Country Manager In Ethiopia
May 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Mfonobong Nsehe*

Deep Kamara, the country manager of Dangote Cement Ethiopia, has been killed by gunment.

Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote (C) listens to a speech as he attends the rally organized to celebrate the 66th birthday of the leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in Lagos, on March 29, 2018. Photo credit should read STEFAN HEUNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote (C) listens to a speech as he attends the rally organized to celebrate the 66th birthday of the leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in Lagos, on March 29, 2018. Photo credit should read STEFAN HEUNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

According to reports by the Addis StandardReuters and several other Ethiopian news outlets, Kamara was shot dead on Wednesday afternoon by unknown assailants near the Dangote Cement Factory located some 85 kilometers west of Addis Ababa in Adeberga woreda, in the Oromiya region. Two other employees of Dangote Cement, a secretary and the driver of the country manager who were driving with Kamara, were also reportedly shot dead.

Ethiopia’s law enforcement agencies are yet to identify the assailants.

 Today’s assassinations might be an indication that all is not well with Dangote’s operations in Ethiopia.Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, has had a turbulent adventure in Ethiopia. In 2016, during the infamous wave of protests by the Oromiya people, protesters attacked and vandalized Dangote’s cement factory along with several vehicles and machinery. There have also been a series of other attacks from the local community on Dangote’s assets over some unresolved labor issues related to the private employment agencies hired by the company.

 Last year, Dangote threatened to shut its operations in Ethiopia if the authorities in Oromiya did not reverse an order to cement makers to deliver control of some parts of their businesses to local young people.Carl Franklin, a spokesperson for the Dangote Group did not respond to a request for comment at the time of filing this report.

Tony Watima, a Kenyan economist who studies Ethiopian politics says the Dangote Group failed to properly investigate the socio-political dynamics of Ethiopia before venturing there.

“Dangote’s Ethiopian troubles are a pointer to what happens when you use a top-down approach of inducing senior government officials to initiate a project and fail to properly engage the community. Everyone knows the Oromiya region is an anti-government region. Dangote should have done better due diligence,” he says.

*Culled from Forbes.follow author on twitter @MfonobongNsehe. E-mail: mfon.nsehe @ gmail . com

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Health survey reveals only 36% of Nigerians’ believe their health needs are met by current healthcare system
May 16, 2018 | 0 Comments
  • About half of Nigerians surveyed trust the healthcare system but only 36% feel their healthcare needs are being met, highlighting a discrepancy between the healthcare expectations of Nigerians and the reality
  • Hospitals are the go-to treatment facility for basic health checks and vaccinations that should be addressed in a primary care setting indicating inefficient use of the healthcare system

Lagos, Nigeria – Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, today released findings from a survey, aimed to understand what the ‘Future of Health’ might look like in Nigeria and any associated challenges. Data from over 500 Nigerians interviewed, shows that 52% trust the healthcare system, although only 36% feel that their healthcare needs are being met. This highlights a clear discrepancy between the expectations of Nigerians and the reality of the healthcare system, indicating inefficiencies and ample room for growth.

Findings reveal that with more than half of Nigerians leaning on hospital facilities for the most minor of ailments, there is a clear need for improved access to primary care practitioners, local health facilities, tracking health indicators and a wider availability of information about health, nutrition and fitness. This approach is further reinforced by the fact that majority (65%) of Nigerians believe improved access to health facilities would make them more effective in managing their health, thus alleviating pressure on the healthcare system.

Commenting on the findings, Jasper Westerink, Chief Executive Officer of Philips Africa said, “This study highlights the need for a greater focus on preventive healthcare for a sustainable health system, especially given the prevalence of lifestyle related diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The results also reinforce the need for the national government to invest a significant percentage of its healthcare budget towards medical research, preventive care, acute care and general health education. This also suggests that more personalised consultations, more first-time right diagnosis, and timely treatments from healthcare professionals (HCPs) will further help reduce the burden on the healthcare industry in the country.”

Westerink continues, “With these findings as a guiding light, we are engaging with all relevant stakeholders to drive the debate and ultimately improve the quality and cost effectiveness of healthcare services for future generations. We believe that sustainable healthcare development requires a system-wide approach, combining technology, capacity-building including training, service and maintenance, as well as long-term financing. To that end, we aim to expand access to quality and affordable healthcare across the country and compliment significant efforts to strengthen Nigeria’s growing health sector.”

Other key findings include:

  • Nigerians feel the national government should be deploying an equal proportion of its healthcare budget toward “sick care” (49%) and on preventive measures (48%)
  • A majority (65%) of Nigerians believe improved access to health facilities would make them more effective in managing their health, followed by keeping track of health indicators (52%), and access to more information about health, nutrition and fitness (48%)
  • · 82% believe that the National Health Insurance will have a positive impact on patient outcomes over time
    • Among those who have ever seen a healthcare professional, most (64%) are confident in their healthcare professionals’ understanding of connected care technology
    • Looking to the future, consumers are increasingly expecting to use digital technologies to control when, where and how they receive care services. By harnessing digital technologies in this way, the healthcare sector will increasingly be able to empower human judgement, free up clinician time and personalize care services to put control in the hands of patients.

    • In order to increase the likelihood of connected care technology being used, training opportunities, informational resources such as databases of available technologies, and government subsidies to manage cost concerns, may be needed to improve health systems at a tertiary level. “Conversely, digitisation could additionally offer a breakthrough opportunity to improve the healthcare need of the Nigerian population by breaking down traditional cost structures,” said Westerink. “By connecting patients, and care providers with public health workers via mobile telecommunications on available cellular networks, we can fill critical gaps in primary care and have a lower cost base at the primary level of intervention.”

    • These findings indicate that there is significant room for growth if investment is made towards the sector. “Health practitioners in Nigeria must tap in to the benefits of information technology in order to change the face of medical practice in the country and avoid being left out of global trends. Although there are good medical doctors in Nigeria, there is also a need to develop new ways of delivering healthcare like telemedicine for instance.” says Westerink. However, the data from this survey in itself is not enough; it is vital that the findings trigger robust debate at a local level in order to benchmark measurements and ultimately contribute to progress,” Westerink explained.

    • The survey results were released today in Lagos at ‘The Future of Health’ summit in association with Forbes and CNBC Africa, where eminent speakers shared their insights and case studies on “The State of Healthcare in Nigeria”.

    • Background & Methodology

    • Agency One Voice Connect conducted an online survey among 503 adults in Nigeria between April 11-24, 2018. The figures are nationally representative of the online population of Nigeria. The margin of error for this study was +/- 4% at the 95% confidence level.

    • Demographics
    • Age  
      TOTAL ANSWERING: n=503
      18-34 years old 73%
      35-54 years old 25%
      55+ years old 2%

 

Geographical area  
TOTAL ANSWERING: n=503
Urban/city 80%
Suburb 13%
Rural 6%

 

Region  
TOTAL ANSWERING: n=503
North Central (Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Federal Capital Territory) 17%
North East (Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, Yobe) 4%
North West (Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara) 7%
South East (Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo) 8%
South (Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, Edo) 16%
South West (Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo) 48%
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The Gambia Hopes For A Renaissance
May 16, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Francis Tapon*

Queen Elizabeth II greets Adama Barrow, Gambia's President, in the Blue Drawing Room. He wore the right color for the occasion. (Photo by Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II greets Adama Barrow, Gambia’s President, in the Blue Drawing Room. He wore the right color for the occasion. (Photo by Victoria Jones – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Officially, we’re supposed to call the country that Senegal surrounds The Gambia. Not Gambia, but The Gambia, just like we say, “I’m going to The Netherlands,” and not “I’m going to Netherlands.”

It’s such a conceit that a country insists that we always use “The” before mentioning their name as if there were five Gambias and a dozen Netherlands. “Oh, no, I’m not going to any old Gambia, I’m going to The Gambia.

Many nations have “The” in their long-form name: The Republic of China, The Czech Republic, and The United States of America. However, when we’re not feeling overly stuffy and diplomatic, these countries give us a short-form name: “You are going to China, Czechia, and Gringoland.”

In this article, we’re not going to give into the conceit of The Gambia. From now on, it’s just Gambia.

 

Gambia’s long-time dictator, Yahya Jammeh, talked like Donald Trump’s long-lost twin. Jammeh claimed that he could cure AIDS, high blood pressure, infertility, and asthma with herbs. He lied when he said that “the first Atlantic flight and the first flight from Eastern Europe landed in Gambia.”

However, his funniest fabrication was when he asserted that Gambia “is one of the oldest and biggest countries in Africa that was reduced to a small snake by the British government who sold all our lands to the French.”

Jammeh wasn’t always unintentionally funny. During his regime, people disappeared, journalists were assassinated, students and migrants were killed. He conducted a witch-hunt after he became convinced that a witch had killed his aunt.

He was a bigamist Muslim who said, “If you don’t believe in God . . . you are even below a pig.”

He said that he “would cut off the head” of any homosexual found in Gambia and that “we will fight these vermin called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes, if not more aggressively.”

He added, “LGBT can only stand for Leprosy, Gonorrhea, Bacteria, and Tuberculosis, all of which are detrimental to human existence.”

In 2011, he told the BBC, “If I have to rule this country for one billion years, I will, if Allah says so.”

Five years later, it seems that Allah told him to end his 22-year dictatorship. Adama Barrow took over and reversed many of Jammeh’s worst decisions. Jammeh emptied the last $50 million in Gambia’s treasury on his way out and left the country saddled with $1 billion in debt (120% of GDP).

 Barrow has a tough road ahead since his coffers are empty. However, he’s improved things that don’t cost money. For example, press freedom has increased dramatically. Reporters Without Borders moved the country up 22 spots in its 2018 World Press Freedom Index. Gambia is no longer a pariah .

In a country that is 90% Muslim, Gambians who are Christians feel safe, at least according to this priest:

Next time I'll bring a bigger hat to match these guys. (Photo by Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Next time I’ll bring a bigger hat to match these guys. (Photo by Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

One move that could spur a renaissance is if Senegal and Gambia united as much as possible to create Senegambia. Although a formal union like Zanzibar and Tanzania is extremely unlikely, a tighter union could help both countries, especially Gambia. Gambia could abandon its dalasi currency and adopt West Africa’s CFA currency to facilitate trade . Equatorial Guinea and Guinea Bissau (two non-Francophone African countries) did just that in 1985 and 1997, respectively.

An even more radical idea is to teach French in schools. Most West African countries speak French. Gambians speak English well but they struggle to do business with the Francophones. Such ideas are terrible for the small-thinking, territorial Gambians who still rule over the broad-minded Gambians.

Albert Mendy, a Gambian in Banjul, theorized that Senegal’s relative wealth stems from not being as inward-focused as Gambia has been. He said, “Senegal was never fully independent because France kept helping them even after their independence. In Gambia, we became fully independent from the British who did little for us afterward. That’s why Senegal is far more developed than Gambia.”

When President Barrow was asked how he saw the future of Gambia, his answer was promising:

“It would be an inclusive country where tribalism will not have a place. I am the least tribal person you will ever see. I have mixed ethnic blood in me. I am a Sarahule, Mandinka, and Fula. Two of my sisters from the same mom and dad are married to Jolas. So tribe is not important. What is important is that we are all Gambians and should unite and work for the progress of our country.”

On my way out of Gambia, a customs official peeked in my truck’s backseat and pointed to something. I worried that he had spotted my professional camcorder and that he would invent some rule and force me to forfeit the camera. The customs official opened the backseat door. His eyes widened when he saw something fascinating: a dozen mangoes. I gave him one to encourage him to stop searching. He waved me through and then sat in the shade to enjoy the juicy fruit. Some African bribes are small.

Speaking about devouring fruits, some things haven’t changed in Gambia:

 

*Culled from Forbes

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The Government of Rwanda partners with the African Innovation Foundation to Host the Innovation Prize for Africa 2018
May 16, 2018 | 0 Comments
·         The 7th edition of the most renowned annual pan-African innovation event by the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) to be hosted in Kigali from 11th to 12th of October 2018
·         Rwanda selected due to its strong commitment towards building a knowledge economy and shaping ICT policies that catalyse African innovation
·         Two-day event to feature strategic activities aimed at driving investments towards inclusive innovation ecosystems and culminate in an awards ceremony to reward top African innovators
Kigali| Rwanda, Tuesday, May 15, 2018 ? The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) in collaboration with the Government of Rwanda announced today that Rwanda will host the 7th edition of the prestigious Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA). Aimed at showcasing African ingenuity as well as recognizing and connecting African innovators and entrepreneurs with key innovation ecosystems enablers, the 7th edition of IPA will take place from October 11th ? 12th, 2018, at Kigali Convention Center in Rwanda. The decision to host IPA in Rwanda received  endorsement from the Government of Rwanda, and the Host Country selection was based on the bid Rwanda submitted which underscored the Government’s commitment towards building a knowledge based economy by promoting innovation and entrepreneurship.
Commenting on the event, Honorable Jean de Dieu RurangirwaMinister of Information Technology and Communications, said that it is a great honor for the country to host IPA2018 and emphasized on the effort made by the Government of Rwanda to adopt innovative solutions for the Country’s problems.
“We are delighted to host the Innovation Prize for Africa 2018. We commend AIF’s work to address the continent’s challenges through innovation. IPA’s message cuts across generations and puts forth mindsets that are passionate about the upliftment of Africa. Such an event showcases African ingenuity. We look forward to hosting these brilliant minds.”
Rwanda takes center stage in the push towards becoming an innovation-led knowledge economy
Rwanda’s strategic and widespread adoption of ICTs, which has propelled the nation towards socio-economic growth, makes it the ideal host nation for IPA 2018. The Government’s vision for 2020 is to transform Rwanda into a self-reliant, knowledge-based economy, and move its status towards becoming an upper-middle to high-income country. With an aim to become a leading innovation and technology hub in the continent, Rwanda is a pioneer in deploying Smart City technology to improve the lifestyles and social sustainability of its citizens. Tech hubs have been playing an important role in Rwanda’s innovation ecosystem, offering enabling environments for young Rwandans with business ideas to innovate. These hubs aim to support a new generation of Rwandese entrepreneurs that will create jobs and contribute to the economy. Moreover, the Government of Rwanda is committed to increasing competition in the continent to foster innovation, spur job creation and promote inclusive economic growth.
Honorable Jean de Dieu Rurangirwa, Minister of Information Technology and Communications

Honorable Jean de Dieu Rurangirwa, Minister of Information Technology and Communications

Commenting on the partnership with the Government of Rwanda, the AIF Chairman of the Board Walter Fust,said, “Recently, Rwanda has emerged as one of Africa’s most innovative economies, topping the ranks as far as science, technology and innovation (STI) capacity is concerned. The government’s goal to attract US$1 billion worth of ICT investments by 2020, backed by major milestones such as the Kigali Innovation City, is a reflection of its commitment towards digital transformation. Rwanda’s efforts to support innovation and promote high-tech sectors such as ICTs and life sciences are truly commendable. We are proud to partner with the Government of Rwanda to host IPA 2018 and look forward to collaborating with Rwandan innovators and innovation enablers in their quest to become an innovation-led knowledge economy.”

Increasing Pan-Africa wide efforts to invest in inclusive innovation ecosystems
Over the past six years, AIF has partnered with innovation enablers and governments in Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa to host the Innovation Prize for Africa event. Together with its partners, AIF has made great strides in strengthening African innovation ecosystems through ongoing collaborative programs and strategic partnerships aimed at unlocking the potential of African innovators. Today, AIF has a network of over 9,400 African innovators across 55 countries and over 400 innovation enablers. IPA impact is illustrated by the fact that it has generated over US$ 30 Million in investments for African innovators and past winners/nominees have achieved commendable milestones benefiting not only themselves but also their communities. 
Enthusiastic about hosting IPA 2018 in Rwanda, Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl, AIF Managing Director and IPA Program Director, commented, “We are delighted to showcase the continent’s best and brightest innovators during the 7th edition of IPA to be held in Rwanda. IPA 2018 is a call to African nations to collaborate and invest in building inclusive ecosystems that can drive needs-based innovation and support niche innovative enterprise across all segments of African society. We are delighted to partner with the Government of Rwanda and connecting our ever-growing Pan-African network of African innovators, enablers and partners with the country’s innovators and enablers. We are confident that this partnership will go a long way in helping to build stronger, more sustainable innovation ecosystems that will propel the continent forward.”
This year’s theme ‘Investing in Inclusive Innovation Ecosystems’ calls for African governments and innovation stakeholders to invest in building bridges for more inclusive ecosystems that will accelerate and scale African innovation at all levels of society. The aim is to increase access to innovative financing and know-how and to enhance collaboration between African nations to enable local innovators to access higher value markets for their solutions at a faster rate. Women and young innovators/entrepreneurs, enablers with an interest in supporting social and tech innovations, and investors are invited to actively participate in the catalytic two-day IPA event.
IPA 2018 will bring together key government officials, public and private sector stakeholders as well as innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, academics, researchers, policy makers, think tanks and STI experts. The two-day event will feature a series of strategic roundtables and workshops aimed at identifying solutions and key actions to drive investments in inclusive innovation ecosystems across Africa. It will also feature an innovation market place where IPA winners and nominees together with Rwandan and other selected African innovators will showcase their innovations to a Pan African and international audiences, including top tier media.
AIF works to increase the prosperity of Africans by catalysing the innovation spirit in Africa.
IPA is a landmark initiative of the AIF and 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.
IPA has been successfully celebrated in African major capitals representing African regions: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (2012), Cape Town, South Africa (2013), Abuja, Nigeria (2014), Skhirat, Morocco (2015) Gaborone, Botswana (2016), and more recently in Accra, Ghana (2017).  IPA was endorsed at its inaugural edition in Addis Ababa in 2012 where African ministers at the joint Africa Union (AU) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) passed a resolution to support AIF to promote innovation-based societies across the continent.
Besides a host of exciting side events and brand new initiatives for Africa by Africans, IPA 2018 will offer the following prizes and incentives to winners and nominees:
√ Grand prize of US$100 000
√ Second Prize of US$25 000
√ Special Prize for Social Impact US$25 000
√ A voucher for each of the seven IPA nominees of US$5 000
√ Additional incentives include investment opportunities, training and access to AIF’s vibrant network of innovation enablers, ongoing PR support and media coverage
IPA thematic areas are: 1) Agriculture/Agri-Business; 2) Environment, Energy & Water; 3) Health &

Wellbeing; 4) Information Communication Technologies (ICTS); 5) Manufacturing and Service Industry
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We’ll spend $320m Abacha loot to support the poor — Buhari
May 16, 2018 | 0 Comments
President Buhari

President Buhari

THE Federal Government on Monday in Abuja announced that $320m stolen funds by former late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, would be spent on the Conditional Cash Transfer scheme of the administration to support the poor.

Declaring open the Eighth Commonwealth Conference of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Africa, Buhari, represented by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, said it was one condition given by the Switzerland authorities for the repatriation of the funds.

Buhari said that The Global Forum on Asset Recovery, after its inaugural meeting in Washington, DC, in December 2017, had facilitated efforts toward asset recovery and return.

“The GFAR saw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Nigeria and the Government of Switzerland for the return of an additional $320m of the Sani Abacha loot.

“Included in that agreement is the commitment that the funds would be invested in one of Nigeria’s flagship social investment programmes, the Conditional Cash Transfer scheme targeted at the poorest and most vulnerable households in our country.’’ (NAN)

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They are Nigerians who have not bent their knees to the god of corruption- Dogara
May 16, 2018 | 0 Comments
*Says : National Assembly helped fund new EFCC head office project.
By Olayinka Ajayi
Pix 1, L – R , Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Mrs. Patricia Scotland, Former President of South Africa, Mr. Thabo Mbeki, President Muhammadu Buhari, Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha and Acting Chairman, EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu during the Official commissioning ceremony of EFCC Headquarters Office in Abuja on Tuesday 15th May, 2018.

L – R , Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Mrs. Patricia Scotland, Former President of South Africa, Mr. Thabo Mbeki, President Muhammadu Buhari, Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha and Acting Chairman, EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu during the Official commissioning ceremony of EFCC Headquarters Office in Abuja on Tuesday 15th May, 2018.

Nigeria’s Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara at the official commissioning of new headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday May 15, 2018‎ said: “With the commitment of the President Muhamadu Buhari to fight corruption, anyone who had gone to the former Head Office of the E.F.C.C as if you’re a foreigner visiting Nigeria for the very first time, the impression you’d leave with is that the fight is a joke, because we didn’t have a building that represented the seriousness with which the fight against corruption was attached. I am happy to say to Mr. President that by this singular effort, he has demonstrated that he has put his money where his mouth is. I am happy to say that it’s through the support of the National Assembly that funds were put together to complete this institution and I can assure you of our continued commitment to supporting the fight against corruption.”

“If world-class facilities such as this can fight corruption, then we can go home and be assured of winning the war against corruption. As important as this Head Office is however, it’s just like a computer, you can have a first-class hardware, but if the software is not good, you don’t have a computer. So emphasis must now be moved to those wonderful men and women who are sacrificing so much in order to ensure the war is sustained and won. We expect that the officers of the E.F.C.C should be angels, that is not a misplaced expectation, except for the reminder that angels live in heaven, they don’t live in hell. When you have an angel banished to hell, he’s now a demon, and demons cannot lead this fight. We have the active responsibility, and should take measures to insulate men and staff of this agency from temptations, that is by ensuring a practical means of engagement and service for them.”

“We must begin to change the narrative about corruption in Nigeria. The Chairman made a statement about a reference that was made of Nigeria as a fantastically corrupt country. Incidentally that statement was made in a city that is the home of the inflow of a lot of illicit funds. The person also stated that Nigeria leads the world in criminal enterprise, In fact that in the University of Lagos you can study and major in credit card fraud. That’s the narrative out there, but that must change due to the fact that we have a President who has won global acclaim as being corrupt-free. I can tell you that he is not alone in Nigeria, there are millions of Nigerians that we come across day by day who are corrupt free. As a representative of history, a prophet cried to God that there was no pure Prophet any more, that they had all bent their knees to baal. God replied this Prophet that He had reserved in that city thousands who had not bent their knees to baal. There are millions of Nigerians who have not bent their knees to the god of corruption.”

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Nigeria is leading on pan-African free trade despite not even signing up to the deal, bank chief says
May 15, 2018 | 0 Comments
  • Nigeria is in a position of leadership on a pan-African trade deal despite not signing up, the managing director of Ecobank Nigeria told CNBC.
  • The African Union is proposing a continent-wide trading bloc that would result in the largest free trade area in terms of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organization.
    • Kenya and Ghana ratified the agreement last week, while Ethiopia’s Prime Minister has said that his country is ready to follow suit.

    By  *

     

    The Egina floating production storage and offloading vessel, the largest of its kind in Nigeria, is berthed in Lagos harbor on February 23, 2017.Stefan Heunis | AFP | Getty Images

    The Egina floating production storage and offloading vessel, the largest of its kind in Nigeria, is berthed in Lagos harbor on February 23, 2017.
    Stefan Heunis | AFP | Getty Images

    Nigeria is in a position of leadership on a proposed Africa-wide trading bloc despite not having signed up to the agreement, the managing director of commercial lender Ecobank Nigeria told CNBC.

    Nigeria has “shifted the balance of power,” and “put itself in the situation where they now have the call,” Charles Kie said in an interview Friday.

    In March, 44 members of the 55-nation African Union signed up to the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), an agreement which proposes a common market across the African continent. The new bloc would result in the largest free trade area in terms of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organization.

    But Nigeria and South Africa, the region’s two largest economies, did not get on board, citing concerns over safeguarding jobs and cheap Chinese goods flooding the market.

    The summit took place in the Rwandan capital of Kigali. Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame is also chair of the African Union for 2018. Meanwhile, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari did not attend the event.

     “When you are the largest economy on the continent, and it’s a tiny, small country like Rwanda who is leading the conversation on the CFTA, there’s a very simple question that you ask yourself: ‘Where is your leadership?'” Kie said.

    By initially turning down the deal, Nigeria has the “leverage” to “get some of the conditions that they think are critical for the economy to now be put on the table,” Kie explained. “They (won’t) just absorb the impact of the decision that was taken, but they’re also part of the solutions that are going to come.”

    “I’m just making a pure and basic analysis of the powers in presence, and I’m looking at what it entails,” he said. “All of this is political, it’s the heads of state that sign these agreements.”

    Kie was confident that Nigeria would eventually subscribe to the deal.

     “I don’t have any doubt that Nigeria will join” the free trade agreement in its own time, he said. “Nobody will doubt the interests of this for the continent.”

    Kenya and Ghana, both African economies boasting strong fundamentals, ratified the agreement last week. Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who leads the east African powerhouse economy which has seen double-digit GDP (gross domestic product) growth as recently as 2017, said on Monday that his country is ready to follow suit.

    Intra-African trade currently comprises less than 20 percent of the continent’s total, with countries often focussed on exporting commodities to former colonial powers instead. It is hoped that the new free trade deal will shift emphasis away from this and towards manufacturing.

    The African Union posits the agreement as uniting a market of 1.2 billion people with a combined gross domestic product of $2.5 trillion.

    “We have to make sure that the rules of engagement when it comes to the free trade area are clearly defined,” both in terms of protecting national economies and establishing their manufacturing capacities, Kie said. “It’s not going to come overnight.”

     *CNBC
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The developing world is an easy target for populists – Kofi Annan
May 15, 2018 | 0 Comments
Kofi Annan

Kofi Annan

Kofi Annan was secretary-general of the United Nations from 1997 to 2006 and is a co-recipient with the U.N. of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize. He sat down with The WorldPost editor-in-chief Nathan Gardels for an interview, which has been condensed and edited for clarity. This interview originally appeared in the Washington Post on 10 May 2018.

There has been much debate about democratic dysfunction in the advanced world due to paralyzing polarization exacerbated by fake news and social media manipulation. Isn’t this also an issue in the fledgling democracies of the developing world, from Malaysia to Kenya, Nigeria and elsewhere?

Kofi Annan: Yes. Inequality and the aftermath of the financial crisis, in which many have been left behind, is driving polarization in other parts of the world, including the countries you mention, just as it is in the West.

In both advanced and developing nations, we are threatened by forces exploiting fears and misgivings for political gain, and they are driving communities apart. As long as inequality and other social problems plague us, populists will try to exploit them. A report my foundation just released on Southeast Asia identifies populism, illicit electoral financing and the politics of identity as the biggest threats to democracy locally and regionally. Social media certainly acts as a catalyst and booster for such polarization, but it is often just as present in traditional media.

WorldPost: If even long-standing Western democracies are struggling with their own legitimacy and the appeal of demagogues or authoritarian leaders, aren’t the challenges all the greater in the developing world?

Annan: Developing and newer democracies are much more susceptible to the tactics of populists and demagogues — they often do not have strong institutions, free press or the infrastructure required to defend their nascent democracies.

That is why we need to safeguard the institutions that have been built to prevent blatant twisting of truths that erode trust in our elections and ultimately in democracy itself. My primary focus these days is promoting the legitimacy of democracy by ensuring the integrity of elections, whether from traditional threats, such as too much money in politics, or newer threats arising with the digital age.

If citizens do not believe they can change their leaders through the ballot box, they will find other ways, even at the risk of destabilizing their countries.

WorldPost: You visited Silicon Valley last week to look at how to curb the negative impact of social media on democracy. What was your takeaway?

Annan: No single solution or actor can deal with the complex and interrelated challenges to electoral integrity arising from manipulated data, hate speech and fake news.

These phenomena are not new; they have been part of electoral cycles since the advent of democracy. However, the unique manner in which social media and other technologies are being used to amplify the impact of these tactics in electoral cycles across the globe is a real concern. The speed, reach and volume that social media gives to fake news, disinformation and hate speech erodes trust in institutions and even in the electoral process itself.

It was also clear to me that these developments are challenging the fundamental social contract between voters and those who govern them. We require new mechanisms and frameworks — partly regulatory, partly based on new technologies and partly educational — to restore trust in electoral processes and elected leaders. That trust can only be built if political figures, tech leaders and citizens themselves work together to design these frameworks.

To give just one example, when I spoke before an audience at Facebook, I suggested they should organize a sort of a rapid response team to be called into a situation when it is clear that bots, trolls or fake news are evident. The team could alert electoral commissions or other authorities to offer advice on how to stop the problem before it gets out of control.

The challenge for all of us is to harness the opportunities of the digital age while mitigating the risks. I am encouraged by the people I met in Silicon Valley who were supportive of the idea of creating a commission supporting electoral integrity in the digital age. My foundation will soon launch such a global commission to address these urgent issues in all democracies.

*Source: Kofi Annan Foundation

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Ghana:NaBCo jobs- 90,643 apply
May 15, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah.

President Akufo Addo

President Akufo Addo

Over 90,643 graduates have so far applied for recruitment under the Nation Builders Corps (NaBCo) initiative launched on May 1, 2018 officials have said.

The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Ghana outdoored the NaBCo programme as a major government policy to tackle graduate unemployment in the West African Country. According to information from officials managing the scheme, more graduates are filing their applications for recruitment into all the modules under the program.

At the launch of the programme, Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Danquah  Akufo-Addo was optimistic that it will provide a major relief to unemployed graduates in Ghana. He said: “NaBCo will enhance the dignity and self-esteem of our graduates, and will also present them with the added benefit of efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of some essential public services.”

The government is hoping to employ 100, 000 graduates under the programme for three years, and they are expected to earn a monthly stipend of GH¢700 each. The modules are Feed Ghana, Educate Ghana, Revenue Ghana, Heal Ghana, Enterprise Ghana, Digitise Ghana and Governance Ghana.

Under the Feed Ghana module, the graduates will be engaged as agricultural extension officers to help farmers, while under the Educate Ghana module, the beneficiaries will be posted to senior high schools (SHSs) to teach especially Science and Mathematics.

In the case of the Revenue Ghana module, the graduates will work with the Ghana Revenue Authority to help in the collection of revenue, while under the Heal Ghana module, nurses who have been at home for years without jobs will be engaged to work in the health sector.

In respect of the Enterprise Ghana module, graduates will be assigned to various private sector enterprises for jobs and skills training, as well as development, while in the Digitise Ghana module, graduates will be posted to the IT sector for the Digital Ghana and the transformation agenda, where they will be attached to the National Identification Authority (NIA), the Ghana Post, the Births and Deaths Registry or the Land Title Registry to work. In the case of the Governance Ghana module, the graduates will be attached to various local authorities.

The module qualification and recruitment processes and all the essential criteria, along with detailed information, are available on the NaBCo website, www.nabco.gov.gh.

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Exclusive: Nigeria’s Abubakar to Privatize Parts of State Oil Firm if Elected
May 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

BY ALEXIS AKWAGYIRAM and Paul Carsten*

FILE PHOTO: Presidential aspirant and Nigeria's former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar speaks as he presents his manifesto at All Progressives Congress (APC) party convention in Lagos early December 11, 2014. REUTERS/Akintunde AkinleyeREUTERS

FILE PHOTO: Presidential aspirant and Nigeria’s former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar speaks as he presents his manifesto at All Progressives Congress (APC) party convention in Lagos early December 11, 2014. REUTERS/Akintunde AkinleyeREUTERS

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria’s former vice president Atiku Abubakar will privatize parts of the country’s state oil company and allow the naira currency to float to attract foreign investment if elected as head of state, he told Reuters.

Abubakar also confirmed that he intends to run in next year’s presidential election, becoming the biggest opposition heavyweight to say he will take on Muhammadu Buhari.

The winner of February’s poll will lead Africa’s top oil producer and most populous nation, which is central to regional stability as it battles Islamist militants in the northeast.

Abubakar, a former key ally of President Buhari whose resources helped propel him to power, quit the ruling party in November and re-joined the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) a month later.

He has long enjoyed support from the business elite in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos for his conservative-capitalist ideals and, as vice president in a PDP administration from 1999-2007, he implemented a program of liberalization in areas including telecoms sector.

NEXT STEPS

Abubakar said he would go further if elected president.

“I am also going to expand it to include the oil and gas sector which have not been touched at all and other major sectors of the economy like mining, solid minerals,” he said.

Abubakar said he would privatize parts of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which has been beset by decades of mismanagement and is crucial to the OPEC member’s economic fortunes. He did not specify the parts that would be privatized.

“I am a strong believer in very, very small government and also the private sector,” he said.

A drop in crude oil prices from late 2014 pushed Nigeria into its first recession in 25 years in 2016, spawning chronic dollar shortages because oil receipts make up two-thirds of government revenue and most of the country’s foreign exchange.

The economy moved out of recession last year but growth remains weak and multiple exchange rates remain in place, imposed by the central bank to support Buhari’s insistence that the naira should not be allowed to float.

“I will allow the naira to float because I believe that is one of the ways foreign direct investment can be encouraged to come in,” said Abubakar, who hopes to replicate Buhari’s 2015 feat of winning a presidential election at the fourth attempt.

NORTH POLL

Buhari, who took office in 2015, and whoever becomes president next will face challenges ranging from weak economic growth to communal violence between semi-nomadic herdsmen and farmers, as well as the Boko Haram insurgency.

Abubakar – who, like Buhari, is a Muslim from the north – said voters would welcome someone who could revive their fortunes, adding that of his three previous presidential campaigns he was only once rejected by the electorate. He was not selected as a party candidate on the other two occasions.

Parties must select their candidate by Oct. 7. The next president should be a northerner, under an unofficial power-sharing agreement under which the presidency alternates between the north and south after every two four-year terms.

Bismarck Rewane, chief executive of Lagos-based consultancy Financial Derivatives, said the former vice president’s familiarity and age could be a disadvantage.

“To upset the Buhari candidature, you need something different: someone young, energetic and charismatic. You need something distinct from the current leadership,” he said.

Abubakar lacked Buhari’s popularity in northern states and at 71, just four years younger than the president, would struggle to generate “inter-generational appeal”, Rewane said.

The UN estimates that the median age in Nigeria is 18.

 *Culled from U.S News
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