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Republic of Congo’s Hydrocarbons Minister to Lead a Congolese Delegation at Upcoming Oil & Gas Meeting Day in Malabo
September 27, 2019 | 0 Comments
Congo’s participation in the Oil & Gas Meeting Day happens on the backdrop of strong recovery within Central Africa’s services industry
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, September 26, 2019/ — Congo’s oil sector is answering to Equatorial Guinea’s call to cooperation and will be participating in the Oil & Gas Meeting Day in Malabo on October 1st and 2nd, 2019. The delegation will be led by Minister of Hydrocarbons Jean-Marc Thystère-Tchicaya.

Congo’s participation in the Oil & Gas Meeting Day happens on the backdrop of strong recovery within Central Africa’s services industry. This is especially supported by strong drilling activity in key markets such as Chad and Gabon, and exceptional exploration prospects being drilled across the region, including onshore Congo-Brazzaville.

Such growth within Africa’s oil & gas sector presents the continent’s services companies with tremendous opportunities for partnerships and regional expansion. As an energy and oil & gas hub, Central Africa is home to several indigenous services companies from across the EPC, drilling support services and logistics industries whose growth prospects can be unlocked by further opening up to best international partnerships and joint-ventures.

Recent regulatory reforms in Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon or Cameroon are sending strong signals that local content will be the driver of oil & gas growth in Central Africa and the rest of the continent in the future. In addition, recent exploration successes and production increases across the region, especially in Equatorial Guinea, are providing the right opportunities for local services companies to better participate in the development of the industry. The presence of Congo-Brazzaville, sub-Saharan Africa’s third largest oil producer, at the Oil & Gas Meeting Day shows that African companies are open for business and seeking deals that will support the growth of our industry and create jobs.

“Under the leadership of H.E. Jean-Marc Thystère-Tchicaya, Congo has been successfully raising its international profile and engaging with global energy markets,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber and CEO at the Centurion Law Group. “From the joining of OPEC and the installation of the new Noumbi FPSO in 2018 to the recent granting of new PSCs to majors such as Total and Lukoil, Congo is making its voice heard, increasing its production and boosting exploration. The country’s industry leadership will also see Brazzaville hosting the APPO Heads of State Summit in February 2020. This brings opportunities not only for Congolese companies but for the entire region,” added Mr. Ayuk.

The African Energy Chamber strongly supports the Oil & Gas Meeting Day, a Year of Energy event organised by Equatorial Guinea’s National Alliance of Hydrocarbons Service Companies (NAHSCO). Malabo has positioned itself as the hub for services companies to engage in meaningful conversations on how to build the next-generation of African oil & gas leaders and companies. The services industry is a massive job creator and a strong pillar of the global oil & gas industry. As cooperation amongst African oil markets increases, the need for services companies to step up their game and pursue an aggressive outreach has become a necessity. 
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UNGA 2019: Hands off our girls! African first ladies take campaign against rape, early child marriage, to UN General Assembly
September 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

New York, New York 27 September 2019 –Africa’s first ladies, led bSierra Leone Fatima Maada Bio brought their campaign to ban early child marriage and sexual violence against women and girls before a global stage in a passionate appeal for the world to support their “Hands Off Our Girls! Campaign.

In a no-holds barred conversation organized on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly Wednesday, Bio flanked by her husband President Julius Bio, spoke to “lift the lid of silence” taboo and stigma surrounding rape and early marriage in Sierra Leone and other parts of the continent.

The high-level meeting was organised to rally support for the end of early marriage and rape in Africa, a movement which the Bios have spearheaded.

This year’s General Assembly has been dominated by delivery of the sustainable development goals, of which number 5 is Gender Equality.

In brief opening remarks, African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina spoke out forcefully against all forms of early marriage and said the economic empowerment of women is a critical tool to end the vicious cycle of marginalization and gender imbalance.

“That’s why the Bank is raising $3 billion to support women,” Adesina said, referring to the Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women In Africa (AFAWA) initiative.

“Early marriage is not only a human rights abuse it is an economic issue,” Rachel Yates, Executive Director of Girls Not Brides, said.

Sharing intimate personal details, Maada Bio, recounted her personal story of running away from an arranged marriage to an older man in her early teens. Aided by an older sister, she took a flight out of her native Sierra Leone to the United Kingdom – without her father’s knowledge or permission. “I come from a family where girls are married at 12 years,” she said.

Three months later from the safety of the UK, her resolve was set.

“From that moment I vowed that I would not see a child being abused,” she said.

President Bio, responding to a question on how deeply set cultural mindsets could be changed, said it would take patience and persistence. “We have to leave some aspects of culture behind. We have to establish institutions and cascade our campaigns down across the entire country.

Sierra Leone has one of the highest incidences of rape and sexual assault on the continent. In February, President Bio declared a state of emergency due to the high incidences of rape.

Other prominent first ladies at the event included Jeanette Kagame of Rwanda, Clar Weah of Liberia, Antoinette Sassou Nguesso of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the first lady of Zimbabwe, Auxilla Mnangagwa, and Ermine Erdogan, first lady of Turkey.

Speaking passionately in support of her “Sierra Leonean sister,” Weah said it was time to collectively say no to abuse. “We renew our commitment to create a safe world for our girls in Africa. We entreat all presidents and heads of states to join us,” she said.

Ermine Erdogan, an ardent advocate against child marriage in Turkey and who made a special appearance to support the event, said the key to the empowerment of women was education.

“There is no excuse for early marriage. The place for a school-going child is school,” she said.

Other voices in support of the first ladies included Djereje Wordofa, UNFA Deputy Executive Director who said protection of girls and women and preventing abuse must become a national  priority.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organisation said it was a subject he dreaded but had to talk about. “Child marriage reinforces poverty…It is totally unacceptable.

We must speak out against political, religious and social practices,” he said.

Since his election to office in 2018, President Bio has strongly advocated against early marriage and has tightened legal and policy frameworks for sexual offenders and rapists. The campaign is gaining traction and has been endorsed across the continent with the support of the African First Ladies.

The High-Level meeting follows a First Ladies Meeting on Combatting Child Marriage and Promoting Education of Girls in West Africa, which took place in Niamey in Niger on the Margins of the Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State of the African Union.

“Every time I get the opportunity, I say the fight against early marriage is not a political statement, it is a personal one. We need help,” Maada Bio said.

*AFDB

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UNGA 2019: Young Africans will “produce the magic” says AU chief as the UN sounds warning on Sustainable Development Goals
September 27, 2019 | 0 Comments
Albert Muchanga, the African Union’s Commissioner for Trade and Industry,

United Nations, New York, 26 September 2019 – Leaders should devise an “incentive structure” to promote a startup culture among young Africans. “I think they will produce the magic,” Albert Muchanga, the African Union’s Commissioner for Trade and Industry, told a gathering on infrastructure at the United Nations on Wednesday.

Muchanga said colleagues were working to “harmonise our policies, rules and regulations” to smooth cross-border trade while focusing on the next generation.
 

“We’re not leaving the youth behind. We’re promoting startups among African youth. Because we know that if we localise knowledge and innovation, then we’ll be able to spearhead the process of sustainable development,” said Muchanga.

The meeting, called Promoting Innovation and Infrastructure Development: A Pathway for Boosting Manufacturing in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, was part of the UN-designated Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III).

United Nations talks on goals to end poverty, inequality and other global ills wrapped up on Wednesday, amid concerns that global efforts were being derailed by climate change, conflicts and violence.

Event organisers said that investment in African infrastructure was $63 billion in 2016, representing 3.5 per cent of the continent’s economy. More than 42 per cent of that funding came from national governments.

Africa needs “massive investment” of between $68-152 billion this coming decade, or between 3.1 and 6.9 per cent of the continent’s economy, for building infrastructure and to ensure sustained growth, organisers say.

African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina warned that the continent was moving backwards and urged executives to produce more high-value manufactured products instead of exporting raw materials.
 

“Unfortunately, Africa today is de-industrialising, and there is no region of the world that has actually created wealth without industrialising,” said Adesina.

“Infrastructure is critical. Ports, rail, digital infrastructure, all those things are going to be very critical. That’s our bread and butter every day at the African Development Bank, connecting Africa and achieving the goal of African unity.”

The Bank has invested more than $150 million in building technology hubs in Rwanda, Senegal and Cabo Verde. The institution also runs collaboration and mentorship schemes to bring African entrepreneurs and investors together.
 

In a pre-recorded video, United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres said the “winds of hope are blowing across” Africa as economists from across the continent addressed raising cash for building roads, power plants and other infrastructure.

Guterres said the emergence of free trade areas across the continent offered “concrete opportunities for economic transformation”.

“Yet, challenges remain. Despite progress, new policies are needed to unleash the full potential of industrialisation, especially in this time of technological revolution,” Guterres said.
 

Acknowledging the “wide recognition that we are off track to achieve the goals by 2030,” UN’s deputy secretary-general Amina Mohammed said there had been a “clear renewal of commitment by leader after leader to implement the 2030 agenda” and that the two days of talks in New York marked a “turning point” in achieving the targets.

“This is absolutely critical to respond to challenges that affect all countries – poverty, gross inequalities, discrimination against women and girls, climate change, and a rapidly deteriorating natural environment,” said Mohammed.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were launched by the UN’s 193 member nations in 2015 in a bid to tackle conflict, hunger, land degradation, gender inequality, climate change, and other global ills, by 2030.

*AFDB

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Kenya, Morocco tops the list of Africa’s avocado exporters
September 27, 2019 | 0 Comments
A trader selling avocados at Kangemi market in Nairobi. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO| NMG

By Samuel Ouma |@journalist_27

Five months after Kenya struck a trade deal with China to export avocados to the Asian country, the East African country has been ranked third in the world in for the fruit exporting.

 Kenya is trailing Colombia and Morocco according to a 2019 half year survey disclosed at the ongoing World Avocado Congress in Medellin Colombia. The survey named Colombia number one country globally when it comes to fastest avocado export followed by Morocco and Kenya completed the list of top three nations.

The 2019 survey shows that Kenya is on the right path in avocado farming. In a 2018 study, it emerged 7th in the list of leading exporters of avocados. Kenya was beaten by Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Spain, Chile and USA.

Kenya is also represented at the Congress by delegates led by Governor Mwangi Wa Iria and it is set to submit its bid seeking to host the global conference in 2023. Central Kenya County, Murang’a is the largest producer of coffee as farmers across the country are encouraged to diversify agriculture by growing high value crops such as avocado.

“Colombia is among the fastes growing exporters . Touring avocado farms and learning from a three-day conference will equip us with strategies on growing of this fruit,” said one of the Kenyan delegates attending the summit.

China, US and Europe are the destinations of Kenya’s avocados.

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African scientists map the genomic resources of the continent
September 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Up to 300 African scientists have converged in Accra, Ghana, this week to map out progress of a multi-million, multi-country and multi-year genomic research programme to increase understanding of how human genes and the environment are contributing to Africa’s increased susceptibility to diseases.

The scientists, who are members of the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) consortium, a major genomics research programme established in 2010 by the African Society of Human Genetics (AfSHG),  Wellcome Trust and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), have made significant progress in using genetic, clinical and epidemiological tools to identify individuals and populations who are at risk for developing specific diseases. The hope is to contribute to efforts to reduce Africa’s high disease burden, which stands at 25 % of the global figures [World Bank]. The scientists will be presenting their findings at the 14th H3Africa Consortium meeting taking place in Accra from 23-27 September 2019 and will be opened by a representative from Ghana’s Ministry of Science and Technology.

Over the last 7 years, H3Africa investigators have been examining the relationship between genetic variation, environment, and health in African populations.  Genome scale data has been generated for over 50,000 research participants from across Africa.  These data will provide a clearer and more detailed understanding of the genetic diversity of Africans and new insight into the history of human migration in Africa.  It also has the potential to reveal some of the small differences in our genes that are influential in determining what makes Africa more susceptible or resistant to certain diseases and that can impact disease outcomes and response to treatment.
Genomic research also offers the potential to better understand diseases endemic to Africa that remain understudied because human genetics research has been concentrated on European populations, under representing individuals of African ancestry.
 Some of the findings from H3Africa include:

  • Bacteria in the noses of children differ between those who do and do not develop pneumonia, even before pneumonia develops, and that air pollution influences these bacterial communities.
  • Hypertension is highly prevalent in eastern and southern Africa and even though many take medication, their hypertension is not always properly controlled.

These and other findings will enable early and more accurate diagnosis, the development of new drugs and potentially, personalised medicine, a modern approach that recognises that individuals respond to treatment differently and tailors care to a specific individual or population to ensure they get the right treatment and the right dose at the right time.

“Some diseases are more prevalent and devastating on the African continent than in the rest of the world. Mapping the genetic diversity of Africans by H3Africa researchers will help us to understand why this is. Further Africans are also protected against other diseases seen in other continents and it is important to understand this. Health care needs to be targeted not a one size fits all.” said Dr Michelle Skelton, Principal Investigator, H3Africa Administrative Coordinating Centre.
The programme has also been very successful in building infrastructure and training a critical mass of highly skilled genomics researchers of close to 800 PhD, master’s and bachelor of science students in the field.

“With genomics, we can learn more about ourselves—why some diseases are more pervasive and have a more devastating impact in Africa than elsewhere in the world and how African populations respond to treatment — so we can produce products that are relevant to us, including drugs. This will go a long way in aiding efforts to reduce the continent’s disease burden and building a foundation for advances in genomics medicine and precision medicine for public health in Africa,” said AAS H3Africa Programme Manager, Dr Jennifer Mabuka. Currently, there is an ongoing global effort to apply genomic science and associated technologies to further the understanding of health and disease in different populations. However, most African countries are being left behind in this genomic revolution.  H3Africa is part of efforts to urgently close the genomics gap and widening of global and ethnic inequalities in health and economic well-being.

Further details on the 14th H3Africa Consortium Meeting
The major goals of the 14th Meeting are to:

  • Identify more opportunities for cross collaborations and opportunities between diverse H3Africa projects.
  • Develop advanced community engagement guidelines and recommendations
  • Develop a universal case report form
  • Create content toward producing a promotional Video
  • Improve skills including: Scientific Writing, Science Communication and Media Engagement
  • Finalise H3Africa Policy and Guideline Documents
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First immigrants arrive in Rwanda from Libya
September 27, 2019 | 0 Comments
Immigrants were escorted to Gashora Camp in the south East of Rwanda

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

First immigrants who were trapped in Libya on their way to Europe have arrived in Rwanda, where government has agreed to give them asylum.

A group of 66 immigrants mainly unaccompanied minors, single mothers and youth have landed at Kigali International Airport on Thursday midnight.

Upon arrival, they were escorted to Gashora camp, in South-Eastern Rwanda where they will be being catered for  by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR).

This group of immigrants is the first to be sent in Rwanda among 500 immigrants whom Rwanda agreed to host, in its fight against torture and slavery they were experiencing in Libya.

UNCHR says that bringing those immigrants will give them safety contrary to how they were living in Libya.

Thousands of immigrants try to cross from Africa to Europe in search of better life. Some drown in the sea or become prey to the pirates who operate in the internationals waters.

Immigrants arriving at Kigali International Airport

Data from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees shows that 116,647 migrants and refugees reached European shores from Africa by crossing Mediterranean sea.

At least 2,275 people died or went missing as they tried to cross to Europe in 2018, leading to an average of six deaths a day.

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MAKING AFRICA TRADE EASY (MATE) “The African Diaspora linking U.S. and African businesses” HIGH LEVEL DIALOGUE
September 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

Washington, D.C.)- September 26, 2019–BELIEVE IN AFRICA (BIA) is honored to announce its first and largest African diaspora gathering conference called “Making Africa Trade Easy” (MATE) scheduled from October 3rd to 4th, 2019 at the prestigious Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center located at 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NE in Washington, DC 20004, USA.

“MATE is a collaborative and nonpartisan effort between the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center and Believe in Africa to unleash the African Diaspora potential as a catalyst for trade between the U.S. and African economies. This first edition aims at promoting the new U.S. Africa strategy “Prosper Africa” as well as advancing Africa’s economic integration,” said Mrs. Angelle Kwemo, Founder and Chair of Believe in Africa.

She added: “It is more importantly a platform that will allow two-way trade between African businesses and their U.S. counterparts, and therefore help strengthen mutually beneficial partnerships that create wealth, prosperity and lasting jobs on both continents.”

MATE’s program comprises a two-day trade fair, high level discussions, workshops on how to do business with U.S. agencies, a fashion show and cultural activities. We are expecting 200 selected high-level delegates from the U.S. and Africa, dozens of speakers and exhibitors and 1,000 visitors.

This year Award Ceremony will be hosted by Maureen Umeh, TV Host.

2019 Believe in Africa Awardees are:

  • H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson, African Union Commission
  • Aisha Babangida, Chairperson Betterlife for Rural Women,
  • Samba Bathily, Founder, AED Group and
  • Dr. Gloria Herdon, CEO GH Global Group.

This years speakers included:

Hon. Ramsey Day, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa, US Agency for International Development, Matthew Rees, Prosper Africa Coordinator, David Weld, Senior director, Africa, Millennium Challenge Corporation, Constance Hamilton, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa, Oren Wyche-Shaw, Deputy Assistant Administrator, US Agency for International Development, Alison Germack, Director of Corporate Development, International Development finance corporation, Heather Lannigan, Regional director for sub-Saharan Africa, US Trade Development Agency – Access Africa, Katie Auth, Acting deputy Coordinator, Power Africa, CD Glin, President & CEO, US Africa Development Foundation, Gregory Simpkins, Senior Advisor, US Agency for International Development, Martin Ezemma, Director of International Business, Prince Georges’s County Economic Development corporation
 
African government Officials 
Hon. Lesego Makgothi
, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Kingdom of Lesotho, His Excellency Albert M. Muchanga, African Union Commissioner of Trade and Industry, His Excellency Ambassador Fitsum Arega, Hicham Boudraa, Morrocan Agency for Development and Export, MADIE, H.E. DHR Sergio Akiemboto, Minister of Mines and Natural Resources, Suriname.
 

Aisha Babangida will be honored with an Award at MATE 2019

Actors in the Private sector:

Angelle Kwemo, Founder & President, Believe in Africa, Andrew Gelfuso, Vice president, Ronald Reagan building international trade center, Dr. Aurele Houngbedji, senior risk management officer, international monetary fund, Jeannine Scott, Board Chair, Constituency for Africa, Leila Ndiaye, President & CEO, Institute for Global Development, Flori Liser, president & CEO, Corporate Council on Africa, Scott Eisner*, president, Africa Business Council, US Chamber of Commerce, Samba Bathily, Founder ADS Group, Prof. Landry Signe, David M. Rubenstein Fellow in the Global Economy and Development Program, Brookings Institution, Yusuf Daya, senior manager, Afrexim Bank, Dr. Edem  Adzogenu, chair, executive committee, the afrochampions initiative, Wilmot Allen, ceo, VentureLift Africa, Simon Tiemtore, chairman, Lilium capital &vista bank, Reda Rami, chairman, winvestment, Mohammed Ibrahim Jega, Chief Business Development Officer, CEO Vogue Pay, Franklin Assare*, Ghana director, oracle, Dr. Mima Nedelcovitch, Partner, Africa global , Ollowo-N’Djo Tchala, ceo, Alaffia, Albert Zeufack, chief economist, world bank, Salma Seetaroo-Bonnafoux, Ivoirienne de Nois de Cajou, H.E. Aisha Babaginda, Chairperson, Better Life for Rural Women, Rahama Wright, Shea Yeleen, Member U.S. Presidential Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa, Shehnaz Rangwalla, President, Leadership Global, Dr. Sharon Freeman, President & ceo, Gems of wisdom consulting, Mariama Camara, mariam fashion production, Tebabu essefa, founder & ceo, blessed coffee, Dr. Gloria Herndon, GH Global, Andrew Gelfuso,  Vice president, Ronald Reagan Building International Trade Center, Hope Sullivan, consultant, OIC of America, Dr. Malcolm Beech, Sr., President Africa Business League – America, Lledon Stokes, President, National Business League, Stanley L.Straughter, Chairman, African and Caribbean Business Council of Greater Philadelphia, Dr. Menna Menessi, secretary,  Ethiopian  diaspora  trust fund, Awoke Semework, President, Ethio-American Chamber of commerce, Ambassador Robin Sanders, feeds, former Ambassador to Congo, Nigeria and Ecowas, Tumelo Ramaphosa, StudcCoin , Andrew Berkowitz, Crypto Media Company, Camilla Barungi, co-funder, Alliance 4 Development, Ed Thurlow, Bination, Alex de Bryn, Founder and CEO Doshex, Tamra Raye stevenson, CEO, Women Advancing Nutrition Dietetics and Agriculture, Kimberly Brown, phd, amethyst technologies, llc, Dr. Aunkh chanbalala, Director, Department of Science and Technology, South Africa, Adrian Gore, founder & ceo, discovery aid, Betty Adera, Betty Adera foundation

Believe in Africa (BIA) is an African Diaspora-led initiative founded by former U.S. congressional staffers and African leaders in the U.S., to empower young Africans, promote the role of the African private sector, harness the power of the African Diaspora, educate policy makers and the public about African economic growth and highlight the continent’s gradual rise in the global community.

To learn more about BIA visit www.believeinafrica.org

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The AfCFTA: The first step of a long marathon
September 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Angelle B .Kwemo*

Angelle Kwemo

Earlier this summer, the two final holdout countries, Nigeria and Benin, signed on to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. When this ambitious plan—which has created the world’s largest free trade zone—was first expressed a couple of years ago, I admit that I was a bit doubtful and wondered if African leaders were fully committed to achieving this historical milestone. However, the progress and enthusiasm around the agreement, as well as its potential to be transformational for all Africans, have eased my reservations.

As noted by many experts, including Dr. Landry Signé in a recent report on this subject, the AfCFTA has great potential: By 2030, Africa will have a combined consumer and business spending of $6.7 trillion, offering some of the world’s biggest opportunities for international investors. The United Nations Commission for Africa also estimates that the AfCFTA has the potential to boost intra-African trade by 52 percent by 2022.

There are, however, significant obstacles: Africa is still heavily reliant on commodity and agricultural exports. Industrialization has been slow and, in some places, stagnant. With a global trade share of less than 3 percent, export diversification is yet to be achieved. Current intra-African trade accounts for a mere 16 percent of the continent’s total trade volume.

MIXED VIEWS ABOUT THE POTENTIAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE AFCFTA

As I consider and generally welcome this historical milestone, I still have some mixed feelings about it. Indeed, many experts are torn: While many see the agreement as a crucial move toward fostering regional economic integration and overall economic growth, others fear that African markets are ill prepared for such heightened levels of competition.

Indeed, the continent remains plagued by a number of ­­unpredictable tariff and non-tariff barriers, poor infrastructure, few supportive policies and legal framework, a lack of a transportation network, heavy layers of government bureaucracy, and still-high levels of corruption.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE AFCFTA TO DELIVER ON ITS PROMISE

In order to be successful and deliver on the AfCFTA’s promises, a labyrinth of regulatory hurdles need to be addressed and a number of enabling intertwined actions need to be considered by all stakeholders. These include:

1. Keep African unity in mind through education and communication

The African continent is very diverse in every aspect of its societies, from political and economic systems and currencies to religion, race, culture, and language. As much as the idea of building an African single market is very popular on the continent, some countries remain very protectionist: For example, some small countries like Equatorial Guinea and Gabon are still reluctant to open their borders. In fact, Equatorial Guinea announced earlier this month that it intends to build a border wall to prevent Cameroonian and West African illegal immigration, citing security threats. There have even been some cases of xenophobia-inspired attacks in South Africa.

Therefore, before it become fully implemented, the African Union must bring awareness of the AfCFTA to the general public–especially youth, women, and informal sector actors–by educating them about what it entails and how it might affect them. Importantly, leaders should showcase the agreement’s success stories—not just those of multinationals but also the achievements of small, medium, and large African firms. The goal will be to debunk the misperception that reducing borders will equate to jobs lost or mass immigration from lower income countries.

The African Union should declare an official “Africa Economic Community Day” to celebrate the creation of the AfCFTA, and appoint special envoys from among influencers— such as African celebrities in the arts, media, business, and sports—to engage in commercial diplomacy and to promote unity, tolerance, and a sense of common purpose. Their role will be to educate the general public on the importance of reducing barriers and building a common market. It will mitigate future losses and misperceptions of the AfCFTA in general, prevent xenophobia, and, more importantly, turn African ethnic, cultural, and religious diversity into an asset and not a cause of conflict.

2. Attract investments in power and infrastructure development

Perhaps one of the most pressing issues facing the region is the lack of supportive infrastructure. Without enhanced infrastructure, businesses cannot affordably transform products or move people, goods, and services in a cost-effective way. Unfortunately, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB), Africa’s infrastructure financing needs come down to an estimated $130 billion to $170 billion per year. The African Union (AU) must encourage international partners to invest in regional infrastructure projects as well as national infrastructure development, including through the Africa Investment Forum, the Afrochampions Initiative, and the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa.

3. Establish a fair mechanism to level the playing fields among member countries

The AfCFTA is host to the greatest level of income disparity of any continental trade agreement. It is more than double the levels witnessed in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and CARICOM (Caribbean Community) countries. As discussed by Signé and van der Ven, these economic disparities could be addressed by putting in place special and differential treatment (SDT) provisions, especially for least developed countries, coupled with technical assistance programs allowing them to gradually fulfill their obligations under the AfCFTA, monitor progress, and establish safety nets.

4. Strengthen the role of the private sector

Despite the continent’s growth, economists still predict a shortfall of 68 million jobs by 2022, not including the tens of millions of currently underemployed. Even within the context of AfCFTA, the African Union should encourage member states and other institutions to strategically prioritize their private sectors, encouraging investment in infrastructure, technology and power development, and agribusiness. Perhaps more importantly, local and national governments should focus on creating an enabling environment for businesses to prosper and ensuring that the wealth they create is inclusive, sustained, and reinvested in African communities, in youth, and in women.

The informal sector merits special attention, given that it represents more than 66 percent of total employment in sub-Saharan Africa and 52 percent in North Africa. Reducing government bureaucracies and corruption, improving fiscal policies and accountability, and providing training, technology, and access to financial services, will empower start-ups to get out of the informal sector, access the gains of the continental market, and, as a result, increase government revenues.

To conclude, for the AfCFTA to be successful, it is essential that African leaders play their part, keep the bigger picture in mind, and put long-term economic growth and Africa’s betterment before their short-run political agendas. A marathon always starts with one step, but as Madiba said, “It is always impossible until it is done.” Africans have every reason to have hope for a better tomorrow.

*Angelle B. Kwemo is Founder – Believe in Africa,CEO – AstrategiK Group and Author – “Against All Odds”. Article was originally published by the Brookings Africa Blog

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Kigali City steps up efforts in cancer control
September 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Jean d’Amour Mugabo

L_R_ C-Can Director for Africa Mrs Sophie Bussmann, Kigali City Vice Mayor Ms Umutoni Gatsinzi Nadine and Dr Francois Uwinkindi, Director for Cancer Programme at RBC. Photo courtesy.

Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, has committed to improving cancer care solutions through collaboration with partners including the global City Cancer Challenge (C/Can).

According to Nadine Umutoni Gatsinzi, the City vice Mayor in charge of Socio-economic Affairs, the initiative aims at engaging all city stakeholders in the design, planning, and implementation of cancer care solutions and take the lead as the capital city on improving the health of its citizens and reducing inequities in access to quality cancer care.

Ms Umutoni was speaking at a meeting in Kigali on Monday with the C/Can Regional Director for Africa Mrs Sophie Bussmann-Kemdjo, the C/Can Kigali Executive Committee and local stakeholders operating in cancer control field.

City Cancer Challenge Regional Director for Africa Mrs Sophie Bussmann-Kemdjo delivers remarks in Kigali on Monday. Photo courtesy

The City official said the need assessment completed last month identified challenges and priorities in Cancer Care Control in the City of Kigali but its findings will be published early next month.

“Through C/Can 2025, the city of Kigali has the opportunity to deliver a more effective cancer treatment solution leveraging existing infrastructure at different levels of the healthcare system in the city, as well as a good partnership with key stakeholders, including the Ministry of Health and civil society, implementing cancer and NCD related activities,” said Umutoni.

NCD stands for Non-Communicable Diseases.

Mrs Sophie Bussmann-Kemdjo commended Rwanda’s commitment and engagement from national authorities and local stakeholders in the implementation of priority projects to achieve equitable access to quality cancer services. 

“C/Can works with cities to make cancer a national priority. Thanks to this initiative, the public and private sector, civil society and, most importantly, cancer patients can sit down at the same table to join forces and work together,” she said.

According to Dr Francois Uwinkindi, Director for Cancer Programme at Rwanda Biomedical Centre, Rwanda detects at least 3,000 new cancer cases annually but the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated 10,000 new cancer cases for Rwanda in 2018.

Nadine Umutoni Gatsinzi, Kigali City vice Mayor in charge of Socio-economic Affairs, delivers her remarks on Monday. Photo courtesy.

Statistics indicate that cancer is a leading cause of death around the world. In 2018, 18.1 million new cancer cases and 9.5 million cancer deaths were estimated worldwide, and this number increased from 14.1 million new cases and 8.2 million deaths in 2012. 

About City Cancer Challenge

City Cancer Challenge (C/Can) was launched by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) at the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos. The launch was a coordinated response to the urgent need to support resource-limited countries in reducing their growing cancer burden. It was also a recognition of the untapped potential of taking an integrated approach to three of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), health, sustainable cities and partnerships for the goals.

C/Can became a standalone Swiss Foundation in January 2019 and continues to operate in close collaboration with UICC’s network of over 1,000 members in 160 countries, representing the world’s major cancer societies, as well as patient groups, influential policymakers, researchers and experts.

Its mission is to create a global community of cities and partners working together to design, plan and implement cancer solutions to save lives. This approach is built on the core principle that cities can drive impact at national level by crafting data-driven solutions with the support of a network of global, regional, and local partners that reflect an understanding of the unique local context.

The global target to reduce premature deaths from NCD by 25% by 2025 has been a call to mobilize community and nations around the world.

“However, focusing solely on NCD risk factors alone will not reduce cancer mortality rates by 2025. Improvements in early detection and treatment will be critical,” reads C/Can statement.

In Africa, The City of Kumasi (Ghana) officially joined the C/Can initiative as a Key Learning City in November, 2017. Implementation planning for 8 priority projects is underway in Kumasi.

The City of Kigali officially joined the City Cancer Challenge Foundation’s network in May 2019, as the first African Challenge City. In Kigali, the MoU was signed in March between C/Can, the City of Kigali, Rwanda Palliative Care and Hospice Organization and Polyfam Clinic.

Home to more than 1.3 million people, the City of Kigali selection criteria included high commitment from all city stakeholders to improve access to quality cancer control, strong track record in delivering performance based programmes in partnership with local, national and international partners, according to the City statement.

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’Africa Must Breed Crop of New Young Pan-Africanists like Robert Mugabe’’ – says Malema
September 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu Munhumutapa .

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

HARARE- Economic Freedom Fighters Leader Julius Malema, the most active opposition politician of South Africa paid a visit to Zimbabwe, 23 September on Monday. The main objective of the visit being to console the Mugabe family at the Blue Roof residence in Borrowdale, Harare’s most cheered flashy suburb.

Julius Malema met the widow of the late former President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe who passed away in Singapore on 6 September. The cause of his death has been linked to cancer biologically, though some reasons politically were cited.

Robert Mugabe was described as a true liberal Pan-Africanist of all Historic times despite some other reasons. Malema expressed deep disappointment by sharing light moments of commemorative talk and cheer of the hero’s political maverick charm of Pan-        Africanist leadership style.

‘’Africa must breed crop of new young Pan-Africanists like Robert Mugabe. These must be our new Pan-African Leaders from our young people who must cherish and emulate the work left behind by Robert Mugabe.’’

‘’He made his strong contribution to liberate African people. I do not go against the fact that he was a hero in his time. Still he remains a true hero. What we need then to cherish is the spirit of liberalism in him as a Leader born to lead and direct not only Zimbabwe but the whole of Africa.

‘’The whole of Africa must then work towards social, economic and political emancipation of those who are still undermined as Africans.  The need to work together as one people, one nation is a thrust towards economic growth and development.

Malema has encouragement spirit to make young people become the true epitome of Robert Mugabe so that a new emerging generation become Pan-Africanist in character and style. He urged young people to unite and build communities towards peace and oneness.

‘’Africa no more needs any move towards war or conflict of any sort. It is time to move forward as new Pan-Africanists of unique developmental styles in economic development leadership.  Leadership of today must be charismatic as well,’’ he said.

He was accompanied by his spokesperson Dr Mbuyise Quintin Ndlozi . Malema has made his voice in opposition to xenophobic attack on Zimbabweans who have been under tribal abuses in  South Africa .

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African Energy Sector to send strong message on Investment Potential in Africa at Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (ADIPEC) 2019
September 23, 2019 | 0 Comments
The continent’s energy industry will be gathering at ADIPEC in Abu Dhabi on November 11-14, 2019 to set the industry agenda for 2020
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, September 23, 2019/ — After a year of remarkable achievements and continuous recovery across Africa’s oil markets, the continent’s energy industry will be gathering at ADIPEC in Abu Dhabi on November 11-14, 2019 to set the industry agenda for 2020.

As Africa’s energy revolution accelerates, African energy officials from governments and the public and private sectors are joining ADIPEC to send a strong message on the continent’s potential and ambitions for the coming years.

Taking the lead on representing Africa at the world’s largest oil & gas event, the African Energy Chamber (EnergyChamber.org) has signed an agreement with ADIPEC and is officially endorsing the conference & exhibition and inviting all its partners to join the African delegation participating in ADIPEC.

“The good news for Equatorial Guinea and many African countries is, we have the resources. African countries have some much untapped reservoirs of oil and natural gas that have regrettably been underexplored. We need to attract investment in our oil and gas industry, explore, supply the market and also develop our countries. ADIPEC is a great place to meet potential investors. We have a unique relationship with the UAE through OPEC and the GECF. We have worked closely on various oil matters under the leadership of H.E. Suhail Al Mazroui and the Ministry of Energy and Industry,” stated H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea.

“In the same ways as we push for a stronger African representation within global organizations such as OPEC, we need to have Africa better represented within global investment shows like ADIPEC where major deals and contracts are being discussed,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber and CEO of the Centurion Law Group. “The conference’s focus on technology and the oil & gas sector 4.0 is especially relevant for Africa as the continent seeks to fully embrace digitalization and the latest technologies to leapfrog into next-generation energy initiatives and developments.”

ADIPEC is being organized on the back of tremendous growth in investment and cooperation between the UAE and Africa this year, marked by the recent acquisition by ADNOC of Kosmos Energy’s stakes in Senegalese and Mauritanian offshore licenses. As interest for Africa picks up from Middle Eastern markets and global companies, ADIPEC offers the perfect stage to promote additional opportunities for such deals across African oil jurisdictions.

The conference will notably see the official launch of “Billions At Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals”, the long-awaited book by AEC Chairman Nj Ayuk that paves the way for the development of Africa’s energy sector. On this occasion, the Chamber will be organizing a high-level African oil & gas panel with ministers and executives from across the continent to shed the light on the biggest trends shaping the future of the continent’s energy industry.
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LUKOIL Leader says New Africa Energy Book Billions at Play describes Workable Solutions for Africa’s Infrastructure Challenges
September 23, 2019 | 0 Comments
Ayuk sees the irony in oil and gas produced in Africa being sent away to be refined, then returned as finished products that Africans pay a premium for
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, September 23, 2019/ — Leading African energy attorney NJ Ayuk does not believe in handouts as a long-term strategy for impoverished people or nations.

But he does think that the companies working on the continent have a responsibility to help their host nations build the infrastructure necessary to expand industrialization.

Bruce Falkenstein, Joint Operations Manager of License Management & Compliance for LUKOIL, agrees with that premise, which is the focus of chapter 10 in Ayuk’s new book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy.

Falkenstein has a 40-year career working in all facets of the international oil and gas industry.  With regard to Africa, he has extensive experience managing offshore blocks in Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Cameroon, and Sierra Leone for LUKOIL and Vanco Exploration, and had great success in the exploration and development of oil fields in Egypt for Amoco (BP) in the 1980s and 90s.

“There is no getting around it: Africa is exporting raw materials it could be refining and processing, if it only had the capabilities, but not everyone is willing to admit that with the level of candor Ayuk does,” Falkenstein said. “What’s more, he has correctly linked infrastructure deficits to the lack of industrialization and describes workable solutions based on examples from around the world.”

Ayuk sees the irony in oil and gas produced in Africa being sent away to be refined, then returned as finished products that Africans pay a premium for. Roads, railways, and reliable electricity are key to building a manufacturing base in Africa, but they take resources—some of which should be provided by the international energy companies making millions on the continent, he argues.

“It is simply not ethical for American, French, Italian, and other companies to come here and not help lift people out of poverty,” Falkenstein said. “True, they employ indigenous workers and provide training, but one of the biggest benefits would be in committing to help build sustainable infrastructure and physical assets that will remain a plus for the people long after the companies have pulled up stakes and left Africa, and I will add that sustainability of the work force, also a key component of a venture’s ‘built assets’, is critical to the future industrial output of the nations and currently many of the work force assets are left behind without local supporting employment agencies after the stakes are pulled up.  Sustainability is only achieved through alignment of the projects with both the real needs of the impacted communities and the spectrum of government stakeholders.

As Ayuk alludes to in chapter 9, Calling All Leaders! More on Good Governance, part of good governance requires that good leadership needs to be able to recognize the upfront additional cost to achieve sustainability results in reduced project risks and improved long-term project stability and economics.”

In Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy, Ayuk does not overlook the issues Africa has caused for itself, including unscrupulous leaders who have siphoned off funds that were intended for the public good. At the same time, as Falkenstein noted, he points out how countries like Kenya have created an enabling environment for manufacturing that supports economic diversification and should reduce the country’s exposure to external shocks, including oil and gas price volatility.

“In NJ Ayuk’s world, there are few villains, just people and businesses who can and need to do more,” Falkenstein said. “That is what makes his book so compelling—it is, truly, fair and balanced. Learning from Ayuk will put you on the successful path in Africa. His first book, Big Barrels: African Oil and Gas and the Quest for Prosperity, should be within close reach for any serious oil and gas executive and negotiator. With that said, Ayuk’s newest book needs to be in even closer reach as each of you pursue your own quest for Billions.”

NJ Ayuk is founder and CEO of Pan-African corporate law conglomerate, Centurion Law Group (CenturionLG.com); Founder and Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber; (EnergyChamber.org) and co-author of Big Barrels: African Oil and Gas and the Quest for Prosperity (2017).

He is recognized as one of the foremost figures in African business today.

Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy will be published by October 2019.

Pre-order your copy on Amazon. (https://amzn.to/2ksOLo0)
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