Australian government to provide drought assistance to southern Africa region
September 8, 2016 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
The Australian Government has announced that it will provide further support to southern Africa in response to the acute food shortages caused by severe El Niño conditions in the region, according to a statement released by Ananya Srivastava of the Australian Embassy in Harare.
According to the spokesperson, the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, announced on 2 September 2016 that Australia will provide AUD10 million to the World Food Programme (WFP) to deliver food and nutritional support to 11.9 million drought-affected people in countries in southern Africa.
It is said that some of the most affected countries in the southern African region will directly benefit from the Australian Government’s provision of additional funding to the WFP, including Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.
The current El Niño event has produced the driest growing season in southern Africa in over 35 years, compounding the effects of drought during the previous growing season. This has left 32 million people in the region without access to adequate food supplies including 2.7 million children who are severely malnourished.
Australia has been active in the global response to the impact of El Niño, which has also had a devastating impact in the Indo-Pacific. Australia’s response has focused on funding lifesaving food, nutritional and livelihoods assistance for countries most affected in the Pacific and South East Asia as well as the Horn of Africa.
Through its aid program, the Australian Government is also investing in improving preparedness and resilience to climate variability in helping communities prepare for future periods of drought.
This additional funding brings Australia’s total contribution to AUD46 million for countries affected by El Niño.
Kingdom come: Southern Africa
August 31, 2016 | 0 Comments
Heads of state gather today for a 15-country summit of the Southern African Development Community, held, for the first time, in Swaziland’s capital Mbabane.
The region faces its worst drought in 35 years and a rising tide of political problems. Joseph Kabila, president of Democratic Republic of Congo, may seek to extend his rule beyond its constitutional end in December.
Zimbabwe is facing economic disaster while police are brutally stamping out fresh challenges to Robert Mugabe’s rule. Critics say King Mswati III, Africa’s last absolute monarch, is unfit to chair the regional body. A third of his subjects need food hand-outs, but the despotic ruler has had other priorities, spending lavishly on vanity projects and private jets.
This week’s summit coincides with the Umhlanga festival in which tens of thousands of bare-breasted maidens dance at the royal village. Mswati, who already has 15 wives, may choose another.
Uganda to host 2016 forum on internet freedom in Africa
August 30, 2016 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) will on 27 to 29 September 2016 host the 2016 forum on internet freedom in Africa to explore new issues affecting internet freedom in Africa, according to a recent statement released by the organisation.
According to CIPESA, this year they expect to expand on the number of countries they conduct research in on the state of internet freedom as well as broaden the discussions that form the pillar of the forum.
It is also reported that in 2015, the forum brought together 200 human rights defenders, journalists, government officials, bloggers, developers and representatives from academia, the arts community, law enforcement agencies and communication regulations from 18 countries.
The 2014 forum hosted 85 participants from six countries. Some of the countries which have participated in previous forums include Burundi, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Cameroon, DRC, Ethiopia, Germany, Italy, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, UK,USA and Zambia.
Organisers say that as internet use has risen in Africa, so have the abuses and attacks on internet freedom, including a proliferation of laws, legal and extra-legal affronts, as well as limited judicial oversight over surveillance and interception of communications.
It is also reported that the forum is one of a kind in Africa that is committed to advancing an understanding and upholding of internet freedoms and how they impact media freedom, free expression and privacy for a range of civic actors such as journalists, human rights defenders, sexual minorities, women, political actors and bloggers.
“It is one of very few gatherings that assemble an African audience within the continent to discuss matters related to upholding internet freedom. While similar conferences are held elsewhere like in Asis, America and Europe, it is expensive for Africa-based actors to attend and for some of these events only bits of the agenda are relevant to Africa,” CIPESA said.
The forum is also being held at a time when the conversation on the need to promote internet freedom is crucial and the forum will provide a unique opportunity for deliberations and building a network of African actors to promote internet freedom for a range of civic actors.
CIPESA says that presently there is a minimal collaboration between African tools developers and those on the frontlines defending human rights. It is also expected to bring together African technical experts to explore ways in which they can work together in advancing internet freedom, including on testing tools and user interfaces, on digital security training and secure design.
It is expected to empower developers from the region to appreciate internet freedom tools design and to turn them into advocates of secure tools to protect internet freedom.
Another key feature of the forum is the assembly of discussions that take place and how each of these influences the work onwards of many of the participants at the forum.Topics explored to date include discussions around the growing presence of online violence against women, whose magnitude and manifestation is not clearly known, as most cases in Africa go unreported.
Combating hate speech and violations of freedom of expression including during periods of electioneering, empowering media as infomediaries and advocates of digital rights whilst also recognizing them as a vulnerable group, advocating for increased judicial oversight over surveillance and interception of communications and bridging the gap between techies.
The need to address gaps, policy and legislative in the right to privacy will be explored including continued capacity building and awareness raising among citizens, media, human rights defenders and activists on the appreciation of digital safety tools and practices.
Governance, Corruption & Democratic Development Questions will guide Clinton’s African Policy-Snr Policy Advisor Jake Sullivan
July 26, 2016 | 0 Comments
By Ajong Mbapndah L
Hillary Clinton views Africa not just as a place with challenges to address but also opportunities says Jake Sullivan, Senior Policy Advisor for Hillary for America. Speaking at the Foreign Policy Center briefing center at the Democratic Convention, Sullivan said to Hillary Clinton, Africa is not just made up of countries which need development aid and assistance but also partners who can work with the USA in addressing a range of global issues.
Issues of governance, corruption, and democratic development have been central to Secretary Clinton’s policy towards Africa and will continue to be, said Jake Sullivan in response to a question from Ben Bangoura of Allo Conakry.com on what Africa should expect a Clinton Administration.
The policy will be in the mold of the work the democratic flag bearer did as first lady and later Secretary of State, Sullivan said. From her multiple trips to the continent, Hillary Clinton has shown commitment to pillars like fostering economic growth, peace keeping, security, human rights, and democratic development said Sullivan.
“She is fond of reminding us on her team many of the top 10 fastest-growing economies in the world are African economies. How we think about where the future growth is going to come from in the world is bound up in how we approach our policy towards Africa,” Sullivan said.
In contrast to the recent Republican Convention in Ohio, the Democratic Convention seems to have more African faces present. Executive Women for Hillary ,a powerful coalition of executive, entrepreneur and professional women backing Mrs. Clinton has two African diaspora leaders Sarian Bouma and Angelle Kwemo of Believe in Africa as State Co-Chairs for the DMV area.
The U.N. Appeals For $204 Million to Combat Africa’s Food Security Crisis
July 22, 2016 | 0 Comments
UNITED NATIONS) — The U.N. food agency has declared its highest-level emergency in drought-stricken southern Africa and is appealing for $204 million immediately to purchase food and transport it to the region to help millions of hungry people.
World Food Program Executive Director Ertharin Cousin told reporters in a telephone briefing from hard-hit Malawi on Tuesday that the El Niño-induced drought — which also affected South America and Ethiopia — has devastated crops and caused harvests to fail in southern Africa.
Currently, she said, 18 million people need emergency food assistance in seven countries severely affected by El Niño — Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
But Cousin said WFP is anticipating an escalation in needs later this year and estimating that approximately 33 million people will be impacted by El Niño and the upcoming La Niña, which could bring severe flooding.
“This year’s crisis is a food availability problem,” she said. “We’re seeing alarming increases in people facing hunger in several countries.”
Cousin pointed to a more than 150 percent increase in people without enough to eat in Malawi — from 2.83 million in need last year to 6.5 million this year — as well as a 99 percent increase in Swaziland and a 53 percent increase in Lesotho.
She said the U.N. agency will be working to assist 11.5 million people in the seven countries by the end of March 2017.
That will require $549 million — including $204 million for immediate needs and to set up a pipeline to scale-up the operation as the region goes into the rainy season in October, she said.
“The message today is we have a drought … but we have an opportunity to prevent this drought becoming a severe crisis if we get out ahead of it and provide the food that is required,” Cousin said. “Malnutrition rates are climbing. … We don’t have people starving yet because of the lack of food. We are hopeful that we can bring the attention necessary and receive resources so nobody starves.”
She said WFP declared southern Africa a level three emergency — its highest level — late last month “because this is primarily a food security crisis.” The four other level three emergencies that WFP is dealing with are broader and cover all U.N. funds and agencies — Syria, Iraq, South Sudan and Yemen.
FIRST AFRICAN PASSPORTS GO TO PRESIDENTS OF RWANDA AND CHAD
July 18, 2016 | 0 Comments
The African Union wants to roll out the continental passport to millions of Africans.
Britain’s New Foreign Secretary Says British Colonialism In Africa Wasn’t So Bad
July 16, 2016 | 0 Comments
BY JUSTIN SALHANI*
Following the resignation of British Prime Minister David Cameron, new PM Theresa May named her Cabinet Wednesday. One of the most notable names on the list was pro-Brexiter and former London Mayor Boris Johnson, who was appointed Foreign Secretary.
Critics of Johnson’s appointment have already pointed out his numerous gaffes and propensity for offending foreign leaders. Many media outlets published articles listing all the various countries that Johnson has offended during his reign as mayor.
In April, Johnson said President Barack Obama might have an ancestral dislike of Britain. Johnson didn’t attribute this to Obama’s feelings over U.S. independence in 1776, but to his Kenyan heritage.
“Some said it was a symbol of the part-Kenyan President’s ancestral dislike of the British empire – of which Churchill had been such a fervent defender,” Johnson wrote in the Sun about Obama’s purported removal of a Churchill bust from the White House. Obama replaced Churchill with a bust of Martin Luther King, Jr.
But one of the most egregious comments made by the new Foreign Secretary relates to England’s colonial history in Africa.
“The continent may be a blot, but it is not a blot upon our conscience. The problem is not that we were once in charge, but that we are not in charge any more,” he wrote. “The best fate for Africa would be if the old colonial powers, or their citizens, scrambled once again in her direction; on the understanding that this time they will not be asked to feel guilty.”
As the BBC has reported, “during the last 20 years of the 19th century, Britain occupied or annexed Egypt, the Sudan, British East Africa (Kenya and Uganda), British Somaliland, Southern and Northern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe and Zambia), Bechuanaland (Botswana), Orange Free State and the Transvaal (South Africa), Gambia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, British Gold Coast (Ghana) and Nyasaland (Malawi). These countries accounted for more than 30% of Africa’s population.”
Britain left behind many mass graves and destroyed records of all the brutality it had incurred at the hands of the African people. In Kenya alone, “it is clear that tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of Kikuyu died in the [detainment] camps,” the Guardian reported.
Johnson certainly isn’t the first politician to blatantly ignore the history of imperialism, but that doesn’t make his comments, and his appointment as Foreign Secretary, any less astounding.
Visa Free by 2018? Africa’s Open Visa Policy
June 30, 2016 | 0 Comments
By Michelle DeFreese*
African citizens currently face some of the most stringent visa restrictions in the world. According to the Africa Visa Openness Index Report launched by the African Development Bank (AfDB), citizens of African countries require visas to travel to 55% of countries within the continent. Within the next two years, however, the implementation of a proposed common visa policy under the African Union’s (AU) 2063 Agenda, a strategic document outlining the vision for African development, could profoundly impact the continent in terms of intra-regional trade, economic development, and regional integration.
While the AU’s visa-free travel proposal represents both challenges and opportunities for the security and economy of Africa, previous examples by regional communities and individual countries suggest that the benefits will outweigh the risks. As the plan moves from policy to implementation, the African common visa policy has the potential to impart substantial economic incentives through the removal of trade barriers, increased tourism and investment opportunities, and job creation.
The AU’s 2063 Agenda contains plans for a common visa policy with three primary components: visa-on-arrival for all African nationals, mandatory granting of a minimum 30-day visa for African citizens visiting any African country by 2018, and the ambitious goal of a single, continental passport by 2020. Challenges of implementing the plan include associated risks of widespread economic migration, the movement of illegal goods, cross-border terrorism, and the issue of stateless individuals. Nevertheless, significant progress has been made – regionally and nationally – with benefits that demonstrate the effectiveness of the policy in terms of stimulating economic growth.
The importance of regional integration was also discussed during the 2013 AfDB Annual Meeting, during which Professor Mthuli Ncube, AfDB Vice President and Chief Economist, stated, “Africa is one of the regions in the world with the highest visa requirements. Visa restrictions imply missed economic opportunities for intra-regional trade and for the local service economy such as tourism, cross-country medical services or education.”
Thus far, regional communities within Africa have made variable progress towards the goal of a pan-African, visa-free policy with largely positive results and spillover effects: the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) introducedfree movement between member states in 1979; a single visa is in place enabling nationals of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) free movement; a common visa policy unites Zambia and Zimbabwe; and the East African Community (EAC) now has a single tourist visa available for visitors to Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda coupled with an East African passport that allows citizens freedom of movement within the trading bloc. Following the adoption of the EAC common visa policy, both Uganda and Rwanda benefited from increased tourism revenues by 12% and 8% respectively. According to the AfDB’s Africa Tourism Monitoring Report, comparable visa liberalization schemes could increase tourism by 5-25%.
Individual countries, including the Seychelles, Ghana, and Rwanda, have also made significant efforts to ease visa restrictions on travelers. The Seychelles is one of the few visa-free countries that does not require a visa for citizens of any country upon arrival. After adopting the policy, international tourism arrivals to the country increased by an average of 7% per year between 2009 and 2014. Ghana has adopted the 2063 Agenda’s visa-free policy, which will be formally introduced in July 2016. Rwanda in particular has made significant strides to ease visa restrictions for African nationals, and provides an important example of the potential for the adoption of the visa-free policy in other countries. According to the AfDB, Rwanda’s 2013 visa-free policy for African nationals resulted in several positivebenefits in terms of economic development; these include an estimated 24% increase in tourism arrivals from African countries and a 50% increase in intra-African trade. Trade with the Democratic Republic of the Congo alone increased by 73% since the implementation of the policy.
Beyond the implications for the continent, African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs, Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, has suggested that visa-free travel within Africa could potentially reduce emigration to other continents. At the same time, reduced visa restrictions will necessitate advances in electronic border management systems and improved interoperability of security architecture to address the increased risks of trafficking and cross-border crime.
Examples of the successful implementation of visa-free policies by regional communities and individual countries – and the benefits that have followed – are compelling arguments for the implementation of the AU’s common visa policy for the continent. For a continent that is home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world and a burgeoning middle class, the dissolution of barriers to trade, increased free movement, and bolstered tourism will foster an unprecedented growth of untapped markets critical for the realization of thecontinued rise of Africa.
*HuffPost.Michelle DeFreese is a consultant with the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy (IMTD) based in Tanzania. She completed her Master’s degree in International Relations at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) and is an Africa Fellow at Young Professionals in Foreign Policy.
fastjet Appoints Nico Bezuidenhout as Chief Executive Officer
June 10, 2016 | 0 Comments
The Board of fastjet (AIM: FJET) is pleased to announce the appointment of Nico Bezuidenhout as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Company. Nico will take up his position and join the Board as an executive director on 1 August 2016.
Nico will be joining fastjet from Mango Airlines, the low-cost carrier subsidiary of South African Airways, where he has been CEO since Mango commenced operations ten years ago. During his tenure, Nico grew the airline’s market share to 25 per cent of the South African domestic air travel market and the fleet to ten Boeing 737-800 aircraft. He also achieved the lowest unit cost within the South African aviation industry through high aircraft utilisation and sustained good load factors.
In addition to playing a pivotal role in the success of Mango, which has been profitable in eight of the past ten years, Nico has also twice acted in the capacity of interim CEO of its parent company.
Commenting on Nico’s appointment, fastjet Chairman Colin Child said: “The Board is delighted that Nico will be joining fastjet as CEO. He brings strong commercial and strategic skills and a wealth of experience of operating a low-cost carrier. This experience, together with his detailed knowledge of the markets in which fastjet operates, will be invaluable to the Company as it seeks to capture the growth opportunities in the region.”
Nico added: “I am very pleased to be joining fastjet at this stage in its development. Although market conditions are currently challenging, I am confident that we can build on the airline’s existing operational base to strengthen and develop the business and deliver on its considerable potential.”
Southern Africa faces impact of migratory pests due to climate change
May 25, 2016 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire*
Climate change is reportedly bringing increased pressures of migratory birds and other pests impacting on people’s livelihoods in most parts of the southern African region, according to agricultural experts.
According to Dr Joseph Made, Zimbabwe’s minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development who opened the 38th regular session of the governing council of ministers of the International Red Locust Organisation for Central and Southern Africa (IRLCO-CSA) in Harare, the climate is changing in the region bringing higher temperatures and more frequent droughts than ever before.
“Army worm and quelea bird outbreaks have become more regular in Zimbabwe and other countries in southern Africa, while quelea bird attacks on small grain cereal crops has also increased in Kenya and
Tanzania,” Made said.
Pests such as armyworm, quelea birds, locusts and fruit fly reportedly migrate across international boundaries with no restrictions, causing damage to crops and plants in the environment. Experts says that a swarm of red locusts with 40 million individual insects is not uncommon during outbreaks, according to Made.
They say that a red locust will eat its own weight of food in a single day and on average, an adult weighs two grams. Therefore, a small swarm with 40 million individuals will potentially consume an estimated amount of 80 Metric Tonnes (MT) per day.
According to Made, experts also report that comparatively, the average daily food intake of a human being is 0,65kg.
“By implication, if a small swarm of the size alluded to earlier were to feed exclusively on a crop, it could deprive a total of 123 077 people of food in one day,” Made added signifying it as a frightening
He added that the threat from red locusts is as real today as it was at the formation of the International Red Locust Organisation-Central and Southern Africa office in 1949, after the devastating famines of
the late 1920s to the mid 1940s.
He cited the example of 2008 when a heavy swarming of red locusts escaped from the Dimba plains in Mozambique. The swarms reportedly invaded Malawi and Zimbabwe, but fortunately it occurred during the
dry season when they were fewer crops in the fields.
The International Red Locust Organisation Central and Southern Africa office quickly stepped in to control the pests at source and prevented further swarming and invasions of other countries both in eastern and southern Africa.
The International Red Locust Organisation mandate involves continuously managing and controlling red locusts at breeding sites in Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.
Apart from red locust management, the organisation works closely with member states technical staff in the surveillance, coordination,data collection, synthesis and feedback on activities of other migratory pests such as army worm, quelea birds and the African migratory locust.
The organisation has carried out applied research in developing environmentally friendly methods of controlling migratory pests and training to agricultural staff, especially at locust breeding sites.
A red locust plague which occurred between 1930 and 1944 invaded many countries south of the equator in Africa.
“That vulnerability to a potential locust plague still lurks in the background, meaning we cannot let down our guard, but continue to support our organisation,” Made warned.
Julia Pierini, CEO of Birdlife Zimbabwe commenting on migration and migratory birds said that migratory birds are not pests by any means and through her organization’s monitoring they have recorded declining
numbers to southern Africa at an unsustainable rate.
“Many thousands of animal species migrate like insects, fish,frogs, birds and mammals. Time is of the essence in migration. The journey itself serves only to move the animal from one place to
another, where it will linger until a change in the environment stimulates a return trip. A voyage that takes too much of a species`annual cycle is not practical,” Pierini said.
She added that approximately 4000 species of birds migrate around our planet earth with songbirds, waterfowl, waders and shorebirds in the majority.
“The main driver is the need to exploit the best food resources,especially during the breeding season.The timing of migration is triggered by changes in day length, as yet not fully understood hormonal changes and local weather conditions,” she added.
Commenting on threats and concerns, Pierini said that migrant birds are facing a multitude of hazards both natural like predation from other animals, the weather and man-made. She said the ones caused by human activity and causing havoc include hunting and trapping, coastal development, wetland degradation,
deforestation, pollution ,long-line fishing, overhead powerlines , wind farms and Climate Change.
“Excessive hunting and trapping of millions of migratory birds over the Mediterranean Sea and across Africa is also depleting global migratory bird populations in an unsustainable manner,” Pierini said.
President Kaunda, where is the book?
May 5, 2016 | 0 Comments
Current leaders and the citizens can learn a lot from books authored by previous presidents. Zambia would benefit tremendously from hearing from President Kenneth Kaunda, the founding president who was in power for 27 years. How and why did he make the many momentous and not-so-momentous decisions during his time in office? He owes Zambians explanations.
It is my submission that presidents owe us good governance when they are in office and owe us another obligation when they retire – and that is to explain to the nation the reasons they made certain choices of crucial importance when they were in power. Even if some explanations may be informed by post-facto justifications and not afore-thought decisional predilections, they are still worth more than nothing at all. There are so many questions that require answers concerning the governorship of the most consequential president in Zambian history. This is the president who delivered us from colonialism, the president who stitched the nation together when it could have torn itself into tribal and regional fiefdoms; the Barotse region wanted independence, Nkumbula after being the second leader of the independence party after Lewanika, was sidelined to heading a party centred in Southern Province.
The president put together the most tribally-representative cabinet to date, including well-educated and technocratic ministers; the president built the first university; the first president decided that aiding the liberation movement at great economic and political and other costs to the nation was a worthy goal; the president determined that social spending in health and education was the way to go; he decided that it was a great call to encourage diversification into agriculture by giving cheap loans for fertilizers and agricultural equipment and to build farrows (migelos) to stem soil erosion; that national military service for students built national character; that ‘one Zambia one nation’ should be pursued; that non-alignment in international politics was a safer foreign policy method; that the Tazara Railway line be built by the Chinese and that Zambia become a one-party state; and more than a million other decisions. A lot of questions have been raised. We need answers.
What influenced Dr. Kaunda to make all the crucial decisions indicated above? Why and by what processes? How? Does he regret any one of them? Could he have appointed another minister and not the other one? How and why did he ignore tribal sentiments and how did he handle tribal sentiments? If he were to govern now, what would he do the same or differently?
A lot of former presidents have written books after leaving office. I like the books written by Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Ian Smith’s book is a dynamite. De Clerk has written a book. Mandela wrote several books after leaving office. Tony Blair has explained why he did what he did. Fidel Castro’s book is second to none. Obasanjo of Nigeria has several books written by him with the assistance of my former colleague from Canada. Nkrumah is my hero in writing books. And so on.
Current leaders can learn a lot from books authored by previous presidents. The nation of Zambia would benefit tremendously from hearing from President Kaunda. Maybe some of the criticisms about his governorship would be tempered if we heard directly as to why he made certain policies and decisions.
One of the easiest books to write is a presidential memoir. Presidents have daily memo and appointment books. There are minutes written of most things they do. The people they meet, like other presidents, also keep daily official minutes. The president’s life is regimented so it is easy to obtain the information from the diaries which are official and from other official documents. The books of Mandela, Clinton, Carter, Blair and so on clearly indicate that they are derived from official diaries. A president can fill in the gaps. So why not write now, Dr. Kaunda? This is not for personal gratification. It is for the benefit of Zambia. Presidential immunities continue after leaving office, so should the obligation to impart knowledge and experience to Zambia through a book or books.
I also know how easy it is to write from dairies and documents. I penned my book ‘Thoughts Are Free: Prison Experience and Reflections on Law and Politics in General’ (1992) from the existing raw materials and recollections and talking to friends who experienced some events at the same time. A president can have a team of authors or ghost-writers. It is permitted. It is not a secret.
I am reliably informed that President Kaunda has a book but that one of his children is said to have spirited it away and it has not been released. That book if it exists is not a family book. It is a common heritage to Zambia and humankind for their benefit.
President Kaunda will forever remain the most important and consequential leader Zambia ever had, thus he owes us as Zambians, the benefit of the gravitas that enabled him to steer the Zambian ship safe to harbour for 27 years.
West Africans have a saying that when an old man dies, a library burns to the ground. Can you imagine how many millions of libraries burn when a President dies? President Kaunda, where is the book?
* Source Pambazuka. Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa teaches law at Zambian Open University and is the compiler of ‘The Case Against Tribalism in Zambia’. He is also the author of ‘Thoughts Are Free.’
US$7 Million Prize to Fund African Renewable Energy Projects
May 5, 2016 | 0 Comments
Calling all entrepreneurs and developers of renewable energy projects in Africa
- Just three weeks left for entrepreneurs to enter the ACF competition which will see developers across the continent compete for funding and expertise
- Calling all entrepreneurs and developers of renewable energy projects in Africa
Access Power , a developer, owner and operator of power projects in emerging markets, today kicked off the countdown for applications to the ACF 2016, the second edition of its successful Access Co-Development Facility (ACF) for renewable energy projects in Africa.
ACF 2016 is a competition dedicated to finding local power project developers with credible renewable energy projects in Africa who need access to funding, technical experience, and expertise to bring their plans to life.
Following the competition’s successful launch last year, the ACF increased its funding from US$5m in 2015 to US$7m for this year’s winners. Up to three successful projects will be selected by a panel of expert judges whose decision will be based on commercial, technical and environmental merits, the local regulatory environment, and capability of the project team.
The winners of ACF 2016 will be announced on Tuesday 22nd June 2016 before a live audience during the Africa Energy Forum in London (see Notes to Editors for further details). The winners will enter a Joint Development Agreement with Access Power, which will take an equity stake in the winning projects and fund third-party development costs such as feasibility studies, grid studies, environmental and social impact assessments and due diligence fees. Access Power will also provide technical support, financial structuring and development process management.
Nasir Aku, ACF Program Manager at Access Power commented, “With just one month to go until the application deadline, we want to make sure that all local developers across the African continent are aware of this fantastic opportunity to secure valuable funding and expertise that can turn an idea for a renewable energy project into reality.”
ACF 2016 is leading the way in demonstrating and supporting the type of renewable energy projects that will help meet Africa’s massive and urgent need for electrification.
“Through this unique facility, we hope to encourage innovation and support companies in their efforts to deliver power to places that desperately need it. Last year we received a total of 55 submissions from 18 countries across Africa, including solar, wind, hydro, hybrid and bio-mass projects. The applications are coming in fast so 2016 looks set to build on that success.”
The inaugural ACF in 2015 was won by Quaint Solar Energy from Nigeria and Flatbush Solar from Cameroon. Other competing projects hailed from Cape Verde, Kenya, Madagascar, South Africa, Morocco, Ghana, Rwanda and Tanzania.
One project has already pre-qualified for ACF2016. A 25MW solar project being developed in Sierra Leone by Africa Growth and Energy Solutions (AGES) won the Solar Shark Tank competition at the Making Solar Bankable conference in Amsterdam on 18th February. In a keenly fought contest, three emerging markets developers competed for a US$100,000 grant to support the development of their solar projects, funded by Access Power and Dutch development bank FMO. Part of the prize, subject to terms and conditions, was pre-qualification for ACF2016.
- The independent judging panel of four judges will include industry and legal experts as well as representatives from multilateral development banks.
- Following a pre-selection process, a shortlist of applicants will be chosen to present their projects to a panel of judges at the Africa Energy Forum in London on the 22nd June 2016.
- Applicants must present their projects to the judging panel during the Forum within a given time and take questions from panel members.
- Panel members will score each project based on the evaluation criteria, using weighted percentages.
- ACF 2016 submission period runs from 18th February to 20th May, 2016.
Access Power (‘Access’) was founded in 2012 with the aim of becoming a leading developer, owner and operator of power assets in emerging and frontier markets. Access has assembled a development team with a track record of financially closing ~30 GW of power projects across the globe. Through its various subsidiaries, Access is currently developing power assets in over 20 countries in Africa and Asia. Access’ portfolio predominantly consists of renewable energy projects with a gross total investment cost of over US$ 1 billion.