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Affected And Shork-Absorbed The Economy: Agriculture In Uganda Throughout Covid-19 Crisis To Date
May 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Moses Hategeka *

“My son, its unbeliebvable but a reality. Its me you are now seeing, driving and  hawking my poutry farm eggs, from towns to towns, hoping to find customers for my eggs says Mubiru John a poutry and cattle farmer from Mukono district. On being asked, what has prompted him to do so, he narrated to me that, the global Covid-19 crisis, has had a devastating impact on his farm earnings. Since January 2020, the prices of per tray of my eggs, has drastically been reducing from Shs 12,000 to Shs 7000 in May. It is so frustrating for me and other poutry farmers, as I have continue incurring chicken feeds costs yet the farm is yielding no profits but only losses for me”.

 To make matters worse, even the price of per- little of milk from my cattle farm, has in the same period todate been plummeting from Shs 1200 to Shs 300 and yet I have to sustain the farm, which unfurtantely, I am doing on an operating loss. He says!

  The Covid-19 preventive measures among which includes, business shutdown, that  also included shutting down hotels, resturants, food joints, public transport, international airports, and curfew, that the country introduced, made farmers, to loose a big percentage of their customers and market base and this coupled with, the long lockdown period that the country has been and is still partly in, has made the lives of farmers in different parts of the country more miserable, as reports of farmers, especially banana farmers seeing their bananas rippening and getting wasted continues to trickle in due to decreasing number of buyers.

  The situation has been and is being made worse by dwindling of majority of people’s disposable income, with mostly those engaged in informal sector severly affected and unable to meet their basic needs, due to the ongoing lockdown and accompanying preventive mesaures.

  It is mostly only the agricultural dealers who had large stocks of beans and maize flour, that have made serious money during this on going Covid-19 crisis, largely because of the government intervention to massively buy their produce and have it equitably distributed to the low income earners dwelling in urban centers, and also because of people’s preference of their produce to other easily perishable goods like bananas, as theirs, can be stocked and survived on, for a long time, as the country goes on grappling with Covid-19 crisis.

 However, much as the Covid-19 crisis, has made and is making the country, to expereince an economic slump, it is important to note that, both the agricultural productivity loss and profitability that has been registered in various agricultural subsectors, during this ongoing Covid-19 crisis, has largely been a blessing in disguise, in that, it has cushioned the economy from galloping and hyper inflation effects, and also sort of enabled the country to relatively sustain its micro-economic stabilty.

 Going forward, the economic stimulus packages, that many interest groups from different sectors are craving for, from government to enable them stay on course in their business enterprises in this Covid-19 period, should without any debate, firstly be given to the farmers especially to those specifically engaged both in producing and adding value to their farm goods, and to those who are willing to do the same, as well as to agricultural cooperatives that does the same and are willing to establish modernized storage facilities of their members farm products.

 There is no reason, why our banana farmers should be left to cry and see their bananas being wasted, when they can be helped to turn their bananas into banana flour and crisps for consumption not only in Uganda but also in other countries.

 Pumkin and soya porridge is very nutrious and on high demand in our surrounding countries as well as to other countries in Africa and Asia. Our pumkin and soya farmers should be skilled and financially enabled, to add value on their goods and tap into this huge avalialble markets.

  In sum, Agricultural sector, has played and is playing a fundemental role in shock-absorbing the economy in this Covid-19 period and therefore it is prudent that the country should leverage on its excellent climatic conditions, and prioritize agriculture in its economic stimulus plans during this ongoing Covid-19 crisis, and and develop sustainable strategies that will position  the country to not only continue being food secure, but to also become a net exporter of food through deepening agricultural production import susbstitution stratgegy.

 Moses Hategeka is a Ugandan based Independent Governance  Reseracher, Public Affairs Analyst, and Writer .He can be reached via email: moseswiseman2000@gmail.com

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Gambia: Defence Minister assures Gambians of Continuous Government Protection
May 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

The government of President Adama Barrow will never abandon her citizens, Defence Minister Sheikh Omar Faye reassured the population

Gambia’s Minister of Defence Sheikh Omar Faye has assured Gambians that the government of President Adama Barrow will never abandon her citizens. Speaking during a   recent visit to Garawol Kuta Village in the Upper River Region of the Gambia which was the centre of an incident with Senegalese forces, Minister Omar Faye said the Government of President Barrow had been working tirelessly to resolve the issues.

“The Government of the Gambia will never abandon her citizens, and the immediate deployment of a patrol team that crossed into Senegal to follow up on the case is a clear indication that the security forces and the government will never abdicate their responsibilities,” Omar Faye said.

While some people took issue with the fact that the Minister had taken long to visit considering that the shooting incident took place on the 8 of March, Minister Omar Faye indicated that the government of President Adama Barrow had been working tirelessly to resolve the issues .It has been a long and rocky effort to ensure that peace continues to prevail , he said.

So much has been taking place behind the scenes and will be eventually brought to the public at the appropriate time, Sheikh Omar Faye

Mr Omar Faye informed the villagers that  so much has been taking place behind the scenes and will be eventually brought to the public at the appropriate time. The Minister said he was not there to cover or bend the truth but to inform the villagers that the government was with them and doing everything possible to protect them and ensure that such incidents are averted in future.

Going further,  the Defence Minister said at the diplomatic level a mediation team had been composed to work out modalities to avoid the reoccurrence of this kind of incidents though the outbreak of COVID-19 had slowed things down, the team will continue work.

Defence Minister Sheikh Omar Faye said all was been done to avert such unfortunate events in future .

The experience of Mr Sulayman Trawally and the villagers as a result of the incident and the ordeal were very unfortunate and regrettable, Mr Faye said , and lauded the efforts of the MP for the area ,the Chief and other community leaders whose efforts contributed to the resolution of the matter.

Others who spoke at the gathering were; the Deputy Governor of the Region, the Member of Parliament of the area, the chief of the area, the Alkalo of the Village and two community leaders. They both expressed appreciation for the visit and requested for more support in terms of road infrastructure and security.

The Hon Minister was accompanied to the area by Commissioners of Police, Immigration, Commanding Officer of 3rd Infantry Battalion and other Security heads of the region.

Cross border issues are a regular occurrence in Africa and have often times required great tact and diplomacy to resolve in way that broader relations are not strained. The closeness of Gambians and Senegalese means that people interact frequently on both sides of the border and every now and then misunderstandings could occur. It is therefor in the interest of leaders of both countries to ensure that misunderstandings are handled amicably with issues understood before actions taken.

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Gambia Gay Rights Saga: Sabally Calls On Foreign Minister to Resign
May 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Momodou Sabally, former Secretary General and Head of Civil Service

Momodou Sabally, former Secretary General and Head of Civil Service has called on Dr. Mamadou Tangara to resign as minister of foreign affairs.

European Union mission in The Gambia earlier this month sparked anger after it released a statement suggesting its commitment to gay rights in The Gambia. Some Gambians called for the deportation of the Ambassador.

Some Gambians condemn gays and lesbians and are determined to attack anyone practicing same-sex marriage because they described it as inhuman, ungodly and a serious threat to human existence.

And Mr Sabally speaking in an audio message to Gambians said Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Mamadou Tangara failed to say a word about it.

He said: “This happened,  President Adama Barrow didn’t talk, Vice President Isatou Touray didn’t talk, Momodou Tangara his Foreign Minister didn’t say a word about it.

“I am advising him. We cannot spend the whole time criticising Adama Barrow. Everyone is responsible for a department and this is not a ex- president Yahya Jammeh government where one would say ‘I am scared to talk because of him’. I don’t think Adama Barrow is a dictator yet.

“Dr Mamadou Tangara is the one who betrayed Gambians, he is the one who belittled himself, belittled his tradition and values, belittled his religion. To sit and keep quiet while the White people are playing us, White people who enslaved our people.

“They didn’t do anything here and now they are coming and insulting us during Ramadan and Mamadou Tangara is sitting and saying nothing. This is very deliberate. I am advising him to resign.”


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The “High 5s”: A strategic vision and results that are transforming Africa
May 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

For the past ten years, Africa has recorded some of the world’s strongest rates of economic growth. At the same time, many African economies continue to function at well below their full potential. Structural transformation is needed to create more jobs, reduce poverty and accomplish sustainable development objectives.

The African Development Bank’s High 5 priority areas are intended to support African countries’ achievement of the SDGS. They are: Feed Africa; Light up Africa; Industrialise Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life for the  people of Africa. 

Atta Abdul, Fatima-Zahra, Shuaibu, and Daniel are the faces of a continent that is being transformed. By betting on Africa’s youth, the Bank is banking on the future to make the continent a land of progress, prosperity and hope.

Feed Africa

Since 2015, 74 million Africans have benefited from improved agricultural technologies through the Bank’s efforts to support increased food security on the continent.

In western Mauritania, for example, the Brakna-Ouest irrigation infrastructure improvement project, supported by the Bank in the amount of $12 million, enabled 1 500 farming and livestock-producing families to return to cultivating their fields. 

“We come from a farming and livestock-producing family and we grew up in that environment. Our harvest was very poor. We wanted to move somewhere else,” explains Atta Abdul Seck, a project beneficiary in Louboudou in western Mauritania. “As a farmer’s son,  what I liked most when I returned was being able to continue farming. Farming is in my blood,” he says proudly. 

Light up Africa

Without electricity, agriculture cannot effectively meet the growing challenge of food security in Africa. The Bank has made investment in energy a priority. Since 2016, it has mobilised $12 billion for its “Light Up Africa” strategic priority. Through this investment, 13.4 million people have gained access to electricity.

Morocco has made significant progress in widening access to electricity. In just the past twenty years, the electricity system has expanded to cover almost the entire country. The national rural electrification program, supported by the Bank with 155 million euros, has connected nearly 12.8 million Moroccans to the national power grid.

In Dar El Aïn, a village twenty kilometres from Marrakesh, the arrival of electricity has opened new doors for the women of the “Al Amal” cooperative. They use electricity to process their wheat into couscous or create other barley or wheat-based products. “The cooperative processes local crops into added-value products. Now, with electricity, the women are much more efficient, and their products are of better quality. It creates hope,” says Fatima-Zahra, a thirty-year-old member. 

Industrialise Africa

As part of the Bank’s “Industrialise Africa” priority, 9 million people have gained access to private financing. In Nigeria, for instance, where more than 70 percent of the population depends on agriculture, fluctuating harvests have significant repercussions on yields, income and food security. 

One solution is fertilizer, particularly if locally produced. The Bank provided $100 million to support construction of a modern fertilizer plant in Port Harcourt.

Shuaibu Yusuf, a farmer in his thirties who live near Port Harcourt, has experienced the impact of this project in his daily life. “When I used this fertilizer, I saw the difference. My harvest increased by more than 40 percent. I can feed myself, pay for my children’s education, and even their medical expenses,” he says. “I’m going to encourage my children, my neighbours and members of my community to increase their farming activities so we can all progress together,” Shuaibu continues.

Integrate Africa

To derive more benefit from industrialisation, Africa must become better integrated in terms of trade and markets. Through integration, African countries can gain access to larger markets and thereby increase incomes for millions of residents through new opportunities.

Since 2015, 69 million people have benefited from the Bank’s support for new transport infrastructure that has advanced integration. Gaps in the primary transport corridors have been filled, links between countries have been strengthened, and intra-African trade has been revitalised.

A good example of this is The Nairobi-Addis-Ababa corridor, which received$670 million in Bank financing and which has enhanced the potential for trade and job growth in Ethiopia and Kenya.

Daniel Yatta, a forty-year-old Kenyan lorry driver, has been transporting goods between Nairobi and Addis-Ababa for 15 years, and has seen the new road’s impact on his business. “ Back in the day, it would take more than two weeks to drive between Addis and Nairobi,” he says. The new road has made his life much easier. “With the new road, the trip takes only a few days. With 30 tonnes of freight, it only takes about 24 hours to drive to Addis!” he continues.

Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa

An important part of improving living conditions is providing better access to essential services such as health, water and sanitation. Since 2015, Bank-supported projects  have given 43 million people access to water and sanitation

The High 5s’ impact in numbers


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Gambia:Covid 19 shutting down economies, President Barrow tells UN
May 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

President Adama Barrow
President Adama Barrow

President Adama Barrow has told the UN high-level virtual meeting on ‘Financing for Development on Covid-19’ that Gambia’s economy s among many others that are shutting down due to Covid 19 pandemic.

The impact of the pandemic has necessitated the world body to convene this high level event, to discuss strategies towards recovery of economies and financing development in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Our economies have been virtually shut down for the past several months as economic growth has become seriously compromised for the foreseeable future,” President Barrow told the meeting.

The Canadian and Jamaican Prime Ministers have joined the UN Secretary General in convening the meeting. The world leaders through this meeting have formed a consensus that Covid-19 is more than a global health challenge.

Rather, they consider it “a serious economic and social challenge” for the global economy, with devastating effects on most vulnerable countries such as The Gambia.

President Barrow told his colleague leaders that it has become more urgent for them to accelerate the implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development in the Era of Covid-19 and beyond.

The Chairman of the African Union, President Ramaphosa of South Africa called for total debt cancellation for African countries. He further called on world leaders to honour their commitments to the Addis Ababa Plan of Action.

A global response package of up to $200 billion is targeted to finance this re-emergence plan. Mr. Ramaphosa expressed his commitment to lead the raising of this funds.

President Buhari of Nigeria and Kenyatta of Kenya were among those who gave strong support to debt cancellation for African countries.

The World Bank has called for extension of debt servicing, warning that creditors must not exploit the vulnerabilities of debtor countries during these times.

The IMF supported the G20’s debt scheme that puts moratorium on servicing debts by developing countries in order to support them build more robust and resilient economies.

The Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres said it was clear that many developing countries lacked the financial means to recover from the impact of Covid 19 pandemic. Their economies’ financial inflows, tourism, remittances, aviation services have hugely suffered that they need global partnership to emerge from this crisis.


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Gambia’s Economy Worsen in 2020- Central Bank Governor
May 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Bakary K. Jammeh, Governor of Gambia Central Bank
Bakary K. Jammeh, Governor of Gambia Central Bank

Bakary K. Jammeh, Governor of Gambia Central Bank yesterday indicated that preliminary estimates of government fiscal operations indicated that overall deficit, including grants worsened from D24.3 million in the first quarter of 2019 to a deficit of D341.6 million in the first quarter of 2020.

“Revenue and grants in the first three months of 2020 decreased to D4.7 billion from D5.0 billion registered in the corresponding period in 2019. Domestic revenue, which comprises tax and non-tax revenue increased to D4.5 billion during the period under review from D3.0 billion in the same period last year.”

Jammeh was speaking during the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) press conference held in Banjul, Governor Jammeh added that the deficit excluding grants have improved to D0.5 billion during the first quarter of 2020 compared to D1.97 billion in the same period in 2019.

He further explained that total government expenditure and net lending increased slightly to D5.02 billion, compared to D5.01 billion in 2019. He added the recurrent expenditure increased by 23.5 % to D4.1 billion (4.1% of GDP) during the period under review.

“Capital expenditure decreased to D948.7 million in the first quarter of 2020 from D1.7 billion in the same period last year.”

Dwelling on the domestic debt, Governor Jammeh stated that The Gambia’s domestic debt remains high, saying the stock of the domestic debt increased to D33.6 billion or 33.2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as at end April 2020, from D32.5 billion or 35.7% of GDP in the corresponding period in 2019.

After reviewing the country’s economy, Jammeh explained that the committee decided to reduce the monetary policy rate by 2% point to 10% to support the economy. It also reduced the statutory required reserve ratio by 2% points to 13%, which will release about D700 million liquidity to banks; and maintain the interest rate on the standing deposit facility at 3% and the interest rate on the standing lending facility at 1% points above the monetary policy rate.

With regard to the decision taken by the MPC, Governor Jammeh encourages banks to translate these to increase lending to the private sector, while adding that the committee will continue to closely monitor the situation and stands ready to act accordingly.

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Gambia 2021 Elections: Female Candidate Unveils Interest in Top Job
May 29, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Marie Sock wants to run as an independent in the next elections

Marie Sock, a developmental expert and business mogul has revealed her interest of been Gambia’s next president come 2021 presidential elections.

Gambia goes to presidential elections in 2021, more political parties and independent candidates are emerging.

Sock told Fatu Network that ‘I’m here to reunited Gambia’ as she on Thursday called on all Gambians to back to her to become the country’s next president.

Sock said: “I feel there are too many political parties right now and it’s catastrophic. So I want to get out of that. This is why I said, ‘no I am not gonna form another political party to be part of, I gonna stand independently’.”

The businesswoman is calling on all Gambians including political parties to endorse her in her grand plan.

She said: “Standing independently doesn’t mean I don’t wanna work with anyone. That’s why I’m standing independent. Of course, it will be great if Gambians can come together regardless of any political party that you are affiliated with, to endorse my candidacy because what I want to do is to bring everybody together as Gambians.

“I’m looking actually for all the parties to endorse me. I cannot predict the future, I can only come out and say I’m standing on my own. For now I can only say I am aspiring candidate and talk to all the people to support me and come onboard as one.

“I’m here to reunite Gambia. If we talk about we want Gambia to be one, I think this is the platform to do so. We put our political affiliations aside, we put our religion aside, we put our tribe aside.”


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Statement of the Chairperson following the murder of George Floyd in the USA
May 29, 2020 | 0 Comments
Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat
Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat

29 May 2020, Addis Ababa: The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat strongly condemns the murder of George Floyd that occurred in the United States of America at the hands of law enforcement officers, and wishes to extend his deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.

Recalling the historic Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) Resolution on Racial Discrimination in the United States of America made by African Heads of State and Government, at the OAU’s First Assembly Meeting held in Cairo, Egypt from 17 to 24 July 1964, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission firmly reaffirms and reiterates the African Union’s rejection of the continuing discriminatory practices against Black citizens of the United States of America.

He further urges the authorities in the United States of America to intensify their efforts to ensure the total elimination of all forms of discrimination based on race or ethnic origin.

Issued by:
The Spokesperson of the Chairperson of the Commission
Ebba Kalondo

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Innovate Now Accelerator Programme Seeks Mobile Solutions to Assist Persons with Disabilities
May 28, 2020 | 0 Comments
Bernard Chiira – Director, Innovate Now, during the announcement of finalists for Cohort 1 in 2019
Programme opens submissions for second cohort with focus on mobile as a bridge to assistive technology

Africa’s first Assistive Technology Accelerator is seeking applications from innovators across the African continent who are dedicated to developing mobile based technologies designed to assist people living with disabilities.

The UK Aid-funded programme, which is run by Global Disability Innovation (GDI) Hub (www.DisabilityInnovation.com) and Amref Enterprises Limited, hopes to accelerate 12 start-ups in its second cohort, with a focus on solutions that will leverage mobile technologies to enable persons with disabilities access information and navigate daily life with independence and dignity.

The second intake’s theme – Mobile and Assistive Technology (AT) – is in response to research indicating that mobile technology can increase access to assistive technologies, information, digital products and services for people with disabilities. This is especially true in Africa, a rapidly digitising economy where numerous basic services and products are available via mobile phone in countries such as Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria.

“The mobile device and associated mobile technologies have tremendously improved access to information, goods and services for people from all walks of life, including persons with disabilities. Innovate Now Cohort 2.0 aims to support ventures that are leveraging this disruptive technology to improve functioning, independence and wellbeing of persons with disabilities in Africa,’’  noted Bernard Chiira, Director – Innovate Now.

According to a study on mobile disability gaps (https://bit.ly/2WKrbTW) published by the GSMA, mobile phone ownership among persons with disabilities is high, with approximately 82% of adults with disabilities in Kenya owning a mobile phone for example. Although persons with disabilities are less likely to own a mobile phone than non-disabled persons, those with access to mobile devices perceive the handsets to be useful for accessing features such as education and financial services.

“The independence and wellbeing of persons with disabilities is critical. Assistive technologies are central to ensuring that persons with disabilities can continue to thrive. It is my desire to see innovations supported by Innovate Now turn into big businesses that will not only make mobility easy, but create employment for our people,” said Senator Isaac Mwaura, Chair – Innovate Now Board.

Applications for Cohort 2.0 can be submitted online via [https://atInnovateNow.com/apply] until June 8, 2020. Innovate Now is also inviting submissions for mobile technology-based innovations that seek to provide solutions to help persons with disabilities during times of crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Selected finalists will participate in a rigorous 3-month virtual start-up acceleration programme that will run from July to September 2020, during which they will have access to the Innovate Now Live-Lab Network where they can engage persons with disabilities in the product development process. The participants will also have access to mentorship from experts such as Rhys Williams and Catherine Holloway from GDI Hub; Anne Lawi, Country Director – Pangea Accelerator; Maurice Otieno, Executive Director – Baraza Media Lab, and Robert Yawe, Managing Director – SynapTech Solutions, among others.

At the end of the programme, the start-ups will present their innovations to a select audience of investors and world leading institutions with the aim of scaling them to reach the populations that need them most.

Last year’s 5 finalists are preparing to pitch at the Innovate Now Virtual Demo Day to be held on June 4, 2020, during which various investments will be announced. They include:
Vision Vijana (www.Vijanareloaded.com) – a start-up that is building and training a network of youth to make vision testing, eyeglasses fitting and acquisition accessible at scale. Vision Vijana has so far carried out vision testing and eyeglasses fitting for more than 8,000 people in Kenya.
Linccell Technology  – a start-up that aims to lead the electric personal mobility industry in Kenya and put wheelchair users at the front of this revolution. Linccell Technology has designed, built and sold more than a dozen wheelchairs across Kenya. Their wheelchairs are designed to withstand the toughest off-road conditions in Africa while also being convenient for indoor use.
Hope Tech Plus  – a start-up that is reimagining mobility and navigation for the blind. Their 4th Eye Mobility Device is designed to replace the white cane and help visually impaired people avoid obstacles above knee level, and is so far being used by over 1,000 users.
Syna Consulting  – the social enterprise has developed UTULAV, a mobile toilet designed to provide safe and dignified sanitation to the physically challenged, the aged and the sick. The development of UTULAV has progressed from prototype to minimum viable product, and Syna is now trialling its proposition in the market.
Toto SCI – a startup that has developed AlexCane, a smart stick that incorporates IOT (Internet of things) technology to help blind persons share their location, request for help or connect with other users automatically at the touch of a button.

Innovate Now is part of the AT2030 Programme. It is Africa’s first Assistive Technology Innovation Ecosystem and Start-up Accelerator and is implemented by Amref Enterprises Limited (AEL) and led by the Global Disability Innovation Hub. The Accelerator aims to support 60 start-ups, 15 of which will be scaled up over the next 3 years.

With statistics showing that close to 1 billion people globally do not have access to Assistive Technology and the gap is likely to double by 2050, the accelerator programme seeks to close the gap that exists between persons with disabilities and access to assistive technologies.

About Innovate Now:
Innovate Now is Africa’s first Assistive Technology Accelerator that hosts start-ups for 3-6 months. The free accelerator model combines mentorship, workshops, guest lectures and hands on disability expertise to help Assistive Technology start-ups reach product-market fit, become investable and scale ready. Innovate Now uses an innovative active learning model and Live labs to provide the best possible support for founders by helping them overcome barriers to scaling AT. Innovate Now is implemented by Amref Enterprises (Kenya) in partnership with the Global disability Innovation Hub. It is part of the GDI Hub led AT2030 Assistive Technology for All programme.

About AT2030:
The AT2030 programme will test, over five years, “what works” to improve access to Assistive Technology and will invest £20m to support solutions to scale. With a focus on innovative products, new service models, and global capacity support, the programme will reach 9 million people directly and 6 million more indirectly to enable a lifetime of potential through life-changing Assistive Technology. AT2030 is led by the Global Disability Innovation Hub and is funded by UK Aid from the UK Government.

About Amref Enterprises Limited:
Amref Enterprises Limited (AEL) is the social enterprise arm of Amref Health Africa, the largest Africa-based international NGO. AEL is responsible for delivering sustainable social value through incubation and commercialisation of innovative solutions, conceptualised and developed throughout the organisation. AEL works to strengthen the primary health care system, in line with Amref Health Africa’s vision of creating lasting health change in Africa.

About Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub):
GDI Hub is a research and practice centre driving disability innovation for a fairer world. Based in East London and a legacy of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, GDI Hub delivers world-class research, ideas and inventions, creating new knowledge, solutions and products, and shaping policy through co-creation, participation and collaboration.

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Mozambique:Nyusi extends state of emergency for second time
May 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge dos Santos*

President Filipe Nyusi announced  on Thursday night a 30-day extension of the state of emergency in Mozambique due to the Covid-19 pandemic, to avoid possible pressure on the country’s health system. This is the second time after doing the same on 30 April.

Despite the fact that no lockdown has so far been decreed, the Head of State urged all citizens to choose not to leave home except for essential reasons.

“In simple words I say: Let’s stay at home,” said  the President, in an address to the nation broadcast by Televisão de Moçambique and Rádio Moçambique.

The state of emergency extension will last until June 30.

The country has been in a state of emergency since April 1 and so far registered  a total of 233 Covid-19 cases, 82 recoveries and two deaths.

The second death of covid-19 in Mozambique was announced on Thursday. — a woman in Pemba between 45-50 years of age. The patient died while in a health unit in the city.

Also was announced that the province of Niassa has its first case of the disease, meaning all of Mozambique’s 11 provinces are now affected.

*jorgedossantosmz@gmail.com

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The Rockefeller Foundation Announces New Awards to Strengthen Covid-19 Response in Communities Across Africa and Asia
May 28, 2020 | 0 Comments
Dr. Rajiv J. Shah meets with a mother and her daughter to talk about The Rockefeller Foundation’s work to bring electricity and lighting to the Kibera area in Kenya. | Photograph by Chad Holder

The Rockefeller Foundation announced today that it will award three new grants to support organizations that are working with countries, communities and regions in Africa and Asia to leverage data and technology to bolster their Covid-19 response. These grants will enhance data collection through contact tracing, symptom checking, and testing that can generate data that is crucial for ensuring efficient Covid-19 responses across community, country and regional levels. The Foundation is also expanding its support of off-grid technologies that can quickly address the energy needs of healthcare facilities currently operating without electricity.

“When I was leading the U.S. response to the 2014 outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, using transparent, location-specific, real-time data was a game-changing innovation,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “Employing a data-driven response to outbreaks is critical to target prevention and response efforts much more precisely and return to normal more quickly.”

With more than 5 million cases globally, countries have turned to technology at all levels of their health systems to respond to Covid-19. Yet many lower- and middle-income countries do not have the same resources as wealthier countries to develop innovations that meet their unique needs and could aid their responses. As a result, those countries with the fewest resources to combat a Covid-19 outbreak are often the least well-positioned to leverage data and technology to drive efficient responses.

“We are partnering with countries and local communities to equip them with the technologies and tools that will help to protect their health and save their economies,” said Ashvin Dayal, Senior Vice President, Power Initiative, The Rockefeller Foundation. “Reliable electricity is essential for effective testing and treatment, and off-grid technologies can be rapidly deployed to address this crisis.”

To support countries and those on the frontline in their Covid-19 responses, the Foundation is awarding grants totaling $2 million to four organizations: Dalberg, Dimagi, Medic Mobile and Odyssey Energy Solutions. These new grants build on the Foundation’s efforts to improve public health and provide reliable electricity to vulnerable communities worldwide and brings its total commitment to the global Covid-19 response to over $50 million.

The Foundation’s new grants include:

  • Dalberg has received a grant to strengthen the Incident Management System (IMS) capacity of West African Emergency Operations Centers to prepare for, detect and respond to public health emergencies. The foundation’s grant will support work in six West African countries: Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, and Mauritania. “Emergency Operations Centers help countries and communities come together in a way that saves lives and allows economies to get back on their feet more quickly after disasters have passed,” said Madjiguene Sock, Partner at Dalberg. “This grant will allow us to bolster the effectiveness of the Emergency Operations Centers we have supported for more than seven years, as well as establish a platform for collaboration and knowledge sharing between centers across West Africa.”
  • Dimagi and Medic Mobile have received funding to equip community health workers with new digital tools that can bolster a data-driven response to Covid-19 in up to 50 countries. Dimagi and Medic Mobile are the two largest developers of apps designed specifically for community health workers, reaching 700,000 community health workers across the globe. “Digital tools can make a real difference in fighting Covid-19, but only if they make it into the hands of health workers,” said Isaac Holeman, PhD, Co-Founder of Medic Mobile. “This collaboration is an opportunity for our organizations to share what we know, to leverage our respective strengths in order to deliver systems that are optimized for frontline workers in hard-to-reach communities.” Jonathan Jackson, Co-Founder and CEO of Dimagi added, “By creating and sharing these tools, we can help community health workers better respond to this devastating virus and optimize public health in the long-run. These tools will shape a future in which we can predict and respond to pandemics faster and more effectively.”
  • Odyssey Energy Solutions is receiving funding to develop its data platform, which will enable the fast and sustainable deployment of donor capital to energize healthcare facilities with distributed renewable energy technology. The Odyssey platform will align donor efforts, targeting efficient allocation of over $200 million across at least 2,000 health centers in sub-Saharan Africa. “Over 70% of healthcare facilities lack access to reliable electricity in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Odyssey CEO Emily McAteer. “By integrating key datasets with the location of priority health facilities, matching them with developers, supporting the bulk procurement of mini-grid components, and utilizing asset management technologies to track performance, this project will help address the energy needs of healthcare facilities immediately and reliably.” Dana Rysankova, Global Lead for Energy Access at the World Bank noted: “The Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) is supporting World Bank client countries in their efforts to electrify health facilities to help mitigate the Covid-19 health crisis. Odyssey can be a very powerful tool in this effort. In Nigeria, for example, the Rural Electrification Agency and the World Bank are partnering with the Odyssey platform for a significant Covid response effort to electrify isolation and treatment centers and primary healthcare facilities, many of which are subsequently expected to be expanded into mini grids that also serve neighboring communities and businesses.”

“The Rockefeller Foundation has supported the field of public health for over 100 years, fueling progress against disease through innovation,” said Naveen A. Rao, MD, Senior Vice President, Health, The Rockefeller Foundation. “These grants build upon that legacy to ensure that countries can fight a 21st century pandemic with 21st century tools.”

The new grants are part of the Foundation’s overall response to the global pandemic, as described in Dr. Shah’s 2020 Annual letter.

About Dalberg
Dalberg is a leading social impact advisory group that brings together strategy consulting, design thinking, big data analytics, and research to address complex social and environmental challenges. We work collaboratively with communities, institutions, governments, and corporations to develop solutions that create impact at scale. With more than 30 locations worldwide and a diverse footprint in the global south, Dalberg is driven by a mission to build a world where all people, everywhere, can reach their fullest potential. In the midst of COVID, Dalberg is coming together with a diverse range of partners and collaborators to mitigate the most serious effects of the crisis for vulnerable communities around the globe. From preparing and transforming under-resourced healthcare systems to partnering with governments to re-imagine existing supply chains and open up new opportunities for livelihoods, we are building systems and solutions that address immediate risks and fend off broader socio-economic disruptions. In all that we do, we rely on our diverse capabilities, cross-sector experience, global mindset and local presence to contribute to the building of a more inclusive and sustainable society for the future.

About Dimagi
Founded in 2002, Dimagi, Inc. is an award-winning, socially conscious technology company that helps organizations around the world deliver quality digital solutions for a variety of sectors, across urban and rural communities. Dimagi’s flagship solution, CommCare, is a leading open-source mobile data collection and service delivery platform designed to improve data collection and the quality of frontline services in low-resource settings. More than 700,000 frontline workers have used CommCare across more than 2,000 projects in 80 countries. Today, Dimagi is supporting COVID-19 response efforts with several state, local, and national governments. Dimagi’s team of exceptional physicians, engineers, and health system architects perform technical strategy, systems design, software development, and health research with partners around the world.

About Medic Mobile
Medic Mobile’s mission is to advance good health and human flourishing with and for the hardest-to-reach communities. A unique non-profit organization, Medic Mobile works with partner organizations to build and apply software that helps health workers deliver equitable care. As technical steward of the Community Health Toolkit open source project, Medic Mobile supports more than 27,000 health workers who provide care for over 12 million people in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Most of the organization’s nearly 100 engineers, designers, and global health practitioners work from offices in Nairobi, Dakar, and Kathmandu, and roughly a third work remotely or from offices in Seattle and San Francisco. The organization and its open source community envision a more just world in which health workers are supported as they provide care for their neighbors, universal health coverage is a reality, and health is a secured human right.

About Odyssey Energy Solutions
Odyssey is an investment and asset management platform that enables data-driven capital deployment into distributed energy portfolios. The platform manages data across the lifecycle of project portfolios, including feasibility analysis, investment diligence, and asset monitoring. Odyssey is being used by key donors, governments and development finance institutions to manage large-scale mini-grid, solar home system, and other electrification initiatives across numerous countries in emerging markets.

About The Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission – unchanged since 1913 – is to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Today the Foundation advances new frontiers of science, policy, and innovation to solve global challenges related to health, food, power, and economic mobility. As a science-driven philanthropy focused on building collaborative relationships with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation seeks to inspire and foster large-scale human impact by identifying and accelerating breakthrough solutions, ideas and conversations. In health, The Rockefeller Foundation has been working to improve global public health for more than a century – from eradicating hookworm in the American South, to launching the field of public health, to seeding the development of the life-saving yellow fever vaccine. The Foundation’s Precision Public Health initiative aims to empower community health systems and frontline health workers with the latest digital innovations – including more accurate and precise decision-making tools based on predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

*AMA/ Rockefeller Foundation

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Nigeria:#UnityInAdversity campaign drives 183 percent increase in new jobs for Jobberman
May 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

Jobberman, the single largest job placement website in sub-Saharan Africa, has released figures today showing a 183 percent increase in new job listings in Nigeria for April 2020. The increase in job listings was driven by the #UnityInAdversity campaign, which enabled companies to post job listings and access Jobberman’s database of over 2.2 million professionals across Nigeria for free, as a show of support for businesses and individuals looking for new opportunities due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

At the beginning of March, Jobberman Nigeria saw a 70 percent decrease in job listings due to the reduced economic activity caused by the enforced lockdown and many companies shutting down recruitment budgets to cut costs. Jobseeker sign ups also decreased by 17 percent. Jobberman took the bold step to put employers’ and jobseekers’ needs first, despite the trade off in revenue, making it easier for them to connect to new opportunities. This campaign will run until the end of June 2020.

Jobberman’s data also revealed the overall number of new opportunities in April to be more than the first quarter of 2020 combined; with almost a fifth of listings for positions in the tech sector. In terms of industries, technology had most of the new jobs with 18.79 percent, followed by banking, finance and insurance with 9.27 percent and education and training with 6.78 percent. IT & Software (11.69 percent) job functions were only second to Sales (13.32 percent) in terms of job functions with the newest roles. When compared to April 2019, there were almost three times as many new job listings, which is encouraging, given the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the jobs market. Jobseeker sign ups also increased in April by 39 percent.

Along with the #UnityinAdversity campaign and to support its commitment to alleviating unemployment in Nigeria, Jobberman has launched a free soft skills training programme that will help job seekers close this gap between their skills and employers’ requirements, as well as enhance their chances of success in gaining employment. Applications for the course are currently open to all Nigerians between the age of 18-30, and the programme will cover key areas such as emotional intelligence, business etiquette, time management, job search strategies, salary negotiation among others.

According to Hilda Kragha, CEO of Jobberman Nigeria, “The COVID-19 pandemic has made the process of connecting talent to opportunities more complicated and we are fully aware of the strain businesses and individuals in Nigeria are facing. We plan to be here for the next 10 years so making this small sacrifice to help our users navigate these difficult times is something that we think is definitely worth doing”.

Kragha also added that “it is great to see that there are still some job opportunities despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. There will be a lot of competition for these roles, however, and only the candidates that set themselves apart will be best placed to take advantage of these opportunities. We have found that soft skills such as emotional intelligence, business etiquette, time management, which are often overlooked and underestimated in Nigeria, can make a big difference.  We know the power of soft skills and we are committed to empowering individuals with the training and soft skills they need to succeed in the workplace”

With over a decade in the recruitment business, Jobberman has identified soft skills as a viable asset to an employee and job seeker, especially for young people transitioning into the workplace. Jobberman is the only online platform offering soft skills training for free and it is aiming to empower individuals across Nigeria with the training and soft skills they need to succeed. 

The soft skills training programme is free for all young people in Nigeria and will be running indefinitely. You can sign up here:

Founded in 2009, Jobberman is an online platform that provides training and placement for jobseekers, as well as the best selection of candidates for companies hiring. It is the single largest job placement website in sub-Saharan Africa and has the vision to become the leading source of talent in every market it operates in by simplifying job searching and talent acquisition; matching the right set of skills with employers needs.

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