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Gambia:First Lady, Partners Sign Memorandum on Medical Support
January 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

First Lady, Her Excellency, Madam Fatou Bah-Barrow on Monday presided over the signing ceremony between her Foundation, FABB, and a Switzerland registered, Saudi Arabian medical NGO (Albalsam Cure and Care).

The ceremony followed an audience with the visiting delegation of the NGO at the State House, and a conducted tour of the facilities at selected hospitals in Banjul,Kanifing Municipality and West Coast Region.

The group’s delegation is currently in the country on the invitation of the First Lady, who held talks with them during her visit to Saudi Arabia in November 2019.

“We are here to discuss ways to cooperate with the First Lady’s foundation for better improvement, support and care of babies and mothers,” Dr. Emad A. Bukhari, the CEO of the NGO, said.

Due to the First Lady’s special interest in the health of these category of the population, especially pregnant mothers, FABB is proposing special health caravans to deliver voluntary services to remotest parts of the country.

“For now, special attention is given to deworming in new born babies and pregnant mothers. That is one area where the partners have good experience in,” he added.

At the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, the group handed over five boxes of highly specialised surgeon equipment to the hospital through the First Lady. These are used in operating on pregnant mothers, young babies and children.

In receiving the donated materials, Dr. Kebba Marenah, Orthopaedic Surgeon and Head of Surgery at the Hospital described the equipment as “very high quality, well-known brand surgical instruments” which will be a good addition to the department.

“Whenever we see the First Lady around, we know there is something good is store for us. These materials will be put into good use and we thank her for the endless support,” Dr Manneh said.

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Gambia Embarks on Zero Tolerance Policy in Human Trafficking
January 18, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Dr. Isatou Touray, Vice President of Gambia

The government of The Gambia is pursuing a new “zero tolerance” policy against Trafficking in Persons (TIP), following the formulation of aggressive counter measures to combat the menace in the country.

Dr. Isatou Touray, Vice President last week formally presided over a two-day high level meeting that brought together various government departments and non-state actors to review the Gambia’s situational ranking under the 2019 TIP Report published by the US State Department.  

“His Excellency, President Adama Barrow recognizes trafficking in persons as a grave violation of human rights and therefore gave directives for a zero tolerance policy on it. It is the responsibility of the State as a primary duty bearer to create the right environment for combating trafficking in persons in all its forms,” she told the meeting on Tuesday.

Following the downgrading of The Gambia to Tier 3 from Tier 2 ranking in the 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report, President Barrow assigned the Department for Strategic Policy and Delivery (DSPD) at the Office of the President the responsibility of coordinating responses to the recommendations of the report.

Since then, this said Department, in collaboration with the National Agency Against Trafficking in Persons (NAATIP), had worked with relevant stakeholders to come up with concrete actions to address the issues highlighted in the 2019 TIP Report.

A number of action points have already been taken, including the assigning of more investigators to NAATIP, creation of NAATIP focal points at major border entry points throughout the country; documentation of all TIP cases reported, and the improvement of Safety measures at Bakoteh Shelter for victims.

The Solicitor General at the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Cherno Marenah, described human trafficking as “a major threat” to the maintenance of the rule of law and public order. However, at the most basic level, he added, it is one of the worst forms of the violation of human rights. Like other forms of trans-national organised crimes, human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry.

“The factors and circumstances of human trafficking and exploitation in The Gambia are varied and complex. Firstly, Gambia’s geographical location along the west coast and our open borders has for a long time made the country a transit zone for migrants mainly from West African countries enroute to Europe and the United States,” he explained.

The booming tourism industry of the country also serves a magnet for economic migrants and exploiters of persons.  Similarly, The Gambia is also a source of, and destination for the exploitation of children sent to study in religious schools commonly referred to as the “Almudos”. In a number of cases, these children ultimately find themselves as beggars in our streets as well as being engaged in domestic servitude for their masters.

The Director General of the Department of Strategic Policy Delivery, Mr. Alhagie Nyangado said the two days’ meeting served the purpose even if not for the issue of the rating by the US State Department. For the Office of the President, It is a national issue and the earlier the country fights against it, the better for it.

During the review process, a set of questionnaires were used to guide deliberations so as to come up with comprehensive answers to The Gambia’s situation.

So far, nine new cases have been identified for investigations and the government assigned three investigators from the Immigrations, state intelligence and the Police to further capacitise the NAATIP’s investigation capabilities.

Mr Nyangado announced that aggressive prosecutions will follow every investigations conducted. Government is also working on establishing a hotline to facilitate public’s reporting of the cases.

The Executive Director of NAATIP, Mrs. Toulaye Jawara described the two-day meeting as an important national assignment that added knowledge on trafficking in persons through information sharing and learning of lessons with best practices.

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A Tale of Courage, Resilience & Hope For Justice in Wendy Bangura’s “Tears, Trials, and Triumphs”
January 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

With roles in successful  movies like Entrapped, Blood Brothers, Koming from Africa, Twisted Brain, Royal Dilemma 2, Diary of a serial Killer, Njidika in America, Busted Life, Greedy Realtor, and Ekei among many others, Award winning actress Wendy Bangura  has carved a niche for herself on the International and African film scene. From her native Sierra Leone to stardom in the USA, it has been an agonizing tale of heart-breaking experiences, courage, and resilience for the sultry actress chronicled in  her book titled “Tears, Trials, and Triumphs.”

According to Wendy Bangura, the book is a true-life story of the unexpected tragedy that struck her family during the calamitous civil war of the 90s in Sierra Leone. In the book, Wendy Bangura shares the tears, and tribulations she went through and how prayers, great determination, hope and big dreams ultimately led her to triumph in the face of all odds.

Wendy’s triumph is a reminder to always have faith, believe in divine providence, have hope, work hard and even the worse adversity would be overcome

While she talks a lot about the divine provision of God, Wendy Bangura dedicates her triumph to the memory of her late father Captain Hancil Bangura, a man she considers as her hero. The man described in the book as noble, hardworking, generous, patriotic, and a most loving husband to his wife and kids was summarily executed on 29 December 1992. Captain Bangura, Quartermaster of the Sierra Leone Army was executed alongside 29 other individuals without a trial or any due process.

Accustomed to living a stress-free life with all the pecks from her doting father, Wendy’s world came crashing. She gives graphic details of family activities on the day of the incident up to the point where a group of soldiers came and took her father to the military headquarters for a meeting. A meeting he never came back from.

Initial efforts by the family to get answers yielded no fruits, no one had answers for anything. To make matters worse, her family was not only placed under house arrest, but everything was also carted away by the power drunk soldiers. Vehicles were seized, property confiscated, and bank accounts frozen.

Wendy Bangura dedicates her triumph to the memory of her late father Captain Hancil Bangura, a man she considers as her hero

For the young girl that Wendy Bangura was, the experience was traumatizing. A good Samaritan working in the military learnt of additional plans by the military government to further hurt the family and facilitated their escape.

Later in the book, Bangura says several sources eventually fingered a certain Sergeant Musa of the NPRC regime as the brain behind the killing of her father and other Northerners in the army as a way of trying to restore Southern (Mende) rule. The book details the reign of terror of the NPRC and its eventual collapse.

From 1992 when tragedy struck to 1997 when the family had the opportunity to move to the USA thanks to the Diversity Visa Lottery program, Wendy Bangura sheds light on the challenges faced by her family to survive. While  Bangura again gives top credit to divine providence for the survival of her family under the miserable conditions which stood in stack contrast to the princely life they had when her father was alive, a number of benefactors are equally acknowledged for been there for them.

While Wendy and her family may have braved the ordeal, their hope for some form of justice remains largely unfulfilled. In January 2013, a delegation of families of victims of the December 1992 massacre led by Julius Bombay Kamara Jr son of the Former Inspector General of Police James Bombay Kamara tabled their case before then President Ernest Bai Koroma.

Under the canopy of the 29 Memorial Foundation for Justice and Development. The group indicated that the families had suffered for so long and it was time  to serve justice by atleast seeking to get the truth of what actually happened. From the book, we learn that President Koroma attributed inaction to the politicization of the issue. He assured the families that he understood their emotions and sorrow and pledged to do all in his second term to address the issues ……

Despite the palpable pain and sorrow manifested by Wendy Bangura in the book, one can see in her the proud and patriotic flare she probably inherited from Captain Hancil Bangura. For those who know nothing about Sierra Leone, the book gives 101 lessons on the rich history and culture of that West African country. From the people to its own tales of slavery, colonial legacy, and checkered political history, Bangura gives the reader a good feel of the history of her country.

Intended or not, Wendy Bangura equally gives the reader a reason to be curious about visiting Sierra Leone. From its healthy cuisine, the unparalleled beauty of its women, spectacular beaches, great view of the Atlantic Ocean, Bangura’s description of Sierra Leone is one of a country that lovers of tourism must add to their list. The depiction of Sierra Leonians as Killers in the movie Blood Diamond is wrong says Bangura.

“It is hard to see my people scorned by the world when the majority of us are peaceful, fun-loving, and God-fearing people,’ she writes.

The multi talented Wendy Bangura does is not only a famed actress but a talented producer as well.

Wendy Bangura who has equally produced successful movies like The Unforgettable Words ends the 142-page book with pictures of her family and some of her works. The book is easy to read. Been the fiercely ambitious and goal getter that Wendy Bangura is, one would not be surprised if someday the book is adapted to film.

As Sierra Leone continues its march forward from the chaotic past with despicable acts from the civil war, Bangura’s book is a reminder that nothing should ever be taken for granted. It is a call for introspection on values that should guide a modern society, a society where tribalism has no place, a society which recognizes and encourages hard work, one where people are not sentenced and killed without trial and one where justice delayed is justice denied. Wendy’s triumph   is a reminder to always have faith, believe in divine providence, have hope, work hard and even the worse adversity would be overcome.

Tears, Trials, and Triumphs,” is available on Amazon , and other online book distribution networks.For information on how to get autographed copies from the author, contact

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Cameroon University Campaign: Leadership is not determined by Money – Angelle Kwemo tells TEF Prospective Applicants
January 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

It was a rich exchange between the seasoned professional that Angelle Kwemo is and dynamic students eager to benefit from TEF initiatives
It was a rich exchange between the seasoned professional that Angelle Kwemo is and dynamic students eager to benefit from TEF initiatives

Students of some higher institutions in Buea, South West Region of Cameroon have been schooled on how to apply for the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Program with the students urged not to focus on the seed capital but the training they will derive from it.    

The TEF 2020 Application Workshops dubbed Cameroon University Campaigns, at HIBMAT (Higher Institute of Business Management and Technology), and HIMS (Higher Institute of Management Studies), was moderated by TEF Alumni Mentor, and special guest Ms. Angelle Kwemo as the students were educated on the opportunities that are involved in applying for the TEF Programme.

“What makes business people or entrepreneurs is not necessarily the money but the leadership, vision, resilience and so on. The biggest asset of the TEF programme is the knowledge, the library, expertise, training, and it is more important than the seed capital that will be given,” Ms. Angelle Kwemo, President of Believe in Africa said.

The biggest asset of the TEF programme is the knowledge, the library, expertise, training, and it is more important than the seed capital that will be given, said Angelle Kwemo, President of Believe in Africa

This was the same worry re-echoed by the President of HIBMAT Jude Chilaka who said, “…the very first motivating factor should not be the money, but the passion, the drive to do what you are truly called to do — the willingness to serve mankind. Should any of them benefit the seed capital, and squander it, it will not help them or their community in any way”

“They (students) should rather focus on the training because money or no money, they should be able to learn, and be able to take care of their family. As an entrepreneur the money will eventually come and it doesn’t come at the very beginning of a business venture. So this training will give them the idea of how to manage their capital, and finance and if they are not knowledgeable in this aspect, there is practically no way they can succeed in their business activity.”

But for the present crisis in the Anglophone regions, such opportunities will have been made available to the students, according to the President of the Institution. “In 2016, the institution tried to independently implement what is being done and with the coming of TEF, it is going to create an impact on the students, and the community,” Jude Chilaka added.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation’s $100 million entrepreneurship program is the Foundation’s flagship entrepreneurship initiative and will support 10,000 African entrepreneurs over the next decade, leading to the creation of a million new jobs and adding 10 billion dollars in annual turnover to the African economy.

Successful entrepreneurs participate in intensive online training during which they are mentored and obtain, after validation of their Business Plan, launch funding of $5,000. With the support of several partners, the TEF has for the year 2019 trained almost 8,289 entrepreneurs and funded 5,149 Africans.

Angelle Kwemo challenged female participants to show more interest in TEF initiatives and opportunities
Angelle Kwemo challenged female participants to show more interest in TEF initiatives and opportunities

For Ms. Angelle Kwemo, “it’s a great honor to support this initiative. Our organization (Believe in Africa) is committed to supporting young people and women in their ambition to reach financial autonomy. Since its launch in 2015, 460 Cameroonian entrepreneurs have been funded by the Tony Elumelu Foundation, including very few students. This awareness campaign among campuses therefore aims to help students see entrepreneurship as a possible career option, and to expose them to business opportunities.”

“Students are a great asset for the development of our economy. This awareness campaign offers us the opportunity to expose students to the entrepreneurial world, thereby enabling them to avoid the pitfalls of unemployment,” She added.

It has been noticed the students especially females do not apply for such initiative as Ms. Kwemo notes, they have issues that are preoccupying their mind in their personal life, job life or emotional life it is difficult for them to apply. “But it is growing, and very year we have more and more women. 75 per cent of those who attended are females and definitely we will have more applying,” She said.

This awareness campaign offers us the opportunity to expose students to the entrepreneurial world, thereby enabling them to avoid the pitfalls of unemployment,Angelle Kwemo said
This awareness campaign offers us the opportunity to expose students to the entrepreneurial world, thereby enabling them to avoid the pitfalls of unemployment,Angelle Kwemo said

The Tony Elumelu Foundation is a philanthropic organization based and funded in Africa, founded in 2010, by philanthropist and business leader Tony O. Elumelu, CON, which is committed to promoting African economic growth by empowering African entrepreneurship.

Believe in Africa is a non-profit organization launched in Washington DC in 2014. Its mission is to promote African solution to Africa problems, and to promote the role of the African private sector.

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Cameroon:“The Biya regime has to go” – Edith Kah Walla tells PAV
January 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Kah Walla was ranked 6th out of the 23 candidates in the 2011 Presidential election

With the Anglophone crisis in its fourth year now, the leader of the Cameroon People’s Party, CPP Edith Kahbang Walla popularly known as Kah Walla says the problems Cameroon is presently going through stems from the Biya regime that has been in existence for some 37 years now.

“He (President Biya), however, hurt the Anglophone population by referring to violence rather than a clear way forward from the crisis and even worst from the population of the three North Region who continue to be under attack from Boko Haram, from armed groups from CAR. It is like he is not aware that those people are also undergoing a crisis. For us nothing new and nothing to comment, and it confirms our position that the Biya regime has to go,” Kah Walla questions Biya’s end of Year address.

This 2020, she said the CPP has declared it the year of transition. “Cameroonians are in difficulty from the North to South and East to West. They are in difficulty because of a regime that is 37 years in power. We have to come together as Cameroonians and demonstrate non-violently but with a lot of determination to put an end to this regime.”

“The Anglophone crisis requires us to have dialogue, reconciliation, address the problems of the populations in the NOSO who have undergone a lot of trauma, so much violence. We have to repair all of that but what we have seen with this regime with this crisis is that the regime is unable and unwilling to provide solutions in that direction.”

Stand up for Cameroon and the CPP’s solution is for everyone to come together as Cameroonians and put “this regime to the side and begin a political transition for the country,” She said.

Organizing peaceful protest is Cameroon is usually something that is not tolerated in the country with it being met with brutal force from security personnel who are sent to dispatch the population.

The leader of the MRC party was caught in the same issue as he was arrested and jailed simply for organizing a peaceful protest against the 2018 Presidential election in Cameroon and that of the AFCON being removed from the country.

The party head on this issue noted that all Cameroonians should come together as it is a question of numbers. “If we come out 200 here and a few thousand there it is not enough to withstand the violence of the regime. But if we are out in our tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands – there are 23million Cameroonians in this country and if only one per cent of us come out on the street, there is no army that can face us.”

“We must be determined as Cameroonians and we must realize that we will not solve the Anglophone crisis apart, the problem of Ph.Ds. apart, we have to come together as one people as all the problems are emanating from this regime.”

Edith Kah Walla was elected as the President of Cameroon People's Party on April 30, 2011 succeeding Samuel Tita Fon who created the party in 1991
Edith Kah Walla was elected as the President of Cameroon People’s Party on April 30, 2011 succeeding Samuel Tita Fon who created the party in 1991

Edith Kah Walla is equally adamant that the said peaceful protest cannot be in the Regions as most protests have been held. Where it will bite is when the regime feels it in their backyard.

She said, “The protests cannot be in the regions. When we protest in Buea, Bamenda the regime is not in these places and that protest must take place in Yaounde where the regime is.”

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A Wellness and Sexual Revolution in Nigeria with Omoshola’s Empire
January 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

Omoshola’s Empire is a unique blend of Day spa and sexual wellness spa, stepping in to meet the challenges of today’s major skin and sexual crisis.

Today’s man/woman is one who is mindful of not just how they appear but also their health, fitness and sexual lifestyle.

Some relationships and even marriages fail because couples don’t talk about sex and what they can do to improve their libido or ensure mutual satisfaction.

Founded by Deborah Erioluwapo, Omoshola’s Empire offers curated beauty, grooming, and wellness services to help you look and feel your best. It is a place where our customers can find inner peace, talk to certified professionals about ways to improve their sexual relationships without inhibition or embarrassment, while escaping the stress of work or personal life. So that every time clients walk through our doors, they will breathe a little easier knowing they can totally relax, take their mind away from work and will be treated in the best ways possible.

At Omoshola’s Empire, we help our client’s experience the benefits of sexual wellness and Massage Therapy, including reduced pain, improved circulation, increased immune efficiency, enhanced focus, and more. A member of our team is always on hand to assist you with booking and scheduling your appointments for consultations and treatments appropriately. We prefer to attend to clients by appointment via phone or through our website. But
we also attend to customers who walk into our offices without any previous appointments.

At OMOSHOLA’S EMPIRE our goal is to ensure every relationship or married couple enjoys the full benefits of general well being.


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Staying Off Social Media Will Not Kill You
January 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jojo Amiegbe *

Ever find yourself constantly scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, purely out of boredom? 

If you took the time to analyze the situation, you realize you spend a ‘good chunk’ of your day scrolling past feeds that you honestly could have gone about your day not knowing or seeing. I’m not here to judge anyone who is very active or interactive on social media. 

Granted, it’s a place to stay engaged with people, catch up on what’s trending, even see first hand what your favorite celebrity/public figure said, wore, bought, went, ate, and so on. But there’s a reason why the saying goes, ‘too much of a good thing, ain’t good’

Social media (depending on how you use it) can make one feel insecure and unaccomplished. You see your peers, or just any random famous face put up a post of an expensive ride they got, a new house they just acquired, maybe your friend from school got engaged, or they’re letting you in on how they’re spending their vacation. And you’re there with your phone, sipping on your pure water, fanning yourself because ‘down NEPA’, thinking ‘ah, these people are living the life o, chai…’, but deep down, you wish your life was half as glamorous as they have depicted theirs to be, maybe you end up dealing with a pang of envy, ready to say something spiteful when you come across someone with whom you can gossip with about what you read/saw.

They say ‘eyes are the windows to the soul’, and instead of spending most of my time looking down at my phone every 5 seconds to catch just about everything that’s going on on social media, I’d rather ‘face my front’ and set my sights on achieving the goals I have set for myself while watching/reading content online that brings me closer to greatness.

Do you spend your time trolling or responding in just about every comment section available, how much you hate what someone said/did, wishing them the worst thing imaginable? Are you one of those who have social media accounts, just so you can stalk and troll (maybe anonymously), or write the most hurtful things to a person, forgetting they are people too, with actual feelings?

Someone once said, ‘social media is where we put up the best version of ourselves’

Let’s say you have specific skills you want the world to know. Do your accounts show off your work, how have you used Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the other platforms to ‘sell yourself’?

Basically, what exactly are you gaining from social media? Are you better or worse off because of it? Why are you there in the 1st place?

That FOMO (‘Fear Of Missing Out’) mentality can keep one glued to the computer/phone screen for hours when that time could be allocated to more meaningful and productive work away from the refresh button.

Social media does not have to be the 1st thing you see when you wake up in the morning, or last thing before you go to bed. 

I would honestly recommend you consider logging out if you can afford to, or at least take a critical look at how you engage on social media and see if it has affected your time management towards the productive pursuit of other endeavors, as well as overall peace of mind.

*Josephine Odion Amiegbe or Jojo as she is simply called by everyone is from Esan South East local government area Edo State but was born and bred in Lagos State.Currently a radio personality at The Beat 97.9 FM Ibadan, hosting the Morning Rush weekdays from 6 am to 11 am. Josephine loves to write and her work as a contributive writer has been featured in the Dining Out section of Ibadan City Info magazine. She also has several articles published in some online blogs and presently contributes to Opera News Hub as a Health & Fitness writer.


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Gambia: First Lady Donates Gifts To 2020 Babies
January 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

First Lady, Fatou Bah-Barrow personally presided over the presentation of cash prizes and baskets of gifts to the 2020 babies

As part of her New Year day engagements, First Lady, Fatou Bah-Barrow personally presided over the presentation of cash prizes and baskets of gifts to the 2020 babies born at the dawn of the New Year at health facilities in Banjul and Kanifing regions.

Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) in Banjul, the Sere Kunda General Hospital in Kanifing and the Bundung Maternal and Child Health Hospital were each visited by the First Lady.

Similar presentations were made by delegates from the Fatou Bah-Barrow (FaBB) Foundation, who were dispatched to deliver cash prizes of D15, 000 and D10, 000 respectively to each of the first two babies born at major health facilities across the country.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Ahmadou Samateh described the event of welcoming new babies at the beginning of the New Year as promising. He applauding FaBB for providing support to the families and the hospitals. 

The Health Minister noted the support of the First Lady’s Foundation towards the modernisation taking place at EFST hospital and in the health sector in general.

“They brought in hundreds of beds, tens of equipment, a lot of support including construction materials donated to enable us achieve our goal of modernisation of the hospital. Patients have been supported at various levels; individual donations towards their upkeep in the facility and they have been there for us,” Minister Samateh asserted

Already, the tender for renovation of all health facilities is underway and 2020 is expected to usher in more progress in the sector. 

“There are a lot of equipment that have been procured and we are going to procure a lot more. We have started residency training. We have trained many and we will be training a lot more. Further training for the specialization of nurses are also prioritized so as to achieve our goals of a standard service delivery system in the sector.” The Health Minister revealed.

Meanwhile, statistics from the Bundung Maternal and Children Hospital states that 2019 recorded 4,286 deliveries. 365 (8.5%) were delivered by Cesarean section operations while 98% were delivered as life births. Only one maternal death was registered in 2019 and its resolution for 2020 is no maternal death. 

At the Kanifing Hospital, Senior Midwife, Isatou Cham said “It is definitely a true motivation for us the staff to work for the whole year and expecting your First Lady to come and say thank you to the staff; see fellow women who underwent pregnancy and child birth with handshakes and smiles. We are very appreciative.”

This year, Gamtel/Gamcel, Kar Power and Africell partnered to support the FaBB First Baby Event.  In addition, the medical staff on duty were also donated a token at the said facilities to motivate them for their services.

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Vice Prime Minister Melida Harris Barrow Of The State Of The African Diaspora Harps On Unity, Trade, And Collaboration In Ghana
January 3, 2020 | 0 Comments
Dr. Barrow spoke on the need for unity, collaboration and trade between the Continent of Africa and those living in the Diaspora
Dr. Barrow spoke on the need for unity, collaboration and trade between the Continent of Africa and those living in the Diaspora

Kumasi Ghana December 29, 2019— At the invitation of Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Dr. Barrow gave an iconic keynote speech address at the African Prime Leadership Awards ceremony held at Manhyla Palace. Dr. Barrow has been touring the world on a mission to link Africa with the Diaspora and the Diaspora with Africa.  

Along with Dr. Barrow, several Heads of State, local Chief’s, community leaders, and thousands of community members came out to support The Asantehene at the community Dubar Festival where the Ashanti Culture was on full display. The following evening December 29, 2019, a State Dinner was held to honor The Asantehene as he received The Pillar of Peace Award. 

During her keynote address Dr. Barrow spoke on the need for unity, collaboration and trade between the Continent of Africa and those living in the Diaspora. She spoke on business opportunities and the need to support each other economically so we can progress into the future.  She stated “if we don’t do it, we are going to go another 400 years.”

She issued a call to action to “be strong, know that you have your brothers and sisters…we are waiting for you, don’t have us waiting to long.”

The State of the African diaspora has been formally established. On October 24, 2019.  The government will present its first actions and ongoing projects and launching of Global Parliaments having summits around the world. Summits will be in North America, Europe, South America, The Caribbean, Asia/Oceania and Africa.

The mission of the State of the African Diaspora and the 6th Region Economic Community is to connect Africa with its Diaspora and the Diaspora to Africa, as well as connecting the Diaspora to the Diaspora internationally. Its mission further extends to being a key participant in the African Continental Free Trade Area.

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Vice Prime Minister of the State of the African Diaspora, Dr. Melida Harris Barrow in Ghana
December 28, 2019 | 0 Comments
The Vice Prime Minister of the State of the African Diaspora, Dr. Melida Harris Barrow
The Vice Prime Minister of the State of the African Diaspora, Dr. Melida Harris Barrow

The Vice Prime Minister of the State of the African Diaspora, Dr. Melida Harris Barrow just arrived in Ghana.

Dr. Harris Barrow was chosen to be the Keynote Speaker to celebrate with his Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene, as he receives the “Pillar of Peace” Award on the last Akwasidae Festival of the year, which also closes the chapter on the 20th Anniversary Celebrations of the enstoolment of His Majesty on the Golden Stool, to be held on December 29, 2019, at the Manhyia Palace.

The event will be under the Theme “Acknowledging and Celebrating Legendary and Transformational Leadership On The African Continent and Beyond.”

Osei Tutu II is the 16th Asantehene and has been in power since 26 April 1999. By name, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II is in direct succession to the 17th-century co-founder of the Ashanti Empire, Otumfuo Osei Tutu I. He is also the Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

Information from the State of Africa indicates that with almost 350 million people, the African Diaspora is the THIRD COUNTRY in the world after China and India, but greater than The United States of America (323 million), Indonesia (258 million) and Brazil (205 million). Previously, it was unstructured, and only had potential as an entity.

“This is why the decision has been made to mobilize the energies of the Diaspora to officially launch the State of the African Diaspora: our Goal is to strengthen Africa through the Diaspora, and the Diaspora through Africa,” says the State of Africa in information shared with PAV.

*PAV will be coming up soon with more reporting and interviews on the activities of the State of the African Diaspora

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Uganda, Ghana and Botswana have highest percentage of women business owners in the world, finds Mastercard Index
December 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

Third edition of Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs profiles the progress and achievement of women entrepreneurs across 58 societies around the world

File Picture .2013 VV GROW fellows work on their action plans in Accra, Ghana. credit Vital Voices
File Picture .2013 VV GROW fellows work on their action plans in Accra, Ghana. credit Vital Voices

KAMPALA, Uganda, December 18th, 2019 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The third edition of the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) has listed three African countries as global leaders in terms of women-owned businesses. Uganda, Ghana and Botswana are ranked as the top three countries with the highest percentages of women-owned businesses across the 58 markets evaluated around the world.
Based on publicly available data from international organizations including the International Labour Organization, UNESCO and the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, the global Index tracks the progress and achievements of women entrepreneurs and business owners at three levels: (i) Women’s Advancement Outcomes, (ii) Knowledge Assets & Financial Access, and (iii) Supporting Entrepreneurial Factors.

The results reaffirmed that women are able to make further business inroads and have higher labour force participation rates in open and vibrant markets where the support for SMEs and ease of doing business are high. They are also able to draw from enabling resources, including access to capital, financial services and academic programs.

Although the available support in open markets is a significant indicator of success, the Index also revealed that it is not the only consideration. Despite traditionally featuring less favourable conditions, five of the eight African countries evaluated in this Index made it into the top 10 markets leading in women business ownerships. These “driven-by-necessity” entrepreneurs are determined to succeed despite a lack of financial capital and access to enabling services.

Beatrice Cornacchia, Mastercard’s Head of Marketing and Communications for the Middle East and Africa, said: “Women entrepreneurs continue to have a direct impact on economic growth and the wellbeing of society. In sub-Saharan Africa in particular, women continue to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to supporting their communities through entrepreneurship. But to unlock the full potential of the African continent, we must continue to foster an entrepreneurship ecosystem for women that helps them to overcome barriers – whether cultural, legal, social or traditional.”

Other key African insights:
Women are achieving gender parity with men in terms of entrepreneurial activity in several markets including Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda. Meanwhile, improvements in Angola and Malawi, also helped narrow gender disparity.

Nigeria had the second highest proportion of women in professional/technician roles among the 58 markets surveyed, and an exceptionally high percentage of females as entrepreneurs. Specifically, nearly four in every 10 working age women are engaged in early-stage entrepreneurial activity (40.7% compared to 39% for men). South Africa was one of the top scoring nations when it came to women having equal access to tertiary education, and it also scores higher than its African counterparts with regards to financial inclusion (86%) compared with men. The findings also highlighted women’s abilities to thrive as business owners and pursue opportunities. According to the World Bank, 45% of economies around the globe have laws constraining women’s decision to join and remain in the labour force. In addition to shining a light on the progress of women entrepreneurs on a global and regional scale, Mastercard is committed to designing a better world for women that creates limitless possibilities for us all. In Africa and South East Asia, Mastercard is fuelling women-led businesses with access to micro-credit and new digital marketplaces through platforms like Jaza Duka and the Mastercard Farmer Network. In South Africa, Mastercard has collaborated with Junior Achievement South Africa to run a 20-week entrepreneurial development programme, empowering women between the ages of 18 and 35 to start and run their own businesses. Furthermore, the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth is providing philanthropic support to enable financial literacy training and access to vital tools and services for women entrepreneurs in underserved markets.
Download the full report of the Mastercard Index for Women Entrepreneurs here.

Methodology  The Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs 2019 is the third report profiling the progress and achievement of women entrepreneurs/business owners across 58 societies around the world. With Angola as the newest market added to the Middle East & Africa region, the Index expands its attempt to track the factors that underpin the gender gap among business owners. Representing nearly 80% of the world’s female labour force, it highlights how the 58 markets differ at three levels: (i) Women’s Advancement Outcomes, (ii) Knowledge Assets & Financial Access, and (iii) Supporting Entrepreneurial Factors. The results also shed light on which factors and conditions are the most conducive in helping to narrow the gender gap among female entrepreneurs/business owners, the most inhibitive and disabling, thereby weighing on women’s ability to thrive in business.

  About Mastercard
Mastercard (NYSE: MA),, is a technology company in the global payments industry. Our global payments processing network connects consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone.
*courtesy of AMA
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Rwandan named UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for 2021 Food Systems Summit
December 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Agnes Kalibata

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has appointed Agnes Kalibata of Rwanda as his Special Envoy for the 2021 Food Systems Summit.

In 2021, the Secretary-General will host a Food Systems Summit with the aim of maximizing the co-benefits of a food systems approach across the entire 2030 Agenda and meet the challenges of climate change.

As a key contribution to the Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, the objectives of the Food Systems Summit are to generate momentum, expand the knowledge and share experience and approaches worldwide to help countries and stakeholders unleash the benefits of food systems for all people.

The Summit will also offer a catalytic moment for global public mobilization and actionable commitments to invest in diverse ways to make food systems inclusive, climate adapted and resilient, and support sustainable peace.

The Special Envoy, working with the United Nations system and key partners, will provide leadership, guidance and strategic direction towards the Summit.

According to the UN announcement,  Ms. Kalibata will be responsible for outreach and cooperation with key leaders, including governments, and other strategic stakeholder groups, to galvanize action and leadership for the Summit. She will also support the various global and regional consultative events focused on food system transformation, planned during 2020 and 2021.

Currently  Kalibata is the President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) since 2014. She leads the organization’s efforts with public and private partners to ensure a food secure and prosperous Africa through rapid, inclusive, sustainable agricultural growth, improving the productivity and livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers in Africa.

Prior to joining AGRA, Ms. Kalibata was Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources from 2008 to 2014, where she drove programs that moved her country to food security, helping to lift more than a million Rwandans out of poverty.

She has records of accomplishments as an agricultural scientist, policy maker and thought leader, awarded the Yara Prize, now the Africa Food Prize, in 2012. She was the 2019 recipient of the National Academy of Sciences prestigious Public Welfare Medal for her work to drive Africa’s agricultural transformation through modern sciences and effective policy, thereby improving livelihoods of stallholder farmers.

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