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USA Business Delegates to Stand Firmly on the side of Zimbabwean Women in Dubai
February 6, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Abigail Magwenzi Commander In Chief of Red-Lip-Stick Revolution

Zimbabwe’s financially empowered bevy of women in Business will be backed by USA Business plenipotentiaries and conscripts of economic acumen this year from 21 to 22 February. The Do Dubai Conference will attract more than 200 top business executives, Small to Medium Enterprise women and young women of business fabric society.

This is time for women to rise and shine. Women have risen to greater heights accelerated by the 1995 Beijing Declaration for Action. A number of women are in top leadership positions at Global Level. Women according to UN-WOMEN are 30% in decision making positions like in Parliament looking at Zimbabwe.

Among these, Abigail Magwenzi Commander In Chief of Red-Lip-Stick Revolution delineated that time for women to shine. She noted that the glamorous event will be graced by delegates from USA these, she adds will add a link of social interaction with Zimbabwe business women.

 ‘’Our main objective is to program a mind-set that is business wise in identifying new greater opportunities in the midst of our challenges. In other words we have to look at issues lagging and blocking our business. Obviously we have to talk about solar energy.

‘’We have to build bridges between Zimbabwe and Dubai. Besides, we look at other countries like USA that we are inviting .We haves a number of business delegate from some other countries. We have delegates from the USA and those from Asia, Africa and Zimbabwe which is expected out of the total number of delegates likely to score high. It’s time to show and display market intelligence, network, share experiences and identify financial solutions for Business’’.

  ‘’USA and some Asian countries will have a number of the top business delegates of high

  Fabric and financial muscle. There are goals like poverty eradication which we want to score in terms of goals on empowerment and equality.

‘’It’s time for Zimbabwean women to shine in the Global market looking at making women become entrepreneurs and different leaders. Dubai is targeted because of its Global central point in terms of business. It is a hive of various business activities attracting 1 billion tourists World-Wide.

Dr Magwenzi one of Zimbabwe’s first millionaires believes in hard-working to become a millionaire. She notes millionaires work hard to become what they are. She has a belief as well that if women are empowered they can become Leaders. However she adds that there should be an equal society.

‘’Women to be empowered they need to brought up in an equal society. As Red Lip Stick Revolution we create an equal society they empower all women so that they become business leaders of top skills. My organisation trains, capacitates and imparts skills in women from grass roots. In-fact we want to grow a community of rich women.

‘’That is the reason why we have engaged USA so that our women can socially interact to become leaders in the country. There are also Asian business gurus from China and Dubai we will come although there is a challenge of corona- virus. Dubai despite anything is safe destination of sundry activities ranging from business to Tourism.’’, says Abigail.

Vandudzai Zireva of BUY ZIMBABWE buttressed Abigail‘s points by announcing that Zimbabwe will run a Supermarket in Dubai so that Dubai can experience Zimbabwe’s products.

‘’Zimbabwe shall have a supermarket in Dubai. We have to do this so that Dubai can experiences the sound of our products. Secondly, this is for social interaction, business experience and growing opportunities in terms of Investments’’ , she announced.

The 2020 Dubai Women Conference is expected to make women grow in business by opening up new channels for economic development and growth. Experts, have noted, Zimbabwe’s economic index in terms of Gross Domestic Product will rise through promoting and supporting women through financial and resource empowerment.

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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala named the next Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School
February 4, 2020 | 0 Comments
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

CAMBRIDGE, MA—Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former finance minister of Nigeria and former managing director of the World Bank, has been named the next Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School. The announcement was made today by Harvard Kennedy School Dean Douglas Elmendorf. Okonjo-Iweala begins her fellowship this month.

“Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will bring to the Kennedy School a wealth of practical experience and insights into the development challenges and achievements in Africa and across the developing world,” Elmendorf said. “As the longest-serving finance minister in Nigeria and a leader at the World Bank for more than two decades, she engineered successful new approaches to fostering sustained and inclusive growth in developing countries. She will enrich our campus conversation on the public policy choices needed for effective governance that serves societies.”

In October 2019, Okonjo-Iweala delivered the Robert S. McNamara Lecture on War and Peacein the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at the Kennedy School. “I am honored to be able to return to the Kennedy School as the Angelopoulos Fellow, and to work with students and faculty who are wrestling every day with the world’s most complex development problems,” she said.

Okonjo-Iweala was the longest-serving finance minister in her native Nigeria and the first woman to hold that position. She was also the first female foreign minister. Okonjo-Iweala drove systemic financial reforms and strengthened fiscal transparency to fight corruption, tripling the country’s growth rate. She also negotiated a $30 billion reduction in Nigeria’s external debt. In her 25-year career at the World Bank, she rose to the No. 2 position of managing director of operations and oversaw the development portfolio for South Asia, Africa, Europe, and Central Asia.

A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University (1976), Okonjo-Iweala earned her doctorate from MIT and has been awarded 15 honorary degrees. She was recognized as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world by Forbes magazine for four years in a row, and by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2019. Currently, Okonjo-Iweala is chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which has immunized 760 million children in the developing world against infectious diseases. She is also co-chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.

The Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Program was established with support from Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, president of the Athens 2004 Olympics, former ambassador of Greece, lawyer, and recently appointed committee chair of “Greece 2021.” The program provides opportunities for high-profile public leaders who are transitioning from office or other leadership roles to spend time in residence at Harvard Kennedy School reflecting, teaching, learning, and conducting research. During her time at the Kennedy School, Okonjo-Iweala will meet with students and scholars as well as lecture, write, and participate in public discussions and forums.

Okonjo-Iweala becomes the fifth Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow since the program’s inception in 2011. Previous fellows are Juan Manuel Santos, former president of Colombia; Ban Ki-moon, former secretary-general of the United Nations; Tarja Halonen, former president of Finland; and Felipe Calderon, former president of Mexico.

*Source Harvard Kennedy School

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Yale Leadership Forum Amplifies Influence of Next Generation of African Women Leaders
January 31, 2020 | 0 Comments

NEW HAVEN, USA, January 31, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Yale University, in partnership with Fundación Mujeres por África and Banco Santander, convened the Women’s Leadership Forum in Lagos, Nigeria, on January 17. The Lagos forum was the third of the partnership’s events held in Africa since the program began in 2015. It brought together women leaders from across the continent to foster relationships between one generation of African women and the next, and to serve as a catalyst for open dialogue. It was the culminating event of a three-day visit to Lagos by Yale President Peter Salovey.

As a flagship program of the Yale Africa Initiative, the forum is part of a broader leadership development program for senior African women government officials. Additional components of the leadership program have included participation by women from African countries in events hosted on Yale’s campus. Previous forums held in Africa were convened in Accra in 2018, and Addis Ababa in 2019.

In Lagos, opening addresses were delivered by Peter Salovey, the 23rd President of Yale University, and Maria Teresa Fernandez De La Vega, president of the Spanish Council of State and president of Fundación Mujeres por África (Women for Africa Foundation).

In his remarks, President Salovey said, “Building a network of senior African women leaders is essential to promoting sound governance and economic opportunity across the continent and around the globe for generations to come. This program has not only enhanced the knowledge and skills of current women trailblazers but has also bolstered the pipeline for emerging leaders. They are advancing the prospects of their nations, their continent, and our world.”

During the forum, two panel discussions took place, one exploring personal journeys to leadership roles, and the other focused on women defining and creating the leadership they need to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Advocating for gender equality, during her opening address, Ms. Fernandez De La Vega said, “The road to equality is the road to the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The session on the “Role of Women in Achieving SDGs” was moderated by Emma Sky, director of Yale’s Maurice R. Greenberg World Fellows Program and a senior fellow of the Yale Jackson Institute. In her remarks introducing the panel discussion, Ms. Sky emphasized the need to create spaces for women in leadership.

“Women are the hope of Africa. And it is women who are key to ensuring that Africa develops to its potential and to enabling human flourishing. This leadership forum convenes a group of highly accomplished women leaders from across Africa, who are making a difference, who serve as role models for other women, and who are committed to mentoring a new generation of women leaders to participate in addressing the challenges facing the continent,” she said.

During the discussion, which included the voices of strong African women leaders with a track record of significant contribution towards achievement of the SDGs, panelists and participants focused on the importance of empowering women in rural and capital areas, and the need to ensure that no woman is left behind.

Both panels featured program alumni: Obiageli Ezekwesili, former Minister of Solid Minerals and Education (Nigeria); Ramatoulaye Diallo, Minister of Culture (Mali); Adejoke O-Adefulire; Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs (Nigeria); Remi Sonaiya, independent researcher and consultant and professor at Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria); and Nana Oye Lithur, human rights lawyer and former Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection (Ghana).

The “Journey to Leadership” discussion, which featured personal testimonials from the panelists, was moderated by Olabosipo Sawyerr-Bassey, a graduate of the Yale School of Management (Class of 2007) from Nigeria, and Stephanie Busari, the bureau head of CNN Nigeria. A common thread from the stories shared pointed to the importance of African women in shaping the destinies of their countries.

The forum concluded with remarks from Ms. Obiageli Ezekwesili, Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow, presidential candidate of Nigeria’s 2019 election, and former vice president for the World Bank’s Africa Region. She urged participants to make conscious efforts towards connecting SDGs to everyday life so that people in communities can take ownership and demand accountability from the government on their efforts towards achieving these goals and improving their futures.

ABOUT YALE UNIVERSITY
Since its founding in 1701, Yale has been dedicated to expanding and sharing knowledge, inspiring innovation, and preserving cultural and scientific information for future generations.

Yale’s reach is both local and international. From its New Haven, Connecticut campus the University engages with people and institutions across the globe to deliver on its commitment to provide transformative educational opportunities for students and foster innovative discoveries that improve the world today and for future generations.
You can find Yale on social media via: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

*Source African Media Agency

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Cameroon: Enterprises are the umbilical cord of every country — Edison Ngeh tells participants at Nkafu Debate
January 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Debaters, participants, Foretia team pose after the conclusion of the 4th Nkafu Debate in Yaounde, Cameroon
Debaters, participants, Foretia team pose after the conclusion of the 4th Nkafu Debate in Yaounde, Cameroon

The fourth edition of the Nkafu debate has been organized with debaters arguing for and against the motion, “Will more taxes increase fiscal revenues in Cameroon? The debate organized by the Nkafu Policy Institute of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation in partnership with Atlas Network at Mansel Hotel in Yaounde represent a platform par excellence for non-politicized debates, based on evidence, facts, and statistics.

The objective of these debate is to give Cameroonian and African high-level experts the opportunity to objectively address a set of issues related to our country’s economic development.

The debate panel constituted two experts arguing for the proposition and two against the proposition in a 90 minutes session. They defended their point of view based on facts, statistics, and experience. The debate focused on the best way for governments in Africa to increase fiscal revenues with a focus on Cameroon.

“Enterprises are the umbilical cord of every country. I encourage the government to review tax policies, consider a significant reduction in taxes, easy access to documentation, and tax centers, and a change in mentality of tax collectors”, Edison Ngeh, Tax consultant and Entrepreneur at EDOAN Consulting said in his arguments against.

Edison Ngeh says the government should review tax policies, consider a significant reduction in taxes, and a change in mentality of tax collectors
Edison Ngeh says the government should review tax policies, consider a significant reduction in taxes, and a change in mentality of tax collectors

“The present situation of Cameroon keeps the country where there is a tax burden on tax payers already and if taxes are increased then more businesses will collapse.”

He added that in as much as taxes can bring revenue to the government, more taxes can actually kill businesses. He noted, “When you look at what the money is being used for, you find out that it is being embezzled, there is corruption, bad governance, and all of these will create unemployment and then poverty and low standard of living. What should be done is fight corruption, embezzlement rather than increase taxes.”

To Ndikombui Nigel, Auditor and Senior Tax expert at Goodwill Consulting arguing against increasing taxes, He said Tax payers should be educated on how taxes can conveniently not be a burden. “Also, increasing taxes will not raise government revenue, but rather discourage entrepreneurs from operating formally,” He said.

We need real tax education, and entrepreneurs need to understand that taxes are a citizen obligation. Also, taxes should be directed to their purpose and the state should not only depend on these taxes to raise revenue,” Marylyse Noussi, Jurist and Policy Analyst said in her arguments for.

“Taxes are a product, and we must sell the product to the contributors,” Alain Florentin Zouga, Associate Policy Researcher at the CPARC noted. “We are currently facing a lot of problems, and we need to develop our country. For that reason the state need to money, so they can finance the development of the country.”

“The state should increase taxes, but at the same time know that the environment should be safe so that contributors (entrepreneurs) can pay taxes. These taxes should not strangle the start-ups but should serve as a tool for development.”

Egoh Modi Aziz, Development Policy Analyst at the foundation said state agency should ensure transparency, accountability as per the taxes that they collect. “There should be sensitization — ensure that so many startups are sensitized, and they should also put in place the aspect of exoneration. They should make sure that the number of years is increased from two to three years so that new startups can be encouraged to grow their business, so they can take it from the informal to the formal sector,” He said.

Agathe Djomeghu, Directo of Programmes said the purpose of the Nkafu debate is a platform for non-politicized debates but based on facts, evidence and statistics
Agathe Djomeghu, Directo of Programmes said the purpose of the Nkafu debate is a platform for non-politicized debates but based on facts, evidence and statistics

In Cameroon, taxation remains the first obstacle to the development of entrepreneurial activities (General Census of Enterprises, 2016). Indeed, high taxes prevent entrepreneurs to fully establish and flourish their activities. In addition, each year the government of Cameroon creates “new taxes.” For example, in 2019 Budget, a flat rate of 200 F CFA per application was created for software and application that is downloaded online via phone or tablet. Moreover, the 2020 Budget bills projects to increase taxes on cosmetics and artificial hair just to name but a few.

The above situation has led to the development, and the predominance of the informal sector in Cameroon. The majority of businesses prefer to remain informal (i.e. approximately 89% of small enterprises) to avoid being charged high taxes. Consequently, the government cannot fully collect the projected amounts.

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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 bwendy2012@gmail.com

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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.

* FOR QUESTIONS & INQUIRIES:omosholaaa@gmail.com

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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.

CONNECT WITH JOJO:TWITTER/INSTAGRAM: @jojoamiegbe, email: hello@jojoamiegbe.com

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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), www.mastercard.com, 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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At Pre-Launch Of African Diaspora Development Institute In Maryland-USA, Ambassador Arikana Receives Award For Promoting Pan-Africanism
December 15, 2019 | 1 Comments
Ambassador Arikana receives award for promoting Pan-Africanism (photo: Amos Fofung for Pan African Visions)
Ambassador Arikana receives award for promoting Pan-Africanism (photo: Amos Fofung for Pan African Visions)

Ambassador Arikana Chihombori-Quao former African Union Ambassador to the United States of America has been honored with an award for her firm stand on promoting the Pan-African spirit and driving socio-economic development to the African continent.

She received recognition from Prince Adekoye, Chief Executive Officer of Africa400years.org, a New Jersey-based organization that commemorates and celebrates Africa and Africans in remembrance of 400 years of slavery.  

Ambassador Arikana served as the AU ambassador to the US from 2017 right up to October 2019 when she got terminated purportedly due to her strong stance on France occupation hold over its former African colonies, which she shared publicly.

Speaking as she receives the recognition which she dedicated to Pan-African legends before her, the medical doctor and activist reputed for her grasp of public speaking, thanked the African diaspora who turned out for the pre-launch of the African Diaspora Development Institute, ADDI, a body which she added will henceforth be the go-to place for development initiatives in Africa.

Addressing attendees at the soft launch of ADDI a brainchild of hers, the renowned public speaker and educationist cum entrepreneur urged the diaspora to come together and invest in building #TheAfricaWeWant or sit back and watch foreigners do so while ripping millions off their continent.

And to build this Africa, she said it was important they do so via the ADDI, an umbrella African diaspora organization where all Africans in the diaspora ought to convene to build #TheAfricaWeWant by driving healthcare, education and socio-economic development to the continent.

Registered and based in the United States, the institute African office will be situated in South Africa and will also include the putting in place of an African diaspora center of excellence and a Pan-African fund to raise money and invest in the African continent.

“I will not rest unless all Africans raise up to drive our development – the continental agenda of Africa must be driven by children of the continent,” she said categorically as she enjoined all to turn out in February 2020 for the official launching of the continental institute.

Ambassador Arikana dedicated the award to Pan-African legends (photo: Amos Fofung for Pan African Visions)
Ambassador Arikana dedicated the award to Pan-African legends (photo: Amos Fofung for Pan African Visions)

Prior to her appointment, Ambassador Arikana Chihombori-Quao was a renowned family medicine doctor in Murfreesboro, Tennessee where she has been practicing medicine for the last 25 years. Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao is known internationally for her diligent efforts to improve healthcare systems, particularly in countries in Africa, and to promote women’s rights around the globe.

Addressing attendees at the pre-launch (photo: Amos Fofung for Pan African Visions)
Addressing attendees at the pre-launch (photo: Amos Fofung for Pan African Visions)

Nearly 20 years ago, at a conference organized by then-Africa Resources, Presidents Nelson Mandela and Robert Mugabe presented the noted philanthropist with an Achievement Award. This was her first major distinction.

Since 2012, she was the Chair of the African Union-African Diaspora Health Initiative (AU-ADHI) where she was involved in mobilizing the African Diaspora health professionals to assist in addressing the healthcare crisis on the continent of Africa.

In 2015 at the 25th AU Summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa, Dr. Chihombori-Quao was one of the fifteen women who received the “Women of Excellence Award” alongside President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Mrs. Joyce Banda, former President of Malawi, and Mrs. Winnie Mandela, the former first lady of South Africa, as well as several other prominent and remarkable African women.

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17 Year-Old Kenyan Star Immigrant enjoys high praise in the United States
December 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Mohammed M. Mupenda

Miss.Bridget Mwaniki speaking to the immigrants at Cortex building in Saint Louis City, U.S
Miss.Bridget Mwaniki speaking to the immigrants at Cortex building in Saint Louis City, U.S.Photo Mohammed M.Mupenda

Miss. Bridget Mwaniki, A 17 year-old Kenyan immigrant recently energized a heavily attended event of African immigrants, Asians and Americans, telling them to cope with the United States way of life which is anchored on hard work to make use of available opportunities.

The young lady, whose story of life went viral at only the age of three due to her gift in poetry, made the remarks during “Building Momentum Networking Event” at Cortex Community Center Building in St. Louis City on Thursday.

The event aims at building momentum for a better future by providing an opportunity to meet new people, hearing from community and different immigrants share their successes, failures, and lessons learned, according to Geoffrey Soyiantet, the President and Executive Director of Vitendo4Africa that hosted the event.

 “When a child gets a full ride to an American college, it deserves a feast in the entire village. When a professional gets a promotion at his workplace that requires them to move here, it is a big achievement,” said Mwaniki underpinning that it is not a surprise for “America is the land of opportunities”.

“When a country is adorned with ammunition, when the war is endless, where there seems to be no hope, America becomes the best bet. When a family is searching for greener pastures and a brighter future for their children, they pack up their bags and gather the little money they have, eager to begin a new life,” She added.

Opportunistic though U.S is, Mwaniki underscored that there are many other challenges for immigrants. She, however, said persistence will always be the key and that the benefits greatly outweigh the disadvantages.

 “Being an immigrant means that you have to work twice as hard for you to be able to stand out and excel, because often, America is all you got. For a student like me, it means striving for all for me to be able to compete with the rest of my peers who were born and grew here,” she said. 

“Most immigrant graduates do not find jobs in their careers, forcing them to either go back to college and change their career or if lucky, start their own businesses. Then there’s the language barrier,” she stressed.

Mwaniki immigrated to the US in February 2019 and is high school senior at Pattonville High School in Maryland Heights. Due to her incomparable talent in poetry and deeds, she has met several public figures including two presidents, Kagame of Rwanda and Kenyatta of Kenya. 

At the age of three, Bridget kicked-off using her gift of poetry to raise awareness against child labor. She has received several awards for condemning violence that erupted after 2008 Kenya’s elections and her endeavors to fight for women rights. She reached National Level for 10 consecutive years in the Kenya Music Festivals.

Mwaniki currently volunteers at the Magic House as a museum assistant. She is also a volunteer Swahili teacher and African folk song teacher at Vitendo 4 Africa.

*Mohammed M. Mupenda is a news correspondent and freelance reporter, who has written for publications in the United States and abroad. He is also a French and East African language interpreter.

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Despite significant increase in birth registration, about half of Gambian children remain ‘invisible’- UNICEF
December 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

UNICEF Gambia Resident Representative, Sara Beysolow Nyanti
UNICEF Gambia Resident Representative, Sara Beysolow Nyanti

Proportion of registered births increased almost five per cent over past decade, yet tens of thousands of children under-five have never been officially recorded

The number of children whose births are officially registered has increased slightly in The Gambia, but tens of thousands of children remain unregistered. The trend mirrors the global reality where 166 million children under-five, or 1 in 4, remain unregistered, according to a new report released by UNICEF today on its own 73rd birthday.

Birth Registration for Every Child by 2030: Are we on track? – which analyses data from 174 countries – shows that the proportion of children under-five registered globally is up around 20 per cent from 10 years ago – increasing from 63 per cent to 75 per cent.

In The Gambia, data from The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2018 shows a slow increase of 5.8% in the number of births registered from 2010 – 2018 (from 52.5% in 2010 to 57.9% in 2018). While the figures look bad, 78 out of every hundred mothers and caregivers (78.9%) know how to registrar their children.

“We have registered huge gains but too many children in The Gambia are still without birth certificates,” said UNICEF The Gambia Country Representative, Sandra Lattouf. “Too many children remain uncounted and are therefore virtually nonexistent in the eyes of the law.”

With support from UNICEF, the Ministry of Health is now scaling up registration by decentralizing and integrating birth registration into immunization and the delivery of key social services such as cash transfers programmes.

The birth registration unit under the Gambia Ministry of Health has also started digitalization of birth registration. The Birth, Death and Marriage Act is being reviewed to give opportunity for integration into the single registry and other services like immunization.

Like other child rights, there is also a gender disparity in birth registration in The Gambia. Boys are more registered than girls – 59.5% and 56.2% respectively. Barriers to registration in The Gambia include the inflexibility of the birth registration process, low awareness about the importance of birth registration, and distance to the nearest registration facility.

“In some birth registration centers, thousands of birth certificates remain accumulated without their owners claiming them” said Ms. Lattouf. “Parents and caregivers must build interest in the registration of their children and ensure that their children are issued a birth certificate.”

UNICEF recognizes challenges related to birth registration in The Gambia and has made birth registration a priority in the UNICEF The Gambia country programme 2017 – 2021. UNICEF is also supporting the government of The Gambia to ensure that children under 5 years are registered and issued certificates on time.

“Birth registration is not a privilege; it is a human right that every child is entitled to,” said Sandra Lattouf. “We must safeguard the legal identity of children and providing them birth certificates is the first and most important step toward ensuring that every child has legal recognition.”

In Birth Registration for Every Child by 2030, UNICEF calls for five actions to protect all children:

• Provide every child with a certificate upon birth.
• Empower all parents, including single parents, regardless of gender, to register their children at birth and for free during the first year of life.
• Link birth registration to basic services, particularly health, social protection and education, as an entry point for registration.
• Invest in safe and innovative technological solutions to allow every child to be registered, including in hard-to-reach areas.
• Engage communities to demand birth registration for every child.

“It is the business of every person in The Gambia to ensure every child is registered”.

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Rasha Kelej, the CEO of Merck Foundation makes it to the list of 100 Most Influential Africans 2019, for empowering many women through Merck More Than a Mother Movement
December 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

Rasha Kelej has been recognized for her efforts to empower women in general and infertile women in particular through the “Merck More Than a Mother” campaign

NAIROBI, Kenya, December 10, 2019/ — Merck Foundation CEO, Rasha Kelej, featured in the list of 100 Most Influential Africans, released by New African Magazine, for poignant “Merck More Than a Mother” Movement; The campaign has been empowering childless women across Africa and Asia.

Merck Foundation CEO, Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother has been featured in the list of 100 Most Influential African 2019, released by New African Magazine .

Rasha Kelej has been recognized for her efforts to empower women in general and infertile women in particular through the “Merck More Than a Mother” campaign, which is a historic movement that aims to empower childless and infertile women through access to information, education and change of mind-sets.

Rasha Kelej, who hails from Egypt, commenting on her inclusion, emphasized, “I am thrilled and honored to receive this recognition and to be included in this prestigious list among such an eminent group of people. As an African and an Egyptian woman, I strongly feel the need to empower girls and women, to be able to help them reach their true potential. Through our Merck Mother Than a Mother Campaign, we have always strived to bring a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility on all levels: By improving awareness, training local experts in the fields of fertility care and media, building advocacy in cooperation with African First Ladies and women leaders and by supporting childless women in starting their own small businesses, in addition to empowering girls in Education and women in STEM fields. It’s all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child.”

She added, “this recognition will motivate me to do more. It is my turn now to empower other women in my beautiful continent, I promise to use my influence and experience to support women and girls as much as I can.”

H.E. PROF. GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of Malawi and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother said, “Congratulations to Dr Rasha for this recognition, she deserves it. We will continue to support our people. Africa needs women like her who are able to mentor others”.

Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of Health of Uganda said, “I would like to congratulate our adored Sister and distinguished global leader, Dr. Rasha Kelej upon this well-deserved achievement. She has beyond description worked hard to get on this list; serving Africa and the African People with honor, dignity, diligence and distinction. You make us ALL PROUD, Dr. Rasha”.

The list includes 100 personalities from various African countries, and from various fields like political, economic, social and sports. It includes many other prominent personalities of Africa like,
H. E. NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFO-ADDO, The President of Ghana was re-appointed as the Co-Chair of Sustainable Development Goals Advocate Group by UN Secretary General;
H.E. Paul Kagame, The President of Rwanda for his sheer dynamism and the impact his decisions have on other countries;
Mohamed ‘Mo’ Salah, Football Player from Egypt, for showcasing extra ordinary talent in the game. He has so many followers that he no longer belongs to Liverpool or for that matter, Egypt – he belongs to the world;
Alaa Salah, an activist from Sudan who is called ‘Lady Liberty’, one of the iconic symbols of Sudan Uprising;
Siya Kolisi, Captain of South African Rugby team came from a desperately poor beginning, his parents could not afford basic school fees, let alone his rugby kit. Fast forward 2019….he is the World Cup Champions Captain;
Eliud Kipchoge, from Kenya who has been crowned as Male Athlete of The Year by World Athletics;
Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General, United Nations is one of the most respected female figures in the world today for her determination to advance poverty eradication, gender equality and inclusive development in a peaceful world.
Thando Hopa, born with Albinism, this activist, model and professional lawyer from South Africa became a powerful voice and advocate for diversity and inclusion in the beauty and fashion industry, among others.

About ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign;
“Merck More Than a Mother” is a strong movement that aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and change of mind-sets. This powerful campaign supports governments in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe and effective fertility care. It defines interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention, management and male infertility. In partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information, Education & Gender, academia, policymakers, International fertility societies, media and art, the initiative also provides training for fertility specialists and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.

With “Merck More than a mother”, we have initiated a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility on all levels: By improving awareness, training local experts in the fields of fertility care and media, building advocacy in cooperation with African First Ladies and women leaders and by supporting childless women in starting their own small businesses. It’s all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child. 

The Ambassadors of “Merck More Than a Mother” are:

H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of BotswanaH.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The GambiaH.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique
H.E DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The First Lady of BurundiH.E. CONDÉ DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea ConakryH.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia
H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African RepublicH.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of LiberiaH.E AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADO, The First Lady of Niger
H.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, The First Lady of ChadH.E. PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of MalawiH.E FATIMA MAADA, The First Lady of Sierra Leone
H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo BrazzavilleH.E. DR. MAESAIAH THABANE, The First Lady of LesothoH.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGW, The First Lady of Zimbabwe
H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of GhanaH.E. KEÏTA AMINATA MAIGA, The First Lady of MaliH.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia

Merck Foundation provided for more than 140 candidates, three months to six months clinical and practical training for fertility specialists and embryologists in more than 35 countries across Africa and Asia such as: Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, CAR, Cote D’IVOIRE, DRC, Congo Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malaysia, Liberia, Mali, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Niger, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, The Gambia, Togo, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia & Zimbabwe.

Merck Foundation is making history in many African countries where they never had fertility specialists or specialized fertility clinics before ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ intervention, to train the first fertility specialists such as; in Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, Niger, Chad, Guinea, Ethiopia and Uganda. 

Merck Foundation launched new innovative initiatives to sensitize local communities about infertility prevention, male infertility with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and empowering infertile women as part of Merck more than a Mother COMMUNITY AWARENESS CAPAIGN, such as;

  • Merck More than a Mother media recognition award and health media training 
  • Merck More than a Mother fashion award 
  • Merck More than a Mother film award 
  • Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it
  • Children storybook, localized for each country
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UNESCO report shows fewer than 5% of people in many countries benefit from adult learning opportunities
December 5, 2019 | 0 Comments
Adult education in Rwanda.Photo credit The New Times Rwanda

Paris, 04 December – In almost one-third of countries, fewer than five per cent of adults aged 15 and above participate in education and learning programmes, according to UNESCO’s fourth Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE 4). Adults with disabilities, older adults, refugees and migrants, minority groups and other disadvantaged segments of society are particularly under-represented in adult education programmes and find themselves deprived of crucial access to lifelong learning opportunities.

Published by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, the report monitors the extent to which UNESCO Member States put their international commitments regarding adult learning and education into practice and reflects data submitted by 159 countries. It calls for a major change in the approach to adult learning and education (ALE) backed by adequate investment to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to access and benefit from adult learning and education and that its full contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is realized.

“We urge governments and the international community to join our efforts and take action to ensure that no one – no matter who they are, where they live or what challenges they face – is left behind where the universal right to education is concerned,” says UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, endorsing the report’s recommendations. “By ensuring that donor countries respect their aid obligations to developing countries, we can make adult learning and education a key lever in empowering and enabling adults, as learners, workers, parents, and active citizens.”

The publication stresses the need to increase national investment in ALE, reduce participation costs, raise awareness of benefits, and improve data collection and monitoring, particularly for disadvantaged groups.

Progress in participation in adult learning and education is insufficient

Despite low participation overall, many more than half of responding countries (57% of 152) reported an increase in the overall participation rate in adult learning and education between 2015 and 2018. Low-income countries reported the largest increase in ALE participation (73%), trailed by lower middle income and upper middle income countries (61% and 62%).

Most increases in adult learning and education participation were in sub-Saharan Africa (72% of respondents), followed by the Arab region (67%), Latin America and the Caribbean (60%) and Asia and the Pacific (49%). North America and Western Europe reported fewest increases (38%) though starting from higher levels.

The data shows persistent and deep inequalities in participation and that key target groups such as adults with disabilities, older adults, minority groups as well as adults living in conflict-affected countries are not being reached.

Women’s participation must improve further

While the global report shows that women’s participation in ALE has increased in 59 per cent of the reporting countries since 2015, in some parts of the world, girls and women still do not have sufficient access to education, notably to vocational training, leaving them with few skills and poor chances of finding employment and contributing to the societies they live in, which also represents an economic loss for their countries.

Quality is improving but not fast enough

Quality ALE can also provide invaluable support to sustainable development and GRALE 4 shows that three-quarters of countries reported progress in the quality of education since 2015. Qualitative progress is observed in curricula, assessment, teaching methods and employment conditions of adult educators. However, progress in citizenship education, which is essential in promoting and protecting freedom, equality, democracy, human rights, tolerance and solidarity, remained negligible. No more than 3% of countries reported qualitative progress in this area.

Increase in funding for adult learning and education needed

GRALE 4 shows that over the last ten years, spending on adult learning and education has not reached sufficient levels, not only in low-income countries but also in lower middle income and high-income countries. Nearly 20% of Member States reported spending less than 0.5 per cent of their education budgets on ALE and a further 14% reported spending less than 1 per cent. This information demonstrates that many countries have failed to implement the intended increase in ALE financing proposed in GRALE 3 and that ALE remains underfunded. Moreover, under-investment hits socially disadvantaged adults the hardest. Lack of funding also hampers the implementation of new policies and efficient governance practices.

Download of the UNESCO Global Report on Adult Learning and Education:

About the UNESCO Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE)

The UNESCO Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE) monitors whether UNESCO Member States are putting their international commitments on adult learning and education into practice. These commitments are set out in the Belém Framework for Action (2009), the outcome document of the 6th International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI, Belém, Brazil), and the Recommendation on Adult Learning and Education (2015). In addition to this monitoring function, each issue of GRALE examines a particular topic, the 2019 edition focusses on participation. GRALE is published every three years. The Report combines survey data, policy analysis and case studies to provide policy-makers and practitioners with recommendations and examples of good practice. It presents evidence on how adult learning and education helps countries address current challenges and contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Sierra Leone : Human rights lawyer urges disable friendly University
December 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

Rashid Dumbuya

Renowned Human Rights Lawyer and Expert Rashid Dumbuya Esq. has urged the Universities in Sierra Leone to create a disabled friendly environment for Persons living With Disability in the country.

Lawyer Dumbuya , who is the Executive Director of Christian Legal Centre popularly known as LEGAL LINK made the above statement yesterday at the Africell-American Corner during the celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disability in Sierra Leone in collaboration with the National Disabled Women’s Forum.

“We are building  colleges , we do not think about disables . The same toilet that even poses challenge for able bodied persons is the same the disabled used which is even much more challenging  for them. We are building universities and we do not think about ramps; places where disables can just move their wheel chairs ,’’he said , adding that even the classrooms are not sensitive to  Persons with Disability.

He added that there is no brailing system, including recording and special needs for classrooms  in the universities across the country, except for  the University of Makeni which carters for the disables.

 “We are calling on the University of Sierra Leone, Milton Margai college, College of Medicine , Njala University , Eastern Polytechnic to emulate the University of Makeni that has created special needs for disables, Lawyer Rashid said.

Lawyer Rashid  went further to appeal to all universities across the country to ensure that Persons living with disabilities have equitable access in educational facilities.

“So today we are asking the question how accessible our  universities or tertiary institutions in Sierra Leone for disabled persons pursuing courses in those  colleges.  Only one University in Sierra Leone has a department  for special disable needs that is UNIMAK . So, I’m calling on all universities and tertiary institutions in this country to emulate UNIMAK . Have a special needs department that will make education accessible for persons with disabilities in the country . That’s the call of the UN ,’’ the Legal Link boss urged.

The LEGAL LINK  boss said the law is very clear that disables should be entitle to barrier free environment, adding that Sierra Leone is a signatory to the International Convention on the Rights of Person’s with Disability which put the country under obligation to honour it.

“That’s the reason why disables are not employed in the country because the buildings aren’t disabled friendly  how much more bringing you on board. The challenges are many. I will not be able to name them all here , we know of shelter,  transportation ,  and water . All these things are affecting you. It is not just enough to get the laws, we should implement them,” he said.

Nenneh Kargbo Interim Secretary General, National Disabled Women’s Forum (NADWOF), stated that disables are been challenged in all facets of the society.

“Come to think about government building ,  neither the new ones nor the old that are accessible for women with disability . If you go to the hospital , the hospital that are government owned which disabled should access free medical care, but they are discriminated,’’ she said, adding that it is a real challenged for them and even with banks and other public buildings.

She said the theme for this year’s celebration is ‘accessible’, but that to what extent they were having access to facilities across the country, ranging from transportation to schools among others, thus noting that even the 2011 Disability Act discriminates them as disabled women.

“How many of us have gone far in terms of access to education?  what have we acquired in terms of skills generally . so many of us are in the streets begging . Women with disability have soared in number  in the streets more than their counterparts . It is a challenge . How are prepared are we for the future,’’ she  said,

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2019 Global Gender Summit marks concrete gains and actionable goals to surge ahead on gender equality
November 29, 2019 | 0 Comments

Highlights of the Summit include the launch of:

  • AFAWA risk-sharing facility to de-risk lending to women
  • 50 Million African Women Speak, a Pan-African networking platform
  • Joint UNECA-African Development bank Gender index

“We’ve known it from the beginning that equality and women’s empowerment is the true way for sustainable development,” Rwanda’s Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Solina Nyirahabimana told reporters at a 2019 Global Gender Summit press conference on Tuesday.

“During this past 25 years, we have been concentrating on gender equality, starting by creating a conducive environment, uprooting, revising, and abolishing discriminative laws. We’ve worked tirelessly to have women included in the financial sector,” Nyirahabimana said.

“When you don’t understand women, you can’t serve them.”

More than 1,200 delegates are in Kigali, Rwanda for the 2019 Global Gender Summit including distinguished guests such as the President of Rwanda Paul Kagame; the President of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde; the African Union Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, and the First Ladies of Rwanda and Kenya. Also in attending are representatives of the heads of state of Gabon, Mali, Senegal, Chad, and the King of Morocco and gender ministers from Niger, Somalia, Senegal, South Sudan, Tunisia, and Libya.

African Development Bank Group Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Dr. Jennifer Blanke, told journalists that much of Summit conversation centered around growing awareness that women need to be part of the development solution.  “Women are a force to be unleashed and supported to ensure that they can really do their part in development in Africa. Women are already such a hugely important part of the development process,” she said.

Key highlights from the 2019 Global Gender Summit include the:

  • Launch of the risk-sharing facility for the Bank-led Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa, or AFAWA, programme – to support the program’s three-pronged approach, which seeks to quickly close the gender gap by facilitating access to finance, providing technical assistance and creating an enabling business environment for women-led businesses to thrive.
  •  50 Million African Women Speak – a new Pan-African networking platform and web and mobile-based application to directly connect 50 million African women entrepreneurs. The platform links women to financial institutions and provides networking opportunities across Africa.
  • The joint United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)-African Development Bank Africa Gender Index – a report that assesses African countries on gender equality.
  • Fashionomics Africa Digital Marketplace and mobile app – the first ever digital B2B and B2C pan-African networking platform, dedicated to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises operating in the African textile, apparel and accessories industries.

Also speaking at the press conference marking the close of the Summit’s multilateral development bank segment, the Chairperson of the Multilateral Development Banks’ Gender working group Chairperson, Sonomi Tanaka, said summit discussions were productive and some African countries are carrying out good practices. However, Tanaka noted the critical importance of data in development policies working toward gender equality. “Again and again, this is something that is coming up. This lack of data comes up across any topic…and data is one area we need to continue to focus on,” she said.

Elaborating on the data challenge, Blanke said, “There is a dearth of data on these issues. The bottom line is if we don’t measure it, you don’t do it. If you don’t measure, it means you don’t care about it – and we care about it.”

This Tuesday press conference was the latest in a series of Global Gender Summit activities that will see delegates attend Summit partner-organized workshops, trainings and technical sessions on Wednesday. The Global Gender Summit is organized by The African Development Bank, with other multilateral development bank partners. The biennial event brings together leaders from government, development institutions, the private sector, civil society, and academia.

Under the theme “Unpacking constraints to gender equality,” the Summit’s conversations and dialogue focuses on scaling up innovative financing, enabling legal, regulatory, and institutional environments; and securing women’s participation and voices.

Commenting on the Summit outcome Blanke noted: “The Summit has been all about doing. Doing more and doing it fast.”

*AFDB

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Global Gender Summit 2019: “Put prejudice behind us and give women access to finance,” says Akinwumi Adesina
November 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina has called for greater access to finance for African women when he addressed the inaugural session of the Global Gender Summit.

“When women borrow, they always repay. And 90% of them repay their loans without the least problem. So, where is the risk? The problem is prejudice and the banks’ lack of flexibility. We must leave this behind to allow women access to financing,” President Adesina urged.

The session headed “Unlocking women’s access to finance in Africa” had a panel of high-level speakers, including Salimata Diop Dieng, the Senegalese Minister of Women, Family and Gender; Andrew Temu, President of the African Guarantee Fund; Kennedy Uzoka, President and CEO of United Bank of Africa (UBA); Joséphine Anan-Ankomah, CEO of Ecobank Group; and Christine Ngiriye, an entrepreneur.

Salimata Diop Deng said, “It is important that financial institutions support initiatives from women. They have the market gardens and produce to process. They create start-ups in innovative areas. But they lack resources and collateral, and the procedures for accessing loans are complicated. These women have relatively moderate finance needs, just enough to create projects and jobs. They need support from the private sector and the banks to help them weave their way into the economy.”

Andrew Temu advocated “holding discussions with countries to improve the business environment. What is especially needed is legislation that reassures the banks. There are a number of actors, banks, investors, entrepreneurs and clients operating within the economic market. Everyone needs to be in communication to address the risks.”

For Anan-Ankomah, ECOBANK is already making big strides to gender parity. The pan-African bank has signed up to the African Union gender parity principle of 50/50. “Currently we are at 46% and out of that, 30% of those women are in senior management positions,” she said.

Ngiriye said that she had seen little change in nearly 30 years: “The problem that comes up again and again is that of collateral.”

According to Adesina the financial sector had a responsibility to the women of Africa. And he made an announcement: “From now on, we shall be grading every African financial institution for how well it helps women. Every financial ecosystem must evolve to support women. And we are going to put pressure on the guarantee banks.”

The African Development Bank and the government of Rwanda are hosting the Global Gender Summit from 25 to 27 November in Kigali. The Summit is being organised by the Multilateral Development Banks’ (MDBs) Working Group on gender for the first time in Africa.

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Global Gender Summit 2019: African leaders take on the responsibility to urgently close the gender gap
November 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

‘There is no template to follow…we (women) can deliver but we can deliver differently” – President Sahle-Work Zewde, President of Ethiopia

‘We are making sure that narrowing this gender gap is everyone’s responsibility,’ President Paul Kagame of Rwanda

“This discrimination is political, economic and social; it is politically incorrect, unjustifiable socially.’ – Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat

‘ A smarter world must invest in women and girls. Let’s be smart and let’s be wise. Women are the best investment any society can make,’ Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, African Development Bank Group

The 2019 Global Gender Summit, the first to be held on the continent, kicked off on Monday with a strong call to surge ahead on gender issues and move from commitment to action.

Africa’s only female President, Sahle-Work Zewde  of Ethiopia, said Ethiopia’s parliament is one of the only two on the continent with over 50% gender parity in seats, and women currently hold key ministerial roles in defense and national security for the first time. Despite her own country’s huge advances, however, the work has just started, she said.

Zewde was speaking during the opening plenary of the Global Gender Summit, a biennial event organized by the multilateral development banks (MDBs), bringing together leaders from government, development institutions, private sector, civil society, and academia.

The Summit is taking place in Kigali Rwanda from 25th to November 27th.

“There is good momentum for women and African women, but the work has just started…‘There is no template to follow…we (women) can deliver, but we can deliver differently,” President Zewde said.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, who officially opened the Summit, described gender equality as “real commonsense.”  Rwanda leads the word in gender representation in parliament with 61% of its parliamentarians being women — the highest in the world. In addition, half of all ministerial positions are held by women, just like in Ethiopia.

“We got it from the beginning that there is a lot of work to do…made investments to ensure that women are at the center of development. We are making sure that narrowing this gender gap is everyone’s responsibility,’ President Kagame said.

Echoing their sentiments, Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat said the African Union’s Agenda 2063 was deliberate about gender parity.

“What we are telling our heads of states is to take the bull by the horns…This discrimination is political, economic, and social; it is politically incorrect, unjustifiable socially…not to take (gender) into account is a real waste.”

In Africa, 70% of women are excluded financially. The continent has a $42 billion financing gap between men and women. And women, who are the majority of farmers, face a financing gap of close to $16 billion.

“The challenges are not just about gender. They are about under-representation and lack of empowerment of women,” African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said.

“A smarter world must invest in women and girls. Let’s be smart, and let’s be wise. Women are the best investment any society can make,’ he added.

The African Development Bank is doing its part to transform the financing landscape for women with the launch of the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA). AFAWA aims to mobilize $3 billion of new lending by banks and financial institutions for women in Africa. G7 leaders approved a package totaling $251 million in support of AFAWA during the summit in August.

Welcoming the conference participants, Rwanda’s Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Soline Nyirahabimana, said the Kigali Conference center was set to glow orange in honor of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. The 16 days kick off on November 25th, each year, which marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and runs until December 10th.

The 2019 Global Gender Summit is attended by the first ladies of Rwanda and Kenya as well as representatives of the heads of state of Gabon, Mali, Senegal, Chad and the King of Morocco. Also in attendance are ministers of genders from Niger, Somalia, Senegal, South Sudan, Tunisia, and Libya.

The Summit runs from 25th to 27th of November under the theme: ‘Unpacking constraints to gender equality.’

‘The African Development Bank believes in women. Women are bankable,” Adesina said.

*AFDB

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First ladies panel seeks urgent policies to translate Africa’s demographic dividend into viable potential
November 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

– “What a man can do, a woman can do just as well,” Jeannette Kagame, First Lady of Rwanda

“History will judge us if we don’t work together to take action now,” Chief Executive Officer of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu

“Investments in gender equality are critical to realizing demographic dividend, but we need to ensure that women have the tools to overcome the barriers they face,” First Lady of Rwanda, Jeannette Kagame told participants at a panel at the Global Gender Summit in Kigali on Monday.

The panel, made up of First Ladies Kagame, Margaret Kenyatta, ministers and development experts, observed that too many women and girls still face barriers to basic rights, particularly access to labour market opportunities.

Rwanda’s First Lady recalled the role women played following the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, where a number of families were wiped out, with women in many cases being the ones catering for families.

“What a man can do, a woman can do just as well,” she added.

She described the Summit as an important platform to highlight issues of women equality.

Rwanda has implemented gender several inclusive programs, which has enhanced economic equality in a country where women political participation has grown to 61% percent.

First Lady Kenyatta called for the removal of institutional barriers to accelerate women’s economic empowerment, “It has become urgent for Africa to translate its demographic dividend into viable potential.”

“This is the spirit of Africa’s vision to accelerate its path to sustainable socio-economic development. Our collective commitment to ‘leave no one behind’ is a new chapter in our struggle towards achieving gender equality.”

The panel heard that impediments to gender equality include lack of access to credit, low representation in decision making positions, lack of control over productive land and lack of financial control to make spending decisions on education and health.

Minister of Solidarity, Social Development, Equality and Family Jamila El Moussali of Morocco,

shared experiences from Morocco where policies have been introduced to increase women’s political and economic participation.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, called on stakeholders to come together to leverage each other’s strengths “translate women dreams into reality. History will judge us if we don’t work together to take action now.”

The African Development Bank and the government of Rwanda are hosting the Global Gender Summit from 25 to 27 November in Kigali. The Summit is being organised by the Multilateral Development Banks’ (MDBs) Working Group on gender for the first time in Africa.

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Gender equality: It’s time for disruption, time to shatter the status quo, we can’t afford to wait!
November 25, 2019 | 0 Comments
Vanessa Moungar, Director of Gender, Women and Civil Society
Vanessa Moungar, Director of Gender, Women and Civil Society

Women make up over 40% of African business owners yet only 2% are able to access finance according to a Mckinsey report
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, November 22, 2019/ — By Vanessa Moungar, Director of Gender, Women and Civil Society

If you are a gender champion, then you are familiar with the discussions around the glass cliff.  The story of women eager to defy the odds, accepting leadership roles at times of crisis, when the chance of failure is the highest. The truth is that many bold glass cliff climbers have succeeded without falling off.

Two of such champions come to my mind: the former Xerox CEO Anne Mulcah and Tokunboh Ishmael, co-founder of Aliethiea IDF.

Mulcah, Ishmael and likeminded agents of change have already shattered the status quo. So, when the first Global Gender Summit held in Africa kicks off on November 25th in Kigali, Rwanda, the international community will hurtle towards heeding the calls to dismantle barriers to women’s full participation and advancement economic development on the continent.

Women make up over 40% of African business owners yet only 2% are able to access finance according to a Mckinsey report. One in four women globally who start in a business come from Africa (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor).

The Summit, organised by the Multilateral Development Banks’ (MDBs) Working Group on gender, will be held in Africa for the first time ever, from the 25th to 27th November 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda. This year’s summit is hosted by the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) in partnership with the Government of Rwanda and supported by other multilateral development banks as key partners.

Under the theme “Unpacking constraints to gender equality,” the Global Gender Summit will share best practices and seek innovative solutions that can be harnessed to empower women and girls in Africa and around the world.

We are excited to be bringing the world to Rwanda, a country that has set a strong example when it comes to promoting women’s rights and representation.

Rwanda was the first country in the world with a female majority in parliament, currently at 67.5 %, following October parliamentary polls. Out of a total parliamentary membership of 80, women occupy 54 seats. This feat puts the nation ahead of even the most developed nations.

From the massive financing gap for women-led enterprises, inadequate data, laws and cultural norms that negatively affect women, to a lack of representation in business and politics, the challenges are great.

But the opportunities are there too.

Discussions will focus on the main barriers to achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment, namely: scaling up innovative financing, fostering an enabling environment and ensuring women’s participation and voices. Sectors to be addressed will include climate change, the digital revolution, private sector and human capital and productive employment.

In Africa, women-led enterprises face a whopping $42 billion financing gap. One of the Bank’s flagship gender-focused projects is its Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA), which seeks to accelerate growth and employment creation across African economies, by closing the financing gap for women.

Over the next 5 years, AFAWA is expected to unlock $3 billion in private sector financing to empower female entrepreneurs through capacity-building development, access to finance as well as policy, legal and regulatory reforms to support enterprises led by women.

Our Fashionomics Africa initiative supports the African textiles and fashion industries by building the capacities of small and medium-sized enterprises in the textile and clothing sector, especially those run by women and youth. By using technology as a driver for the development of skills and capacity in Africa’s creative industries, the African Development Bank aims to stimulate job creation on the continent. At the summit, we will unveil an innovative online marketplace for designers across the continent.

That’s just some of the exciting news. We will use the opportunity of the Global Gender Summit to launch a number of initiatives to dramatically transform the landscape of access to finance for women across the continent.

These include the Africa Gender Index- a joint African Development Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) report that assesses African countries on gender equality.


The launch of the AFAWA/AGF Risk Sharing Facility, which will de-risk lending to women through AGF’s partial, guarantees to financial institutions and its capacity development to women entrepreneurs.

As well as these continent-wide initiatives, we at the African Development Bank understand that change begins at home. That is why in 2018, the Bank rolled out its gender marker system to process, monitor, and promote gender mainstreaming in all its operations, with gender specialists as part of project teams and Bank operations.

By the end of last year, 40% of public sector Bank operations had been organised under the gender marker system, a major shift in the Bank’s way of doing business and commitment to gender mainstreaming.

We continue to support and build the individual power of girls and women across the countries we work in and never has the time been more urgent.

We expect the Global Gender Summit, to be a milestone event in the empowerment of women in Africa and beyond.  See you there.
* This year’s Global Gender Summit, is hosted by the African Development Bank in partnership with the Government of Rwanda and supported by other multilateral development banks as key partners.

*AFDB
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Global Gender Summit 2019: African leaders take on the responsibility to urgently close the gender gap
November 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

‘There is no template to follow…we (women) can deliver but we can deliver differently” – President Sahle-Work Zewde, President of Ethiopia

‘We are making sure that narrowing this gender gap is everyone’s responsibility,’ President Paul Kagame of Rwanda

“This discrimination is political, economic and social; it is politically incorrect, unjustifiable socially.’ – Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat

‘ A smarter world must invest in women and girls. Let’s be smart and let’s be wise. Women are the best investment any society can make,’ Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, African Development Bank Group

The 2019 Global Gender Summit, the first to be held on the continent, kicked off on Monday with a strong call to surge ahead on gender issues and move from commitment to action.

Africa’s only female President, Sahle-Work Zewde  of Ethiopia, said Ethiopia’s parliament is one of the only two on the continent with over 50% gender parity in seats, and women currently hold key ministerial roles in defense and national security for the first time. Despite her own country’s huge advances, however, the work has just started, she said.

Zewde was speaking during the opening plenary of the Global Gender Summit, a biennial event organized by the multilateral development banks (MDBs), bringing together leaders from government, development institutions, private sector, civil society, and academia.

The Summit is taking place in Kigali Rwanda from 25th to November 27th.

“There is good momentum for women and African women, but the work has just started…‘There is no template to follow…we (women) can deliver, but we can deliver differently,” President Zewde said.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, who officially opened the Summit, described gender equality as “real commonsense.”  Rwanda leads the word in gender representation in parliament with 61% of its parliamentarians being women — the highest in the world. In addition, half of all ministerial positions are held by women, just like in Ethiopia.

“We got it from the beginning that there is a lot of work to do…made investments to ensure that women are at the center of development. We are making sure that narrowing this gender gap is everyone’s responsibility,’ President Kagame said.

Echoing their sentiments, Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat said the African Union’s Agenda 2063 was deliberate about gender parity.

“What we are telling our heads of states is to take the bull by the horns…This discrimination is political, economic, and social; it is politically incorrect, unjustifiable socially…not to take (gender) into account is a real waste.”

In Africa, 70% of women are excluded financially. The continent has a $42 billion financing gap between men and women. And women, who are the majority of farmers, face a financing gap of close to $16 billion.

“The challenges are not just about gender. They are about under-representation and lack of empowerment of women,” African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said.

“A smarter world must invest in women and girls. Let’s be smart, and let’s be wise. Women are the best investment any society can make,’ he added.

The African Development Bank is doing its part to transform the financing landscape for women with the launch of the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA). AFAWA aims to mobilize $3 billion of new lending by banks and financial institutions for women in Africa. G7 leaders approved a package totaling $251 million in support of AFAWA during the summit in August.

Welcoming the conference participants, Rwanda’s Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Soline Nyirahabimana, said the Kigali Conference center was set to glow orange in honor of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. The 16 days kick off on November 25th, each year, which marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and runs until December 10th.

The 2019 Global Gender Summit is attended by the first ladies of Rwanda and Kenya as well as representatives of the heads of state of Gabon, Mali, Senegal, Chad and the King of Morocco. Also in attendance are ministers of genders from Niger, Somalia, Senegal, South Sudan, Tunisia, and Libya.

The Summit runs from 25th to 27th of November under the theme: ‘Unpacking constraints to gender equality.’

‘The African Development Bank believes in women. Women are bankable,” Adesina said.

*AFDB

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Legislative/Municipal Elections in Cameroon: Women Target 30% Representation in Parliament & Councils
November 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

-Female candidates for the 2020 Legislative and Municipal Elections have said they want a 30% representation at the helm of city councils

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

As the elections slated for 9 February 2020 draw closer, the Non-governmental organization “More Women in Politics” is showing these female candidates how to achieve this goal. During the workshop that’s aimed at equipping women to present competitive candidacies, Dr. Justine Diffo Tchunkam, National Coordinator of More Women in politics says women’s political ambitions must be driven by the 50-50 parity in gender equality in Cameroon by 2030. According to statistics from the NGO, only 27 women are represented at the helm of the county’s 360 councils. To reduce this margin, women say they want more lead roles.

2020 Legislative and Municipal Elections: What women want

Female involvement in the socioeconomic development of a country is increasingly becoming a crucial demand. Women want to be involved in decision-making, management, and governance of the country. Most of them think they can do so by bringing a feminine touch to governance.

One of these women are Manga Salome, a CPDM party candidate from the Nyong and Mfoumou Division. “The woman is the mother of humanity. She is more sensitive to Sociocultural problems than men. Councils need to guarantee the wellbeing of the population, but we have noticed some lapses. That is why, I want to add a maternal touch to the Sociocultural development of our country.”

Etoa Martine, a CPDM candidate and Sub Section President of the Ekie constituency is among the women who want to speed up development. “We want more development. If more women are mayors, MPs and Municipal counselors, life will be better. Women are naturally endowed by God to be better leaders, and we can make the difference.”

But the National Coordinator of More Women in Politics, Dr. Justine Diffo, Tchunkam says the 30% target for female Municipal Counselors in 2020, is only a first step to attain the 50-50 parity in gender equality in Cameroon by 2030.

,The women also say they expect that the national action plan which provides between 25-30% representations of female Candidates on electoral lists will be respected.

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South African women demand Death penalty for rape
November 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Women in South Africa have petitioned the presidency over their dead penalty request. (photo: CNN)
Women in South Africa have petitioned the presidency over their dead penalty request. (photo: CNN)

A petition spearheaded by women in South African which demands the introduction of death penalty for rape perpetuators and other offenses against women is gaining momentum and has garnered more than 600,000 signatures.

This follows the conviction in August this year of Luyanda Botha, who raped and murdered 19-year-old student Uyinene Mrwetyana when she went to pick up a parcel at the Cape Town post office where he worked.

He was handed three life sentences but women in South Africa say its not enough. They are requesting that for taking one’s life, Luyanda Botha and others like him should pay with their lives.

The petition tabled to the office of the president seeks to punish perpetuators so as to deter violence and Crimes against women in South Africa which they say is “an uncontrollable, vicious cycle where women and children are sexually assaulted and murdered with little to no justice for the ones that are left behind to pick up the pieces.” 

The petition which seeks to hit one million signatories so as to advance their demand insist its time to joined forces “to bring back the death sentence for crimes against women and children in the Hopes of saving this great country” 

South Africa rates of femicide –intentional killing of women and girls — is one of the highest globally when compared with other countries where data is available, according to Professor Rachel Jewkes, director of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls global program.

“We have three women killed every day by a husband or a boyfriend in South Africa, and this is much higher than in many countries. It’s much higher than it is in Europe or Australia,” she said.

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