Zimbabwe: Parliament Beams Spotlight on Covid induced Gender Based Violence
November 25, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Nevson Mpofu Munhumutapa
Zimbabwe Parliamentary -Portfolio Committee on Gender has launched 16 days of gender- based violence, opening up can of worms in line with covid-19 and gender -based violence. Prevalence rate of GBV [Gender Based Violence] is high owing attention to other factors besides covid-19, Experts in Gender-Based-Violence speak out.
There are other line-affecting factors lying side-by side close to women and children especially those disabled, exposed to gender-based violence and stricken in poverty leading to vulnerability. The 2020 16 days is run under the theme , ‘’Orange the World —- Fund ,Respond , Prevent and Collect’’ ….
Giving a thrilling presentation in Harare at a virtual platform UNFPA [United Nations Fund for Population Agency] Country Representative Esther Muia points out that women and children remain exposed to effects of gender-based violence in families and communities.
‘’Women and children remain burdened especially during this time of covid-19. Women are close to children; children are close to mothers because they get basic support from matriarchal parent. During covid-19, gender-based violence increased, exposing women and children further deep into poverty and vulnerability’’ .
‘’Women remain un-economically empowered during this time resources are scarce and out of reach. Women do domestic work of which they stand responsibility of food security especially in rural communities where they are 60% in Agriculture’’.
African countries must stand firm and resilient against a number of challenges artificially and naturally. Many of them become extremely impacted by several factors’ likely disasters, floods, hunger and drought caused by climate shocks above all.
‘’There are standing, blocking issues and core hindering factors which have reversed gains of women in communities. This is because of covid-19. Therefore, we need to see to it that they have support of men staying out of gender- based violence.’’
‘’In Africa the other side of the challenge story is a result of climate disasters, floods, drought and hunger that has affected many families exposing women and children mainly to hunger vulnerability. Those in large number are from rural marginalized communities ‘’.
Speaking in perfect tones in line with peace, Lorraine Makawa a Parliamentarian notes that peace brings women in collective action, working together and social justice to address peace. She elaborates that peace in the African region is a weapon addressed by solving gender in-equality. This realizes the outcome of human development in the light of women empowerment.
Interviewed at a Regional view point she notes that peace is the only weapon that has given freedom, liberal rights and emancipation of women in countries like Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, Angola which faced civil wars. She continued to state that war-torn African countries looked first at peace and conflict resolution, addressed equality then looked at women empowerment with children sorely at the center.
‘’Peace has freed women in war torn countries in the African continent like in Rwanda. Where there is no peace, gender- based violence increases. Like in the time we are we are affected. We have come up with one stop centers to accommodate survivors.
‘’We are implementing this in spot-light districts where gender-based- violence has been rife. We bring all services under one roof, police services, legal services and resources, tools, food and basic amenities to address this challenge.
‘’Women must engage in economic activities so that they must take care of children in terms of food provision. Empowerment there-fore is vital , crucial and important especially in covid-19 era . Action is the way out of such challenges. We note there are gaps. Our interventions are from funding partners. There has been Humanitarian crisis, thus the challenge among bigger challenges.’’ She says.
In the years back gender-based-violence in Africa has been fueled by patriarchy, male domination, culture, tradition and African customs among other causes. The mentioned factors are no-longer standing negatively impactive in the post-modern society of educated young people who no-longer have the aura of gender-based -violence perpetration. This escalating scenario bearing remorse on the shoulders of women and the Zimbabwean Government, makes it lose on Sustainable Development Goal number 5 [Five] on Gender-Equality.
Afreximbank signs Establishment Agreement for the Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA), alongside Headquarters Agreement with Rwanda
November 25, 2020 | 0 Comments
Cairo, 24 November 2020: – African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the Republic of Rwanda, on 22 November 2020, in Cairo, signed key documents related to the establishment of the Fund for Export-Development in Africa (FEDA), a development-oriented subsidiary of Afreximbank.
The Establishment Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding were signed by His Excellency Alfred Kalisa, Ambassador of the Republic of Rwanda in Egypt, and Afreximbank’s President, Professor Benedict Oramah in the presence of His Excellency Mahamadou Labarang, Dean of the African Ambassadors in Cairo and FEDA Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Philip Kamau. The Establishment Agreement creates FEDA while the Headquarters Agreement provides that the Republic of Rwanda will host the headquarters office.
FEDA has been established by Afreximbank to facilitate foreign direct investment flows into Africa’s trade and export sectors and to fill the equity funding gap that amounts to $110 billion per annum in exports related sectors.
His Excellency Alfred Kalisa, Ambassador of the Republic of Rwanda in Cairo, said:
“The Government of Rwanda is happy to have signed these key agreements with Afreximbank. Rwanda is glad to host FEDA as we work together to achieve the dreams of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACfTA) on the continent. We will work together to ensure that FEDA is successful in driving and achieving its mandate.’’
FEDA aims to provide equity financing to companies operating in key industries and sectors to significantly increase the likelihood of success in delivering on Afreximbank’s development priorities and meeting the Bank’s strategic goals under the main pillars of the intra-African Trade Strategy and the Industrialisation and Export Development Strategy.
Professor Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said:
“FEDA is a new vehicle created to deal with the perennial problem of capital constraints to private sector development and industrialisation in Africa. Afreximbank has already committed over 350 million US dollars to the Fund, including commitments for operation of a Credit Fund, investments in the Bank’s strategic initiatives and those to be deployed under limited partnership frameworks.
I would like to thank H.E. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda and his Government for embracing the strategic essence of this institution to both Rwanda and Africa. To have agreed to host FEDA without any equivocation is a clear and bold statement of visionary leadership and recognition of the economic value of Pan-African institutions.”
FEDA is tasked to provide capital to companies in the financial services, technology consumer and retail goods, tourism, manufacturing, transport, logistics and warehousing, trade enabling infrastructure e.g. industrial parks, agribusiness and education sectors in Afreximbank’s member states. FEDA will invest across all market segments but with greater focus on SMEs which has substantial funding shortages and represent about 90% of businesses in Africa. It will also invest in mature companies and start-up businesses where there is a gap in the marketplace and where investments have a high level of value additionality and development impact in Africa.
About Afreximbank: The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution with the mandate of financing and promoting intra-and extra-African trade. Afreximbank was established in October 1993 and owned by African governments, the African Development Bank and other African multilateral financial institutions as well as African and non-African public and private investors. The Bank was established under two constitutive documents, an Agreement signed by member states, which confers on the Bank the status of an international organization, and a Charter signed by all Shareholders, which governs its corporate structure and operations. Afreximbank deploys innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that are supporting the transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, accelerating industrialization and intra-regional trade, thereby sustaining economic expansion in Africa. At the end of 2019, the Bank’s total assets and guarantees stood at USD$15.5 billion and its shareholders funds amounted to US$2.8 billion. Voted “African Bank of the Year” in 2019, the Bank disbursed more than US$38 billion between 2016 and 2020. Afreximbank has ratings assigned by GCR (international scale) (A-), Moody’s (Baa1) and Fitch (BBB-). The Bank is headquartered in Cairo, Egypt.
Largest clinical trial in Africa to treat mild COVID-19 cases
November 25, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Jorge Joaquim
13 African countries and an international network of research institutions have joined forces to launch the largest COVID-19 clinical trial in mild-to-moderate outpatients in Africa. The ANTICOV clinical trial aims to respond to the urgent need to identify treatments that can be used to treat mild and moderate cases of COVID-19 early and prevent spikes in hospitalization that could overwhelm fragile and already overburdened health systems in Africa.
The clinical trial will be carried out at 19 sites in 13 countries by the ANTICOV consortium, which includes 26 prominent African and global research and development (R&D) organizations, coordinated by the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), an international non-profit drug research and development (R&D) group with extensive partnerships in Africa.
“There is a need for large clinical trials in Africa for COVID-19 to answer research questions that are specific to an African context,” said Dr John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. “African countries have mounted an impressive response so far to COVID-19 and now is the time to prepare for future waves of the disease”.
ANTICOV is an open-label, randomised, comparative, ‘adaptive platform trial’ that will test the safety and efficacy of treatments in 2,000 to 3,000 mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patients in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Sudan, and Uganda. ANTICOV aims to identify early treatments that can prevent progression of COVID-19 to severe disease and potentially limit transmission.
“Africa has for the most part avoided the large-scale mortality seen in other countries, but with lockdowns ending and borders opening, we need to be prepared” said Dr Borna Nyaoke-Anoke, Senior Clinical Project Manager at DNDi, which is also the sponsor for clinical trials in the DRC, Kenya, and Sudan. “We need research here in Africa that will inform policies and test-and-treat strategies, so that as clinicians we can give the best options to people with COVID-19.”
Initially, ANTICOV will focus on drugs where large-scale randomized clinical trials could provide missing efficacy data in mild-to-moderate patients. The trial will begin testing, against a control arm, the HIV antiretroviral combination lopinavir/ritonavir and the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which remains the standard of care for COVID-19 today in numerous African countries.
Nuggets Convert Contract of Bol Bol
November 25, 2020 | 0 Comments
Bol, 7-2, 220, was selected with the 44th overall pick by the Miami Heat in the 2019 NBA draft and was acquired by the Nuggets in a draft night trade.
The Denver Nuggets have converted the two-way contract of Bol Bol to a standard multi-year NBA contract, President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced today.
Bol Bol, who will remain a rookie for the 2020-21 season as he did not appear in an NBA game prior to the hiatus on March 11th, appeared in seven games for the Nuggets during the seeding games in the Orlando Bubble and averaged 5.7 points and 2.7 rebounds per game while shooting .500 from the field and .444 from beyond the arc.
The 21-year-old impressed in the Nuggets three scrimmage games prior to the Seeding Games in Orlando, posting averages of 13.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in 29.3 minutes per game. He also appeared in eight games for the Windy City Bulls of the G League in 2019-20, averaging 12.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 19.3 minutes.
Bol, 7-2, 220, was selected with the 44th overall pick by the Miami Heat in the 2019 NBA draft and was acquired by the Nuggets in a draft night trade. He appeared in nine games as a freshman for Oregon in 2018-19, averaging 21.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in 29.8 minutes before a season-ending foot injury. Bol reached double figure scoring in every game and tallied four double-doubles.
The 19-year-old native of Khartoum, Sudan, is the son of former NBA great Manute Bol who played 10 seasons for the Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat.
*SOURCE Denver Nuggets
Africans “know and understand what development ought to look like,” says President Uhuru Kenyatta
November 25, 2020 | 0 Comments
Kenyatta noted that on a continent of around 1.3 billion Africans with a median age of around 20 years, there is a very tangible underlying sense of urgency when it comes to expectations of government.
President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta urged African governments to put their citizens at the centre of delivering service during Africa Delivery Exchange 2020, a virtual event that opened Tuesday.
In remarks to open the two-day workshop, Kenyatta noted that on a continent of around 1.3 billion Africans with a median age of around 20 years, there is a very tangible underlying sense of urgency when it comes to expectations of government.
“Our people know and understand what development ought to look like and what benefits it should bring to their social-economic wellbeing. Therefore, any failure to quickly address the missing middle within the development paradigm could create a deficiency of trust between the electorate and those in positions of leadership,” Kenyatta said.
The event was jointly hosted by Kenya President’s Delivery Unit, the African Development Bank and the Tony Blair Institute (TBI) for Global Change.
Kenyatta recognized the Bank and the TBI’s support in advancing Kenya’s development, thanking African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina and Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who joined him on a panel.
“Without the lessons from TBI, we would have had to reinvent the wheel, but instead, we started with a tried and tested model, and we have improved on it to reflect our unique circumstances here in Kenya.”
In his remarks, Blair observed that leadership demands have changed and that governments are expected to do far more than they ever were traditionally. “They’ve got to deliver services for their people; they’ve got to put in place the right environment for their economy, they’ve got to deal with all sorts of huge crises, of which COVID-19 is just the latest example. All of these require extraordinary focus, clarity and decisionmaking.”
To meet these delivery expectations, governments must focus on prioritization, policy, personnel and performance management. “Performance management is the most critical one. What’s difficult is that each of these systems you’re trying to change will have interests that often will obstruct. They’ll need areas that need you to go across the whole of government, to get something done in one area of government, they’ll have complicated politics around them.”
Adesina commended Kenyatta for focusing on ordinary citizens and praised the Kenyan government’s ‘Big Four’ agenda, which prioritizes food security, affordable housing, manufacturing, and affordable healthcare for all, and noting a fifth area in which the country had made great strides. “Mr. President, you’re doing exceptional work on energy. You’re connecting your people all over the country in an amazing way with last mile delivery. If you add in energy, you’d actually have a big five.”
The Bank president set out some delivery lessons: A clear vision; publish delivery expectations to create accountability; establish a culture of accountability; rigorous results measurement; ensure sustainability.
“The Bank is currently developing a new Africa public service delivery index, that will help to rate African countries including sub nationals on the delivery of public services,” he added.
The COVID-19 pandemic formed a backdrop to the event.
This is not the first pandemic we’ve faced, Adesina said, but it must never happen again that the continent is caught unprepared. “Africa has underinvested massively on healthcare. We need to change and give Africa a quality health care defense system to make sure we have excellent primary health care.”
“One question is, how do you keep the sense of urgency that you had when dealing with the disease and carry that same sense of urgency and focus into building back better afterward?”
The African Development Bank has formed strategic partnerships with Government Delivery Units in Kenya, Morocco, Tunisia, and is working toward approval of a fourth in Senegal. In January 2019, the Bank led the launch of the African Delivery Units Network to provide a platform for sharing knowledge, experience and expertise among African governments’ delivery units.
The two-day event includes technical sessions and presentations by specialists, including representatives of national and city government, multilateral development institutions and other development partners.
Why Ghana needs a new financial sector regulation architecture
November 25, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Woelinam Dogbe*
There is ample evidence that the existing financial sector regulation architecture in Ghana is not fit-for-purpose.
Ghana’s financial sector is in crisis. A crisis occasioned by the collapse of over 300 financial institutions; and which has affected every division of the financial sector. Universal banks, savings and loans companies, microfinance companies, capital market institutions, and insurance companies have been impacted.
While majority of the collapsed institutions were licensed and regulated, a few were unlicensed and ought not to have been in operation. The fact that the unlicensed institutions were allowed a free rein to operate until their eventual collapse, speaks volumes about the existing regulatory regime and the safety of financial consumers.
Experts have identified the causes of the crisis to be: weak regulatory supervision, unethical behaviour by managers of the financial institutions, and poor corporate governance practices. In the specific case of the unlicensed institutions, their illegal activities flourished because of dereliction of duty on the part of regulators.
The devastation caused by the crisis has been severe and widespread. Apart from financial losses, consumer confidence in the financial sector has been significantly weakened. Some consumers have lost their lives as a result of the trauma of having their life savings locked up in collapsed institutions.
Unquestionably, there is the need for a regulatory regime that is fit-for-purpose. One that prioritizes the need to ensure the safety of institutions as well as prioritize the need to protect consumers. Thus, the necessity of regulatory reform is imperative.
Presently, the regulators of Ghana’s financial sector (i.e. Bank of Ghana – BOG, Securities and Exchanges Commission – SEC, National Insurance Commission – NIC and National Pensions Regulatory Authority – NPRA) have through their actions and inactions demonstrated that they prioritize Prudential Regulation (“ensuring financial institutions remain strong”) to the neglect of Conduct Regulation (“ensuring the safety and fair treatment of consumers”).
This lopsided approach to financial sector regulation has resulted in consumers suffering unfair treatment and exploitation at the hands of financial service providers. Examples of the mistreatment of consumers include: unfair pricing practices, unconscionable loan terms, misrepresentation of risks associated with products, mis-selling, product pushing, poor handling of customer complaints, etc.
The reform of financial sector regulation in Ghana must institutionalize conduct regulation and afford it the importance it deserves. This will require strong commitment from government to sponsor the needed legislation. This is the surest way to ensure the financial sector is safe and works well for all.
State of financial consumer protection in Ghana
Financial consumers in Ghana continue to suffer at the hands of financial institutions because of manifestly weak market conduct regulation. The present crisis has further exposed the deep-seated disregard and lack of commitment to financial consumer protection in Ghana.
A careful review of the regulatory interventions and policy prescriptions that have been implemented or mooted following the crisis have centered on “saving the institutions” with very little focus on “protecting consumers”.
While it is important to protect the institutions; because the safety of the institutions has implications for the safety of consumers’ deposits and investments, it is equally important to proactively protect consumers and ensure they are treated fairly and are not exploited.
Financial consumers are vulnerable and need to be protected from elements within the financial sector who would want to take advantage of this vulnerability to cheat consumers to rake in abnormal profits.
There is a widespread practice within Ghana’s financial services industry where providers; particularly banks and SDIs, arbitrarily increase fees on products and services that consumers have already signed on to. For example, it has become an annual ritual for banks and SDIs to upwardly review fees such as account maintenance fees, card maintenance fees, transaction fees etc. The only obligation the central bank has placed on the banks and SDIs is for them to give customers at least a 30-day notice period before implementing the fee reviews.
The point is often made by financial institutions that, if consumers are unhappy with the fees being charged, they are at liberty to switch to another provider. This argument is at best, disingenuous and laced with mischief because, as things stand today, it is very difficult for consumers to switch banks or SDIs. For example; banks and SDIs mirror each other’s pricing; thus, when one bank or SDI introduces a new fee or increases an existing fee, the others follow. Therefore, if a consumer decides to switch, he or she will only be “jumping from frying pan to fire”.
Sadly, the regulators who ought to ensure consumers are treated fairly are themselves the guilty party. For example; the National Insurance Commission (NIC) recently implemented new pricing dynamics for motor insurance. The stated objective was to sanitize pricing practices and mitigate systemic risks resulting from price undercutting. Unfortunately for consumers, the consequence was a steep increase in premiums.
The steep premium increases priced out millions of consumers from comprehensive motor insurance cover. Consumers were made worse off and were exposed to severe loss as a result of being priced out. It took massive public uproar and resistance from insurance companies for the NIC to roll back some of the elements that caused the price hike.
It is important to note that, unfair pricing is only a minutia of the mistreatment consumers receive. Others include issues such as financial institutions pushing high risk products to vulnerable consumers. Product pushing and mis-selling exist but there’s no record of regulators punishing, naming and shaming institutions that have engaged in such bad behaviour.
Best practices in financial consumer protection in Africa
There are pockets of great examples of proactive financial consumer protection across Africa. Some regulators on the continent are living up to expectation and doing what is required to ensure consumers are protected and treated fairly.
One of the shining lights is the Bank of Zambia (BoZ). The BoZ in September 2018 issued a notice titled “Bank of Zambia notice to the public on the prohibition of unwarranted charges and fees directives of 2018”. In the said notice, the BoZ detailed a list of twenty-six (26) charges and fees that it had prohibited.
The charges and fees prohibited by the BoZ included: initial debit card issuance fees, debit card maintenance and renewal fees (annual, quarterly or monthly), commission on turnover activities on account, automated teller machine (ATM) surcharges, point of sale (POS) transaction charges (own bank customer and other bank customer), charge for balance and other account inquiries by a customer over-the-counter or any electronic platform, among others.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is also worthy of applause. The CBN has taken some steps to ensure banks in Nigeria handle customer complaints in a timely and effective manner. It has instituted and published a fine grid for improper handling of customer complaints and delays in resolving customer complaints. The CBN’s policy of naming and shaming is commendable. When consumers see and feel that the regulator is acting and sanctioning errant institutions, their confidence in the financial system grows. The CBN recently sanctioned some errant banks and fined them as much as 2 million Naira (circa USD5,200) for breaching various consumer protection mechanisms.
Another regulator leading the way is the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE). When the coronavirus pandemic hit, the CBE championed several initiatives that not only focused on keeping the institutions afloat, but also rolled out deliberate interventions to bring tangible relief to consumers.
The CBE instructed banks to cancel ATM withdrawal fees and points of sale (POS) fees for six months. It also instructed banks to give 6 months repayment holiday to individuals and businesses impacted by COVID-19. Also, the CBE instructed the suspension of late fees (penalty interest). Furthermore, in an effort to reduce cash handling, all bank transfers within Egypt were exempted from fees and charges.
Challenges with Ghana’s financial sector regulation architecture
There is ample evidence that the existing financial sector regulation architecture in Ghana is not fit-for-purpose. The recent crisis has badly exposed this fact. Aside the loopholes in prudential regulation that are at the root of the crisis, the neglect of conduct regulation is a major cause for concern. This needs to be addressed, lest we risk another crippling crisis.
The major drawbacks of Ghana’s existing financial sector regulation architecture are:
- The financial sector has become entwined; but still operates with siloed regulators
- The financial sector regulators are biased towards prudential regulation and have limited capacity for conduct regulation
- The financial sector lacks an effective institutional mechanism to set and enforce market conduct standards
Ghana’s financial sector has evolved to the point where banking halls have become distribution points for non-bank financial products. Today, banks are distributing insurance, capital market, and pension products. Even mobile money operators are distributing banking, insurance and pension products. Thus, the financial sector has become vastly entwined. However, regulation has lagged behind the sector’s evolution. The sector still has fragmented regulators (i.e. BOG, SEC, NIC, and NPRA) operating in silos and overseeing both prudential and conduct regulation for their respective industries.
Having an entwined sector with siloed regulators presents peculiar dangers to consumers. It becomes a complicated proposition for consumers when, for example, they buy a non-bank product (i.e. insurance or capital market product) through a bank and are faced with a challenge that needs a regulator’s intervention to resolve. Or; when a consumer buys a pension product through a mobile money operator and is unfairly treated, knowing which regulator to approach can be unsettling and stressful.
Furthermore, when a novel ponzi scheme emerges, the siloed regulators pass the buck and are hesitant to take responsibility to stop harm to consumers. A classic example is the Menzgold scam that swept through the country a few years ago; and left in its wake millions of victims. In the Menzgold case, instead of the BOG and SEC taking decisive measures to shut down the scam, they pussyfooted and took to issuing statements to say Menzgold was not licensed to operate.
Secondly, the fact that the current architecture does not prioritize consumer protection is abundantly evident. Unlike in best practice examples from Zambia, Egypt and Nigeria where the BoZ, CBE and CBN respectively have been proactive in implementing effective measures to protect consumers and ensure they are treated fairly, the opposite is the case in Ghana.
The regulators in Ghana have adopted a laidback attitude towards the subject and have in some cases merely designated units as being responsible for market conduct, in an attempt to window dress the issue.
Thirdly, the financial sector lacks an institutional mechanism to set and enforce market conduct standards across the sector. As a result of the lack of standards, actions and inactions of financial institutions and regulators that are injurious to consumers are not flagged and nipped in the bud. Also, since there are no standards, bad conduct is allowed to fester to the detriment of consumers.
The absence of standards also breeds the consequence of consumers not being aware of their rights and remedies available to them. Thus, they are unable to shield themselves from exploitation and unfair treatment. Consumer education is poor; and mostly non-existent, because the regulators have shunned this duty of care.
The reform of financial sector regulation can only happen with unalloyed commitment from government. The intricacies of Ghana’s political system make it such that, the required legislation to birth the reforms needs government backing and sponsorship.
It is therefore welcome news that Ghana’s main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress, through its leader, H.E. John Mahama, has promised to “establish a Financial Services Authority that will be responsible for ensuring that consumer markets work for consumers, providers and the economy as a whole” if voted into power.
It is hoped that the proposals made in this article will be adopted and incorporated in the reform of Ghana’s financial sector regulation architecture.
A proposed fit-for-purpose financial sector regulation architecture for Ghana
To forestall future crisis in the financial services sector and advance consumer protection, an effective and fit-for-purpose regulation architecture is critical. It should be a regulation architecture that proactively identifies problems and nips them in the bud, one that severely punishes wrong doing, names and shames, and one that resolves the imbalances between prudential regulation and conduct regulation.
It is against the foregoing background that the following proposals are made:
- Decouple prudential regulation and conduct regulation. This calls for discarding the current model that warehouses prudential regulation and conduct regulation in the same institutions. An effective and efficient decoupling of prudential regulation and conduct regulation will resolve the challenges enumerated.
- Task the existing industry regulators (i.e. BOG, SEC, NIC and NPRA) exclusively with responsibility for prudential regulation. Thus, the responsibility for conduct regulation must be taken away from them.
- Establish a single independent conduct regulator. The new entity will be the sole regulator of market conduct across the entire financial services sector; i.e. banking, insurance, securities and pensions.
The proposed architecture is a unique adaptation of the Twin Peaks Model. In the typical twin peaks model that exists in counties such as the United Kingdom, Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa among others, there are two regulators – one focused on prudential regulation of the entire financial services sector and the other regulator focused on conduct regulation of the entire financial services sector.
In the United Kingdom, for example, the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) are responsible for prudential regulation and conduct regulation respectively. The two entities (PRA and FCA) were formed in 2013 in a wave of regulation reforms following the 2007 financial crisis. Hitherto, a single entity was responsible for both prudential and conduct regulation until the split in 2013.
In the proposed model for Ghana, each of the industries (banking, insurance, capital markets and pensions) within the sector will have independent prudential regulators. There may be too much disruption if an attempt is made to have a single prudential regulator for the entire sector at this point. Perhaps, in the next phase of reforms, having a single prudential regulator for the sector may be considered. For now, the focus must firmly be on a single conduct regulator.
The benefits of the proposed model – having a single independent conduct regulator and industry-specific prudential regulators – are evident.
The industry prudential regulators will focus on keeping the institutions sound. They will have the mandate to set prudential requirements and to ensure compliance. In addition, they will be clothed with the power to license institutions for their respective industries.
The single independent conduct regulator will ensure that consumers are protected across the entire financial services sector. It will ensure institutions conduct themselves properly in the market. It’s core focus will be on areas such as: product suitability and safety, fair pricing practices, resolution of customer complaints, among others.
No new product can be introduced onto the market without the prior approval of the conduct regulator. Neither can an approved product be modified without the express approval of the regulator. Before the conduct regulator approves a product, it must ascertain that the institution submitting the product for approval has been duly licensed by the appropriate prudential regulator. Such a regime will prevent scams like Menzgold, DKM, and the others from taking root.
The independent conduct regulator will have the power to stop an institution from operating in the market if it deems its products or practices to be harmful to consumers or other market players. More importantly, it will have the power to prosecute institutions and/or individuals if their activities pose a danger to consumers or if they are found to be behaving badly or to have behaved badly.
With the proposed single independent conduct regulator, consumers will have a single point of contact for all complaints or challenges they have with any financial institution. Thus, the challenge of having to contend with many regulators in an entwined financial sector will be eliminated.
The proposed regulator will set market conduct standards, proactively police the market to ensure it is safe for all participants, punish, name and shame offenders, and educate consumers on their rights as well as on how to protect themselves in the market.
Operationalizing the proposed architecture will be easy to do. Marshalling the needed human capital to staff the proposed independent conduct regulator should not be difficult. The various industry regulators currently have some staff who ostensibly are tasked with monitoring market conduct. These staff can be pulled out to form the nucleus staff of the new institution. The nucleus staff would need to be augmented with professionals with the requisite technical expertise.
If there’s a silver lining in the crisis that has hit Ghana’s financial sector, it is that it presents a golden opportunity to reform Ghana’s financial sector regulation architecture. The time to act is now!
*The author, Woelinam Dogbe, is the President of the Alliance for Financial Consumer Protection (AFCOP). He is a Chartered Banker, a Financial Sector Specialist, and a Management Consultant. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mozambique: Finance minister dismisses Chinese asset seizure fears
November 25, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Jorge Joaquim
Finance minister Adriano Maleiane has rejected suggestions that China will seize Mozambican public assets if the government defaults on Chinese loans.
Addressing parliament Maleiane said that the fears expressed by opposition party members were groundless.
“There are no indications of this… We have no information that the Chinese government can seize any assets in Mozambique due to defaults”, he said.
He insisted that the debts with China, which he said totalled $2.02bn, had been handled smoothly. $1.97bn of the debt is with China Exim Bank, and has paid for projects such as the Maputo ring road and bridge over the Bay of Maputo.
Maleiane said that he thought these projects would eventually pay for themselves through toll fees.
Venâncio Mondlane, of opposition party Renamo, claimed that it would take 75 years to pay off the bridge debt, and asked if any infrastructure project financed by China had been profitable, but Maleiane did not reply.
Mondlane pointed to alleged cases in which Beijing opted for the seizure of infrastructure by debtor states in Africa and Asia to ensure the settlement of debts.
The Center for Public Integrity (CIP) considered a few days ago that Mozambique’s debt to China was “not very transparent”, demanding that Filipe Nyusi’s government explain how it will manage this burden. The Mozambican NGO also criticized the way in which this money was used by the government, stressing that the debt can be compared to the recent past of hidden debts of the Mozambican state.
Currently, the debt to China is the largest that Mozambique has with a single country, and this debt represents about 20.2 percent of Mozambique’s total external debt, and about 13.2 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Tanzania to deport over 500 suspected terrorists for trial in Mozambique
November 25, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Jorge Joaquim
Some 516 suspects of terrorism and collaborators of jihahadist violence being held in Tanzania will be deported to Mozambique to be tried for crimes committed in Cabo Delgado province.
The terrorists were seeking refuge in Tanzania because of attacks by the Mozambican Defence and Security Forces when they were captured by Tanzanian authorities.
Mozambique has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Tanzania, under which both countries’ police forces will collaborate to tackle the insurgency.
According to Mozambique’s police chief, Bernardino Rafael, the key points of the memorandum include an agreement to extradite all those accused, and to maintain the security of the border.
Tanzanian authorities arrested 562 terrorist suspects and collaborators after an attack in the Tanzanian village of Kitaya in October, and recently arrested an unspecified number of people in the towns of Kigoma and Mwanza, close to the borders of Rwanda and Burundi, who told Tanzanian authorities that they were on their way to Mozambique to join the insurgents.
The group being deported includes Mozambicans, Tanzanians, Somalis, Congolese, Rwandans and Burundians.
Cabo Delgado has been the scene since October 2017 of attacks by Islamist militiamen popularly known as Al Shabaab, without being related to the group of the same name that operates in Somalia. ince then, more than 2,200 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.
The Islamic State affiliate has intensified its actions since last March and since August it controls the port city of Mocimboa da Praia. In recent weeks, it has intensified its attacks and carried out dozens of beheadings, sparking a wave of displacements.
Siemens Gamesa works through COVID challenges to help feed 250MW of clean energy to South Africa’s grid
November 25, 2020 | 0 Comments
|Siemens Gamesa has installed over 850MW of wind power in the country, close to one third of market share.|
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, November 24, 2020/ — 109 wind turbines installed in Kangnas and Perdekraal wind farms with a combined capacity of 250MW; Both projects represent one of the first ‘Bid Window 4’ wind farms to feed power to South Africa’s national grid; Siemens Gamesa has installed over 850MW of wind power in the country, close to one third of market share.
Siemens Gamesa has officially started production of Mainstream Renewable Power’s 110MW Perdekraal East and 140 MW Kangnas wind farms in South Africa, supporting additional green power supply into the country’s national grid.
The Perdekraal East site is located 80km northeast of Ceres in the Western Cape and the Kangnas wind farm is situated near Springbok in the Northern Cape. The wind farms are equipped with a total of 109 2.3MW capacity onshore wind turbines and will help provide enough clean electricity to power a total of 250,000 South African homes. Additionally, the wind farms will emit zero carbon emissions using almost no water during the power generation process.
Despite COVID-19 challenges, the two projects have been completed in line with the original timeline set by Mainstream Renewable Power. Mainstream fully developed the projects, managed the construction process and will manage the operations and maintenance of the plants. The global developer of renewable energy is based in Dublin with offices in Cape Town. Kangnas wind farm was even completed significantly ahead of schedule.
Part of the “Bid Window 4” of the government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), both Perdekraal and Kangnas wind farms will together add to the 1.3GW to the country’s clean energy generation capacity.
In compliance with the REIPPPP regulations, the wind projects were built by the 30% black owned subsidiary of Siemens Gamesa in South Africa and, by its South African staff utilizing South African contractors thereby creating jobs while supporting local communities, driving local manufacturing and development projects within local communities.
“Siemens Gamesa is taking a step forward in its mission to provide a cleaner, more sustainable future for South Africa in its journey to a low carbon economy, having contributed as of today with more than 850MW of wind capacity to the national grid. We are also proud to demonstrate our engagement towards improving living standards across the country, despite the disruption witnessed due to the Covid-19 lockdowns earlier this year,” said Janek Winand, Managing Director Siemens Gamesa South Africa.
Beyond the completion of its wind projects in the country, Siemens Gamesa remains committed to the local communities in need through several social actions led across the regions where it is operating. Among these initiatives, the company helped provide relief to Tembisa residents suffering from the impact of the COVID19 crisis through the donation of vital supplies benefitting over 300 families. The team also supported recently the Witzenberg Association for Persons with Disabilities (WAPD) near the Perdekraal wind farm through the donation of a mobile day care.
“As a responsible company, we are eager to assert further our contribution to South Africa’s increasing energy demand, but beyond that, we are strongly committed to provide continuous support through rapid responses to the challenges faced by the local communities in need, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic,” added Janek Winand.
About Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy:
Siemens Gamesa is a global leader in the wind power industry, with a strong presence in all facets of the business: offshore, onshore and services. The company’s advanced digital capabilities enable it to offer one of the broadest product portfolios in the sector as well as industry-leading service solutions, helping to make clean energy more affordable and reliable. With more than 107GW installed worldwide, Siemens Gamesa manufactures, installs and maintains wind turbines, both onshore and offshore. The company’s orders backlog stands at €30.2 billion. The company is headquartered in Spain and listed on the Spanish stock exchange (trading on the Ibex-35 index).
About Siemens Gamesa in Africa:
Siemens Gamesa has been pioneering wind energy projects in Africa for 20 years. Installations total 4GW in countries such as Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, Kenya, Mauritania, Mauritius Islands, Tunisia and Algeria representing 60% of all wind power on the continent. Siemens Gamesa is driving Africa’s energy transition to deliver cleaner, more reliable, more affordable energy for millions of African people and support long term sustainability and economic growth. It has the broadest product portfolio in the industry with leading technology and innovation, the scale and global reach to provide proximity to customers, and high standards of health, safety and environmental protection.
*SOURCE Siemens Gamesa
Lux Afrique Group opens Africa’s first luxury e-commerce bou-tique, Lux Afrique Boutique
November 25, 2020 | 0 Comments
|Delivering to all 54 countries in Africa, within a standard delivery time of 3 to 5 days.|
The Lux Afrique Group , in keeping with its pioneering spirit, will open the virtual doors to Africa’s very first online luxury multi-brand e-commerce store, the Lux Afrique Boutique , on 25 November 2020. This exclusive online shopping destination will offer clients from the African continent and around the world, the most luxurious brands in fashion, jewellery, watches, home, technology and food. Says Alexander Amosu, Founder of Lux Afrique “Pretty much every part of the world has a luxury e-commerce platform servicing the high net worth population across Asia, the Middle East and Europe, so why not Africa? I’m pleased to say that the Lux Afrique Boutique intend to change that!”
Upon entering the online boutique, clients are presented with a selection of women’s fashion from the world’s most desirable luxury brands. The seasonal collections of leathergoods and ready-to-wear are all current and what one would find in the shopping capitals Paris, Milan or London. The men’s universe features an array of the finest names in luxury, with an additional selection of grooming products. Should you not be able to find your special piece, the concierge team are on standby 24 hours a day to source and deliver any luxury product to your home. Engrained in the company ethos, Lux Afrique Boutique (www.LuxAfrique.boutique) believe in supporting Africa and providing a platform to showcase its brands. It’s only natural then that a curated selection of African fashion and lifestyle designer brands will be available in the online boutique, with more will be added. Art lovers will be particularly pleased with the online African Art room, where the continents’ foremost artists will showcase their works.
For those who adore fine jewellery and watches, the High Jewellery universe features an array of exquisite pieces from Fabergé, David Morris and Stephen Webster, together with the worlds’ foremost watch and jewellery brands. Once again, and true to company spirit, Vanleles, an African fine jewellery brand features prominently in the online boutique.
Luxury lifestyle brands that are specially created for the home, ensure that your abode reflects your style. Expect to find designer furniture, homeware and the latest audiovisual equipment like Bang and Olufsen, to decorate your residence. The shopping experience is complimented by the finest champagnes, wines and spirits, including Louis XIII and Dom Perignon, available in the world, while the highlight for any connoisseur would be discovering the Foodhall’s exceptional delicacies. The concierge team, as part of the highly personalised service, are on standby 24 hours a day to source and deliver any luxury product that you may possibly not find in the boutique. For VIP clients, a limited selection of merchandise can infact be delivered within 24 to 48 hours.
Lux Afrique Boutique (www.LuxAfrique.boutique) will deliver to 54 countries in Africa within a standard delivery time of 3 to 5 working days. For VIP clients, a limited selection of merchandise can infact be delivered within 24 to 48 hours. In addition, to celebrate your birthday and as a special gift to you, the boutique offers free shipping on your birthday.
Corporate Social Responsibility
The Group strongly believe in giving back and supporting entrepreneurship efforts in Africa. With this in mind, a percentage of each sale will be ploughed back into sustainable projects supporting local businesses on the continent, allowing clients to partner with the Boutique in giving-back through their purchases, a priceless feel-good factor. The Lux Afrique Boutique aims to place the spotlight on discovering and showcasing luxury African brands and artisans.
About Lux Afrique Boutique:
Lux Afrique Boutique is Africa’s first luxury online shopping boutique revolutionising the African luxury market by delivering to all 54 countries across Africa. The Boutique, together with its 24-hour concierge service, caters for high-spending African consumers and is uniquely positioned in the high growth online luxury sector. The team are dedicated to hand-picking the world’s finest, rarest and most exquisite luxury brands globally by offering it online. The curated gift service provides a completely stress-free shopping experience as a retail destination for men and women with a distinctive taste for luxury without the inconvenience of travelling to Europe.
About Lux Afrique Group:
Lux Afrique , a luxurious lifestyle, 24-hour concierge service and events company catering to the needs of over 500 HNWIs (High-Net-Worth Individuals) particularly Africans earning more than one million US Dollars per annum, was founded in 2016 by Alexander Amosu. As part of the Lux Afrique Group, Lux Afrique Agency was launched in 2019 to represent sports personalities, celebrities and influencers from across Africa and worldwide. This is in addition to Lux Afrique POLO events, the Lux Afrique Conference, Lux Afrique online Magazine and the soon to be launched Lux Afrique Boutique, the first luxury online shopping platform delivering to all 54 countries in Africa.
Battling the Coronavirus across Angola
November 25, 2020 | 0 Comments
–UK manufacturer joins the fight against disease across Angola.
As Covid19 continues to make headlines it is important to recognise the work that International Aid Agencies continue to complete. Working across developing countries, often with limited infrastructure to establish facilities to enable the safe disposal of medical waste.
For many years now Addfield has worked side by side with many of these organisations to combat viral outbreaks in developing regions. Delivering comprehensive solutions across varying scales treating endemics, and epidemics, some newsworthy whilst others were not so. This year however the word pandemic has been firmly on everyone’s lips and you cannot go five minutes without hearing about the Coronavirus once again.
It is important to not forget that Covid19 is not the only infectious disease that is fatally infectious. In this instance AFG SA, based in Portugal and experts in the sale of medical equipment approached leading medical incineration manufacturers Addfield based in the UK. AFG through their Angola subsidiary Acail Angola asked Addfield to support them on a project for the Angolan Ministry of Health to supply and install 5 medical waste machines, to not only manage the additional waste created through combatting the Covid19 outbreak but also the continuing impact of Malaria and Tuberculosis across 5 field hospitals, located in Nzeto, Huila, Cunene, Dundo and Cabinda.
Coronavirus is currently not the biggest killer in Angola. Records indicate 333 confirmed deaths from the Coronavirus as of the middle of November 2020. Compared to Malaria which is responsible for an average of 12,000 deaths a year placing Angola in the top 10 countries most affected by the disease. As such in addition to supporting in the management of the Coronavirus these incinerators will also prove essential pieces of equipment to combat other diseases for many years to come.
For this project they selected 5 MP100 Medical/Pathological Incinerators. The MP range has proven itself to be a highly reliable solution for many aid agencies and NGO’s for treating waste in remote locations. Being both highly compact whilst also delivering quality and reliable medical waste disposal.
Beyond the visible impact of contagious diseases, there is also a hidden threat across Angola. Poverty is a growing problem, leading many families according to reports to subsist from scavenging in openly dumped garbage, which can include medical waste in some regions. This is another benefit of these machines as they will remove the hazardous waste and the health care risks from the ecosystem protecting the environment alongside its residents.
“A lot of investment is taking place across Angola to reduce these issues and reduce the numbers of deaths from avoidable diseases such as Malaria and Tuberculosis which are blighting the country and we are proud to be able to play a small but important part in this as we know that our machines will stand the test of time and could be supporting these 5 communities for more than 20 years a fantastic improvement in the quality of life and a great legacy for us in the region.” Eduardo Sierra Torres, International Sales, Addfield Environmental Systems.
For years now Addfield has been recognised as the name to trust in medical waste disposal. Delivering machines to suit the smallest laboratory up to several thousand bed hospitals to safely dispose of harmful waste. This project is yet another success for Addfield not only for helping to support international health but also through being yet another new country to add onto our roster of countries that have invested in one of our solutions. Following the success of this project we are already in negotiations for future projects.
RCSI and BD partner to expand access to paediatric surgery in Sub-Saharan Africa
November 25, 2020 | 0 Comments
DUBLIN, Nov. 24, 2020 – The RCSI Institute of Global Surgery and global medical technology company, BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) (NYSE: BDX), today announce KidSURG, a joint initiative aimed at significantly improving paediatric surgical services across Southern Malawi.
Created in collaboration with leading Malawian paediatric surgeon,Professor Eric Borgstein,theKidSURG initiative will develop a paediatric surgical network in Southern Malawi, to expand surgical access to 8 million children. The initiative will also seek to develop and share optimal models for replicating this initiative in other countries. BD has donated $500,000 in cash and surgical products to support the initiative.
Malawi is a region within Africa that faces a catastrophic deficit in surgical care access. The country’s unmet need for surgical care is estimated to be 41 million cases per year, resulting in a greater number of deaths than those resulting from TB, HIV and Malaria combined.
Through the KidSURG initiative, RCSI worked in partnership with Professor Borgstein and his team in Malawi to identify the greatest challenges when it comes to expanding surgical access. Together they will work to reduce unnecessary childhood mortality by addressing the shortfall in surgical equipment and medical expertise within district hospitals in the region. The KidSURG initiative will train healthcare workers to deliver high-quality, pre-referral care for complex paediatric surgical patients, and deliver safe surgery for some of the most common surgical procedures needed by children.
The initiative will also direct the development of a specialist mentor network, through which paediatric surgeons in central hospitals can provide immediate advice on patient management to regional district hospitals. Additionally, the project will supply custom-made paediatric surgical toolboxes, sponsored by BD, providing critical equipment needed to operate safely on children.
Following initial roll out, RCSI will evaluate opportunities to scale-up and expand the initiative elsewhere in a cost effective manner, ensuring that its impact is maximised.
Professor Eric Borgstein, Consultant Paediatric Surgeon at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Malawi said: “The KidSURG initiativeis a powerful example of practical and effective support that will help increase expertise in district hospitals across Malawi. I welcome this important collaboration with RCSI and extend my sincere thanks to BD for supporting our critical work on the ground.”
Professor Mark Shrime, O’Brien Chair of Global Surgery at RCSI, said: “For over ten years, RCSI has pioneered and accelerated change to provide solutions to the surgical deficit, focusing on low and middle-income countries. We are proud to announce this partnership with BD which will significantly reduce mortality rates for children.”
Greg Quinn, Director of Public Policy & Advocacy at BD, said: “BD has strong heritage of facilitating best-practice patient and healthcare worker safety across the world. This important partnership with our RCSI colleagues and local Malawi professionals will enable the best surgical outcomes and the safest possible interventions for children in Malawi, and we also hope it will become a model for expanding safe surgical access to children in other developing nations as well.”
Building on extensive experience in surgical training, education and research partnerships in Africa, the RCSI Institute of Global Surgery works with local partners to develop sustainable surgical care systems in low and middle-income countries. The Institute has a dual focus: capacity-building to alleviate the surgical burden, and high impact research to set the foundation for greater growth.
For nine years RCSI researchers have led the COST and SURG-Africa global surgery consortia working to develop, implement and evaluate sustainable training models in which local physicians and non-physician clinicians are trained to deliver safe surgery in rural hospitals with the support of consultant surgeons from within the region.
RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences is ranked first in the world for ‘Good Health and Well-being’ in the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings 2020. The University’s leading global position in this category reflects RCSI’s singular focus on improving human health, for the benefit of patients and communities across the globe.
Ranked number one globally for Good Health and Well-being in the Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings 2020, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences is an international not-for-profit university, with its headquarters in Dublin.
RCSI is exclusively focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide. It is among the top 250 universities worldwide in the THE World University Rankings (2021) and is ranked second among the universities in Ireland. Its research is ranked first in Ireland for citations. RCSI has been awarded Athena SWAN Bronze accreditation for positive gender practice in higher education.
Visit the RCSI MyHealth Expert Directory to find the details of our experts across a range of healthcare issues and concerns. In support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals to promote health and wellbeing, these academics, clinicians and researchers are willing to engage with the media in their area of expertise so they can empower people with information that leads them to better health.
BD is one of the largest global medical technology companies in the world and is advancing the world of health by improving medical discovery, diagnostics and the delivery of care. The company supports the heroes on the frontlines of health care by developing innovative technology, services and solutions that help advance both clinical therapy for patients and clinical process for health care providers. BD and its 65,000 employees have a passion and commitment to help enhance the safety and efficiency of clinicians’ care delivery process, enable laboratory scientists to accurately detect disease and advance researchers’ capabilities to develop the next generation of diagnostics and therapeutics. BD has a presence in virtually every country and partners with organizations around the world to address some of the most challenging global health issues. By working in close collaboration with customers, BD can help enhance outcomes, lower costs, increase efficiencies, improve safety and expand access to health care.
About Professor Eric Borgstein
Professor Eric Borgstein is a Malawian paediatric surgeon, who serves as a Professor of Surgery at the University of Malawi College of Medicine, and as Consultant Paediatric Surgeon at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH), the largest public hospital in Malawi.
He is Director of the Mercy James Centre for Paediatric Surgery and Intensive Care; a recently established specialist centre for service provision and training in paediatric surgery and paediatric critical care at the QECH. He currently Secretary General of the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA)