RCA Flag
RCA Flag
Connecting Africa’s Skilled Professionals
RCA Flag

ReConnect Africa is a unique website and online magazine for the African professional in the Diaspora. Packed with essential information about careers, business and jobs, ReConnect Africa keeps you connected to the best of Africa.

Library of Articles

Innovative Service to Provide Certified Election Results to Ghanaians Abroad

Ghana Decides ‘08!!! Ghanaians and other persons in the UK who are interested in the Ghana elections can receive results certified by the Electoral Commission direct to their mobile handset. The service is available on Orange, O2, T-Mobile, Vodafone, 3 and BT Cell. Results will be sent immediately the Electoral Commission certifies both the Presidential and Parliamentary results at all constituencies, and subscribers will receive regular updates as results are released. The service is organized by the Ghana Journalist Association with authorization from the Electoral Commission. To subscribe, send "GH" only once to short code 60999 on the networks mentioned and receive regular result updates throughout the election period. Get the news before anyone else. Premium rates apply.'

Microfinance Leader Launches New Hub in Africa

ACCION International, a pioneer and leader in microfinance, has launched its new hub office and training center in Accra, Ghana, underscoring the U.S.-based nonprofit organization's commitment to expanding financial services for Africa's working poor. The center's staff will provide support to ACCION's team of African microfinance experts, who currently work with microfinance institutions in both East and West Africa. The center will also address the clear need for capacity-building among microfinance practitioners in the region, offering education and training to ensure that future generations of microfinance managers possess the capacity and technical expertise to effectively meet the growing demands of Africa. In the next three years, ACCION intends, through its emerging training center network, to train 3,000 microfinance practitioners in such disciplines as business planning, risk management, lending and governance. Since first beginning work in Africa in 2000, ACCION has advised microfinance institutions across the continent, providing technical assistance and sometimes investment to help them expand. ACCION has helped to build and transform Uganda Microfinance Limited; built micro lending operations in Benin with PADME; and helped to create the microfinance operations of established banks in Zimbabwe (MicroKing) and Tanzania (Akiba Commercial Bank). ACCION has more recently established 'greenfield' microfinance operations in Nigeria, launching ACCION Microfinance Bank (AMfB) in 2007. This year, ACCION and its West African partner Ecobank launched EB-ACCION Savings & Loans to serve micro-entrepreneurs in Ghana and beyond.

New Fund to Invest in Clean Technologies in Southern Africa

The Evolution One Fund, a 10-year private equity fund that focuses on investments in clean technology in the southern African region has raised R400-million from four core international investors to date, and is expected to grow to R1-billion by mid-2009. The fund, managed by Cape Town-headquartered Inspired Evolution Investment management, has secured the initial investment from the International Finance Corporation and other investors. Cleantech spans many industries, including clean energy generation, water purification, waste management and efficient production technology. Evolution One's investment philosophy is based on the premise that the use of cleantech products, services and processes not only provide superior performance at lower costs, but also reduce environmental and climate change impacts, thereby promoting mutually reinforcing benefits for society. The Evolution One Fund will make around 10 to 15 investments over a period of three to five years across the whole SADC region, with a focus on cleaner energy and the environment, and aiming to generate an enhanced annual internal rate of return by focusing on key sectors and sub-sectors.

South Africa's Telkom to Deploy 3G Network

South African telecoms company Telkom is deploying its own third generation (3G) wireless network across the country, taking the fixed-line operator closer toward providing its customers with fully converged information communication technology solutions. The company announced in March this year that it would look to expand into the fixed-mobile space as a means of maintaining its market share and growing revenues. W-CDMA is a third generation (3G) mobile technology that offers services like high-speed Internet access, video and high quality voice transmission. Telkom will initially focus on providing fixed voice and fixed-mobile data and, in the near future, nomadic voice services, offering its customers choice at a highly competitive cost. Telkom has appointed Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer Huawei as a technology partner to deploy its fixed-wireless and mobile data network on a turnkey basis.

South Korea Contributes R8 million for South African ICT centre

South Korea is to contribute R8 million over three years toward the establishment of information communication technology cooperation centre in South Africa to promote the exchange of experiences in the field between the two countries. The contribution toward the development of the centre is being channelled through the Korean Agency for Digital Opportunity and Promotion, a specialised government entity that is dedicated to providing support in closing the digital divide, both domestically and abroad. According to the South African government, South Africa's Meraka e-Skills Institute will have the responsibility for the project identification and design. The two countries aim to cooperate in various areas, including the operation of an e-skills training centre, the implementation of e-government and the development of e-government related skills, the development of projects to proactively identify ICT skills needs in the country, to provide consultation and advice on national ICT development, and to build mutually cooperative relationships between the ICT sectors of the two countries.

Ethiopia Opens Commodity Exchange

Ethiopia has opened a commodity exchange, designed to bring order to the country's often chaotic food markets. ‘Informal' practices effectively force farmers to sell locally to traders they know and trust. This prevents commodities moving from regions where there is abundance to those where there are shortages, intensifying the risk of famine and for prices to plummet in districts experiencing a production glut. The Addis Ababa exchange – called the ECX – will trade in six commodities: coffee, sesame, haricot beans, tell, wheat and maize.

Polio Eradicated From Somalia

The World Health Organisation's (WHO) Global Polio Eradication Initiative says that Somalia is now free of polio, with no cases since March 2007. The WHO had managed to help wipe out polio in Somalia once before but the disease was reintroduced by travelers. Now, thanks to 10,000 Somali volunteers and health workers repeatedly vaccinating more than 1.8 million under-fives, it has been wiped out again.

NEPAD initiative of "paramount importance", says Malawi

The African Science and Technology and Innovation Indicators (ASTII) agreement signed in Lilongwe in 23 September 2008 is of "paramount importance", says Henry Mbedza, director of science and technology in the Malawi Government. The ASTII is a NEPAD agreement that, among other things, will help Malawi to conduct a survey to measure the impact of science and technology on national development. Mbedza said a one-year programme which began in Lilongwe in October 2008, will train 15 government and university staff on collecting statistical data, focusing on the effectiveness of initiatives and investments supporting Malawian science and technology. The information will be able to be used by policymakers to assist them in decision-making. Participants will be drawn from the Malawi National Statistical Office, Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, Department of Agriculture Research and Technical Services, the National Research Council and the University of Malawi. The initiative is part of the follow up to the AU/NEPAD consolidated plan of action for science and technology, approved by African Science Ministers in 2005 and adopted by African Union Heads of State and Government in 2007. Malawi is the 19th African country to sign the agreement. Source: NEPAD

African Union to lead new Drive to Implement CAADP

The African Union Commission (AUC) will lead efforts to expedite the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), according to a joint statement by the AUC and USAID. The statement said the African Union recognises both the need to urgently expand support for agriculture in Africa and the foundations that have been created for joint programming, mutual accountability and increased coherence of agricultural development assistance. The CAADP will include steps to advance short, medium and long term actions, including stimulating a near term supply response to meet immediate food needs, urgent steps to work with the private sector to modernise agricultural value chains, reduce poverty and improve infrastructure and trade in Africa to achieve high rates of agricultural growth. USAID and other development partners have committed themselves to work together to tackle key barriers to the implementation of the CAADP process and agenda, especially in countries that are taking steps to advance the CAADP.

World Cocoa Foundation Awards Innovation Challenge Grants

The World Cocoa Foundation has awarded $146,000 in challenge grants that will be used over the next 12 months to design and test innovative technologies benefiting cocoa farmers and building the capacity of local extension services and farmer associations. Grants were awarded to eight research institutes, universities and farmer organizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America for work focused on advancing labor saving technologies, production efficiency, and education. According to the Foundation, innovation is the key to helping cocoa farmers fully benefit from the world's growing appetite for cocoa and new approaches are need to to strengthen farm families and communities both economically and socially. The grants will bring this much needed innovation to the field, making it more accessible to cocoa farmers around the world. The grants awarded included one in the area of education innovation to the University of Cape Coast, Ghana's School of Agriculture to develop participatory learning approaches encouraging farmer adoption of artificial cocoa pollination, significantly improving productivity, yield and long-term sustainability. Established in 2000, the World Cocoa Foundation is a leader in promoting economic and social development and environmental stewardship in 15 cocoa-producing countries around the world.

New Lighting System for Luanda to Cost US$15 Million

The project to refurbish and expand Luanda's public lighting system is estimated at USD 15 million and is expected to conclude at the beginning of 2009. The project consists of refurbishing the entire public lighting and electricity distribution grid, restructuring and creating a new medium and low voltage grid and repairing the underground network. The work is part of a project set up between Inotec and the technical office of the Luanda Provincial Government (GPL). Inotec has been in the Angolan market for three months, and is a part of the Portuguese group CME – Construção e Manutenção Elçectromecânica.

Cape Town Mayor Wins Best Mayor Award

Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille has been selected as the world's number one mayor by City Mayors, a global local government think-tank. Ms Zille came out tops out of a group of 820 mayors from around the world in the competition which has spanned 18 months. A shortlist of 50 was selected from the 820 public nominations, which was later reduced to 11, and then to five. An outstanding mayor is described as someone who possessed qualities of greatness, leadership and vision, has good management abilities, is socially and economically aware and has the ability to provide security and to protect the environment. Commentators who supported her nomination said that Ms Zille was making a difference and giving people hope. Editor of City Mayors, Tann vom Hove, said the Cape Town mayor was the judging panel's unanimous choice for the 2008 World Mayor Prize. The World Mayor competition has been running since its inception in 2004. It aims to raise the profile of mayors worldwide as well as to honour those who have made lasting contributions to their communities and are committed to the well-being of cities nationally and internationally.

Using Africa's Mineral Resources for broad-based Development

A conference involving African ministers responsible for mineral resources development and mining experts was held at African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in October 2008 under the auspices of the Department of Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission in collaboration with the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). The purpose of the ministerial conference was to bring together the African ministers and African experts in mining and natural resources to brainstorm on some of the key issues for African mineral resources development. The brainstorming conference was an opportunity for the African Union Commission to develop a concerted continental strategy rooted on broadening the economic base and developing not only direct "upstream" and "downstream" linkages between mining and other sectors, but also various indirect activities, particularly "sidestream" supply and support activities, and induced contributions to maximise development and social outcomes.

Uganda prepares National Development Plan

A five-year National Development Plan (NDP) is being prepared within the framework of Uganda's national vision - endorsed by the Cabinet in July 2007 - to replace the poverty eradication action plan (PEAPs) implemented between 1999 and 2007. This is being done mainly to provide an updated framework for budgeting, implementation of Government programmes and donor support, as well as provide more comprehensive national, sectoral and local government planning. The transformation of the PEAP into the NDP is also intended to cater for emerging economic issues such as regional cooperation and emerging aspirations of leadership, for example, northern Uganda's reconstruction challenge. In the effort to draw lessons from the previous plans, an independent evaluation of the PEAP was conducted and the findings are being used for the NDP process. The proposed theme for the NDP is Prosperity for all Ugandans. The National Planning Authority (NPA) in consultation with other key stakeholders is spearheading the development of the NDP. The key objectives of the NDP are to increase household incomes; enhance quality and availability of gainful employment; improve the stock and quality of economic and trade infrastructure; increase access to quality social services; promote innovation and competitive industries and strengthen good governance and improve human security. The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) National Commission and the National Planning Authority (NPA) are in the process of putting in place a mechanism of ensuring that the plan of action (POA) is fully integrated into the NDP to see through the President's commitment to his peers of implementing the plan.

Total Invests US$30 Million in Angolan Training Facility

The oil company Total E&F Angola has invested more than USD 30 million in the construction of a new training center, which was recently inaugurated in Luanda. The school will have the capacity to hold 120 students and will train middle and upper-level personnel in oil production and engineering. The first group of graduates will study for a year and a half, with classes both in theory and practice on the company's platforms. The center will offer classes in Introduction to Drilling, Valves, and Tubing; Electrical Instrumentation; Measurement While Logging; Geological Structures and Systems; Corrosion and Inspection; Rotational Equipment; Industrial Design; Team Spirit; and Risk Analysis. The oil company plans to build an additional four schools in the provinces of Bengo, Kwanza-Norte, Malanje, and Cunene.

Movicel Invests US$ 50 million in Angolan Network Expansion

Cell phone operator Movicel has invested USD 50 million to expand its network throughout all of Angola. The company currently has two million customers, and with new services being introduced, the number continues to rise. Since 2003, Movicel has been providing mobile telecommunications services and global management as a subsidiary of Angola Telecom. The network operates in all Angolan provinces and in 60 municipalities.

Gazprom signs MOU with Equatorial Guinea

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between the Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy of Equatorial Guinea and Gazprom Neft. According to the Ministry, the MOU is related to upstream, downstream and financial studies which Gazprom Neft intends to undertake together with the Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy. This will strengthen the co-operation between Russia and Equatorial Guinea in the area of oil and gas.

Uganda Joins UN Security Council

Uganda has been elected to occupy a non-permanent seat of the UN Security Council for the 2009-10 term. Uganda, which was already assured of a seat from a unanimous regional backing, has been joined by Japan, Turkey, Austria and Mexico. Among European nations, Austria and Turkey won places on council, while Iceland's bid was defeated. Only Uganda and Mexico ran uncontested and won seats representing Africa and Latin America respectively. Uganda succeeds South Africa as Africa representative in the UN body.

Ericsson Predicts African Mobile Market up 20% in 2009

Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson expects sub-Saharan Africa's cell phone market to grow by at least 20% in 2009, the company's head of South Africa told Reuters. According to Jan Embro, the MD of Ericsson South Africa, the company expects to see 50-60 million new cell phone subscribers in sub-Saharan Africa next year compared to 235-million existing users. This translates to another 50-60 million subscribers coming on in sub-Saharan Africa. Ericsson supplies telecommunication equipment and services to 65 mobile and 20 fixed-line operators on the continent, including MTN, sub-Saharan Africa's biggest operator. It said it had increased its market share in the region to 50% currently from less than 30% in 2001. Africa is a key frontier market for major telecoms firms from Europe, the Middle East and Asia, offering a vast untapped market of millions without cell phones.

China sees Risk to African Trade with Global Crisis

According to the head of the Africa Department at China's Ministry of Commerce, the global financial crisis will hit trade between China and Africa, but Beijing will keep expanding its investment in the continent to maintain strong ties. Sino-African trade reached $74-billion in the first eight months, up 62% from a year earlier, but, according to Zhou Yabin, the country "cannot be very optimistic about sustaining such growth."

China guarantees Increase in demand for Angolan Oil

Angolan oil exports, the country's main source of revenue, will continue to increase in the near future thanks to growth in demand from China which will compensate for possible setbacks in other markets, according to analysts from Portugal's Banco BPI in their report on Angola, published in September. Throughout this year Angola has boosted its position as the largest and most reliable oil producer in Sub-Saharan Africa, with estimated production of 1.9 million barrels per day, ahead of Nigeria. Over the next few months an important strengthening of Angolan production capacity should take place, with new oil fields such as Saxi and Batuque starting production and Mondo and Cabinda stepping up their output. China has established itself as an important candidate for the main destination for Angolan exports, say analysts and, in 2007, China represented 28% of Angolan foreign sales, 10 percentage points up on the previous year. These oil exports were worth US$ 10.605 billion dollars, second only to exports to the US which reached US$12.855 billion dollars.Currently oil represents around 80 percent of Angolan exports and, directly, over 57 percent of its GDP.

Nokia opens research office in Africa

Nokia has launched a regional research center in Nairobi to gain a better understanding of the needs of African consumers. Nokia Research Africa (NoRA) will work with universities and NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) to develop prototypes of devices that are suitable for the African market, with an eye on offering benefits in health care and education. Nokia researchers will also study the telecommunication services sector on the continent. An increase in mobile penetration has been found to impact positively on the growth of a country's gross domestic product. According to the company, the research will enable the design of relevant products and services. Nokia has chosen to work with NGOs and universities because the institutions have an understanding of local communities. In Kenya, NoRA is already undertaking a study through partnership with SlumCode, an NGO aimed at understanding the dynamic of informal music in urban slum communities. Other areas NoRA is interested in exploring include entrepreneurship, energy management, social media, arts and culture.

Rwanda Receives $24 Million Boost for Regional Broadband Networks

The World Bank has approved $24 million for a program that will see Rwanda develop her national capacity to provide broadband connectivity. The money that was cleared through an International Development Association (IDA) financing grant for the Regional Communication Infrastructure Program - Rwanda Project (RCIPRW), is supposed to increase the availability of broadband to more than 700 Rwandan institutions including schools, health centers and local government administrative centers. IDA is the concessional lending arm of the World Bank.

Nigeria: Zenith Now Best Global Bank in Africa

In recognition of its positive influence within Africa's financial market, Zenith Bank Plc has emerged the Best Global Bank in Africa at this year's African Bankers Awards held at The Willard Hotel in Washington D.C. The ceremony was hosted by the London-based IC Publications Ltd, publishers of African Banker Magazines on the eve of the World Bank's critical global discussions on the state of the world's financial systems. Over 350 people, including Africa's finance ministers, governors of central banks, financial market regulators, global media personalities, industry leaders and top bankers attended the glittering ceremony. A total of 17 awards were presented. Zenith Bank was previously named the Best Bank in Nigeria by the prestigious Euromoney magazine at an award ceremony held in London.

Ghanaian Government Secures U.S. $119m to Assist SMEs and Banks

The government, with the help of the World Bank, has negotiated for $119 million to provide both financial and business development support, as well as technical assistance, to small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) and banks in the country. The Ministry of Finance noted that until structures of the economy were changed, and the constant changes in prices of international commodities checked, and the unemployment rate brought under control, the eradication of poverty, which is major factor in the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS), would remain a mirage.

South African Employment Market Growing Stronger

A new survey of hiring trends covering businesses in 14 countries around the world has uncovered a generally positive picture of the employment market for managers and professionals despite the effects of the `credit crunch' and higher energy, fuel and food prices. With the high percentage of companies recruiting in South Africa expected to grow and the low level of firing expected to decrease, the jobs market appears to be booming. The `Global Snapshot' from the international recruitment firm, Antal, asked over 1, 500 major companies in both western and eastern Europe, Africa, India and China whether they were currently hiring at professional and managerial level. The rapid development of South African business centres such as Gauteng, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth has created a lively jobs market for managers and professionals, with 84% of companies currently hiring. In Germany 57% of companies were hiring now and 64% expected to do so in the next quarter, while in Italy over 70% were currently recruiting and expected to do so in the coming three months. In the UK the survey revealed that only 31% of employers were recruiting at the moment. Whilst the construction and property sectors and certain parts of the financial services industry are suffering a real crisis of confidence, organisations in other areas such as telecoms and technology are generally positive about hiring.

Developing countries to Participate in ICT Standards Process

Leading stakeholders in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) industry are to work together to minimise the standardisation gap between developed and developing countries through the Bridging the Standardisation Gap Fund. The fund will assist in facilitating the participation of developing countries in the standards development process and allow them to profit from access to new technology developments, according to International Telecommunication Union (ITU-T). The standardisation development gap is creating disparity between developed and developing countries, while the ability of developing countries to influence and contribute to international standards setting is almost non-existent. The continued shortage of human resources in the standardisation field in developing countries resulted in a low participation by developing countries in the standards-making process. This has in turn contributed to a standardisation gap between developed and developing countries which adversely affected the ability of representatives from developing countries to access, implement, contribute to and influence international ICT standards.

African Countries Form Single Market

Leaders of the Tripartite Summit from 26 African countries belonging to the three regional economic blocs in the East and southern Africa have resolved to merge the blocs into a single regional market. The summit, which brought together leaders of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), the East African Community (EAC), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), has agreed to establish a free trade bloc and a single customs union, stretching from South Africa to Egypt and from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Kenya. The launch of the free trade bloc will place the African continent in a stronger position to respond effectively to intensifying global economic competition and will create the largest free trade area in Africa, with a population of over 248 million people and a combined GDP of $650 billion. The three blocs will have a single airspace within a year and an inter-regional broadband network for Internet. The three communities also resolved to coordinate their master plans for regional transport and energy within 12 months.

Africa Gains Access to Supercomputer

The South African Department of Science and Technology and multinational technology company IBM have launched the Blue Gene for Africa initiative, giving the country access to supercomputing power not previously seen on the continent. The BG4A is hosted by the Centre for High Performance Computing, an initiative of the department, and is managed by the Meraka Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). According to IBM, Africa needs to invest in human capital development, infrastructure and increased research and development in order to spur further socio-economic development. With research infrastructure also being key to development, the company's donation of the Blue Gene supercomputer is its contribution towards sparking scientific and socio-economic progress on the continent. The donation of the supercomputer forms part of a US$120-million (about R1.1-billion) investment in sub-Saharan Africa announced by IBM in December 2007, and followed a series of meetings on economic development opportunities convened by IBM that year as part of its Global Innovation Outlook strategy. This donation has given impetus to the Blue Gene for Africa initiative, which has three interlinking thrusts: infrastructure, promoting collaborative with a major impact on the African continent, and human capital development - building of high-end computing capacity in Africa. Potential projects which could benefit from this initiative are environmental simulations (water management, climate and atmospheric simulations), plant genomics and agricultural modelling, energy, information analytics and complex systems modelling (such as business systems, risk management, financial models, transportation management and health). As the Blue Gene is for the whole continent, potential users who wish to access the high performance computing are encouraged to contact the Centre for High Performance Computing.

Unity Needed to Protect Africa's Financial Markets

The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) and the Ghana Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at enhancing cooperation and exchange of information on all stock exchanges in Africa. The understanding provides a framework for the exchange of information for purposes of enforcing compliance with the governing laws of the regulators' respective jurisdictions. Areas of mutual assistance and cooperation will include investigations and enforcement in connection with applicable regulations relating to capital markets in Uganda and Ghana. Others include monitoring compliance with applicable laws regarding the duties of issuers of financial products in relation to information disclosure, maintaining high standards of fair dealings and integrity in their conduct of business.

First Peer Review Summit a Milestone for Nigeria and Burkina Faso

The first Extraordinary Summit of the APR Forum held in October in Cotonou, Benin was followed by a meeting of the Panel of Eminent Persons of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). The APRM, launched in March 2003, is voluntarily acceded to by member states of the African Union as an African self–monitoring governance mechanism. It ensures that the policies and practices of participating states conform to internationally agreed governance values, codes and standards as a means of fostering political stability, economic growth, sustainable development and accelerated sub-regional and continental economic integration. The APR Forum has the ultimate responsibility for the oversight of the APRM organisation and processes, for mutual learning and capacity building, and for exercising the constructive peer dialogue and persuasion required to make the APRM effective, credible, and acceptable. The peer review is a process of sharing information and experiences and mutual learning to assist the country concerned in improving on identified weaknesses as well as providing other participating countries with the opportunity to learn from the best practices of the country under review. The Extraordinary Summit of the APR Forum concluded the peer review of Nigeria and Burkina Faso. It also deliberated on selected cross-cutting issues encountered so far in the APRM process, among others the issues of managing diversity and xenophobia; elections in Africa; resource management; land; corruption; and the Gacaca Court system in Rwanda. Twenty nine countries have formally acceded to the process so far - Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Senegal, Sao Tome e Principe, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.

Sasol's R250m Investment in Engineering

South African petrochemical giant Sasol is to spend R25-million a year helping the country's universities develop world-class science and engineering graduates, attract and retain talented academics, and grow the engineering profession. The investment forms part of a greater R250-million initiative, spread over 10 years, to ensure world-class teaching in the disciplines of chemistry and engineering. According to the company, Sasol has already spent R75-million upgrading research facilities and equipment at nine participating universities over the past three years and this represents a proactive step to help universities meet critical research and development skills essential to the future growth and prosperity of South Africa. The initiative will also contribute to the Engineering Council of South Africa's commitment to growing the engineering profession by increasing the number of engineering practitioners to ensure sufficient future capacity to stimulate the economy.

South Africa Selects 'Jerusalema' for Academy Awards

South Africa's Academy Award selection committee and the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) have submitted South African feature film Jerusalema for consideration in the category of best foreign language film at the 2009 Oscars. Jerusalema joins a growing list of productions that have represented South Africa at the Oscars. Written and directed by Ralph Ziman and produced by Tendeka Matatu, Jerusalema was released to critical acclaim in August. According to NFVF CEO Eddie Mbalo, the film's high production values attest to the ability of the South African film industry to meet global standards of quality in filmmaking, while retaining a distinct South African flavour that has universal appeal. The 81st Academy Awards will be televised live from Hollywood on Sunday, 22 February 2009.

IFC sets aside $3 billion for African banks

The World Bank's International Financial Corporation has set aside $3 billion to help insulate banks in poor African countries from the effects of the global credit crisis. The global financial meltdown has forced many western governments to inject billions of dollars to support affected financial institutions but many African countries are too poor to offer similar help to their own. The IFC - the private sector lending arm of the World Bank - said it would focus on banks in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone. The corporation will also invest $2 billion in African energy projects. The IFC plans to spend over $2 billion on power projects in Africa, with the first project in Rwanda next year. The East African country hopes to double its power output by building a hydro dam on Akagera River.

Economy of Johannesburg Grows by 6.4%

With an economic growth rate of 6.4 percent between 2006 and 2008, Johannesburg is one of South Africa's most important economic hubs in terms of investment, business and construction. According to the City's executives, the city's economy has grown by more than 6% per year in the last two years, reaching a 6.4% growth between 2006/07 and 2007/08. The growth has been fuelled by a range of sectors, with the construction sector playing a key part. The city has an economic growth target of 9% if the country's overall economy grows by 6% in 2014. To achieve this goal, it is planned to increase the diversification of the city's business sector and resources. Johannesburg is home to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), the largest and most sophisticated stock exchange on the continent and is the headquarters of many large multinational corporations. In terms of the value of the city's economy in relation to the country, Johannesburg contributed 48.2% to the provincial economy, and 18.1% to the national economy.

CAADP Leader Honoured for Work to overcome Poverty

Professor Richard Mkandawire, Head of the NEPAD Agriculture / CAADP has won this year's Drivers of Change individual award. The Drivers of Change awards, which are organised by the South African Mail and Guardian newspaper and the Southern Africa Trust recognise individuals or organisations from across the Southern Africa region that are making a real impact, especially in developing effective public policies and strategies, to overcome poverty. The global financial meltdown and the ensuing recession has led some analysts to predict that Africa is going to lose out in terms of the external focus, partnerships and assistance that in recent years have been dedicated to its development agenda. However, African-based initiatives such as NEPAD's Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) are standing out as the most prudent avenues for genuine poverty reduction efforts in Africa. The award is in three categories: civil society, government, and business and was established to hold up living examples of innovative practices, inclusive attitudes, and effective processes that build social trust and create the best conditions to make a real and lasting difference in the lives of people living in poverty. This year, 60 nominations were received. The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, which was endorsed by the African Union in 2003, is an Africa-led and Africa-owned initiative and framework to rationalise and revitalise African agriculture for economic growth and lasting poverty reduction results. As part of the CAADP framework, African governments have already agreed to increase public investment in agriculture by a minimum 10% of their national budgets and to attain an annual average growth rate of 6% in agriculture. NEPAD is a home grown African initiative, crafted by African leaders to respond to Africa's continued under-development and marginalisation within the context of the broader global political economy. NEPAD serves as a platform for the articulation of a new voice rooted in the collective commitment of African leaders to democratic principles and to crafting a new development paradigm for Africa.

DBSA wins "Best Bank" Award

The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) won the Best Development Bank of Africa award at the recent African Banker Awards. These awards were endorsed by the World Bank Africa Region and supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Corporate Council on Africa. Participants included finance ministers, central bank governors, bank directors and CEOs from across the African continent as well as representatives from intergovernmental organisations and leading businessmen and VIPs from all over Africa, Asia, Europe and the US. The DBSA was chosen from a strong shortlist by a distinguished panel of judges, including Virginia Anchu, CEO, MGSL, Lagos; Aissa Hidoussi. CEO, Best Bank, Tunis; Koosum Kalyan, Chairman, G8 Business Action for Africa; Dr. Nkosana Moyo, Managing Partner, Actis Capital, London; Christopher Peel, Head of Africa Equity Research, Exotix; and Lionel Zinsou, Managing Partner, PAI Private Equity, Paris.

Italy Plans to Invest Over US$ 9 Million in Angola

In 2009 Angola will receive investments from Italy estimated at USD 9 million. The financing is in response to the Angolan Government's request to address needs in public health, clinical laboratories, and agriculture. Cooperation between the two countries is currently estimated at USD 250 million.

New International Luanda Airport Concluded in 2010

The new International Luanda Airport, located 30 kilometers from the Angolan capital, will be built by China International Fund Limited, and will conclude in 2010. The new airport will cover an area of 5,000 hectares, with two double runways and the capacity to receive the world's largest commercial airliner, the Airbus A380. The northern runway will be 4,200 meters long and the southern runway will be 3,800 meters long (both 60 meters wide). Construction will also include a passenger terminal for national and international flights, a control tower and several hotels.

CPLP to Create Bank for Financing Development Programs

A development bank of the Portuguese Speaking Countries Community (CPLP) will be created to help finance development programs and empower the companies and associations within the organization. The bank will guarantee the financial stability within the CPLP, providing services and products to customers, granting low interest loans and mainly serving the citizens of the community.

Moremi Initiative for Women's Leadership in Africa Website Launched

Research conducted by Moremi Initiative shows women occupies only two percent of executive positions within the top one hundred companies in the Ghanaian private sector. Moremi Initiative's research (Dake & Herlands 2003: Data on Women in Leadership in Ghana) also shows that in general, women exercise little power in political, economic, and social institutions in Ghana. Moremi Initiative firmly believes that an investment in young women's leadership will provide double dividends to make the world a better place for all. Moremi Initiative for Women's Leadership in Africa strives to engage, inspire and equip young women and girls to become the next generation of leading politicians, activists, social entrepreneurs and change agents: Leaders who can transform and change institutions that legitimize and perpetuate discrimination against women. Moremi Initiative is a non-profit organization based in Nigeria and the United States and operating throughout Africa. We strive to engage, inspire and equip young women and girls to become the next generation of leading politicians, activists, social entrepreneurs and change agents. To achieve its mission, Moremi Initiative is pursuing proactive strategies to develop and empower women and girls to take on leadership roles in their communities.

Swaziland Close to Eliminating Malaria

Health experts predict Swaziland will be the second country in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to eliminate malaria. Malaria kills more than one million people worldwide most of whom are children under five years and almost 90 percent of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria killed five people last year in Swaziland. The SADC Malaria Strategic Plan - a malaria elimination programme that aims to wipe out the disease in the region - lists Swaziland, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia as countries where malaria elimination is possible. Swaziland is likely to be the first country of the four to reach this goal. If Swaziland manages to eradicate malaria for three consecutive years, the World Health Organisation (WHO) will declare the country a malaria-free zone and issue a certificate of elimination. Mauritius was the first SADC country to receive the certificate after the last case of malaria was reported on the southern African island in 1997. Mauritius was therewith the first country in the region to reach one of the Millennium Development Goals whose target it is to stop malaria by 2015. The Swazi government hopes that eradicating malaria will not only improve the health of its people, but also develop the country by creating sustainable employment and equity in access to economic opportunities.

Finbank Plc Takes Over AGIB Management

The Arab Gambian Islamic Bank (AGIB) has marked the inauguration of the new management of the bank, which is now set to operate in partnership with a Nigerian bank, Finbank. AGIB highlighted its significance and the role it has been playing in The Gambia's financial sector since its establishment twelve years ago. The strategic partner will provide additional capital and bring technological and human resource improvements to the bank. Finbank, which holds 70% of AGIB shares, intends to run the bank purely on Islamic principles.

CPLP to Create Bank for Financing Development Programmes

A development bank of the Portuguese Speaking Countries Community (CPLP) will be created and in the short term aimed at financing development programmes and empowering the companies and associations within the organization. The bank will have the task of guaranteeing the financial balance within the Portuguese Speaking Countries Community, providing gratifying services and products to customers, granting low interest loans and mainly serve the citizens of the community.

South African TV goes Digital

South Africa has entered a new era in broadcasting with the official start of its conversion of its television broadcasting signal from analogue to digital technology. There will be a period of "dual-illumination" between 1 November this year and 1 November 2011, during which television will be broadcast via both analogue and digital signals. After 1 November 2011, the analogue signal will be switched off, and viewers will need a set-top box to convert the digital signal for their analogue television sets. The migration to digital also has the potential for providing special interactive services such as e-government services, as well as features audio descriptions and sub-titling for people with visual and hearing impairments. The change also means that there will soon be specialised television services dedicated to education, health, youth and sport, as well as three regional service channels. According to South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), the public broadcaster will provide up to eight new video channels in the same bandwidth as one analogue channel. The migration from analogue to digital signal was first agreed to at the International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations agency for telecommunication. Member states were given timelines per region to comply with the decision. Africa forms part of region 1, together with Europe and the Middle East.

Algeria Renegotiates New Energy Projects

Algeria will renegotiate energy projects currently being developed with foreigners to ensure that the Algerian partner has a majority stake. According to the country's Energy and Mines Minister Chakib Khelil, the move had become necessary following a new law passed in August that limits to 495 the stake held by any foreign investor in any sector of the economy. Algeria's energy sector plans to invest $45.5 billion in 2008-2012, with $35.8 billion from state company Sonatrach and $9.7 billion from foreign partners. in cases where foreign partners indicated that they could not take part on a minority basis, Algeria would try to find a way to involve them in some way in the management of the project or in the transfer of skills and technology. The new law is part of a package of measures implemented during the summer that have tightened the investment regime in Algeria.

Welcome to the new, upgraded ReConnect Africa website.
Please help us provide you with information relevant to your needs by completing the fields below (just this once!)