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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

China Doubles Scholarships for African Students

The Chinese government has doubled the number of scholarship it grants to Africa to 4,000 students per year, says Yu Wenzhe, China's Ambassador to Ghana. The expanded package is China's contribution to help Africa to achieve its goals, Mr. Wenzhe said at a reception he hosted for 34 Ghanaian students who have received Chinese government scholarships for the 2008-2009 academic year. According to the Ambassador, the Chinese government values these educational scholarships as a means of boosting friendship between the two countries and China is also helping the University of Ghana make the Chinese language an attractive course for students of the university.

Nosso Super Expansion to Generate 7,000 Jobs in Angola

Approximately 7,000 jobs will be created countrywide with the expansion of the Nosso Super supermarket network, under the Structuring of the System of Logistics and Distribution of Essential Commodities (PRESLID) Program, which has been underway since 2007. Nosso Super will be opening 31 supermarkets nationwide, including 12 in Luanda, 2 in Benguela, 2 in Zaire and one in each of the remaining provinces. Currently, Nosso Super has 22 establishments.

Absa to open Call Centre at Coega

Local banking group Absa has become the first investor at the Coega Industrial Development Zone's business process outsourcing (BPO) park, announcing plans to open a 105-seat outbound call centre. The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) says the project has come just as the company is making a concerted effort to lure more investors to the BPO Park. A pilot of the Absa contact centre has been running at Coega since January this year, and the CDC is also in talks with other international companies to take up prime space in the massive BPO park planned for the zone. The outbound facility currently employs 105 people - the majority of whom were previously unemployed or had very little work experience – and the project has confirmed the bank's strategy of combining business with social imperatives. The initiative was aimed at doing business in a responsible way that enables people to uplift themselves through employment and business opportunities, with a key focus was on affording work experience to unemployed individuals.

World Bank Winter Internship Program Application Period Now Open

The application period for the Winter Internship Program 2008 is now open. The Program is open to students who are nationals of the Bank's member countries and attracts a large number of highly qualified candidates. The goal of this Internship Program is to offer successful candidates an opportunity to improve their skills as well as the experience of working in an international environment. Interns generally find the experience to be rewarding and interesting. To be eligible for the Internship Program, candidates must possess an undergraduate degree and already be enrolled in a full-time graduate study program.

Angola Opens Business Information Centre

Angola's Business Information Center, an initiative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), has been inaugurated as part of the Angolan Business Program. The new center will promote small and medium enterprises (SMEs), private firms and others interested in obtaining specialized business information. The UNDP is partnered in the Luanda venture by Angola's ministry of industry, through the Angolan Institute of Industrial Development (IDIA) and Chevron.

South African Sees Wine Exports Soar

South African wine exports are soaring in defiance of the international economic slowdown, says Wines of South Africa, with over 363-million litres sold offshore in the 12 months to July 2008, an increase of 27% on the previous 12 months. Citing increased export volumes of 31% for the first seven months of 2008, due to a weaker rand and the continued strength of big brands in markets such as the UK, Sweden and Canada, the increase is also due to the emergence of buyers in developing markets such as Angola and south-east Asia. Exports have also been fuelled by rising rosé sales, up 60% on the previous year, as local producers successfully catered to the thirst for pink wines on international markets. In 2003, the UK and the Netherlands accounted for 72% of all South Africa's packaged wine exports. Today the UK and the Netherlands, together with Sweden, Germany, Denmark and the US, make up 72% of these sales. At the same time, there is growing interest in South African wines from countries in Africa and the East. The UK is still South Africa's largest wine export destination, however, with growth resuming in that market. The shift in the composition of South Africa's biggest customers had seen Germany overtaking the Netherlands to become South Africa's second-largest wine market.

Actis invests $49 m in Egyptian Food Business

Actis has completed a deal to invest $48.5 million in Mo'men Group for, an operator of chain of quick service restaurants under the brands 'Mo'men','Pizza King' and 'Planet Africa'. Actis's $48.5 million investment in Mo'men will help the group pursue expand its operations in Northern Africa and the Arabian Gulf region. "Given the changing population demographics and the increasing wealth of the middle classes, the company has a clear opportunity to expand to meet this demand," said Sherif Elkholy, Actis investment principal in Cairo. Mo'men also a produces branded household frozen foods and ready meals under the label 'Three Chefs'. The business was founded by the Mo'men Family in 1988. Source: Private Equity African News.

African Development Bank and Japan Sign Exchange of Notes and Loan Agreement

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Government of Japan have signed a bilateral Exchange of Notes for a loan to the AfDB of JPY 32.1 billion, equivalent to USD 300 million. The "Second Private Sector Assistance Loan under the Joint Initiative titled EPSA for Africa" helps finance the AfDB's private sector operations. The loan is provided by Japan on concessional terms and is part of the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance (EPSA) Initiative, an innovative, multi-component, multi-donor framework for resource mobilization and development partnership to support implementation of the AfDB's Strategy for Private Sector Development. Drawing on successful development experience in Asia and around the globe, EPSA was initially conceived in partnership with the Government of Japan (GOJ), which provided generous support to its launch in 2005 with a pledge of $1 billion in financial support through 2010. With the signing of the Second Private Sector Assistance Loan, Japan's fulfilled commitments under the EPSA Initiative total nearly $600 million, demonstrating Japan's strong commitment to the Bank and to Africa.

UN Says Aids in South Africa is Stabilising

South Africa is one of the three countries in southern Africa where the prevalence of HIV/Aids has stabilised, according to a report from the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAids). The 2008 Report on the Global Aids Epidemic finds that the prevalence of HIV/Aids in South Africa, Malawi and Zambia were decreasing. The report also provided encouraging data on the trend of HIV/Aids epidemic in South Africa and the African continent. According to the report, of the three million people on anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment worldwide by 2007, South Africa accounted for close to 429 000, up from only 55 000 in 2004. According to the UNAids report, close to 160 000 HIV-positive people who also had Tuberculosis (TB) received TB and HIV treatment in 2007. The report acknowledged the efforts being made in the area of prevention, noting that some 96% of South African schools were providing life skills based HIV education in the last academic year.

Kenyan Bank to Introduce Money Transfer by Cellphone in South Sudan

The Kenyan Equity Bank, One of the world's first cellphone-to-cellphone cash-transfer systems, intends to expand its activities to southern Sudan by the end of the year. The system, called M-PESA, allows customers to transfer cash via their mobile phone, through an agent or store which supplies the cash. To send cash, a customer has to buy E-money which is then loaded on to his account and then he can send to a recipient who receives a text message with a code telling him to go and collect money from an agent within his proximity. Equity bank chief executive, James Mwangi, on Tuesday confirmed that the bank had already obtained approvals from the two industry regulators - the Central Bank of Kenya and the Central Bank of Southern Sudan. The money transfer is a crucial issue in the southern Sudan. The Nile Commercial Bank, a southern Sudan government commercial bank, and some Somali transfer companies are the sole current agencies in the region.

South African Judge is Appointed UN Human Rights Chief

South African judge Navanethem Pillay has been appointed as the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Instituted in 1993, the High Commissioner for Human Rights is the highest UN office dealing with human rights. Pillay succeeds Canadian Louise Arbour, who completed her five-year term on 30 June. An activist attorney under apartheid, Pillay has served as a judge on the International Criminal Court based in The Hague in the Netherlands since 2003. Prior to that, she served as both judge and president on the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which she joined in 1995. Pillay's nomination, Ban said in a statement last month, was made at the end of a "clear and rigorous" selection process which included consultations with UN member states, international non-governmental organisations and human rights organisations. In 1967, Pillay became the first woman in what was then Natal province to open a law practice. As senior partner in the firm, she represented many opponents of apartheid, and handled precedent-setting cases establishing the effects of solitary confinement, the right of political prisoners to due process, and the family violence syndrome as a defence. In 1973, Pillay made a successful application against commanding officer of the prison on Robben Island, establishing that political prisoners held on the island had rights and privileges. In 2003, Pillay was awarded the Human Rights Prize of the US-based Peter Gruber Foundation for her "courageous leadership in advancing women's human rights" while working on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Africa faces ‘dramatic' Physician shortage by 2015, says UN

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that Africa faces a "dramatic" shortage of physicians by the year 2015, according to a new study. It is projected that there will be nearly 13 million doctors by then, a figure that will meet demand and will exceed the target of achieving the benchmark of having 80 per cent of all live births covered by a skilled attendant. But given the imbalances in physician distribution, Africa will face a scarcity of care, WHO said, with 255,000 doctors in 2015, which is 167,000 fewer than needed to meet the birth coverage goal. The study notes that in 2004, Africa carried nearly one quarter of the world's disease burden with only 2 per cent of global physician supply and less than 1 per cent of health expenditures worldwide. Similarly, South-East Asia bore 29 per cent of the global disease burden, with 11 per cent of the world's supply of doctors and 1 per cent of health expenditures. Meanwhile, the Americas region, with 10 per cent of the world's disease burden, accounted for half of the world's health expenditures and one fifth of all physicians. Hefty increases in health-care investment and robust policies are essential to boost the number of doctors in Africa, WHO said. "Given the disproportionate burden of disease in this region, policies for increasing the supply of physicians are urgently needed to stem projected shortages," according to the study.

Judges from Africa Sought for Children's Essay Competition

Men and women of African descent are wanted from across the African Diaspora to Judge essays written by children aged 8 to 16 years for "The Annual Essay Contest for Children of African Descent". Essays will be submitted in both English and French. Schools in English- and French-speaking Africa and the Diaspora are invited to indicate their interest in participating in this contest. http://www.lornajones.net

European Union to Help African Countries Expand Electricity Networks

The EU is to help African countries expand their electricity networks and promote energy interconnections between Africa and the EU, such as a Trans-Saharan gas pipeline. The EU aid will amount to €1 billion for a period of two years. It is the first concrete step to implementing the Africa-EU partnership, which was agreed in December 2007, according to a commission statement, which stressed "the urgent need to promote Africa electrification." The EU is to offer technical assistance worth €10 million to African utility regulators and a further priority of the Africa-EU energy partnership is to be the development of oil and gas pipelines between African countries, but also between Africa and the EU, such as the €9 billion Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline, planned to transport up to 30 billion cubic metres of gas per year to Europe via Nigeria, Niger and Algeria by 2015. The EU and AU commissioners also agreed to increase transparency, elaborate a road map for the launch and implementation of a renewable energy co-operation programme and support for Africa's participation in the Global Gas Flaring Reduction partnership of oil and gas producing countries. The International Energy Agency has warned that Africa needs to spend an estimated €400 billion by 2030 to generate an additional 260,000 MW of power.

Congo Prepares to Sell off Mining Assets

The government of Democratic Republic of Congo has announced its plan to privatise some of its most valuable mining assets, as well as take a larger share of any future discoveries made in the mineral-rich country. According to Victor Kasongo, Congo's deputy minister of mines, "a major future initiative" for the government was the transformation of state-owned mining companies into commercial entities. He said new management would be drafted in to turn round ailing businesses and then they could be floated through an initial public offering or stakes could be sold to private mining groups.

South Africa Invests More than R16 billion on Research and Development

South Africa has spent at least R16.5 billion on research and experimental development (R&D) in the 2006/07 financial year; an indication that the country is progressing towards a knowledge-based economy. This is according to the latest national survey of R&D activities, released by the Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (CeSTII) of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). The purpose of the survey was to collect data which was used to produce indicators of R&D activities within South Africa's borders for use by analysts and other interested parties, both nationally and internationally. The survey showed that South Africa is gradually increasing spending on research and development, an excellent indication of the country's ability to participate in a knowledge-based economy. The results of the 2006/07 survey represent an improvement on the situation experience in 2005/06, where R&D expenditure of R14.1 billion, or 0.92 percent of GDP was recorded. Most South African R&D were performed in the research field of the engineering sciences (comprising 20.9 percent of total R&D), followed by the natural sciences (20.3 percent) and the medical and health sciences (15.1 percent).The higher education sector undertakes 20 percent of national R&D while government (including the science councils) performs 22.8 percent of the total but finances 33.9 percent of R&D. South Africa has a total of 30 986 full time equivalent (FTE) R&D personnel, comprising researchers, technicians and other support staff.

UN provides $22 million boost for poor Ghanaian farmers

The United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has announced a $22 million loan to Ghana to boost the livelihoods of over 100,000 households in the West African nation. The funds from IFAD are part of a larger $103 million initiative targeted at achieving sustainable livelihoods for poor people in rural areas, especially small farmers, women and vulnerable groups in northern Ghana.

The Northern Rural Growth Programme seeks to enhance the incomes of rural residents. Some 45,000 households will be directly supported, and it is hoped that more than double that amount will benefit from improved infrastructure. The scheme aims to improve access to financial services and increase investment to protect against post-harvest losses. Additionally, irrigation systems will be enhanced. It is a direct response to the three poverty divides in Ghana: rural-urban, north-south and gender.

'Africans to gain' from Web Plan

Google is helping develop a system to bring high-speed internet connections to three billion people developing countries in Africa and elsewhere. The 03b Networks system aims to use satellites to provide broadband services at the same speeds as those on offer in rich countries. The service, which is due to begin in 2010, is also backed by cable operator Liberty Global and the bank HSBC. It aims to tap into booming mobile phone usage in the developing world. It will target markets in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. The founders of 03b Networks recently helped pioneer the first commercial 3G mobile and fibre-to-the-home networks in Rwanda, the company said in a statement. Production of an initial 16 satellites has begun, and the project allows for additional satellites to increase capacity. The company said the system will enable the spread of locally generated content and e-learning, encouraging social and economic growth in the developing world. There are various other projects under way to bring faster and cheaper internet access to the African continent. Kenya has commissioned a fibre-optic cable from Fujaira in The United Arab Emirates along the sea floor of the Gulf of Oman, down the East African coast to the port town of Mombasa. Another undersea telecommunications cable, known as East African Submarine Cable System (Eassy), intends to connect 21 countries to each other and the rest of the world with high-quality internet.

Papers Sought for Journal of African Cinemas

The Journal of African Cinemas will explore the interactions of visual and verbal narratives in African film. It recognizes the shifting paradigms that have defined and continue to define African cinemas. Identity and perception are interrogated in relation to their positions within diverse African film languages. The editors are seeking papers that expound on the identity or identities of Africa and its peoples represented in film.   http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/journals.php?issn=17549221

South Africa Rises in Ease of Business Rankings

South Africa has climbed from 35th to 32nd place in the World Bank and International Finance Corporation's Doing Business 2009, an annual survey of the time, cost and hassle involving in doing business in 181 countries around the world. The survey tracks indicators of the time and cost involved in meeting government requirements in business start-up, operation, trade, taxation, and closure. South Africa is also a strong performer when it comes to getting credit (2nd overall) and protecting investors (9th overall), but weak when it comes to ease of employing workers (102nd) and trading across borders (147th). According to the survey, Africa had a record year for regulatory reforms that make it easier to do business, with 28 African countries completing 58 reforms and four countries - Senegal, Burkina Faso, Botswana and Egypt - placed in the top 10 regulatory reformers. Mauritius was the continent's top performer for the year, moving up to 24 on the overall rankings, with South Africa the second most business-friendly African country at 32, followed by Botswana at 38.

Sasol Wax to Double Production

South African petrochemical company Sasol has approved R558-million for Sasol Wax to double production of hard wax at its facility in Sasolburg, south of Johannesburg. The funds will go toward completing basic engineering for the operation, as well as for ordering long-lead items for the first phase of the two-phase expansion project. According to the company, Sasol Wax is the world's leading producer and marketer of synthetic and petroleum-derived waxes, with production facilities in South Africa, North America, and Europe. The synthetic waxes, which are manufactured via Sasol's advanced proprietary technology in South Africa, are used in a wide variety of specialised applications, including hot-melt adhesives, polymers, inks and high performance bitumen modifiers. Construction of the first phase is expected to be completed in 2011, with the second phase expected to be in full operation in 2013.

Sonangol to Build Fuel Stations along Angola/Namibia Border

The Angolan State-owned oil company, SONANGOL, plans to build two fuel stations along the border between Angola and Namibia in 2009. The project will include the construction of a fuel station to fill vehicles at Xangongo locality and the creation of a distributor of butane gas. The construction of new fuel sites in Luanda, a mini-station at 11 de Novembro Airport, and a storage location for fuel tanks are currently in their final stages.

2008 Woman of Substance Winner Announced

The African Woman Chartered Accountants (AWCA) forum, which aims to provide support for the development and advancement of black women Chartered Accountants (CAs), has named Sindi Zilwa as their 2008 Woman of Substance. Woman of Substance is an annual event which celebrates and honours a woman, who in the view of the AWCA board, has gone beyond the call of duty to support and empower black women in the accounting profession and business in general. What distinguishes all the recipients of the award is that they have all given back to their community and displayed a highly developed sense of civic duty which has touched the hearts and lives of many people. Sindi Zilwa was the second black woman CA after qualifying in 1990 and has always committed to breaking down barriers as well as being fearless in her pioneering spirit. In 1998 she was named South Africa's Business Women of the Year by the Executive Women's Club.

Eskom secures R2.8bn Medupi Loan

Eskom has secured a R2.8 billion export credit financing loan from Germany's KfW-IPEX to fund part of its capital expenditure activities. The South African state utility said in a statement that the loan would be used to partially finance the six boilers that the Hitachi Power consortium will supply for the construction of the new Medupi coal-fired power station, being built near Lephalale in Limpopo. The first of Medupi's six generating units will be commissioned by early 2011, with the last unit scheduled for commissioning by January 2015. The first of Kusile's six generating units is scheduled for completion by 2013, followed by the completion on an additional unit after every eight months. Eskom has also called for statements of qualification from local and international companies interested in investing in South Africa as independent power producers.

Africa investor launches SRI Index with NEPAD and the UN

Africa investor (Ai), a leading international investment research and communications group, has announced the launch of its Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Index Series (the Africa investor SRI 50 & Africa investor SRI 30) at the United Nations in New York, as a concrete step to engage investors and business in support of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa. Between 2005 and 2007, global SRI assets increased by 18% while the broader universe of professionally managed assets increased by less than 3%. Research estimates that SRI Assets Under Management (AUM) will reach US $3 trillion by 2011. However, until now no pan-African SRI platform has existed for investors seeking exposure to SRI opportunities in Africa. Africa investor was commissioned by the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the United Nations to establish the first internationally recognised pan African SRI benchmark to attract global SRI investment flows to the Africa. The Africa investor SRI Index Series is aligned with the MDGs and internationally recognised ESG principles, which form part of the selection criteria to assess companies working toward the achievement of the Goals. The SRI Index Series consists of the Ai SRI 50, a benchmark index to give development finance institutions, researchers, analysts and shareholders an overview of SRI across a broad spectrum of businesses and markets in Africa; and the Ai SRI 30, an investable index targeting institutional and retail SRI investors.

Work starts on NEPAD Submarine Cable Network

Construction has begun on NEPAD's UHURUNET undersea cable network which is due to be completed in time to provide international communications for the 2010 FIFA World Cup that will take place in South Africa in 2010. The fibre optic submarine segment of the network will initially run from Durban, South Africa, to Port Sudan in Sudan. Construction of the cable means that African governments must start formulating policies that favour the development of ICT and communication networks in the region, said Radakrishan Roy Padayache, Ugandan Deputy Minister for Communication. With a capacity of 3.84 terabits/sec, the cable will connect Africa directly to the Indian subcontinent, Middle East, Europe, and Brazil. It also provides for landing points to every coastal and inland country in Africa. The completion of the cable network is expected to greatly contribute to reduction of telecommunications costs that have been a hindrance to doing business in Africa. The submarine segment of the NEPAD network has been named UHURUNET; its terrestrial segment, UMOJANET; and the holding company of the submarine cable BAHARICOM. These words are Swahili, an indigenous African language of the African Union. The NEPAD Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), established under the Kigali protocol to construct, own, maintain and operate the NEPAD ICT broadband infrastructure network, including the undersea cable, will own 30 percent (the single largest investor in the company), the African investors and African ICT companies 45 percent and the international philanthropic and other investors 25 percent. The e-Africa Commission is NEPAD's task team for the development and implementation of the NEPAD ICT programme. Together with the Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund it will coordinate and promote the African participation in the submarine cable project.

Johannesburg Stock Exchange is World's 10th Largest Derivatives Exchange

The Futures Industry Association (FIA) has ranked South Africa's JSE the 10th largest derivatives exchange in the world by number of contracts traded. This ranking, published in a recent survey by Futures Industry - the official international publication of the FIA - reveals that the JSE traded over 216-million contracts during the first six months of 2008, a 61% growth over the corresponding period in 2007. The rapid growth of single stock futures and currency futures, as well as options, have all contributed to the overall success of the JSE derivatives market. In August, the JSE unveiled a new equity derivatives trading system specifically designed for the South African market, enabling new functionality and greater flexibility for local brokers, fund managers, market makers and other institutional investors. In July, the JSE listed and began trading on the first ever variance future on the exchange, which, with increasing demand, could be the forerunner to an entirely new asset class at the exchange. The JSE has also launched the Shariah Top 40 Index in partnership with the FTSE Group, allowing interested investors - including South Africa's 850,000 Muslims - to invest in Shariah-compliant companies. In July 2007, the JSE overtook the National Stock Exchange of India as the largest operator of single stock futures (SSF) market in the world in terms of volumes of contracts traded.

Makerere University Plans Sustainability Leadership Strategy

The Vice Chancellor, Makerere University/Forum Chair Professor Livingstone S Luboobi has revealed plans to help transform the University into a new thinking and direction through sustainability leadership development strategy aimed at taking Africa into an Ecological Age. Professor Luboobi has opened up an opportunity for investment partnership with the private Sector and other development partners in Makerere Africa Institute of Sustainability (MAIoS), project; a new vehicle for taking Africa into an Ecological Age. A MAIoS programme is tailored for early and mid career professionals from any professional background and nation. The Institute's languages of instruction and learning will be African languages, Arabic, Chinese, English, French, and Kiswahili. Preference shall be given to sustainability focused programmes in environment, natural science, engineering, business management, policy studies, social sciences, agriculture, public health, and economics among others; Training cycles may range from one week training to a three-year maturity leading to award of certificates, diplomas, Masters and PhDs; Off campus training through workshops, seminars, conferences and in-company boardroom lectures will be encouraged; Faculty Exchange Programme (FEP) within and outside the partnership to promote information sharing, knowledge transfer and experience sharing will be at the fore front of MAIoS; North-to-South and South-to-South student educational exchange and sustainability will be part of the programme. For full information , please contact Professor Livingstone S. Luboobi, Vice Chancellor, Makerere University Email:  vc@admin.mak.ac.ug

Cape Town Is One of World's Sustainable Cities

Cape Town is one of 10 cities that are most likely to become a global sustainability centre by 2020, according to a list of the '20 cities of 2020' by the Ethisphere Institute, a New York business ethics and social responsibility think-tank. The 2020 Global Sustainability Centres comprises of ten large cities (600,000+ citizens) and ten mid-sized cities (60,000-600,000 citizens) lauded for long-term city planning and building strong, principled foundations. Cape Town joined Toronto, Hyderabad, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, New York, London, Frankfurt, Curtiba and Melbourne on the list of large cities. Cities were considered for their environmental and sustainability practices; health and recreation; education, arts and culture; economic and business environment; regulatory framework; law enforcement and transparency; media and speech; transportation and housing; and innovation and investment. Cape Town was acknowledged for developing a sustainable development programme in 2004 to help deal with growing energy needs of the city. The programme aims to have 10 percent of homes using solar power and 10 percent of the city's energy consumption coming from renewable sources by 2020.

China's Investments in Nigeria Hit $3 Billion

China's current investment in Nigeria stands at $3 billion while bilateral trade as at the end of 2007 amounted to $4.3 billion, making Nigeria the third largest trading partner of China in Africa.

Sonangol Publishes Fall Edition of Universo Magazine

Sonangol has recently published the fall edition of Universo magazine. Universo is distributed to an international audience of approximately 15,000 readers interested in Angolan oil, business, politics and culture. To receive a free copy of Universo Magazine, please send an electronic request to:  circulation@universo-magazine.com

South African Government Launches BEE Information Portal

The South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has launched a new website offering a wealth of resources, including legal information and useful tools, related to Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) in South Africa. The new portal highlights what is expected by the BEE codes of good practice and will help the government monitor and report on the implementation of BEE across the economy. According to the government, the portal will promote business opportunities, manage the flow of information to the department, and provide a channel through which members of the public can report on BEE "fronting". Visitors to the portal will be able to use an interactive self-assessment tool, likened to a BEE calculator, which will help companies gauge their empowerment credentials. It is also hoped that the portal will simplify compliance and minimise costs associated with broad-based black economic empowerment, standardise the reporting process by stakeholders, and encourage broader participation.  bee.thedti.gov.za

Banco Sol Angola Grants US$ 45 Million in Credit

As part of a government program to offer consumer and micro credit, Banco Sol has granted USD 45 million in credit to farmers and teachers in Angola. The project has benefited 25,200 teachers, nurses, and other healthcare professionals in rural Angola, and 40,000 farmers organized in cooperatives. Under the program, Banco Sol is responsible for the provinces of Luanda, Bié, Malanje, Zaire, Bengo Huambo, Benguela, and Huíla.

Senegal is First to benefit from UN project to reduce Africa's Brain Drain

Scientists at a Senegalese university are the first to benefit from a United Nations-backed project aimed at providing colleges in five African countries with the technology and tools needed to prevent the migration of graduates and reduce the continent's “brain drain.” The installation of the first computing grid at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar is part of a joint initiative by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Hewlett-Packard and the Grid Computing Institute of France's National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). Grid computing is a hardware and software infrastructure that clusters and integrates high-end computer networks, databases and scientific instruments from multiple sources to form a virtual environment in which users can work collaboratively. Connected over the Internet, these sets of servers or computers make it possible to process and store data and to multiply computing power and speed. The University's grid node, set up by the Grid Computing Institute of the CNRS, is the first sub-Saharan African component of the grid infrastructure created in 2004 by the European Union. According to UNESCO, launching this first link represents an important step in bridging the digital divide between North and South. It will facilitate international scientific cooperation for sub-Saharan Africa as a whole and for Senegal in particular. The joint project “Reversing Brain Drain into Brain Gain for Africa” follows the successful implementation of a similar UNESCO/Hewlett-Packard initiative for Southeast Europe, launched in 2003.

Angola Sees 62% Increase in Tourism in 2007

According to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Angola had 194,730 tourists visit the country in 2007, representing a 62% rise over the 2006 figure of 121,462. Tourists to Angola come from Europe (89,351 tourists), United States of America (38,113 tourists), Other African Nations (33,419 tourists), Asia (31,297 tourists) , Middle East (1,278 tourists), Australia (1,272 tourists).

Applications Open for 2009 Stars Impact Awards

Stars Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of the 2009 STARS Impact Awards recognising organisations working in children's health, education and protection. Established as an annual award, the STARS Impact Awards support organisations committed to achieving excellence in the provision of services to disadvantaged children and encourage the replication of effective approaches and practices. Each Award provides US$100,000 of unrestricted funding as well as consultancy support tailored to meet the needs of the recipients. In addition, a smaller Award may be made at the discretion of the STARS Board of Trustees to recognise the work of an organisation whose application demonstrates potential as a ‘rising star'. The closing date for applications is 28 November 2008.   http://starsfoundation.org.uk/

BPI Sells 49.9% of Banco Fomento Angola to Unitel

Portuguese bank BPI recently sold 49.9% of the Angolan bank, Banco Fomento Angola (BFA) to Unitel, an Angolan telecommunications operator, for approximately USD 485 million. BFA is the biggest private bank in Angola and has a market share of over 20 percent, and has 100 branches with deposits of USD 3.8 billion.

African Humanities Fellowship Competitions Programme Open

Through a program of fellowship competitions, regional workshops, and peer networking, the African Humanities Program provides support to the humanities in five African countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. The program is supported by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The centerpiece of the program is the distribution of fellowships to African scholars in these countries for work on dissertations, research projects, and scholarly manuscripts. The African Humanities Program will award approximately 40 such fellowships in its 2008-2009 competition. In future years, funding will be available to subsidize the publication of manuscripts completed with fellowships of the African Humanities Program. In coordination with African scholars, ACLS hosts a series of annual meetings in the five African countries participating in the program. These meetings provide opportunities for senior African scholars from a variety of disciplines to collaborate with ACLS representatives in the local design of programs, while giving younger scholars a means to learn about the application process and gain feedback on their project proposals. Through the activities of the African Humanities Program, ACLS promotes local and transnational cooperation among humanities scholars at all stages of their careers, working towards the development of a self-sustaining network of African humanities scholars.  http://www.acls.org/grants/Default.aspx?id=3210

Africa investor and Standard Bank launch Chinese investment magazine in Beijing

Africa investor, a leading international investment communications group and Standard Bank, today launched a dedicated bi-monthly Chinese language pan African investment magazine. The new magazine, published by Africa investor, provides investment news, comment and analysis and is distributed exclusively to several thousand Chinese business and government leaders. The magazine allows Africa investor to facilitate investment partnerships between African and Chinese businesses, particularly in the delivery of infrastructure projects and the lucrative emerging capital market opportunities as the global financial markets slow down. Ai in Mandarin will reach a dynamic new Chinese readership while delivering a unique platform and increased value to the African business and government advertising community seeking Chinese partners.

2,000 Hotel Rooms in Luanda for African Nations Championship

To prepare for the increase in tourism, brought on by the African Nations Championship being held in Angola, approximately 2,000 hotel rooms are being built in Luanda, and an additional 800 rooms and a new hotel are being built in Benguela. The opening of new hotels and tourist facilities will create a variety of lodging and restaurant options for tourists, and will boost the contribution of tourism to the General State Budget.

Zambian Government Strikes Trade Deal with European Commission

Zambia has struck a trade deal with the European Commission (EC) that wall give the southern African nation full access to markets in the European Union (EU). The announcement was made by EU Trade Commission. The 27 member EU has deals with poor countries in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) to replace the former Cotonou trade arrangements deemed illegal by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

2009 East African Young Women's Leadership Programme

Do you want to experience a nine-month –long internship programme (April to November 2009) at a regional women's rights organization based in Kampala, Uganda? Do you want to interact with young women from four countries in the region? Do you want to experience a multicultural networking, educational, empowerment and capacity building? Do you want to be part of the women's movement in Eastern Africa? Then why don't you apply to be one of the fortunate 4 young women to be selected for mentoring and coaching by the Eastern African sub Regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women? You must be a female from Burundi Ethiopia, Rwanda or Uganda between the ages of 20 and 35. The Eastern African Sub-regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI) was formed in 1996 as a mechanism that would facilitate networking within the Eastern African sub Region (Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somali, Tanzania and Uganda) to build on the gains made following the Beijing 4th World Conference on Women. EASSI prioritizes on the 12 critical areas of concern for women identified in the Beijing and the African Platforms for Action. The founding principle of EASSI was to stimulate activism at national, regional and international levels and to make concrete and meaningful change for women of the sub-region. The young women's internship programme provides opportunities for learning, interacting and networking. Its objective is to develop and enhance young women's skills in leadership, gender, lobbying and advocacy, management, report writing and analysis, research and documentation, information management, developing resourceful data bases, website maintenance and resource centre management. In 2008 the young women in this programme came from Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania. The deadline for submission is Friday 13th February 2009 at 1200pm GMT. Website: www.eassi.org

Poverty in South Africa 'is declining'

A new report released by the South African Presidency has found that there has been a reduction in both absolute income poverty, which is the income of poor people, and in relative income poverty, which is the gap between the average income of poor people and the poverty line. The report, entitled "Towards a Fifteen Year Review Synthesis Report", reviews the government's successes as well as shortcomings and challenges over the last 15 years, and investigates the impact of government programmes in improving the lives of South Africans. Various studies have confirmed that social grant support were well targeted and contributed considerably to poverty reduction. Of social grants, the report indicated that 62% of the total went to the poorest 40% of households, and 82% to the poorest 60%. While many poor South Africans were lifting themselves from abject poverty, the rich in South Africa were getting richer, most likely due to access to economic opportunities.

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