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Swiss Offer Support for NEPAD ICT

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), has signed a grant agreement with NEPAD e-Africa Commission, through the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), to support the commission’s information and communications technology (ICT) activities. In the agreement, SDC provides US $1,428,000 in a three-year grant. The NEPAD e-Africa Commission was set up to manage the structured development of the ICT sector on the African continent, by developing policies and broad ICT strategies and by initiating projects. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is the international development agency within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation. The Swiss Agency has provided the NEPAD e-Africa Commission’s start-up support since 2004 that enabled the commission to recruit staff and develop the institution.

South Africa invests in Science and Engineering Graduates

South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology will be investing R10 million in a joint internship programme designed for Science, Engineering and Technology graduates. In partnership with the National Research Foundation, the Department hopes to bridge the gap between theory and the workplace. The internship programme, which commenced in 2005 started with 49 students providing employment skills, mentoring and coaching. The Department intends to increase the pool of human resources available to the science councils, science institutions and the National System of Innovation, while responding to national priorities. The programme is also aimed at providing university graduates across different specialisations with exposure to related study fields. So far, 165 unemployed graduates have been placed in the Department and associated science institutions and councils this financial year.

Study Finds Blacks Lawyers Lag at Major Law Firms

According to the New York Times, a study by Prof Richard H Sander finds that while black lawyers are heavily recruited by major law firms and are well represented among new associates they are far less likely than whites to remain at firms or make Partner. The study also finds that elite firms ensure diversity by hiring minority lawyers with much lower grades, a double standard that may set them up to fail later. The findings have set off a debate within the profession. Women at large firms have slightly better grades than men and are also underrepresented as new partners, but do not report lack of mentoring; Source: New York Times

SC Johnson and RTI International Collaborate on Malaria Prevention Campaign in South Africa

More than half a million South Africans living in malaria-affected areas are closer to being protected from one of the world’s most deadly diseases due to the efforts of a malaria prevention program sponsored by SC Johnson’s Raid pest control brand and supported by RTI International. The program – “Healthy Children, Healthy Homes” – is a collaborative effort involving South Africa’s National Department of Health, Medical Research Council and three Provincial Malaria Control Programs. To date, it has reached 600,000 South Africans with health messages for malaria prevention and treatment. Based on an assessment conducted during the program, community member understanding of malaria prevention options increased seven times and recognition of the signs and symptoms of malaria increased nine times following participation in the education program. SC Johnson launched the Healthy Children, Healthy Homes initiative in 2004 in three South African provinces with endemic malaria - Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Kwazulu-Natal. The initiative delivers malaria education to schoolchildren and community members in order to improve knowledge about the disease, teach prevention methods, identify symptoms and encourage those with malaria to comply with prescribed medical treatment. Source: CSR Wire

Conrad Hilton Foundation Grants $1 Million to CARE to Support AIDS Orphans in Zambia

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has announced a grant of $1 million to CARE for its work supporting orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS in Zambia. CARE has developed an innovative program in Zambia to address the special needs of children aged 2-6 along with their caregivers. Its holistic approach includes nutrition, health, cognitive development and psychosocial support, and this grant will benefit 3,500 children and their caregivers. The funding is expected to provide a foundation for 3,500 children in their formative years between ages 2 to 6. Zambia is one of the countries hardest hit by the AIDS pandemic. UNAIDS estimates there are more than 700,000 orphans and vulnerable children as a result, with about 50 percent under nine years of age. Source: CSR Wire

Pay Packages for Presidents Rise at Public Colleges

Presidents of some of the nation’s biggest public universities are closing the salary gap with their rivals at private institutions, with the number of top executives earning more than $500,000 nearly doubling, according to an annual survey of compensation by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The survey also found that seven presidents of private colleges, universities and medical schools currently receive more than $1 million in compensation.  The latest survey of 853 colleges, universities and specialized schools for subjects like medicine found that 112 paid their presidents at least $500,000. The climb in income is driven largely by the greater competition for experienced university executives as the baby boom generation retires and by institutions’ increasing willingness to poach.  Source: The New York Times

Hewlett Packard and UNESCO combat African Brain Drain

Hewlett Packard (HP) and UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) have announced the launch of a new project "Piloting Solutions for Reversing Brain Drain into Brain Gain for Africa", which aims to help to reduce brain drain in Africa by providing grid computing technology to universities in Algeria, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Zimbabwe.  The project was launched in Paris and aims to re-establish links between researchers who have stayed in their native countries and those that have left, connecting scientists to international colleagues, research networks and funding opportunities.  This new African Project builds on the success of the UNESCO-HP initiative launched in 2003 in seven countries in South East Europe to alleviate brain drain in the region.  After its first two-year implementation phase, the project may be extended to cover other countries.

A Decline in Foreign Students in the USA Is Reversed

According to the New York Times, the number of new foreign students coming to the United States grew this school year, after several years of weakness that followed the terrorist attacks of 2001, according to a survey released by the Institute of International Education.  The institute, in a separate report, also found that the number of American students studying abroad hit a record 205,983 in 2004-5, an 8% increase over the previous year and more than double the number in the 1994-95 school year. According to the survey, conducted by the institute and other education groups, the number of new international students at American colleges and universities increased 8% this fall over last, to 142,923.  More than half of the approximately 900 campuses that participated in the survey said they had seen increases in the number of foreign students this fall. Educators have long argued that being able to attract the best students from around the world is mutually beneficial to universities and students, and helps strengthen American research programs. For the fifth consecutive year, the University of Southern California led the United States in attracting international students, enrolling 6,881 in 2005-6. More than 140 campuses reported having at least 1,000 foreign students. Source: The New York Times

Female Medical Students outnumber Male Counterparts in South Africa

More women are enrolling at the undergraduate level at most medical schools in South Africa, research by the Human Sciences Research Council has found. The research found that female medical students began to outnumber their male counterparts in 2000 and, by 2003, they had increased to nearly 55 percent and formed even greater proportions at some medical schools. The research further found that the numbers of doctors registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa rose to 11 percent overall in the period 2002 to 2006. The research concluded that there was a need to train and employ more doctors.

Bainbridge Graduate Institute’s MBA in Sustainable Business Program Ranked Top

Bainbridge Graduate Institute, according to Net Impact’s Business as Unusual: The 2006 Student Guide to Graduate Business Programs, ranks #1 in sustainable business education.  Net Impact is an international organization of more than 10,000 business leaders, experts, entrepreneurs and students committed to using business to make a positive impact on our world. Students at each of 89 business schools, including 22 of the top 25 business schools as ranked by the Wall Street Journal, were surveyed on 20 questions. Bainbridge was top in preparation for ethical and socially responsible leadership, environmental sustainability, corporate social responsibility and in community development and student helpfulness. Net Impact’s, Business as Unusual:The 2006 Student Guide to Graduate Business Programs can be downloaded at:

Kenyan Diaspora Forum Holds Event in London

A major investment forum for Kenyans living in the UK, Europe and beyond entitled ‘Kenyans for Kenya’ took place in London in December 2006. The Forum was jointly organized by the Commonwealth Secretariat, Governance and Institutional Development Division (GIDD), the Kenya High Commission in the United Kingdom and The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) to mobilize Kenyans living in the United Kingdom and Europe for greater investment in their home country. 

$461 Million Development Aid Package for Mali

Senior officials from the United States and the Republic of Mali signed a $461 million development Compact in November. The Compact is designed to reduce poverty in the West African nation.  President Amadou Touré of Mali and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice witnessed the ceremony for the Compact that was approved by the Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation in October. The MCC Compact aims to reduce poverty through economic growth by increasing production and productivity of agriculture and small- and medium-sized enterprises, as well as expanding Mali’s access to markets and trade. The investment will support the development of key infrastructure and policy reforms by addressing the country’s constraints to growth by capitalizing on two of Mali’s major assets, the Niger River which can be used for irrigated agriculture and the Bamako-Sénou International Airport, gateway for regional and international trade. The largest of the compact’s components is the $234.6 million Alatona irrigation project, which is expected to increase food production and productivity, improve land tenure security, modernize irrigated production systems, and mitigate the uncertainty from subsistence, rain-fed agriculture. Through this Compact, 40,000 Malian farmers and laborers as well as 100,000 school-aged children and their family members will have greater access to education, health services and markets. Over 50,000 workers will have formal employment because of improved opportunities in manufacturing and trade.

Banks Team Up to Support Women Entrepreneurs Worldwide

Fifteen banks from around the world met in Edinburgh in November to exchange best practices on supporting women entrepreneurs and ways of reaching into this highly profitable market. For the first time, banks from developing countries participated.  A number of banks from developing countries that recently joined the Global Banking Alliance for Women took part in the summit, including Access Bank, Nigeria; DFCU, Uganda; CIB Egypt; WDB, South Africa; and Exim Bank, Tanzania.  The IFC’s Director for Environment and Social Development called on alliance members to use their partnership and advocate for governments to create enabling environments for women entrepreneurs in developing countries. Recent data shows that women across the world are starting new businesses at increasing rates. In some countries, the percentage growth for women-owned businesses is actually greater than for private firms as a whole. But access to finance remains a critical issue for new and growing businesses owned by women. Hence, in addition to financial institutions paying greater attention to women as a market, many government agencies and private sector groups have begun to develop an increasing range of programs, including loans, loan guarantees, loan pools, financial literacy training, and technical assistance to serve this growing market.

Swiss University Announces Young Researchers Conference on Grounding Ethical Practice in Business and Professional Work

The Lugano Summer School of Systems Design at the University of Italian Switzerland in Lugano, Switzerland, has announced a Young Researchers' Conference on "Business Ethics, Professional Ethics, and Ethics of Whole Systems." This international two-week event will take place at the University's Lugano campus in Southern Switzerland from 18 to 29 June 2007, and is organized in cooperation with the Business Ethics Center of Corvinus University in Budapest, Hungary. The format of "Young Researchers Conferences" combines the broadness of inputs offered by a conference with the didactic guidance offered by a summer school. Many leading edge ideas on ethical practice will be presented. The conference is particularly for those who feel that calls for ethical practice often lack clear theoretical and methodological foundations and are not translated into practical tools. The event is open to mature students at the Masters or Ph.D. level as well as to practicing researchers or professionals in applied disciplines such as business and public sector management, information systems design, industrial and systems engineering, environmental design and management, operational research, consultancy, public policy analysis, social planning, evaluation research, and others. Admission is limited and requires formal application. Application is through the Registration Form in the School web site and the application deadline is 31 January 2007.

Women Still Sparse on UK Boards

Women remain few and far between on UK boards, despite making up 46 per cent of the overall workforce, according to the 2006 Female FTSE Report from Cranfield School of Management.  The total number of female–held directorships fell from 121 in 2005 to 117 in 2006. Only 15 of these were executive-director roles, out of 391 such posts. Across all FTSE 100 companies, 53 had women on their executive committees, 30 had all-male committees and the remainder did not reveal the gender mix of their senior executive team. The report did show women achieving non-executive director (NED) positions at a slow but steady pace. The research highlights a glass door to the executive boardroom, with a significant lack of women in the senior executive committee, the next generation of female executive and non-executive directors. The UK Deputy Minister for Women, Meg Munn, commenting on the report, emphasised the businesses benefits of appointing more female directors.  Source:PM Online

International Reward and Recognition Research Report

A research report, based on new research by Professor Stephen Perkins, examines how multinational organisations are using reward and recognition to support international business strategy. This publication is aimed at practitioners and reward consultants working in an international environment. It focuses on reward strategy and implementation in today's ever increasingly diverse global market.  Published: October 2006 ISBN: 1843981769

Second International Conference on Migrant Remittances held in London

People in developing countries do more to help themselves than they are given credit for, despite the desperate images of a poverty-stricken Africa projected by aid agencies and charitable organisations. There has never been better proof of that fact than the new report by the World Bank into migration and development. It has mapped remittances into developing countries since 2000 and over that period, there has been a 107 per cent increase of remittances from migrant workers. Remittances to Sub Saharan Africa stand at $ 7 billion, but the World Bank acknowledges that due to a lack of data on remittance flows to the region it is likely that this figure is grossly understated.” Overall, since 2000 worldwide remittances have doubled from $132 billion to an estimated $268 million by the end of 2006 and the report by the World Bank predicts that remittances to developing countries will rise to almost $ 200 million by the end of this year. 

Global Compact and ISO Sign Memorandum of Understanding

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Global Compact Office. The purpose of this Memorandum is to encourage cooperation and mutual support between ISO and the Global Compact Office. Specifically, both parties agreed to collaborate extensively on the development, promotion and support of the new ISO International Standard on Social Responsibility, which will be consistent with the Global Compact’s ten principles. Launched in 2000, the UN Global Compact brings business together with UN agencies, labor, civil society and governments to advance ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. Through the power of collective action, the Global Compact seeks to mainstream these ten principles in business activities around the world and to catalyze actions in support of broader UN goals. With over 3,000 participating companies from more than 100 countries, it is the world’s largest voluntary corporate citizenship initiative.

Caterpillar Inc. Donates $1.2 Million to Opportunity International

Opportunity International has announced a philanthropic grant of $1.2 million from the Caterpillar Foundation. Caterpillar has provided a dozen moderate-sized grants to Opportunity International since 1994, and this latest donation represents the largest gift ever by Caterpillar to a microfinance organization. The grant will assist Opportunity International in expanding initiatives in China and six African nations. A pioneer in microfinance since 1971, and today one of the largest microfinance organizations, Opportunity International offers small business loans, insurance, banking services and business training to the poorest of the working poor in 28 countries worldwide.  Approximately $750,000 of the Caterpillar Inc. funding is allocated to support Opportunity International's programs in China. The remainder of the grant will be distributed equally to Opportunity International's programs in Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Mozambique, Malawi and Rwanda. In addition to providing credit in the form of micro loans, Opportunity International has opened banks in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa that feature innovations such as biometric fingerprint identification technology, mobile ATMs, savings accounts, low-cost money transfers and health, life and even crop insurance for the poorest of the working poor. The Africa portion of the grant will help more than 28,000 poor people, bringing the total expected impact of the Caterpillar grant to benefit more than 53,000 workers, entrepreneurs and their family members.

Global Executive Survey reveals nearly 80% Believe Responsible Companies Recover Faster after Crisis

A substantial majority of global business executives (79 %) surveyed believe that companies with strong corporate responsibility track records recover their reputations faster post-crisis than those with weaker records. Over 50% believe corporate responsibility is a critical driver of overall reputation. The survey, Safeguarding Reputation, was conducted in 11 markets by global public relations firm Weber Shandwick with KRC Research. Global business executives were also asked to rate factors that build company reputation today. Over one-half (55%) surveyed report that being recognized as committed to corporate responsibility contributes “a lot” to a company’s overall reputation. European and Asia Pacific executives were more likely than their North American counterparts to agree on the importance of corporate responsibility in driving reputation.

South Africa’s IMC scoops Africa Business 'Oscar'

The International Marketing Council of South Africa (IMC) was named Investment Promotion Agency of the Year at the 2006 Africa Investor Awards. This is the second year running that the IMC has scooped the award, in recognition for its work in promoting South Africa as open for business. Dubbed "Africa's Business Oscars", the annual awards honour the continent's investment achievements. The 2006 awards ceremony - the third year that the awards have been made - took place in Nairobi, Kenya. In May, European readers of The Economist voted Brand South Africa adverts developed by the IMC in the 10 most memorable adverts. The IMC came into being in 2000 to create a positive, united image for South Africa. Using the slogan "South Africa: Alive with Possibility," its mission is to articulate a brand for South Africa in order to attract tourism, trade and investment to the country.

Linking school and work in Ghana and Tanzania

The lack of preparedness of school leavers for the world of work is a long-standing and controversial issue. In countries such as Ghana and Tanzania, where the school system has expanded dramatically post-independence, many young people have faced difficulties finding jobs suited to their skills. A report from SACOST in Ghana, funded by DFID, investigates the link between academic curricula and the workplace in Ghana and Tanzania. The authors note that though there have been attempts to reform the educational systems in both countries, these have not addressed the gap between school and work, especially with formal employment so scarce, and employers have often complained about the mismatch between academic curricula and the skills required in the workplace. The problem is worse in developing countries like Ghana and Tanzania, where public sector jobs are no longer widely available. School leavers often find that they are forced to take up jobs in the informal sector, which their formal, academic education has hardly prepared them for. The authors conducted interviews with pupils, parents, teachers, teacher trainers, administrators and employers. ‘Bridging the Gap: Linking School and the World of Work’, SACOST, University of Education: Winneba, by Peter J. Towse, Jophus Anamuah-Mensah, Paul S.D. Mushi and David W. Kent, 2005

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