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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.

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South Africa's Banking Sector Collaborates on Developing Skilled Women


Banks and micro finance institutions in South Africa have collaborated to create and implement a development programme with the primary objective of building a pool of highly skilled women in banking. Although women hold more than 58% of positions in the banking sector, very few women make it up the corporate ladder into senior and executive management positions. Currently, Black women hold only 4% of executive management positions; Black women hold only 3% of senior management level; 7% at middle management and 17% at junior management level.To assist the banking and micro finance sector to meet Finance Sector Charter targets for human resources, the Bankseta will support the achievement of the Financial Sector Charter targets through focused Women Development Programmes. The Bankseta's Women's Development Programme will run for a three-year period. Forty women are guaranteed participation in the programme each year. To qualify for nomination,candidates needed to be employed at a middle management or professional level; a minimum of 5-7 years work experience; the ability to operate in an environment of multi disciplined teamwork; and excellent communication skills.

Applications for World Bank Young Professionals Program Open

Applications are sought for the World Bank's Young Professionals Program (YPP).The program is a starting point for an exciting career in the World Bank and is designed for highly qualified and motivated young people who demonstrate a commitment to development, supported by academic success, professional achievement, and potential for leadership.Applicants must be 32 years of age or younger when entering the YP Program in September 2008 (born on or after September 30, 1975), hold at least a masters degree (or equivalent), specialize in a field relevant to World Bank operations such as: economics, finance, education, public health, social sciences, engineering, urban planning, and natural resource management and have a minimum of three years of relevant professional experience, or continued academic study at the doctoral level.Fluency in English is also mandatory.Interested candidates may apply on-line until July 15, 2007. www.worldbank.org/careers.

U.S. Population of Color Tops 100 Million

The nation's population of color reached 100.7 million, according to the national and state estimates by race, Latino origin, sex and age released by the U.S. Census Bureau. A year ago, this population totaled 98.3 million. "About one in three U.S. residents is a minority," Census Bureau Director Louis Kincannon said in a statement."To put this into perspective, there are more minorities in this country today than there were people in the United States in 1910. In fact, the minority population in the U.S. is larger than the total population of all but 11 countries."

Afro-Caribbean Parents Urged to Help Boys Take Education Seriously

Launching a charter 'Born to be Great' to promote achievement amongst Afro-Caribbean boys, the UK National Union of Teachers (NUT) has called on parents to take more responsibility for their children's education and urge them to take it seriously. The NUT says that black Caribbean boys are the lowest-achieving ethnic group in England and must be lured away from a culture that was causing mayhem on the streets. The NUT also calls on the government to undertake an inquiry into the impact of street culture on society. Last summer only 23% of black Caribbean boys achieved five A*-C GCSEs, including Maths and English compared to a national average of 44%.

Female College Graduates Earn Less 10 years after graduation.

Women make only 80%of the salaries their male peers do one year after college; after 10 years in the work force, the gap between their pay widens further, according to a study by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation.The study found that 10 years after college, women earn only 69% of what men earn.Even after controlling for hours, occupation, parenthood, and other factors known to affect earnings, the study found that one-quarter of the pay gap remains unexplained. The group said that portion of the gap is "likely due to sex discrimination." Catherine Hill, the organization's director of research, said: "Part of the wage difference is a result of people's choices; another part is employer's assumptions of what people's choices will be. Employers assume that young women are going to leave the work force when they have children, and, therefore, don't promote them."The organization found that women's scholastic performance was not reflected in their compensation. Women have slightly higher grade point averages than men do in every major, including science and math.

Obese Workers Costs Firms More

Obese employees in the USA lost many more workdays and filed twice as many workers' compensation claims, and those cases cost nearly seven times as much as those filed by their slimmer counterparts, according to a report. The average workers' compensation medical claims cost per 100 employees was $51,019 for obese workers and $7,503 for non-obese workers, according to the study, conducted by Duke University researchers and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The report comes as employers are grappling with rising health care and workers' compensation costs, and are focusing on wellness programs and other ways to create a healthier workforce and reduce medical expenses. The study found the most obese workers lost 13 times as many days of work as their colleagues who weighed less. Source: The San Francisco Chronicle

Teaching IT in South African Languages

Language is no longer a barrier to using a computer in South Africa, thanks to a non-profit organisation that has translated a range of computer software into the country's 11 official languages - and created the first all-South African language keyboard. Translate.org.za, which focuses on the localisation of open source software, has released the popular word-processing, spreadsheet and presentation software OpenOffice.org, web browser Mozilla Firefox and e-mail programme Mozilla Thunderbird in all 11 official languages. Overcoming the language barrier means that the more than 20% of South Africans who did not speak fluent English could now use a computer in their own language.Translate.org.za's "South African keyboard" is released as open source software and can be downloaded from the Translate.org.za website. Translate.org.za has also developed spell checkers for all official South African languages.

Professional Exodus Hitting Many UK Cities

An exodus of highly skilled people from more than half of the UK's cities is increasing the class divide and putting weaker cities' economies at risk according to a soon-to-be published academic report by Professor Tony Champion of Newcastle University. The report into migration between 27 city-regions, which is based on the 2001 Census, says that economically weaker regions such as Sheffield, Nottingham and Birmingham are losing a greater proportion of higher managerial and professional workers than any other occupational group. For every ten highly skilled people leaving Nottingham only six arrive compared to over nine low skilled workers migrating in for every ten that leave. However, London saw 13 professional or managerial workers arrive for every ten leaving. Only four of the 26 cities paralleled London in having more skilled workers coming in than moving out.

Fifth Everywoman Awards - Celebrating Female Entrepreneurs

The NatWest Everywoman Awards are now open for applications.The awards celebrate inspirational businesswomen who have achieved significant success, particularly those who have had to overcome adversities such as financial constraints, social disadvantages or skills gaps.The Awards play an invaluable role in both recognising success and inspiring other women to venture into the field of business.The Artemis, Demeter, Athena,Hera categories are open to any female business owner whether they operate as a limited company, sole trader, or in partnership with others.Closing date for entries is Friday 31 August 2007.Application forms can be found at the following web link: http://www.everywoman.co.uk/everywomanAwards/Abouttheawards

New ILO Report on "Equality at Work: Tackling the Challenge"

The second Global Report on discrimination under the follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work examines emerging issues in patterns of workplace discrimination and inequalities and recent policy responses, and outlines the ILO's experience and achievements to date and the challenges it faces. http://tinyurl.com/ys3tp6

Ghana Signs Up for Universal ICT Education

Ghana's Minister of Education, Science and Sports, Papa Owusu Ankomah, has announced that his country's government will introduce universal ICT education into Ghana's core educational system in September. The Minister took the opportunity to make the announcement while opening a training workshop for researchers from both Ghana and neighbouring countries to consider his country's future policy on ICT.

UK Employees in their 40's Seek Ethical Jobs

According to research by Norwich Union, the number of resignations by British workers in their 40's is increasing as people chase fulfilment. It found that 66% of people are "unfulfilled", "miserable" or "drifting" in their jobs, and 52% claim they would happily earn less money in a role that made them feel better about themselves. It says that people start planning for their second careers typically around the age of 36 and found that financial commitments (66%), lack of training/qualifications (34%) and also fear of failure (25%) restricts workers from moving into compassionate careers now. Animal welfare worker, counsellor, yoga teacher, gardener, artist and politician feature on the list of compassionate careers being planned. The ethical and spiritual dimensions of work are more of a priority, and people want to believe their careers contribute towards a better future - not just for themselves but for society as a whole. The survey found the trend, being labelled "Zenployment", has led to 28% of people to call on their current employers to provide them with the opportunity to do unrelated charity, or pro bono work in their field. Source: Recruitment Matters

Ghana's KNUST Takes the Lead in E-Networks

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has become the first tertiary institution in Ghana to acquire the services of e-campus network facility to support learning and research work among students and lecturers. The facility will also serve as a platform for distance learning and enhance research between the university and other academic institutions in Europe and North America through advanced technologies such as the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) aided communications.

Youth Enterprise Game Awards Open

Young people in London are being given the opportunity to develop their business and community project ideas with a new project run by Black Business Initiative (BBI).The Youth Enterprise Game (SLYEG), the brainchild of the organisation's leader, Sunny Lambe, is offering cash prizes to three young people aged 16 to 30 with a winning enterprise or community idea. The winners will also benefit from mentoring and business support to help bring their ideas to fruition.The aim of the project is to encourage young people to develop key business skills, including strategic planning, budget management and leadership, with the hope they will utilise these skills in their everyday lives. The closing date for entries is 30 July 2007 and a panel of enterprise experts will judge applications. For more information about SLYEG: 020 7277 7333 or e-mail info@bbinitiative.com

South Africa Allocates R600 million in Further Education Bursaries

The South African Government has set aside R600 million in bursaries for students at Further Education and Training Colleges in order to significantly contribute to the country's growth targets.The non-repayable bursaries to be awarded over the next three years will help South Africa develop the crucial skills currently required by the country's growing economy, according to the government.This is in line with the objectives of the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa (AsgiSA) and its sub-project, the Joint Acquisition for Priority Skills Development (Jipsa).Under the scheme, FET college students who cannot pay to study at these institutions, which provide crucial skills needed in the economy, will be given financial assistance without being required to repay this after graduation.On top of the R600 million for student bursaries, R700 million has been set aside to boost education levels among the country's teachers.

African Development Bank sets Higher Education strategy

The African Development Bank group has announced a development strategy for higher education, science and technology. The strategy was adopted by the 53 member countries of the bank at a consultative workshop in Accra, Ghana and aims to establish public-private sector partnerships and programmes aimed at developing skills and strengthening science and technology infrastructure in order to bring about institutional and policy reforms. The Group aims to boost research activities on the continent and will mobilise government finance ministers and key partners, including the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) in supporting the plan.

ExxonMobil Plans to Award More than $4 Million to African Nations Battling Disease

The ExxonMobil Foundation has announced the award of a series of grants, totaling more than $4 million, which will support efforts in Angola, Chad, Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria to battle malaria and other infectious diseases. These critical grants will support several organizations actively combating malaria including Safe Blood for Africa, JHPIEGO, Medisend, Africare, Population Services International and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership. Their efforts cover a wide range of tactics in the fight against malaria: training and capacity building; improving accountability in metrics; and providing on-the-ground intervention. A primary goal of ExxonMobil Foundation's Africa Health Initiative is to strengthen the ability of Africans to stop the spread of malaria and treat more effectively the people who are ill with the disease.Since 2000, ExxonMobil has contributed nearly $100 million to African community projects and is committing an additional $10 million this year to the fight against malaria. ExxonMobil is the largest non-pharmaceutical corporate donor to malaria research and development efforts and the largest corporate donor to the U.S. President's Malaria Initiative (PMI).ExxonMobil Foundation is the primary philanthropic arm of the Exxon Mobil Corporation in the United States.

Howard University's President Swygert to Retire

Howard University President H.Patrick Swygert has announced his intention to retire at the end of June 2008.In a memo to the Howard community, Swygert noted several of the university's achievements, including producing Rhodes Scholars,Fulbright Scholars and a Marshall Scholar; raising $250 million in a successful capital campaign ahead of schedule and recruiting 142 new tenure-track faculty and 17 others with tenure since 2001.Swygert said he plans to work on a number of important initiatives during the upcoming academic year and work with the Howard community to assure a smooth transition to new leadership. Source: DiverseEducation.com

UK Points Based Migrants System to be introduced in 2008

A new points-based system aimed at ensuring that only migrants with in-demand skills enter the UK will come into operation in the New Year, according to UK Immigration Minister Liam Byrne.The measures are intended to enable the British Government to manage migration to the UK more effectively and tackle abuse.The new system, which will allow migrants to come to the UK under one of five tiers replacing more than 80 existing routes of entry, will begin its rollout at the beginning of 2008. Tier 1 of the system, which caters for highly skilled migrants such as scientists and entrepreneurs, will be launched at the beginning of 2008; Tier 2, targeting skilled workers with a job offer and Tier 5, for youth mobility and temporary workers, will come on line in the third quarter of 2008; and Tier 4, for students, will follow at the beginning of 2009. The Government will also introduce a system of sponsorship by employers and educational institutions. Under the new system, would-be migrants will be awarded points based on aptitude, experience and age as well as the level of need in any given sector, to allow the UK to respond flexibly to changes in the labour market.The new system also aims at ending employment routes to the UK for low-skilled workers from outside the EU except in cases of short-term shortages.Source: Africa News

Fortune's Top 20 US Employers for New US Graduates

Experience Inc.,an online career adviser and recruitment database firm that serves as a liaison between US colleges and universities and the companies that seek to employ recent graduates, has helped Fortune Magazine to compile a list of companies which offer some of the best jobs in the US to new graduates. Lehman Brothers tops the final list, with PricewaterhouseCoopers taking third place and Microsoft at number 13.Source: Fortune magazine

Ghana launches New Education Reform Programme

Ghana's President Kufuor has launched a new Education Reform Programme that proposes eleven years of Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) and four years of Senior High School (SHS) formerly Senior Secondary School (SSS). According to GNA reports, the new system will be implemented from September 2007. It starts with two years of kindergarten for pupils at age four, six years of primary school at which the pupil attains age 12, to be followed by three years of Junior High School (JHS) till the pupil is 15 years.After the JHS, the student may choose to go into different streams of the four years of Senior High School which would offer General Education with electives in General, Business, Technical, Vocational and Agricultural Education options for entry into Tertiary Institutions or the job market. President Kufuor said the objectives of the reform included to prepare the appropriate human resource in the form of skilled, technologically advanced and disciplined workforce with the right ethics to service the growing economy.He said the Reform placed emphasis on Mathematics, Science and Technology, but to develop a well rounded society, the Arts and Social Sciences would continue to receive the necessary support in the curriculum. Source: Africa News

National Consortium for Study in Africa Resources

The National Consortium for Study in Africa provides an extensive list of volunteer, research and work opportunities in Africa according to organisations that are predominantly based, but not limited to, the United States.http://www.isp.msu.edu/ncsa/volteer.htm

African Economic Outlook 2007 Launched

The African Economic Outlook is a unique tool combining the expertise of the OECD Development Centre and the African Development Bank to understand the economic and social developments of African countries. Five editions have already been published and the sixth edition was launched in May 2007 at the Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank in Shanghai.The Outlook provides comprehensive and comparable data and analysis of 31 African economies (compared to 22 countries in the third edition), accounting for 86% of Africa's population and 91% of its economic output. This year's edition focuses on drinking water and sanitation.

South African Business Leaders and Government Join Forces to Tackle Crime

The South African Government and business leaders in the country have established an Anti-Crime Leadership Forum to fight crime.Co-chaired by Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula and Business representative, Derek Cooper, the Forum consists of four working groups focusing on various strategies to deal with the question of crime. The groups, according to the Department of Safety and Security, will look at mobilising the society against crime, reducing violent organised crime, improving the criminal justice system and enhancing delivery effectiveness. Some of the key activities from businesses and government in the group include crime operations across provinces, establishing operational control centres, improvement of arrest, investigation, prosecution capabilities and processes within government. Other activities are the development and upgrading of the closed circuit television systems to support crime prevention, law enforcement, and prosecution.

Africa Union Summit to Work towards a 'United States of Africa'

African leaders are to meet in Ghana for an African Union summit in June to discuss ways of working towards a "United States of Africa", the bloc said in a statement on Friday. The summit, from June 25 to July 3, will be devoted to a "grand debate on the union government", the statement said. "The ultimate goal of the African Union is full political and economic integration leading to the United States of Africa," it said. The goal of political and economic integration DisplayDCAd('220x240','1',''); Â of African countries has existed since the AU began in 2002, but the issue divides the body's 53 members. The meeting will also see the appointment of new AU commissioners and a new commission president to replace Alpha Oumar Konare, who has announced he will step down. It will also discuss regional conflicts, notably in Darfur and Somalia, where the pan-African body has deployed a vanguard force of about 1 500 Ugandan peacekeepers. Ghana currently holds the bloc's rotating leadership. The AU, which replaced the Organisation of African Unity in 2002, comprises 53 African territories and aims to promote political, social and economic development as well as security on the continent.

Mauritian Prime Minister Launches Nepad E-Schools

The Mauritian Prime Minister, Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam, launched the NEPAD e-Schools Demonstration Project on 3 May 2007 at Belle Rose State Secondary School,in Plaine Wilhems District, in southeastern Mauritius. The project is a joint venture of the Mauritian Government, Cisco Consortium, Microsoft Consortium, and NEPAD e- Africa Commission. The launch, which covers six schools across the country, makes Mauritius the eighth country to launch the project after Uganda, Ghana, Lesotho, Kenya, Rwanda, Egypt and South Africa.

New Nigerian Law Establishes IT Development Agency

A bill establishing the Nigerian National Information Technology Development Agency has been signed into law. Called the National Information and Technology Development Act 2007, the law empowers the agency to oversee the development of IT in Nigeria and gives legal recognition to NITDA, which was created as a unit of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology since 2001, but had been operating without an enabling law, thereby limiting its effectiveness.The lack of legal backing for NITDA has been identified as one of the major reasons for the inadequate funding of the agency and the subsequent limited effectiveness it had exerted on the IT industry in Nigeria. Besides recognizing NITDA as a legal entity, the bill also establishes the National Information Technology Development Fund.This fund would be financed partly by contribution of one per cent of the annual operational profit that IT firms contribute to a common pull for the development of the Nigerian IT sector.

Africa Thesis Award 2007

If you are interested in Africa and have you written your Masters thesis on an African-related subject, the African Studies Centre (ASC), the Netherlands institute for Southern Africa (NiZA) and the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) are offering the chance to win 4000 in The Africa Thesis Award. The deadline for the submission of theses is 15 June 2007.

Internship Opportunities in Human Rights and Development

Human Rights Activist Network provides a link to Internships, Employment, Volunteering and Travel Opportunities in Human Rights and Development on their website.http://www.webcom.com/hrin/worktrav.html Source: Pambazuka News

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