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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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Tanzania to Receive 100 scholarships a year from India


The Indian government has increased its annual quota for scholarships offered to Tanzanians to 100 to help with vocational training in the east African country. The scholarships, offered by the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Training Program, have been funding training programs in information technology, agriculture, rural and urban development, banking and financial management, small and medium enterprises, mass communication and trade. With the increased quota of scholarships, Tanzania now has the largest number of trainees benefiting from the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Training Program. Tanzania already has more than 1,200 graduates from the Indian training program. Some 1,000 people from around the world are trained each year through the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Training Program.Source:chinaview.cn

South Africa to Launch New Work Permit system to ease Hiring of Foreign Skilled Workers

The Home Affairs Department has announced that 34 000 work permits will be available for foreign citizens who possess skills that are scarce in South Africa. The new quota system is intended to make it easier for companies to employ foreign workers with skills from 53 different categories that are considered scarce in South Africa. 50,000 additional skilled workers are needed over the next five years. The new quota system will make 34 825 work permits available across 53 different categories of scarce and critical skills. Applicants with the appropriate qualifications and experience will be able to secure a work permit without first having a job in South Africa.

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.

UK Introduces New International Graduates Scheme

A new program that will enable international students to stay in the UK for a year to work after completing their studies was launched on 1st May. The program called the International Graduates Scheme (IGS) will replace the Science and Engineering Graduates Scheme, and will enable non-EEA students who have successfully completed and obtained a degree, Master's degree, PhD, or postgraduate certificate or diploma on or after 1st May 2007 to work in the UK for up to 12 months upon completion of their studies. If the students want to remain in the UK beyond this time, they can switch into an appropriate immigration category to pursue their career, provided they meet the relevant requirements. During their leave under IGS, participants can take any type of employment or self-employment. The students who complete their course on or after 1st May 2007 can apply regardless of which course they studied. Those who have been sponsored by a government or international scholarship agency will need to obtain written permission from their sponsor before applying for IGS. According to the UK Government, the new changes will help ensure Britain continues to attract students who contribute so much to the UK's economic and cultural life. Allowing them to work in the UK for a year will provide them with valuable work experience to augment the knowledge and skills they have acquired at UK universities and colleges and allow UK employers to benefit from skilled people who have gained UK qualifications and have experience of living in the UK. Source: Africa News

Johannesburg Opens Helpdesk for Migrants

Johannesburg has opened a migrant helpdesk to provide legal migrants and asylum seekers with information on basic services such as housing, education and healthcare in the city. The helpdesk, which has been running since November, complements rather than replaces existing immigration facilities. Johannesburg Mayor Amos Masondo, who officially opened the helpdesk, said the city is committed to ensuring the welfare of foreign residents. He recognized the diversity of the city, saying that rapid urbanisation and accompanying migration had become part of the Johannesburg landscape and that migrants contribute to the cultural diversity of and assist to create such a vibrant city. Diversity, although an urban strength, should allow migration to be properly managed. The helpdesk provides foreign residents with information on basic services and puts them in touch with non-governmental organisations that assist migrants and asylum seekers. Source: City of Johannesburg

Howard University's President Swygert to Retire

Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert has announced his plans 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. A search committee is being formed to begin the search for Howard's 16th president. Source: Diverse Education.com

Female Career Progression Hindered by Family Commitments

According to an online survey conducted by Accenture of 201 business executives in mid-to-senior management positions, the top two factors chosen most frequently as career hindering by females are the need to need to devote energy to children/family and gender - 26% of women believe the former plays a key role in limiting their achievement, compared to 15% of men.. Women comprised 65% and men 35% of respondents. Other key findings were that twice as many women than men believe their gender is career hindering- 20% of women, compared to ten per cent of men. Gender ranked 11th on the list of barriers to achievement for men. When asked about career progression just under a quarter of women saw themselves reaching the very top level when they first started out in their careers, and this number has not changed over time. With regard to work/life balance, Accenture's findings indicate that women are significantly more likely than men to find it challenging to balance personal and professional matters. Women are more likely to consider leaving the workforce for longer than a year. Aside from designated maternity leave, 38% of women compared to 26% of men have seriously considered leaving the workforce for longer than a year. Furthermore, women are more likely to work fewer hours because of becoming mothers.

Survey reveals More Women Drop out of Senior Management

A report based on figures from PricewaterhouseCoopers Monks pay database which records pay benchmarking information on over 10,000 UK management roles reveals that in 2002, around 38% of senior manager level posts in the FTSE 350 were occupied by women, but this has now sunk to just 22%. The report breaks down management into six levels of seniority and the departure of senior manager females is mirrored for heads of function, the next level up. At the most senior level, things are moving in the opposite direction but progress is painfully slow. The ranks of FTSE 350 female full-time chairmen or chief executives have grown, but can still be counted on one hand. One possible reason for this is the growing cost of childcare. There is also evidence that more women are going into business for themselves. The number of self-employed females in the UK recently rose above a million for the first time according to the Labour Force Survey. The number of businesses that are wholly or predominantly owned by women has risen to 17% based on the latest DTI Small Business Survey.

Harvard Class of 2011 Admits Beat Lowest Odds

According to the Harvard Crimson, people stand a better chance of surviving a particularly fatal strain of the Ebola virus than getting into Harvard College. This year fewer than 9% of applicants were accepted to the Class of 2011, according to figures from the Admissions Office. Last year 9.3% were accepted. The group of 2,058 was picked from 22,955 applicants and represents the most socio-economically and racially diverse group accepted to Harvard and, as acceptance rate continues to fall, minority representation rises slightly. Slight increases resulted in record highs for minority groups, with a pool that is 10.7 percent African American, 19.6 percent Asian American, 10.1 percent Latino, and 1.5 percent Native American. Meanwhile, the percentage of female admits fell by about one percent to 50.5 percent, and the percentage of international students rose slightly, from 8.7 to 9.1 percent. In total, foreign citizens, students with dual citizenship with the U.S. and another country, and U.S. permanent residents make up roughly 19 percent of the admitted class, about the same as last year. Source: The Harvard Crimson

Nominations Open for 2007 HR Africa Award

Nominations are open for the 2007 HR Africa Award. The HR Africa Award is an award given by the Institute for International Research (IIR) and is designed to reward HR Professionals and their HR department for moving away from the historical Administration Officer, to the new-age Business partner/strategic HR department. As HR moves more to being a business asset, the Award recognises the growth and changes the function is undergoing for the organisation. Ingrid Gabler, HR Director from KPMG at HR Africa 2006, won the HR Africa 2006 Award. Nominations for this award for 2007 can be sent to Stella Tselchous stselchous@iir.co.za. http://www.hr-africa.com/award.html

UK Employers failing on Employee Development

Employers do not provide the right career development support for staff despite having the best intentions, research has found. Only a third (30 per cent) of nearly 1,000 UK employees surveyed by HR consultancy Blessing White felt their employers' existing approaches to career development were hitting the mark, even though almost half (48 per cent) believed their firm was committed to helping them achieve their personal goals. The research, State of the Career, identified printed resources, career centres and online communities as the least useful tools in supporting career progression. The most effective methods were those that were personalised to meet employees' needs, such as training workshops and secondments (27 per cent) and career coaches and consultants (26 per cent). For a copy of the report, email :blessingwhite@midnight.co.uk Source: People Management

NEPAD e-Schools to be launched in South Africa

The South African Government, HP Consortium, Cisco Consortium, ORACLE Consortium, and NEPAD e-Africa Commission have launched the NEPAD e-Schools demonstration project at Maripe Secondary School in Mpumalanga Province. The launch, which will cover six schools across the country, makes South Africa the seventh country to launch the project after Uganda, Ghana, Lesotho, Kenya, Rwanda, and Egypt. The NEPAD e-Schools project falls under the auspices of the NEPAD e-Africa Commission, the information and communication technology task team responsible for developing the NEPAD ICT programme and implementing related projects. First announced in 2003 at the Africa Summit of the World Economic Forum in Durban, South Africa the NEPAD e-Schools project focuses on providing end-to-end ICT solutions that will connect schools across Africa to the NEPAD e-Schools network and the Internet. Solutions also include the provision of content and learning material and the establishment of health points at schools. In each country, the programme aims to transform African secondary schools into NEPAD e-Schools within five years of implementation start date and all African primary schools within 10 years of implementation start date. In total, more than 600,000 schools across the continent will enjoy the benefits of ICT and connectivity to the NEPAD e-Schools satellite network. Source: Nepad

Lesotho and Cameroon Join African Red Cross

Two new countries, Lesotho and Cameroon, have joined the New Partnership for African Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (NEPARC), of which Fritz Institute is a founder and enabling partner. NEPARC also recently announced the appointment of Mr. Kebour Ghenna as its Executive Director. Mr. Ghenna, an accomplished Ethiopian executive with deep experience in the corporate and humanitarian aid sectors in Africa, will be charged with leading the expansion of NEPARC membership, fundraising and the addition of new programs. Fritz Institute is a non-profit dedicated to improving global disaster relief by creating innovative approaches to ensure help arrives when and where it is needed most. Source: The Fritz Institute

Guide for Financing Business Growth Offers Advice for Women Business Owners

For the first time, years of research on the business practices of women business owners has been distilled into an accessible and comprehensive guide to obtaining and strategically using capital to grow a business. Financing Business Growth: Proven Strategies for Women Business Owners from Women Business Owners provides not only the stories of successful women entrepreneurs but also dos and don'ts, ideas, resources and an overview of the appropriate options for financing growth. KeyBank, a longstanding sponsor of the Center for Women's Business Research, underwrote the guide through its women business program, Key4Women. The Center for Women's Business Research has been tracking women entrepreneurs' access to and use of capital for almost two decades. The guide provides all women entrepreneurs the opportunity to tap into the wisdom and knowledge of the thousands of women included in our research who can show the way to business growth. Women business owners featured in the guide exemplified what the research found regarding success strategies for obtaining capital which included: consulting with professional business advisers, establishing ongoing relationships with their banks, and utilizing financial records to measure their status on a regular basis. The full report, Financing Business Growth: Proven Strategies for Women Business Owners from Women Business Owners, may be purchased from the Center for Women’s Business Research. info@womensbusinessresearch.org.

NEPAD and DBSA sign Partnership on African Centres of Excellence

A partnership agreement to develop a framework and criteria for the establishment of five African centres of excellence has been signed by the NEPAD Secretariat and the Knowledge Management Africa programme of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA/KMA). The DBSA/KMA and NEPAD Secretariat will provide financial support for a research project on the development of the framework, which will build on work done by other institutions subscribing to an African renaissance. The DBSA/KMA has pledged to release R1 million towards the partial funding of the research. The second phase of the project will include raising additional funding for investigating the availability of resources and what is on the ground within the five regions, and how the identified centres will be sustained. The broad objective is to develop Africa to become a region free of poverty that experiences sustainable growth and development through key institutional, technical, knowledge and governance capabilities and mechanisms. At the same time, the aim is to raise the profile of knowledge as a key factor in the development of appropriate solutions for Africa's challenges and problems. The signing of the partnership agreement follows a proposal for developing a conceptual framework and criteria for African centres of excellence as a collaborative project between the Centre for African Renaissance Studies (CARS) at the University of South Africa, the NEPAD Secretariat and DBS. Source: Nepad

Acceptances for US Ivy League Colleges at a Record Low

Spring 2007 has been the most selective spring in modern memory at America's elite schools, according to college admissions officers. More applications poured into top schools this admissions cycle than in any previous year on record and rejection letters have overwhelmingly outnumbered the acceptances. Harvard turned down 1,100 student applicants with perfect 800 scores on the SAT math exam. With an acceptance rate of 9 percent. The university called that "the lowest admit rate in Harvard's history." The low acceptance rates this year were a result of an avalanche of applications to top schools, which college admissions officials attributed to three factors. First, a demographic bulge is working through the nation's population - the children of the baby boomers are graduating from high school in record numbers. Another factor is that more high school students are enrolling in college immediately after high school. In the 1970s, less than half of all high school graduates went directly to college, compared with more than 60 percent today, said David Hawkins, a director at the National Association of College Admission Counseling. The third trend driving the frantic competition is that the average college applicant applies to many more colleges than in past decades. Multiple applications per student exponentially crowds the college admissions environment. Source: New York Times Online

ECOSOCC to Hold Elections to General Assembly

The Interim Standing Committee of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) of the African Union has announced that it will hold elections in all Member States of the AU between June and December 2007 to elect one hundred and thirty (130) Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to its General Assembly. The representatives will be drawn from national, regional and continental Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), social and professional groups, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), as well as cultural groups. Applicants may participate in the process either as candidates for election or members of the Electoral College. In order to ensure a democratic election with the widest involvement of the African people, the African Union Commission has also appealed to all Members States and the African Civil Society Community to assist in the mobilization of African people in their respective countries and regions to participate actively in the forthcoming elections, so as to seize the historic opportunity offered by ECOSOCC to add their voices to the decision-making processes of the African Union. Additional information and other details regarding the election can be obtained from both the AU and the ECOSOCC websites (www.africa-union.org and www.ecosocc.org). The ECOSOCC is an advisory organ of the African Union, which supports the promotion of an effective partnership between African governments and the African civil society community.

Dutch Business University to Offers MBA Scholarships to South Africans

Nyenrode Business University, one of the oldest and most prestigious business schools in Europe, is offering South Africans the opportunity to apply for one of 25 Cedo Nulli Scholarships as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations. South Africans applying must meet specific criteria, such as writing a business plan or giving a presentation on entrepreneurship. All of the scholarships provide the winners with a personal coach to guide them throughout their intensive MBA studies. The International MBA is a full-time accredited programme that lasts for 13 months, featuring international modules and geared towards globally minded successful business leaders and managers.

Africa Needs Improved Levels and Numbers of Secondary School Graduates

According to the World Bank, African countries must find ways to deliver more and better secondary school graduates. The continent will need to do so while simultaneously achieving significant efficiency gains to realise economic growth. African countries will need to rapidly adapt their education system to develop the skills and talents of their young people across the full range of abilities, said Jacob Bregman, a lead education specialist of the World Bank's Africa Region Human Development section. Studies that have investigated the link between education and economic growth show that, on balance, secondary education is associated with an acceleration of economic growth and can make a significant contribution to a country's economic performance.

Postgraduate Degree in Oil, Gas, Energy Begins in Angola

A Law postgraduate degree in Oil, Gas and Energy, funded by British Petroleum (BP) began in Luanda's Law Faculty of Agostinho Neto University (FDUAN). The purpose of the course is to equip Law practitioners and non-practitioners, working in the oil sector, with integrated and specialized skills in the field. Approximately 100 candidates from the various oil companies operating in the country applied for the program, but only 40 have been taken, due to shortage of places. The Scientific Committee, the course coordinating organ, has already made up the list of the candidates admitted. Angolan, US and Brazilian Law teachers, will lecture the course.

40% of UK Employers Struggling to Find Skilled Staff

A recent research report by Manpower reports that almost 40% of UK employers are struggling to fill positions due to a lack of staff with the right skills. The research reveals that the four hardest to fill positions are skilled manual trades, administrative assistants and PAs, engineers and sales representatives. The four positions also comprised the hardest to fill positions in 2006. It also found management/executives are now much harder to find compared to last year, having moved up the hardest to find list from tenth to fifth position. The research found that the skills shortage appears to be least problematic in India (9%), Ireland (17%) and China (19%). According to the company, employers need to maintain a flexible approach to their recruitment needs - such as thinking about using temporary staff to meet short-term needs, looking to older workers and mothers returning to work or looking to staff from outside the UK. Good people are in demand and it is very much a candidate's market. Source: Recruitment Matters

Survey Cites Poor Learning and Development Skills in Line Managers

Around two fifths of businesses say that their line managers are not very effective in supporting learning and development, according to a survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). This is despite 74% of respondents saying that their line managers have taken on greater responsibility for learning and development activities during the past two years, and overwhelming agreement that line managers are critical to supporting learning and development. A lack of training for line managers, competing business pressures and a need to align learning and development objectives with the wider organisational strategy are all reasons cited for this gap between theory and practice. The research found that more than 90% of respondents believe that line managers are important or very important in supporting learning and development in their organisations. However, only 12% feel that line managers take learning and development very seriously. It found that half of UK organisations only train a minority of line managers to support learning and development. On the job training and formal training courses are were identified as the most effective form of learning. Source: Recruitment Matters

International CSR Directory Now Online

The world's first printed international corporate social responsibility directory is now online at http://www.ethicalperformance.net/csrdirectory.html. The CSR Professional Services Directory 2007 lists 487 organizations worldwide under 49 different service categories, from consultants to academic institutions, rating agencies to ethical auditors, and training providers to research bodies. The new online facility enables users to identify, at no charge, providers of services both globally and in different parts of the world. The CSR Professional Services Directory, sponsored by Cafedirect, is from Ethical Performance, the independent monthly newsletter for socially responsible business.

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