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

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

Library of Articles


News from the UK and around the world

One in ten children in Britain lives in a racially mixed family. If trends continue, says the Equality and Human Rights Commission, some ethnic minorities may vanish as mixed-race families become the norm. A study by the Commission found that almost half of black Caribbean men are in a mixed-race relationship, compared with 8% of men of Pakistani background.

The International Growth Centre at the London School of Economics (LSE) has been launched to bring together a Nobel Prize winning economist with development experts from the London School of Economics and the University of Oxford, who will provide practical help to the governments of developing countries to support growth and improve their ability to cope with effects of the economic downturn. It will also provide innovative research on growth. The Centre is a new initiative to support growth in developing countries and improve their ability to cope with economic shocks. It represents a DFID financed venture to be undertaken by LSE and Oxford University in collaboration with a host of partners. The Centre will be supported by a range of international partners including, the Global Development Network (GDN), the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), the African Economic Consortium (AERC), the Abdulatif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL), the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business Initiative on Global Market, Deloitte, the South Asian Network of Economic Research Institutes, the World Bank Microeconomics of Growth Network, the Bureau for the Economic Analysis of Development, the European Development Research Network. For further information:  S.gupta4@lse.ac.uk

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched a Call for Proposals to fund projects in the field of Migration and Development and Jamaica is one of the eligible countries. UNDP Jamaica is currently disseminating the call widely within the country and has already identified a number of interested applicants. However the aim of the Call is to enable NGOS, local authorities, and others to work on an initiative together with their counterparts in migrant countries of destinations. Any applicants from Jamaica therefore need partners based in Europe, and vice versa. The closing date is 13th March 2009   www.migration4development.org/call-for-proposals

A leading BME national partnership organisation has released two new reports highlighting the contributions made by black and minorities (BME) community and voluntary organisations. Voice4Change England a partnership of national and regional BME led organisations that speak for the interest of BME Third Sector at local, regional and national levels to all types of policy makers. The reports show how the sector helps people and the community in attempt to stop government plans to withdraw funding. Vandna Gohil, Director for Voice4Change England, said it is crucial that the worth of specialist services in the sector is recognised.

The Joint International Development Grants programme 2009 in collaboration with the John Ellerman Foundation is now open. The deadline for submitting applications is 27th March 2009. Successful applicants will be announced in October 2009. For further information visit the website of Baring Foundation on  www.baringfoundation.org.uk

Built to be the premier CSR outreach platform for Business Fights Poverty, the custom-built multimedia website includes videos, podcasts, the latest news and blog posts, press releases and event announcements from Business Fights Poverty's international network of members engaged in responsible business to reduce poverty. Business Fights Poverty is an international network for professionals passionate about fighting world poverty through good business. The on-line network connects practitioners and experts around the world to form a global community of pioneers pushing the boundaries of how business can fight poverty. Business Fights Poverty is using the new EMP to showcase a major new series of events in London that will explore the role of business in international development in the context of an economic downturn, in partnership with the UK Government's Department for International Development (DFID)(www.dfid.gov.uk), the Overseas Development Institute (www.odi.org.uk) and Business Action for Africa (www.businessactionforafrica.org).

Relatives, friends and colleagues have mourned the passing of Catherine Bailey in the UK. The late Catherine Bailey co-conceived, headed up and drove (since March 2006) the International Lawyers for Africa program in the UK which mobilised more than a dozen leading law firms (including SJ Berwin where she worked) and Berwin Leighton Paisner to fund and place African law graduates in a high-powered three-month training program at British universities (including Oxbridge) and provided in-house training at the top participating law firms. It wove together a network of South African, Ghanaian and Nigerian lawyers in the City of London to further what had become a dynamic support program. Bailey was immensely committed to furthering the cause of African graduates in the UK and in mobilising South African, Ghanaian and Nigerian lawyers in the City.

A survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the CBI indicates that spending on regulatory compliance is increasing. 88% of banks surveyed expect to increase their spending on regulatory compliance in the next 12 months. In addition, the survey revealed that 3% of general insurance firms expect to increase staff numbers in the next three months.

A third of young people believe volunteering is the best way for individuals to reduce poverty in poor countries, according to a survey. While nearly one fifth of the adult population believes volunteering is effective at reducing poverty overseas, over one third of 16 to 24 year olds think this. The Government is calling for more young people to volunteer for its Platform2 scheme, which gives them the chance to carry out help overseas. Mike Foster, Minister for International Development, said: "It is really encouraging to see that young people today feel that getting involved is the way to fight poverty. "Platform2 gives young people the opportunity to experience the ''reality check'' of development work first hand. We know this work can make a real difference to people's lives," he added. Platform2 is funded by the Department for International Development and run by Christian Aid, Islamic Relief and British Universities North America Club.

The Tech Awards is a programme that aims to honour and award innovators from around the world who use technology to benefit humanity. Five Laureates in each category are honoured, and one Laureate per category receives US$50,000. Individuals, for-profit companies, and not-for-profit organisations are eligible to apply. The purpose of The Tech Awards programme is to inspire future scientists, technologists, and dreamers to harness the power and "promise of technology to solve the challenges that confront us at the dawn of the 21st Century". The categories are: Education, Equality, Economic, Development, Environment and Health. The application of this technology, which may be either a new invention or an innovative use of an existing technology, makes a noteworthy contribution that surpasses previous or current solutions. Nominations and applications must be submitted online in English. The deadline for application is March 27 2009.  The Tech Awards website

The Directory of Social Change has published a fully revised and updated edition of the essential handbook for fundraising for the developing countries (including Africa, Asia, Latin America and countries of Eastern Europe). It is called the World Wide fundraiser's Handbook, 2nd edition, written by Michael Norton and published in association with the Directory of Social Change. The new edition contains; new sections on internet fundraising and branding and image and a completely updated section on income generation and guidance using case studies. To order a copy;  contact@resource-alliance.org

Efinancial careers reports that a greater number of technology roles within banks are likely to be outsourced in 2009, as banks look for ways to cut costs.

The Elsevier Foundation has announced today that it has committed a total of $555,000 in grants to ten institutions from around the world in support of initiatives that promote the work of libraries and scholars in science, technology and medicine. The winning proposals were selected from over 165 applicants worldwide for their innovation and potential for impact in the developing world, nursing community and academic workplace. Four grants have been awarded under the Innovative Libraries in Developing Countries program. The winners include institutions across Africa and Asia, dedicated to improving access to scientific information, developing information resources, and training librarians and researchers on how to use and deploy information for patient care, HIV/AIDS research, and agricultural development. The Elsevier Foundation provides grants to institutions around the world, with a focus on support for the world's libraries and for scholars in the early stages of their careers. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than 50 grants worth over a million dollars to non-profit organizations working in these fields. Through gift-matching, the Foundation also supports the efforts of Elsevier employees to play a positive role in their local and global communities. The Elsevier Foundation is funded by Elsevier, a leading global publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services.

For the tenth year, Deloitte has been named to FORTUNE magazine's list of "100 Best Companies to Work For." The annual survey, which appears in the February 2 issue of FORTUNE and on www.fortune.com, is the national benchmark that lists employers who consistently raise the bar on talent initiatives and corporate culture improvement for all employees. The FORTUNE list of "100 Best Companies to Work for in America" pays tribute to the companies that excel in motivating employees and helping them manage their personal and professional lives. Of the more than 1,000 organizations contacted, 253 of them participated in this year's survey. Nearly 81,000 employees at those organizations responded to a survey created by the Great Place to Work Institute, a global research and consulting firm. The employees are asked a variety of questions about credibility, respect, fairness, pride and camaraderie. Employee opinions factored heavily in the decision process for the list, as two-thirds of the company's score was weighted on responses from randomly selected employees.

The economic downturn has forced HR to change its priorities, with organisational performance and employee engagement now at the top of the list, according to new research. A survey by employee engagement specialists TalentDrain found that a third (30 per cent) of HR departments have changed their strategy as a result of the economic downturn. Over half (56 per cent) are putting less focus on recruitment and almost three-quarters (72 per cent) have increased their emphasis on organisational performance. The change of focus was often linked to reduced budgets; with 38 per cent of the 336 HR departments surveyed having cut their budget by more than 5 per cent. Some 13 per cent had reduced their workforce budget by more than 25 per cent. Ron Eldridge, director of TalentDrain and author of the report, said: "The new strategic focus, even for organisations that have not cut their HR budgets, seems to be around identifying, engaging and retaining those employees who are high performers, while more proactively managing any areas of underperformance."

Britons are apparently remaining upbeat despite the economic gloom. People are happier than they were at the start of the millennium, with just 17% feeling unhappy at work compared with 26% in 2000. Just 21% think their life is chaotic and out of control, against 27% in 2000, betdoctor.co.uk.

The number of British students at UK universities has fallen for the first time in recent history. Numbers are down 1% on last year, while there has been continued growth in the number of students coming from overseas - almost a 5% rise on last year. The Westminster government says the number of people going to university in England is at an all-time high. It wants more than half of young people to go on to higher education. The number of UK students at UK universities fell from 1.97 million in 2007 to 1.96 million last year. That is the first fall in numbers since they have been collected centrally. The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills points out that the 1% fall in UK students is accounted for by falls in British students at universities in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. There was no significant change in numbers of British students at England's universities between 2007 and 2008. England's universities saw an overall 1% rise in students over the same period, although this is only when students from overseas are included. While numbers of home students in the UK fell between 2007 and 2008, those coming from overseas rose by 4.8%. This broke down to a 6% rise in students from other European Union countries (total of 112,150 in 2008) and a 4% rise in those from non EU countries (total 229,640). The number of British part-time students in the UK fell 3% between 2007 and 2008, to 762,340.

Clifford Chance has been voted International Law Firm of the Year. Another recent success was their being voted Best Law Firm for Emissions Trading for a third successive year. In fact Clifford Chance was the first law firm to create an Environmental and Climatic Trading Group. The firm advises on all aspects of climatic and environmental law including trading carbon credits. Clifford Chance has also been shortlisted for three categories of The Lawyer HR Awards (Best Corporate Responsibility Initiative; Most Effective Internal Communication; Best Recruitment Website).

Futurebuilders England has launched a new scheme to help smaller third sector groups successfully bid for public sector contracts. Thanks to £150,000 funding from the Cabinet Office's National Programme for Third Sector Commissioning (NPTSC), the £220,000 Small Organisations Tender Fund will offer grants to cover capacity building work and the costs of tendering for contracts. The scheme is open to third sector organisations that have been operating for at least a year and have an annual turnover of less than £250,000. It can provide grants worth up to 10% of the overall contract value, to a maximum of £15,000. Announcing the initiative, Jonathan Lewis, chief executive of Futurebuilders England, said the new fund offers a great chance for smaller third sector organisations to realise their potential. To be eligible for funding, organisations must meet a number of criteria, including a turnover of less than £250,000. Futurebuilders England also provides a support scheme for larger organisations – the Tender Fund, which offers interest-free loans of up to £1 million.

Colleges across Scotland are set to receive £7 million so they can help businesses overcome the economic downturn. The Scottish Funding Council will stump up £2 million before April and a further £5 million after that to enable colleges to offer training and skills courses in areas that suffer major redundancies. Many institutions had already allocated their regular training and skills budgets, but this extra investment will allow them to continue their work as part of the Scottish Government's Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) initiative. PACE is a national framework formalising quick, tailored support to help people who are made redundant develop the skills required to find new jobs.

Headcount reductions in the first half of the year will be broader and deeper in the UK than those made last year, but skill shortages will continue to exist, according to a survey of HR decision makers by global recruiter Randstad. Among the findings were: Almost half (46%) the organisations said they plan to make cutbacks in the next few months, compared to 38% who made headcount reductions between the summer and mid-November last year; The proportion of organisations planning reductions that expect to cut more than 10% of their employees is due to double to 22%; more than half (55%) of the organisations with more than 10,000 employees expect to make reductions in the next few months; 55% said that they were experiencing skills shortages, with the key areas of demand being managerial, operations and IT; 70% report that the UK still has a long-term skills problem. Fred van der Tang, managing director, Randstad UK Professional Services, says: "Whilst our research shows that headcount reductions are likely to be significant in the coming months, it indicates that many organisations believe they will still be short of key skills to cope with the recession."

South Africans will need visas to travel to the UK under new rules designed to tackle terrorism and illegal immigration. The UK Government says its position follows concerns that too many immigrants are obtaining South African passports and travelling to Britain without further checks. There are also fears al Qaida operatives are using South Africa as a transit point to enter Britain, according to a report in The Times. Six months ago South Africa and 10 other countries, including Brazil and Mauritius, were warned to improve their passport security systems or face new visa requirements. In 2007, 419,000 South Africans travelled to the UK legally, including 168,000 tourists and 46,200 business visitors. Nearly 3,000 were given work permits. They are the fifth largest group of visitors to Britain behind citizens of the US, Australia, Canada and Japan. Visitor visas lasting up to six months cost £65 and work visas £205. The move is likely to prompt fears of reciprocal changes affecting British holidaymakers going in the other direction.

The International Women's Media Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2009-10 Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship, named for the 1998 IWMF Courage in Journalism Award winner and Boston Globe correspondent who was killed in Iraq in May 2003. This program, created with Neuffer’s family and friends, aims to perpetuate her memory and advance her life mission of promoting international understanding of human rights and social justice while creating an opportunity for women journalists to build their skills. One woman journalist will be selected to spend an academic year in a tailored program with access to Boston-area universities as well as the Boston Globe and New York Times. The flexible structure of the program will provide the fellow with opportunities to pursue academic research and hone her reporting skills covering topics related to human rights. The fellow may also participate in the Elizabeth Neuffer Forum on Human Rights and Journalism. The Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship is open to women journalists whose focus is human rights and social justice. A successful applicant will be dedicated to a career in journalism in print, broadcast or online media and will show a strong commitment to sharing knowledge and skills with colleagues upon the completion of the fellowship. Excellent written and spoken English skills are required. A stipend will be provided, and expenses, including airfare and housing, will be covered. Applications will be accepted until April 15, 2009, and the fellowship will run from September 2009 – May 2010. For further information, visit  www.iwmf.org/neuffer

The fastest growing jobs in the UK, according to jobs website careerbuilder.co.uk, are for engineers, environmental consultants, cosmetologists, public relations specialists, human resources professionals, advertising executives, teachers, accountants, counselors and data communications analysts.

What could you do with £10,000 this year? Now into it's second year the Creme of Nature £10,000 Community Action Award is focused on those with great ideas and vision in African Caribbean voluntary, faith and community groups, whose primary objective is to support and encourage women. Now into its second year, the Award is focused on those in African Caribbean voluntary, faith and community groups, whose primary objective is to support and encourage women. Applications are welcome from individuals to small groups, but priority will be given to those who have an annual turnover of less than £50,000. The final closing date for applications is the 17th April 2009.

Cadbury plc has announced that the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership is now active across 100 Ghanaian communities, marking the 100th anniversary of cocoa trading with Ghana. The Cadbury Cocoa Partnership, established last year in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme, also announced the partners driving its community support at grassroots level in Ghana are CARE, Voluntary Service Overseas and World Vision. Since its launch last year, the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership has begun investing in Ghanaian farming as part of a ten-year £30 million commitment to secure the future of cocoa farmers and their communities.1 While Ghanaian cocoa trades at a premium due to its consistent high quality, the country's cocoa farming industry is facing increasing challenges ranging from the ever-present threat of crop disease to attracting the next generation of farmers. The Cadbury Cocoa Partnership's first year has seen a Ghana Board set up to oversee the programme which includes representatives from Ghanaian government ministries, farmer organisations and development specialists. The 100 communities who have now joined the partnership have been identifying their main development needs, including the construction of new school buildings or forming Cocoa Youth Clubs to encourage the next generation to remain with agriculture, particularly cocoa farming. In 2009 Cadbury Cocoa Partnership is extending its activities to focus on improving farm income levels by developing farmer education programmes that explore best cocoa management practices leading to high quality and increased yields. By 2018, Cadbury estimates it will have made a demonstrable difference to the lives of around half a million Ghanaian farmers.

With funding from the Citi Foundation, 15 non-profit community-based organizations across the country that help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses will be able to hire graduate students as summer interns this year. Called the "Citi Aspen Interns Project," the interns will help collect data on clients, while also learning about the microenterprise development field, which provides budding entrepreneurs with capital and/or training. This is the third consecutive year that Citi Foundation has supported the internship project. Funding allows each organization to recruit and hire an intern, who receives a $7,000 stipend. As part of the $250,000 program, the Citi Foundation is funding researchers at FIELD, the Microenterprise Fund for Innovation, Effectiveness, Learning and Dissemination, to manage the project and provide the interns with data collection training. FIELD is part of the Washington, D.C.-based Aspen Institute. Microenterprises are defined as very small businesses capitalized with $35,000 or less and employing five or fewer people. Today, approximately 500 organizations nationwide are engaged in the microenterprise field. Data collected through the project can be used by the organizations to identify gaps in service, fund-raise or advocate for entrepreneurship. The internship experience exposes college students both to the microenterprise field and to potential careers within the industry.

The 4th Women in Africa and the African Diaspora (WAAD) International Conference on Education, Gender & Sustainable Development in the Age of Globalization takes place in Abuja, Nigeria from August 3-8, 2009.For over a decade, the WAAD conferences have provided the space for researchers, students, policy makers, activists, women and men of different races, religious persuasions and ideological leanings to engage in vigorous and fruitful debates on issues relating to women in Africa and the African Diaspora. The first WAAD conference held in Nsukka, a small university town in rural Nigeria, gathered over 700 researchers, activists, policy makers, and students from five continents. The conference generated ten-volume proceedings of over 200 original papers and saw the beginning of the Association of African Women Scholars (AAWS). The second WAAD conference, held in Indianapolis (USA) in 1998, gathered hundreds of participants from 35 countries and 48 national and international organizations. The third conference in Madagascar was equally very well attended. The WAAD conference has succeeded in putting in place forward-looking strategies for continuing its work. It maintains a global network and has published three volumes of selected papers. With the theme (Education, Gender & Sustainable Development in the Age of Globalization), the 4th WAAD interdisciplinary conference will provide opportunities for constituencies inside and outside the academy, researchers, academicians, practitioners, policy makers, professionals, and students from various disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, pure and applied sciences, professional schools, etc. to discuss the education of women and girls in Africa and the African Diaspora and explore its relationship to sustainable development in a rapidly globalizing, complex world. Forms for paper, panel, roundtable and workshop proposals are available on the conference website:  www.waadconf.org. Click on "Proposals." Send as e-mail attachments the completed proposal form, abstract and curriculum vitae (as Word documents) by March 15, 2009 to the Convener at waadconf@iupui.edu. Selected papers will be published.

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