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


Minorities Now Form Majority in One-Third of America’s Most-Populous Counties


In a further sign of the United States’ growing diversity, nonwhites now make up a majority in almost one-third of the most-populous counties in the country and in nearly one in 10 of all 3,100 counties, according to a recent analysis of census results. The shift reflects the growing dispersal of immigrants and the suburbanization of blacks and Hispanics pursuing jobs generated by whites moving to the fringes of metropolitan areas. Between 2005 and 2006, metropolitan Chicago edged out Honolulu in Asian population, and Washington inched ahead of El Paso in the number of Hispanic residents. In black population, Houston overtook Los Angeles. Black populations declined in metropolitan New Orleans, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and New York. The biggest numerical gains were in Atlanta (370,470), Houston (142,364), Dallas (130,367), Miami (126,819) and Washington (114,915). Source: New York Times Online

Nominations Open for Global Education and Training in Energy Awards

Nominations are open for the Getenergy Awards.  The Getenergy Awards provide a framework to measure, record and recognise world-beating achievement in 6 areas of critical importance to the global oil/gas business, encouraging, supporting and rewarding best practice in the field of skills development within the industry.   The awards will be presented at the Global Education and Training in Energy Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner on the evening of March 26th, London.  Nominations close on 3 December 2007 and the shortlist will be announced on 9 January when online voting will begin. 

Census Shows a Modest Rise in U.S. Income

The nation’s median household income grew modestly in 2006, according to the country’s Census Bureau, even as the percentage of people without health insurance hit a high. Experts said the rise in income was mainly a reflection of an increase in the number of family members entering the workplace or working longer hours. Average wages for men and women actually declined for the third consecutive year. With evidence that more people are working, the country appears to show a labour market offering people more work and more hours, but at lower wages. In 2007, the economy has begun weakening because of the national housing slump, and inflation has jumped. The average wage peaked at $17.52 an hour in February and has since fallen, according to US Labor Department data.  In the meantime, the poverty rate fell in 2006 for the first time this decade and the number of whites, blacks and Asians living in poverty was virtually unchanged. About 24 percent of blacks lived in poverty in 2006, compared with 8.2 percent of whites and 10.3 percent of Asians.  Source: New York Times

Fewer UK Undergraduates Take jobs to Fund Studies

UK scientists are teaming up with international colleagues around 50% more than they did ten years ago and collaborating with Chinese researchers more than any other European country, a report for the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) has found. The report says nearly 40% of all research papers by UK scientists published over the last five years have involved collaborations with international colleagues - a 50% increase since 1996. In contrast, international collaboration has grown by 30% in France and 100% in China over the same time period. Source: Education Guardian

New World Bank Studies Celebrate Tanzania's Success in Promoting Gender Equality

Two new World Bank Group studies commissioned by Tanzania's Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Marketing, commend the government for progress in addressing gender inequalities in policy and legislation and for recognizing the economic contributions of women. They also suggest that Tanzania could at least gain a percentage point of growth by removing obstacles to women's entrepreneurship. The reports, Gender and Economic Growth Assessment and Voices of Women Entrepreneurs in Tanzania, are part of a regional program led by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group. The program includes policy analysis, lines of credit to commercial banks to support women's programs, and practical training for women entrepreneurs. IFC has carried out similar studies in Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda. Gender and Economic Growth Assessment in Tanzania underscores the importance of addressing legislative issues and cultural norms. Voices of Women Entrepreneurs in Tanzania is a complementary advocacy tool, based on a series of interviews with women business owners across the country. The two reports are a result of extensive consultations with public and private sector stakeholders. Recommendations include strengthening women's access to land, putting in place lines of credit for on-lending to women entrepreneurs, and facilitating women's access to international markets. Positive change is underway in Tanzania. With access to finance identified as the key challenge facing women, IFC has collaborated with EXIM Bank to put in place a $5 million line of credit for on-lending to women entrepreneurs. The reports also found a need for practical training for women entrepreneurs who seek export opportunities, and work is underway in this area. IFC has hosted several workshops for women on accessing international trade opportunities in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.

Survey Reveals South Africa as a Proud Nation

96% percent of South Africans are now proud of their country, with white South Africans closing the patriotism gap with their black compatriots, according to the latest South African edition of the World Values Survey. While 83% of whites described themselves as proud to be South African in the previous survey, released five years ago, that figure had now risen to 95%, according to the survey's authors.  The survey, conducted by the Centre for International and Comparative Politics at the University of Stellenbosch and market research company Markinor, involved 3,000 face-to-face interviews of people across the country, conducted in six of South Africa's 11 official languages. The lead researcher for World Values Survey SA, Dr Hennie Kotze, attributed the results to the positive socio-economic trends South Africa had experienced over the last five years.

Women Face Far More Than a Glass Ceiling

Most efforts aimed at increasing the presence of women in the upper echelons of U.S. business focus solely on bridging the final step between the middle tiers and the top ranks. But in the Harvard Business Review Alice H. Eagly, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University and Linda L. Carli, an associate professor of psychology at Wellesley College argue that smaller, more subtle reforms are needed to address the more fundamental problem. The scarcity of women at the top, the authors say, reflects discrimination that has operated at all ranks and not any particular obstacle to advancement. The authors recommend a dozen reforms that would comprehensively address barriers to advancement, including appointing more than one woman to any team and staying in contact with female managers who leave to raise children, with the idea of rehiring some later on. They also advocate advertising new positions more widely rather than relying on long-established social networks for recruiting and adopting more specific criteria in performance evaluations, to avoid relying on managers’ potentially biased impressions. Source: Wall Street Journal Online

Oracle Lays Foundation for a School of Technology Leadership

In response to the South African Governments numerous calls for an increase in the quality and quantity of local ICT skills, Oracle Corporation has announced that it is laying the foundation for the School of Technology Leadership and is inviting other technology and communications stakeholders to become involved in driving the change.  According to the company, developing the IT knowledge of students will increase the competitiveness of the South African economy and accelerate social development. Oracle has had a long-term commitment to education, and in South Africa the management team has initiated many programs to develop IT skills including training for customers and partners; a successful IT graduate program; and various social investment initiatives such as the e-Schools project in collaboration with partners, and supporting the RAU Oracle Saturday School project for developing maths skills in Soweto’s secondary schools. The School of Technology Leadership, to be opened in 2008, will be run as an independent institution offering essential training disciplines relevant in the changing world of technology to both secondary and tertiary education graduates.

Survey shows Modest Increase in South African Graduate Vacancies and Salaries

Results from an independent survey of graduate employers in South Africa have shown that employers are set to increase their vacancies by 4.3% for start dates in 2008. In a similar fashion, over half of survey participants are only planning a ‘cost of living’ rise in salaries for new graduates starting in their organisation in 2008. The SAGRA Graduate Recruitment Survey 2007 is based on responses from 54 of the largest graduate employers in South Africa. The survey shows that while some industries – such as oil & petrochemical, commercial or retail banks, motor manufacturing, and chemical or pharmaceutical companies are planning to increase their vacancies by more than a third for next year there are several industries including the legal sector, engineering or industrial and investment banking which expect no change or even a decrease in the number of graduate vacancies on offer. Accountancy or professional services firms, which provide over half of all vacancies in the survey, are set for a four per cent increase in their vacancies for 2008. Source: Skills Portal

CIPD report on Employee turnover

The CIPD Recruitment, retention and turnover survey 2007 has reported the overall employee turnover rate for the UK as 18.1% with average job tenure remaining fairly stable over the last five years.  Turnover levels vary considerably from industry to industry. The highest levels of turnover (22.6%) are found in private sector organisations. Successive CIPD surveys of labour turnover show that the highest levels are found in retailing, hotels, catering and leisure, and among other lower paid private sector services groups. The public sector has an average turnover rate of 13.7%.  Turnover levels also vary from region to region. The highest rates are found where unemployment is lowest and where it is unproblematic for people to secure desirable alternative employment. Almost a quarter of employees in the UK have been in their current jobs for five years.  As a proportion of aggregate turnover, the percentage of people leaving organisations through redundancy remains small. There was a slight decrease from 28% to 24% of organisations making more than ten people redundant during 2006 and in those operating a recruitment freeze from 24% to 22% in the course of the year. 

UK Pay Gap is Growing between Men and Women

The pay gap between men and women in top professional jobs in the UK has increased for the first time in more than a decade, a major survey has disclosed.  The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) found that male managers were paid an average of £6,076 a year more than their female counterparts, while male directors earned £49,233 more.  The CMI, which carries out an annual survey of Britain’s 4.6 million managers, contacted more than 42,000 people, ranging from management trainees to chief executives in public and private sector jobs.  It found that male managers were paid 12.2% more than females in the year to January 2007, compared with 11.8% the previous year.  It is the first time in 11 years that the gap has widened.  At director level, men earned 23% more, an increase of 3 percentage points.  This was despite evidence that women were more motivated and productive, with more of them earning bonuses than men.

Public Sector Innovation Awards in Africa

The African Union, NEPAD and the 5th Conference of Public Service Ministers have announced the first annual Public Sector Innovation Awards in Africa.  The programme recognizes and rewards the successes of public servants and their partners in the private sector as well as in the non-profit sector who have succeeded in developing innovative solutions for service delivery and for challenges facing governments.The awards aim to promote and encourage best practice in innovation in the public sector and in service delivery, and will recognise effective service delivery projects, as well as initiatives completed by implementing innovative approaches, methodologies and tools.  They also provide opportunities for information sharing, learning, partnerships and the possible replication of successful initiatives across the African continent.  The closing date for entries is 30 November 2007.  The project must come from Africa or must be largely developed in Africa.  Projects must be of direct benefit to citizens of a particular country or to the African continent.  The awards are open to individuals or to units within government services, to parastatal services, and to partnerships between public organisations, private and/or community organisations or to community organisations.  The project must operate within the public sector and must already have been in existence for at least two years.  For further information regarding entry forms or the entry process contact Ms Mthembu on: dudum@dpsa.gov.za

Nigerian Schools to Benefit from Universal Service Provision Fund

A total of 109 primary and secondary schools have been selected as beneficiaries of the first phase of the 'Schools, University Access Programme to Digital Lifestyle' project of the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) an initiative of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). The projects to be completed in the next six months would include equipping the benefiting schools with Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) tools.

Net Impact Releases Business as UNusual: The 2007 Net Impact Guide to Graduate Business Programmes

Net Impact, a non-profit organization with 10,000 graduate business students and professional members dedicated to creating a better world through business, has released its second annual edition of Business as UNusual: The 2007 Net Impact Student Guide to Graduate Business Programs. The guide, written by students at 56 business schools, highlights programs in CSR, sustainable management, and other socially responsible practices and is the first to focus on MBA and other graduate students' perspectives on social and environmental themes in curricula, career service, and the perspective of other students at business schools worldwide.  Business as Unusual contains detailed profiles on 56 programs, as well as student ratings of their schools along 20 different categories.  Net Impact is an international non-profit (NGO) with over 10,000 network members dedicated to leveraging business for social and environmental impact.  The Guide includes rankings in categories including overall preparation of students, support from faculty and administration, and career services at the schools. Business as UNusual: The 2007 Net Impact Student Guide to Graduate Business Programs was created in response to inquiries from students applying to business school with social and environmental interests. In addition to preparation of students to become responsible business leaders, the guide also compares data on different MBA programs and educates graduate school applicants to help them find the program that is right for them. The information in the Guide was compiled from a qualitative survey completed by 56 Net Impact student chapter leaders and an online survey completed by 1,264 student Net Impact members. Schools were rated on a variety of factors including curriculum, student activities, career services, and administrative support. The Guide also highlights school stand-outs and overall trends.  The Guide is available for download at www.netimpact.org/bizschoolguide.

Executives Say Corporate Responsibility Can Be Profitable

Company executives believe that corporate responsibility programs can positively impact their business and help achieve strategic goals, according to a survey of more than 500 business executives conducted by Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International, one of the six global accounting organizations.  While conventional wisdom might suggest that these initiatives will drain the corporate coffers, only a quarter of survey respondents agreed that profits needed to be sacrificed, while three quarters believed corporate responsibility could enhance profitability. As a result, 77% said they expected corporate responsibility initiatives to have a major impact on their business strategies over the next several years. Corporate responsibility programs have moved out of the realm of public relations to become real tools for improving the bottom line, says the company, while companies are realizing that strong investment in corporate responsibility programs is both a civic obligation and a successful business strategy.  Corporate responsibility programs are a large part of what customers demand, says the report and can also serve as a highly effective means of recruiting and retaining talent.  Among the findings in the survey was that the three greatest benefits of enacting corporate responsibility programs are improving public opinion, improving customer relations and attracting and retaining talent while 62% believe that pressure to pursue corporate responsibility programs in the future will come chiefly from consumers (45%) and investors (21%).  More than 500 online surveys were conducted with business executives in June 2007. The survey included in-depth interviews with ten executives involved in the development and implementation of corporate responsibility programs.

World Bank Group Launches New Initiative to Light Africa

The World Bank Group has launched an initiative to provide modern lighting to the 250 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa who have no access to electricity. Jointly managed by the World Bank and IFC, Lighting Africa aims to develop market conditions for the supply and distribution of new, non-fossil fuel lighting products, such as fluorescent light bulbs and light emitting diodes, in rural and urban areas of the region that are not connected to the electricity grid.  The "energy poor" in Africa spend about $17 billion a year on fuel-based lighting sources, such as kerosene lamps, that are costly, inefficient, and provide poor quality light while polluting and posing fire hazards. For these consumers, lighting is often the most expensive item among their energy uses, typically accounting for 10 to 15 percent of total household income. Hence there is a potentially huge market for modern lighting products that are safe and reliable, that provide higher-quality light, and that are cost-competitive with fuel-based lamps, and powered by renewable energy or mechanical sources.  Lighting Africa, which is supported by a number of donors, including seed money from the Global Environment Facility, seeks to attract the international lighting industry, as well as local suppliers and service providers, to this market. Modern lighting will mean improved air quality and safety for millions of people in Africa. It will mean longer reading hours for students and longer business hours for small shops. Lighting Africa will directly contribute to the Millennium Development Goals. It is a cornerstone of the World Bank's Clean Energy and Development Investment Framework and the Africa Energy Access Scale-up Plan.

Cisco Signs Empowerment Equity Deal

US technology group Cisco Systems has sold a 25.1% stake in newly established Cisco SA Services to empowerment group Lereko Investments, Cisco's employees and an educational trust that will facilitate scholarships for black students. As part of the deal, the empowerment partners will receive shares in the US entity that are equal in value to the 25,1 percent stake in Cisco SA Services. The services business will facilitate skills development, help drive the scholarship programmes, maintain Cisco products used by the local market, and help identify large infrastructure contracts for Cisco, especially investments related to development ahead of the 2010 soccer World Cup. Cisco has won a R454-million contract, which will be shared with Neotel and Business Connexion, to install an Internet-based network for the State Information Technology Agency. Cisco joins T-Systems, SAP, Verizon, Fujitsu Siemens and Unisys, which have concluded empowerment equity transactions in the past few years. Unlike the other deals, Cisco's empowerment partners will get shares in the US entity, which is the holding company.

EU set to Issue ’Blue card’ to Attract Highly-qualified Foreign Workers

As a response to Europe’s need for highly qualified workers, Brussels is set to issue an EU-wide work permit allowing employment to non Europeans, in any country within the 27-nation bloc, EU home affairs commissioner Franco Frattini told the EUobserver.  The idea of an EU work permit – dubbed the ’Blue Card’ after the colour of the European Union flag - is to be formally tabled this month.  The Blue Card, it is hoped, will make Europe a more attractive work destination than the US, Canada or Australia and cut down on the severe labour shortages facing the bloc due to its aging population and declining birth rates. The Blue Card would allow the holder to move from one EU member state to another after an initial period of two years, if he found legal employment there. The holder could subsequently move to another member state after another year. The card holders would also be able to return to their home country and to re-enter EU territory after four or five years, without having to start all the administrative procedures from scratch.  According to Brussels, such a move could prevent foreign immigrants from outstaying their welcome in Europe, as well as counter the devastating effect of "brain drain" from the world’s developing countries.  The Commission has estimated that by 2050, labour shortages will peak when 25 million Europeans retire from work and one-third of the population will be over 65 years of age.  Source: Africa News

Deloitte & Touche USA LLP Tops BusinessWeek's List of "Best Places to Launch a Career"

Deloitte & Touche USA LLP gained the top spot on BusinessWeek's second annual "Best Places to Launch a Career" ranking, advancing from third place last year. Deloitte's extensive campus outreach, diverse career opportunities, collaborative environment and cutting-edge work/life initiatives helped put it at the top of the survey, which identifies leading employers for recent college graduates. Other employers on this year's list include Google, Microsoft and Disney.  Deloitte's leading Talent Management initiatives include Mass Career Customization(TM) - a tool that allows people to dial up and dial down in their careers to suit their personal needs, while still advancing in the organization Coaching & Career Connections - an internal coaching and career development resource providing live and virtual coaches on a confidential basis.  BusinessWeek's analysis gathers feedback from students, college career counsellors, and the employers themselves to reveal which companies offer the biggest advantages for interns and entry-level employees in the areas of training, competitive compensation and benefits, and career development programs.  BusinessWeek's "Best Places to Launch a Career" ranking is in the September 18, 2007 issue. Expanded content is available on businessweek.com.

ING Names Debbie Holcombe Head of U.S. Workforce Diversity

ING U.S. Financial Services has named Debbie Holcombe to head U.S. Workforce Diversity. In her new role, Holcombe will be responsible for advancing the company's diversity initiatives, including talent recruitment, retention and development. She will partner with executive leadership, business management, stakeholders and employees to foster a diverse and inclusive work environment. She will also serve as the U.S. representative on ING's Global Diversity Council.  Ms. Holcombe has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. In her previous role as head of Brand Development, her primary responsibilities included brand standards and employee engagement. ING is a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, insurance and asset management to more than 75 million private, corporate and institutional clients in more than 50 countries and with a diverse workforce of over 120,000 people.

eLearning Africa 2008 Opens Call for Proposals

The 3rd eLearning Africa conference, which will take place from May 28 to 30, 2008, in Ghana's capital Accra, has opened its Call for Proposals. The event, organised by ICWE GmbH and Hoffmann & Reif, focuses on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for Development, Education and Training in Africa. Serving as a Pan-African platform, eLearning Africa links a network of decision makers from governments and administrations with universities, schools, governmental and private training providers, industry, and important partners in development cooperation.  Suggestions for sessions, presentations, workshops and discussions can be submitted until December 7 via an online form at http://www.elearning-africa.com/proposals.php.  The organising committee invites all those who are actively engaged in education, training and development for or in African countries, to submit their ideas. Detailed information on the topics and the call can be found at www.elearning-africa.com.

Cambridge Named Sunday Times University of the Year

Cambridge has this year been named Sunday Times University of The Year. According to the Guide's Editor, Cambridge has finished top for all of the past 10 years. The University has an outstanding record for teaching quality with more subjects rated excellent than any other university. It also has the best research profile - in terms of quality and quantity as measured in the last Research Assessment Exercise. Cambridge University has been rated top by Britain's leading head teachers and second by academics in the two exclusive Sunday Times surveys prepared for the University Guide. According to the Guide, Cambridge has the highest entry standards (526 UCAS points from A-level bearing students), low levels of graduate unemployment, high levels of students progressing to well-paid graduate level jobs and a low dropout rate. In addition, the University has made great strides in diversifying its intake with admissions from state schools.

University Graduates Have Advantage in Earning Power

Going to university continues to give young people in the UK a strong advantage in their earning power, shows an international education survey. Graduates who left UK universities a decade ago have average earnings 77% higher than non-graduates, says a report by the OECD. The report also noted that countries which produce greater numbers of people with degrees generate more employment for non-skilled workers too. The annual survey of education systems in the industrialised world examines the consequences of the increasing number of graduates. So far there are no indications that the jobs market is being overloaded with graduates - or that these extra graduates are being forced into taking non-graduate jobs. Instead it shows a consistent picture of pupils who leave education after school facing disadvantage in the workplace compared with those who stay on to university. For UK workers in the 30 to 44-year-old age bracket, there is a 77% earnings advantage for someone with a degree - a much higher advantage than in most industrialised countries. Among the wider workforce, aged between 25 and 64 years, the graduate advantage is 55% - with women's earning power particularly benefiting from having a degree.

Du Bois-Mandela-Rodney Fellowship

The Center for Afroamerican and African Studies (CAAS) at the University of Michigan invites applications for the Du Bois-Mandela-Rodney Post-doctoral Fellowship Program from scholars working on Africa or the African Diaspora. Consideration will be given to all disciplines including - but not limited to - the humanities, social sciences, physical sciences and professional schools. Scholars from or who study the Gullah speaking Sea islands, Cape Verde islands, the Anglophone Caribbean, the Canary Islands, and Madagascar and/or other less studied areas are especially encouraged to apply. This is a residential fellowship for the academic year. The fellowship package is worth $45,000 plus health insurance coverage. Included in the package is a stipend of $42,000. Health insurance, plus $1,000 for research and up to $2,000 for travel expenses are also included. Successful candidates can expect to maintain affiliations with CAAS as well as departments and research institutes that relate to their projects. Fellows will be expected to conduct a CAAS work-in-progress seminar on their research during one of the semesters in residence.

The Development Marketplace for African Diaspora in Europe

(D-MADE) is a new and exciting opportunity to access grants financing entrepreneurial projects that are designed by Africans to support the development of Africa. Based on the very successful global Development Marketplace, for the first time such a programme will target Sub-Saharan Africa-wide members of the Diaspora living in Europe. D-MADE, an initiative of the World Bank financially supported by the Belgian Development Cooperation, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the French Development Agency, will award cash prizes and technical assistance to innovative entrepreneurial African Diaspora groups for projects implemented in Sub-Saharan Africa, through a competitive process.  D-MADE is accepting proposals until 23 November 2007.

Abbott Again Honored As Top Company for Working Moms

Working Mother Magazine has recognized Abbott as one of the "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" in the USA.  The global health care company was again named to Working Mother magazine's list of "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers." This marks the seventh consecutive year that Abbott has been honoured on the list.  The company has a Part-Time Network and is one of only 20% of large companies in the United States that offer job-sharing opportunities. According to the awarding magazine, Abbott’s supportive culture makes ‘a huge difference to employees who want to be great moms and great workers’ and proves that it is possible to be both family-friendly and financially successful.  The company employs 65,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries. In addition to continuing to recognize the importance of flexibility in the workplace, Working Mother spotlighted companies on this year's list for their efforts to help parents with special family needs.

Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. Appoints Julius Pryor III Vice President, Global Diversity

Coca-Cola Enterprises has appointed Julius Pryor III as Vice President of Global Diversity. Pryor will oversee the company's diversity initiatives, and will report to Vicki R. Palmer, executive vice president, financial services and administration. According to the company’s President and CEO, Pryor will enhance the company’s ability to attract, develop and retain a highly talented and diverse workforce.  Pryor, previously Vice President of Global Diversity for Johnson & Johnson's Consumer Group, was Director of Diversity Strategies for Russell Corporation from 2000 to 2003, and served as Manager of Diversity Programs and Chief Diversity Officer for TAP Pharmaceuticals from 1997 to 2000. A captain in the U.S. Navy, Mr. Pryor received his Bachelor of Science degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.

UK Banks Are Worst Affected by Staff Crisis

The financial services industry is becoming the hardest hit sector in terms of IT skills shortage, according to results of the 2007 silicon.com Skills Survey.  Financial services companies are finding it most difficult to fill IT vacancies in their organisations, compared to the public sector and the world of retail. Half of the respondents to the survey who work in the FS sector said they have tech job vacancies they are unable to fill. This compares to 44% of respondents in the retail sector and just over a third (35%) of those who work in the public sector. When it comes to specific IT skills shortages, the FS industry and the public sector are finding it hardest to locate staff with programming languages, followed by workers with database skills. In the retail sector programming languages, database and Windows skills are all equally hardest to find. The non-IT skill in shortest supply in the FS sector is project management, while in the retail and public sectors, project management is the non-IT skill in shortest supply, followed by leadership skills.  Such shortages can be adequately filled by hiring contractors, according to the majority of respondents from the FS, public and retail sectors. Source: Silicon.com

African Leadership Academy Accepting Applications

African Leadership Academy is currently accepting applications from students from across South Africa and the broader African continent to join its inaugural class. Beginning next year, ALA will bring together the most promising 15- to 18-year-old leaders from all 54 African nations for an innovative two-year program designed to prepare each student for a lifetime of leadership on the continent. Students will be selected to attend the academy based on merit alone, without regard to financial background or ability to pay.  African Leadership Academy (ALA) seeks to transform Africa by developing and supporting future generations of African leaders.  The Academy is a non-profit institution located in Johannesburg, South Africa.  http://www.africanleadershipacademy.org/site

Swaziland Cites ICTs as Crucial for Service Delivery

Swaziland has launched a National ICT Policy that recognizes the vital role of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the promotion of efficient service delivery.  The Policy recognises the areas where ICT could effectively contribute towards the achievement of the vision enshrined in the National Development Strategy (NDS) and the Transformation Policy Statement (TPS).  Swaziland’s National ICT Policy is a national template for maximising and deriving opportunities and services for all sectors including service delivery at local level and ICTs are harnessed in areas such as human resources, the education sector, infrastructure development, legal and regulatory frameworks, environment management, financial services and the media.

Oumar Ndongo Joins West African Civil Society (WACSOF)

Oumar Ndongo has joined the West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF) as General Secretary. Oumar is a Professor of American literature and culture at the Cheikh Anto Diop University in Dakar, Senegal. He has extensive civil society experience as Director of SYSTOSENEGAL, Executive Secretary of PANAFSTRAG Senegal and President of the Senegalese Section of the Federation for Universal Peace. Professor Ndongo also has extensive knowledge of West Africa and its civil society having served as Director of the Mano River Peace Forum and President of the West African Research Association. In addition he has been a senior Fulbright scholar and peace ambassador for the Inter-religious and International Federation for World Peace. He is fluent in English, French, Wolof and Pular and understands Spanish. He brings on board extensive research capacity and vast experience of networking in West African civil society. His skills in conflict resolution and peace building, regional integration, election monitoring and democracy promotion would be invaluable as WACSOF expands its activities and consolidates its position as the forum for West African civil society.

IFC and Westpac Sponsor Workshop on Lending for Women Entrepreneurs

International women bankers, including representatives from four African banks and Women's World Banking affiliate Mi-Bospo have met to exchange experience and global best practices on serving women entrepreneurs. During the four-day workshop, sponsored by Westpac and IFC, participants discussed different ways and strategies to cater to businesswomen, an under-tapped segment worldwide.  Westpac launched its "Women in Business Program" in 1999, and has since trained about 35,000 bankers in delivering high-quality services to women. It has also trained thousands of women to grow their businesses successfully. The company is now focusing on sharing its knowledge with emerging market banks that have relatively few female customers. Representatives from IFC client banks, Exim Bank (Tanzania), Access Bank (Nigeria), dfcu Limited (Uganda), Business Partners (South Africa), and Mi-Bospo (Bosnia), are taking part in the workshop. IFC has provided financing to Exim Bank, Access Bank, and dfcu Limited to extend credit lines to businesswomen. Access Bank has already disbursed over $12 million to smaller enterprises. Since February, Exim Bank Tanzania has reached 8,000 clients through onlending of $4 million by a woman-owned microfinance facility.

First CareerAccelerator Careers Fair

StartingBloc, a non profit that educates undergraduates and young professionals on social responsibility, in partnership with CSRwire and The United Way of New York, held its first CareerAccelerator in October at the NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development. This groundbreaking career fair was open to all businesses, non-profits, as well as graduate and MBA schools that are interested in offering jobs, internships, expertise, funding and academic programs that embrace corporate social responsibility and social entrepreneurship. The CareerAccelerator targets and attracts emerging leaders drawn not only from StartingBloc's countrywide network of 120 affiliate colleges, but also from massive publicity offered by CSRwire’s and StartingBloc's large scale media outreach.

Amnesty International USA and Responsible Endowment Coalition Launch Guide to Support Responsible Investing by U.S. Colleges and Universities

The first-ever step-by-step guide to encourage colleges and universities to adopt responsible investment practices in pursuit of social and environmental change is being released today in a collaboration between Amnesty International USA and the Responsible Endowments Coalition. The guide is aimed at higher education trustees and administrators and student activists who want to push for responsible investing on their campuses.  Available online at no cost (www.endowmentethics.org) the handbook, Integrating Environmental, Social and Governance Issues into Institutional Investment: a Handbook for Colleges and Universities, is a comprehensive guide with real-world examples and best practices from leading academic institutions. Sixteen of the top 20-ranked colleges and universities (2008 U.S. News and World Report rankings) have adopted some practices that incorporate social, environmental and governance concerns in investment decisions.

South Africa Labour Force Survey Shows Employment Increase

The Department of Labour has welcomed the latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) figures showing that employment has increased by about 200 000 between March this year and a year earlier. The figures were released by Statistics South Africa and among the key findings of the LFS were that in March this year the unemployment rate was unchanged at 25,5 percent compared with 25,6 percent a year earlier. The industries with the largest employment gains in the year to March 2007, were community and personal services (up 127 000), finance (up 126 000) and construction (up 102 000).  The formal sector excluding agriculture accounted for the largest share of employment in South African economy. In March 2007, employment in the formal sector was 8 423 000 of total employment, whereas informal sector employment was 2 131 000 (16,9 percent) and domestic work accounted for 936,000 jobs.

Sweden Maximises Positive Effects of Legal Migration

Sweden has prioritized legal migration and regards it as one of the country’s most important issues for the future.  The Swedish Government has recommended that the EU devise new and improved mechanisms for legal migration and to transform them into concrete action. The Swedish Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy said his Government is aiming to introduce greater opportunities for labour migration to the country and promote circular migration which can help to meet the needs for labour in recipient countries and at the same time lead to positive effects on development in the countries of origin, and which will benefit the migrants themselves.  He said Sweden has taken up the challenge of addressing legal migration by proposing changes to its existing legislation to facilitate increased labour migration from third countries in order to fill labour shortages. Source: Africa News

MDG Africa Steering Group Set Up

A Steering Group has been formed to coordinate and redouble efforts in support of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) across the African continent. The MDG Africa Steering Group was formed in York by leaders of the major multilateral and inter-governmental organizations working for development in Africa, the heads of the United Nations, African Development Bank, African Union Commission, European Commission, International Monetary Fund, Islamic Development Bank and the World Bank.  The group expressed deep concern that Africa as a whole is not on track to meet the MDGs by 2015. It, however, affirmed that many individual countries are on track to achieve at least some of the goals.  Success stories throughout the continent show that the Goals remain achievable if Governments and the international community urgently implement existing commitments to strengthen domestic policies and scale up investments. The MDG Africa Steering Group, chaired by the United Nations Secretary-General, mobilizes the leaders of the UN system and major multilateral and intergovernmental organizations in support of reaching the MDGs in Africa. The group will focus on (i) strengthening international mechanisms for implementation in the five areas of: health, education, agriculture and food security, infrastructure and statistical systems; (ii) improving aid predictability; and (iii) enhancing coordination at the country level. It will be supported by the MDG Africa Working Group, composed of representatives of the UN system and other major multilateral organizations and chaired by the UN Deputy-Secretary General. The Working Group will reach out to African Governments, prepare action plans for achieving the objectives of the Steering Group, mobilize and coordinate the efforts of the institutions represented, and prepare periodic progress reports.

Ghana to Benefit from More Rural Business Centres

Over 500,000 people in Ghana's rural and peri-urban communities are benefiting from the establishment of about 69 Rural Business Centres (RBCs) aimed at connecting the communities to the outside world and also to educate them on the uses and benefits of ICTs. The centres, established under the Ghana Telecom's eCommerce and Renewable Energy (eCARE) programme has been running since 2003 with just about three of such centres piloted as at 2005.  The centres were designed and established with similar objectives behind the government's efforts to construct and manage Community Information Centres (CICs) in all the 230 political constituencies in the country.  The objectives are to educate and inform the rural communities on issues bothering on health, education, agriculture and gender among others and also to train the people. The major objective for the establishment of the RBCs is to bridge the digital divide between the urban and rural communities and also to ensure that the whole of the country become part of the networked economy. The RBCs are made up of refurbished 20 footer shipping containers equipped with telephones, multi-media computers, copiers, scanners, printers and solar panels. Partners in the establishment of the eCARE centres include the United Nations Foundation, UN Environment Programme and the Kumasi Institute of Technology and Environment.  The programme will also increase access to computers, create awareness on ICTs in underserved-communities and offer business opportunities for entrepreneurs living in rural communities.

MBAs Support Women Returnees to Wall Street

Some of the USA’s top business schools have been providing courses for women and men returning to the work force after an extended leave of absence. Most women participate in programs such as the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth's Back in Business program. The program combines academics with career opportunities, and its students' median age is 47, with an average of eight years out of the work force. Of Back in Business' 41 students, 35 were women and more than half have found high-level, high-paying work. Source: New York Times

RSA Announces Pecuniary Award for Youth Project 2008

The London Branch Committee of The Royal Society of Arts has announced an award, after competition, for a proposal or youth project, for 2008. The Branch has instituted study forums and consultations concerning the situation of young people in the capital, and is concerned that current anxieties of young people and their aspirations do not have satisfactory responses in terms of provision, or in terms of interest, from the body politic. The sum of £2,000 is offered as an award, for a winning  project proposal, created by any interest group in London, on which young people are represented,  that can positively show the wellbeing and development of the age group  12-18 years. To define its plans and to activate interest, it is holding a discussion Forum at the Roundhouse Studios, London NW1  on Monday 19th November  from 7-9pm. Fellows of the Society, representing youth organisations, are invited to bring representatives of that age group to foster the creation of project proposals. The award will be judged by a sub-committee of London Fellows of the RSA, and will be announced in late 2008.

Call for Papers – The Educational Research Network for West and Central Africa

The Educational Research Network for West and Central Africa (ERNWACA) calls for scientific articles in all areas of education for the maiden edition of the Journal of Educational Research in Africa (JERA), a social science review. JERA, a long time objective of ERNWACA, will help promote quality research relevant to African contexts and should help teachers, educational administrators and policymakers gain analytical in-depth understanding of contemporary educational issues. http://ernwaca.org/panaf/jera/en/index.htm

Invitation for Applications for WLPPFP/LAWA Fellowships

The Leadership and Advocacy for Women in Africa (LAWA) Fellowship Program was founded in 1993 at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., in order to train women's human rights lawyers from Africa who are committed to returning home to their countries in order to advance the status of women and girls throughout their careers. Over 50 women's human rights advocates from across Africa have participated in the LAWA Program, and it is hoped to include Fellows from additional countries in the future. The application deadline for the 2008-2009 LAWA Fellowship Program is November 30, 2007. http://www.wlppfp.org/lawa/

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!)