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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.


A round-up of recent careers, business and other news from the UK, Africa and around the world.

A round-up of recent news from the UK, Africa and around the world

UK Workforce Diversity risks ‘going backwards’, says CBI Director-General

Workplace diversity could go backwards if urgent action is not taken, CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn has warned, adding that businesses should not allow the issue to slip down the agenda in the face of competing priorities. Fairbairn said the UK was heading towards a “perfect storm” of changes in demographics and technology and noted that diversity was one of the most “defining issues” of our age, with talent being the “number one worry” for UK firms. Fairbairn pointed to the Davies review, which increased the proportion of women at board level from one in seven to one in three – but in the last year this has fallen back to one in four. Meanwhile, in 2015, there were 18 women chief executives in the FTSE 350 compared with just 16 today. Her comments follow research from the BCG revealing that, despite “significant investment” in gender diversity measures, the UK remained at a “tipping point” as many organisations were unaware which diversity interventions were the most effective. Based on interviews with chief executives and chief HR officers at 15 FTSE 100 UK companies, in addition to 1,350 UK employees, the report found that flexible working drives, involving more men in gender diversity efforts and improving the visibility of role models had greater impact on workplace diversity. In particular, the Financial Times said the study revealed that developing and supporting women in the workplace was found to be “more effective” for gender diversity than women-focused recruitment drives, especially in male-dominated sectors such as engineering. The report found a “serious mismatch” in addressing diversity obstacles and ultimate success, with 25 per cent more employees seeing retention as more of an issue than recruitment.  The research suggested “large amounts of money” were being spent in a “scattergun approach”. Fairbairn insisted that workplace diversity should not just be about gender and made the case for businesses to “pick up the pace” of inclusion towards ethnicity, social background, sexual orientation and age.  In March, the government urged blue chip companies to take up the key recommendations of the McGregor-Smith review into race in the workplace, which found evidence of BAME discrimination in recruitment and workplace promotion. At the time, Baroness McGregor-Smith said BAME workplace progression could give the UK economy a £24bn boost and recommended that large employers publish a breakdown of their workforce by race and pay band while implementing five-year aspirational diversity targets.

One in Five UK Employees Resign Due to ‘Terrible’ Boss

A new survey has found that two in three people will work for an annoying boss at some point in their career, and one in five will resign because of them. The Glassdoor study of 2,000 UK workers discovered that the most common issue with management was ‘disrespectful’ behaviour, which was flagged by almost half (43 per cent) of respondents, and ranged from ignoring employees to taking credit for others’ work. More than one in three (34 per cent) claimed that their manager had a ‘negative attitude’, while 7 per cent were subjected to sexist comments on a regular basis. An unfortunate 4 per cent have suffered from bosses with bad body odour. While two-fifths (40 per cent) of respondents said they would try to ignore an annoying manager, 18 per cent would alleviate frustrations by gossiping about them behind their back. A rogue 5 per cent said they would proactively try to get bad bosses fired. Glassdoor also found that more than two-fifths (41 per cent) of workers had skipped work because of a terrible boss, 20 per cent had been forced to take sick leave and 21 per cent had resigned. Two per cent of employees took their absences a step further, saying they had ‘gone AWOL’ and simply left without telling anyone. Moving within the organisation to escape a terrible boss was another popular tactic, with 15 per cent of women and 13 per cent of men saying they had requested a transfer to a new division.

John Brabourne Awards Accepting Applications from Up-and-Coming Talent

Those considered will have shown determination and motivation in pursuing their chosen career, however may have suffered setbacks due to unforeseen circumstances such as health or finance. Suitable applicants will be working in the UK film, commercial television or cinema industry in a 'behind the scenes' capacity; including the areas of publicity, finance and festival programming. Awards of between £1,000 and £5,000 are available. The scheme has a small, limited annual budget and so between eight and twelve awards are usually made during each application round. Successful applicants will also benefit from professional support and talent development from The Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund (CTBF). Applicants must be in genuine need of financial assistance that will help them overcome hurdles in either their personal and/or professional lives and should be living and working with the UK at the time of applying. Additionally, applicants should have worked within the industry for at least two years which do not have to be continuous and may include unpaid work. Applicants will be judged both on their financial need and the merit of their strategy; as well as upon their talent and ability. Applicants must be able to articulate how funding will help them to overcome barriers therefore financial details requested by the provider must be given in full so that they can understand the applicants' financial situations; assessing the level of support they are able to provide. Those who work in front of the camera, i.e. actors, or those with less than two years' work experience in the film, commercial television and cinema industries, will not be considered. Furthermore, awards are intended for individuals and so teams, projects and organisations need not apply. Funding will not be provided retrospectively. The next deadline for applications is 31 July 2017, before midnight. For further information, interested parties should visit the John Brabourne Awards website

Agility launches 3rd Annual Photo Contest to Capture Images of Modernizing Africa

Agility, a leading global logistics provider, is inviting photographers across Africa to take part in the Africa 2017 Photo Competition, a contest intended to showcase images that redefine Africa by telling the story of its youth, growth, urbanization and technological sophistication. The contest, in its third year, will accept entries from professionals and amateurs alike from June 1 – Sept. 1 at www.africa-2017.com. Agility will present awards in three categories – Industry, Technology and Cities. Each category winner will receive a cash prize of $2,000. A grand prize winner will collect an additional $2,000. The winning photographs will be shown on a CNBC Africa telecast, published in Forbes Africa and featured in Agility social media, promotions and advertising. Judges for the 2017 contest are Sneha Shah, Managing Director, Thomson Reuters Africa; Bronwyn Nielsen, Group Executive Director and Senior Anchor, CNBC Africa; and Salim Amin, photographer, filmmaker and Chairman Camerapix.

Most UK HR Professionals Foresee Competition for Talent Post-Brexit

Almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of UK HR professionals are concerned that competition for well-qualified talent will escalate when Britain leaves the EU, according to research. Three-quarters (75 per cent) of the 1,068 HR professionals polled for the CIPD and Hays’  Resourcing and talent planning survey also reported recruitment difficulties over the last 12 months, and nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) predicted further problems with recruiting senior and skilled employees over the next three years. Nearly nine out of 10 (89 per cent) respondents said their organisations had been making efforts to improve their employer brand over the last year. However, just 16 per cent said they currently measure the return on investment of their recruitment activity, and more than half (56 per cent) said they don’t calculate the cost of people leaving the business. Almost two-thirds of respondents to the CIPD and Hays survey also agreed the skills they were recruiting for were changing, with leadership (58 per cent), digital (54 per cent) and commercial awareness skills (51 per cent) being the most likely to increase in demand over the next year. Previous research suggested that Brexit was already taking its toll on the labour market. A separate CIPD study, published in February, found that business, or the UK, in 2017.

UK Public Welcome International Students, say Report

Nearly three-quarters – 73% – of the British public would like to see the same number or more international students coming to study in the United Kingdom, after discovering the contribution they make to the economy and the jobs they generate. The finding adds to pressure on the government to reconsider its policy of counting international students in its figures for immigration, which it is committed to reducing. In October, the Home Secretary announced that major new restrictions on overseas students will form a key part of the government’s commitment to reduce immigration. The findings were revealed in a new poll conducted by ComRes for Universities UK. The poll reveals also that most members of the British public do not view international students as immigrants to the UK. The result showed that only 26% of the British public think of international students as immigrants when thinking about government immigration policy. The survey found that nearly two-thirds (64%) of British adults think international students have a positive impact on the local economies of the towns and cities in which they study. 61% of the public believe that international students also have a valuable social and cultural impact on university towns and cities. Universities UK said the poll shows that while there remain concerns about immigration levels in many parts of the country, the public recognises the substantial gains to towns, cities and regions from having international students in their area. The results also show that universities play a critical role in ensuring that their international connections help benefit the region. Three quarters (75%) of the British public also believe that international students should be allowed to work in the UK for a fixed period after they have graduated, rather than returning immediately to their home country after completing their studies. Recently-published figures on the economic impact of international students in the UK – produced for Universities UK by Oxford Economics – showed that they now generate more than £25 billion (US$31 billion) for the economy and their spending supported 206,600 jobs in university towns and cities across the UK. The ComRes poll was based on the views of over 4,000 British adults. The UK is currently the second most popular destination for international students after the United States.

Entries Invited for the 2017 Global Startup Open Competition

Startup Open is an international competition designed to identify, recognise and reward start-up companies and the entrepreneurs who are setting them up. The competition is held as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) and recognises the best start-ups of the year, awarding prizes to help them grow their business. One of GEW’s strengths is its network. By winning Startup Open, young start-ups can join the network and strengthen their own support network. Startup Open will announce and recognise the most promising ventures from around the world, which will be selected by a range of criteria including strength of concept, growth projections, and knowledge of the market. Those companies will compete for a handful of prizes with the winners announced during Global Entrepreneurship Week, 13-19 November 2017. The competition is open to any start-up from across the globe that has been founded in the last year. Startup Open is now accepting applications for the 2017 competition. The deadline for submitting an application is 30 September 2017. Further details can be accessed ay the programme website

One-third of Multinational Employers Fear UK Talent Drought Following Brexit

More than a third (34 per cent) of multinational employers with operations in the UK are concerned that attracting the right talent will become more difficult post-Brexit, a recent report has found. The sixth RES Forum Annual Report also discovered organisations fear hiring overseas staff once the UK departs the EU will become excessively complicated, with more than half (58 per cent) believing social security paperwork will become more complex. Meanwhile, around half (48 per cent) of the businesses surveyed said they felt a high degree of insecurity off the back of the Brexit vote, while roughly a third (32 per cent) of multinationals doubt their preparedness to cope with the changes Brexit will bring. A separate piece of research by law firm Baker McKenzie discovered that more than half (56 per cent) of EU27 workers educated to degree level or higher, from FTSE 250 companies or companies with revenue over £50m, are either highly likely or quite likely to leave the UK before the Brexit negotiations have even finished. Seven out of ten also felt more vulnerable to discrimination since the referendum and 55 per cent had received no Brexit-related support from their employers. The UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures released last month revealed net migration fell to +248,000 in 2016, down 84,000 compared with 2015 and driven in particular by a rise in emigration from EU citizens. Meanwhile, CIPD research released in February found that more than a quarter (27 per cent) of employers had already seen evidence their EU27 staff members were planning to leave their organisation, or the UK, within the next year.

Marriott International Opens First Property in Kenya

Marriott International, Inc. today announced its first property in Kenya with the opening of Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Hurlingham. Owned by Kamcan Properties Limited, the hotel is strategically located in the upmarket suburb, close to the city center and within easy access from the surrounding business areas of Westlands, Kilimani and Nairobi Central as well as from the Kenyatta International Airport and the Wilson Airport. Marriott International is also currently developing a 365 room JW Marriott in Nairobi slated to open in 2020 which will substantially enhance Marriott International’s presence in the country. Globally Four Points by Sheraton continues to experience incredible growth momentum. In East Africa alone the brand is set to open three more hotels later this year with the opening of Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Airport, Four Points by Sheraton Dar es Salam and Four Points by Sheraton Arusha.

Applications Open for UK Business Awards 2017

The purpose of the UK Business Awards, aka "The Dons", is to recognise and celebrate excellence in business performance. This is a daytime event which enables businesses from across the UK to compete for a business accolade. Applications are welcome from organisations of all sizes and from all sectors throughout the United Kingdom. The judging panel will be bearing in mind the following factors: the case for recognition, business rationale and context, business impacts and results. The 2017 Award Categories are grouped into three sections: Sector specific: Automotive, Car Rental and Car Purchase, Rental and E-commerce, Not-for-profit and charity, Financial Services, Hospitality and Leisure, Personal Entertainment and Telecoms, Delivery and Logistics, Restaurants and Utilities; Discipline specific: Innovation, Operational Excellence, Business Change or Transformation, Sustainability, SME, Disruptive Business Model, Digital Marketing, Best Place to Work, Customer Centric Organisation, New Business, International Business, Exporter and Social Enterprise; People specific: Entrepreneur of the Year, Inspirational Leader, Team of the Team and Management Education & Training. Successful applicants will recognition for their achievements, as well as exposure and publicity. They will gain a return on investment and will have access to business leaders. They will also have the opportunity to share best practice and receive feedback. Further benefits will include motivation and education for the team as a whole as well as the sense of pride and accomplishment which comes with winning the award. Winners will also receive a trophy and a winner's logo which they may use on their website, stationary, marketing and social media. There is an entry fee of £299.00 plus VAT. Each application into the Discipline or Sector category will enable the participant to make one application in the People category for a fee of £139.00 plus VAT. Finalists will be announced 8 August 2017 and the Awards Final will take place 15 November 2017 at Park Plaza Riverbank, London. The next deadline for applications is 18 July 2017. For further information, interested parties may visit the UK Business Awards

African Development Bank to Invest $12 billion in Africa’s Power Programme

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has revealed its new power programme for Africa, under which it will invest $12bn in the next five years. These finances will support its New Deal on Energy for Africa, which plans to achieve global access to electricity in Africa by 2025. Until quite recently, the AfDB and other organizations considered off-grid power provision as a temporary solution measure, intended to provide electricity to people until their homes were linked to the grid. However, the universal boom in renewable energy technologies and the mounting appeal of energy self-sufficiency in the West has altered the way the concept is seen. The process is prone to pick up the pace when battery storage becomes cheaper and more competent. The AfDB is now eager to see decentralized solar PV take off in the rest of the continent, beyond East Africa, and is eager to utilize its fiscal muscle to support lasting integrated planning and hedging tools to alleviate foreign exchange risks. It can also play a role in motivating skills development and in the longer period perhaps also component manufacturing within Africa.

World Bank More Optimistic about Sub-Saharan Africa GDP Growth, says Report

Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is seen rising between this year and 2019, helped by better commodity prices and improved global conditions, the World Bank said in a recent report. The bank said in its latest “Africa’s Pulse” report economic growth was seen expanding to 2.6 percent this year and further to 3.2 percent in 2018 and 3.5 percent a year later. Sub-Saharan African growth was an estimated 1.3 percent in 2016, the World Bank said. The upturn in economic activity is expected to continue in 2018-19, reflecting improvements in commodity prices, a pickup in global growth, and more supportive domestic conditions, the bank said in its report. The bank said the 2016 growth was the worst for the region in more than two decades, hurt by poor performance in Nigeria, South Africa and Angola. This low growth rate was driven mainly by unfavourable external developments, with commodity prices remaining low, and difficult domestic conditions, the report said. It said growth in Nigeria contracted by 1.5 percent, due to tight liquidity, delays in implementing its budget, and militant attacks on oil pipelines. The bank said Angola’s growth slowed due to a fall in oil production while South Africa’s economic expansion slowed to 0.3 percent due to contractions in the mining and manufacturing industries and the effects of drought on agriculture. Excluding these three countries, growth in the region was estimated to be 4.1 percent in 2016, the report said.

Zimbabwe-trained Doctors Can Practise in California

Students from the University of Zimbabwe’s college of health sciences now qualify to automatically secure licences to practise in California in the United States after they graduate. In a statement, the University of Zimbabwe said the development is a sign that the faculty is training healthcare delivery personnel that meet international best practice. The university currently offers degree programmes in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing science, medical laboratory sciences, rehabilitation, radiology and health education and health promotion. According to the statement, the University of Zimbabwe has had a long-standing collaborative partnership with the University of California dating back to 1994, and the Medical Board of California [US] has formally recognised medical degrees offered by the college of health sciences, University of Zimbabwe. According to Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo, although the University of Zimbabwe’s school of medicine has been recognised as one of the best medical schools, it is still only producing medical practitioners and must transform into an industry-incubating medical institution.

Ecobank Cuts Jobs to Expand Digital Platforms

Ecobank plans to close branches and cut jobs as the Pan-African lender steps up investments in digital platforms, its chief executive said on Wednesday. Speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum for Africa in Durban, Chief Executive Officer Ade Ayeyemi said the bank’s plans to expand its mobile platforms would help deliver profits. This would mean that the bank reduces its branch network, using technology to deliver to customers and processing transactions centrally. Ayeyemi, a former Citigroup executive in Africa, who took over at Ecobank in 2015, said the expansion into online platforms would lead to lay-offs. The bank employs more than 17,000 people. He also said a recovery in oil prices in 2017, which would result in higher import revenues for African economies dependent on crude sales, was a positive policy for the bank. Ecobank’s operations in nearly 40 countries across sub-Saharan Africa are exposed to some economies that have been pressured by the slide in commodity prices and unfavourable currency swings. The bank, which counts South Africa’s Nedbank and Qatar National Bank as shareholders, suffered a hefty $131 million pre-tax loss in 2016. The bank reported a pre-tax profit of $75 million in the first quarter of 2017 though that was still down 17 per cent from a year earlier due to high bad loan provisions. Nigeria accounts for 40 per cent of Ecobank’s revenues.

Côte d’Ivoire Joins Growing List of ATI’s New Member Countries

The African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) has announced that Côte d’Ivoire has joined a growing list of African countries who are members of the institution. ATI is a multilateral investment insurer whose specialised investment and commercial risk insurance products are expected to help attract up to USD2 billion worth of inward investments and trade into the country, and to potentially help lower its sovereign borrowing costs by up to 1% annually. The pan-African institution now insures investments equal to approximately 0.6 to 1.4 percent of GDP annually in a majority of its member states and includes support of strategic deals such as cover on African Development Bank’s USD159 million loan to fund Ethiopian Airline’s fleet expansion. Côte d’Ivoire’s membership in ATI is seen as an integral part of the government’s strategy to attract more investments and to diversify the economy through increased trade and investment opportunities. Côte d'Ivoire becomes the third country to join ATI in the last six months following Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, which became members in late 2016. Rapid membership growth, particularly in significant African economies, is core to ATI’s medium-term plan to broaden its reach and impact and to better distribute risk across more countries in Africa. ATI’s membership push is supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB), which to date has provided a combined USD30 million in soft loans for the membership subscription of Ethiopia, Côte d'Ivoire and Zimbabwe as well as an increase in the capital subscription of Benin. Reflecting its catalytic role in African economies, ATI expects to leverage Côte d'Ivoire’s initial share capital investment by up to 60 times in terms of supported investments into the country on an annual basis, as ATI does in other member states. In the next two years, ATI will continue to target other ECOWAS and large African economies for membership. Increased membership by these countries elevates ATI’s impact in Africa’s economic development, where the company increasingly participates in priority projects targeting sectors such as energy, water, road and rail construction and rehabilitation, building construction, agriculture and telecommunications. ATI provides medium to long term credit risk mitigation products to support investors, banks, businesses, governments and government agencies in Africa. For banks for instance, ATI offers protection against non-payment risks that allow lenders to expand their loan portfolios. For governments, ATI’s products can be used as a substitute for guarantees, which helps sovereigns to lower their debt ceiling.

New Maths Institute to Join ‘pan-African ecosystem’

The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, or AIMS, has opened its sixth education centre of excellence in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, as part of plans to establish 15 AIMS centres across Africa by 2023, which will form part of an 'ecosystem' of transformative institutions. The launch of AIMS Rwanda was a result of a partnership agreement between the government of Rwanda through the ministry of education and AIMSAt present, AIMS, which is Africa’s first and biggest network of centres of excellence in mathematical sciences, consists of a pan-African network of six centres of excellence across African States including South Africa, Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon, Tanzania and Rwanda. Since its establishment in 2003, AIMS has developed partnerships with 15 African universities, and graduated over 1,200 students from more than 42 countries. AIMS offers postgraduate education, training, research innovation and public engagement for the advancement of science, technology, engineering and mathematics for developing a knowledge-based economy in Africa. AIMS also helps in bridging the gap between academia and industry through the introduction of relevant curriculum, job and internship opportunities, and industrial research opportunities. AIMS Rwanda launched its first intake in Rwanda in August 2016. The maiden intake included 44 students from 10 countries, including 17 females. The establishment of AIMS is in line with a 2014 report published by the International Mathematical Union entitled Mathematics in Africa: Challenges and opportunities, which called for a strengthening and expanding of training and research activities, especially regional networks of people and institutions. As part of the AIMS in Rwanda ecosystem, Rwanda will also host Africa’s first research centre in quantum science called Quantum Leap Africa, based in Kigali. The centre aims to solve development problems through data analytics and smart systems design, and build capacity in emerging fields such as quantum information science.

African Women Underrepresented in University Engineering Programmes

A traditional presentation of science and mathematics as a male domain; societal cultural practices that prioritise the education of men over that of women; and an unsupportive science and mathematics teaching environment in secondary school contribute to the paucity of African women studying engineering in African universities, says a report co-authored by Eric Fredua-Kwarteng and Catherine Effah. Enrolment statistics indicate that African women are underrepresented in university engineering programmes across the African continent. For example, at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, while marginal progress has been made in female enrolment in the engineering programme, the percentage of male enrolment is about 90%. Similarly, at one of the oldest African universities, Makerere University, Uganda, 2,160 students enrolled in the engineering programmes in the 2009-10 academic year. Among them, only 22% were women. At the University of Rwanda, the percentage of women enrolled in engineering programmes in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years was 20% and 19% respectively. The University of Mines and Technology, Ghana, matriculated 503 undergraduate students in the 2014-15 academic year. The proportion of women was only 16%. In the previous year, it was almost 20%. On average, the percentage of matriculated female students of that university hovers around 15%-20%. According to the report, affirmative action strategies of quota admission, priority consideration, academic upgrading and conditional admission are all important for addressing the underrepresentation of women in engineering programmes in African universities. However, two major factors leading to the fundamental causes of gender disparity in engineering enrolment, namely girls’ enrolment in upper secondary school, and the difficulties of girls studying science and mathematics at that level, must be addressed.

Sweden to Fund 125 Doctorate Degrees in Uganda

The Swedish government has agreed to support the training of 125 PhD and 147 Masters students and 65 post-doctoral fellows over the next five years, following a new cooperation agreement reached with five public universities in Uganda which will see support go to 17 research teams, writes Prisca Baike for The Observer. According to the Swedish Ambassador to Uganda Per Lindgärde, the support, worth US$32 million (UGX116 billion), is intended to build the universities' human resources and the environment for research and training. The envoy noted that the Swedish strategy is based on funding institution-building, postgraduate education and research in one single effort as no part can function without the others. The Swedish agreement was motivated by concerns about inadequate infrastructure, research funding and staff welfare. Since 2000, Sweden has invested over US$66 million into Uganda's graduate training and scientific environments in five public universities. The main recipient has been Makerere University, while less support went to Kyambogo, Busitema, Gulu and Mbarara University of Science and Technology. The same institutions are expected to benefit under the new cooperation.

Kenya’s Mobile Money Use Dips

Mobile money use in Kenya appears to have reached the peak and has now taken a downward trajectory, falling three months in a row.Data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) received Tuesday point to the latest trend, about 10 years after Kenyans started using the trans-formative technology. In December 2016, according to the CBK, Kenyans transacted 3.1 billion U.S. dollars, the highest level in the history of the technology. The amount was high due to the festive season as during the month, Kenyans send money back home using the platform, use it to buy goods and services and even gift each other. In January, however, use of the technology declined to 2.9 billion dollars, according to the Central Bank. But the marginal fall in January has been the trend in the past years following the December peak. The apex bank data points to a downward curve with the decline in February to 2.7 billion dollars. Analysts attributed the decline to several factors that include rising inflation and the technology having hit a climax. According to the Central Bank, East African nation has 33 million mobile money subscriptions with monthly transactions averaging 140 million.

Djibouti Opens Most Advanced Port in Africa

Djibouti has opened the country’s latest mega project – the Doraleh Multipurpose Port (DMP). The new 690-hectare facility is equipped with ultra-modern facilities that can accommodate 100,000 dwt vessels. The USD$590m project was started in 2015, and jointly financed by Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority (DPFZA) and China Merchant Holding (CMHC). The state-of-the-art port equipment was all manufactured by the Chinese firm ZPMC. Vessels have already begun using the facility. The port provides a world-class logistics platform for shipping. The new facilities will vastly improve the efficiency and ease of doing business in the Horn of Africa. The project cements Djibouti’s position as a critical junction on the “Maritime Silk Road”. DMP is the latest in a series of mega projects in Djibouti. These projects include four new ports, a Liquefied Natural Gas facility, an oil terminal, and two brand new airports. Together they will dramatically expand Djibouti’s ability to serve as a platform and trade hub for the region. The projects follow the completion of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway, a new 752km track linking Ethiopia’s capital with the Port of Djibouti. Djibouti sits at the centre of world trade routes, connecting Asia, Africa and Europe. The port is a gateway to one of the fastest growing regions of the world with 30,000 ships transiting the port each year. Goods from Asia represent 59%, with 21% coming from Europe and 16% from elsewhere in Africa.

Entries Sought for the Africa Property Investment Awards

Africa’s premier real estate competition, the African Property Investment Awards (API Awards) will be launched at this year’s API Summit & Expo 2017 (www.APIsummit.co.za), taking place on the 24th August 2017, at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa. The awards will recognise innovation and outstanding achievement across the entire property industry whilst providing distinguished developers, suppliers and owners working in Sub-Saharan Africa (Excl South Africa) with a platform to showcase their best projects and services. jury members will base their final decision on a wide range of criteria with specific focus on project location; infrastructure and transport access; integration into the environment; originality of the concept; technical and architectural quality; services offered; sensitivity to the local community; innovation; sustainability; corporate staff involvement; response to market demands; financial performance; occupancy; and the impact of the project on economic convergence.

Orange Launches Brand in Liberia

Telecommunications operators, Orange, has launched in Liberia, taking over Cellcom Liberia which now becomes Orange Liberia, allowing the Group to reinforce its presence in West Africa. Orange has built up a considerable presence in this region, which offers strong growth potential and is a strategic priority for the Group’s development. Following this rebranding, Orange Liberia will join one of the world’s most powerful brands and stands to benefit from being part of a large international group. Orange will provide its marketing expertise and world-class technical capability to further strengthen the operator’s established network and enhance customer service in Liberia. With over 1.6 million customers at the end of February 2017, Orange Liberia is the leading mobile operator in Liberia in terms of customers. Founded in 2004, the mobile operator has been a driving force in democratizing access to telecommunication services across the country, despite difficult market conditions. It has always been a precursor in terms of network deployment and in 2012 was the first operator in Liberia to launch 3G (HSPA+) services following by 4G-LTE services in 2016. Orange will pursue this strategy and will continue to invest in the development of its network where the company is already a market leader. With a population of 4.6 million people and relatively low mobile penetration rate (70% of the population) the country has a high growth potential for Orange. Orange is present in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East, where it has more than 120 million customers.

EU Gives Tanzania $200 million to Develop Energy Sector

The European Union, through the Energy for Growth and Sustainable Development programme, has given Tanzania €180 million ($200 million) to develop its energy sector. The bloc, working with the German Development Bank (KfW) and the French Agency for Development (AFD), is funding a €42 million ($47 million) electrification project in northwestern Tanzania, covering the Kagera, Geita and Kigoma Regions. Energy is one of the three focal areas of the EU’s development co-operation with Tanzania. The other two are agriculture and governance. The energy programme seeks to increase supply from minihydro projects in southern Tanzania, solar minigrids on some Lake Victoria islands, and develop transmission and distribution infrastructure. The EU signed a financing agreement for a €205 million ($228 million) advance as part of a €626 million ($696 million) grant the bloc offered Tanzania for the period between 2014 and 2020 in budget support and for energy and agriculture projects. Tanzania has low electricity access rates, with fuel wood and charcoal accounting for 90 per cent of its total energy use. Despite a significant increase in the number of household connections, the number of customers served by the Tanzania Electricity Supply Company remains under 1.5 million out of a 45 million population. The annual per capita electricity consumption in Tanzania is 100kWh. The available power generation capacity currently stands at about 1,500 MW a year, with renewable resources — solar, wind, geothermal, co-generation from biomass and small hydropower — contributing little to the national grid.

African Development Bank: Make Africa Self-sufficient in Food within Decade

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has pledged to make the continent self-sufficient in food production within a decade. Africa is currently spending $36 billion every year on food imports and without change, Africa’s annual spending on food import would reach $110 billion by 2025. AfDB has been supporting the improvement of agribusiness in Africa for several years and feeding Africa remains one of AfDB’s five priority areas. Transforming Africa’s agriculture within a decade and ending food import requires a total investment of $30 billion to $40 billion per year. The Bank believes that there were sufficient resources within the continent and potential partners to generate the funding to transform Africa’s agriculture. Africa’s total population of 1.2 billion was expected to double by 2050. Even though African countries have vowed to allocate at least 10 per cent of their GDP to agricultural sector improvement, most failed to keep their promise. Their report shows that in 2014, a total of $12 billion was invested in agriculture by all African countries.

The First Pan-African Architecture Prize, the Africa Architecture Awards, offers $USD10,000 Prize

The inaugural Africa Architecture Awards has been launched by founder Saint-Gobain to recognise and reward worthy projects from across the African continent, with one overall winner garnering a $10 000 grand prize. The 2017 Africa Architecture Awards seek to acknowledge standout architectural projects that have been conceived of and/or built on the African continent, and invite entries and nominations from the industry. Anyone in the world meeting the entry criteria can enter, or be entered into the awards, as long as the project pertains to Africa.  The awards programme has key collaborators including Sir David Adjaye OBE, noteworthy academics and architects, and practitioners drawn from across Africa and the diaspora. There is no cost to enter the awards and entries close on the 30th of June 2017 for all categories except the People's Choice Award, which closes on the 18th of August 2017. The Master Jury will identify a shortlist of 20 projects, four trophy winners and one Grand Prix. The official awards ceremony is set to take on 28 September 2017 in Cape Town. The Grand Prix winner will receive a $10 000 cash prize at the awards ceremony – that’s in addition to the recognition and prestige of being named as the overall winner from across the continent. A Lifetime Achiever’s Award is given at the discretion of the Master Jury. It is awarded to an architect or architects who have made a significant contribution to the professions of architecture and/or urban design over a substantial period of time. The seven members of the Master Jury are: Anna Abengowe (Nigeria); Patti Anahory (Cape Verde); Guillaume Koffi (Cote d’Ivoire); Phill Mashabane (South Africa); Professor Mark Olweny (Uganda); Professor Edgar Pieterse (South Africa); and, Tanzeem Razak (South Africa). The intention of the awards is to create a broader awareness of the issues and opportunities inherent in the built environment in Africa through dialogue, analysis and critique. The awards will celebrate design excellence and promote an increased awareness of the role and importance of sound architectural theory and practice across Africa and the diaspora. The intention is to honour established architects and encourage emerging and future voices. Professor Lesley Lokko chairs the Africa Architecture Awards Steering Panel and is head of the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg. Please email admin@africaarchitectureawards.com for queries or visit www.africaarchitectureawards.com for more information.

India to Invest $2 billion for Solar Projects in Africa

Three countries, Ivory Coast, Somalia and Ghana have signed up for the International Solar Alliance, taking the total number of signatories to 31. It was floated as PM Modi’s initiative to orchestrate the switch to renewable-energy at the Paris climate change conference. India has also set aside $2billion for solar-projects in Africa. The ISA is a treaty-based intergovernmental organization, involving over 120 countries located between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, receiving abundant sunlight, classified as “sunshine countries”. The alliance aims at efficiently using their abundant solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The ISA Framework Agreement opened for signature at Marrakech, Morocco in November 2016 and 25 countries across Africa, the Pacific, South America and Asia, including Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Brazil, Tuvalu. Cambodia and Bangladesh have so far signed the framework agreement. The ISA framework agreement has further secured six ratifications. The ISA has already welcomed new signatories from Africa including Djibouti, Ghana and Comoros. India is looking towards African countries numerical strength in immediately operationalizing the Agreement. Mauritius and Pacific island states including Nauru and Fiji are further expected to deposit their instruments of ratification soon. India further plans to allocate 20% of its concessional line of credit for Africa to solar projects. India could derive dual benefits from ISA: it could boost its image as a global climate leader, while also enabling it to reap benefits out of global investments in solar technology. If India can leverage the backing of about 120 countries, the ISA has the potential to emerge as a powerful negotiating bloc at the global climate change negotiations.

Zambia Plans Nuclear Energy to Address Power Deficit

The Zambian government has disclosed plans to venture into nuclear energy technology in a bid to branch out the country’s energy sector and end power deficits. Zambia has signed an MoU with China and Russia in order to assess which of the two countries could be a potential technology services provider. Zambia currently has a power deficit of over 400 megawatts that results in long hours of load shedding almost on a daily basis. The country is currently investing in renewable energy (solar) in addition to the hydropower in a bid to overcome the power shortage – but the intention is to bring nuclear energy into the mix. The country has not yet approached the International Atomic Energy Agency over the matter because there are several steps that still need to be taken including establishing a nuclear policy. Zambia’s National Radiation Authority is already working with officials from Mabumba’s ministry to come up with a nuclear policy framework. The Zambian Government in December last year signed agreements with Russia’s state nuclear agency Rosatom to lay the groundwork to build nuclear power plants in Zambia which it hopes will end load shedding. Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation is a state corporation in Russia, established in 2007 and is the regulatory body of the Russian nuclear complex.

Africa Requires $100 billion for Major Infrastructure Projects

Public debt in most sub-Saharan Africa will continue to balloon as governments borrow to finance infrastructure projects unless private sector investments increase, experts have warned. In East Africa, governments are on a borrowing spree to finance key infrastructure projects in transport, energy, water and sanitation. But a new report by the World Bank says that only increased participation by private investors in these projects will help countries close the infrastructure financing deficit. Estimates by the World Bank show that sub-Sahara Africa requires about $100 billion annually to invest in infrastructure projects in order to accelerate economic growth by as much as 2.6 percentage points per year. But the continent is only able to mobilise half of this financing through borrowing, bilateral agreements, domestic revenues, development financial institutions and public-private partnerships, leaving a massive deficit. However, governments can close this gap by creating an environment that allows for private investors to pump resources into projects. Currently, private participation in infrastructure projects in Africa is extremely low, largely due to limited public sector capability, insufficient political will, policy uncertainty and a weak regulatory environment. Private investors have also shunned the continent due to financing complexities attributable to narrow financial markets, higher actual and provisional risks, longer project durations, significant cost overruns and currency mismatches. While countries like Brazil and Turkey have managed to attract $433 billion and $124 billion in private capital respectively, sub-Sahara has only managed to mobilise $77 billion over the past decade. The report comes out at a time when governments in East Africa have accelerated their borrowing to finance projects in energy, railways, roads and ports, in the process pushing public debt through the roof. However, private investment in core power and transport infrastructure has been limited to only $51 billion over the past 25 years. In Kenya, the Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) project represents the face of private investments in infrastructure projects but the problems the investors have encountered have been a deterrent to other investors. LTWP, the largest-ever private investment in Kenya and largest wind farm project in Africa being implemented at a cost of $690 million and expected to commence generation in June, has encountered numerous challenges including disagreements with the government. The majority of the private infrastructure investments are in the power sector at 40 per cent followed by water supply, sanitation and transport.

Orange Digital Investment launches a new investment initiative of 50 million euros devoted to start-ups in Africa

Orange is strengthening its corporate venture strategy by creating a new Africa section in its flagship programme for investment in start-ups, Orange Digital Ventures. As part of this initiative, the Group is committing 50 million euros corresponding to half of the direct investments made via its new Orange Digital Ventures Africa programme; the other half is devoted to indirect investments through specialised funding for Africa. Orange Digital Ventures Africa is the Group’s investment vehicle for early-stage innovation projects in Africa in areas such as new connectivities, FinTech, the Internet of Things, energy and e-health. The objective is to target start-ups offering responses to Africa’s fundamental challenges while leveraging the operator’s assets on the continent. This support will concern all innovative start-ups, whether they are based geographically in Africa or they address African issues from another continent. A dedicated team based in Dakar will be set up next September for the programme in order to respond to the start-ups’ need for responsiveness and simplicity. This new initiative underlines Orange’s commitment in Africa, a growth territory where currently nearly one of every ten inhabitants is an Orange customer, and its determination to always be a cutting-edge player in digital ecosystems. It supports Orange’s existing open innovation initiatives in Africa, such as the Orange Fabs in Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Senegal and BIG in Jordan to facilitate partnerships with the start-ups; the network of partner incubators such as CTIC in Dakar; the availability of Orange APIs on the continent; and the Orange Social Venture Prize recognising social entrepreneurs in Africa. Start-ups may contact the Orange Digital Ventures Africa team via the website http://DigitalVentures.orange.com.

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