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Afreximbank’s Fifth Annual Babacar Ndiaye Lecture: The Importance of Science, Technology and Innovation in the Transformation of African Economies under the AfCFTA

The Keynote speaker at this year’s Babacar Ndiaye Lecture is former President of Mauritius and 2007 Laureate of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards, Professor Ameenah Gurib-Fakim; The Lecture will focus on the key role that Science, Technology, and Innovation can play in bolstering productivity and fast-tracking industrialization of African economies; The Lecture will also discuss how the AfCFTA provides a unique opportunity for African economies to collaborate in the STEM fields and ensure that talents in those areas remain in Africa.

Now in its fifth edition, the Babacar Ndiaye Lecture that will take place this Wednesday, October 20, brings together leaders in the public and private sectors, think tanks, academia, and the general public to engage with one of Africa’s leading political figures and world-renowned scientist, Professor Ameenah Gurib-Fakim.

Professor Gurib-Fakim served as the Chairperson at the International Council for Scientific Union – Regional Office for Africa, before becoming the First Female President of Mauritius. Professor Gurib-Fakim has also been the recipient of various international awards including the L’Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science (2007), Laureate for the National Economic and Social Council (2007), and the African Union Award for Women in Science, among others.

Africa’s scientific and technological gap with the rest of the world has undermined the process of economic transformation and exacerbated dependency on imports

Covid-19 heightened the urgency for African self-sufficiency in medicine and other essential manufactured goods which could not be imported at the height of the pandemic downturn either as a result of disruption of global supply chains or export ban to meet domestic demand. In a world where the technological content of manufactured goods has been consistently increasing, Africa’s scientific and technological gap with the rest of the world has undermined the process of economic transformation and exacerbated dependency on imports.

Only 2.4% of the world’s researchers in science are African, 31% of whom are women. “For too long science and technology—the most important drivers of economic development—have been neglected in Africa. We cannot talk about transformation without investing in science.” commented Professor Oramah. The AfCFTA which has the potential to accelerate the transformation of African economies and maximize returns to education could ignite a scientific revolution that will sustain the diversification of sources of growth and improvement of welfare.

This year’s Babacar Ndiaye Lecture promises to offer an insightful and provocative conversation on how Africa must invest in Science, Technology and Innovation to strengthen the continent’s voice in solving some of the problems the world is facing today, but also creating outlets and industries for this and future generations. In addition to the keynote address by Prof. Gurib Fakim, H.E. Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor, AU Commissioned for Human Resources, Science and Technology, will also address the audience.

Since its inception in 2017, the Babacar Ndiaye Lecture has become one of the major highlights on the continent and the world – a one-of-kind event serving as a nexus for Afreximbank shareholders, partners and professionals, along with existing and potential clients spanning all industries. As event hosts, the Bank is also honoured to welcome CEOs and senior executives of banks and financial institutions, captains of industry and business leaders, senior government officials and central bankers, leaders, and representatives of international organisations and DFIs, researchers and members of the academic community, as well as the continent’s diplomatic corps and Chambers of Commerce. In addition, the event provides an excellent opportunity to connect with the African Diaspora, policymakers, professionals in the development community, as well as investors interested in business opportunities in Africa.

Speakers at previous Babacar Ndiaye lectures include Professor Joseph Stiglitz, the 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economics and Columbia University Professor, Columbia University; Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, Columbia University Professor and Director of the Centre for Sustainable Development, Columbia University; HE Dr Olusegun Obasanjo, former President, Federal Republic of Nigeria; General William E. “Kip” Ward, former Commander of the US Africa Command, Africom; and Professor Kishore Mahbubani, Distinguished Fellow, Asia Research Institute and Founding Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

This year’s lecture will be held virtually and is open to the media and general public and registration is available on www.bnl2021.com

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AfricaAgricultureEconomyFashionInvestment

AfDB Group President Akinwumi Adesina assures Nigeria of Bank’s strong support to achieve food security

The President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB.org), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, received a high-level Nigerian delegation led by the country’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar on Monday.

 

The meeting follows on the heels of an address by Dr. Adesina last week at a mid-term ministerial retreat presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Dr. Adesina and the Nigerian minister discussed means of tackling growing concerns about the country’s food security.

Adesina said the Bank’s strategic support for Nigeria’s food production would be hinged on five factors: support, scale, systemic, speed, and sustainability.

He added, “I want to assure President Buhari that the African Development Bank will provide his government with very strong support to tackle the country’s food security challenges.”

“Inflation in Nigeria is high, at 16% or more. Of course, the biggest share of the consumer price index is the price of food, at almost 65%. So, if we can drive down the price of food, of course, we can drive down inflation.“

Adesina urged the Nigerian minister to concentrate on building the correct team and tactics to optimize the country’s farming seasons. He said that dramatically increased food output will result in lower food prices, which will in turn lower inflation rates.

Abubakar said his consultative mission to Abidjan was at the instruction of President Buhari.

“Our mission is to examine ways Nigeria could enhance food production, lower food prices, and create wealth,” the minister said.

Abubakar welcomed the Bank’s proposed strategy and described it as a landmark one that would spur Nigeria’s food supply production. “It will reverse the ugly trend of a sharp increase in prices of food in the country. I am pleased with the Bank’s strategy to facilitate the production of 9 million metric tons of food in Nigeria, and to support us in raising self-sufficiency. The Bank’s Special Agro-Processing Zones initiative is a laudable one and Nigeria is grateful.”

Citing successes in Sudan, Adesina explained how the African Development Bank had supported the country with 65,000 metric tonnes of heat-tolerant wheat varieties, cultivated on 317,000 hectares.

“It took two seasons to do this,” he said. “Change will not happen in years. You will see change in seasons. Sudan now produces 1.1 million metric tons of wheat. The same thing happened in Ethiopia in just two seasons with the production of 184, 000 hectares of wheat,“ he added.

Our mission is to examine ways Nigeria could enhance food production, lower food prices, and create wealth

In response to Bank successes in Sudan and Ethiopia, Abubakar said: “This gives me an additional measure of confidence. If you can do it in Sudan, you can equally do it in Nigeria. Not just in wheat, but also rice, maize, and soybeans.”

The African Development Bank will provide Nigeria with support through input delivery, including highly improved seeds and fertilizers to farmers, and an integrated input delivery platform.

Extensively discussed at the meeting was the Bank’s Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone initiative as an effective medium-term plan for revolutionizing Nigeria’s agriculture value chain.

Adesina said: “The task, responsibility, and challenge of feeding Nigeria rests on your shoulders. You will receive maximum support from me, and the African Development Bank for the responsibility that President Buhari has given you. You will not be alone.”

He added: “The Bank stands ready to fully support and help Nigeria in the next farming seasons. So, we must make sure things turn around. The president must succeed, and Nigeria must succeed. Agriculture must succeed.”

Abubakar thanked the African Development Bank for its support and said the meeting gave him reassurances of what Nigeria can achieve with the Bank’s support in the farming seasons ahead.

The minister also called for the Bank’s support to recapitalize the country’s Bank of Agriculture.

Both parties set up a task force team to develop a plan for accelerated implementation within the next 60 days.

Also at the meeting were a member of Nigeria’s National Assembly, Hon. Munir Baba Dan Agundi, Chair of the House Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Institutions;  the African Development Bank’s executive director for Nigeria,  Sao Tome and Principe, Dr. Oyebode Oyetunde; Vice President of Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Beth Dunford; Senior Special Advisor to the President of the Bank on Industrialization, Professor Oyebanji Oyelaran; Director General of the Bank’s Nigeria Country Office in Abuja, Lamin Barrow; the Bank’s Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industries, Martin Fregene; the Director for Agricultural Finance and Rural Development, Atsuko Toda; and senior officials from Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

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Sports

Sports News: FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Official Hospitality Packages Set to Go on Sale in Nigeria

MATCH Hospitality has today confirmed that leading sports management and marketing agency, Integral (www.Integralsande.com), has been appointed as its Sales Agent in Nigeria for the sale of the Official Hospitality Programme of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

MATCH Hospitality is the global rights holder and the only company appointed by FIFA to exclusively promote and sell, either directly or via a network of sales agents, official commercial hospitality packages for the FIFA World Cup 2022™, including guaranteed match tickets. MATCH Hospitality has successfully operated the FIFA Commercial Hospitality Programmes for the previous three editions of the FIFA World Cup™ and FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa, Brazil and Russia, and of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in Germany, Canada and, most recently, France.

JAIME BYROM, Executive Chairman of MATCH Hospitality, said: “Qatar promises to deliver an amazing tournament that will capitalise on its principal attributes; the close proximity of its eight venues which are all located in or within short driving distance of Doha, and a fascinating region with unique attractions, spectacular state-of-the-art stadiums, and traditional Arabic hospitality. MATCH Hospitality strongly believes in the unique potential of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Official Hospitality Programme and in our ability to deliver truly ground-breaking and unprecedented sales globally. Our Sales Agents will be key to our success, and I am delighted to announce our decision to continue our long-standing collaboration with Integral in an exciting new chapter in our long-standing relationship.

Integral is honoured to act as the Exclusive Sales Agent for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Official Hospitality Programme in Nigeria

I have no doubt that Integral will help deliver the best possible results for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and open the door to a Nigerian market ready for the extraordinary experiences promised by what will be an exceptional FIFA World Cup.”

DEOLU LAMIKANRA, Associate Director at Integral and Chief Revenue Officer added: “Integral is honoured to act as the Exclusive Sales Agent for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Official Hospitality Programme in Nigeria. Thanks to this agreement, our company will bring this territory a lot closer to the most coveted football competition in the world, offering fans a unique opportunity to purchase ticket-inclusive hospitality packages for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.”

Integral will also offer various services in conjunction with the hospitality packages, including flights, accommodation, end-to-end transportation and social experiences unique to this edition of the FIFA World Cup™.

MICHAEL KELLY, Chief Revenue Officer of MATCH Hospitality, said: “As part of our global tender process launched in February 2020, we have received proposals from most of the key territories from where we anticipate high demand for the Official Hospitality Programme for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.  We have been most encouraged by the remarkable global response, which has further cemented our belief that despite the unprecedented events of recent months, there remains unwavering enthusiasm and interest in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Official Hospitality Programme. Nigeria represents an important territory within our overall strategic sales operations for the FIFA Hospitality Programme and, working in partnership with Integral, we are extremely optimistic about its sales potential.”

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Arts

FESPACO 2021: One of Africa’s Biggest Film Festival is back!

The African film festival, FESPACO, is back this year after the pandemic, the lockdowns of the past year and a half, and an 8-months delay (the biennial event was originally scheduled for February 27 – March 6, but had to be postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic). It is back in Ouagadougou amidst the health situation and also the security issues that have surfaced in the Sahel region, and particularly in Burkina Faso, in the past few years.

The Festival Panafricain du cinema et de la television de Ouagadougou (FESPACO) is the Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou, which happens to be the largest African film festival. It is held biennially in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. First established in 1969, and boasting some of Africa’s greatest writers and filmmakers (like Ousmane Sembene), the FESPACO offers a chance for African filmmakers and professionals to showcase their work, exchange ideas, and meet other filmmakers, and sponsors.

This year’s FESPACO started on October 16th and will end on October 23rd. It promises to be great with filmmakers from around the continent coming to Ouagadougou to celebrate African cinema. After over a year of confinement, with life and particularly travel almost coming to a grinding stop, the festival promises to bring some much-needed entertainment and joy.

Golden Stallion of Yennenga
The Golden Stallion of Yennenga

Over 200 films made by Africans and mainly produced in Africa have been selected for the week-long event. The official selection will see 17 feature-length films compete for the festival’s top prize, the Golden Stallion of Yennenga.

Among them is Burkinabe Boubacar Diallo’s comedy Les Trois Lascars (The Three Lascars), Chadian Mahamat Saleh Haroun with Lingui, les liens sacrés (Lingui, the sacred links), Congolese Dieudo Hamadi with documentary En route pour le milliard (On the road for the billion), Ivorian Philippe Lacôte with his much appreciated La nuit des rois (The night of the kings), Senegalese Aissa Maiga with Marcher sur l’eau (Walking on water), Algerian Hassane Mezine with Fanon hier, aujourd’hui (Fanon yesterday, today), Tunisian Leyla Bouziz with Une histoire d’amour et de desir (a story of love and desire), Cameroonian Narcisse Wandji with Bendskins (Moto-taxis), Namibian  Desiree Kahikopo-Meiffret with The White Line, Tanzanian Ekwa Msangi with Farewell Amor, …  It will be impossible to list here all that the festival has to offer, but know that it is quite extensive and everybody will have its fill. Enjoy FESPACO 2021!!!

 

Written by DR.Y

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Sports

African Legend Didier Drogba appointed World Health Organization Ambassador for Sports and Health

Football legend Didier Drogba was today announced as the World Health Organization’s Goodwill Ambassador for Sport and Health. Drogba, from Côte d’Ivoire, will support WHO to promote the Organization’s guidance on the benefits of physical activity and other healthy lifestyles and highlight the value of sports, particularly for youth.

Mr. Drogba, well known for his football career at Chelsea and as a two-time African Footballer of the Year (2006 and 2009), has a long track record of participating in various health campaigns such as healthy lifestyles, anti-malaria, and HIV prevention and control.

“I am honoured to team up with the World Health Organization and support its work to help people reach the highest level of health possible, especially young people in all countries,” said Mr Drogba during his ambassadorship announcement event at WHO’s Geneva headquarters. “I have benefited first hand from the power of sports to lead a healthy life and I am committed to working with WHO to share such gains worldwide.”

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, hailed Mr Drogba as not only a football legend but a dedicated advocate for the health and sustainable development of communities and added that his support for WHO can help curb the growing burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) through the promotion of healthy lifestyles, including the benefits of physical activity and sports for all people.

“Didier is a proven champion and game-changer both on and off the pitch,” said Dr Tedros. “We are pleased to have him playing on our team, and helping communities worldwide reach and score goals through sports for their physical and mental health and well-being. He will also support the mobilization of the international community to promote sports as an essential means for improving the physical, mental health, and social well-being of all people, including in helping COVID-19 recovery efforts.”

I am honoured to team up with the World Health Organization and support its work to help people reach the highest level of health possible, especially young people in all countries

Current global estimates show four in five adolescents, and one in four adults, do not do enough physical activity. Increased physical inactivity also negatively impacts health systems, the environment, economic development, community well-being, and quality of life. Regular physical activity, including through sports, helps lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and various types of cancer (including breast cancer and colon cancer).

Mr Drogba’s announcement as a WHO Goodwill Ambassador was made during a ceremony to launch the “Healthy 2022 World Cup – Creating Legacy for Sport and Health” partnership between Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health and its Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, WHO and world football’s governing body, FIFA.

Mr Drogba joins other WHO ambassadors including champion Brazilian footballer Alisson Becker; Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term Mayor of the City of New York; Cynthia Germanotta, President of the Born This Way Foundation; and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Biography – Mr Didier Drogba, WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Sports and Health

Didier Drogba is an Ivorian retired professional footballer. He is best known for his career at Chelsea, for whom he has scored more goals than any other foreign player and the club’s fourth highest goal scorer of all time. Drogba was also named “African Footballer of the Year” twice, winning the accolade in 2006 and 2009. His leadership was outstanding when the Ivorian football team had their best run between 2006 and 2014 when they qualified for three consecutive FIFA Word Cups.

Off the pitch, in 2007, Drogba established the Didier Drogba Foundation to support economic development initiatives to improve the living conditions of vulnerable communities. He is also a former UNDP Goodwill Ambassador focusing on development issues in Africa from January 2007 to April 2021 and Afrijapan’s advocacy initiatives in the framework of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).

In his role, Drogba will amplify and spread WHO’s guidance and public health messages to practice physical activity, adopt healthy lifestyles, and highlight the value of sports as a source of life skills, particularly to the youth. Drogba has a long track participating in various health campaigns such as healthy lifestyles, anti-malaria and HIV.

Mr Drogba was officially appointed as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Sports and Health on 18 October 2021

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AfricaPolitics

POLITICS: Thousands of Sudanese protesters demand military coup as crisis deepens

Hundreds of pro-military Sudanese protesters rallied for a second day Sunday, aggravating what Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok called the “worst and most dangerous crisis” of the country’s precarious transition.

The protesters rallying in Khartoum are demanding the dissolution of Sudan’s post-dictatorship interim government, saying it has “failed” them politically and economically.

“The sit-in continues, we will not leave until the government is dismissed,” Ali Askouri, one of the organisers, told AFP.

The protests come as Sudanese politics reels from divisions among the factions steering the rocky transition from three decades of iron-fisted rule by Omar al-Bashir.

Bashir was ousted by the army in April 2019 in the face of mass protests driven by the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), a civilian alliance that became a key plank of the transition.

The latest demonstrations, left undisturbed by security forces, have been organised by a splinter faction of the FFC. Critics allege that these protests are being driven by members of the military and security forces, and involve counter-revolutionary sympathizers with the former regime.

The protesters have converged on the presidential palace where the transitional authorities are based, shouting “One army, one people” and demanding “a military government”.

Poverty-stricken Sudan has undergone dramatic changes since the ouster of Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, where a conflict that began in 2003 killed 300,000 people.

The United States removed Sudan from its state sponsors of terrorism blacklist in December 2020, eliminating a major hurdle to much-needed aid and investment.

– ‘Scenario of a coup’ –

But domestic support for the transitional government has waned in recent months amid a tough package of IMF-backed economic reforms, including the slashing of fuel subsidies and a managed float of the Sudanese pound.

The latest developments come after the government said on September 21 it had thwarted a coup attempt which it blamed on both military officers and civilians linked to Bashir’s regime.

On Friday, Hamdok warned that the transition is facing its “worst and most dangerous” crisis.

Hamdok’s Minister of Finance Jibril Ibrahim on Saturday addressed the crowd demanding the resignation of the government.

The mainstream faction of the FFC said the crisis “is engineered by some parties to overthrow the revolutionary forces… paving the way for the return of remnants of the previous regime”.

Jaafar Hassan, the spokesman for the FFC, called the pro-military sit-in “an episode in the scenario of a coup d’etat”.

Its aim, he told AFP, was “to block the road to democracy because the participants in this sit-in are supporters of the former regime and foreign parties whose interests have been affected by the revolution”.

The demonstration heightens tensions ahead of a rival rally planned for Thursday by the opposite side, to demand a full transfer of power to civilians.

Hassan said the FFC organisers aim for “a demonstration of one million people … to show the world the position of the Sudanese people”.

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AfricaNewsPolitics

POLITICS: Ex-Ivory Coast president Gbagbo launches new party in Abidjan

Laurent Gbagbo, with a decade-long exile behind him, this weekend embarks on a path he hopes will return him to Ivory Coast’s presidency at the helm of a new party as reported by Africanews.

“This is the grand return of Laurent Gbagbo to the political scene,” his spokesman Justin Kone Katinan told AFP ahead of the launch.

Gbagbo will oversee the new party’s congress on Saturday and Sunday as he seeks to “reunite the left” and use the occasion as a springboard to the 2025 presidential election.

The 76-year-old, whose 2000-2011 rule was marked by turbulence and division in the world’s biggest cocoa producer, has been very visible since returning to his homeland on June 17.

He was removed from office in April 2011 after a short civil war that claimed 3,000 lives, sparked by his refusal to accept electoral defeat by current President Alassane Ouattara.

Gbagbo was then flown to the International Criminal Court in The Hague to face charges of crimes against humanity resulting from the conflict but eventually acquitted.

He has occupied himself by visiting former president and also rival Henri Konan Bedie, held “reconciliation” talks with Ouattara but has fallen out for good with his former prime minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan, who heads a faction of his former Ivorian Popular Front (FPI).

Leaving the FPI behind, Gbagbo now expects around 1,600 delegates will show support at the congress hosted at Abidjan’s prestigious Hotel Ivoire where his new “African People’s Party – Cote d’Ivoire” (PPA-CI) will look to draw up a manifesto.

The mooted party logo comprises two intertwined hands clasping a map of Africa with the accent on a Pan-African dimension.

Indeed one of the major congress themes will be African sovereignty in the face of the abiding influence of Western powers.

The new party hopes to reshape domestic debate in a country where the opposition has become increasingly hollowed out over the past decade.

“We want to constitute a normal opposition party which brings a critique” to the table to enable “debate to leave violence behind and become essentially political,” says Kone Katinan.

“We are waiting to see if this will be a real opposition or a party seeking power. We shall see how they go about things, what will be their alternative programme,” notes political analyst Sylvain N’Guessan.

Crimping Gbagbo’s ambitions could be a bill designed to limit the age of presidential candidates to 75. He will turn 80 in 2025.

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AfricaAgricultureAPO-GROUPNews

World Food Day: Time for global leaders to invest in Africa’s agriculture By Beth Dunford

More than six out of every 10 people in Sub-Saharan Africa work in the continent’s agriculture sector. We may not realize that what grows from African soil may be connected to some of the world’s most popular foods.

Africa produces the world’s largest supply of cocoa, used in chocolate bars and other products. Ethiopia and Uganda-grown coffee beans, which dominate Africa’s coffee exports, valued at nearly $2 billion last year.

The volume of African commodity exports is rising. At the same time, more Africans are facing food insecurity. Around 246 million Africans go to bed hungry every night. The pace of Africa’s agricultural growth is not keeping up with Africa’s population growth.

On World Food Day, it is time for African and global leaders, as well as development organizations, to join the African Development Bank Group’s call for increased investments in agricultural technologies that boost Africa’s food production and food security in the face of climate change.

The continent has immense potential to feed itself and to become a breadbasket to the world: about 65 percent of Earth’s remaining uncultivated, arable land is in Africa. However, that potential is threatened by erratic weather extremes. It is also stunted because a majority of African food growers are subsistence smallholder farmers. We need to scale up delivery of modern and climate-smart farming practices.

The African Development Bank Group’s investments are helping African farmers put more food in the mouths of more Africans. Since the Bank launched its Feed Africa Strategy in 2015, more than 74 million people are benefiting from access to improved agricultural technologies, resulting in higher food production.

Our flagship program, Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) has provided 11 million farmers across 29 African countries with proven agricultural technologies such as drought-resistant maize, heat-resistant wheat, higher-yielding seed varieties and seed treatments to protect against pests like the fall armyworm, which has been devastating African crops in waves of hungry, winged swarms.

TAAT has produced astonishing results in under three years. African food production has expanded by more than 12 million metric tons. TAAT has reduced Africa’s food imports worth $814 million. We are on our way to reaching our target of reaching 40 million farmers with modern and climate-resilient technologies.

Aligned with the World Food Day 2021 theme, “Our actions are our future. Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life,” the Bank is delivering higher food production, access to more nutritious foods and helping farmers adapt to environments impacted by climate change. We advocate for gender-sensitive policy reform and gender-inclusive development.

We need to scale up delivery of modern and climate-smart farming practices

Combined, these activities are raising incomes for women and men in farming and contributing to a better quality of life for Africans all along the food value chain.

The Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative aims to reduce the access to financing gap women businesses face across the continent, including women working in agriculture.

AFAWA has just put $20 million into a project on financing climate-resilient agricultural practices in Ghana. It will target hundreds of women-led enterprises through lines of credit with Ecobank Ghana, as well as provide them skills training on climate adaptive farming.

We are on the right path, but we need to do more. At a recent “Feeding Africa” event hosted by the Bank and the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development, more than a dozen African heads of state and other world leaders endorsed the creation of a Financing Facility for Food and Nutrition in Africa. The Facility proposes a new approach to investing in agriculture and agri-business, based on five pillars:

Scaling up of proven climate-adapted, science-based production and other technologies;

• Creating an enabling environment for enhancing agricultural production. Governments must commit to policy and regulation that facilitates access to modern technologies;

• Building critical backbone infrastructure linking production areas to markets and processing at African national and regional levels;

• Crowding in private-sector investments and access to finance. Private sector investment and business expertise will grow food supply chain commercial viability, as well as inclusion of more small and medium enterprises and smallholder farmers;

• Support to an African special emergency assistance fund on famine and drought.

The Facility expects to mobilize $1 billion over the next two years from green funds, bilateral and multilateral donors to support these pillars. We need more government, development partner, private sector and foundation “buy in” to scale up investments in this Facility.

The African Development Bank envisages a food-secure Africa that uses advanced technologies, creatively adapts to climate change and develops a new generation of “agripreneurs” — empowered youth and women who will modernize and industrialize agriculture.

The Financing Facility aims to accomplish that by bringing smart “agritech” to help millions of more African farmers to double major crop yields, produce enough food to feed an additional 200 million people and reduce incidents of malnutrition. Join us.

• Beth Dunford Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development at the African Development Bank

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Jack Ma’s cash grants for African entrepreneurs

Violet Awo Amoabeng, CEO & Founder of Skin Gourmet

Ghana’s Skin Gourmet qualify for ABH Grand Finale

Interview Story ;Mohammed Abu,ADM,Accra 

Ghana’s Violet-Amoabeng, CEO of Skin Gourmet is among Ten finalists, 50% of who are female and from 7 African countries, poised to make their pitch at the grand finale pitch in November this year.

This was contained in a press release by The 2021 Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) prize; a flagship philanthropic program established by the Jack Ma Foundation, These ten entrepreneurs will take the stage at the grand finale in November for their final pitch to win a share of a US$1.5 million prize pool.

The ten entrepreneurs, half of whom the release said, were selected from over 12,000 applications across all 54 African nations. They had passed multiple stages of judging and evaluation. With an average age of 32 years, the top ten represent businesses primarily operating in 7 African countries: Botswana, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Uganda.

Their businesses span key industries such as agriculture, beauty, education, energy, food & beverage, logistics, manufacturing, media & entertainment, and retail. 80% of the finalists operate their businesses in rural areas. Through their ventures, these outstanding entrepreneurs are generating positive impact and creating opportunities for their communities.

“It’s African time! We have been continuously impressed with all of our 2021 Top 10 finalists, especially their diversity and strength of their businesses. The Top 10 are truly inspiring and are a testament to the talent, resilience, innovation, and passion of African entrepreneurs. In the midst of unprecedented challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, we remain steadfast in our efforts to identify, support and shine a spotlight on African entrepreneurs that are driving positive growth for their communities,” said Jason Pau, Executive Director of International, Jack Ma Foundation.

Each year for 10 years (2021 being the 3rd edition), the ABH awards grant funding to 10 outstanding African visionary startups/entrepreneurs who are providing innovative and robust solutions to problems in their local communities. The winner receives US $300,000, the 1st Runner up receives $250,000, the 2nd Runner up receives $150,000 and 7 others in the Top 10 each receives $100,000, on top of other networking and learning opportunities and support.

Awo-Amoabeng’s qualification for the finals  comes on the back of another Ghanaian entrepreneur Abdulai A Dasana, CEO & COO, Amaati Company Limited who also made it to the Top 10 and was awarded 100,000 USD.

 In an interview earlier with Awo-Amoabeng, prior to the announcement on what were her expectations, she said, she expects the judges will make the right choice for the top 10 and added, that for all the training that she had received, she expected that whatever decision they make, it will be the right one.

“I am excited for whatever is next because I have not been disappointed yet by this experience”.

On the input of the ABH programme jn her business endeavours,she said noted  that her company was so thankful for the opportunity to continue to be a part of the competition.

“Even at this point, what the competition is doing for my business and for me as an entrepreneur is mind blowing”adding,”ABH is teaching us how to understand, improve, and guide our business so Skin Gourmet can be a global success. The insight, mentorship, and exposure this competition is giving us is incredible. We are beyond grateful and are really looking forward to seeing what the Top 10 finals has in store”

On what inspired her to become and entrepreneur she said she became one because she wanted to help people and a strong believer in the concept of “Ghana beyond aid” as she believes in her country and her people. Thus, she is building a business that reflects that Africa is capable of taking care of not just itself, but the rest of the world.\

Many people she noted, don’t realize that what they put on their skin ends up inside their body. In other words, users put products on their skin without realizing that they are absorbed into their body. She noted that even though users of the said products won’t eat it but they little realize that its application on the human skin “whether we eat or wear it ends up in the same place = our body. Stabilizers, fragrances, preservatives have no place in the human body much less in our environment”.

It was therefore against this background that, Skin Gourmet created RAW handmade skincare sourced from the WILD of GHANA and so PURE you can eat it. Skincare that is so safe that anyone can use it for anything – even food.

This Awo-Amoabeng noted, is not a far-out concept – “this is the definition of Ghanaian skincare, and we want and need to share this with world. Our products have 7 or less real plant-based ingredients and we don’t add anything that you don’t need”.

“Skin Gourmet is so safe it can be used for anything by anyone. It has absolutely no additives, no fragrances, no preservatives, or anything you can’t pronounce”adding,”The best part? It’s useful even when it is empty and it will not harm you or the planet. This is real Ghanaian skincare – which the whole world deserves”.

On what were the early years challenges she encountered in her business, she recounts that she started her business with just GHS 145.00 (USD 45 approximately) in 2014.

“Skin Gourmet looked nothing like my vision but even with almost no financing – I started.

I struggled and I am still struggling BUT I am glad I started and look how far I have come and how much further I know I will go because I will not give up”.

On what words of inspiration she had for other entrepreneurs, she exhorted them to remain focus and never to give up amidst challenges and they think they don’t have enough they should endeavour to find a way and push on and they would be so surprised by their  ability to overcome, to innovate, to adapt.

He also exhorted them not to be afraid to fail. “It is okay – but only if you get back up.

You don’t need money to make your dreams come true. You need you – to believe in you and your dream. Yes, it is hard, and yes, it will never get easier, but the reward is in overcoming the challenge. And if no one encourages you – encourage yourself”

.“We are all struggling, we all fail but what makes us winners is – we get back up.As African entrepreneurs we don’t do this for just us. So never give up”.

On What are the special moments and achievements of Skin Gourmet she wish to share,she recounted that, the most amazing day of her  life was when I she was  able to pay Social Security and National Insurance Trust(SSNIT) contributions for her  staff.

“To be honest, I have way too much to be grateful for to count – but being able to create jobs, and the opportunity to impact Ghana through our value chain – and be profitable.

“Even though it’s been a hard almost 7 years – I have grown. Were one to ask what I have achieved with Skin Gourmet as an individual, I would say this company is shaping me into the person I have always wanted to be. Every challenge we overcame is an achievement because when I look back; I’m grateful for all of it – the ups, down, tears, pain, and joy. I enjoy every single day in this company – especially the hardest days because then I remember why I do this.

“So I guess my most special moments are my hardest days when am broke because that is when I learnt the most”.

On business tips she had to share with up and coming entrepreneurs, she said she had seven of them she had always reminded herself about and which really helped her. They are namely, “Watch your motives”, “Rebuke is a blessing”, “Do not take it personally”, “It’s not about me”, “Keep walking. No excuses”. “Keep an open mind” and “I don’t know everything”.

Violet is a young Ghanaian entrepreneur, the Founder and CEO of Skin Gournment limited – dealers in RAW handmade high-quality skincare sourced from the Wilds of Ghana.

She is a high energy super hopeful entrepreneur who has always been passionate about people and has attained Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Business administration – specializing in marketing, supply chain management and accounting.

In 2014, Violet created Skin Gourmet with GHS 145 (USD 45.00). Skin Gourmet is now distributed in over 17 different countries and Violet has been featured in Glitz and EMY Magazine as an emerging industry leader. Skin Gourmet has been featured in Forbes, Elle, Pop Sugar, and Indian Cosmopolitan for an Editor’s Best Product Pick Award.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AfricaAgricultureAPO-GROUPAPO-OPAFoodHealth

Unlocking the potential of Africa’s free trade area for rural women

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Regional Office for Africa has launched a new brief that advocates for seizing the opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for the economic empowerment of women in agriculture. The publication is launched today to coincide with the International Day for Rural Women which is celebrated every year on 15 October to honour women and girls living in rural areas.

The AfCFTA holds the potential to contribute significantly to eliminating poverty, creating jobs, and improving food security. However, the new publication Seizing the opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area for the economic empowerment of women in agriculture warns that the AfCFTA could exacerbate existing gender disparities and discrimination and worsen the condition of women engaged in trade and agriculture if women’s inclusion is not prioritized.

The AfCFTA will change existing trading practices and formalize markets which could preclude women’s access and further relegate them to informal and less lucrative value chains.

“Women must not be left behind,” said FAO Senior Gender Officer Clara Park. “It is of pivotal importance that we create ecosystems of support that enable women to access opportunities created through the AfCFTA and reinvigorate our efforts to address existing gender inequalities in access to and control over land, services, technology, markets, and knowledge. We need to bring women and their organizations to the decision-making table,” she said.

We need to bring women and their organizations to the decision making table

Women’s key role in Africa’s food production and trade

Around 85 percent of economic activity in Africa is conducted in the informal sector where women account for nearly 90 percent of the informal labour force. Many rural women also sell goods and agricultural produce through informal trade channels and cross-border trade.

The African Continental Free Trade Area agreement establishes the largest free-trade area in the world. The single market aims to enhance intra-African trade, facilitate investment, improve continental economic integration, and boost African countries’ competitiveness in the global market.

Some of the many benefits women can reap by trading under the AfCFTA include moving up the value chain, leveraging networks of women’s associations, upgrading their businesses, and tapping into new markets.

Ensuring women’s inclusion

The publication makes recommendations relevant to stakeholders across the trade sector, including strategic partnerships to develop innovative solutions and policy recommendations to ensure that the implementation of the AfCFTA agreement will provide opportunities that benefit women; build the capacity of women and women’s organizations so that they are involved in Africa’s trade environment and understand what the AfCFTA agreement entails, including its opportunities and challenges; and engage the private sector to connect with women’s groups involved in agricultural value chains.

FAO recognizes that women play a critical role in food production in Africa. FAO is working with partners to unlock the potential of trade and seize the opportunities of the AfCFTA for rural women.

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