Kigali to host East African countries to discuss economic recovery and investments promotion

More than 100 decision-makers and economic stakeholders will gather in Kigali this week to discuss the road to social and economic recovery and how to attract investments in East Africa. The meeting known as the 25th session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts (ICSOE), will take place from 27 to 29 October 2021.

The ICSOE is the annual gathering of the office for Eastern Africa of the UN Economic Commission in Africa (UNECA) organised in collaboration with the Rwanda Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. The theme of this year’s meeting is: “Strengthening resilience for a strong recovery and attracting investments to foster economic diversification and long-term growth in Eastern Africa”.

This is the time for Rwanda to discuss with other countries of the region the potentials and the ability to rise and be responsive to the socio-economic challenges

Dr Mama Keita, Director of UNECA in Eastern Africa said that the Covid-19 pandemic has weakened the economic conditions of all countries in the region. She stressed that the ICSOE meeting will provide a platform for various stakeholders from governments to have a conversation with experts and private sectors on the needed economic recovery and on how to re-ignite the engines of trade and investment.

Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning said that this meeting is timely and significant. “This is the time for Rwanda to discuss with other countries of the region the potentials and the ability to rise and be responsive to the socio-economic challenges, exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis.

According to Ms Keita, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is undoubtedly critical to support the recovery from the severe adverse impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, increase the economic multiplier in the region and will help countries to build back better, grow their economies and create jobs that foster inclusive growth.

The participants at the meeting will discuss thematic issues such as deepening Regional Value Chains, environment for investment Opportunities, and Interlinkages between peace, security and development.

The subregional office for East Africa of UNECA serves 14 countries: Burundi, Comores, RD Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

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Over 60,000 Burundian refugees ready to return home

A convoy carrying 343 Burundian refugees returned to the country from Uganda on Monday. This brings the number of refugees who have voluntarily returned to Burundi this year to more than 60,000. Roughly half of that total have returned from Tanzania, with the rest coming from Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya and, since the beginning of October, from Uganda.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is assisting the returns and has conducted assessments to ensure the decision to return is voluntary, free and informed and that repatriation takes place in safety and dignity. Each week, convoys arrive in Burundi with around 1,500 people.

On arrival at one of five reception centres, returning families are given household items and cash assistance to help them restart their lives. However, more support is needed to achieve sustainable reintegration for the individuals returning as well as for communities in Burundi receiving them. Often the required social and economic infrastructure is lacking.

On arrival at one of five reception centres, returning families are given household items and cash assistance to help them restart their lives

There are many situations of protracted international displacement around the world. Burundi is a rare example in which significant numbers of refugees are returning home. However, without meaningful investment in the return areas to support reintegration, the cycle of displacement could be repeated.

UNHCR is calling for more funding for the 2021 Joint Refugee Return and Reintegration Plan launched at the beginning of the year, which outlines the requirements of 19 humanitarian and development partners to support the returns, sustainable reintegration and community resilience. As an example of our efforts to support communities, UNHCR broke ground last week on Burundi’s first National COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment Centre located in Cankuzo Province, where many refugees are returning in the east of the country.

Of the US$104.3 million, only some 10 per cent of the funding needed to support return and reintegration in Burundi has been committed, despite the increased numbers going home.

Since 2017, when the assisted voluntary return programme began, over 180,000 Burundian refugees have returned home with a notable increase in returns since July 2020 after the country’s national elections.

Nearly 270,000 Burundian refugees remain in exile, generously hosted by Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, DRC, Kenya, Mozambique, Malawi, South Africa and Zambia.

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Africa Cup of Nations 2023: APO Group meets COCAN to discuss media coverage

APO Group Founder and Chairman, Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard ( today held talks with the Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the African Cup of Nations (COCAN) 2023, Minister François Albert Amichia, at a meeting in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

The meeting was held to discuss the media coverage of the African Cup of Nations (CAN) football tournament which will take place in Côte d’Ivoire in 2023 ( Also present at the meeting was Robins Tchale-Watchou, the Managing Director of Vivendi Sports.

The Africa Cup of Nations is the main international men’s football competition in Africa and the biggest and most important sports competition on the African continent.

APO Group (, the leading Pan-African communications consultancy and press release distribution service head a consortium of world-leading content production and distribution partners who have joined forces to promote this prestigious event, and showcase it to audiences in Africa and all over the world.

Together with Getty Images, the world leader in visual communications, and Eurovision, the television network supervised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), APO Group will manage all media coverage during CAN 2023, including the production, distribution, and monitoring of text, photos, videos, and soundbites.

All content produced and distributed by the consortium will help to increase the visibility of CAN’s sponsors by bringing unprecedented international exposure and attention to an event that is steeped in African history.

We will do everything we can to make sure the African Cup of Nations is an international success, and this beautiful country gets the opportunity to shine on the world stage

Côte d’Ivoire’s hosting of CAN 2023 comes almost 40 years after they first held the competition back in 1984. A lot has changed in the country since then. The capital, Abidjan, is now a thriving, cosmopolitan city of more than 6 million people. Seven other cities around the country will host matches, and the whole tournament will be built on quality infrastructure and a renowned sense of hospitality.

The consortium led by APO Group will look to build on this by shining a light on Côte d’Ivoire itself, as well as the elite sport taking place. The three companies in the consortium have a rich history in packaging and delivering sporting content that captures the imagination of people all over the world.

APO Group is the Pan-African Public Relations agency of FIFA, Rugby Africa, the NBA, the Basketball Africa League, and works with many other prominent sporting organizations.

Getty Images photographers have been covering the world’s largest sporting events for decades. Getty Images is the photographer or official photographic partner of more than 80 of the largest sports, league, and club bodies in the world, including FIFA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Eurovision is the premier choice of media service provider for many media organizations and sports federations in the world, producing and broadcasting live sporting events, current events and entertainment from around the world, on all platforms.

“I’d like to thank Mr Amichia for a warm welcome and a productive meeting,” said APO Group Founder and Chairman, Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard. “As a proud African organization, APO Group is committed to the President of Côte d’Ivoire and the people of Côte d’Ivoire. We will do everything we can to make sure the African Cup of Nations is an international success, and this beautiful country gets the opportunity to shine on the world stage.”

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Top 26 Young Entrepreneurs in Africa Selected for New Three-Year Anzisha Prize Fellowships

The Anzisha Prize ( has revealed its top 26 entrepreneurs for 2021. The entrepreneurs, who are between the ages of 18 and 22, will each receive more than US$5,000 in funding and more than US$15,000 worth of venture building support services over three years, which are aligned with the prestigious fellowship’s new structure of enabling young people to receive the financial and mentoring support they need to succeed.

“We’ve seen clearly that a transition from secondary or tertiary education directly into sustainable entrepreneurship requires both financial and learning support,” comments Josh Adler, Executive Director of the Anzisha Prize. “Through our long-term partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, we’re thrilled to not only announce an increase in the number of fellowships we can offer each year but also in the monetary support each venture will receive.”

The 2021 Anzisha Fellows were selected from hundreds of applications across Africa and passed multiple stages of vetting and evaluation. Applicants were from countries such as Mali, Togo, South Africa, and Madagascar and running businesses in education, health, agriculture, manufacturing, energy, and beauty. These young Africans are demonstrating how it’s possible to pursue entrepreneurship as a career in the face of the pandemic.

Increased support for the top 26 entrepreneurs

In selecting 26 fellows this year, the annual Anzisha Prize fellowship has more than doubled in size since its first selection process, which included 12 innovative, young, African entrepreneurs in 2011. In that time, Anzisha’s venture-building support team has worked closely with over 150 early-age entrepreneurs in over 30 African countries. We have developed a pioneering approach to coaching, skills development, and business support that has now been packaged into a three-year learning journey.

“Our fellowship offering has essentially been reframed as an alternative or accompaniment to university education for entrepreneurs in this age group,” adds Adler. “The grand prizes, which recognized achievement prior to selection as a fellow, will now recognize excellence from young entrepreneurs who role model job creation, venture growth, storytelling, and process improvements during their fellowship.”

The selected top 26 entrepreneurs represent 17 countries with 30% being Francophone. They include Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Mali, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Nigeria has the largest cohort with four in the top 26. Young women are well represented, making up 10 of the 26 entrepreneurs.

“Young African entrepreneurs have continuously shown that they can rise to the challenge when given an opportunity. And what a challenging 19 months it has been for our world. Yet the caliber of innovators we consistently see apply to this program, proving that the rebuilding and reimagining of economies can be entrusted to young people. We are committed to supporting the growth of the Anzisha Prize and betting on the potential of young entrepreneurs to drive transformation,” says Philip Cotton, Director of Human Capital Development at the Mastercard Foundation.

After the selection process, the entrepreneurs will participate in a virtual induction boot camp for 10 days where they will engage with business leaders and past winners of the prize. The boot camp will prepare them for what lies ahead over the next three years.

To find out more about how the top 26 were selected this year, watch The Quest ( – a four-part series that follows the Anzisha Prize team and their search for Africa’s youngest, most exciting entrepreneurs.

Anzisha Prize applications for the 2022 cohort of young business owners open on 20 October 2021. Eligible entrepreneurs are advised to download the application guide or apply for the prize at

The 2021 Anzisha Prize Fellows are:

Constant Ayihounoun, Benin, 21 – Constant is the founder of Agreco Sarl, a company that produces organic fertilizers and pesticides. Link to full profile here (

Sergio Tabe Ashu, Cameroon, 21 – Sergio is the founder of Excel Academy, which provides private home tutoring services to K-12 students and national exam preparatory classes for senior secondary school students. Link to full profile here (

Hebrey Issa Abraham, Cameroon, 21 – Hebrey is the founder of DATA, which produces and sells vegetables. Link to full profile here (

Krys Elfried Digbehi, Côte D’Ivoire, 18 – Krys is the founder of Yeyiba Restaurants. The venture cooks and sells African and European dishes to local colleges, high schools, and universities. Link to full profile here (

Victoire Bakunzi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), 21 – Victoire is the founder of Basuyi business that produces African-style jackets and tunics. Link to full profile here (

Oumar Diogo Sow, Guinea, 22 – Oumar is the founder of Felian Trading Limited. The business cultivates rice and cassava. Link to full profile here (

Martin Sure Ondiwa, Kenya, 21 – Martin is the founder of Green farms, a company that produces and sells fresh fruits to consumers and vendors. Link to full profile here (

Tsantatiana Fideranaharilala Rakotoarimanga, Madagascar, 22 – Tsantatiana is the founder of Dream Study Agency. The agency helps students in Madagascar apply to universities abroad. Link to full profile here (

Our fellowship offering has essentially been reframed as an alternative or accompaniment to university education for entrepreneurs in this age group

Mahefarivo Thierry Andrianarinoa, Madagascar, 21 – Mahefarivo and two of his friends founded Coufé Madagascar. Coufé is a fashion brand that specializes in embroidered, customizable t-shirts that are handmade by women detained in prison. Link to full profile here (

Martin Masiya, Malawi, 21 – Martin is the founder of Sollys Energy, which distributes solar lamps and solar lanterns using a Pay-As-You-Go model for customers in semi-urban and rural areas. Link to full profile here (

Adama Kanté, Mali, 22 – Adama is the founder of Food Sante, which is a production and processing company for agrifood products. Link to full profile here (

Ali Ould Mohamed, Mali, 18 – Ali is the founder of Créa-Couture, a clothing company that sells a variety of products such as pants, skirts, shirts, and suits for men and women. Link to full profile here (

Renata Silva, Namibia, 19  Renata is the founder of RS Clothing Brand, which sells trendy clothes to young people between the ages of 15-25. Link to full profile here (

Eneyi Oshi, Nigeria, 19 – Eneyi is the founder of Maatalous Nasah. The business farms chickens, fish, and eggs to sell to urban dwellers through an e-commerce web application called Farmisphere. Link to full profile here (

Esther Akin-Ajayi, Nigeria, 19 – Esther is the founder of Jemai Interiors, which sells furniture pieces and architectural materials. They also render interior designs and offer 3D visualization services to other architectural companies and individuals. Link to full profile here (

Oluwadamilola Akinosun, Nigeria, 22 – Damilola is one of the founders of Grant Master, an online marketplace that connects ambitious organizations that are in need of debt-free and equity-free funding. The organizations in need are connected with grant writers. Link to full profile here (

Grace Okezie, Nigeria, 22 – Grace is the founder of Royal Graced Baking Company, which bakes and sells healthy snacks and foods to customers. Link to full profile here (

Rebecca Samuella Kalokoh, Sierra Leone, 20 – Rebecca is the founder of Grace Venture Natural Products, which extracts oils from seeds, herbs, and fruits to produce natural cosmetics that are sold in the local markets of Sierra Leone. Link to full profile here (

Amadu Deen Bah, Sierra Leone, 21 – Amadu is the founder of Caballay Investment, which produces paper bags and bags for packaging that are sold to local businesses. Link to full profile here (

Masello Mokhoro, South Africa, 22 – Masello is the founder of Starlicious Enterprises. She grows day-old broiler chicks and pigs and sells them to individuals in her community. Link to full profile here (

Doroles Mihanjo, Tanzania, 20 – Dolores is the founder of Maktaba. The business sells educational documents such as past papers, notes, and online content books to parents, schools, and teachers. Link to full profile here (

Rebecca Taboukouna, Togo, 22 – Rebecca is the founder of RBK Pearls, which manufactures and sells beaded accessories. Link to full profile here (

Jovia Nassuna Kintu, Uganda, 21 – Jovia manufactures and sells affordable organic shampoo, conditioner, and other hair products. She founded Kia Cosmetics to provide women with an alternative to haircare products containing chemical additives. Link to full profile here (

Viola Kataike, Uganda, 21 – Viola founded her venture in 2020 to impact the lives of refugee communities. A Hand for a Refugee trains members of Kyangwali refugee camp in growing and harvesting passion fruit. Link to full profile here (

Munyaradzi Makosa, Zimbabwe, 21 – Munyaradzi Makosa is the founder of Farmhut Africa, an online marketplace designed to connect farmers in rural Zimbabwe directly to the market. Link to full profile here (

Tafadzwa Chikwereti, Zimbabwe, 21 – Tafadzwa launched Murimi Electronic Agriculture using artificial intelligence and machine learning. The business helps financial institutions to process loans faster, and farmers to ascertain their financial health. Link to full profile here (

For more information on the Anzisha Prize, or to apply or nominate an entrepreneur, please visit the Anzisha Prize website:

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Traditional, religious and civil society leaders of Africa vow to take bold action to end violence against women and girls in the African continent

Traditional, religious and civil society leaders of Africa gathered today in Addis Ababa to confirm their commitment to joining hands with the African Union Commission, the United Nations, and the Spotlight Initiative and taking bold action to end child marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM) and other harmful practices.

On behalf of the African Union Chairperson, Prudence Nonkululeko Ngwenya, Ag. Director, Women, Gender Youth Directorate in her opening remarks stressed that “violence against women and girls remains as one of the critical impediments to the realization of their fundamental rights, including the rights to life, human dignity, peace, justice, and socio-economic and political development.”

Thomas Huyghebaert, the Head of Policy Cooperation at the EU Delegation to the African Union observed that “We can change legislation, or improve access to services, but to change mindsets and challenge stereotypes, we need to engage at the community level – engage men, boys, traditional and religious leaders at the grassroots level”.

At least one in three young women in Africa are married before they turn 18. Although there are signs of small progress in changing attitudes toward FGM, the practice remains a major problem across many countries on the continent. About 200 million girls and women have been subjected to the practice.

We can change legislation, or improve access to services, but to change mindsets and challenge stereotypes, we need to engage at the community level

Across the continent of Africa, traditional leaders, including religious leaders, continue to play significant roles as influencers and custodians of cultural practices within communities. As attention grows to the slow progress on ending gender-based violence, including child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM), traditional leaders have a critical role in shifting the deep-rooted cultural beliefs that justify the perpetuation of these harmful practices.

Investing in preventing violence against women and girls is a critical investment for upholding the rights of women and girls and traditional leaders have the power to call out the patriarchy embedded in cultural practices and traditions. At UN Women, we know we cannot go far if we go alone in our efforts to end violence against women and girls. We are excited that we are now partnering with religious and traditional leaders and we need to hear your experiences and solutions to make the partnership a partnership for change”, said Letty Chiwara, UN Women Representative to Ethiopia, the African Union Commission, and the UN Economic Commission for Africa.

Following a series of dialogue sessions facilitated by UN Women with over 300 traditional leaders from various countries across Sub-Saharan Africa, the Council of Traditional Leaders of Africa (COTLA) was established in February 2019. As a network of leaders, COTLA aims to drive the transformation and eradication of negative cultural practices, customs, and traditions to end child marriage, FGM, and other harmful practices.

King Adedapo Aderemi of Nigeria, Convenor General of COTLA, is one of the most powerful allies on this journey. “When we cooperate, we operate. We need to plan and walk the plan to end harmful practices in Africa,” he said.

The meeting provided a range of opportunities for traditional and religious leaders to exchange strategies they are using and discuss partnership opportunities with key stakeholders. The gathering also created a space to celebrate achievements. Through partnerships such as the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, traditional leaders are engaging with UN Women and other partners as agents of change. In Malawi, chiefs working with police, mother groups, and child protection workers dissolved 1,893 child marriages. In Mozambique, traditional leaders agreed on an action plan at a national forum to address child marriage and gender-based violence in their communities. In Liberia, traditional chiefs in the 11 FGM practicing counties signed a Seven County Policy banning FGM.

The three-day meeting also provides a platform for traditional and religious leaders to voice their Generation Equality commitments. The outcome of the deliberations will be used to develop a guideline to strengthen systematic partnerships between AUC, regional faith-based organizations, communities of traditional leaders, youth-led initiatives, and CSOs to eliminate violence against women and girls in Africa.

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‘I see change in the lives of the people’: King Letsie III of Lesotho commends FAO work in Lesotho

His Majesty King Letsie III of Lesotho, FAO Special Goodwill Ambassador for Nutrition, toured several project sites in Lesotho’s Mafeteng and Thaba-Tseka districts where the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is implementing activities to restore ecosystem services and improve food and nutrition security.

“I am happy with the work of FAO in the communities. I see a change in the lives of the people where the project was implemented, and the testimonies from the farmers themselves are a confirmation. Better nutrition has improved relations in households. I wish the achievements of the project could spread to the whole country,” King Letsie III said. “I am proud to have a special relationship with FAO”

The project “Strengthening Capacity for Climate Change Adaptation through Support to Integrated Watershed Management in Lesotho” was funded by the Global Environment Fund (GEF) through the Least Developed Countries Fund.

The project has strengthened climate change adaptation through improved watershed management. Implemented since 2015, it has promoted the protection of land and water resources through an integrated approach and strengthened and diversified the livelihoods of the most vulnerable people so that they can better respond to climate change impacts.

It has benefited local communities in the most vulnerable livelihood zones by rehabilitating their rangelands and water sources and making them realize notable and progressive improvement in their production systems, especially in homestead vegetable production. As a result, communities produce enough fodder and have access to water both for their livestock and household use. Nutrition has improved, and they have been supported to engage in other income-generating activities to diversify their livelihoods.

During the visit, King Letsie III inaugurated water storage reservoirs and animal drinking points constructed under the project to facilitate access to water for communities and their livestock owners. He commended FAO work in improving the lives of the communities and urged the communities to sustain the gains.

Availing water to reduce vulnerability

I see change in the lives of the people where the project was implemented, and the testimonies from the farmers themselves is a confirmation

Lesotho faces fragile and substantially degraded soils and disappearing vegetation. Farmers rely on rainfall for food production and for their livestock. FAO built infrastructure to help vulnerable communities access to water through simple and appropriate water harvesting technologies such as groundwater dams, roof water tanks, earth dams, and animal drinking points.

The farmers now have access to water to grow fodder for their livestock which has improved productivity.

“Conserving the rangelands has helped water recharge, and catchments have enough water for livestock and households. We now have healthy springs. We were trained to manage the rangeland including removing invasive shrubs that outcompeted the growth of desirable and palatable grass species,” said Serobanyane Matete, Linakeng village Chief in Thaba-Tseka.

Better nutrition for healthy households

The benefiting households received chicken, rabbits, pigs, and assorted vegetable varieties to improve the household’s dietary composition.

“We were trained to grow diverse varieties of vegetables in keyhole gardens and under shade, net covers all year round. Our families now eat a balanced diet – eggs, meat, and vegetables. Conflict in households has reduced drastically,” said ‘Mamokeretla Sebeta of Matlatseng village in Thaba-Tseka. “Our husbands and youth no longer want to move to urban areas to look for work because the project introduced us to income-generating activities that are more profitable,” she added.

In a bid to reduce the burden on the environment, farmers were equipped with skills to engage in other income-generating activities such as beekeeping. Beekeepers received essential equipment used in their work such as beehives, protective gear, a swarm catcher with a telescopic handle, bee smokers, draining sieves, a bee brush, and honey extractors.

The project also strengthened the technical capacity of national and district-level staff and institutions on sustainable land and water management and climate-resilient livelihood strategies.

The 4-year project worked with partners in the country including the Ministry of Forestry, Range and Soil Conservation, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Ministry of Energy and Meteorology, Ministry of Water Affairs, Ministry of Local Government, and Chieftainship, Department of Environment, and the National University of Lesotho.

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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

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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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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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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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