close

Cover

AfricaAgricultureCoverEvents

Mitigating pandemic impact on agriculture

Mrs Albertha Akosa,CEO,Agrihouse Foundation

Panelists appraise Covid Impact, Proffer Solutions  

……….As 11TH Preharvest Edition ends in Tamale

Story: Mohammed Abu, ADM, Accra

The 11th edition of the Preharvest Conference & Exhibition, ended successfully in the Northern regional administrative capital of Tamale last Thursday with a call on all stakeholders to work towards  building  a resilient market in Ghana’s agricultural sector.

The annual flagship event of Agrihouse Foundation which was sponsored by YAARA Ghana Ltd, Ecobank Ltd, the Agricultural Development (ADB) and numerous other partners, brought together exhibitors, participants and other stakeholders.

Panelists during the corporate, government,development partner panel conversation  on Day Three to round off the event,reviewed  the impact of COVID on Ghana’s  agriculture sector.

They touched on the pandemic’s impact on agricultural  inputs supplies, food production and supply value chains, agriculture  related financial services provision and  highlighted  the  lessons to be  learnt and what strategic actions to adopt moving on.

In other to forestall the impact of pandemics on agriculture and agribusiness in the future, panelists unanimously emphasized the need for local capacity building and working to produce what we need internally thereby reducing the import dependency syndrome, invest more in storage/buffer stock, processing capacities, and building of a resilient agricultural sector.

In her overview of the event, to bring the event to a close, Albertha Nana AKyaa Akosa,the CEO, of AgriHouse Foundation , the organizers of the event, disclosed that the three-day event had attracted about 3,200 participants, exhibitors, development partners and hoped the Preharvest event would go beyond dialogue to materialize  into business transactions.

She also noted that the event created the platform for stakeholder engagement and hoped they work to build a resilient market in the agricultural sector.

Representatives of the Yaara Ghana and other stakeholders in their various closing remarks unanimously lauded the importance and relevance of the event to Ghana’s development paradigm

Certificates of participation were awarded to various farmers groups while certificates of appreciation were also awarded to the various sponsor of the event

The event which was sponsored by YARA Ghana, Ecobank Ghana Ltd, Agricultural Development Bank and supported by the Agric Ministry and numerous other development partners, was held under the theme, “Working Together to Improve Market Channels for Agri-foods Beyond the Pandemic.”

In  her welcome address during the opening ceremony, Mrs. Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, said the event was to promote sustainable agricultural initiatives, and increase use of innovation and technology to help build modern agricultural sector.

She exhorted  stakeholder institutions to work together to enhance financial support for farmers, processors, inputs and allied industries to develop resilient market activities, for food to be affordable and accessible to the people to promote the country’s economy.

Mrs Akosa urged government to build the capacities of players in the agriculture sector to adopt best farming practices to increase their yields and produce quality foods.

The Northern Regional Minister, on Alhaj Alhassan Shaibu,in his keynote address underscored the fact that, “Agriculture is the backbone of Ghana’s economy, and it accounts for over 74 percent of northern Ghana’s employment, yet, the rich and diverse agricultural potential of this region remains untapped.”

He urged the private sector to support players in the agriculture, especially in northern Ghana to enhance food production to reduce poverty.

The Ecobank’s Managing Director, Dan Sackey, on his part said the Ecobank had shown commitment by supporting a farmer-based organization with membership of 1,800 out of which 45 percents were women, to cultivate 1,970 acres of maize to meet supply needs of Yedent group of companies last year, and added that Ecobank’s financing also directly impacted input supplies of weedicides, pesticides, fertilizers, tractors and other farm implement suppliers.

He gave assurance that Ecobank would continue to work with farmers to augment food security in the country

read more
AfricaCoverEconomyEvents

 Africa gets Spotlight at Expo 2020 Dubai

Hon C.M.N.Kabulo

….As DRC woes Investors during Country Investment Forum

Story:Mohammed Abu,ADM,Accra

 The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Minister of State and Planning,  Hon Christian Mwando Nsimba Kabulo, has stated that the African continent presents innumerable opportunities for investors because of its enormous untapped economic potential while also becoming one of the most sought-after investment destinations.

 The Minister intimated  that DRC  in particular, boasts some of the most abundant natural resources on the planet and with  a strong economy, rich farmland and bountiful mineral wealth, the DRC is progressively building towards a brighter future.

Hon Kabulo made these remarks in his Keynote address, “The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Strategic Development Plan – A look into progress” at the Invest in DRC Forum, held recently in Dubai,UAE as  one of the major highlights of the ongoing Expo 2020 Dubai. 

“We’re proud to say that this event has encouraged people to do business in our country, encouraging a sustainable and innovative business culture within the Democratic Republic of Congo”, Hon  Kabulo intimated.

Hon Theo Ngwabidje Kasi, Governor of Sud-Kivu Province of the DRC,on his part spoke on the  the  topic, “Unleashing the True Potential of the DRC” and also presented to the audience some of the projects seeking funding in his Province, in the mining, infrastructure, energy and industrial sectors

Mr. Anthony Nkinzo Kamole, Managing Director of the National Investments Promotion Agency (ANAPI), DRC, also spoke on the topic, “Governing Foreign Direct Investment: Regulatory Incentives”.

H.E., Felix Tshisekedi, President of the DRC, on his part, stated that, his country is constantly seeking opportunities and investors from across the globe to come in and invest in the country.

ANAPI,he noted, the country’s Investment Promotion Agency, facilitates foreign investments by simplifying the investment process, improving transparency, assisting new foreign investors, as well as improving the image of the DRC as an investment destination.

After experiencing its first recession in 18 years in 2020 due to the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the DRC’s economic outlook for 2021 and 2022 is favorable if the pandemic is brought under control and as global demand recovers.  President Felix said, real GDP is expected to grow by 3.3 percent in 2021 and 4.5 percent in 2022, thanks in particular to higher prices for the main mining products and a recovery in consumption and investment, as well as major projects in the agriculture, infrastructure and ICT sectors.

In addition, he further noted, the continuous  efforts to rationalize public finances  the government has initiated should make it possible to reduce inflation to an average of 11.7% over the period, 2021-2022.

The event also featured a round table discussion on “The DRC Experience” with Congolese entrepreneurs, Yves Kabongo, Managing Director of KGB Capital, and Eric Monga, Managing Director of KIPAY Energy, who came to share their field experience in doing business in the country.

Following the panel discussion, topics such as, “Exchange of economic expertise towards investment readiness & competitive economies”, “Mainstreaming ESG Initiatives”, “DRC Digitalization Perspectives”, “Economic diversification and access to credit information as one of the main achievements in propelling investments in the region”, and “Peojetc Talk- DRC Electricity Sector” were addressed respectively by Omar Khan, Director, International Offices, Dubai Chamber; Balaji Nagabhushan, Group Chief Administrative Officer, Tristar; Dominique Migisha, Special Advisor on Digital to the Head of State, Democratic Republic of Congo; Miguel Azevedo, Head of Investment Banking for the Middle East and Africa, Citigroup; Jean-Bosco Kayombo, Administrator and Managing Director of National Electricity Company SNEL, Democratic Republic of Congo.

 G2G, G2B and B2B networking sessions were also held as part of the Invest in DRC Forum

Mr. Walid Farghal, Director General of the Annual Investment Meeting stated, “Digitalization is deemed as one of the most powerful instruments in the effective implementation of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development while also noting that Africa’s Agenda 2063 is expected to open up income generation opportunities for millions of people in the region.

DR Congo, Mr.Farghal underscored, has one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and with this vast potential; the “Invest in DR Congo Forum” was a powerful impetus in order to strengthen the country’s economic stability, sustainability, and growth.”

The “Invest in DR Congo Forum” afforded participants the opportunity to learn more about the business environment of DR Congo and also,to learn more about investment opportunities within the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It also served as a catalyst to bring in investments and FDI to the country, in order to shape the future of the country positively.

The event brought together ministers, government officials, public and private sector organizations, investors, policy experts & advisors who discussed significant areas of growth and key investment opportunities in DR Congo, such as topics of interest in establishing a conducive business environment, policy and regulatory updates, new laws of the country, new projects and opportunities for investors, training and skills development, and sectors development

 

 

read more
AfricaAwardsCoverHealthInterview story

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

?

 

read more
AfricaCoverEducationEvents

Celebrating Northern Academic Excellence

 

Dr.Bawumia interacts with the students

Veep Opens New 600 bedrooms girls dormitory

….As TAMASCO Launches 70th Anniversary  Event

Story: Mohammed Abu,ADM,Accra

The Vice President of the Republic of Ghana,His Excellency,Alhaj Dr.Mahmudu Bawumia,on Saturday opened a 600 bedroom girls dormitory at the campus of Tamale Senior High School(TAMASCO),in the Northern region, funded by MTN,Ghana.

The opening of the new girls dormitory in addition to being honoured by the School’s  Board of Governors with a new house in the school  named after him, formed the major highlights of the official launch of Tamasco’s  70th Anniversary celebrations slated for September this year.

The prelude to the event was a colourful  guard of honour mounted in his honour as the Special Guest for the occasion  by the Tamasco Cadet Corps.

The Chairman for the occasion,Col (rtd) Mahmud Tahiru,also the Zung Lana(Chief of Zung,Northern region ) and the Northern Regional Representative of the Council of State,in his opening remarks,entreated students to uphold discipline and hard work in school..”The Vice President is what he is today, because during his school days, he was married to his books” he intimated.

He also noted that the school  isn’t just the premier senior High School of the North founded with 25 pioneer students in 1951,but also, the school since its birth  have  turned out numerous high profile personalities who had played diverse roles in the country’s development.

In the field of defense and security of the country,he recounted that the school had produced two former chiefs of Defense staff and,an  Inspector General of Police(IGP).Then as it relates to the judicature of the country, two former Supreme Court  Justices.

On the democratic governance landscape,the school, he further noted, produced the current Veep and the current Speaker of Parliament  .”The current number two and three gentleman positions  of the land is therefore occupied by TAMASCANS”,he underscored.

In his welcome address,Rev. Azeka,Headmaster of the school,reported  a recent marginal increase in the school’s performance and ,hinted that the school had set a target annual 10 percent  performance increase rate and  measures have been put in place to achieve the set target.

He also took note of the starling performance of TAMASCO  in the National Science and Mathematics  Quiz  Competition.’We are the only school in the north to be consistently present and this gives a good account of ourselves” he noted with satisfaction adding, that the school is also on record to have rivaled  leading southern sector schools such as the likes of Achimota School and others.

He also acknowledged the unflinching  and invaluable support of the 1986 and other Year Groups of the school towards the quiz competition.

An on-going 12 unit classroom block project being funded by the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development,he also disclosed, was  due completion soon while an old student, Alhaj Ibrahim Mahama, had also committed to building a school block for 1000 students.

The major handicap of the school he also hinted, had to do with transportation adding that, a number of the school vehicles were broken down. A school with a student population of 3,600 he further disclosed, have  had to manage with a one 23 sitter  bus.

The school he further disclosed, lacks pick-up vehicles for rounds relating to  administrative duties while some houses and the old kitchen also needs rehabilitation.He  therefore made an appeal for support in order to ameliorate the situation.

The Chief Executive Officer of MTN,Ghana,Selorm Adadevoh,which funded the GHC2.8 million girls dormitory project on his part, said corporate social investment in the area of education occupies a lofty place in its Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR).He disclosed that within the past 25 years,MTN had funded 187 education projects countrywide.

Touching on the 600 completed girls dormitory project,he noted,“Young girls deserve wholesome and decent environment to study”.

MTN had also offered 100’s of Scholarships to needy but brilliant students,funded IT and digital library centers.The new age technology paradigm he said was taken seriously by MTN and as such,robotic libraries and centers were also targeted areas for investment.

Mr.Adadevoh, said it was his hope that the staff would work with students  to ensure a good maintenance culture.

The Vice President,the Special Guest Speaker for the occasion, recounting the history of the school noted that the school was the first ever Senior High school to be established in the the history of the entire  North.

Twenty-five 25 pioneer students that included the late Alhaj Gbdamoshie and others he recounted, were used to establish the school in 1951,and out ot the number only one of them, a prominent Lawyer is  still alive.

Dr.Bawumia  took cognizance of the fact that as of TAMASCO’s birth date, the colonial southern sector was already ahead of the north in terms of secondary education by 75 years.

Despite the wide difference  between when secondary education was established  in the north as against the south,the north Dr.Bawumia noted, nonetheless,has done a lot up till today.

Endorsing “The  Northern light”  accolade, for TAMASCO, he said the school had  indeed done so much as to deserve it.To buttress his point, he cited the magnanimous contribution of its numerous high profile personalities who were also old students towards  the economic development of the nation.”Not withstanding the achievements however,he noted there was still more room for improvement’.

He assured that government was there to support and reposition the entire educational system of the country so as to prepare citizens towards the fourth industrial revolution.

He expressed great appreciation to the MTN Foundation for the good job done while also recounting his proposal to the MTN a couple of years back and its ready willingness to  fund  such a project in the north.He also acknowledged the Kuwaiti Fund for its support.

Dr.Bawumia thanking the TAMASCO  Board of Governors for their decision to honour him with an additional new house,Bawumia House ,said, he had least expected it since he was simply doing his bit as an old student of the school.

He said he was humbled and had accepted the award not just for him as a person but on behalf of all Old  TAMASCANS whose collective contributions in diverse ways had led to the development of the school.

Dr.Bawumia disclosed that the Managing Director  of Geodrill Ghana Ltd,Mr.David Harper had donated  an amount of one hundred and fifty thousand Ghana Cedis( GHC150,000.00) as part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) towards the  development of education and particularly,on the occasion of Tamale Senior High School(TAMASCO’s) 70th  anniversary celebrations.

In response to the Headmaster’s earlier appeal for more support he pledged to rehabilitate two school houses and the old school kitchen.

Asphalting of all of TAMASCO’s internal roads has been  completed  as an important component of the face lift  being  given the school and initiated by the  Veep.

In his address, he indicated that, he had also directed that the initiative be extended to TAMASCO’s other four next door neigbouring schools, of Tamale Technical University College and  others in the Education Ridge enclave of Tamale.

 

read more
AfricaBusinessCoverInterview story

Meeting the funding needs of African SMEs

 Zahra Baitie-Boateng 

….As ABH Prize 2021 nominations open and competition gears up! 

 Interview Story: Mohammed Abu, ADM, Accra

Prior to Covid 19 add-on,one of the already existing  many challenges facing African small and medium scale enterprises(SMEs) had not only been the easy access  to capital, but more so,at most affordable cost.

The Jack Ma Foundation’s  sponsored Africa Business Heroes(ABH) Prize Competition seeks to change the narrative as nominations for the 3rd edition of the event having been since  opened and due to close on June 7,2021.

The prize competition which is the Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic program for spotlighting and celebrating Africa’s entrepreneurs also serves as a Special Purpose Vehicle for grant funding of $1.5 million intended to boost entrepreneurship across Africa. The funding opportunity is open to all 54 African countries.

After initial rounds of judging, the Top 50 finalists will be announced in July while in  August, the Top 20 will be identified and begin preparing for the Semi-Finale round in September. At the semi-finale round, the Top 10 heroes are selected to go on to the Grand Finale in November.

The competition is open to all African entrepreneurs, no matter their sector, age or gender. The organizers are looking for passionate, resilient, innovative, and mission-driven entrepreneurs who are solving pressing challenges and creating jobs and opportunities. They are also encouraging most especially, female entrepreneurs to apply for the competition.

Entrepreneurs who are mostly encouraged to apply are those who have market traction and at least 3 years of revenue and operational history.

Held under the theme, “It’s African Time”, the event organisers want to challenge stereotypes typically associated with “African Time” by issuing a bold call to action to all of the immensely talented African entrepreneurs who are unlocking innovation and change with their businesses.

This was disclosed by Zahra Baitie, Head of Partnerships & Programs, Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition during an e-interview with  your favourite, the African Development.

“We hope they are able to tap into the ABH competition as their chance to grow their companies and share their stories with the world.

Zahra intimated “We know first-hand how impactful SMEs and entrepreneurs can be in driving positive growth”, adding, “Our mission with the Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) prize competition is to spotlight and support these talented African entrepreneurs from across the continents who are working to solve critical problems, uplift their local communities, and build a more inclusive digital economy for the future”.

“Every year, ten finalists will come together to compete in the ABH finale pitch competition. These ten finalists are all winners in that they will be walking away with a share of a US $1.5 million prize pool in grant money. But we also want to provide these entrepreneurs with a platform where they can fully showcase their business ideas and talent.

“The finale is broadcast in a television show and online where we hope to inspire others to action. Some of our 2019 Finalists have cited how the ABH Show supported them in raising their profile, attracting investors and closing funding rounds.

“Beyond this, we also aim to provide our finalists with access to investors and provide them with investment readiness training to support them as they raise funds. Lastly, we aim to facilitate an ABH Community of various stakeholders – investors, entrepreneurs and various organizations who can collaborate and also work together to tackle some of the challenges that entrepreneurs on the continent face

 On whether the ABH Prize Competition has come to stay or has an exit period, Zahra said, they have a long-term mission to help foster a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa. One, she noted, where entrepreneurs, government, civil society, and academia work together to remove barriers to entrepreneurship.

“Over a ten-year period, ABH will recognize 100 African entrepreneurs – allocating grant funding, training, mentorship, and access to a community of like-minded African business leaders ‘Zahra disclosed.

 “It’s been incredible to see the response we’ve had to the first and second editions. We had great momentum after hosting our first competition in 2019 but when the pandemic hit last year, we knew we had to double-down on our mission to enable African entrepreneurs.

“ It was the right decision. Last year, we received more than 22,000 applications from all 54 countries in Africa, which was more than twice what we had in 2019.

“We are also gratified and proud to see our past finalists go on to even greater success after going through our prize competition. Our past two grand prize winners for example, Temie Giwa-Tobosun of LifeBank and Chebet Lesan from BrightGreen Renewable Energy have scaled their operations into new markets and new geographies, a hugely difficult task given the challenging year we faced.”

 On what she has to say to those applicants who may not be able to make it to the grand finale, “I would say to never give up. Entrepreneurs are born problem-solvers so this will just be another problem to solve.

“We saw many past applicants who were previously unsuccessful come back and go further than before. Additionally, although not all entrepreneurs are able to make it to the finale, applicants are able to receive invaluable feedback, find new ways to grow their businesses, and gain access to an incredible community of like-minded business leaders throughout the selection process. So, there is still tremendous value in applying even if you do not make it to the finale”

“What helps set our competition apart is our focus on mentorship and community. We provide training and learning throughout the process and applicants will also be able to make invaluable connections through our program. As I mentioned, each year the grand finale is also aired in a television show and online to showcase how our top 10 finalists pitch to legendary business figures.

“There is immense educational value in seeing how Africa’s top entrepreneurs articulate their businesses and visions to a world-class panel of business legends. We hope that the show can serve as a master class in entrepreneurship for aspiring entrepreneurs”.

 

read more
AfricaCoverInterview storyInterviews

Africa’s Internal Development Challenges

Shiekh Ben Halima Abderraouf,.

….As ADM Engages  Tunisian Cleric in Accra

Story: Mohammed Abu-ADM,Accra..

Aside the popularly known external factors militating against Africa’s progress and development notably among which is, the long protracted balance of payment deficit, fiscal deficit , debt over hung,a number of  factors which are said to be  internal shortcomings of Africans themselves,are also said to be blamable.

The effect of Black magic and Sorcery also popularly referred to as”African electronics” is also said to constitute one of the internal factors badly affecting Africa’s progress and development.

To find out more, ADM,Ghana caught up with  with Tunisian cleric/mystic,Shiekh Ben Halima Abderraouf currently on a two-month Ruqya or psychic healing mission to Ghana.

Shiekh ben Halima is known in a number of African countries where he has established psychic healing and exorcism centers run and manned by his local  trainees with his mandate to do healing on his behalf.

The cleric believes among the  local factors, the slave and past colonial domination  mentality,sorcery and corruption are the worse offenders.

Even though slavery and colonial domination has long since ended in Africa,some Africans as of today,he sadly notes,also still exhibit past colonial domination  mentality in their relations and dealing with fellow Africans.

Such people he lamented, don’t  even show any sense of guilt when they should get the chance to take  undue advantage of their less unfortunate African fellows.

Such negative behaviour  ,Shiekh says,creates bad blood,erodes trust and goodwill among  people of  same  identity.

’This is a big affront to the cultivation of a  common sense of belonging and fostering of unity  for a common purpose to ensure even development and shared prosperity for the good people of  Africa with so much natural resources endowment.

To address  this undesirable situation,the current generation of  Africans,he suggests, must endeavour to catch the up and coming generations young.

He was of the view that, inculcating in growing up African children good  moral and ethical values with positive mindsets that shuns slave and past colonial domination mentality in their relations and dealings with their  fellow Africans would be very good for Africa’s progress and development.

On a more serious note,he is of the view that,,factoring of a new paradigm of mental renaissance premised on sense of togetherness for a common purpose as part of  the  upbringing of the African young ones,would be very important and could even be incorporated into the educational curricula of African countries.

That at best could even be incorporated into the  national  development agendas of the various African countries since it  would be prudent for achieving the much cherished continental economic integration moving on..

On whether sorcery is really an affront to progress and development in Africa,he said it is indeed one of the major internal factors.

Even though its cost he sadly notes,cannot be easily and really quantified,as a practitioner in psychic healing in Africa for some  decades today,he is aware of the use of sorcery and black magic by some Africans to fight their fellow Africans out of envy and sheer jealousy.

Many  a born African genius,potential leaders,enterprising people with bright futures whose success in life could have afforded them the opportunity to impact their societies and nations  most positively, often become victims of sorcery and black magic resulting in long protracted blockages in their lives.

Shiekh also bemoans the use of black magic by some Africans to  fight fellow Africans at work places simply because such innocent people want to see the ideal work ethics upheld and the right thing done in the interest of the corporate entity they are entrusted with some management responsibility. This often lead to compromising of standard work ethics and eventual collapse collapse of such entities.

On the issue of corruption,Shiekh says he couldn’t  easily think of  any effective remedial action towards it,but it  no doubt constitutes one of the  big hurdles  to Africa’s progress and development. Thus,some how Africans must come out with an effective means of scaling it down even if not completely eradicating it

Shiekh also cited other cases public spirited African individuals  who became victims  of sorcery and black magic simply because they made moves to put in place humanitarian projects that would have benefited members of their society. Such attacks in some cases,he said,are orchestrated by family enemies of the victim.

Sorcerers he says employ the services of demonic forces referred to as jinni in Arabic to haunt and torment their victims through long protracted ailments and problems of all sorts.

Black magical powers is highly developed in Africa Shiekh admits  and sadly notes that in most cases,used for evil and destructive purposes  rather than for the good of Africans and their  societies.

On a snapshot of use of black magic worldwide, he noted that it is currently relatively lower in the European countries such as France where he had once resided before stating that, that part of the world also had it in their past history but they  have since moved past the stage in which Africa still finds herself now.

The grand Shiekh said black magic is also found minimally  in  Arabia,with considerable high occurrence in East Asian countries such as Pakistan and India.Island countries like Madagascar he also noted has  high occurrence of it.

Shiekh Ben Halima is known in Ghana and other African countries where he operates healing centers run and managed by local citizens who have to first  receive hands on practical  training from him before they are certified to do healing on his behalf.

Psychic cases  treated at the Ruqiya Healing Centres are namely, Jinni or evil spirits,black magic and sorcery related ailments and afflictions

The form of healing Shiekh Ben Halima practices is termed Islamic medicine otherwise known as Prophetic  healing that adopts  a holistic approach for addressing both psychic  and physical health needs of man.

Ruqiya is the is the spiritual or psychic healing component but could also be extended to include physical ailments  healing within the broader context of the prophetic or Islamic medicine.

On the issue of corruption,Shiekh says he couldn’t  easily think of  any remedial action towards it,but it no doubt constitutes one of the  big hurdles  to Africa’s progress and development. Thus,some how Africans must come out with an effective means of scaling it down even if not completely eradicating it

Shiekh Ben Halima’s 150-page  book,”AL-RUQYA AL-SHARIYAH”,Exorcism According to the Qur’an and Sunnah gives  astounding insights into the inter-relationship between the spirit world and our human physical world as well as the interplay and collaboration  between some elements in both divides either for good or for evil.

The Ruqya healing services of Shiekh is opened to all the spiritually and physically  afflicted irrespective of ones religious or other persuasions.

 

 

 

read more