AfricaAfrica AsiaCoverDiscussEconomyEventsNews

President Tinubu emerges as new ECOWAS chairman, calls for regional security

President Bola Tinubu has emerged as the new chairperson of ECOWAS.

He takes over from the President of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Mokhtar Sissoco Embalo, who has just finished his tenure at the 63rd Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government on Sunday in Bissau, the capital city of Guinea-Bissau.

The summit is the first international engagement of President Tinubu on the African continent since his swearing-in on 29 May.

Accepting the responsibility to lead the body, a statement on Sunday by the President’s spokesperson, Dele Alake, quoted Mr Tinubu as saying that he would run an inclusive administration, noting, however, that insecurity and creeping terrorism were stunting the progress and development of the region.

President Tinubu called for collective action from member-states, pledging that under his leadership, frameworks would be harmonised to actualise the dreams of ECOWAS.

Read the full statement below:


…seeks private sector-led economic growth in sub-region

…Says ECOWAS must rise against coup d’etat

In a unanimous endorsement that signals the trust and confidence reposed in him by his counterparts, President Bola Tinubu emerged as the new Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at the 63rd Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government on Sunday in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau.

President Tinubu, who is the latest entrant into the exclusive club of Heads of State in West Africa, enthusiastically accepted the honour, on behalf of Nigeria, with a solemn pledge to bear the responsibility of the office and run an inclusive administration of the regional organisation

The Nigerian leader, however, warned that the threat to peace in the sub-region had reached an alarming proportion with terrorism and the emerging pattern of military takeover that now demand urgent and concerted actions.

He said insecurity and creeping terrorism were stunting the progress and development of the region

President Tinubu called for collective action from member-states, pledging that under his leadership, frameworks would be harmonized to actualize the dreams of ECOWAS.

“On peace and security, the threat has reached an alarming level and needs urgent actions in addressing the challenges. Indeed, without a peaceful environment, progress and development in the region will continue to remain elusive. In this regard, we must remain committed to the utilisation of all regional frameworks at our disposal to address the menace of insecurity,” he declared.

President Tinubu noted that ECOWAS had developed a security architecture, which he noted, “covers a wide range of areas that involved kinetic and non-kinetic operations, including preventive diplomacy. There is also the Regional Plan of Action on Fight against Terrorism 2020-2024 as well as the operationalization of the ECOWAS Standby Force on Fight Against Terrorism.

“I will ensure that we immediately harmonize these plans and mobilize resources as well as the political will to towards the actualisation of the initiatives. As terrorists do not respect boundaries, we must work collectively to have an effective regional counterterrorism measure,” the President further stated.

On his emergence as Chairman on his first participation at the summit, having just started out as the elected leader of Nigeria, President Tinubu stated that he was humbled and honoured by the trust to assume the leadership of the regional body, pledging his commitment to serve the interest of the community.

He said: “Indeed, I’m humbled and honored by this trust, and want to assure you of my unalloyed commitment to provide the necessary leadership with a dedication to serve the interest of the community.”

To underscore his commitment towards regional integration, the Nigerian President declared that he would prioritize political stability, peace and security, regional economic integration and strengthening of the ECOWAS institutions, declaring that democracy and good governance remain the abiding cornerstone of peace and sustainable development. While decrying the emerging pattern of coup d’etat in West Africa where soldiers have toppled the popular mandate of the people through the barrel of guns, President Tinubu charged ECOWAS to stand firm in defence of democracy.

“We must stand firm on democracy. There is no governance, freedom and rule of law without Democracy. We will not accept coup after coup in West Africa again. Democracy is very difficult to manage but it is the best form of government.

There is no one here among us who did not campaign to be a leader. We didn’t give our soldiers resources, we didn’t invest in them, in their boots, in their training to violate the freedom of the people. To turn their guns against civil authorities is a violation of the principles upon which they were hired which is to defend the sovereignty of their nations. We must not sit in ECOWAS as toothless bulldogs,” the President warned.

On political stability, he said: “You will all agree with me that democracy and good governance are the cornerstones of peace and sustainable development of every society. I’m fully committed to deepening democracy and good governance in the region.

“We must strengthen our democratic institutions and ensure the respect for human rights and the rule of law. I will enhance engagements with the countries in transition to ensure their quick return to democratic rule.

The new ECOWAS Chairman called for improved private sector participation in the effort towards the economic development of Member States as well as their social integration.

“We would work collectively to pursue an inclusive economic integration, which will be significantly private sector driven, in order to unlock the vast economic potentials of our region. We would actively promote trade, investment, and business cooperation among Member States by addressing the barriers impeding intra-regional trade, as well as creating a conducive business environment.

“We must encourage economic partnerships to raise the level of trade and investments in our region, hence facilitating employment creation and sustainable development and prosperity for our citizens.

“To this end, we must look inward and work with our regional economic facilitation platforms such as the Federation of West Africa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI) as well as ECOWAS Trade Organisation Network to attain our desired goals, “he said further.

President Tinubu assured the regional leaders of the immediate implementation of his vision for the body, declaring that:

“In furtherance of my vision for our region’s economic recovery and growth, Nigeria intends to convene an ECOWAS Extra-Ordinary Summit on Trade and Investment in October 2023.

“The event will provide an opportunity for Member States to showcase their potentials and encourage match-making, in order to evolve business cooperation among the various organized private sector within the region,” he added while calling for the strengthening of the institutions of the body.

“In the area of strengthening our Organisation’s Institutions and ensuring effective performance, we underscore the need for the conclusion of the ongoing institutional reforms of the organization.

“Given that Community Levy remained the biggest source of generating funds to run our organization, we must ensure that our citizens being taxed must be positively impacted by the programmes and projects of ECOWAS. This is in line with the shift of ECOWAS slogan from “ECOWAS of State” to “ECOWAS of People,” the Nigerian President emphasised.

He appreciated the Authority of Heads of State and citizens of the Community for trusting him to lead the West African body.

President Tinubu said: “Your Excellencies, let me conclude by once again deeply appreciating the Authority of Heads of State and the citizens of the Community for your trust in me. Together, we can shape a brighter future of shared values of peace, democracy, and economic prosperity of our region.”

In his welcome address, the outgone ECOWAS Chairman and President of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Mokhtar Sissoco Embalo saluted his fellow leaders for sustaining the vision of the organisation despite the global economic headwinds and trouble spots within the region. He cited Mali, Burkina Faso and the Republic of Guinea as countries where the constitutional order had been distorted while congratulating Nigeria and Sierra Leone for sustaining constitutional order through the democratic process with the recent successful elections.

Dele Alake

Special Adviser to the President

Special Duties, Communications & Strategy

July 9, 2023

read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaCulture & TourismDiscussEventsReport

2nd Edition: Lady Tee Thompson shines at Permanent Forum for People of African Descent

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) organized the second session of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent recently at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The forum is a significant development within the United Nations (UN) framework, reflecting the growing recognition of the rights and experiences of people of African descent worldwide. The establishment of this forum is historical for several reasons that begin in December 2022 with the 1st Forum in Geneva and recently convened for a 2nd Forum in New York.

Opening remarks of the Chairwoman of the Permanent Forum a global consultant is aimed at global reparatory justice, Pan Africanist, transnational migration, data collection on addressing racism, health, well-being, and inter-generational equality, and trauma

The overarching theme of the second session is “Realizing the Dream: A United Nations Declaration on the Promotion, protection and full respect of the human rights of People of African Descent”.

Crosspsection of attendees

The Second Session of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent (PFPAD) will be part of a global consultative process with a focus on five thematic panels on global reparatory justice, Pan-Africanism, transnational migration, data-collection for recognizing and addressing systemic and structural racism, and health, well-being, and intergenerational trauma.

Lady Tee Thompson is one of the attendees at the event who spoke about the pressing issues and some challenges facing African descents

In her remark address, Nelson Mandela said, “Freedom cannot be achieved unless the people have been emancipated from ALL forms of oppression.”

“These words resonate within the context of our discussions. We must recognize that accessibility to this very forum where crucial discussions are made, remains limited to people with disabilities or of African descent. We must go beyond mere provisions of broken wheelchairs in Geneva and “no exceptions” policies for UN pass retrieval times in New York” she said

“Let us embrace inclusivity, ensuring that everyone, regardless of ability, can fully participate in the deliberate dialogues that shape their lives,” She said

“Equally, we cannot overlook the barriers faced by African citizens who seek to attend this forum. Long wait times for issuing visas and indigo approvals create significant obstacles for those who wish to share their perspectives and contribute to the discourse.  We must strive for efficient and fair procedures that enable diverse voices to be heard, transcending borders and fostering true global cooperation”

Lady Tee Thompson advocates for African Development by putting an end to human, labour, and sex trafficking and drums support for communities ravaged by conflicts or natural disasters, eulogizing the efforts of Threshold of Hope in Nigeria, which has been working towards ensuring a life free from inequality and discrimination for every woman.

Thompson and Disability Activist, .Stevie Wonder’s Daughter at the Permanent Forum during Closing Ceremonies

“Another pressing concern that demands our attention is education & prevention of human trafficking particularly in communities ravaged by conflict, crises, or climatic disasters, vulnerable populations are subjected to labour and sex trafficking. It is our collective responsibility to provide comprehensive education and support systems, empowering migratory, refugees, asylum seekers, and displaced people to recognize and combat these heinous crimes.  For example, Threshold of Hope in Nigeria does just that. To the voiceless communities they serve.  Only then can we ensure that human rights and dignity of every individual are protected and upheld.”

“Together, let us strive for accessibility, inclusivity, and justice. Let us uphold the principles of human rights and create a future where no person is left behind” she concluded

read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaDiscussEditors' TakeNewsWorld

World Press Freedom Day: the 10 best-ranked African countries by RSF

Senegal and Tunisia are among the countries that have fallen the most in the annual press freedom ranking, published on Wednesday by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The 21st edition of this ranking highlights in particular the effects of disinformation, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

In two-thirds of the 180 countries assessed, the specialists who contribute to the development of the ranking “report the involvement of political actors” in “massive disinformation or propaganda campaigns” , according to RSF. The most significant drops in Africa concern Senegal (104th, -31 places) and Tunisia (121st, -27).

In Senegal, where the possibility of a third term for President Macky Sall is arousing opposition, RSF denounces “the sharp deterioration in the security conditions of journalists” . This country was however a “regional model until recently” . The NGO also judges that Tunisia, chaired by Kais Saied, is “increasingly authoritarian and intolerant of criticism from the press” .

The defense and promotion of the pro-Russian narrative contribute to the explosion of disinformation and the development of a propaganda ecosystem across the continent. Fake media networks now help denigrate and discredit journalists who do not comply with the patriotic injunctions imposed by the new juntas in power.

A similar phenomenon is also noticeable in Ethiopia (130th). The Tigray War led to a wave of arrests of journalists and encouraged intense propaganda by federal authorities, such as the Tigray Liberation Front (TPLF). In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (124th), in the North Kivu region, journalists are also caught between the injunctions of the M23 rebels and those of loyalist forces.

Propaganda and disinformation thrive in a terrain that remains one of the most dangerous for journalism. If the French journalist Olivier Dubois regained his freedom after 711 days of captivity in Mali, a total of five journalists were killed in the exercise of their function, between the end of September 2022 and January 2023, in Cameroon (138th ), in Kenya (116th), Somalia (141st), and Rwanda (131st).

Even when investigations are opened, they do not always lead to the originators, as illustrated by the cases of Cameroonian journalist Martinez Zogo and Rwandan John Williams Ntwali . In this environment where impunity reigns, arbitrary arrests on false grounds, particularly targeting investigative journalists, have multiplied.

Yesterday regional model, Senegal (104th) fell 31 places in the ranking, in particular, due to the prosecution of journalists Pape Alé Niang and Pape Ndiaye and the sharp deterioration in security conditions for media professionals. In Burundi (114th), the particularly severe verdict, sentencing journalist Floriane Irangabiye to 10 years in prison, helps to keep this country at the bottom of the ranking.

While the situation is now described as “difficult” in nearly 40% of countries (compared to 33% in 2022), some improvements are still to be noted on the side of Niger (61st) where the law on cybercrime, used to condemn Journalists, was amended in June 2022. In Uganda (133rd) the Constitutional Court also struck down a provision of the Misuse of Computers Act, which criminalized the publication of “false news” .

According to the 2023 edition of this benchmark ranking, the conditions for practicing journalism are poor in 7 out of 10 countries. The NGO is alarmed by the strong presence of disinformation on social networks, illustrated, for example, by false images generated by artificial intelligence (AI)

This world ranking is produced by RSF on the basis of “a quantitative survey of abuses committed against journalists” on the one hand, and “a qualitative study” on the other. The latter is based “on the answers of hundreds of press freedom experts (journalists, academics, human rights defenders) to a hundred questions” .

The 10 highest-ranked African countries by RSF:

Namibia (22nd)

South Africa (25)

Cape Verde (33)

Seychelles (34)

Gambia (46)

Ivory Coast (54)

Burkina Faso (58)

Nigeria (61)

Ghana (62)

Mauritius (63)



read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaDiscussEconomyInternationalInterview storyInterviews

Interview: US Senator Chris Coons on Africa, Leaked Documents

Top White House officials such as Vice President Kamala Harris and first lady Jill Biden have crisscrossed the African continent this year to implement what President Joe Biden has described as partnerships between the United States and African countries. And a range of U.S. government officials — including lawmakers — have also traversed the continent, doing lower-profile work.

VOA White House correspondent Anita Powell sat down with Democratic Senator Chris Coons, a longtime and frequent visitor to Africa.

“This is a continent of incredible potential and opportunity,” Coons, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and its Africa subcommittee, told VOA. “If we can work in close partnership with young African nations to address climate change, food insecurity, human rights, sustainable development, urbanization — some of the key challenges of this century — we can solve those problems for the world.”

Coons also spoke about his upcoming participation in a classified Senate briefing over the recent leak of more than 100 classified documents by a member of the U.S. Air National Guard.

Those documents covered matters with global impacts, like U.S. spying efforts around the world, assessments of the Russian and Ukrainian armed forces, and of China’s aerial capabilities and access around Taiwan, the democratic island that Beijing claims as its own.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

VOA: You recently accompanied the vice president on a multicountry Africa tour. What were the measurable, demonstrable outcomes of that and other high-profile U.S. visits to Africa this year?

Senator Chris Coons: The key goal here is to show up, is to engage, is to demonstrate that the United States is a trusted, valuable partner in public health, in economic development, in the transformation of the energy sector, in helping agriculture transform to combat food insecurity. The vice president, in the country that I traveled with her to — Ghana — focused on youth opportunity and entrepreneurship and creative enterprises, and the implementation of the Global Fragility Act.

She announced $100 million in investments to help stabilize Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, and Togo — countries in that I’ve also been actively engaged.

VOA: Let’s talk about Sudan. Yesterday, VOA talked to [former U.S. and U.N. diplomat] Jeffrey Feltman, who told us that the U.S. “got played” by both of the combatant leaders in Sudan. Is it time for Congress to break ties with the ruling military leadership in Sudan? Are you planning to author something on that?

Coons: This is something that had been feared for a number of weeks as relations between them got tenser and tenser. I have not given up hope that there is still a path toward an end to the violence, but we need to prepare for the very real possibility that Sudan is about to descend into all-out civil war. My concern is that this may quickly become a proxy war. I am talking with leadership here this week about our options for the path forward.

VOA: Kenyan media is reporting that you played a big role in bringing about an accord between President William Ruto and his nemesis, opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Can you take us into the room? What you did do, what you promised? And is the U.S. seen as a capable negotiator, facilitator, and guarantor in these sorts of disputes?

Coons: I had the opportunity to have, I hope, some positive and productive personal conversations with the deputy president, with the former prime minister, and with the former president, to just help them hear each other and to act as an intermediary. I think central is the path forward for the [electoral commission]. That is critical to there being in the future free and fair elections in Kenya.

My core message, frankly, to everyone I met with was: The United States is not trying to push any specific outcome or alignment of this government. We’re simply trying to help you hear each other and recognize that democracy is fragile, is difficult, and requires there being space for a legitimate opposition to be heard, for complaints and concerns about the economy about the election to be heard, and for the duly elected president of the country to be able to lead the country forward.

VOA: What are your intentions and hopes for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief [PEPFAR] and the African Growth and Opportunity Act [AGOA]? Is there bipartisan support for continuing both of them?

Coons: I had a chance a number of weeks ago to visit Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia to look at their PEPFAR programming, to look at the history and the future of PEPFAR. I think it can and should be reauthorized. And it will get a strong bipartisan vote to do so.

It is expensive, but it has a significant positive and sustained impact. I think it shows the world — but in particular, the countries that principally benefit in Africa — that the United States is capable of being a great partner over many years to persist in what is a really critical fight that helps the whole world, but that particularly helps those at the margins — the poorest women, children, those who are immunocompromised — to live good and full lives.

I was closely involved in the last reauthorization of AGOA. I’ve seen the positive impacts it has on the ground in a few countries, principally South Africa, Kenya, and Ethiopia. It’s possible for many more countries to benefit from AGOA, to use it to export apparel or produce or manufacture products in the United States.

VOA: This intelligence leak has triggered a review of security protocols. You’re going into this classified briefing. What concerns and questions do you have?

Coons: This is a significant breach of American intelligence. And there’s clearly going to be accountability at the unit level, as well as for this individual who I expect will end up spending a significant amount of time in jail for these actions. If someone with this relatively junior rank and youth in our military can expose such significant secrets for such a callow and simple reason, it has to raise larger questions about the control that we’re exercising over the flow of intelligence products both within our military and across our government.

I’m expecting to hear what else has been learned about how this happened, what response there’s been, and how we’re going to better manage intelligence information.

VOA: And are you concerned about tightening information and the implications of that as the U.S. continues to fund expensive and sensitive efforts like the war in Ukraine?

Coons: I am optimistic that we can show that the oversight that’s happening both remotely and now in person on the ground in Ukraine gives us confidence that the money we are sending is being well spent.

In my visit to Kyiv last fall with Senator [Rob] Portman, we spoke to our ambassador there, some of the accountability teams, and the outside contractors that are providing insight into how our funds are being spent. And I’m so far optimistic that we’re going to be able to meet that mark of showing the American people that the money we’re investing in Ukraine’s defense in Ukraine, fighting the Russian occupiers, is money well spent.


Source: VOA

read more
Culture & Tourism

ECOWAS ministers boost tourism industry with adoption of new standards for hotel services

ECOWAS Ministers in charge of the national tourism sectors in member states have come together to give tourism in West Africa a great boost with the validation and adoption of the regulatory texts of the Tourist Accommodation Establishment in the ECOWAS region, Friday, 7th April 2023. This working document with recommendations was presented to the ministers by tourism experts who spent the last 3 days drafting a well-researched legal framework that covers all aspects of hotel accommodation classification and grading.

Mrs. Massandjé TOURE-LITSE, ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture, in her welcome address, on behalf of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency, Dr. Omar Alieu Touray expressed her sincere appreciation to the Honorable Ministers for accepting to be part of a historic event in the tourism sector.

She also extended ECOWAS’ sincere gratitude to the President of Togolese Republic, His Excellency Faure Essozimna GNASSINGBE, for accepting to host this all-important meeting as the ECOWAS takes key steps towards adopting relevant instruments to give a boost to our tourism sector in line with emerging trends and hailed the critical role played by the Government of Togo in the integration and economic development of ECOWAS since its establishment which is reiterated by the presence and the support received in the facilitation this meeting from Dr. LAMADOKOU Kossi Honorable  Minister of Culture and Tourism of Togo and his very able team.

I take this opportunity to express the hope that this regulation will strengthen the use of our local products and reflect our cultural and traditional values

She further praised the tenacity and commitment of the Member States in the development of the tourism industry which will ECOWAS a tourist hub, An ECOWAS Destination with attractive and quality services that can compete with most tourist destinations around the world especially now with African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which provides diverse opportunities in development, job creations, economic growth and boost regional integration.

I take this opportunity to express the hope that this regulation will strengthen the use of our local products and reflect our cultural and traditional values there by making our hotel industry a melting point of West African skilled craftsmanship, creativity and innovations. I therefore invite you to take ownership of this forum, to consider and adopt the report of the Meeting of Experts and to implement the relevant recommendations contained therein, she added.

Dr. Fernando VAZ, Minister of Tourism and Handicrafts of Guinea-Bissau, in chairing the meeting, congratulated all participants and hailed the immense work done drafting these texts and criteria that henceforth will govern and restructure the classification of the tourist accommodation establishments.

He further called on his fellow ministers to carefully peruse the recommendations and proceed with the adoption of these texts so that from this day on, the ECOWAS destination is at the rendezvous of first-choice destinations with hotels, apart hotels, motels, inns, ecolodges, campsites and high-quality bed and breakfasts to amaze our visitors, generate and secure qualified jobs and increase tourist flows and receipts, he added.

Dr. Kossi G. LAMADOKOU, Minister of Togo, reiterated to his colleagues that after adopting these guidelines, implementation must be at the highest level if tourism industry is to succeed and compete with the best.

The meeting came to a close with the adoption of the recommendations from the Experts meeting held 3rd – 5th April, 2023.

read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaDiscussEconomyTechTechnologyWorld

Artificial intelligence: Africa takes up the subject, set to embrace the fourth industrial revolution

As AI systems like ChatGPT begin to disrupt our daily lives, the global race for innovation is accelerating. The biggest advances are taking place in the United States, China, and Europe. Yet Africa is gearing up to take its place and embrace the fourth industrial revolution. An illustration from Dakar with BAAMTU, a company specializing in software engineering, big data, and artificial intelligence.

A lever for progress and growth

Developed by OpenAI in San Francisco, the chatbot  ChatGPT is on everyone’s lips. Trained on a vast collection of texts, ChatGPT can carry on human-like conversations, answer questions, produce computer code, and generate natural-sounding prose on any subject.

This impressive artificial intelligence has caught the interest of companies and projects worldwide. That includes Africa, which also wants to take advantage of the opportunities presented by AI.

In Senegal, a growing number of initiatives are developing new applications.

“African languages are poorly represented on the web. With chatbots, we provide custom conversational systems in any language. We are thus improving the means of translation and facilitating access to information for all,” said Mayoro Diagne, Director of Operations at BAAMTU in Dakar. His company is tackling other problems specific to Africa, using artificial intelligence.

“In the field of telemedicine, chatbots help guide people through their care. At the request of the Ministry of Health, we have developed a self-diagnosis technology for hemophilia, accessible on a smartphone,” said Derguene Mbaye, a research engineer at BAAMTU.

We are seeing new training institutions emerge in Senegal, while more and more local companies are interested in data science

The Dakar-based company is also using artificial intelligence to make mundane admin tasks easier:

“With optical character or image recognition, artificial intelligence can easily compile data and automate tasks. It is a great alternative to paper when many citizens have difficulties finding their civil status,” Mbaye added.

African expertise on the international stage 

Agriculture, education, security, health, commerce: artificial intelligence is gradually penetrating all spheres of daily life.

“New jobs are coming up. We are seeing new training institutions emerge in Senegal, while more and more local companies are interested in data science and want to take advantage of artificial intelligence,” Diagne said, “Africa is in the process of taking a leap forward and building a proper model to meet its own challenges, in line with the expectations of its people.”

This enthusiasm is raising a lot of interest and questions, which require more discussion by a broad range of people. With the NTF V project at the International Trade Centre (ITC), BAAMTU in February held a conference at the International Trade Fair for Digital Economy Professionals in Dakar.

It was an opportunity to showcase its expertise in artificial intelligence and to present its chatbot. Since this presentation, BAAMTU has been approached by new partners and continues to expand through its subsidiaries, particularly in Nigeria.

“BAAMTU’s goal is to embrace the opportunities of artificial intelligence to ensure that it has a positive human impact. Just like the Tunisian startup InstaDeep, purchased by the German laboratory BioNtech, we are convinced that African expertise in artificial intelligence has strong assets to promote internationally,” Mbaye said.

read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaAPO-GROUPAPO-OPAApplicationsDiscussEconomySports

Herbert Mensah announces candidacy for President of Rugby Africa, promise good representation

Herbert Mensah, sports administrator, and President of the Ghana Rugby Football Union, today announced his candidacy for President of the World Rugby’s African association, Rugby Africa, the governing body of rugby in Africa. Rugby Africa will be electing a new president at the Annual General Meeting to be held in Cape Town on 18 March 2023.

The President will be elected for a period of four years commencing immediately after the results are announced by the executive committee on 18 March 2023. This will also be the first time in the history of Rugby Africa that elections will be contested.

The Nigeria Rugby Football Federation nominated Mensah to run for President. Mensah, a current member of the Africa Rugby Executive Committee, is also an accomplished businessman with many years of experience in the business and sports sectors in Africa.

In 2014, Mensah took the helm at the Ghana Rugby Football Union where he significantly increased awareness around the sport while injecting much enthusiasm for players and officials, as well as encouraging the youth to participate in rugby through numerous initiatives and activities. He was instrumental in spearheading the national team’s qualification to the World Series, after they won the West Africa competition, before moving on to the African championship.

Mensah’s vision is to build a positive and strong brand for Rugby Africa and to make rugby more accessible and visible to all Africans, in particular the youth. He would like to see an increase in continental competitions and greater support of member associations in terms of how they are structured and in the economic development of the sport.

Currently, less than 30 percent of rugby players in Africa are women. Mensah’s strategic plan is to broaden the reach and appeal of rugby, raising the profile and image of women rugby players and officials, while ensuring that all structures further reflect the diversity and inclusion of the sport. He also wants to provide greater cohesion between English and French-speaking countries, both in terms of sport and governance.

Commenting on his candidacy Mensah said, “I am extremely humbled to be nominated to run for President, and I am overwhelmed by the good wishes from my colleagues and peers. I am immensely proud as an African, to be given a chance to represent Africa on a global platform. African rugby has historically not received the recognition it deserves, and I look forward to the opportunity to use this platform to create meaningful change, while promoting a better understanding of the game on the continent, and beyond, and to encourage greater support of rugby across the entire African continent. If elected, my tenure will be one marked with service to Africa Rugby and the rugby and sports fraternity at large on the continent.”

2023 Rugby World Cup will be held in France from September to October. Mensah hopes to use this world-class platform to collaborate with leading international rugby bodies and other associations to raise awareness around African Rugby while gaining much-needed support for the sport. Rugby will be one of the first competitions on show at the Olympic Games Paris 2024, where Mensah hopes to see more representation from African teams in the qualifying events.



read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaBusinessDiscussEconomyEventsInvestment

Announcing Africa Accelerating 2023 in Toronto: October 10-12

The three-day conference will address and advance the immense opportunities for rapidly accelerating Canada-Africa trade and investment ties.

‘’The 2023 conference in Toronto provides a phenomenal opportunity to welcome African business delegates to Canada’s largest city while offering an enabling platform for networking, B2B meetings, and dealmaking in and around the 3-day program,’’ said Garreth Bloor, President of The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business.

Last year’s 2022 Africa Accelerating conference in Johannesburg, South Africa – sponsored by Ivanhoe Mines Ltd – took place under the theme, Leading from Africa: Toward a new global era enabled through Canada-Africa Collaboration.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was among those who addressed the event in October, joined by government heads, African Union leaders, corporate executives, and entrepreneurs.

The 2023 conference in Toronto provides a phenomenal opportunity to welcome African business delegates to Canada’s largest city

Registration for Africa Accelerating 2023 opens on 16 January 2023. The official theme to be announced will encompass raising investment capital, trade opportunities, new business partnerships, infrastructure, and responsible resource development – building on the track record and lessons learned on the foundation of billions already invested into African markets, through Canada.

Africa Accelerating 2023 will once again include a live interactive virtual participation option. Plenary proceedings will be broadcast to 47 countries, with a reach of an estimated 20 million viewers – showcasing the immense opportunities for all through the acceleration of Canada-Africa trade and investment.

‘’Toronto is a gateway to North American markets and directly connected by air to the African continent,’’ noted Garreth Bloor. ‘’For all joining us in person, our host city provides vital linkages to project partners and investors, driving the two-way trade and investment for deal-making that is at the core of our action-driven agenda for Africa Accelerating 2023.’’


read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaDiscuss

Regional Security: ECOWAS Defence Chiefs to hold Extraordinary Session in Bissau

The Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will be meeting in Bissau, Guinea Bissau on December 19, 2020. The meeting will be preceded by the meeting of ECOWAS Heads of Operations and Chiefs of Intelligence, which will hold December 17 and 18, 2022 respectively.

The Defence Chiefs will be discussing and considering the security situation in the Region and other issues.

read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaAgrictechAgricultureApplicationsDiscuss

U.S. Ambassador supports Community-Based Projects throughout Sierra Leone

United States Ambassador David Reimer recognized grantees who received grants totaling USD 40,000 to eight Sierra Leonean-led community organizations that work to improve economic and social conditions at the local level.  The funds will support projects in seven districts east, west, north, and south of Sierra Leone.  Projects receiving funds this year include:

The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund is one way that the U.S. Embassy supports economic development in Sierra Leone

  • Programs to support adolescent girls and women with limited economic opportunities through skills training
  • Programs to provide clean water and conduct campaigns to promote hygiene best practices to reduce the risk of water-borne diseases
  • Programs to support income generation and food security through aquaculture, rice cultivation, plantain, and banana cultivation, and grain store construction

Ambassador Reimer congratulated the grantees and noted the important role played by the communities themselves, who are actively engaged in the planning and implementation of each project.  These initiatives are funded by the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help (SSH) Program, which supports small, community-based projects throughout Africa.  These projects are designed in cooperation with community members, who contribute their own resources, usually in the form of labor and in-kind donations.

Ambassador Reimer said, “The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund is one way that the U.S. Embassy supports economic development in Sierra Leone.  We do so by working directly with grass-roots leaders like yourselves to implement projects in your communities. This is one of my favorite programs because it allows us to respond directly to community requests and fund projects that immediately impact communities in Sierra Leone.  The key is that they are Sierra Leonean-led development projects, and we would like to see more of those in the future.

For more information on the Ambassador’s SSH Program and other small grant opportunities, please visit the Embassy’s website at

read more