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Unstoppable Africa: Igniting Transformation and Bold Collaborations

Leaders from global business, investment, government, sports, and the arts gathered in New York on Thursday, 21st September to mark the commencement of “Unstoppable Africa”.

The event by the Global Africa Business Initiative (GABI) seeks to elevate Africa’s prominence in the global economy and position the continent as the premier destination for business, trade, and investment.

In a press statement received by African Development Magazine, It was noted that the two-day event is co-convened by the United Nations Deputy Secretary General, Amina J. Mohamed and the Chairperson of the African Union H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. GABI, coordinated by the UN Global Compact, serves as a pivotal forum for Heads of State and Government, CEOs, investors, policymakers, industry experts, and U.N. leaders to discuss and strategize the way forward for Africa’s dynamic business landscape. “Unstoppable Africa” is a powerful affirmation of GABI’s unwavering commitment to redefining Africa’s economic narrative.

Sanda Ojiambo onstage during UNSTOPPABLE AFRICA Presented By Global African Business Initiative New York, USA. Thursday September 22, 2023. Photo Credit : Jennifer

On day one, the flagship event attracted an impressive array of speakers and participants, including the Presidents of Ghana, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Kenya, H.E. William Samoe Ruto, Senegal, H.E Macky Sall, Poland H.E Andrzej Duda and H.E Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados. In addition to government ministers, “Unstoppable Africa” welcomed a who’s who of renowned business titans such as Mo Ibrahim, the Sudanese-British businessman and philanthropist, Phumzile Langeni, Deputy Chairman of Imperial Logistics; Non-Executive Director of DP World Group, James Manyika, Senior Vice-President of Research, Technology and Society at Google-Alphabet, and Brad Smith, President of Microsoft among others. Senegalese artist Baaba Maal set the tone for the event with a captivating performance calling for peace and prosperity in Africa while actor Arsema Thomas engaged in an insightful interview conducted by the event’s host Folly Bah Thibault from Al Jazeera English.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres opened the two-day forum making a compelling call for the “delivery of justice” – a theme central to the continent’s sustainable development. The UN Secretary-General stated that “justice means reforming outdated, unfair and dysfunctional global financial systems and ensuring African representation at every multilateral table”.

H.E. Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados emphasized the difference between ambition and meaningful action, in the context of Africa. Recognizing the emerging unity and collaborative efforts across the continent, she highlighted the imperative for accelerated progress in Africa. Her message underscored the urgency for nations to move from plans to concrete actions that catalyze transformative change on the continent.

During a major event announcement, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), announced a transformative partnership with Google, creating a Centre of Excellence for coding in Africa.

Other announcements on the day included The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) commitment to positioning the country high-up in the batteries and electric vehicles value chains, unveiling a new 1,000-hectare space in Kolwezi, with special economic zone status. DRC’s Minister of Industry, H.E. Julien Paluku, appealed to global investors to join these initiatives in addressing climate change while advancing economic growth. Further, President of Ghana, H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo launched Ghana’s Energy Blue Zone Initiative, heralding a major stride in the country’s energy transition and investment plans.

The “Unstoppable Africa” event promises to continue its momentum into the second day, where further thought-provoking discussions, innovative solutions, and collaborative endeavors are set to shape Africa’s role in the global economy. Leaders from various sectors, including business, government, and civil society, will come together to exchange ideas, forge partnerships, and chart a course toward a more prosperous and sustainable future for Africa and the world.

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Cop28 presidency lauds Africa Climate Summit for adopting ‘Nairobi declaration’

African leaders from across the continent have unanimously adopted the “Nairobi Declaration”, which will now provide the basis of Africa’s negotiating position at November’s Cop28 climate summit.

The programme is aligned with several goals of the Cop28 presidency’s “4-Point Plan of Action”, including a call to boost efforts to reduce emissions in line with Paris Agreement goals and honouring the commitment to deliver $100 billion in annual climate finance, the Cop28 presidency said on Friday.

It also commits African leaders to put policies, regulations and incentives in place to attract investment in green growth and an inclusive economy.

“Africa is taking the lead in building a climate-resilient, sustainable future, but to unlock the continent’s full potential, available, accessible and affordable finance is essential,” said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Cop28 President-designate, and UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology.

At the Africa Climate Summit this week, the UAE pledged $4.5 billion to speed up the development of clean energy projects in Africa.

Masdar has pledged $2 billion of equity and will mobilize an additional $8 billion in project finance to deliver 10 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through its Infinity Power platform in the continent by 2030.

Amea Power will help fund five gigawatts of renewable energy capacity in Africa by the end of the decade, mobilizing $5 billion, with $1 billion in equity investments, and $4 billion from project finance.

The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development will provide $1 billion in assistance to address basic infrastructure needs while the Etihad Credit Insurance will provide $500 million in credit insurance to lower risk and unlock private capital.

“At the heart of Cop28’s mission is the vital task of integrating food systems into our climate policy framework and encouraging nations and non-state actors to pledge commitments to drive systemic transformation,” said Mariam AlMheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment.

“We urge countries to commit to incorporating food systems into their revised nationally determined contributions by 2025, placing food systems at the forefront of their climate policies.”

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UK and Zambia to expand clean energy partnership with green investment targets

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly will travel to Zambia on Thursday and announce the expansion of the UK’s clean energy partnership with the African country.

Mr Cleverly will unveil new targets to drive green investment, which includes up to £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) of private sector investment in Zambia’s mining, minerals, and renewable energy sectors, and up to £500 million in government-backed investments.

He will also pledge up to £150 million of private sector investment into the country’s small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The new targets will be delivered through the UK-Zambia Green Growth Compact, signed in 2021 and has already seen more than £78 million dedicated to Zambian SMEs.

As the first UK foreign secretary to visit Zambia in more than 30 years, Mr Cleverly will tour a copper mine and sign a preliminary agreement on critical minerals such as copper, cobalt, and others essential to the global clean energy transition.

“Working together with our partners in Zambia, the UK is driving the clean energy transition,” he said.

“The UK-Zambia Green Growth Compact and our landmark agreement on critical minerals will support investment between UK and Zambian business, creating jobs in both countries and improving environmental and social standards.

“Together we will build a stronger, greener, more prosperous future for both countries, which benefits us all.”

Mr. Cleverly also visited Nigeria and Ghana during his three-country, four-day African tour, where he reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to advance trade, investment and green growth.

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Interview: Vince Goncalves Regional Vice President Africa at ExecuJet MRO Services

Could you tell us about your company?

ExecuJet MRO Services (ExecuJet) is a leading global multi-OEM MRO company with a strong presence around the world. It was founded in 1991 in South Africa, and then later established MRO businesses in Dubai, Australia, Malaysia, and Belgium as well as a franchise in Tianjin, China.

In 2019, ExecuJet became a member of the Dassault group of companies. ExecuJet specializes in airframe, avionics, and engine maintenance, and it supports various types of business jets including those manufactured by original aircraft manufacturers (OEMs) such as Dassault Aviation, Bombardier, Embraer Hawker, and Gulfstream.

While ExecuJet is a factory-owned Dassault MRO, it treats all OEMs equally. The technicians at ExecuJet are trained and certified on a wide range of business aircraft. The facilities hold multiple approvals including various national civil aviation regulators as well as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Federal Aviation Authority (FAA).

As an organization, ExecuJet prides itself on the culture of customer service and has won multiple international awards for its service excellence.

What industry/industries do you service?

ExecuJet MRO Services is a well-known and respected brand in the business aviation sector doing both line and heavy maintenance. It is also able to maintain some commercial aircraft types – for example, the Embraer ERJ-135/145.

What is your company’s growth strategy for 2023?

ExecuJet MRO Services in South Africa was recently appointed by Embraer as its authorized service center (ASC) for business jets in Africa. We will be supporting Embraer Legacy 600 and 650 business jets through line and heavy maintenance services, including warranty work. Under this agreement, we will continue to expand our capabilities to include Embraer’s entry-level and light jet family: the Phenom 100 and 300 series aircraft.

We will also continue to invest in more tooling to support the Embraer product and have already inducted qualified engineers to support the growing demand of the Embraer Phenom 300 series in Africa.

This year, we were also certified by the civil aviation bodies of Aruba and Malawi and will perform line and heavy maintenance on select aircraft types on those countries’ aircraft registries.

These certifications, which enhance our capability, will further help cement ExecuJet’s position as a regional multi-OEM MRO service center in Africa.

What are the long-term ambitions you’re aiming for, as an organization?

We plan to add more aircraft types to our MRO repertoire and expand our capability beyond airframe heavy maintenance to include cabin interior refurbishment work. By bundling airframe heavy maintenance checks with cabin refurbishment work we can provide more value to the customer and reduce the aircraft’s downtime. As the need for heavy maintenance on other aircraft types develops, ExecuJet MRO Services will expand its capabilities to include these aircraft types.

How will Africa develop in the Aviation industry in 2023 and how your companies can contribute?

Africa is one of the burgeoning markets for business jets with a total of 52 aircraft joining the fleet, according to data from market intelligence provider Jetnet. Business jet activity in Africa has witnessed a surge and jumped by 25% in May alone.

The African business aviation market is expected to grow year-on-year. Apart from the more developed markets such as South Africa and Nigeria, emerging markets such as Angola, Uganda, and Ghana are becoming important players in the industry.

Until last year, business jet activity throughout the region remained with an older fleet comprising Citation, Learjets, and Hawkers but there has been a shift in purchasing new business jets and newer pre-owned jets.

Business jets are vital for business in Africa because there are still many domestic airports with no reliable commercial air service and in terms of international flights, the continent still lacks the desired air connectivity to Europe, Asia, the Middle East, North America, etc.

As Africa’s business aircraft fleet expands within the region, maintenance needs are amplified. These trends create ample opportunities for the business aviation sector and ancillary industries in the continent. In this market, ExecuJet MRO Services envisages being a one-stop shop to assist clients and operators in all their maintenance requirements encompassing line, and base maintenance, aircraft pre-purchase inspections, cabin interior refurbishments, and avionics upgrades or modifications.

What are the opportunities for the aviation industry in Africa in 2023?

Thanks to Africa’s growing population and abundance of resources, economic activity will continue to shift to this part of the world. The growth of business aviation is very much in line with GDP growth.

The growing demand for business aviation air services creates an opportunity to develop the related aviation infrastructure. Fixed-based operations – the businesses responsible for aircraft refueling and provision of aircraft parking and passenger terminals – still remain few and far between in Africa. So, there is more opportunity to develop more FBOs in Africa.

As the business jet increases in size, it will also drive demand for maintenance services, fuelling demand for more MRO companies in-region. Only countries such as South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya have business aviation MRO facilities.

Any news or information from your organization you’d like to share?

Our Dubai operation recently took occupation of its new purpose-built facility at Dubai South. The facility can accommodate 18-24 business jets at one time and was intentionally sized to handle the very largest business jets, including the Falcon 6X and 10X, as well as large jets from other OEM’s. The new 15,344m2 (165,211ft2) MRO facility at Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) includes a hangar as well as adjacent workshops and offices. The new MRO facility will become ExecuJet’s new regional headquarters in Dubai. The company moved base maintenance to DWC from Dubai International Airport (DXB), although it will retain AOG capability at DXB.

Furthermore, our Malaysia operation is also in the process of building a new purpose-built facility. The new facility will have a gross floor area of approximately 149,500ft2 including corporate offices, customer areas and back shops that further expand ExecuJet’s MRO capabilities. The ultra-large aircraft hangar will be able to accommodate 10 to 15 business jets of various sizes simultaneously plus there will be a large, dedicated apron area for use.

A major milestone was reached in March 2023, with the installation of the two central columns. Each column is made of forged steel and is 12 meters long and weighs 45 tons. The installation of these columns is an important milestone. These two columns are the first structural part of the hangar to be installed and are there to support the weight of the hangar roof.

In the first phase of construction, foundation works including piles and pile-caps that prepare the site for the superstructure were laid, completing the groundwork after which the two steel columns were installed. Construction is progressing as planned with the start of the roof structure and offices under way.


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TECHNOLOGY: Why businesses need to consider fixed microwave connectivity- Nikita Appelman

While fibre might be the preferred form of internet connectivity for businesses, getting connected is easier said than done. Fibre installations can take months, or a business might be located in an area that is currently not within the coverage area of a Fibre network provider. There is an alternative, however, as a fixed licensed spectrum microwave can provide them with a fibre-like connectivity experience with link speeds in excess of 1 Gbps where required.

Firstly, it is crucial to understand that not all fixed Wireless services are equal. Fixed-LTE might be a popular option, but services tend to become degraded as soon as higher stages of load-shedding hit and are also defined as a best-effort service. Then, there is a fixed microwave – many people, especially those in urban areas, might be familiar with the round dishes that are fixed to masts in order to have the line-of-sight they need in order to connect.

Microwave services tend to fare much better during load-shedding as they have much better power management on the high sites as compared to cellular base stations, though users will need to ensure that they have a backup power supply for the equipment that is installed on their premises. As a further bonus, bespoke microwave solutions are especially ideal for customers who are located in more rural areas but require stable, reliable internet connectivity.

Open vs. licensed spectrum

But, there are differences even within fixed microwaves: connectivity services offered by many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are aimed primarily at residential users and operate within Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) radio bands, or what is known as Open Spectrum. This means that there is the potential for signal interference with other devices operating within the same spectrum, which usually results in a degraded experience for the end user.

Microwave fixed services that operate in licensed bands are more expensive because the spectrum has to be allocated from the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). These high-quality services use a dedicated spectrum that is not allowed to be used by other users. As such there is no potential for interference, even in crowded areas, while users benefit from low latency and high throughput internet connectivity. Using licensed spectrum also allows for significantly higher speeds – between 5Mbps and 1Gbps and special builds ranging to 10Gbps. Unlicenced bands provided much lower speeds.

Fixed microwave brings with it numerous other benefits: in the case of Vox, this includes having relatively quick installation times of the customer premise equipment, and offering customers the ability to have customized solutions to meet their specific business requirements. Dedicated links are far more reliable with service level agreements and Managed 24/7/365 support on all fixed microwave links. These fixed links can also include a dedicated VLAN for Voice to ensure quality of service (QoS) on all additional voice requirements and uncapped voice calling plans.

How businesses can use microwave

For South African businesses, there are currently three main ways in which they can use fixed microwave services. Firstly, they can use microwaves as their primary connectivity if their premises or branches are located in areas where they know that fibre is highly unlikely to be deployed.

Secondly, in areas that have a fibre network, but not last-mile connectivity to their premises, businesses can opt to temporarily use microwave connectivity (given the quick installation times) as a temporary service until they are connected to the fibre network, which can take months.

Thirdly is for businesses to use microwaves as a redundancy (failover) for their primary form of connectivity. In the case of organizations selecting the second option, as mentioned above, the microwave service can be changed from their primary form of connectivity to redundancy once their fibre line has been installed. Beyond just internet access, voice services can also be added to the dedicated VLAN.

While licensed spectrum microwave tends to be more expensive than other fixed alternatives, this is primarily a result of operating within a dedicated spectrum and the equipment required and not the actual data costs. In fact, costs have been coming down as providers offer more aggressive pricing options. As such, a fixed microwave is the most ideal form of connectivity for businesses that don’t have access to fibre (or as redundancy for those that do) as it provides premium, carrier-grade connectivity as opposed to the alternatives that are best-effort services.

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More than 40 nations express interest in joining BRICS

Around twenty countries from around the world have applied to join the BRICS group, which currently consists of five nations, and an equal number of other countries have expressed an interest, South Africa, which is hosting its next summit, said on Thursday.

The BRICS group (South Africa, Brazil, China, India, and Russia), which aims to carry more weight in international institutions hitherto dominated by the United States and Europe, said it was open to possible expansion.

“Twenty-two countries have formally approached the Brics countries to become full members of the group, and there is the same number of countries that have informally enquired about becoming Brics members”, said South Africa’s ambassador-at-large for Asia and the BRICS, Anil Sooklal.

He cited Iran, Argentina, Bangladesh, and Saudi Arabia as the countries that have expressed an interest, formal or informal, in joining the BRICS.

The growing interest in the Brics group is “nothing new”, but it underlines the “confidence” in the work that the Brics have “championed” since the group’s inception, he added at a press briefing in Johannesburg.

“The BRICS are not only the driving force of global strength in trying to change the fault lines in terms of global politics, they are also changing what happens in the global economic space”, said Mr. Sooklal.

“The current global architecture continues to be unequal, continues to marginalize developing countries (…), and continues to be dominated by a few hegemonies. We want a world where our voices are heard”, he told AFP.

Their next summit takes place from 22 to 24 August in Johannesburg and 69 countries have been invited, including African countries. French President Emmanuel Macron has asked to attend the summit but no decision has yet been taken.

“The BRICS is a consensus entity, it’s not just South Africa’s decision, there has to be consultation”, commented Anil Sooklal, who pointed out that South African Foreign Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor “is in charge of this procedure”.

Formally launched in 2009, the group of five emerging powers now accounts for 23% of the global GDP and 42% of the world’s population, according to the summit’s dedicated website.



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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

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“We’ll Remove Bottlenecks to Investments, Reposition Economy to Favor Youth Population,” Says President Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu Friday in Abuja assured the manufacturing and service sectors that more reforms will be unfolded to enable efficiency and attract investments, saying the ongoing economic ”revolution” will be deliberately steered to capture and favour teeming youths in the country.

“We have a responsibility to revolutionize the economy so that our youths can share in the prosperity of the nation, otherwise we are only waiting for the dreams to be charted,” the President told a delegation from MTN led by Group Chairman, Mcebisi Jonas, at the State House.

“If you have any problems or impediments do let us know. We are ready to remove bottlenecks to investments in the economy,” the President noted while acknowledging the sweeping changes across the world, largely driven by technology.

President Tinubu said the growing rural-urban migration can only be controlled with more investments in digital technology that will directly improve healthcare systems and education for the poor.

“I am happy you are moving from Corporate Social Responsibility to be more incisive and inquisitive with technology so that we can see how we can partner structurally,” the President stated.

“You can do a lot for the economy by partnering with us. We believe no one can succeed alone. The structural adjustments we are making are to ensure we face the right direction and arrive at a destination that caters for our people.

“You and I will make sure that the people have a share of that prosperity. We will, together, build a well-informed society. We have to re-assess the journey. I am glad that the stock market is responding positively to the structural adjustments,” he added.

The MTN Group Chairman said the company had a plan of investing $3.5 billion in the economy over the next five years, with a broader vision of becoming a pan-African company by moving investments from the Middle East and focusing more on Africa, especially Nigeria, where it gets the highest return on investment.

Jonas congratulated the President for the upswing of interest in the country within a short period since he assumed office, on May 29, 2023, promising to support in mobilisation of other investors with about $1.5 trillion to look towards Nigeria, where reforms had been styled to favour business and encourage inclusive development.

“The message you have given us is that Nigeria is investible, and with your election, we are seeing decisive, prompt, and keen interest in structural reforms,” the MTN Group Chairman noted.

The Group President/CEO of MTN, Ralph Mupita, Chairman of MTN Nigeria, Ernest Ndukwe and Chief Executive Officer, Olutokun Karl Toriola were part of the meeting.

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Canada supports WFP to enhance climate insurance in Africa

The United Nation’s World Food Programme (WFP) has received CAD 12 million (US$8.9 million) from the Government of Canada to support WFP’s Africa Risk Capacity (ARC) Replica initiative, aimed at protecting two million vulnerable people and enhancing gender-sensitive protection from catastrophic climate risks in Africa.

This contribution will enable WFP to expand ARC Replica coverage, an innovative insurance policy offered by ARC Ltd. to humanitarian organizations to finance emergency response after climate-related disasters.

WFP is grateful for this contribution from Global Affairs Canada that will allow us to continue this important work

Over the next four years, WFP will support up to ten African governments facing high risks of climate shocks in designing and customizing insurance policies, improving disaster preparedness and operational readiness, as well as ensuring responses include considerations on how extreme weather events can have different impacts on women, men, girls, and boys, to address better the climate risks impacting vulnerable people.

“WFP’s knowledge of operating in fragile environments, close coordination with governments, expertise in hazard model design, and experience in providing gender-sensitive humanitarian assistance will further reinforce the financial protection offered by ARC to vulnerable communities,” says Gernot Laganda, Director of WFP’s Climate and Disaster Risk Reduction Service. “WFP is grateful for this contribution from Global Affairs Canada that will allow us to continue this important work.”

Since 2019, WFP has paid US$28.3 million in premiums for a coverage of US$169 million protecting 5.25 million people in six African countries with insurance policies from ARC. To date, WFP has received nine payouts totaling US$25.6 million, which provided cash and food assistance, nutrition support, and the creation of assets like compost trenches and aqua ponds to more than 790,000 people.

ARC, composed of ARC Agency, a specialized agency of the African Union, and the ARC Insurance Company Limited (ARC Ltd), offers financial solutions to help African Union Member States manage climate-related disaster risk.

Through this collaborative effort, the Government of Canada, WFP and ARC are determined to enhance financial protection against climate extremes and address the pressing challenges faced by vulnerable African communities.

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ChatGPT has the potential to change our view of the Arab world- Report

Artificial intelligence programs including ChatGPT can deliver more nuanced information about the Arab world, if more thoughtful Arabic content is available online.

That’s the message from Mo Gawdat, former chief business officer of Google X, the tech company’s innovation arm, and author of Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy.

Speaking to The National this month at the International Congress for Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries event in Abu Dhabi, the author laments the lack of rich Arabic discourse on the internet.

Gawdat believes there is a risk that information about the region harnessed by AI applications will lack sufficient depth.

“The later versions of AI, however, will eventually be smart enough to know that reality, and differentiate between the real information and fluff.”

Mo Gawdat at the International Congress of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries event in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Arabic Language Centre
Mo Gawdat at the International Congress of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries event in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Arabic Language Centre

Gawdat urges Arabic content creators – from authors and publishing companies to cultural and educational institutions – to produce richer material for future AI tools to mine.

“The problem we are facing is that we are creating an impression that knowledge of the Arab world is shallow, in comparison to the incredible wisdom that is really coming from the region,” he says.

“So we need to create content with depth and with more intellectual value.”

With future AI programs leaning towards more authoritative sources of information, Gawdat calls for educational institutions to make available more of their Arabic research online.

“With AI utilising the Arabic content that we put in, it is our responsibility to put the right kind of content out there,” he says.

“This will ultimately determine the quality of Arabic artificial intelligence driven content.

“I look at it as the same way as parents being aware of how they act in front of their children. Their actions will teach children how to deal with you and the world in the same way.”

The International Congress of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries in Abu Dhabi. Courtesy: Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre
The International Congress of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries in Abu Dhabi. Courtesy: Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre

“It can be a threat when it comes to AI’s capability in producing content, especially for publishers who are producing content relying on human authors,” he says.

“However, it can also be an opportunity. As an author, I have learnt to no longer define myself as someone who is supposed to write words on paper.

“My job definition now is to provide interesting human perspectives and inspiration regarding certain topics.

“Through whatever knowledge is available to me and in whatever form, I am trying to find a way to connect with other humans and communicate what I believe needs to be communicated.”




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