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AU Member-States Commit to Implementation of Africa’s Asset Recovery Agenda

An extended Common African Position on Asset Recovery (CAPAR) Working Group with more African Union (AU) member-states including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Nigeria, and Senegal have joined pan-African institutions mandated by the AU Assembly to actively further the implementation of the CAPAR.

The commitment of AU member-states to the implementation of Africa’s Asset Recovery Agenda, the CAPAR, is one of the major outcomes of the high-level technical meeting on the frameworks for its implementation held on the 3rd and 4th November, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

At the meeting which had top government officials and heads of anti-corruption and asset recovery agencies, the aforementioned countries agreed through their respective missions and representatives to propagate the CAPAR, unify its messaging, and deliver necessary political support to its implementation frameworks, as well as its proposed protocol and model agreements.

The high-level meeting, which was jointly organized by the African Union and the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA), reviewed strategy documents that focused on the legal framework for the recovery of African assets and the proposal for the setting up of an escrow account for African assets.

Discussions focused on experience sharing while ensuring that the frameworks for asset recovery by African States maintained a comprehensive approach in a holistic and economically beneficial way. The meeting also made valid proposals to address key legal issues that African States face in recovering illicit financial outflows and stolen assets.

Participants at the meeting agreed that its outcomes should feed into the updates of the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, the AU Champion on Anti-Corruption, and report of the AU Commissioner of the Political Affairs, Peace and Security to the Assembly of AU Heads of State and Government at its next summit to be held in February, 2023 in view of the nexus between corruption and peace and security.  This is towards greater galvanization of CAPAR’s implementation by all AU member-states and the need to strengthen implementation of the CAPAR at national, sub-regional, and regional levels.

On the escrow account, the African Union committed to facilitating necessary consultations with relevant regional banks to establish escrow accounts to mitigate the losses being experienced by African countries as negotiations drag on too long for the recovery and return of sovereign assets illicitly removed from AU Member-States. It was further agreed that the extended CAPAR Working Group would reconvene in future meetings with the view of engaging additional AU Member-States and advancing the processes to implement the frameworks.

The Secretariat of the AU High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa – Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA) constituted the CAPAR Working Group that guides the necessary actions for the successful popularization and implementation of the CAPAR. In addition to the AU and CoDA, the group is composed of AU Member-States – Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Nigeria, and Senegal, as well as relevant African institutions including the African Development Bank (AfDB), African Export-Import  Bank (AFREXIMBANK), ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID), Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU), and the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF).

CAPAR seeks to assist African Union Member States to identify, repatriate and effectively manage these assets in a manner that respects their sovereignty. It outlines Africa’s priorities for asset recovery in four pillars: detection and identification of illicitly removed assets; recovery and return of illicitly removed assets; management of recovered assets; and cooperation and partnerships to harmonize the process of identification and recovery.

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COP27: Wind power can deliver a sustainable future for Africa- Report

We are in the middle of a global energy crisis and a climate change emergency. It is, therefore, more pressing than ever to seriously commit to action plans that will avoid the long-term lock-in of fossil fuel-based energy generation. Instead, greater focus should be placed on increasing renewable contributions within the global energy mix.

This is particularly important for Africa has been more severely hit by climate-change-related events than other regions, and where 43% of the total population lack access to electricity, most of them in sub‐Saharan Africa. The continent is rich in renewable energy sources, particularly solar and wind, and decreasing costs are bringing renewables increasingly within reach, making energy independence achievable.

To attain a successful and just energy transition there needs to be an acceleration of the implementation process. This can happen if partnerships between public stakeholders, and public and private together, are further strengthened, and if steps are taken to safeguard the wind industry supply chain, among other proactive actions. If this is prioritized, then there should be sufficient capacity to help the continent achieve its climate pledges through the implementation of sustainable, renewable green energy.

Climate change is putting Africa’s energy systems at risk of disruption

According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Africa Energy Outlook 2022, “three-fifths of the continent’s thermal power plants are at high, or very high risk of disruption by water stress, and one-sixth of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) capacity is vulnerable to coastal flooding.” To ensure greater resilience there will need to be a significant investment in climate adaptation.

To mitigate the ongoing volatility in the supply and cost of fossil-fuel energy, and the dangers of accelerating climate change, African governments must focus on scaling up higher volumes of renewable energy – in particular wind power — as part of their sustainable energy mixes.

The photo-shoot shows different wind farms: KFW, JICA, FIEM, and BOO Ras Ghareb
The photo-shoot shows different wind farms: KFW, JICA, FIEM, and BOO Ras Ghareb

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) energy progress report of 2021 estimates that 75% of the world’s population without access to electricity is based in Sub-Saharan Africa. It states that to achieve sustainable development goal (SDG) 7.1 — universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy services — Sub-Saharan Africa alone will need to connect approximately 85 million people each year through 2030.

Africa currently accounts for less than 3% of the world’s energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and it experiences a disproportionate number of negative effects of climate change. According to the IEA, by 2050, North Africa is facing a rise in median temperature of 2.7 degrees Celsius in comparison with the global average rise of 2 degrees Celsius. If not addressed, this could result is a reduction of African gross domestic product (GDP) by around 8 percent in 2050. In East Africa, this figure would be closer to 15 percent.

Wind power as a driver of socio-economic growth in Africa

By increasing renewable energy production targets, national economies stand to benefit from the growing demand for people to work in the green sectors thereby addressing the continent’s unemployment challenges. Nations can also expect augmented investment because of a more stable energy grid and due to cost savings realised by a more competitive energy mix.

The wind industry is of strategic importance. It can provide the world with energy security and independence through domestic, clean, and competitive sources. As different countries consider increasing the percentage of renewable energy in their energy mix, they can take insights from the lessons already learned in Africa and Europe. They can also see the tangible positive impact the wind industry has already had across both continents. These can be studied, and relevant insights applied within their specific environment.

The wind industry started in Northern Europe and Spain in the 1980s, and since then, has burgeoned across the continent. Today, the European Union’s wind energy sector has a significant impact on the EU’s economy, supporting more than 300,000 jobs, contributing €37 billion to the EU’s GDP, and generating €5 billion in local taxes every year. In fact, with each new wind turbine installed in Europe, a further €10 million of economic activity is added.

Progress is also being made across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, recording in 2021 its best year ever in wind power installations. According to the Global Wind Energy Council, over the next five years (2022 – 2026), MEA is expected to add a total of 14 GW of new wind capacity, primarily driven by growth from South Africa (5.4 GW), Egypt (2.2 GW), Morocco (1.8 GW), and Saudi Arabia (1.3 GW).

IRENA’s modeling reveals that when accompanied by the right policies, shifting towards a renewable energy system could lead to a 6.4% higher GDP, 3.5% more economy-wide jobs, and a 25.4% higher welfare index throughout the outlook period of 2020 to 2050.

Partnerships must drive Africa’s energy transition

Although blessed with abundant renewable sources, like wind and solar, as well as land availability, Africa is only tapping into 0.01% of its wind power potential. Unlocking the potential of wind and solar will also trigger the development of green hydrogen projects in the continent. This will enable the transferring of the benefits of renewables beyond the electricity sector, to achieve a fully decarbonized economy, while enabling energy export capacities.

Uncertainty on wind-enabling frameworks is jeopardizing the full potential that wind can play in accelerating the energy transition while providing clean and competitive energy security. Partnerships, both among public stakeholders as well as between the public and the private sector, can create stability and strengthen the wind energy sector and allow it to contribute to climate crisis mitigation efforts, continue innovating, and provide energy security across the continent.

According to the IEA Africa Energy Outlook report, “Achieving full access to modern energy in Africa by 2030 would require an investment of USD 25 billion per year – equal to around a quarter of total energy investment in Africa prior to the pandemic – but just slightly above 1% of total energy investment globally and comparable to the cost of just one large LNG terminal investment. Almost half of this investment would be in just five countries – DRC, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda.”

When you consider that 46 of Africa’s 54 countries are classed as low-income or lower-middle-income according to the World Bank, it makes sense that for a successful transition to renewable energy to occur, partnerships are the most feasible way forward, as it would be difficult for governments, or the private sector to bear these costs alone.  The role of power pools in Africa and, thus, the collaboration between countries and regions, is essential to unleashing the full potential that wind can bring to combat climate change and bring prosperity based on a decarbonized economy. These partnerships can pave the way for a just energy transition enabling people coming from fossil-fuel-based energy sectors to be re-skilled and secure their rights and livelihoods in the shift to sustainable energy production.

While ambitious global political targets have been set, there is a significant mismatch between stated targets and actual wind capacity installation figures which are substantially lower. By accelerating the approval of wind power plant permits, governments could close the gap between the targets and actual production, improving energy independence and geopolitical stability, while alleviating the pressure that the wind supply chain suffers from due to a lack of projects.

Partnerships between governments and the wind industry are crucial in our fight against the climate crisis. To succeed in a just energy transition, governments must continue to attract international investment, and for that, they need to deliver visible project pipelines for wind energy installations, especially in the MEA region. This means investors require stable and predictable frameworks and a clear implementation pace so that manufacturers and suppliers can load existing factories and plan in advance for new capacities.

This would create greater stability in the industry and increase its ability to hire and upskill teams. While there will be challenges to overcome to ensure a just energy transition, wind power has the distinct ability to deliver sustainably for both people and the planet. By focusing on the development of cohesive and inclusive policies, streamlining permitting schemes, fostering multilateral renewable energy partnerships and trade agreements, and investing in the acceleration of renewable electricity grid construction, African governments can move closer to achieving more than just SDG7. In doing so, they could reap the socio-economic benefits that wind energy offers, while increasing their country’s energy security, and contributing to global efforts to combat climate change.

The COP27 Climate Change Conference taking place in Egypt in November 2022 provides a golden opportunity for global leaders to collaborate on workable solutions that will drive important climate change mitigation. The time to act is now.

 

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AfDB secures $31 billion at investment forum

The African Development Bank raised $31 billion in investment commitments for projects during the Africa Investment Forum, said the bank’s president Akinwumi Adesina at the end of the three-day meeting on Friday.

It brings the total investment for the year to about $64 billion, said Adesina. The bank secured $32.8 billion at another meeting with investors in March.

Adesina gave few details about the projects but said one focus would be agricultural processing zones.

Projects announced earlier in the year were from sectors including agriculture and agro-processing, education, energy and climate, healthcare, minerals and mining, and information and communications technology

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“We are open for business, we need investors” says Zimbabwe President Mnangagwa

“Private sector opportunities in Zimbabwe are limitless” – Zimbabwe President Dr. Emerson Mnangagwa; Agriculture will power our way to achieving vision 2030” – Anxious Masuka.

Zimbabwean President Dr. Emerson Mnangagwa has called on investors to realize the massive investment opportunities in Zimbabwe and shun negative perceptions of risk.

Zimbabwe, self-sufficient in food production and a major exporter of wheat, tobacco, and corn to the 14-member Southern African Development Community, to other African countries, and the wider world before 2000, saw its exports plummet. Before 2000, farming accounted for 40% of all Zimbabwe’s exports. In 2010 though, it dropped to 2%.

President Mnangagwa spoke on Thursday at a special event on the margins of the Africa Investment Forum Market Days 2022 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The event dwelt on the broad range of investment opportunities in Zimbabwe. Several cabinet ministers accompanied the president, namely Foreign Affairs Minister Frederick Shava, Finance, and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Mcube, Agriculture Minister Anxious Masuka, and Industry and Commerce Minister Sekai Nzenza.

“The focus is to persuade global capital assembled in this city to realize that there are opportunities for investment in Zimbabwe,” President Mnangagwa said.

The African Development Bank and its seven partners set up the Africa Investment Forum—Africa’s premier investment platform—to attract investment and capital to Africa. The forum’s Market Days 2022 which runs from the 2nd to 4th of November, feature boardroom sessions that promote flagship sectors where Africa has a comparative advantage. Examples are women-led businesses, music, film, fashion, textiles, and sports.

President Mnangagwa said African Development Bank President Dr. Adesina invited him to the forum when Adesina visited Zimbabwe earlier this year.  Adesina agreed to champion Zimbabwe’s debt clearance strategy. Zimbabwe has been hurt by sanctions imposed by the European Union and other Western countries.

“Our mission here is to explain ourselves, assure investors that Zimbabwe is a safe investment destination,” President Mnangagwa said.

Adesina said Zimbabwe could count on the African Development Bank’s strong support. He confirmed the bank’s approval of a $4 million grant to support the development of a secretariat to move the country’s debt arrears clearance issue forward.

“I know the story of Zimbabwe, the opportunities and potential of Zimbabwe,” Adesina said. “I think Zimbabwe is not as risky as you think…Private sector opportunities are limitless.”

Adesina outlined the country’s many potential areas for investment, including steel, agriculture and information technology. He said the bank was lending support in these and other sectors.

Our mission here is to explain ourselves, assure investors that Zimbabwe is a safe investment destination

The African Development Bank also made a grant to Zimbabwe during the Covid-19 pandemic, stepping in where other institutions had not.

“Zimbabwe is strongly committed… Zimbabwe will again be the breadbasket of Africa. I will swim right beside you,” he said.

President Mnangagwa’s ministers also spoke bullishly about Zimbabwe’s investment prospects.

Ncube said the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) was the country’s one-stop shop for potential investors. “With ZIDA, your investment is safe…we have the capacity…we are waiting for you,” the finance minister said.

Nzenza said the country was focusing especially on mining, agriculture, tourism and manufacturing, such as producing cotton, locally and lithium batteries.

“There’s no doubt that sanctions hurt, but Zimbabwe is open for business. The key words are value addition…we have been exporting raw materials we must manufacture,” Nzenza said.

Masuka said in his opinion, the biggest opportunity was the land reform program that Zimbabwe had embarked on. The government has put agriculture at the top of its agenda. “We want to develop agriculture…there are massive opportunities. Agriculture will power our way to achieving vision 2030,” Masuka said.

Private sector panelists at Thursday’s event were invited to offer advice to potential investors in Zimbabwe. They included Marjorie Mayida, managing director of Zimbabwe’s leading insurance company, Old Mutual; George Manyere, managing director of Brainworks a Zimbabwean company listed on the Johannesburg and London stock exchanges; Kalpesh Patel, managing director of SteelMakers Group of companies; and Peggy Mapondera, an investment principal at Masawara PLC, a pan-African diversified investment holding group.

George Manyere of Brainworks Ltd said Zimbabwe’s economic performance against neighboring countries like Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique—which do not have sanctions and enjoy support from the international lending community—was proof of the nation’s capacity to perform despite perceptions of risk, and the country’s biggest selling point.

Tshepidi Moremong, Chief Operating Officer of Africa50 noted the progress and opportunities in transport, logistics, and infrastructure.  She said that following a mission to Harare last month, Africa50 would be signing a memorandum of understanding, specifically on asset recycling.

Kapesh Pattel of SteelMakers Group advised that getting out in front of investors would help to demystify negative and misleading perceptions of Zimbabwe.

For the first time since the Africa Investment Forum began in 2018, three promising business transactions from Zimbabwe made it through to boardroom discussions during the Africa Investment Forum Market Days.

African Development Bank senior officials at the special side event included Director General for the Southern Africa region Leila Mokaddem, Zimbabwe Country Manager Moono Mupotola; and Kevin Urama, Vice President and Acting Chief Economist and Vice President for Economic Governance and Knowledge Management.

The Africa Investment Forum platform is an initiative of the African Development Bank and seven other development institutions: Africa 50; the Africa Finance Corporation; the African Export-Import Bank; the Development Bank of Southern Africa; the Trade and Development Bank; the European Investment Bank; and the Islamic Development Bank

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Uganda: Youth call for tax waivers, prioritize measures for economic transformation

Youths from across the country have urged the government to waive taxes on youth enterprises that have been earmarked to benefit from the Parish Development Model (PDM).

The youths made this call during a plenary meeting of the Fifth National Youth Parliament where they observed that the PDM  design as it currently appears may not benefit them if they are to compete with other established enterprises.

“I am a farmer but you find the taxes on inputs are the same for us as the other established farmers. We would request that taxes are reduced for the youth,” said Jackline Namutebi from the central region.

Demos Pariyo Agamba from West Nile said many youth enterprises had collapsed because of high taxes which he said were discouraging. ”Do you know how many youth projects have died? We need a fair tax policy to protect youth enterprises,” said Agamba.

This country has youth leaders at all levels but when you go to the committees of PDM in different parishes there is deliberate efforts to sideline youth leaders

He appealed for tax holidays on youth projects to participate in PDM.

The Fifth National Youth Parliament was held on Friday, 05 August 2022.

The youth adopted passed a motion urging the government to prioritize measures for the economic transformation of young people through PDM.

The young people were concerned that they were not consulted on PDM, while some claimed that in some parishes there were no youth representatives on PDM committees.
“This country has youth leaders at all levels but when you go to the committees of PDM in different parishes there is deliberate efforts to sideline youth leaders from decision making,” said Prisca Akello, youth representative, Kitgum district.

The youth were also concerned that the money allocated to them in PDM was insufficient when other government youth livelihood programs have been phased out in favor of PDM.
“Even the 30 percent for the youth is not 30 percent of PDM money but a fraction of money meant for PDM groups,” said Vicky Namugabe from Sironko.

The Youth Parliament resolved that government either provides 30 percent of the total PDM budget to the youth or provides Shs100 billion as annual capitalization of the Youth Livelihood Fund.

The setting also passed a motion where youth urged the government to prioritize measures to mitigate the effects of climate change.

 

*VOA

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Cameroon Govt. woos disapora investors for development

Cameroon’s President Paul Biya has for the first time sent a delegation to Europe to try to encourage well-off Cameroonians living there to invest back home. But members of Cameroon’s diaspora say undemocratic practices and corruption in Biya’s government put off investors.

Government officials say a delegation led by Youth Affairs and Civic Education Minister Mounouna Foutsou was dispatched to Germany this week to ask Cameroonians there to invest in their country of origin.

Foutsou said his wish is for all Cameroonians in the diaspora to put aside their differences and help develop Cameroon.

“The head of state reiterated his call to the Cameroonian diaspora to come and build Cameroon. We seize this opportunity to come and exchange with the whole Cameroonian diaspora here in Europe so that we can present the different opportunities offered by the president of the republic and his government so that the Cameroonian diaspora can come back and participate in the development of the nation,” said Foutsou.

Foutsou said the government will offer tax exemptions of up to 40 percent for diaspora investments in Cameroon, and loans of up to $10,000 with no interest rates for diaspora youths who return to invest in agriculture and livestock.

Kennedy Tumenta is a Cameroonian investor who lives in Germany. He said many in the diaspora find it hard to trust promises made by their government.

He said corruption, high taxes and a lack of confidence in President Biya, who has been in power for 40 years, scare investors.

“Freedom is restricted and they are afraid to move around in Cameroon and do their businesses and speak freely. Most diasporans believe that there is widespread corruption when it concerns opening businesses in the country or the Northwest-Southwest crisis is not being taken into consideration seriously by the government in place. It makes them frustrated and the only way to express this frustration is either to withdraw their investments in the country or attacking the head of state,” said Tumenta.

Separatists have been fighting to carve out an independent English-speaking state in mainly French-speaking Cameroon, since 2016. The U.N. says 3,300 people have died in the fighting.

Some disgruntled Cameroonians in the diaspora have become hostile to the government, and at least seven Cameroonian embassies have been attacked or ransacked since January 2020.

Felix Mbayu is a top official with Cameroon’s Ministry of External Relations. He said Cameroonians taking part in such protests are hurting the country’s image.

“Those who left Cameroon unhappy and have not been able to make it there are those who would speak ill of Cameroon. Those who left Cameroon to better their lot in life and have made it there are those who come back to invest in Cameroon. That is why you see medical doctors who have built hospitals, built clinics, who bring back home medical supplies. You don’t see them in the idle marches abroad. In fact, when you talk ill of your own home, you tarnish your own image,” said Mbayu.

An estimated five million Cameroonians live abroad. The government says the largest diaspora population is in Nigeria where about two million live.

There are also high concentrations in Belgium, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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Unveiling Africa’s Talents, Creating Sustainable Future Livelihoods !!!

 

Amine Djouahra

Canon’s MIRAISHA  Program Leads the Charge

…..As 5,950 Youth in 10 African Countries benefit

Interview Story: Mohammed Abu, ADM, Accra.

Last year Africa’s  youth was said to have  constituted   40 percent  of the continent’s   population  far outstripping the global average of  26 percent .Some experts  have raised concerns  that  job creation as it relates to the youth  doesn’t  commensurate with  the ever rising youthful  population.

Canon Africa on its part, sees this as a great opportunity and prefers addressing the youth of the continent as “Africa Talents”. It appreciate them as a vital  component of  the continent’s  human resources  potential  that needs to be judiciously nurtured and supported to play a useful role towards  changing the African narrative.

Giving prime attention to Canon’s  African  customers constitutes an important component of its strategy in the African market. Canon ensures they are fully equipped with all the knowledge and skills as that enables them to handle Canon’s equipment with maximum efficiency on the continent’s imagery landscape.

Canon also greatly values its users and other non-customer members of the wider African communities including slams. Job creation that gives special attention to the youth forms an important component of the company’s Corporate, Social, Responsibility (CSR).

As it’s contribution towards vocational education in Africa, Canon’s photography and videography curriculum has benefited both professionals and amateurs photographers and videographers on the continent.

Canon’s affirmative action plan for unlocking African talents and creating sustainable future livelihoods is driven by it’s MIRAISHA PROGRAMME which embodies Canon’s corporate philosophy, “KYOSEI”, meaning, living and working together for the common good.

The name of the programme is a blend of Japanese and African (Swahili) language as it was initially started in Kenya, East Africa region .A strategic partnership with the Kenyan Film Corporation (KFC) ensured maximum impact.

The programme was gradually extended to the Northern and West African sub- regions. Nigeria is reputed as a spectacular case where people without previous educational backgrounds  thanks to MIRAISHA, were not only able to acquire mastery in photography, but  moreso,are today running their own business most successfully, earning income and making a living.

Creation of sustainable future livelihoods is at the heart of the programme. Thus, it is aimed at supporting the establishment of jobs in key African markets, facilitate local sustainability,to use Canon’s core imaging skills and in the process, generate community brand awareness and business links with key stakeholders in the region.

The Canon programme supports the youth to develop livelihood in professional photography, videography and professional print, film making as well as facilitating local sustainability.

This is done through running Canon lead workshops, symposiums and other training activities while collaborating with different local organizations, associations, festivals, events and nongovernmental organizations.

Re-affirming Canon’s  commitment through the Miraisha programme,the company  has been developing young talents through various educational workshops encompassing inspirational, practical and theoretical sessions intended to provide emerging young artists the skills and training needed to gain knowledge in their field while harnessing new talents and giving young students hands-on access to canon equipment.

This will support and improve the knowledge, skills and industry understandings   in country to build capacity and grow the vibrant creative sector overall while empowering locals to take the lead and push the visual imagery industry further forward.

A train the trainer programme was implemented across Africa as part of Miraisha-It invests in training local trainers in country to be able to teach, share knowledge and skill sets with fellow photographers /filmmakers and the next generation.

Over the past seven years, MIRAISHA STUDENTS have participated in the programme and received photography training on a variety of different genres from fashion to street to sports and storytelling and much more.Canon values Africa’s youth as its future customers and leaders and as such they are Africa’s future of which the company is poised to be part of.

As of October, last year, ten African countries in the Eastern, Northern and West African sub-regions were covered with 5950+ participants trained up till date. Participants who received   paid commission were 550+, participants whose works was exhibited or published were 350+, while 18 local professionals are even Canon trained.

These were disclosed by Amine Djouahra, Director of Sales and Marketing, Canon Central and North Africa(CCNA) during an exclusive interview with ADM, Ghana.

On what sets Canon  apart  from others ,he said, his company believes  in constant interaction  between its customers  and users since  that generates useful  feedback .This,he noted puts Canon  in a better position  to bring  its decades long international experience on pertinent  issues  as they  crop up .Thus, at the end of the day, solutions are proffered  and that  could be adopted  to suit into the local African situation  to best serve  the needs of its customers and users..This, he noted, was more prudent than just simply shipping goods to African customers.

Canon he said, believes partnership should be long lasting and mutually beneficial to both sides and it should also be able to stand the test of time. That is, during good times as well as during trial moments. Mr.Amine intimated that Canon was able to demonstrate this during the covid-19 pandemic.

Canon greatly values fostering mutually beneficial collaborations with local institutions including photography associations as both sides learn from each other’s experiences that also ensure better business understanding between the two sides.

Canon believes that in order to serve its African customers better, it has to be close to them and as such, Canon has established offices in 6 African countries with more than 80 African employees who represent fifteen(15) African nationalities. Canon values on-going interaction between it and its African customers and partners.

On what Canon is doing towards marketing the investment opportunities offered by Africa, he said, Africa is young and has a lot of development moving forward.Canon is therefore poised to be part of this future. Thus, Africa occupies top priority in Canon’s future plans.

Aside  Canon’s  substantial investments  across  the continent, as a leading imagery brand, Canon, Mr. Amine said, has been fostering collaborative partnerships and sponsoring the production of local content that showcases what Africa has to offer and which he said,is viewed through films, carried by the  media and shared on social media.

Africa’s rich cultural heritage in terms of story telling, festivals, music,fashion among others, he observed, offers a great opportunity. This he said,if it were well packaged  and showcased  on the international scene,that  could be exported to generate substantial revenue to support the development funding of the continent.

 

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Africa is the Place to Invest, says US Congressman Gregory Meeks

United States Congressman Gregory Meeks has warned that the United States will only be part of the future if it invests in Africa now.

The congressman from New York and Chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee was speaking during a visit to the African Development Bank Group on Saturday, as he and a team of congressional colleagues concluded a tour of three West African countries. African Development Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina and several senior Bank officials welcomed the group to the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan.

“If the United States is not investing in Africa today – especially when we look at the size of Africa’s youth population, which is larger than America’s entire population– then we are not going to be a part of the future,” Meeks said. He added: “My singular focus had been to make sure Africa moves “from the back to the front. There’s a lot of work to do. Governments can’t do it alone. The African Development Bank will play a big role. When Prosper Africa[1] needs guidance, I will point them to the African Development Bank.”

Meeks was accompanied by Congressman Ami Bera of California, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty of Ohio, Congressman G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina, Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence of Michigan, and Congressman Troy Carter of Louisiana.

The group had visited Sierra Leone and Liberia before their arrival in Côte d’Ivoire. Members said they were inspired by the immense opportunities the African continent offers American investors.

Adesina thanked the United States for its continued support, including support for the Bank’s general capital increase in 2019, which saw its capital base rise from $93 billion to $208 billion. Adesina said the United States, the second-largest shareholder of the Bank, was “working with the right institution.” “We are African, we understand the needs of Africa, and we are driving change in Africa,” he said.

Adesina and the visiting members of Congress agreed on the need for closer cooperation between the African Development Bank and US investors. Adesina said the Bank would open an office in Washington, D.C., once Board approval was secured. He explained that the office would provide guidance about how to structure substantive US private sector investment in Africa. “We’d like to see a lot more US direct investment in infrastructure,” Adesina said. “We look forward to working with the United States Trade and Development Agency and others on this.”

Adesina said African economies were rebounding, but the continent faced mounting commercial debt, the adverse impacts of climate change, lack of opportunities for youth, and poor access to Covid-19 vaccines.

The African Development Bank is leading calls for the reallocation of $100 billion in International Monetary Fund special drawing rights (SDRs) to African countries. It is advocating that these funds be channeled through the Bank as a prescribed holder of SDRs, and as an institution which has a AAA credit rating. “SDRs offer African countries a tremendous opportunity to deal with debt,” the Bank chief said.

Adesina asked for the United States’ support in tackling climate change. He explained that the Bank was investing heavily in climate adaptation and was working closely with US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on climate finance.

In April 2021, the African Development Bank, together with the Global Center on Adaptation, launched the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program to mobilize $25 billion to support climate adaptation on the African continent.

Africa’s youth featured prominently in the discussion. The visiting delegation learned that the African Development Bank is supporting entrepreneurship and skills development, especially digital skills, and has been working to develop youth entrepreneurship investment banks, which will support the businesses of young people.

We are African, we understand the needs of Africa, and we are driving change in Africa

On health, an equally important subject given the realities of the last two years especially, the Bank president explained that as part of its plans for quality health care infrastructure, the institution would invest $3 billion in building Africa’s pharmaceutical industries and vaccine manufacturing capacities.

Adesina also looked ahead to the 16th replenishment of the African Development Fund, the African Development Bank Group’s concessional lending arm. He is promoting reform of the Fund to enable it to leverage its equity and tap into capital markets in support of Africa’s low-income countries.

The  US Congressional members and the Bank’s senior leadership  shared consensus on the transformative roles of women.  According to Adesina, the Bank, through its Affirmative Finance Action for Women initiative, would disburse $500 million to women businesses across the continent.

Delegation members expressed strong support for the African Development Bank’s priorities and  appreciation of its development impact.

According to Congressman Butterfield, a constant refrain during the Africa visit was: “Congressman, we appreciate your aid but what we really want is trade and investment.”

Congresswoman Omar underscored the need for partnerships. She said: “We know Africa is resource-rich. Resources can only be well utilized if they are developed. Africa needs partners to prosper.”

Congressman Bera stressed the need to address Africa’s governance issues and the importance of keeping revenue from its resources within African countries.

Discussions also covered the role of the African diaspora and the need to stem the brain drain of African professionals from the continent.

Accompanying the African Development Bank president at the meeting were several senior officials of the institution, notably Senior Vice President Swazi Bajabulile Tshabalala, Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth Kevin Kariuki, Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development Beth Dunford, Acting Chief Economist and Vice President for Economic Governance and Knowledge Management Kevin Urama. Others were Acting Vice President for Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery Yacine Fal, Acting Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer Hassatou N’Sele, and Acting Director-General, Office of the Bank President Alex Mubiru.

Joining virtually were the Bank’s Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure, and Industrialization Solomon Quaynor, and Senior Director of the Africa Investment Forum, Chinelo Anohu. The Africa Investment Forum, Africa’s premier investment platform, has played a key role recently in driving closer ties between the Bank and the US investment community as well as with certain business-related arms of the US government like the United States Trade and Development Agency.

In late 2021, the Africa Investment Forum signed a memorandum of understanding with the US Trade and Development Agency to support high-quality infrastructure solutions for Sub-Saharan Africa.

Prosper Africa is an initiative of the Biden administration that brings together tools from across the US government to provide businesses and investors with market insights, deal support, financing, and solutions to strengthen business climates.

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Events

Head of the Catholic Church in Africa concludes official visit to Expo 2020 Dubai

The Head of the Catholic Church in Africa (www.Vatican.va), His Eminence Cardinal Philippe Ouédraogo, concluded his three-day official visit to Expo 2020 Dubai.

As President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) (www.SECAM.org), HE Cardinal Philippe Ouédraogo is the highest-ranking member of the Roman Catholic Church in Africa.

At Expo 2020 Dubai, Cardinal Ouédraogo visited the African Union Pavilion and the pavilions of South Africa, Burkina Faso and Senegal. He also visited the Holy See Pavilion.

At Expo 2020 Dubai, Cardinal Ouédraogo visited the African Union Pavilion and the pavilions of South Africa, Burkina Faso and Senegal

The following is a statement from His Eminence Cardinal Philippe Ouédraogo, President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM):

From Left to Right: His Eminence Cardinal Philippe Ouédraogo, President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) and Head of the Catholic Church in Africa, and Dr Malik Diop, Commissioner General of the Senegal Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, during the official visit of His Eminence Cardinal Philippe Ouédraogo of the pavilion of Senegal at Expo 2020 Dubai on Thursday, February 24, 2022

“Wherever Christians go, their pastors must be there too. It is therefore a duty and an honor for us pastors of the Church of Jesus Christ to visit Expo Dubai, where the theme: “Connecting Minds, Building the Future” is perfectly in line with the reflections of the synodal process (https://bit.ly/3BNNqvg)  initiated by Pope Francis for the universal church.

At this gathering in Dubai, we had nothing to sell or buy. It was a meeting of giving and receiving, of dialogue and brotherhood. It is therefore with enthusiasm, gratitude and hope that we have undertaken this journey to Dubai as a pilgrimage.

This visit was filled with enriching encounters, and allowed us to thank and encourage the African Union Commission for all its efforts to heal and protect the image and the imagination of Africa. A wounded and sick image of a bruised continent, where some multinationals come to exploit the resources and wealth, often to the detriment of the people who languish under the weight of misery…

Even if the Catholic Church works for eternal happiness, we often find ourselves at the front line, facing and trying to combat many social challenges, such as: education, health, environmental protection, fundamental human rights, commitment to the poorest, reconciliation, justice, peace…

May the Blessed Virgin Mary Our Lady of Africa and Saint Joseph protector of the universal Church intercede for the Church Family of God in Africa and Madagascar, and for the whole world that God loves.”

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Africa

President Kenyatta welcomes UAE’s plan to establish an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre in Kenya

President Uhuru Kenyatta has welcomed an announcement by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to establish an innovation and entrepreneurship centre in Kenya.

The announcement is part of the outcomes of President Kenyatta’s bilateral talks with His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Following the talks held during the President’s working visit to the UAE, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces has directed the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development to establish an innovation and entrepreneurship centre in Kenya.

This collaboration between the UAE and Kenya will see the two respective nations implement Khalifa Fund’s successful model to the new innovation and entrepreneurism centre

“Under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development has announced its plan to establish an innovation and entrepreneurship centre in the Republic of Kenya,” a news release by the official Emirates News Agency indicated.

The innovation and entrepreneurship centre will focus on launching programmes, workshops and initiatives geared towards providing aspiring and established Kenyan entrepreneurs with guidance on how they can inject innovation into their entrepreneurial endeavours to boost the national economy.

According to the Khalifa Fund and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development Chairman Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa Al Hammadi, the directive of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to establish a centre for innovation and tech-focused entrepreneurism in Kenya comes as part of the UAE’s ongoing commitment to contribute towards empowering talented innovators and entrepreneurs around the world.

“With centres such as these, we provide entrepreneurs with resources, support and guidance to contribute to their local and global economy, bringing about positive economic implications and security,” Al Hammadi said.

He added: “This collaboration between the UAE and Kenya will see the two respective nations implement Khalifa Fund’s successful model to the new innovation and entrepreneurism centre with the aim of reflecting the same levels of achievement in Kenya as has been experienced in the UAE.”

Al Hammadi said the Khalifa Fund, which was recently recognised as the best-in-the-world by the Global Monitoring Index, is committed to enhancing and elevating Kenya in a similar fashion to assist in creating job opportunities for Kenyans.

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