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AfDB Group, MTN sign $500,000 grant agreement to study women’s access to financial services in Nigeria

The African Development Bank (AfDB.org) has signed a grant agreement for $500,000 with Y’ello Digital Financial Services (YDFS), a fintech subsidiary of MTN Nigeria, to be used for a study into economic, religious, and social factors hampering access to finance for women in northern Nigeria.

The research, which includes a feasibility study, women-focused design, and testing, will focus on both agents and customers to provide insights into women’s use of mobile money services, will be funded through the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI).

Despite being the continent’s largest economy, 55% of rural Nigerians still lack access to financial services [1]. The rate of mobile money adoption currently stands at 4% [2],  with an agent ratio of 228.8 agents per 1,000 adults [3]. Political instability and conservative cultural norms in parts of Northern Nigeria are thought to present barriers to women’s access to finance. Additionally, 80% of agents in the region are men.

The African Development Bank, through the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI), is delighted to support this project

“The African Development Bank, through the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI), is delighted to support this project, furthering our work to improve the quality of life for people in Nigeria and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly as relates to poverty, and gender inclusion,” said Stefan Nalletamby, African Development Bank Director of Financial Sector Development.

On behalf of YDFS, Usoro Usoro, Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are truly excited about this partnership with the African Development Bank, and the possibilities for advancing financial inclusion in Nigeria, particularly for the traditionally excluded segment of women in Northern Nigeria.”

[1] EFInA, Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2020 Survey, 2021

[2] Idem

[3] Shared Agent Network Expansion Facilities (SANEF), 2019

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Technology

Afreximbank’s Fifth Annual Babacar Ndiaye Lecture: The Importance of Science, Technology and Innovation in the Transformation of African Economies under the AfCFTA

The Keynote speaker at this year’s Babacar Ndiaye Lecture is former President of Mauritius and 2007 Laureate of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards, Professor Ameenah Gurib-Fakim; The Lecture will focus on the key role that Science, Technology, and Innovation can play in bolstering productivity and fast-tracking industrialization of African economies; The Lecture will also discuss how the AfCFTA provides a unique opportunity for African economies to collaborate in the STEM fields and ensure that talents in those areas remain in Africa.

Now in its fifth edition, the Babacar Ndiaye Lecture that will take place this Wednesday, October 20, brings together leaders in the public and private sectors, think tanks, academia, and the general public to engage with one of Africa’s leading political figures and world-renowned scientist, Professor Ameenah Gurib-Fakim.

Professor Gurib-Fakim served as the Chairperson at the International Council for Scientific Union – Regional Office for Africa, before becoming the First Female President of Mauritius. Professor Gurib-Fakim has also been the recipient of various international awards including the L’Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science (2007), Laureate for the National Economic and Social Council (2007), and the African Union Award for Women in Science, among others.

Africa’s scientific and technological gap with the rest of the world has undermined the process of economic transformation and exacerbated dependency on imports

Covid-19 heightened the urgency for African self-sufficiency in medicine and other essential manufactured goods which could not be imported at the height of the pandemic downturn either as a result of disruption of global supply chains or export ban to meet domestic demand. In a world where the technological content of manufactured goods has been consistently increasing, Africa’s scientific and technological gap with the rest of the world has undermined the process of economic transformation and exacerbated dependency on imports.

Only 2.4% of the world’s researchers in science are African, 31% of whom are women. “For too long science and technology—the most important drivers of economic development—have been neglected in Africa. We cannot talk about transformation without investing in science.” commented Professor Oramah. The AfCFTA which has the potential to accelerate the transformation of African economies and maximize returns to education could ignite a scientific revolution that will sustain the diversification of sources of growth and improvement of welfare.

This year’s Babacar Ndiaye Lecture promises to offer an insightful and provocative conversation on how Africa must invest in Science, Technology and Innovation to strengthen the continent’s voice in solving some of the problems the world is facing today, but also creating outlets and industries for this and future generations. In addition to the keynote address by Prof. Gurib Fakim, H.E. Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor, AU Commissioned for Human Resources, Science and Technology, will also address the audience.

Since its inception in 2017, the Babacar Ndiaye Lecture has become one of the major highlights on the continent and the world – a one-of-kind event serving as a nexus for Afreximbank shareholders, partners and professionals, along with existing and potential clients spanning all industries. As event hosts, the Bank is also honoured to welcome CEOs and senior executives of banks and financial institutions, captains of industry and business leaders, senior government officials and central bankers, leaders, and representatives of international organisations and DFIs, researchers and members of the academic community, as well as the continent’s diplomatic corps and Chambers of Commerce. In addition, the event provides an excellent opportunity to connect with the African Diaspora, policymakers, professionals in the development community, as well as investors interested in business opportunities in Africa.

Speakers at previous Babacar Ndiaye lectures include Professor Joseph Stiglitz, the 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economics and Columbia University Professor, Columbia University; Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, Columbia University Professor and Director of the Centre for Sustainable Development, Columbia University; HE Dr Olusegun Obasanjo, former President, Federal Republic of Nigeria; General William E. “Kip” Ward, former Commander of the US Africa Command, Africom; and Professor Kishore Mahbubani, Distinguished Fellow, Asia Research Institute and Founding Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

This year’s lecture will be held virtually and is open to the media and general public and registration is available on www.bnl2021.com

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InternationalMobileTechTechnologyWorld

Just In: Facebook, WhatsApp Restored For Globally, Users Data Protected

Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger which all went down on Monday afternoon with users worldwide reporting the crashes, have now been restored according to SaharaReporters

It was observed that the sites were restored around 10.45pm after about six hours of crash, cutting off billions of users around the world.

The online services all share an infrastructure and are owned by Facebook, which is owned by American billionaire Mark Zuckerberg.

SaharaReporters had earlier reported that the crash started around 16:41BST, according to the website Downdetector. While just two problems were reported at 16:26, the site says, this had jumped to more than 27,000 just fifteen minutes later.

According to The National, users attempting to access Facebook on their browser were shown a blank error page, while those using WhatsApp or Instagram mobile apps were able to view existing content, but nothing new has loaded.

“We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing the Facebook app. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience,” Facebook had said via @facebookapp

Posting on Twitter, which has not seen any issues, the Facebook app had said it was aware of outages affecting “some people”.

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InternationalNewsTechTechnologyWorld

Over 1.5B Facebook users, data on sale at Hacker Forum

Amid the global outage of Facebook along with its associated platforms, the data of its over 1.5 Billion users are now being sold on the dark web.

A report said the data are being sold on a Hacker Forum.

Sputnik News reported that in late September, an announcement was posted on a hacking forum that claimed to have the name, email, phone number, location, gender, and user ID of 1.5 billion Facebook users

“One prospective buyer has allegedly been quoted at $5,000 per 1 million Facebook accounts.

“This would value the entire set of Facebook user data at $7.5 million.

“In a subsequent post, the seller alleges to represented a large company that works to scrape Facebook for data”.

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp went offline Monday evening, Nigerian time

Facebook Inc said it was working to restore the platforms.

“We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products.

“We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience”, Facebook said on Twitter.

Instagram also issued an apology:

“Instagram and friends are having a little bit of a hard time right now, and you may be having issues using them. Bear with us, we’re on it!”

WhatsApp couched its apology in similar words like Facebook:

“We’re aware that some people are experiencing issues with WhatsApp at the moment. We’re working to get things back to normal and will send an update here as soon as possible

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AfricaEconomyTechTechnology

AfDB to provide €39 million loan package for Gabon’s first independent hydropower project

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB.org) has approved a €39 million loan package for the construction of the Kinguélé Aval hydroelectric project in Gabon.

The package comprises €20 million from the African Development Bank, €10 million from the Africa Growing Together Fund and €9 million in concessional financing from the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa, a special multi-donor fund managed by the African Development Bank.

We are delighted to support the first IPP project in Gabon

Additional financing to meet the project’s €133.8 million budget will come from the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group, the Canada-IFC Program for Renewable Energy in Africa, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Development Fund. The loan funds will be disbursed to Asonha Énergie S.A., a company created to manage the project.

The project entails the design, construction, and operation of a 34.1-megawatt power plant with a net annual generation of 203-gigawatt hours. The Kinguélé Aval dam will be built on the Mbei River, 90 km east of Gabon’s capital, Libreville, downstream from the Tchimbélé (69 MW) and Kinguélé Amont (58 MW) hydroelectric plants.

“We are delighted to support the first IPP project in Gabon”, said Mr. Wale Shonibare, Director of the Energy Financial Solutions, Policy and Regulation Department at the African Development Bank. “Kinguélé Aval is a showcase project, and the success of the model provides a useful template for future projects that will help move the country closer towards achieving the government’s 100% clean energy target.”

“Kinguélé Aval epitomizes the catalytic effect of SEFA and co-financing from the likes of the Africa Growing Together Fund that the Africa Development Bank brings forth to support developers deliver sustainable renewable projects that aid Africa’s energy transition”, said Dr Kevin Kariuki, Vice-President of Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth at the African Development Bank.

The project aligns with the “Emerging Gabon” Strategic Plan and the country’s commitment to address climate change under the Paris Agreement nationally determined contributions framework. The project is also consistent with the African Development Bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa and the “Light up and Power Africa ” High-5 strategic priority.

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AfricaEconomyInvestmentOil & GasTechnology

The Republic of Congo to Launch Gas Master Plan at African Energy Week 2021

The Ministry of Hydrocarbons of the Republic of Congo will launch the country’s comprehensive Gas Master Plan (GMP) at the highly anticipated African Energy Week (AEW) 2021. Comprising a framework that aims to incentivize the development of and investment in the Congo’s natural gas sector for the benefit of the country as a whole, the launch will present significant investment opportunities for both regional and international stakeholders.

The Republic of the Congo’s GMP provides a long-term strategy for the monetization and development of the country’s natural gas reserves

Formulated by the Ministry of Hydrocarbons and Wood Mackenzie Ltd. under the direction of the country’s national oil company, the Société Nationale des Pétroles du Congo (SNPC), the GMP comprises a medium to long term strategy for natural gas utilization that will facilitate the exploitation and development of the country’s natural gas resources, support economic diversification and growth, and contribute towards long-term energy security. With the role of natural gas and gas monetization comprising key themes at AEW 2021, the launch is expected to present high-level investors with a lucrative investment opportunity.

According to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, the Republic of Congo has approximately 284 billion cubic feet of proven gas reserves. With both domestic and regional demand gradually increasing, particularly regarding gas-to-power generation, the GMP presents a comprehensive strategy for monetizing reserves and spurring sectoral growth. Additionally, the GMP prioritizes resource maximization, economic growth and diversification, social benefits, government revenue and attracting investment. AEW 2021 provides the most ideal platform to present such a revolutionary plan, uniting key stakeholders with optimal investment markets.

“The Republic of the Congo’s GMP provides a long-term strategy for the monetization and development of the country’s natural gas reserves. While in Congo, I held several meetings with the Minister, his team, SNPC and other actors on the state of the sector and was encourage by commitment to be different. By launching the GMP at AEW 2021, an Africa-focused event that prioritizes the role of natural gas in Africa’s energy future, the Congo will be able to drive investment and establish the country as a competitive market,” stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman, the African Energy Chamber.

 

The launch of the Republic of Congo’s GMP at AEW 2021’s aligns with the event’s agenda to open the dialogue on Africa’s gas miracle and its potential for both resource-rich markets and the wider region. By presenting stakeholders with valuable insight into current and emerging natural gas markets, and by explicating transformative gas plans such as that of the Congo’s, AEW 2021 aims to promote and drive investment into Africa’s natural gas sector.

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EconomyOil & GasScienceTechnology

AUC, AfCFTA, former heads of state from Nigeria and Malawi amongst first government leaders confirmed for Africa Oil Week 2021

Hyve Group Plc, organisers of Africa Oil Week (Africa-OilWeek.com) have released the first line-up of Ministers who will be attending the 2021 event due to take place in Dubai 8-11 November.

The initial line-up consists of two former African Presidents, Commissioner for the African Union Commission, Secretary General for AfCFTA and Ministers from Ethiopia, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Republic of Congo, Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso and Djibouti. This initial line-up suggests government presence at Africa Oil Week 2021 will be as strong as ever.

Paul Sinclair, VP of Energy and Government Relations for Africa Oil Week said “Governments are an integral part of Africa Oil Week and we are delighted to be able to provide the sector with much needed direct access to these leaders. Discussions onsite will take the form of 15+ National Energy Showcases, ministerial panel discussions and pre-arranged 1-2-1 meetings and will help to drive investment and advance energy projects in to, and across Africa.”

We are very much looking forward to attending Africa Oil Week in Dubai in November

Africa Oil Week is known for gathering vast numbers of African and international energy ministers and acts as a deal-making platform for the most senior stakeholders within the African upstream industry.

Foday Mansaray, Director General for Sierra Leone’s Petroleum Directorate who has also confirmed his participation said “We are very much looking forward to attending Africa Oil Week in Dubai in November. We look forward to participating in the event and presenting opportunities that Sierra Leone has.”

To date, the following Ministers and government leaders have been announced to attend Africa Oil Week 2021:
H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of Nigeria
H.E. Dr. Peter Arthur Mutharika, Former President of Malawi
H.E. Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, African Union Commission
H.E Wamkele Keabetswe Mene, Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)
Hon. Jean-Marc Thystere Tchicaya, Minister of Hydrocarbons, Republic of Congo
Hon. Abdirashiid Mohamed Ahmed, Minister of Petroleum & Mineral Resources, Republic of Somalia
Hon. Timothy Kabba, Minister of Mineral Resources, Republic of Sierra Leone
Hon. Hon. John Munyes, Cabinet Sec Ministry of Petroleum & Mining, Republic of Kenya
Hon. Dr. Koang Tutlam, State Minister of Mines, Petroleum & Natural Gas, Republic of Ethiopia
Hon. Fafa Sayang, Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Republic of Gambia
Hon. Lamine Seydou Traore, Minister of Energy and Water, Republic of Mali
Hon. Bachir Ismael, Minister of Energy, Republic of Burkina Faso
Hon. Yonis Ali Guedi, Minister of Energy, Republic of Djibouti
Atty. Saifuah-Mai Gray, CEO, National Oil Company of Liberia
Hon. Archie Donmo, Director General, Liberia Petroleum Regulatory Authority
Francis Gatare, CEO, Rwanda Mining Petroleum and Gas Board
Proscovia Nabbanja, Ag. Chief Executive Officer, Uganda National Oil Company
Ms. Asha Omar, CEO, Somalia Petroleum Authority
Foday Mansaray, Director General, Petroleum Directorate of Sierra Leone
Maixent Raoul Ominga, Head, SNPC, Republic of Congo
Jerreh Barrow, Commissioner for Petroleum, Ministry of Petroleum & Energy, Republic of Gambia
Dr. Solomon Kassa, Director for Petroleum Exploration, Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, Republic of Ethiopia
Ibrahim Djamous, Director Gen Hydrocarbon, SHT, Republic of Chad
Mr. Famourou Kourouma, Director General ONAP, Republic of Guinea
Alem Kibreab, Director General of the Department of Mines at the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Eritrea

 

For more information on the Ministers and government leaders attending, please click here (bit.ly/35KOz7M).

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AfricaTechTechnology

Facebook Partners Reuters to launch free online course for journalists

The Facebook Journalism Project has partnered with Reuters to launch a free online training programme for Journalists, called the Reuters Digital Journalism Course (bit.ly/3qlA8R1).

The Project works with publishers around the world to strengthen the connection between journalists and the communities they serve. Its training, programs, and partnerships work by: investing in organizations that fund quality journalism; training newsrooms globally; and partnering with publishers and nonprofits to combat misinformation, promote news literacy, and improve journalism.

Reuters developed the free online course curriculum after its Digital News Report found more people were using social media to access news. It focuses on digital news gathering, verification and reporting, and publishing on social media. It also covers wellness and resilience training while reporting.

The Facebook Journalism Project will assist our region’s journalists in developing strong fundamental knowledge as they navigate the rapidly changing digital news landscape

According to Facebook, the course is aimed at both seasoned journalists and industry newcomers. Upon completing the course, participants will receive a certificate.

“At Facebook, we’re grateful to journalists across Africa who are working hard to keep their communities informed about the issues that matter,” Jocelyne Muhutu-Remy, Strategic Media Partnerships Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa said. “The Facebook Journalism Project will assist our region’s journalists in developing strong fundamental knowledge as they navigate the rapidly changing digital news landscape.” Muhutu-Remy added.

This Digital Journalism Course aims to support journalists across English speaking countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to build a strong foundation in digital reporting and editing.

“With news media firmly in the digital age, being able to use digital platforms safely and effectively is essential,” Reuters Executive Editor Gina Chua said in a statement.

“The Reuters Digital Journalism Course offers best practices from Reuters journalists around the world to provide the foundation for sound journalism, whether you’re a budding journalist or a seasoned one looking for a refresher.”

To sign up for the course, you must create an account on the Reuters Digital Journalism course website. The course is also available to journalists from other parts of the world.

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TechTechnologyWorld

Truecaller Launches Smart SMS, Revamps Calls Detection Feature in Africa

Truecaller (Truecaller.com), the world’s most trusted and accurate Caller ID and telephone search engine, is rolling out a new feature to further augment the user experience. The new feature Smart SMS has been introduced based on user feedback and is designed to cater to the evolving needs of our consumers. It offers a host of new services to make day-to-day communication a lot more convenient.

 

Truecaller has evolved into a powerful communication hub

Smart SMS is powered by state-of-the-art machine learning models that adapt based on the feedback you give it. It supports users with important messages from banks, billers, travel companies, delivery companies and so much more.

Smart SMS also helps users stay protected from spam and fraud. Only the essential information within an SMS is highlighted and all SMS messages are categorised and easily accessible. From keeping track of your expenses to last minute changes to your travel, Smart SMS is the future of SMS that will make life a whole lot easier.

Commenting on the new addition, Zakaria Abdulkadir Hersi, Director of Business Development & Partnerships Africa at Truecaller said: “Roughly 80% of SMSes one receives daily are from businesses, disengaging users from important/useful messages. To combat that, SMS apps need to become smarter by filtering out spam and categorising useful information. At Truecaller, we constantly strive to offer the best user experience by adding unique features that fit in with our core mission: to make communication safer and more efficient for everyone. Truecaller has evolved into a powerful communication hub and for the people who wish to use the app to its fullest, we want to streamline the experience as much as possible for an efficient calling and messaging experience for our end user.”

Truecaller uses the same powerful algorithms used to identify spam callers in SMS as well. The SMS intelligence is built into the app itself and it can work offline – nothing leaves your device, including all OTPs, bank SMSes and financial information. The feature also offers a Smart Inbox that identifies unknown SMS sender numbers and SMS sender IDs are resolved to business names with logos.

About Truecaller:
People use Truecaller to stay ahead. It helps them know who’s getting in touch by providing a search engine for telephone numbers, filtering out unwanted calls & SMS and focusing on what really matters. The company provides services such as a dialer that offers caller ID, spam detection, messaging & more. Truecaller’s mission is to build trust everywhere by making communication safe & efficient. Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, the company was founded in 2009 by Alan Mamedi & Nami Zarringhalam. Investors include Sequoia Capital, Atomico & Kleiner Perkins.

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