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Twelve African Energy, Mining and Industry Ministers confirm attendance at the Africa Energy Forum 2013 in Barcelona

Posted on 16 May 2013 by Africa Business

A recent report from the World Bank indicated that the GDP of a third of African countries grew by at least 6% last year, despite the estimate that power outages cost African economies on average around 2% pa of their GDP.

African Ministers, heads of utilities, regulators and international energy companies will address this and other pressing issues concerning Africa’s power sector at the Africa Energy Forum in Barcelona, 18-20 June. Over 800 delegates are expected to attend this international investment Forum for Africa’s power industry to compete for partnerships and deals.

Bruno Cockburn, AEF’s Programme Development Director, commented; “We are delighted the forum remains an important investment tool for proactive African stakeholders looking to address the power and infrastructure investment gap head on. The international community’s response has been extraordinary this year already.”

The latest government official to confirm his attendance at EnergyNet’s Africa Energy Forum 2013 is Hon. Salvador Namburete, Minister of Energy in Mozambique.

He will join Ministers from Botswana, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Libya, Mauritania, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Sierra Leone and Tunisia in Barcelona.

To view the full list of speakers please visit

http://africa-energy-forum.com/#tab-countryParticipants

Event dates:

Pre-conference workshops: 18th June 2013

Conference & Exhibition: 18-20th June 2013

Website: www.africa-energy-forum.com

For more information:

Marketing Director: Liz Owens

Tel: +44 (0)20 7384 7807

Email: liz.owens@energynet.co.uk

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Global Trade Partners in the 21st Century

Posted on 15 May 2013 by Africa Business

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Remarks

Robert D. Hormats

Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment

World Economic Forum

Pretoria, South Africa

May 14, 2013

 

 

As Prepared

 

Thank you Lyal for the kind introduction.

I am delighted to be in South Africa again. I visited last fall with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

What was most striking then, and continues to be the case today, is the extent to which the image of Africa has changed. According to the IMF, growth in sub-Saharan Africa will surge to 6.1% next year, well ahead of the global average of 4%.

Africa is booming in nearly every sector, ranging from massive energy developments in Mozambique, Tanzania, Ghana, and other countries; to the growth of Rwanda and Kenya’s information and communications technology sectors; to South Africa’s thriving auto industry. And, though far from declaring victory, Africa is reaching a turning point in its hard-fought battles against poverty and corruption.

Today’s Africa looks nothing like what, in 2000, The Economist referred to as the “Hopeless Continent.” It is critical that we concentrate the world’s eyes on the new image of Africa, that of progress and promise. Perspectives are evolving—in 2011, The Economist referred to Africa as the “Rising Continent” and, last March, as the “Hopeful Continent.”

Trade is at the heart of Africa’s economic resurgence. So, in this context, I will speak first about America’s vision for global trade in the 21st century and then, focus on implications and, indeed, opportunities for Africa. America’s global trade agenda in the 21st century is shaped by a foundation laid, in large part, in the mid-20th century. After World War II, American and European policymakers worked together to build a set of international institutions that embodied democratic and free market principles.

The GATT—which led to the WTO—World Bank, IMF, and the OECD were designed to foster international economic cooperation. These institutions were vital to the economic prosperity of the United States, and to the success of America’s foreign policy and national security for the next three generations.

As we move into the 21st century, a new multi-polar global economy has surfaced. The emergence of a new group of economic powerhouses—Brazil, Russia, India, and China, of course, but also countries in Africa—has created momentum (if not necessity) for greater inclusiveness in the global trading system.

At the same time, these new players must assume responsibilities for the international economic system commensurate with the increasing benefits they derive from the global economy. In addition to the geography of international trade, the nature of trade and investment has evolved to include previously unimaginable issues such as e-commerce and sustainability.

So, part of our vision for trade in the 21st century is to build a system that is more inclusive, recognizes the new realities of economic interdependence, and matches increased participation in the global trading system with increased responsibility for the global trading system.

We are making progress with bringing new players into the global trading system as equal partners. Free Trade Agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama entered into force last year.

And, we are continuing negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership—or TPP as it is more widely known. With Japan’s anticipated entry into the negotiations, TPP will grow to include 12 countries of different size, background, and levels of development. The agreement, when finalized, will encompass nearly 40% of global GDP and one-third of global trade.

In addition to TPP, we are embarking on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union. TTIP—as it is being called—will strengthen economic ties between the United States and Europe, and enhance our ability to build stronger relationships with emerging economies in Asia, Africa, and other parts of the world.

TPP and TTIP are truly historic undertakings. Our objective is not only to strengthen economic ties with the Asia-Pacific and Europe, but also to pioneer approaches to trade and investment issues that have grown in importance in recent years.

These agreements will seek to break new ground by addressing a multitude of heretofore unaddressed non-tariff barriers, setting the stage for convergence on key standards and regulations, and establishing high quality norms and practices that can spread to other markets. TPP, for example, will raise standards on investment and electronic commerce, and afford protections for labor and the environment.

Our agenda also includes strengthening the multilateral trading system through the World Trade Organization. For example, the United States would like to see a multilateral Trade Facilitation Agreement, which would commit WTO Members to expedite the movement, release, and clearance of goods, and improve cooperation on customs matters. A Trade Facilitation Agreement would be a win-win for all parties—Africa especially.

Cross-border trade in Africa is hindered by what the World Bank calls “Thick Borders.” According to the latest Doing Business Report, it takes up to 35 days to clear exports and 44 days to clear imports in Africa. Clearing goods in OECD countries, in contrast, takes only 10 days on average and costs nearly half as much. Countries like Ghana and Rwanda have benefited tremendously from the introduction of trade facilitation tools and policies.

Ghana, for instance, introduced reforms in 2003 that decreased the cost and time of trading across borders by 60%, and increased customs revenue by 50%. A multilateral Trade Facilitation Agreement will create a glide path for increased trade with and within Africa.

Our views for 21st century global trade partnerships go beyond Europe and the Asia-Pacific, and efforts at the WTO. We are committed to supporting Africa’s integration into the global trading system. The cornerstone of our trade relationship with sub-Saharan Africa is the African Growth and Opportunity Act—known as AGOA. Of all of our trade preference programs, AGOA provides the most liberal trade access to the U.S. market.

Exports from Africa to the United States under the AGOA have grown to $34.9 billion in 2012. While oil and gas still represent a large portion of Africa’s exports, it is important to recognize that non-petroleum exports under AGOA have tripled to nearly $5 billion since 2001, when AGOA went into effect. And, compared to a decade ago, more than twice the number of eligible countries are exporting non-petroleum goods under AGOA.

South Africa, in particular, has made great strides in diversifying its exports to the United States. Thanks to AGOA, the United States is now South Africa’s main export market for passenger cars, representing more than 50% of exported value in 2012. Because AGOA is such an important mechanism for African countries to gain access to the U.S. market, the Administration is committed to working with Congress on an early, seamless renewal of AGOA. Our trade relationship with Africa goes beyond AGOA. For instance, AGOA represents only one-quarter of South African exports to the United States. The composition of South Africa’s exports to the United States, moreover, reflects complex interdependencies and industrial goods.

And, our trade relationship with Africa is not just about one-way trade. There is an immense opportunity for U.S. companies to do business on the continent.

We recently launched the “Doing Business in Africa Campaign” to help American businesses identify and seize upon trade and investment opportunities in Africa. The campaign was announced in Johannesburg, in part, because South Africa can play a prominent role in directing U.S. investment into other parts of the continent.

Although progress has been made on diversifying exports beyond energy, there is much more to be done. African ingenuity and entrepreneurship must be unleashed to drive innovation and growth throughout the continent. This requires closer integration to share ideas, transfer knowledge, and partner on solutions. Through AGOA and the “Doing Business in Africa Campaign”, we are promoting a business climate in Africa that enables and encourages trade and investment. However, realizing these goals is goes beyond trade preferences and commercial linkages.

Africa is also featured in America’s vision for global trade in the 21st century.

For example, we recently launched the U.S.-East African Community Trade and Investment Partnership—the first of its kind—to expand two-way trade and investment. The Partnership is designed to build confidence among the private sector by building a more open and predictable business climate in East Africa. We are considering a variety of mechanisms to accomplish this, including a regional investment treaty and trade facilitation agreement. The Partnership highlights our desire to help Africa integrate and compete in today’s global economy.

I will conclude with one final point. I began by saying that trade is at the heart of Africa’s economic resurgence. Trade is also at the heart of America’s economic recovery. We have a common interest and a common goal.

When it comes to enhanced trade, what is good for Africa is good for America. And what is good for America is good for Africa.

Thank you.


SOURCE

US Department of State

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IFC to Support Central Bank of Nigeria in Strengthening Sustainable Banking

Posted on 15 May 2013 by Africa Business

About IFC

 

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit http://www.ifc.org.

 

 

ABUJA, Nigeria, May 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today signed an agreement with the Central Bank of Nigeria to support the implementation of standards, policies and guidelines for environmental and social best practices in the Nigerian banking sector, with the aim of promoting sustainable and inclusive growth of the Nigerian economy.

 

 

As part of the agreement IFC will train Central Bank staff on how to supervise the financial sector in the implementation of the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles and Sector Guidelines, passed by the Central Bank of Nigeria in July 2012 and signed by all Nigerian banks.

 

 

The Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles include commitments by the signatories to integrate environmental and social considerations into business activities, respect human rights, promote women’s economic empowerment, and promote financial inclusion by reaching out to communities that traditionally have had limited or no access to the formal financial sector.

 

 

Aisha Mahmood, Sustainability Advisor to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, said, “Working with IFC will help us further develop existing practices and capacities on environmental and social risk management among financial institutions. As regulators of the Nigerian financial sector, we recognize that financial institutions are key drivers in supporting sustainable economic growth.”

 

 

The partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria is part of IFC’s Environmental Performance and Market Development Program, which aims to encourage sustainable lending standards among financial institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa and to promote environmental and social standards at a market level.

 

 

Solomon Adegbie-Quaynor, IFC Country Manager for Nigeria, said, “Sustainable business practices are important to financial institutions as they effectively add value both to the banking sector and to the general economy. We will support the Central Bank of Nigeria in this key initiative by sharing knowledge and technical resources.”

 

 

IFC is a leading investor in Sub-Saharan Africa and Nigeria, with a fast-growing, well-performing portfolio. IFC’s portfolio in Nigeria stands at $1.1 billion, the largest country portfolio in Africa and the eighth-largest globally.

 

 

SOURCE

International Finance Corporation (IFC) – The World Bank

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IFC Promotes Mobile Financial Services in Cote d’Ivoire to Encourage Inclusive Development

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Africa Business

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, May 14, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and The MasterCard Foundation today convened key financial industry players to build further momentum for mobile financial services in Cote d’Ivoire. The event recognized the market’s enormous potential, especially for increasing access to finance for low income households, small scale businesses and in hard-to-reach areas.

 

Mobile phone penetration in Cote d’Ivoire is more than 90 percent, while only 14 percent of Ivoirians have access to financial services. Mobile network operators have registered more than two million mobile financial services customers in the past three years. The Ivorian market for mobile financial services is the largest and the most dynamic in the West African Economic and Monetary Union region.

 

Cassandra Colbert, IFC Resident Representative in Cote d’Ivoire,

said,”Improving access to finance is important for supporting shared prosperity in Cote d’Ivoire. IFC and The MasterCard Foundation want to help local financial institutions realize the opportunity in Cote d’Ivoire for the development of agent banking and mobile financial services that will accelerate the reach of financial services to those currently without banking services.”

 

At the seminar in Abidjan, IFC highlighted the business case for engaging in mobile financial services in Cote d’Ivoire. The workshop marked the beginning of the implementation of a four year program by IFC and The MasterCard Foundation to contribute to the development and expansion of mobile financial services in the country.

 

IFC and The MasterCard Foundation consider access to financial services a key tool in poverty alleviation that can dramatically change the lives of the economically marginalized.

 

About The Partnership for Financial Inclusion In January 2012 IFC and The MasterCard Foundation launched the $37.4 million Partnership for Financial Inclusion to bring financial services to an estimated 5.3 million previously unbanked people in Sub-Saharan Africa in five years. The program aims to develop sustainable microfinance business models that can deliver large-scale low-cost banking services, and provides technical assistance to mobile network operators, banks and payments systems providers in order to accelerate the development of low-cost mobile financial services.

 

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit http://www.ifc.org

 

SOURCE

International Finance Corporation (IFC) – The World Bank

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IFC fait la promotion des services financiers mobiles en Côte d’Ivoire afin de favoriser un développement inclusif

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Africa Business

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, 14 mai 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ IFC, un membre du Groupe de la Banque mondiale, et la Fondation MasterCard ont réuni aujourd’hui des acteurs majeurs de l’industrie financière afin de donner un élan supplémentaire aux services financiers mobiles en Côte d’Ivoire. L’événement a permis de souligner le potentiel considérable du marché, notamment pour étendre l’accès au financement aux foyers à faibles revenus, aux petites entreprises et dans les zones difficiles d’accès.

 

En Côte d’Ivoire, la pénétration de la téléphonie mobile est supérieure à 90 pour cent, mais 14 pour cent seulement des Ivoiriens ont accès à des services financiers. Les opérateurs de réseau mobile ont enregistré plus de deux millions de clients des services financiers mobiles au cours des trois dernières années. Le marché ivoirien des services financiers mobiles est le plus grand et le plus dynamique de la région de l’Union économique et monétaire ouest-africaine.

 

« Pour favoriser une prospérité partagée par tous en Côte d’Ivoire, il est important d’améliorer l’accès au financement. IFC et la Fondation

MasterCard souhaitent aider les institutions financières locales à mener à bien le développement des services bancaires et financiers mobiles proposés par des distributeurs en Côte d’Ivoire, ce qui permettra d’étendre la couverture des services financiers à ceux qui ne sont actuellement pas bancarisés », a déclaré Cassandra Colbert, représentante résidente d’IFC en Côte d’Ivoire.

 

Lors du séminaire qui s’est tenu à Abidjan, IFC a présenté l’argument commercial en faveur de la participation au développement des services financiers mobiles en Côte d’Ivoire. L’atelier marquait le commencement de la mise en œuvre d’un programme de quatre ans entrepris par IFC et la Fondation MasterCard, visant à contribuer au développement et à l’expansion des services financiers mobiles dans le pays.

 

IFC et la Fondation MasterCard considèrent que l’accès aux services financiers est un outil essentiel à la réduction de la pauvreté, susceptible de véritablement changer les vies des personnes marginalisées sur le plan économique.

 

À propos du Partenariat pour l’inclusion financière En janvier 2012, IFC et la Fondation MasterCard ont lancé le Partenariat pour l’inclusion financière, un programme de 37,4 millions d’USD sur cinq ans destiné à permettre à 5,3 millions de personnes non bancarisées en Afrique subsaharienne d’avoir accès à des services financiers. L’objectif du programme est de développer des modèles d’entreprise de microfinance durables capables de fournir des services bancaires à grande échelle et bon marché, et d’apporter une assistance technique aux opérateurs de réseau mobile, aux banques et aux fournisseurs de services de paiement afin d’accélérer le développement de services financiers mobiles bon marché.

 

À propos d’IFC

IFC, membre du Groupe de la Banque mondiale, est la principale institution de développement au service exclusif du secteur privé. Elle aide les pays en développement à atteindre une croissance durable en finançant des investissements, en mobilisant des capitaux sur les marchés financiers internationaux et en fournissant des services-conseil aux entreprises et aux pouvoirs publics. Au cours de l’exercice 2012, IFC a porté ses investissements à un niveau record de plus de 20 milliards de dollars en exploitant les capacités du secteur privé pour créer des emplois, stimuler l’innovation et résoudre les problèmes de développement les plus pressants.

Pour plus d’informations, veuillez consulter le site : http://www.ifc.org.

 

SOURCE

International Finance Corporation (IFC) – The World Bank

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Ten African Government Ministers confirm attendance at the 15th Africa Energy Forum 2013: the international forum for Africa’s power sector

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Africa Business

A recent report from the World Bank indicated that the GDP of a third of African countries grew by at least 6% last year, despite the estimate that power outages cost African economies, on average, about 2% pa of their GDP.

African Ministers, heads of utilities and international energy companies will address this and other pressing issues concerning Africa’s power sector at the Africa Energy Forum in Barcelona 18-20 June. Over 800 delegates are expected to attend this international investment Forum for Africa’s power industry.

Bruno Cockburn, AEF’s Programme Development Director, commented; ‘We are delighted that Libya’s Ministry of Electricity & Renewable Energy, the General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL), Peter Kieran, Chief Executive Officer of CPCS Transcom and other experts will be participating at the Libya Spotlight session at AEF 2013 and offer an in-depth analysis of Libya’s power sector.’

The latest government official to confirm his attendance at the Africa Energy Forum 2013 is the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Minister of Hydro Resources & Electricity, Bruno Kapandji Kalala. He will join Ministers from Botswana, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Libya, Mauritania, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa and Tunisia in Barcelona, 18 -20 June.

To view the full list of speakers please visit

http://africa-energy-forum.com/#tab-countryParticipants

Event dates:

Pre-conference workshops: 18th June 2013

Conference & Exhibition: 18-20th June 2013

Website: www.africa-energy-forum.com

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New IFC Vice President Jean Philippe Prosper Pledges Further IFC Financing in Senegalese Infrastructure Projects

Posted on 10 May 2013 by Africa Business

DAKAR, Senegal, May 10, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will further expand its investments in infrastructure in Senegal, as well as continue advising the government on public-private partnerships in infrastructure and other sectors, said Jean Philippe Prosper, IFC Vice President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. On the occasion of his first trip since assuming his new position, Prosper highlighted the key role of the private sector in building infrastructure by working alongside national authorities.

 

During his visit to Dakar, Prosper met several senior government officials, including President Macky Sall, Prime Minister Abdoul Mbaye, and Minister of Finance Amadou Kane.

 

Prosper said: “IFC is committed to helping Senegal meet its needs for energy, roads and other critical infrastructure. IFC’s strategy is to increase private capital invested in core infrastructure projects and so we will work with the government on facilitating public-private partnerships and reforming the energy framework in Senegal.” Among the large projects IFC has already invested in are the Kounoune power station and the Dakar-Diamniadio Toll Road.

 

Last month, IFC organized with the Ministry of Finance a week-long seminar on PPP for government officials and IFC is working with the Ministry of Finance and other partners to identify priority PPP projects. Similarly, IFC, the World Bank and IMF are working with the government of Senegal to help reform the national electricity company of Senegal (SENELEC).

 

In fiscal year 2012, IFC funding for infrastructure and natural resources projects in Africa surpassed $1 billion for the first time. This figure is expected to rise in fiscal year 2013. In Senegal, IFC’s work focuses on power, with financing to a new power production project, on investment climate reforms, and on access to finance and capacity building for SMEs.

IFC’s portfolio in Senegal currently amounts to $91 million, including infrastructure development projects, and projects to facilitate trade and to promote food security.

 

SOURCE

International Finance Corporation (IFC) – The World Bank

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Time for “Dark Continent” to invest in renewable energy

Posted on 09 May 2013 by Africa Business

By Dr Nawal Al-Hosany

Dr Al-Hosany is director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize and the Director of Sustainability at Masdar

In her role as the Director of Sustainability at Masdar; Dr Nawal Al-Hosany leads a team responsible for developing Masdar’s sustainability standards and policies. She is also mandated to oversee the processes of sustainability auditing, monitoring and reporting.

In 2011, Dr Al-Hosany further assumed the post of Director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize; where she oversees the implementation of the objectives, mandate and strategic direction of the prize.

Dr-Al Hosany is a board member of Masdar Investment LLC and of the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Meteorology. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.

In her commitment to remain at the forefront of the social science and sustainable development landscape, she has participated in numerous continuing professional development courses and continually seeks opportunities to stay updated on latest project management methods, as well as leadership, planning and decision-support mechanisms.

Dr Al-Hosany has been published globally in international journals and newspapers, including the International Journal of Management of Environmental Quality, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Renewable Energy, and International Journal of Renewable Energy Engineering.

Throughout her career, Dr Al-Hosany has been an active member of various boards in the UAE and around the world including the Advisory Panel for the Momentum for Change initiative of the UNFCCC, the Troika Plus of Women Leaders on Gender and Climate Change; the Climate Justice Dialogue Advisory Committee (an initiative of the World Research Foundation), and the Energy Efficiency Global Forum.

Dr Al-Hosany has also served as Sherpa to the UN Secretary General High Level Group for ‘The Sustainable Energy For all’ initiative for its Principle; HE Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar.

In 2011, Abu Dhabi Magazine cited Dr.Al-Hosany as one of the 40 most influential Emiratis who have helped shape the emirate. She has also received several medals and accolades for her professional achievements, including a Chevening Fellowship from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Emirates Business Women Award in the Professional and Career Achievements category.

Prior to assuming her current roles, Dr Al-Hosany held senior leadership positions with the General Headquarters of the Abu Dhabi Police, including Head of Design and Studies in the Engineering Department. In 2007, she became the first-ever female Deputy Director in the Abu Dhabi Police.

Dr Al-Hosany graduated from the Faculty of Engineering at the UAE University and obtained her PhD from Newcastle University in the UK. She is also credited as one of the first two Emirati women to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world at 5,895 meters above sea level.

 

About the Zayed Future Energy Prize: The Zayed Future Energy Prize embodies the vision of the late founding father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who laid the foundation for renewable energy and sustainability as part of his legacy in sustainable development in the UAE. An annual award, the Prize is managed by Masdar, on behalf of the Abu Dhabi government and seeks to award achievements and innovation in the fields of renewable energy and sustainability, as well as to educate and inspire future generations.


Most of us are familiar with the satellite image of the world at night, showing Europe and parts of Asia ablaze with light. But despite its enormous size, larger than both China and the United States combined, Africa remains dark, with only a few pinpricks of light here and there.

Africa’s economies have shrugged off a global slowdown to record average growth of almost five percent. After ten years of high growth, 22 out of 48 countries have officially achieved middle-income status, defined by the World Bank as having per-capita income in excess of US$1 000. The combined population of these countries is 400 million people. Another ten states, representing 200 million people, could reach this landmark by 2025, the World Bank said. Africa’s population is expected to double by 2050, with a seven-fold increase in GDP if current trends are maintained. In order to provide universal access to electricity and sustain these growth rates, total energy production must double by 2030 from current levels, according to a recent report published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Electricity still remains the only sure route to economic growth.

While some 99% of north Africans have access to electricity, only 77% of people in South Africa do. This figure drops to 29% for sub-Saharan populations outside South Africa, according to IRENA.

Like many other observers, including myself, IRENA believes the time is right for massive investment in renewable energy across the continent. “Africa has the opportunity to leapfrog to modern renewable energy,” IRENA said, noting that renewable energy technologies represented the most cost-effective solution for remote, off-grid areas and for extending electrification grids. Costs of solar photovoltaic have fallen by over 80% over the last two years to less than one US dollar per watt, with further price drops expected.

Renewable energy brings multiple benefits, including increased energy security, job creation, rural development and technological development. Finally, we should not forget that access to energy is particularly important for women, who have traditionally borne the burden of fetching water and cooking over open fires, with attendant respiratory health impacts and fire hazards associated with dirty fuels. The daily lives of these women, and their families, is made immeasurably better if they can access clean energy for household needs.

These are compelling benefits. In my work with the Zayed Future Energy Prize, which recognises and rewards leadership in five categories, I have been privileged to interact with renewable energy pioneers on several continents. Their creativity, persistence and leadership has led to their discovery of innovative solutions tailored for local conditions in business, non-profit and education. Interest has grown steadily over the past five years, with a record 579 nominations received from 88 countries last year – a 36% increase. I call upon leaders in renewable energy and sustainability in Africa to step forward for nomination this year, as with their help, we can finally put to rest the cliché of the dark continent.

For more information on the prize, please visit www.ZayedFutureEnergyPrize.com or email Serene Serhan at sserhan@masdar.ae


· YouTube video about last year’s winners: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mwf2VxivHY4

· Frequently asked questions (FAQ): https://www.zayedfutureenergyprize.com/en/application-process/faq/

· A brochure with further details is available at: https://www.zayedfutureenergyprize.com/resources/media/9185ZFEPHighSchoolFlyerFINAL.pdf

· Submission process video tutorial: https://www.zayedfutureenergyprize.com/en/application-process/submission-process-video-tutorial/

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IFC Support for Country Bird’s Expansion Encourages Agribusiness, Employment in Southern Africa

Posted on 03 May 2013 by Africa Business

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit http://www.ifc.org.

 

WASHINGTON, May 3, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced a convertible loan of $25 million to support poultry producer Country Bird’s expansion in Africa. IFC’s investment will allow Country Bird to increase production and operations; encouraging a thriving agribusiness enterprise and creating employment opportunities in Southern Africa and beyond.

 

With operations including South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia, Country Bird’s business comprises poultry breeding, broiler production, stock feed, and processing. IFC funding will support Country Bird increase chick production over the next three years in Zambia and Botswana, expand feed mill capacity in Zambia, and add poultry processing facilities and two soybean plants in South Africa.

 

Country Bird’s expansion will provide more affordable proteins in Southern Africa, create jobs in the rural areas where the company operates, and increase revenues for its 21,500 maize farmers and 112,000 workers employed through the company’s supply chain.

 

Kevin James, Founder of Country Bird, said “In just a decade since we started operations, Country Bird has become the third largest integrated poultry producer in South Africa. We are seeking to expand our production, so we can meet increasing consumer demand in the region. IFC’s investment supports Country Bird’s growth and our goal to provide more affordable proteins in Southern Africa.”

 

With increasing urbanization and disposable incomes, per capita meat consumption is expected to double in Africa by 2030, particularly that of poultry, which is cheaper relative to other meats.

 

Saleem Karimjee, IFC Senior Country Manager for Southern Africa, said, “IFC is committed to investing in companies like Country Bird that catalyze growth in this important sector. Africa needs dynamic regional agribusiness companies that help encourage competitiveness and can expand successful models outside their home markets.”

 

 

Agriculture accounts for one third to one half of GDP in most African countries, and 80 percent of the poor in Africa live in rural areas.

Promoting agribusiness in Africa is a key priority for IFC as is food security, given that the sector employs a large percentage of Africa’s labor force, and has a strong impact on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

 

 

SOURCE

International Finance Corporation (IFC) – The World Bank

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GEMALTO TASKED TO IMPLEMENT GHANA’S SECURITY SYSTEM

Posted on 27 April 2013 by Amat JENG

 

AMSTERDAM, Netherland, April 8, 2013/ — Gemalto (Euronext NL0000400653) (http://www.gemalto.com), the world leader in digital security, has been appointed as prime contractor and turnkey supplier to provide Ghana Immigration Services (GIS) with a highly secure electronic visa and border management solution. This initiative is part of the eGhana project, an ambitious plan with backing from the World Bank to create a modern IT infrastructure that can support the country’s sustainable development plans in the years ahead.

With a population of 24 million, the Republic of Ghana is experiencing rapid expansion of cross-border travel. Recognizing the need to improve the security and efficiency of its existing procedures, the country’s immigration service has turned to Gemalto to deliver the benefits of a country-wide electronic border management system based on biometric authentication.

Gemalto acts as prime contractor and will take responsibility for integrating the advanced visa and border management solution, including change management, transitional training and maintenance services.

The company will deploy border management systems at Ghana’s main ports of arrival and will implement a fully computerized system for visa and permit applications processing and issuing, with the collaboration of Avalon Biometrics. The project also covers the set up of an online portal service for visa application, and the implementation of electronic gates at Accra’s Kotoka International Airport, for rapid, convenient and automated border control of arrivals and departures.

 

Ghana's airport

This mission-critical solution will streamline processes, reinforce national security and provide the GIS with enhanced border information and intelligence. Aided by biometric data, the authorities will be able to account accurately for everyone entering and leaving the country. The system will also improve the traveling experience, delivering faster and significantly more convenient border control procedures for visitors.

“To maintain Ghana’s economic development, we need an immigration system that can meet the challenges of rapid growth in international travel,” said Commissioner of Police Dr. Peter A. Wiredu, Director of Ghana Immigration Service. “Gemalto contributed to over 80 successful government programs worldwide and has all the required project management skills, reputation and expertise to deliver the country’s new IT infrastructure”.

“This advanced electronic identity management system is fundamental to the whole eGhana project,” said Ari Bouzbib, Senior Vice President for Government Programs at Gemalto. “It will put the country’s border control processes on par with the latest, cutting-edge practices worldwide. In addition to helping to transform Ghana, it can serve as a template for modernization across many other countries in Africa.”

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