International Bureau of Education to Organize a Learning Series Event on “The Future of Africa: AI, Robotics, and Education?”

International Bureau of Education to Organize a Learning Series Event on “The Future of Africa: AI, Robotics, and Education?”

The event is scheduled on Tuesday, 5 June 2018, from 10:45 – 11:40, at the Centre des arts | Fondation de l’Ecole Internationale de Genève | 62, route de Chêne – CH-1208 Geneva
GENEVA, Switzerland
May 24, 2018


The International Bureau of Education (IBE-UNESCO) will organize a Learning Series event on “The Future of Africa: AI, Robotics, and Education?” on Tuesday, 5 June in Geneva.  Betelhem Dessie Asnake is Ethiopia’s leading youth technology entrepreneur, who is changing the world of AI and robotics.

Only 18 years old, she is the project manager of iCog-Anyone Can Code, an initiative she started, in partnership with iCog Labs — Ethiopia’s first AI and robotics lab, co-founded by American AI pioneer Ben Goertzel, and leading Ethiopian techno-futurist Getnet Aseffa. The Anyone Can Code project is a result of her vision, which aims at using advanced technology to uplift children and students in the developing world.

The event is scheduled on Tuesday, 5 June 2018, from 10:45 – 11:40, at the Centre des arts | Fondation de l’Ecole Internationale de Genève | 62, route de Chêne – CH-1208 Geneva.  The event is open to the public but advanced registration is required: bit.ly/2LnpMvb


Distributed by APO Group
African Smallholder Farmers Get Insurance Payouts of U.S. $1.5 Million After Low Rainfall

African Smallholder Farmers Get Insurance Payouts of U.S. $1.5 Million After Low Rainfall

The pay-out enables nearly 30,000 farming households to cover immediate needs including the purchase of food and payment of children’s school fees
ROME, Italy
May 9, 2018



Poor rainfall in parts of Africa has triggered the largest insurance pay-out to date for vulnerable farmers under an innovative climate risk management scheme known as the R4 Rural Resilience Initiative (R4). Farmers participating in R4 – launched by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Oxfam America in 2011 – will receive insurance payments totalling US$ 1.5 million to compensate for weather-related crop losses in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Senegal and Zambia.

The pay-out enables nearly 30,000 farming households to cover immediate needs including the purchase of food and payment of children’s school fees. Many smallholders also invest a portion of the pay-out in seeds or fertilizers, or in starting small-scale family businesses.

Insurance is a central component of R4, providing smallholders with protection against extreme weather shocks linked to climate change. Insurance payments are based on an index of rainfall, vegetation or yield estimates determining the extent of the loss incurred by participating farmers. Compensation is paid if the index falls below a pre-determined threshold – in this most recent instance, it was because of drought during the growing seasons in the five countries.

“In Malawi, more than 7,000 drought-affected families will receive an insurance payment worth US$ 400,000. This is the first time that a weather index insurance programme has delivered payouts at such a large scale in Malawi, “says Benoit Thiry, Country Director for WFP Malawi. “Insurance is a key element which complements other initiatives being undertaken to make people more resilient to weather-related shocks.”

R4 combines four inter-linked elements: improved natural resource management (risk reduction), insurance (risk transfer), the promotion of investment including better access to micro-credit (prudent risk taking) and savings (risk reserves). The initiative reaches over 57,000 farmers in Africa who are vulnerable to climate risk.  Since 2011, a total of more than US$2.4 million have been distributed in pay-outs to R4 participants in Ethiopia, Senegal, Kenya, Zambia and Malawi as compensation for weather-related losses. The programme is supported by the governments of the United States, Switzerland, Flanders, the United Kingdom, France, the Republic of Korea, Canada and Sweden.


Distributed by APO Group 

Merck Foundation supports the training of Thirty Future Oncologists in Africa

Merck Foundation supports the training of Thirty Future Oncologists in Africa


Twenty candidates from Uganda, Zambia, Ethiopia, Namibia, Ghana, South Africa, Botswana, Liberia, Tanzania, and Kenya have enrolled in the Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program
NAIROBI, Kenya
May 8, 2018


 


  • Merck gives back to society through Merck Foundation’s programs to build Cancer Care Capacity in Africa.
  • Merck Foundation provides Africa with Thirty New Oncologists through Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program established in India, Kenya, Malaysia, and Egypt.
  • SDG 3 calls us to sustainably invest in building Healthcare Capacity to improve access to equitable healthcare solutions.

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, continues the second stage of their Africa Oncology Fellowship Program that started in 2016 with the aim to increase the limited number of oncologists in Africa.   In June 2017, BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH), and the African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC) released a white paper on the African continent’s emerging cancer crisis.

Over 20% of African countries have no access to cancer treatments at all, while access is limited and sporadic in other countries. Later-stage diagnosis in African patients contributes to poorer outcomes. For example, 5-year female breast cancer relative survival rates are 46% in Uganda and 12% in The Gambia, compared with around 90% in developed countries, the report cited.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation emphasized, “One of the main objectives of Merck Foundation is to build a strong platform of qualified medical, paediatric and surgical oncologists across the continent through the Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program.”

“Twenty candidates from Uganda, Zambia, Ethiopia, Namibia, Ghana, South Africa, Botswana, Liberia, Tanzania, and Kenya have enrolled in the Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program in partnership with African Ministries of Health, the University of Nairobi, Kenya, Tata Memorial Centre, India, and Cairo University, Egypt. We are very proud of our contribution, to lead Africa to a better future through changing the landscape of Cancer care in the continent.” Rasha Kelej added.

In partnership with Ministries of Health and Academia across Africa, the Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program provides one-year and two-year oncology fellowship programs and a three-year master degree in medical oncology at Tata Memorial Centre, India, University of Nairobi, Kenya, University of Malaya, Malaysia, and Cairo University, Egypt, respectively.

Launched in 2016, with the aim to increase the limited number of qualified oncologists in the continent, three medical doctors from Sub-Saharan African countries Kenya, and South Africa were granted a two-year Africa medical oncology fellowship training at the University of Nairobi. Also, Merck Foundation supported another two African doctors from Ghana and Tanzania for the Paediatric and Adult.

Medical Fellowship program that is conducted annually at Tata Memorial Centre, India.  In 2017; Merck Foundation partnered with more African countries such as; Rwanda, Liberia, Zambia, Ethiopia, Botswana and Uganda to provide ten candidates with the one-year oncology fellowship program in India and three candidates from Liberia, Ghana and Namibia to conduct a master degree in clinical oncology at Cairo University, Egypt.

“In 2018, We will continue to enroll more candidates and engage other countries on this program as we firmly believe this is a vital component of improving the quality and accessibility of cancer care in Africa. We have received requests from countries such as; Niger, guinea, Gambia, the Central African Republic to partner with them through their First Ladies’ offices and Ministries of Health to provide our fellowship program to their doctors with the aim to improve access to quality cancer care in their countries and across the continent. Merck Foundation will continue their long-term commitment to further partner with more Sub-Saharan African Countries to realize their vision to create a strong platform of future trained oncologists “, Rasha Kelej added.

The partnership between Merck Foundation and The African First ladies’ organization has been established in Jan 2018, to cooperate in building healthcare capacity with the special focus on cancer, Diabetes and fertility care in their countries with the support of their Ministries of Health.

Merck Foundation has supported the African governments to define their strategies, to emphasize on building professional capacity and focus on long-term training, with the aim to develop trained oncologists and not only relying on Drug or equipment donation, which will help them to be independent and would overcome their major challenge, which is the lack of skilled oncologists and healthcare professionals in general.

Merck Foundation strongly believes that building professional healthcare capacity is the right strategy to improve access to quality and equitable cancer care in Africa.

Merck Foundation makes History:

Merck Foundation will train the first medical Oncologist in some Sub- Saharan African Countries such as the Gambia and Guinea Conakry where they never had an oncologist or cancer care facility, we are making history there, and through them, we will transform people’s lives every day.

The annual platform of Merck Foundation- Merck Africa Asia Luminary and Solutions for Cancer Access:

Since 2013, Merck Africa Asia Luminary features a workshop dedicated exclusively to improve access to cancer care through Capacity building through Merck Foundation, www.merck-foundation.com. It convenes key players from the global, regional and local cancer network, health ministers, and First ladies, with the goal of encouraging dialogue among stakeholders, raises awareness of the issues, explores partnership opportunities to generate ideas for potential solutions to existing challenges.

Merck Foundation Vision and Call for Action: 

“A world where everyone should lead a healthy and fulfilling life, this is Merck Foundation ‘s vision. We are working together to achieve the Sustainable Development goals- SDGs. The SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, calls us to sustainably invest on building healthcare capacity to improve access to safe, effective, quality, and affordable healthcare solutions for all by 2030.”  Kelej emphasized.

Background:

The African Union has targeted by 2063, every citizen will have full access to affordable and quality health care services, and integrated and comprehensive health services and infrastructure will be in place, where services are available, accessible, affordable, acceptable and of quality.


Distributed by APO Group 

Communiqué on the Meeting between the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia

Communiqué on the Meeting between the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, April 4, 2018/ — The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat, was received today by the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Dr. Abiy Ahmed. The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss a number of issues of mutual interest.

The Chairperson reiterated his congratulations to the Prime Minister following his confirmation by Parliament yesterday and praised the peaceful and smooth transition of power, which is a source of pride for Ethiopia and the entire continent. He assured the Prime Minister of the African Union’s full support to the Government and people of Ethiopia as they work to consolidate the remarkable socio-economic progress made by their country and further strengthen national unity and widen the political space. The Chairperson stressed the critical importance of Ethiopia’s stability and prosperity for the region and the continent as a whole.

The Prime Minister and the Chairperson also exchanged views on the overall situation in the Horn of Africa, including the IGAD-led process in South Sudan and efforts in support of the Government of Somalia towards lasting peace and stability. They pledged to work closely together in the pursuit of peace, security and stability in the region and beyond.

The Prime Minister and the Chairperson discussed issues relating to continental integration. The Chairperson commended Ethiopia for signing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and encouraged speedy ratification. He looked forward to working closely with the Prime Minister on the implementation of the AfCFTA and other aspects of the integration agenda, including the Single African Air Transport Market and the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons and the African Passport.

The Prime Minister reaffirmed Ethiopia’s commitment to the ideals and objectives of the African Union and its determination to continue to play its rightful role towards their achievement. The Chairperson noted that the fact that he was the first dignitary to be received by the Prime Minister following his assumption of responsibility was a further illustration of the importance that Ethiopia attaches to the continental organization.

Ugandan Scientist Scoops Award at Next Einstein Forum (NEF) Global Gathering in Kigali, Rwanda

Ugandan Scientist Scoops Award at Next Einstein Forum (NEF) Global Gathering in Kigali, Rwanda

KIGALI, Rwanda, March 30, 2018/ — Dr. Justus Masa, a Ugandan Lecturer at Kyambogo University and Senior Group Leader of Electrocatalysis and Energy at Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany is among the 17 NEF Fellow award winners at this year’s Next Einstein Forum (NEF) Global Gathering in Kigali, Rwanda. The event currently taking place at Kigali Convention Centre is running from 26 th to 28 th March, 2018.

The NEF fellows programme is a two year programme which recognizes and awards Africa’s young scientists, innovators and technologists. The 2017/2019 winners emerged from Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, Niger, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Guinea, DRC, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Ghana, Senegal, Egypt, Nigeria, and Mali. The strategic objective of NEF Community of Scientists includes, harnessing the benefits of science and innovation to influence policy, education, training, leadership, research excellence, funding, and collaboration. Of these scientists, innovators and emerging leaders, 40% are women. NEF fellows or Ambassadors participate in campaigns and events to encourage young people to pursue scientific careers and drive research-based incubators and start-ups.

The High profile function was graced by H.E. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda and H.E Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal who were panelists noting that prioritizing science and innovation can lead to economic development. In his remarks, President Kagame used the history of Rwanda and how the government zeroed on the ecosystem of investing in ICT in the early 2000s when every sector was in shambles but the country has seen the dividends from that investment especially with regards to the people-centered approach they undertook (human capacity development).

He informed that many of the young scientists, almost 80% they sent abroad in the 2000s have returned home and are currently the driving force of innovation, research and development in both government and the private sector. The approach to empower women and girls has helped to bridge the education imbalance gap. He further informed that between 15% to 17% of their GDP is geared towards education and health.

President Macky Sall noted that they envisage NEF becoming a yearly event bringing together African Heads of State to support science and innovation to enhance development in Africa like the recently concluded Continental Free Trade Agreement.

Among the Next Einstein Initiatives is the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences(AIMS) which is Africa’s first and biggest pan African network of centres for postgraduate training, research and public engagement in mathematical sciences. It operates centres in South Africa, Senegal, Cameroon, Ghana, Tanzania and Rwanda.