Africa Innovation Summit II – Call for Application Launched across Africa for Innovations Addressing Continent’s Challenges

Africa Innovation Summit II – Call for Application Launched across Africa for Innovations Addressing Continent’s Challenges

KIGALI, Rwanda, March 13, 2018/ — The Africa Innovation Summit (AIS II), which will take place from 6-8 June 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda, under the esteemed patronage of His Excellences President Paul Kagame and Pedro Pires (ex-President of Cabo Verde), announced a call for applications to innovators across Africa whose solutions have the potential to solve the continent’s challenges.

The AIS II seeks innovative and disruptive solutions to the major challenges facing African countries, which include energy access, water, food insecurity, health systems, and governance. As a platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue and actions, AIS II will bring together people with the power to act, from all parts of the continent and elsewhere, including Heads of States and Governments, Ministers, corporates, innovators, investors, policy makers and academics, researchers, as well as policy, science and technology experts, with the aim of building robust ecosystems for innovation in Africa to ensure Africa’s structural transformation.

Dr. Olugbenga Adesida, co-Director of AIS, indicated that “AIS provides more than a robust and dynamic platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue, but rather a catalyst for “Made in Africa” innovations that are already addressing the challenges faced on the continent, but need assistance to take root and scale across the continent.”

The AIS has partnered with Enterpriseroom, a transformation consultancy specializing in starting, sustaining, and accelerating businesses, to drive the sourcing and selection of up to 50 Innovations across the continent, to be showcased at the Summit. The CEO of Entepriseroom, Tracey Webster, said “We are delighted to partner with the AIS and believe the innovations selected to be showcased at the Summit will have a unique opportunity to engage the right stakeholders when it comes to discussing and unlocking blockages in the eco-system that are preventing solutions from going to scale, or ideas being commercialized.” AIS firmly believes that the solutions are in Africa and innovators need to be at the table architecting a conducive environment for Innovation to thrive in Africa.

AIS is therefore calling all African innovators to apply for this unique opportunity. The innovators selected must meet the following criteria:

  • Know or have an innovative idea or solution that can drive positive change in Africa and;
  • The solution must be at a critical stage: either ready to commercialize or ready to scale.

The identified innovators will meet influential people, policy makers, and investors who are ready to discuss Africa’s development challenges and ways to solve them. They will also have the opportunity to interact with like-minded African innovators and change agents who are driving a new era of change in Africa.

Applications and additional information can be found on the AIS website: https://goo.gl/gYCCyq

Applications close Friday, 30 March 2018.

Africa working tirelessly to create conducive environment for foreign investments

Africa working tirelessly to create conducive environment for foreign investments

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 31, 2018/ — Africa is working tirelessly to get policy and legislative conditions right to ease the business environment and attract more foreign direct investment, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, said Tuesday.

Speaking at the Africa Business and Investment Forum that was organized by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), Mr. Desalegn said as a result, foreign direct investment flows to the continent were growing with a number of African economies now showing resilience to various internal and external shocks.

“Africa has been on the investment radar of many multinationals for decades now as witnessed by increased investment in infrastructure, agriculture, mining, manufacturing and tourism, to mention but a few. Still Africa’s market and resource potential remains untapped,” he said, adding the business environment in Ethiopia had improved remarkably in recent years.

He said his government is seeking to employ policies and strategies for positioning the country as an attractive investment destination for productive investors.

The Prime Minister applauded the ECA and the CCA for organizing the Forum, which he said will contribute to the enrichment of policy issues regarding transforming Africa through public-private partnerships in various sectors.

For his part, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said there was need for more private sector investment in power projects on the continent.

He was speaking during a round table discussion on the need to increase power supply in Africa through cross border networks.

“Africa has huge potential for renewable power generation that the private sector should invest in,” he said, adding the continent was full of opportunities, not just challenges.

The leaders attended different roundtables which focused on African trade and diversification; increasing power supply; the business of agriculture, creating successful agribusiness; and advancing public private partnerships on non-communicable diseases.

Senegal’s Macky Sall urged African governments to work together with the private sector to ensure the continent can deliver low cost renewable energy that can be accessed by all.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda commended the CCA and ECA for “this effort to draw business leaders into this conversation about public-private sector investment in Africa”.

“This is long overdue and I trust that it will become a regular event during our Summits,” he added.

Mr. Kagame called for closer collaboration between the private sector and African governments to increase economic opportunity and entrepreneurship on the continent.

Market

Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni urged American companies to invest in Africa. He said the continent was ripe for investment, adding African governments have and continue to address investors’ concerns to make it easier for them to bring their money to the continent.

Africa, he said, is a ready market, especially with the growing purchasing power of its people.

President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, said he was positive about the Continental Free Trade Area’s success.

“African Heads of State are fully committed and engaged in the CFTA process,” said Mr. Issoufou, adding Africa was the future. It is the continent on which you can count, he said.

Mr. Issoufou said the business forum was a great opportunity for Africa to inform investors about the benefits of the CFTA and progress made thus far.

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, who attended the roundtable on the business of agriculture, said bold and coordinated efforts were needed as Africa moves from the old way of doing agriculture to new ways of farming.

He said the continent should invest in new technologies, research and education to ensure agriculture becomes cool for the youth and in the process ensure food security.

Mr. Nyusi said political will and vision was crucial if Africa is to scale up agribusiness on the continent through enabling policies that can link agriculture and trade thereby achieving sustainable equitable growth on the continent.

African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki hailed the ECA and the CCA for organizing the business forum, adding the continent was doing all it can to improve the ease of doing business for the benefit of its people.

U.S. Relationship

Millennium Challenge Corporation Acting Chief Executive Officer, Jonathan Nash, said the U.S. is committed to working with African nations “to realize the promise of a more peaceful, more productive, more prosperous world”.

“From promoting trade and economic progress to countering violent extremism, U.S. and Africa share a number of common interests,” he said, adding strategic investments in critical sectors can help the poorest people rise out of poverty – advancing security, stability and prosperity across Africa.

“As we all know, the continent is home to some of the world’s fastest-growing economies and will be home to one quarter of the world’s consumers by 2030. U.S. companies and investors are increasingly aware of the continent’s economic potential,” said Mr. Nash.

“We value our partnership with countries across Africa, and we respect the people of Africa,” he said.

The forum brought together over 240 African and U.S. public and private sector leaders on the margins of the AU Summit to discuss specific benchmarks and measures that can be implemented to support public-private-sector-led growth in Africa.

Guterres lauds partnership between United Nations and African Union

Guterres lauds partnership between United Nations and African Union

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 29, 2018/ — United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, on Sunday lauded the solid partnership between the African Union and the UN saying it was grounded on sound principles of human rights and good governance.

Addressing the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, Mr. Guterres said the UN and the AU were working together successfully across the continent.

“With Africa firmly in the lead, we can and will do more,” he told African leaders gathered for their January Summit in Addis Ababa.

“I stand here on behalf of the United Nations system and reaffirm our strong commitment to the Member States and the people of Africa. I strongly believe Africa is one of the greatest forces for good in our world,” said Mr. Guterres.

He outlined five areas for strengthened partnership between the two organizations.

These are;

Peace and Security
Inclusive, sustainable development
Climate Change
Migration
Fighting Corruption

Mr. Guterres thanked African governments for leading the way in contributing troops and police to help save lives and keep the peace around the world.

“We will never forget the service and sacrifice of all those who have given their lives for peace,” he said, adding; “Our first shared obligation is to confront the root causes of conflict by strengthening prevention through diplomacy and mediation.”

“We also have an obligation to do much more to end conflicts and forge peace,” said Mr. Guterres, adding the United Nations-African Union partnership on peace and security was fundamental to building a safer world for all.

“It is rooted in solutions that are Africa-owned, Africa-driven and Africa-led,” he said.

UN peacekeeping, Mr. Guterres added, was, however, not the solution to all crisis situations.

“We need different missions for different contexts, including peace enforcement and counter-terrorist operations. Partnership with the African Union and sub-regional organizations offers us the means to achieve this,” the UNSG said, adding more should be done to tackle terrorism on the continent.

Mr. Guterres also said there was need for strengthened partnership to ensure inclusive, sustainable development in Africa through Agendas 2030 and Agenda 2063, which he said are mutually reinforcing.

Women and young people, he said, must lead the development agenda.

“Women’s full participation makes economies stronger and peace processes more successful,” said Mr. Guterres, adding ending violence against women and girls and child marriage, and increasing women’s participation in decision-making, were prerequisites for the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.

He lauded the AUC for making 2018 the African Anti-Corruption Year.

“I commend your decision to highlight this scourge, and offer you our strong support,” said the UNSG.

For his part, AUC Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said the fight against corruption was crucial for Africa’s inclusive development.

He also talked about other issues, including the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) and regional integration and why this was important for Africa.

“There should be free movement of people on the continent,” said Mr. Mahamat.

The summit ends with President Paul Kagame of Rwanda taking over the chairmanship of the AU from President Alpha Conde of Guinea.

President Zuma Returns from Ethiopia

President Zuma Returns from Ethiopia

PRETORIA, South Africa, January 30, 2018/ — President Jacob Zuma has today, 30 January 2018, arrived back in South Africa from a successful visit to Addis Ababa, in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, where he led the South African Government delegation to the 30th Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU), which met from 28-29 January 2017 under the theme: “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”.

The Summit took a number of important decisions that demonstrated the readiness of AU member states to fully implement the commitments made in the continental organisation’s flagship programme, Agenda 2063, relating to, amongst other things, the sustenance of peace and security; free movement of people, goods and services; and improving political and democratic governance on the continent .

On 29 January 2017, the AU leaders launched the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). The SAATM, of which South Africa is a signatory, provides for the full liberalization of market access between African states, free exercise of traffic rights, elimination of restrictions on ownership and full liberalization of frequencies, fares and capacities.

President Zuma said: “It is gratifying that the continent is moving ahead with the implementation of Agenda 2063, and it is vital that we are taking decisions that have a direct impact on the lives of the people of the continent. We are, in a very practical manner, removing barriers to trade, investment and tourism”.

The Summit elected President Paul Kagame of Rwanda as Chair of the AU for the year 2018, taking over from President Alpha Conde of the Republic of Guinea. President Zuma congratulated President Kagame and assured him of South Africa’s readiness to work with him as he steers the AU. South Africa was elected to serve as one of the Vice Chairs of the Bureau of the AU, representing the Southern African region. The other member states of the Bureau are Libya (North Africa), Republic of Congo (Central Africa) and the Republic of Guinea (West Africa).

On the state of peace and security on the continent, the Summit discussed the situations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, Libya and Western Sahara. The Summit noted that the continent remains largely peaceful and that the situations in the countries under discussion required more concerted efforts from the AU and its member states geared towards sustainable peace and stability within the framework of Agenda 2063, in particular the goal to “silence the guns by the year 2020”.

The Summit emphasised the need for continuous engagement and cooperation between the AU and the United Nations (UN). In this regard, the Summit re-appointed President Zuma to continue his role of championing this initiative. President Zuma met the Secretary General of the UN, Mr Antonio Guterres, on the margins of the Summit. The two leaders re-committed themselves to fostering closer cooperation between the AU and the UN.

President Zuma said he was pleased to see the AU embracing the decision by South Africa to mark the centenary of South Africa’s first post-apartheid President, Tata Nelson Mandela. “We were pleased to see the warmth with which our fellow Africans received the message about commemorating Madiba’s centenary. This once again shows that Africa is ready to preserve Madiba’s legacy of pan-African solidarity as well as peace and reconciliation”.

African Leaders Advise Youth During ‘Have your Say! Dialogue with Leaders’

African Leaders Advise Youth During ‘Have your Say! Dialogue with Leaders’

Have_your_Say__Dialogue_with_Leaders-4

 

A quote by Uganda President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, “Africa is a place of miracles where  there is growth without infrastructure.” 

He was referring to the impressive growth figures for Africa presented by the Africa Development Bank.

He continued on to say “the problem however is that the growth in sectors that don’t need electricity like salons and restaurants etc. the sectors that need electricity like manufacturing will not grow yet they are the ones that create jobs.”

President Museveni explained the two most important factors in Africa’s growth is the consumers who buy what is produced and therefor marketable to push for market integration and the entrepreneurs with the knowledge, insight and ability to take an opportunity to manufacture.

While he values the youth especially those of Uganda, and he also thinks that former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin Dada to some extent also valued youth, the term should not be used only biologically but must also mean ideology and skills.

“It is obvious that I value the youth and I think Amin to some extent also valued them. However Youth is not just biological, it should also mean ideology and skills. You can be young but have old ideas,” Museveni said.

Museveni was responding to a question by the moderator of the brain-storming session in the Mount Karisimbi Tent in Rwanda. The session “Have your Say! Dialogue with Leaders” was attended by several African leaders.

The question posed to Museveni was on how much he values youth and how much he has involved them in social development.

He pointed out that a lot of people waste time without clarity and emphasized that there are only four crucial sectors for job creation for the youth including in modern agriculture production, industrialization including in small and medium enterprises, services and ICT. He also mentioned that while government also offers jobs, these are quite limited.

“If there is a sixth sector outside these five I need to know. What is important is for the youth, parents and teachers to prepare themselves on how to fit in these sectors. There is also of opportunity in the first four,” he said.

The lively interactive session that focused mainly on the youth also had President Paul Kagame, the host pointed out that how children turn out to be depends on upbringing.

“It is the same way with our continent, look at the different aspects: youth, women, etc. Imagine the environment they were brought up and how this has affected us and how to change or harness them. Leadership is not only presidential, it is all different levels. If they don’t play their part, something goes amiss,” said Kagame.

He continued to talk about how Africa is a poor continent and yet there is a lot that we have but are not doing enough to exploit it. He warned against colonialism and warned Africa to stand firm and fight colonial dictatorship.

“Don’t get worried about the new neo-colonial efforts, the old ones haven’t left us. Our weaknesses have become a source of temptation. We tempt people to abuse us. We really need to stand firm,” he said and wondered why we can’t have the Africa we want with all the great resources that the continent has that can make it possible to have the Africa we deserve. He urged the youth to avoid being influenced by external forces.

President Ali Bongo of Gabon urged Africans to be practical and warned that there can be no integration without peace and security on the Continent. He called on African governments to start funding their own projects and that the continent needs more ambition and political will to push through.