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.

Call for an International Donor Conference

Call for an International Donor Conference

By Samy Badibanga, former Prime Minister of DRC

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, February 9, 2018/ — The political conundrum of the elections has blinded us all: the emergency in DR Congo is political as much as it is human and humanitarian. Of course, everything must be done so that the Congolese people can choose their leaders at the end of 2018. But, at the beginning of 2018, the top priority is to protect the lives of 13 million people threatened by the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Kasai, Kivu, Tanganyika and other provinces of the Congo. And this requires an International Donor Conference in order to raise the $1.68 billion for the United Nations humanitarian response plan for the Congo.

This crisis kills every passing second. It kills women, children, and men who have fled the violence, hidden in the forest or even further away, and have nothing left when they return. This disaster could soon claim between one and two million lives if humanitarian aid is not funded. These dizzying figures are a poor reflection of the reality of a child or a woman taking their last breath. Not killed by violence, but by famine or disease.

The Congo crisis has been neglected. Today, it is the largest humanitarian crisis on the planet, and it is also the least funded, despite being classified at the maximum level of humanitarian emergency by the United Nations. The conflict between the Pygmies and Bantu in Tanganyika alone has already displaced 500,000 people – as many as the Rohingya crisis in Burma. According to UNOCHA, as well as those in Tanganyika, there are 1.5 million displaced in Kasai and more than 950,000 in Kivu and other provinces, making a total of 4.35 million people. In Uganda, 238,000 Congolese have sought shelter to escape the violence in Kivu, and a thousand more arrive each week. 7,000 people have taken refuge in Burundi and 33,000 in Angola, to name but a few. In fact, the total population displacement in the Congo today comes to more than that in Syria, Iraq and Yemen combined. How many of these 4.35 million displaced people are joining the migration routes from the Horn of Africa to the Libyan slave camps?

Whilst the conflict born in Kasai in August 2016 has killed 5,000 people so far, two million more could die of hunger. These populations survived the conflict, and returned at the end of the violence only to be unable to find food, water, toilets, clothes, roofs or shelter, work or school or any public services, and finding in their place villages burned to the ground, health centres looted, roads destroyed, agricultural plantations ravaged and cholera?

This is the plea for help from the churches where people are taking refuge that we have been proclaiming since the beginning of November 2017 on behalf of the Hope coordination, led by Cardinal Mosengwo for the Catholic Church and the Rev. Bokundoa, President of the Protestant Church, to the United Nations, the European Union, France and the entire international community. It is on behalf of this wounded, violated, displaced and abandoned population that we are calling for the urgent organisation of an International Donor Conference.

On 17 November 2016, the International Conference for the Central African Republic raised $2.2 billion. According to the United Nations, the humanitarian funding needs in the DRC for 2018 amount to $1.68 billion. The Congo, whose population is close to 90 million, twenty times more than the CAR and its 4.59 million people, is in great need of the same level of global solidarity.

Without an International Donor Conference, the United Nations humanitarian response plan for 2018 will not be even half funded. At the end of January 2018, it was 2% financed, and the plight of the people of the Congo forgotten by a planet in crisis. Yet, strong humanitarian action can still save millions of lives and give hope for a new future for the Congolese. By adding emergency aid to action for the post-conflict rehabilitation of socio-economic infrastructure, it will be possible to envisage progress towards sustainable development goals in a country of nearly 100 million people, where any progress can have a major impact. This is where the International Donor Conference for the Congo, which we call upon the international community to organise as quickly as possible, should lead us.

UNHCR and partners seeks US$157 million to aid Boko Haram displaced

UNHCR and partners seeks US$157 million to aid Boko Haram displaced

GENEVA, Switzerland, January 31, 2018/ — UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, together with humanitarian partners, today, launched an inter-agency funding appeal for US$157 million to help over a quarter of a million people affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in the Lake Chad Basin region.

The 47 UN agencies and humanitarian organizations, who joined the 2018 Nigeria Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRRP), will cater to the needs of some 208,000 Nigerian refugees and 75,000 of their hosts in Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

“The Boko Haram crisis lingers on and is far from over,” said UNHCR’s Deputy High Commissioner Kelly T. Clements, while launching the funding appeal to donors in Niger’s capital Niamey. “The world should not forget the victims of this deadly conflict, especially as there appears to be little hope for a return to peace and stability in the near future.”

Nigerian refugees continue to arrive in very remote and impoverished communities in neighbouring countries. Since it started in 2013, the Boko Haram conflict has internally displaced another 2.4 million people in northeast Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

One of the most devastating side effects of the conflict is the alarming rise in food insecurity and severe malnutrition populations are facing to date. Over 7.2 million people in the Lake Chad Basin region were food insecure in September 2017.

The future of young generations in the region is at stake, as food insecurity not only affects the dignity of families, but has serious consequences on the physical and cognitive development of children,” UNHCR’s Deputy High Commissioner added.

The conflict has had a devastating impact on access to education and school attendance rates, while hundreds of schools have been forced to close throughout the region, where education levels were already amongst the lowest worldwide.

The communities hosting refugees are also in dire need of aid as their capacity to help those displaced, including through existing infrastructure for basic services, is stretched to the limit. Humanitarian assistance is needed to uplift services in a number of sectors including shelter, health, education and water and sanitation.

A Refugee Response Plan (RRP) is a UNHCR-led, inter-agency planning and coordination tool for large-scale or complex refugee situations. A similar appeal of US$241 million for 2017, was only 56 per cent funded.

UNICEF: 378,000 children in need of life-saving humanitarian assistance in Libya

UNICEF: 378,000 children in need of life-saving humanitarian assistance in Libya

TUNIS, Tunisia, January 30, 2018/ — After seven years of conflict, the humanitarian situation in Libya continues to deteriorate with 378,000 children in need of life-saving assistance and protection throughout 2018.

“2018 is a pivotal year for Libya, especially for children,” said Abdel-Rahman Ghandour, UNICEF Special Representative to Libya.

“This is why at UNICEF, we are appealing for $US 20 million to help us scale up our response to provide immediate life-saving assistance as well as long term support to children throughout the country. No matter their background, nationality, gender or race, all children in Libya deserve the chance of a better future.”

Violence and armed conflict have had a devastating effect on children in Libya. Among the 170,000-people displaced, an estimated 54 per cent are children. As a transit and destination country for economic and other temporary migrants, Libya is also home to hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees, a significant proportion of whom are children. At risk of abuse, violence, human rights violations, vulnerable to recruitment by armed groups and lacking the most basic of services, children throughout Libya are in urgent need of protection and care.

Working in partnership with line ministries, municipalities, non-governmental organizations and Libyan civil society organizations, in 2018, UNICEF Libya aims to:

Vaccinate 1.4 million children aged 0 -6 against polio
Provide 93,450 children with psychosocial support
Enable 33,450 school aged-children to access formal or non-formal education
Deliver essential learning materials and supplies to 80,000 children
Ensure that 35,000 people have improved access to safe drinking water and 20,000 to sanitation facilities
Reach 1,500 children associated with armed conflict delivering specialised child protection services

In 2017 UNICEF managed to reach children throughout the country, providing child protection, education, health, water and sanitation services. In 2018, UNICEF aims to continue this work supporting the country’s Humanitarian Response Plan as well as to restore its full presence of staff and partners to Libya.

Humanitarian Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Reaches Breaking Point as Funding Gap Remains Enormous

Humanitarian Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Reaches Breaking Point as Funding Gap Remains Enormous

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, January 18, 2018/ — The humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has deteriorated dramatically over the past year due to a massive escalation of conflict and widespread insecurity. Extreme violence has spread to areas typically considered stable, such as the provinces of Kasai and Tanganyika. The situation has been recently compounded by deadly floods and an outbreak of Cholera, among multiple other health emergencies, while the IOM, the UN Migration Agency humanitarian appeal, released at the end of last year, remains vastly underfunded.

Some 4.3 million people are displaced throughout the DRC; 1.7 million of whom were violently forced to flee their homes in 2017. This recent spike of displacement has made the DRC the country with the highest number of internally displaced people in Africa. The majority of newly displaced people say that food is their biggest need and, in some areas, many of them have yet to receive any humanitarian assistance due to lack of funding.

In total, 13.1 million people will be in need of humanitarian assistance throughout the country in 2018. Children, young men, women and ethnic minorities have been among the hardest-hit. More than 4 million children under the age of five are at risk of acute malnutrition. Some 7.7 million people are expected to be impacted by the devastating effects of an acute food emergency, while 10.5 million have limited or no access to healthcare. An estimated 4.7 million women and girls will be exposed to gender-based violence (GBV) in crisis-affected areas in 2018.

“The humanitarian situation in the DRC is at breaking point as is our capacity to respond due to extremely limited funding,” said Jean-Philippe Chauzy, IOM DRC Chief of Mission. IOM is coordinating humanitarian activities in three of these provinces experiencing the highest levels of displacement: Kasai, North Kivu, and Tanganyika. “The stories that Congolese, who have been forced from their homes, are telling us are bone-chilling. They have been through so much already – torture, rape and murder of their loved ones – we cannot stand idly by as they suffer in silence.”

IOM is appealing for USD 75 million to urgently meet the growing needs of displaced Congolese and the communities hosting them in the eastern and south-central provinces of North and South Kivu, Tanganyika and the Kasai.

IOM’s interventions in 2018 will focus on the following sectors: Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM), Displacement Tracking, Shelter and Non-Food Items (NFIs), Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Health, and Protection, particularly responding to gender-based violence (GBV) and helping unaccompanied or separated children. CCCM, a core activity of IOM in the DRC, ensures equitable access to humanitarian assistance and protection for displaced people, improving their quality of life and conditions. It also includes an advocacy component towards durable solutions for displacement. Data from our displacement tracking activities are utilized by the whole humanitarian community in the DRC.

Since its release, only USD 3.5 million has been given towards IOM’s appeal and in 2017, only 47 per cent of the overall inter-agency Humanitarian Response Plan was funded. This means that vital programmes have been unable to start, leaving thousands of displaced people in need. A revised inter-agency Humanitarian Response Plan is set to be released this Thursday (18/01).

“Funding levels are at their lowest for many years, with DRC seeming to have “fallen off the map” for many donors, at a time when we are facing vastly increased humanitarian needs. This is a worrying trend that we hope does not continue throughout 2018. Around the world, displaced people have similar needs, whether it is shelter, health or protection, we need to see a similar level of funding to other crises, ensuring that the needs of displaced Congolese are met appropriately,” said Chauzy.