Posts tagged as: kenya

Africa: Orange Sees Relationship With Start-Ups As Part of Africa’s Broader Digital Transformation

interview

London — Orange is one of a handful of mobile operators on the continent that has taken its relationship with Africa’s emerging start-up ecosystem seriously. It has launched its own incubators, supported pitch competitions and begun to open up its APIs. It sees these relationships as part of a broader digital transformation of Africa.

Sylvain Béletre talked to Roger-Edgar KRA, in charge of Business Development API (Innovation Tech Hub, Open Web Services, Middle East and Africa, Innovation Marketing Technology) in the MEA zone at Orange’s Technocentre.

Q. From your experience in the field, how is the digital transformation of the African continent happening?

A. Local businesses that want to take advantage of new mobile uses, or international companies that see Africa as a growth hub, are designing new products and services using the new digital tools: e-commerce platforms, e-health services, job search platforms, MOOCs, mobile advertising, video and music streaming platforms, money transfer, online insurance, smart metering, etc.

Q. Are these digital solutions meeting the major challenges faced by companies in the region?

A. Digital tools answer some of the major challenges faced by companies in the region: How to better monetize your solutions? How to make your business more attractive, visible and expand internationally, especially at the pan-African level? How to remove intermediaries? How to reduce distribution costs? How to improve customer experience?

These challenges concern all industry sectors: entertainment, agriculture, health, education, transport, energy, retail, etc.

However, creating a digital service in Africa is a real challenge: IT projects dedicated to the integration of technical platforms require investment and time. In a context where smartphones and the use of data are still emerging, and where the majority of customers do not have a credit card, the context is quite different from other regions in the World. Designing a website or an Android application for smartphones and tablets is only a small part of the answer, you must also know how to monetize them, but also design a version for low cost mobile phone/feature phones, via SMS, Vocal or even USSD.

In order to deploy on a large scale, partnering with local telecom operators can boost your footprint. Finally, your media must include the most common payment services. Orange has taken action accordingly.

Q. How does Orange respond to these challenges?

A. Orange has for years set up large infrastructure projects within its African subsidiaries in order to simplify and accelerate access to its resources. With these platforms deployed, Orange is now very active in partnering with local players (entrepreneurs, developers, digital agencies, media, etc.), and creating an open innovation ecosystem, bringing together startups and large corporates.

In order to support developers and save them time and money, Orange offers a suite of new business solutions based on three blocks: communication, distribution and payment.

On payment, the ‘Pay With Orange’ offer allows an Orange mobile customer to be charged for a digital service, by debiting his Orange telephone credit, either once or several times. Orange Money Web Payment allows you to charge an Orange Money customer for a physical or digital service by debiting its Orange Money account.

On improving their communications, Orange’s SMS offer allows companies to send customized and automated SMS, for example an appointment reminder, an order confirmation, or a forgotten password.

To support their distribution, our Offer # 303 # My Store is a pan-African “appstore” in USSD, which allows companies to reference a service in a given category, and to charge for subscription through Pay With Orange and soon via Orange Money.

These offers have been deployed on the continent since 2014, with already strong coverage (12 countries for SMS API, 6 for Orange Money Web Payment).

Q. How many partnerships have you established?

A. To date, more than 700 African startups have subscribed to Orange’s SMS notification service. And 40 services are ‘live’ on portal # 203 # in Cameroon. Dozens of services use our means of payment, monetize video streaming platforms, information portals, video games…

Q. Do you have examples of success stories in Africa?

A. In Senegal, the MLouma startup has created a virtual agricultural platform that publishes real-time information on the price, location and availability of farm products. At its launch, the platform was only available on the Web – making it difficult to access and costly for rural users. Integrating # 303 # My Store has given a very strong impulse to the service: now accessible from any phone, MLouma has gone from 1,000 to 75,000 users in 6 months! In addition, MLouma will be able to federate new users in all the other countries where the platform # 303 # My Store is available without requiring further development. MLouma also integrated the SMS API to alert users of the availability of new products, as well as the MEA DCB service to bill USSD requests.

In Cameroon, the pan-African media group ‘Jeune Afrique’ has produced a USSD version of its news service, referenced on # 203 # in Cameroon; Just like RFI, TV channel ‘France 24’, thus allowing 100% of the Orange customer base to access this service, updated in real time. The pan-African deployment of these services is in progress, on short code # 303 #.

For developers ready to use the Orange APIs, the portal is here:

You can discover other Orange programs related to startups and digital entrepreneurs across Africa, here:

And do not forget, if you are a young startup, you can currently apply for the Orange Social Entrepreneur Prize.

South Africa: Court Ruling On Zuma’s Nuclear Deal Is a Marker of South Africa’s Political Health

analysisBy David Fig, University of Cape Town

The South African government’s plan to bulldoze through a nuclear energy deal has been dealt what might be a fatal blow by the Cape Town High court which has declared the plan invalid. It found that the government had not followed due process in making the decision to pursue a nuclear power option, as well as in other critical areas.

The court’s decision has put paid to President Jacob Zuma’s hopes of clinching the nuclear build programme before leaving office in 2019 if he completes his term.

The case was brought to court by Earthlife Africa and the Southern Africa Faith-Communities’ Environmental Institute. The two NGOs were challenging the way in which the state determined the country’s nuclear power needs. The plan would have seen South Africa purchasing 9,600 megawatts of extra nuclear power.

The judge, Lee Bozalek, ruled the government’s action unconstitutional and found that five decisions it had taken were illegal. These included the government’s decision to go ahead with the nuclear build and the fact that it had handed over the procurement process to the state utility Eskom. The court also ruled that Eskom’s request for information from nuclear vendors, a step taken to prepare the procurement, which ended on 28 April 2017 was invalid.

If it still wants to pursue the nuclear deal the government will have to start all over again. To do so legally it would have to open up the process to detailed public scrutiny. The country’s electricity regulator would have to have a series of public hearings before endorsing what would be its highest ever spend on infrastructure. And any international agreements would have to be scrutinised by parliament.

All this will take time – something Zuma doesn’t have. And it’s unlikely that his successors will be as eager to champion a new deal as he has been. Meanwhile the facts about the deal will become public. This will undoubtedly demonstrate two of the biggest criticisms of the deal to be true: that the country can’t afford it, and that it’s energy needs have shrunk, making the vast investment redundant.

The court’s ruling has turned the nuclear procurement issue into one of the key markers of South Africa’s political health. It’s not yet clear whether the South African government will appeal the Western Cape High Court’s decision, or comply with the judgement. A third option is that Zuma simply ignores the courts and continues to pursue the deal.

Demand and affordability

South Africa currently has more than enough electricity to meet its needs. This wasn’t the case about five years ago when widespread outages hit the country. Since then new electricity generation capacity has been added, through the the rapid roll out of renewables, and the opening up of two new giant coal burning plants. Consumption, particularly by industry, has steadily declined due to faltering economic growth and higher electricity prices. Demand has dropped so much that Eskom plans to close five coal burning power stations.

The argument that the country needs another 9,600 megawatts was identified in documents that produced in 2011. These are now widely acknowledged as being badly out of date. Recent studies by the University of Cape Town’s Energy Research Centre have shown that the country doesn’t need to consider nuclear for another 20 years.

A number of studies have also shot holes in the government’s argument that the country can afford the proposed nuclear build. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has developed models showing that new nuclear is likely to be much more expensive than coal or renewables. The price ticket for nuclear – which some estimates put at more than R1 trillion – doesn’t take into account the costs of operation, fuel, insurance, emergency planning or the regulation or decontamination at the end of the life of the reactors.

It would also impose a financial burden on the country’s fiscus which it can ill afford particularly now that the economy has been rated at junk status.

Ulterior motives

So why is Zuma still pushing for the deal to go ahead? One source of pressure might be the Russians. South Africa’s former energy minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, had been instructed to signed a deal with the Russian utility, Rosatom to build the reactors. South Africa has also already signed nuclear power cooperation agreements with other countries like the US and South Korea, which the court has declared void.

A more likely reason for Zuma’s zeal is the involvement of the Gupta family with whom he has close ties. The family’s web of interests around the nuclear deal are complex.

What is known is that the Gupta family controls South Africa’s only dedicated uranium mine. The family has developed close relationships with key individuals at Eskom. In November last year the country’s then Public Protector pointed to overlapping directorships between Gupta-owned companies and Eskom.

The report also suggested that Brian Molefe, Eskom’s CEO, had a close relationship with the family. These revelations led to his resignation shortly after the report was published.

Another strand in the complex web is the fact that Zuma’s son Duduzane is a business partner of the Guptas while other relatives are directly employed by them.

Despite his determination, Zuma has become increasingly isolated in his quest for nuclear procurement. The African National Congress is clearly divided on the issue. This is evident from the fact that Zuma has resorted to reshuffling his cabinet to make way for more compliant ministers without reference to party officials as would be the norm.

The private sector has also come out against the idea while the list of civil society organisations opposed to nuclear expansion goes well beyond the environmental lobby and includes a broad spectrum of foundations, faith communities, human rights campaigners and defenders of the country’s constitution.

High stakes

The nuclear judgement in Cape Town indicates that South Africa’s legal system has not yet been “captured” by private interests.

The key question is whether Zuma and Eskom will accede to the verdict, or whether they challenge it while continuing to ignore the rule of law. Not only would this subvert the country’s constitution and its democratic form of government, it would also deny the constitutional right to popular participation in energy democracy.

The stakes are high – for the country as well as for the president. Will he continue to treat the country’s energy future with impunity? Or will this judgement symbolise the rollback of the democratic dispensation envisaged by the authors of the country’s constitution?

Disclosure statement

David Fig has had a long association with Earthlife Africa, and serves on the steering committee of the African Uranium Alliance.

Media Freedom in Africa ‘Not Great’

interviewBy Chrispin Mwakideu

Media watchdogs are voicing concern about curbs on press freedom. DW looks at the media in Africa where restrictions range from subtle forms of censorship to imprisonment for journalists just doing their jobs.

Global press freedom has hit a 13-year low, the US rights organization Freedom House said on Friday. Earlier this week, Reporters Without Borders warned that press freedom was facing serious threats in 72 countries. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) maintains that governments are using increasingly sophisticated tactics to control information and limit critiicsm. DW has been talking to CPJ’s advocacy manager, Kerry Paterson.

DW: How would you describe the state of media freedom in Africa?

Kerry Paterson: Not great is the honest answer. Over the past couple of years there are many countries which have frequently been poor performers when it comes to protecting press freedom, but within the last year or two we’ve really seen some slipping in the countries that have traditionally been quite good on press freedom on the continent, countries like Ghana, Kenya, or South Africa. We’ve seen a real slip backwards from countries that used to be continental leaders.

Is there any reason as to why things are getting worse?

Obviously, each of these different countries has very different political situations, but I think local politics has a huge hand in it. We’ve seen a lot of crackdowns on the press from leaders trying to hang on to power – certainly that was true for what happened in Burundi, in Kenya, with this being an election year, you see an increased effort to clamp down and keep the media toeing a government line, so I think that politics ultimately has a pretty large role in it.

Talking about Kenya, the opposition has just appointed its presidential flagbearer. Looking ahead to the August 8 elections in that country does the current political situation favor freedom of the press?

Kenya is certainly one to watch and we will be watching very closely. CPJ put out a special report on Kenya in 2015 looking at the ways in which the government had paid lip service to press freedom but has actually failed to protect journalists or freedom of the press in a meaningful way. Then, in July of this past year, Alan Rusbridger, the former editor of The Guardian and board member for CPJ, did a mission to Kenya where he interviewed many of the same people who were interviewed in our 2015 report and what we found was that by and large, you still see very much the same government pressure to toe the line. You see moves that appear to be quite obviously political but are harder to prove [as such] and when governments threaten to pull out things like financial support or advertizing revenue from newspapers, then those newspapers are often forced or compelled to fall in line. I think the media is seeing itself under a lot of pressure in Kenya, which is troubling in part because Kenya has been a leader in East Africa when it comes to protecting the press. They have a vibrant media there but it’s going to be tough and we’ll be watching closely to make sure journalists are able to cover the elections in a way that is free and fair and responsible and without intimidation or reprisal.

In Cameroon, we’ve seen an RFI journalist Ahmed Abba sentenced to 10 years in prison on terrorism charges. What message does his sentence send to other journalists working in Cameroon?

A pretty terrible one. Cameroon has really deteriorated quite quickly in the last several months. We’ve been tracking other cases since he was arrested. The ten years is obviously a completely ridiculous sentence. What was his crime? It was an act of journalism. So it is absolutely absurd that he has been sentenced at all. But he also faced the death penalty. The idea that this was the lesser of two punishments he was facing is really the staggering part. Cameroon went from having no journalists in jail to arresting Abba – I think Abba is now one of eight journalists currently behind bars in the country. We’ve seen an increase in other forms of pressure on press freedom, internet shutdowns or censorship or threats and intimidation. Denis Nkwebo, who was the head of the journalist syndicate there, had his car blown up outside of his house a couple of years ago. Journalists are really being sent a message that they are being watched and they need to watch what they say, which is, of course, in direct violation of the press freedom promises that these governments make.

To be fair to African countries, though, we’ve been seeing how US President Donald Trump is waging a war on the mainstream media there. Knowing how much influence the US has on the rest of the world, presumably this is not very good for press freedom?

Absolutely. It’s troubling. By no means are our concerns on press freedom limited to Africa. We see issues of surveillance and attacks on the press in Britain, in France, in America, in Canada. We’re seeing a real clampdown on freedoms that shouldn’t be taken for granted, but has been taken for granted in those countries. As far as Donald Trump is concerned, it is really troubling because it sends a message that it is OK to behave this way, that it’s OK to imprison journalists, that it is OK to dismiss news you don’t like as being fake. You see that he is leading less. You see that echoed by other leaders, you see that with Erdogan in Turkey, you see that with President Xi in China. These are countries that embrace censorship and are silencing dissenting and critical voices. Donald Trump is certainly not doing things at that level yet, but the rhetoric he uses and the way he engages with press certainly suggests a similar animosity towards them which is really troubling, not just for journalists operating in America, but for the message it sends to leaders around the world.

Kerry Paterson is the advocacy manager for the Committee To Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Nigeria: Court Remands Doctor in Prison for Allegedly Raping Patient

An Upper Area Court sitting at Pankshin in Plateau on Friday remanded a medical doctor, Philemon Brazil, in prison for allegedly raping his patient.

Brazil, however, pleaded not guilty to the offence.

The Judge, Mr Joseph Chollom ordered the remand of Brazil in custody and adjourned the case to May 22 for further mention.

The Prosecutor, Sgt. Singbon Hosea, told court that the defendant committed the offence on April 25 at the home of his victim.

Hosea explained that the rape victim had a history of miscarriages and had been a patient of the doctor before the incident.

“But my lord, on that fateful day, April 25, when he visited the patient as usual, he went too far by forcing himself on her and ended up raping her.

“By that action, the accused has committed offences of rape and act of gross indecency, contrary to and punishable under Section 283 and 285 of the Penal Code.”

He said that after the arrest of the doctor, the police conducted HIV test on him and that the result was negative.

Hosea also told court that after the rape, woman suffered yet another miscarriage.

The prosecutor asked court to remand the accused in prison, pending completion of investigation on the matter

Nigeria

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Liberia: Nocal Donates U.S.$100K to Mental Health Research Institution

By Henry Karmo

Monrovia — The National Oil Company has presented a check of US$100,000 to the Liberia Center for Outcome Research in Mental Health (LICORMH) as support to government, in an effort to reduce drug addiction and substance use disorder in Liberia.

The money has been provided in partnership with TGS NOPEC’s an oil exploration company exploring Liberia for oil in commercial quantity.

The US$100K project will be implemented in Montserrado and Margibi Counties. According to NOCAL the objectives of the project is among many things to address the rising rates of addiction in Liberia through provider capacity development.

The project aims to train a cadre of addiction specialist in Liberia, build a multi-specialty center for mental health disorders and addiction that includes short-term crisis stabilization and treatment, and preventing the primary and secondary substance use disorders and addiction among adolescents and young adults.

The rationale of the project according Mr. Ambulah Mamey NOCAL’s Public education officer is to develop a short term plan to address issues of substance use disorders in Liberia.

He said currently there is no specialized center in Liberia to offer complete standardized treatment for persons with substance use disorders (PSUD).

Mr. Mamey believes Liberia’s weak law enforcement capacity, porous border control and proximity to major drugs transit routes contributes to an uptick in drug trafficking to and through Liberia.

“The number of addicts and people with substance use disorder in Liberia keep increasing.”

“There is very limited scientific and evidence based approach to treatment, care and reduction and prevention,” he said.

Mr. Mamey claims that repeated efforts by the Liberian National police to raid addicts and drugs user off the streets has failed to adequately address the problem because the approach is wrong.

“The lack of specialized center in Liberia that offers evidence-based standardized treatment for people with addiction problems has been another major challenge,” he added.

Liberia has one psychiatric hospital that provides treatment to persons with mental health and substance use disorder, and he believes that center has limited accommodation.

“The project is linked to the government of Liberia’s National Mental Health Policy and strategic plan which calls for the construction of wellness units in the 15 counties.

Under this project one wellness unit will be constructed and furnished,” he added.

The project provides short-term crisis stabilization and treatment for people with mental illness and will also train 10 addiction specialists to international standard, thus increasing the number of the internationally certified addiction specialist in country.

Drugs addicts (Zogos or Zogese) as they are commonly called occupy a unique place in Liberian history and in our contemporary national life.

The legacy of the civil war and the discrimination and stigma that they continue to face is a stark reminder of their lowly social and economic standing in Liberian society.

Clearly, numerous studies have continued to link mental health problems and the risk of suicide as well as alcohol and drug use disorders.

In the case of Zogos, it is fair to say that no such evidence exist of their mental illness, although their possible drug use and alcohol abuse and the linkages to mental health issues is inferred.

This does not excuse people in the general Liberian population who themselves are at risk of suicide given the pervasive use of illicit substances in the society, and the unresolved traumas from the war and other incidents of violence and communal deaths.

But here, the focus is on Zogos given that they are understudied and their lowly socioeconomic status, which explains the gross neglect that they face.

The death of Zogos and Zogese in Greater Monrovia and Harbel respectively, possibly as a result of suicide could mean that the society has a looming epidemic on its hands.

The time has come for the society to ask: Why are many Zogos dying from a possible suicidal fate?

Gambia: PS Ceesay Says Malaria Control Requires Joint Partnership

By Momodou Faal

Dawda Ceesay, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has stated that Malaria control requires joint partnership, as the task for Malaria control is colossal but it has to be tackled head on by the Gambian population.

PS Ceesay made this remark on Monday at the commemoration of World Malaria Day at Essau in the North Bank Region (NBR).

The event was organised by the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare through support from the Global Fund and partners.

PS Ceesay pointed out that The Gambia through the National Malaria Control Programme has put in place key strategies to combat Malaria in the country and among them includes the following interventions; free distribution of long lasting insecticide treated nets, to meet universal coverage, targets free access to reproductive and child health services, including prompt and effective treatment for Malaria, Indoor Residual spraying across the country and wide spread community education for behavioural change among others.

Ebrima K. Dampha, the governor of NBR, in his welcoming remarks, said Malaria is the leading cause of deaths for children under five years of age and World Health Organisation estimates that 3000 people die of Malaria everyday.

He pointed out that pregnant women and their unborn babies are particularly vulnerable to malaria, when a woman is pregnant, her immunity is reduced, making her more vulnerable to Malaria infection with dangerous consequences such as abortion, stillbirth, premature delivery and low birth weight.

He thanked the National Malaria Control Programme and their partners for hosting the event in his region.

Balla Kandeh, programme manager of the National Malaria Control Programme stated that World Malaria Day set a platform for intensive debate so that education and awareness levels on malaria are substantially and widely disseminated, noting that the day came as a result of the historic Abuja Summit where 44 African heads of State and Government representatives met in the year 2000 and made a declaration to halve burden of Malaria by 2015.

He added that the day provides countries the opportunity to soberly reflect on the efforts made on tracking the scorch of malaria, noting that it is a moment for stock taken and to renew political commitment, increase advocacy, communication and social mobilisation for Malaria control and prevention.

He thanked Global Fund, WHO, UNICEF and all the partners in the Roll Back Malaria for their support towards the fight against Malaria.

In another development EcoBank donated D52,000 to the NMCP as part of their contribution towards the fight against Malaria. Ebrima Jammeh presented the cheaque noted that the bank has made similar donations to 32 countries in Africa.

Gambia

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Liberia: LTA, Partners End Int’l Internet Workshop

The Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) and partners have ended a two-day international workshop on ICANN (the Internet Cooperation for Assigned Names and Numbers) Ecosystem and top level Domain Names management in Monrovia.

According to a press release, the mission of the ICANN is to, among others, coordinate the allocation and assignment of the three sets of unique identifiers for the internet, which include Domain Names, Internet Protocol addresses and autonomous system numbers as well as Protocol Port and Parameter Numbers.

The ICANN also seeks to coordinate the operation and evolution of the Domain Names (DNS) root name server system and coordinate policy development reasonably and appropriately related to the above mentioned technical functions.

The workshop, which was attended by dozens of representatives from the telecommunications and internet sectors of West African nations as well as the leaderships of the ICANN and the West Africa Telecommunications Regulatory Assembly, was aimed at building the capacity of participants about the ICANN and teaching them about the ICANN Ecosystem and many other issues that are relevant mainly to Liberia.

At the climax of the workshop Tuesday, several key issues in the telecommunications industry were put forward during various presentations by visiting experts of the sub-region.

Topics highlighted include the need to support the Domain Names (DNS) industry in Africa, ICANN’s contribution to internet security, and Domain Names dispute resolution.

Liberia

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Gambia: Agriculture Project Worth Over D.5 Million Inaugurated in Foni Sintet

By Sheriff Barry

An agricultural project worth D714,375 (seven hundred and fourteen thousand three hundred and seventy five dalasis), inaugurated in Sintet village in the Foni Jarrol district, sponsored by Engelhart on Saturday. The CEO and founder of Fonteris Company in Germany who is a member of Socialis for The Gambia was present.

The inauguration came as several members of the Socialis for The Gambia are in the country to visit some of their project sites. Their first port of call was Sannehmentereng Kindergarten and Lower Basic School in Brufut. This school has received unprecedented support, including free education, uniforms, scholarship, a skills centre, infrastructure and other amenities worth millions of Dalasis.

The Socialis for The Gambia is a German charitable organization based in The Gambia. The organization has been instrumental in providing support in education and agriculture at both Sannehmentereng Kindergarten and Lower Basic School in Brufut and the community of Sinteh in Foni Jarrol District since its inception. The relationship between the organization and the community of Sinteh was started in 2010 by Lamin Sowe, a native of the village who has lived in Germany for many years.

In his inaugural speech, Hatab Beyai, the coordinator of Socialis for The Gambia, spoke of the importance of the project, describing it as a milestone achievement not only for the people of the area, but for the country as a whole. “With the dedication and hard work of all members of the association the Sinteh Skill Centre was officially opened in providing free skills training for the youth of the area.”

He went on to add that, it is envisaged that providing knowledge and training for citizens is an empowerment tool for the sustainable development of their livelihood. Socialis for The Gambia has partnered with the government of The Gambia for the past couple of years in complementing the efforts of the government in the provision of free education for all, regardless of sex or tribe and, “today we are proud to inform the gathering that we are providing free education to over 600 students our Lower Basic School in Burufut, 45 students at our skills centre in Brufut and over 40 students in our skills centre in Sintet.”

He finally, thanked the members of Socialis for The Gambia for their unflinching support and also acknowledged the contribution of other people who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure the project came to fruition. Among those he thanked was Lamin Sowe, a native of Sintet and Executive member of Socialis for The Gambia, Samba Sowe coordinator Sintet project, the contractor, the seamstress and students of Sintet Skill Centre and the community of Sintet village.

For his part, Engelhart, the CEO and founder of Fonteris Company in Germany, who is the main sponsor of the Agricultural project, said the idea of the project came when he was invited to go to Kenya by a group of German friends who has established meaningful agricultural projects in Kenya. He stated that those projectshave been exporting produce to Germany.

This, he said, inspired him to start a similar project in The Gambia so that in the near future it can also bring success and development to the inhabitants of the area. “In my opinion this was a reasonable project, this is why I founded this through Socialis for The Gambia. This project is intended as ‘help for self help’. The only way to move forward is through sustainable help that keeps on working after we are gone. If we all work together to help you and you help yourself; success will be achieved for the betterment of all and sundry. I will continue to work with you and give support where necessary to achieve the desired goal,” he said.

He thanked the members of the Socialis for Ther Gambia and all those who contributed in one way or the other for making it a successful project.

Samba Sowe, the coordinator of project, underscored the significance of the project saying the organization built a skills training centre for the community which is now training the youth and women in tailoring. The vision of the centre, he added, is to ensure that the youth and women are involved in the development agenda of the country and that they be given the support they need to build their capacity to be responsible citizens.

He added that its mission is to provide skills training for the rural youth and women in the areas of tailoring and agriculture so as to help job-creators who will generate income and live independent lives.

The two newly constructed agricultural buildings are to train farmers in modern farming techniques and agro-based processing to drive and empower the youth of the area to nurture agriculture and discourage going the back way to Europe. The building contains offices, classrooms, workshops and a proposed storage (cooling) room for the operation of the centre.

He thanked both the philanthropists for their unflinching support and for their vision and mission to transform the lives of the needy communities.

A host of other speakers, included Karin Neumuller, the Co-president of Socialis for The Gambia and Josef Kiener; one of the visiting members of the Socialis for The Gambia. All were overwhelmed by the performance and achievement of the organization over the years and they assured their continued support for the project.

I Supported Man United As a Kid, Reveals Wanyama

Photo: Victor Wanyama

Victor Wanyama

By Timothy Olobulu

Nairobi — Among local football fans, the greatest rivalry as far as the English Premier League is concerned has always between Arsenal and Manchester United.

Kenya’s biggest football export, Victor Wanyama, who also skippers the national team Harambee Stars has revealed that he isn’t very far from such rivalry despite currently playing for Tottenham Hotspur, saying he supported Manchester United as a kid.

“When I was young playing in the streets with my friends, I used to watch a lot of games on TV. I used to watch the English Premier League. I loved it and I wanted to play in the EPL so bad since I was young.”

“Growing up I was a Manchester United fan, I used to love how they play and I loved some of the players there,” Wanyama revealed in an interview with CNN.

The burly midfielder who has been a cog in the Tottenham side this season since signing from Southampton FC in a 12-million-pound move has also revealed he looked up to Roy Keane when he began his football journey and has underscored his desire to meet him in person some day.

Mugubi, as he is now fondly referred as back home is expected to play another sterling role on Sunday evening when his Spurs side takes on Arsenal in the North London derby, a match that will be crucial in their outside bid to be crowned EPL champions.

“Everyone is expecting a tough game; it will be a great game for both teams. It is a game that always has a great atmosphere and it will be a nice game to play. This is one of the biggest games of the season and we have to go there and do our best,” the midfielder further states in the interview>

Spurs are four points behind leaders Chelsea and a win against Arsenal who have been on a resurgence coupled with a loss by Chelsea at the hands of Everton will inch them closer to a first EPL title since 1961.

Already, Spurs on 74 points have surpassed their best ever points haul in a season.

“Everything is possible we just have to take game by game and see what will come of it at the end of the season,” an optimistic Wanyama says.

The midfielder at the same time went on to reveal his strong religious beliefs, saying his faith is all-encompassing and helps him as a man and as a footballer.

“Sometimes it fills me up. Not only mentally, but physically as well. You feel the spirit. It’s important to have faith and it also plays a big part in my career,” Wanyama told CNN.

He also revealed that during his three seasons at Southampton, one of many clubs providing spiritual support to their players, he would often visit the club’s chaplain to talk about faith and football.

“We would talk about how you can have the relationship [between faith and football] and talk about how football can change people,” he said.

A lover of sports who seeks to tell the African story in an African way. Top ten finalist of the Abu Dhabi Sports Media Pearl Awards. Be it on the pitch, court, track, pool or course, the story will be told. On twitter @KakaTimm

Kenya

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Rwanda: Mastercard U.S.$1 Million Grant Set to Ignite Business Growth in Rwanda

In support of Rwanda’s Sustainable Development Goals, the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growthhas confirmed its commitment to a grant of up to USD$1 million over three years to support the growth of small business owners in Rwanda.

According to a press statement by Mastercard, to ensure that the first phase of the roll out of the grant is successful, Mastercard has partnered with theAfrican Entrepreneur Collective (AEC), locally known as Inkomoko. The team develops and grooms entrepreneurs in industries such as technology, agriculture and energy – three of East Africa’s biggest and fastest growing sectors, and priorities in Rwanda.

Announced during at the 2016 World Economic Forum on Africa (WEF Africa) in Kigali, Rwanda, Mastercard committed to supporting Rwanda’s vision of financially empowering its citizens, with the grant established to support achieving this goal. The commitment is in line with driving poverty out of Rwanda through job creation, ensuring gender equality through equal access to opportunities, and delivering decent work prospects which will enable economic growth.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners are key drivers of the local economy – currently making up 97.8 percent of the private sector in the country.Inkomoko’s one-year programme removes the barriers local entrepreneurs face in the areas of skills development, networks, and financing, through providing mentoring, technical support, capacity building, and direct access to affordable capital. What makes the partnership between Mastercard and Inkomokouniqueis the support of both Rwandan nationals as well as some of the 160,000 refugees currently living in Rwanda.

In collaboration with the United Nations Agency on Refugees (UNHCR), the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR) and MastercardCenter for Inclusive Growth, Inkomokowill roll out aprogramme aimed at fostering the social and economic independence of refugees in Rwanda.With a large population of refugees, the role of private and public partnerships remains crucial to the inclusive growth and development of all those displaced. Mastercard, together with the African

Entrepreneur Collective,has committed to assisting entrepreneurs in Rwanda regardless of their circumstances, a vision shared and driven by the Rwandan government. “Connecting entrepreneurs, especially women and refugees, to the networks that power the modern world – like financial services – unlocks their economic potential and accelerates a cycle of equitable and sustainable economic growth,” says Shamina Singh, President of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth.

The Inkomoko entrepreneurship programme aims to restore the dignity of refugees living in Rwanda by empowering these small business owners with vital support to grow their businesses. The programmewill work with 4,000 refugees in Rwandaover the next three years.

“The intention is to connectrefugees with the tools and skills necessary to enable them to become self-sufficient and independent entrepreneurs to improve their own livelihoods, create jobs for others in their communities, and contribute to Rwanda’s larger economic development. Rwanda’s refugee camps and host communities are places of vibrant social and economic activity with bustling markets, shops, restaurants, and industries,” says Julienne Oyler, Executive Director of African Entrepreneur Collective.

Supporting and developing entrepreneurs in these areas will have tremendous impact on the communities themselves and the country at large.Rwandahas become a bustling centre of commerce in Africa, and by implementing programmes that broadly target high potential local entrepreneurs, broad-based economic growth can be advanced by equipping the country’s next generation of business owners with the right tools to hone their financial literacy – the foundation of financial inclusion and growth.

In this way, the support provided as part of the grant not only falls in with the country’s Vision 2020 strategy to create a knowledge-based, cashless economy with 90 percent financial inclusion, it also contributes to Rwanda meeting its Sustainable Development Goals, most notably in terms of eradicating poverty and driving gender equality through the empowerment and entrepreneurship.

Facilitating inclusive growth is an important way to build social and economic development, and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth remains committed to working with partners in both the public and private spheres to drive that development.

“Microentrepreneurs drive the local economy, and through our partnership with African Entrepreneur Collective, we look forward to empowering them with the tools and training to grow their businesses and advance the lives of their families and communities,” concludes Singh.

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