Africa has to provide employment opportunities for its youth if it is to harness their potential and contribute to the desired economic growth outlined in the vision of Agenda 2063.
The call was made by officials from the African Union (AU) (www.AU.int), the NEPAD Agency (www.NEPAD.org) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org) at the opening of the second annual Programme for Infrastructure Development (PIDA) Week currently underway in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. This year’s gathering organized under the theme, “Creating Jobs through Regional Infrastructure Development,” has drawn over 250 participants and stakeholders representing Member States, private sector, development partners and project owners.
PIDA, a multi-sectoral programme covers transport, energy, transboundary water and ICT, is dedicated to facilitate continental integration in Africa through improved regional infrastructure.
PIDA week 2016 will showcase and validate the relevance of regional infrastructure (PIDA) projects and the impact thereof on the socio-economic development of Africa and particularly on job creation for the youth.
In her statement H.E. Dr. Elham M.A. Ibrahim, AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, said, “PIDA should play an important role in narrowing the gap between job creation and unemployment. To that end, public decision-makers and private sector management are urged to actively undertake training and skills acquisition in infrastructure development, particularly in building roads, rail systems, power generation and power transmission systems in order to enable young Africans to be well prepared for the implementation of complex programmes such as PIDA.”
The week’s events intend to build on the achievement of the inaugural event held in 2015 to increase the visibility of PIDA projects, reach out to the global infrastructure investor community, development finance institutions, export credit agencies, project sponsors (public and private) and governments.
NEPAD Agency CEO, Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki underscored that if Africa is to be successful in increasing the number of regional and domestic infrastructure projects and their impact, changes are needed in mind-set, policy pronouncements and programme implementation. He indicated that there is a need to continue with the positive streamlining of trans-boundary infrastructure projects as highlighted in PIDA and complementary initiatives.
“Africa stands to benefit from its critical human resources, the young people, who must be nurtured to enable their meaningful participation in national development efforts and I believe that infrastructure development is central to this,” said Dr Mayaki.
In his address, AfDB acting Vice President Stephan Nalletamby, outlined, “PIDA’s continued importance for Africa’s transformation and insisted that the programme was “solid, sustainable and attainable objectives for 2030.”
“We have selected our destination and we are going to get there, as long as we can be assured of excellence in our infrastructure and total reliability in its implementation and operation on the ground. The PIDA programme is at the front of our thinking. We consider it to be critical for Africa’s integration agenda,” Nalletamby told participants. “PIDA has the unique feature of being the first African infrastructure development agenda, designed by Africans and fully owned and endorsed at the highest level by African Heads of State and Government. So it has to succeed,” he concluded.
PIDA Week 2016 will also focus on reporting key achievements. The PIDA Progress Report 2016, shared after the opening ceremony, highlighted the need to de-risk infrastructure and PIDA projects to solicit interest from private sector investors as well as domestic and international investors. The Continental Business Network, CBN, has provided the platform to engage private sectors stakeholders. The 2016 report also give an overview of progress made with the 16 priority PIDA projects agreed upon at the 2014 Dakar Financing Summit.
In addition to progress and successes, the report presents a candid review of the challenges and lessons learnt to ensure continued accelerated implementation of PIDA projects.
U.S. Embassy Cairo Brings American “Writers’ Room” to Egypt
By: Segun Lawal
the U.S. Embassy collaborated with the Middle East Media Initiative (MEMI), and Egyptian script development and screenwriters hub Birthmark Scenario to conduct a weeklong series of workshops for television scriptwriters. These workshops provided Egyptian screenwriters with face-to-face access to expert American screenwriters in order to exchange ideas and to learn about the “Writers’ Room” format widely used in the U.S. television industry.
This initiative is part of the Embassy’s support for Egypt’s creative arts industries and the next generation of promising Egyptian screenwriters.
David Isaacs (Cheers, Mad Men), Larry Balmagia (M*A*S*H), Larry Andries (Six Feet Under, Alias), and Terri Kopp (In Contempt, Law & Order) led workshops for selected Egyptian showrunners, screenwriters, and producers.
“This workshop opportunity offered established and emerging Egyptian TV writers and producers valuable tools to develop and sell Egyptian stories in the global TV marketplace.” said Deana Nassar, MEMI Program Director. The initiative also aims to create deep and lasting professional connections between the creative arts communities of both countries.
The Middle East Media Initiative (MEMI) is a program supported by the U.S. Department of State in cooperation with the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. MEMI produces trainings and creative collaborations between TV, media, and digital professionals in the U.S. and the Middle East. MEMI brings leading and emerging Egyptian producers and screenwriters to the U.S. for script development workshops, masterclasses with top American TV showrunners, and job shadowing opportunities on American TV shows.
Standard Chartered launches second wave of digital-only retail banks across four African markets
Standard Chartered today announced the start of the second phase of its digital-only retail bank across Africa. In response to growing consumer demand for innovative banking services on the continent, the Bank will launch its digital solution in four key markets during the first quarter of 2019 starting in Uganda in January, followed by Tanzania in February, with Ghana and Kenya to follow.
Following the successful launch of Standard Chartered’s first digital retail bank in Côte d’Ivoire last year, the second phase builds on the original CDI platform that onboards clients in under 15 minutes and provides 70 of the most common service requests. The updated digital bank provides enhanced services including QR code and P2P payments, loan and overdraft facilities, and instant fixed deposits. Clients will be able to enjoy the convenience of banking on the go, anytime and anywhere, along with a consistent online experience.
The roll out will also see the Bank engage in strategic local alliances to create an appealing lifestyle banking proposition to provide clients offers across shopping, travel and dining.
Commenting on the second phase of the launch, Sunil Kaushal, Regional CEO, Africa and Middle East said:“We are thrilled to launch the second phase of our digital-only retail banks across other African markets. The Bank continues to make strategic and sustainable investments in technology – this complements our innovation agenda, as well as enhance our digital offerings and client experiences. Digitising Africa and facilitating access to financial services remains at the heart of our business strategy for the region.”
Africa’s banking market is the second-fastest-growing and second-most profitable globally. The retail banking sector is a locus of new business models which are emerging in response to low levels of banking penetration and heavy use of cash in the Sub-Saharan continent.
Commenting on the launch of the digital bank in Uganda, Governor, Central Bank Governor Prof. Emmanuel Mutebile said “There will continue to be disruption in the Banking sector. Institutions that fail to keep up might lose out and at the very worst be pushed out of business in the long run, however, this disruption to bank business models works in the interest of customers and the general populace. I therefore congratulate Standard Chartered Bank on unveiling this revolutionary digital initiative as I believe that with such innovations, we are making significant progress in embracing technological changes and digitization to help us achieve stable and long-term growth.”
To support the digital bank roll out across the four markets, aimed at driving digital adoption amongst new and existing clients focusing on young digital natives, the Bank will also launch a marketing campaign dubbed ‘//BEUNSTOPPABLE’, Bank on the go! The campaign will run across traditional and social media to remind consumers that banking should not stop them from doing what they love to do, and when they want to do them.
In Uganda, Standard Chartered has also partnered with popular Ugandan entertainer and comedian Anne Kansiime to drive awareness of the new digital bank in the market. As part of her role, Anne will be promoting the bank’s digital banking capabilities and will lend her voice and image rights through a series of Marketing and Community engagement activities over the next 12 months.
The Bank’s digital services are available by downloading the Standard Chartered mobile application via the Google play store or Apple store.
U.S. Government program improves lives of 600,000 orphans and vulnerable children
By: Segun Lawal
Today at Golden Conifer in Harare, the United States celebrated the World Education Inc. Vana Bantwana program together with the Ministry of Public Service, Labour, and Social Welfare. With funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Vana Bantwana program successfully reached over 600,000 orphans and vulnerable children with the tools and support they need to unlock their potential and live healthy, productive lives.
USAID/Zimbabwe Acting Mission Director Michael McCord stated: “The United States is proud to partner with the people of Zimbabwe to mitigate the impact of the HIV epidemic on children. World Education’s work through the Vana Bantwana program exemplifies USAID’s mission to empower countries, communities, families, and individuals to lead their own future.”
Launched in 2013, the $35 million USAID-funded Vana Bantwana program supported comprehensive, quality education, health, and child protection services for HIV-infected and affected children and families. The program provided educational scholarships for over 50,000 children, including 2,300 children with disabilities. More than 30,000 families participated in training to improve economic resilience. Half a million children received critical health services, including 11,000 children who were initiated on HIV treatment. The program empowered 300,000 children to identify and prevent gender-based violence and provided gender-based violence response services, including medical, legal, and counseling support.
World Education Zimbabwe Country Director Patience Ndlovu stated: “World Education, together with our partners, are deeply gratified by the impact of our program on the lives of the most vulnerable Zimbabweans. By strengthening the capacity of families, community structures, local organizations, and national social protection and health systems, this transformation will continue long past the program’s completion.”
Although much progress has been made in the past decade, HIV remains one of the top health threats facing the people of Zimbabwe. Since 2000, over 1.2 million adults have died from AIDS, leaving 16 percent of Zimbabwean children orphaned by one or both of their parents. As of 2017, an estimated 77,000 children in Zimbabwe are living with HIV.
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