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Africa Staff Writer

Experts meeting on the implementation of ECOVISA

Download logoThe ECOWAS Commission is convening an Experts‘ Meeting on the implementation of ECOVISA from October 11-13, 2022 in Abuja, Nigeria. The meeting which is in fulfilment of the mandate of the ECOVISA Task Force, is to enable the latter to present its report and the study’s recommendations for validation by Member States’ Experts.

The meeting is also an opportunity to discuss other emerging issues related to the implementation of ECOVISA such as the validation of the terms of reference for the recruitment of competent local service providers to develop the technology to be used for ECOVISA.

The recommendations from this Expert’s Meeting will be taken forward for adoption at the highest level.

The 3-day meeting will bring together Experts in charge of issuance of visas, Experts in charge of control of visas at entry points as well as participants from the ECOWAS Commission and GIZ-AUBP.

For reference, the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government mandated the ECOWAS Commission to develop the modalities for the smooth implementation of the ECOVISA for Migrants of third countries. In realization of this mandate, the ECOWAS Commission in collaboration with GIZ-AUBP launched a study on the modalities for harmonization of Visa procedures and process in the ECOWAS region. An ECOVISA Task Force was set up and series of Experts‘ meetings held with Experts from Burkina Faso, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Federal Republic of Nigeria and Senegal in April, 2022 to examine the findings of the study. This Experts‘ meeting is therefore, to ensure the final validation to pave the way for the implementation of the ECOVISA.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

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Africa Staff Writer

President Ramkalawan attends the Teachers Awards Presentation Ceremony

Download logoThe President of the Republic, Mr. Wavel Ramkalawan, attended the Teachers Awards Presentation Ceremony at the Nayopi Business Centre, Providence yesterday afternoon to mark the 32nd Anniversary of Teachers’ Day Celebration in Seychelles. The President had the Honour of presenting Mrs. Uguette Estro and Mrs. Davina Julie who has clocked 44 years of service in the profession with the Award for Longest Serving Teachers. Mrs. Estro and Mrs. Julie will both be taking their retirement in December.

The ceremony was attended by the Vice President of the Republic of Seychelles, Mr. Ahmed Afif, Minister for Education, Dr. Justin Valentin, other Cabinet Ministers, Principal Secretaries, Teachers’ Day Organising Committee, officials from the Ministry of Education, award recipients, teachers, and other distinguished guests.

In his remarks at the ceremony, the President hailed the devotion of all teachers. “I want to congratulate you all on your achievements and thank all teachers for their dedication in this profession. The Government will continue to support educational institutions as they play an important role in the country's development. We will restart our visits to different schools to better understand different issues. Continue to give the best to our students and empower them to become good citizens. I wish you all the best of luck as you continue your journey in this vocation,” said the President.

In his address, the Minister for Education, Dr. Valentin said also commended and recognised the hard work of all teachers. For those retiring, the Minister expressed his wish that they partake their experiences to those still in teaching, as they are beacons in the reform currently taking place in this Ministry.

He called upon those that have clocked 25 years in service as well as all other teachers to join him and the management of Education in this transformation process and to make learning a memorable experience for all students in a conducive environment.

“This ceremony is very important as we witness teachers who have given the best of themselves and devoted their time to teaching. For those who have served for over 40 years, our doors will always remain open and if ever you want to come and give a helping hand, we would appreciate that, as we need you in this transformation taking place in the Ministry. I urged those that will continue teaching to join hands together, to have better in-context teaching as we want to give you a better experience in teaching and we want all students under your responsibility to have the best out of you,” said the Minister.

In relation to the ceremony that takes place annually, Dr. Valentin underlined the necessity to review the way it is organised so that teachers under 25 years in service including those in private schools can attend the event and be inspired by the achievements of those receiving the awards. Finally, the Minister also called upon more men to join the education profession.

A total of 22 teachers received certificates for their commitment and hard work during twenty-five years of service in education while 16 teachers who have retired or are retiring at the end of the year received awards for their long years of dedication to the profession.

During the ceremony, there was also a reflection by Miss Roselys Adeline from La Misère primary school, a gospel song, and a teacher’s hymn by the Teacher’s Choir. This was followed by a short story by Ashlee Louise; a pupil from Plaisance primary school, a poem by Miss Stephanie Joubert; the Counsellor of Mont Fleuri Secondary, and testimony by the Director General for institutional support services at the Ministry of Education, Mr. Bernard Arnephy on behalf of Mr. Michael the Head-Teacher of Praslin Secondary School.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of State House – Office of the President of the Republic of Seychelles.

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Mali Staff Writer

Stakeholders review African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) financial management and audit

Download logoThe African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) has concluded a three-day workshop in Mombasa, Kenya, to review the mission’s financial management and audit status and update stakeholders on the implementation of the mission’s objectives.

Participants at the three-day workshop included representatives from ATMIS police and troop contributing countries, namely Burundi, Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Djibouti, and Uganda, officials from ATMIS, and key departments of the African Union Commission that are crucial for the management of peace support operations, financial and human resource management, and audit.

During the workshop, participants were updated on the progress and financial management of the mission, including processing of liabilities regarding death and disability, troop allowances, and third-party claims.

The Acting Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (DSRCC) for Somalia, Fiona Lortan, said the workshop provided stakeholders an opportunity to challenges faced in the management of funds provided by the EU, UN and other partners, in particular with regard to processing of death and disability claims, missing in action, and other liabilities.

“ATMIS receives funding from the European Union. In addition, we have a financial package from the United Nations for logistical support. So, we are here to discuss management and accounting to ensure that the funds provided are properly accounted for,” said Lortan.

The workshop also examined the database management system, identified ways to improve financial and internal control systems involving troop allowances, death and disability compensation payments, and reviewed the assets of the mission.

Participants discussed ATMIS’s funding and audit status, and were briefed on the mission’s audit reports from key funding partners that include European Union and the United Kingdom.

Other issues discussed included a status report on compensation for death and disability of ATMIS personnel including clearing of the backlog, ATMIS Board of Inquiry challenges, and ATMIS Standard Operating Procedures.

A status report on the compensation of death and disability claims from 2007 to 2020 was presented at the workshop by the AU Head of Peace and Security Finance Division, Selidji Gbaguidi.

Kenya’s Vice Chief of Defence Forces, Lt. Gen. Francis Omondi Ogolla, who officiated at the opening, underscored the need for speedy processing of compensation for death and disability.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).

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Liberia Staff Writer

FIFA team inspects Projects in Liberia

The video below is copyright free and can be used at will, without asking for authorizationWatch the videoAt the end of September, a FIFA (www.FIFA.com) delegation travelled to Liberia to inspect the new infrastructure that has emerged thanks to the long-term work of the Liberia Football Association (LFA), supported by the world football body and its FIFA Forward Programme.

Download images: https://fifa.fans/3rzjSxl
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FIFA.Contact for African media: [email protected] 
Media filesDownload logo

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Liberia Staff Writer

Bright Future Beckons for Liberia

Download logoLiberia rolling out ambitious pilot development schemes; refurbishment of the Antoinette Tubman Stadium and construction of head offices for national FA; projects funded with the aid of the FIFA Forward Programme.

In late September, a FIFA delegation travelled to Liberia to tour the new facilities that the Liberia Football Association (LFA) has worked hard to put in place, with the assistance of world football’s governing body and its FIFA Forward Programme.

“On behalf of the people of Liberia, I would like to express my gratitude to you once again for your visit,” said LFA President Mustapha Raji. “My thanks to the FIFA Council for having approved and launched FIFA Forward, a programme that has changed the dynamics of Liberian football and the development of infrastructure in our country.”

The focal point of the pilot project, which was put on hold as a result of the pandemic, was the refurbishment of the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, starting with its lighting system. “We are proud of what has been achieved here with the installation of a cutting-edge floodlight system,” said Carlos Gazapo, FIFA Infrastructure & Environment Manager, who is heading up FIFA Forward infrastructure projects.

The city’s main football stadium, the ATS has been unable to host evening matches for several years now on account of its defective floodlights. Thanks to the new system, it can now host night matches across all age groups, giving the general population an opportunity to enjoy some recreation after work and school hours.

“Having these floodlights is a real boost,” commented LFA Vice-President Sekou Konneh. “Schoolchildren who don’t have such facilities in their neighbourhoods can now come and sit and watch matches or even do their homework.”

Women’s football in the spotlight

The extension of the stadium’s operating hours means it can now host more women’s football matches. “Many girls go to school during the day and they’re thrilled to be able to come here and play at night,” said LFA Deputy Vice-President and Head of Women’s Football Jodie Reid Seton. “It’s important that FIFA continues to support the national FA and women’s football in particular. It will encourage new approaches and ensure that more girls play the game and take part in FIFA’s women’s football development campaign. It will help us to train more female coaches too.” A giant LED screen has also been installed at Liberia’s legendary national stadium. As well as displaying the score it can also screen advertisements, helping to generate income that can be put towards the upkeep of the venue.

The Samuel K. Do Stadium, which backs on to the ATS, has also undergone extensive refurbishment work, the idea being to broaden the appeal of the city’s main football venue, which is home to the local footballing community, and the services it offers. “Our plan was to install three artificial pitches, renovate the roof on the stand, which has a capacity of 600, and refurbish the dressing room,” explained Diop El Hadji Wack, the head of FIFA’s regional development office in Dakar, Senegal. “As you can see, these renovations are complete and the federation is now in a position to organise league matches and club training sessions. Players can now enjoy playing better football on standard pitches that reduce the risk of injury.”

In further good news for Liberia, construction of the LFA’s first head offices will very soon be complete. The new headquarters will allow the federation to run all its activities from a single location and to make the most of all its resources. Also built with FIFA Forward funding, the offices will provide a fresh boost for the development of the game in Liberia and reflect the desire of FIFA President Gianni Infantino (https://fifa.fans/3CF04yR) to make football truly global.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FIFA.Contact for African media: 
[email protected]

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Africa Staff Writer

Nearly half of world’s terror victims are African, with organised crime increasingly entrenched

Download logoThe threat of terrorism and organised crime is becoming increasingly entrenched across Africa, the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime told the Security Council on Thursday, warning that illegal trafficking is depriving millions of a decent livelihood.

UNODC chief Ghada Waly said there were around 3,500 victims of terrorist acts in sub-Saharan Africa last year, nearly half of those recorded worldwide.

The vast Sahel region in particular has become home to some of the most active and deadly terrorist groups, and it is essential to gain more understanding of the links between organised crime and terrorism, through rigorous data collection, she added.

The evidence is there that the illegal exploitation of precious metals and minerals such as gold, silver and diamonds, are fuelling the extremists with significant sources of income, and benefitting the groups that control extraction, and trafficking routes.

She said based on UNODC research, “we have established that illegally mined gold and other precious metals are being fed into the legitimate market, providing huge profits for traffickers.”

Wildlife trafficking has also been reported as a possible source of funding for militias, she added, with the illegal trade in ivory alone generating $400 million in illicit income each year.

Millions exploited

With a population of around 1.3 billion, almost 500 million Africans were living in extreme poverty during 2021, she told ambassadors.

“This criminal exploitation strips the people of Africa of a significant source of revenue. It robs the millions of people who depend on these natural resources for their livelihoods. And it fuels conflicts and exacerbates instability.”

The climate emergency and the COVID-19 pandemic have also wreaked havoc on already fragile economies across Africa, and illicit trafficking only serves to further jeopardize development and wind back progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.

She said sustainable development would be impossible without peace and stability for the continent, noting that UNODC is “the guardian” of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the main international bulwark against the black marketeers.

Battling the networks

“We support member countries to put in place the policies, legislation, and operational responses required to better address terrorist threats…In 2021 alone, we implemented 25 counter-terrorism projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, with over 160 activities delivered, and trained 2,500 people.”

She told the meeting that in the Sahel today, the UN training workshops are being organized with The UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, to strengthen the understanding and skills of criminal justice officials to work across agencies, share intelligence, and “bring down terrorist networks and those who fund them.”

UNODC also supports ten countries across the Sub-Saharan region to improve their frameworks to counter terrorist financing and money laundering – including in the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Niger, and Somalia.

Ms. Waly said UNODC was also working to strengthen inter-agency coordination among intelligence services, law enforcement, financial intelligence units and prosecutors.

She said that conflict zones in Africa were being disproportionately affected by illegal mining and trafficking in precious metals.

“Mineral supply chains are often linked to child abuse, human trafficking, forced labour and other human rights violations. With 60 percent of Africa’s population under 25 years of age, young people are both the future of the continent but also its most vulnerable citizens.”

But she said once empowered, young people can become powerful change agents: “They can create a better future and advocate on behalf of themselves and their communities and protect their natural resources.”

Empowering youth

Ms. Waly said she was especially proud of UNODC’s youth-driven, Peace-building project, which in partnership with UNESCO, empowers young people to become ‘weavers of peace’ in the cross-border regions of Gabon, Cameroon, and Chad.

The aim, she said, was to create a network of 1,800 young “weavers of peace”. To enable them to become actors in conflict prevention and peace-building in cross-border regions, and identify alternative ways of making a living for those in vulnerable cross-border communities.

Defund the terrorists

“UNODC remains fully engaged to support Africa’s fight against the criminal trade in wildlife and natural resources”, she assured ambassadors, adding that she welcomed the engagement of the Council, “to the growing concerns that these illicit revenues are financing terrorist activities and armed groups.”

She said the UN’s crime fighting effort was ready to assist all African in securing their “right to peace, stability, justice and prosperity – for today and future generations. Leaving no money for terrorists. Leaving no one behind.”Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG).

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Africa Staff Writer

Brayfoil wins Green Energy Africa Summit clean-energy pitch competition

Download logoSouth African clean-energy start-up Brayfoil Technologies has won the Energy Investment Village pitch competition held during the Green Energy Africa (GEA) (https://GreenEnergyAfricaSummit.com/) Summit here this week.

Brayfoil (www.Brayfoil.com) is a company designing turbine blades that change shape to reduce loads, enabling larger, more efficient, more reliable and affordable devices. The company’s technology has applications in the wind energy, aerospace, sailing and automotive sectors.

Following the win, the Brayfoil team hosted several meetings with potential investors on the sidelines of the GEA Summit.

The Energy Investment Village event saw 10 clean-energy start-ups pitch their business ideas to an audience of potential investors, delegates and judges from supporting partners at the Summit.

The Energy Investment Village is a joint venture between Saldanha Bay Innovation Campus, the Research Institution for Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS), and the GEA Summit. The initiative aims to directly support South African business in accessing international finance for project development.

International investors holding collective assets of $100 billion were invited to attend the pitch session. Several conversations between start-ups and investors were initiated and will continue after the event.

Brayfoil Technologies won a R20 000 cash prize from FNB, a year’s business membership with the Africa Scotland Business Network (ASBN) and a half-day ASBN branding and marketing workshop.

A further two awards will be awarded by Sasol and the JSE after both companies have reviewed the finalists. The prizes are a placement into the 2024 JSE Enterprise Accelerator Programme, and enrolment in the Sasol Enterprise Supplier Development Programme worth R100 000.

A panel of eight judges adjudicated the start-up pitches looking at aspects such as innovativeness and business merit, among other criteria.

The panel of judges included Wesgro senior portfolio manager, technology Eimear Costigan; Sasol senior vice president, business services Grace Nndwammbi; Sasol senior vice president, commercial energy solutions Phinda Vilakazi; IDC business development executive David Sekgororwana; JSE head of CX and strategic initiative incubation Cleola Kunene; JSE head of origination and deals Samuel Mokorosi; TIA head of innovation skills development and enterprise Senisha Moonsamy; and Club of Engineers president Gijsbert Bakker.

The other investment village finalists were:

Keren Energy, the first green-hydrogen producer in South Africa
Atlanthia, producers of green hydrogen and green ammonia
Hydrofuels, producers of a plasma waste gasification solution
Oceanergy, developers of a Kite Fuel Ship technology
SeaH4, producers of carbon-neutral biofuels from algae
SlideLuvre, developers of a smart, two-in-one, sun-tracking solution for solar energy efficiency
Impact-Free Water, developers of a pump that uses wave energy to pressurise and pump seawater for desalination and electrical power
Zimi Charge, developers of electric fleet charging via a single app
Meta Technologies, producers of an air-quality monitor

“The Energy Investment Village is a first for the Green Energy Africa Summit,” said Paul Sinclair, VP for Energy, Africa Oil Week and GEA Summit. “This exciting live-pitching addition to the programme exceeded our expectations in giving innovative, clean-energy start-ups exposure to potential investors and facilitating conversations that will continue well beyond the Summit. We fully anticipate hosting the event again next year.”

The Energy Investment Village is a partnership with the Saldanha Bay Innovation Campus (SBIC), an initiative of the Freeport Saldanha development zone, and advisory firm the Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS).

“The Energy Investment Village showcases real projects and new-energy tech in SA,” said Belinda Williams, Head of Southern Africa, Hyve Group. “The interest and attendance at the event highlighted the enthusiasm for much-needed business and social development on the African continent. We look forward to enhancing this initiative next year.”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Green Energy Africa Summit.Media Contacts:
Melita Manser
Group Account Director, AOW at Ogilvy PR South Africa
Mobile: +27 76 449 1271
E-mail: [email protected]

Paul Sinclair
Vice President of Energy & Director of Government Relations, Africa Oil Week and Green Energy Summit Africa
Mobile: +44 7825 311791
E-mail: [email protected]

About Africa Oil Week and the Green Energy Africa Summit:
The Green Energy Africa Summit plays its role in driving enabling environments to ensure foreign direct investment is deployed into game-changing projects that will reduce the energy deficit and provide energy access across the continent.

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