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The Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, announced this yesterday after the conclusion of the Federal Executive Council meeting at which the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, presided.

He said the construction work would gulp $38 million ,while $1.9 million would be spent on consultancy service

The minister explained: "This was done under the African Development Bank procurement guidelines.

"We presented a memo to construct the Cameroun-Nigeria border link bridge at Ikot Efiem, under the African Development Bank support for improving relationship between Cameroun and Nigeria post the International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgement over Bakassi

 

Read more at http://allafrica.com/stories/201702230039.html

A type of charcoal made from eucalyptus trees could provide the solution to South Africa's polluted water.

A University of Stellenbosch academic is developing a low-cost, low-tech water purification system with the charcoal, which will remove organic compounds from waste water in urban areas, the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security said on Monday.

The charcoal, called biochar, could remove organic, some inorganic, and microbiological contaminants from water.

Professor Gunnar Sigge and collaborators at the Universities of Venda and Pretoria developed the purification system.

Sigge and colleagues tested different types of biochar made of pine and eucalyptus to maximize the amount of pollutants removed from the water. Of the two tree species tested, eucalyptus provided the best biochar.

"This filtration method could benefit subsistence farmers. And, with further development, eucalyptus biochar could be used to remove organic pollutants from wastewaters produced by wineries and the food industry."

 

Read More at:-  http://allafrica.com/stories/201702080388.html

JOHANNESBURG and ARMONK, N.Y., Feb. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) is investing $70 million (approximately ZAR 945 million) in building much-needed digital, cloud, and cognitive IT skills to help support a 21st century workforce in Africa. The initiative, "IBM Digital - Nation Africa," provides a cloud-based learning platform designed to provide free skills development programs for up to 25 million African youths over five years, enabling digital competence and nurturing innovation in Africa.

This is part of IBM's global push to build the next generation of skills needed for "New Collar" careers.  "New Collar" is a term used by IBM to describe new kinds of careers that do not always require a four-year college degree but rather sought-after skills in cybersecurity, data science, artificial intelligence, cloud, and much more.

For the youth of Africa to be able to benefit from a cognitive future there needs to be a much higher level of digital literacy. At the top of the skills pyramid are developers, who need to know how to create solutions that can leverage the power of cognitive, and entrepreneurs who are aware of the potential. IBM Digital - Nation Africa is designed to help raise overall digital literacy, increase the number of skilled developers able to tap into cognitive engines and enable entrepreneurs and would be entrepreneurs grow businesses around the new solutions.

Through a free, cloud-based online learning environment delivered on IBM Bluemix, the premier cloud platform for business, the initiative will provide a range of programs from basic IT literacy to highly sought-after advanced IT skills including social engagement, digital privacy, and cyber protection.

Advanced users will be able to explore career-oriented IT topics including programming, cybersecurity, data science and agile methodologies, as well as important business skills like critical thinking, innovation, and entrepreneurship. The initiative aims to empower African citizens, entrepreneurs, and communities with the knowledge and tools to design, develop, and launch their own digital solutions.

Based on Watson, the cognitive online system will adapt and learn. It will review the multiple interactions the education initiative will have with students, to help direct them to the right courses and help IBM refine the courses to better adapt the material for the needs of the users. Watson will also create a depth of knowledge using anonymous information gathered from interactions with the students. This will help entrepreneurs and developers understand which current Bluemix solutions best meet their needs and refine their idea to help them design a solution that has greatest market potential.

With the aim of equipping as many as 25 million people with sought after IT skills over the next five years, the program will be launched from IBM's regional offices in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Morocco, and Egypt. This will enable the expansion of the initiative across the continent.

Africa has approximately 200 million people between the ages of 15 and 24. By 2040, the continent is expected to be home to the world's largest labor force, with an estimated working age population of 1 billion (*State of Education in Africa Report 2015). Yet many African companies cite a local skills gap as one of the major bottlenecks to growth. In South Africa alone, where more than a quarter of the workforce is unemployed, businesses struggle to find appropriate skills, particularly in the IT field.

We want to connect you to endless business possibilities

We are pleased to invite you to participate in the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) Trade Mission to Portugal scheduled for March 06-08, 2017.

PACCI along with the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce and Industry is preparing a full agenda which includes qualified business appointment, in-depth briefing sessions and a wide range of networking events. Mission delegates will have the opportunities to visit SISAB 2017 in Lisbon, the biggest annual meeting of leading Portuguese export companies and entrepreneurs, including all the associated activities they may deal with, starting from food and beverage, wood, seeds, transports, logistics, etc. Delegates will also interact with high-level government officials and business decision makers in a variety of industry sectors.

The trade mission is in line with PACCI’s Trade Expansion Program, which foster and promotes bilateral trade opportunities between African countries and the rest of the world. Moreover, this trade mission offers significant opportunities for companies seeking to tap into Europe’s markets. We encourage African business leaders interested in business opportunities in Portugal to make plans to join us on this important mission.

 The event, which takes place over 4 days in Lisbon and surrounding towns, includes

  • Discussion with government and business officers
  • Company visits
  • Business Appointments
  • SISAB PORTUGAL 2017 visits
  • City Tour and transportation
  • 4 nights accommodation in a 4 star hotel

Should you or a colleague wish to join us on this special occasion, please send us the completed form attached herewith.

For more information please contact Ms. Edna Alemayehu (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) / Mr. Leul Wondemeneh (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

French auto manufacturer, Peugeot, officially returns to Kenya to begin the assembling of its vehicles, President Uhuru Kenyatta disclosed on Saturday.

The Peugeot Group will team up with Urysia, a local agent for the brand, to assemble its vehicles in the country. This was contained in an assembly licence agreement signed by both parties at the presidency.

The president said he was happy by the momentum that Kenya was driving with respect to the motor vehicle sector. “The investment signed today by the Peugeot Group to locally assemble motor vehicles in our country at a plant which will be announced in due course is most welcome,” he said.

My government will continue to enforce the Buy Kenya Build Kenya policy to support companies and businesses that produce in Kenya. We hope to see many Peugeot cars on our roads going forward - all of them built right here in Kenya, by Kenyans, for Kenyans and the region.

Peugeot becomes the second major auto maker to open an assembly plant in the country after German car maker Volkswagen late last year opened the Thika plant to assemble vehicles locally.

The president whiles lauding the initiative also emphasized that his government will continue to enforce policies that create jobs and also protect Kenyan businesses.

“My government will continue to enforce the Buy Kenya Build Kenya policy to support companies and businesses that produce in Kenya. We hope to see many Peugeot cars on our roads going forward – all of them built right here in Kenya, by Kenyans, for Kenyans and the region,” he added.

At the same event, the government signed a $180 million agreement with the French government to build the Ruiru II Dam and water supply project, as part of a long term mutual relationship between the two countries.

Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban

Rwanda will start exporting fortified foods, next month, thanks to a new modern factory was launched.

The $45-million (about Rwf36 billion) factory is expected to produce 45,000 tonnes of fortified food annually, enough to help boost exports and prevent child malnutrition across country. Up to 60 per cent of its output is expected to be exported to regional and global markets.The Africa Improved Foods - Rwanda, based at Kigali Special Economic Zone Nyandungu, started production of fortified porridge flour .

Up to 60 per cent of its output is expected to be exported to regional and global markets.

The facility is a consortium of Royal DSM (the global Life Sciences and Materials Sciences Company), the Dutch Development Bank, the DFID, the UK’s development financing institution under the Impact Acceleration Facility (managed by CDC Group Plc), and the International Finance Corporation, the investment arm of the World Bank.

In 2013, Rwanda launched the ‘1000 Days’ national campaign to combat malnutrition with an aim of improving maternal and child health in the country. The campaign has been scientifically proven that the 1,000-day window has a profound impact on a child’s ability to grow, learn and thrive.

 

Read more at:- http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2017-02-03/207658/

“It is so good to be back home, after having been away for too long.”

Those were the first words of Moroccan King Mohamed VI in a speech at the 28th African Union (AU) Summit Tuesday. The speech came after a vast majority of the AU’s member states voted Monday to readmit Morocco to the continental bloc after a 33-year absence.

As the Moroccan king addressed the chamber in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, it felt like a defining moment, according to Liesl Louw-Vaudran, an analyst at the Institute of Security Studies in South Africa. “I’ve been following the AU for 20 years and I never thought I would see King Mohamed walk in and make a speech, it was quite historic,” she said from Addis Ababa.

But why has the North African country decided that, after a three-decade absence, it needs to rejoin the AU? After all, the collective is often criticized for bureaucracy and failing to resolve crises on the continent. Take Burundi, as an example: the AU has been largely toothless in dealing with a civil conflict that broke out in April 2015, which has killed more than 400 people. It backed off from sending in a peacekeeping force after Burundi expressed its dissatisfaction.

According to analysts, two key benefits stick out in Morocco’s reintegration in the AU: the opportunity for greater trade with African countries, many of which are growing much faster than European states; and a potential means of resolving the continent’s last remaining colonial dispute— the status of Western Sahara, a territory Morocco claims as its own but that an independence movement says deserves autonomy.

On the economic front, Morocco’s links with the rest of Africa are growing but still make up a small percentage of the country’s overall trade. The European Union is Morocco’s biggest trading partner, constituting 55.7 percent of its trade in 2015, with near neighbor Spain and former colonial power France being the biggest beneficiaries. Morocco has also been unable to benefit from intra-African trade regions to the same extent as other countries. It is a member of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), a five-country trade agreement with Algeria, Libya, Mauritania and Tunisia. But the AMU has made little progress in boosting trade on account of recurring disputes between Algeria and Morocco—including on Western Sahara, since Algeria supports its independence—and has not held a meeting since 2008.

Mohamed indicated in his speech that this was something he wanted to change, and that he has already been hard at work. The monarch said that Morocco had signed almost 1,000 agreements and treaties with various African countries since 2000, while he had made 46 visits to 25 countries on the continent in the same period. Moroccan banks have expanded throughout Africa, with a presence in more than 20 countries, and the country’s state-run airline Royal Air Maroc is one of Africa’s biggest airlines, with Casablanca used as a transit point for many sub-Saharan Africans traveling across the continent.

“Morocco has opened a number of interesting diplomatic and commercial interests with their nearest African neighbors,” says Claire Spencer, a senior research fellow and North Africa expert at international affairs think tank Chatham House. “It’s logical that if their sub-regional development [in the Maghreb] is not going to happen that this should take place within the African Union.”

The Western Sahara dispute was the reason why Morocco left the AU’s predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), in the first place. A desert area roughly the size of Colorado, Western Sahara has been at the center of a dispute between Morocco and the Polisario Front, an organization representing the indigenous Sahrawi people, since the 1970s. Morocco annexed the territory in 1975 after Spanish colonizers withdrew, prompting the Polisario Front to launch a guerrilla struggle that continued until 1991, when the United Nations brokered a ceasefire. An estimated 90,000 people are living in refugee camps near the Algerian desert town of Tindouf, according to the U.N., as a result of the conflict.

Morocco left the OAU in 1984 when a majority of members voted to recognize the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, as the Polisario Front calls the territory. In Monday’s vote, several countries—including Algeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe—reportedly wanted to make Morocco’s readmission to the AU contingent on it recognizing Western Sahara’s borders. But a top Western Sahara official, Sidi Mohammed, told the BBC that it welcomed Morocco’s readmission, calling it “a chance to work together” on organizing a long-promised referendum on the territory’s status.

According to Louw-Vaudran, however, Morocco’s re-entry to the AU could simply offer the North African state an air of “legitimacy” in seeking its desired solution in Western Sahara. Morocco has offered limited autonomy to the territory, but is unwilling to counsel full independence.

“Morocco wants to work from the independence to get Western Sahara expelled from the AU and once and for all lay to rest the whole issue of Western Sahara and its claims to independence,” says Louw-Vaudran. “I don’t think there’s anyone who thinks that total independence for Western Sahara is still on the cards.”

In a veiled nod to the controversial issue, Mohamed said in his speech that he was aware some AU member states were suspicious of its intentions. “We have absolutely no intention of causing division, as some would like to insinuate,” he said. Time will tell whether that proves to be the case...Read More

Governments across Sub-Saharan region should embrace innovative policy options to enhance the resilience of their economies in the light of external shocks like global economic slowdown and erratic weather patterns, policymakers and executives said at a forum in Nairobi on Wednesday.

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The Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry was established in 2009 by 35 founding national business chambers to influence government policy and create a better operating environment for business.

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