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International Day of United Nations (UN) Volunteers: Ebiboderi Opukiri, Nigeria

United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)
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Ebiboderi Nkeiruka Opukiri, is a 33-year-old from Nigeria, who is currently serving for peace as a UN Volunteer with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), believes that her work as an Administrative Officer forms the organizational backbone for the UN Peacekeeping mission to fulfil its mandate in the world’s newest nation.

Tell us a bit about your background.

I come from a large family and we’re quite close. My inspiration is my mother—she was the best administrator that I know till date. She passed away some 8 years ago but till now, she guides everything I do in my life through the values and principles she passed down to us. I owe her everything.

Could you explain what your job is and what is the impact you have on the ground?

As an Administrative Officer for the UNMISS Field Office in Western Bahr El Ghazal, I get to work a lot on the logistics and operational side of ensuring that our peacekeepers are fully on track to help build community confidence. I build relationships with a lot of in-mission interlocuters and I also help ensure staff welfare. It’s very interesting because I get to understand the nuts and bolts of what the world’s largest UN Peacekeeping mission does. The core of my job is people management and I think that’s where my biggest impact has been.

What do you like most about being a UN Volunteer?

The spirit of volunteerism is genuinely something I empathise with. There is no greater entry point into the United Nations system that being a UN Volunteer – it enables you to contribute to a cause larger than yourself. It’s very gratifying and rewarding.

What one thing you have learnt since started your mission?

I think the biggest lesson for me has been working and being productive in a multicultural environment. You will never find a place like the United Nations because the name reflects its character. This is a place that unites people to serve for peace and human rights. You get to meet different people every day. I have learnt a lot from colleagues across the world and made lifelong friends.

Do you have a message to other people who want to follow your career path?

Do it. Take the plunge. Pack your bag and accept the challenge. My family members were worried that I was heading to a duty station that is totally unfamiliar to me, but this an opportunity to meet new people. It is a beautiful experience and exposes you to many possibilities where you can do anything, be anything.

Any message for the people of South Sudan?

To the people of South Sudan—I have come to learn about the history and the culture of this young nation. Building peace is hard, but things will get better and South Sudan will prosper; keep believing and you will get there. South Sudan is each one of you and you have a common responsibility to build a durable peace for your children. Struggles are always part of the road to success and South Sudan shall prevail.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

This Press Release has been issued by APO. The content is not monitored by the editorial team of African Business and not of the content has been checked or validated by our editorial teams, proof readers or fact checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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Trilateral Mechanism Statement on the Signing of a Political Framework Agreement

United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS)
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The Trilateral Mechanism- United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), African Union (AU), and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)- welcomes the signing of a Political Framework Agreement between civilian political forces and the military institution in Sudan. The Agreement is a critical first step towards the restoration of a sustainable transitional period and the formation of a credible civil, democratic, and accountable government.

The Trilateral Mechanism outlines the importance of starting to work without delay on the second phase of the process. It encourages broad-based consultations to address the outstanding issues envisaged by the signatories to the Political Framework Agreement. These critical issues include justice and transitional justice, security sector reform, the status of the Dismantling Committee, the Juba Peace Agreement, the economy, and the East. It also strongly encourages key political forces that have not yet signed the Framework Agreement to join the political process.

The Trilateral Mechanism calls on the transitional authorities to commit to respect and protect the rights and freedoms of all Sudanese to ensure the success of the ongoing political process. It also calls on the international donor community to fully resume its financial support once a functioning government is in place.

The Trilateral Mechanism stands ready to assist the next steps of the process for the benefit of peace, justice, and development that the people of Sudan deserve.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS).

This Press Release has been issued by APO. The content is not monitored by the editorial team of African Business and not of the content has been checked or validated by our editorial teams, proof readers or fact checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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Muslim Parliamentary Caucus demands release of sheikhs

Parliament of the Republic of Uganda
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Members of Parliament under the Muslim Parliamentary Caucus have demanded for the unconditional release of Sheikh Yahya Mwanje.

Led by Hon. Asuman Basalirwa (NUP, Bugiri Municipality), the legislators condemned the illegal arrest of Muslim leaders and their continued detention without trial.

During a press conference on Monday, 05 December 2022, the MPs also demanded that Muslim leaders should be brought to court, and also that their families, doctors and lawyers should be allowed to see them.

“Last week the country witnessed the illegal arrest of Sheikh Yahya Mwanje, one of the leaders of Nakasero Mosque and another Muslim leader from Mbale, Mansa Musa. We are deeply concerned about those arrests,” Basalirwa said adding that, ’the mode of arrest does not befit the status of religious leaders. You would have expected the police or any security agency to summon those religious leaders’.  
He wondered why the religious leaders are picked without following the legal process and detained incommunicado.

“That is illegal and unconstitutional. We protest that kind of treatment that our religious leaders are being subjected to. We are also concerned that up to now, Sheikh Yahya Mwanje has not been produced before courts of law,” he said.

Hon. Abdallah Kiwanuka (NUP, Mukono North) who also doubles as the Shadow Minister of Internal Affairs said that they are not against arresting any person but the law should be adhered to.
“Whether a person is a Muslim or not, the law should be followed while being arrested. Up to now, the country does not know the charges against these people,” said the Mukono North MP.

Abdallah Kiwanuka demanded that government explains the continued arrests of Muslim clerics under unclear circumstances.

Kiboga West MP, Hon. Abdul Mutumba also demanded that government immediately produces the arrested religious leaders before court.

“It is now more than a week since the arrests were made and these people have not been produced before court. Also, the Muslim leadership should wake up and get interested in this critical issue,” said Mutumba.

Mawokota South MP, Hon. Yusuf Nsibambi said that the humiliation of Muslim clerics should stop and demanded for their immediate release.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.

This Press Release has been issued by APO. The content is not monitored by the editorial team of African Business and not of the content has been checked or validated by our editorial teams, proof readers or fact checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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His Majesty King Congratulates Thai Sovereign on National Day

Kingdom of Morocco - Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates
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His Majesty King Mohammed VI sent a congratulatory message to the King of Thailand, Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua, on the occasion of his country’s national day.

In this message, the Sovereign extends His warmest congratulations to the King of Thailand and His sincere wishes for further progress and prosperity to the Thai people.

HM the King takes this opportunity to reiterate His determination to continue to work with the King of Thailand to strengthen the relations rooted in friendship and mutual esteem between the two countries, and to promote bilateral cooperation for the benefit of both peoples.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Kingdom of Morocco – Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates.

This Press Release has been issued by APO. The content is not monitored by the editorial team of African Business and not of the content has been checked or validated by our editorial teams, proof readers or fact checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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Southern African Development Community (SADC) pays a courtesy call on Prime Minister

Government of Lesotho
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The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Executive Secretariate, Mr, Mr. Elias Mpedi Magosi, paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister on Monday.

This courtesy call by the Executive Secretary follows the National Assembly elections on 7th October 2022 and the subsequent formation of the new coalition government. Thus, in the main, the Executive Secretary is visiting Lesotho to pay a courtesy call to the new government.

In an interview with the Executive Secretariat, Mr. Magosi said he is paying the courtesy calls around the region mainly to introduce himself as he is new in office.

He noted that his visit to the Kingdom of Lesotho was to congratulate the Prime minister on being sworn in as the Prime Minister of Lesotho.

He said SADC fully supports Lesotho, saying they are looking forward to the government of Lesotho delivering the omnibus bill.

He stressed that they are willing to help Lesotho to develop economically, saying the country should venture into industrialization as this will help Lesotho create more employment for its people.

He noted that the region cannot progress while other member states are left behind hence his tour across the region to listen to the countries’ priorities and how SADC will help their implementation.

Mr. Magosi, therefore, conveyed his condolences to the Prime Minister for the passing of two members of the Lesotho Defence Force in Mozambique and expressed gratitude for Lesotho’s contribution to the peace-making missionary.

Also Speaking, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Mr. Lejone Mpotjane said the Prime Minister assured the SADC Secretariat that he is going to work hard so that Lesotho will be removed from the list of unstable countries in the region.

He added that the Prime Minister noted priorities as job creation, renewable energy, water supply, as well as trade and industry.

During the visit, the Executive Secretary will meet the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Dr Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Mr. Lejone Mpotjoane and the SADC Focal Point in Lesotho.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Government of Lesotho.

This Press Release has been issued by APO. The content is not monitored by the editorial team of African Business and not of the content has been checked or validated by our editorial teams, proof readers or fact checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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Trade & Investment

Tinubu: Federal government must exit failing power sector

Nigerian presidential candidate Bola Tinubu says he will launch a review into the federal government’s role in the defective power system, which has collapsed multiple times this year, if he is elected in February.

Speaking at Chatham House in London, the former Lagos State governor, who is running as the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress as successor to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, said that a centralised approach had failed and that the government should play less of a role in price fixing, operation and regulation in the energy sector.

“Fixing the problem by a review of energy supply is another priority. There’s no version of the world where Nigeria’s ambition can be achieved without solving the problem of how to provide energy to homes and businesses across the country.”

“It is time to recognise that the centralised approach to energy policy infrastructure is not an optimal arrangement and it is not likely to improve by mere tinkering around the sides. The federal government as regulator and operator and price fixer is a broken model. We will ensure to fix this.”

A defective grid

Nigeria’s national electricity grid has collapsed at least four times this year and some 100 times over the last decade, leaving large parts of the country without power. Regular power cuts can last for hours, days or even months, while millions of people have no access to any electricity at all and often rely on expensive diesel generators to power homes and businesses.

The government has blamed the blackouts on faulty infrastructure, acts of vandalism against oil installations and disruptions to gas and water supply to power plants across the country. Strikes at the Transmission Company of Nigeria have also contributed to the failures. 

The grid comprises a network of private generation and distribution companies and the state-owned Transmission Company of Nigeria. While private companies are allowed to generate and distribute electricity, the Federal Government of Nigeria is solely responsible for transmission of electricity generated by the generating companies to the distribution companies. Nigeria’s on-grid electricity demand is about 4-12 times the total electricity distributed on the grid, according to research by Nnaemeka Vincent Emodi, research fellow at The University of Queensland, Australia, and Ogheneruona Diemuodeke, senior lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. 

Nigeria’s electricity generation mix is made up mostly of gas combined cycle plants and gas open cycle plants. The researchers say that there is a shortage of gas supply to power thermal gas plants due to gas pipeline vandals and supply chain issues, and renewables uptake has been limited. Tinubu said that his government would work to “accelerate investment in gas production” in a bid to enhance “domestic and global energy security.” 

Tinubu’s mooted reforms could weaken the traditionally assertive role of the federal government in the system, although he did not specify whether the federal government’s role should be assumed by state governments or the private sector. The lack of success of some of the private companies that have entered the system in recent years has been questioned.

Elected representatives have already advocated devolving the power to generate, transmit and distribute their own power to the country’s 36 states. A draft bill passed by both houses of the national legislature in March sought to amend the constitution to allow this, although proactive government support could rapidly accelerate the process.

State governors argued in a joint position paper to lawmakers that the current provisions of the amendment don’t go far enough in recognising federal and state governments as equal stakeholders in managing the country’s electricity supply.

“The federal government-controlled and regulated national electricity market today is insolvent, bankrupt and delivers no more than enough to power two 10-watt bulbs a day,” they argued.

In July, the Electricity Bill 2022 was passed into law, which a senator said would allow states to license power plants, mini-grids and private investment into generation and distribution.

The 70-year old Tinubu, who directed most questions about his plans to his party colleagues, insisted that running as the candidate of the ruling party will not prevent him from advocating change to the status quo, and pointed to his role as Lagos State governor from 1999 to 2007.   

“There’s no line in the constitution that says a current administration cannot continue in some of their ways – it doesn’t remove me from adaptation to my own economic philosophy and developmental programme…I’ve encouraged private investment in Lagos more than any other part of the country. Ambition, courage and can-do attitude is a given”. 

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Lesotho: Japan Ambassador Meets Prime Minister

Government of Lesotho
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The Ambassador of Japan to Lesotho, Mr. Maruyama Norio paid a farewell courtesy call on the Prime Minister, Mr. Ntsokoane Samuel Matekane at the State House on Monday.

In an interview with Mr. Norio he said his mission will be completed in two weeks hence he found the need to bid farewell to the Prime Minister.

He noted that the two countries are committed to strengthening their relationship.

He noted that during his tenure, Japan prioritized health, education, food security, and renewable energy for the benefit of Lesotho.

Also Speaking, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Mr. Lejone Mpotjoane said Lesotho and Japan had a good relationship for a long time.

He noted the government of Lesotho is aiming to produce its own electricity with the help from Japan saying this will help lower the cost of electricity.

He added that the government will engage Japan in agriculture so that Lesotho farmers are assisted with farming accessories to produce on a large scale, feed local communities, and export.

Lesotho and Japan established formal diplomatic relations in 1971. The relations between the two sister countries have been growing from strength to strength.  To date, there has been significant cooperation at both bilateral and multilateral levels in areas such as climate change, infrastructure development (construction of schools),  food security and capacity building.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Government of Lesotho.

This Press Release has been issued by APO. The content is not monitored by the editorial team of African Business and not of the content has been checked or validated by our editorial teams, proof readers or fact checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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International Day of Persons with Disabilities observed

Ministry of Information, Eritrea
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International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December, was observed in Barentu for the 27th time at national level under the theme “Transformative Solutions for Inclusive Development”.

Mr. Mihreteab Fesehaye, Director General of Social Welfare at the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, said that according to the study conducted by the UN, about 15% of the world’s population live with some sort of disability and 7% in Eritrea.

Mr. Mihreteab went on to say that aside from the minor negative and backward outlooks being observed, handling and treatment of issues related to disabilities in Eritrea emanate from community based noble societal values.

Perceiving disability beyond physical appearance of people hinders productivity of people with disability, Mr. Samuel Mamungnganidze, Deputy Representative of UNICEF in Eritrea, said that creating conducive environment with a view to enable people with disabilities become self supportive and productive members of the society is the responsibility of every citizens as well as the Government and public institutions.

Indicating that social service provision institutions being put in place take disabled citizens into consideration, Mr. Franco Kubaba, Director General of Social Service in Gash Barka Region, said that supporting citizens with disabilities is not to be left to specific institutions only and called for integrated effort.

The event was attended by Ms. Leul Gebreab, Minister of Labor and Social Welfare, Ambassador Mahmud Ali Hirui, Governor of Gash Barka Region, Ms. Tekea Tesfamicael, President of the National Union of Eritrean Women, Ambassador Mahmud Ali Jabra, Secretary of PFDJ in Gash Barka Region as well as other officials and invited guests.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Information, Eritrea.

This Press Release has been issued by APO. The content is not monitored by the editorial team of African Business and not of the content has been checked or validated by our editorial teams, proof readers or fact checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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Eritrea: Activity assessment meeting in Southern Region

Ministry of Information, Eritrea
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The National Union of Eritrean Women branch in the Southern Region conducted activity assessment meeting of 2022 and implementation of charted out programs for 2023.

At the meeting held on 1 and 2 December in Mendefera, Ms. Senait Afwerki, head of the union branch, reported that in 2022 the union has been working by giving priority to strengthen organizational capacity, increase awareness of members, capacity building, as well as enabling members become beneficiaries of educational and health services.

Indicating that in cooperation with partners encouraging achievements have been registered in avoiding harmful practices, Ms. Senait said that compared to that of last year under age marriages have significantly been reduced and called for integrated effort to develop the awareness of the public to that regard.

Ms Senait went on to say that strengthening regional and global relations, ensuring health service of women, as well as development of human resources and capacity of the union branch are among the priority programs for 2023.

The participants conducted extensive discussion on the report presented and adopted various recommendations.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Habteab Tesfatsion, Governor of the Southern Region, indicating that the role of Eritrean women in all sectors has been encouraging, called on women to develop self-confidence, become self supportive and conduct follow-up on the performance of their children in school.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Information, Eritrea.

This Press Release has been issued by APO. The content is not monitored by the editorial team of African Business and not of the content has been checked or validated by our editorial teams, proof readers or fact checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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(African) Fintech revenues could grow by 8X to reach $30 billion by 2025 – McKinsey & Company

Bizzamm (Pty) Ltd

As the fastest-growing start-up industry in Africa, African fintech raised over US$1,3 billion in 2021 alone, the success of fintech companies is being fuelled by several trends, including increasing smartphone ownership, declining internet costs,  expanded network coverage, and a young, fast-growing, and rapidly urbanizing population. [i]

African fintech has a significant impact on day-to-day life on the continent and with its current upward trend it can be perfectly poised to rapidly advance Africa’s global competitiveness with an increase in the exporting of fintech services globally.  

These fertile grounds do have challenges. Regulatory uncertainties and differences between countries are a bottleneck, throttling the expansion of financial inclusion in Africa. This has led to the continent’s fintech’s calling for a Pan-African regulatory body to define comprehensive regulatory policies for regions rather than countries.

Certain governments and the private business sector continuously work on providing regulatory policy frameworks for businesses, customers, and economies with the current focus on:

  1. Regulations – digital-only banks and fintech are influenced by but independently regulated from the traditional financial system regulations.
  2. Anti Money Laundering Scrutiny – more regulatory bodies are insisting on compliance herewith, worldwide there is a clamp down on non-compliant companies. This requires the verification of information received from the client to avoid fraudulent, terrorist, or other illegal activities being facilitated, supported by other processes such as Know Your Customer.
  3. Consumer centrism – fintech must be vigilant in consumer education, especially the consequences of services and products that did not exist before, protecting the consumer from being exploited.
  4. Protection of Privacy and Security of Data – stored personal consumer information is susceptible to cyberattacks. Fintech companies must comply and have the necessary security systems and protocols to secure sensitive data.

The Global fintech Index of 2020 lists the top 100 fintech ecosystems,  4 sub-Saharan African cities features, that are leading this sector namely Johannesburg, Nairobi, Lagos and Cape Town, and account for most of the continent’s fintech start-up funding.

The countries represented by the 4 cities above have taken significant strides towards regulatory systems designed to protect stakeholders. Each country’s approach to regulations shares similarities, while others are unique to the challenges faced in their market. What is definite is that these regulations evolve rapidly as access to technology empowers this market to scale significantly.

Regardless of the size of the fintech, these changes become prohibitive to the success of fintech due to the cost and/or inconvenience caused since they impact all areas of the customer relationship lifecycle.

Bizzamm, comes from South Africa, home to 2 of the 4 African cities represented in the top 100 Global Fintech Index. Bizzamm is a user-friendly, intuitive, affordable tool that empowers its clients to automate their business processes and addresses many (if not all) of the current regulatory requirements.

Bizzamm is the future of affordable business processing – providing absolute control with an all-in-one tamper-proof, end-to-end document management solution on blockchain, offering management, solutions, and control over the increasing regulatory demands discussed here, most importantly, with an emphasis on customer convenience.

As it relates to the 4 focuses highlighted above, Bizzamm offers a non-exhaustive list to aid with, and to manage compliance; such as the flexibility to create custom document templates; making use of verification; validation and mandatory fields. Setting automatic reminders for actions required by specific parties by specific dates, the highly secure yet flexible cloud environment wherein Bizzamm is housed keeps data safe and provides ease of access when searching for documents. Role and permission-based access allow only authorised access and only authorised changes to documents. Bizzamm offers an electronic signature, on completion of a document it is anchored to the blockchain, providing an immediate unique digital fingerprint, with a permanent record of creation and making it tamperproof.

Regulations around the safe gathering and storing of sensitive client information, how information is processed are becoming more robust, encompassing, and enforceable worldwide. Bizzamm enables businesses to become compliant in an easy, practical and affordable way that is customer friendly.

Learn how Bizzamm can impact your business by booking a free demonstration at Bizzamm.com/demo

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[i] McKinsey & Company, fintech in Africa: The end of the beginning, 30 August 2022.
[ii] McKinsey & Company, fintech in Africa: The end of the beginning, 30 August 2022.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Bizzamm (Pty) Ltd.

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This Press Release has been issued by APO. The content is not monitored by the editorial team of African Business and not of the content has been checked or validated by our editorial teams, proof readers or fact checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.