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Monthly Archives: September 2013

Creating employment for young people in Africa – By Chofor Che, 19 September 2013


A Declaration of Intent was signed at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in early September 2013, between the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Union Commission (AUC), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

In an article published on the 14th of September 2013 by BizTechAfrica, a social network specialised in African affairs especially in the ICT sector, the signing ceremony commenced with a word from the AU Commissioner of Social Affairs Dr. Mustapha S. Kaloko who stressed on the importance of this accord in furnishing a united platform via which youth employment in Africa can be enhanced.

The declaration imputes on each of the above international organisations to create employment opportunities for boosting youth development and empowerment in Africa. According to BizTechAfrica, the Joint Youth Employment Initiative for Africa (JYEIA) necessitates that the above mentioned four international organisations should focus on knowledge production, policy-level intervention and direct intervention.

According to the declaration, the African Union is obliged to ‘advocate, promote, and monitor the implementation of the Declaration on Employment Promotion and Poverty Alleviation, which was enacted during the Extraordinary Summit of African Heads of State and Government in Burkina Faso in September 2004.

This again is another feeble declaration which adds to numerous failed declarations signed by international organisations. Instead of boosting markets and small and medium size industries on the continent, international organisations like the ADB and the UN have decided to continue signing declarations of no consequences. Such declarations make no sense if African central governments do not adhere to them. In fact, holding meetings and signing such declarations is a waste of time and tax payers’ money.

Africa needs more than declarations. The human capital base of Africans, especially the youths, needs to be orientated towards production and not consumption especially of products from the West. African youths need to be introduced to business initiatives which project more of South-South cooperation. Entrepreneurial skills need to be inculcated in African youths.

The private sector in Africa remains porous. Instead of signing such accords and giving financial aid to African states, which eventually ends up in foreign bank accounts, it is germane for such organisations like the ADB, the ILO and the UN to rethink their strategy of ensuring that the African youth are part and parcel of Africa’s renaissance. Creating business and trade partnerships between youths in Africa and those in the diaspora could be a way to go. Encouraging youth to be involved in local government is another avenue which has not been exploited. This brings to question the collaborative role of the state in Africa in ensuring that such declarations geared towards youth employment reach fruition. African states need to see their youth as the future and work collaboratively with them in ensuring that Africa attains full potential. The educational system embraced from colonial masters need to be quashed completely and an educational system founded on entrepreneurial development and growth adopted. These are ways which if well thought through and implemented, may be beneficial to Africa’s youth.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2013 in Africa Development

 

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‘Africapitalism’ promises new model of African self-empowerment, Afua Hirsch, west Africa correspondent, theguardian.com, Wednesday 26 June 2013 12.30 BST


Continent’s investors increasingly drawn to development model based on using private-sector investment to stimulate growth.

For investors seeking profits, Africa is impossible to ignore. Sub-Saharan Africa has six of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies over the past decade; glossy conferences, heads of state, and private funds all tout the huge returns possible for investing money on the continent.

But now key figures in the private sector are advocating new models of “philanthropic investment”. “Africapitalism”, as one African billionaire has called it – also known as “venture philanthropy” and “philanthro-capitalism” – combines unashamedly for-profit investment and free-market capitalism with the objective of stimulating economic development. Some proponents say that, properly handled, the model could overtake aid as the main way of alleviating poverty.

“Africapitalism is the philosophy that the African private sector has the power to transform the continent through long-term investments, creating both economic prosperity and social wealth,” said Tony Elumelu, the Nigerian billionaire who founded the United Bank for Africa and is now CEO of Heirs Holdings.

“It is also a call to action for us Africans to take responsibility for our own development – and for non-Africans to evolve their thinking about how best to channel their efforts and investments in the region.”

Elumelu, who coined the phrase “Africapitalism” in 2010, is one of a growing number of philanthropists and investors using their personal wealth and business expansion to generate jobs and, they say, widespread economic benefits for African countries.

“We have noticed an increase in wealthy Africans coming forward about their giving,” said Mary Glanville, managing director of the London-based Institute for Philanthropy. “We have seen at first-hand the benefits of supporting, not subverting, local infrastructures that will aid local development.”

The institute cites the example of the Indigo Trust, which is investing in a “co-creation hub” in Nigeria to provide business support for social technology ventures. “It is a proactive provision of support activities – including advice, training, [and] mentorship – alongside which there is access to funding through Indigo’s network of local and international partners,” said Glanville.

In May, the One Thousand and One Voices investment movement was launched. A $300m fund (£195m) offering “patient capital”, the initiative is designed to avoid what it sees as the “dependency” created by philanthropy for economic development, but also the short-termism of other private equity ventures, driven simply by quick returns.

“Our objectives are akin to the objectives of philanthropy – lifting millions of people out of poverty,” said chief executive Hendrik Jordaan. “Philanthropy does have a role to play, for example in relieving pain and suffering where a free-market society may not have a solution, but the tool that we believe should be used for economic development is private-sector investment.”

The One Thousand and One Voices project – founded by brewing scion John K Coors – offers what it says is a more effective means of achieving development objectives. It has attracted some of the world’s richest families, who feel that years of philanthropy have failed to achieve their aims.

“The families we are seeing are yearning for a model that can demonstrate results, and these investments – done properly – are proven to have the most positive long-term impact,” said Jordaan. “We intend for this movement to unlock not just these families’ financial capital, but their intellectual and relational capital that is so powerful, and could be harmonised and unleashed for good.”

Claims that private-sector investment can really solve Africa’s problems are not without controversy, however.

“The idea that private-sector investment is good and aid is bad, as some advocates of this theory have said, is completely ahistorical,” said Duncan Green, senior strategic adviser at Oxfam. “If you look at any other country that’s developed, it’s involved a relationship between the private sector and state.

“I think that this is really about a gut feeling that a lot of Africans are sick of hearing themselves described as victims, with which I completely sympathise. It’s true that there is a dynamic African private sector that plays an absolutely central role. But the view that aid drives out investment is not accurate – relative to the private sector, aid money is actually really small.”

The new breed of investors feel that aid flows perpetuate the inaccurate notion that Africans are dependent on outside help, whereas their approach is one of African self-empowerment. But the involvement of wealthy investors in the development debate has increasingly blurred the lines between private investment and philanthropy.

In May, fashion designer Ozwald Boateng asked African philanthropists to help raise $400m to kickstart $68bn of Africa’s infrastructure development.

Boateng, who created the Made in Africa Foundation based on a mantra of “understanding what Africa can do for itself”, also hopes to create “diaspora bonds” that would allow Africans overseas to invest in road, railway, port and power projects.

“This is unequivocally the new trend in development,” said Jordaan. “We are seeing it every day, everywhere.”

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2013 in Africa Development

 

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Are financial donor contributions to the African Development Bank’s Africa Agriculture Fast Track Fund worth the trouble? – By Chofor Che, 9 September 2013


On Thursday 5 September, the television channel Africa 25 reported that the Government of Denmark has plans to contribute DKK 10 million (approximately US $1.8 million) to the Agriculture Fast Track Fund (AFT) to spur investment in the development of African agriculture infrastructure. This fund is managed by the African Development Bank (ADB). According to a press release by the African Press Organization on behalf of the ADB, this announcement was actually made on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 in Copenhagen by Denmark’s Development Cooperation Minister, Christian Friis Bach, during the visit to the country by the President of the ADB, Donald Kaberuka.

The Danish Government’s support adds to financial contributions from AFT founding donors including USAID, which has committed $15 million, and the Government of Sweden, which has pledged $10 million. The AFT is a US $26.8-million fund created to encourage greater private investment in agriculture infrastructure projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. Despite this intention, the private sector in Africa seems to be very ignorant about this initiative.

The AFT is supposed to furnish grant funding to the private sector for the initial project development costs of a broad range of agriculture infrastructure projects ranging from the entire value chain, more precisely from production to market. The AFT is supposed to intervene in states that are members of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (the New Alliance), which aims to reinforce the links from farmers to markets to tables. The New Alliance was initiated by the President of the United States of America (USA), Barrack Obama during the G8 summit in 2012 and primarily includes six member states: Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Tanzania and Mozambique. The New Alliance has as objective, the matching of market-oriented regulatory reforms in these six countries with $3.7 billion in commitments from the private sector in agriculture.

Just like the other similar programmes such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) established by African Heads of State as part of the New Partnership Agreement for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) in July 2003, the AFT is a laudable initiative and would be instrumental in the alleviation of poverty in the above mentioned African states. The only concern is that these numerous initiatives have not boosted the agricultural sector on the continent. Some of the previous programmes have either been taken over completely by corrupt state officials and the money embezzled without remorse. Those in the agricultural sector especially poor farmers, who are supposed to benefit from such initiatives, have been left frustrated. Most of these finances end up in foreign bank accounts or are distributed to close family relations of these corrupt government officials.

It is imperative for the ADB and the Danish government to ensure that the AFT initiative does not remain entirely under the control of the central governments of the concerned states. There is need to ensure that the private sector in these states also have a say especially in the financial management of this initiative. It is evident that a lot of foreign assistance has been and shall be pumped into this initiative and if care is not taken, this money will be swindled as usual. If African technocrats are serious about attaining some of the Millennium Development Goals, if not all, by 2015, then it is germane for a change of policy and state practice especially in the management of finances from initiatives like the AFT. Without this change of strategy which is of utmost importance to agricultural development on the continent, the AFT will be another fruitless story for Africa’s development especially in the agricultural sector.

– See more at: http://www.africanliberty.org/content/are-financial-donor-contributions-african-development-bank%E2%80%99s-africa-agriculture-fast-track-f#sthash.jY2L3JhO.dpuf

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2013 in Africa Development

 

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Cameroon Ranks 115th in Global Economy Competitiveness, By Godlove BAINKONG, Cameroon Tribune, 8 September 2013


Cameroon is ranked 115th in the 2013-2014 Global Competitiveness Report that assesses the competitiveness landscape of 148 economies, providing insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity. The report, the 34th edition, published recently shows that the country has dropped three places from the 2012-2013 report in which it was classified 112 of the 144 economies surveyed.

Indicators

The set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country through which its competitiveness is measured in the report include, institutions (legal and administrative framework within which individuals, firms and governments interact to generate wealth), infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, innovation and business sophistication.

Performance

The country’s report card shows a 3.68 score out of the overall 7 points under consideration. The report notes in descending order that the most problematic factors of doing business in the country are corruption, access to financing, inadequate supply of infrastructure, tax regulations, inefficient government bureaucracy, tax rates, poor work ethics in national labour force, theft and crime as well as inadequate trained workforce, among others. Poor performance were recorded in international internet bandwidth where it is placed 146th, internet access in schools (135th) as well as strength of auditing and reporting standards (132nd position of the 148 economies). Her best performance however came from setting up business wherein the country is classed 30th of the 148 economies surveyed. Significant strides were also recorded in government’s budget balance (40th position), general government debt (15th spot) as well as government’s procurement of advanced technical products (38th position).

South Africa is a lead economy in Africa on the 53rd spot down from 52nd in the last edition. The 2013-2014 report notes that South Africa’s social sustainability is undermined by high income inequality and youth unemployment.

Chad leads the chart from the underside on 148th spot down from 139th position it occupied in the previous report. Meanwhile, Switzerland, Singapore, Finland, Germany, USA, Sweden, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Japan and United Kingdom respectively occupy the first ten positions.

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2013 in Africa Development

 

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Post-Khartoum Meeting of the African Ministers of Finance and Governors of the African Central Banks, By Chofor Che, 03 September 2013


A meeting of African Ministers of Finance and Governors of the African Central Banks was held in August 2013, which ended with the signing of the Khartoum Declaration (the Declaration). Representatives of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also attended this meeting. Such meetings have always made one to ponder on the true intentions of such lofty declarations by technocrats especially those from the African governments.

According to Sudan Daily, issue no 3028 of 24 August 2013, the Declaration called on the World Bank group to create partnerships with other donor bodies, especially the African Development Bank (ADB) towards facilitating preparations for implementation of projects in Africa. This declaration also stressed on the need for the World Bank to provide assistance and mobilisation of sufficient resources for boosting the capital markets and extending finance for existing projects in Africa. There was also stress on the need to increase the loans provided by the World Bank to states that qualified for such loans so that they can establish large-scale regional projects. The Declaration also called on the World Bank group to provide the demanded guarantees for the private sector and to increase resources of the international funding institution within the framework of its initiatives designed for infrastructural projects in Africa, besides providing resources and attracting more contributions for enhancing water supply and agricultural development in Africa. There was equally a call for continuing efforts to urge other countries to abide by their pledges that relate to the distribution of the increased profits from gold sales toward increasing the IMF resources that are extended on soft terms. Finally, the Declaration called for more flexibility within the limit of the loans given to low-income countries in the context of the programmes, which are subsidized by the IMF. The goal of this is to support Africa’s voice and representation at IMF’s Executive Council, adding a third seat for the African sub-Sahara region and boosting the industrial development in Africa via encouragement to the optimum use of Africa’s abundant resources via investment in industry and manufacturing of raw materials.

Africa has indeed had numerous Declarations such as the Khartoum Declaration of August 2013. Many of these Declarations have not materialised to envisaged expectations. Instead, these Declarations have made government officials more corrupt. The concerns of the private sector especially those involved in infrastructural enhancement and development have not been given the importance they deserve. Infrastructural projects in Africa remain under the banner of governmental control and most of these projects are not realized due to corruption and poor governance.

In future it would be necessary not to only bring together technocrats but representatives of Africa’s private sector. The voices of African business owners as well as foreign business owners are germane. The voices of women and the youth involved in small and medium size enterprises especially in the energy and agricultural sectors are equally vital.

Having Declarations such as the Khartoum Declaration without easing regional trade is of no use. Maintaining humongous taxes in signatory states especially for small businesses defeats the purpose of the Declaration. African leaders therefore need to have a holistic approach in resolving the developmental concerns of the continent. It does not only suffice to waste tax payers’ moneys in organizing such meetings like the one in Khartoum. Declarations are good but concerted action especially with the government and private sector partnership is vital for economic growth and development. Words must marry action for sustainable development in Africa.

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2013 in Africa Development

 

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Rethinking social accountability in Africa: lessons from the Mwananchi Programme | Event | Overseas Development Institute (ODI)


See on Scoop.itAfrica’s development

Despite evident economic progress in Africa, inequality is slowing the rate at which growth delivers better services to poor people.

See on www.odi.org.uk

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Notice & Information pour les OSCs sur le sommet de l’UA de janvier 2014-Institut Africain de la Gouvernance


See on Scoop.itAfrica’s development

The Citizens and Diaspora Organization Directorate of the African Union Commission (CIDO) has the honor to inform African Civil Society and Diaspora Community that the 22nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 24 to 31st January 2014.

See on www.iag-agi.org

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 
 
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