AfricanBrains Africa Education Innovation Technology Investment Networking Events News Social Media Blogs Fri, 31 Jul 2015 10:24:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Outstanding South African Delegation Confirmed for Innovation Africa 2015 Fri, 31 Jul 2015 07:30:14 +0000 IA2015 Headed Paper - 620Industry and government are looking forward with anticipation to Innovation Africa 2015, which will see the largest number of ministers and government officials at Africa’s leading annual education and ICT forum taking place at Speke Resort Munyonyo, Uganda this 30 Sept to 2 Oct.

Attendance from African ministerial delegations are set to smash previous records. Up to 30 African countries will be represented at the summit, allowing for industry leaders and investors to engage in pre-scheduled meetings with ministers and officials.

sa crest smallThe summit will be a buzzing hive of activity of movers and shakers as 200 government officials will be participating, these consisting of ministers, secretaries of state, deputy ministers, permanent secretaries and director generals.

We are proud to confirm that these South African high-level ministerial delegations will be in attendance.

The heads of the delegations include:

  • Naledi PandorHon Naledi Pandor
    The Head of Ministry of Science & Technology, one of the most prominent proponents of the SKA project, the World’s biggest radio telescope. SKA is one of the most ambitious and prestigious signature global science projects of the 21st century furthering the advancement of mankind’s knowledge of the universe.
  • mkhize smallHon Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize
    The Deputy Minister of Telecommunications who is a leading facilitator of the promotion of information and communication technologies within South African education. Prof Mkhize has been a champion for social justice and women and children’s rights for four decades.
  • lesufi smallHon Panyaza Lesufi
    The Minister of Guateng Province Ministry of Education is also responsible for the implementation of the “Paperless Classroom” programme being implemented throughout Gauteng province schools. An ambitious project which entails a move towards digital learning through the use of tablets and to have chalkboards replaced with LED screens. His department has spent R2-billion so far but are aiming to spend R37-billion to complete this visionary scheme.
    He is committed to ensuring youth access to economic opportunities by ensuring they are adequately equipped with all the necessary skills to be effective in the modern workplace and to meet the demands of further and higher education.

This year the summit is held under the patronage of the Government of Uganda and led by host Minister Hon Dr Jessica Alupo, Minister of Education, Science, Technology & Sports. The summit will also include the participation of HE President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

For more information click here:- Innovation Africa 2015

To register click here:- Innovation Africa 2015 Registration

]]> 0
IBM Expands Reach to African Entrepreneurs with Innovation Space @ iHub Fri, 31 Jul 2015 07:21:04 +0000 ibmInnovation leaders join forces to spur entrepreneurship in world’s fastest growing continent.

At the Global Entrepreneurship Summit co-hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama in Kenya this weekend, IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced a new innovation and collaboration space at iHub – the heart of Nairobi’s tech community.

Tapping expertise from IBM’s existing Innovation Centre and Research Lab in Kenya, the new IBM Innovation Space @ iHub will be an open working environment for software developers and start-ups designed to foster entrepreneurial business growth and provide open access to IBM’s years of global expertise in technology-based innovation.

“Africa has millions of entrepreneurs who are experts in their own markets and who are now looking to technology to differentiate and compete on the global stage,” said Nick Nesbitt, Country General Manager, IBM East Africa. “With the IBM Innovation Space @ iHub, we are extending our presence right into the heart of the local technical community so that entrepreneurs and start-ups have access to the tools and expertise to succeed in this exciting new era of Africa’s economic development.”

The space will provide early-stage entrepreneurs and start-ups with access to IBM expertise, education and technology tools – especially in the areas of cloud, Big Data analytics, mobile and security. The IBM Innovation Space @ iHub – the first of its kind in Africa – is set to give a boost to the fast growing tech entrepreneur ecosystem in Kenya and beyond.

“iHub and IBM are passionate about supporting and empowering the success of African entrepreneurs,” said Erik Hersman, Co-Founder of iHub. “By setting up an IBM Innovation Space within the iHub community, we are giving local developers and start-ups unique access to IBM’s expertise, business connections and resources which will help propel them to the next level.”

Located inside the iHub building in downtown Nairobi, the Innovation Space will be open to any of iHub’s 17,000 members allowing them to drop in and get insight, advice and training from IBM experts in business and technology including scientists from IBM’s Africa research lab. IBM will also conduct monthly workshops and events for developers who will also be able to join the IBM Global Entrepreneur program through which they can qualify for free access to IBM Cloud services and get credits for Bluemix, IBM’s Platform-as-a-Service, as well as SoftLayer infrastructure.

One company set to benefit from the new IBM Innovation Space is Bitsoko – a digital currency start-up funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Bitsoko which has been working out of the iHub for the past 6 months has used Bluemix to develop a mobile wallet application based on Blockchain technology.

“There is a real buzz in Kenya and across Africa right now in the entrepreneurial community as technology and increased access to global markets is propelling us into a new era of African innovation,” said Allan Juma, Bitsoko co-founder and Chief Developer. “As a Kenyan entrepreneur with global ambitions, being able to interact with a company like IBM and discuss ideas, extend our professional network and access cutting-edge technologies is a potentially game-changing opportunity.”

The IBM Innovation Space @ iHub, Nairobi will be open from August 2015 and follows in the footsteps of similar spaces in New York, Boston, Uberaba (Brazil), Amsterdam, Tel Aviv, Istanbul, Bangalore, New Delhi and Singapore. Nairobi marks the first IBM Innovation Space in Africa with others to follow in the coming months in line with IBM’s investment into innovation ecosystems across the continent.

IBM has operated in Africa for almost 100 years. Today, its operations span 24 countries, including South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana, Angola, Kenya and Tanzania. Nairobi is also home to IBM Research – Africa: IBM’s 12th global research lab and the first industrial research facility on the continent of Africa. With facilities in Kenya and South Africa, IBM Research – Africa is driving innovation by developing commercially-viable solutions to transform lives and spark new business opportunities in key areas such as water, agriculture, transportation, healthcare, financial inclusion, education, energy, security and e-government.

]]> 0 Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky Attends Global Entrepreneurial Summit in Nairobi with Presidents Obama and Kenyatta Thu, 30 Jul 2015 11:30:39 +0000 chesky

Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb

Home Sharing Company Plans to Expand Further Across African Continent.

Airbnb (, the world’s leading community-driven hospitality company, announced that its CEO, Brian Chesky will attend GES 2015 today to meet with entrepreneurs from around the world and explore the sharing economy’s impact and expansion, particularly on the African continent – which represents a huge opportunity for the company. In the last twelve months alone, Airbnb has more than doubled in size in Africa.

“The spirit of entrepreneurialism is a common thread that unites the Airbnb community across the globe,” said Brian Chesky. “I’m thrilled to meet so many entrepreneurs here at GES who will build and grow this community throughout Africa. And I’m excited to see how Airbnb will empower people across the continent to make extra income while providing travelers with a truly authentic experience.”

As a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE), Brian Chesky joins a group of US business leaders committed to helping to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs around the world. At the GES 2015, he will participate in a roundtable alongside other PAGE members and US Administration officials including US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. He will also participate in a discussion with Steve Case on “Getting Ready for Growth,” and lead a Challenge Hack on the sharing economy.

Airbnb will also sponsor prizes for the winners of the GES Youth and Women Spark the Fire Pitch Competition, providing winners of the African Impact, Top Women-Owned African Business, and other winners with Airbnb travel accommodations to support historically marginalized communities on their entrepreneurial journey.

As a PAGE, Chesky’s signature initiative has been supporting the growth of entrepreneurship in Cuba, where Airbnb launched in April and which has already become its fastest growing market.

airbnbMany of the steps taken in Cuba to overcome challenges around internet literacy and mobile payment infrastructure will provide important lessons for Airbnb’s growth in Africa. This week’s trip, which includes a visit to the iHub incubator in Nairobi, is also an opportunity to hear from local entrepreneurs, and understand the opportunities and challenges facing Airbnb and other sharing economy leaders.

In the wake of strong successes in key markets around the world, Airbnb plans to significantly grow its business in Africa, where the company has already seen some impressive growth. In just the last year:

● The number of listings in Africa has more than doubled

● The number of people staying in Airbnb listings in the region has increased by 145%,

● The number of Africans using Airbnb to travel has increased by 139%

To help spur additional growth, Airbnb has also appointed Nicola D’Elia as General Manager for Middle East & Africa. Previously, Nicola was responsible for Facebook’s growth and partnerships in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. D’Elia will build out a team to accelerate Airbnb’s growth in the region.

In Kenya itself, there are currently over 1,400 listings available to book through Airbnb with the greatest concentration in Nairobi (788). Kenyans are also embracing Airbnb as a way of traveling, with the number of Kenyan guests using Airbnb tripling in the last 12 months.

]]> 0
Stage set for growth in Tanzania Thu, 30 Jul 2015 09:30:53 +0000 business connexionBusiness Connexion positive about untapped opportunities.

Tanzania has tremendous untapped potential. According to the World Bank, the economy is set to grow by an estimated 7.2% this year and the government’s significant investment in the national fibre optic cable increases business and citizen access to technology creating opportunities to leapfrog technologies. Together with the emergence of disruptive technologies, the stage is set for tremendous growth opportunities. This is the view of Jane Canny, Chief Operating Officer at Business Connexion Group (

Business Connexion Tanzania has been in operation since 2000, with a strong focus on financial services, telecoms, energy and mining and the public sector. “Through the creative use of technology and our partnership with the UmojaSwitch Consortium, we provide 28 banks and 200 automated teller machines in Tanzania access to a secure, shared payment infrastructure. The infrastructure is integrated with five payment switches within in East Africa to allow for international transactions, three major mobile operators to enable mobile payments and various government institutions to facilitate electronic payment collections.”

“The Internet Of Things” is changing the way businesses operate at a rapid pace,” says Canny. “As customers become more connected, their demands are changing and organisations simply have to evolve as the technology and how we use it changes, or face being left behind by their competitors.”

She adds that there are also several ongoing projects to integrate municipals and hospitals throughout the country to enable electronic payment collections. “This is a great example where technology is being used to make consumers’ lives easier,” says Canny. “And as technology continues to evolve, so will the way in which customers interact with their service providers. In the next five years, for example, near field communication or NFC technology will be used throughout the country to enable mobile retail and bill payments. We are also implementing a core banking application in the cloud, which will be hosted in our local data centre.”

Canny says the proposed merger with Telkom is not expected to have any impact on their local operations and the company remains committed the Tanzanian market. “Regardless of the outcome of the proposed merger, it’s business as usual for us. Our biggest concern lies with ensuring we continue to deliver innovative solutions to our clients. We will continue to invest in our Financial Services Exchange infrastructure solidifying our position in the financial services market,” she says. “Our local data centre, which hosts one of the largest telecoms solutions, and data recovery services also continues to grow.”

Canny believes the proposed merger is in line with global trends where telecommunications and IT services are converging. “It allows us to leverage Telkom’s infrastructure and provide our clients with an end-to-end solution. While Telkom does not operate in Tanzania, they do have a local point-of-presence. This, along with their strategic connectivity partnerships and investments into the main undersea communications infrastructure around Africa, would certainly benefit our clients,” she concludes.

]]> 0
GEN, Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Elumelu Foundation Join Forces to Spark Global Entrepreneurship Thu, 30 Jul 2015 07:30:13 +0000 gen entrepreneurs
(Left to Right) Jonathan Ortmans, President, GEN (Global Entrepreneur Network), Barack Obama, U.S. President, Parminder Vir, CEO, TEF (Tony Elumelu Foundation), Sriram Bharatam, Chair, EO (Entreprenuers’ Organization)

An impressive collection of organizations have come together to answer President Barack Obama’s call at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit yesterday in Nairobi, Kenya, to advance entrepreneurship and economic growth around the world.

Representatives of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) participated in a formal signing ceremony at the Summit, committing to lead the Spark Global Entrepreneurship initiative. Spark is a coalition that is seeking to mobilize like-minded organizations, companies and investors that collectively generate more than $1 billion dollars in private investment for emerging entrepreneurs by the end of 2017.

“The world is full of nascent entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas—but they need stronger ecosystems to help them unleash those ideas and grow them into game-changing startups,” said Jonathan Ortmans, president of Global Entrepreneurship Network and one of three Spark coalition co-chairs. “Spark increases coordination and collaboration among startup support programs and amplifies their efforts.”

The first wave of companies that have stepped forward include Citi, EY, GE, Google and IBM. Two African companies, Rendeavour, the continent’s largest urban land developer, and SkyPower, the largest provider of utility-scale solar power projects in the world, have joined as well.

“African entrepreneurship has been the missing link in Africa’s development. The actions of just one entrepreneur sends ripples across a community and entrepreneurship lifts people permanently out of poverty and creates social wealth,” said Tony Elumelu, founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation. “We all know entrepreneurship, anywhere in the world, is not easy nor is success guaranteed. All stakeholders – the private sector, governments, NGOs and donors – must make a commitment to use their respective powers to address the hurdles facing African entrepreneurs. That is what Spark is all about.”

Spark taps into the growing involvement of government programs in helping entrepreneurs start and scale new firms.

U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden announced the Spark initiative at the 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Morocco and outlined the commitments of some of the most active and effective U.S. government programs such as the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, Young African Leaders Initiative, African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program and more.

Spark is asking for commitments from organizations and individuals willing to “start the spark” by collaborating and contributing resources, networks, data and ideas to multiply efforts and help founders start and scale new firms.

“We are excited to leverage our in-market presence in nearly 50 countries to support Spark, inspire today’s entrepreneurs and foster the next generation globally,” said Vijay K. Tirathrai, CEO of Entrepreneurs’ Organization. “Our organization provides numerous platforms to bring entrepreneurs together for enhanced learning and leadership growth. Spark is a natural extension of our commitment and we call on others to join us and affect positive change through entrepreneurial support.”

]]> 0
Windows 10 available in 190 countries as a free upgrade Thu, 30 Jul 2015 06:40:42 +0000
windows 10— People and organizations can do great things with Cortana, Microsoft Edge, Xbox App, new Office Universal apps and more

Microsoft Corp. announced that Windows 10 will become available Wednesday as a free upgrade1 or with new PCs and tablets. Windows 10 includes innovations such as Cortana,2 an Xbox app and Microsoft Edge for a familiar, yet more personal and productive, experience. The most secure Windows ever, Windows 10 is delivered as a service and kept automatically up-to-date with innovations and security updates. Windows 10 offers one experience that will become available on the broadest range of devices, including PCs, tablets, phones, Raspberry Pi, Xbox One, HoloLens and more — with more than 2,000 devices or configurations already in testing. The new Windows Store and Windows Software Development Kit also become available Wednesday, opening the door to new and innovative app experiences on Windows 10.

People around the world will celebrate the launch of Windows 10 Wednesday at fan celebrations in 13 countries and via a new yearlong initiative to celebrate people and organizations making a difference around the world. Microsoft encourages people to share how they plan to #UpgradeYourWorld and to vote for a global nonprofit to receive a cash donation by simply mentioning the nonprofit in a post on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and using the hashtags #UpgradeYourWorld and #vote. More information on Upgrade Your World can be found at

“A new era of Windows starts today. From the beginning, Windows 10 has been unique — built with feedback from over 5 million fans, delivered as a service and offered as a free upgrade,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president, Windows and Devices Group, at Microsoft. “Windows 10 delivers on our more personal computing vision, with a natural, mobile and trusted experience. Along with our partners, we’re excited to deliver the best Windows ever, which will empower people and organizations around the world to do great things.”

Windows 10: Best Windows ever

Windows 10 is fast and familiar — with the return of the Start menu and Live Tiles for instant, streaming updates of what matters most. Windows 10 is the most secure Windows Microsoft has ever released, with enhancements to Windows Defender and SmartScreen to help safeguard against viruses, malware and phishing and innovations such as Windows Hello, which offers a fast, secured, password-free way to log in.3 Keeping up-to-date is also simple, as free updates will help people stay current with the latest features and security updates for the supported lifetime of the device.

Windows 10 is more personal and productive, with voice, pen and gesture inputs for natural interaction with PCs. It’s designed to work with Office and Skype and allows you to switch between apps and stay organized with Snap and Task View. Windows 10 offers many innovative experiences and devices, including the following:

  • Cortana, the personal digital assistant, makes it easy to find the right information at the right time.
  • New Microsoft Edge browser lets people quickly browse, read, and mark up and share the Web.
  • The integrated Xbox app delivers the Xbox experience to Windows 10, bringing together friends, games and accomplishments across Xbox One and Windows 10 devices.
  • Continuum optimizes apps and experiences beautifully across touch and desktop modes.
  • Built-in apps including Photos; Maps; Microsoft’s new music app, Groove; and Movies & TV offer entertainment and productivity options. With OneDrive, files can be easily shared and kept up-to-date across all devices.
  • A Microsoft Phone Companion app enables iPhones, Android or Windows phones to work seamlessly with Windows 10 devices.
  • The all new Office Mobile apps for Windows 10 tablets are available today in the Windows Store.4 Built for work on-the-go, the Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps offer a consistent, touch-first experience for small tablets. For digital note-taking needs, the full-featured OneNote app comes pre-installed with Windows 10. The upcoming release of the Office desktop apps (Office 2016) will offer the richest feature set for professional content creation. Designed for the precision of a keyboard and mouse, these apps will be optimized for large-screen PCs, laptops and 2-in-1 devices such as the Surface Pro.

Windows 10: Best platform for businesses

Feedback from millions of IT pros has shaped Windows 10, the most extensively tested version of Windows ever. Ready for corporate deployments, Windows 10 will help companies protect against modern cyberattacks, deliver experiences their employees will love and enable continuous innovation with a platform that keeps companies up-to-date with the latest technology. Businesses will be able to control the frequency of their updates and select the features and functionality that are right for each group of their employees.

Windows 10 includes built-in, enterprise-grade security, so customers can replace passwords with more secure options, protect corporate data and corporate identities, and run only the software they trust. New management and deployment tools simplify device management, help lower costs, and enable companies to power their business with the enterprise strength of the Microsoft Azure cloud.

Top apps available on Windows 10

The new Windows Store will open Wednesday and begin accepting new apps for Windows 10. The Windows Store offers one-stop shopping for popular free and paid apps, games, movies, TV shows and the latest music, which can work across all Windows 10 devices. The new Windows Store is the only store where people can use Cortana to control apps with their voice5 and get real-time notifications on their app tiles. All Windows Store content is certified by Microsoft to help keep devices safer. In addition to existing Windows 8.1 apps such as Netflix, Flipboard,, “Asphalt 8: Airborne” and The Weather Channel, the Windows Store provides a constant stream of new and updated Universal Windows Apps and games, including Twitter, “Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition beta,” Hulu, iHeartRadio, USA TODAY, “Candy Crush Saga” and others including WeChat and QQ, which will launch soon.6

Easy upgrade, devices now available

Upgrading to Windows 10 is easy for customers running a genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 PC or tablet. Starting Wednesday, people who reserved their upgrade to Windows 10 will be notified in waves when their upgrade is ready to be installed. For business customers, Windows 10 is available to start deploying within their work environments, and starting Aug. 1, organizations that have volume licensing can upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education.

Retail partners are ready to help people upgrade to Windows 10 with our largest tech bench program ever, including more than 100,000 trained retailers and tens of thousands of stores around the world. Free upgrade programs will be available Wednesday, with Windows 10 software becoming broadly available in retail stores around the world between mid-August and September. Devices running Windows 10 will be available in some retail stores on Wednesday, with many, many more devices to become available in the weeks and months ahead.

Microsoft has also worked closely with retailers to introduce programs to help people easily upgrade, including Best Buy, Bic Camera, Croma, Currys/PC World, Darty, Elkjøp, Fnac, Jarrir, Incredible Connection, Media Markt, Staples, Yamada Denki, Yodobashi and many more leading retailers from around the world.

Information on upgrading, new and compatible devices, and apps for Windows can be found at Additional information and media assets are available at

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.


Limited time free upgrade offer for qualified and genuine Windows 7 and 8/8.1 devices. Hardware and software requirements apply; see for details.


Cortana available in select markets at launch; experience may vary by region and device.


Windows Hello requires specialized hardware, including fingerprint reader, illuminated IR sensor or other biometric sensors.


An Office 365 subscription is required to edit Office apps on Windows 10 PCs or larger tablets.


Hardware dependent.


Some apps and content sold separately. App and content availability and experience may vary by region and device.

]]> 0
GE and Partners Announce New Renewable Energy Project to Boost Kenya’s Power Grid Wed, 29 Jul 2015 13:51:29 +0000 geProject follows a successful run of more than $2.5 billion worth of booked orders across Africa in the last year

• 100MW wind farm near Nairobi will contribute to installed energy capacity in Kenya

• $2.5 billion in new orders serve transport, aviation, healthcare and energy sectors

• Deal lands as GE makes substantial progress on its 2014 commitment to invest $2 billion in Africa by 2018

GE Africa (NYSE: GE) ( announced today that it is partnering with Kipeto Energy Limited to build a new wind farm in Kenya’s Kajiado County. GE will be the sole equipment supplier for the 100MW project, some 50 kilometres from the capital Nairobi. The local power deal caps off a successful run of more than $2.5 billion in booked orders on the Africa continent across transport, aviation, healthcare and energy sectors.

The Kipeto project, announced during President Obama’s visit to Kenya, is expected to make a significant contribution to the installed energy capacity in Kenya, where up to 80% of the population currently lacks electricity access. The $155 million contract will include 60 GE 1.7-103 wind turbines, as well as a 15-year service agreement.

Kipeto Energy Limited shareholders include Africa Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), Craftskills Wind Energy International Limited, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Maasai community of Kipeto. The project will be financed by Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) as sole lender to the project. OPIC is the US government’s development finance institute and is part of the Power Africa Initiative.

Continued growth across Africa

The Kipeto wind farm project will add to an existing $2.5 billion in orders that GE Africa has received over the past year. These new orders have come from across Sub-Saharan Africa, in transportation, oil and gas, power generation, healthcare and aviation. They have included:

• Oil and Gas equipment for Eni Ghana: The $850 million order incorporates both turbomachinery and subsea elements for the offshore project. The order includes three gas turbines for power generation and four centrifugal compressors. The first shipment is scheduled for the end of 2015 and the project is planned to deliver first oil by 2017.

• Locomotive contract in Angola: GE is to supply 100 locomotives to the Angolan National Railways (INCFA). The contract demonstrates Angola’s commitment to diversify its economy into new sectors such as mining, agriculture and energy.

• Kenya Healthcare Modernization Programme: GE was selected in February 2015 by the Kenyan Ministry of Health as a key technology partner for its wide-scale infrastructure modernisation programme aimed at transforming 98 hospitals across Kenya’s 47 counties. The radiology modernisation contract awarded to GE Healthcare is the largest of seven tranches of Kenya’s ~$420 million health development plan, aimed at delivering sustainable healthcare development, in line Kenya’s Vision 2030 Plan.

Delivering on commitments

In August 2014 GE committed to invest $2 billion in facility development, skills training, and sustainability initiatives across Africa by 2018. The commitment was made during the US-Africa

Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC. Substantial investment and progress has been made against those commitments, and this week GE announced its involvement in several new projects in Kenya.

“GE has made significant progress against the investment commitments made last August,” said Jay Ireland, president and CEO of GE Africa. “Skills training and capacity building are critical, not only for developing African economies, but also for growing GE’s footprint in the region. We consider this a major priority.”

Key progress over the past year includes:

• GE Manufacturing and Assembly Facility in Nigeria: GE has awarded Nigerian construction company, Julius Berger the contract to build its manufacturing and assembly facility in Calabar, Cross River State. Another Nigerian company, Banyan Tree has been contracted to build a training facility at the Calabar site and for the refurbishment, teacher training and curriculum development of the Cross River State Technical College. GE has also commenced fabrication of subsea well heads and refurbishment of Christmas trees at its Onne facility. Upon completion, these projects make up GE’s $250 million capital expenditure investment commitment to Nigeria. This investment is expected to create 2,300 direct and indirect jobs. The Calabar facility is expected to be a regional manufacturing and assembly hub for GE Oil & Gas as well as other GE industrial businesses. The first of its kind site will include training facilities to enable knowledge transfer and career advancement opportunities for local talent.

• Nigeria Biomedical Equipment Technician (BMET): GE Foundation has funded a biomedical training program in Nigeria to equip technicians with the skills to fix devices ranging from blood pressure cuffs to X-rays. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), between 50- 80% of medical equipment is out of service in low-income countries). In partnership with Engineering World Health, 19 students have been trained to date. The goal is to train 60 students by year end 2017..

• Mozambique Graduate Engineering Training Programme: GE has enrolled 20 Mozambican graduate engineers in the company’s Graduate Engineering Training Program (GETP), a “best in class” development program designed to prepare engineers to join GE’s global field service engineering team after successful completion of an intense

24-month curriculum. The engineers concluded phase 1 of the program at the Mozal

Artisan Training Center in Maputo, and Phase 2 in South Africa. They have now started a 12-month, on-the-job training program to gain hands-on experience with GE Oil & Gas subsea and rotating equipment products.

“We are exceptionally proud of the progress made against our commitment and the impact these initiatives will have on Africa’s workforce,” Ireland added.

Additional investments announced this week in Kenya include:

• GE Garages skills building programme: GE is collaborating with Gearbox and Seven Seas Technologies to bring its successful GE Garages skills building programme to Kenya to help build a skilled workforce and drive entrepreneurial development in the country. The facility in Nairobi will help students, entrepreneurs, makers and other learn about advanced manufacturing processes, software programming and business development through the use of advanced manufacturing innovations like 3D printers, laser cutters and CNC mills.

• Kenya Healthcare Training Center: As a cornerstone of our healthcare modernization programme, we have announced the GE Healthcare Skills and Training Institute in Kenya. The Institute represents a long-term investment of more than $13 million over the next 10 years. The centre is set to become GE’s first dedicated skills development facility in Africa when inaugurated in Q4 2015. Our goal is to train more than 1,000 healthcare professionals over the next 3 years.

• Round 3 of the Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge: GE Africa, in collaboration with the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), have announced the expansion of Round III of the Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge. This third round of the challenge is open to entrepreneurs and energy companies in Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia with a sum total of up to $1.1 million in grants to be awarded. The three-year initiative has extended $5 million and 50 awards to energy entrepreneurs in eleven African countries across the Continent.

“GE’s capability and global expertise in power generation, healthcare, rail transportation, water, oil and gas, and aviation industries allows us to play a significant role as a partner in the development of Africa,” Ireland said. “This expertise also allows us to share knowledge and build skills of local employees in this critical sectors. We have an opportunity and a responsibility.”

A high-level GE delegation, led by Jay Ireland, participated in and hosted events in Nairobi during President Obama’s visit to Kenya for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

]]> 0
XIV World Forestry Congress Durban, South Africa, 7–11 September 2015 Wed, 29 Jul 2015 09:30:12 +0000 faoXIV World Forestry Congress Durban, South Africa, 7–11 September 2015 / Vision 2050 for forests and forestry –Launch of Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015

The need for governments, civil society and the private sector to boost investment in forests as a key to sustainable development will be the focus of the XIV World Forestry Congress taking place in Durban, South Africa, from 7 to 11 September 2015.

Under the theme Forests and People: Investing in a Sustainable Future, participants will discuss ways to unleash the full potential of forests to lift rural populations out of poverty, act as buffers against climate change and inspire new technologies and renewable products.

Ministers and heads of international and national agencies will be among several thousand people gathering for the Congress, which takes place every six years.

This year’s event is hosted by the Republic of South Africa with support from FAO, and marks the first time the Congress will be held on African soil since its inception in 1926.

Highlights include the launch of FAO’s Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015, which will show how the world’s forests have changed over the last 25 years and provide the latest information on the state of sustainable forest management.

The Congress outcome, Vision 2050, is set to reinforce the contribution of forests and forestry to a sustainable future and help pave the road to a new climate change agreement at the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris in December.

Main Congress proceedings will be in English, French and Spanish and will be webcast.

Media accreditation

Journalists are strongly encouraged to accredit in advance via email. Required materials:

• Scan of a valid press card

• Scan of letter of assignment on company stationery

• Completed accreditation form

Please email all materials to, copying and including “Media accreditation” in the subject line. All submissions will be checked and verified, and media accreditation will only be processed upon receipt of all the information requested above.

]]> 0
Orange increases its interest in the Moroccan operator Méditel with the acquisition of an additional 9% of its capital Wed, 29 Jul 2015 06:49:52 +0000 orangeOrange now holds 49% of Méditel’s share capital.

Fipar-Holding (the Moroccan Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion group), FinanceCom and Orange signed the final documentation today increasing Orange’s interest in Méditel, the Moroccan telecommunications operator, in application of the agreements they signed in December 2010.

Through this transaction, Orange ( has acquired an additional 9% of Méditel’s capital and benefits from the rights set out in the December 2010 agreements. As a result, Orange now holds 49% of Méditel’s share capital. The Board of Directors of Méditel will now be composed of five members proposed by Orange and four members appointed by the Moroccan shareholders. The company will now be fully consolidated in the financial statements of the Orange group.

Created in 1999, Méditel opened up the telecoms market in Morocco in both fixed and mobile services. The operator has undertaken massive investments in its networks, which now include over 5,400 km of fiber optic cable, including 870 km in Morocco’s ten largest urban areas. In addition, Méditel will complete the overhaul of its mobile network this year, extending its 3G coverage to 95% of the population.

In March 2015, the Moroccan regulator ANRT assigned one of the three 4G licenses to the operator, confirming the company’s human and technical expertise. Méditel was the first operator to launch its 4G service, in June 2015.

With more than 13 million mobile subscribers, representing a 31% market share at the end of 2014, Méditel had 2014 revenues of 5.5 billion dirhams (503 million euros(1); growth of +7%), an EBITDA(2) of 1.86 billion dirhams (170 million euros; growth of +18%), and an operating cash flow of 720 million dirhams (66 million euros).

The transaction, which has already received the necessary authorizations from the public authorities and the regulator, illustrates Orange’s development strategy outside Europe and supports the Group’s ambition to reinforce its presence in Africa and Middle East.

(1) Exchange rate as of 31/12/2014: 1 euro = 10.95 MAD.

(2) EBIDTA as published in IFRS Consolidated Accounts.

]]> 0
Advanced technology increasingly shaping Africa’s financial sector Tue, 28 Jul 2015 15:30:09 +0000 Sumesh Rahavendra, Vice President of Sales for DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa
Sumesh Rahavendra, Vice President of Sales for DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa

The African financial services industry is rapidly evolving as a result of advancing technology which is fueling innovation and growth in the sector. While the sector is mature in most developed countries, it is less saturated in Africa, therefore offering many opportunities for new market entrants to challenge the status quo of how business has traditionally been conducted.

This is according to Sumesh Rahavendra, Vice President of Sales for DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa ( who adds, “The burgeoning middle class and abundance of SMEs in Africa present great opportunities for financial services companies to provide retail banking services to individuals, as well as trade finance to SMEs. We see SMEs as the engine for growth in Africa and the lack of access to finance can often hinder their development. With one of the fastest growing middle classes in the world, there is a wave of consumerism for all types of goods and services such as FMCG, electronics and pharmaceuticals.”

The future shape of financial services in Africa 2015(1) report by PwC describes the sector as a marketplace without boundaries. It explains that compared to global markets – where the outlook for financial services is more solid – the risk of disruption in traditional African financial services market has triggered the need for entities to reassess their strategies.

“While most international banks are moving towards e-commerce, in Africa, a number of local banks still share information and conduct business with hard copy documentation,” adds Rahavendra.

An Accenture report titled African financial services come of age(2), suggests a promising future for the region’s banking sector. It reveals that the development of consumer payment networks took years to become fully functional in mature economies, while many countries in Africa are now beginning to expand their traditional payments infrastructure to adapt to new international standards.

“The local retail banking sector is increasingly making use of new technology such as ‘Mobile Money’ platforms. Consumers have started to move away from physical cards, instead relying on their mobile phones to conduct day-to-day banking transactions.”

“In addition to mobile money solutions, most African countries have made a concerted effort to improve their transactional security by moving from the traditional ‘swipe card’ form of retail banking to chip and pin.”

“From a logistics point of view, while banking sector documents continue to present significant shipment volumes intra-Africa, with the new technologies available, there is an increased need for equipment such as servers, ATMs and supplies to be moved into and around the continent, as banks expand into new countries and rural areas. As technology and requirements change, so do our supply chains, and we work very closely with our customers to ensure that we offer them the best possible solutions.”

“The financial sector fueled DHL’s expansion into Africa in 1978 when global banks needed to get documentation to Africa, and it continues to help shape our service offerings on the continent as the sector matures. As the only logistics company to be present in every country and territory in Africa, we not only have front row seats to witness the impressive growth of the sector, but are fortunate enough to work with some of the largest and emerging financial institutions on the continent and play our part in their growth story,” concludes Rahavendra.

]]> 0