AfricanBrains Africa Education Innovation Technology Investment Networking Events News Social Media Blogs Tue, 24 Nov 2015 14:33:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Maiden visit of new AfDB President to the African Union Tue, 24 Nov 2015 14:33:34 +0000 aucThe African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, has welcomed the new President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, to the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They met on Monday, 23 November 2015 on his first official visit to the AU.

The AU Commission Chairperson and the AfDB President discussed key continental priority areas, including: energy to light up and power Africa; agriculture and agro-processing; industrialisation; integration of Africa through regional infrastructural projects; and the improvement of the quality of life through the provision of water, health and sanitation.

These “High five key outcome areas,” of the AfDB, are directly in sync with continental priorities outlined in Africa’s Agenda 2063. Therefore, the AU Commission will be working together with the AfDB, UNECA as well as Regional Economic Communities to move the continent towards greater integration and economic prosperity.

The AUC Chairperson and AfDB President also discussed strengthening the Joint Secretariat of the three continental institutions.

This meeting follows an earlier one when the three Heads of Africa’s premier institutions met in New York, USA, on September 2015, on the margins of the UN General Assembly.

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SA, Netherlands establish a Joint Commission for Cooperation Tue, 24 Nov 2015 12:31:58 +0000 Maite-Nkoana-Mashabane
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

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Pretoria – South Africa and the Netherlands have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the establishment of a Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) that will provide structure to the strong historical relations that exist between the two nations.

“The MOU covers all areas of cooperation such as water management, energy, logistics, maritime skills development, education, science and technology, arts and culture, and trade, among others,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said on Thursday.

The MoU was signed by Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and her counterpart, Bert Koenders, at The Hague.

The Ministers also discussed bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual concern.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane was in the Netherlands for the 14th Session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Assembly of States Parties is the management oversight and legislative body of the ICC.

The Minister delivered South Africa’s opening statement during the General Debate of the Assembly of States Parties on Thursday.

She used her speech to outline the legal and political challenges faced by a country like South Africa that is engaged in peace efforts throughout the continent, while also trying to balance its legal and political obligations and duties in accordance with Articles 97, 98 and 27 of the Rome Statute of the ICC.

“As a State Party to the Rome Statute, we want to make sure that the ICC lives up to the purposes it was created for. This is our court and we have a responsibility to interrogate whether this institution is still reflective of the principles and values which guided its creation,” said the Minister.

South Africa requested that the Assembly of States Parties deliberate on these challenges in order to reach an understanding.

The Assembly of States Parties will consider this question today.

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha will lead the South African delegation to this meeting.

While in The Hague, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane also held meetings with organs of the court and other dignitaries on various aspects relating to the ICC. They included the President of the ICC Judge Silvia Fernandez and the Prosecutor of the ICC Fatou Bensouda, among others.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane also met with the Organisation on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Director General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü at the OPCW headquarters in The Hague.

The Director General praised South Africa’s contribution to the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, noting in particular the strong support of South Africa to the OPCW’s Africa programme.

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SA: Changing the game for special needs education Tue, 24 Nov 2015 10:28:00 +0000 Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga

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Pretoria – Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says her department is hard at work to improve support services and the way the curriculum is delivered in public, special and ordinary schools.

The Minister hosted a Ministerial Roundtable on Disability in Pretoria on Monday as part of the Disability Rights Awareness Month 2015.

Minister Motshekga said areas of concern, which are receiving attention, include the lack of sufficient professional staff like nurses, therapists, psychologists and social workers. She said these problem areas were being addressed through the development of Human Resource Provisioning Norms and District Norms.

She said her department recognises that it must strengthen district-based support services.

“The Department of Basic Education is committed to ensuring that all learners with disabilities are able to access a special or full service school, which offers the programme of support that they require, preferable in their neighbourhood.

“We would like to see all schools becoming more responsive to learner needs by influencing the change of attitudes of their school community that may still be predisposed to prejudice against people with disabilities,” said Minister Motshekga.

She said the lack of specialised competencies among educators teaching at special and full service schools is being addressed through multi-year plans for teacher training in areas like Braille, South African Sign Language, autism, augmentative and alternative communication, and effective utilisation of assistive technology, among other initiatives.

Minister Motshekga reaffirmed government’s commitment to providing access to quality education and support to all children with disabilities.

She said no child should be left behind. “… One child excluded is one child too many.”

Minister Motshekga said there is a persistent challenge of out-of-school children with disabilities who are unable to exercise their right to basic education, thus lacking access to any form of support services offered within a school environment.

“There are also children with disabilities in schools who have not been properly assessed to determine and plan for their support needs.

“In a bid to address the educational rights of children who are at risk of compounded marginalisation, we have developed a new White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” said Minister Motshekga.

She said the new policy instrument will be presented to Cabinet this month. The white paper broadens the scope of understanding marginalisation to include persons with psychosocial, intellectual and/or neurological disabilities, especially those who live within rural and/or impoverished communities and families; persons that are homeless or displaced or refugees, as they are less likely to access information on their rights, as well as supported decision-making services, and children with severe to profound intellectual disability who are out-of-school.

Widening access to education

She called on everyone to join hands and focus on what needs to be done to ensure that every child with a disability of compulsory school-going age is enrolled in a registered education programme or school, and has full access to the learning process through access to reasonable accommodation and support.

“We all know that in every settlement in South Africa – rural, peri-urban and urban – there are children with disabilities who remain excluded from education,” said the Minister.

She also said the State must ensure that children with disabilities have access to a public ordinary school in the neighbourhood in which they live, and must ensure that they receive the necessary reasonable accommodation to address their individual needs.

“It is for this reason that we have passed the Policy on Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support (SIAS) to ensure that no child will be refused admission to a school and that children who are exempted from school attendance are captured on a list so as to ascertain that they also have access to other government services,” said Minister Motshekga.

There are currently 453 special schools in the country. Eighteen are under construction.

Minister Motshekga said there are only two of the 82 education districts that do not have special schools.

Emeritus Professor Roy McConkey of the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland said South Africa was one of the leading countries in the provision of inclusive education in the world, and definitely in Africa.

He commended government for its efforts to improve the quality education for persons living with disabilities.

He also said it is time to move away from excluding children with disabilities from society by placing them in residential special schools, and advised that government should look into the possibility of integrating them in full service schools and provide conducive facilities.

Thenjiwe Ndebele, 25, spoke as the Chairperson of Self-Advocates from Down Syndrome South Africa.

She pleaded that all children with disabilities be given access to education so that they can earn a bit of independence.

“I may have a disability but I have many abilities. We matter. Education is important to us,” said Ndebele, who aspires to be a businesswoman.

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SA: Project to bring internet to rural areas Tue, 24 Nov 2015 07:34:28 +0000 technologyBy –

Pretoria – Affordable mobile technology projects aimed at connecting the country’s rural villages to the World Wide Web will be showcased at the Future Internet Research Experimentation (FIRE) workshop to be held in Pretoria on Monday.

The projects, Testbeds for Reliable Smart City Machine-to-Machine Communication (TRESCIMO) and Mobile Empowerment for Socio-economic Development in South Africa (MOSAIC 2B), are important for South Africa because they support the implementation of the national ICT Research, Development and Innovation Roadmap.

Funded by the Department of Science and Technology and the European Commission, these projects are in one of the priority areas of the SA-European Union research and innovation cooperation in the field of ICT.

Under the MOSAIC 2B project, cloud-based applications and innovative low-cost Internet delivery mechanisms are being developed to provide affordable mobile technologies to unlock new mobile business opportunities in rural communities.

MOSAIC 2B has created a “cinema-in-a-backpack”, which is a mobile, easy to use product incorporating a projector, speakers, a battery and a tablet, which enables micro-entrepreneurs to project films, becoming part of their business offering to local communities in remote villages.

TRESCIMO focuses on developing reliable machine-to-machine communications for “smart cities”, in the context of linking smart and green technological and social innovation.

TRESCIMO developed an Internet research facility linking South African and Europe and used the facility to conduct trials with energy and the green environment in South Africa and Spain. The trials demonstrated the impact that machine-to-machine technologies can have in a global context.

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Google’s Commitment to Clean Energy in Africa Mon, 23 Nov 2015 18:31:52 +0000 google_logoIt may come as a surprise that one of the major investors in clean power for developing world economies is Google, Inc. The Internet giant invested $12 million in 2013 into the largest African solar power project in history and is now also backing the continent’s largest wind power project. Previously, Google has shown its commitment to clean energy by investing nearly $2 billion in solar and wind farms in the United States and throughout the world. Now, with its involvement in the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project, the company takes the same strategy into sub-Saharan Africa.

The Lake Turkana project is a huge wind farm currently under construction in Kenya. The farm encompasses 40,000 acres located between Lake Turkana and the South Horr Township. This remote area is rumored to have some of the strongest winds in the world and has been a topic of interest for decades among those who want to build sustainable wind farms. Until now, the project has faced a number of obstacles.

However, with the infusion of Google’s support, the farm is online for completion in 2017. When completed, it will supply 20 percent of the country’s electricity. Three-quarters of Kenyans do not have regular access to electricity, despite the fact that the country is home to one of the world’s most successful mobile payment systems. The Lake Turkana project will quickly change this reality.

The total price tag for the project will approach $1 billion, making it the largest private investment in the country’s history. Along with Google, the African Development Bank, the European Union and other investors are financing the venture. Google has shown dedication to clean energy over fossil-fuel based investments, so wind farms are a natural choice. Wind energy has been shown to be extremely clean, producing no air emissions, no water pollution, and more jobs per unit of energy generated than either coal-fired or nuclear power plants. According to Dominion Power, global investments in wind power went up from $14 billion in 2004 to $80 billion in 2013, setting an approximate 21 percent annual rate of growth. Wind farms have the potential to power tens of thousands of homes; a single turbine can power over 400 homes, while the same homes would require more than 14,000 pounds of coal each during the same time period.

Those who think of Google simply as an Internet phenomenon may be surprised to learn that the company has become increasingly involved in clean energy projects. To date, Google has invested nearly $2 billion in a total of 22 projects designed to bring clean power to users around the globe. In addition, the company has promised to buy at least 1 gigawatt worth of clean energy as part of its effort to expand its services to users in every part of the world.

One example of Google’s commitment to clean energy is the Jasper Power Project. Construction was completed on this solar energy farm in 2014, and today the 96-megawatt South African plant is capable of supplying power to more than 80,000 homes. As with its other projects, Google worked with investors to help bring financing to developers, enabling the construction of this and dozens of other clean-energy projects, such as one of the world’s largest wind farms in Oregon and a solar thermal farm near Las Vegas.

The motivation behind these investment decisions hinges on Google’s interest in getting more people online. When Google creates a data infrastructure center in a given area, it relies heavily on local power supply to ensure that this data center stays operational. By investing in a clean energy source like a wind farm, the company ensures that this power will be readily available. The Turkana Lake farm is located in Kenya, an area in Africa in which Google has been interested for some time, whose population are potential future users of the Internet who currently lack access to the web. Google’s “Loon” project balloons have already been used to create a “floating Internet” for those who do not have access to the grid; the wind farm would supply this power much more easily.

Without energy, people cannot access Google; therefore, Google has a vested interest in supplying that power. The company’s investment in the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project underlines its commitment to providing clean energy to Africa in order to ultimately tap into the vast populations of future Google consumers.

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USAID and Partners Announce Winners of Agriculture Innovation Competition Mon, 23 Nov 2015 14:38:43 +0000 usaidInnovators that address global climate change, gender equity, and agriculture’s need for clean energy receive up to $2 million in funding and acceleration support.

Today, Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development announced 13 new finalists for the development and expansion of game-changing, clean-energy technologies that will enable farmers and agribusinesses to increase food production and the value of agricultural goods, while bolstering low-carbon economic growth. Powering Agriculture is a partnership between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Government of Sweden, the Government of Germany, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and Duke Energy Corporation. The announcement took place at the 2015 Powering Agriculture Innovator Showcase in Washington, D.C.,

“Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development demonstrates how we can harness the collective intelligence and entrepreneurship of innovators to help end extreme poverty by providing clean energy to feed the developing world. The 13 winning innovators are a testament to the power of how partnerships can have a positive, transformative impact in development,” said USAID Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator Charles North.

Selected from a pool of 871 applicants – 62 percent of which are from developing countries – the winning organizations that comprise the 2015 Powering Agriculture Innovator Cohort will collectively utilize $12.9 million in funding to commercialize clean energy technologies and innovative business models that will: (i) enhance agricultural yields/productivity; (ii) decrease post-harvest losses; (iii) improve farmer and agribusiness income generating opportunities and revenues; and (iv) increase energy efficiency within the operations of farms and agribusinesses.

The finalists for the awards and the countries in which they will implement their projects are:

Ariya Capital Group (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania): Powering Agriculture with Renewable Energy
Claro Energy (India): Low-Cost Pay-Per-Use Irrigation Using Solar Trolley Systems
Futurepump (Kenya): Sunflower Pump: Asset-Financed Solar Irrigation Pumps for Smallholder Farmers
Horn of Africa Regional Environment Center and Network (Ethiopia): Improving Coffee Production and Quality Using Infrared Technology
Husk Power Systems (Ghana, Nigeria): Biomass and Solar PV Hybrid Minigrids for Off-Grid Farming Communities
Institute for University Cooperation (ICU) (Jordan, Lebanon): PV-Integrated Drip Irrigation and Fertigation Systems
International Development Enterprises (iDE) Bangladesh (Bangladesh): Renewable Microgrids for Off-Grid Fish Hatcheries and Surrounding Communities
KickStart International (Kenya): Affordable, High-Performance Solar Irrigation for Smallholder Farmers
SimGas Tanzania, Ltd. (Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania): Biogas Milk Chilling to Increase Productivity and Incomes of Dairy Farmers
SunCulture (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia): Scaling the Distribution of Tailored Agro-Solar Irrigation Kits to Smallholder Farmers
University of Toronto (Bangladesh): Field Evaluation of a Passive Aeration System for Aquaculture
Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (Guatemala): Private Sector Financed Community Solar Microgrids and Agricultural Accelerators
Village Infrastructure Angels (Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Vanuatu): Solar Agro-Processing Power Stations

Powering Agriculture uses a nexus approach that concurrently focuses on energy, food production/processing, and water usage to better enable collaboration and coordination amongst numerous countries and donors.

Through its focus on sustainable agriculture, Power Agriculture also complements the goals of Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. Together with Powering Agriculture, these country-driven initiatives aim to deliver on President Obama’s promise to reduce hunger and malnutrition through agricultural development.

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Nigerian job placement technology entrepreneur wins Anzisha 2015 Grand Prize for African youth entrepreneurship Mon, 23 Nov 2015 12:37:03 +0000 anzishaThe Anzisha Prize is thrilled to announce this year’s winner of the $25,000 Grand Prize in the 5th year of Africa’s premier award for youth entrepreneurship. Chris Kwekowe (22), founder of Slatecube which offers a job-relevant skills learning platform and job placement services, impressed the judges. Slatecube has had significant success to date with potential for scale and will serve as an inspiring beacon for other youth interested in entrepreneurship. The decision was not easy, however, given the talented pool of finalists. Fintech entrepreneur Fabrice Alomo (22, Cameroon) was 1st Runner Up ($15,000) and fashion entrepreneur Mabel Suglo (22, Ghana) was 2nd Runner Up ($12,500).

Chris Kwekowe founded Slatecube to increase job access for youth through creating a platform on which they can build job-relevant skills and linking them with virtual internship opportunities that enable them to develop experience. His vision for the venture is to see it grow into a wide-scale provider of relevant job market access, with increasing ability to open doors for job seekers.

“I did not believe that I could have won the prize when the competition started. But I feel confident in what I can achieve now given the capital and training that I have received through the Anzisha Prize. I congratulate all the other finalists as I believe they were all very impressive and look forward to engaging them as we support each other to grow going forward,” says Chris.

The first runner up was Fabrice Alomo from Cameroon, founder of My AConnect. The venture aims to increase the ease with which unbanked people in Cameroon transact and gain access to financial services. My AConnect provides AMoney, and electronic currency with which unbanked individuals can make purchases with over 500 enterprises by depositing money through charge cards. Fabrice’s vision is to increase financial service access for Cameroon’s 17 million unbanked people.

A still impressive second runner up was Mabel Suglo from Ghana, founder of Eco Shoes. Mabel offers an assortment of shoes and accessories that are fashionable and Afro-themed, using recycled materials. Her employee-base is predominantly disabled individuals. She aims to increase their economic participation through job opportunities. Mabel believes that disability is not inability and employs people with a variety of disabilities to create products that she sells into wholesale and retail markets.

The Anzisha Sector Prize in Agriculture was awarded to Chantal Butare, founder of Kinazi Dairy Cooperative. Chantal’s cooperative collects milk from over 3,000 families in her community, and processes the milk for sale. She generates income for these families, as well as for ten milk collectors who are in her employ. Her ambition is motivate for sufficient capital to mechanize her process and increase scale to create revenue for yet more families in her community. Chantal is a shining example of youth role models that Anzisha Prize aims to celebrate: Youth who are operating successfully in sectors that are considered non-traditional for youth, but that have immense potential to catalyze economic growth in Africa.

“Over the past five years, we have seen the Anzisha Prize evolve from a one-time prize for social entrepreneurship, to an entire community of young, innovative leaders across Africa who have access to comprehensive support and networking opportunities,” says Koffi Assouan, Program Manager, Youth Livelihoods at The MasterCard Foundation. “I continue to be impressed by the caliber of youth entrepreneurs that Africa has to offer and congratulate them on their ability to inspire both ourselves and the rest of the continent.”

The 2015 Anzisha Prize Finalists were celebrated at a prestigious invitation-only ceremony on Tuesday, November 17th 2015 at Room Five venue in Rivonia, Johannesburg. The keynote speaker was Alex Okosi, pioneer of MTV Networks in Africa, a staunch proponent for a truly African voice for youth.

The Anzisha Prize is a partnership between African Leadership Academy and The MasterCard Foundation. The 12 finalists for Anzisha Prize for 2015 were selected from an impressive initial pool of 494 young entrepreneurs, up from 339 applications in 2014. The Anzisha Prize is proud to have attracted applicants from 33 African countries, with finalists from Zimbabwe and Ethiopia identified for the first time this year. Applications were also received from a diversity of sectors, with agriculture having the most applicants. Now in its fifth year, The Anzisha Prize celebrated these outstanding young people during Global Entrepreneurship Week joining the worldwide festivities. Having received a share of US$75,000, the Anzisha Finalists join a growing pool of now 54 Fellows to receive access to ongoing support to scale their enterprises and expand their impact.

Applications for the next cycle of the Anzisha Prize will open on the 15th of February in 2016. However, nominations for promising youth entrepreneurs are open all year round.

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Merck counts on Africa for growth Mon, 23 Nov 2015 10:31:09 +0000 merck_logoMerck, a leading science and technology company, announced today that it plans to considerably expand its presence on the African continent over the next five years and is counting on the region’s entrepreneurial spirit and innovation power for growth.

“Merck is committed to supporting healthy families, healthy communities and healthy economies in Africa,” Karl-Ludwig Kley, Chairman of the Executive Board and Chief Executive Officer of Merck, said at a press conference in Johannesburg today. “We intend to more than double our workforce in Africa and we also aim to more than double our sales on the continent by 2020.”

The company currently has around 400 employees across ten African countries and aims to increase this number to around 1,000 by 2020. Merck’s largest location is South Africa, from where the company also steers business in South-East Africa including Kenya, Angola and Mozambique. Merck’s sales in Africa will climb to around € 200 million in 2015 and are expected to reach € 500 million by 2020.

Merck has delivered healthcare services in Africa since 1897. With a population rising faster than in any other global market and a growing middle class, the company is increasingly tapping into the continent’s innovative spirit to create health awareness and help respond to unmet medical needs. The Group’s Executive Board visited ten African countries this week to underscore its commitment to and growing importance of the continent. Among other things, Merck announced plans to start local production of the diabetes treatment Glucophage in Algeria, inaugurated an office in Nigeria, and launched the sale of its Muse® cell analyzer, used to detect HIV.

“Africa currently has around 1.1 billion inhabitants,” Kley said. “This figure is expected to increase tremendously, reaching at least 2 billion people by 2050. Africa not only has the world’s fastest-growing population, but also a growing middle class. With our portfolio of healthcare and life science products, we are perfectly positioned to help address the needs of the people of Africa.”

In addition to selling products in Africa, Merck also aims to tap into the continent’s potential for cutting-edge innovation, which can shape Africa’s future and inspire solutions to tackle global challenges. Among other things, Merck has started an online and mobile platform for diabetes risk assessment, apps for diabetes and fertility patients and a mobile platform for doctors, all of which were developed in Africa.

“The entrepreneurial spirit in Africa and the creativity to come up with out-of-the-box solutions are simply amazing,” said CEO-elect Stefan Oschmann, who will become CEO in April 2016. “In a world that is increasingly shaped by digital solutions, this innovative spirit is enabling Africa to spearhead technological solutions in areas such as e-health, mobile banking or community information.”

Healthcare and Life Science

Merck’s growth strategy for Africa mainly includes its Healthcare and Life Science businesses. In Healthcare, 2016 will be a year of investment in selected African countries for Merck’s Consumer Health business, which comprises prescription free over-the-counter pharmaceutical products. Among others, the company plans to market well-known brands such as Seven Seas, Femibion and Neurobion in Africa.

In Biopharma – also part of Healthcare – Merck is counting on its experience in markets with high-growth potential around the globe and intends to match the right products with healthcare needs in selected markets. One example is an agreement signed earlier this week for local production of Merck’s type 2 diabetes gold-standard treatment Glucophage by the Algerian pharma company Novapharm. Medicines produced at Novapharm are intended to address the needs of local markets.

In Life Science, Merck intends to expand its presence in Nigeria, Kenya, Algeria, and Angola. This business offers a range of more than 300,000 products globally to help facilitate life science research and pharmaceutical production by clients in academia and industry. This week, Merck started selling its Muse Auto CD4/CD4% system in several African countries. This product monitors patients’ specific T-lymphocyte cell counts, which are standard indicators of when to begin treatment for opportunistic infections, initiate antiretroviral therapy, and monitor the progression of diseases such as HIV. This precise system works at low cost per test and can be used to monitor adults as well as children.

Merck is also embracing local innovations to help people in Africa. One example is its joint campaign DORA (Diabetes Online Risk Assessment) with pharmacists and external diabetes management partners for the early detection of diabetes. This campaign will allow people, for example in South Africa, where it was launched this week, to take part in an online test using either smartphones or computers and find out in a few clicks whether they are at risk for diabetes. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the number of people with diabetes in Africa is expected to double by 2035. The proportion of deaths due to diabetes in people under 60 years of age in Africa is 76% and 46% of people living with diabetes are still undiagnosed. When diabetes goes undiagnosed, it can cause further complications.

As part of its corporate responsibility activities, Merck has pledged to eliminate the devastating infectious disease schistosomiasis. More than 200,000 people die from schistosomiasis every year. In children, the parasitic worm disease also stunts growth and reduces their ability to learn. Together with the World Health Organization (WHO), we have taken up the fight against this neglected tropical disease. Thanks to our praziquantel tablets, 64 million patients have already received treatment.

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iVote Empowers African Education Sector with e-Learning Technologies Mon, 23 Nov 2015 08:04:08 +0000 ivoteMr. Saso Jovanovski, the CEO of iVote, was invited to conduct training for the usage of Epistum Learning Management System (LMS) for Nigerian educational sector.

Macedonia, November 20,2015/ — Mr. Saso Jovanovski, the CEO of iVote, was invited to conduct training for the usage of Epistum Learning Management System (LMS) for Nigerian educational sector. At the International ICT and E-Learning training, held in Dubai, 08-12th of September, more than 10 academic staff from Nigerian universities were introduced with Epistum LMS and its functionalities. The training enabled academic staff to become better acquainted with new e-Learning technologies and methods.

Interactive, dynamic learning approaches are crux of the new academic era. Student’s increasingly changing needs and diversities in age, gender, educational background, culture, language as well as learning habits and styles make tertiary institutions to implement technologies that support distant learning. Often students have different learning approaches of those presented by the educators. Having full attention from students who attend classes in traditional classroom, who just sit and listen to the teacher is getting harder and harder, especially now a days with so many IT gadgets and devices available.

“We are living in technological era surrounded with many different appliances. Constant changes become part of our everyday lives. The usage of ICT in education has opened wide arrange of opportunities. Now, students can attend courses and classes in real time without constraint of their physical presence. Students and teachers can communicate with each other and share their knowledge at any time using peer to peer communication tools. Discussions and different opinions can be expressed using forums. Real time evaluation tests and quizzes are no longer obstacles. These are few of the many opportunities that IT can do to facilitate educational process and make it more stirring for the both sides.” – said Mr.Saso Jovanovski, CEO of iVote.

The training was organized by New Creation Technology, Macedonia in Collaboration with FON University, Macedonia and New Creation Educational Foundation, West Africa.

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BRICS Education Ministers sign cooperation agreement Fri, 20 Nov 2015 16:30:35 +0000 bricsBy –

Pretoria – Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande has signed a joint agreement with BRICS education ministers to develop a solid framework for future cooperation in education.

The agreement was signed in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday and includes areas such as general education, educational policy strategy, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges and higher education.

It also commits the BRICS partners – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – to support joint research projects, encourage more collaborative programmes at post-graduate, doctorate and post-doctorate levels and co-publishing of scientific results by BRICS universities.

Minister Nzimande said a process was already underway to nominate 12 South African universities to participate in the BRICS Network of Universities, which will be anchor universities for collaboration.

“The department has established a national coordinating committee comprising government and members of the academic community to play an oversight role on the establishment of the BRICS Network,” Minister Nzimande said.

Significantly, Minister Nzimande said, the agreement stresses the role of TVET colleges in attracting young people to the labour market.

“We want to collaborate to improve the quality of teaching and teachers’ education. The collaboration means that we recognise the establishment of the BRICS Working Group on TVET to develop national reports, share concepts, methods and instruments of analysis matching workforce demands and supply for BRICS member countries.

“South Africa is on the whole satisfied with the issues tabled, and I think we should also find a way of foregrounding issues relating to TVET as this is one of the key strategic areas for our countries as BRICS.

“The TVET sector has the potential to unlock economic opportunities for our young people, and thereby assist to address the challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty that affect our communities,” the Minister said.

The agreement follows a meeting in Brazil earlier this year, where member states agreed to promote the strengthening of internationalization of higher education and academic mobility, vocational and technical education, as well as to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all.

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