AfricanBrains Africa Education Innovation Technology Investment Networking Events News Social Media Blogs Wed, 01 Apr 2015 07:08:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Internet of things is already shaping South African society Wed, 01 Apr 2015 07:08:36 +0000 .


The Internet of things is already deeply embedded in SA’s industrial and commercial infrastructure, says Rean van Niekerk, MD of Metacom.

The Internet of things (IOT) is already helping to shape South Africa, says Réan van Niekerk, MD of Metacom, and its influence is set to increase dramatically in the next few years, as the impact of new technologies is felt.

Rean van Niekerk, Metacom, MD

Rean van Niekerk, Metacom, MD

“The terminology is new, but the practice is not,” says Van Niekerk. “We’ve been quietly building the Internet of things for more than a decade already, connecting nationwide networks of sensors for everything from traffic monitoring to national electricity distribution using private, hybrid and public cloud architectures. The IOT is already deeply embedded in South Africa’s industrial and commercial infrastructure. Without knowing it, we all depend on this network already.”

Recent developments have boosted the profile and importance of the IOT in the public eye, says Van Niekerk, the first being the advent of pervasive low-cost connectivity: “Thanks to low-cost GSM, satellite, microwave radio and other wireless technologies, every spot on the earth can now, in principle, be connected to any other spot.”

The increasing miniaturisation of transducers and communications electronics is also driving the IOT, adds Van Niekerk. “A transducer is anything that converts physical properties into electrical properties, and vice versa – examples would include microphones, accelerometers, location and movement sensors, thermometers, pressure sensors and many more. These are now so small that many of us have several of them in our phones, but also on our wrists, in our cars and in our homes and workplaces.”

Finally, there is a massive explosion in the development of software and applications that can process all the data generated by the IOT and present it in useful, engaging ways. “Miniaturisation means thin devices that can be located anywhere, including in wearables – and pervasive connectivity means sophisticated information processing can be done in the cloud. That is enabling new applications that deliver rich, interactive experiences,” says Van Niekerk.

However, he notes, there are several obstacles that will limit growth. “Firstly, there are no industry-wide communication standards – every big company has its own preferred standards. Until there’s an agreed set of open protocols and standards, the IOT cannot come into its own.”

The next essential obstacles to overcome, he says, are robust security protocols and reliable connectivity. “With the IOT, we are creating a society entirely dependent on connectivity; a lot of work needs to be done to ensure that people can safely rely on the systems around them to work, and to protect their security and privacy.

“All the technical building blocks for the IOT are already in place,” concludes Van Niekerk. “The next 10 years should bring the business models and software developments that will enable it to seamlessly integrate numerous aspects of our lives in ways we have not even thought of!”

]]> 0
The OCP Group planning its third “International Symposium on Innovation and Technology in the Phosphate Industry” (Symphos) Tue, 31 Mar 2015 12:08:18 +0000 .


Symphos 2015: The Third Symphos, Sustainable Agriculture on Focus

The OCP Group ( is planning its third “International Symposium on Innovation and Technology in the Phosphate Industry” (Symphos) ( from the 18th to 20th of May 2015 in Marrakesh. This technological and scientific event focuses on innovation, technology and current trends in processes to upgrade phosphates and derivatives, as well as research and development prospects in the phosphate sector.


Following the success of the two previous events held in 2011 and 2013, Symphos 2015 will be the place to be for major international players in the phosphates and phosphate derivatives industry. A wide range of scientific subjects, phosphate innovations and the use of advanced technology for sustainable agriculture will be discussed during Symphos 2015. Renowned international experts will take part of this event to contribute to, and to benefit from its various programmes. It is also an opportunity for these experts to share the results of their researches, and of their different projects. There will be also debate sessions organised by a high-level international and technical committee.

Symphos will be also open to biotechnology, fertilizers of tomorrow and to “slow & – controlled releases”. As well as a forum to share ideas and to discuss sustainable development topics including water & energy management, industry-related challenges, and the development of innovative processes and sustainable agriculture.

Through the organisation of this event for the third time, OCP, the world leader of the phosphate industry, reaffirms its commitment to the promotion of technical and industrial innovation for sustainable agriculture.

]]> 0
SA, Algeria to step up relations Tue, 31 Mar 2015 12:00:34 +0000 .



Relations between South Africa and Algeria will experience a new impetus with the visit of President Jacob Zuma which starts this morning.

At the invitation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President Zuma arrived in Algiers, Algeria, for his state visit on Monday, the Presidency said.

The visit, which will be marked by the holding of the 6th Session of the Bi-national Commission of Cooperation (BNC), is another step in strengthening the traditional relations of friendship between the two countries.

Talks between the two presidents will help deepen the dialogue between South Africa and Algeria on important regional and global issues of mutual concern such as peace and security as well as to review the status of bilateral relations.

The President is also expected to sign several bilateral agreements with his Algerian counterpart.

The two countries enjoy close bilateral cooperation through the framework of the South Africa-Algeria BNC, whose work is centred on the following key areas of interaction: quality of life and human resources; people-to-people relations; energy and infrastructure; natural resources; defence; safety and security and trade.

In addition to further consolidating these areas of cooperation, the 6th BNC which will be convened by Minister of International Relations and Corporation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and her counterpart Minister Ramtane Lamamra on the side-lines of the State Visit,  will cement collaboration in the areas of agriculture; energy; higher education; telecommunications and information technology; labour and social security; health; tourism; transport; human settlements; local government; and sports and recreation.

Since the convening of the 5th Session of the BNC, the two countries have made good progress, especially in the areas of Science and Technology, Defence, Arts and Culture and Trade and Investment.

Algeria is South Africa’s largest trading partner in the region and bilateral trade has grown progressively over the last few years, therefore providing great potential to further enhance trade and investment co-operation.

It accounted for 32% of total trade in the North African region in 2014, while the total exports to Algeria were valued at R1.8 billion, while total imports from Algeria were valued at R86 million.

President Zuma is accompanied by Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, Telecommunications and Postal Services’s Siyabonga Cwele and Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, President Zuma will proceed to Cairo, Egypt, for his working visit where he will hold official talks with President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi.

The working visit, according to the Presidency, aims to further strengthen and consolidate the strategic bilateral relations between the two countries and to reaffirm South Africa’s commitment towards the strengthening of bilateral relations with Egypt through the convening of the 9th Session of the Joint Bilateral Commission (JBC). 

]]> 0
Why a 15 year old decided to build bikes from bamboo in Ghana Tue, 31 Mar 2015 11:34:04 +0000 Winifred Selby

young Ghanaian entrepreneur, Winifred Selby

At an African Leadership Academy event in Johannesburg last year, I asked a young Ghanaian entrepreneur, Winifred Selby, what motivated her to co-start Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative when she was just 15. The award winning company makes bicycles out of bamboo and has caught the attention of global organisations.

Her answer? She was fed-up. Whilst at school Selby discovered a number of things about Ghana, and the continent in general, that deeply upset her.

“I always say Africans are the richest… there are so many things we have and can add value to make a change. But Africans always seem to think they cannot do something extraordinary, but rather only people from foreign countries can,” she said sternly.

“It’s so sad and so serious that a common toothpick in my country has to be imported from other countries. We don’t do it ourselves because we look down on ourselves… We think foreigners are the people to make changes. It’s something that pains me because we have been blessed with so many things.”

She also realised there was demand for an affordable mode of transport in her country after learning many students in Ghana have to walk miles to get to school.

“By the time they get to the classroom they will be tired. What concentration are they going to have to study? Imagine walking eight miles (13km) to school, learning, and then walking eight miles back home.”

She realised farmers faced a similar challenge and often had to walk great distances carrying heavy loads to get produce to markets, due to a lack of transportation in agricultural areas.

And in addition there is the high unemployment levels and the reality that Ghana needs many more growing businesses and entrepreneurs to provide much needed jobs. All of these things frustrated Selby, and she desperately wanted to be part of as many solutions as possible.

“But I was 15, a student, and didn’t have any money. I can’t make cars – they are too expensive. But I kept thinking, what can I do to add value to bring a change in Africa? And then I realised what to do because I [remembered] my country is blessed with many things.”

One is bamboo – which Ghana has an abundance of. And it wasn’t long before she – with the help of two older students, Bernice Dapaah and Kwame Kyei – discovered they could convert the bamboo into sturdy, shock-resistant bicycle frames.

And so the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative was born.

Becoming a global success story

The aim was to address both the transportation needs and unemployment problems in her community. Five years later the company employs around a dozen people full-time, produces between 60 and 100 bicycles a month, and has provided hundreds with a form of transport.

What is more, the bikes have found a large export market and received some international recognition. In November 2013 UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon took a spin on one of Selby’s bikes at the Warsaw Climate Change Conference.

And Selby, who has now just turned 20, is also no stranger to media attention and has received a number of accolades. Last year she was named a 2014 Anzisha Prize finalist, an award for African entrepreneurs between 15 and 22 who use entrepreneurship to solve problems in their communities. She has also been recognised as a 2014 Set Africa Fellow, and WEF Global Shaper.

Today, one of the company’s major challenges is keeping up with demand.

Being stubborn and ignoring the critics

Selby said one of the reasons there are not enough young Africans venturing into entrepreneurship is because they are often discouraged by others. And as a woman entrepreneur she has especially found this to be the case many times.

For example, when she and her partners first went to register her company, the officer handling the paperwork asked her about her initiative. But when she told him she planned to add value to bamboo by manufacturing bicycles, she was shocked by his response.

“He looked at me and said: ‘Young lady, are you sure you have the right frame of mind?’,” she recalled.

“I was thinking he was going to motivate me. But he really [tried to] discourage me instantly… as if thinking that turning bamboo into bicycles was the work of men.”

However, she believes it is important for entrepreneurs to draw inspiration and courage from their own dreams and passions, rather than simply rely on the support of others.

“There were so many friends who laughed when they heard about the bamboo bike idea. Some people will definitely discourage you, but one thing I’ve realised in life is that you have to be focused,” she added.

“People never understand your journey because it is not theirs to understand.”

Applications close on April 15th. Visit The Anzisha Prize to apply or nominate now. Follow #HelpUsFindThem and #AnzishaEffect on our social media platforms Twitter and Facebook.

]]> 0
SA: Parents must get involved Tue, 31 Mar 2015 11:08:24 +0000 Jeff Radebe

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe

By Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe –

Our schools need parents who will take responsibility for the education of their children. It is imperative they avail themselves to serve on School Governing Bodies. All of us want schools in our communities to be well managed and excel academically – and to achieve this we have to make it a societal responsibility.

Elections for School Governing Bodies were introduced after the advent of democracy in 1994 to ensure active participation in school affairs and to enrich the culture of teaching and learning. Before 1994, schools’ management was authoritarian and parents, especially at traditionally black schools, were excluded from having a say in how they should be managed.

At the time, schools were managed by committees and boards which reported directly to the then apartheid government. This exclusion was partly to blame for the below – par performance in some schools. It also resulted in most parents leaving the education of their children in the hands of teachers.

The South African Schools Act of 1996 changed the course of our education. It mandated that schools should actively involve community members and have a democratically elected School Governing Body. According to the Department of Basic Education, there are currently more than 25 000 public schools in South Africa and every school has a School Governing Body that is democratically elected.

The three-yearly cycle of nationwide School Governing Body elections ended on 28 March. The elections which started on 6 March were overseen by the Independent Electoral Commission to ensure that they were free and fair. Not every parent could be elected, but all parents were able to participate in the elections to determine who governs the schools our children attend.

These elections came at a time when the country is celebrating 21 years of Freedom. They also coincided with the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter, which proudly proclaimed that the “doors of learning and culture shall be opened”.

Elected members can be teachers, parents, staff members and pupils from grade 8 upwards. School Governing Bodies make allowance for the fact most parents have full – time jobs.

These Bodies play an important role in the running of schools. They support the principals, teachers and other staff to improve the quality of education; ensure good governance and combat racism, sexism and all other forms of unfair discrimination and intolerance. Other responsibilities include creating a school development plan, determining the policies, managing finances and budgets and the appointment and promotion of teaching staff.

In addition, they rely on a number of people who volunteer to assist the Bodies. We must become responsible for our children’s education and ensure homework is completed. We should also support School Governing Bodies to ensure decisions are taken in the best interest of pupils.

Parents should use this opportunity to become directly involved in the education of their children and ensure that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past. Instead, we must play an active part in moving the country forward.

]]> 0
Innovation Africa 2015 – 30 Sept – 2 Oct, Kampala, Uganda Tue, 31 Mar 2015 10:32:24 +0000 Header Slide 2 - with date - 640

Innovation Africa 2015 – 30 Sept – 2 Oct, Kampala, Uganda

Africa’s leading high level summit for education and innovation returns for its fifth year in 2015 and will take place in Kampala, under the patronage of the Government of Uganda, hosted by Hon Jessica Alupo, Minister of Education & Sports.

Hon Jessica Alupo, Minister of Education & Sports

The theme for this year’s event is “Developing African Skills for the 21st Century”.

“In 2 days you can meet 30 or 40 leaders from different countries in ICT that can make decisions. It’s great for us”
John Davis – Vice President, Intel

Innovation Africa 2014 included the participation of 26 African countries, 23 ministers, 140 government officials and over 250 industry leaders. The 2015 summit will exceed those numbers as the most desirable event to attend for ministers of education, higher education, ICT, science & research. It is the ‘must participate’ event of the year for companies to engage with these leaders in our unique meetings-based format.

“It was amazing for Rwanda, not only for Rwanda but for Africa… We’ve met in 2 days 24 corporate partners, it’s intense but it’s important.”
Bakuramutsa Nkubito – Special Advisor to the Minister, Rwanda Ministry of Education

Header Slide 5 - 640px

Roundtable Meetings

Innovation Africa is recognised as the leading high-level forum for education, ICT and skills development in Africa. For ministers, deputies and senior officials it is their preferred annual event for engaging with industry partners in our unique meetings-based format. Now in its 5th year, Innovation Africa, has gained the support and endorsement of officials from over 35 African countries and in 2015 we will see record numbers of officials attending with the key purpose to engage with private sector partners. There is simply no better annual summit to meet with so many ministers and officials under one roof during the course of three days.

Pre-scheduled Meetings

Pre-scheduled Meetings

For all our partners the highlight of the Innovation Africa summit is the pre-scheduled meetings that will take place during the afternoons of 1st & 2nd October. This year there will be over 40 hosted roundtables, each represented by an African government ministry or leading educational institutions. Prior to the start of the summit, all industry partners and delegates will choose their own preferred meetings through our online scheduling system.

“The roundtables so far have been brilliant, there’s huge excitement. The enthusiasm here is outstanding.”
Justin Taylor – Education Evangelist, Autodesk

Partnership & Branding

Partnership & Branding

Innovation Africa 2015 offers an outstanding choice of different options to companies, allowing you to select a partnership package that best suits your needs and meets your objectives. Being a partner at our summits is a proven method of raising your company profile and gaining maximum exposure.

Benefits include a variety of options for exhibitions, corporate presentations, chairing of a ministerial panel session and imaginative ways to showcase your company on delegate bags, badges and lanyards. Branding throughout the venue on screens and banners, on the Innovation Africa 2015 website and the option for inclusion in the AfricanBrains newsletter together with corporate logo and profiles on all printed material including the summit guide and agenda. Plus special exclusive options for being the ministerial reception or gala dinner sponsor.

Ministerial Panel Themes

This year’s theme for Innovation Africa is “Developing African Skills for the 21st Century”. Panel discussions will
cover the following topics:

  • Technical & Vocational Education & Training
  • Developing Skills in Universities & Higher Education
  • Curriculum Innovations for Promoting Creativity & Critical Thinking
  • New Technologies for Innovation in Education
  • Future Skills from Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology (STEM)
  • Investing in ICT Infrastructures: Better Broadband for Better Skills
  • Developing Entrepreneurs & Industry Prepared Students
  • Innovative Teaching Models & Skills Training for Educators

“The event has just been really well managed and an outstanding experience.”
Regina Murray – Director Education Sector, EMEA, Microsoft

Official Ministerial Invitations

Hon Jessica Alupo has confirmed her personal invitations to the ministers of education, higher education and ICT from the following countries, who will be participating with their own senior delegations:


“I wish all summits would be like this one… This is the best time I have had during the times I have attended conferences.”
Hon Barnabas Tinkasiimire MP – Uganda ICT, Parliamentary Committee

To register your interest please visit –

]]> 0
OLAM awards prize for innovation in food security Tue, 31 Mar 2015 07:30:22 +0000 .


Olam, a  leading global agri-business operating across the value chain in 65 countries, has announced that the Olam International Prize for Innovation in Food Security  has been awarded to  Professor Norman Uphoff, a professor of Government  and International Agriculture and former director of the Cornell International  Institute for Food, Agriculture, and Development and the  SRI International

Network and Resources Centre (SRI-Rice).
The  Olam International Prize for Innovation in Food Security is one of four unique  global initiatives launched to mark Olam’s 25 th anniversary, all of  which are aimed at helping address some of the global challenges facing the  next generation. The other three initiatives are The Olam Scholarship  Programme, The Building Sustainable Futures Forum and the Olam Foundation.

A  prize of US$50,000 was awarded to Prof. Norman Uphoff and the Centre by an  international jury panel at the 3 rd Global Science Conference on  Climate Smart Agriculture in Montpellier, France.

Launched  in partnership with the leading scientific organisation,  Agropolis Fondation , the Olam Prize for Innovation in

Food Security recognises an outstanding innovation for its impact on the  availability, affordability, accessibility or adequacy of food.

The winning entry, SRI-Rice,  housed  at New York’s Cornell University, has  been promoting research and facilitating knowledge-sharing on the climate-smart  methodology of SRI with outstanding results.

The SRI system requires 80-90% fewer rice seeds, up to 50%  less water and, in many instances, no fertiliser.  Rice yields are boosted

by 20-50% (and often by much more), with farmers’ costs subsequently reduced by  10-20 %.  Given that rice is produced by over 200 million smallholder  farmers in emerging markets, such increases are bound to have a significant

impact on food security.
Such  has been the success of the SRI system today that it is now being promoted by  governments in China, India, Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam, where two thirds  of the world’s rice is produced. The use of SRI practices is increasing the yields of over 10 million smallholder farmers by an average of 1.67 tons per  hectare, while simultaneously reducing their costs and lowering water

“The innovation behind SRI is fascinating  because it disrupts common notions of rice farming, and such disruption is

essential if we are to feed nine billion people by 2050. Grown by 200 million  small-scale farmers, rice is the world’s staple diet, so I am delighted that  Olam is helping to scale up practices so clearly proven to increase yields,  thereby reducing the pressure on precious arable land and water”, said Mr. Sunny Verghese, Group Managing Director and CEO at Olam.

Mr. Verghese observed that in addition to the efficacy of SRI, there are no costs  to the farmer which provides three benefits: firstly, communities have  increased access to vital calories without paying more; secondly they can

improve their livelihoods by selling surplus production and lastly, such  surplus helps to meet global food security needs.

“As we celebrate our 25 years in the  agricultural sector, I am proud that this anniversary prize should be awarded

to SRI-RICE, a team that has ‘transcended boundaries’ – the meaning of Olam.  And with our own 10,000 hectare rice farm and small holder programme in Nigeria we will certainly be exploring this research further.” Mr Verghese concluded.

]]> 0
China, Africa Explore Opportunities for Collaboration on Health Care for All Mon, 30 Mar 2015 14:45:31 +0000 .


Chinese and African global health leaders call for strengthened partnership around universal health coverage and access to essential medicines

More than 350 health leaders from China and Africa — including government officials, academics, and representatives from the private sector and international organizations — convened in Beijing this week at the 5th International Roundtable on China-Africa Health Collaboration. The meeting explored how Chinese and African resources and experiences can be leveraged to mutually support greater health development.

Today, meeting participants officially published the Beijing Policy Recommendations, a document outlining how intercontinental cooperation can be strengthened to drive sustainable impact, with a focus on the theme, “Contributing to Universal Health Coverage, Expanding Access to Essential Medicines.”

Drawing on decades of joint health efforts, the Policy Recommendations called for deepened dialogue between Chinese, African and international stakeholders, increased investments in health, and alignment with African regional and national strategies. The Recommendations emphasized commitments to a variety of issues including universal health coverage (UHC) and access to safe, high-quality drugs and vaccines, as well as the need for improved government accountability through better monitoring and evaluation.

“China and Africa have a long history of health cooperation going back more than 50 years. Our partnership with Africa is focused on mutually beneficial collaboration that meets the needs of African countries while also contributing to China’s health and development,” said Dr. Ren Minghui, Director General of the Department of International Cooperation at China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC). “China has a unique role to play in supporting Africa’s health progress, thanks to our advances in R&D and production of high-quality, low-cost medicines and vaccines. These lifesaving innovations have tremendous opportunity to make a positive impact in the developing world.”

The Roundtable comes at a crucial time, as China develops its integrated strategy toward other developing countries for the next 5-10 years. The meeting provides a platform for high-level consultation between China and Africa on specific health priorities of mutual interest. China-Africa collaboration on health is an important complement to investments made by African governments and aid from traditional donors, and reflects growing South-South cooperation in a number of sectors.

“More than ever before, African countries and China have the opportunity to work together on issues ranging from infectious disease control to strong, sustainable health systems,” said H.E. Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, Commissioner of Social Affairs of the African Union. “As we build on progress made across the continent and work to achieve our post-2015 health goals, international cooperation with countries like China can amplify investments being made by African countries for greater impact.”

Building on commitments made by China and African governments in the 2013 Beijing Declaration, the Roundtable focused new attention on exploring effective tactics to achieve universal health coverage, and ensuring that all people are able to obtain the health services they need without falling into poverty. Participants reflected on innovative policies for UHC in several African countries, as well as China’s domestic health reform, and explored new paths for making universal coverage a reality.

Meeting participants also discussed a cross-section of other issues in which China and African cooperation have unique potential to make an impact. For example, presentations focused on increasing access to health commodities, including through public-private joint ventures and technology transfer agreements. A special session was also held on immunization, recognizing China’s growing role as a worldwide supplier of vaccines and its recent $5 million USD commitment to Gavi, the vaccine alliance. The Ebola outbreak provided context for conversations on health systems and building African health capacity. China provided $120 million USD in Ebola aid and deployed nearly 1,000 medical workers to affected areas.

“China has the experience and capacity to be a key partner in African efforts to expand health access and provide life-saving medicines and vaccines to those in need,” said Mark Suzman, President of Global Policy, Advocacy, and Country Programs for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We’re excited to be working closely with China and African countries to identify and invest in health and development solutions that have the potential to improve the lives of millions of people. The Roundtable is an important part of our ongoing efforts to identify shared priorities for collaboration, ensuring that all partners’ needs and capacities are reflected in future policies.”

The Roundtable and the Policy Recommendations will lay the groundwork for the Ministerial Forum of China-Africa Health Development, part of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), to be held later this year.

“This meeting is an opportunity for us to share expertise, discuss new forms of cooperation and chart a common course forward. The policy recommendations released today will inform upcoming conversations between health ministers and will help shape the future of China and African countries’ bilateral engagement on health,” said Professor Cheng Feng from the Tsinghua University Research Center for Public Health, who is the co-chair of the Roundtable.

The Roundtable is co-hosted by the Tsinghua University Research Center for Public Health and the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Medicines and Health Products (CCCMHPIE) under the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM).

Planning of the meeting was run by a Task Force that included representation from NHFPC, MOFCOM, the China Alliance for South-South Health Cooperation Research, the Ethiopian and South African Embassies in Beijing, the World Health Organization (WHO), U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Joint U.N. Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), U.N. Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), U.K. Department for International Development (DFID), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

]]> 0
SEFA to support Solar Power Plant in Chad Mon, 30 Mar 2015 11:45:41 +0000 .


The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) has just approved a USD 780,000 preparation grant for the development of a first phase 40 MW of Starsol* Solar PV Plant near N’Djamena in Chad as the first Independent Power Producer (IPP) scheme to be connected to the national grid. Specifically, the SEFA grant will finance the costs related to technical assistance for the completion of the plant design and grid study, as well as advisors for legal and financial structuring of a bankable IPP.

The success of this project will have significant demonstration effects in the country’s power sector and provide reliable power to address power shortages hampering economic growth. Implementation of this project first phase will help to increase the installed capacity by 45%, generate around 64 GWh of electricity per year and provide electricity to the equivalent of 16,871 households in the area of N’Djamena as well as to the corporate and public sectors. It will also contribute to diversifying the country’s energy mix with a clean energy source and to promoting technology transfer, thus stimulating the creation of skilled and semi-skilled jobs. Finally, the project will help Chad meet its growing electricity demand with an endogenous, abundant and carbon-free source

The project aligns with the Chad Government’s focus on the development of renewable energies as a national energy policy priority , in a country with less than 2% of the population has access to electricity and the electricity generation costs are high (FCFA 345/KWh, USD 0.65/KWh) as most of it is provided by private diesel generators. The project is also aligned with the African Development Bank Climate Change Action Plan 2011-2015 and Energy Policy, as well as the Bank’s Strategy 2013-2022 which focuses on the twin objectives of inclusive and green growth in the continent.

* Starsol Chad project is promoted by a consortium including NewSolar Invest, a solar energy project developer, CIEC Monaco, an engineering company, and Arborescence Capital, an infrastructure and renewable energy project financing arranger.

]]> 0
Experts commend Rwanda as a model in using ICT and e-Governance for sustainable development Mon, 30 Mar 2015 10:39:17 +0000 .


Policy makers and experts in ICT gathered in Kigali for the Commonwealth e-Governance Forum Africa from 24-25 March 2015 have commended Rwanda as a model in using ICT and e-Governance for sustainable development. Participants at the Forum explored the different opportunities availed by information technology towards enhancing governments’ effectiveness in service delivery. 

Speaking at the Forum, the Secretary General of Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), Professor Tim Unwin lauded Rwanda’s efforts in harness ICTs potentials to increase accountability and transparency.

I congratulate the Rwandan people and the government for all achievements in the use of ICTs for sustainable development and for wide contributions. The progress of about 28 per cent internet penetration, more than 70 per cent mobile phone penetration and the recently adopted cyber security policy are some of the indicators of the government’s efforts toward achieving the benefits of e-Governance systems.” 

Professor Tim Unwin further cited initiatives like the broadband strategy and Rwandapedia which were launched in 2013, as well as the Rwanda Online Platform which is slated to be operational by the end of this year.

The Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana stated that Rwanda is currently working to leverage latest ICT capabilities such as analytics, social media and mobility to deliver citizen centric and accountable governance. 

We must make governance work for the next generation. However much one might have accomplished in driving e-Governance, the road ahead is still too long. Issues like child online protection emerged as an important element from our discussion in this Forum. I commit that, in partnership with our stakeholders, we shall another discussion in June 2015 to discuss child online protection in collaboration with its early champions like Facebook.” 

Themed “Smart Governance through a Networked Government”, the Commonwealth e-Governance Forum Africa explored topics geared towards promoting ICT as a tool for effective service delivery.

Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) is an international body based in London engaged in multilateral collaboration of ICTs and uses its experience and expertise to support its members in integrating ICTs to deliver interventions that enrich people within the Commonwealth and beyond.

]]> 0