Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Konza Technology City Kenya - Where Africa's Silicon Savannah Begins !!!!

5,000 acre Konza Technology City in Kenya whose development is estimated will cost 7 billion dollars. The Information ministry has just received the drawings for the project that is one of Vision 2030's flagship projects and is expected to create 200,000 jobs over the 20 years phased development. Permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo says the government will handle the infrastructure while the rest will be handled by the private sector. Expressions of interest are already coming in thick and fast.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sada and Sohur Mire - Twin Sisters from Somaliland

When Sada Mire fled war-torn Somalia as a frightened teenager, the nation was descending into darkness, mired in the grip of a long civil conflict. But several years later, when she returned to the Horn of Africa as an ambitious archaeologist, her fierce determination and meticulous fieldwork brought to light the region's rich cultural heritage. In 2007, her archaeological pursuits resulted in the discovery of 5,000-year-old rock art in Somaliland, a breakaway state in the northwest corner of Somalia. The prehistoric findings, which include renderings of animals as well as human figures, are significant in enhancing understanding about the prehistoric way of life across the region, says Mire.

Somaliland's first archaeologist, Mire is now on a mission to preserve and protect what she says is a heritage at risk of disappearing.

Read more here http://www.somaliheritage.org/index.php

Read more here http://edition.cnn.com


Sada Mire, PhD
Department of Antiquities,
Ministry of Tourism and Culture
Republic of Somaliland
email: sada.mire@gmail.com

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

African Digital Art Network

African Digital Art Network was created and developed by Jepchumba, a Kenyan digital artist living in Chicago, Illinois. The term digital art is permeating through the web even though the precise definition is unclear. Digital art covers a wide range of artistic production; audio/visual production, animation, interactive projects, websites, short films, graphic art and design. African Digital Art is an online collective, a creative space, where digital artist, enthusiasts and professionals can seek inspiration, showcase their artistry and connect with emerging artists.

A little bit about ADA from African Digital Art on Vimeo.

Read more here http://www.africandigitalart.com/

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Gallup Surveys: African Households Highest Recepients of Cash & In Kind Remittances

Gallup surveys in 135 countries reveal about 3% of adults worldwide live in households that receive remittances -- either in the form of money or goods -- from someone in another country. In 35 countries, however, 10% or more report their households get this type of help. These countries are primarily concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa.


These results, based on aggregated data from surveys conducted in 2009 and 2010, capture information that complements officially recorded flows of money. Gallup's surveys ask about financial help in money or goods and are not restricted to transactions through formal channels. The data also shed additional light on remittances in countries -- particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa -- where little or no official data exist.

These findings may be conservative either because survey participants are reluctant to report getting help from someone or because the person randomly selected for the interview is unaware the household receives remittances.

Top Countries Receiving International Remittances

Adults in the Somaliland region, Comoros, and Zimbabwe are the most likely worldwide to report receiving remittances, with more than 30% of adults saying they get money or goods from someone in another country. These relatively high percentages likely reflect help from their large diasporas. In Zimbabwe, for example, where a quarter of the population lives outside the country, the Reserve Bank reports remittances increased 33% in 2010 to about $263 million.


Outside sub-Saharan Africa, the countries where the highest percentages of residents report receiving remittances are more spread out across Latin America, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia.

Where Remittances Go Varies by Country

Because Gallup's data track where recipients of remittances live, rather than where a formal remittance transaction ends, they provide insight about where remittances go.

In 12 of the 35 countries where 10% or more households report receiving help from abroad, residents in urban areas -- cities with 50,000 residents or more -- are more likely to report receiving international remittances than those in less urban areas -- towns and villages with populations less than 50,000. This is the case in Zimbabwe, Dominican Republic, the Philippines, and nine other countries.


The opposite is true in other countries such as Niger and Tajikistan, where residents of less urban areas are more likely to receive remittances than those in urban areas. In countries such as El Salvador and Kyrgyzstan, residents in urban and less urban areas are equally as likely to report receiving remittances. In many of these top-receiving countries -- but not all -- international remittances are reaching residents in less urban areas.

Bottom Line

Gallup surveys worldwide estimate how many adults live in households that receive financial assistance or goods from outside their own countries and where some of these remittances are going. The list of countries where high percentages report receiving this type of assistance is relatively small, but these remittances are likely a lifeline for millions of people. While international remittances often receive the lion's share of attention, they are only part of the story. Future articles will provide a worldwide picture of those receiving financial help from an individual within the same country.

For complete data sets or custom research from the more than 150 countries Gallup continually surveys, please contact SocialandEconomicAnalysis@gallup.com or call 202.715.3030.

Survey Methods

Results are based on face-to-face and telephone interviews conducted in 2009 and 2010 among residents aged 15 and older, in 135 countries. Data are aggregated. For most countries, sample size is 2,000 adults or greater. Four countries have sample sizes between 500 and 1,000: New Zealand, Latvia, Haiti, and Estonia. Data for Gulf Cooperation Council countries exclude non-Arab expatriates. For results based on the total sample in each country, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error ranges from ±1.0 percentage point in India to ±4.7 percentage points in Latvia and Estonia. The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.



Read more here http://www.gallup.com

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Reducing the Number of Least Developed Countries

Aiming to reduce their own number in half by 2020, the 48 least developed countries (LDCs) are looking for a major advance at negotiations ahead of the Fourth UN Conference on the LDCs (9-13 May, Istanbul, Turkey). The world’s most vulnerable economies and other governments are pressing for measures that would bump 24 countries off the UN’s “least developed” category — which denotes low per capita income, low standards of living and human resources, and lack of economic capacity and resilience. LDCs depend largely on agriculture, which occupies most of their people in backbreaking, low-productivity work; or on mining and petroleum, which are non labour intensive and produce little spin-off into other areas of domestic economies.

Six LDCs – Angola, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Sudan and Tanzania — are on the list of the 11 countries McKinsey says are most likely to benefit, especially if sustainable agricultural practices to ward off the effects of climate change are introduced.

A study published in April 2011 by the McKinsey consulting firm contends that this moment may be arriving in Africa, where more than three-quarters of the LDCs are located. The report states:
A long-awaited ‘green revolution’ may be within reach. Many of the continent’s governments are adopting market-friendly policies and committing more resources to the sector. Traditional big donor countries are increasing their expenditures on agriculture, while China and Brazil are also beginning to contribute to the effort. African agriculture’s private-sector investment is rising rapidly. High, volatile food prices underline the importance of such development efforts and create not only pressure but also political space for policy makers to act.


The large majority of farmers in the LDCs are women — most of whom are involved in low-productivity agriculture. A transformation of smallholder farming and diversification of rural as well as urban economies would allow the creative, economic and governance abilities of women to more fully emerge. Essential for this is bringing down structural barriers — discriminatory laws, policies, practices and norms —to gender equality.

With low domestic savings rates (averaging 10 per cent of gross domestic product), the least developed countries remain dependent on sources of external financing such as official development assistance

LDCs are rich in the hard (mineral) and soft (agricultural) commodities that are at a premium in today’s global economy. Possession of these resources has not enabled most of them to escape poverty traps in the past. Countries need to find ways that will bring the proceeds into play in terms of economic diversification. If returns are more widely spread among populations,
growing domestic markets will attract international investment into non-commodity sectors.

the Least Developed Countries
Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia

ASIA [14]
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Nepal, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Yemen


Read more here http://unic.un.org/infocus/pdf/Issue_09.pdf

Africa: Investment Growth Benefiting Only Some Poor States

While foreign direct investment in least developed countries (LDCs) in Africa has risen sharply over the past decade, most of it went to resource-rich economies and had little impact on employment creation. On the eve of the fourth United Nations' conference on LDCs, UNCTAD has launched a study on the developmental effects of foreign direct investment (FDI), adopted at the 2001 LDCs conference as one of the tools to foster development in poor countries.

The study, called "FDI in LDCs: Lessons learned from the decade 2001 - 2010", shows the results are at best mixed. In terms of capital formation, figures are encouraging: despite an abrupt interruption in 2009 due to the economic crisis, FDI flows to LDCs grew at a rate of 15 percent during the last decade to reach 24 billion dollars in 2010. This is significant when compared to the 7,1 billion dollars of FDI inflows in 2001. In international comparison, LDCs' share of FDI in global flows almost doubled, going from 0,9 percent to more than two percent over the same period of time. "FDI from developing and transition economies is increasing. (Emergent economies) provide LDCs with more opportunities to attract investment," James Zhan, director of UNCTAD's division on investment and enterprise, says.

The EU is still the largest investor but transnational corporations (TNCs) from emerging economies - particularly Brazil, China, India and South Africa - are becoming increasingly important, especially to many African LDCs. Nearly half of total inflows came from these economies in 2010, compared with one quarter in 2003, Zhan points out. FDI inflows have trumped bilateral official development aid (ODA) from 2006 onwards. But there was a fall in FDI by 12 percent in 2009 and 14 percent in 2010. For UNCTAD, "this is a matter of grave concern, particularly when taking into account the global increase in FDI", Zhan remarks.

Despite the overall growth, foreign investment has not lived up to the high expectations in terms of development that were set up 10 years ago. With over 80 percent of FDI flows in value going to resource-rich economies in Africa, the effects on job creation have been weaker than expected and the transfer of technology and skills limited. "As a result, LDCs remain at the margin of the global value chain. The predominance of FDI has reinforced the commodity dependence of some LDCs and worsened their vulnerability to external shocks," Zhan warns. Also, the geographic concentration of FDI flows has increased, contributing to further divergences in economic performance.

However, the picture is not entirely negative and many LDCs have also succeeded in attracting more diverse forms of investment in value-adding activities, like telecommunications, banking, tourism, commerce, food and beverage and agriculture.

Poor physical infrastructure hinders the development of productive capacities that are key to sustainable development.

Therefore, UNCTAD proposes a plan of action that foresees the careful liberalisation of the infrastructure sector while, at the same time, establishing a regulatory framework - in particular in electricity, telecoms, transport and water.

Concretely, it suggests establishing an LDCs infrastructure development fund to support public-private partnerships and grant risk insurance to private investors.

Another idea is to boost aid for productive capacity. "The key bottleneck preventing benefits from trade is not just the rules but the capacity to produce," comments Zhan. "Therefore, we suggest creating a productive capacities fund to increase investment in vocational training, among others."

The third measure seeks to enable firms of all sizes (and not just TNCs) to capture investment opportunities in LDCs.

"Big firms may see LDCs markets as limited but others may see opportunities in sectors like solar energy. Solar energy does not require network infrastructure and the price of solar energy equipment has dropped. It is not high tech anymore but a mature energy," Zhan explains.

"We need new ideas for TNCs. How can we change business mentality? Usually companies look at GDP (gross domestic product) rates and the size of markets. But we see business opportunities even in the bottom of the pyramid. There are more and more social entrepreneurs but we need to educate them on the concept of sustainable investment."

UNCTAD wants to tap into the rising pool of "impact investors". Masataka Fujita, head of the investment trends and issues branch of UNCTAD, explains that the concept of "impact investment" appears to have emerged from a variety of sources, but mostly from the investor community itself.

"These sources and initiatives are now converging to better define the concept, and perhaps even move towards some sort of regulatory framework. The U.S. department of state has bought into the concept and is now seeking to advance it through partnerships," he explains.

The Global Impact Investing Network is a U.S.-based initiative aiming to provide a framework for "impact investment", including through the impact reporting and investment standards (IRIS) initiative, an attempt to elaborate a set of tools to measure social and environmental impacts.

"The network has a strong U.S. focus but it looks like they are seeking to expand globally view," he adds.

Read more here http://allafrica.com

UNCTAD – Foreign Direct Investment in LDCs: Lessons Learned from the Decade 2001–2010 and the Way Forward

Full Report http://www.unctad.org/en/docs/diaeia2011d1_en.pdf

Friday, May 6, 2011

Google Africa Student Ambassador Program

As part of our commitment to empower the African academic community with knowledge, infrastructure and tools to help Africa’s future leaders make the most of access to information, we are delighted to have launched the Google Student Ambassador Program in Ghana and Nigeria. The program invites students enrolled in African Universities to represent Google on campus and serve a tenure of one academic year.

This year, we selected 20 Ambassadors from 5 universities in Ghana. In mid-March, we invited all new Ambassadors to our Google Ambassador Welcome Day, held in Accra. The day was a mix of fun team building activities and training on various Google products and tools. Our 2011 Ghana Ambassadors were selected from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, University of Ghana (Legon & Business School), University of Cape Coast, Ashesi University and Central University College.

We also selected 27 Ambassadors from 8 universities in Nigeria. and a similar Welcome Day was held in Lagos to introduce Ambassadors to the program. Our Nigeria Ambassadors were selected from University of Lagos, University of Benin, University of Nigeria, Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Ibadan, Bayero University, Covenant University and Benson Idahosa University.

The new Ambassadors revealed a sound familiarity with technology, an array of vibrant personalities and ready to make significant impact in their respective campuses.

These Student Ambassadors will work closely with Google teams to organise events and help raise awareness among African Students about the opportunities and value of Google and the Internet.

To learn more about the Ambassador and other university programs, visit http://www.google.com/africa/universityprograms/

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mobile Courts in Somaliland

The UNDP has helped establish mobile courts in all regions in Hargeisa, Burao, Berbera, Borama and Erigavo, speeding and simplifying access to justice for hundreds of people across Somaliland.

The mobile courts, an initiative that falls under the UNDP’s Access to Justice Project, are helping vulnerable groups living in rural and isolated areas access justice, particularly women, children, minorities and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

Established in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice, the courts use past experiences to engage and support traditional justice mechanisms, and support legal aid and legal clinic services, reducing the cost for those who use the courts.

Lawyers from the Somaliland Lawyers Association (SOLLA), the implementing partner organization, travel with members of the judiciary and prosecutors to help clients identify their legal claims, providing legal assistance as required.

One woman who has benefitted from the mobile courts is 40-year-old

Hibo Haji Yusuf from the Elafweyn District. She says that the mobile court in Erigavo helped to resolve her case quickly:

“I decided to take my case to a court only when I heard that Erigavo mobile court is coming to Elafweyn. I submitted my case to the mobile court through the Elafweyn District court. Judges from Erigavo Regional Court came and stayed for three days. They heard my case and quickly gave judgment.”

“I did not have enough money to cover expenses if I had filed my case in Erigavo Regional Court. The mobile court came in handy,” explains Hibo.

The UNDP’s Access to Justice Project prioritizes initiatives that support the prevention and prosecution of sexual and gender-based violence cases. The project also works to strengthen institutions and civil society to monitor and safeguard human rights in the country and make recommendations to address human rights issues.

The popularity of the mobile courts is reflected in the increase of court cases across the country.
The number of cases heard by mobile courts in the five regions increased from 255 in 2009 to 418 in 2010.

The mobile courts were established in 2008.

Read more here http://www.so.undp.org

Somaliland Lawyers Association http://www.somalilandlaw.com

Somaliland Women Lawyers Association http://slwomenlawyers.net/

Monday, May 2, 2011

Face to Face with Yoweri Museveni

NTV's Linus Kaikai takes on the Ugandan President over issues ranging from the arrest of opposition leader Dr. Kizza Besigye, the parallels between the Museveni and Amin regimes down to the removal of the presidential term limits from the Ugandan constitution.

World Bank Grant to Mobilize Kenya’s Diaspora for Development

WASHINGTON, April 19, 2011 – The Kenyan government’s International Jobs and Diaspora Directorate received a boost on April 6 with the approval of a World Bank-administered Institutional Development Fund Grant (IDF) of US$500,000 to support the engagement of the Kenyan Diaspora in development.

This IDF grant will advance work already underway to develop Kenya’s Diaspora Engagement Strategic Policy Framework and its associated Action Plan. It will also assist the Directorate with development of its communications, outreach, and information gathering capacity.

Under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Diaspora Directorate was established in 2007, with a view to formally integrating the Kenyan Diaspora in national development, as outlined in Kenya’s “Vision 2030”.

“The estimated 2.5 million Kenyans in the Diaspora may be far from home, but the Kenyan government recognizes their valuable contributions to Kenya’s economic development and encourages their full participation in its economy,” said Mr. Maurice O. A. Okoth, Kenya’s Director for Diaspora Affairs.

Preparation of Kenya’s pioneering strategy and action plan for Diaspora engagement is already underway. However, to ensure the strategy is both relevant and realistic, the government plans to engage in a series of consultations with Kenyans in the Diaspora.

The IDF grant will support workshops, conferences and outreach efforts designed to elicit meaningful contributions from Kenyans in the global Diaspora, according to Mr. Okoth. It will also assist the Directorate in increasing its reach to an additional 250,000 Kenyans in the Diaspora through development of a Diaspora database and web portal, enhancement of its virtual communications capacity, and specialized training for the diplomatic corps.

Kenya’s Diaspora initiative is important because of its large and established global Diaspora and its potential to contribute to the realization of goals embodied in the country’s development strategy, according to Richard Cambridge, Diaspora Advisor in the World Bank’s Africa Region.

“Engaging the Diaspora could fast-track development goals outlined in ‘Vision 2030’’ by enhancing economic opportunities for growth and wealth creation,” said World Bank Country Director for Kenya Mr. Johannes Zutt.

“The National Economic Blue print, the ‘Vision 2030’, in recognition of the impact the Diaspora can create,” said Kenya’s Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon. Richard Onyonka, “has placed it as one of the flagship projects under the financial sector.”

Read more here http://web.worldbank.org

Sunday, May 1, 2011

U.S.A Department of State Announcement of African Youth Engagement Programs in May

Dialogue with Young African Leaders

The United States Government, led by the State Department, will host youth engagement programs throughout Africa during the month of May to showcase the efforts of young African leaders, to engage with them in discussions about current challenges on the continent, and to help them discover ways to bring about positive change.

The Dialogue presents an opportunity to showcase and reflect on how young African leaders are building the future of their communities and nations. In addition to events sponsored by the State Department, the United States International Development Agency (USAID) and the Peace Corps, there will be digital interactions via the Bureau of African Affairs’ Facebook page (www.facebook.com/DOSAfricanAffairs), Twitter, and other social media platforms to allow young Africans and Americans, entrepreneurs and business leaders, to exchange ideas on an array of topics.

The Dialogue is part of ongoing engagement with young Africans stemming from the August 2010 President’s Forum with Young African Leaders and follow-on events, with future high-level youth engagement activities and programs on the continent planned.

Objectives of the Dialogue with Young African Leaders is to:

• Showcase young African leaders in civil society and business who are motivating youth and highlighting to global audiences a new generation of Africans who are shaping the continent’s future;

• Emphasize the Administration’s priority of mutual responsibility as the foundation of the U.S.-Africa partnership and reinforce the U.S. commitment to supporting African solutions to Africa’s challenges;.

• Help build networks between young American and African leaders that will lead to lasting partnerships.

For more information please contact: Marissa Rollens, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of African Affairs, 202-663-0531, AFEngage@state.gov

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