Press Statement by Peter Lundberg, Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator/ Humanitarian Coordinator a.i on the release of 82 Chibok girls

The United Nations welcomes the release of the 82 Chibok girls in northeastern Nigeria and appeals to all Nigerians, including the families and communities of the liberated girls, to fully embrace them and provide all necessary support to ensure their reintegration into society.
Over 100 of these school girls are still unaccounted for, and the United Nations urges the international community to continue supporting the Government of Nigeria in its efforts to ensure the release, rehabilitation and reintegration of all the children, women and men who are victims of Boko Haram.
Despite this encouraging news, insecurity continues to affect millions of people living in six states in north-eastern Nigeria amid a deepening humanitarian crisis. Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States, where 8.5 million people are in need of life-saving humanitarian assistance and protection, are the most directly affected by conflict and mass forced displacement. The United Nations and partners are committed to supporting the Government of Nigeria to providing much needed relief to these vulnerable people.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

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Source:: Press Statement by Peter Lundberg, Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator/ Humanitarian Coordinator a.i on the release of 82 Chibok girls

Categories: AFRICA | Tags:

Joint Media Advisory: Continental Workshop for the Validation of the Framework for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization in Africa

What: Continental Workshop for the Validation of the Framework for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization in Africa
When: May 11-12, 2017
Who: African Union Commission and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations
Where: African Union Commission HQ, Small Conference Room 4, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Background
The African Union Commission’s Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture has partnered with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to develop a framework for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization for Africa (SAMA). The objective of SAMA is to contribute to promoting investments and the intensification of agricultural mechanization in Africa, as well as its integration in agricultural development strategies at country level. After several rounds of consultations, a draft strategy Framework document has been prepared. This document will be reviewed and validated at the workshop, which will bring together farmer associations, agro-enterprises and other private sector actors; public sector representatives from AU Member States, technical and financing institutions and other development agencies, civil society organizations, AUC, the NEPAD Agency, and Regional Economic Communities, among others.

Journalists are invited to cover the opening ceremony on May 11, 2017 at 09:00 a.m.

For more information please contact:

  • Tezeta Meshesha: Tezeta.Hilemeksel@fao.org, Tel. +251 11 6478888, Ext. 193
  • Mark Fynn: FynnM@africa-union.org. Tel. +25115182849
  • Carol Jilombo: Jilomboc@africa-union.org, Tel. +25115182875
  • Abebe Demissie: Abebe.banjaw@fao.org, Tel. +251 11 6478888, Ext. 214

Distributed by APO on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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Source:: Joint Media Advisory: Continental Workshop for the Validation of the Framework for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization in Africa

Categories: AFRICA | Tags:

A new reality for Africa’s property market

The African real estate narrative has shifted and evolved over the last 2 years with the impact of geo-political and economic challenges changing the property landscape. Moving forward, investors have come to realise that a more measured approach may hold the key to reaping long term rewards in Africa.

In order to address this new reality, API Events (www.APIevents.com) is hosting the 8th annual API Summit & Expo (www.APIsummit.co.za) in Johannesburg on August 24th and 25th, 2017.

“Africa is facing a new reality, but what does this mean for investors and developers looking to expand their growth and uncover new opportunities? Not only do we need to better understand this new reality, but also how best to approach it, realigning development strategies and investment models, all the while working together with new players in order to continue to develop and enhance Africa’s future property market,” says API Events Managing Director, Kfir Rusin.

Alongside this new era for the African continent comes a divergence in growth paths for two groups of economies. On one side we have Africa’s oil exporters, who have experienced sharp declines in growth, while Africa’s more diversified economies have continued to accelerate their GDP expansion. Despite these differing growth patterns from an economic point of view, the shift in real estate capital flows have yet to fully move over to East Africa, with long term investors still seeing the likes of Nigeria as a key market.

These changing fortunes, together with strict central bank regulations within individual countries, and the volatility of local currencies against the US dollar, have, however, made real estate funding a lot more complex.

“With modest recovery expected in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) economies, prospects for improved real estate funding would increase where there are strong domestic governance policies and strong risk management practices. Attracting capital flows into SSA depends on the ability of individual nations to improve sovereign risk and growth prospects”, said Klaus-Dieter Kaempfer Barclays Africa’s Head of Commercial Property Finance.

The geography of opportunity within Africa has also evolved with French-speaking West Africa, particularly Ivory Coast, Senegal and Cameroon piquing new interest from an investment point of view, while East Africa continues to lead as Africa’s most stable frontier.

In this regard, companies like Mara Delta continue to focus on the long term fundamentals rather than short term volatilities, as seen with their own sustained and increased investments into countries such as Mozambique and Zambia over the last 2 years.

Bronwyn Corbett, Chief Executive of Mara Delta commented: “In addition to taking a view on political and currency risk, key considerations for us are the ability to conduct business in hard currency, the repatriation of funds, land tenure and the ability to raise debt. Based on these considerations, we have identified Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Botswana and Ghana as potential territories for expansion. Our nodal expansion in-country depends on tenant demand, as you need some level of concentration in an area or region to make it economically viable.”

Looking ahead, there will be a definite shift in terms of sectors of interest and asset sizes. The office market has suffered a steady decline across the continent, while the retail sector is expected to continue to move towards convenience retail and smaller, more tailored retail centres across Sub-Saharan African cities.

Elaine Wilson, Divisional Director for Research at Broll Property Group says: “Some investors are getting wary of investing in the continent because of currency volatility especially in the retail sector due to dollar based rentals. East Africa is seeing an increase in formal retail space, however, financially strained consumers will still frequent informal traditional markets.”

On the other side of the spectrum, the demand for bigger and better warehousing space has increased significantly, with mega distribution warehouse projects kicking off in cities like Lusaka, Nairobi and Tema.

In terms of infrastructure on the continent, LAPPSETT, West African rail network and The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam are expected to further influence the direction of Africa’s future going forward, boasting huge potential in unearthing new real estate opportunities across the continent in the current year.

The 2017 API Summit and Expo promises to delve in-depth into each of these topics, and more, with participation from over 35 countries, 600 delegates and 250 companies, providing insights, thought-leadership and solution-focused tools.

“Our understanding of Africa has changed over the last decade, and developers and investors alike are now ready to take a more measured approach to the continent, with a specific focus on attaining sustainable growth in the years to come. With this new understanding in mind, it has become vital for all industry players to come together, to learn from their peers, share their own on-the-ground experiences and forge new avenues for real estate growth in Africa,” Rusin says.

Key themes and trends up for discussion at this year’s summit will include:

  • Trumpenomics, Brexit, African elections and their effects on African real estate;
  • New debt: the emergence of non-bank lenders and new sources of debt financing;
  • Will local governments and public sector step up in the drive to make housing more affordable and accessible?
  • How are Zambia, Kenya and Ghana leading Africa’s logistics sector rise?
  • The move towards convenience retail or are mixed-use developments the answer to a successful African retail sector?
  • Overcoming the overcrowding issue: how can African cities become more economically dense — not merely crowded?
  • Green-building in Africa: uncovering the return on investment;
  • Healthcare facilities and serviced apartments as lucrative new asset classes?
  • The rise and rise of collaborative offices and its effect on Africa’s commercial real estate sector ;
  • Local institutional and pension fund capital fuelling African real estate;
  • How will innovative technologies impact the way we design, build and operate real estate in Africa?
  • Cameroon: Africa’s new hotspot.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Africa Property Investment (API) Summit & Expo.

Media contact:
Elizabeth Haskins
Head of Marketing & Operations
API Events
E: Elizabeth@APIsummit.co.za

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Source:: A new reality for Africa’s property market

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Mali : Sand Divination and African Fractals

Sand divination in Mali

With a Malian colleague I visited a sand diviner in his village along the Guinea road some years ago. My colleague wanted sand divination done to find some information out about his future as he was worried about a government reorganisation. It was an interesting experience that changed my perspective. The man was introduced to me as a ‘marabout’ or muslim holy man. He was very welcoming and was eager for me to see what he was doing and why.  He explained that what he was doing was not magical but mathematical and that he could teach it to an apprentice over a period of time. He used sand on the floor and drew sequences of lines and dashes with a stick. After each series he noted things in a book. Eventually the sand divination was finished and my colleague was given his ‘reading’ and told to do certain ‘good’ acts. One I remember was to give milk to a mother of twins.

Mali sand divination

Mali sand divination

I was exploring to find more information about sand divination used by the Bambara in Mali when I found the writing of Ron Eglash about African fractals which corresponds very closely to my experience. This is how Eglash describes it:

In traditional Bamana fortune-telling, a divination priest begins by rapidly drawing four dashed lines in the sand. The priest then connects the dashes into pairs. For lines containing an odd number of dashes and a single leftover, he draws one stroke in the sand. For lines with even-paired dashes, he draws two strokes. Then he repeats the entire process. The mathematical operation is called addition modulo 2, which simply gives the remainder after division by two. But in this case, the two”words” produced by the priest, each consisting of four odd or even strokes, become the input for a new round of addition modulo 2. In other words, it’s a pseudo random-number generator, the same thing computers do when they produce random numbers. It’s also a numerical feedback loop, just as fractals are generated by a geometric feedback loop.

Ron Eglash: The fractals at the heart of African designs

You can find out more in Eglash, R. African Fractals: Modern Computing and Indigenous Design (Rutgers University Press, 1999.)

Categories: AFRICA, CULTURE, Mali, TECHNOLOGY | Tags: ,