Vote for small business!

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Apr 132017

The party that emerges as the winner of Kenya’s general election, to be held on 8 August, has an opportunity to supercharge job creation and economic growth by adopting policies that help Small & Medium Businesses to thrive.

That’s according to Nikki Summers (, Regional Director for Sage in East Africa (, the market and technology leader for integrated accounting, HR & payroll, and payment systems. She says that the next government will have a strong framework and foundation to build on, following years of State investment in creating an enabling environment for entrepreneurs and business builders.

“With GDP expected to expand by around 6% this year (, Kenya is on the right track for growth,” says Summers. “Improving the ease of doing business and following sound macro-economic policies will help ensure that this pace of growth continues, also offering an environment where Small & Medium Businesses can flourish.”

Summers says that Small & Medium Businesses deserve a special place in government policy because they contribute up to 80% of jobs in an emerging economy such as Kenya. As important as large infrastructure projects are, Small & Medium Businesses are the engines of job creation and the most efficient vehicle for redistributing and creating prosperity for the benefit of ordinary people, she adds.

“The new government should continue to follow the Kenya Vision 2030 ( blueprint, which recognises the crucial role of micro, small and medium business in industrial development,” says Summers. “It should also look at ways of strengthening its various small business funding efforts such as Uwezo Fund ( and the Youth and Women Enterprise Fund, since access to financing remains one of the most significant challenges for entrepreneurs and business builders.”

Improving small business survival rate

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) ( around 2.2 million micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) shut down in the last five years. Some 30% reported that shortage of operating funds was the reason for their closure, highlighting the importance of sustainable financing in ensuring a healthy environment for small businesses.

“We also believe that technology could play a role in improving the sustainability of small Kenyan businesses and that government could encourage uptake of accounting solutions,” says Summers. “Accounting and payroll software could help entrepreneurs keep more accurate records, comply more easily with government and tax regulations and gain better visibility into financial performance. This could, in turn, improve their financial planning and their ability to manage cash flow.”

Summers says that the present governments’ policies of entrenching Buy-Kenya-Build-Kenya policy ( in public procurement are also to be welcomed. “The procurement budget is one of the best tools government has to help develop emerging businesses,” she adds. “By giving small businesses preferential treatment in tenders, paying them quickly for work they do, and helping them develop skills, government can help them grow their businesses to the next level.”

There should also be closer collaboration between small business forums, big business (including multinationals) and government in nurturing the small business sector. “We at Sage would welcome working with other large companies and government to create forums for education, recognising and rewarding small businesses,” says Summers.

“Mentoring programmes, where business builders can learn from established entrepreneurs and businesspeople, as well as platforms that connect small businesses to big business and government, could all help smaller businesses to grow and thrive.”

Distributed by APO on behalf of Sage.

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About Sage:
Sage ( is the market and technology leader for integrated accounting, payroll, and payment systems, supporting the ambition of entrepreneurs and business builders. Today, business builders measure success in strong relationships, partnerships, and communities. It‘s why Sage helps drive today’s business builders with the most intelligent and flexible cloud-enabled software, support, and advice to manage everything from money to people. Daily, more than 13,000 Sage colleagues in 23 countries work with a thriving global community of over 3 million entrepreneurs, business owners, tradespeople, accountants, partners, and developers to champion the success of business builders everywhere. And as a FTSE 100 business, we are passionate about doing business the right way, supporting our local communities through the Sage Foundation.

Sage – the market and technology leader for integrated accounting, payroll, and payment systems, powered by the cloud and supporting the ambition of the world’s entrepreneurs and business builders. Because when business builders do well, we all do.

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Source:: Vote for small business!


Berlin Humanitarian Call – Standing Together Against Famine

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Apr 132017

Today, representatives from Governments, humanitarian organisations of the United Nations, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Non-Governmental Organisations and local responders came together in Berlin to jointly recommit to responding to the dramatic humanitarian situations in Northeast-Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region, in South Sudan, in Somalia and the wider Horn of Africa, and Yemen in accordance with our World Humanitarian Summit and Grand Bargain commitments and in line with the Agenda for Humanity.

We are convinced that it is still possible to prevent a greater humanitarian catastrophe through urgent and rapid humanitarian action. We stand together against famine and issue this Humanitarian Call:

First and foremost, we recall our commitment to the principles guiding humanitarian action: All assistance must be provided in accordance with the humanitarian principles of impartiality, neutrality and independence, on the basis of human need, and disregarding any political, religious, ideological or other considerations.

We call on donors around the world to act swiftly and to prioritise an increase in their support for coordinated humanitarian assistance in the countries currently facing a severe risk of famine.

We call on humanitarian partners to scale up their humanitarian assistance in the affected countries, to give maximum support to their experts in responding to these crises and to ensure the effective use of available humanitarian resources. We reaffirm our commitment to stand behind the UN, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and our humanitarian partners who continue to deliver assistance in most critical circumstances.

We call on the private sector to support humanitarian organisations to the best of its abilities, including through resources, expertise and enabling technology.

We call on individual citizens to support assistance programmes in these countries to the best of their abilities.

We call on parties involved in conflict to grant humanitarian workers safe passage and unimpeded access to the affected population. Our assistance must reach those who need it the most, based on the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.

We call on all authorities to abolish any bureaucratic and administrative obstructions that interfere with the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and in particular to end restrictions of movement within and into their countries.

We call for increased protection of civilians in accordance with international humanitarian law and human rights law. We must support and speak out on behalf of the most vulnerable, amidst an intensification of conflict, disaster and shrinking humanitarian space.

We call on the international community to scale up its efforts to achieve greater stability in fragile regions in the affected countries and to support Governments in their efforts to protect their citizens.

We call for stronger political commitment on the part of political leaders to prevent crises in the first place and to solve those that have led to this humanitarian catastrophe.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Germany – Federal Foreign Office.

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Source:: Berlin Humanitarian Call – Standing Together Against Famine


The impending hunger catastrophe won’t be Africa’s last, Red Cross Red Crescent

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Apr 132017

The lives and futures of more than 18 million people are at risk in the Greater Horn of Africa and in Nigeria, as a result of one of the worst hunger crisis in recent history. This unfolding humanitarian crisis will be repeated again and again without concerted efforts to build resilience on the continent, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned today.

“As long as we have conflicts and do not take strong measures to mitigate the effects of climate change, food insecurity will be with us,” said Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, IFRC’s Regional Director for Africa. “As we respond to the risk of imminent mass starvation in Africa, we also need to invest in community-level capacities and systems, so that local communities are prepared for any future shocks.”

This warning comes at the end of a continental conference of Red Cross and Red Crescent leaders, in Abidjan. The three-day meeting recommended a number of actions.

Other recommendations included strengthening domestic resource mobilization, increasing country-level policy dialogue with governments, fostering increased community ownership of programmes, and developing innovation centres in communities, while recognizing innovative community-level initiatives on disaster risks reduction.

“We need to take advantage of modern technologies in our response to current humanitarian challenges. Mobile applications and social media should be used to raise awareness on climate change and to share early warning information about disasters,” said Dr Abbas Gullet, IFRC’s Vice President. “We also need to improve data collection, through technology and capacity building at community level.”

The meeting also called on governments, donors and humanitarian partners to prioritize and invest in interventions that will finally help break the grim and destructive cycle of African hunger—by strengthening communities’ capacities and skills to better prepare for, and respond to disasters and food insecurity, among other crises.

“We’ve seen drought and hunger before: in Somalia in 2011 and 2012, in Niger in 2005, in Ethiopia in the 1980s. Not enough was done to prevent those crises from happening, and not enough is being done to prevent a similar disaster from happening in the future,” said Dr Gullet.

IFRC and member National Societies are providing long-term support to vulnerable communities throughout Africa. Local Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers are embedded in many of the most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach communities.

“How many people will die this year? How many will die in future years if we don’t build the resilience of communities alongside our provision of emergency aid?” added Dr Gullet. “We cannot keep saying ‘never again’ unless we are prepared to change the way we respond.”

Distributed by APO on behalf of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

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Source:: The impending hunger catastrophe won’t be Africa’s last, Red Cross Red Crescent


Africa in pictures : Senegal

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Apr 122017

Senegal , officially the Republic of Senegal, is a country in West Africa. Senegal is bordered by Mauritania in the north, Mali to the east, Guinea to the southeast, and Guinea-Bissau to the southwest.

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Dakar Senegal – Looking North by Jeff AttawayPhoto by Jeff Attaway

Senegal also borders The Gambia, a country occupying a narrow sliver of land along the banks of the Gambia River, which separates Senegal’s southern region of Casamance from the rest of the country. Senegal also shares a maritime border with Cape Verde. Senegal’s economic and political capital is Dakar.

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Dakar Roofs – Beach & Ocean by Jeff AttawayPhoto by Jeff Attaway

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Dakar, Senegal – Left Half by Jeff AttawayPhoto by Jeff Attaway

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Dakar, Senegal by RNW.orgPhoto by

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Goree Island & Slave fortress – Senegal by PolyrusPhoto by Polyrus

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Track by Jeff AttawayPhoto by Jeff Attaway

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Adansonia digitata by urjsaPhoto by urjsa





It is the westernmost country in the mainland of the Old World, or Afro-Eurasia, and owes its name to the Senegal River, which borders it to the east and north. The name “Senegal” comes from the Wolof “Sunuu Gaal”, which means “Our Boat”. Senegal covers a land area of almost 197,000 square kilometres (76,000 sq mi) and has an estimated population of about 15 million. The climate is Sahelian, but there is a rainy season.