Sep 122014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 12, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — FIFA and the United Nations have decided today to join forces in the effort to stop the spread of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

The football field at Monrovia’s Antoinette Tubman Stadium, donated by FIFA to the Liberia Football Association, will serve as the site for two urgently needed large-scale Ebola treatment units.

After the World Health Organization (WHO) identified the FIFA football pitch as the most suitable location in terms of effectiveness and safety, FIFA – one of whose missions is “to build a better future” – immediately expressed its support for the proposed action to convert the pitch into treatment units.

FIFA President Blatter said that, “thanks to the continuous fruitful and fundamental collaboration between FIFA and the United Nations, today we can use the power of football to combat the Ebola epidemic. To allay any concerns regarding the impact of the treatment units on the recently installed pitch, FIFA has also proposed to cover the costs of any damage.”

Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations on Sport for Development and Peace added, “The Ebola outbreak also has a tremendous impact on the sport community, ranging from health treats to the athletes themselves and restrictions of travel affecting competitions and the development of sport. National authorities, the UN and the world of sport need to work closely together in order to halt the spread of the disease. The commitment of sport organizations to support our efforts is very much welcomed and crucial. It is my hope that many will join in this fight. In particular I was very pleased to note FIFA’s pledge to support health-related measures by agreeing to cover potential damages to the football pitch of the Antoinette Tubman stadium in Monrovia, Liberia that has been earmarked for the use for Ebola treatment centres.”

The collaboration will go beyond the lending of the Monrovia pitch. At its next Finance Committee meeting on 25 September, FIFA will propose to use resources from its solidarity fund to support the member associations of the affected countries (Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea) in the fight against Ebola. The additional financial support will have to be spent in solidarity with a local UN initiative.

Sep 112014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — With cases of the Ebola virus disease continuing to surface at unprecedented speed in West Africa, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is expanding its emergency operations in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to reach millions more people through increased activities. The IFRC has revised its three emergency appeals for Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to a total of 30.2 million Swiss francs, an increase of 24 million Swiss francs. The aim is to now reach a total of 21.9 million people, more than double the number of beneficiaries originally targeted.

“With dozens of new cases emerging daily, this outbreak is showing no signs of slowing down,” said Alasan Senghore, IFRC Director, Africa. “Affected communities are relying on us. People are dying. If we are serious about stopping Ebola, we cannot afford to delay ramping up our response. But to do that, we need additional resources, and we cannot do it alone. We must all work together to achieve this ambitious goal.”

“Education is key to halting this outbreak,” said Birte Hald, IFRC regional head of emergency operations based in Guinea. “These revised emergency appeals will focus on communication, education, awareness raising, and social mobilization. We will expand the area of our operations to include new districts and counties, and ramp up our activities through the training of more volunteers.”

In Sierra Leone, the revised emergency appeal also covers a new 60-bed Ebola treatment centre in Kenema district, one of the worst affected districts. An extraordinary allocation of the IFRC’s disaster relief emergency fund (DREF) of one million Swiss francs, also allowed for the deployment of an emergency response unit to Kenema to facilitate the start-up of the treatment centre.

Since the outbreak was first declared in Guinea in March and throughout its spread to neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone, thousands of Red Cross volunteers have been trained and deployed to support the response in all three countries. Their roles include body management, contact tracing, psychosocial support, sensitization and surveillance. These activities will be scaled up under the revised emergency appeals, and more than 5,600 volunteers will be trained to ensure larger geographical areas can be reached.

“Communities have an opportunity here to assist in determining their own fate,” added Senghore. “Engaging communities through our trained volunteers will have an immediate and large pay off, as messages of prevention will be shared by community members themselves, the people who have the most interest in ensuring this outbreak is stopped.”

Following an Ebola outbreak in Nigeria, the IFRC has also launched an emergency appeal of 1.6 million Swiss francs to support the Nigerian Red Cross Society in assisting 5 million people over the next nine months. To date, there have been 17 confirmed Ebola cases in Nigeria and 6 confirmed deaths.

Sep 112014
 

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, September 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 452nd meeting held on 22 August 2014, adopted the following decision on the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Region:

Council,

1. Takes note of the presentations made by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission in the Great Lakes Region and the Deputy Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), as well as by the representatives of the United Nations and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), on the implementation of the PSC Framework. Council also takes note of the statements made by the representatives of the DRC and of Angola, in its capacity as Chairman of the ICGLR and the European Union (EU), as well as Rwanda, Nigeria, France, the United States of America, the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation as members of the UN Security Council;

2. Recalls its previous communiqués and press statements on the implementation of the PSC Framework;

3. Welcomes the continued implementation of the PSC Framework, and encourages all the signatory parties to scrupulously honour their commitments thereunder;

4. Stresses that despite the progress already made, many challenges are still to be overcome, notably: (i) the continued presence of negative forces in eastern DRC, including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR); (ii) the delay in the implementation of the Conclusions of the Kampala Direct Dialogue between the DRC Government and the M23, as contained in their statements adopted in Nairobi on 12 December 2013; (iii) the illegal exploitation of natural resources in eastern DRC; and (iv) the persistence of impunity despite the reforms that the Congolese Government is endeavouring to bring about;

5. Encourages, once again, the Congolese Government and the other signatories to the PSC Framework to intensify their efforts to honour, in good faith, all their commitments. Council expresses its appreciation particularly to the Congolese Government for the results already obtained in this regard, and urges it to expedite the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR), as well as the Disarmament, Demobilization, Repatriation, Reintegration and Resettlement (DDRRR) processes;

6. Calls upon the international community to continue to support the efforts of the countries of the region to implement the PSC Framework, as well as the recommendations of the 2nd Joint ICGLR/SADC ministerial meeting, held in Luanda, on 2 July 2014, on the surrender and disarmament of the FDLR. In this regard, Council recalls the ultimatum contained in the Final Communiqué of the Second mini-Summit of Heads of State and Government of the ICGLR on the Security Situation in the DRC and the Great Lakes Region, held in Luanda, on 14 August 2014;

7. Welcomes the appointment of Mr. Said Djinnit as the new Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to the Great Lakes Region. Council welcomes him to the Region and pledges to support him. Council encourages him to pursue the efforts towards the implementation of the PSC Framework, and calls upon the Commission and the countries of the Region to give him all the support he needs to carry out his mandate;

8. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

Sep 112014
 

LAGOS, Nigeria, September 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Well-known global business leader and chairman of Heirs Holdings Tony Elumelu says the group “has the ambition to generate at least a quarter of Nigeria’s power consumption needs in the next five years.” Heirs Holdings’ interests in the power sector include Transcorp Ughelli Power, a gas-fired, thermal power generating plant which was acquired under the privatisation of Nigeria’s power sector.

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Photo Tony Elumelu: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/photos/elumelu.jpg

Mr Elumelu will deliver the keynote address at this year’s West African Power Industry Convention (WAPIC) (http://www.wapicforum.com) in Lagos from 18-19 November. The 11th edition of this long running, high-level energy conference and expo will once again gather government, utilities, consultants and investors to discuss the challenges of local markets, capacity building and investment.

Experience at Ughelli

According to the Heirs Holdings chairman “the power industry is a catalytic sector and the development of our country and our continent cannot happen without fixing it.”

He describes the USA’s Power Africa Initiative as “an amazing opportunity to democratize access to power for Africans, and the $2.5 billion investment commitment we have made reflects exactly how excited I am about it. The present administration made a bold decision when it decided to affect the changes envisaged by the Power Sector Reform Act — legislation that had been on the books since 2005. And that bold step was reinforced during President Barack Obama’s last visit to Africa. We felt more strongly than ever, the need to help power Africa.”

He continues: “our experience so far at Ughelli power plant is testimony to the size of the opportunity; our amazing team has taken that plant from 150MW capacity when we took over in November 2013, to 450MW today; we expect it to increase 700MW by October and to achieve 1000MW by the second quarter of 2015. At that rate, we’ll be contributing 20 per cent of Nigeria’s total power generation.“ Furthermore, he says they are working on a greenfield project that will expand the capacity of Ughelli by an additional 1000MW in the next three to five years and they have signed an MOU with GE and Symbion Power to facilitate this.

Challenges in Nigerian power sector

Mr Elumelu lists three main challenges in the Nigerian power sector, namely unreliable transmission infrastructure, access to uninterrupted gas supply and timely settlement of invoiced payments.

He adds: “in Nigeria, one of the biggest challenges to power generation is transmission and in fact, while Ughelli Power Plant generated at full capacity for the first time in July, we’ve been asked to scale down generation because of the outdated transmission systems; for every 100MW generated and sent to transmission companies, 40 per cent is lost, in part because of this infrastructure issue.”

While regulation is not a key challenge, says the Heirs Holdings chairman, it is an issue within the sector that if addressed, has the potential to speed sector growth exponentially. “We need pragmatic regulation that recognizes that within Nigeria, the sector is nascent and so policies must be designed to encourage growth. In fairness, the federal government is confronting these challenges head on.”

Africapitalism creating social wealth

Mr Elumelu has termed his economic philosophy as “Africapitalism”, which he says places more weight on long-term investments in key sectors that drive growth. He explains: “my personal experience also suggests that sustained economic prosperity must be inclusive and must create social wealth. Africapitalism is my attempt to advocate and promote what has worked for me. We as Africans are uniquely qualified to take the lead and develop Africa. I think we need to be more self-confident in order to create the sort of future our children deserve. All the ingredients for success are here in Africa and investing for the long term in key sectors, our people, and processes, will help to solve our problems and retain wealth within the continent.”

WAPIC

During his keynote address at WAPIC in Lagos in November, Tony Elumelu says he will “discuss the opportunities that I have discovered in the power space and the efforts of African power sector leaders through the West African Energy Leaders Forum to improve access to electricity across West Africa.”

The event is organised by Spintelligent, leading Cape Town-based trade exhibition and conference organiser, and the African office of Clarion Events Ltd in the UK.

WAPIC dates and venue:

Conference days: 18-19 November 2014

Pre-conference workshops: 17 November 2014

West African Power Industry Awards: 18 November 2014

Site visits: 20 November 2014

Venue: Eko Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the West African Power Industry Convention (WAPIC).

Web: www.wapicforum.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wapic_expo

Contact:

Communications manager: Annemarie Roodbol

Telephone : +27 21 700 3558

Mobile: +27 82 562 7844

Email: annemarie.roodbol@spintelligent.com

Sep 112014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Disease outbreak news
10 September 2014

Epidemiological situation

Between 2 and 9 September 2014, there have been 31 more cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) reported in t…

Sep 112014
 

DAKAR, Senegal, September 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Aerocomm Ltd has named APO (African Press Organization) (http://www.apo-opa.com) the official wire service of Aviation Africa 2015 (http://www.aviationafrica.aero), a 2-day Summit & Exhibition, which takes place 10-11 May 2015 in Dubai, UAE.

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As the official newswire, APO is offering exhibitors a 20 percent discount off news release distribution

Aviation Africa 2015’s press releases will be distributed via Africa Wire®, the newswire service for press release distribution and monitoring in Africa. This reaches over 50,000 media outlets, bloggers and social networks, and redistributes content to more than 50 African websites, as well as to Bloomberg Terminal, Thomson Reuters, Lexis Nexis, Dow Jones Factiva, 250 million mobile subscribers in 30 countries, and more.

Used by some of the world’s largest companies, PR agencies, institutions and organizations, APO Africa Wire® has a potential reach of 600 million and guarantees the most extensive outreach in Africa, acting as a channel that allows APO’s clients to target audiences in all parts of the continent and also the world.

“Better connected African countries and regions through a viable air transport industry could be the catalyst that can boost intra-African business, trade, tourism as well as cultural exchange. We at APO feel that connectivity starts with communication hence we look forward to supporting the Aviation Africa 2015 in Dubai; where we have opened our latest office,”, said Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, APO Founder and CEO.

More information about Africa Wire®, the service for newswire press release distribution in Africa, is available at http://www.apo-opa.com/services.php

Contact:

Aïssatou Diallo

bdm@apo-opa.org

+41 22 534 96 97

About APO

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Sep 112014
 

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, September 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — CEOs in Africa are optimistic about their company’s prospects for revenue growth over the medium term, according to PwC’s ‘Africa Business Agenda, 2014′ report issued today (http://www.pwc.com). Suresh Kana, Senior Partner for PwC Africa, says: “CEOs in Africa feel more positive about their ability to generate revenue growth and about prospects for the economy now that they are emerging from the global financial recession.”

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Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=952 (Suresh Kana, Senior Partner for PwC Africa)

“It is interesting to note however that CEOs are slightly more anxious about their prospects for growth over the short-term,” adds Kana. Although 84% remain confident overall, only 40% say they are ‘very confident’. “CEOs acknowledge that a lot more needs to be done in terms of transforming the continent’s potential for exponential growth into tangible business opportunities,” he says. “CEOs are looking on multiple fronts for growth opportunities – for many, the search for growth will not be an easy task.”

‘The Agenda’ compiles results from 260 CEOs in Africa and includes insights from business and public sector leaders from 18 countries. The report shows that most CEOs in Africa feel confident about their approach to managing risk, despite some volatility and uncertainty.

The pace of change in the world is speeding up with a series of transitions, known as global megatrends that will transform business and society. African CEOs rank technological advances (69%), urbanisation (67%) and demographic shifts (63%) as the top three defining trends that will transform their businesses over the next five years. They are aware of the implications of these changes for their businesses, as well as the outlook for Africa. Many have recognised the need for change or are making changes to their businesses.

“Every day breakthroughs in frontiers of research and development are opening up new opportunities for businesses. As technologies progress, they will generate more improvements in efficiency and productivity. In turn, these advances are expected to trigger a strong acceleration in economic growth towards the end of the coming decade,” comments Kana.

The growth agenda

Confidence is on the rise among Africa’s CEOs. In general, they are more confident about their own company’s growth than they are about their industry’s prospects. While less than half are ‘very confident’ about their company’s growth prospects in the short term, less than a third (26%) are ‘very confident’ about industry growth. CEOs in Africa say that their desire to create something is what drives their organisation’s strategic planning. They rank products/service innovation (31%), increased share in existing markets (27%), followed by new geographic markets (20%) as opportunities for growth but are equally concerned about shifts in consumer spending and behaviours.

Going forward, African CEOs say that they will be more actively looking for partners, while keeping an eye on costs. Almost half of them plan to initiate a new strategic alliance or joint venture in the next 12 months, and nearly a third are anticipating an acquisition, mainly in their home country or elsewhere in Africa. China is emerging as a key for consideration for growth prospects, followed by the US and South Africa, respectively. This is an indication of overall better economic prospects, higher availability of finance, and the growing presence of potential local and international partners attracted by the continent’s potential.

“We are also seeing more use of technological innovation and products, with no less than 91% of African CEOs either recognising the need to change their investments or in the process of doing so. Similarly, 85% said the same about data analytics,” says Kana. Following a decade of rapid urbanisation, Africa is undergoing a digital revolution. However, there are still many hurdles and obstacles to overcome to the development of digital economy on the continent – and many of these hurdles are related to the development of a stable political and legal environment for companies, citizens and investors.

Main risks to doing business in Africa

Infrastructure is important in driving economic growth and employment on the continent. However, 45% of African CEOs believe that their governments have been ineffective in improving the country’s basic infrastructure, such as electricity, water supply, transport and housing. CEOs also identified the creation of a skilled workforce (64%), the reduction of poverty and inequality (62%), and creating more jobs for young people (74%) as areas in which governments should be taking more decisive action and creating a business-friendly environment.

“In our view, one of the big challenges is for government to find new ways to form strategic collaborations and partnerships with people from other sectors, such as business. Tomorrow’s public body will need to act differently – governments of the future will need to embrace a lot of private-public partnerships.”

The report shows that for CEOs in Africa, government responses to over-regulation (80%), exchange rate volatility (79%) the fiscal deficit and debt burdens (78%) and adequate infrastructure are key areas of concern, and that governments have their work cut out for them. Other areas of concern are the increasing tax burden, slow or negative growth in developed economies (70%) and the lack of stability in capital markets (65%). But the report does show that 45% of CEOs say that governments have effectively achieved the outcome of ensuring financial sector stability and access to affordable capital.

Kana says that CEOs in South Africa share many of the concerns with their peers on the continent, with the survey showing that they have common worries about high or volatile energy costs (South Africa: 82%, Africa 76%); the availability of key skills (South Africa: 87%; Africa 83%); and new market entrants (South Africa: 63%; Africa: 58%).

Most companies in Africa have some degree of risk management in place. The report shows that 31% of respondents have implemented plans to manage risk more effectively and 37% are strengthening their corporate governance structure. To prevent fraud, many CEOs in Africa are focused on supply chain management. For 83% of CEOs in Africa, bribery and corruption is a significant and frustrating threat to business growth.

Kana adds: “An effective risk management approach requires organisations to think differently and the main challenge is good communication. By setting the tone from the top, boards and management can prioritise risk management and grow stronger, more resilient organisations.”

As governments make strides worldwide to improve their fiscal systems, more than half of African CEOs (53%) say the international tax system hasn’t changed to reflect the way multinationals do business today and is in need of reform. Just 32% of CEOs said their government had been effective in creating a more internationally competitive and efficient tax system.

The skills challenge

CEOs globally remain concerned as ever about the availability of key skills. The survey shows that nowhere is the shortage of skills more acute than in fast-growing markets such as Africa, where CEOs are particularly concerned about skills shortages (83%). Most CEOs expect to maintain or increase their company’s headcount over the next 12 months.

Furthermore, the competitive market for top talent influences compensation, with many companies under significant pressure to match or exceed pay conditions among peer companies to recruit or retain top talent.

African CEOs also report that they are using a range of leadership development programmes intended to develop and grow more diversity within the talent pool. “To be successful, leadership development programmes must work to grow capacity and agility among top talent,” adds Kana.

Adapting to change

“Africa is a complex and diverse continent. Doing business on the continent can be a daunting experience for any organisation as they are faced with a myriad of uncertainties and challenges in different political, economic and legal environments.

“Notwithstanding the difficulties and challenges ahead, many African organisations have learnt to brace themselves and adapt quickly, overcoming many of these challenges, including mitigating the risks – and turning Africa into the next frontier of growth,” concludes Kana.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC).

Contacts

Suresh Kana, PwC Senior Partner for Africa

Office: +27 11 797 4312

Email: suresh.kana@za.pwc.com

OR

Lindiwe Magana, Media Relations Manager

Office: +27 11 797 5042

E-mail: lindiwe.magana@za.pwc.com

About PwC

PwC (http://www.pwc.com) firms help organisations and individuals create the value they’re looking for. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 184,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services. Tell us what matters to you and find out more by visiting us at www.pwc.com.

Sep 112014
 

NEW YORK, September 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — In the last days of the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly, UN Member States adopted Resolution A/68/L.60, “Consolidating Gains and Accelerating Efforts to Control and Eliminate Malaria in Developing Countries, Particularly in Africa, by 2015” by consensus on September 10th.

Recognizing progress made through political leadership and a broad range of national and international actions to scale-up malaria control interventions, this annual resolution urges governments – together with United Nations agencies, private organizations and foundations – to work together to overcome challenges and accelerate efforts toward the targets set out in Roll Back Malaria Partnership’s Global Malaria Action Plan (GMAP) and the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“With just less than 500 days until the 2015 deadline of the MDGs, the adoption of this resolution by the General Assembly reiterates the commitment of UN Member States to keep malaria high on the international development agenda,” said RBM Executive Director Dr. Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré. “We have seen tremendous progress against this killer disease in recent years, but continued success will require increased political and financial commitment from donor and endemic governments alike. Together we can scale-up efforts and continue saving lives.”

Since 2001, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that malaria death rates have decreased by nearly 50% in Africa alone – where 90% of all malaria-related deaths still occur – contributing to a 20% reduction in global child mortality and helping drive progress towards UN MDG 4. Between 2001 and 2012, collective efforts helped avert an estimated 3.3 million deaths – 69% of which were in the 10 countries with the highest malaria burden in 2000 – and more than half of the 103 countries that had ongoing malaria transmission in 2000 are meeting the MDG of reversing malaria incidence by 2015.

Despite these advances, almost half of the world’s population remains at risk from malaria, with an estimated 207 million cases of infection around the world each year and 627,000 deaths. Around the world, a child still dies from malaria every minute.

The resolution calls for donor and endemic governments alike to support global malaria control efforts, including through the secretariat of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, and to intensify efforts to secure the political commitment, partnerships and funds needed to continue saving lives. Increased financing will be critical to further advancements, as current international and domestic financing for malaria of US $2.5 billion in 2012 amounts to less than half of the US $5.1 billion RBM estimates is needed annually through 2020 to achieve universal coverage of malaria control interventions.

In 2012, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon named malaria as a top priority of his second mandate. Malaria control has consistently proven to be a strong global health investment, generating high return on low investments. Impacting all 8 of the United Nations MDGs, malaria prevention and treatment serves as an entry point to help advance progress against other health and development targets across the board by reducing school absenteeism, fighting poverty, and improving maternal and child health.

Sep 112014
 

NAIROBI, Kenya, September 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Nairobi plays host to one of the largest gatherings of start-up social and environmental enterprises ever, as 41 green entrepreneurs are celebrated at the 2014 SEED Awards Africa Symposium, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced today.

The SEED Awards identify and support innovative social and environmental start-up enterprises which can tackle key sustainable development challenges at community level, in developing and emerging economies. As in previous years, the 2014 SEED Awards have a special focus on Africa, with 28 Awards made to enterprises in Ethiopia, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. A further ten SEED Low Carbon Awards go to climate-smart enterprises across the globe that contribute towards grassroots climate change mitigation and/or adaption. Special recognition is also given to three women-led enterprises that promote gender equality and women’s empowerment as their core objectives.

Every SEED Award Winner will receive a financial contribution, technical assistance, access to different supporting institutions, and tailor-made support to develop their business and skills.

From an enterprise that produces premium outdoor furniture out of recycled plastic and organic waste materials in Colombia, to a women’s farming cooperative that improves food security in Nepal, to enterprises that market solar electricity kiosks in rural off grid areas of Malawi and promote bikes as subsidised moving billboards for the rural poor in Mozambique – this year’s SEED Winners again demonstrate that innovation, working in partnerships, and a dedicated focus on sustainability contribute significantly towards building a world of flourishing communities in which eco-entrepreneurship drives sustainable development.

The 2014 call for applications saw contributions from 84 countries, representing the collaborative efforts of partnerships between enterprises, non-governmental organizations, women’s and youth groups, labour organizations, public authorities, international agencies, and academia. Most of the applications were in the agricultural and rural development sectors; others were in energy and climate change, and ecosystem management. Many entries at the same time addressed IT applications, and education and training.

All the 2014 SEED winners were honoured at a high-level International Awards Ceremony at The Nairobi Safari-Park Hotel in Kenya. The Award winners will receive from SEED a package of individually tailored support for their businesses, technical assistance, access to other supporting institutions, and a financial contribution of US$5,000.

The winners were selected by the independent SEED International Jury of experts (details below).

The International Awards Ceremony was a highlight of the SEED Africa Symposium, which brought together over 250 entrepreneurs and business people, policymakers, and representatives from civil society and support institutions from across Africa around the theme “Making growth sustainable: co-creating solutions through social and green entrepreneurship.”

Representatives of the SEED Partners said about the SEED Winners:

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General, UNEP Executive Director: “The SEED Winners are visionaries who are spearheading the green economy among diverse communities and across a wide range of sectors. We are especially proud of the SEED’s acknowledgement of women-led green enterprises having introduced the Gender Equality component since 2011.”

“We salute the vision, innovation and resilience of these trailblazers as they lead the way towards a greener and more sustainable future,” he said.

Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator: “The 2014 SEED Winners, have followed enlightened social and environmental pathways in their entrepreneurial activities. They offer good examples of how local entrepreneurs can contribute to successful and sustainable development.”

Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General IUCN: “With the environment at their heart, these innovative enterprises create economic opportunities for communities that are often located close to natural resources, but are nonetheless deprived of sustainable livelihoods and social facilities. Speaking as Chairman of the SEED Board, we are impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit and the commitment these new SEED Winners bring to their communities. They can count on our support to help them to scale up and replicate, and so to inspire others to follow suit.”

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director UN Women: “Women’s economic empowerment is central to achieving gender equality. It’s more than a matter of basic fairness: it’s an established positive cycle. With a livelihood and an income of their own, women have increased status, can provide for their families, and become empowered in other parts of their lives as well, such as making decisions about education, housing, food choices, and medical care. We are pleased to be working with SEED and supporting the SEED Gender Equality Awards for the outstanding women-led social and environmental enterprises that are leading the way.”

Li Yong, Director General UNIDO: “Economic growth, environmental sustainability and the alleviation of poverty cannot take place without women. Women’s empowerment is crucial for inclusive and sustainable industrial development and UNIDO is committed to promote gender equality in its work. This year’s SEED Gender Equality Award Winners are best case examples of how women-led enterprises can be leading the way towards a green industry growth path and we are eager to see their businesses flourish in the months and years ahead.”

The 2014 SEED Gender Equality Award winners (by country) are:

Bangladesh:

•    “JITA Social Business” is an innovative rural distribution network, providing jobs and a regular income for women from low socio-economic communities across Bangladesh. Called Aparajitas – meaning “women who never accept defeat” – the women earn commissions selling a range of products from solar lamps to food and sanitary items on a door-to-door basis.

Nepal:

•    “Women’s Off-season Vegetable Production Group” is a women-led initiative growing and marketing organic vegetables in a climate where weather usually limits year-round production. The enterprise deploys agricultural techniques, notably poly-tunnels and greenhouses, to help improve food security and nutrition while empowering marginalised women through job creation.

Zimbabwe:

•    “Precious Life Foundation’s Outgrower Project” teaches bio-intensive, organic agricultural techniques to vulnerable women living at its shelter who then pass on their knowledge to the community. The enterprise empowers these women as teachers while working towards improved food security in Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland South Region. Women farmers who benefit from the training donate labour or produce back as a form of payment for service.