Irish Aid and Teagasc sign agreement on research, training, and cooperation in Africa

DUBLIN, Ireland, February 20, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Minister for Development, Trade Promotion, and North South Cooperation, Seán Sherlock, TD, today signed a landmark agreement which will harness Teagasc’s expertise in research and development to fight hunger and boost agricultural production in the developing world.

The new agreement between Irish Aid, the Government’s programme for overseas development, and Teagasc will increase cooperation between Teagasc and national agricultural research institutions in Irish Aid’s Key Partner Countries in Africa.

It will enable Irish Aid to harness Teagasc’s knowledge, expertise and experience in agriculture and research to help farmers to increase their yields of quality crops in countries including Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania.

Speaking at Teagasc’s Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, in Fermoy, Co. Cork, Minister Sherlock said:

“Ireland is a longstanding advocate of using cutting edge agricultural research and development to support farmers in some of the world’s most challenging environments to increase their yields and the quality of their crops. This is critical in countries where up to eight in ten people depend on agriculture for their very survival.

“Research and innovation are vital for farmers everywhere. But a major challenge in increasing agricultural productivity in Africa is getting the right knowledge to the people who need it, at the right time, in the right way.

“By teaming up with Teagasc, Irish Aid can harness their skills, research, and expertise, and share this knowledge with Ireland’s key partner countries through our development programme.

“Productive and sustainable agriculture practices will be crucial to meeting challenges of climate change, food security, and eradicating hunger.

“In particular, climate change poses enormous risks in developing countries, which are extremely vulnerable to famine, droughts, and flooding. We have seen this clearly with the recent flood in Malawi.

“Drawing on strengths of Irish Aid and Teagasc, I believe we can offer valuable assistance to our African partners in translating their vision for the future of agriculture in their countries into a reality.

“Together Irish Aid and Teagasc can go the last mile and bring agricultural research and knowledge, into the field and make it work.”

Minister Sherlock signed the agreement today with Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc.

Source:: Irish Aid and Teagasc sign agreement on research, training, and cooperation in Africa

Categories: African Press Organization

BOAD is raising XOF115 billion to support the 2014-2015 cotton season in Benin

COTONOU, Benin, February 20, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — For the third consecutive year, the West African Development Bank (BOAD) ( in its capacity as Arranger, is raising funds to support the cotton season in Benin. The Agreement relating thereto was signed by and between Mr. Christian Adovelande, President of BOAD and the Managing Director of the Office national de soutien des revenus agricoles (National office for farm income support) (Borrower) and the Managers of local banks involved in the transaction.


Photo: (Mr. Christian Adovelande, President of BOAD)

This Agreement was signed as part of the mandate on technical and financial assistance entrusted to BOAD by the Government of Benin in February 2014 with the aim of mobilizing funds for the 2014-2015 cotton season. BOAD succeeded in rallying around itself local banks to raise a facility of XOF115 billion, to which the local banking system contributed to the tune of 79%. Members of the banking pool include ECOBANK (Agent Bank), BOA, Banque Atlantique, BGFI, Diamond Bank, BSIC and UBA. In addition to its role as an arranger, BOAD provides financing in an amount of XOF25 billion to this operation

Funds mobilized will be used to cover financial needs during the 2014-2015 cotton season, including cotton purchase from producers, ginning as well as storage, evacuation and marketing of cotton fiber and by-products. Projections for the cotton season show a cottonseed production of 360,000 tons over an area sown of nearly 400,000 hectares.

Expressing his satisfaction at the trust renewed to his institution by the Beninese Authorities, Mr. Christian Adovelande stated that “this financial support provided by BOAD, complementary to that of the local banking system, is in line with the Bank’s strategic directions as well as Policy Statement”.

This third Agreement is attributable to the success of the two previous ones. The Government of Benin requested the support of BOAD for the 2012-2013 cotton season. The sub-regional institution then rallied around itself a pool of local banks and raised XOF82 billion, with Beninese banks contributing XOF62 billion, or 76% of the facility. Those resources made it possible to sow 351,000 hectares for a production of 240,000 tons of cottonseed. The facility was fully repaid at maturity.

Based on these positive results, the Government of Benin entrusted to the Bank a second mandate for supporting and assisting in structuring and raising a facility of XOF115 billion to cover all needs associated with the 2013-2014 cotton season. For this second facility, local banks contributed to the tune of 79%. 347,000 hectares were sown for a production of 307,355 tons of cottonseed.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the West African Development Bank (BOAD).

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Source:: BOAD is raising XOF115 billion to support the 2014-2015 cotton season in Benin

Categories: African Press Organization

Readout of the Secretary-General’s meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Chad, H.E. Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat

NEW YORK, February 20, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Secretary-General met today with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Chad, H.E. Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat. They exchanged views on the security situation related to the spread of Boko Haram to the Lake Chad Basin region.

They also discussed the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) and reiterated their support to the Brazzaville process.

Source:: Readout of the Secretary-General’s meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Chad, H.E. Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat

Categories: African Press Organization

First VMK store opens in Abidjan

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, February 19, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — VMK (, a company founded by Vérone Mankou, the Congolese entrepreneur behind the first tablet made in Africa, announced the opening of its first VMK store in Abidjan on 19 February 2015. Located in the Treichville commune at Zone 3 C, Immeuble Rive Gauche, this point of sale – which will exclusively sell products from the VMK range – marks the beginning of the Congolese company’s expansion beyond its borders. The Abidjan VMK store, which will ultimately employ around 10 people, will be an addition to VMK’s first-ever store in Brazzaville, which was opened in partnership with the South African operator, MTN.



VMK plans to expand its store locations to five countries in the region by the end of the year. A second store is scheduled to open in the Ivory Coast economic capital, before the opening of three other VMK stores in Kinshasa, Douala and Dakar before the end of 2015. “My underlying ambition is to bridge the digital gap in Africa. These VMK stores are being set up to make new technologies accessible to as many people as possible,” explains Vérone Mankou. “We will offer a top-of-the-range selection of products, aimed at the general public.”

The VMK range, which also includes two smartphone models available from FCFA 11,900 and FCFA 19,900 (EUR 18 and EUR 30 respectively) has recently been enhanced by the addition of a premium model, the Elikia L. This outstanding handset, offered at FCFA 64,900 (EUR 99), comes equipped with a larger screen than its predecessor. Not only that, but VMK is getting ready to launch its second tablet in March. It will be available for less than FCFA 140,000 (EUR 210). “The opening of a store in Abidjan is an essential step in the extension of our Pan-African vision. It is here, at the crossroads of West Africa, that VMK has decided to embark upon conquering the new class of African consumers,” adds Vérone Mankou.

Produced in China until now, VMK devices will shortly be assembled in the soon-to-be factory in the Republic of Congo. This production unit, which is in the process of being built in the Mpila neighbourhood of Brazzaville, has required an investment of nearly two million dollars and will be used exclusively for the VMK range of products. VMK’s Chinese partner company has started training the locals who will be employed at the factory – more than 90 people in total. VMK plans to produce 350,000 units per month.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of VMK.

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About VMK

Founded in Brazzaville in 2010 by Vérone Mankou, the VMK company ( (Vou Mou Ka, meaning “wake up” in Kikongo) is behind the Way-C, the first tablet made in Africa. Since then, VMK has developed several smartphone models, whose special ergonomy and price are aimed at the African markets. VMK employs around 50 staff.

Source:: First VMK store opens in Abidjan

Categories: African Press Organization

Innovative training to increase employability – UfM project kicks off in Tunisia

BARCELONA, Spain, February 19, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The New Chance Mediterranean Network (MedNC) programme aims at improving the employability of young people who dropped out of school before obtaining a degree and unemployed graduates from Southern Mediterranean countries.

The ISCAE National Institute (Institut Supérieur de Comptabilité et d’Administration des Entreprises), an organisation under the University of Manouba (Tunisia), recently opened its doors to the first cohort of students in the New Chance Mediterranean Network (MedNC) programme. 22 students are enrolled in the programme, 19 of which are women.

The students participating in the ISCAE New Chance programme — mainly young ISCAE graduates currently in search of employment — will be involved over the next five to six months in several activities which will facilitate their access to the labour market by addressing the gap between job opportunities and skills. The programme includes training in soft skills, namely languages and information technology (IT), and in trade competences such as accounting, management, human resources, coaching and initial working experience in partner companies. Specific sessions will also be devoted to job search techniques, job interviews, conflict management, etc.

This pilot initiative has mobilised 15 volunteer teachers who will accompany the students throughout the programme with personalised follow-up. If the programme is successful, it could be quickly expanded to Tunisia’s other 11 public universities and higher institutes of technological studies.

The ISCAE New Chance programme is promoted by the Office of Economic Cooperation for the Mediterranean and the Middle East (OCEMO) in partnership with Marseille’s Second Chance School (E2C) and the French Agency of Development (AFD). It is supported by Association Nouvelle Chance Tunisie and the Tunisian Ministry of Higher Education and framed under the MedNC project, which was labelled by the 43 UfM member states in December 2014.

The New Chance Mediterranean Network (MedNC) programme is in line with the objectives and criteria set by the Mediterranean Initiative for Jobs (Med4Jobs) and responds to the UfM’s strategic goal of improving the quality of vocational training and higher education in the region. It is an accredited project promoting the social and professional integration of young people currently excluded from the labour market, namely students who dropped out of school and unemployed graduates, with a particular focus on women (60%). This programme is based on an innovative training model inspired by the Second Chance Schools (E2C) teaching model and seeks to develop a network of New Chance-accredited schools for social and professional integration of young people, specifically adapted to the context and needs of three Southern Mediterranean countries involved in the project (Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria).

Source:: Innovative training to increase employability – UfM project kicks off in Tunisia

Categories: African Press Organization

Sogato CEO Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu Appointed Professor at Tufts University’s Fletcher School

WASHINGTON, February 19, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sogato Strategies LLC ( and former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, has been appointed a professor at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Boston, Massachusetts.


Photo Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu:

Dr. Moghalu will be the Professor of Practice in International Business and Public Policy effective July 1, 2015. He will teach a course on Emerging Africa in the World Economy in The Fletcher School’s Master of International Business (MIB) graduate degree program and the Institute for Business in the Global Context, focusing on the interplay between globalization, business and government.

“I am honored by this appointment by The Fletcher School, one of the world’s leading schools of international affairs, of which I also happen to be a proud alumnus” Moghalu said. “It demonstrates a recognition of the growing importance of Africa’s emerging markets in the global economy, and will perfectly compliment my work at Sogato Strategies, a global strategy and risk advisory firm with a focus on emerging markets”. Sogato Strategies has offices in the United States, Switzerland and Nigeria, and provides bespoke advisory services to business corporations and government entities on investment climate, risk and strategy, corporate governance, institutional strategy and transformation, global partnerships, and strategic communications.

Kingsley Moghalu served as Deputy Governor of Nigeria’s central bank for a five-year term that he completed in November 2014. He led the implementation of far-reaching reforms to Nigeria’s banking sector as Deputy Governor for Financial Stability, and is the author of four books including the acclaimed Emerging Africa: How the Global Economy’s ‘Last Frontier’ Can Prosper and Matter (Penguin Books, 2014) and a forthcoming book on global banking reform.

Dr. Moghalu obtained his Ph.D. at the London School of Economics, an M.A. from The Fletcher School at Tufts University, the LL.B. degree from the University

of Nigeria, Nsukka, and the International Certificate in Risk Management at the UK Institute of Risk Management in London. Prior to his service at the Central Bank of Nigeria, he worked for the United Nations for 17 years and subsequently founded Sogato Strategies S.A. in Geneva, Switzerland in 2009.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Sogato Strategies LLC.

Media contact:

Corporate Communications Service

Sogato Strategies LLC

T: +1 202 368 9905

Source:: Sogato CEO Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu Appointed Professor at Tufts University’s Fletcher School

Categories: African Press Organization