Parliamentary Secretary to highlight strong Canadian ties during visit to Africa

As part of its G7 presidency, Canada reaffirms its commitment to working with African partners to protect human rights, empower women and girls, engage youth and help achieve inclusive economic growth in Africa.

Matt DeCourcey, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, today (April 4, 2018) departs for Africa through to April 13, 2018, to visit The Gambia, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon and South Africa.

During his trip, the Parliamentary Secretary will engage with political leaders, business representatives and non-governmental organizations on issues of mutual importance such as development initiatives, youth employment and humanitarian assistance.

Quotes

“Canada has long-standing relationships with its African partners, rooted in strong people-to-people ties, development cooperation and business relationships. In an era of shared global challenges and growing opportunity in Africa, and as part of our G7 presidency, close collaboration with our African partners is more important than ever. I look forward to working to strengthen these essential relationships during my visit to the region.”

Matt DeCourcey, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Quick facts

The Gambia:

  • Canada and The Gambia established diplomatic relations in 1966, soon after the country gained its independence in 1965.
  • In 2015 to 2016, total Canadian aid disbursements to The Gambia totalled $2.65 million.

Côte d’Ivoire:

  • In December 2015, Côte d’Ivoire and Canada ratified a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement (FIPA).
  • In 2015 to 2016, Canada’s international assistance to Côte d’Ivoire totalled $24.94 million.
  • Côte d’Ivoire is the second most important commercial partner of Canada in the West African region. Canadian exports into Côte d’Ivoire totalled $67.3 million in 2016.

Cameroon

  • Cameroon, like Canada, is one of the few countries in the world to be both a member of the Commonwealth and La Francophonie.
  • In December 2016, a FIPA entered into force between Canada and Cameroon.
  • In 2015 to 2016, Canada’s international assistance to Cameroon totalled $21.54 million.

South Africa:

  • South Africa is an important commercial partner and a prime destination of Canadian goods and services on the continent. In 2016, Canadian direct investment into South Africa totalled $2.057 billion.
  • In 2015 to 2016, Canada’s international assistance to South Africa totalled $15.68 million.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Government of Canada.

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Telephonic Press Briefing with U.S. Ambassador to Niger Eric P. Whitaker and Major General J. Marcus Hicks, Commander, Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAF) to discuss the upcoming SOCAF-Sponsored Flintlock 2018 Joint Military Exercise in Niger

EVENT:

Please join us on Thursday, April 5, 2018, at 13:30 GMT|14:30 WAT|15:30 SAST for a telephonic press briefing with Eric Whitaker, U.S. Ambassador to Niger, and Major General J. Marcus Hicks, Commander, Special Operations Command Africa. They will discuss our multiform efforts to reinforce development, security, and diplomatic efforts in Niger, including the Flintlock program.

Niger has become increasingly vulnerable to the fragile security situation in the Sahel and ongoing humanitarian threats such as food insecurity. The United States Government is contributing to Niger’s development and providing humanitarian assistance while strengthening the capacity of its security and defense forces. We remain committed to our longstanding Nigerien partners in promoting a safer Sahelian region. The annual Flintlock exercise is just one way that we help develop the capacity of and collaboration among Trans–Saharan security forces in their efforts to protect civilian populations. Niger previously hosted Flintlock in 2014 and will host again 9-20 April 2018.

BACKGROUND:

During the briefing, Ambassador Whitaker and Major General Hicks will discuss the U.S.-Niger bilateral relationship, including development and diplomatic efforts, and the United States’ role in building the security and defense forces’ capacity to strengthen Niger’s ability to manage terrorist threats. Special attention will be given to the evolution and importance of the annual Flintlock Exercise.

DETAILS:
Speakers: U.S. Ambassador to Niger Eric P. Whitaker and Major General J. Marcus Hicks, Commander, Special Operations Command Africa
Date: April 05, 2018
Time: 13:30 GMT|14:30 WAT| 15:30 SAST
* Please use Time Zone Converter to determine the start time of the event in your time zone.
Language: English. French and Portuguese interpretation will be offered.
Ground rules: On the record.
Dial-in Info: To be provided once you RSVP.
Twitter: We will use the hashtag #AFHubPress as the hashtag for the call. Follow us on @AfricaMediaHub and at @USAfricaCommand.

LOGISTICS:

  • Callers should dial-in to the conference call 10-15 minutes early.
  • When an individual journalist dials-in, the operator will collect the caller’s name, press affiliation, and location. When an embassy dials in, the operator will ask the embassy’s name and location.
  • The moderator will facilitate the Q and A among the connected callers. Journalists on the conference call will be instructed to press the “*” and “1” buttons on their phones in order to enter the question queue. NOTE: You can press “*1” at any time during the call to join the question queue, even before the moderator begins the Q and A portion. We ask that journalists limit themselves to one question and indicate to which speaker the question is directed.
  • Journalists can also submit questions in English to afmediahub@state.gov prior to or during the call.

BIOS:
U.S. Ambassador to Niger Eric P. Whitaker

The Deputy Secretary of State for the United States administered the oath of office to Eric Whitaker in a December 15, 2017 ceremony at the Department. Ambassador Whitaker is a career member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service with 27 years of experience. Ambassador Whitaker joined the Bureau of African Affairs Front Office as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary in January 2017 with East African Affairs, Sudan, and South Sudan portfolios. His previous position was Director of East African Affairs.
From October 2012-2014, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission at U.S. Embassy N’Djamena, Chad, before returning to the Department of State. Prior to that, he served as Foreign Policy Advisor (POLAD) to the U.S. military in Djibouti, and as Counselor for Economic Affairs at Embassy Nairobi, Kenya. From 2008-2010, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission and then as Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Niamey, Niger. Ambassador Whitaker also served as an Embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team (E-PRT) Leader in Baghdad, Iraq, heading an eight-member team composed of State, USAID, and DoD civilians.

Ambassador Whitaker has a BS in biology and an MS in community health education from the University of Illinois, a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Master of Public Policy degree from the Wilson School at Princeton University. Prior to the Foreign Service, he served as a Community Health Development Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines and as Assistant to the City Manager for the City of Lodi, California.

Ambassador Whitaker speaks Portuguese, Spanish, French, Visayan, and Korean, and has received eleven Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards, as well as the Department of Defense Meritorious Civilian Honor Award.

Major General J. Marcus Hicks
Major General J. Marcus Hicks is the Commander, Special Operations Command Africa, headquartered at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany. In this role, Maj Gen Hicks is responsible for the full spectrum of special operations activities conducted throughout Africa. Prior to this assignment, Maj Gen Hicks served as the Chief of Staff, Headquarters, U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

Maj Gen Hicks received his commission through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at the Virginia Military Institute in 1986. His operational flying experience includes special operations assignments in the AC-130H and AC-130U. He has commanded the 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota Air Base, Japan, the Combined Joint Special Operations Air Component at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, and the 14th Weapons Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Florida.

Maj Gen Hicks previously served in staff assignments at Headquarters U.S. Special Operations Command, Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command and Air Combat Command. His Pentagon assignments include operations directorates of Headquarters U.S. Air Force and the Joint Staff.

Maj Gen Hicks holds a Master of Military Arts and Sciences, Army Command and Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and a Master of Aerospace Arts and Sciences, School of Advanced Airpower Studies, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. He was also a National Defense Fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Washington, D.C. and Senior Executive Fellow, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. His awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters.
A command pilot, General Hicks has more than 3,000 flying hours.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Africa Regional Media Hub.

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Source:: Telephonic Press Briefing with U.S. Ambassador to Niger Eric P. Whitaker and Major General J. Marcus Hicks, Commander, Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAF) to discuss the upcoming SOCAF-Sponsored Flintlock 2018 Joint Military Exercise in Niger

      

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Building the Business Case for Housing Microfinance in Sub-Saharan Africa

A new study from Habitat for Humanity (www.Habitat.org) says that housing microfinance can and should become a mainstream offering for financial institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa as they respond to growing housing needs in the region, particularly from poor people.

The business case study, released today, is entitled “Building the Business Case for Housing Microfinance in Sub-Saharan Africa” (https://goo.gl/vN5uag). It builds on a project carried out over six years in Kenya and Uganda called “Building Assets Unlocking Access”. The project was a partnership between Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter and the Mastercard Foundation (www.MastercardFdn.org). So far, the project has reached over 47,000 households and mobilized more than US$43 million in capital to benefit over 237,000 individuals.

To download the case study “Building the Business Case for Housing Microfinance in Sub-Saharan Africa” click here: https://goo.gl/QmYUWT

The business case study argues that housing microfinance, small non-mortgage backed loans for short terms, can become a mainstream offering in the market to address growing housing needs in the region, incremental building patterns, and the land tenure realities of low-income households.

There are an estimated 1.6 billion people in the world living in substandard housing. This figure is climbing, especially as the world becomes more urbanized and people migrate to cities for economic opportunity. In Sub-Saharan Africa, however, as much as 99 percent of people do not have access to formal financing – credit, savings, mortgages – that can let them start building or improving their homes. Traditionally, they build homes gradually as their resources allow. Developer-built, bank-financed homes are rare in Africa, serving fewer than five percent of households in most countries.

“Solving the housing challenges in Africa will require a massive amount of capital investment and most of that will need to come from the private sector,” said Patrick Kelley, Vice President of Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter. “Financial institutions of all kinds have a role to play, especially those already deeply embedded in communities and who understand people with informal sector livelihoods.”

Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter partnership with the Mastercard Foundation sought to motivate local financial service providers in Kenya and Uganda to develop housing microfinance loans to fund the incremental building process common among low-income households. The results have proven that there is demand for housing microfinance among families or individuals earning as little as US$5 a day who are seeking to build, extend, or renovate their home.

“At the Mastercard Foundation, our focus is on helping economically disadvantaged people, especially young people in Africa, to find opportunities to move themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty,” said Ruth Dueck-Mbeba, Senior Program Manager at the Foundation. “This project has provided access to appropriate finance for decent housing. We believe that decent housing can provide more than four walls and a roof over one’s head. It offers people hope, dignity, and a place in their communities. This report should help financial service providers to scale these products, which would benefit their enterprises as well as the lives of many poor people in Africa.”

Financial institutions in the region that have ventured into housing microfi­nance have often reported it to be a popular product with their clients. To understand the demand side factors, the value proposition of these products, the competitive advantage of financial service providers offering it, and the differentiated features that make housing microfinance a strategic product, the business case study surveyed the work of two financial institutions: Kenya Women Microfinance Bank, or KWFT, and Centenary Bank in Uganda.

The study argues, through the lenses of these two institutions in different geographies, that success and profitability of a housing microfinance product relies on a number of factors: connection with the financial service provider’s mission, good marketing, a clear pricing structure, understanding of land tenure realities, an opportunity to attract new clients, and secure long-term capital to fund the expansion of such portfolios.

“Financing incremental housing solutions is a natural step in the progress of greater financial inclusion. Centenary and KWFT are providing a great example of how financial institutions will benefit from understanding their clients and developing products that serve them well,” said Patrick Kelley.

To find out more about the project, go to this link (https://goo.gl/MiDQH7).

To read the full business case study, go to this link (https://goo.gl/aJdQQs).

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Habitat for Humanity.

For more information, contact:
Katerina Bezgachina
KBezgachina@Habitat.org
Tel: +421 911 045838

About the Mastercard Foundation
The Mastercard Foundation (www.MastercardFdn.org) seeks a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn and prosper. The Foundation’s work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion for people living in poverty. One of the largest foundations in the world, it works almost exclusively in Africa. It was created in 2006 by Mastercard International and operates independently under the governance of its own Board of Directors. The Foundation is based in Toronto, Canada. For more information and to sign up for the Foundation’s newsletter, please visit www.MastercardFdn.org. Follow the Foundation at @MastercardFdn on Twitter.

About Habitat for Humanity
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity (www.Habitat.org) began in 1976 as a grassroots effort. The housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit www.Habitat.org/emea.

About the Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter
Habitat established the Terwilliger Center (www.Habitat.org/TCIS) to work with housing market systems by supporting local firms and expand¬ing innovative and client-responsive services, products and financing so that households can improve their shelter more effectively and efficiently. The role of the Terwilliger Center stays true to Habitat for Humanity’s original principles of self-help and sus¬tainability by focusing on improving systems that enable families to achieve affordable shelter without needing ongoing direct support. To learn more, visit www.Habitat.org/TCIS.

Source:: Building the Business Case for Housing Microfinance in Sub-Saharan Africa

      

Categories: AFRICA | Tags: | Leave a comment

Building the Business Case for Housing Microfinance in Sub-Saharan Africa

A new study from Habitat for Humanity (www.Habitat.org) says that housing microfinance can and should become a mainstream offering for financial institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa as they respond to growing housing needs in the region, particularly from poor people.

The business case study, released today, is entitled “Building the Business Case for Housing Microfinance in Sub-Saharan Africa” (https://goo.gl/vN5uag). It builds on a project carried out over six years in Kenya and Uganda called “Building Assets Unlocking Access”. The project was a partnership between Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter and the Mastercard Foundation (www.MastercardFdn.org). So far, the project has reached over 47,000 households and mobilized more than US$43 million in capital to benefit over 237,000 individuals.

To download the case study “Building the Business Case for Housing Microfinance in Sub-Saharan Africa” click here: https://goo.gl/QmYUWT

The business case study argues that housing microfinance, small non-mortgage backed loans for short terms, can become a mainstream offering in the market to address growing housing needs in the region, incremental building patterns, and the land tenure realities of low-income households.

There are an estimated 1.6 billion people in the world living in substandard housing. This figure is climbing, especially as the world becomes more urbanized and people migrate to cities for economic opportunity. In Sub-Saharan Africa, however, as much as 99 percent of people do not have access to formal financing – credit, savings, mortgages – that can let them start building or improving their homes. Traditionally, they build homes gradually as their resources allow. Developer-built, bank-financed homes are rare in Africa, serving fewer than five percent of households in most countries.

“Solving the housing challenges in Africa will require a massive amount of capital investment and most of that will need to come from the private sector,” said Patrick Kelley, Vice President of Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter. “Financial institutions of all kinds have a role to play, especially those already deeply embedded in communities and who understand people with informal sector livelihoods.”

Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter partnership with the Mastercard Foundation sought to motivate local financial service providers in Kenya and Uganda to develop housing microfinance loans to fund the incremental building process common among low-income households. The results have proven that there is demand for housing microfinance among families or individuals earning as little as US$5 a day who are seeking to build, extend, or renovate their home.

“At the Mastercard Foundation, our focus is on helping economically disadvantaged people, especially young people in Africa, to find opportunities to move themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty,” said Ruth Dueck-Mbeba, Senior Program Manager at the Foundation. “This project has provided access to appropriate finance for decent housing. We believe that decent housing can provide more than four walls and a roof over one’s head. It offers people hope, dignity, and a place in their communities. This report should help financial service providers to scale these products, which would benefit their enterprises as well as the lives of many poor people in Africa.”

Financial institutions in the region that have ventured into housing microfi­nance have often reported it to be a popular product with their clients. To understand the demand side factors, the value proposition of these products, the competitive advantage of financial service providers offering it, and the differentiated features that make housing microfinance a strategic product, the business case study surveyed the work of two financial institutions: Kenya Women Microfinance Bank, or KWFT, and Centenary Bank in Uganda.

The study argues, through the lenses of these two institutions in different geographies, that success and profitability of a housing microfinance product relies on a number of factors: connection with the financial service provider’s mission, good marketing, a clear pricing structure, understanding of land tenure realities, an opportunity to attract new clients, and secure long-term capital to fund the expansion of such portfolios.

“Financing incremental housing solutions is a natural step in the progress of greater financial inclusion. Centenary and KWFT are providing a great example of how financial institutions will benefit from understanding their clients and developing products that serve them well,” said Patrick Kelley.

To find out more about the project, go to this link (https://goo.gl/MiDQH7).

To read the full business case study, go to this link (https://goo.gl/aJdQQs).

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Habitat for Humanity.

For more information, contact:
Katerina Bezgachina
KBezgachina@Habitat.org
Tel: +421 911 045838

About the Mastercard Foundation
The Mastercard Foundation (www.MastercardFdn.org) seeks a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn and prosper. The Foundation’s work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion for people living in poverty. One of the largest foundations in the world, it works almost exclusively in Africa. It was created in 2006 by Mastercard International and operates independently under the governance of its own Board of Directors. The Foundation is based in Toronto, Canada. For more information and to sign up for the Foundation’s newsletter, please visit www.MastercardFdn.org. Follow the Foundation at @MastercardFdn on Twitter.

About Habitat for Humanity
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity (www.Habitat.org) began in 1976 as a grassroots effort. The housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit www.Habitat.org/emea.

About the Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter
Habitat established the Terwilliger Center (www.Habitat.org/TCIS) to work with housing market systems by supporting local firms and expand¬ing innovative and client-responsive services, products and financing so that households can improve their shelter more effectively and efficiently. The role of the Terwilliger Center stays true to Habitat for Humanity’s original principles of self-help and sus¬tainability by focusing on improving systems that enable families to achieve affordable shelter without needing ongoing direct support. To learn more, visit www.Habitat.org/TCIS.

Source:: Building the Business Case for Housing Microfinance in Sub-Saharan Africa