Africa: Open for Business! Canada to host The Commonwealth Africa Forum in July 2018

Senior Government and Business Leaders from Africa and North America will gather in Toronto from the 5th – 8th July 2018 for The Commonwealth Africa Forum Toronto 2018 with the theme: Africa – Open for Business.

Past Speakers at CAFI EVENTS have included: HRH Prince Andrew The Duke of York, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (Former Nigerian Head of State); Rt Hon Baleka Mbete (Speaker of the Parliament of South Africa), Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (Former President of Nigeria), H.E John Dramani Mahama (Former President of Ghana), Amina J Mohammed (UN Deputy Secretary General) represented by H.E Bience Gawanas (UN Under Secretary for Africa), H.E Mrs Toyin Saraki (Wife of the Senate President of Nigeria), Dr. Hassan Ahmed Hilal (Minister of Environment Sudan), Chief Mrs Folorunso Alakija (Vice Chair – Famfa Oil and Richest Black Woman), and more.

The Commonwealth Africa Forum is a premier event for those curious and excited about Africa. It is an excellent opportunity to learn about the challenges and opportunities on the continent.

The Canadian edition of The Africa Forum is conceived as a high level thematic business-related event with the vision that Canada and Africa must move beyond donor/recipient relationship towards long-term cooperation based on principles of ownership, partnership and solidarity.

Africa is a continent of paradox. It has buckets of possibility and investment opportunity, and it is well on the path to achieving that full potential however if still faces a multitude of challenges”, says Adonis Abboud, Member of the Board of Governors of the Commonwealth Africa Initiative ( .

Convening over 250 delegates and a number of high profile speakers, the Canada Forum will offer unrivalled insight into business on the continent from the boldest innovators and decision makers in Africa. A gala dinner will close the Forum which will focus on Doing Business in Africa, with the theme: Africa, Open for Business.

Three of the five fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa. Africa has 300+ tech hubs in 93 cities across 42 countries. Increased internet penetration, mass urbanization and growth in smartphone adoption, combined with rapid population growth, and has made Africa extremely attractive to investors.

Africa is the continent of the future: Africa is home to the world’s youngest population. In 20 years, the number of sub-Saharan Africans reaching working age (15-64) will exceed that of the rest of the world combined. By 2040, less than 25 years from now, half of the world’s youth will be African or of African descent.

“It is in light of this that the Forum will feature a High Level Youth Dialogue with participation from Young leaders from across Africa and North America. Conversations at the Youth Forum will consider how Diaspora and African Youths can collaborate to help Africa fulfil the aspirations of the AU Agenda 2063 and the SDGs” says Napoleon Jay, Co-Chair of the Local Organising Committee.

The Forum will bring together African and North American business leaders representing multi-nationals, large corporations, small and medium-scale enterprises and confederations, civil society representatives and multilateral and regional institutions to discuss how to improve the business and investment climate between Africa, Canada and North America at large.

TAF Canada will also be an opportunity to showcase that Canada is also open for business and investment and the forum will showcase Canadian opportunities to African investors. In the words of Prime Minister Trudeau at the World Economic Forum “We have a diverse and creative population, outstanding education and health care systems, and advanced infrastructure, we have social stability, financial stability and a government willing to invest in the future”.

Come listen to distinguished speakers who are helping to shape the future and trajectory of the abundant continent called AFRICA.

The event is organised by the Commonwealth Africa Initiative (CAFI) in association with Common Cause Africa Canada, YTI Canada, APO Group, Piety Inc, Pan African Diplomacy Center and other organisations.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Commonwealth Africa Initiative.

Media Contact:
Joseph Hammond
Media and External Relations Division
Commonwealth Africa Initiative

Media enquiries should be directed at To register for the event, visit or for more information about CAFI’s global chain of events, visit

Source:: Africa: Open for Business! Canada to host The Commonwealth Africa Forum in July 2018


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European support for upgrading and expanding Seychelles’ main harbour

  • EUR 12.5 million loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) coupled with EUR 5 million European Union (EU) grant to finance modernisation and enlargement of Seychelles’ main commercial harbour, Port Victoria.
  • Agence Française de Développement (AFD) also to provide EUR 16.5 million loan to project.
  • EUR 2 million worth of technical assistance will also be put at the disposal of the SPA.

During a public ceremony held in the presence of H.E. Danny Faure, President of the Republic of the Seychelles, agreements were signed between the European Investment Bank, the European Union and the Seychelles Ports Authority to finance the rehabilitation and expansion of the commercial part of the Port Victoria harbour. On the same occasion, the French development agency (AFD) also signed a memorandum pledging a loan in support of the project.

The project entails the detailed design and construction of a new quay, offset from the existing quay, and demolition as necessary of the existing quay. The port’s yard area will be extended and dredging works will be carried out, allowing larger vessels into the harbour and increasing overall port capacity. The interventions will mean an increase in the port’s safety and environmental performance in the handling of goods, and overall improvement of the efficiency of port operations.

EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle commented: “The European Union is by far the largest trading partner for the Seychelles, making it all the more important for the EU to support this project. Through it, the local port authority will be able to ensure the secure and environmentally sound handling of goods, while the port’s capacity will also be enlarged. The EU bank is proud to lend its support to this project, which we expect to have a significant impact on the Seychelles’ economic competitiveness, employment creation and sustainable growth as well as supporting local trade and industry.”

The EU Ambassador to the Republic of Seychelles, H.E. Marjaana Sall, indicated that: ”The Port Victoria project is one of the first projects in the Indian Ocean region to be funded through the Africa Investment Facility, which is part of the European External Investment Plan. This project, as well as the EUR 10 million Programme that will be signed in support of the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement, are part of EU support for Seychelles’ ambitious integration agendas. Those projects will help boost investment in the Seychelles, ensure that its exports are competitive, and facilitate access to the global market, thereby contributing to sustainable growth. Those projects will also have a positive social impact and create new job opportunities.”

The French Ambassador to the Seychelles, H.E. Lionel Majesté-Larrouy, added: “This upgraded facility will generate new opportunities for regional cooperation. La Réunion, Mayotte and the Département des Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises, all European territories neighbouring the Seychelles, expect to develop regional routes in close collaboration with the Seychelles. Cruise tourism is one example where this modernised infrastructure could generate mutual benefits for all the regional stakeholders, supported by the Association des Ports des Îles de l’Océan Indien (APIOI). After financing significant investments in the ports of Mauritius and La Réunion, AFD is proud to be part of this “European Alliance” to fund a key piece of infrastructure in the Seychelles.”

The Chairman of the Seychelles Ports Authority, Paul Hodoul, said: “I want to assure you that the proceeds of the loan that we have signed today will be well spent and I have no doubt that, upon its completion, the new Mahé Quay will be able to accommodate much larger vessels that are presently by-passing us because of our limitations, thus cutting the feeder status of Port Victoria. The new Port Victoria will be the catalyst for greater efficiency, smoother flow of port activities, and more mass transportation which can contribute to a lower unit cost of transporting containers. This is expected to help bring down the cost of living in our country.”

Background information:

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. It has supported transformational investment across Africa for more than 50 years and has operated in the Seychelles since 1978, making available about EUR 65 million in financing to support the country’s development. Over the last five years the European Investment Bank has provided around EUR 64.5 billion for investment in transport-related projects around the world. This is the twelfth project that the EIB has financed in the Republic of the Seychelles, and the first in support of its strategic infrastructure, after previous loans had funded water infrastructure and local businesses.

The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) is France’s inclusive public development bank. It commits financing and technical assistance to projects that genuinely improve everyday life, both in developing and emerging countries and in the French overseas provinces. In keeping with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, AFD works in many sectors – energy, healthcare, biodiversity, water, digital technology, professional training, among others – to assist with transitions towards a safer, more equitable, and more sustainable world: a world in common. Through its network of 85 field offices, AFD currently finances, monitors and assists more than 2,500 development projects in 108 countries. In 2017, AFD earmarked EUR 10.3 billion to finance projects in developing countries and for overseas France. AFD supported improvements in water and sanitation through a loan to the Public Utilities Corporation (PUC). The project was co-financed by the EIB and the EU.

The European Union (EU) is a unique economic and political union between 28 European countries that together cover much of the continent. Today, the EU has a total population of more than 500 million. Within the EU market, people, goods, services and capital move without any barriers. The euro, which is the single currency adopted by 19 Member States, is used each day by over 300 million people. Main institutions include the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers, and the European Commission. Since the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, the EU has a High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security who heads the European External Action Service. With 139 delegations and offices, the European External Action Service is one of the world’s largest diplomatic services. Ms Federica Mogherini is the EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The EU is supporting the Port Victoria Rehabilitation and Extension project with a grant of EUR 5 million, through an innovative financing mechanism (blending) comprising a grant from the EU and loans from the EIB and AfD. The grant comes from the regional programme for the Southern Africa, Eastern Africa and Indian Ocean region and is channelled through the Africa Investment Facility, which is an integral part of the European External Investment Plan (EIP). The EIP was launched by the EU to promote investment in Africa while contributing to the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

The Seychelles Port Authority (SPA) operates as an autonomous public authority under the governance of a Board of Directors. The SPA’s vision is to become the most vibrant and competitive port in the region. Its mission is to serve the citizens of the Seychelles by responsibly developing and maintaining the properties and facilities to encourage sustainable economic growth and return on investment, while providing modern port facilities that build upon the character and environmental resources of its country.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of European Investment Bank (EIB).

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Tanzania: Authorities Seek to Muffle Protests

In anticipation of nationwide demonstrations planned for April 26 to protest recent government actions, including limits on criticism of the government, coupled with Tanzanian authorities’ arrests of citizens using social media to encourage people to join the protests, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“Tanzania’s government authorities should respect the constitutional right of citizens to assemble and peacefully protest,” said Jon Temin, director for Africa programs at Freedom House. “In light of pre-emptive arrests and hostile rhetoric by the government, we urge authorities to respect citizens’ rights to freely organize. Amid signs of a wavering commitment to democracy and human rights, the Tanzanian government should show that it will safeguard fundamental principles of democratic states, including the right to speak freely.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Freedom House.

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Defence Committees conclude successful oversight to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

The Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans together with the Joint Standing Committee on Defence conducted a successful joint oversight visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The purpose of the oversight visit was for the two committees to interact with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) peacekeepers in a foreign deployment area.

The visit allowed Members of Parliament to gain insight into the circumstances of deployment, as well as to be briefed on operational achievements and challenges. In the process, the delegation was updated on issues such as reimbursements made by the United Nations (UN) for services rendered, logistical issues relating to procurement and transportation to and from the mission area, the reported sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) cases, and the SANDF’s contribution to the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Monusco), in particular the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB).

The committees were informed that it was largely the contribution of the SANDF contingent to the FIB that contributed to the stabilisation of the eastern part of the DRC in recent years. In particular, their role in the elimination of the M23 rebels as a security threat, with the assistance of South Africa’s Rooivalk attack helicopters, has been widely acclaimed.

The delegation engaged with SANDF representatives on the impact of a reduction in the level of engagement of South African forces, particularly the potential implications of a withdrawal of the Rooivalk helicopters. In the case of a withdrawal, South Africa will have to review the continued deployment of other military components, such as the infantry battalion, which forms a crucial part of the FIB. The delegation agreed with the SANDF’s assessment that the withdrawal of the helicopters is likely to compromise the safety of peacekeepers, mission integrity and sustainability of the FIB, and is therefore unlikely to support such withdrawals.

The delegation also met with the special representative of the UN Secretary-General at the Monusco headquarters and South African embassy staff in Kinshasa. During engagements with the SANDF peacekeepers, they shared their achievements and concerns as experienced in the mission area.

One of the issues highlighted was the alleged involvement of South African peacekeepers in the recently reported SEA cases. The delegation condemned such acts and expressed its discomfort with the manner, timing and reporting of these cases.

It is important that these cases be investigated by the SANDF as well as the UN and both parties have been kept abreast of developments in the outstanding cases. “It is important to note that these cases refer to the previous contingent and no cases have been reported with the current contingent of SANDF soldiers,” said Mr Stan Motimele, the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee. The delegation therefore requested the South African embassy in Kinshasa and the SANDF to improve its communication with the UN and the South African public in order to address some of the negativity around these reported cases.

One of the highlights of the oversight visit was the inspection of the Eringeti Company Observation Base at Beni in the North Kivu Province of the DRC, under armed escort. The delegation engaged with South African peacekeepers from 5 SA Infantry Battalion, while the Rooivalk helicopters kept a watchful eye on proceedings on the ground. Members of Parliament were able to experience first-hand the conditions under which South African troops are deployed and made several suggestions to address some of the challenges being experienced by South African soldiers.

The delegation wishes to extend its appreciation and well wishes to South African peacekeepers in the DRC as they assist the Congolese to establish a secure environment to allow for peaceful elections in the country and to continue to exhibit their military prowess in very demanding circumstances.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.

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Source:: Defence Committees conclude successful oversight to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)


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