December 2015

Let's Not Kid Ourselves: Curbing Carbon and Stopping Smog Are Not the Same Thing

A hope has prevailed across most media commentators and environmental groups that curbs on carbon emissions will also fix the dirty air in these nations’ metropolises. But that’s naïve. It doesn’t take into account how the past of pollution control inside the United States and other long-industrialized nations has conditioned us to tackling one enormous environmental problem while ignoring the other.

read more

Death by Congestion – Should We Care?

If we lose 42 hours per year, for 80 years, each person in this example loses 3360 hours over their 80 year lifetime to congestion. 3360 hours is about 140 days (~4.5 months).

read more

Africa in strike 2015

Throughout 2015, a number of African countries were embroiled in various strike actions, lasting from days, to months. The strikes involved the usual suspects; labour unions, government workers, and so on, and as expected threatened to cripple the economies in which they happened. In some countries, the nature of the strikes were the same, such as in the case of the truckers’ strikes in Lagos, Nigeria, Ghana, and Burkina Faso. Morocco witnessed a rare case of a hunger strike embarked upon by Maati Monjib, a Moroccan professor who was protesting a travel ban placed on him.

As the year comes to an end, most of the strikes are either suspended or ended, while others are just beginning. Below, we take a look at some of the notable strike actions that took place across Africa in 2015.

Nehawu Parliament Strike, South Africa.

NehawuStrike-Ventures-Africa

A recap of President Buhari’s first media chat

Yesterday, on Wednesday the 30th of December, President Muhammadu Buhari had his maiden media chat at the presidential villa, Aso Rock, Abuja. Fielding questions from journalists on a number of significant issues, the president could not have picked a more strategic time to answer the questions in the mind of Nigerians, keeping them abreast of government activities just before the New Year.

Moderated by a team of four journalists, Kayode Akintemi of Channels TV, Dan Ali of Daily Trust, Ibanga Isine of Premium Times, and Ngozi Anyaegbunam, the conversation stemmed around issues of corruption, terrorism, and the economy – oil and currency.

On the fight against corruption

President Buhari expressed satisfaction on the progress made in the fight against corruption, “We are doing quite well,” he said. And though there are documents to prove crude oil theft and diversion of public funds into personal accounts, the president urged Nigerians to be patient, and other countries, cooperative in the fight against corruption. “Nigerians will be informed of the progress of the anti-corruption war by the end of the first quarter of 2016.”

He maintained that none of his cabinet members are corrupt, but not without adding that if any is found guilty of corruption, that person would face the law, as no one is above it. “I don’t think I have picked anybody that I know will embarrass my government … But if you have evidence on any of my ministers, it is your right as a Nigerian citizen to take them up … I swore by the holy Qur’an that I will defend the constitution.”

15 political events that shaped Africa in 2015

As 2015 draws to a close, here is a recap of events which were of great political significance across the continent in the calendar year. The events are arranged according to the order of their occurrence.

February 1: Egypt releases Aljazeera journalist Peter Greste

The Egyptian government’s release of Aljazeera journalist Peter Greste began the end of its widely condemned prosecution of three Al Jazeera journalists on the allegation of supporting the banned Muslim Brotherhood. Baher Mohammed and Mohammed Fahmy, Greste’s two co-detained colleagues, would go on to be released several months later. While the release of the journalists was applauded around the world, it was also used to highlight the fact that the Egyptian government continues to indefinitely detained dozens of lesser profile journalists.

March 27: The Destruction of the Boko Haram’s headquarters Gwoza by the Nigerian Military

Elections to watch out for in Africa in 2016

2015 was a big year for African elections, and 2016 will be just as important. Some of the upcoming elections will determine the fate of democracy in those countries, especially in Central African Republic, Congo DRC etc. Here’s a preview of elections in Africa in 2016.

Central African Republic

Francois-Bozize-Ventures-Africa
Former President of CAR Francois Bozize Credit – ec.Europa.eu

The Central African Republic is presently holding its presidential elections after months of fighting in the tiny nation. Its inclusion on this list is due to the fact that a second round of elections could hold in January 2016 if results prove indecisive in this first round of elections. Already, there are reports of peace across all polling units in the country as people are coming out in droves to vote for the thirty candidates contesting in the polls. The favourites include former prime ministers Martin Ziguele and Anicet Georges Dologuele. Perhaps the Pope’s visit has caused this change in CAR’s perception concerning violence.

Uganda

Real Food Challenge: Student Activists Help Campuses Eat Smarter

Institutional food systems are typically a tough nut for food activists to crack, relying as they do on economies of scale and mass logistics. But the growing movement toward real, sustainable eating has a natural ally in hungry, well-informed college students – and ever since 2008, the Real Food Challenge organization has helped them speak with one voice for change.

read more

2015: The Year in Placemaking

Our fortieth year at Project for Public Spaces was an exciting one, and it took us all over the world, from the public markets of Barcelona to Stockholm’s City Hall. For some time, placemaking was a strong but “quiet movement.” But after the year we just had, we think it’s safe to say that the secret is out.

read more

Arsenal finish the year on top after Leicester and Manchester City draw 0-0

e96be54e56b3ef6af5aba8dc00a19b52

Can Arsenal end season on top?

ARSENAL end 2015 on top of the English Premiership on goal difference ahead of second-placed Leicester City who drew 0-0 at home to third-placed Manchester City.

This was only Leicester’s fourth clean sheet of the season – their headlines are written at the other end of the pitch. But for once Jamie Vardy, who played though half-fit and Riyad Mahrez failed to get on the scoresheet.

City’s star striker, Sergio Aguero limped off midway through the second half, to be replaced by Wilfried Bony. A disconsolate Ageuro also had a penalty appeal waved away after Gokhan Inler felled him in the box.

Leicester were set up rather more defensively than usual, but finished the match the better side.

It is a result that will be welcomed by the Gunners who beat Bournemouth 2-0 on Monday and are, like Leicester on 39 points but with a 33-18 goals record as opposed to Leicester’s 37-25.

City are third on 36 points, just one ahead of Tottenham.

Leicester have completed a remarkable 2015, having started the year in the relgation zone. Kickoff.com

:lol: Follow us on Twitter on @FingazLive and on Facebook – The Financial Gazette

 

Twitter Gets Tough With ‘Hateful’ IS Profiles

cegrab-20150810-234023-159-1-206x116

The social media site’s clarified rules on abuse will make it easier for users to report accounts linked to extremist groups.

TWITTER is tightening its rules on “abusive behaviour and hateful conduct” – in a move which could result in thousands of Islamic State-affiliated accounts being deleted.

The company has been criticised in the past for not doing enough to stop the terror group from using the social media site for recruitment and propaganda purposes.

Although Twitter’s refreshed rules do not mention IS by name, they state: “You may not promote violence or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease.”

One of the most immediate challenges facing the micro-blogging site will be removing the thousands of IS-linked accounts which are already live, and permanently barring repeat offenders who simply open new profiles with a slightly altered username when their account is suspended.

It is hoped the detailed guidelines will make it easier for users to report profiles which break the rules. Until now, Twitter only had a generic warning that people who promoted or threatened “violence against others” would be banned.

Highlights of presidential elections in Africa in 2015

This year has been an incredible year for elections across the African continent, from parliamentary elections to presidential elections to municipal elections. While, some countries witnessed how far its leaders were willing to go in order to hold on to power as some presidents attempted to alter constitutions to favour themselves, others witnessed elections that were not without difficulty, but were ultimately free and fair. Here are some of the highlights of presidential elections that were held across the continent in 2015.

Togo

President Faure Gnassingbe

Afghanistan down Zimbabwe in second ODI

129952

Zimbabwe reached 253-7 from their alloted 50 overs with half-centures from Craig Ervine (73) (pictured) and opener Peter Moor (50), while Afghan seamer Dawlat Zadran took 3 for 57. Pic by ESPN

SHARJAH- Afghanistan survived a middle-order batting collapse to claim a four-wicket win over Zimbabwe in Sharjah on Tuesday and take a 2-0 lead in the five-match one-day international series.

Wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad held his nerve as wickets tumbled around him, scoring an unbeaten 131 — the highest ODI score by an Afghan batsman — to help the non-Test playing nation chase down a target of 254 with 14 balls to spare.

Afghanistan were cruising at 169-1, but the run out of Mohammad Nabi triggered an alarming collapse that saw them lose five wickets for just 29 runs.

However, an unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 56 between Shahzad and Mirwais Ashraf (26 not out) saw them over the line as Afghanistan bid to follow up a 3-2 win in the ODI series in Zimbabwe in October.

Zimbabwe, who were skittled out for just 82 in the first ODI on Friday, posted a far more competitive total this time although it still fell short.

The tourists reached 253-7 from their alloted 50 overs with half-centures from Craig Ervine (73) and opener Peter Moor (50), while Afghan seamer Dawlat Zadran took 3 for 57. News24.com

Falgold stops all exploration as gold sector remains subdued

GOLD

Gold production was at 4 798 ounces while sales were 42 percent lower at 4 982 ounces compared to 8 285oz last year.

FALCON Gold Zimbabwe says it foresees a bleak outlook for the group in 2016 owing to a myriad of operating challenges.

Chief Executive Officer Ian Saunders in the group’s results statement said despite management’s focus to operate the group through addressing short term issues, there can be no assurances that the company will be able to survive as a going concern as it is currently configured.

“Accordingly, the group may be forced to consider shutting down its remaining mining operation, either temporarily or permanently, placing one or more assets under court protection from creditors or liquidating the group and its assets in a formal or informal arrangement,” he said.

Saunders said the group has stopped all exploration and new project development due to lack of current profitability and the economic viability of its mines in the current gold price and cost regime.
The group said it had anticipated the mooted change to the tax and power cost base to change while the company also had planned upgrading Golden Quarry mine to assist the group to sustain profitable operations.

“This reality, coupled to a further roughly US$100 per ounce drop in the gold price in the last 12 months, correlates into a bleak outlook for the group in fiscal 2016,” he said.

These are the most controversial politicians of 2015

2015 has being quite the year for politicians in Africa, and around the world. From election campaigns, making controversial statements, to poor policy implementation, and major scandals, some politicians have made the year eventful to say the least. Their decisions or lack thereof have resulted in historic protests, political movements, social media hashtags, and hilarious memes. In no particular order, Ventures Africa explores some of the most controversial politicians of the year.

Donald Trump

Credit - neveryetmelted.com
Credit – neveryetmelted.com

Here’s how we can build on what some of Africa’s top business and international political leaders said in 2015

The future is now

Considering Africa’s past progress, current challenges and future prospects, some of the continents top business and international political leaders have in one way or another helped to craft a bolder agenda for the year 2016 and beyond. Discussing Africa and the use of its resources for the benefits of all Africans could range from infrastructure and attracting capital to challenges such as regional integration, social entrepreneurship and inequality.

Below are a some quotes from 2015 which could help in shaping the continent’s top priorities for achieving the vision of a greater Africa.


zuma

Our relationship with the world must change. We must deal with each other as equals.

Jacob G. Zuma. President of the Republic of South Africa

winnie-main

 Six African countries are among the top 10 most unequal in the world.           Winne Byanyima. Executive Director, Oxfam International

MG_1452

Remarkable quotes from top economy drivers in Africa in 2015

2015 was particularly a trying year for Africa. With fluctuating economic growth rate and plunge in oil prices, the continent still had to contend with several episodes of labour unrest, crisis and terrorism. However, it’s been a year of victory too as Guinea and Sierra Leone previously ravaged by Ebola have been given a clean bill of health, thereby boosting the already receding economy.

While taking stock of the happenings on Africa’s business space as the year winds down, Ventures Africa shares noteworthy quotes from various economic decision makers in the continent.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

“Women work harder. And women are more honest; they have less reasons to be corrupt.”

Sirleaf

With Sirleaf’s relentless efforts, Sierra Leone has been declared Ebola free.

Aliko Dangote

“Every morning when I wake up, I make up my mind to solve as many problems as possible before retiring home”

In the spirit of solving problems, Dangote‘s refinery (currently under construction) which will produce 650,000 barrels of petroleum will be completed by 2016

Acha Leke

“Would it have mattered to Africa that I lived? Ask yourself what you can do to contribute – even in small ways.”

Drought to cut supply, mulls higher tariffs: Zimbabwe

Kariba

Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company is currently supplying 1 194 MW, half Zimbabwe’s peak demand

POWER generation at Zimbabwe’s main hydro station could ease further due to a drought, the national electricity supplier said on Monday, adding that it plans to increase tariffs to raise money for power imports.

Southern Africa is facing a drought caused by the El Nino weather pattern, which is expected to bring more drought to already-parched countries, including Zimbabwe, affecting Kariba hydro station which produces half of the nation’s electricity.

Power supply at Kariba would be cut further to 275 megawatts (MW) in 2016 due to low water levels after falling by a third to 475 MW in August, state-owned Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) said in a statement.

ZETDC is currently supplying 1 194 MW, half Zimbabwe’s peak demand, from both hydro and coal power generation.

Electricity shortages have forced local industries to use costly diesel generators to keep operations running and have been blamed for keeping away potential investors, analysts say.

The ZETDC said it had requested the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority to allow it to raise the electricity tariff from 9.86 cents per kilowatt-hour to import power to power the economy, but did not say how much the increase would be.

Star Africa confident of improved performance in spite of widening losses

Joe-mutizwa

Joe Mtizwa

STAR Africa says it remains confident of an improved performance in the current year on account of the upgraded plant at Gold Star Sugars Harare (GSSH) and the improved market conditions.

In a statement accompanying the results for the six months period to September 30 2015 Chairman Joe Mtizwa said the ongoing plant commissioning exercise has already resulted in the plant producing
good quality sugar that meets specifications of all customers.

Meanwhile, according to the interim results, the group’s going concern status remains threatened as the company continues to report significant losses.

For the period under review, the company`s reported loss widened to $5.3 mln compared to a loss of $3.7 mln same period last year. As at September 30, 2015, the company’s total liabilities exceed total assets by $36.5 mln compared to $31 mln in 2014 and current liabilities exceed current assets by $60.4 mln.

However, the company says it is implementing key deliverables as part of its turnaround plan, but continues to miss the set targets as it has not been able to meet all terms of the Scheme of Arrangement
entered into with its creditors and lenders in 2013.

Mtizwa, said efforts to dispose Blue Star Logistics and the company’s 33% shareholding in Tongaat Hullett Botswana to settle part payments to lenders and creditors remain futile.

Government delays paying some salaries as cash crunch bites

Patrick-Chinamasa

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa

GOVERNMENT has delayed paying December salaries for most of its public sector workers to early next month and has not paid annual bonuses, in a sign of a cash crunch that brought threats of strikes from doctors and teachers on Monday.

Doctors working at state hospitals and the main teachers’ union demanded the payment of salaries and bonuses before December 31, warning of possible strikes next year.

Zimbabwe spends more than 80% of its budget on salaries, mainly for the army, police, teachers and nurses, but only managed to pay soldiers earlier this month.

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said in a statement on Monday that December wages for teachers and other education sector workers would be paid on Tuesday.

“Treasury advises that the December 2015 salary payment date for the rest of the public service is also being moved from December 29 2015 to January 5 2016,” Chinamasa said. He could not be reached for further comment.

The government spends more than $260m every month on salaries for more than 300 000 of its employees.

Zimbabwe finances its entire budget from taxes because lenders like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank will only consider fresh loans once it clears its debts. Tax revenues are falling as the economy struggles with weak commodity prices and high unemployment.

Chinamasa did not say when bonuses, equivalent to one month’s salary and traditionally paid in November, would be paid.

Raw milk production seen surpassing 55,4 million litres

dairy

For the 11 month period, raw milk production increased 3,30 percent to 52,28 million litres compared to 50,61 million same period last year.

ZIMBABWE’S annual raw milk production is seen surpassing last year’s level of 55,48 million litres largely on the growth of various dairy heifer schemes which are now contributing significantly to the national output.

Figures released by the Dairy Services Department in the Ministry of Agriculture Mechanization and Irrigation Development for the 11 months to November 2015 show improved production compared to prior year.

For the 11 month period, raw milk production increased 3,30 percent to 52,28 million litres compared to 50,61 million same period last year.

Monthly production from August has averaged 5 million litres compared to same period last year’s average of 4,5 million litres. The increase is largely attributable to increased feed supply during the period and contribution from dairy heifer schemes.

Milk and dairy products producers have over the past two years been running dairy heifer importation schemes to boost milk production. These include Dairibord Zimbabwe Limited, Nestle Zimbabwe, Dendairy, Alpha and Omega among others.

The Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF) estimates the country’s raw milk production this year to rise by between 0, 5 to 1 percent as the country moves to rebuild its herd and increase capacity.

Highlights from the 2015 Keffi Maiden Polo tournament in Nassarawa state  

On my way to the Keffi Maiden Polo Tournament in Nassarawa state, I was curious as to what a polo game would look like as I had never attended one. Prior to this I had read about Uneku Atawodi, who made a name for herself by playing polo internationally and emerging as one of Africa’s foremost female polo players. As the Guardian described her in 2013, “Atawodi is part of a wave of rekindled interest in a game once considered a national sport by a burgeoning middle class during Nigeria’s petro-boom years of the 1960s.”

The tournament was organised in support of education by a former House of Representatives member, Hon. Ahmed Aliyu Wadada, who brought in players from several states in Nigeria, Britain and Argentina to play the sport, the tournament was sponsored by Zenith Bank, Skye Bank and Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc.

Several dignitaries were present during the tournament, which took place between the 15th and 20th of December 2015. Some prominent names include the former governor of Nassarawa state, Emir of Lafia, Emir of Keffi, Alh. Nigeria’s current minister of state for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, owner of MRS Petroleum, Alh. Idris Dantata, the president of the Nigerian Polo Federation, Francis Ogboro and several others.

Guinea is set to celebrate Ebola-free status after a two-year battle

Guinea heaved a sigh of relief today as the country has been declared Ebola-free following the completion of its 42-day incubation period. The countdown began on November 16 when the last Ebola patient, a baby girl named Nubia, survived the virus. Altogether, the epidemic lasted for two years, resulting in the loss of 2,500 lives, affecting several sectors of the Guinean economy.

The government of Guinea, many non-governmental organisations and other representatives of global donors will hold an official ceremony on Wednesday the 30th of December, in Conakry to mark this achievement. They will also use the opportunity to pay their respects to the health workers and members of an Ebola awareness team who died in the fight against the disease. Guinea joins Sierra Leone (declared free in November 7) as an Ebola-free country, leaving Liberia as the only country still battling with the virus.

How Copass is Connecting the Global Coworking Community

Coworking provides a nearly perfect solution which explains its rapid growth, but what happens when you’re on the road? How do you find a space and get the best deal? Several projects enable coworking space members to visit other spaces when they’re on the road. One of the standouts is Copass.

read more

Choosing the Right Waste Stationary Compactor for Your Industry

Today, landfills as well as other waste disposal facilities are filled to capacity giving rise to new waste management challenges. Different industry players are now charged with the responsibility of finding new alternatives to waste management among them the use of waste stationary compactors and containers for effective waste management.

read more

Nigeria needs to start considering other solutions in the interest of peace, security and public policy

From bad to worse: Nearly 50 killed in bombings in north Nigeria within 48 hours

About 48 people have been reported dead following suicide attacks and bombings in two cities in northern Nigeria where the Boko Haram insurgency has invaded several communities, launching deadly attacks in a six-year campaign to create an Islamic state. This comes after the group’s brutal jihadists were involved in a shoot-out with Nigerian soldiers in Aladuwari village, about 2 km away from Maiduguri.

On Monday the first blast took place at a mosque in a Maiduguri residential area where the army was involved in a heated gun battle with suspected Boko Haram fighters the day before. Some members of the sect made attempts to slip into the town to carry out suicide bombings. A source in the national relief agency NEMA told Reuters that around 20 people were killed and 91 wounded. It has also been reported that many more bodies had been brought to two other hospitals.A count which included victims from Sunday’s fighting.

While no details have been provided for the second attack, army commander Lamidi Adeoshun, confirmed the incident.

Was 2015 a good year for Nigerian women?

In the field of politics, women are beginning to emerge as forces to be reckoned with in several countries around the world. However, assessing gender equality goes beyond the realm of politics. Here’s our look at key events in 2015 in Nigeria and our assessment of whether or not they pushed for gender equality in the country, or not.

The VAPP Bill

v4c-nigeria.com
v4c-nigeria.com

The Nigerian prison system is an example of why ‘justice for all’ remains beyond reach

Kayode Odeyemi, Deputy Controller of Prisons and Officer-in-charge of the Oba Prison in Abeokuta, is calling for a reform of the Nigerian prison system, as well as that of the criminal justice system in order to decongest prisons nationwide. He broached the subject during a visit from the Grassroot Initiative for Poverty Eradication and Liberation of the Poor, a non-governmental organisation. The visit was accompanied by a N3.8 million utility van donation, which Odeyemi acknowledged was a crucial equipment for prison operations that they lacked.

According to the prison boss, a major bellyache for the prisons is logistics and operations which makes it difficult to transport prisoners to and from the courts. He stated that for the prisons to run at maximum efficiency, they need to be provided with the necessary equipment and that includes access to justice in the form of prison vehicles.

Odeyemi recognised the fact that economic problems are responsible for the government’s inability to make all the required provisions and urged well-meaning individuals, organisations and “rich citizens” to come to the aid of the government and give back, rather than continue to blame them for the current state of the country.

A Look Back at the Food Trends of 2015

Looks like the way to be trendy is to get a little traditional.

read more

Christmas Markets as Place-Makers

Pop-up installations are all the rage. What is more pop-up than an open air market? It is in the nature of such markets to be not there one day and there another, bringing additional people into public spaces.

read more

These were the most viewed stories on Ventures Africa in 2015

2015 was a critical year for Nigeria, as presidential elections dominated conversations across the country and the globe. However, in addition to the elections, there were other stories people couldn’t get enough of. Particularly, inspired events that signify a continent in progress, and plight simultaneously. Here are the most viewed stories on Ventures Africa in 2015. We hope to bring you many more in 2016.

1. Top 10 Richest Countries in Africa

top-angola

Where we list the top 10 richest countries on the continent. Can you guess who was number one?

2. ISIS vs. ISIL vs. Daesh vs. Islamic State, explained

isis-ventures-africa-768x483

The terminology used for 2015’s most infamous terrorist sect, explained. Lingo we imagine will likely be updated again in 2016.

3. Ethiopian Airlines makes history with an all-women flight crew