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JANUARY-MARCH

VOLUME 12

ISSUE 1

Bringing AFRICA to the World

AFRICA

2020

The BOOMING SECTORS

Cameroon 2500 CFA | Ghana 10 Cedi | India ` 100 | Kenya KSH 300 | Rwanda RWF 2000 | Tanzania Tsh 5000 | Uganda USH 8000 | US $5


PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE

PORTRAIT OF The Times of Africa THE TIMES OF AFRICA is an international publication, which aspires to bring the stories of the economic, social and political fabric of the 54 nations of Africa to the World.

Africa’s Open for New Business

T

For over a decade, we have been defying stereotypes and redrawing the lines to provide extensively researched reliable content for our robust readership network.

echnology is turning over at greater speed than ever before, and our world is shrinking faster. With our community boundaries fading, and our economies merging, our marketplaces are becoming melting pots for new ideas, concepts and opportunities. The concept of a start-up has also moved out of the silicon valley positioning itself anywhere the entrepreneurial adventurists sojourn.

Headquartered in New Delhi, the capital of India, we have our overseas offices in Burkina Faso, Niger, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya and Senegal. Our distribution network covers metro cities, diplomatic missions, national organizations, foreign agencies, corporate and export houses, business class hotels and airlines, both within the country and offshores.

Keeping up with the changing times, team TOA, something that we love to call our colourful little band of communicators, has endeavoured to bring out the best of what Africa has to offer to entrepreneurs, both its internal ones and those from the rest of the world. In this issue of the Times of Africa, therefore, you will get to read about the various entrepreneurial and investment opportunities that Africa has to offer to you — the entrepreneur, the visionary.

The circulation of our magazine is wide-ranging and our readership profile includes Presidents and Senior Government Ministers and Officials, Chief Executive Officers, Chairpersons, Managing Directors, Policy-makers, Technical and General Managers, Students, Think Tanks, Academia, Foreign Correspondents and local media, Captains of Indian Industry and other prominent dignitaries, among others.

Africa and India have always shared common histories. Our cuisines share common spices, dresses mix similar fashions, even our celebrations are interspersed with interchangeable ideas. There are many markets in the hinterlands of Africa which are owned and run by Indians whose greatgreat-grandparents had shifted and settled in the continent. Our cultures have, therefore, so intertwined over the centuries that the intermixing looks almost naturally destined. Which also gives the Indian entrepreneurs a distinct advantage over competitions from other nations. Particularly with respect to the Chinese. With new avenues for businesses opening up and the digital revolution that has swept the rest of the world, slowly making inroads into the African hinterlands, the future of business in the continent sure looks bright. With governments aligning their policies for promoting foreign investments in their economies, the time is now ripe for the Indian investors and business minds to move in for the scoop.

We have a strong online presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Our success in making TOA a brand within and outside India lies in the fact that we have focused on Afro-Indian partnerships and provided a link to the African marketplace. It is our earnest endeavour to make our readers conversant with all things that matter to the continent.

I welcome you to engage with our latest edition that speaks primarily about the business opportunities in Africa. Wishing you a pleasant indulgence and a happy reading! Kirit Sobti THE TIMES OF AFRICA BRINGING AFRICA TO THE WORLD

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CONTENTS 8

THRIVING SECTORS OF AFRICA: AREAS TO INVEST IN 2020

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COVER STORY • The thriving sectors of Africa: Areas to invest in 2020 .........................................................8 INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES • Why Africa should be your next business destination....... ......................................................16 • Why and where you must invest in African agriculture..................................................18 • Investment in Africa’s ICT — A bright proposition ............................................................21 • Information & Communications Technology (ICT) is booming in Africa. Are you investing?.....................23

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• Business opportunities in education in Africa: The current role and outlook for the private sector ........................................................26 START UP • Accuster Technologies: Making preventive healthcare screening accessible to all .....................................30 • SeeLive: The smart waste management solution for smart cities...... ......................................................31

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SMART AGROPEDIA DRONE TECHNOLOG SMART FARMING IN JANUARY-MARCH 2020  VOLUME 12  ISSUE 1

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• Soothe Healthcare: Revolutionised living for women...................................................................33

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• Smart Agropedia: Drone Technology for Smart Farming in 2020...........................................34 NATIONAL DAY • Embassy of the Republic of Kenya in India: Envisioning a colourful future ................................36 SPOTLIGHT COUNTRY • Sudan’s P.M. visit to Washington: Sudan truly needs supports not sanctions ................................38 CORPORATE • Expanding on-ground presence in Africa (VST) ............................................................41 • Agriculture and solar (NOVA) .................................42 • Smart solution for farmers (Smart Agropedia) .........43 EVENTS • International Symposium on Indo-African Relations ................................................................46 • India: The Future of Education and Skill 2030 ..............................................................48 • Egyptian-Indian Cultural Relations, Interaction and Impact ............................................................51 FACE TO FACE • The Filling and Operation of the GERD will not have any significant harm to the Riparian countries ..................................................54 VIRTUE BABY • My first true desire to have a child .........................58 SPORTS

TRAVEL AND EXPLORE Smart Agropedia • Tourism: An industry ready to take off in is modernizing Madagascar...........................................................67 agricultural practices EN VOUGE with the new drone • Who makes Africa technology fora fashion symbol .......................69 improved livelihoods BON APPETIT in Africa. The best way • The roots of Nigerian cuisine ..................................73 that technology can BRAINSTORM provide all farmers with and • Areefficient you ready for the challenge? ............................76 produc-tive solutions, Smart Agropedia acknowledges the advantages of drone technology as “the new age” in the spraying of fertilizers and pesticides across 50,000 acres of complex technology. A specially des agricultural land in Ghana. The fertilizers multi-propeller mechanism inside a will be showered first, then pesticides, makes it highly autonomous and refailures. It is important to note that twice a year with the help of drones. if a motor inside a drone stops wo A drone can appear easy to operate, it will contin-ue to fly because it is d but in reality, the system is equipped with by propellers operating in gr

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• It’s time for Roll Ball in Africa 2020 ........................62 • Samuel Eto’o to train in administration at Harvard Business School .....................................................66

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COVER STORY

NEW-AGE AFRICA OF 2020: THE BOOMING SECTORS

There has never been a better time to invest in Africa. The continent that was always seen as a dark horse has emerged as the next frontier of investment in the world. At a time when even the largest global economies are facing an economic slowdown, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Africa stands tall at 4 per cent this year, consistently rising from 3.7 per cent in 2018 and 3 per cent in 2017. This upturn in growth is increasingly attracting investors and the trend will only continue, owing to the abundance of raw materials, the rise of the middleclass and the digital revolution. CURRENT STATE OF ACROSS THE WORLD

ECONOMIES

There is heightened global volatility in the face of tightening financial conditions, catalysed by trade tensions between the United States and China. These factors have led to rising policy uncertainty and growing concerns about the outlook for growth in both developed and developing economies. Africa’s long-term ally, India too is facing the situation of increasing unemployment and economic slowdown with GDP

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shrinking to 4.8 per cent as against 7.5 per cent in the same period a year ago. HOW HAS AFRICA PERSISTED DESPITE THE ODDS? According to the Africa Trade Report 2019, the global output decreased from 3.8 per cent in 2017 to 3.6 per cent in 2018. In spite of the decelerating global growth, output in Africa expanded. The intra-African trade improved from 5.1 per cent in 1980 to around 16 per cent in 2018. The intra-African trade growth was largely driven by industrial products and manufactured goods, which accounted for the lion’s share of cross-border trade within the region. The growing share of intra-African trade is partly due to strengthening demand for manufactured goods produced by leading industrialised African economies, such as Egypt and South Africa. This proved that Africa was moving forward with more specific objectives and the continent was once again ranked among the fastest-growing regions of the world.

WHAT WERE THE FACTORS THAT ACTED AS SCAFFOLDING AND PROVIDED SUPPORT TO AFRICAN ECONOMIES AGAINST THE NEGATIVE SHOCKS AND GLOBAL VOLATILITY? The report credits this resilience to several dynamics such as the diversification of African trading partners in the context of expanding South-South trade, growing fixed investment, and strengthening of public and private consumption spurred by softening inflation and expanding urban populations, and an increasingly favourable macro-economic environment. These results along with the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) can shift the balance of potential trade relationships within the region, thus majorly influencing economic integration. Looking ahead, Africa is expected to remain on a strong economic growth path, with expanding aggregate output and improving trade performance. The region will ride on strengthening AfricaSouth trade and expanding intra-African trade, which has been absorbing adverse global shocks.

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COVER STORY THE MAIN TRADING PARTNERS OF AFRICA The business patterns have undergone a significant shift. African trade with the South grew significantly over the last decade, accounting for more than 35 per cent of total African trade in 2018, up from 33.6 per cent in 2017, replacing the European Union (EU) as the largest trading partner. EU, however, remained Africa’s main trading partner in 2018, accounting for 29.8 per cent of total trade. China and India have further consolidated their positions as Africa’s first and second single largest trading partners, respectively. These two countries together accounted for more than 21 per cent of total African trade in 2018. In addition to growing Africa-South trade, the continued improvement in the prices of global commodities sustained Africa’s increase in total merchandise trade. Africa’s total merchandise exports grew by 13 per cent, a better performance than import growth of about 2 per cent. This narrowed the region’s trade deficit to US $34.2 billion, down from US $79.5 billion in 2017, as per the Africa Trade Report 2019. AREAS TO INVEST IN 2020 For investors, interested in the African continent, experts have identified five sectors that will drive growth in the coming years. Energy is the most critical, according to a survey. Agriculture, which was endorsed by 65% of those surveyed, is in second place. Digital Technology, Financial Services and Internet of Things (IOT), which have seen strong growth in recent years, are at third, fourth and fifth positions respectively. They will be driven with the growth of the middle class willing to consume more. 59 per cent of the stakeholders believe that the financial services sector represents the future of Africa.

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Overall growth is expected to continue this year, according to estimates by the African Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The IMF estimates that African growth will average 4 per cent between 2018 and 2020. The sectors cited above can considerably increase the yield for the African continent. 1. AGRICULTURE Africa’s food importation bill continues to go up. Many of the food imports can be competitively produced within the continent domestically. About 80 per cent of Africa’s poor are rural and are involved in farming. On average 70 per cent of their income comes from farming. Hence, this is a critical issue for increasing agricultural yields and improving the lives of the farmers. According to McKinsey & Company’s Winning in Africa’s Agricultural Market Report, rising urbanisation and the growth of urban middle-class consumers in Africa could lead to $645 billion in growth in consumer spending between 2015 and 2025. Of that growth, $167 billion could be in food and beverages; a majority of that would come from subSaharan African countries. The urban consumers are expected to consume more fresh produce, dairy, meat and processed food relative to their rural counterparts. This presents an opportunity for investments in African agriculture. While Africa’s agricultural potential is significant, unlocking it requires practical, on-the-ground effort and innovation. Given the continent’s diversity, a winning strategy for any company must first prioritise a few countries and value chains in which to place most resources, including personnel, investment dollars and partnerships. Companies can pick these areas by disaggregating the growth potential and enabling the conditions across countries, value chains and farmer types and then effectively prioritising those

areas based on the company’s products or services offering competitive advantage. 2. RENEWABLE POWER Africa has the potential to expand the continental economy fourfold, with energy demands expanding by only 50 per cent, according to a new report. Africa Energy Outlook 2019 found that the continent’s future energy prospects look bright, but only if governments can make the shift to more renewable energy sources. The report says three factors that will determine the continent’s future energy consumption – its growing population, the rapid increase in urbanisation and industrialisation. The continent has almost two-thirds of the world’s uncultivated arable land, i.e. the area that can be farmed, but it has the lowest crop yield than any other part of the world. Large solar systems that can provide energy for agricultural processing, milling, grinding, fruit drying as well as cold storage will be in huge demand in the coming future. These models are viable in terms of food security and economy in the continent. The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) says that 80 per cent of productivity can be achieved by providing electricity to rural communities. Rural communities are best served by distributed renewable energy systems, like solar mini-grids, according to William Brent, Head of Communications, Power for All. In terms of food security, there is increasing evidence that energy infrastructure like mini-grids is proving to be more resilient, an important aspect for sub-Saharan Africa, given its vulnerability to climate change. In Kenya, several solar-powered milk centres have been deployed and they have replaced the old generators, which were traditionally being used.

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Increasing savings for local farmers by eliminating their dependence on diesel, which is expensive when compared to solar power in the long-run.

transnational digital consumers across the continent.

The power sector and agriculture need to work together to power and feed Africa and that requires political leadership. Investments, better regulations, blended finance, less red tape to get permits, and encouragement to entrepreneurs who want to solve this issue will prove to be a game-changer for the continent.

In the African context, granting a unified licence for Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) can be particularly useful. Unlike mobile network operators (MNOs), MVNOs do not have their own infrastructure. Instead, they share infrastructure with established telecom providers who have excess network capacity. Each MVNO then sells services, such as data for the internet, at its own price. As firms compete for market share, the cost of internet access could fall, which would be particularly useful in African countries, where the telecom market operates on a monopolistic basis. Significant improvement in internet costs and access can be realised in other African countries that grant licences for MVNOs. Kenya, for example, has already granted MVNO licences to three companies, which offer mobile money and data services. However, all three MVNOs depend on the Indian telecom company Airtel’s infrastructure, since none of the MNOs in Kenya meets the quality standards for service. (Africa Trade Report 2019)

3. (A) DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE Greater digitisation through smartphones, tablets, drones, satellites and e-commerce platforms can help farmers boost productivity and plan more effectively, while facilitating greater access to national and regional markets. This phenomenon will become more important with the implementation of the AfCFTA, which, among others, will reduce transaction costs for Africa’s commodity traders and accelerate the process of commodity-based industrialisation as more investors take advantage of economies of scale and increasing competitiveness. The promotion of digitisation holds great promise for Africa’s commodities sector, although this is likely to manifest more acutely in the long term. One country that has significantly improved its internet affordability is Botswana through rules enabling technology and service neutrality, without restricting operators from holding several types of licences, such as network and service licences. The developments in intra-African trade also reflect the increasing role of technology and digitalisation. The growing rate of internet penetration and development of e-commerce platforms is expediting transactions at lower costs and giving rise to a new generation of

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3. (B) MVNO

4. FINANCIAL SERVICES Globally, digitalisation is increasing at a rapid pace, bringing with it a higher level of automation and inter-connectivity across the stages of production. As a result, new tools, technologies, and machines are being deployed. Software services are increasingly being used across a range of activities, including for product development and planning, smart machines in coordinating manufacturing, smart service robots collaborating with workers on assembly lines, smart transport systems for delivery, and new fin-tech applications for payments. This digitalisation of the value-chain creates new opportunities to achieve higher productivity, a more diversified and sophisticated

production basket, increased market access, and global integration. Developments in intra-African trade also reflect the increasing role of technology and digitalisation. The growing rate of internet penetration and development of e-commerce platforms is expediting transactions at lower costs and giving rise to a new generation of transnational digital consumers across Africa. Digitisation is revolutionising payment and delivery systems as well and expanding both market access, trade and investment opportunities. 5. INTERNET OF THINGS More than 100 million venture capital was invested in start-ups related to the Internet of Things (IOT) in Africa for the year 2019. This makes it by far the most attractive technology for investors in the continent. According to the African Development Bank, the Internet of Things market is expected to reach $12.6 billion by 2021 in Africa and the Middle East. Nigeria and Tanzania attracted Facebook and Uber investments, Oracle and Microsoft have increased ICT investments in Kenya. According to Admassu Tadesse, Chief Executive Officer, Trade and Development Bank, “Over the past 10-15 years, the investment level in Africa has grown to the highest level today; something we have not seen in the last 30-40 years. There has been some very good traction, but the levels of investment are still not where we need them to see. And of course, Africa is 55 countries. Hence, it’s not the same level across the whole continent. You have some parts of the continent that are growing at 6-7 per cent, where the levels of investment are considerably higher than the rest of Africa. Therefore, we are trying to bring everybody up to a higher growth level.”

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COVER STORY

AFRICA INVESTMENT FORUM 2019 The second Africa Investment Forum was held in November in Johannesburg, Africa. The African Development Bank signed 56 contracts, 52 guaranteed investment interests. These projects covered twenty-five countries and the fifty-six contracts are estimated at $67.6 billion in total.

all the talent in football all the runners in Kenya, all these things are overlooked because we don’t pay attention to it because we think it’s normal.” Masai Ujiri, President of Toronto Raptors “We must reduce perception risk, we must brand the Africa market better.” — Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank

WHAT THE LEADERS HAD TO SAY! “The Africa Investment Forum is a significant milestone in our quest to reshape the fortunes of the African continent.” — H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa “The role of government, in our view, is to be a facilitator for the development of the private sector, and that has been the focus of our government.” — H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana “The talent walks around like its normal. You take Senegal, for instance, you go there, and you see all these tall human beings in Sudan and in Mali. You go to Cameroon, Congo and Nigeria,

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OPENING REMARKS BY DR. AKINWUMI A. ADESINA, PRESIDENT OF THE AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK AT THE AFRICA INVESTMENT FORUM 2019, JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA, 11 NOVEMBER, 2019: His Excellency, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic Of South Africa, And My Dear Brother, His Excellency President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, His Excellency President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, His Excellency President Filip Nyusi of Mozambique, represented by Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho Do Rosario, His Excellency President John Magufuli of the United Republic

Of Tanzania represented by Minister Dr. Philip Mpango, His Excellency President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic Of Congo, represented by Minister Jean-Jacques Bouya, His Excellency President Félix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic Of Congo, represented by Mr. Vital Kamerhe, Premier of Gauteng Province, Hon’ble David Makhura, The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, represented by Dr. Ibrahim Hassane Mayaki, Mr. Tito Mboweni, Minister Of Finance and African Development Bank Governor for South Africa, my dear big sister, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, honourable ministers, governors of the African Development Bank, executive directors of the African Development Bank, heads of diplomatic missions and international organisations, dear partners, ladies and gentlemen,” A very warm welcome to the 2019 Africa Investment Forum! Welcome to the beautiful city of Johannesburg, Africa’s number-one financial centre.

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I wish to thank all the Heads of State and Government for your participation. A special thanks to President Cyril Ramaphosa, and the entire government of South Africa, for hosting us so generously again this year. I wish to also thank the Premier of Gauteng Province, David Makhura, and his team, for their generous hospitality. Just a few moments ago, the Heads of State showcased to the world investment opportunities in their respective countries. Shortly, you will each be chairing boardrooms as Chief Executive Officers of your countries, to speed up deals, help consolidate investment decisions and assure investors on investment and regulatory environments for their planned investments to thrive. We are greatly honoured to have with us H.E. President Cyril Ramaphosa, H.E President Nana Akufo-Addo, H.E. President Paul Kagame and Prime Minister Agostinho do Rosário. When

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leaders decide, amazing things happen! Your being here with us for the Africa Investment Forum sends a powerful signal to the world - that Africa means business! “Not business as usual, but business unusual!” Thank you so much for taking the time to be here! I would like to thank our founding partners of the Forum who are all here today: Africa50, Afrexim Bank, the Trade Development Bank, the Development Bank of South Africa, the Islamic Development Bank, the Africa Finance Corporation, the European Investment Bank, and all our sponsors, for their engagements and contributions. Africa has been getting some very good news recently. The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, H.E. Abiy Ahmed, won the Nobel Peace Prize. South Africa’s Springboks, captained by Siya Kolisi, won the Rugby World Cup. Congratulations President Ramaphosa! Congratulations South Africa!

A great son of Africa, Masai Ujiri, President of the Toronto Raptors won the NBA championship! And, Masai is right here with us in this Hall this morning, hopefully, with the NBA Championship Trophy. Of course, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya broke the marathon history running at under 2 hours. Africa is rising, and Africa is shining. This is a new, more confident Africa. A continent now aware of its place in the world, and determined to be a global investment haven. Economic growth rates are encouraging. This year, 37 countries in Africa experienced growth rates of 3 per cent and above. And guess what? Six of the ten fastest growing regions of the world are in Africa. Commodity prices are recovering. Foreign direct investments in Africa increased in 2018 by 11 per cent, compared to 4 per cent in Asia, and a decline of 13 per cent, globally. So, Africa is doing well on investments, but it still needs a lot more.

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COVER STORY

Africa is ready to absorb a lot more of those investments. The risk perceptions of the continent, while high, are often exaggerated. And they do not match what data shows on risk and return performance on investments. Consider this for a moment — the Moody’s Investor Service on project finance bank loans between 1983 and 2016 shows that Africa has one of the lowest project default rates in the world, much lower than Latin America, Asia, Eastern Europe, North America and Oceania. Yet, investments are tilted to the regions with the much higher default rates. So, it is not about real risks. It is all about perceived risks. Last year, when we gathered here for the inaugural Africa Investment Forum, we secured investment interests for deals valued at $38.7 billion — in less than 72 hours. A lot of progress is being made on these investment interests, with a highly dedicated team of partners working around the clock to accelerate financial closure for transactions.

JUST A FEW EXAMPLES: The Africa Infrastructure Investment Fund to speed up investments in agriculture was presented here last year. It sought $500 million, and $500 million equity has been closed. Promise made, promise kept. The Africa Guarantee Fund for investors sought $175 million to support Small and Medium Size Enterprises. The equity transaction has reached financial close. Promise made, promise kept. Here in South Africa, the beef agroprocessing project, which sought $350 million has reached financial close. The Alitheia Identity Fund, a private

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equity fund specifically targeting women businesses, put up right here for $72 million, has reached financial close. Promise made, promise kept. I was excited to see the Mara Phones launched here last year at the Forum. Today, they are now being produced, with the establishment of manufacturing plants in South Africa and Rwanda. Promise made, promise kept. The railway project launched by Thelo DB to support Africa is advancing, and we will be discussing here the railway linking Tanzania, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Promise made, promise kept. And, of course, we had here last year Masai Ujiri, President of the Toronto Raptors. He promised he would win the NBA championship. And guess what? He did. Promise made, promise kept. In Ghana, the $600 million transaction for Cocobod, to help improve processing and value addition for cocoa has reached financial close here in Johannesburg. Congratulations, President AkufoAddo! Promise made, promise kept. The Africa Investment Forum is not a talk shop: we deliver on concrete transactions. Our teams are working hard, and on target, to accelerate the financial close of several investments before the end of the year and complete financial closure for all investments — an incredible achievement for so many complex transactions. So we promise, so we deliver. You will soon hear from three project sponsors who were here last year and how they progressed in their investments. I am pleased that at the Forum, we focus on changing the investment narrative for Africa. Africa has rebranded itself — not as perceived by others, but for itself. Africa has repositioned

itself. And Africa is harnessing investors’ interests and investments. Welcome to the Africa Investment Forum, the place to be for investors. If you can dream it, we can deliver it! I am delighted that we have at the Forum several institutional investors, from Africa and outside of Africa. The size of the assets under management in Africa is over $1.8 trillion. Globally, assets under management exceed $145 trillion. What’s needed to close the $68108 billion annual infrastructure finance gap for Africa is to leverage institutional investors. For that, we must develop more bankable projects, develop wider pools of risk mitigation instruments, and standardise our product offerings as multilateral development banks and financial institutions. And we must do more on synthetic securitisation to transfer risks on assets to the private sector, and balance the short-term and long-term objectives with risk-return profiles. At the Forum this year, we look forward to getting more institutional investors to take stakes in bankable projects. Africa offers an incredibly compelling investment case. The African Continental Free Trade Area opens up a combined market size of $3.3 trillion — the largest Free Trade Area since the establishment of the World Trade Organisation. Africa can no longer be ignored! The African Development Bank is geared up, more than ever, to help grow investments on the continent. Almost two weeks ago, the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank approved a general capital increase of 125% for the bank. This increased the capital of the bank up by $115 billion, from $93 billion to $208 billion. This is the highest capital increase in the history of the bank since its establishment in 1964. The very strong support of the Heads of State, Ministers of Finance and Governors of the Bank from all our

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80 shareholder countries made this possible. What a great achievement! What a historic moment for Africa! With this wind behind our sail, the African Development Bank and its partners will do even more for Africa. We will support the private sector. We will de-risk investments more. We will work with our partners to syndicate more and leverage our capital. Together, through the Africa Investment Forum, we will speed up the development of bankable projects, secure financing, and accelerate financial close for projects. And we cannot wait to see more deals discussed this year in the boardrooms. All the elements for a hugely successful Forum this year are in place. We have you — the project developers and project promoters. We have you — the Presidents and leaders of countries.

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We have you — the leaders of global multilateral financial institutions, commercial banks and institutional investors. One cannot ask for more. I am highly confident that with you all, we will secure very strong investment interests across the transactions in the Boardrooms. So, without taking any more time, let us shift our focus to the investment Boardrooms. We are an action-driven Forum. Now, let the transactions begin!”

Source and References: 1) Africa Trade Report 2019 2) World Economic Outlook 2019 3) Africa Investment Forum 2019 4) Africanews.com 5 McKinsey & Company

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INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES

WHY AFRICA SHOULD BE YOUR NEXT BUSINESS DESTINATION

AFRICAN CONTINENT FREE TRADE AREAS In today’s competitive world economy, where each country is trying to get an edge over the other, the need for an attractive foreign policy and regularly updated policies is more than ever. Most of the countries have opened their doors to foreign direct investments and international funding of domestic projects. The Least Developed Countries or the Developing Countries are competing hard to bag as much investment from the international economy as possible. The foreign direct investments are essential to the LDCs and the Developing Countries growth scheme as they help boost GDP and help in eradicating some of the most common problems faced by these countries like poverty, unemployment and under-development.

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AFRICA’S HIGHEST-VALUED EXPORT IMAGE SOURCE: BUSINESS INSIDER www.thetimesofafrica.com


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INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES

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countries. In Ethiopia, the investors are allowed to repatriate the entire profit from their agricultural investments and the agroprocessing industries are also exempted from income tax for two to seven years.

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PR E

The African sub continent, like many developing nations has opened its doors to investors from all countries and has established free trade areas within the African region. FTA or Free Trade Areas are tax free and duty free zones for member countries who can enjoy setting up businesses in the territory of the country without being subject to or being subject to relaxed business regulations. The African Union (AU) has also signed or has proposed to sign bilateral FTA’s or PTA’s (Preferential Trade Agreement) with non- AU countries.

V

IE W

According to the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report, 2019, Rwanda has replaced its bureaucratic structures with an electronic system and is only second to New Zealand in the ease of property registration in the world. Kenya was one of the world’s best performers in the areas of getting credit and starting a business, according to the World Bank. In just two years, the country has moved 31 spots in the overall Ease of Doing Business ranking. Kenya’s economy is expected to continue growing at 6.1 per cent, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projections. Ethiopia is transforming to Africa’s manufacturing hub; the government is luring investments with tax incentives, infrastructure investment,and cheap labour. Mauritius’ stable political system, liberal financial sector and low taxes which encourage business formation have helped it rank 20th in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index.

WHY ARE THE AFRICAN COUNTRIES WORTH YOUR INVESTMENT?

A series of unused resources, availability of both skilled and unskilled labour and investor friendly policies have brought the eye of various MNC’s to Africa.

Apart from its bilateral or multilateral FTA’s with various countries, various African countries are constantly bringing in policy reforms to attract foreign capital. Mozambique allows countries to invest in agriculture in the country and to export the produce to other African and middle eastern

47 THE TIMES OF AFRICA 17


INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES

MAPPING AFRICA’S NATURAL RESOURCE WEALTH: SELECTED COUNTRIES & COMMODITIES

WHY AND WHERE YOU MUST INVEST IN AFRICAN AGRICULTURE Agriculture contributes to 70% of the African GDP and is the primary source of employment employing 65% of the population. Central Africa alone has 46 million hectares of arable land, yet 40% of Africa’s food market is dependent on imports because only 6 million hectares of arable land is used.

48 18 THE TIMES OF AFRICA

Most of the agricultural land are small holdings held by individual farmers. Various governments in the region neglected these small-holding farmers and focused on commercial farming. After various failed attempts, the governments have now thrown open their agricultural sector to literally anybody

and everybody. With tempting incentives for the investors, the African nations already have investors lining up. China and some other countries have already been buying land in African countries to secure their long term food goals.

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INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES

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49 THE TIMES OF AFRICA 19


INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Many of the African nations, in order to lure investors, have relaxed rules for private individuals and foreign entities to participate in its agricultural economy. Most of the African nations are offering tax benefits for their investors in agricultural and related sectors, this includes exemption from custom duties and VAT on K-class equipment. In Northern Sudan, agricultural activities are subject to 0% BPT tax rate. Tunisia has a wide range of benefits for investors of agri-business. It offers tax exemption on reinvested profits, full tax exemption for the first 10 years of operations, suspended VAT in some areas and state contribution to develop areas meant for fish farming and for cultivation using geothermal water.

50 THE TIMES OF AFRICA 20

However, its noteworthy that recent trends which have been started by the youth, the entrepreneurs of the region are aimed towards succeeding in agriculture holistically and sustainably as opposed to

their predecessors who only sought to gain at the cost of small-scale farmers. These are the areas in African agriculture where you would most likely want to invest in.

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INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES

SMALL-HOLDING FARMING: As per the recent economic and political developments, this is best area of

of small-holdings is the correct path for the governments and for the investors to pursue for sure and rapid returns.

As more and more people become conscious about the harmful effects of traditional farming practices, they switch to

the agricultural sector to invest in. Even if you are unable to purchase a small

SUSTAINABLE FARMING:

AGRI-TECH:

products of sustainable farming methods.

holding, the least you can do to get a

Technology has the farmers breaking

For longevity of your investments, you

sure shot return is to invest in the inputs.

many barriers. Technology is identified as

can also make sure to invest in Africa’s

Most of the technology that is used by the

the key to transforming the agricultural

sustainable farming practices.

commercial farmers is not available to the

industry and taking it further. Investments

small holders. An investment in the future

in this segment are poised for high returns.

INVESTMENT IN AFRICA’S ICT A BRIGHT PROPOSITION

As the African continent sees more and more investors enter the various sectors of its markets and as more and more FDI reaches the economy, the continent rises in the global context. The FDI boom in Africa has been the reason why the ranking of various countries in the area has shot up in

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the Ease of Doing Business index making it a lucrative opportunity for businesses to expand in international boundaries. Apart from US, China, Japan who were amongst the first to see Africa for the gold-mine it is, several other

developed and developing countries are now following in their footsteps to either set up their businesses or to invest in the growth of the African region. The African Union and its member countries individually and collectively have rolled out initiatives inviting investments

THE TIMES OF AFRICA 51 21


INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES

List of Tech Hubs in Africa

not only in the traditional fields of business and commerce, but also in fields like alternative energy and solar energy, agriculture and Information and Communication Technology (ICT). As per a survey, the use of mobiles, computers, tabloids and the access to internet in the African region is on the lower side of the graph with most of the population being cut-off from the internet. A sector which could particularly benefit from some investment is the mobile technology sector which is said to be the basic instrument for financial outgrowth and development. Research shows a 90% correlation can be seen between investments in ICT and a country’s success in meeting several key United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The African Union Agenda 2063 has acknowledged the importance of Digital Inclusivity for African countries to bring the continent at par with the rest of the world as an information surplus society. The government of Kenya, along with other African countries, has proposed various incentives for private sector businesses to invest in ICT and to provide subsidies for those investing in the rural development to make it more attractive. Various sectors like health, education, administration and agriculture are

52 22 THE TIMES OF AFRICA

Africa’s Digital Revolution

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INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES

largely dependent on the development of information systems for their growth. Digitisation of libraries, ability of farmers to acquire information of new farming techniques and equipments, adding computer courses and languages in the school curriculum, development of basic infrastructure, mobile phones and its connectivity available in at least the major areas could be the building blocks for Africa’s ICT which are in much need of aid. With the awakening of the African Union to its need to digitise and develop, it has thrown open its gates to investors. The development of Africa is now largely in the hands of the private sector which will play a crucial and long-standing role in the growth of the economy and will also be able to reap first-hand benefits from the same.

INFORMATION & COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY (ICT) IS BOOMING IN AFRICA. ARE YOU INVESTING? Ever since the starting of the 2000’s, Africa has seen unprecedented levels of growth. The GDP of the major African countries rose up at an average of 10% with ICT sector being the key factor for this success. A change was visible when in 2009 South Africa’s ICT sector generated $24.2 bn and contributed more than 7% to the country’s GDP. In Tunisia, ICT sector contributed 10% to the country’s GDP. In 2011, the ICT sector in Africa was in total generating $50 billion.

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THE TIMES OF AFRICA 53 23


INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES

UK’s Vodafone acquired 70% of Ghana’s Telecom for $900 million and in 2008, the number for mobile phones in use in Africa increased to 400 million from 11 million in 2000. By 2015, the mobile adoption in relation to the population in Africa had already gone up 46%, as per GSMA Report 2016, and by 2016 Africa was already operating on 4G network. This growth spur has largely been possible because of the regulatory policies that have been described as more than generous for the private sector to invest in the Telecommunications and Internet market. As liberalisation took over the land, the role of the government in this sector was reduced to a national authority which presided over arbitration and issued licenses. In the early 2010s, Kenya reduced its licensing fees for companies willing to expand their services to the rural parts of the country and reduce their charges for mobile banking, thus making it affordable for all. Instances of such cross-sector partnerships are being executed beyond

54 24 THE TIMES OF AFRICA

the political and bureaucratic limitations. The governments of the African nations are known in this era to promote crosssector partnerships and give incentives to the private investors to participate in the process of the continent’s growth. However, the market in Africa for ICT investment and development is far

More African professionals are using ICT for training from being saturated. Infrastructural developments, educational boom, upgrading of medical and farming literature, all which play key factors in

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INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES

the development of the continent are dependent on this one sector, which can paralyse the economy if left dormant. In 2017, India ranked 10th in the list of Top Investors in Africa. On the top was France, followed by Netherlands, US, United Kingdom, China, Italy, South Africa, Singapore and Hong Kong, respectively. The continent has over 237 Special Economic Zones with the highest number in Kenya (61). Apart from this, there are various cross-border and regional zones and more than 200 Single Enterprise Zones making it very easy for investors from all over the world to set up shop outside their country, tap into the resources of another country, enjoy tax benefits and exemptions on duty and still be of significance to their host economy. In short, what investors find is a win-win situation in Africa.

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THE TIMES OF AFRICA 55 25


INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES

IN EDUCATION IN AFRICA

Africa, a complex mesh of energetic colourful cultures, is today facing the daunting task of vamping up its education sector. And while private participation is being welcomed, both investors and policymakers are gearing up to ease up the rules of investment. According to latest research approx. 21% of African children and the same proportion of young people employed in the private sector are educated, the figure likely to rise to 1 in 4, i.e. by 25% by 2021. An investment need of around $ 16-18 billion has been identified as requirement from private participation in the sector. While the emerging economies further afield would require mixed public-private investment models driven by consumer demand, competition for supply innovation and the fiscal realities of the governments due to the growing populations. The study aimed at shedding light on the educational opportunities in Sub-

56 26 THE TIMES OF AFRICA

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INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Saharan Africa (SSA) for entrepreneurs and policymakers. Formidable obstacles have been observed in access to education, performance and relevance. Thirty million children in SSA still have no form of education. The study further revealed that by 2035 the number of Africans joining the workforce, i.e. within the age group of 15–64 years, would surpass that of the rest of the world combined, which makes SSA’s existing education system fall considerably short to meet the continent’s future workforce needs, since up to 40% of the children are illiterate not even exposed to computerisation.

THE CURRENT ROLE AND OUTLOOK FOR THE PRIVATE SECTOR

In the context of private investment in the African education sector “private” means services and support received from outside of the provisions of the public sector including services for benefit, charity, NGO, trustees and society. Service provisioning span includes pre-primary,

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intermediate, primary and secondary school teaching, technical training, teachers’ training, after-school teaching, language learning, preparatory testing, education technology, student finance, college education and professional training. Around 13 per cent of the

students are already enrolled in schools and colleges run by private entities, which also take the credits offering a large proportion of employment vis-avis the public sector. Which would go up to about 66 million, i.e. 25% of the total employment in the region by the

THE TIMES OF AFRICA 57 27


INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES

private sector by 2021. In particular, the private sector could fill up the gaps left by the public sector in providing the latest in education to all. The private sector could also easily evaluate and scale new approaches, frameworks and methods of training with respect to technology innovations. While the Governments would play effectively in the three main areas of providing stewardship, assistant and associate services. The governments, on the other hand, in order to increase private participation should look forward to easing up their business environment, improve the governance of education including reduction and enhancement of data collection and transparency, set and enforce standards, in particular, quality standards, and develop mechanisms to accommodate and promote educational actors such as low-cost schools and social enterprise. As facilitators, governments shape regulations on licensing, operations and investment, which create the right environment for socially advantageous private provisioning. While, in the field of licensing, policymakers should consider amending network standards for private providers. Rationalising, speeding up, depersonalising and promoting the extension of transaction costs across borders and within the political boundaries should be taken up

to reduce the transaction costs. Removing private supply restrictions, allowing FDIs, repatriation of profits, and improved banking should be earnestly taken up.

3. Long-term

The education sector throughout the world is usually marked by the following five key characteristics:

4. Negative work

1. Demand usually exceeds supply

2. Prices increase

faster than inflation

revenue visibility

capital access availability &

5. High entry barriers While the specific challenges that are faced by investors in the sector are regulatory complexities and uncertainties, long gestations, high fragmentation levels, lack of business corporations and manpower shortages (in skilled teachers, for instance). Various investment opportunities are available to various types of investors and the SSA is poised to offer the best in the sector to its investors. Potential business investors, industry and strategic shareholders, donors and foundations are welcome to play a vital role.

58 28 THE TIMES OF AFRICA

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START-UP

ACCUSTER TECHNOLOGIES: MAKING PREVENTIVE HEALTHCARE SCREENING ACCESSIBLE TO ALL Static Labs: Comprising a wooden suitcase and a polycarbonate sheet it is alternatively also called a ‘lab in a box’. It performs 36 vital tests and can also be facilitated for conducting diagnostic tests in laboratories, pathology labs and hospitals. Portable BMI: The foldable portable BMI machine is used to analyze and calculate the body mass index (BMI) of patients. It can be very effectively deployed in hospitals, physical examination centres, health clubs and gymnasiums.

MR RENGARAJAN IYENGAR (RIGHT) PRESENTING A MEMENTO TO AMIT BHATNAGAR (LEFT) AT INNOHEALTH-2017

In the past few decades, technological advancements in the medical industry have improved the quality of life. However, owing to various reasons like low financial aid, poor infrastructure and general inconveniences, it still has been difficult for medical volunteers and professionals to carry out health screening check-ups in remote and rural areas. To bridge this gap, Accuster Technolo-gies has come up with its own technological innovation that takes basic medical and healthcare so-lutions one step forward. A researchbased manufacturing organization working in the field of In Vitro Diagnostics (IVD), Accuster Technologies has come up with its own bouquet of revolutionized medical technology solutions including: Mobile Labs: Compact and portable clinical laboratories with an open system in a suitcase. Equipped with power backup, the mobile labs can perform 36 tests including LFT, KFT, etc. Works with just 50 watts electricity as compared to the 3000 watts required by conventional labs.

46 30 THE TIMES OF AFRICA

ACCUSTER LA BIKE

LaBike: A laboratory fitted on a motorbike which consists of a biowaste management facility along-with power back up and a GPRS tracker, it can perform 76 vital tests and is also fitted with an ultra-portable foldable tent house for setting up mobile testing camps anywhere. LaBike proves extremely useful during extreme weather conditions.

In addition to providing healthcare screening products, Accuster Technologies also aims at em-powering the youth through skill development trainings, empowering them to take up jobs in the sector. Advance laboratory skills training are offered to degree holders from medical streams. Currently, as part of its CSR initiative, Accuster Technologies is already engaged in training the youth of Bihar, who fall under the BPL category. The products and the trainings offered by Accuster Technologies are also being utilised by the Ar-my, Navy, Airforce,Border Roads Organization and State Government Health Departments. Setting benchmarks in the medical industry, Accuster Technologies is removing barriers and making preventive healthcare screening checkups accessible to all. For more information about our latest in technological offerings please visit our website http://accuster.com.

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START-UP

SEELIVE: THE SMART WASTE MANAGEMENT SOLUTION FOR SMART CITIES Drainage system in many countries is still not high tech. The same old infrastructure, built decades or centuries ago, suitable for serving a few thousand being stretched to serve the drainage purposes of a few crores that results in frequent clogged drains. With no early alert system in place, the detection and repairing of drain blockages becomes time consuming, not to mention the extreme difficulties faced when it rains and excess water accumulates all around. The risk of contamination of pure water with drainage water also increases many fold when cities face rains, while the clogged places become breeding grounds for airborne diseases. Damaging also the roads & allied infrastructure in the process causing further inconveniences to both the civic authorities and the public.

The technology solution is a plugand-play device that is equipped with a sensor. The devices/ sensors are affixed inside drainage conduits for maintaining continued analysis of the local level data. On detection of possible accumulations therein, communications that pinpoint their exact locations, are transmitted electronically through a web based application called SeeLive Web onto the mobile application. Thereby enabling the effective removal of all such blockages with high precision and much ease. .

HIGHLIGHTS OF SEELIVE DRAIN

1 2 3

Reporting of fill-up levels in real time

Replaceable battery which can last for 7 years, the device is water, fire and dust proof Supported with Geographic Information System (GIS) Technology, built-in Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS)/ Global Positioning System (GPS) that facilitates the sensors in sending the exact locations of blockages.

The need of the hour is, therefore, a technology that remotely detects the causes and locations of buildups inside city drainage pipes and measures the levels of solid and liquid waste accumulations therein. SeeLive Drain is a one-of-itskind technology solution that detects such buildups and alerts the civic authorities through a digital dashboard in real time.

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By using this intelligent monitoring system, therefore, the drainage handling authorities anywhere in the world can not only lower the burden on their manpower but also set an example of adopting a low cost and effective drain management system. SeeLive is, therefore, the next-level upgrade for effecting smart solutions for building functional smart cities.For more on our technologicalupgrades please visit ourwebsite: https://www.seelive.co.in

ADVANTAGES OF SEELIVE DRAIN:

1 2 3 4 5 6

The wireless operation provided by SeeLive Drain and SeeLive Web reduces unnecessary trips to the drainage vents, i.e. manholes Checks the sludge-flow rate continuously with instant and automatic mail alerts and displays its readings on to the mobile dashboard Its weather-proof and non-corrosive enclosure is light weight and can be easily mounted anywhere Lessens truck wear and emissions

Minimises the carbon footprint of the company

. Adoption of the platform effectively upgrades the city drainage infrastructure with minimum investment

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START-UP

SOOTHE HEALTHCARE REVOLUTIONISED LIVING FOR WOMEN

Soothe Healthcare, an ISO certified, winner of ‘Spirit of Manufacturing Award’ company, seeks to bring innovation and quality to healthcare in order to improve the quality of life of the global community. The Company is also registered with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for FY 2019 pursuant to Title 21, 807 et seq. of the United States Code of Federal Regulations. A proud member of reputed organisations like Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), IMA, FIEO & TiE, Soothe works with the prime motto of giving back to the global community since we are all a part of it. With 65% women employees and women at ownership levels, the focus of Soothe Healthcare remains with feminine hygiene. Soothe has made significant investments in manufacturing facilities and is currently establishing a household brand called ‘Paree’, a high quality sanitary pad that is fast becoming a household name in India. The flagship brand, Paree, is made as per world-class specifications, and more than 1,00,00,000 sanitary pads are currently being exported to countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh & Africa. SOOTHE’S IMPACT

. Soothe’s Community Development programs have touched upon the lives of over 35,000 women and young girls across India. The company has been instrumental in imparting health and hygiene knowledge amongst the urban and rural womenfolk across India. Being a pioneer in innovation and to bring about a change in the society,

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Soothe has been reaching out to different communities. It’s School Connect Program, through which Soothe reaches out to more than 5000 schools girls from the lower income strata, facilitated the distribution of free sanitary pads amongst the needy. Through Project Shakti, a platform created to highlight the urgent need for increased menstrual hygiene awareness, Soothe recently distributed free of cost more than 15,000 Paree sanitary pads in rural India. WHY

AFRICA?

. The current menstrual hygiene numbers of Africa are also somewhat similar to that of India. Hence the company is keen on partnering with Africa to create a similar socio-economic positive impact in this domain. Both in India and Africa the difficulties encountered by women during their menstruation have a considerable impact on their daily lives. One in three women discontinue their occupation and activities affecting primarily the domestic/ household, commercial and education/ school segments in their societies. Hence, the importance to work out a plan where women can continue doing whatever they want to even during menstruation takes prime precedence for Soothe. According to a 2014 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) report, one out of every 10 girls in sub-Saharan Africa misses school during her menstrual cycle. A Ugandan study conducted by Boosey et al in 2014, found that nearly two-third of school girls in rural areas miss school at least once a month owing to menstruation. Similarly, in Amhara province of Ethiopia,

more than half the girls in secondary and preparatory schools remain absent during menstruation. Soothe has been educating and helping young girls in India not to drop out because of lack of menstrual healthcare & teaches them to adopt sanitary pads vis-a-vis the other methods, early on. It aims to do the same in Africa as well.

THOUGHTS FROM THE CEO Sahil Dharia, the Founder of Soothe Healthcare, gave up his green card and came back to India to help bring about a change by making simple and affordable healthcare products for the masses. He wants to prove that impact and profits can work together. “Adolescent girls in rural India are unable to attend up to 50 days of school annually due to inadequate menstrual care eventually leading to drop outs,” Sahil Dharia highlights, citing inaccessibility and unaffordability as the two top reasons for low adoption of napkins. To address the problem of unavailability, many sub-Saharan countries have launched initiatives for better market penetration of sanitary pads. Keeping in mind the practice of using reusable sanitary pads, which involves its own hassles and inconveniences, Soothe Healthcare will try to provide assistance by introducing sanitary napkins into the cycle of the daily lives of the African people as it has been doing in India. Paree, a midcategory brand of sanitary napkins launched by Soothe, targeting the low, middle and working class bracket could effectively break the taboo and change the mindset of people in terms of menstruation in Africa as well.

49 THE TIMES OF AFRICA 33


Start-Up

SMART AGROPEDIA OFFERS DRONE TECHNOLOGY FOR SMART FARMING IN 2020

Smart Agropedia is modernizing agricultural practices with the new drone technology for improved livelihoods in Africa. The best way that technology can provide all farmers with efficient and produc-tive solutions, Smart Agropedia acknowledges the advantages of drone technology as “the new age� in the spraying of fertilizers and pesticides across 50,000 acres of agricultural land in Ghana. The fertilizers will be showered first, then pesticides, twice a year with the help of drones. A drone can appear easy to operate, but in reality, the system is equipped with

46 THE TIMES OF AFRICA 34

complex technology. A specially designed multi-propeller mechanism inside a drone makes it highly autonomous and re-duces failures. It is important to note that even if a motor inside a drone stops working, it will contin-ue to fly because it is driven by propellers operating in groups.

Drones with a large number of en-gines can control their intensity and can bear more loads during flight. Such propellers are powered from a specific source and most of the machines are powered by removable batteries so that they can stay in the air for long periods. By using

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Start-Up

powerful batteries the flight time can be extended. Crops require adequate fertilisation and application of pesticides in order to maintain yields. Drones that spray crops can hold large reservoirs of liquid storage and can be run safely and remotely. It can also be managed and run complementarily with crop dusters at very low costs. Pesticides protect large and small crops from plant eating insects and rodents. They also prevent disease transmission and protect buildings from termite infestations. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, even surgical instruments and operating rooms must be disinfected with pesticides. Fertilisers may range from chemicals to old grass clippings. Fertilisers allow plants to survive despite threats of pests and diseases, by supplying nutrients like nitrogen. Organic fertilisers, including manure, increase soil fertility through the nourishment of soil microorganisms, minimise erosion and preserve soil hydration. Grass clippings spread out across fields become sources for phospho-rus, nitrogen and potassium after sufficient watering. The other innovative components of the Smart Agropedia platform are online registration of farmers and their land,

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custom hiring of agricultural services, farm layout, planning and budgeting, skill development and training programs, digital land surveys and agri-development system and the agro-smart card. Smart Agropedia is the ultimate solution provider for all agriculture-related matters. It also offers crop advisory, unexpected weather alert, buyer bidding, equipment rent, fertilizers, land records, input information and credit info. The process begins with registration of farmers and the land they own. The information is mapped and updated online using the Geographic Information System (GIS). A sample of the soil is then taken to identify its health and suitability vis-a-vis the kind of crops that can be grown. A decision is then taken on the amount of loan that a farmer can be offered. By following these steps, the ‘Smart Agropedia’ platform attempts to digitize agriculture through a paperless automation system that collects statistics and maintains records.

and Nurseries” and “Specialized R&D Programs.” Using the GIS-based soil fertility mapping tests, soil samples are taken and recommendations are provided on how to use the precise amount of nutrients required to maintain the health of the soil. Generalized nutritional suggestions for optimum crop health and recommendations are made regarding the compatibility between resources and the crops being grown in accordance with the changing climate. Smart Agropedia also enables the farmers to grow off-season fruits and vegetables and enjoy higher yields. Regular updates and information are also provided via its stateof-the-art Seed Production Technology and Improved Seed Distribution System.

The unique features are SMS alerts sent to farmers to inform them about the upcoming weather patterns such as unexpected rainfalls and more. In addition to this, Smart Agropedia also offers specific solutions under various projects such as “Soil Fertility Mapping,” “Integrated Crop Support (IT) System,” “Resources Development,” “Green House Technology,” “Improved Seeds

47 THE TIMES OF AFRICA 35


Ne Av Te InOtNsA L D A Y

NATIONAL DAY CELEBRATION - THE KENYAN EMBASSY IN INDIA ENVISIONING A COLOURFUL FUTURE

Group photo of African Diplomats

Kenya is named after Mount Kenya - the second tallest mountain in Africa. The Kikuyu people, who lived around the present-day Mt Kenya, referred to it as Kirinyaga or Kerenyaga, meaning mountain of whiteness because of its snow-capped peak. Once the British claimed the territory around the mountain as their colony, due to their inability to pronounce Kirinyaga, they re-named the country and the mountain as Kenya and Mt Kenya respectively. The Kenya Vision 2030 is the country’s long-term development plan driven by a shared vision towards a better society. The goal of the vision is to create a nation that will offer high quality of life to its citizens and a globally competitive and prosperous economy within the next decade. Aiming at high standards of living in clean and safe surroundings, the vision is being planned to be achieved through high participatory, informative and collaborative stakeholding by all communities within the political boundaries of Kenya.

46 THE TIMES OF AFRICA 36

Celebrating National Day of Kenya

Mrs Faith Bett

H.E. Willy Bett

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NATIONAL DAY

African Diplomats

Kenya H. E. with his wife and staff

Kenya Vision 2030 envisions to transform Kenya into a newly developed middle-income economy. Started in 2008, the vision was drafted through consultative processes involving all stakeholders across its varied communities. Significant progress in the implementation of the Vision has already been made over the last 10 years. The success, so far, has been achieved through the engagement and determination of all Kenyans, and the public-private cohesion effectively formulated and executed in building the economic foundations of the country. The next stage of Vision 2030 has been planned to be launched in the weeks to come in early 2020.

of the Big Four, namely - food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and affordable public health. The Hon’ble President acknowledges that in order to accelerate the Vision a new approach to medium-term planning will have to be adopted for making the greatest impact on the people’s well-being. Consequently, the third medium term will be guided by the Big Four Agenda.

Mrs Faith Bett with her friend

The Hon’ble President Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, is effecting the vision on the ground through the conceptualisation

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47 THE TIMES OF AFRICA 37


Spotlight Country

SUDAN’S P.M. VISIT TO WASHINGTON: SUDAN TRULY NEEDS SUPPORT NOT SANCTIONS

Abdalla-Hamdok

President Trump’s support for the Sudanese revolution, albeit belatedly, was thankfully followed by his appeal to his allies in the region, especially in the Gulf region to follow suit. The said position in turn, naturally raised hopes and increased speculation that the long-awaited decision to delist Sudan from the list of States Sponsors of Terrorism (SST) is just around the corner. Goodness could only be rewarded with good, world leaders raced to express their jubilation for the manifested will, determination and peacefulness of the Sudanese revolution, which succeeded in ousting the regime whose policies, caused the said sanctions to be enacted in the first place.

38 THE TIMES OF AFRICA

Consequentially, it was prima facie compelling on the part of Washington, to revisit the very validity and legitimacy of the remnant sanctions on the post-revolution Sudan, simply premised on the fact that the regime, the US had counteracted for so long and held responsible, has evidently become part of history.

Sudan’s revolution as a victory of the Sudanese will and peacefulness, adding that the December Revolution shall remain a source of inspiration for the whole world. Not surprisingly, many nations in different corners of the earth, followed suit and rushed to the streets and picked up the gauntlet.

Speaking in from the green marble podium of the United Nations General Assembly’s 74th session, French President Macron has praised the courage of the Sudanese youth in their relentless resistance to the former regime.

The request was echoed the same day by the UN Secretary – General Antonio Guterres, who on his part, has encouraged the international community to support Sudan, and added his voice to the calls to remove Sudan from the list.

Again, during his joint press conference with the Hon’ble Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok in Paris in November this year, and calling upon the US to delist Sudan from the SST, Macron has described

According to Mr. Guterres, “Sudan is a matter of great hope for us. I believe that what was possible in the dialogue in Sudan, demonstrates that all political conflicts can be solved by dialogue when

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Spotlight Country

there is political will for that, and this should be a lesson for everywhere else in the world”.

Freedom… Peace… Justice… Sudan’s ongoing revolution

Likewise and according to Andrew Gilmore, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Council “The Sudanese revolution will go down in history as one of the greatest non – violence mass movements of our generation.” In retrospect, the decision made early this month by President Trump to extend the US state of emergency on Sudan, albeit being a routine decision since the year 1997, has sent a very confusing message to Sudanese people and caused the majority of them to languish in confusion, rather into muffled anger and frustration. The decision in timing and substance shows that the US continues to manifest regards or heedlessness, to the consecutive regional and international appeals, to cease punishing the helpless population in Sudan, for acts committed by the previous regime. In fact, the decision poured cold water on the growing expectation in Sudan that the U.S would shoulder its responsibility, with the rest of the international community, in lending a helping hand to Sudan’s uphill task of economic and political recovery. As a matter of fact, a prosperous and stable Sudan should be the ultimate objective for all international stakeholders. Against the backdrop of the above, it is necessary to illuminate the fact that Khartoum is still battling spiralling economic crisis or hardship, fuelled, of course, by years of grand corruption and gross economic mismanagement. Alarmingly, this is almost the same economic hardships that animated and fuelled the grassroots protests which ultimately led to Bashir’s downfall. With exacerbating living conditions, and the scarcity of basic commodities, the public is becoming increasingly

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impatient to see tangible dividends - the political change, sooner rather than later. There is a growing tendency, particularly amongst the Sudanese elites, that the very US, reticent to delist Sudan off the SST, is becoming the major stumbling block per se that is not only tending to frustrate their legitimate quest for economic recovery, but also, could derail eventually the sound transformation towards democracy. In other words, it remains a double edged strategy that by the time the US is ready to re-engage with Sudan, it may turn to be, God forbid, too late. The Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock, just ended a two-day mission to Sudan, the first of its kind since the formation of a transitional government, warning of the deteriorating humanitarian situation for millions of people, particularly in the central and eastern regions, as the country strives to address the effects of erratic weather, multiple disease outbreaks and an economic crisis. Mr. Lowcock further warned that, “It is a crucial time for Sudan and we must make sure that people have their most basic needs met. The international community needs urgently to step up its support.”

Sudan celebrates December Revolution

By the same token, and with reference to the worsening economic conditions and the scarcity of foreign currency nowadays, and their direct impact on lifesaving commodities, the Khartoum daily newspapers reported and featured recently about the desperate acknowledgement made by the Federal Ministry of Health in Khartoum, of its inability to bridge the widening gap, in the importation of life-saving drugs, launching an urgent appeal to the Sovereign Council to that effect to intervene. The Ministry warns at the same time that the spectre of death is increasingly threatening the lives of many patients. Forging ahead with courageous initiatives and overtures any fair observer, should I acknowledge, in Khartoum since its inception, has ever flinched in engaging the American (shifting) benchmarks, whether ending persecution of Christians and repression of civil society groups, creating accountability for stolen public funds, or for securing peace agreements to end decades of internal conflicts in the

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Spotlight Country

peripheries of the country, to name (but) a few. However, there should be no mistake, the trajectory of handling such thorny files, is likewise a process not an event, if we may borrow the same words of Ambassador Tibor Nagy. It is a process in which Sudan desperately needs the support and solidarity of the international community. The US role in this hard way, should commence (not conclude) with putting an end to its designation of Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism. On the other hand, trying to critically and objectively examine one of the recent articles of John Prendergast, namely, “Don’t Remove Sudan From the Terrorism List”, one could easily come to a conclusion that all the key drivers, Mr. Prendergast has enumerated, incriminates the former regime, to validate his call for the continuation of US sanctions. The article actually fails the litmus test, when applied on the current regime in Khartoum. Hence, why for God’s sake, should these sanctions be allowed to continue in the first place? It should be noted here that John Prendergast remains one of the most prominent US activist and advocates for the continuation of US sanctions on the former regime. Sudan remains one of the world’s richest countries, in terms of diversified and untapped natural economic resources, hence, removing the fetters of sanctions would only allow the mobilization of these huge resources that would affect real and fast change on the well-being and prosperity of Sudan’s economy. Sudan shall then immediately cease to be an economic burden, and on the contrary, shall come to the position to make substantial contributions to regional and world economy. Talking full advantage of these untapped riches and opportunities cannot be attained without, amongst other, foreign direct investment (FDI). Unfortunately FDI

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in Sudan shall continue to be a pie in the sky, as long as the current designation is in place. On the other hand, the enforcement of the third party liability on breaking OFAC sanctions has added insult to injury; without thinking, foreign capital and investors are forced to flee to safer destinations. As Thomas Friedman rightly put it, “capital is a coward, not loyal and not patriotic.”The present political dispensation in Khartoum believes that delisting is necessary to address urgent and deep economic problems, primarily resulting from international isolation and mismanagement. Having said that, continuing to deny Khartoum the access to finance and investment, the US is feared to be putting the cart before the horse, which could inadvertently work, in one way or another, against the very outcome it seeks; an accountable government that is both more democratic and able to fight terrorism. Worst still, it could open the odds against Sudan, to disintegrate and become yet another failed State in the region, which is by far, the least that Washington or the rest of the international community would prefer to see. Equally importantly, the different manifestations of US reticence vis-a-vis the delisting, reinforces and nourishes an old perception that the US administration still adheres to the policies of changing goalposts and shifting agendas, in other words that the US policy, contrary to rhetoric, does ostensibly target Sudan as a nation. Worse still, it may act as a reminiscence of how the first democratic government, in the aftermath of April 1985 uprising, which toppled the military regime of General Jaafar Nimeiri, was ironically rewarded by declaring the Sudan at that time ineligible to receive international loans and funds. They have every right to ask now, is history repeating itself? The statement of Tibor Nagy that his country no longer has an adversarial

Sudan - Khartoum demands civilian rule (13/ Apr/ 2019)

relationship with the Sudanese government is both timely and encouraging, however, it holds the United States morally responsible to follow up on its words with actions — helping Sudan to meet its current challenges. It remains a solid contention that any prompt and resounding success on the part of Khartoum requires creating congenial environment, in forefront of which comes the delisting of Sudan off the SST, as it would preferably cut short and facilitate Khartoum’s efforts to achieve the desired goals and not necessarily the other way round. Personally, I feel that these concerns, tacitly embedded in the tone of the questions raised by Congresswoman Karen Bass to US Assistant Secretary of State Tibor Nagy, lamenting in a way or another about the delay in delisting Sudan off the SST, refers to the sacrifices made to that end. Last but not least, the people of Sudan do set great hopes on the forthcoming visit of the Hon’ble Prime Minister Hamdok’s first official visit to Washington, where he would hopefully conclude some understandings, with the American Administration, to ways and timeframes on how to accelerate the process of delisting the country from the SST. Which also takes into account the size and dimension of the uphill challenges that Sudan is poised to face in terms of security, stability and territorial integrity, as has been explicitly stated by the UN’s Under-SecretaryGeneral for Humanitarian Affairs. By Mubarak Mahgoub Musa

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CORPORATE

EXPANDING ON-GROUND PRESENCE IN AFRICA VST Tillers Tractors Ltd. was established in the year 1967 by the VST Group of companies, a well-known century-old business house in India. The founder of the group was Mr VS Thiruvengadaswamy Mudaliar who started with humble beginnings under the VST & Sons banner, in the year 1911. The group built its reputation through retailing of petroleum products and distribution of Automobiles in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. VST Tillers Tractors Ltd. was promoted by VST Motors as a joint venture with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, Japan.

of compact and agricultural tractors. Our tractors are also being marketed under the name VST FIELDTRAC in the European Union meeting the latest EU standards. Our products are manufactured with high quality standards to ensure ‘Value for Money’, and are suitable for various agricultural and commercial purposes. Preferred for longevity, low fuel consumption, easy maintenance, availability of spares and services to ensure ‘Customer Delight’, we assure our end users with Manoeuvrability, Durability and Reliability (MDR).

VST SHAKTI is India’s No. 1 brand in Power Tiller (walking tractor) introduced over five decades ago. A pioneer in the compact four-wheel drive tractors, initially introduced as VST Mitsubishi, it is now expanded in its market presence under the brand name VST SHAKTI, with a range

VST is capable of customising its products and services that increases overall synergy through “Agronomy” and “Engineering” to deliver mechanised solutions for varied crops across geographies. VST sells its products in both domestic and international markets

in European, Asian and African countries. We have also been closely working with the ministries in various countries for leveraging their administrative & business support systems, and with various financial institutions for leveraging their hire purchase/ retail financing for our end users. You can avail further information about our group, company and products from www.vsttractors.com and www.vstexports. com . We are in the process of expanding our global network that will establish a win-win situation for all stakeholders, and looking forward to explore such opportunities in all African countries so that the farmers can get easy access to VST’s modern and affordable farm technology solutions.

“VST manufactures Tractors, Power Tillers, Power Reaper, Diesel Engines & other Agricultural Machinery”

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47 THE TIMES OF AFRICA 41


CORPORATE

AGRICULTURE & SOLAR

Sumo International was established in 1997. Working extensively with domestic and international organisations, we have been providing water pumping engineering solutions across Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. We also specialise in providing Project Management Services for Solar Energy Installations, both for industrial as well as community usage. Our mission is to become a world leader in providing good quality, cost effective engineering solutions for providing drinking water, irrigation and sanitation water for communities and

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nations by using alternative energy resources. Our technology is primarily suitable for the rural and underprivileged populace, with the aim of making them self-reliant. Our innovative and environment friendly technology solutions come with 360 degree application. Facilitating micro-level water needs to dramatically improve the overall quality of human life in under-developed nations like Bangladesh we have been creating inspiring milestones worth recreating.

Our high focus in keeping up with our research and development (R&D) for advancing the technology know-how in our sector makes our solutions not just for the rural setting but also for the urban areas. Our product line includes: 1. Solar Water Pumping Systems 2. Solar Powered Water Purification/ Filteration Unit 3. Centrifugal Pumps 4. Trolley Mounted Diesel Engine Pumpsets 5. Non-clog Sewage Pumps 6. Dewatering Pumps

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CORPORATE

SMART AGROPEDIA: THE SMART SOLUTION FOR FARMERS

Farmers are the backbone of every nation. You may need a doctor, a policeman or a priest once in a while but you need a farmer three times a day. Although agriculture holds prime importance in our country, farmers are unable to extract financial benefits to its full potential. Most of the times they do not have the required information on how to correlate production techniques and crop yields with land variability. Indiscriminate use of chemicals, degradation of soil health and losses due to low yield are other challenges which farmers face. The gap between the input and the desired result occurs because of the absence of a suitable platform which can provide farmers with the appropriate information and the much-needed financial assistance. 1. Registration of farmer and the land they own. The information is mapped

and updated using the Geographic Information System (GIS).

required for the health of the soil.

2. A sample of the soil is then taken to identify its health and suitability vis-a-vis the kind of crops that can be grown.

Generalized nutritional suggestions for optimum crop health.

3. Decision is then taken on the amount of loan that a farmer can be offered by following these steps, the ‘Smart Agropedia’ platform attempts to digitize agriculture through a paperless automation system that collects statistics and maintains records.

INTEGRATED CROP SUPPORT (IT) SYSTEM

RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT

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Recommendations are made regarding the compatibility between resources and the crops being grown in accordance with the changing climate.

NOTABLE FEATURE SMS alerts sent to farmers to inform them about the upcoming weather patterns such as unexpected rainfall, and more. In addition to this, Smart Agropedia also offers specific solutions under various projects. Some of these solutions are: ISOIL FERTILITY MAPPING Using the GIS based soil fertility mapping tests, soil samples are taken and recommendation is provided to use the precise amount of nutrients

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Using this technology farmers can grow off-season fruits and vegetables and get higher yields. IMPROVED SEEDS AND NURSERIES Regular updates and informations on seed-production technology and improved seed-distribution system. Specialized R&D ProgramsBy using the best methods that technology can offer, ‘Smart Agropedia’ aims at providing the most effective and fruitful solutions for farmers by establishing itself as the necessary link between them and the private sector. To know more about our offerings and services please visit us at http://smartagropedia.com

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events

INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON INDO-AFRICAN RELATIONS

Secretary General Association of African Student Speech

The Africa-Asia Youth Foundation held an International Symposium on Indo-Africa Relations with the motive of boosting ties, exchanging values and leveraging ties between both these great continents. This symposium also marked the second international event organised under the Indian Chapter of AAYFO (Africa-Asia Youth Foundation) on the 8th of November 2019. Mr Angad Anand, the Country Director of the Indian chapter of AAYFO, pondered upon the immediate need of cooperation

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Indrani Mulay CII Africa Desk

and collaboration between the two continents Africa and Asia. He also focused on how the youth of both Africa and Asia

can change the dynamics and help solve common problems that have a lingering effect on both continents. The welcome address was delivered by Dr Kusha Tiwari, a distinguished academician at Shyam Lal College. The first conclave on Exploring Synergies between the Youth of India and Africa was inaugurated by the remarks of Professor Rabi Narayan Kar, Principal, SLC. Being the first keynote speaker Prof Kar gave a deep insight on how the youth from both the continents can hold hands and walk a progressive path ensuring the well being of the two continents and the

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New Collaboration on Africa-Asia Youth Foundation

world. For which he shared his ideas of planning winter and summer exchange programmes for students from his college to colleges in Africa. The next speaker for the day was Mr Vansh Saluja, the Secretary-General, . Confederation of Young leaders. He engaged the crowd and tested their general knowledge as he threw questions to test how much the youth of India knew about Africa. He made the audience focus on the fact that to work with Africa, we must first acquire knowledge about the continent. He was followed by Mr Chidozie Agumadu, General Secretary, Association of African Students in India, who expressed his views on how relationships are built. He stated that a country-to-country relationship is just like a relationship between two human beings with trust being the basic fundamental. His practical words of knowing the good in others were the ones out of the many chords that struck with the crowd. The conclave ended with the last speaker Ms Indrayani Mulay, Deputy Director, International Division, Confederation of Indian Industries, who very rightly mentioned that youth were the leaders of tomorrow and the centre of decision making today. She stressed on the facts about how India and Africa can strengthen their economic and cultural ties and how they have a commonly shared culture. Later, the speakers were duly felicitated by the Country Director, which marked the end of the conclave.

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H.E. Dr Christopher Nwanoro, Minister Counsellor, Nigerian High Commission, New Delhi

His Excellency, Dr Christopher Nwanoro, Minister Counsellor, Nigerian High Commission, New Delhi, was invited to the stage to grace this auspicious event by speaking about his inspirational journey of life. The audience was enlightened on hearing about the extent of impact His Excellency has been able to deliver throughout his life. His story filled the audience with pure joy and zeal which was evident from the audience feedback. His excellency also officially launched the Virtual Research and Innovation Centre of AAYFO India Chapter.

To further strengthen cooperation, a student panel discussion on “Shaping Young Minds for Sustainable Development� was started by the moderator Ms Kenisha Bathla. The four participants of the panel Mr Nayan Kulshreshtha, Ms Ashna Vig, Ms Myrrha Mussusa and Ms Gauri Malhotra respectively had a remarkable discussion on how the youth need to learn from the past and put their efforts to work today rather than in the future. The audience was completely amused by hearing about the conditions prevalent both in India and Africa which they were ignorant about earlier. The event ended with a Valedictory session by Mr Angad Anand, when he thanked all stakeholders present in the hall. His remarks, short but powerful, created an impact on the audience, which ended the day on a good and a very warm note.

Indrani Mulay CII Africa Desk

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events

INDIA: — THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION AND SKILL 2030

ASSOCHAM Conclave Program: Day - I

The Associated Chambers of Commerce of India; the oldest, leading, largest and the apex chamber of commerce and industry of India ASSOCHAM organised the “13th Higher Education, Skill and Livelihood Conclave – Future of Higher Education and Skill 2030” with the objective of promoting world-class quality education, innovation and research. The conclave program was started with the inaugural session, the welcome address by Mr Deepak Sood, Secretary-General, ASSOCHAM; a thematic address by Dr Prashant Bhalla, Chairman, National Council on Education; a special lecture on “Future of skill in Emerging Markets and Issue of Curriculum and Career Planning” by Prof. Vinayshil Gautam, Founder Director of IIM-K; followed by three technical sessions of 90 minutes each. The President of ASSOCHAM, Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, stated during his address that the requirements of the industry were different from what has been taught in our education system. He

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Mr Deepak Sood, Secretary-General, ASSOCHAM, Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, President, ASSOCHAM, Mrs Yamini Srivastava, Sr. International Business Manager, Mr Saurabh Sanyal, DG ASSOCHAM Distributed by The Times of Africa on behalf of ASSOCHAM

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events

All technical sessions were highly interactive with questions asked on different perspectives. The delegates threw light on varied topics related to building jobrelevant skills through workplace training. The examples of flexible pathways for honing the skills of students through links between primary and tertiary education were elaborated in each technical session by Dr GD Sharma, Former Secretary, UGC, Mr Sanjay Kumar Bose, Executive Director (HR), Indian Oil and by Mr Vijay G Pande, Managing Director, Vijyoti.

Interactive sessions during the conclave

emphasised on skill development and practical first-hand experiences. He also stated that ASSOCHAM has been working on a program which will aim to reduce 30 per cent of Delhi’s air pollution by 2020 and that his team was proposing a project to the Prime Minister of India regarding skilled education system for future as “Paradigm Shift of Education in India.” Students from Africa are always welcome to India for new opportunities. The guest of honour, Dr Pankaj Mittal, SecretaryGeneral, AIU and Dr MP Poonia, Vice Chairman, AICTE highlighted the possible solutions to the problems of the education system. These dynamics are providing us with new opportunities for human advancement with AI-based education systems. The Founder Director of IIM-K, Prof. Vinayshil Gautam highlighted in his presentation the list of countries which were going to be the emerging markets: Argentina, Chile, China, Columbia, Czech Republic, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Thailand and Turkey. He described a five-step process to reach productivity and growth followed by getting children off to the right start, ensuring that all students learn, developing job-relevant

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skills, encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation, facilitating labour mobility and job matching. After the grand lunch, three technical sessions were conducted on “Industries and

The second day of the “13th Higher Education, Skill and Livelihood Conclave” started with a technical session on “Impact of 4.0 Technology Revolution on Industries and Academia.” Followed by another technical session on “Education, Skill and Changing Social and Life Realities.” There was a special session on “Higher Education, Skill and Livelihood — The Way Forward.” The Indian education system is in the drifting phase from learning to transformation in the growth

The delegate attendees

Academia Expectations,” “Technology: Skill and the Emerging Future,” and “Role of State: Industry and Society for Development and Management of Education.”

cycle of a student. Students will be trained and prepared for industries during their undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

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events

ASSOCHAM Conclave Program: Day - 2

The Vice-Chancellor, Shri Vishwakarma Skill University, Mr Raj Nehru said that business models are converting into a nonlinear business from linear. Customer’s demand is becoming variable, the life of a product cycle is decreasing, and the structure of industries are becoming linear. The chances of getting hired in any organisation are higher for a multitasker than specialisation. Traditional courses are not enough and new integrated courses are in demand as per the industrial needs. Dr RC Sharma, Associate Professor, School of Global Affairs, Dr BR Ambedkar University highlighted on the process of learning, i.e. “we must know how to learn.” The Director, BSA Crescent Institute of Science and Technology, Tamil Nadu, Dr K Ganesh talked about the future of AI technology, adopting more dynamic and flexible learning models, providing

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basic knowledge as needed and focus on applied knowledge and the relationship between humans and machines that is expected to become more intense. Sh. G Anantha Ramu, IAS, Special Chief Secretary to Government, Department of Skill Development and Training, Andhra Pradesh highlighted the overview of the 21st century skills and its challenges like obsolete skills, partition gap, the impact of automation and low industry interface. The answer to these problems was stated by Sh. G Anantha Ramu as “Naipunya Vikasam”, i.e. the integration of skilling with school education. Mr Nawneet Vibhaw, Partner, Khaitan & Co. talked about his career journey as a case study on shifting from govt to a private job and finally emerging into an entrepreneur. Technically qualified people are in demand and there is a

need to train the workforce, rather than specialisation. Sh. Sunil Sharma, Chancellor, Suresh Gyan Vihar University said that most of the colleges are providing labours but not leaders to the industries, sensitivity is missing in education. Education management should, therefore, focus more on creativity rather than the existing ranking system. The conclave ended with the welcome address by Mr Deepak Sood, Secretary-General, ASSOCHAM with highlights of various new skill development programs which are now open to international students.

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events

EGYPTIAN-INDIAN CULTURAL RELATIONS, INTERACTION AND IMPACT Egypt has always respected India’s friendship and strong ties. The people of these two ancient civilizations have been engaging in cultural and economic exchanges for centuries. Our founders Saad Zaghloul and Mahatma Gandhi have been struggling against imperialism in modern times in the quest for democracy and national independence. The legacy of the firm stand taken by Nasser and Nehru in Goa and Suez against violations of territorial integrity through the signing of the Treaty of Friendship in 1955 and the creation of the NAM is a reflection of the synergies between the two countries and the basis for their mutually beneficial and productive partnership. Today, Egypt and India are joining forces in the quest for development in both nations. Another dimension of interaction is cultural exchanges and people-to-people ties, which is essential for creating a lasting friendship. The Egyptians will take part in various activities at ‘India by the Nile’ annual festival alongside their Indian counterparts and soon Indians

Dr. Ahmad Abdel Rahman speech, Cultural Symposium Festival of Egypt 14th and 15th Nov 2019

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Egypt by the Ganga

The government of Egypt is implementing strategies to diversify the economy and carry in sustainable prosperity over the long run. New legislation and regulations have been introduced for a climate favourable to foreign investment and small and medium-sized enterprises, while further cooperation with India is possible through mega-projects such as the Suez Canal Area Development project. Egyptian stakeholders meanwhile are eager to take advantage of the opportunities presented by projects like ‘Make in India’ and ‘Invest India’,

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SAAD ZAGHLOUL 52 THE TIMES OF AFRICA

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Exotic Performances II, Cultural Symposium Festival of Egypt 14th and 15th Nov 2019

while a few Egyptian investors have already begun investing in the Indian market. The first version of the ‘Egypt by the Ganga’ event, taking place in New Delhi and Mumbai, will be hosted by the Arab Republic of Egypt’s Embassy in New Delhi in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Indian Council. This was announced earlier in the joint statement decided during a trip in September 2016 to India by H.E. President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. The ‘Egypt by the Ganga’ festival is designed to promote and explain Egypt, with its thousand years of recorded history, as a unique and

complex heritage and cultural legacy, stressing that people will play an important role in Egyptian-Indian citizen ties. The programme, along with a handicraft exhibition in which master craftsmen will demonstrate their art live in various ways, including glass, porcelain and gypsum paintings which will also be part of the festival, including dance performances by the Cairo Opera House Ballet Company, a well-known ballet troupe from the continent established in 1966. The show will also include portraits of prominent thinkers like Mahatma Gandhi, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Jawaharlal Nehru, Naguib Mahfouz and Rabindranath Tagore.

Exotic Performances III, Cultural Symposium Festival of Egypt 14th and 15th Nov 2019

The head of Urdu’s Department, AlAzhar University, will hold a cultural symposium at the academic level, which will discuss Egyptian-Indian cultural ties. The Festival will be open to the general public and will be organized in the Dr Ambedkar International Centre in New Delhi on November 14th and 15th.

Guest of Honors at Cultural Symposium Festival of Egypt 14th and 15th Nov 2019

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Exclusive interview with the newly appointed High Commissioner of Ethiopia, H.E. Ambassador Dr. Tizita Mulugeta

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE NEWLY APPOINTED HIGH COMMISSIONER OF ETHIOPIA, H.E. AMBASSADOR DR TIZITA MULUGETA “THE FILLING AND OPERATION OF THE GERD WILL NOT HAVE ANY SIGNIFICANT HARM TO THE RIPARIAN COUNTRIES.”

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Face-t o-F a c e

AS HIGH COMMISSIONER OF ETHIOPIA TO INDIA, KINDLY TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE IN INDIA AND THE CONNECTING POINT TO ETHIOPIA. Thank you so much. When I first came to India, I came across it as being my second home because a lot of common things apply to Ethiopia and India. There are lots of common issues tied to these historical nations. I can tell India has warmly received me, and I’m glad to be here. One of the things we have in common is that of cultural ties. Ethiopians value living in a family, and there is a very strong attachment between extended family and I found the same here in India, you have a very strong attachment to family, and you value extended family. I believe these are one of the ideals that must be upheld, and that’s one of the things that keeps a country going forward. The other aspect relates to food. Ethiopians enjoy spices; we have various kinds of peppers and spices; we grow many types of spices and use that in most of our cuisines. Indians also use spices in their kitchen the same way and I find similar kind of food that makes me feel at home when I see it.

PLEASE SHARE THE ENVISIONS IF THERE IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR COLLABORATION BETWEEN INDIA AND ETHIOPIA IN TERMS OF TRADE, INVESTMENT, TOURISM, EDUCATION, ICT AND TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER. The Indian-Ethiopian relationship isn’t just new. It’s been there for several centuries. But the diplomatic relationship began around 1948, and Ethiopia is the first African country to open its embassy in New Delhi, India. This makes our relationship with India more historic. After we opened our embassy, we started the relationship through a capacity building program. A lot of Indian teachers and professors teach in Ethiopian schools and universities. The bilateral relations also work well through the technical and

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economic cooperation aspects. Currently, the Science and Innovation Ministry is working very hard to promote ICT, taking lessons and experiences from many countries, including India, in terms of technology transfer that are inexpensive and easily implementable in Ethiopia. Even very recently, we have identified 50 major Indian technology groups that are interested in Ethiopia and want to pass their technology to Ethiopian companies. Ethiopia also has many students who are joining Indian technology universities to help the country with the effort towards sustainable development. We are also working on promoting tourism in India. Ethiopia is well-known as the birthplace of humanity, and many historical places are UNESCO-registered. Even though we have a very good relationship with Indian traders and investors, I can’t say we did well in promoting Ethiopia and its heritage to Indian tourists. At the moment, our embassy is doing its best by introducing Ethiopian tourist sites to tour operators so that they can go and see what opportunities are there and places to be visited. The very presence of our cultural centre here in our embassy as well is one of the most important places to promote Ethiopian heritage and sites to visit.

ETHIOPIA’S PRIME MINISTER APPOINTS CABINET MADE UP OF 50 PER CENT WOMEN. LET US KNOW WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE WOMEN EMPOWERMENT AND WHAT ETHIOPIAN GOVERNMENT IS DOING FOR WOMEN IN ETHIOPIA. PLEASE SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE AS HIGH COMMISSIONER OF ETHIOPIA TO INDIA. Ethiopia is a home for both men and women, and 50% of the population is women. Even if a lot has been done by the government to help narrow the gender gap there is still space to be filled. It is known that when women take essential place in decision-making positions, they can mainstream gender issues at all levels

of governance, and it has a multiplier effect in the country’s development as well. Ethiopian government still believes in empowering women, after the arrival of His Excellency Abiy Ahmed, (PhD) the Prime Minister of Ethiopia. The government took initiatives and made 50% of the cabinet to be filled by women; the parliament also elected the first-ever female President of Ethiopia. Currently, the President of the Federal Supreme Court of Ethiopia is a woman, and a woman also chairs the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia. Yeah, as one amongst the educated Ethiopian women, I have always believed in need of gender equality and have worked hard to promote it. I used to teach at a university, mainly promoting gender equality. I think that when women take leadership roles in different positions and offices, there come opportunities to consider the interests and needs of women who have been marginalised. Of course, both women and men are vital for every move, but it would be tough to achieve what the country wants without acknowledging the need for the other side. Therefore, promoting women in different leadership positions would be an essential significant achievement and a possible solution for the country’s endeavour towards development.

ETHIOPIA INTRODUCED HOME-GROWN ECONOMIC REFORM AND OPENED UP A MAJOR STATE-OWNED ENTERPRISE FOR THE PRIVATE SECTOR; WHAT IS THE PRESENT SITUATION AND THE FUTURE AHEAD? Ethiopia is one of Africa’s fastestgrowing nations. A lot has been done about that, but growth wasn’t more inclusive. Currently, the government is making every effort to create inclusive growth. One of the things that the government is doing to reform the economy is mobilising the local resources and privatising some of the state-owned companies. It is believed the market should play its role; otherwise,

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F a ce-to-Face

it would be tough to achieve sustainable development. These days the government is working in privatising governmentowned companies, including telecom, shipping, logistics and more. It is believed that these initiatives would attract foreign direct investment, new ways of transferring technology, and new opportunities for employment of young population; the majority of the Ethiopian population is the youth who are still looking for jobs. It is expected that homegrown economic reform would open up the economy and also provide the young generation with very good space and opportunities for employment and technology transfer.

ACCORDING TO THE UN SUSTAINABLE REPORT, ETHIOPIA IS DOING PRETTY WELL FOR SDG 12 RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION. IN WHICH CLEAN ENERGY ETHIOPIA AS A COUNTRY WOULD LIKE TO INVEST IN? HOW HAS BEEN THE RESPONSE OF VARIOUS ENERGIES SUCH AS SOLAR AND WIND?

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The sustainable development goals are a call for action by all countries – poor, rich and middle income to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. Ethiopia is part of this world initiative and working towards ending poverty and building economic growth. One of the goals that the country is operating on is securing affordable and clean energy. So far, Ethiopia focused on renewable energy as a source of power, including hydropower, wind and solar, as sources of electricity. Even though the country is generating electricity from hydropower, these days there are initiatives to use solar and wind energy as part of this green energy initiative. Concerning hydropower, I would like to say that, although the economy is growing well, this growth is expected to be supplemented by the right amount of energy production. Ethiopia has many rivers with potential hydropower sources, and it is working towards producing energy from hydropower; towards providing energy for the different manufacturing plants and electricity to the people. As the country is growing, the need for electric power is also increasing. The Grand Ethiopian

Renaissance Dam (GERD) project is one of the most significant initiatives which is expected to contribute to the sustainable development of the country. This dam is being built in the western part of Ethiopia on the Blue Nile river. Ethiopia is the source of the Nile river, and more than 80% of the water originates from the Blue Nile. So far, more than 4 billion dollars is invested on this project, and when it is completed, it is expected to be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa and will produce more than 6000 megawatts of electricity. So far, no foreign fund is involved in the project; the people of Ethiopia cover all the funds. As of 2019, the GERD project stood at 68% completion. Currently, the discussion is being held regarding the filing period of the dam between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt. Ethiopia always assures that the filling and operation of the GERD will not cause any significant harm to the riparian countries. Our government believes that, when this dam is completed and operational, it would help to support energy demand towards bringing sustainable development in the country.

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Virtue Baby

MY FIRST TRUE DESIRE TO HAVE A CHILD Do you often dream about being a mother and most of your thoughts are related to how your child is going to be? How the life will be after he or she is born? Or often when you see other couples with their babies, you think about having your own baby, whom you can love and play with. Sometimes you might just be embracing a pillow with a belief that it’s your child whom you are holding in your arms. If one of them is true, you are surely desiring to be a parent! Women today are career oriented and the decision of becoming a parent can involve a lot of analyzing and thinking. So, at this stage of life you have to work in accordance to give your every thought a divine transformation! Not even a single thought about financial responsibilities, educational burden and societal pressure should come into your mind while you desire to be a mother. It’s time to give your thought process a positive shift. Rather than considering obstacles in every situation, you have to consider how fortunate your life will become. Change the way your relationships are functioning because all of them are going to impact your emotional strength. Moreover you can plan your lifestyle and utilize this time to strengthen your body physically and emotionally. Do take up

some of your hobbies, take out some quality time for yourself, read a book which gives you positivity, listen to music or just be around people you love. At this time, it is important to care for your body and mind, while preparing yourself to carry a new-life for nine months. It is similar to planting a tree, you make the soil healthy and fertile before the seed is sown and take regular care for it to blossom. Few things that would top the chart are• A healthy diet • Refrain from alcohol and smoking • Lifestyle changes • Making yoga a routine A positive desire followed by lifestyle changes help you to conceive naturally. After all, to begin with the journey what is most important is a healthy conception! And your first true desire to start a new family will serve as a special invitation to the new life.

A Healthy and Balanced Diet One of the most important things, is to have a healthy diet. You have to be conscious about the food you eat, because it is said that, what you eat decides the quality of your thoughts

and your state of mind. A healthy diet supports a healthy reproductive system, prepares your body for pregnancy, and nurtures your body with necessary vitamins and minerals for the development of your future baby. In addition, an unhealthy lifestyle can hamper your chances of conception, make you vulnerable to prenatal complications and also increase your chances of gestational diabetes or high blood pressure during pregnancy. So, it is recommended to eat few times a day and in small quantities to improve your metabolism. For a balanced diet include proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals in your meals at least 2.5 to 3 liters of liquids in a day. Intake of nuts, extra proteins, folic acid rich foods, citrus fruits, omega-3 fatty acids rich diet is also important. As aerated drinks are not healthy you can replace them with coconut water, lime water and squashes. Remember that processed and junk foods are loaded with sugar, fat and extra calories which disturbs your

We desire so many things in our life, but what can be better than bringing a new life into this world. If the desire is so special then how about doing something extra special to be the best host for a new guest and prepare a home (sacred womb) with love and care, where he/she can reside well for nine months.

58 66 THE TIMES OF AFRICA

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Virtue Baby insulin levels and puts you at a higher risk of obesity and chronic lifestyle diseases. Basically, your diet should be inclusive of everything to make it balanced and nutritious to keep up with your general health.

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle Your lifestyle influences your possibilities to conceive and your overall health. You need to keep a check on your weight, so as to avoid any hormonal imbalances, maintain distance from smoking and alcohol as they are a major concern of miscarriages and low birth weight babies. You may be maintaining a healthy diet, but you might not be excising or might be consuming alcohol. So, you have to identify areas where you lack and make necessary lifestyle changes for your wellbeing. For long term benefits, even if you haven’t conceived and till you become a mother, make sure that you are not consuming alcohol (even a little quantity is harmful) or smoking (not even passive smoking, so it’s a no for fathers as well). All these habits adversely affect the body in general, create ovulation problems (in women) and also low sperm counts ( in men). Being a creator of a new life you have to be very careful of your own being.

Nurturing Relationships It is the time to rejuvenate your relationship with your

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partner, family and at workplace through strong and powerful emotions of joy, love, and abundance. Holding each other’s hands is great way to reflect on your bonding every day. Spend time as a couple, decorate your surroundings with flowers, pleasant sounds and scenery, be around water and spend ten minutes in the morning or late evening to connect to yourself. Try positive affirmations to strengthen your relationship patterns. This you can practice together or on your own in free time• We are in a joyous, intimate relationship and truly love each other • We laugh together more and more each day • We are growing healthier and stronger each day • We are both happy and at peace • We are in loving relationships which elevate and support us • All our relationships are loving and harmonious • And every thought we think is creating our future Practice appreciation for all that your partner gives you, and learn the art of forgiving each other to keep the transparency alive in the relationship. You will see divinity, trust, and compassion grow in your relationship from this practice.

How You Can Do It? • The first promise that you should be making as a couple is to stay away from stressful thoughts and situation. • What does it mean- it is actually releasing all the clutter of wasteful thoughts you create that is further making you sad, stressful and angry. • You need to identify how you can change a particular situation into something positive.

Creating Beautiful Thoughts • When you meet a friend, be expressive of your feelings as to how you appreciate their presence. • At your workplace-greet people with smile and as they smile back to you, you are actually spreading positivity around you • At home speak politely to everyone, cook for them with love, praise each other and eat together • Pray before you eat, keep pure thoughts and do everything that can spread happiness • Whenever you feel stressed, relax and take deep breaths to get rid of any uncomfortable thought at that moment and let go of all the anxiety and worry. As you are following this in your routine, soon you will realize how restful you have become!

Embracing Yoga To combat stress you can practice yoga, meditation and some breathing exercises as it helps to strengthen your mind and body. Yoga in preconception phase can also impact the general reproductive health of women trying to conceive. It balances hormones, opens the hip and pelvic areas, and improves the flow of energy through the body. It helps to induce the relaxation response, strengthen the muscles surrounding the reproductive organs, healthy immune system and body detoxification. It eases out backache, swollen feet, leg cramps, and breathlessness and energizes the whole body.

Preconception yoga asanas that you can try areBalasna (Child’s Pose): It strengthens the muscles around hip, thighs, pelvis and ankle areas. You can combat stress, fatigue and calm your brain with this yoga pose.

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Virtue Baby

Kapalbhati Pranayama: With rhythmic rapid breathing you can stimulate your reproductive cells, cleanse your mind and body, cure diseases and maintain hormonal balance.

Baddha Konasana (Butterfly Pose): It provides flexibility in your reproductive area, thighs and knees. Also, improves blood supply to your abdomen, pelvis and back area. Supports proper functioning of ovaries, regular menstruation and also increases the sperm count in men.

Viparita Karani In this pose you keep your legs up the wall as it helps in relaxing your legs, feet, back and improves blood flow in your pelvic area.

perceptions and responding negatively. So, meditation brings a positive transformation in your personality and behavior. E.g. You just had a major argument with your spouse and have lost your temper. At that time, not only your mind but your physical body also feels uncomfortable - it is in a state of complete stress. You feel your blood pressure has suddenly shot up, your heart is beating fast, you feel uncomfortable in the stomach, your hands are shaking, your face and eyes are red. On top of that, you also feel sad. You have behaved like this many times before and you know the results of responding in this way. The relationship has been sour and you have worsened a situation. This could have been avoided.

Meditation Whereas meditation can be practiced at any time when one is free yet the early morning and the evening time around sunset, the surrounding atmosphere itself facilitates the meditation practice. Sit cross legged, keep your hands in your lap stretch your back to a maximum straight position and then slightly let go, automatically your back will take up the natural curves. You can comfortably sit in this position for 10 minutes. Before you sit for meditation your mind is travelling on a specific road where destiny is worldly goals and objectives. As you practice meditation even for ten minutes, your thoughts will start moving towards spirituality. During meditation your body radiates positive vibrations into the surroundings which will pass on to your future baby. During this process, you will realize that your natural state is to be calm and you have the power to control your mind and thoughts; you start taking charge of what is going on inside. By practicing meditation you become the master of your mind, you start creating only positive thoughts and eventually get rid of your habit of creating negative

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There is sorrow, guilt, low self-esteem and hopelessness over your loss of control. Even while you are still caught up in the turmoil of the negative situation, using your intellect, you consciously emerge inside yourself, your true awareness of being a sparkling point of peaceful light situated just above the eyes, at the center of the forehead. You not only become aware but you also use the intellect to visualize your true, peaceful, pure and star-like form clearly. In that moment, you are able to tap into the depth of peace that is present deep inside your being. You calm your mind by holding on to this awareness for a few minutes. You feel - you know - that you are at peace. As this experience grows, it has a soothing effect on your whole physical system. Gradually, stability and peace are restored to your body as well as your mind and this then becomes your nature- peace and happiness becomes your nature. Beginning your day with daily affirmation and prayer will strengthen your resolve to cleanse yourself from

within. Create positive thoughts, emotions and beliefs to change your body according to your beliefs and improve your reproductive health naturally. Together husband and wife can assure each other that Every day we will• Read out some positive notes, book and sayings to induce purity and peace in our mind and environment. • Include fruits and vegetables of at least 3 different colors and 4-5 salad servings in our diet. • We will exercise daily to keep up with the physical health and do breathing exercises to nurture ourselves emotionally. • We will do yoga and meditation to strengthen our muscles and heal our body. • Harmonize the environment at home with love and respect for each other. • Take out time daily to do a positive and affirming self-talk or inner dialogue to know your inner self. Use powerful words - For example, if you are trying to be peaceful, don’t say, “I will try to be at peace”, using the future tense. Say, “I am a peaceful soul and enjoying this feeling”. When you repeat your thoughts, they get sink in your subconscious mind, your start visualizing and believing them and ultimately, they become a self-fulfilling’s prophecy. You can say a lot of things like - Our body is healthy and strong, we are feeling happy and the most perfect egg is preparing to be released by my ovary and the most perfect sperm is preparing to fertilize it. Similarly, you can repeat a lot of positive statements in your preconception phase to turn your thoughts into reality.

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SPORTS

IT’S TIME FOR ROLL BALL IN AFRICA 2020 Interview with the President of the Roll Ball Federation Ghana

46 THE TIMES OF AFRICA 62

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SPORTS

HOW ROLL BALLFEDERATION GHANA STARTED AND WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO IMPLEMENT THIS IDEA?

Roll ball in Ghana started 2017 after discovering the potentials in it for the skaters. Roll ball has increased the varieties of the skating games in Ghana. On 28th July 2018, I was elected as the general deputy secretary of West Africa Roll Ball Federation (WARBF) at the first West Africa Congress of Roll Ball in Senegal, Dakar. Roll Ball Federation Ghana was formed in 2019 and seeks to empower the youth through awareness, advertisement and training of various institutions and organizations. There will be an introduction of various activities such as inter-school Roll Ball competitions, Gala leagues, etc. for the youth. This will help introduce the Roll Ball game to millions of Ghanaian youths, hence increasing socioeconomic opportunities in the country. The Robo Federation of Ghana was started in 2017. By 2018 we had the West Africa Federation Congress in Senegal. Where I became the general deputy secretary of the West Africa Federation. Since the beginning, I have the vision to develop a new platform. That was a starting point which led me to start this concept. I got a boy beaten up by the people because he was a pickpocket. And he was doing it by skating. That day I asked a question to myself. Who is responsible for this? I don’t want to excuse the government. It is my responsibility to take care of the youths in my nation. That’s why I started this concept. Skating is a sport which requires outstanding skill. I was not happy to see street boys picking pockets with the help of skating. I was wondering how to develop this game and give them a proper direction to

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use their skating skills. How should I hone the skills of the youth and bring them out from the street crimes? Everything was growing slowly, we started practising in 2016 Benin and 2017 Senegal. We were selecting the kids and started this skating culture. It was difficult to bring in the government. during that time. Managing time was very challenging for me as I used to work in a firm where I had to maintain in and out time. But my happiness and satisfaction were in the development of youth. A place like Benin has a lot of potential but there is no one to take the initiative. The problem was to convince people as they don’t believe nowadays very easily unless it’s well established. My focus was in the development of this game and to take it to the next level. My attitude was like I would happily leave my job if it becomes a barrier for this project. I am completely devoted to this concept to bring a new projection for the youth.

PLEASE TELL US ABOUT THE ENTIRE IDEATION BEHIND THIS INNOVATIVE CONCEPT OF THE ROLL BALL FEDERATION GHANA (RBFG)? Developing communities are noted for their youthful exuberance. Youth in these societies focus on several aspects of social life for survival. The study of sociology reveals that various societies have special sports they engage in. For instance, the elite and highly influential people will engage more in chess, basketball and probably tennis. However, people living in slum and rural areas where we have a lot of youths on the street struggling to make ends meet are more likely to engage in football, boxing and skating.

For example, in 2018 in June, I was working for a private organisation. They have sent me an invitation from the West Africa Federation. I travelled from Ghana to Senegal by road. I took Bus from Accra to Burkina to Mali to Senegal. In Mali, I lost my bag, still I managed somehow to reach Senegal by God’s grace. When you want to do something for the society for a great cause, “impossible will become I am possible” After that incident, my vision was not limited to only Ghana but the entire continent of Africa.

The slums and the rural areas are known as the fastest-growing area for skating in Ghana. Every Saturday and Sunday morning, the streets of major cities in Ghana attract a lot of skaters. These skaters skate with a lot of passion and fierceness which causes a beautiful view and a lot of traffic on the street because drivers cannot stop watching the styles and skills every weekend in Ghana. I have always had a passion to develop skating into a competitive sport to promote positive youth development in my country. However, this passion was made certain after I witnessed a guy being beaten on the street after using a skate to pickpocket someone. I started organizing a skating competition from 2006 to empower the youth in Ghana and across Africa.

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SPORTS

WHAT ARE THE AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE ROLL BALL FEDERATION GHANA?

• To

create

employment

for

the

misguided youth from the streets who could use their skating skills for criminal purposes • To promote tourism • To

promote

bilateral

relationship

between countries • To create an avenue where companies can meet and promote products and services • To promote physical and mental development of athletes • To create a platform where vital social issues can be addressed since the sport has the power to gather the masses • For example, in 2018 in June, I was working for a private organisation. They have sent me an invitation from the West Africa Federation. I travelled

remain confused. They might end up taking the wrong path. But when a child is involved in sports, the chances for getting involved with narcotics and crime become remote. This age group also constitutes the primary decision-making mechanism for communities. They serve as the anchor that holds the community together. They are, therefore, more prone to get exposed to various crimes and deviances if there are no proper social and income-earning activities to engage them. This platform is not limited to the players only. People who don’t know skating can come to us and learn from our trainers. It’s also for those who want to pursue their career in sports. For people who have lost their path, are into drugs and are trying to stop it, practising this sport can be a good solution for shifting their focus on to something productive and away from drugs. There are examples of people who have come back from their dark past and have started living a healthy life with this sport, thereby getting a fresh perspective on life. Anyone interested, can fill-up the application form.

from Ghana to Senegal by road. I

• The first two teams from each group continue to the quarter-finals • Four teams will qualify for the semifinals, then finals between winners at the semi-final stage and then, thirdplace match • The Roll Ball Elite Cup (RBEC) will be launched and teams will be auctioned for interested people to buy clubs and sponsorship from companies

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES? Media exposure BFG has the necessary affiliation with reputable media houses across the nation. The competition will be broadcast on radio, television, newspapers and online. This will put the league and the sponsors in the limelight and also inform the natives outside Ghana to hear and know more about the latest developments.

took Bus from Accra to Burkina to Mali to Senegal. In Mali, I lost my bag, still I managed somehow to reach Senegal by God’s grace. When you want to do

WHAT IS THE STRUCTURE OF THE LEAGUE?

something for the society for a great cause, “impossible will become I am possible” After that incident, my vision was not limited to only Ghana but the entire continent of Africa.

• Each region will be divided into four zones • A zone will have at least 4 or at most

Possible Investors into Regions RBFG will build a strong reputation that will attract sponsors on board for our programs. This competition will open up the regions to receive possible investors to handle projects both in the sports field and the business world.

16 participating teams • The competition will be run by knockout. A win for a team gains a slot in the next stage and the losing

WHO ARE THE TARGET AUDIENCES?

team will be dropped out. • The 2nd position of every region will qualify for the Junior Elite Roll Ball League

It’s open to all but the focus is on teenagers and adults (18-30 year old players) because of a common mission of creating a positive youth roll ball experience and setting a good example of sportsmanship, unity and respect. Also because most people in this age group

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Scouting of Talents RBFG will invite both local and foreign scouts to get skilful players and put them in international clubs. This will go a long way to affect the income rate of families and of societies.

• The grand roll ball championship will be hosted for 3 days; 16 gold winners from the various regions will be grouped in four • An all-play-all-structure game will be used for the four groups

Increase in Corporate Social Responsibilities Our marketing strategy is optimal to attract all corporate bodies to come on board and make the league a

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SPORTS

success. Mr Johnson Gameli Kportufe, PrĂŠsident of Roll Ball Federation Ghana (RBFG) was elected as the first Deputy Secretary-General for West Africa Roll Ball Federation (WARBF) during the first West Africa Roll Ball Federation Congress, which was held on Saturday 28th to 29th of July 2018 in Dakar, Senegal. He was appointed for four years. Mr Kportufe said his new appointment will be very challenging but he will use his position to promote the game of Roll Ball in Ghana and West Africa as a whole. He also stated at the congress that the event was equipped with information to help develop Roll Ball in the subregion of Africa. He also stated that the Federation seeks to empower the youth through awareness, advertisement and training of various institutions and organizations. There will be an introduction of various events such as Inter-School Roll Ball Competitions, gala leagues, etc. This will help introduce the Roll Ball game to millions of Ghanaian youth, hence increasing socio-economic opportunities in the country. He also pleaded with the general public to get

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involved and also support the cause in the form of sponsorship. The Deputy Secretary-General promises to work hard and diligently promote Roll Ball across Ghana and West Africa at large.

OPEN FOR MORE INVESTORS? We have a team and we are open to making it bigger. I want to develop Roll ball and skating in Ghana. Investors

should come and support because the roll ball is a very exciting game. Right now we are in partnership with KS Group of Companies. We want to have a very big league in Ghana. This is the right time to invest in a club because if not now, tomorrow will be too late. We are opening number of clubs in 16 regions of Ghana. A region might have more than one club depending upon the investors and players. We want to take Roll Ball to the next level.

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SPORTS

SAMUEL ETO’O TO TRAIN IN ADMINISTRATION AT HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL to live in Boston for this. It’s not easy, but it’s a good job and you know I love to challenge myself always.”

FC BARCELONA MATCH BALL SAMUEL ETOO CHAMPIONS (11/ MAR/ 2009)

Samuel Eto’o has announced his retirement after more than 20 years as a professional. Eto’o has been participating with 11 nations and has won 18 national team and club titles and several separate prizes. He scored 426 goals in 877 games and is retiring as the top goal scorer of Cameroon with highest goals scored in the ‘African Cup of Nations’. Considered as one of Africa’s best stars and one of the greatest 21st-century African strikers ever, Eto’o has been a great short-range and distance finisher, being as likely to create an opening as to score goals. Eto’o’s career had begun with a knock the day before he had turned 16, when he had made his debut for Cameroon. He was only 17 when he had contested for the 1998 French World Cup. He played with Real Madrid in 1997 but was lent out three times in 2000 before being sold for £4.4 million ($5.3 million) to Real Mallorca. Eto’o only played 7 times for Real Madrid

Samuel Eto’o says he wants to return to Africa after his studies in business management at Harvard Business School. At 38 in September, the four-time winner of the ‘African Player of the Year’ award, announced his retirement from football. Eto’o claims his current mission being to return to the world by jumping the Atlantic to the United States for business education. He said to the French news magazine Jeune Afrique that “I want to support and contribute positively to the development of our continent. You pay

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people for providing for your life and things generally when you are a player. But if you have to handle and improve others, you literally need to acquire new skills.” The longtime Cameroonian and forward Barcelona player, who remains to be the top scorer in his nation with 56 goals in 118 matches, announced his intention to prepare for life after football. “After you kindly welcome me for specialist training, I will begin my business management studies at Harvard University in January,” he added. “For nearly a year I’m going

IMAGE SOURCE: GOAL.COM

IMAGE SOURCE: SOKA25EAST

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TRAVEL & EXPLORE

TOURISM: AN INDUSTRY READY TO TAKE OFF IN MADAGASCAR

Tourism can be a major means of development. It can stimulate economic growth, boost the economy and contribute to poverty alleviation across nearly every segment of a society. Particularly in Madagascar, since the nation suffers from acute poverty and the poor put pressure on the natural resource base, tourism can generate positive externalities for international investors in a big way. At places on the island that have no alternate sources of income or employment, tourism can come as a much-needed respite towards all-round economic development. Secondly, both eco-tourism and resort tourism can contribute in maintaining the ecology.

To establish a good business plan for tourism, an active environmental plan and a social appraisal process would both be needed since the failure of either one can jeopardise the entire industry. Balancing of the sectors and their influences would, hence, become important to improve the potentials for tourism in Madagascar. Madagascar sits in the Indian Ocean in South Africa, next to Mozambique, on

a different island. Madagascar’s coastline is 4,828 kms long. Madagascar’s coastal atmosphere is mediterranean, temperate on the northern side and arid on the southern. With a strategic location on the Mozambique river, it is the 4th largest island in the world. According to the CIA World Factbook, Madagascar has a wide range of wildlife, natural and historical tools to promote tourism. However, of the 200,000 tourists who visit the island each

The existing tourism resources in Madagascar are not fully realised and exploited. Hence, it can easily become a major player in upturning the local economies. Inspite of all the efforts already taken by the government, more needs to be done in establishing a competitive business-tourism relationship.

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THE TIMES OF AFRICA 47 67


TRAVEL & EXPLORE

Ecotourism in Madagascar

year only about 60,000 visit primarily for tourism. Madagascar can attract many more visitors if development of the sector is earnestly taken up and focused primarily on community participation. It could potentially solve most of the local economic, infrastructural, social and environmental issues. The country’s tourism sector’s direct contribution to GDP in 2011 had amounted to MGA (Malagasy Ariary) 1,095.8 billion (5.4% of GDP) increasing by 13.9% in 2012, and expected to grow to MGA 1,924.8 billion by 2022 (at constantly-priced 2011). In 2011, the export of visitors produced a revenue contribution of MGA 1,397.5 billion (26.6% of all exports) to the GDP of Madagascar. This is expected to increase between 2012 and 2022 by 5.0%, reaching an approximate 24.7% of GDP by 2022 at 2011 prices. The 2011 budget of Travel & Tourism was MGA 590.4 bn or 15.5%. In 2011, the export of visitors produced a revenue contribution of MGA 1,397.5 billion (26.6% of all exports) to

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the GDP of Madagascar. This is expected to increase between 2012 and 2022 by 5.0%. The governmental expenditure is also being simultaneously increased to bolster the industry. As per the statistics on countries that are sending the most number of tourists to Madagascar, almost 60% of foreign visitors, widely defined and not strictly tourists, are visiting from France primarily due to Malagasey-French being its national language, followed by the Italians who number at around 12%, the US (4.2%), Swiss (2.9%), Germans

(2.8%) and British (2.2%). Quick and easy transportation between Paris and Reunion also add considerably to this factor. The high resource diversity of Madagascar and the European visitor’s penchant for eco-cultural tourism, therefore, brings huge potentials to the island country for being marketed as a viable leisure and tourism destination across not just Europe and the Americas, but also around the world.

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EN VOUGE

WHO MAKES AFRICA A FASHION SYMBOL? WaAfrika Online African FashionImage Image Source: WaAfrica Online

Although cultures from across the world have motivated European fashion since decades, Africa has shaped world fashion for as long as it has existed. Unlike des Garçons and a few others, many like Yves Saint Laurent, and Jean Paul Gaultier have taken repeated inspirations from the history, culture and people of Africa. Over the years, African traditions, thought and culture have regularly influenced the makings of Christian Dior, Thierry Mugler and Louis Vuitton as global fashion brands. Worldwide manufacturers have been capitalising on African symbols to market from cars to style.

CHARACTERISTICS OF AFRICAN FASHION: In recent years, creative talent from photographers, furnishing designers and fine artists to jewellery and fashion designers have steadily flourished across the continent. After being overlooked and replicated for decades, African style is today riding over a tsunami of creative output and popularity, attracting mainstream newspaper and international customers alike.

DENT de MAN SS15 Image Credit: Jonathan Daniel Pryce

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The current wave of African artists is characterized by a creative inspiration that is rarely found in Europe and the US. The Sapeurs, properly known as the Society of Environmentalists and Elegant People or the Society of Knights and Elegant People,

are the best-dressed, best-behaved gentlemen in the world who were born in the poverty of Congo. With their entire business dedicated to exquisite clothing and accessories by offering a standard of couture and courtesy, their adoption of the traditional menswear suit symbolizes a break from their colonial past when they had to wear tunics in Mao style. Designers like July Bet paved the way for the Malian roots in world fashion during the early 1990s. Others like Ozwald Boateng, after opening a shop on Savile Row, came of age in 1995 delivering exquisitely tailored men’s suits in bright colours, shaping the conventional

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EN VOUGE

Lisa Folawiyo is one of Africa’s most influential Nigerian fashion designers. An artist who churns out chic, contemporary designer-wears with a hint of tradition and colours, she produces famous dresses such as the Lupita Nyong’o and Solange Knowles. In Lagos, Milan, New York and Paris, she had her pieces in display to an admiring audience. Folawiyo is renowned for her handcrafted decorations as well. She made headlines first by decorating the local Ankara cloth and has developed a brand based on traditional reinterpretation.

Lisa Folawiyo SS15

Dent de Man is a brash, colourful menswear brand with classically customized clothes and state-of-theart designs. Their apparel series appear as mixed with typical Javano prints with sartorial elegance, characterized by unusual clothing blends and antique fabrics. The Dutch print fabric manufacturer Vlisco works minutely with its rich print archives spread across a 100 years. Africa’s strength in fashion thus lies in its ability to inspire and showcase the sheer joy of life.

Men’s Sapeur inspired looks from SS 15 lookbook

tailor-made men’s wear market, which the UK is today renowned for. With Fashion Africa being published in 2011, a new wave of African design got popularized. The online tools that accompany the Africa Fashion Guide work as consumer forums that raise awareness amongst fashion enthusiasts about African fashion and fabric supply chain. They help in organising regular trips to the suppliers, craftspeople and other practitioners of

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the industry, discussing and exchanging relevant market information with them. Aboubakar Fofana is a world-renowned painter, maker and craftsman focusing on textiles and natural dyes. He is renowned for revitalizing and redefining West African indigo painting methods, with an emphasis on maintaining the traditional textiles of this area and reinterpreting them. Via seminars and exhibits, Fofana introduces his work throughout the world.

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BON APPETIT

THE ROOTS OF NIGERIAN CUISINE Ogbono Fruit and its seeds

runs from one end of the country to the other. Its economy is fuelled in particular by the cultivation of tropical fruits, cotton, bananas, chocolate, tobacco, seeds and peanuts. Its agriculture and oil deposits are extremely rich. The tropical and warm climates offer a diverse culinary culture. The Nigerian cuisine includes the Portuguese and British flavours of pasta, couscous, tomatoes, grilled meat and poultry. They use lots of hot pepper and spices as well, influenced by the Indian cuisine. In general, bean paste wrapped in leaves is the most popular food for breakfast in the country. The reason that the Portuguese sailors used to spend a long time at sea and wanted to eat vegetables is assumed to be primary reason for this platter being put together. Nigerian cuisine has a wide range of products, such as peppers, okra, and peanut soup, Ogbono, oats, snacked rice, pasta dishes, black pepper steak, sweet potatoes and beans, and a cake named Moin-Moin consisting of pieces of meat, eggs and grilled skewers. Kilishi is a soup made from melon seeds, fruits

The African countries have had European colonial rule for hundreds of years. Their gastronomic traditions and cuisine, therefore, have been predominantly inspired by the colonial European cultures. Every country in the continent has a distinct food culture and every community has drawn its food culture also from the refugees from far-off countries. The culture in Nigeria is believed to have begun during the 9th century AD. Nigeria was first ruled by the Portuguese and then by the British. It is one of the most populated countries in the world with a population of 183 million on a per capita distribution basis. Its most vital resource being the Niger river that

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Fresh Sweet Potatoes

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BON APPETIT

Nigerian Ogbono Soup

and fibre, which is also relished by many. Regional tropical fruits such as apples, coffee, bananas and mangos are mostly eaten. A great snack is the fried banana plantain.

to use it as a breakfast. Jollof Rice is another popular meal throughout Africa. A Nigerian traditional meal with tomatoes, peppers and

Sweet potatoes are also very popular in Nigeria and in other African countries. The north-west regions of Central America and South America are the birthplaces for sweet potatoes. China, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Nigeria, Uganda and the United States are the major producers. Internationally, a number of mouth watering dishes are made with sweet potatoes. The Nigerian sweet potatoes come with their outer and inner parts in multiple colours. While the outer shell can be black, purple, lilac or brown, the insides can be in black, yellow, orange or lilac. Potatoes are cherished and preferred for their high beta carotene content. It is reported that during colonial rule, it was the Portuguese sailors who had introduced potatoes to Nigeria from America. As Brillat Savarin, the renowned French gastronomist, had once described Nigerian Okra Soup

The African wild mango is the seed of the Ogbono. It is dried and milled for its powder that makes the Ogbono Soup. This is one of Nigeria’s easiest and fastest arrangements. For higher protein, beef and fresh fish are added to the soup. The Nigerians relish it for being low-cost and easy-to-make. The Egusi Soup is a melon seed soup made from the seeds of the Egusi melon, meat and fish that is made in most Nigerian homes. The Egusi melon belongs to the family of watermelons. Almost identical from the outside to a watermelon, it is bitter and white from the inside. The Portuguese long processed it and were thus able Moi Moi

seasonings, Jollof rice has many different variations. Tomatoes being used most popularly, onions, pepper and some Indian spices are also commonly used as basic ingredients. Plantain is a fried banana, and is a tasty snack used mainly as breakfast. The Portuguese sailors had introduced it from the Caribbean.

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gastronomy as “the knowledge and understanding of all that relates to man as he eats�, the aim, in present times, is not just to explain recipes of food and drinks unique to a country, but also to describe its history vis-a-vis its culinary culture. The gastronomy of Nigeria, thus reflects upon its rich historical and cultural characteristics.

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34 76 THE TIMES OF AFRICA

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THE TIMES OF AFRICA  BRINGING AFRICA TO THE WORLD

Profile for The Times of Africa

TOA Jan-Mar 2020 Edition  

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