Tuesday, May 29, 2012

African Economic Outlook 2012 Promotes Youth Employment

Culled from VENTURES AFRICA - With the number of youths in Africa set to double by 2045, countries across the continent should boost job creation and help young people acquire new skills, according to the African Economic Outlook 2012.

“Creating productive employment for Africa’s rapidly growing young population is an immense challenge but also the key to future prosperity,” say the authors in the foreword.

Co-written by the African Development Bank, the OECD Development Centre, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the report says youth are an opportunity for future economic growth.

Between 2000 and 2008, despite world-topping economic growth rates, and a better educated youth, Africa created only 16 million jobs for young people aged between 15 and 24.

Today, youth represent 60 percent of the continent’s unemployed, and of these 40 million youths, 22 million have given up on finding a job, many of them women.

“The continent is experiencing jobless growth”, said Mthuli Ncube, Chief Economist and Vice-President of the African Development Bank (AfDB). “That is an unacceptable reality on a continent with such an impressive pool of youth, talent and creativity”.

The report argues youth unemployment figures will increase unless Africa moves swiftly to make youth employment a priority, turning its human capital into economic opportunity. On the other hand, youths can present a significant threat to social cohesion and political stability if they do not secure decent living conditions.

High growth alone is not sufficient to guarantee productive employment. Youth employment is largely a problem of quality in low-income countries and one of quantity in middle-income countries, the report says.

“In low-income countries, most young people work but are poor nevertheless. In African middle-income countries, on the other hand, such as South Africa or the Northern African countries, despite better education, more youth are inactive than working,” said Mario Pezzini, Director at the OECD Development Centre.

The report recommends that African countries design better-coordinated strategies to effectively tackle youth employment, focusing on job creation in the private sector while providing the right conditions for businesses of all sizes to grow and expand their work force.

In addition, given the small size of the formal sector in many African countries, the report finds that a government focuses on the informal sector and rural areas, which contain immense entrepreneurial talent, can serve as engines for inclusive growth since they can absorb higher numbers of unemployed youths.

It also advocates for policies focused on creating the skills that are necessary for youths to compete in the job market, for instance by improving the quality of education in agriculture and new technologies.

Increased policy focus on youth employment must be coupled with measures to boost investments in social and economic infrastructure and diversify the continent’s economy.

“Export diversification beyond raw material and private sector development are important to mitigate the continent’s susceptibility to external shocks, but that takes time”, said Emmanuel Nnadozie, Director of Economic Development at UNECA.

With the right policies in place, the continent could capitalize on its recent economic growth to achieve a development breakthrough.

“Youth employment is an investment in the future. It contributes to reducing poverty, wealth creation, well-being and social cohesion,” said Pedro Conceição, Chief Economist at UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa.

The African Economic Outlook presents a comprehensive analysis of the economic, social and political developments in the region. The report includes in-depth country notes on 53 of the continent’s 54 economies, a macroeconomic overview.

The document also offers a chapter on human development, which focuses this year on the importance of reversing capital flight to achieve sustainable human development.

Note: The annual 2012 African Economic Outlook covers economic, social and political development in 53 of the continent’s 54 countries. It is published with financial support from the European Union and the Committee of African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP). For the whole report, including statistics and specific country performance, please visit http://www.africaneconomicoutlook.org

Monday, May 28, 2012

Talent Alone Is Not Enough. Tips For Entrepreneurs

Aspiring entrepreneurs often struggle with finding their first seed-fund or funds to expand their venture. In the last interview feature with Ashish Thakkar, Founder Of The Mara Group, he said, “It is always the tough part. However you need to be passionate about your venture and persistent. Eventually it always works out. It is easy to quit but also very boring.”

How did he finance his first business venture? “I started with $6,000 load and slowly grew it from there. I created a track record from day one, which meant doing everything above board and officially, which allowed me to access debt once I built a few years of good track record. Always think long term and never be short sighted when creating a business…short-term pain are long-term gains,” says Ashish.

It has not been an all jolly-ride for the entrepreneur. From his experience, we learn that entrepreneurs should quit being afraid of failing. Failure is part of the growth process. Drawing from his experience of making a bad business decision, Ashish said, “I was too desperate for business and trusted the wrong clients. This meant losing cash flow as some debtors turned out to be fake. This was a huge blow for me as I was playing with very little cash flow and this made it even tighter. But instead of dwelling over this, I got up and learnt from the mistake. Never be too eager, you end up not thinking through things and you never end up looking at the worst-case scenario, which is critical.”

Read the full interview here: I’m Just Getting Started- Ashish Thakkar, Founder Of The Mara Group

Friday, May 25, 2012

Interview With Ashish Thakkar, Founder Of The Mara Group

British-born Ashish Thakkar, founder and managing director of Mara Group, migrated to Uganda at the age of 12. But he did not relocate to the continent for nothing. Ashish’s entrepreneurial spirit propelled him to start selling computers to friends and his school in Kampala, and before long he founded his first company, Raps. As the years rolled by, so did his penchant for startups. He founded Riley, a manufacturing company believed to make the most modern corrugated packaging plant in East and Central Africa; and Kensington, a real estate business in Dubai and Africa. Talk about serial entrepreneurship!

In 15 years, under the management of Ashish, Mara Group has grown into a globally recognised firm with over 4,000 employees and having operations in 17 African countries.

In addition to expanding his venture’s portfolio across different continents, this young entrepreneur takes giving back very seriously. Through Mara Foundation, The Group has been able to impact over 2,000 students in 2 countries through different initiatives like assisting rural secondary schools; entrepreneurs mentor programs, business incubation centres and venture capital funds.

In his words, “It is very important to give back but give back in a meaningful and impacting manner.”

Ashish who was recently nominated for the Young Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum says he is just getting started! Be inspired by this interview. Click here to read all

Taking Advantage Of #Outsourcing Growth In Africa – Interview With Kagem Tibaijuka

Kagem Tibaijuka founded Kagem Tibaijuka & Co, a B2B marketing company based in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. But, all of her clients are based outside Tanzania. While India is part of the outsourcing boom, companies like Kagem Tibaijuka & Co, customize marketing campaigns for international small businesses in markets such as London and Prague. They are a part of the sudden outsourcing growth on the continent.

According to Kagem, “outsourcing is traditionally seen as something in the IT sector to cut costs but in marketing, outsourcing from a business to business angle can be an excellent way for small businesses to focus on what they do best and allow us to do the heavy lifting for them to ensure that they meet their business goals.”

Kangem Tibaijuka & Co has worked with companies like Peachy Loans, Designer-Clothes.co.uk and Signature Car Hire.

“Kagem was contracted to create fashion guides to go on my e-commerce website. I would say it was high quality writing that Kagem provided, it ticked all the boxes in terms of the way I wanted it written. I would work withKagem again on new projects” Matt Seigneur atDesigner -clothes, writes in a testimonial.

“We always put their priorities first which is why clients work with us to create campaigns that will resonate with their buying audience,” states Kagem.

How can more entrepreneurs venture into the business of outsourcing? What business opportunities are there for African countries?

In this interview, Kagem shares her experience and sheds more light on the business of outsourcing and how African businesses can take advantage of the surge. Enjoy! Click here to view the full interview

Apply to be a Student Reporter at the 2012 World Resources Forum in Beijing

I just saw this online and thought to share! If you are a student and a tech savvy journo, this is for you! Click the link to check it out:

Apply to be a Student Reporter at the 2012 World Resources Forum in Beijing, China (19th-24th October)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Fab-Ukozor Somto Sharon, won of the ITU young innovator’s contest last year. She was in Geneva, Switzerland with other young innovators from across the world where she presented her MS2C idea and emerged winner of the prestigious contest. Click here to read her interview!

Here is a news release about this year's competition:

This is your opportunity to shine a global ICT spotlight on your innovative ideas and digital creativity. Enter the Young Innovators Competition at ITU Telecom World 2012 to show the world how your fresh thinking and talent for technology can provide real-world solutions to real-world problems and change the future for the better. Showcase your innovation on a truly international stage and win the chance to access development workshops, industry expertise and the unparalleled networking potential of World 2012.

Are you 18-25 years old?
Do you have an innovative ICT-based concept or project?
Are you in need of resources to take the next step?
Are you a social entrepreneur?

If your answer is yes to these questions, this could be just the competition for you. Any solution using innovative ICT to support development, from concepts to mature projects can compete to win!

Finalists will be invited to join us at ITU Telecom World 2012 in Dubai, where they will receive the following:Up to CHF 10,000 in prize money: great concepts can win up to CHF 5,000; innovative projects can win up to CHF 10,000.
Industry mentorship: benefit from intensive one-on-one sessions with high level industry mentors, plus their ongoing support over a one-year development period.
Hands-on Workshop: training sessions focusing on developing entrepreneurial skills.
Networking: Opportunities to build relationships with top ICT names from industry, governments, academia and peers.
Showcase at the InnovatorSpace: demo your submission to our influential audience.

Enter the young innovators competition today! Click here to submit your application. Use the documents on the right hand side of this page to help prepare your application. 

Should you require any further information in the meantime, please contact: young.innovators@itu.int

More details on their website: http://world2012.itu.int/enter-the-competition


Thursday, May 17, 2012

African Dream In Lagos! #MING

I mentioned last month that MING's special edition on Lagos was out! And kind Ren did send me a copy :-) I still cannot read in Chinese but I do have an idea of the story each article tells in the magazine.

"We all knew it. Africa. Africans. The struggling history of slavery, the “next-day-may-never–come” living attitude. The ground-shaking, impoverished scene that charity campaign photos embark. The worst tags are all on this piece of land, and we are no short of hearsay. But what and how on earth is Africa? Who on earth are Africans? How does this piece of continent differ from ours?" Ren writes in a blog entry after her trip to Lagos to cover this story.

Good People, Great Country, Global City?

Some of the pages of those interviewed:

Olori Super Gal



Yours sincerely, @disgeneration

Photography by Ola
 Lagosians as they are. The very Lagosian things:
Photography by Ola

Photography by Ola

Moji Rhodes, Eko Atlantic City project

My love letter :-) 

The magazine cover (took this shot in the dark- it looks better in real life)

Moji Rhodes of Eko Atlantic City project

"Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it." John Maxwell.

Thanks Ren, for sharing this interesting piece about Lagos!

Interested in following Ren's work? Follow on Twitter: @renhermite 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Archel Bernard: Encouraging Style And Innovation From Post-War Liberia

You may have read about how young professionals in one African country are relocating to another African country for work. You may have also read an opinion piece here that reiterated why some Africans in Diaspora won’t return home. Today, I’m flipping the coin over and focusing on the young skilled Africans in Diaspora who are taking the bold step to explore opportunities on the continent. One of such is Archel Bernard, the young designer and journalist behind “It’s Archel

Born and raised in the US, Archel packed up after college and moved to Liberia – a country her parents fled during war, to start a new life. According to her, the experience has been “one amazing adventure after another.” Through It’s Archel, this young lady is playing a pivotal role of communicating progress about Liberia and developing small businesses with other female entrepreneurs.

In this interview, Archel sheds light on what inspired her to relocate and how she is building a business from scratch in Liberia. Click here to read more

How To Be Your Own Chief Encouraging Officer (CEO)

Things are not always going to work the way you want them to. People are going to let you down as well. But you have stay focus on your vision and be your own chief encouraging officer (CEO)!
Be optimistic
but be practical
and not just idealistic.
It may take longer and be more painful than planned, but if you stick at it, keep learning and improving, you’ll soon experience the miracle of fulfilled dreams.
I say to myself and others, “it can only get better!”
Charles Akpom, an MBA grad from the University of Bedfordshire, founder of Afroterminal.com

Relocating to another African Country for Work

Either by choice or circumstance, people find themselves relocating from one region to another. So often we hear jaw-dropping statistics of xyz millions of Nigerians living and working in Canada, with no faces to these stories. But beyond crossing the Atlantic Ocean for greener pastures, how is the situation with Africans crossing borders within the same region or continent, to set up or take-up business opportunities?

Have you been away from your home country while working in another region for over a year? Or Are you about to relocate to another African country for work? Before you pack and zip up those bags, enjoy this chat I had with Kathleen and Nicolas-Patience recently. They are living examples of everyday men and women exploring opportunities in other African countries.

Click here to read the interview

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Admission Opportunity! #Education #HigherEd #Nigeria

NIJ has a vision to be the leading and foremost, Mass Communication and Journalism training Institution in Africa, “the Centre of Communication Excellence” globally in the near future.

Admission Opportunity!!! Are you interested in studying Mass Communication at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism? If yes, then this information is for you:

The requirements:
National Diploma Level:1. Have 5 O'level (WAEC/NECO) credits, including English and mathematics at not more than 2 sittings.
2. Prospective candidates are to sit and pass JAMB's UTME.
3. Obtain a bank draft of N3,500 from ECO Bank or WEMA Bank.
4. Present the bank draft to the registry department and collect the appropriate forms from the school.
5. You will be given further information at the school when you present the bank draft.

Higher National Level:1. Have a National Diploma certificate from a recognized institution with at least lower credit and 1 year post-ND industrial attachment experience.
2. Meet the requirements for entry level (that is have at least 5 credits in your O'level result in not more than 2 sittings).
3. Obtain a bank draft of N5,000 from ECO Bank or WEMA Bank.
4. Present the bank draft to the registry department and collect the appropriate forms from the school.
5. You will be given further information at the school when you present the bank draft.

NYSC: YES!! NIJ Grads are usually mobilized for NYSC. Like other graduates from universities in Nigeria, upon completion of the HND program, students who fall within the required age for NYSC and meet all other criteria are mobilized to serve in the National Youth Service Corps.

Post Graduate Diploma (PGD):1. Have a good HND or University Degree in any discipline
2. Show evidence of participation in NYSC or exception letter
3. Obtain a bank draft of N7,000 from ECO Bank, WEMA Bank
4. Present the bank draft to the registry department and collect the appropriate forms from the school.
5. You will be given further information at the school when you present the bank draft.

For more information or clarification, please visit The Registra's office at NIJ, 8-14 Ijaiye road Ogba Ikeja, Lagos. Telephone: 01-7912496 or 08023032717 or 08059196459.
All the best with your application!!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

HIV Vaccine Awareness Day (HVAD) - May 18th Event

GYCA Nigeria is organizing a brief symposium with fellow young advocates on Friday May 18th to discuss the Nigeria HIV Vaccine plan and also priorities for AIDS Vaccine Science and Advocacy in 2012 and beyond.

If you’ll like to be part of the event, please join the Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention (AVAC) for a special HVAD webinar that will include an update on the state of the science, as well as time to discuss advocacy priorities for 2012.

Please do register for the Webinar here; https://cc.readytalk.com/cc/s/showReg?udc=1mjs9toslc45

GYCA Nigeria amidst other advocates and leaders in the AIDS Vaccine field in Nigeria will be discussing the following;

- AIDS Vaccines; The basics (An overview of the search of an AIDS Vaccine and recent development)

- AIDS Vaccine; Then and Now

- The HIV Vaccine Plan in Nigeria

- Brief updates on the 45th session of the UN Commission on Population and Development themed adolescent and young people.

Venue for the Event: Conference Room, NACA Secretariat, Plot 823, Ralph Shodeinde Street, Opp. Edo State House, Abuja.

Time: 9.00am – 10.30am

If your interest lie in AIDS Vaccines, PrEP, Male Circumcision, Microbicides, Prevention as Treatment, PMTCT, etc, then join us at this symposium.

RSVP gabriel@gyca.org

Hope to see y’all

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Technopreneurship is one way. We need more Technopreneurs.

The article "Technopreneurship in South and South East Asia," basically talks about how Asian countries are taking on different opportunities created by technology to empower themselves and grow their economy. Derived from the combination of two english words, "Technology" and "Entrepreneurship," the term "Technopreneurship" arose within Singaporean culture to describe individual whose entrepreneurial endeavors focus on a technology centered enterprise.

Technology is here, we might as well make the best use of it and grow our economy. Well, some argue that this is risky. Skipping industrialisation for information-age is not a foundation for growth, writes Elton Plaatjes. If Africa model after Asian countries like China, the continent will do just fine, Frank Feather proposes in his article "What Economic Lessons Might Africa Learn from China?"

While we try to find a balance in all of these dabates, I'll say, again, technology is here, we might as well make the best use of it. Well, many youths in Asia, Europe, Australia, USA, etc are already blazing the trail and embracing technopreneurship to sustain themselves and salvage the economy. Africans are catching up, and fast.

Technopreneurship goes beyond creating social network sites. Have your visited Co-Creation Hub (CC-Hub) in Lagos?  Or maybe taken a trip to computer village in Ikeja Lagos? Okay, the technopreneurs live mostly within the big cities, for easy access to the right infrastructures.

In an exclusive interview with Charles Akpom, one of the founders of AfroTerminal.com, I asked:

The concept of Technopreneurship is fast gaining ground on the continent. As a technopreneur yourself, what support do you think African government leaders need to put in place to further strengthen the sector?
His response: It would be a good idea if entrepreneurship (I have an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Business Management) and technology were part of the educational curriculum (with appropriate funding and prioritization), right from primary school. It will help in shaping our nations for the future. Business and Technology will always be with us (mankind) and we may as well make the best of them, and use Technopreneurship to encourage self-reliance and economic growth in African nations.

Some unemployed youth in Nigeria are fast embracing the opportunities created by the advent of technology to establish different forms of technology focused enterprises, meet the different needs in our society while increasing their profit yield. I could start listing all the different enterprises but lets leave that for another researcher.

Nigeria can boast of an increase in her number of tech savvy youth, but unlike Asian countries, there is little or no government support to encourage technopreneurs. most people venture out, making the best use of the limited access to ICT infrastructures. And yes, it is getting more competitive. Talk about bottlenecks in the sector.

Our government leaders can learn from the Asian countries. For instance, the Singaporean government created support system early through sponsorship of university courses, developed policies to support the growth and development of domestic technopreneurial firms etc.

For upcoming Technopreneurs? Here is a word of encouragement from Charles on how to be your own CEO
Things are not always going to work the way you want them to. People are going to let you down as well. But you have stay focus on your vision and be your own chief encouraging officer (CEO)! Be optimistic, but be practical and not just idealistic. It may take longer and be more painful than planned, but if you stick at it, keep learning and improving, you'll soon experience the miracle of fulfilled dreams. I say to myself and others, "it can only get better!" 

And if you are leaning towards the infopreneurial sector (information and entrepreneurship), to embrace the business of media, then check out: “African News Innovation Challenge (ANIC)"

Google Partners With AMI, Launch Africa’s First Technology Driven Contest For Journalists

Lets keep innovating!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

In Honor of World Press Freedom Day: IWMF Courage in Journalism and Lifetime Achievement Award Winners Announced

Women from Ethiopia, Palestine, Azerbaijan and Pakistan honored.

Each year, the IWMF honors women journalists who have shown extraordinary strength of character and integrity while reporting the news under dangerous or difficult circumstances.

This year’s winners are:

Reeyot Alemu, 31, an Ethiopian columnist currently imprisoned on charges of terrorism after writing critiques of her country’s government; Asmaa al-Ghoul, 30, a Palestinian blogger and freelance writer who has received death threats for her commentary on the culture and politics of Gaza;Khadija Ismayilova, 35, a radio reporter from Azerbaijan who was blackmailed and threatened after her investigation into charges of malfeasance against members of the Azerbaijani president’s family. These are the International Women’s Media Foundation’s 2012 Courage in Journalism Awardwinners.

“I am humbled to work in the same profession as these heroic women,” said Katty Kay, co-chair of the IWMF. “It is my honor to be involved with the IWMF as it recognizes their dedication and bravery. It is journalists like Reeyot, Asmaa and Khadija who set an example for all of us.”

The IWMF’s 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to Zubeida Mustafa, 70, a Pakistani journalist who has worked for three decades atDawn, one her country’s oldest and most widely circulated English-language newspapers.

Theodore Boutrous, Jr., IWMF co-chair, said “A free and independent press is vital to freedom and liberty. The IWMF believes that no press is truly fee if women do not share an equal voice. As the first woman to work at Dawn, Zubeida blazed a trail for women journalists in Pakistan, changing hiring policies and mentoring young women. She showed that women journalists can cover serious topics such as healthcare and economic inequality.”

The 2012 awards will be presented during ceremonies in New York on October 24 and in Los Angeles on October 29.

“The IWMF is grateful to the Bank of America, National Presenting Sponsor of the Courage in Journalism Awards for the seventh year and steadfast supporter of heroic women journalists around the world,” said Elisa Lees Munoz, Acting Executive Director of the IWMF.

About the IWMF
Founded in 1990, the International Women’s Media Foundation is a vibrant global network dedicated to strengthening the role of women in the news media worldwide as a means to further freedom of the press. The IWMF network includes women and men in the media in more than 130 countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.iwmf.org.

About the 2012 Courage in Journalism Award Winners
Reeyot Alemu, 31, worked as a columnist for independent Ethiopian newspaper Feteh until her arrest in June 2011. She was held without charge until September of that year, when she was accused of conspiracy to commit terrorist acts and participation in a terrorist organization. The Ethiopian government presented articles Alemu wrote criticizing its actions as evidence at her trial, as well as telephone conversations she had regarding strictly peaceful protests. Based on these materials alone, a judge sentenced Alemu to 14 years in prison. Prior to these events, Alemu was one of her country’s only female reporters who wrote critically about the political climate in Ethiopia, including analysis of government figures. Now, Alemu has fallen ill in prison. Her associates suffer harassment because of their connections with her. Despite this, Alemu has rejected offers of clemency in return for information about her colleagues.

Asmaa al-Ghoul, 30, is a blogger and freelance writer working in Gaza. Her stories analyze social and political life in the Middle East, focusing on the ongoing divisions among Palestinians and abuses of civil rights by both internal and external forces in Gaza. In 2007, al-Ghoul wrote an article in the form of an open letter to her uncle, a Hamas commander, questioning the methods of certain entities claiming to seek peace for Palestine. The article resulted in al-Ghoul’s uncle threatening to kill her. This is not uncommon: al-Ghoul regularly receives death threats against her own life and that of her young son. She has been beaten by Hamas security forces while covering popular protests and went through a period of sleeping in her office for fear of being killed on her way home.

Khadija Ismayilova, 35, is a reporter for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Azerbaijani service. She investigates corruption and power abuse among her country’s elite. In May of 2012, Ismayilova became the target of a massive smear campaign threatening to defame her and put her life at risk unless she stopped reporting. This included an anonymous letter with photos from surveillance cameras planted in Ismayilova’s apartment, depicting her in an intimate situation with her boyfriend. It was made clear that she would stop her reporting, or risk having the photos made public. In the largely Muslim country of Azerbaijan, “honor killings” still occur. This is not the first time Ismayilova has been the subject of attempts to silence her.She is the victim of regular slander campaigns in pro-government media. The Azerbaijani president has personally tried to have her fired. During the many attempts to discredit her, Ismayilova has refused to stop working and has publicly denounced her accusers.

About the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Zubeida Mustafa, 70, is a Pakistani journalist who worked for more than three decades at Dawn, one of Pakistan’s oldest and most widely circulated English-language newspapers. She was the first woman to work at the paper, which she did in the capacity of assistant editor and columnist. She helped to enact hiring policies favorable to women and promoted women’s equality in the newsroom. She has mentored dozens of young women in media and has spent her career writing serious and in-depth stories on issues including health care, economic inequality and political agency for women. Today, despite weakened eyesight, she continues to write prolifically and regularly contributes columns to Dawn.

About the Awards

The IWMF Courage in Journalism Awards honor women journalists who have shown extraordinary strength of character and integrity while reporting the news under dangerous or difficult circumstances.

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a woman journalist who has a pioneering spirit and whose determination has paved the way for women in the news media.

Including this year’s award winners, 75 journalists have won Courage Awards and 21 journalists have been honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards.