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August - November 2017

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Africa Books: Managing and Transforming an African University: Personal Experience at Makerere University 1973-2004

by John Pancras Mukasa Ssebuwufu

CODESRIA, Dakar, 2017, 808pp

The book, Managing and Transforming an African University: Personal Experience at Makerere University by John Pancras Mukasa Ssebuwufu provides a vivid account of the author’s three decades at the institution (1973 to 2004) and an insight into the challenges of managing an African university.

Having been a former student and staff member, Mr. Ssebuwufu later became Makerere University’s eighth vice-chancellor.

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Private sector’s role in implementing SDGs

The UN Private Sector Forum 2017, to be held in New York this September, will bring together corporate CEOs, captains of industry, heads of state and government, UN officials and civil society to explore partnerships and other ways the private sector can finance SDGs. Africa Renewal reached out to Lise Kingo, the executive director of the UN Global Compact (which is mobilizing a global movement of sustainable companies) to discuss the role of public-private partnerships in Africa.
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Partnerships at work in Africa

The construction of a liquefied natural gas terminal in Ghana to support power generation in the Kpone Power Enclave in the port city of Tema, near Accra, is reawakening hopes of an end to the energy crisis that has plagued the country in recent years.

Power outages have led to a rationing schedule that involves cutting power for 24 hours every two days. Businesses have been forced to connect standby power sources such as generators, incurring extra costs. Some have had to lay off workers.

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Uproar over Internet shutdowns

Nina Forgwe, who lives in Bamenda, in the northwest of Cameroon, missed the deadline to submit her doctoral application in March—one of many victims of an Internet shutdown in her town and in the other English-speaking parts of the country.

The Cameroonian government suspended services after Anglophone teachers, lawyers and students went on strike over alleged historical biases in favour of Francophones. The suspension started in January this year and ended in March, and at nearly one hundred days is the longest period of Internet disruption by an African government.

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Private schools gain a foothold in Africa

Corporations and their partner foundations, supported by international organizations, financiers and bankers, as well as individual investors are transforming education across Africa—from a government responsibility and social right to a series of investment opportunities.

They say their reforms are designed to increase educational equity and achieve higher standards. Where possible they seek out local community support, but the underlying motivation behind corporate educational reform is extending the reach of free-market globalization and business profits.

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Elections still a weak spot in Central Africa

The special representative of the Secretary-General and head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), François Louncény Fall, appeared before the UN Security Council in June to brief it on the situation in the Central African region. He talked about political tension caused by February’s controversial elections, in addition to security threats by rebels and terrorist groups such as Boko Haram. Africa Renewal’s Franck Kuwonu sat down with Mr. Fall after the briefing to discuss the situation in the region.
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The new face of the Sahel

The people of the Sahel are forging networks and collaborations that will help them contend with the challenges of insecurity and climate change that are besetting Africa’s most vulnerable regions.

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More women in politics

Once in a while, Africa produces talented women politicians who, despite the odds, overcome the obstacles that impede their success in the political arena.

Some of the African women who have shattered the glass ceiling include Liberia’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; former president of Malawi, Joyce Banda; Mauritius’s president, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim; and former interim president of the Central African Republic, Catherine Samba-Panza.

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African airlines wait for open skies

Since relocating to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) two years ago, Firmin Agossou has had a variety of options when traveling home to Benin. Employed in the eastern city of Goma, he often returns to Cotonou to spend time with his family.

The quickest way would be by car from Goma to Kigali and from there take a five-hour direct flight by RwandAir to Benin, Mr. Agossou told Africa Renewal.

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Appointments

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka of South Africa as Executive Director of UN Women for a further term of four years. Before her role at UN-Women, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka worked with women and girls within civil society, as well as focused on political and economic rights and girls’ education.  She was the first female deputy president of South Africa and had earlier served as a cabinet minister.

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Africa’s app-based taxis battle Uber over market share

Until recently, public transportation in Cairo, Freetown, Lagos, Nairobi and many other African cities was chaotic and accident prone. The mostly unreliable local taxicabs did not alleviate the situation. But Uber’s entry into the continent could be changing the narrative.

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Philanthropists join forces to fund Africa’s cash-strapped health sector

In the 2017 World Happiness Report by Gallup, African countries score poorly. Of the 150 countries on the list, the Central African Republic, Tanzania and Burundi rank as the unhappiest countries in the world.

Some of the factors driving unhappiness are the poor state of the continent’s health care systems, the persistence of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, and the growth of lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, heart disease and diabetes.

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An integrated Africa: A boon to the private sector

Can developing nations thrive in a global economy without a global, collective mind-set? This is a question every developing economy must ponder if it plans to have its economy scaled up and stay up.

International organisations such as the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Monetary Fund affirm that for sustainable and collective growth to happen in a globalized era, large African economies must remove the walls separating them from the continent’s underdeveloped economies.

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Africa on the road to industrial progress

As the director general of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Li Yong leads a specialised agency that promotes industrial development, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability. Recently in New York, Mr. Yong took part in a special meeting on “innovation in infrastructure development and sustainable industrialization” in developing countries and countries with special needs. He spoke with Africa Renewal’s Kingsley Ighobor on a range of issues pertaining to Africa’s industrialization.
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Alternative financing strategies to boost small businesses in Africa

A few years ago, more than half a century after the concept was first proposed, the government of Côte d’Ivoire completed construction of the Henri Konan Bédié Bridge, a span over the Ébrié Lagoon linking the north and south of Abidjan, the country’s main city. The project became a reality after the government received development bank and private capital financing.

Similarly, the Dakar-Diamniado Highway in Senegal, although a public structure, was built and is being operated by private companies.

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Global companies give Africa a second look

When travelling abroad for work and looking for accommodation, Joe Eyango, a Cameroonian living in the US, considers two factors: convenient transportation from the airport and around the city and reliable Internet access. He is a university professor and wants to be able to jet in, hit the ground running, make his presentation and zoom off to another destination in a day or two.

Mr. Eyango has been to various countries in Africa for business and work but has reasons for preferring South Africa.

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Partnerships provide a lifeline for cash-strapped countries

South Africa and Nigeria may be Africa’s biggest economies, according to the International Monetary Fund, but thanks to public private partnerships (PPPs), Morocco, Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire and a few other smaller countries can boast world-class infrastructure.

In an article published in the August 2016 issue of the African Journal of Management Research, authors Bernadine J. Dykes and Carla D. Jones described PPPs as “cooperative arrangements between governments and multinational corporations that are created to finance, construct and manage infrastructural projects.”

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Partnerships giving Africa a new look

The private sector in Africa is playing a crucial role in the continent’s economic development—more than it did a decade ago.

Following deep shortfalls in national budgets, African governments are turning to public-private partnerships (PPPs) to bridge the financing gap. Foreign investments supported by collaborative co-financing with development finance institutions offer the prospect of necessary capital to finance industries, build infrastructure, provide social amenities and create jobs.

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