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The HACSA Summit is the flagship international conference of The Heritage and Cultural Society of Africa (HACSA), a non-profit NGO based in Accra, Ghana. The HACSA Summit 2019 will kick off at the prestigious Kempinski Hotel from 5th to 11th August, with a full week of debate, learning, commemoration, celebration, networking and heritage tours under the theme 400 Years On: Legacy, Communities, Innovation.

A successful launch of the event took place in April and was attended by the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, The Honourable Barbara Oteng-Gyasi MP and other notable personalities from both public and private sector institutions. The Summit will examine the 400-year legacy of the trans-Atlantic trade in enslaved African people. It aims to link, reunite and reconcile affected communities and share examples of innovation and creative strategies to overcome its persisting negative effects. The HACSA Summit 2019 will coincide with and is endorsed by Ghana’s National ‘Year of Return’, which symbolically marks the 400th anniversary since enslaved Africans arrived in the US and invites the African Diaspora back home. The Summit is organised under the patronage of UNESCO which has a mission to preserve the history and memory of the transatlantic slave trade within the context of the UNESCO Slave Route Project.

The Heritage and Cultural Society of Africa, HACSA is a volunteer-led, non-profit, non-partisan, non-governmental organisation and social enterprise founded by Ambassador Johanna Odonkor Svanikier, Ghana’s former Ambassador to France, Portugal, UNESCO and La Francophonie. HACSA’s mission is to highlight the importance of heritage and culture for sustainable socio-economic development and improved standards of living in Africa. Their work is in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Targets, including promoting gender equality, job creation, economic growth and the preservation of heritage sites. HACSA believes that the continent should take advantage of its rich and diverse cultural resources in its quest for economic development. HACSA’s goals include showcasing Africa excellence in Africa and the diaspora and promoting African-made goods and services.

This event will bring together Heads of State, opinion leaders, practitioners, academics and participants from Africa and the diaspora to have open and meaningful debates about learning from the past for the future development of the continent. An impressive lineup of prominent personalities including several high profile women have confirmed to speak. These include the Vice-President of Liberia,

H.E. Jewel Howard Taylor; Ghana’s First Lady, H.E Rebecca Akufo-Addo; former President of Ghana, H.E John Agyekum Kufour, Former Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Prof. Arthur Mutambara; Former Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Congo, Ambassador Henri Lopes; Partner and MD of Goldman Sachs, Lisa Opoku; Deputy Mayor of Bordeaux, Pierre de Gaétan Njikam; E-Commerce Pioneer and CEO of Overstock.com, Patrick Byrne; Impact Investor & Board Member of the Africa Centre, Dana Reed.

The Summit will focus on three sub-themes - Legacy, Communities and Innovation. It will be a unique opportunity to bring people together, creating a valuable global network of Africans from the Diaspora including African-Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, Afro-Europeans and those who interested in reconnecting and and exploring Africa’s amazing potential and opportunities.

HACSA has partnered with educational, youth and diaspora organisations such as UNESCO, the University of Ghana, Oxford University Africa Society, Blue Skies College, MEST Africa and Future of Ghana. The event will provide investment, inspiration and opportunities for mentorship by luminaries across different fields and industries from around the world.

The Summit will include panels made up of descendants of the renowned enslaved African-American Venture Smith, descendants of the founder of Barclays Bank and the enslaved African families they liberated, an Innovation, Wall Street Bankers discussing the transformative potential of fin-tech in Africa, a Trade and Investment Expo, an archaeological exhibition of objects salvaged from the Marine Drive construction site by the Department of Archaeology of the University of Ghana, film screenings, a Gala dinner dance showcasing African food, fashion and music and guided tours of key heritage sites in Ghana.

A maths and physics teacher from a secondary school in a remote village in Kenya's Rift Valley has won the $1m Global Teacher Prize for 2019, organisers have said.

Peter Tabichi, who is giving away 80 percent of his salary to support poor students, received the prize at a ceremony on Sunday in Dubai, hosted by Hollywood star Hugh Jackman.

On winning the prize, Peter Tabichi said:

“Every day in Africa we turn a new page and a new chapter. Today is another day. This prize does not recognise me but recognises this great continent’s young people. I am only here because of what my students have achieved. This prize gives them a chance. It tells the world that they can do anything.

“As a teacher working on the front line I have seen the promise of its young people – their curiosity, talent, their intelligence, their belief. Africa’s young people will no longer be held back by low expectations. Africa will produce scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs whose names will be one day famous in every corner of the world. And girls will be a huge part of this story.

“I believe science and technology can play a leading role in unlocking Africa’s potential. We all know that scientific discovery and innovation fuel progress, facilitate development and can tackle issues such as food insecurity, water shortages and climate change.

“It’s morning in Africa. The skies are clear. The day is young and there is a blank page waiting to be written. This is Africa’s time.”

Peter Tabichi, who is also a Franciscan brother teaches at a rural Kenyan school in Pwani Village, with only one computer, poor internet and a student-teacher ratio of 58:1.

Nearly all his students are from poor families, and almost a third of them are orphans or have only one parent.

Tabichi gets online educational content by visiting internet cafes and using them offline in class, according to his profile from the Varkey Foundation.

Despite teaching in a school with only one desktop computer with an intermittent connection, Peter uses ICT in 80% of his lessons to engage students, visiting internet cafes and caching online content to be used offline in class. Through making his students believe in themselves, Peter has dramatically improved his pupils’ achievement and self-esteem.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulated Tabichi in a video message, saying "your story is the story of Africa, a young continent bursting with talent".

 

By: Ebenezer Sasu

 

 

ROHINGYA REFUGEES EMOTIONAL PLEA TO THE WORLD

The seventh annual Global Education & Skills Forum (GESF 2019), a Varkey Foundation initiative, opened at The Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai, UAE, with an emotional plea by Rohingyas to support the education of refugee children, whose only hope for the future rests on it.

Speaking on the first day of the Forum, Ahmed Ullah, organiser of peace rallies and co-writer of ‘I Am Rohingya’ and Zainab Arkani, who runs the world’s first Rohingya school in Canada, said ensuring the education of the children is the only way forward to rebuild their lives.

Ahmed Ullah, who was born in a refugee camp following earlier purges by the government, made it to Canada in 2009. He is now a youth coordinator of the Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative.

"I am begging every single one of you... you can change those lives. I am proof that refugees can do anything as long as you give them a chance," he told an audience at the Atlantis complex on Saturday.

“They just want an opportunity to contribute to society."


The Rohingya people are a Muslim minority group residing in the western state of Rakhine, Myanmar, formerly known as Arakan. The religion of this ethnic group is a variation of the Sunni religion. The Rohingya people are considered "stateless entities", as the Myanmar government does not recognize them as an ethnic group.

Thus, they lack legal protection from the Government of Myanmar, are regarded as refugees from Bangladesh, and face strong hostility in the country. The have been described as one of the most persecuted people on earth.

In 2017, more than 700,000 ethnic Rohingya were driven out of their homes in Rakhine province. Many settled in the town of Cox's Bazar, just over the Bangladesh border, in what the UN says is among the densest concentrations of refugees today.

By: Ebenezer Sasu

 

The seventh annual Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF 2019), a Varkey Foundation initiative, to be staged at The Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai, UAE on Saturday 23 - Sunday 24 March, will focus on the

theme ‘Who is changing the world?’

The two-day forum will be attended by Global educational leaders and leading personalities from the public, private, social, entertainment and sports arenas, including over five former Presidents and Prime Ministers and 40 Education Ministers.

Among the key speakers spearheading sessions are Julius Maada Bio, President of Sierra Leone, Juan Manuel Santos, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former President of Colombia; Bana al-Abed, the Syrian

schoolgirl whose moving Twitter messages brought home to the world the horror of the siege of Aleppo; and Matteo Renzi, former Prime Minister of Italy.

Other change-makers include Steven Pinker, the world renowned Canadian psychologist, Mark Pollock, the first blind man to run to the South Pole, Kennedy ODede, a social entrepreneur that combats urban poverty and gender equality in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya and Mina Guli, a passionate water advocate and ultra runner.

Commenting on the summit, Founder of the Varkey Foundation and the Global Education & Skills Forum, Sunny Varkey said: “By sharing the stories of grassroots activists, campaigners, philanthropists, tech developers and many more, we can have a much smarter debate about how to solve challenges on a global scale. “Our fervent hope is that education leaders gathered at GESF 2019 will be able to learn from these pioneers to help make the change needed to give every child their birthright: a good education”.

The climax of the GESF will be the award ceremony of the US $1 million Global Teacher Prize 2019 on Sunday 24th March. This is the fifth time the prize will be awarded to one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession. And for the very first time, on the eve of the Global Teacher Prize ceremony, the Varkey Foundation will hold ‘The Assembly: A Global Teacher Prize Concert’ as a joyful ‘thank you’ to teachers all around the world for the unsung work they do every day.

 

By: Ebenezer Sasu

Education Philanthropy Summit slated for March 22 in Dubai

More than 50 of the world’s leading grant-making foundations involved in education will meet in Dubai on the eve of the Varkey Foundation’s Global Education & Skills Forum to discuss some of the most pressing issues in education philanthropy and share their expertise and experiences.

The summit, in partnership with Co-Impact and Bernard Van Leer Foundation, will be chaired by Vikas Pota, Chairman of the Varkey Foundation.

It will provide an opportunity for attendees to share experience on how the programme has impacted lives of the youth. Workshops on a wide range of issues, including early childhood development, education in emergencies, funding research, innovative school models, grant-making, collaboration and advocacy will also be held.

The President of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Julius Maada Bio, who campaigned on the development of human capital as his first priority, will join the discussion to give his perspective on the discussion.

Commenting on the summit, Chairman of the Varkey Foundation and Chair of the Philanthropy Summit, Vikas Pota, said: “We are honoured to have President Bio join us in our discussions and I applaud his spirit of openness and dialogue on this crucial issue for our time. Through exchanging views with the President, whose country was put under such strain by the Ebola crisis, we can understand how grant-making foundations can help support public education systems, often, in extremely testing circumstances.

I would also like to thank all the foundations that are joining us in Dubai, who will give us a rare opportunity for a focused debate between grant-makers on how we can use our resources to make an outsized impact on global challenges such as those of the SDG’s.

We want these foundations to share the different pathways they are taking to reach their goals and to take stock on what has and hasn’t worked. This sharing of experiences will improve our understanding and better equip us all to achieve the systematic transformation we are looking for”.

The summit recognises that to solve the crisis in global education, government action alone will not be enough. It is estimated that more than 260 million children are out of school globally.

In order to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal of quality education for all, 69 million teachers will need to be recruited by 2030. To meet these serious challenges, the world’s major philanthropic organizations must come together and learn from one another the most effective ways of improving education outcomes and ensuring global access to quality education, hence, the summit.

By: Ebenezer Sasu

South African business confidence dipped in December on lower exports, fewer new vehicle sales and a decline in planned construction, a survey showed on Thursday.

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (SACCI) monthly business confidence index (BCI) fell to 95.2 in December from 96.1 in November.

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Seven of the survey’s 13 sub-indices had a negative impact in December, the business body said in a statement.

“The task of restoring the business and investor climate remains a major challenge,” SACCI said, describing the current business climate as “hesitant”.

After a strong start to 2018, business confidence wavered for much of the past year as planned land and mining reforms unnerved investors.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, who faces a critical election this year, is trying to revive the economy after a decade of stagnation, but he has been frustrated by fiscal constraints and infighting in the ruling African National Congress.

“The general assessment is that the present-day administration acknowledges the huge challenges ahead and the role a sound economy could play in addressing it,” SACCI said.

 Source (Reuters)

MTN Group, Africa’s biggest mobile operator, reported a 1.1 percent rise in quarterly user base on Monday, helped partly by strong performances in Nigeria, its largest but increasingly problematic market.

The company said its user base increased by 2.5 million subscribers to 225.4 million users in the quarter ended September, and mobile money customers grew by 1.7 million to 25.8 million users.

Mobile money customers charge their phones with cash, and send it to friends or family via the short message service. These counterparties can then make similar transfers or cash in their credits with pre-approved agents, such as merchants or banks.

MTN is embroiled in a $10.1 billion dispute with the west African country of Nigeria, which has accused the company of illegally sending money abroad.

The telecom firm, which makes about a third of its annual core profit in Nigeria, said the allegations are without merit.

Nigeria’s central bank on Aug. 29 ordered the South African firm and its lenders to bring $8.1 billion back into Nigeria that it alleges the company sent abroad in breach of foreign exchange regulations. MTN also faces a $2 billion tax demand from the country’s attorney general.

“We continue to engage with relevant authorities on these matters. We remain resolute that MTN Nigeria has not committed any offences and will continue to defend this position vigorously,” MTN said while posting the quarterly results.

Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips (Reuters)

Dubai-based Emaar Hospitality Group has signed a deal with the Kalyan Group to manage its landmark property in Sub-Saharan Africa, Address Hotel 2 Février Lomé Togo.

Formerly known as Hôtel 2 Février, Address Hotel 2 Février Lomé Togo is set in a 30-storey tower that is 102 metres high, offering spectacular views of the city and beyond. It is in walking distance of ministerial offices, embassies, banks, corporate offices and 4 miles from the Lomé-Tokoin International Airport.

The company said the Address Hotel 2 Février Lomé Togo will open doors to welcome guests shortly following the rebranding of the property, which was first established in 1980.

The hotel will have 256 rooms and suites and 64 serviced apartments as well as an array of themed restaurants, meeting venues and other attractions.

With free high-speed WiFi, spectacular meeting and event facilities including a ballroom, congress hall and auditorium, luxury spa, open air swimming pool, concierge services and retail shops,

Address Hotel 2 Février Lomé Togo will serve as a refreshing getaway for business and leisure guests. Its presidential suites and apartments are ideal for high profile guests, with features including expansive living rooms and 10-seater dining areas as well as a range of in-room amenities.

Address Hotel 2 Février Lomé Togo is a hotel project under Address Hotels + Resorts, which has six operational hotels in Dubai that are popular among African guests to the city.

Togo marks the sixth international destination for the hotel brand that has upcoming hotel projects in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Bahrain and The Maldives, in addition to several new openings in the UAE.

The management agreement was signed by Olivier Harnisch, CEO of Emaar Hospitality Group, and Ashok Gupta, CEO of Kalyan Hospitality Development Togo SAU, and Founder and CEO of Kalyan Group, which owns the hotel.

Olivier Harnisch said: “Our management agreement to operate Address Hotel 2 Février Lomé Togo is a significant landmark in our expansion to Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Togo is also strengthening its tourism sector with the goal of increasing the share of the industry from 2 to 7 per cent by 2020 and investing infrastructure upgrades and boosting the industrial sector.”

Ashok Gupta said: “Address Hotel 2 Février Lomé Togo is a prestigious asset in our real estate and hospitality investment portfolio; being entrusted by the Republic of Togo with what is widely regarded as the ‘Jewel of West Africa’.

“A truly historic hotel that also serves as Togo’s landmark, Address Hotel 2 Février Lomé Togo is envisaged to bring a new dimension to hospitality services through our management agreement with Emaar Hospitality Group. Address Hotels + Resorts has demonstrated clear industry leadership through its committed approach to enriching the guest experience. Address Hotel 2 Février Lomé Togo will add to the pride of Togo and serve as a referral point for the hotel industry.”

Emaar Hospitality Group now has 13 operational hotels and three serviced residences in Dubai under Address Hotels + Resorts; Vida Hotels and Resorts, the upscale lifestyle hotel and residences brand; and Rove Hotels, a contemporary midscale hotel and residences brand.

 

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