Africa In Focus

Africa In Focus: "The mainstream thinking now is that Africa is different and we could get it right if we want. The choice is fully ours, and it is now time for us to define what we want."

African Development Bank (AFDB) President, Dr. Donald Kaberuka.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Nigerian Social Video, PublicVine StartUp Gets Over $5m Investment From US Media Company


PublicVine, Nigeria’s version of YouTube, has secured an over $5m investment from US-based corporation, Anderson Media ahead of its global launch in June this year.
Founded by Nigerian-born entrepreneur, Nam Mokwunye; the US-based social video platform was created to rival the likes of YouTube, iTunes and Netflix.

While it aims to provide additional benefit to users by offering video content owners and distributors the opportunity to be paid by viewers – a different offering from its competitors’; the new online social video platform plans to revolutionise video content use and distribution globally.

“What PublicVine will be doing is to present film makers, video vendors and consumers a marketplace for them to transact business. It is an online social video marketplace that enables video vendors and their consumers to connect, transact, and get paid,” Mokwunye said in a statement released by his company.

He explained that Publicvine would make it possible for video vendors in sub-Saharan Africa to open their own online video stores to rent and sell their music videos, documentaries, and films to consumers globally.

“We have seen the local film industry grow astronomically and observed that latent potential for further growth. PublicVine believes that with our online marketplace, greater market can be created for the country as vendors get opportunity to own online distribution channels on PublicVine.”

Mokwunye says Anderson’s Chairman, Joel Anderson sees PublicVine as being “the future, with CDs and DVDs going under."

With launching set to commence with Nigeria and South Africa, the CEO said the platform is currently in talk with several telecommunication companies on a marketing partnership that would make PublicVine available to their (telecom companies’) subscription base within South Africa and into the rest of Africa.

The firm has already started video vendor registration in Nigeria due to the huge potential that is existent in the market.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

DHL Sees Growth Opportunities In Africa Financial Service Sector

DHL says it is seeing robust growth from its financial services customers in Africa and while the banking sector continues to play a significant role in economic development for the continent, the sector also fueled DHL’s expansion into Africa in 1978 when global banks needed to get documentation to Africa.

According to Sumesh Rahavendra of DHL Express SSA, the continent’s growing economy, increased political stability and willingness to trade with international partners presents a significant opportunity for financial service entities to expand their customer base and derive revenue from traditional banking products.

Rahavendra adds that retail banking, in particular, is a key focus for both international and regional banks, and requires these entities to extend their footprint and make financial services products available in regions previously unexplored. According to KPMG’s 2014 Financial Services in Africa report, retail banking in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 15% between now and 2020, bringing the sector’s contribution to the continent’s collective GDP to 19% from an estimated 11% in 2009.  

According to Rahavendra, opportunities for financial service companies moving into Africa include trade finance for corporate customers and retail banking for private individuals, which appear to be the most immediate needs in the region.  “Retail banking in particular is a key opportunity, as the demand for formal banking services that enable the provision of credit and loans for vehicles and homes are growing. This can be attributed to the burgeoning middle class in Africa, which according to the African Development Bank, has tripled over the past three decades to 355 million or more than 34% of the continent’s population. Whilst interest rates remain high in most countries across the continent, having access to structured banking products, and credit in particular, enables economic growth.”

“There is also a trend where multinational banking institutions partner with local entities who are familiar with the region, which allows them to meet the needs of their customers across diverse regions.  Similarly, having access to partners that are familiar with the continent is the key to success for many banks expanding into the region. “It is necessary to partner with suppliers that have the security, flexibility and reliability to offer quality and reliable service, despite the many challenges that the region may present. 

“Being open to opportunities in historically unattractive countries is also key to success in Africa.  Whilst perceived risks may be high, the rewards are equally so since Africans are discerning consumers and readily pay for quality products and services.” 

Rahavendra explains that despite the many opportunities, financial service providers are also likely to experience challenges in the region. “Customs clearance can present challenges in some markets, with varying regulations and tariffs that may impact the movement of physical goods such as IT equipment, marketing material and bank cards.  Understanding these regulations, anticipating the impact of customs clearance and the related customs charges such as VAT and duties will assist the sometimes difficult processes.”

“Despite new technology to enable document transmission, real document shipment numbers within the region continue to grow year-on-year. The financial services industry therefore continues to make a significant contribution to our overall shipment volumes, and investment in innovative solutions for this sector remains a priority for DHL Express across Sub-Saharan Africa and across the world,” concludes Rahavendra.

 Source: Press Release

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Happy Easter Nigerians! The #VAPPBill Must Not Outlive This Legislative Assembly

Happy Easter to all Christians!  May the joy and peace attached to the Easter celebration be with us, now and always (Amen).

However as we celebrate the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is important to bring to fore the realities of our generation.

While some are celebrating the Easter with fun-fare and love, others are in pain as a result of the present injustice that could have been averted. One of such is the silent cries inflicted through sexual violence.

Sexual violence includes rape, sodomy and sex abuse, while violence against women comes in different forms such as battery, rape, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, sexual harassment, human trafficking and harmful widowhood rites.

Rape, amongst other sexual violence presents grave physical, psychological & reproductive health consequences for victims, families & communities. 

In fact, you must have observed that cases of violence against women and minor have been on the increase in recent times.

According to the Ipas media tracking reports, a minimum of 3,800 rape cases has been reported in the print media in the last 3 years.

The truth is that perpetrators of rape cut across class, status and religious orientation. Just as the prevalence of rape cut across ethnicity and tribe, so does rape victims cut across different ages.

In Nigeria (and perhaps in other parts of the world), rape of minors and the elderly is on a 
startling increase and a good percentage of rape is by acquaintances & trusted relations are far higher than rape by strangers.

Rape presents grave physical, psychological & reproductive health consequences for victims, families & communities.

In a study by Ipas in Kano, 1 out of every 3 gynaecologic presentations at the hospital was a rape case. While the age-range of survivors was one to forty-five years; assault was either penile (86%) or finger (14%).

Results also showed that 41% of victims were aged 1-9. While those aged 10-14 years made up 31 percent; more than one-third (37%) of the survivors had sexually transmitted infections while 21 percent presented had varying degrees of injuries in their genitals.
 In a similar study conducted in Benin City, 48 percent of rape survivors were less than 13 years of age. (Olusanya et al).

Domestic violence afflicts women in all social strata and geographical location. However, battered women who live in poverty or those who do not have their own incomes, have fewer options. These women often leaves them either staying with the abuser or taking longer to leave.

Painfully, Nigeria currently has a very poor legal framework to address violence against persons. Existing laws against violence in Nigeria are restrictive and obsolete.

An example is the Section 55 of the Penal Code Penal Code provision that allows a man to chastise his wife in order to correct her, so far he does not inflict grievous bodily harm.

To address the ugly trend, there is need for the speedy passage of the VAPP Bill by the Nigeria Senate.

VAPP Bill is an acronym for Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill. It is an amalgam of 9 different Bills before the National Assembly during the 5th and 6th Assembly.  

The VAPP Bill seeks to eradicate violence in the public and private spaces.

It was successfully passed by the House of Reps. On March 15, 2013, but now the attention is on the Senate where it just went through 1st Reading on March 18, 2014.

Add your voice today. Support the passage of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Bill.

Tweet at your senator. Email and SMS them. Remind them that we have a duty to protect our people.

Say No to all sort of sexual violence. Practice this and get the word out.

The VAPP Bill must not outlive this Legislative Assembly.

                        Photo: #Choice4Life

P.S: Join the conversation on social network and advocate for the reform of our (Nigerian) abortion laws to empower victims of rape & incest to make informed decisions. You too can add your voice to this campaign by following, sharing and acting (positively) on the hash-tags on social media networks:  #DoSomething #Choice4Life #PassVAPPBill.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Nigeria Is now Africa’s fastest Growing Aviation Business -Demuren

Few weeks after its economic rebasing shoot it up to become Africa’s largest economy, Chief Executive Officer of EAN Aviation, Segun Demuren, has declared Nigeria as the fastest growing  aviation business in Africa with more new and pre-owned aircraft delivery than South Africa as at 2013.

Speaking at the recently concluded second Nigerian Business Aviation Conference organised and hosted by EAN Aviation in Lagos, Demuren noted that the country’s private jet fleet is larger than the commercial aircraft fleet, adding that “Growth has been driven predominantly by the oil and gas industry however other sectors including finance, manufacturing, telecoms and agriculture are all contributing to a market which is set to grow by 20 per cent this year.”

The conference which welcomed over 120 delegates, about 20 per cent more than last year was designed to provide a platform for analysing and reviewing Nigerian business aviation and to stimulate discussion about what is needed to support continual, sustainable development.

Demuren however said that despite the recorded growth, the maintenance and service support still remains a major challenge. Other challenges identified include the fact that there are no accurate figures for the amount of jets operating in Nigeria and any aircraft put on a 5N (Nigerian) registry will lose asset value by as much as 25 per cent yet earn higher insurance premiums, up to 35 per cent or even higher in some cases because of the operating environment.

However, Captain Nogle Meggison, Chairman of the Airline Operators Committee argued that the government has been supporting expansion as a result of the removed import duties on new jets; the signed Cape Town convention reassuring lessors about asset security; investment in new infrastructure including a private jet terminal that opened last year in the political centre Abuja as well as the no-time restriction on the amount of time a foreign registered private jet can stay on Nigerian soil.

Nevertheless, Melanie Humphries Head of Aviation Corporate and International Banking Investec said while authorities seem to be making progress, aviation financing doesn't seem to be following suit as "Most aircraft in Nigeria are cash bought."

She posits that flexibility, partnerships with local banks and simple financial engineering could provide solutions to the lack of aviation finance currently available.

“Aviation is tough and locals need to take it more seriously, participate in its development, and need to maintain a long term vision recognising that it takes investment in time and money to make sure that we grow this vibrant and vital subsector of the economy," Demuren concluded.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Michelle Faul Becomes AP’s Nigeria Bureau Chief

Zimbabwe’s Michelle Faul has been appointed The Associated Press Bureau Chief in Nigeria.

As the Nigeria Bureau chief, Faul will be responsible for directing AP coverage of Africa's biggest oil producer and economic powerhouse as it prepares for elections early next year, a statement announcing her appointment reads.

Prior to her new appointment, Faul  has covered major stories of Africa over the past three decades including the 2009 elections that brought Jacob Zuma to the presidency, the police killings of striking miners in 2012, an event that had echoes of apartheid, and Nelson Mandela's declining health. She has also covered the great famine in Ethiopia, civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone and the transformation of many West African countries from military dictatorships amid widespread pro-democracy demonstrations.

Announcing on Faul’s appointment, AP Africa Editor Andrew Selsky describe the new chief as a wonderful writer and a meticulous reporter with deep experience who has a knack for building sources whose skill along with her ability to grasp the nuances of events, will benefit AP's worldwide audience as she explains what is happening in Africa's most populous nation.

Faul joined the AP in Zimbabwe in 1983 but left her home country after two years under threat of arrest for her coverage of mass killings by the government. She later reported on East Africa from Nairobi, Kenya, for two years before moving to the AP's International Desk in New York City in 1988. The following year she transferred to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, to cover West Africa.
Her first official visit to Nigeria for the AP was in 1990 when she wrote about how the oil industry was polluting the land and impoverishing residents of the Niger Delta.

Before joining the news agency, 57 years old Faul had previously worked for the British Broadcasting Corp., Agence France-Presse and The Sunday Mail and Herald newspapers of Zimbabwe.

Faul has won an Associated Press Managing Editors' award for Enterprise Reporting for her coverage of unrest in eastern Congo in 2009 and for coverage of violence in Ivory Coast in 2011.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Meeting Society Needs: Facts and Consequences You Need To Know About Unsafe Abortion In Nigeria

“Women are not dying    because of diseases we cannot treat. They are dying because societies have yet to make the decision that their lives are worth saving.”
-Mahmoud Fathalla, MD, PhD (Ipas Board Member, Former President of FIGO).


What is Abortion?
According to World Health Organisation; “An abortion is the discontinuation of a pregnancy before the attainment of viability.” These can either be Spontaneous (nature)/ Induced; Safe/ Unsafe or Complete or incomplete.

What is Unsafe Abortion?
Unsafe abortion is defined as a procedure for terminating unwanted pregnancy either by persons lacking the necessary skills or in an environment lacking the minimal medical standards or both (WHO).


Heavy Toll (Consequences) Of Unsafe Abortion (especially in Nigeria)
·         Globally, induced abortion results in 70,000 deaths. That is about 13% of maternal mortality. Of the 42million induced abortions done annually, 95% occur in developing countries including Nigeria.
·         On the average, every African woman will experience at least one unsafe abortion in her reproductive life time.
·         Maternal mortality due to induced abortion is caused mainly due to complications following unsafe abortion and 100 women die every day in Africa alone from unsafe abortion.
·         Nigeria is responsible for one-third (1/3) of deaths from Unsafe Abortion in Africa – bringing the number of abortions that occur in Nigeria annually to 760,000.
·         Young people contribute more than half of the 760,000 unsafe abortions taking place annually in Nigeria.
·         By the age of 18 years, over 60% of adolescents in Nigeria have had sexual intercourse. First sex is often experimentation, and adolescents usually do not take any protective measure. While 80% of adolescents and young people aged 15-24 do not use any form of contraception, the implication in usually unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion, complications and death.
·         One in four women (25%) having abortions in Nigeria experience serious complications which are often-threatening. For support in handling post abortion complication please go to any nearby hospital.
·         More than 140,000 women are hospitalised for abortion complications in Nigeria and only 9% (about one third of those with complications) seek treatment.
·         Up to 10,000 maternal deaths annually in Nigeria due to unsafe abortions.
·         Only 44% of poor women, compared with 66% of non-poor women, procure abortion from a medically trained professional.
·         Not all unwanted pregnancies occur from promiscuity & dangerous behavior. Some cases of unwanted pregnancies occur from rape, incest, child molestation and women trafficking. More than 32,000 pregnancies result from rape every year.
·         Victims of rape, incest & trafficking are forced to have the child + live with the psychological trauma. Those who attempt to abort go to quacks because the abortion law in Nigeria is too restrictive.
·         Rape and other forms of sexual violence is rampant in Nigeria. Incest not often reported but it happens. In both cases, the woman needs SUPPORT to make INFORMED CHOICES.
·         Restriction of Choices in unwanted pregnancies arising from RAPE and INCEST promotes Baby Factories and child trafficking.
·         Giving victims of rape & incest the power of choice is pro-life. Victims of sexual violence, rape & incest should have access to safe legal abortion services.
·         Nigeria’s abortion laws are pre-colonial (1861), out dated, and insensitive to maternal health issues of today. The only legal indication for abortion in Nigeria (Penal & Criminal codes) is to save the woman’s life and to be done by ANY PERSON. Women who do not fall under this indication like rape & incest victims, are left to their own devices. Unsafe abortion is thus a silent & persistent pandemic affecting mostly the economically weak.
·         Nigeria’s current abortion law allows ANY PERSON, trained or untrained to legally perform abortion if it is to save a woman’s life. Should Nigeria continue to use a COLONIAL ABORTION LAW that endangers lives of women 54 years after independence? NO
·         Consequences of unsafe abortion usually include infertility, chronic pelvic pain, loss of uterus (hysterectomy), death, family disharmony, stigmatization and loss of self esteem. There is a need to reform abortion laws in Nigeria to save lives.
·         Decriminalization of abortion in pregnancies arising from RAPE and INCEST would save many lives. The evidence is clear. If laws don’t change, thousands of women & girls will continue to risk their lives & health each year.

How To Help:

                            Photo: #Choice4Life

Join the conversation on social network and advocate for the reform of our (Nigerian) abortion laws to empower victims of rape & incest to make informed decisions. You too can add your voice to this campaign by following, sharing and acting (positively) on the hash-tags:
 #DoSomething #Choice4Life #PassVAPPBill on social media networks.

In doing this, you can also lend your voice by asking legislators (Senators) to support the passage of the VAPP Bill into law which seeks to eradicate violence in the public and private spaces. When passed into law, the bill will help to abolish all obsolete laws relating to the subject matter such as rape, assault etc and bringing them into consonance with present realities. The bill also makes provision for the rights of victims of Sexual violence in accordance with the provision of the Maputo Protocol “Every woman has the right to enjoy reproductive rights including the right to medical abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest and where the continued pregnancy endangers the life or the physical, mental, psychological or emotional health of the mother.”

Ask your legislators (Senators) to support the passage of this bill into law.

                     Photo: Help to Stop Rape. Support informed choices of victims. #Choice4Life     
Meanwhile, YOU (Individual, Society and Government) can also #Dosomething by:

·         Informing youth about health promoting sexual and reproductive behavior.
·         Raising awareness about sexual and reproductive matters within your circle.
·         Increasing young people’s ability to communicate, negotiate health promoting sexual and reproductive choices.
·         Increasing the ability to correctly access sexual risk and to adopt appropriate protective actions.
·         Supporting the passage of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill (#VAPPBill) 
·         Providing sex education in all secondary schools and make contraceptive services more accessible to young people.
·         Reforming school policies so that school-age girls can return to school to complete their education following the delivery of a baby. #Choice4Life
·         Helping to end the criminalization/stigmatization of Abortion in situations that it may help to save lives.
·         Supporting the review of abortion laws to accommodate victims of sexual violence (rape) & incest.
               Photo: It's her right to say no,
 Thanks to Nigeria’s #Choice4Life Advocacy Team for compiling this statistics.