LEC Boss Heads TRANSCO CLSG Technical Committee

The Managing Director of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), Mr. Ernest R. Hghes, was recently appointed as the head of the TRANSCO CLSG (Cote d’Voire-Liberia-Sierra Leone-Guinea) Technical Committee,at a recent meeting of Board of Directors.

The meet was held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire at the Sofitel Abidjan Hotel Ivoire from December 11-13, 2017, bringing together Board members from the four CLSG countries and Secretary General of the West African Power Pool (WAPP).

The technical committee is responsible to review all technical issues relating to the implementing of CLSG projects in the four West African Countries and advise the board of directors. The appointment of Mr. Hughes will serve as a major boost for Liberia energy sector. Liberia will have a big say during the implementation of the CLSG project, which is to shortly commence.

Speaking recently in an exclusive interview, Mr. Hughes said he was very grateful for such preferment to serve as head of the TRANSCO CLSG technical committee by the Board of Directors and promised to ensure that all technical guidelines relating to the implementation of the project are followed. “I am very grateful for such opportunity to serve as head of the TRANSCO CLSG technical committee; I will use this opportunity to ensure that all technical guidelines are followed for the success of this project”, he said.

The CLSG project is aimed at addressing the energy deficit problem in the ECOWAS sub region. Predicated up this, the Heads of State agreed to set up a regional energy policy to promote a regional energy market and pool resources.

The West Africa Power Pool (WAPP) was created in 1999, with a master plan for priority regional energy projects, including the 1303-Kilometer power line project (225KV) linking Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea (CLSG Project). The project includes one (1) Control Center (SCADA) and twelve (12) substations, four (4) of which will be in Liberia, five (5) in Sierra Leone and two (2) in Guinea and one (1) in Cote d’Ivoire. In 2013, an International Treaty was signed by the Heads of States and ratified by the four parliaments, dedicated the creation of the Special Purpose, TRANSCO CLSG, a Supranational Company with Board of Directors and equally owned by the four national power utilities name CI-Engegies(Cote d’Ivoire), LEC (Liberia), EDSA (Sierra Leone) and EDG (Guinea).

 

Mandarin will strengthen ties, create opportunities

Paddy Attwell, Director of Communication at the Western Cape Education Department, responds: “We support the introduction of Mandarin in Western Cape schools, if schools choose to do so, and so long as it does not compromise the teaching of local languages.”

Attwell says the main benefit of learning a foreign language such as Mandarin is that it expands the world view of learners and empowers learners as global citizens.

He mentions that the Western Cape is experiencing a rapid increase in trade with China, and it therefore makes sense economically to empower young people to develop this relationship by learning more about Chinese language and culture.

“We have found that learning a foreign language such as Mandarin has helped learners to discover the joy of learning, which is central to successful education,” Attwell adds.

The Western Cape Town Education spokesman avers that it is in the interests of the Western Cape and the country generally to build positive relations with China, given the role the country is playing in international affairs. One way of doing this is to acquire a good understanding of Chinese language and culture, Attwell maintains.

So far, four schools in the Western Cape have registered Mandarin as a second additional language subject with the Western Cape Education Department.

According to Attwell, “Confucius Institutes at the Universities of Stellenbosch and Cape Town support Mandarin classes at about 28 sites, mostly schools, as far as we are aware. We do not have information on how many teachers may be involved.”

Attwell clarifies that South Africa has not yet included Mandarin as a subject for the National Senior Certificate, our Grade 12 qualification. Foreign languages registered for NSC examinations so far include Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telegu, Arabic, French, Italian, Spanish, Modern Greek, Portuguese, German, Hebrew, Urdu and Serbian, he explains.

Elijah Mhlanga, spokesperson for the Department of Basic Education, rejected the union’s criticism of Mandarin teaching. “We find it strange that there’s no opposition to the teaching of French, Portuguese, Latin, Greek, Arabic etc. Why is Mandarin targeted for criticism?”, he told  The Guardian in 2015.

Mhlanga added: “Why don’t you check how many South Africans go to China daily? What happens when they get there? They can’t speak the language and they struggle. Is it not an advantage to learn the language of the people you are doing business with? If there’s opposition, why do we have teachers taking up the opportunity of going to China to learn?”

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Soft Power

Chinese leader Xi Jinping said in 2014, “We should increase China’s soft power, give a good Chinese narrative, and better communicate China’s message to the world.”

Soft power, a term coined by Harvard University scholar Joseph S. Nye Jr. in 1990s, is the means by which a country gets other countries to “want what it wants.” Soft power is being interpreted from different perspectives.

China’s Confucius Institutes (CI) – government-funded centers for research and language teaching run by state agency Hanban – are leading China’s cultural diplomacy in dozens of African countries through Chinese language and cultural studies programs aimed at shaping public opinion and strengthening South-South cooperation. The actual impact of these efforts on some Africans’ views of China is being questioned.

Generally, South Africans are eager to learn  Mandarin. They believe that it is a contribution to globalisation. And so it will also deepen their country’s relations with China.

On the other hand, they are skeptical about the manner and form it is being introduced. Like the teachers’ union, views gathered suggest that parents should make the choice. There is a fear that prioritizing Mandarin over other languages could amount to another round of colonialism and imperialism in South Africa.

Views of South Africans suggest the need for the government to place more emphasis on people-to-people contacts in order to generate more inputs from all stakeholders. South Africa is already plagued by language and cultural differences in the aftermath of apartheid and colonialism.

John Bailey, an experienced and senior journalist at eNCA in South Africa, says the introduction of Mandarin is a fine idea because it will enable South Africans to interface with nearly 1.4 billion Chinese people. But Bailey contends that government’s failure to consult relevant stakeholders in the process appears as if it is China that is imposing things on them.

“The problem is not China. It is our leaders’ way of doing things. They fight for their own interest and whatsoever is discussed, they run with the implementation. So it is difficult to rule out the communication gap between the government and the people,” Bailey observes.

He sees China’s soft power working, using various platforms such as BRICS, G20 and One Belt One Road as well as increasing its trade with South Africa. What needs to be done is for South Africa and other African countries to demonstrate patriotism, he says.

On the matter of making Mandarin compulsory in schools, Bailey rules out the possibility. He says doing so would put other students at a disadvantage. “While many South Africans support Mandarin in schools, it will remain optional.”

This article was based on fieldwork in South Africa, supported by the Africa-China Reporting Project at the Journalism Department of the University of the Witwatersrand. Phillip de Wet, an associate editor of the Mail & Guardian newspaper in Johannesburg, mentored this fieldwork.

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What Can Liberia Learn From China’s Trade Zones; The Case of Kunshan Economic & Technological Development Zone

By Fredrick P. W. Gaye

The blossoming flowers and friendly weather in this part of China are just a symbol of how Kunshan serves as one of the fulcrums of China’s economic growth and development. Some Liberians may say that the country is not in the position now like China to establish special economic zones (SEZs) due to the lack of revenue backing.

However, what Liberians need is to be able to receive and make use of the technology and knowledge transfers with a clear and implementable vision. There are prospects for the country based on its natural resources. Furthermore, Liberia and China friendship has strengthened in recent years with serious growth in trade volume.

It is good to start somewhere. And for me, and others may agree, it is optimistic that the country will move on par with other developing countries if both governors and governed are willing to learn from countries the like China, that had experienced similar situations some years ago.

With the most-touted publicity in strengthening the private sector, fundamental activities such as establishing special economic zones, guided by special policies could serve as a foundation for making this sector vibrant.

Special economic zones are geographically designated trade areas that are used to attract foreign investors and boost industrialization. They generally have trade laws that differ from the rest of the country and companies are offered tax incentives to set up operations.

The People’s Republic of China (PRC), under its “Belt and Road” Initiative, is partnering with African countries to scale up industrialization on the continent in addition to China’s infrastructure development projects – the “Three Major Networks” of railway, road and regional aviation. I believe that China’s own experience in industrial development through the special economic zones offers valuable lessons.

Chinese former Ambassador to Liberia and Zambia, Zhou Yuxiao, in his article published in the CHINAFRICAN Magazine, urged African countries to be ready to receive the technology and knowledge transfers. “Africa can do what China has done; China’s today can be Africa’s tomorrow,” Amb. Zhou stated.

In 2016, during our (22 African journalists) tour to Jiangsu Province in Eastern China, we visited several economic zones and other institutions.

But the flourishing features of the Kunshan Economic & Technological Development Zone  (KETD), opening economic opportunities for foreigners, coupled with the historical periods of its reforms explained by authorities, made it a great lesson for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in general, and Liberia in specific.

Though it is in Jiangsu Province, Kunshan is situated in the Shanghai Economic Zone, with the metropolitan city Shanghai to the east and the renowned ancient city Suzhou to the west. .

Leading our tour in the different areas of the zone, official said KETD zone has a number of well-developed national-level functional zones, including a free trade zone, an opto-electronics industry park and an incubation park for Chinese overseas students. A number of other industry parks are also under development, including parks respectively dedicated to robotics, finance, creativity, advanced technology commercialization and food processing. These functional zones and industry parks are shaping a geographical distribution of economic activities characterized by “two axes, two belts, two cores and multiple parks”, which are increasingly facilitating city-industry integration.

By end of 2015, KETD had attracted 2,170 investment projects, with a total value of US$ 36.3 billion and registered capital of US$19.4 billion, from 47 countries and regions, including Europe, America, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

It hosts more than 10,000 domestic companies, with more than RMB 50 billion in registered capital, which concentrate in five pillar industries: electronics and information, optoelectronic display, precision machinery, equipment manufacturing and light industry. KETD has been successively honored as a national model in intellectual property-driven development and business incubation for overseas talent. It is also selected by the provincial government as a model in innovation and IT-industry integration and scores the highest in institutional innovation among national-level EDZs in China. For consecutive years, KETD has been ranked among the top four national-level EDZs by the Ministry of Commerce for its overall competitiveness.

The efforts of the Kunshan government is to ensure a stable and healthy economic and social development, and to consequently transform the city into what some traders called one of the best places to work, live and do business in China. As an open industrial and commercial metropolis, Kunshan has remained at the forefront of the nation’s reform and opening-up policy in the past decades.

Moreover, Kunshan has adopted a series of proactive policies in an strategic plan to develop a modern service industry as part of a drive to upgrade its industrial structure.

For example, the government has streamlined examination and approval procedures to better serve investors. All the applications are required to be examined within a time limit.

This new reform is in line with a circular issued by the General Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council, saying that China will ease the permanent resident permit application process for foreigners. “Qualification for residence should be flexible and pragmatic,” the circular noted.

Accordingly, KETD was first established in 1984. It was approved as a provincial-level economic development zone (EDZ) in 1991 and as a national-level EDZ in August 1992. Covering an area of 115 sq km, KETD is home to a population of 635,000. Since its birth, KETD has been liberalizing its ways and deepening reforms, taking the lead among its peers in economic diversification, functional innovation and EDZ urbanization.

China introduced special economic zones in the 1970s as part of its policy to open up to international trade. Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms became the turning point towards a market-oriented economy. A series of experiments, including the establishment of special economic zones, became the driving force for growth.

This inspired African countries and became the rationale to establish Chinese led-SEZs (special economic zones) in Egypt, Mauritius, Nigeria, Zambia and Ethiopia in the mid-2000s. More African countries are planning to establish special economic zones. In South Africa, the Special Economic Zones Act has been passed and ten selected.

About the author

Fredrick P. W. Gaye is IN PROFILE DAILY’s Editor for News & Editorial Services. Gaye is also a fellow of the China-Africa Press Center (CAPC) Annual Media and Cultural Exchange Fellowship 2016. He can be reached at: fgaye.inprofile@gmail.com

 

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NOBEL Liberia, Ecobank In Partnership For Money Transfer Service

Nobel Liberia, on  Wednesday, October 18, 2017, added on its list Ecobank as one its partnership in the Money Transfer service. Other partners of Nobel include Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) and International Bank (IB).

This partnership with Ecobank is the newest from efforts being made by Nobel Liberia management team with several Liberian banking institutions in order to create an easy access to Liberians wanting to receive money from the United States.

The program was attended by officials of both institutions including the Managing Director of Ecobank Liberia, Mr. George Mensah Asante who expressed thanks and appreciation to the management team of Nobel Liberia for the initiative to form partnership with Ecobank in the area of ‘Money Transfer Services’.

Asante said the initiative being exhibited by Nobel Liberia to establish Money Transfer services with banking institutions within Liberia must be lauded, and also assured Nobel  of his institution’s willingness to working with them.

For his part, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Noble Liberia, Jallah Kesselly, noted with keen interest in the growth and development of the Liberian economy, and further noted that his institution, the only Money Transfer Company that sends money in Liberia, but does not send money out of Liberia, adding, “We will like to keep money in Liberia, rather than sending money out of Liberia.”

He said his Company’s remittance service is the most convenient, cheap and notably the easier way for Liberians in the United States to send money back home to their friends and relatives.

Speaking further, Mr. Kesselly said that Nobel Money Transfer Service is currently available in Michigan, Maryland, North Carolina, Minnesota, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Colorado and Philadelphia with cities and states to follow suit very soon.

On the arrangement with Ecobank Liberia and other banking institutions in the Country, the CEO of Noble Liberia lauded the management team of Ecobank Liberia considered as the Pan African Bank for its services to people of Liberia, and further lauded other banking institutions that are bringing relief to the Liberian financial sector.

Making assurances to the many customers of Noble Liberia Money Transfer Service, Mr. Kesselly said for every ten transactions that will be made by a single individual to receive Money from the US, that individual will receive a free Premium bag of Nobel US parboil rice and a T-Shirt. He said this move is Nobel Liberia way of showing love and appreciation to those utilizing their Money Transfer service. In a related development, Mr. Kesselly disclosed that Nobel Money Transfer service will be available in all UBA banks by the end of October.

Noble Liberia has over the years since its formation as a financial institution provided thousands of United States dollars to various charitable Liberian causes, for example Miss Liberia, Chicago Bright Foundation and Monrovia Football Academy to name a few.

Also present at the occasion were the Financial Comptroller of Nobel Liberia, Mr. Nim’ne Elliot Mombo, Jr., while Ecobank Liberia representatives who also witnessed the occasion included Gibson Kollie head of Consumer Banking, William Krakue; head of Remittances, Trokon Jackson; head of Clients Engagement Management and Ivy Fairley Fahnbulleh; head of marketing communication.

Customers of Nobel Money Transfer Service can also pick up their money from the Nobel Liberia head office on 11th Street, Tubman Boulevard in Sinkor, located in the Bible Society Building; working hours daily are 9am through 7pm from Monday through Friday; and on Saturday from 9am to 2pm. For more information regarding Nobel Money Transfer please call: (Liberia) 0886612037/ 07770011013 (USA) +1-886-996-363; On our Face Book page visit: www.facebook.com/nobelliberia

 

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Eco Bank Runs To Supreme Court

EcoBank Liberia is seeking the Supreme Court’s intervention after being found liable for over one million United States dollars.

The bank, though its lawyers, has filed an appeal with the high court, expressing dissatisfaction with the decision rendered by the Judge of the sixth Judicial Circuit Civil Law Court for Montserrado County, Boima Kontoe.

Judge Kontoe recently served a Writ of Execution on the Management of Eco Bank for an action of damage of wrong worth over US1M dollars.

He court sheriff as saying, “The Writ of Execution in the possession of this paper states thatyou are hereby commanded to seize and expose for sale the lands, goods and chattels of the Appellant/Defendants herein named of the City of Monrovia, Montserrado County, Republic of Liberia and if the sum realized therefrom be not sufficient than their real property, until you shall  have raised the sum of One Million, Eighty Thousand , and twenty United states dollars (US$1,080,020.00)and Twenty Thousand, five hundred Liberian dollars. (LD$20,500.00).”

The Writ of Execution was ordered on Thursday October 19, 2017 at the Temple of Justice.

A letter in the possession of this paper, dated October 20, 2017, from the Clerk of the Supreme Court, instructs Cllr. Necular Y. Edwards (counsel for plaintiff) of the Wrights and Associates Law Firm to appear on Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at a conference with the Associate Justice presiding in chamber, Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh in connection with the petition filed against his client (Austen Clarke).

The contending issue for the justice in chamber is to determine whether the Bill of Exception was not filed on time and whether the law cited by Judge Kontoe is applicable in this case, because the counsel representing the bank’s interest earlier argued that the ten days as required by statute for the filing of a Bill of Exceptions does not apply to this case because the case was a jury trial and not a bench trial.

It can be recalled that, on September 14, 2017 the Civil Law court rendered final judgment of liable against defendant (Eco Bank) after hearing evidence and entertainment of argument to the court’s final judgment, the defendant (Ecobank) excepted and announced an appeal to the high court which was granted.

Read more

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EcoBank In Over US$1M Trouble

By: Yassah J. Wright

The Civil Law Courthas issued a writ of execution on the Management of Eco Bank for an action of damage of wrong by a complainant.

The writ of execution in the possession of this paper quotes Judge Boima Kontoe as saying on Thursday, October 19, 2017, “You are hereby commanded to seize and expose for sale the lands, goods and chattels of the Appellant/Defendants herein named of the City of Monrovia, Montserrado County, Republic of Liberia and if the sum realized therefrom be not sufficient, then their real property, until you shall  have raised the sum of One Million, Eighty Thousand , and twenty United states dollars (US$1,080,020.00)and Twenty Thousand, five hundred Liberian dollars. (LD$20,500.00).”

The Writ of Execution further stated that, “In addition thereto seizure and sale; and if you cannot find said lands, goods and chattel of said defendants, you are hereby commanded to arrest the living body (ies) and bring them before any judge of competent jurisdiction to be dealt with according to law; unless they will pay the said sum(s) of money (ies) or show property to you to seize and sell for same.”

It can be recalled that the action of damages for wrong out of which this motion to dismiss appeal grew was assigned for trial on July 14, after a motion for new trial was granted by late colleague his Honor Johannes Z. Zlahn who presided over a jury trial of the case at first.

Accordingly, on September 14, 2017 the Civil Law court rendered final judgment of liable against defendant (Eco Bank) after hearing evidence and entertaining argument to the court’s final judgment, the defendant accepted and announced an appeal to the high court which was granted.

Subsequently, the defendant filed a motion for new trial on September 18, 2017. The motion was countered by counsel for plaintiff (Austen D. Clarke) who filed a motion to dismiss the appeal on September 26, 2017.

According to the court document, Cllr. Necluar Edward appeared for Austin D. Clarke (plaintiff) while counsel for Eco Bank Cllr. Albert S. Sim appeared for respondent defendant but after five minutes of the call of the motion for the hearing, Cllr. Sims filed a letter of excuse stating that all lawyers of the Sherman and Sherman are requested to meet at the Sherman and Sherman’s law firm.

The judge finally ruled stating that, “wherefore and in view of the foregoing, the appeal announced by Respondent/Appellant on September 14, 2107 at the rendition of this court’s final judgment, out of which this motion to dismiss grows is hereby granted and defendant/appellant’s appeal announced on September 14, 2107 without filing a Bill of Exceptions up to and including today’s date is hereby dismissed And hereby so ordered”.

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ORANGE Launches Massive New Promo -Gives Away Ten Bikes, Five Vehicles

In a continued build-up of its presence in the Liberian telecommunications market, Orange Liberia has launched a massive new promotion under the theme: “With Orange, Christmas Starts in October.”  The new promotion was rolled out at a major press conference held at the company’s headquarters on Capital Bypass in Monrovia.

Orange’s Corporate Communications Strategist Dr. Kimmie Weeks outlined that from October through December, Orange would give away 10 brand new motorbikes and 5 new cars.   “We know that Christmas is a time of happiness, love and bringing families together.    It is a special time in Liberia and we want the Liberian people to begin to feel that happiness and joy starting from October,” Weeks said.     He outlined that to bring the Christmas cheer to Liberians early this year, Orange would give away a brand-new motorbike every week, a brand-new vehicle every two weeks, and the grand prize a few days before Christmas.

Weeks highlighted that Orange had made it simple for its subscribers to be eligible to enter to competition.    “All our subscribers have to do is to recharge once a week at least $1 and activate any Orange package to be eligible to win a bike, recharge at least once a week two weeks in a row to win a Ford or Renault vehicle, and recharge at least once a week for every week until December 21 to be eligible to win the Toyota Rav 4 valued at US$35,000.” Weeks added that to increase their chances, customers need to recharge more often with higher amounts, whether it is with scratch cards, e-recharge or Orange Money.

In separate remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of Orange Liberia Mr. Mamadou Coulibaby said that he was extremely happy and proud about the launch of the new promotion.   He noted:  “the launching of the Orange “Christmas Starts in October” promotion is a part of the Orange commitment to demonstrate to the Liberian people that Orange cares.

This is a very, very big investment for us as a company.   However, it is something we are happy to do knowing that the lives of many, many Liberians will be positively impacted.”

Orange says the first motorbike winner will be announced on October 23, and the first person will walk away with a brand new vehicle on October 31.

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“Betting On Africa To Feed The World”

The African Development Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina, will deliver the Norman Borlaug Lecture today as part of the World Food Prize events taking place from October 16-20, 2017 in Des Moines, Iowa, USA.

The Norman Borlaug Lecture titled “Betting on Africa to Feed the World” will be on World Food Day, October 16, in conjunction with the annual World Food Prize celebration.

President Adesina will receive the 2017 World Food Prize on Thursday, October 19. The prize is to agriculture while the Nobel Prize is to peace, science and literature.

The World Food Prize board announced President Adesina as the 2017 Laureate (http://APO.af/nNtr9w) in June for his work in improving the availability of seed, fertilizer and financing for African farmers, and for laying the foundation for the youth in Africa to engage in agriculture as a profitable business.

The World Food Prize, founded by Nobel Laureate, Norman Borlaug, is the foremost international honour recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.

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Tony Elumelu Foundation To Host Largest Ever Gathering Of African Entrepreneurs

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Africa’s leading philanthropy dedicated to catalyzing entrepreneurship, on October4, 2017, announced that the 3rd annual TEF Entrepreneurship Forum – the most diverse annual gathering of African entrepreneurs and SMEs – will take place on October 13-14 in Lagos, Nigeria.

This is the first year that invitation to the Forum is extended beyond the 1,000 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs from the 2017 cohort, to include selected SMEs, media, hubs, incubators, academia and investors from diverse nations across Africa; from Mauritius to Cape Verde to Kenya and more. Assembled SMEs will build networks, share knowledge, connect with investors and link with corporate supply chains.

“Since launching the TEF Entrepreneurship Program – and committing $100 million to empowering 10,000 African entrepreneurs in a decade – we have unleashed our continent’s most potent development force, its entrepreneurs,” said TEF Founder Tony O. Elumelu, CON. “In just 3 years, our first 3,000 entrepreneurs have created tens of thousands of jobs and generated considerable wealth.  On October 13 and 14, the global entrepreneurship community will gather in Lagos to build a New Africa, a thriving, self-reliant continent capable of replicating the results of our ground-breaking Program.”

The two-day Forum will feature plenary panels, masterclasses, sector specific networking opportunities and policy-led forums focused on enabling African business growth.

TEF Chief Executive Officer Parminder Vir OBE said: “This is the first year we have opened the Forum up to include the full pan-African entrepreneurship ecosystem. In doing so, we are enabling African SME communities to come together and expand the possibilities for intra-African partnerships. I am looking forward to welcoming our invited policy-makers and investors to join us at the Forum, as we empower the next generation of African business leaders.”

Speakers will include: Wale Ayeni, International Finance Corporation; Stephen Tio Kauma, Afrexim Bank; Andre Hue, African Development Bank; Stephen M. Haykin, USAID Nigeria; Heikke Reugger, European Investment Bank; Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, United Nations Development Programme.

The Foundation’s long-term investment in empowering African entrepreneurs is emblematic of Tony Elumelu’s philosophy of Africapitalism, which positions Africa’s private sector, and most importantly its entrepreneurs, as the catalysts for the social and economic development of the continent.