TEF Ends 2017 Gathering Of African Entrepreneurship

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Africa’s leading philanthropy dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship, concluded its 3rd annual TEF Entrepreneurship Forum on 14th of October 2017 in Lagos, Nigeria.

The 2-days forum October 13-14, brought together 1,300 African SMEs, policymakers, incubators from 54 countries including Liberia.

The most diverse and inclusive gathering of African entrepreneurs on the continent, the Forum continued its strong tradition of showcasing innovation across sectors, including Agriculture, Technology, Healthcare, Fashion and Energy/Power Generation.

Launched in 2015, the Forum was born out of the Foundation’s $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor and fund 10,000 African entrepreneurs, over a decade, through the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.

During a keynote address, Tony O. Elumelu, CON, the philanthropist and Founder who is also the Chairman of the United Bank for Africa, spoke of his belief, that a vibrant African-led private sector is the key to unlocking Africa’s economic and social potential.

“Africa’s development, which must be private-sector led and entrepreneurially driven, will have at its heart, young African innovators and their transformative ideas.  Only they will create the millions of jobs Africa needs. The Forum has brought together Africa’s most important developmental force, her young entrepreneurs who will become catalysts for Africa’s economic liberation.

We have united the African entrepreneurship ecosystem, putting the entrepreneurs at centre stage. I want to thank those heads of government and other key policymakers, who have supported our firm belief that the private sector is the engine for growth and the private sector players, who are models of our philosophy of Africapitalism – the idea that business will drive change and that change must deliver economic and social wealth” he explained.

The two-day event, which involved plenary panels and masterclasses, provided the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs with a platform to network and connect with business leaders, policymakers and investors.

Focusing on the Forum’s theme of training and mentoring, speakers discussed topics that educated, empowered and inspired the entrepreneurs, addressing the key stages needed to successfully launch a business.

The speaking programme emphasized the Foundation’s role of uniting entrepreneurs and policymakers, as a means of ensuring that private and public sectors work together to create the best possible operating environment for entrepreneurship to thrive. Political and private sector leaders from across Africa.

At the forum several Liberian entrepreneurs formed of this great and unique occasion with dignitaries from Liberia, Benin Prime Minister; Oba Otudeko,  Nigerian senior officials of government and Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman, Dangote group who used the occasion to addressed the conditions needed for stimulating entrepreneurial growth.

Also in attendance were senior members of global development institutions, including Wale Ayeni, Senior Investment Office, International Finance Corporation; Stephen Tio Kauma, Director Human Resources, Afrexim Bank and Andre Hue, Deputy Country Director, Agence Française de Développement, spoke of a new paradigm, driven by the need for a private sector-led change.

“The private sector working with the public sector can achieve so much by way of development. African governments should move beyond rhetorics and implement their ideas,” Oba Otudeko enthused.

Addressing the 3rd cohort of TEF entrepreneurs the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo said: “This generation of young people will do the exceptional. You are the reason Africa will work. The length and breadth of display of talent have shown that there is indeed hope”.

The Forum also witnessed multiple partnerships between United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Foundation, and between French bilateral development bank, Agence Française De Développement (AFD) and TEF. Commending both agencies for their commitment to promoting youth entrepreneurship in Africa, Elumelu called on other individuals and developmental institutions to partner with the Foundation and expand the scale of its impact.

“We call on friends of Africa to partner with the Foundation, to scale our impact beyond the 1,000 entrepreneurs a year. Real opportunity exists to tap into Africa’s potential and our entrepreneurs offer a gateway to participating in both economic success and creating social wealth”.

TEF partners including Microsoft, Sage One and Greentec also held training workshops and side events aimed at approaches to strategically scale up business. The United Bank for Africa (UBA) has proudly supported the forum.

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President Sirleaf Hails Judiciary for Cooperation

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has congratulated the Judiciary for the cooperation and coordination experienced between the two branches over the years with a call to make Liberia proud as the country goes through the period of transition since 1944. “Please make our country proud as we go to these elections,” President Sirleaf stressed.

According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf spoke on Monday, October 9, 2017 at ceremony marking the formal opening of the October Term of the Honorable Supreme Court of the Republic of Liberia. She was accompanied by several government officials including the Minister of Justice and Dean of the Supreme Court Bar Cllr. Fredrick Cherue.

The Liberian leader commended the Judiciary for working together in the spirit of cooperation something she refers to as cordial. She reaffirmed government’s commitment to peaceful, credible, free, fair and transparent elections.

She furthered that the October 10 elections remains very critical to the maintenance of peace and security as well the survival of the democracy in Liberia.

For his part, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor thanked President Sirleaf for taking steps aimed at strengthening the rule of Law and the empowerment of the Judiciary. “Madam President, we in the Judiciary want to congratulate you for strengthening the rule of law, which is better than what is used to be,” he said.

He made particular reference to improved salaries, renovation and construction of new court houses across the country, the provision of logistics, among others. Chief Justice Korkpor noted that President Sirleaf kept her promise made to the Judiciary when she took over the leadership of the country.

Speaking further, Chief Justice Korkpor reaffirmed the Supreme Court’s earlier decision not to go on break during the October 10, 2017 elections, but would remain at post to handle post- elections issues growing out of the elections.

He said out 30 cases were brought before the Honorable Supreme Court during the March Term of Court; of which 9 were pre-election cases. He noted that to date there are no pre-elections cases before the court.

He recommitted the Supreme Court to dispense justice without fear or favor for all adding: “We will remain focused and independent.”

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Ellen Urges Liberians Pray For Guidance -Launches Women’s Situation Room

 

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is urging Liberians to continue praying for God’s guidance to enable them elect a new leader who will move the country forward.

She thanked God for the peace enjoyed because God has been able to work through them to keep the peace. She said the Presidential and Representatives elections are critical and defining to Liberia.

According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the statement on Sunday, October 8, 2017 at the Triumphant Life International Ministries located on Robert Street in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County during a Thanksgiving and Intercessory Service for peaceful campaign, elections and transition of power.

The Liberian leader emphasized that citizens need to vote wisely if Liberia should continue on sturdy path of peace, rebuilding and development. She expressed delight over the peace Liberia continues to enjoy since the inauguration of her administration, a major achievement she attributed to the efforts of all Liberians.

She commended the Church for its continued prayers and supplication for the nation and its people, especially in these times of Liberia’s history.

The worship service was not only held to thank God for Liberia’s peace and the just ended peaceful campaign but also to intercede for peaceful elections and political transition, which also brought together dozens of Christians from all walks of life across various political backgrounds, among others

Prayers were offered for God’s protection and blessings on President Sirleaf and her government as her tenure comes to an end in January of 2018 when she will peacefully turn over power to the next elected government.

Delivering his sermon, Rev. Amos O. Bockarie, Senior Pastor of the Triumphant Life International Ministries – who spoke from the theme: “God is seeking for a Man” from the text Ezekiel 22: 29-30 said the decision Liberians will take in 48 hours will either make the country or break the country. He noted after 12 years and with what that have been achieved by President Sirleaf, including roads construction, press freedom, youth and women empowerment, education, police, army among others needs a man to stand in the gap because according to him Liberia has reached to a place for which God is seeking a man. He added, since 73 years ago, Liberia has not experienced peaceful transition terming it as the first time ever since 1944.

He praised President Sirleaf for job well done. “Madam President, you have done well; you could not do more than your best, thank you,” he said.

Meanwhile, in another development, President Sirleaf has launched the Women’s Situation Room-Liberia 2017; stressing, the 2017 elections has demonstrated maturity. She congratulated the women for their initiative in creating the Women’s Situation Room and urged all Liberians to be peaceful as Liberia goes through the period of transition.

For her part, Cllr. Yvette Chesson-Wureh, initiator of the Women’s Situation Room and Establishment Coordinator of the Angie Brooks International Center said peace before, during and after election remains critical and substantial and as such must be upheld all. She used the occasion to congratulate President Sirleaf for maintaining peace in Liberia. The ceremony, which took place in Mamba Point – was attended by high-profiled Liberian women including international partners.

Following the launching ceremony, the Liberian leader attended the campaign rally of Alexander A. Suah in District # 5, Montserrado County and announced support for him because according to her Alexander Suah has done some good things for District #5. She said Mr. Suah is known to be respectful and knows how to conduct.

 

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UP, CDC Again? . . . NEC Announces Provisional Results Today

 

 By T. Michael Johnny 0886571899/0775820581

“Unconfirmed statistics from various polling centers around the country is a glaring indication that the ruling Unity Party and opposition Coalition for Democratic Change will certainly faceoff in a possible runoff,”

The National Elections Commission (NEC) is expected to commence the release of preliminary results of the October 10, 2017 presidential and representatives’ elections today, Cllr. Jerome Korkoya has said

NEC Chairman Cllr. Jerome Korkoya, told a news conference Wednesday, October 11, 2017, that the process was freely conducted despite delays in opening polling precincts and verification of names in some instances.

Accordingly, the NEC has unequivocally reaffirmed that the commission is the only institution clothed with the constitutional authority to announce election results; thus warning political parties and candidates to desist from unilaterally announcing results.

Following the close of polling centers around the country, results were posted at various voting precincts in the presence of poll workers, local and international observers as well as the media.

However, as media correspondents around the country give unofficial results, the October 10, 2017 presidential elections might again showcase the old political rivalry between the ruling Unity Party (UP) and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

The UP and the CDC were locked in a runoff in 2005 and 2011 respectively with the former emerging victorious in both elections under the political leadership of outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

In Southeastern Liberia, the CDC of former soccer icon, now Senator of Montserrado County George Weah is reportedly ahead of the UP of Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai and the Alternative National Congress (ANC) of Alexander Cummings respectively.

Media correspondents reported that the CDC emerged top in some parts of the Southeast followed by the UP and the ANC, which has reportedly favored the UP in previous elections.

However, the UP firmly tightened its grip in some parts of Lofa, Gbarpolu, Margibi and Bong respectively, while Senator Prince Yormie Johnson remains potentially positioned in his stronghold of Nimba County as the Liberty Party (LP) of Cllr. Charles Brumskine struggles for votes in its stronghold of Grand Bassa County.

“Unconfirmed statistics from polling centers around the country is a glaring indication that the ruling Unity Party and opposition Coalition for Democratic Change will certainly faceoff in a possible runoff,” said a NEC polling officer on condition of anonymity.

According to the NEC official, the final aggregated result is expected to again feature the usual political contest between the two most populated political parties.

Although the NEC will commence the announcement of provisional results today, however, unconfirmed results indicate that the Unity Party (UP) and Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) will again prove political supremacy.

 

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Carter Center Forms Part Of Liberia’s History Making

Carter Center International Election Observation Mission Co-leaders to Liberia for the October 10, 2017 presidential and representative elections have expressed its excitement of being a part of the history making process which is expected to take place in the country.

It can be recalled that Liberians from all walks of life turned out in their numbers on October 10 to vote in an election that has been described as the first democratic transition to be held in Liberia after 73 years, thus handing power from one democratic elected president to another.

Speaking to reporters at one of the voting centers in Sinkor Tuesday, a member of Carter Center International Observation Mission, former president of the Central African Republic (CAR), H. E. Catherine Samba-Panza asserted that she was very happy to be part of Carter Center team to support the democratic process in Liberia.

“I am honored to join Jason Carter and Jordan Ryan in leading the Carter Center observation mission in Liberia. It is a very important mission for Liberia and Africa at large,” she said.

The Carter Center official further added that they had meetings with all of the political parties as well as civil society organizations, expressing hope that the process would be peaceful.

“Our hope is that Liberians come out to participate in the voting process so they can sustain the peace in Liberia,” she noted.

Also speaking, Carter Center Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Jason Carter said his institution deployed its team members across Liberia including both local and international observers.

“We are excited about the day and we are in the process of bringing and collecting information, but it is very early in the day so we will not be able to make any statement about the process until few days after the election,” he asserted.

For his part, Jordan Ryan, Carter Center Vice President of Carter Center Peace Programs, said Carter Center is currently using electronic mechanics to collect information from various polling centers across the country, noting that they we will be getting real time report that will help them analyze the electoral process.

He asserted that Carter Center currently has 50 international observers along with the locals that are assigned all over the country to monitor, gather and give comprehensive information to the institution.

“As you know international observers are here not to say this and that, but more to talk about the process and that is what we are looking at very carefully,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Carter Center has disclosed that it will hold a press conference to release its preliminary statement and findings on Thursday, October 12, 2017 in Monrovia to give more details on the electoral process.

 

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NEC Blamed! -LNP Unprepared  

 

By Abraham Morris-231886294820- abrahammorrisabrahammorris@gmail.com

 

Several persons humiliated by serious traffic congestion along the Tubman Boulevard and other existing routes in Monrovia and its suburbs, have blamed the National Elections Commission (NEC), for causing the traffic congestion by allowing the governing Unity Party and opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) to close their rallies on October 7, 2017.

 

Many commuters, pedestrians and vehicles were on Saturday, October 7, 2017, seen stranded in bottleneck traffic for almost 12 to 15 hours from late Saturday afternoon to the early hours of yesterday due to the closure of official campaign activities of the UP and the ANC.

 

The situation caused several users of various routes in Monrovia to abandon their vehicles thus leading to criminals bursting into their cars and making away with several parts and other valuables.

 

It was also observed that partisans of UP and the ANC were seen raining invectives and other anti-party slogans at each other’s when ANC supporters made their ways home using the Congo Town, Tubman Boulevard route that hosts the headquarters of the Unity Party.

 

The unfortunate situation occurred as a result of an NEC ruling instructing the Unity Party to launch at her headquarters in Congo Town while giving the go-ahead to the ANC to use the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) in central Monrovia.

 

Few days back, the UP and the ANC had announced the official closure of their campaign rallies on the 7th of October, requesting the usage of the ATS in central Monrovia.

 

The situation caused serious uproar and war of words between the two political parties thus leading the ANC to file a formal complaint to the NEC; after which NEC ruled that both parties have their events but the ANC using the ATS while instructing Unity Party to use her headquarters; a situation that led to serious traffic congestion causing serious embarrassment for ordinary pedestrians, and other private vehicles and individuals plying that route.

 

It can be recalled that pandemonium broke out around 4 p.m. recently in Sanniquellie, Nimba County, when partisans of the Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC) and the Liberty Party (LP) reportedly clashed, while the two sides were simultaneously conducting their respective political rallies.

 

The situation, according to eyewitnesses, became so tense that partisans from the opposing sides resulted to stone throwing; thereby wounding several people. Police officers later arrested a number of the protestors, while the wounded were taken to the G. W. Harley Hospital on the outskirts of Sanniquellie for treatment.

 

Eyewitness told the journalists on the scene that the CDC while en-route to the Yekepa, north of Sanniquellie, supporters of the Liberty Party reportedly blocked the main entrance around the vicinity of the Circuit Court, demanding that the CDC uses a detour, because authorities of the National Elections Commission (NEC) disallows two parties campaigning in a given locality at the same time.

 

But the CDCians, who were travelling with their Standard Bearer, Senator George Weah, did not waste any time, but allegedly forced their way through the Liberty Party line, thereby intensifying the clash.

 

ANC accused UP of exerting undue influence on the electoral process to deny other parties the right to freely associate and to get their message out.

 

The ANC also accused the UP of using incumbency power to subdue the opposition adding that the party and its Standard Bearer, Alexander Cummings are in accordance with NEC’s regulations.

 

Motorists from the Paynesville area were piled up from the Congo Town belt near the residence of former President Charles Taylor while those coming from downtown Monrovia were trapped on the other side of town.

 

According to several pedestrians, supporters of the ruling party parked cars on the main streets, causing traffic delays.

 

Several persons blamed the situation on NEC for not announcing the dates for each party’s rally. UP, along with Liberty Party and the Coalition for Democratic Change had previously launched their campaigns in Montserrado County.

 

One motorist told Front Page Africa she was stucked in the traffic for nearly nine hours. “They actually blocked the road. Can you believe this? I got home 12:45 am. I got stucked at the Nigerian Embassy at 4:pm. How can leaders be so insensitive?”

 

Meanwhile, pedestrians and commuters are also blaming the Liberia National Police for not being adequately prepared to deal with the situation.

 

 

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NEC Assures Commitment

By Mafanta Kromah

 

With just five days to the presidential and representative elections, the National Elections Commissions has assured the public that it is committed to holding free, fair and transparent elections.

 

Speaking at the NEC regular press conference on Wednesday, October 4, 2017, NEC Chairman Jerome Korkoya said the commission is aware of news reports that some individuals and politicians have questioned the integrity of NEC regarding the number of ballots printed.

 

He assured the public that NEC has put in place full accountability mechanism to account for every single ballot, stressing that the number is at the level because there are others that might make errors and want to replace their cards.

 

At the same time, Korkoya noted that electoral preparations are in tight and it is working hard to meet the tight deadline in advance of the October 10 polling. He said the final batch of representative ballots and the remaining of all other elections materials are expected in the country today, October 5.

 

He further disclosed that the commission has taken delivery of a shipment of electronic equipment from South Africa including photocopiers, expressing thanks and appreciation to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for making the request to the South African Government for which the equipment  in question were given to the NEC.

 

Chairman Korkoya noted that the deployment of elections materials is in progress and their operational personnel are in root distributing elections materials to NEC various warehouses across the country,

 

However, the Chairman has disclosed that there have been clashes of timetable between the Alternative National Congress and the Unity Party, indicating both parties submitted plans  for campaign rallies on the 7 of October but noted that the ANC submitted their full details of campaign activities to the NEC first.

 

He said an official communication is being sent to the Unity party to look for other options for holding its rally.

The NEC chair called on political parties and independent candidates to be responsible and not release unofficial election results that could mislead voters and supporters.

He noted that the NEC is the only body in this country that has the power and mandate to release election result.

Meanwhile, Korkoya has reminded political parties and independent candidate that campaign officially ends 12 midnight on Sunday, October 8 .

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Female Law Enforcers End Retreat in Gbarnga

By Abel R. Okai, Bong County

 

The Liberia Female Law Enforcement Association (LIFLEA), in collaboration with UN Women, has ended a two-day national retreat for sixty female security officers in Gbarnga Bong County under the theme “Enhancing a Vibrant Female Security Network”. The retreat was conducted on May 5-6 2017, at the Development Education Network Liberia (DEN-L) Compound on the Dementa Road in Gbarnga. Read more

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Quarantined Community

Residents of Neidonwen Town, a community highly hit by Ebola-hit in Margibi County, where 17 year- old Abraham Memeigar was diagnosed with the disease have expressed frustration over the manner in which they were being treated by the Ministry of Health and its partners when they were quarantined.

The Neidonwen residents expressed frustration Wednesday, August 5, 2015, when the Liberian Media for Democratic Initiative (LMDI) held a public dialogue forum with them to understand the plight of the people, the recent Ebola outbreak, funds given and materials used to combat the disease.

Speaking during the dialogue, Neidonwen Youth Chairman, Abraham Garway, said during the outbreak and quarantine period, they were asked to remain at their various homes with an assurance of providing basic food items and other needs during the 21 days period, but unfortunately, he said the promise was reportedly unfulfilled by relevant authorities.

Residents explained that on several occasions, their names were written and tallied for food rations and preventive materials by the Health Ministry and other international organizations, but indicated that food and supplies were never given as promised.

However, in reaction, the Community Health Officer of Neidonwen, Miatta Massaquoi, said several food and materials were distributed to the affected persons and family of deceased 17-year old Abraham Memeigar because they were directly quarantined.

According to her, the entire village was never quarantined, noting that they should not have provided food rations to everyone because the entire town was not quarantined and besides, the rations were distributed by international non- governmental organizations and not the Ministry of Health.

It can be recalled that health authorities announced a new confirmed Ebola case in Margibi County in June this year. The head of Liberia’s Incident Management System Tolbert Nyenswah said Abraham Memeigar, a 17-year-old boy who died on Sunday, June 28 at his father’s residence in Unification City was Ebola- related.

Nyenswah said specimens extracted from the victim were confirmed Ebola positive following meticulous medical tests. He said about 28 persons were quarantined for being in direct contact with Memeigar before his death.

Schools Closed . . . Back To School

Though the Liberian Government has declared schools closed as of July 31, 2015 to re-open in September 2015 to restore the nation’s academic calendar, some schools are said to be running classes up to present.

Under the guise of vacation school, tutorial, or extra classes, many of those schools reportedly in session allegedly charge fees as all students, including 9th and 12th graders wear color clothes to classes.

This paper has gathered that the schools involved have planned for their 9th and 12th graders to attend classes to get prepared and join re-sitters for pending WAEC exams.

The reported development has rattled many parents who are striving to register their children in August as mandated by the government to ensure the re-opening of schools in September this year.

“We don’t even know what control the Ministry of Education has over private schools in this country because most of the schools that are allowing their students to attend classes are privately owned,” a disgusted parent in Paynesville  noted Thursday.

At a closing program of one private school on Bushrod Island recently, a school authority disclosed that 9th graders there would be given special lessons every day after the closure in order to prepare them to sit for the WAEC exams.

A roaming reporter of the In Profile also observed on Bushrod Island yesterday that scores of students were in uniforms, adding, “Most students are said to be attending what they called summer school because they could not pass due to deficiencies.”

A school administrator also told the roaming reporter last week in Monrovia that most students declined in their academic performance due to the decision taken by the Ministry of Education from the onset to close schools without promotion.

The government’s decision to close schools across the country on July 31, 2015 to be re-opened in September overruled recommendations from the 53rd National Legislature, among which the august body recommended that the academic year should continue until September and that 9th and 12th graders be mandated to attend Saturday classes to prepare them sit for the WAEC exams in September this year.

The recommendations also indicated that Education Minister George Werner should withdraw his letter written WAEC authorities seeking cancellation of the exams this year but these recommendations are said to be side brushed.

To this, a Lawmaker who doesn’t wish to be named sarcastically wondered “what a mess of a situation; we have an educational system we consider ‘messy’, we added more mess by promoting many students who did not need to be promoted in one semester and now we have school administrators trying to correct the ‘mess’ by requiring students they have promoted to go back to school for refresher, so why did we really close schools?  What a mess!”