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SAP Africa Code Week unlocks Africa’s future

Over the next two weeks Nigeria will play host to a series of official train-the-trainer (TTT) sessions as the country takes on a leading role in the build up to SAP Africa Code Week (ACW) 2016.

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Founded in 2015, ACW seeks to empower African youth with coding skills through hands-on and playful learning.

Spearheaded by SAP, world leaders in enterprise software, and with the support of hundreds of partners across Africa, its inaugural year saw more than 89,000 youth across 17 countries introduced to software coding within a mere ten days – four times the initial goal. The aim for ACW 2016 is to double that, reaching a minimum of 150,000 youth throughout 30 African countries.

“However, the sustainability of initiatives such as ACW relies heavily on skilled volunteers,” says Kudzai Danha, Managing Director for SAP West Africa.

“In order to train a new generation of Digital Economy workers in Africa we need to have skilled and knowledgeable instructors in place to provide mentorship, leadership and skills transfer to our ACW participants. It is our vision to not only help the world run better, but to improve people’s lives. TTT workshops enable the teachers of today to enable the innovators of tomorrow by providing a platform for the transfer of skills and knowledge from ‘Master Instructors’ to parents, teachers and educators, empowering them to become teachers who can train students in their local communities.”

Aimed at local school teachers, this week’s TTT workshops in Lagos and Abuja will seek to train in excess of 200 participants. The objective is to empower as many people as possible to take part in this year’s ACW and to ensure the sustainability of this initiative. With over 1,500 educators trained in 2015, all of whom have gone on to positively impact the lives of thousands of young people, SAP’s long-term goal is to empower more than 200,000 teachers reaching in excess of five million children and youth over the next ten years.

Lagos State’s Commissioner for Science & Technology Olufemi Odubiyi adds, “Africa Code Week is an opportunity for us to deliver leaders for tomorrow’s challenges. We need to show Africa and the rest of the world what Nigeria and, more importantly, what driven and determined African youth, can achieve. It is programmes like these that help showcase Nigeria’s game changing acts of solidarity and harmony to the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa, changing one country at a time while supporting growth through technology.”

Adding to Odubiyi’s comment, Lagos State’s Special Adviser on Education, Obafela Bank-Olemoh, says, “IT skills are the job currency of the future. It is not just our responsibility but also to our benefit to invest in putting African youth on the path to successful careers. Large-scale literacy initiatives, such as ACW, prove that public-private partnerships can be a strategic means to affect change. We are proud to be part of this programme”.

Africa’s working-age population is growing rapidly, but it’s estimated that less than one percent of African children leave school with basic coding skills. ACW helps shape the future workforce by sparking interest in software coding with participating youth receiving not only basic skills but also invaluable hands-on experience. The initiative provides learners from the ages of 8 – 17 with coding basics and the opportunity to program their own animations, quizzes and games. Older learners, aged 18-24, are provided an introduction to web technologies such as HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP and SQL in order to provide them with a basic understanding of website architecture, teaching them how to develop a fully operational and mobile-friendly website.

Held from 15-23 October, ACW will provide thousands of free coding workshops and online training sessions to children and youth. The event always provides a number of ways for the public to get involved. Over and above actual attendance, opportunity exists for interested parties to host a free coding workshop, but to also receive free online training in Scratch (free software which simplifies the face of coding for youth).

The Nigeria TTT workshops will take place in Lagos on Tuesday, 27 September at the recently constructed Digital Village and Abuja on Thursday, 29 September in partnership with National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS). TTT workshops are open to all school teachers and any other parties interested in becoming part of ACW, and all attendees will receive 90 minutes of training, a USB with course notes and Scratch (coding programme) pre-loaded, T-shirts and a training certificate upon completion. To reward the efforts of the teachers involved in this initiative, the school that teaches coding to the most students will win a laptop and data projector valued at more than 176,000 NGN.
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How business can drive energy access for all

In the past decade, renewable energy growth has broken records year after year, and 2015 was a remarkable one for developing countries.

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For the first time in history, according to the United Nations Environment Program, total investment in renewables exceeded that in developed economies, driven in part by national policies and the improving cost-competitiveness of renewable technologies. Investors, multinational energy players and renewable developers actively are pursuing new business opportunities in these electricity-thirsty markets.

Even so, the increase in renewable capacity, most often integrated into national and local grids, is very unlikely to electrify disconnected areas. Grid connection can carry high costs for building infrastructure and low investment attractiveness for private-sector utility players, and state budgets for electrification often are limited.

According to the International Energy Agency, 95 percent of the 1.2 billion people who lack access to energy today live in sub-Saharan Africa and developing Asia and, due to very limited conventional grid connections in remote areas, they are predominantly in rural communities (around 80 percent).

But conventional grid connection is not the only option available. Projections from theInternational Energy Agency (PDF) show that of the 315 million people in rural areas who are expected to gain access to electricity by 2040 in sub-Saharan Africa, around 65 percent will be connected through unconventional means, such as off-grid and mini-grid systems. And as we wrote in a previous blog, the unconventional grid market is booming: The rollout of well-designed systems can provide electricity to a large number of people, as demonstrated in successful models in many developing countries.

In the era of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 7 — ensuring “access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all” — it’s time to close the energy-access gap. Business is well positioned for leadership in this area through partnerships, community investment and stakeholder engagement.

Different off-grid solutions for different needs

To drive access to energy, companies, governments and civil society partners first need to define what off- or mini-grid solutions are available and most appropriate to address the needs of remote communities. Then they can move to how to use investments, partnerships and more to make access possible.

The quickest win is household-level solutions such as LED-based solar lanterns. These lanterns provide basic light for individual households and can be a cheaper and cleaner substitute for kerosene lanterns, which require families to buy fuel and can cause indoor pollution. Solar lanterns can help families save money, provide illumination at night for students to do their homework, and improve health and air quality, among other benefits.

However, solar lanterns clearly cannot respond to all the energy-related needs of families and communities. Standalone, off-grid applications, such as solar photovoltaic technologies backed up by battery-storage systems, can provide reliable supply to houses or facilities disconnected from the main grid. At the household level, this means that families will be able to power additional appliances, increasing access to communication and information, such as television, mobile phones and the internet.

Standalone, off-grid technologies also can power facilities offering essential services, such as healthcare. For instance, 1 billion people (PDF) in the world are served by health centers that completely lack electricity. Healthcare facilities need round-the-clock, reliable electricity to power lights, sterilization equipment and refrigerators for perishable medicines and vaccines.

The third option is mini-grids, or community-based network systems with small-scale, locally connected electricity production facilities, which can serve the village or community level. Mini-grids connect and power community services and buildings, households and local businesses.

According to REN21 (PDF), mini-grids are an attractive option: They can be quickly deployed, encourage private-sector growth and are efficient and flexible. When powered locally by renewable sources, they also can guarantee energy security: In disconnected rural areas, local power generation usually relies on diesel fuel, often imported over long distances and carrying high costs for the communities and the environment. Yet, as shown by a recent study, these costs can be reduced by hybridizing mini-grids with solar photo­vol­taic or other renewable power sources.

Access to energy partnerships for corporate social investment strategies

Once they have identified which solutions are best for communities, companies with operations in or near rural communities that lack access to grid connection should consider including programs on access to energy in their social investment strategies. In particular, extractives, energy players, renewable developers and multinational utilities that operate in such markets could invest in or finance systems such as standalone or mini-grid installations.

Local stakeholder engagement is an essential element to identify the right scale and solution for community energy needs. In particular, renewables developers and utilities have the opportunity to provide tangible demonstrations of the local benefits that they can bring — and at the same time build good neighborly relations.

Access-to-energy programs can be designed and implemented through a range of models, from direct investments and project implementation, to co-ownership with local partners and incubation support. By building partnerships among donors or for-profit investors that have funding, community-based organizations or nonprofits that have experience or networks to reach and engage communities and organizations or businesses with technical expertise, companies can ensure scalable, successful solutions to help close the energy gap.

Opportunities also exist, particularly for utilities and energy players that have in-house expertise, to provide capacity-building trainings on how to run and maintain appliances once they have been installed. This would allow effective knowledge transfer and also create job opportunities and enhance local skills.

A multitude of stakeholders across different geographies, sectors and industries are already contributing to Goal 7 and are pioneering innovative models built or financed in partnership with companies such as Total, Engie, Enel, EDP and other funders such as national development banks. Model partnerships include those with Barefoot College (active in India and in 76 other countries with its solar programs), Powerhive in Kenya, Devergy in Tanzania and Egg Energy in East Africa. These initiatives, however, need more business leadership to reach scalable impacts.

The rallying cry of Goal 7 is mobilizing efforts to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. It is now time for companies to fully connect to this movement.
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African women are breaking their backs to get water for their families.

Four years after the United Nations announced that it cut the number of people without access to cleaner water by half, getting to that water is still a major hardship for much of sub-Saharan Africa, a new analysis shows.

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More than two-thirds of the region’s population reported that they leave home to collect water and haul it as far as two football fields, and that backbreaking work falls mostly on women and children in 24 countries carrying buckets that weigh as much as 40 pounds each. The result, says the analysis released Wednesday and published in the journal PLOS One, is “fatigue, musculoskeletal damage and early degenerative bone and soft tissue damage” on water bearers who are often frail to begin with.

Among households that spent 30 minutes to collect water from a well or some other protected source, 13.5 million were women and 3.5 million were children in nations such as Niger, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Burundi, South Africa, Liberia and the Ivory Coast. Girls vastly outnumbered boys who carry out the chore, 62 percent to 38 percent, the analysis said. Adult women tasked with water collection ranged from about 45 percent in Liberia to 90 percent in the Ivory Coast.

Jay Graham, an assistant professor at George Washington University in Washington, said he undertook the analysis with the help of two graduate students because the costs of constantly collecting water have been overlooked, with few scientific studies or reports that focus on the topic. As the world works toward improving water sources through the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, the labor of retrieving it should be considered, he said.

The authors suggested that the time and toll of water collection by children and women should be taken into consideration when measuring the progress of making water available, as well as the benefits of sanitation and hygiene.

“Water transport can take considerable time and energy, placing high demands on the metabolism, and result in pressure on the skeletal system leading to early arthritis,” the analysis said. “The most commonly reported adverse effect among the 39 water transporters in South Africa was spinal pain, at 69 percent. People who carry water may be more prone to injury in rural areas due to higher rates of poverty, chronic malnutrition and poor health.”

On top of that, people worn down by the weight of collection are far less likely to use water for common tasks such as hand washing. “It’s shown to increase infectious diseases such as diarrhea,” Graham said. Researchers think hauling water by hand and foot is so labor intensive that “people collect less, so there’s no hygiene in the home. You don’t want to use it up on hand washing.

“What I’m trying to do is highlight that we’ve been measuring one aspect, where the water comes from,” said Graham. “We’re totally missing this other metric — how long people are spending collecting water and the gender inequality associated with water collection.” Public health officials in Africa and across the world have rightly zeroed in on quality, he said, “but we don’t focus on things like … the health impacts that are indirect — faster pregnancy for girls who miss school to do the work and a shorter life span. This is going to become more exacerbated with climate change as people are expected to walk farther.”

Even in a more developed country like South Africa, more than half of water bearers were adult women — 56 percent. Female children followed them at 31 percent, male children at 31 percent, and finally adult males at 3 percent.

The analysis references reports that said reduced water collection carried benefits for women in the Namaqualand of South Africa, providing nearly an hour of extra rest per day and time spent with children. Other observational reports in the country showed the impacts on children forced to collect water — fatigue, early dismissal from school and difficulty focusing on studies while in class.

The authors said their analysis relied on data from two major international surveys, “the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys conducted by governments in collaboration with UNICEF, and the Demographic and Health Survey conducted by the ICF International and funded by the United States Agency for International Development.” This analysis included the Sub-Saharan African countries that had conducted DHS or MICS household surveys between 2005 and 2012,” it said.

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The top 5 green building stories in 2015

From the world’s most sustainable office building to global efforts to reduce the impact of the construction sector, the green building industry saw many positive developments in 2015.

Buildings account for as much as a third of global carbon emissions, according to the United Nations Environment Programme, and slashing their contribution would make a dent in global warming. This year saw the green building movement gain substantial momentum, particularly in emerging economies.

We take a look at the year’s biggest green buildings stories.

1. First ever ‘Buildings Day’ held

To support global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, more than a hundred business groups from the global construction and buildings sector unveiled ambitious plans in December to expand the green building movement around the world and certify about 1.25 billion square metres of space, an area nearly twice the land mass of Singapore.

Industry leaders and members of national green building councils made the announcement on the first ever Buildings Day at the United Nations climate summit known as COP21 in Paris, and pledged to speed up green initiatives in the industry over the next five years.

These initiatives include “net zero carbon” for new buildings – buildings that do not emit carbon dioxide -, energy efficiency projects and retrofitting existing buildings by 2050, the group said on its COP21 campaign website Better Build Green. The group – led by the World Green Building Council (WGBC) – comprises 24 national green building councils worldwide, including several in Asia Pacific such as India, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.

2. Green building demand doubles every three years

According to the World Green Building Trends 2016 report in November by Dodge Data & Analytics, green building space continues to double every three years, with strongest acceleration in emerging economies, and clients and tenants worldwide increasingly demanding sustainability.

The report surveyed more than 1,000 architects, engineers, contractors, owners, specialists and consultants in 69 countries to understand their current green building project involvement and expectations for 2018.

The findings, which will be fully available in early 2016, reaffirm previous research results in 2008 and 2012 that green building is doubling every three years on average.

Across all regions studied, respondents projected that more than 60 per cent of their projects would be green by 2018, with a doubling from current projects across the Middle EastNorth AfricaAsiaSouth America and Sub-Saharan Africa.

3. China overtakes the United States as country with the most green building space 

China’s green building industry is expanding rapidly, with green space growing 154 times since 2008. This has resulted in the world’s largest economy overtaking the United States in terms of gross floor area, according to research from global real estate services company CBRE.

The New Era of Green Buildings in China found that as of January 2015, China had 2,538 projects with the country’s Green Building Evaluation Standard certification, representing gross floor area of 290 million square metres, as well as 627 Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) projects as of April 2015, adding an additional 28 million sq m.

While China had begun relatively late in the green building space – with the first green building certified as recently as 2005 – the size of the Chinese construction industry, the largest in the world, means there is significant room for growth. With increasing concern over environmental issues and the Chinese government’s commitment to reform the economy, analysts expect much more will be done in the green building space.

4. The world’s most sustainable building opens in Amsterdam

Deloitte’s new corporate headquarters in Zuidas, Amsterdam, has been named the most sustainable office building in the world by UK’s Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM). The building, called The Edge, took over the title from One Embankment Place in London, after being awarded an “Outstanding” rating with the highest ever BREEAM score of 98.36 per cent.

The 40,000 square meters building is 15 stories high, houses 1,800 people and is energy neutral, thanks to a combination of technologies: natural insulation and lighting, energy-efficient design, solar panels. Rainwater is collected for use flushing the building’s toilets and watering its green areas.

5. Green Mark celebrates 10 years

Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Green Mark Scheme was launched in January 2005 to drive Singapore’s construction industry towards more environment-friendly buildings. The scheme has helped Singapore green about 30 per cent of its built environment – from just 17 buildings in 2005 –  making one of the greenest cities globally.

The first green building scheme to set standards for buildings in the tropics, the Green Mark programme now reaches more than 10 countries and over 280 projects across Southeast Asia.

In 2010, BCA became the first government agency outside North America to be conferred the prestigious Aspen Institute’s Energy and Environment Award. The award recognises BCA’s leadership in designing and implementing policies that promote clean energy technologies, or energy and environment conservation efforts.

In 2011, BCA became the inaugural winner of the World Green Building Council’s Regional Leadership Award. This is in recognition of BCA’s leadership to create a more sustainable built environment. BCA joined five other city authorities including San Francisco and New York to be highlighted by the World Green Building Council for leadership in government policy.

Earlier this year, the initiative celebrated its 10th anniversary and released a book that featured 50 best examples of green buildings in Singapore.

BCA also launched a new version of the scheme that promises to be a “game-changer” in raising sustainability standards of the building industry.

Source: eco-business


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African Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship for Sub-Saharan Africans, 2016

Applications are invited for African Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship Program. Scholarship is awarded for pursuing one to two year Master’s level program in public administration, public policy or public finance at a Canadian university. Applicants must be a citizen and resident of sub-Saharan Africa and must be between 22 and 35 years old are eligible to apply. The application deadline is November 2nd, 2015.

Study Subject(s): Scholarship is available in the field of public administration, public policy or public finances.
Course Level:
Scholarship is awarded for pursuing one to two year Master’s level program in public administration, public policy or public finance at a Canadian university.
Scholarship Provider:
The Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) in collaboration with The Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC)
Scholarship can be taken at: Canada

Eligibility: Candidates must meet all the eligibility requirements:
-Be a citizen and resident of sub-Saharan Africa
-Be between 22 and 35 years old (at the beginning of the study program)
-Have completed an undergraduate university degree (4 years of university) with a minimum average of B (75%)
-Have two to five years of work experience in the public sector, civil society sector or research and academic institutions in Africa
-Be fluent in  French or English
-Meet all the academic requirements of the study program of choice
-Eligibility restrictions
-Candidates who have obtained Canadian citizenship, who are permanent residents or who have applied for permanent residency in Canada are not eligible.
-Candidates who are already enrolled in a degree or any program of study at a Canadian university are not eligible.

Scholarship Open for International Students: Applicants from sub-Saharan African countries (Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroun, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo (Brazzaville),Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe) are eligible to apply for this scholarship programme.

Scholarship Description: The African Leaders of Tomorrow (ALT) Scholarship Program commemorates the late Nelson Mandela’s commitment to social justice and equity by supporting young African professionals to become leaders in public policy and administration. The ALT Scholarship Program will grant scholarships to young African women and men to pursue a Master’s degree in public administration, public policy or public finances. Scholarships will be awarded based on merit to young professionals from sub-Saharan Africa. The Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) in collaboration with The Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) will implement the ALT Scholarship Program with the objective of contributing to a strong and effective public sector in sub-Saharan Africa.  Special consideration will be given to equitable representation across the continent and to the advancement of women leaders. This program is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), and The MasterCard Foundation.

Duration of award(s): The ALT scholarship allows studies in a Master’s degree program in public administration, public policy or public finance only and for a maximum period of two years (24 months). There are no other programs that will be eligible.

What does it cover? The ALT scholarship includes:
-Return airfare (at the beginning and at the end of the program)
-Tuition fees
-Monthly living allowances and one time installation allowance
-Fixed allowance to cover purchase of books and attend conferences in Canada
-Health insurance coverage
-Fees for study permit.

Selection criteria: Eligible candidates with complete files will be assessed against the following criteria by a national selection committee:
-Academic merit;
-Professional experience;
-Relevance and merit of the case study;
-Recommendation letters;
-Demonstrated leadership capacity; and
-Potential contribution to public administration and public policy upon the candidate’s return to his/her home country.
-In awarding the scholarships, considerations will be given to gender equity and equitable representation from across sub-Saharan Africa.

How to Apply: The 2016 Competition is now open. Deadline to apply is November 2nd, 2015 at 23:00 GMT. Candidates are required to communicate with us at alt-at-cbie.ca to find out if they meet the eligibility requirements, and to receive an access code and link to the online application form. Candidates are required to fill out an electronic application form and submit the following documents to be eligible:
-A CV or resume
-All official transcripts and diplomas for every university programs completed or in progress (with official translation if the transcripts are not in English or French)
-An abstract for a case study
-A 500 to 750 word letter of intent to explain why they want to study in public administration and how they will use the training upon their return to their country.
-Three reference letters (two academic and one professional). If the candidate is currently employed, one of the support letters should be from their employer.
-A copy or their valid passport or a copy of the application form for a passport if the candidate does not have a valid passport
-A copy of the result of the language test if the candidate has never studied in the language of instruction (TOEFL, Alliance française)
-Please note that candidates cannot submit their files in between competition, and that documents sent by email to alt-at-cbie.ca will not be accepted.

Scholarship Application Deadline: The application deadline is November 2nd, 2015.

Further Official Scholarship Information and Application

Source: scholarship-positions


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One Airport Square in Accra is West Africa’s first commercial green building

The nine-storey 20 250m2 building, designed by renowned sustainability architect Mario Cucinella, won the coveted International Property Awards Africa in 2014. It brings together a number of innovations not seen before in the rapidly-growing West African oil hub. These include the maximum use of natural light, a façade with overhangs to minimise solar exposure which in turn reduces demand on the air-conditioning system, motion sensors to control the lighting, and the harvesting of rainwater for ablutions and irrigation.

‘One Airport Square is located in Airport City, a few minutes from Kotoka International Airport, a modern business precinct that is already proving to be highly desirable. It’s also about four kilometres from Accra Mall – West Africa’s first large-scale shopping centre,’ says Adriaan Otto, general manager: JHI Africa.

‘The development offers almost 1,500m2 of retail space that includes a restaurant, bistro and coffee bar and there are two floors of underground parking serving the commercial component. The building has sufficient water storage for four days use and its own standby generators. In spite of depressed oil prices there is still demand for prestigious business space in Ghana by both local and international companies. Rental rates for quality office space remain in the US$37 to US$35/m2 zone and I’m pleased to report that vacancies in the portfolio managed by JHI are remarkably low,’ adds Otto.

One Airport Square is a joint-venture project between Boston Investments and Boston Investments, the latter one of the most successful emerging market investors with US$7.6billion in assets employing more than 114 000 people.

Depending on specifics, green buildings can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 35%, reduce electricity use by 30 to 50% and cut water usage by 40% compared to traditional design and construction methods. In addition, by making better use of natural light and – where appropriate – natural ventilation the working environment for occupants is greatly enhanced leading to improved productivity. A win:win for people and the environment.

The Ghana Green Building Council promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by using a building rating system that measures five key areas; sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environment quality.

JHI provides a bouquet of property-related services in 16 countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa in addition to its operations in South Africa. Assets under management amount to almost US$7billion and comprise over nine million square metres of space. One Airport Square is but one of the certified Green Buildings under JHI’s care.

Source: eprop


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Africa’s quest for energy

The continent of Africa is shockingly short of electricity. Nearly 600 million people are without electricity altogether, while electricity consumption in Spain exceeds that of all of Sub-Saharan Africa, except South Africa.

Despite modest economic growth, countries in Africa could develop far faster and better with the help of electricity. So too could individual households. Africa’s poorest households are spending around US$10 kilowatts an hour on lighting – 20 times more than Africa’s richest households – and far more than people living in developed countries.

According to the Africa Progress Report 2015, it would take the average Tanzanian around eight years to consume as much electricity as an American does in one month.

But while the challenge may seem insurmountable, there’s plenty of hope to power up African countries, particularly through renewable energy.

According to the recent McKinsey ‘Brighter Africa’ report, the continent boasts 10 terawatts of potential energy capacity. It estimates much of this will come from solar, with a potential of 350 gigawatts of hydro, half of it anticipated from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

McKinsey has rated wind capacity at 109 GW. It expects geothermal to generate only 15 GW, but this will be extremely important for Ethiopia and Kenya, which hold 80% of the reserves.

Looking to the future, McKinsey forecasts that gas will account for more than 40% of the electricity generated from 2020 onward, with hydro remaining a very important technology.

Solar is expected to speed up further after 2030, representing 8% of the generation mix by 2040 and more than 30% of capacity additions between 2030 and 2040.

Coal will still be part of the energy mix, but its importance in the continent’s fuel mix will fade from 51% to 23%.

“One of the biggest challenges we have on the continent is that the planning doesn’t outlast the political office. Politicians want to be recogniSed, so they do short term projects which people can see before they leave office,” says Nelisiwe Magubane, former Director General of Energy and Chairman of Matleng Energy Solutions.

“We need to have planning that outlasts a political term.”

Senior energy consultant for Ngali Energin in Rwanda agrees: “If you’re expecting investors to put down billions, you have to put in place predictable tax regimes and stable regulations and make it practical to invest.”

The amount of money being ploughed into African megaprojects, particularly in energy and power distribution, increased by nearly 50% in 2014, according to a study by Deloitte. One of the most exciting projects was the Grand Inga Hydro Power Project, seen as a potential continental game changer. McKinsey estimates that the massive project could help save US$32 billion in capital spending and 65 megatons in carbon emissions.

“We are really excited that the DRC will house one of the largest hydro power projects in the world. The Grand Inga Hydro Power Project at 40 GW of hydro-electricity will bring closer the realiSation of Africa’s potential,” the acting CEO of Eskom, Brian Molefe recently told the PowerGen conference in Cape Town.

US President Barack Obama’s US$7 billion power plan, Power Africa, is also hoping to add 30 000 MW of new and cleaner power generation over a five-year period in several countries across the continent. Power Africa is working with technical and regulatory experts, governments and companies to boost electricity.

The Africa Progress Report, generated by the Africa Progress Panel headed by former UN Secretary General, Kofi Anan, suggests that the way forward is to build an integrated African grid, with sustainable energy at its core.

The International Energy Agency estimated that increased regional integration could cut average electricity costs by 8% on the continent and as much as 30% in some countries.

With a sharp drop in renewable technology prices, many energy planners are increasingly seeing the potential in renewable sources. Projects are dotted throughout Africa, from one of Africa’s largest wind farms in Ethiopia to a massive boost in hydro power in Angola.

Eight leading renewable energy projects in Africa

Kenya – Kenya is now the world’s ninth largest producer of geothermal energy. Plans envisage the doubling of capacity by the end of 2016 by expanding the Olkaria plant. Kenya is also moving ahead in developing its wind power resources.

Ethiopia – Ethiopia has tackled the impact of falling water levels in the dry season by moving into wind power. It now boasts one of Africa’s largest wind farms. The 120 MW, 84-turbine farm is 780 kilometres north of the capital of Addis Ababa.

Nigeria – Oil-rich Nigeria is scaling up its solar capacity. Agreements signed in 2014 and 2015 will take the country across the 5GW threshold. Nigeria is also in negotiations with a South Korea company, HQMC, about building another 10GW in capacity and establishing Africa’s first large-scale solar- panel manufacturing facility.

South Africa – South Africa has been recognised for one of the fastest rates of growth in the world for renewable energy investment through its Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPP) programme, with projects ranging from wind and solar PV to biogas.

Mauritania – Solar energy now powers a third of energy use in Nouakchott, the capital city of this West African country, and makes up 10% of the national grid. Plans are also underway to commission a 30MW wind farm, boosting the share of renewable energy in the national energy mix to 45%.

Democratic Republic of Congo – The Grand Inga hydro power project is forecast to double Africa’s electricity production capacity, making it the world’s largest infrastructure project.

Rwanda – Ignite Power is the first part of an ambitious plan aimed at achieving universal access to clean energy coverage in Rwanda. It brings together local and international organisations and has developed a template for connecting all households on and beyond the grid.

Ghana – The world’s fourth largest solar facility is under construction in western Ghana. The US$400 million Nzema solar project will include 630 000 solar modules generating 155MW of power. It will add 6% to Ghana’s overall power generation.

Source: moneyweb


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Starbucks jumping into South Africa’s growing coffee market

Starbucks is jumping into the surging coffee market in South Africa, where the number of cafes has expanded rapidly in recent years.

The company says the first store will open in Johannesburg by mid-2016 through a deal with Taste Holdings, a licensor of global brands in the region.

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Even though Starbucks doesn’t yet have locations in sub-Saharan Africa, the company is betting people may be familiar with the name through TV, movies and other media. The company’s coffee, which includes sourcing from nine African countries, was available through a food service deal during the 2010 Soccer World Cup. And the chain’s green-and-white siren logo could be a familiar draw for people visiting Johannesburg from other parts of the world.

Kris Engskov, who heads Europe, the Middle East and Africa for Starbucks Corp., said South Africa is an “aspirational country” with a growing economy and that there is now a “much larger group of people that can access our brand.”

Starbucks, which has 22,000 locations globally, said the coffee served in the Johannesburg store will be similar to the coffee Starbucks serves elsewhere in the world, but that it will create “special reserves” for the location.

With the addition of the Johannesburg location, Starbucks is entering an already lively coffee market, thanks to a mix of independent cafes and chains that have popped up in recent years.

The Seattle Coffee Company has about 90 stores in the country. Barry Parker, a director for the company, said he’s excited about the arrival of Starbucks, but that independent shops might be worried.
To the contrary, David Donde, owner of Truth Coffee, a Cape Town cafe known for its brass steampunk design and a remodeled 1940s cast iron roasting drum also says he welcomes the competition from Starbucks.

“They’re going to benchmark South African pricing with world pricing. We’ve been selling our coffee too cheap here,” Donde said, adding that he thinks South African coffee drinkers are becoming more discerning about the quality of the brew, favoring “flavor over bitterness.”

Ultimately, coffee drinkers will be the winners, said Karabo Kgole, a media analyst who lives in Johannesburg: “Coffee lovers will benefit from having another brand to explore.”

Alison Ritchie, a communications specialist who lives in Cape Town and first walked into a Starbucks while living in South Korea, said she is “stoked” about their arrival in South Africa.

“I loved it in Asia and I will most definitely love it here,” said Ritchie, who is also a regular at Truth Coffee.

Starbucks and Taste aren’t disclosing the financial terms of their deal, but Starbucks says it will be similar to its other licensing deals around the world. The companies say their partnership will eventually lead to more Starbucks stores in South Africa.

Employees from Taste will travel to Starbucks headquarters in Seattle for training, and stores will be designed by the Starbucks team in London.

As with other Starbucks outside the U.S., the menu will be tweaked to cater to local tastes. For instance, rooibos tea will be part of the menu.

Taste CEO Carlo Gonzaga said Starbucks will do well in South Africa because there’s an affinity for international brands, whose presence in the country has been relatively scant.

Source: chicagotribune


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African Governments Invest in Skills in Sciences, Engineering, and Technology

A high-level gathering including H.E. President Macky Sall of Senegal and government and business representatives from several African countries, met to discuss greater support for Africa’s skills needs.

President Sall officially launched the Regional Scholarship and Innovative fund on June 13, 2015, with initial seed money of US$5 million contributed by African governments. The Fund is a key initiative under the Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET), which is facilitated by the World Bank Group.

“Increasingly, Africa sees the need to depend on science and technology to increase industrial and agricultural productivity, guarantee food security, tackle diseases, ensure a safe water supply, and reduce the energy deficit,” said President Sall.

The three founding member countries of PASET were represented at the event by Senegal’s Minister of Education and Research, Mary Teuw Niane, Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, and Ethiopia’s Minister of Education, Shiferaw Shigutie.

Helping to bridge Africa’s skills gap

Today, Africa faces a dire deficit in skilled workers in the applied sciences, engineering and technology (ASET) fields. There is one or less scientist or engineer per 10,000 people, compared with 20 to 50 in industrialized countries.

African business leaders have long been concerned about the skills mismatch in the labor force. Due to a lack of the relevant expertise and skills, African businesses have preferred to invest outside of the region, and external investors in Africa continue to import skilled workers.

Emerging economies including China, Brazil, India and South Korea faced similar challenges in their early years until they invested heavily in science and technology education and research.

$5 million seed fund to help train 10,000 PhDs over 10 years

The $5 million pledged by African governments is an initial contribution to seed the Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund, which will train 10,000 PhDs, building research capacity in African universities and promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in ASET fields in Africa, over a period of 10 years. Leaders agreed to operationalize the Fund by June 2016, with a transparent, accountable and results-focused governance structure.

Sub-Saharan Africa needs an innovative ASET workforce that can provide sustainable solutions to Africa’s challenges in priority sectors, such as agriculture, energy, construction, manufacturing, transport, financial services, tourism and health. This would develop new knowledge, products and processes and adapt existing technology into marketable goods and services customized the African context. Creating this workforce requires improvements in the quality of university faculty and the development of relevant and quality curricula that encourage innovation, and investment in research capacity building.

Dr. Álvaro Sobrinho, Chairman of the African Business Champions for Science and founder of Planet Earth Institute, said: “As Africa continues to make great strides forward, we must also continue to recognize the importance of investing in our future generations. This investment must go beyond access and enrolment to develop excellence, too, especially in science and technology. Excellence in science and technology will equip Africa with a workforce ready to compete in the 21stcentury, where we can lead the world as scientists, engineers and innovators.”

On the cusp of socio-economic transformation

Africa is on the cusp of a socio-economic transformation. To accelerate this transformation requires a paradigm shift in three respects: a regional approach which complements individual country efforts in specific areas of development; public and private sector partnerships; and strong ownership and leadership of the change process by African stakeholders.

The launch of the Fund was a simple but very unique gathering that exemplified this paradigm shift. A few champions took the initiative to build a critical mass of highly skilled scientists and technologists. Using a regional effort which pools public and private resources to build capacity on the continent, they invited other African governments and business leaders to make similar commitments.

As this Fund and its parent initiative, PASET, take deeper roots within sub-Saharan Africa, it is hoped that many other African governments, business leaders, and partner institutions will take up the challenge and support the partnership.

The World Bank Group’s contribution was to bring the key players together and provide technical assistance and global knowledge, which resulted in a strong ownership and commitment from both the African Heads of State and the business leaders.

Source: worldbank


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Sub-Sahara Green Energy Gets A $250M Boost With Japan, Standard Bank Loan Deal

Green energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa will be the beneficiaries of a US$250-million loan agreement between Standard Bank and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Standard Bank announced today.

The credit line will be co-financed by Mizuho Bank, Ltd, with Japan Bank providing a partial guarantee for the co-financed portion.

The funding will be used by Standard Bank to lend to green energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a prepared statement by Standard Bank.

Ben Kruger, CEO Standard Bank Group, signed the deal with Akira Ishikawa, Japan Bank chief representative, London, at Standard Bank’s new green building in Rosebank, Johannesburg.

The green building industry in South Africa has grown tremendously over the last few years, according to Jarrod Lewin with the Green Building Council of South Africa. The country has about 1 million square meters (1.07 billion square feet) of green building space.

“The green building movement is about 7 years old,” Lewin said in a CNBC Africa interview. “We started out with one-to-four buildings and we have grown exponentially year-on-year to about 60 this year.”

Initially, energy efficiency drove the green building movement, but now it’s more about about “awareness around environmental and social governance issues,” said Grahame Cruickshanks, manager for climate change and sustainability services for green buildings at Ernst & Young, according to CNBC Africa.

Standard Bank’s new green building in Rosebank opened in 2013, and it used a gas powered tri-generation plant — South Africa’s second — to produce energy simultaneously for lighting, heating, and cooling.

Tri-generation is expensive, EngineeringNews reported. It didn’t hurt that an existing Egoli Gas main gas line ran past the property, according to InfrastructureENE. Gas made commercial sense in light of sustained electricity price hikes in South Africa.

More than 60 percent of the Standard Bank building is recycled steel, according to Standard Bank. It uses automatic lighting that can detect human presence. Twenty percent of materials used in construction and all furnishings and fittings were sourced from less than 400 kilometers (248 miles) away to reduce fuel used for transportation to the site. Rainwater harvested off the roof reduces the need for potable water by 50 percent, according to Standard Bank.

Standard Bank CEO Kruger said the transaction with Japan Bank is significant for the Standard Bank Group.

“It provides a diversified funding platform to fund projects which are environmentally and socially sustainable, as well as providing alternative green sources of energy to the grid, not only in South Africa, but also in sub-Saharan Africa,” he said. “This ties into the overall objectives of the group to fund projects in Africa in the renewable energy sector.”

Standard Bank Group’s largest shareholder is Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world’s largest bank, with a 20.1-percent shareholding.

Source: AFK Insider


 

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