Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

31
Aug

A man withdraws money from an Orange Money cashier in Abidjan. About $104bn of African incomes currently flow outside the formal banking system annually. (Issouf Sanogo, AFP)

Making the world a better place – noble in theory, but expensive in practice and ambitious to sustain.

Financing the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDGs), for example, will require more than the combined GDP of Africa’s 30 biggest economies in additional funds every year. A big ask – so where should the money come from? Given that the funding needed is nearly 20 times last year’s official international aid flows, it’s safe to say that more aid from international donors cannot continue to be the primary focus.

So what if we tapped into the considerable resources of the developing countries themselves? Often overlooked, these countries’ tax revenues, natural resource revenues, private domestic savings, pension funds, private equity markets, stock markets, and remittances, taken together, are significantly larger than aid flows – and are growing rapidly. If harnessed to finance development, these resources could enormously accelerate the rate at which the SDGs are achieved.

Take sub-Saharan Africa. As a conservative estimate, at least 20-30% of the $2.6-trillion funding gap will be needed in this region alone. This is a massive amount – but our estimates show that sub-Saharan Africa can get part of the way there, and unlock approximately $90-billion for development per year, with just four actions: lowering the cost of remittances and using them as collateral for loans, banking more of the unbanked, and unlocking pension funds for investment in private equity. Taken together the four suggestions illustrate a broader point: what if the way we fund development propelled development itself? Read more…

Published on 26 Aug. in the Mail and Guardian. Yana Watson Kakar is the global managing partner of Dalberg, Matthew MacDevette is a Dalberg consultant and James Mwangi is executive director of the Dalberg Group. Follow @DalbergTweet on Twitter.

22
Jun

Rene talk

IE School of International Relations and the IE Africa Club will host on Tuesday, June 23, Rene Meyer, a Master in International Relations (MIR) alumnus, who will present the African infrastructure challenge with particular focus on the power supply gap in African countries. He will also share his 3-year experience working in Sub-Saharan Africa and speak about particularities of the African business and government culture.

Date: Tuesday, June 23rd, 19:30

Room: MMB-603 (María de Molina 31bis, 6th floor)

 

For more information on the event and the speaker, click here.

22
May

Written by Matthew Pelton (MIR 2014-15)

The September 11, 2001 attacks by the radical Al-Qaeda Islamist group shocked the world.  Earlier attacks occurred at U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi in 1998, but few expected the global jihadists to take new tactics to American soil.  Since fame grew for Al-Qaeda in the radical world, branches of their ideology have blossomed elsewhere (e.g., Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Boko Haram in Nigeria, and Al-Shabaab in Somalia).  In the past decade, Boko Haram, which means “Western education is forbidden,” has waged war against Western education and ideology in Nigeria killing thousands of people.  Similarly, Al-Shabaab has carried out attacks in Somalia, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, and Djibouti since 2006 due to military intervention in Somali affairs through the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) and their endorsement of Western ideology.

Read more…

8
Mar

Written by Matt Pelton (MIR 2014-15), the former program director of the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship at the African Leadership Network

Paul Kagame

In November 2014, the African Leadership Network (ALN) hosted its fifth annual gathering in Kigali to celebrate and recognize Rwanda’s reconciliation and growth since the tragic genocide. 2014 marked the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi minority. A country divided due to its colonial legacy, ongoing tension between the Hutu and Tutsi had existed in Rwanda since a Hutu-led revolt brought independence from the Belgians in 1962. Today, the Land of a Thousand Hills boasts new state-of-the-art facilities, scores of tourists each year, some of the continent’s strongest education and healthcare programs, and a very conducive environment for entrepreneurs and foreign investors. While greater income equality and universal access to social services still must be achieved, the nation receives praises from around the world for its economic growth, social inclusion, and good governance.

IMG_8269ALN’s 2014 event convened 300 of its influential members and partners from across Africa and abroad. The group celebrated Rwanda’s impressive growth and aimed to learn leadership lessons from the public sector. His Excellency President Paul Kagame participated in an insightful dialogue on his personal journey and approach to leadership, as did other public sector leaders such as Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda Development Board CEO Francis Gatare, former Zimbabwean Minister of Industry & International Trade Nkosona Moyo, and Tanzanian presidential candidate January Makamba. Sessions addressed the future of African cities, the Ebola crisis in West Africa, innovation in education models, inclusive financial services and technology, how to build an effective public sector, foreign policy as a driver of prosperity,and investment opportunities in Rwanda. Aligned with Rwanda’s focus on entrepreneurship and private sector growth, the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship gala dinner honored the most innovative and inspiring entrepreneurs from across the continent. In addition, ALN officially launched its Ventures program, which is now sponsoring its inaugural class of entrepreneurs with funding, mentorship, and strategic support.

While Rwanda has made significant progress through its reconciliation and economic resurgence, arguments for greater political freedoms and participation still exist. As Amartya Sen presented in Development as Freedom, some could argue that true development is only achieved with the presence of political freedom, economic facilities, social opportunities, transparency guarantees, and protective security. Thus, some critics of Rwanda question whether the country should in fact be considered a bright story of governance and growth for the continent. Conversely, the global economic crisis showed us that the means to development need not always replicate the “Washington Consensus” of the West. The 2014 UNDP Human Development Report illustrates that Rwanda’s life expectancy, expected years of schooling, and GDP per capita (PPP) have improved drastically since 1980. Accordingly, such steady socio-economic improvements and the reconciliation of a divided country warrant recognition for the progress achieved by a government that inherited a dismal situation in the wake of the genocide.

IMG_8278 Read more…

27
Oct

 

Evans Wadongo_21102014 (41)

Written By Matthew Pelton, IE Master in International Relations Student, 2014/2015 Intake

 

Kenyan entrepreneur Evans Wadongo, the Founder and Executive Director of Sustainable Development for All (SDFA), conducted a seminar with the MIR class on Tuesday 21 October.  Mr. Wadongo discussed his entrepreneurial journey from rural Kenya to the world stage, as an accomplished social entrepreneur recognized as a CNN Hero and Schwab Foundational Social Entrepreneur of the Year for the widespread impact of his solar lantern enterprise.  Building off the MIR’s Base of the Pyramid workshop, the session addressed the power of innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa and discussed the changing relations within Africa and between Africa and the world.  The session concluded with interactive Q&A on recent course topics, and MIR student Matt Pelton provided context based on his previous work experiences at the African Leadership Network.

Innovation and Opportunities

As economic growth continues, and the “Africa Rising” story garners attention, there are questions whether social development is following closely behind.  The UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI) might provide a different perspective.  The continent’s largest economy, Nigeria, ranks very low (#152 out of 187) based on the most recent HDI data.  As such, there still is a need for African entrepreneurs to create social impact through their businesses.  With foreign aid and government initiatives further removed from the needs and opportunities in local communities, Mr. Wadongo emphasized the significant opportunity to build innovative, local solutions from the bottom up. Using savings from his student loan, Mr. Wadongo developed a simple solution to a widespread problem.  He grew up in rural Kenya and developed eye sight problems at a young age due to kerosene oil.  His solar lanterns are made from recycled materials and provide a sustainable and healthier alternative to more expensive kerosene lanterns.  SDFA’s innovative business model provides solar lanterns on loan to women, who then use their kerosene savings to start businesses that support their households.  SDFA provides capacity-building support to the women entrepreneurs and to the unemployed youth that are trained to build the low-cost lanterns. Africa has become a growing hub for technology entrepreneurs in recent years (World Bank blog), but innovation can be found in sectors beyond technology and energy, such as financial services, agriculture, and education.  Examples provided in the seminar included a nano-lending mobile platform based in Kenya, an organic fertilizer made from bat droppings found in Madagascar caves, and an innovative chain of low-cost African universities, among others.  The continent’s population is rapidly growing, and UNICEF believes the youth population (under 18 years) will grow to nearly 1 billion by 2050.  Entrepreneurship and related education initiatives will play a key role in ensuring that unemployment is minimized through sufficient job creation.  With proper education and job opportunities, youth will be less likely to join rebel groups and extremist terrorism organizations, which recently has become a threat to local and international security.  

Read more…

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