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Africa’s once in a generation opportunity

Posted by African Press International on December 17, 2013


Op-ed by WaterAid: Africa’s once in a generation opportunity

UN figures show some 70% of sub-Saharan Africans do not have access to adequate sanitation

CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, December 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Op-ed by Lindlyn Moma, Regional Advocacy Manager for WaterAid in Southern Africa (http://www.wateraid.org)

Africa’s leaders have in their hands a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape the international development agenda, not just for their continent but for the whole globe.

Lindlyn Moma is Regional Advocacy Manager for WaterAid in Southern Africa

Lindlyn Moma is Regional Advocacy Manager for WaterAid in Southern Africa

The continent’s leaders are in the midst of negotiating the Africa Common Position (ACP) on what the UN framework for development will look like after 2015. The outcome will be hugely influential.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has pointed out that we are the first generation that has the resources and know-how to end extreme poverty. We must ensure that no one is left behind.

As we debate how to achieve this, we must not forget about the work yet to be completed on the UN Millennium Development Goals. These eight ambitious goals, set in 2000 to address hunger, extreme poverty and other issues crippling the developing world, run out in 2015.

Sanitation is the most off track of all of these goals. UN figures show some 70% of sub-Saharan Africans do not have access to adequate sanitation, while over a quarter — nearly 230 million people — practise open defecation.

This has devastating consequences for the continent. Over a thousand African children under the age of five die every day because of this lack of safe drinking water and poor sanitation.

Last month, Secretary-General Ban called upon the world to “urgently step up” its efforts and put sanitation at the heart of post-2015 development.

Failing to do so will carry measurable financial costs.

UN estimates suggest about 5% of the continent’s wealth is being lost from this lack of access to water and sanitation. If everyone had access to these services, it would add $33 billion US a year to the continent’s economies, according to a conservative 2012 estimate by economists at the World Health Organisation.

Ghana alone, for instance, according to a World Bank assessment, loses $290 million US each year to a lack of sanitation services. Kenya loses $324 million, Nigeria a staggering $3 billion.

Making access to sanitation and safe water a top priority in the African Common Position presents an opportunity for Africa’s children, and for economic growth. This is also in line with the Africa Water Vision 2025.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, along with the UN-established High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, has already called for a new UN development goal of universal access to water and sanitation. In following that lead, African leaders can be seen to be listening to the voices of its citizens, including women and girls, who are calling for the prioritisation of water and sanitation post-2015.

As we now mourn the loss of Nelson Mandela, the ultimate symbol of justice for the African people, we also remember his calls for an African Renaissance.

Safe water and better sanitation can help address so many of the challenges Africa faces today, from reducing the HIV transmission rate to improving child health and school attendance. As Mandela himself said: “Water is central in the social, economic and political affairs of the African continent.”

By prioritising safe water and sanitation, Africa’s leaders can also ensure the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals is dealt with strategically. Africa’s leaders can set the continent onto a trajectory so that by 2030, everyone has access to this basic right to sanitation.

If we miss this opportunity, we risk leaving hundreds of millions of people on the continent behind, stranding them far from that promise of an African Renaissance.

 

SOURCE

WaterAid

 

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New York Forum Africa 2014 with the theme – the transformation of a continent

Posted by African Press International on December 4, 2013

1,500 business and political leaders and eight heads of state attended last year’s NYFA, the world’s leading pan-African business summit

LIBREVILLE, Gabon, December 3, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The New York Forum AFRICA (NYFA) (http://www.ny-forum-africa.com) will again be held in Gabon’s capital Libreville in 2014, with the dates announced today as May 23-25. The theme for the Forum – the third to be held in the country – will be the Transformation of a Continent, and it will again be held under the High Patronage of His Excellency President Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of the Gabonese Republic.

More than 1,500 business and political leaders and eight heads of state attended last year’s NYFA, the world’s leading pan-African business summit. In previous years, it focused on recognizing the economic potential of the continent and the imperatives for growth.

In 2014, the NYFA will focus on unlocking the competitiveness of the African economy through building value chains around the transformation of the continent’s natural resources, including its human capital.

President Bongo said: “In Gabon, we are moving away from the old economic model of a land rich in natural resources that made others wealthy, towards a diversified, competitive economy built on the principle that if we can create added value in Africa, we benefit our own people.

“By 2020, we must ban the exports of any products that have not undergone an initial transformation within our own country, so that we can diversify our economy and create higher revenues for our goods and services. It is imperative that we work together swiftly to build up competencies and competitiveness in these value-added industries to ensure we benefit long-term.”

In knowledge economies, such as those in the western world, education is the foundation of economic competitiveness and global prosperity – and is inseparable from the development of human capital. An assessment from the World Bank revealed that human capital contributes more than 60 per cent towards economic development, as compared to physical infrastructure (around 15 per cent) and natural resources (around 20 per cent).

Richard Attias, co-founder of the NYFA, said: “We must ensure that training and capacity building matches the real needs on the ground. With a solid education and good quality vocational training – tailored to the job market and to the local environment – will ensure that African men and women can transform their lives, their environments and their countries. The blossoming of information and communication technologies further adds to the huge potential for the transformation of African economies.”

Last year’s NYFA focused on the six imperatives for African economies to grow (independence, investment, incubation, innovation, infrastructure and inspiration) and played host to a summit of the heads of state of the CEMAC region.

The key themes for the NYFA 2014 include:

•          Transforming the continent’s human capital

•          Transforming natural resources and energy

•          Transforming the land for agriculture

•          Transforming investment into industry

•          Transforming connectivity and digital innovation into jobs

•          Transforming isolated marketing efforts into community and co-operative branding

•          Transforming communities for new African citizenship

And, in a major new development in 2014, the New York Forum AFRICA will play host to a Citizens’ Summit. Sixty Africans, under the age of 30, will take part in a series of round table discussions with ministers, corporations and heads of state to hear first-hand about their challenges, their hopes, their experiences in the workforce.

The findings will form a Citizens’ Manifesto, to be delivered to the top 10 companies in each of the CEMAC states as well as the head of state, and the top three educational institutions, and is an initiative of Train My Generation, the vocational training fund created and set up by the New York Forum AFRICA in 2013.

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About New York Forum

The New York Forum® (http://www.ny-forum.com) was established with the conviction that business has arrived at a crossroads. It is crucial to send a strong optimistic message about the world economy’s future, to work towards redefining corporate governance, to create long-term value, and to re-invent business models through uniting all economic stakeholders.

Our goal focuses on consolidating the link between economic growth and job creation, on the importance of cities as key drivers of dynamism and innovation, on the challenges that are business leaders have to meet within a climate of volatility and uncertainty, and on the special opportunities created by the growth of emerging economies. http://www.ny-forum.com

About Richard Attias & Associates

Richard Attias & Associates (http://www.richardattiasassociates.com) is a strategic communications firm that provides private consultancy, idea initiatives, and live experiences. Our mission is to help leaders, corporations, and nations build their global influence, catalyse innovation, and lead the global exchange of ideas. Thanks to our strategic and operational expertise, we mould unforgettable experiences: interactive platforms, living laboratories of human capital, and cultural and historic exchanges that contribute to fostering a positive change for the international community. http://www.richardattiasassociates.com

SOURCE

Richard Attias & Associates (RAA)

 

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AfDB Group’s Africa50 Fund partner of the BUILD Africa Forum on infrastructure in Africa

Posted by African Press International on December 1, 2013


Infrastructure in Africa: AfDB Group’s Africa50 Fund partner of the BUILD Africa Forum on infrastructure in Africa

The forum will take place on February 5-7, 2014, in Brazzaville, Congo

BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of the Congo, December 2, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The BUILD Africa forum (http://www.buildafricaforum.com) is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with the African Development Bank Group’s Africa50 infrastructure fund.

Held under the High Patronage of Denis Sassou N’Guesso, President of the Republic of the Congo, the BUILD Africa Forum will address Africa’s infrastructure challenges by bringing leading public and private sector stakeholders to the table. The forum will take place on February 5-7, 2014, in Brazzaville, Congo.

Working together, the BUILD Africa forum and Africa50, the AfDB’s single-A infrastructure delivery vehicle, will showcase innovative projects in Africa and develop a structural framework for these and other future projects.

African growth today is hindered by a substantive lack of resource leverage and project coordination. The aim of this partnership is to promote understanding of the various ways in which stakeholders can accelerate the speed and quality of project delivery and increase the number of infrastructure projects that reach bankability in Africa. The BUILD Africa forum together with Africa50 is making today’s financial innovation and regional integration platforms the norm for tomorrow.

Fast facts on Africa’s infrastructure needs (Source: BAD, 2009)

Africa must invest $50 billion annually in infrastructure:

•          40% of the population lacks access to potable water.

•          60% lacks access to proper sanitation.

•          Transportation costs in Africa are among the highest in the world.

•          A mere 30% of the Africans have regular access to electricity.

•          Africa has the lowest rate of penetration globally, of telephone access at 14% (worldwide average 52%).

Quotes on the Africa50 & BUILD Africa forum partnership

Tas Anvaripour, Director of AfDB Africa50: “African infrastructure projects are increasingly capturing the attention of investors worldwide. However, the number of bankable infrastructure projects brought to market is still insufficient, even though they offer an excellent way to diversify investment portfolios and steady, long-term, and above average returns.”

Jean-Jacques Bouya, Minister to the President of the Republic for Spatial Planning and Delegate General for Major Public Works, Republic of the Congo: “The partnership between Africa50 and BUILD Africa illustrates the aim of the forum to boost smart and innovative investment mechanisms, in order to develop infrastructure and to activate a sustainable social and economic development across the African continent.”

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About BUILD Africa

Held in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo from the 5th to the 7th of February 2014, under the High Patronage of His Excellency President Denis Sassou N’Guesso, the BUILD Africa Forum (http://www.buildafricaforum.com)  will gather more than 500 business & political leaders, who will endeavour to find innovative solutions to Africa’s numerous infrastructure challenges and ambitions.

About Africa50 Fund

Africa50 is a new and innovative vehicle which is re-imagining infrastructure financing and aims to unlock global private capital to close the Africa infrastructure gap. Africa50 will bring to the market much needed financing tools and services, mainly offered through its two sub-vehicles: Project Finance and Project Development. It will be groundbreaking in its design and structure, leveraging infrastructure-financing resources from a diverse set of sources. Africa50 is in the process of raising $10 billion USD to finance infrastructure projects across the continent.

 

SOURCE

Richard Attias & Associates

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SkyVision to Unveil its New Cloud Services

Posted by African Press International on November 13, 2013

SkyVision cloud-based solutions will enable customers to reduce overall IT expenses

CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, November 11, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – SkyVision Global Networks Ltd. (http://www.skyvision.net), a leading global communication provider, today announced its launch of a full suite of Cloud services and solutions. The official launch will take place at AfricaCom 2013, November 12-14, Cape Town, Booth C14. AfricaCom is an integral part of the company’s ongoing commitment to expanding its activity within the telco market and throughout Africa.

SkyVision’s success in Africa is the result of a comprehensive network of local partners and representatives, and SkyVision offices in Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, Guinea Conakry, Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Morocco. As a leading service provider in Africa, SkyVision provides viable solutions that help African companies, organizations and service providers develop their ICT capabilities, increase their productivity and profitability, and the level of service they provide to their customers. SkyVision cloud-based solutions will enable customers to reduce overall IT expenses by deploying new applications without having to purchase additional hardware, software licenses, or be concern with scale up/scale down their computing and storage resources.

In addition SkyVision will introduce a new mobile application for its voice services. SkyVision’s voice services provide high quality and cost effective international and interbranch voice connectivity. With the addition of the new SkyVision Voice line mobile app, SkyVision customers can now use the same service account at their office, from their laptop using our softphone application and on the go from their mobile device using the new mobile app.

“Deploying efficient, effective infrastructure and solutions when limited resources are available, is a challenging task and a key enabler for diffusing ICT in developing countries,” comments Doron Ben Sira, SkyVision CEO. “We are especially proud to be taking part in this continent-wide event where we can reach out to customers, prospects, policy makers and practitioners in ICT with a viable cloud-based solution. AfricaCom gives us the perfect stage to promote our corporate cloud services, uniquely tailored to meet the needs of e-Governance, e-Infrastructure, and e-Business customers,” he added.

 

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About SkyVision

SkyVision (http://www.skyvision.net) is a leading global communications service provider, offering comprehensive, integrated solutions to meet all corporate, government and telco market requirements.

Via its gateways in Europe, North America, Africa and the Middle East, the company provides IP connectivity with access to the global Internet backbone, as well as an extensive suite of both customized end-to-end solutions and industry-standard services. With a network spanning 100 countries, SkyVision’s solutions combine global reach with active local presence and support. SkyVision’s customers include telecos, ISPs, cellular operators, global and local enterprises, government entities and NGOs. For more information, visit http://www.skyvision.net.

 

SOURCE

SkyVision Global Networks Ltd.

 

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AfDB and Namibia sign ZAR 2.9 billion loan agreement

Posted by African Press International on November 12, 2013

WINDHOEK, Namibia, November 11, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (http://www.afdb.org) and Namibia on Friday, November 8, 2013 signed a ZAR 2.9 billion (US $338 million) sovereign guaranteed loan to Nambia Ports Authority (Namport) to finance the construction of a container terminal at Walvis Bay New Port.

In line with its Ten Year Strategy and focus on infrastructure development and regional integration, the AfDB Group approved the construction of the New Port of Walvis Bay Container Terminal Project in July 2013. The Bank also provided a UA 1.5 million grant (US $2.3 million) to the Government of Namibia for logistics and capacity building complementing the port project loan.

Namibia’s Finance Minister and Governor for the Bank, Sara Kuugongwelwa-Amadhila, signed the loan guarantee and grant agreements on behalf the Government in Windhoek. Namport CEO Bisey Uirab signed the loan agreement on behalf of Namport, while Ebrima Faal, Regional Director of the AfDB’s Southern Africa Resource Center (SARC), signed for the Bank.

In her intervention, Kuugongwelwa-Amadhila stressed the importance of the project and its contribution to one of the key development goals (the logistics pillar) of the National Development Plan which aims to position Namibia as a regional logistics hub by 2017. The Minister also thanked the AfDB for its strong and holistic support to Namport and the Government of Namibia through the loan and grant financing.

For his part, the Namport CEO acknowledged the positive spirit and enthusiasm of the AfDB in committing to finance the project and its unwavering commitment throughout the project preparation process.

In his statement, Faal emphasized the developmental impact of the project: “This project is important for Namibia and for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. It is critical to fulfilling Namibia’s aspirations to become a world-class logistics hub in the SADC region,” he said.

According to Faal, the project will enhance international and inter-regional trade and regional integration and Namibia will be able to fully exploit its unique geographical location to facilitate trade to and from the region.

“With the high levels of youth unemployment, the Bank’s support to Namport and the Government of Namibia will greatly improve private sector development and youth employment and will especially boost women participation in the logistics sector,” he emphasized.

The Project is expected to enable Namport to triple the container-handling capacity at the Port of Walvis Bay from 350,000 TEUs to 1,050,000 TEUs per annum. It will also finance the purchase of up-to-date port equipment and the training of pilots and operators for the new terminal. The grant component will fund the preparation of the National Logistics Master Plan study, technical support and capacity-building for the Walvis Bay Corridor Group and training of freight forwarders with particular emphasis on female staff.

According to the AfDB Director of Transport and ICT, Amadou Oumarou: “Through this project which potentially serves up to seven major economies in the SADC region, the Bank is assisting in the diversification and distribution of port facilities on the southwest coast of Africa, and provides the much-needed alternative for the region’s landlocked countries.”

The project will stimulate the development and upgrade of multimodal transport corridors linking the port to the hinterland while improving the country’s transport and logistics chains. It will also boost competition among the ports and transport corridors in the region with the ripple effect on reductions in transportation costs and increased economic growth.

The projected project outcomes include improvement in port efficiency and increase in cargo volumes by 70% in 2020 as a result of increased trade in the region. The benefits of the project will include among others, the stimulation of inter-regional trade and regional integration, private sector development, skills transfer and most importantly employment creation, leading to significant economic development and poverty reduction in Namibia, and the SADC region.

 

SOURCE

African Development Bank (AfDB)

 

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Changing lives of children through social entrepreneurship

Posted by African Press International on November 8, 2013

Tigo set to change lives of children through social entrepreneurship

Interested candidates are invited to present their innovative ideas online by applying through the Tigo Tanzania website

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, November 8, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Tigo (http://www.tigo.co.tz) in partnership with Swedish non-profit organization Reach for Change launched today the ‘Tigo Reach for Change’ initiative, which focuses on identifying and supporting local social entrepreneurs with solid ideas on improving the lives of Tanzanian children.

Tigo Tanzania General Manager Mr. Diego Gutierrez said, “Statistics show that children less than 18 years of age constitute almost half of Tanzania’s population. But to date the investment in addressing their needs is not proportionate with their share of the population or their role as tomorrow’s leaders and human capital. Investing in children is the single most important investment in national development”.

Mr. Gutierrez added that “Tigo has for many years been deeply involved in addressing challenges concerning children and youth in Tanzania. We believe the most effective way to bring about sustainable change is to empower motivated individuals with the right tools to bring to life innovative ideas that can change their society. Tigo Reach for Change initiative allows us to do just that!”

Interested candidates are invited to present their innovative ideas online by applying through the Tigo Tanzania website: http://www.tigo.co.tz. Each application will be reviewed by a panel of experts and the strongest and most promising applicant will be invited to join a three year incubator programme where their ideas will be transformed into sustainable ventures. In addition to this, they will receive funding of USD 25,000 a year for up to three years, as well as mentoring and professional advice from senior employees of Tigo.

For the duration of the 3 years programme the social entrepreneur’s business idea will undergo evaluation to ensure that they attain required key performance indicators until their project is fully developed and self-sustainable.

Children in Tanzania have right to participation, development, protection, freedom from discrimination and an identity. “Despite the progress made to date in fulfilling these rights a lot need to be done to ensure children grow to their full potential hence become contributing members of the society. We are determined to address challenges which hinder children development/realization of their rights by empowering local individuals with solutions that will improve lives of children. We believe that local problems are better solved by local individuals who thoroughly understand the issues at hand. This is the second year in a row that we are partnering with Reach for Change and there has been great impact from the winning projects from last year. We are looking forward to this year’s applications with great expectation”, said Woinde Shisael, Tigo’s Corporate Responsibility Manager.

Last year’s program received over 1000 applications. The three winning projects included an initiative to empower children with disabilities with vocational skills; mobile classes for street children; and a project aimed at bridging the rural-urban digital divide. All the projects are still ongoing and are changing the lives of many children across Tanzania.

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About Reach for Change

Reach for Change is a non-profit organization established in Sweden and co-founded by Kinnevik, the founding company of Millicom. The search for social entrepreneurs first began in Sweden in 2010, followed by Russia in 2011, before embarking, in that same year, as a pilot project for Africa in Ghana, which has recently reported an improvement in the livelihoods of over 140,000 children.

About Tigo

Tigo (http://www.tigo.co.tz) started operations in 1994 as the first cellular network in Tanzania. It now covers 30 regions in mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar.  Tigo strives to be Tanzania’s most innovative mobile phone operator, offering services ranging from affordable mobile voice communications to high speed Internet access and mobile financial services through Tigo Pesa.

Tigo is part of Millicom International Cellular S.A (MIC) which provides affordable, widely accessible and readily available cellular telephony services to more than 45 million customers in 13 emerging markets in Africa and Latin America.

The success of Tigo is based on the “Triple A” strategy, which stands for Affordability, Accessibility and Availability. We create a world where mobile services are affordable, accessible and available everywhere and to all. This guarantees that our subscribers experience the best services at the most affordable rates throughout our 30 regions in both Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.

 

SOURCE: Tigo Tanzania

 

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Liberia Sanitation Project Selected by UNFCCC as one of 2013 Outstanding Climate Innovations

Posted by African Press International on November 8, 2013

BONN, Germany, November 8, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) announced Wednesday the selection of the Monrovia Fostering Innovative Sanitation and Hygiene (FISH) project as one of the 17 Lighthouse Activities to be showcased at the November 2013 UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, Poland.

Lighthouse Activities projects are selected based on their innovative and transformative qualities, and are recognized for the value of the solutions they propose to address both climate change and wider economic, social and environmental challenges.

The 2013 Lighthouse Activities were selected by a 16-member, international advisory panel (http://unfccc.int/secretariat/momentum_for_change/items/6648.php) as part of the secretariat’s Momentum for Change initiative (http://unfccc.int/secretariat/momentum_for_change/items/6214.php), which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, and operates in partnership with the World Economic Forum.

“The 2013 Lighthouse Activities are true beacons of hope, demonstrating what happens when innovation and passion come together to address the biggest challenge of our time,” UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said. “There are thousands of examples of people taking action to address climate change all over the world. The Lighthouse Activities highlight some of the most practical, scalable and replicable examples of what people, businesses, governments and industries are doing to tackle climate change, which I hope will inspire others to do the same.”

The FISH project was designed to enhance Monrovia city’s capacity for sustainable city-wide fecal sludge management. The project complements efforts by the Government of Liberia and development partners to improve sanitation service access rates and reduce the vulnerability of the urban poor to diseases caused by water contamination resulting from open defecation and septic tank overflows.

Earlier this year, the project had received a €1.2 million grant from the African Water Facility (AWF) to cover 86 per cent of the financing needed for its implementation.

“The selection of the Monrovia project is a much-deserved recognition of Liberia’s leadership in promoting innovation to deal more effectively with issues affecting peoples’ lives and build resilience to climate change,” said Akissa Bahri, Coordinator of the African Water Facility. “This also goes to show that improving sanitation services is a must-have component of any city’s resilience strategy, and that it is possible for fragile states to overcome sanitation challenges through the adoption of creative ideas meant to optimize resources recovery. The FISH project is a remarkable example to follow.”

The 17 Lighthouse Activities will be showcased at special events during the UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, Poland, November 11-22. Interested stakeholders can interact with the activity representatives during two social media discussions ahead of the climate conference.

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About the African Water Facility (AWF): The AWF (http://www.africanwaterfacility.org) is an initiative of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB), established in 2004 as a Special Water Fund to help African countries achieve the objectives of the Africa Water Vision 2025. The AWF offers grants from €50,000 to €5 million to support projects aligned with its mission and strategy to a wide range of institutions and organizations operating in Africa. Its three strategic priority activities are (1) preparing investment projects to mobilize investment funds for projects supported by AWF; (2) enhancing water governance to create an environment conducive for effective and sustainable investments; (3) promoting water knowledge for the preparation of viable projects and informed governance leading to effective and sustainable investments. Since 2006, AWF has funded 84 national and regional projects in 51 countries, including in Africa’s most vulnerable states. It has mobilized more than €935 million as a result of its project preparation activities, which constitute 70 percent of its portfolio. On average, each €1 contributed by the AWF has attracted €20 in additional follow-up investments. The AWF is entirely funded by Algeria, Australia, Austria, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Burkina Faso, Canada, Denmark, the European Commission, France, Norway, Senegal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the African Development Bank. The AWF is governed by a Governing Council representing its 15 donors, UN-Water Africa, the AU via NEPAD, AMCOW and the AfDB. For more information:http://www.africanwaterfacility.org

SOURCE

African Development Bank (AfDB)

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