Items filtered by date: January 2017

2,500 celebrate historic groundbreaking in one of Africa's neediest countries for a $14m solar field to advance economic and social development

Amid the lush and rolling hills of Mubuga, 100 km outside the Burundian capital of Bujumbura, 2,500 people came yesterday to celebrate the festive ground-breaking for a 7.5 MW solar field that will add 15% to the East African country's generation capacity. In a colorful and drum-accented ceremony attended by government officials, international investors, religious leaders and the diplomatic community, Gigawatt Global (http://GigawattGlobal.com), the leading frontier solar and social development enterprise, announced the $14 million pioneering project in one of the world's least developed nation. 

"Empowering economic and social development is at the heart of our green energy business," said Michael Fichtenberg, VP for Finance and Business Development of Gigawatt Global. "This high impact development investment supported by leading international financial institutions signals that Burundi is open for development and business." 

This will be the largest private international investment in the power sector in Burundi in nearly 30 years, with the power being sold for 25 years to REGIDESO, the national electric company. "We are very excited at the groundbreaking of the Gigawatt Burundi solar field," said His Excellency Come Manirakiza, Burundi's Minister of Energy and Mines. "After their success in Rwanda, Gigawatt Global has proven it can be relied on to deliver efficient, clean renewable energy at reasonable cost, contributing greatly to our economy and society. We look forward to the speedy completion of this project, and are thankful for the collaboration and cooperation with Gigawatt Global as energy in Burundi is a clear priority." 

Gigawatt Global, an American-owned Dutch developer, is a founding member of the White House Power Africa initiative and financed and developed the first commercial scale solar field in continental sub-Sahara Africa (outside of South Africa) in neighboring Rwanda in 2014. 

The project has been supported by a grant from the Energy and Environment Partnership (a Finland, UK, Austrian fund) and the Belgian Investment Company for Developing countries (BIO) to cover the relevant studies. The project is also supported by African-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP) and the Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP), currently engaging in project due diligence. 

"This project is a great example of Burundians, Americans and other international partners working together for the economic development of Burundi," said Anne Casper, U.S. Ambassador to Burundi. "The success of this project will be a positive signal to other potential investors, who are watching Gigawatt Global and the Government of Burundi to see if investing in Burundi is stable, predictable and easy to do. We are working together very hard and very closely -- the U.S., Burundi, the Netherlands, and Gigawatt Global -- to make this project a success -- to enable the whole country to get energy and this will lead to the country's economic development." 

U.S. Power Africa Coordinator Andrew Herscowitz underlined the importance of Gigawatt Global's work by saying, "As a founding Power Africa partner, Gigawatt Global continues to demonstrate its industry leadership with this investment in Burundi." 

HE Hendrikes Verwein, the Dutch Ambassador to Burundi, said, "The Kingdom of the Netherlands supports Gigawatt Global and commits to assist the company in the pursuit of its investments. The Kingdom of the Netherlands expresses its wish that the contractual commitments included in the agreement protocols for the construction of the solar plant in Mubuga be rapidly implemented." 

"Gigawatt Global is expecting to deploy $2 billion in renewable energy projects in Africa as partners of the White House Power Africa initiative in the coming years as renewables are taking the lead in power generation in Africa and emerging markets," said CEO Josef Abramowitz. "We are targeting sub-Sahara Africa as a high impact and high growth market, with a portfolio of small, medium and large power projects in the highest priority development areas." 

The construction and interconnection of the project to the national grid is expected to be concluded in Q4 of 2017.

La création d’un nouveau réseau destiné à combler un déficit de financement estimé à 150 milliards d’USD qui, dans les zones rurales, empêche les petits producteurs et les entreprises des pays en développement de faire fructifier leurs activités et de renforcer les économies rurales, a été annoncée aujourd’hui.

Cette annonce a été faite par Kanayo F. Nwanze, Président du Fonds international de développement agricole (FIDA), et Enrico Morando, Vice-Ministre italien de l’économie et des finances, à l’issue d’une conférence internationale de trois jours qui s’est tenue à Rome en vue d’identifier de nouveaux modes de financement du développement rural.

Dans les zones rurales, la pauvreté et l’absence de perspectives économiques favorisent la migration, vers les villes et au-delà, contribuant ainsi à l’instabilité et à l’insécurité alimentaire à l’échelle mondiale. Dans le cadre du Réseau de financement et d’investissement en faveur de l’agriculture paysanne (Smallholder Agriculture Finance and Investment Network – SAFIN), le secteur privé, le secteur public et les philanthropes ainsi que les agriculteurs et les entreprises se réuniront afin de trouver, moyennant la coordination des initiatives et des investissements, des solutions aux problèmes de financement en milieu rural.

"Nous n’avons pas uniquement besoin de financements, mais de financements plus avisés et plus ciblés", a déclaré M. Nwanze. "Cela aura non seulement pour effet d’améliorer la vie et les moyens d’existence des populations rurales, mais constituera véritablement un bien d’ampleur mondiale plus vaste, favorisant l’avènement d’un monde où la prospérité, le bien-être et la sécurité seront renforcés", a-t-il ajouté.

"La création du SAFIN constitue un pas important", a déclaré M. Morando. "C’est la toute première fois que de hauts représentants de gouvernements, d’institutions internationales, d’ONG, de la société civile et des partenaires privés travailleront de concert pour partager bonnes idées et meilleures pratiques afin de mettre des financements et des services financiers à la disposition des petits agriculteurs."

L’annonce de la création du SAFIN intervient à un moment critique, alors que les changements d’ordre politique et les crises humanitaires – guerres, phénomènes migratoires et catastrophes naturelles – viennent redéfinir les priorités mondiales et risquent de se traduire par la réaffectation de fonds qui pourraient être consacrés au développement rural.

Les trois quarts des populations les plus pauvres du monde vivent dans les zones rurales des pays en développement, et la majorité d’entre elles tirent leurs moyens d’existence de l'agriculture paysanne et d’activités connexes. Faute d’accès aux services financiers, elles ne sont pas en mesure de monter leurs propres activités, de gagner des revenus décents et de faire prospérer leurs communautés et leurs économies.

Les petites et moyennes entreprises rurales, auxquelles il est fréquemment fait référence comme le "chaînon manquant", sont souvent considérées comme étant trop grandes pour pouvoir avoir accès au microfinancement et trop petites pour se voir octroyer des prêts par les banques commerciales dans la mesure où celles-ci estiment qu’investir dans l'agriculture paysanne et les entreprises rurales comporte des risques.

"Avec ce réseau, le monde viendra à connaissance des problèmes auxquels sont confrontés les petits agriculteurs et des solutions pourront être trouvées", a déclaré Rupinder Singh Sodhi, Directeur général de la Fédération des coopératives de commercialisation du lait de Gujarat, en Inde, qui a pris la parole en faveur du réseau.

La conférence "Investir dans la transformation inclusive du monde rural: approches novatrices en matière de financement" est un événement organisé conjointement par le FIDA, le Ministère italien de l’économie et des finances, la Brookings Institution et l’Université de Warwick.

Le Fonds international de développement agricole (FIDA) et le Gouvernement de Djibouti ont signé aujourd’hui un accord financier pour remédier aux graves conséquences de la pénurie d’eau que connaît la population rurale djiboutienne.

Le "problème de la soif" continue d’avoir de graves répercussions sur la population rurale à Djibouti. Les zones rurales constituent la majeure partie du territoire du pays et abritent 29% de la population, dont 67% sont des éleveurs nomades.

Le Programme de gestion des eaux et des sols (PROGRES) du FIDA sera déployé dans les régions d’Arta, de Dikhil et de Tadjourah. Il couvrira un total de 13 parcours et bénéficiera à quelque 66 000 personnes.

"Le projet vise à améliorer les conditions de vie et à réduire la pauvreté au sein des communautés rurales et des populations nomades de façon durable", a déclaré le chargé de programme de pays du FIDA pour Djibouti, M. Naoufel Telahigue. "Les bénéficiaires seront tous les ménages dont le camp de base est installé dans les localités situées sur les parcours couverts par le projet et qui vivent dans des conditions extrêmement précaires et vulnérables aux aléas climatiques", a-t-il ajouté.

Le coût total du projet sur une période de sept ans s’élève à 17,05 millions d’USD, dont un prêt de 5,77 millions d’USD et un don de 0,3 million d’USD alloués par le FIDA. Le projet est cofinancé par le Programme alimentaire mondial (1,7 million d’USD), le Gouvernement de Djibouti (2,52 millions d’USD) et les bénéficiaires eux-mêmes (0,7 million d’USD). Un financement à hauteur de 6,1 millions d’USD doit encore être trouvé.

L’accord financier a été signé à Rome par le Président du FIDA, M. Kanayo F. Nwanze, et l’Ambassadeur de Djibouti en France, M. Ayeid Mousse Yahya.

Djibouti figure parmi les 10 pays les plus pauvres en eau et les 20 pays les plus touchés par la pénurie d’eau à travers le monde. Compte tenu de la rareté de l’eau et des sols, ainsi que du climat semi-aride du pays, le secteur agricole est peu développé et la production agricole très réduite. La lutte contre la pénurie d’eau est une priorité absolue de la stratégie mise en place par le gouvernement pour réduire la pauvreté et la vulnérabilité.

Le programme intensifiera, consolidera et complètera les interventions et les investissements du précédent Programme de mobilisation des eaux de surface et de gestion durable des terres financé par le FIDA, en élargissant les parcours existants ou en en ouvrant de nouveaux. Cette approche vise à améliorer les structures de collecte des eaux de surface ainsi que la restauration et la régénération des pâturages.

Depuis 1980, le FIDA a financé sept programmes et projets de développement rural à Djibouti, pour un montant total de 54,4 millions d’USD, dont un investissement du FIDA de 30,1 millions d’USD qui a bénéficié directement à 41 850 ménages ruraux.

GOMA, January 31, 2017 — Potential political interference, poor evidence gathering and difficulty accessing remote areas are some of the main challenges to prosecuting economic and environmental crimes related to armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Overcoming these challenges was the focus of a two-day workshop for judges and prosecutors in Goma and Bukavu, organized by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), in collaboration with the United States Institute for Peace (USIP).

The workshops, which took place from January 23-27, explored ways to strengthen the Congolese judicial system and its ability to investigate and prosecute cases of economic and environmental crimes related to conflict, adopting a prudent approach in a context where there is very limited political will to prosecute such crimes. The workshop’s aim was to refine and advance recommendations adopted at a symposium on the same topic held in Kinshasa in 2016, which was also organized by USIP.

The focus was on tackling the exploitation of natural resources, particularly when used to fund armed groups and conflict in the country. Given the complexity of the crimes, an in-depth understanding of the current dynamics surrounding the illegal exploitation of minerals, fauna and flora by armed actors and criminal networks in Eastern DRC is needed, in order to try to dismantle the criminal networks that continue to let them happen.

During the workshop, these dynamics, of organized criminal enterprises enabling the illegal exploitation of natural resources by non-state armed groups national forces and other agents, were described in detail by experts in the field and discussed by participants in working groups.

The event brought together prosecutorial and judicial authorities from the High Council of the Magistrates, the High Military Court, the Military and Civilian Attorney-General’s Office, and the military and civilian courts and prosecutor’s office from Eastern DRC. Representatives of the Ministries of Defense and Justice as well as provincial authorities also took part in discussions, along with representatives from local non-governmental groups.

Although violations of economic and environmental laws related to armed conflict are well known and documented in the DRC, such crimes are rarely prosecuted. Ending armed conflict in the DRC requires removing the sources and incentives fueling them.

“When we examined the judicial aspects of ending these crimes, we found that the low number of prosecutions of economic and environmental violations in the country was due to limited knowledge of the legal framework condemning these crimes as well as a lack of strategy and prioritization in selecting cases,” said Myriam Raymond-Jetté, ICTJ’s Head of Office in DRC.

“Having a targeted approach is essential to ensuring an effective response, especially when resources are limited, as they are in the DRC.”

Participants also examined the applicable national laws and the importance of developing a prosecutorial strategy to specifically tackle these crimes when committed by members of the DRC’s Armed Forces, armed groups and broader criminal networks.

“We are hopeful that these workshops, as well as upcoming initiatives, will lead to an effective deterrence policy and implementation of laws related to economic and environmental crimes in the DRC, and in North Kivu and South Kivu in particular," stated Steve Hege, Senior Program Officer, Rule of Law, Justice and Security, USIP.

As a result of the workshops, magistrates, in consultation with local civil society groups, came up with a set of criteria for prioritizing cases that are specific to the nature of economic and environmental crimes. These criteria include: coverage of the different types of economic and environmental crimes being committed; emblematic cases of violations being regularly committed; and the impact of economic and environmental crimes on affected communities.

Going forward, magistrates will identify priority cases based on these criteria, in closed sessions.

Progressively building experience and capacities needed to investigate conflict-related economic and environmental crimes, participants were hopeful that such an approach would help to open a window of political opportunity to prosecute these crimes. 

Internet access: Vital to providing wider access to education and health awareness in rural communities in Mozambique
MAPUTO, Mozambique, December 23, 2016/ -- The Internet is one of the most important enablers of social development and education. While Internet services have been quite phenomenal in the rest of the world, access to the Internet remains very low in Africa, especially in the rural communities. According to the Internet World Stats for Africa 2016 (http://APO.af/AvhzA), only 9.3% of people across the African continent are Internet users.

“A few years ago anyone who could not read and write was considered illiterate, but today this concept goes further, encompassing people who do not know how to use information and communication technologies. Health organizations and schools in Africa often face a unique set of obstacles, including a lack of access to much-needed health education and counselling platforms. The Community Tablet was created to help solve these problems”, says Dayn Amade.                                 

In today’s digital world, bringing Internet access to rural communities is a tremendous step in the right direction of social development and education. Mozambican technology start-up company Kamaleon (http://Kamaleon.co.mz) has developed an innovative and engaging way of promoting digital literacy through a shared platform called the “Community Tablet” (“Tablet Comunitário”). The Community Tablet is a solar powered mobile computer with touch screen displays and virtual keyboards built in on a trailer to provide Internet access to remote areas. In order to facilitate interaction with the virtual world, Kamaleon also offers training on how to use the Internet and its features to members of the community and the local workforce.

Launched in November 2016 in Mozambique, the Community Tablet ultimately aims to promote digital inclusion and a knowledge based society in Africa. Beginning in Mozambique with an astounding 24 million people with no Internet connection, the Community Tablet will be used to support campaigns on various Health and Education initiatives in partnership with governmental and private organisations. Spreading up-to-date messages and interactive lessons that showcase symptoms, prevention and treatment options – replacing the need for leaflet distributions to convey life saving information. Kamaleon is on a mission to close the digital divide and empower more people in Africa to engage in the digital economy and its educational benefits.

“I believe technology and digital literacy can contribute to greater effectiveness of civic education campaigns in various communities”, says Dayn Amade.