Davos, Switzerland, February 4, 2019: Leading energy conglomerate, Sahara Group is set to explore opportunities with Cherie Blair in a bid to enhance sustainable development in Africa through access to technology, education and food security.
Group Managing Director, Sahara Power Group, Kola Adesina, Director, Governance and Sustainability, Pearl Uzokwe and Head, Corporate Communications, Bethel Obioma, met with Cherie Blair and her Omnia Strategy team in Davos at the recent 2019 World Economic Forum where both parties acknowledged the need for sustained collaboration and involvement of the private sector in the quest to leapfrog Africa into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Speaking at the meeting, Adesina said Sahara Group, in line with its vision of bringing energy to life, was constantly seeking opportunities to partner reputable institutions in its quest to give wings to the aspirations of individuals and businesses in Africa.
According to him, “Sahara has a remarkable precedent of being at the forefront of private sector participation in driving sustainable development. We are currently working with the United Nations on promoting food security in addition to our interventions through the Sahara Foundation. We are strongly focused on building an ecosystem that will make Africa competitive, improve the quality of life of our people, and create wealth through alignment with global partners who share our vision and passion. We look forward to exploring possible intervention projects with Cherie and Omnia Strategy.”
Mrs. Blair noted that Africa would need to embrace technology to accelerate development and create systems that will sustain transparency in business and empower the people, especially women. She added that a commitment to good corporate citizenship and focusing on the relationship between business and human rights is increasingly critical to not only companies but consumers and politicians.
“I think technology plays a huge role in the development of Africa. We have witnessed a marked improvement in the ease of doing business since the inception of mobile money platforms in Africa. This has improved access to funds for small businesses and seamless payment for services without the intervention of middle men. Enhancing access to funds through technology is critical to achieving economic development and prosperity. I believe there are many interventions we can establish working with the Sahara Group,” Mrs. Blair said.
Mrs. Blair also said the fact that the development of mobile apps is becoming commonplace in everyday activities is indicative of the role technology can play in driving sustainable development in Africa. I have seen through my own foundation (Cherie Blair Foundation for Women) how mobile technology is helping farmers till the land better in Africa and find the best price for their produce using mobile apps. These apps are also being used to deliver primary health care options and information to mothers, making people healthier and more productive.
Mrs. Blair said the three most pressing issues Africa needs to focus on include: education, infrastructure development and food security
Uzokwe said the above were issues that Sahara Group remained passionate about, adding, “we believe that more than ever before, cooperation is needed to transform Africa and Sahara Group is delighted to explore how we can deliver the SDGs in Africa, working with Cherie Blair and her Omnia Strategy team, as well as other stakeholders.”
Both parties will have follow up meetings to determine the terms of reference for the partnership amongst other deliberations.
ESSA: Women must have more leadership opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa to improve society for us all
ESSA CEO, Lucy Heady (Image: ESSA website)
ESSA- There is a lack of evidence about the role of universities and colleges in sub-Saharan Africa in equipping women with leadership opportunities.
Speaking during a press briefing to launch Education Sub Saharan Africa’s (ESSA) State of Women Leading Report, Dr Jennifer N. Udeh, Head of Programmes and Partnerships said through its Women Leading project, the organisation’s aim was to begin to fill this gap and to bring attention to the situation for women in sub-Saharan Africa by using data and evidence to improve practices within universities and colleges to support women. This includes both female academics seeking leadership roles in universities and colleges, and female students for whom leadership skills will be a critical factor in their success as they transition into work. As part of the Women Leading project, ESSA led a research phase which has included a desktop review, interviews with women, and a survey with over 400 female faculty, students and early career graduates.
ESSA initiated a women leading project following the recognition of a stark disparity between men and women in leadership positions in universities and colleges in sub-Saharan Africa. ESSA in partnership with Association of African Universities, Population Reference Bureau and Ghana Tertiary Education Commission, formally National Council for Tertiary Education had conducted a study of the demographics of faculty in Ghana and reveal that only 8% of professors at public universities were women.
Women she said, must have more leadership opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa to improve society for us all. Whilst this is not unique to education, ESSA believes that academia can set the bar.
“Women still face barriers to leadership, including socio-cultural expectations, limited access to mentorship and networking opportunities, unhelpful working environments and policies and barriers relating to mindset. The Covid-19 pandemic is also particularly impacting women.” She added.
The State of Women Leading Report captures insights from existing research and the current perspective of women who are at different stages in their leadership journey. She emphasized that the specific objectives of the report are to unlock the potential of female leaders in education, by contributing to the understanding of the current state of women’s leadership, including current barriers preventing women transitioning into leadership, existing solutions aimed at supporting and increasing women’s participation in leadership and possible solutions going forward Additionally she stressed that women are underrepresented in leadership in sub-Saharan Africa in all sectors including tertiary education and more can be done to ensure gender parity.
“Our research has highlighted conceptual skills as the most important skillset for leadership development of women in all sectors e.g., critical thinking/decision-making/problem solving/analytical abilities, logical reasoning. This is followed by skills relating to Leadership ethics and values, e.g., integrity/trust/empathy/emotional intelligence/self-awareness/self-confidence. It also points to four key types of further support that will have a high impact on leadership development for women. These are: scholarships, leadership training and development programmes, gender sensitive organizational/structural policies and networking programs and opportunities.” She said.
In her closing remarks, she extended a word of thanks to the project sponsor Dubai Cares, individuals and partners organisation who took part in the research
“Your engagement and support have been invaluable in bringing this research to completion. ESSA’s contribution to unlocking the potential of female leaders is in supporting and working with universities, colleges and organisations, to understand the evidence and co-create solutions. Just as we have done through this research and the subsequent stakeholder workshop that we hosted in June 2021. Our ambition is to continue to identify issues and bring together evidence of what works and what is needed to drive change. We will do this through continued partnerships, stakeholder consultations and engagement. We look forward to continuing this work with you all and building on what we have started… we hope the state of women leading report is useful to all organisations and policy makers seeking to engage and contribute to research and the improvement of practices, to increase women’s participation in leadership“
ESSA is a charity improving education in sub-Saharan Africa so that young people achieve their ambitions and strengthen society. We support university and college leaders, employers, policymakers, and young people to turn evidence into practical solutions and maximise resources. By working together, we can improve education policies and delivery.
Click here to access the event recording https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/play/NXaTsLroo2YPpi3DcoSdJ9mGzCHJjA0ERe2ZRKTU2s9pg8WR8J5OhB2aTmgc5WKmpiNFBcgOSmCy_K2-.M43EzZ_TPe8d8RtK
Kudoti, South African Recycling Platform recognised as one of the global winners of the Nestlé’s 2021 Creating Shared Value Prize
Kudoti, South African recycling company, was announced in the top five winners of Nestlé 2021 Creating Shared Value (CSV) Prize, for their innovative recycling impact through technology.
The CSV Prize has been running for over 10 years and has identified multiple initiatives for some of today’s most critical environmental and social issues around the world. This year’s competition, conducted in partnership with the non-profit organization, Ashoka, was entitled ‘How do we create a waste-free future?’, It aimed to identify and award innovative solutions with a system-change approach and a strong growth potential, or a replicable model for other social, cultural or geographical settings.
Kudoti (meaning trash in Zulu) is changing business perspectives of waste into recovered materials through supply chain solutions. The company’s digital approach helps track recyclable waste in real-time and matching it to demand. The use of technology improves market conditions for waste materials, which drives up recycling behaviour.
Matthieu de Gaudemar, one of the founders of Johannesburg-based Kudoti, expressed gratitude to Nestlé and Ashoka for this CSV initiative. “Businesses and individuals have a concept of waste as waste, when we should have a concept of waste as a resource. With new business models, we can change the way that waste is viewed.”
De Gaudemar adds that their platform’s success was collective team effort. “It truly takes everyone to address systemic environmental issues. Through this financial investment and technical resources, we will amplify our impact by scaling up our solution in South Africa.”
“When people speak of the future, a world of hover crafts or holograSaint-Francis Tohlangms may come to mind. But at Nestlé, we are seeking a more environmentally futuristic landscape. Through these Awards, we are on a mission to identify and empower market disruptors in the hope of accelerating a waste-free future”, says Saint-Francis Tohlang, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Director at Nestlé East and Southern Africa Region (ESAR).
As one of the winners, Kudoti will receive a cash prize of $40 000 and will benefit from Ashoka’s online resources and workshops to explore potential collaboration with Nestlé and a mentoring programme.
“Innovations such as Kudoti not only help reduce waste but also drive consumer behaviour change which is key to achieving a waste free future and takes us closer to a circular economy”, concluded Tohlang.
By Weber Shandwick
Doing Good Work in Africa Marks Its First Anniversary of Supporting Students and Impacting Future Growth in Africa
Doing Good Work in Africa (DOWA), a non-profit initiative designed to connect students in the United States to African-based entities focused on providing scalable solutions to commonplace challenges, celebrated its first anniversary in April. Launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, friends Ola Erogbogbo and Emiola Abass, co-founded a program that generated 400 applications and placed ten students at three partner companies within two months. In just one year, DOWA placed 27 students and conducted seven educational webinars with over 400 attendees from over 17 countries.
“DOWA seeks to provide a path to ‘brain gain’ by attracting US students (African and non-African) to the continent through internships. The premise is that the solution to Africa’s problems must come from within, supported by human and capital investments across the globe.” said Erogbogbo.
DOWA connects students with internship opportunities allowing them to work on socio-economic projects and experience the African culture and corporate environment. Students can take advantage of this unique experience through grants and scholarships funded by some universities. Matching the students with partner companies is accomplished through a rigorous application process, provided at no cost to the students. DOWA’s partner companies and organizations address challenges in healthcare, education, agriculture and champion growth initiatives in technology, artificial intelligence, and power generation in Africa.
“We are proud of our partnership with DOWA – we had two interns work on geospatial AI-powered education technology in low resourced environments. These engaged students’ contributions will help further our goal to raise one million AI talents” said Bayo Adekanmbi, Founder at Data Science Nigeria.
Liam Casey, a Venture Capital Fellow at Funema, said, “My experience has helped narrow down career goals and interests in impact investment and venture capital for emerging markets.”
DOWA is intentional in partnering with organizations that have a shared mission to work on initiatives that further the advancement of Africa. Erogbogbo further said, “DOWA believes that the challenges we face on the continent present opportunities, and thus, connecting students to companies working to address these challenges can result in more effective solutions.”
DOWA was launched with the help of founding supporters that include Scholars in Our Society and Africa (SOSA) at Cornell University and Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM). With over 300% participation growth and thanks to its growing network of partner companies, DOWA for the 2021/2022 internship cycles is projected to provide internship opportunities to 70 students from over 20 schools, including five Ivy League colleges.
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