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Zimbabwean teachers go on strike, want US dollar wages

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President Emmerson Mnangagwa: Zimbabwean Teachers join medical doctors in work boycott

Zimbabwean teachers will strike from Tuesday to press for U.S. dollar salaries as talks with the government failed to bring a breakthrough, a union official said.

The work boycott will further increase pressure on President Emmerson Mnangagwa to contain a runaway currency crisis.

Cash shortages have plunged Zimbabwe’s financial system into disarray, threatening social unrest and undermining Mnangagwa’s efforts to win back foreign investors sidelined under his predecessor Robert Mugabe.

With not enough hard currency to back up funds showing in bank accounts, the value of electronic money has plummeted, prompting businesses and civil servants to demand payment in U.S. dollars they can withdraw.

Just over four months into Mnangagwa’s contested presidency, the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Union (ZIMTA) said its members would strike as spiralling inflation has left them unable to buy basic goods and fuel that are in short supply. Government doctors have been on strike for more than a month over the same issue.

ZIMTA president Richard Gundani told Reuters a meeting between public sector unions and acting Labour Minister July Moyo only resolved to re-start talks, but teachers would not report for duty from Tuesday.

“We were very frank to each other and all the unions agreed that workers are incapacitated and we provided sufficient justification that they are unable to work,” Gundani said.

“ZIMTA’s declaration of incapacitation stands and teachers will not go to work.”

Moyo did not immediately answer calls to his mobile phone.

The government employs more than 100,000 teachers and ZIMTA has 44,000 members.

On Monday police arrested and later released nine members of the smaller Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe who were picketing at a park in central Harare, their lawyer said.

There was a heavy presence of police with water cannon elsewhere in the capital.

As doctors continue their strike, Zimbabwe’s public hospitals have been left short of drugs and reliant on patients to buy them. Pharmacies have stopped accepting insurance policies for purchases and demand payment in dollars.

Zimbabwe is also struggling with acute shortages of fuel, forcing motorists to queue for hours.

Gabon soldiers arrested after failed coup
Civil servant salaries accounted for 90 percent of the budget last year but Mnangagwa’s government has made an ambitious pledge to cut this to 70 percent in 2019 as part of reforms aimed at boosting growth and investment.

Mnangagwa came to power in November 2017 after Mugabe was forced to resign following an army coup. He was declared president in August 2018 after a presidential vote that his main opponent says he won fraudulently. (NAN)

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Education

Oranto Petroleum Increases its Support to the Education of South Sudan’s Communities

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The program will run for a 5-year period and is expected to have a considerable impact on communities in the State, which is amongst the poorest of the country

JUBA, South Sudan, March, 2019 — As part of its commitment to the socio-economic development of South Sudan, Oranto Petroleum will be financing an educational programme in conjunction with the Ministry of Petroleum, to provide training to 25 teachers in the most under-privileged parts of the country.

The support from Oranto Petroleum paves the way for 25 teachers to receive quality training that will benefit 60,000 children across 30 villages in Yirol, in South Sudan’s Eastern Lakes State. The program will run for a 5-year period and is expected to have a considerable impact on communities in the State, which is amongst the poorest of the country.

It will be implemented by Action for Intervention and Management (AIM), a non-governmental organization that works to provide quality education to the most under-developed parts of South Sudan.

“At Oranto Petroleum, it is our firm belief that supporting teachers in their professional development leads to improved outcomes for learners. Good quality training is an essential part of a teacher’s professional life and it is going to help so many children,” said Prince Arthur Eze, Executive Chairman of Oranto Petroleum

“In South Sudan and across Africa, too many children have not had the utmost access to an excellent education. I am happy this program will start addressing this issue and closing the gap especially with young girls. Oranto will continue supporting what catalyzes leadership to make educational equity a reality,” added Prince Arthur Eze

Oranto’s support to the programme is in line with the company’s policy to significantly engage local capacities in all its activities in South Sudan and promote the development of social infrastructure. The company already awarded last year a contract for the construction of two primary schools in Yirol and Rumbek, at an estimated cost of over $800,000. The construction of the schools is being executed by local construction company Dynamic Supplies and Construction Limited, in line with Oranto’s commitment to mobilise local human and material resources in all its activities in the Republic of South Sudan

“The South Sudanese oil industry can never be at its best without qualified citizens to take up roles across the full value chain. Earning a qualification is not enough for teachers to continue to grow, develop and evolve,” declared Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, Minister of Petroleum of the Republic of South Sudan.

“For South Sudan to reach its true place in Africa, we have to invest in education and great students are the result of great teachers and it is therefore essential to empower and support teaching professionals throughout this country and I am thankful to Oranto Petroleum and implore on other oil companies in the country to do the same,” added the Minister.

Oranto, and its sister company, Atlas Petroleum, comprise Africa’s largest privately held, Africa-focused exploration and production group, with 22 licenses in 11 jurisdictions, including producing assets in Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea. In late May, Oranto agreed to work with Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil producer, on the development of 21 oil assets in 17 African countries.

Oranto acquired Block B3 South Sudan in March 2017 and has since both engaged in unprecedented fast pace exploration activities on the Block and demonstrated significant interest in delivering oil and gas asset development in South Sudan ahead of schedule and in a most cost-effective manner. Oranto completed data acquisition on Block B3 in the second quarter of 2017 and is currently in the data interpretation stage.

 

– Oranto Petroleum Ltd

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Egypt Education Fund oversubscribed with commitments of $119M: Hermes

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EFG Hermes announced Egypt Education Fund focused on Egypt’s K-12 sector was oversubscribed with total commitments of $119 million in its first close, exceeding the initially targeted $50-100 million.

The company clarified that this fund, with investment value worth $150 million, is part of a $300 million education platform built in exclusive partnership with Dubai-based GEMS Education, one of the world’s oldest and largest K-12 private education providers.

It also stated that the oversubscribed capital was raised in just over six months and has seen strong interest from a diverse group of international investors, including high-net-worth individuals and institutional investors from Egypt, the GCC, and Southeast Asia.

According to the statement, the second close is expected to be completed in 2019, with the goal of raising additional $30 million in capital.

“The fund targets to deliver IRRs exceeding 25 percent for investors and to deploy, alongside GEMS, $300 million over the coming three years to develop a portfolio of 30 schools with a total capacity of 40,000 students,” the statement read.

The company also said that it holds talks with several global financial institutions expressing interest in subscribing to the remaining ticket.

“Our success in raising the substantial equity capital in a relatively short time demonstrates our ability to create innovative private equity products that cater to today’s investor demands. The education sector in Egypt is in dire need of major investments, and together with our best-in-class school operator, GEMS, we expect to make a strong impact in the industry and deliver attractive returns to our investors,” Head of Asset Management and Private Equity at EFG Hermes Karim Moussa said.

“Investors understand that when partnering with us they don’t just benefit from the investment expertise of our team and our ability to devise focused, structured investment vehicles, but can trust that the day-to-day running of the assets will be overseen by a world-class operator and leader in the sector,” Moussa added.

For his part, the fund manager at EFG Hermes Mohamed Khalifa said: “We continue to work closely with GEMS to build Egypt’s largest institutional education service provider and to create a meaningful impact on the schools we operate.”

“Our investment targets are quite ambitious, and we are currently pursuing multiple investment opportunities across the sector with an investment pipeline comprising over 20 schools,” Khalifa revealed.

In May, EFG Hermes in cooperation with GEMs signed an agreement with Talaat Moustafa Group Holding (TMG Holding) to acquire a portfolio of schools in a LE 1 billion ($58 million) investment.

The statement referred that EFG Hermes will funnel the acquired portfolio back to the platform in the coming weeks which will be 50/50 owned by the fund and GEMS.

Meanwhile, the Board of Directors of EFG Hermes agreed to seed $15 million to the fund as part of its strategy to support its growing private equity business.

“With private equity activity in Egypt ebbing over the last few years, the fund’s success underscores the firm’s commitment to supporting Egypt’s recovery after a period of subdued investment activity brining in good Foreign Direct Investment flow into one of Egypt’s most promising and socially important sectors,” it said.

EFG Hermes recorded consolidated profits of LE 767.16 million during the first nine months of 2018, compared to LE 1 billion during the same months of 2017.

Egyptian Financial Group Hermes Holding (EFG Hermes) is a public company, listed on the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) since February 1999.

It operates within the diversified financial sector focusing on investment banking and brokerage. It has 36 subsidiaries operating across the Caribbean, Northern Africa and Middle East. EFG Hermes is based in 6th of October, Egypt, and was established in January 1984.

– EGYPT TODAY

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Education

World Bank signs Sh327m science training deal

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Education Secretary Amina Mohamed. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG

 

The World Bank yesterday signed a Sh327.8 million ($3.8 million) deal with International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (Icipe) to fund training in science and innovation in sub-Saharan Africa.

The deal will support the Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF) to create a competent pool of researchers in applied sciences, engineering and technology sectors under the Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences Engineering and Technology (Paset).

It is part of a larger Sh922.1 million ($9 million) grant by the government of Korea to support the RSIF. Korea will facilitate PhD scholarships and support students in the transformative technologies.

It will also create an exchange programme between faculty in Sub-Saharan Africa and Korean universities in areas such as ICT, solar energy and energy storage.

“The World Bank is excited to be partnering with the Government of Korea on a new project to support the RSIF. Africa’s scientific and technical capacity will be key drivers for its economic growth and the RSIF is an important initiative on the continent that will help build highly qualified local talent as well as strong institutional capacity in a sustainable manner,” the World Bank said in a statement.

The deal follows an agreement between the Bank and the Korean government to set up a Sh1.02 billion ($10 million) Trust Fund to strengthen the on-going partnership to build Africa’s technical and scientific capacity, signed in May.

Paset chairperson and Education Secretary Amina Mohamed said the deal marks the start of a long-term mutual partnership towards building African capacity in science, technology and innovation to accelerate development in Africa.

– BusinessDaily

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