282 posts tagged signal
282 posts tagged signal
As the African Union celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, it is still younger and less integrated than the 56-year-old body that is now the European Union, and, according to politicians and diplomats, has a big advantage over the Europeans as it charts its own path of integration.
Africa can see where Europe has tried to move too far, too fast. But it can also see where the Europeans have succeeded, as it plans its own path towards greater integration.
“Africa in particular has a need to integrate to take advantage of its massive resource economies of South Africa, Angola, Ethiopia, the Sudans and probably the whole Sahel area – and growing populous economies such as Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” former South African Trade and Industry Minister Alec Erwin told IPS.
Erwin negotiated his country’s trade, cooperation and development accord with Brussels, and has extensive experience in dealing with the EU.
“ICANN used to say if you want to participate in Internet governance come to ICANN,” said Fadi Chehadé. “We’ve changed that, now ICANN is coming to the stakeholders. We’re not waiting for you to come. We’re coming to you.”
Chehadé made his comments during the Africa Multi-stakeholder Internet Governance meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The two-day meeting ended Friday after drawing Internet leaders from across the continent.
“We will have ICANN staff, at least one, in each of the 6 regions of Africa. North, South, East, West, Central and the Indian Ocean,” said Chehadé.
“I want African on-ramps into the ICANN structures. I will give you the on-ramps, but you need to climb them.”
he ICANN leader also said he would like to see a dramatic increase in the number of accredited Domain Name Registrars on the African continent. Currently there are only five accredited Registrars in Africa among more than one thousand worldwide, but Chehadé said he wants to see that number increase five-fold in less than two years.
“This is about us moving the needle forward. Africa will not wait,” said Chehadé.
Mr Ken Allen, Chief Executive Officer of DHL Express, has described Africa as the last bastion for business globally with the potential to improve to be stable and lucrative for international commerce.
Mr Allen is in Sub-Saharan Africa to visit some countries including Zambia, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa.
The visit would serve as a platform for DHL to expand into the continent and increase its already vast footprint into the far-flung, rural areas.
At the just ended Samsung Africa Forum 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa, Samsung Africa launched its Solar Powered Health Centre model, marking the start of a large-scale medical initiative on the continent.
The mobile centres are built for use in remote rural areas, and intended to eliminate the economic and geographic barriers that prevent people across Africa from obtaining quality medical treatment.
The Solar Powered Health Centre is designed to reach as many people as possible, as regularly as possible. Mounted on a truck and manned by qualified medical professionals, the centres will move from one area to the next, providing a range of eye, ear, blood and dental medical services to the public.
Also on show at the Samsung forum, was a solar-powered internet school – a 12-metre container that can accommodate at least 21 pupils, each with a laptop, and has 24 solar panels providing nine hours of power a day. Fully charged, the batteries last three to five days.
Since their launch in 2011, the $100,000 schools have begun operating in Angola, Botswana, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa, helping an estimated 7,000 children.
Nearby was a solar power generator that can be connected to conventional classrooms. Samsung says that, on average, less than 25% of rural areas in Africa have access to electricity.
But as Africa has changed, United States engagement with the continent has remained relatively static and largely unimaginative.
United States engagement with the continent is largely from the perspective of the multiplicity of the continent’s problems rather than the opportunities it offers to its people and the international community.
However, other countries such as China, India, Russia, Brazil, Turkey and Iran, among many others, have accelerated their engagement with Africa with a view to seizing the opportunities by the new Africa.
With the entry of these countries, the United States is increasingly becoming a marginal player in the continent. Yet, there is increasing realization that it is an extremely costly mistake for U.S. policy towards Africa not to take into account current realities of the emerging continent.
One example is Senate Bill S. 2215 (112th), Increasing American Jobs Through Accelerated Exports to Africa, that identifies ways to leverage the potential that Africa presents as a market for American goods.
On March 7, 2013, Senator Chris Coons, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee of African Affairs, released a new report, Embracing Africa’s Economic Potential, that seeks to deepen U.S. commercial engagement in Africa.
The report points to the many changes that have taken place in Africa and its positive drivers of economic growth. The report provides creative approaches to improve U.S.-Africa commercial engagement for the benefit of both the U.S. and African countries.
The report provides a credible strategy for the United States to make already existing commercial engagement more effective and, in particular, to make the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) work better in promoting African exports to United States.
Senator Coons himself also calls for the strengthening and the re-authorization of AGOA. However, the report goes beyond a focus on benefits that accrue to Africa, and calls for strategies to support American firms invest and do business in Africa and also to better exploit the contribution of the African diaspora in the United States.
The report suggests that deeper and better structured engagement with Africa will provide investments for American businesses and contribute to job creation at home.
Africa’s infrastructure is poised for increased development and investment. The next decade should see increased spending on the back of commodity expansion and a growing middle class on the continent. Africa’s economy has remained resilient despite the downturn being experienced in Europe and the US. Africa and South America will be the next global growth point and will see increased investments especially from China.
Key to this continued growth is the development of infrastructure and natural resources.
Over time, those figures started to attract businesses who previously hadn’t been working in Nigeria. In retail, South African firms have flocked into Nigeria, finding places in the new malls being opened around Lagos. MassMart Holdings Ltd., of which Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville, Arkansas, owns a controlling stake, has its Game department there. Supermarket chain Shoprite Holdings Ltd., considered a budget grocer at home in South Africa, draws a more-upscale crowd in Nigeria, where most still shop for food in open-air markets.
The market has drawn U.S. restaurant chains as well. KFC, owned by Louisville, Kentucky-based Yum Brands Inc., has seen a rapid expansion across Nigeria, with 17 restaurants opening across southwest Nigeria. Domino’s Pizza Inc. of Ann Arbor, Michigan, recently had a franchisee open two locations in Lagos as well. Even ice cream seller Cold Stone Creamery of Scottsdale, Arizona, has opened to offer scoops and waffle cones to take the edge off of Nigeria’s sweltering heat.
At Johnny Rockets, which sits on Lagos’ swanky business-hub Victoria Island across the street from a major hotel frequented by foreigners and dignitaries, the restaurant has a velvet-roped waiting area in the parking lot. Inside, the stainless steel kitchen gleams and customers watch, often with open-mouth fascination, as workers dance each hour to “Hippy Hippy Shake” or another classic song.
The menu of burgers, fries and onion rings has the Nigerian addition of jollof rice, a spicy staple of tables throughout the country. Others coming in have followed _ including Domino’s, which puts it atop a specialty pizza for the Nigerian market. However, most come for a taste of something different.
That luxury does come at a steep price. A double bacon cheeseburger sells for 3,500 naira, the equivalent of about $22. A vanilla milkshake is 1,800 naira, or $11.25. Yet the service does come with a smile, a song and a bit of spectacle often missing in Nigeria, where customer service can quickly degenerate into exasperated shouts and curses at blank-eyed employees.
“This, obviously, is not an everyday place,” said Mimi Ade-Odiachi, a landscape and garden designer dining there recently with a friend. “It’s a once in a while, I want to celebrate something small in my life” place.