Governance is serious business, but not very many politicians understand this maxim. His Excellency Lee Kinyanjui, the Governor of Nakuru County in Kenya, is, however, different. He has approached governance with the same gusto as business leaders. And the county has won admiration from people within and outside the continent. In this exclusive interview with African Leadership Magazine, Governor Kinyanjui talks about the business of governance, infrastructure development, job, and wealth creation, among other issues. Excerpts.
By Chu Maoming, China’s Consul General
A grand gathering was held in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing to mark China’s poverty alleviation accomplishments and honour model poverty fighters on Thursday, February 24th, at which Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that China had secured a “complete victory” in its fight against poverty. According to the President, over the past eight years, China’s final 98.99 million impoverished rural residents living under the current poverty line have all been lifted out of poverty, combined with poverty-reduction results since the late 1970s, China is responsible for over 70 percent of the global reduction in poverty over the period, and China has blazed a poverty reduction trail and formed an anti-poverty theory with Chinese characteristics.
We are committed to Job and wealth creation – Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumo, Vice-Chancellor, Niger Delta University
The Vice-Chancellor of Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State, Nigeria, Professor Samuel Edoumiekumo, has said that the school is committed to building worthy ambassadors that will promote entrepreneurship and wealth creation across Nigeria and Africa at large. The Vice-Chancellor made this known while speaking at the recently held 9th African Leadership Magazine Persons of the Year presentation ceremony.
By Kembet Bolton
There are very few media sources who have been so committed in making sure the true story of Africa is actually told. This is what African leadership magazine has been consistently doing in over a decade.
Every year in the past 9 years, African Leadership Magazine in keeping to its mandate of celebrating outstanding achievements and achievers in Africa puts out a call for nomination and voting where Africans chose for themselves distinguished persons who have excelled in different spheres as winners of the persons of the year who will be honoured on the global platform of the magazine.
The 2020 edition held virtually on the 26th February 2020. The colourful ceremony had in attendance distinguished African statesmen both as winners and respectful observers.
The event was declared open by the chairman and publisher of the African Leadership Group, Dr. Ken Giami who heartily welcomed all and reiterated the mandate of the publication to continue celebrating African leaders and institutions as well as some unsung leaders on a global platform. Dr. Giami went on to inform all that the 9th edition of the ALM persons of the year attracted more than twenty thousand votes on the African Leadership website as well over seven million active online engagements by Africans who wanted to lend their voice in what they believed in. He went further to describe the honorees as ‘’truly the people’s choice and the African Leadership Magazine continues to position these ones not just as agents of change but also as enablers who inspire and make society move forward. We continue to promote our most distinguished leaders for other credible recognitions and third-party endorsements which have of course led some of our alumni to win Nobel prizes, the publisher of the magazine added.
Besides celebrating Africans and Africa as a continent, Dr. Giami noted that the day was also an occasion to individually renew our commitments in making Africa truly great.
The event progressed and the first keynote on the theme -Promoting sustainable peace and security in Africa-Lessons for political leaders was presented by His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, former president of the Republic of Nigeria. Dr. Jonathan who also emerged winner of the African Peace and security leader of the year started of by thanking the publisher and the entire organizing committee for finding him worthy of the honour. Contrary to some popular opinion who sees awards as mere fanfare, Dr. Jonathan emphasized the importance of awards and recognitions as in his words ‘’it assures the recipients that their little contributions to the growth of the society are not unnoticed’’ it also comes with a sense of responsibility which jolts the awardees to the fact that they can no longer go below a certain threshold in the conduct of human affairs. Dr. Jonathan praised the choice of topic for the keynote as there is a dire need to bring an end to the insecurity and instability faced by most countries in the continent. Drawing from his experience in and out of office, Dr. Jonathan categorically stated that peacebuilding is one of the greatest challenges facing our world today. He further stated that leadership commands a great influence in the affairs of men such that the fate of a nation is directly linked to its choice of leaders adding that there is a clear link in a nation’s socio and economic standing and its position in the global conflict index. Dr. Jonathan said this background knowledge made him spend his time pursuing democracy and peaceful transition of power during his tenure as president of Nigeria. He concluded his keynote address by stating that the pathway to stabilizing our policy is to improve the quality of our governance by sanitizing the electoral processes in our continent. For peace to reign, those who wield power should always respect the rule of law.
After his keynote address, the former president of Sierra Leone, His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, an Alumni of the African Leadership Awards himself, commended the choice of Dr. Jonathan for the choice of this award category before presenting the award of Peace and Security Leader of the Year to him.
Watch the full video of the presentation ceremony HERE.
By Alkali Amana
Former President of Nigeria, H.E Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who is also presently the African Leadership Magazine (ALM) Africa Peace and Security Leader of the Year 2020, delivered a keynote address at the ALM Persons of the Year presentation ceremony on the theme ‘Promoting Sustainable Peace and Security in Africa: Lessons for Political Leaders’.
By Alkali Amana
The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has been awarded the Prestigious African of the Year 2020 Award by African Leadership Magazine, the continent’s leading publication on leadership, business and investment, at the recently concluded African Persons of the Year presentation ceremony which held on the 26th of February 2021.
By Walcott Aganu
“I’m a fighter; I’m very focused on what I’m doing, and relentless in what I want to achieve, almost to a fault. If you get in my way you get kicked.”- Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala.
Okonjo-Iweala was six when Nigeria gained its independence from Britain in 1960; she grew up in a small village in southern Delta State. Her parents, both distinguished academics, were studying in Europe on scholarships, so she and her six siblings were raised by her grandmother. At the age of nine, Okonjo-Iweala had learned to cook, fetch wood and manage many of the household tasks.
The 1967 – 1970 Nigeria civil war pitting the separatist Biafra state against the Nigerian central government disrupted her education and exposed her to further hardship as she narrated to Forbes magazine “I was eating one meal a day and children were dying. So, I learned to live very frugally. I often say I can sleep on a mud floor as well as a feathered bed and be very comfortable. It has made me someone who can do without things in life because of what we went through,”
After the war, Okonjo-Iweala went to the US to study economics at Harvard and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), married her childhood darling and, at the age of 25, began working for the World Bank, rising steadily up the institution’s hierarchy, travelling widely, and only leaving when invited to be finance minister of Nigeria in 2003. An appointment which plunged Okonjo-Iweala into a no-holds barred battle to force through economic reforms in Nigeria.
In her career as an economist, there are lots of very large numbers in the life of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; as the chair of Gavi, the vaccine alliance, she has overseen the annual immunisation of millions of children. As managing director of the World Bank, she oversaw $81bn (£58bn) worth of operations. In her stints in charge of Nigeria’s finances, she tackled the country’s $30bn debt.
In addition, 20 non-profit organisations that have appointed Okonjo-Iweala to their advisory boards, the major banks and corporations she has advised, the 10 honorary degrees in addition to her own doctorate, 20 or so awards, dozens of major reports authored, and the books. Also, there are multiple lists frequently featuring Okonjo-Iweala: the world’s 100 most powerful women, 100 most influential people in the world, 10 most influential women in Africa, Top 100 or 150 women in the world, and many others.
On Monday, Okonjo-Iweala made it to a new list: that of the director generals of the World Trade Organization (WTO), a position that has never before been occupied by an African person nor by a woman. She will take over the institution, with its budget of $220m and staff of 650, at a critical time.
It will be the moment to put all the number-crunching experience she has gained over a 40-year career to use. The global trading system – with the WTO at its heart – is facing a make-or-break moment, say experts. If the WTO ever needed a fresh look, Okonjo-Iweala is the face to bring it on.
“The WTO needs … a fresh look, a fresh face, an outsider, someone with the capability to implement reforms and to work with members to make sure the WTO comes out of the partial paralysis that it’s in,” Okonjo-Iweala said in an interview with CNN.
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala represents the very best of what Nigeria and indeed Africa can offer to the world. Her distinguished career at the highest levels of international finance and development, stellar reputation for hard work and integrity, and significant accomplishments in the public and private sectors in Nigeria and internationally speak for themselves. An exceptional global leader, Dr Okonjo-Iweala is an inspiration to Africans, women and millions across the world who are emboldened by her example to reach for the skies. There is no doubt that she would do an excellent job if given the opportunity to lead the World Trade Organization, particularly at a pivotal time for the global multilateral trade system.
It’s a great pleasure to celebrate Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who continues to make the entire African continent proud. Dr. Iweala is a thorough professional, nation-builder, and an inspiration to many. As a renowned economist and finance expert, she has consistently applied her unrivaled expertise in various capacities to drive key reforms and promote sustainable growth both at home and abroad. It would be impossible to forget the critical role she played in leading key reforms in Nigeria, which have contributed significantly to the growth of the Nigerian capital market. She has shattered many glass ceilings over the course of her career being the ‘first female’ in several positions and she represents the dream of many African women.
By Walcott Aganu
Today, women are busier than ever, which makes them grateful for shortcuts that can help them achieve most tasks conveniently. The Maven app helps them do exactly that when it comes to health. Although people are generally advised not to take any shortcuts when it comes to health, the Maven app does so in only the best ways.
Health care is complicated; whether you’re an adulting pro or someone who just got booted off their parent’s care, it’s not only a confusing system but often an inconvenient one. What doctor is best for what you need? Does that weird rash warrant a half-day trip to the doc? Isn’t there some service that can provide a less traumatizing experience than Web experience from Google? Actually, yes. Enter Maven, the virtual healthcare solution explicitly designed for millennial women.
Instead of spending forever in clinic waiting rooms or even on a waitlist for a specialist, women can get face time with a doctor (or doula, lactation consultant, or nutritionist) through the Maven app. Founded by Katherine Ryder, the Maven app acts as a digital clinic that connects patients and health care providers. The services provided through the app is not free, but saving time is priceless.
It’s worthy of note that, it’s not meant to replace in-person medical exams, it merely helps with a non-urgent medical need. Maven’s founder Katherine Ryder says “The big thing we’re trying to do is give women better access to health care on their terms. You can do this from your office, from your house, from your car and ultimately be able to navigate the healthcare system in a way that’s a lot more convenient, affordable and trustworthy.”
How it Works
Depending on your needs,there are three service options to choose from: Maven, Maven Campus and Maven Maternity. Maven is the standard go-to for new users – a pay-as-you-go service for anyone who signs up. Maven Campus is a subscription-based service for college students. Recently launched grad offers students who might not have or are far away from their covered care unlimited messages and appointments for whatever they might need. And Maven Maternity, which is currently only offered at an enterprise-level, offers new moms and moms-to-be additional services to make the life-changing transition a little easier. Katherine says the postpartum service they offer is one area where she’s received a handful of messages from users saying it changed their lives.
Setting up an appointment on Maven can be a five-minute process. Set up an account, choose what kind of care you’re looking for + which doctor you like best, fill out a medical history report and see a doctor in a matter of minutes.
Who can use Maven?
Any woman can book an instant appointment with a practitioner in Maven’s highly-curated network – and get a prescription, support, or just peace of mind. Maven has OB/GYNs for birth control and therapists for depression. And specifically for pregnancy and postpartum, the app has an outcomes-based program called Maven Maternity that large companies can buy for their new moms. Mavens weekly maternity content and communities are practical, and reflect what new moms want/need – and they also get unlimited access to a network of over 1,000 of the women’s and family health providers available instantly to help address your issues and offer support 24/7.
What Makes Maven Special?
For individuals, Maven, a digital clinic, means you can book with any number of providers and chat with them via video or text about what you need. The OB/GYNs and nurse practitioners answer questions that may be embarrassing and write prescriptions for birth control, UTI medication, etc. The Maven Digital Clinic also consists of therapists and coaches who specialize in women’s mental health issues, and you can talk to them on your terms, privately, from the comfort of your couch. The app also provides links to nutritionists and physical therapists that are available for nutrition and exercise support. For HR executives, Maven offers an outcomes-based maternity benefit that allows companies to retain women better and reduce maternity-related costs.
They are setting the agenda for working mothers.
Maven Maternity is a program that focuses not just on providing more support for pregnant working moms, but also on helping women get back on their feet after having a baby and helping them transition back to work, which can be quite stressful. Maven also has programming for new dads, adoptive parents, surrogates, and tracks for infertility, egg freezing, and pregnancy loss. “Starting a family” means so many different things to people!
No more long delays for appointments. No self-diagnosis via Google (we’ve all done it). Need new birth control? Get on the app, have a 10-minute video appointment or phone call with a practitioner, and end it with an affordable prescription. They also offer support for big life moments like when you become a mom along with a slew of therapists, nutritionists and doulas too.
By Walcott Aganu
After diplomatic horse-trading, the new head of the World Trade Organisation has been confirmed – former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Following South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee’s withdrawal from the selection process, the path is now clear for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a widely respected former Nigerian finance minister to become the first woman and first African to lead the WTO. The Biden administration’s backing of her candidacy – after months of stonewalling by the Trump White House confirmed her appointment.
At a time when the global trade system is in desperate need for a cooperative and inclusive response to the Covid-19 pandemic and simmering US-China relations, all member states should welcome fresh leadership at the WTO. Yet perhaps more significantly, is the historic appointment of an African to lead the WTO, someone who has a clear vision of how the organisation can renew itself at this critical moment, will be a boon for the global economy.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has a laborious and uneasy task of reviving the efficacy and capacity of the WTO as the major driver of international trade and global competitiveness. No doubt that everyone associated with the WTO will agree that it needs substantial changes in deciding and enforcing the rules of global trade. The appointment of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala thus, opens a new chapter for the WTO. In the short term, the organization will have a key role in facilitating a more equitable distribution of vaccines as the world wrestles with Covid-19. But ultimately, the organisation’s future success relies on its ability to translate trade liberalisation into development progress. With an African at the helm, a woman who understands what it takes to drive forward economic progress in the developing world and what obstacles lie in the way, there are reasons to be optimistic for the future.
What it means for Africa
Trade is vital for Africa’s development and to generate enough good jobs to absorb the 17 million young people who enter the labour market every year. But, for too long, global trade regulations have left the continent holding the short end of the stick; though Africa accounts for approximately 27 per cent of total WTO membership and 35 per cent of WTO developing countries’ membership.
Even though there have been improvements in African trade and economic performance since the domestic reforms of the late 1980s and 1990s, its performance has continued to lag behind that of other developing country in regions like Asia and Latin America. Africa’s share of global trade has remained very low.
Well, a few African countries, mainly oil exporting ones, have performed relatively well; the majority has seen the share of their world trade decline. A complex set of internal and external factors account for this decline and low African share in world trade. Competitiveness rankings are low, as reflected in Global Competitiveness indices. African countries have not sufficiently diversified. There is still large dependence on one or two primary commodity exports. As a consequence, they have been affected by swings in commodity prices. Domestic markets are plagued by internal barriers to trade, such as low level and poor-quality infrastructure, blunting of price signals. African markets remain small with regional markets insufficiently integrated. They have also been affected by protectionism in developed country markets, through both tariff and non-tariff barriers.
One of Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s greatest achievements was leading a team, which negotiated a whopping $18bn debt write-off in 2005 for Nigeria, helping the country obtain its first ever sovereign debt rating. The country’s debts date back to the early 1980s, and had ballooned to more than $35billion due to penalties and late fees during the 1990s.
During her campaign last year, she told the BBC, that it was the ordinary African that she was most concerned with. She said that she wanted to “figure out how to get women and youth, who are behind these engines of growth in Africa, to benefit more from world trade.”
She was also keen to make sure that the continent moves away from exporting raw materials and instead “adds value to the goods or products we produce for the global market. “For instance, we import 94per cent of pharmaceuticals on the continent while we can produce these locally in Africa.”
While trade talks may seem cryptic and take place behind closed doors, their consequences can affect everyone’s live. From the petty trader, who criss-crosses a border several times a month, to the consumer buying an imported item in a market, to someone with a job in a manufacturing industry, they are all affected by the rules of trade.
In Africa, trade is viewed as a driver of growth, a way towards sustainable development and as a tool for poverty eradication.
The Brookings Institute noted in 2019 that, the debate on the benefits of trade has dominated this decade, and Africa has cast its vote for more and better trade with itself. In March 2018, African countries signed a landmark trade agreement, the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), which commits countries to remove tariffs on 90 per cent of goods, progressively liberalise trade in services, and address a host of other non-tariff barrier.
Creating a single, continent-wide market for goods and services, business and investment would reshape African economies. The implementation of AfCFTA would be a huge step forward for Africa, demonstrating to the world that it is emerging as a leader on the global trade agenda,” Caroline Freund, Global Director of Trade, Investment and Competitiveness, posited.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement is the largest free trade area in the world measured by the number of countries participating. The pact connects 1.3 billion people across 55 countries with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at US$3.4 trillion. It has the potential to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty, but achieving its full potential will depend on putting in place significant policy reforms and trade facilitation measures.
With its large scope, the agreement will reduce tariffs among member countries and cover policy areas such as trade facilitation and services, as well as regulatory measures such as sanitary standards and technical barriers to trade. Full implementation of AfCFTA would reshape markets and economies across the region and boost output in the services, manufacturing and natural resources sectors.
As the global economy is in turmoil due to the COVID-19 pandemic, creation of the vast AfCFTA regional market is a major opportunity to help African countries diversify their exports, accelerate growth, and attract foreign direct investment. The rubrics, goals and objectives of the AfCTA aren’t incompatible in anyway with those of the WTO, and Dr. Okonjo-Iweala could help pilot it towards more support for the continent. That could be in offering technical help, trade analysis and policy expertise, turning the dream of frees trade across Africa into reality. In addition, she will possess the moral capacity to pressure African political leaders to design and implement sensible trade policies that support growth.
A first African director-general of the WTO, in a year in which the landmark African Continental Free Trade Agreement came into effect, is a double boost for Africa and for world trade.
Mental Health Reforms, Literacy and Psyco-Social Support in African Communities (MHLPSSAC) is a one-day webinar organized by the African Mental Health Consortium (AMHEC) powered by The Mandate Health Empowerment Initiative (MHEI) and other amazing Mental health NGOs/CSOs Professionals and Advocates in Africa; with a Master Class session centered on Mental Health First Aid by African Exerts. The webinar aims to unveil a community joint project to address the issues of mental health reforms in Africa and mental health education at grassroots.
Unquestionably, mental health is fundamental to individual, organizational & national well-being. However, Africa’s mental health statistics are a cause for concern. This is further aggravated by a culture of indifference, denial & evasion. Most African countries have no mental health policies, programs or action plans 34 OUT OF 54.
Mental health problems appear to be increasing in importance in Africa. Between 2000&2015 the continent’s population grew by 49%,yet the number of years lost to disability as a result of mental & substance use disorders increased by 52%.
A call to the African Government to do more on addressing the issues of mental health reforms, our government needs to improve mental health reforms, mental health investment and its integration into the primary health care centers at the grass root.
We welcome everyone on board as everyone is a critical stakeholder, lets come together to build a mentally healthy society across Africa.