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Football legend Patrick Vieira and Western Union Lends Support To UNICEF Education Project In Senegal

   patrick2Global money transfer service, Western Union, has partnered former French national soccer team captain, Patrick Vieira, to lend support to UNICEF’s projects in schools within Dakar, Senegal’s capital city.

Such support included a stop at a UNICEF-supported school, PAH-U7, during a visit to Senegal – his birth place – to lend his support to the Western Union PASS initiative.

The global payment service company is harnessing both its position as a Global Partner of the UEFA Europa League and the power of football to deliver much-needed funding for secondary school education for disadvantaged young people in Senegal, focusing on increasing the transition rate of adolescents from primary school to secondary school.

In collaboration with UNICEF—who is working with partners to deliver education programs in Senegal and other countries—Western Union’s PASS initiative is converting every successful pass during its three-year Global Partner sponsorship of the UEFA Europa League into better education for vulnerable children around the world.

“Our Education for Better program, of which our PASS initiative is a part, recognizes that one of the main reasons our consumers send money is for education”, said Patrick Gaston, President, Western Union Foundation.

“We are proud to support UNICEF, using the power and contribution of football so that children here in Senegal and around the world gain better access to a quality education.”

partrick3Increasing access

In Senegal, great efforts have been made to improve children’s access to school; currently, the enrollment rate for free primary school is 94 percent. However, last year, just 58 percent of children in Senegal enrolled in junior secondary school (grades 7-10), and only 29 percent are enrolled in senior secondary school (grades 11-13).

Secondary school costs, which include registration fees, as well as the cost of uniforms and transportation to and from the classroom, average $300 per year. This represents approximately 20 percent of the average annual family income of $1500.

“Western Union’s PASS funding will increase school access, attendance and completion of junior secondary school for disadvantaged young people in Senegal. It will also help raise awareness to address specific obstacles that prevent thousands of girls from completing their education”, said Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Senegal Representative.

Funds from Western Union’s PASS initiative will support the transition of 200 adolescents from primary to secondary education in three targeted regions; Matam, Kedougou and Tambacounda.

With grants of $300 provided to each student per year for two years, pupils will be able to overcome financial barriers that hinder their access to school, covering registration fees and costs including learning materials, uniforms, meals at school and transport to and from school.

Promoting awareness

The Western Union PASS funds will also help UNICEF Senegal promote an awareness campaign targeting approximately 3,000 young girls in the three regions on the importance of junior secondary education and the prevention of early marriage and pregnancy – two obstacles that can stop girls from completing their education. Approximately 35 percent of girls in the most disadvantaged regions are forced into early marriage as a source of revenue for their families.

“I have been proud to support the Western Union PASS initiative since September 2012 and I am really happy to come back again to Senegal to learn more about the initiative and see the impact of UNICEF education programmes,” commented World Cup winner Patrick Vieira, who also has his own Foundation in the country.

Senegal is a young country and providing a quality education for the country’s youth is critical for Senegal’s growth and development, he added.

“This funding is significant because it will help more children stay in school and complete their secondary education, allowing them to reach their potential.”


The million target

Through the PASS initiative, Western Union aims to support the delivery of one million days of education through its partnership with UNICEF. It is a key part of Western Union’s broader Education for Better program, launched at the UN General Assembly in September 2012, which includes philanthropic grants from the Western Union Foundation, advocacy, products, volunteer and marketing support for secondary and vocational education.

To date, the total number of passes contributing to the PASS campaign stands at 356,564. Funding has already been delivered on the ground to UNICEF in Jamaica, Nigeria and Turkey, with support from Western Union for education programs in Brazil, Senegal, Morocco and China scheduled for this year.

Nigeria’s Diamond Bank Issues $200m Eurobond


Nigeria financial institution Diamond Bank has successfully issued Eurobonds worth $200 million and with a maturity of 5 years, demonstrating a global acceptance of the bank’s growth efforts.

“The successful issuance of the Eurobonds is yet another milestone in the growth trajectory of the bank,” said Dr. Alex Otti, the bank’s Group Managing Director/CEO.

Otti noted that the management had started the process of transforming Diamond Bank into a major player in the Nigeria Banking industry three years ago. The transformation process has so far yielded fruit, according to the CEO, and the success recorded hitherto has shown the bank is headed in the right direction, moving up from being the country’s 11th largest bank to 6th in terms of total assets size.

He added that the successful issuance of the Eurobond is a milestone in the bank’s history, “effectively launching Diamond Bank into the international market.

Otti stated that the bank would continue harnessing the opportunities presented by the new capital raised as they come.

Chief Financial Officer of the Bank, Mr. Abdulrahman Yinusa, while explaining the rationale behind the capital raising exercise and the bank’s decision to peg maturity of the funds at 5 years, said the bond’s proceeds would be used to fund growth of the business, while some of the proceeds would be used to fund short tenured Trade Finance transactions.

It is expected that the new capital will further strengthen Diamond Bank’s trade finance services as it prides itself as one of the top banks in Africa offering such, awarded as Sub-Saharan Africa’s Best Issuing Bank by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), an arm of the World Bank earlier in the year and named the Best Oil and Gas Investment Bank by UK-based World Finance magazine.

World Leaders Adopt Strategy to Tackle Boko Haram


African and Western leaders have agreed to combine their intelligence information and defence mechanisms in a bid to reduce the security risk posed by Boko Haram and other terrorist groups.

African leaders meeting in Paris have pledged to wage war on Boko Haram islamist militants, suspected of having links with other terrorist organizations. The declaration of war comes after they adopted a regional plan to snuff out the religious sect that kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls last month.

“We are here to declare war,” declared Cameroon’s president Paul Biya at the Paris security summit. Idriss Deby of Chad said it would be “total war”.

President Hollande of France, who hosted the summit, said regional powers had pledged to share intelligence and co-ordinate action against the group.

He called Boko Haram a “major threat to West and Central Africa”, and said it had links with al-Qaeda’s North-African arm and “other terrorist organisations”.

West African countries have promised help in the form of surveillance patrols and military equipment, alongside expert advice from Britain, France and the US.

Boko Haram has been blamed for causing 2-thousand deaths this year, and most recently abducted more than 200 schoolgirls.

Meanwhile, just hours ahead of the summit, suspected Boko Haram fighters carried out another attack, this time killing one Chinese worker and kidnapping 10 others in Cameroon, which has faced growing attacks from the islamist militants.

Two Italian priests and a Canadian nun are still missing after being kidnapped in northern Cameroon in April, months after a French priest was seized.

Analysis: How Social Media ‘Twitter’ Built Global Outrage On Abduction of Nigerian Girls


The international vortex of tweets that brought huge global attention over the missing schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram insurgents, is fast ebbing, drawing worried concerns to the fickle nature of social media activism and its enduring impact on social and foreign policy support for change.

The twitter support, using the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, saw global media put Nigeria on the spot. But eleven days after sustained growth in global tweeter pressures, and one day after seeing a peak of about half a million tweets in one day, interests have drastically dwindled to less than 200 thousand tweets per day – consistently – in the last three days.

It also forced global leaders like United States President, Barrack Obama, U.K. Prime Minister, David Cameron, and UN secretary general to put pressure on the Nigerian government to start a rescue mission.

The Americans dispatched a 30-man military and security team into Abuja, the British another 10-man team, while the French, the Chinese, and the Israelis also announced similar assistance.

Bring Back Our Girls Twitter Analytic by Topsy 13 May

In its peak, the #BringBackOurGirls movement spread to 69 countries with its strongest external support coming from United States, Britain and Canada.

The movement, which began in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, nine days after the abduction, trumped most global issues including the war in Syria, the missing Malaysian airline – Flight MH370 – and the ongoing crises in Ukraine.

The campaign started off on twitter with a hashtag #BringBackOurDauthers but quickly snowballed into a national trend after a lawyer, Ibrahim Abdullahi, wittingly tweeted the call #BringBackOurGirls off a speech by Oby Ezekwesili, ex-World Bank Vice-President at the Port Harcourt World Book Capital 2014 event.


Yes #BringBackOurDaughters

#BringBackOurGirls declared by @obyezeks and all people at Port Harcourt World Book Capital 2014.

– Ibrahim M. Abdullahi (@Abu_Aaid) April 23, 2014

Days after trending in the Nigerian social media space, the hashtag made entry into the global trend and has since then gained support from global media, as well as political icons and celebrities.

On its 17th day after it was first used, the hashtag recorded a high peak of half a million tweets per day, far ahead of other issues like ‘Ukraine’ 50 thousand tweets per day and Syria’s less than 20 thousand tweets per day.

A twitter analytic tool, Topsy, estimates that so far – as at May 13 – more than 3.1 million tweets have been sent using the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag.

Another Twitter analytics tool, Keyhole, estimates that the highest influencer of the campaign has been the First Lady of the United States with her tweet where she shared her protest picture and declared her prayers were with the girls and their families.

Amnesty International and UNICEF backed the campaign using the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag on twitter. UNICEF is one of the other huge influencers of the campaign, according to Keyhole analytics.

Hillary Clinton, Wyclef Jean, Chris Brown and Ellen De Generes were other celebrities that joined to help pressure the Nigerian government into acting to rescue the schoolgirls.

Productive slacktivism

In its three weeks of existence, #BringBackOurGirls movement, set up to pressure the Nigerian government into rescuing the over 250 Nigerian school girls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents in Northeast Nigeria, put the country on a high ball, far beyond any other issue in recent times.

When Mr. Abdullahi first tweeted #BringBackOurGirls shortly after noon on April 23, he had a little over 100 followers on twitter. But the virality of his creation has snowballed into fallouts that now include a convincing possibility that the missing Chibok girls will be rescued with physical help from U.S, Britain, China, European Union and Israel.

The successes and trend of the social media campaign to bring back the missing Chibok girls brings to the fore a fundamental shift in information provision and management in Nigeria; as well as the powers of the Nigerian social media community, a drift the Nigerian government eagerly seeks to curb, or at least control.

The #BringBackourGirls movement also re-ignites the global debate about the effectiveness of social media activism, hashtag activism, or “slack-activism” as critics call it.

Analysts consider the #BringBackOurGirls movement as the most productive hashtag activism in recent times. Unlike #Kony2012 and other hashtags that have trumped the world recently, the campaign to bring back our girls went beyond kindling emotion and discussions to sparking concrete actions, from governments and individuals as well.

An emerging school of thought foresees a future where social media is a critical tool for activism and social changes, but not one where hashtags alone would cut it.

“Social media is a very powerful tool for democratic consolidation, and social change, but it cannot achieve this on its own. It must be complemented by putting boots on the ground,” Jude Ilo, country director at the Open Society Initiative, West Africa said. “The combination of both of them is what is sustaining this [#BringBackOurGirls struggle.”

Yemi Adamolekun, chief executive at the social movement, Enough is Enough, shares Mr. Ilo’s views arguing that social media works best as a complement of active street presence.

“You cannot only do social media in the corner of your room but must complement the process by

going to the street” Ms. Adamolekun stated, illustrating with the motions of a bird that “it takes two wings to fly.”

In the past three three years, the Nigerian government has spent huge sums and social capital trying to control the internet in Nigeria.

Last year, the government spent $61 million to acquire a piece of technology from an Israeli military firm – that would help it monitor and control the internet. The government shoved heavy local criticisms to buy that piece of technology.

The 2013 acquisition wasn’t Nigerian government’s first attempt to gag Nigerians online.

Long before the Israeli technology, the Nigerian government had been in a clandestine business with another internet spying company, U.S based Blue Coat.

In 2013, researchers from Citizen Lab, a research project based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, found evidence of the presence of Blue Coat Systems and the U.K. based Gamma International in Nigeria.

Blue Coat’s technology primarily aimed at network management, can also be used by the government to invade the privacy of journalists, netizens and their sources. Its censorship devices use Deep Packet Inspection, DPI, a technology employed by many western Internet Service Providers, to manage network traffic and suppress unwanted connections. Blue Coat’s technology has been used by rights-abusing governments, including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

A Dutch company, Digivox, which specialises in “lawful and tactical interception systems, secure GSM communication, GPS tracking devices and voice logging” has also been linked to Nigeria.

Nigerian government’s strategy to control the internet is two pronged and dates back to 2012, in its early days. While acquiring technologies, the Nigerian government instituted political approaches to introduce a law specifically crafted to gag the social media.

Nigeria first expressed its willingness to regulate the social media in August 2012 when Mr. Maku argued that the social media was staging an onslaught on the Nigerian culture in the 24th anniversary of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission in Abuja.

The information minister’s statements were followed by calls for social media regulation from the senate president, David mark, and a draft wiretapping legislation by the Nigerian Communications Commission.

All Nigerian government’s political moves to control the social media using a law have failed so far. But with the 2015 general elections approaching and the #BringBackOurGirls protests, the government’s desire to control the social media will only increase.

“We need to re-examine what we are doing there; social media is a source for good. We are using them to reach the masses but we must also develop an attitude to ensure that whatever goes in there will promote the development of our country,” the information minister said in his most recent push for a gag.

Liberians Encouraged on Economic Growth


The Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) Dr. J. Mills Jones has called on entrepreneurs and small enterprises to focus on locally produced merchandise.

Governor Jones said: “Doing business is not going to the store to buy imported commodities, but instead to work or till the land which will help bring development to Liberia.”

He was speaking on Saturday at the Unification Fair Ground in Buchanan City at the close of a two-day seminar organized by the Federation of Road Transport Union of Liberia (FRTUL), which brought participants from around Liberia in partnership with the Citizens Progressive Saving Club of Bassa.

Dr. Mills Jones said the CBL wants to encourage small business owners to network and think about adding value to local products, so that more can be produced and sold.

He said if this is done, local products can also be sold abroad, as was done by many countries to beat poverty and bring about development.

Governor Jones reminded business owners that “development is not a project, but increased production to create wealth.” “We must produce, and produce efficiently, as a result then, circumstances will change, and it will be good for all of us, and enable us to do something in the private sector.”

Entertainment: African Music Stars Nominated for BET U.S. Awards


Nigeria’s Tiwa Savage and Davido alongside South Africa’s Mafikizolo, Ghana’s Sarkodie, Togo’s Toofan and Tanzania’s Diamond Platnumz have been nominated for the Best International Act in Africa. Nigerian-British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor and Kenya’s Lupita Nyong’o were also nominated in Best Actor and Best Actress categories respectively at the BET Awards.

The superstar couple have garnered five nods apiece at the annual awards ceremony celebrating the best in black entertainment, while rapper Drake is also up for five gongs.

Beyonce is nominated for Best Female R&B/Pop Artist, Video of the Year for ‘Partition’, and also shares two nods with husband Jay – Best Collaboration and Video of the Year for their hit single, Drunk in Love.

Jay is also up for Best Male Hip Hop Artist and has a Best Collaboration nod with Justin Timberlake for their track together, Holy Grail.

In the Best International Act: Africa category, artists Davido (Nigeria), Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania), Mafikizolo (South Africa), Sarkodie (Ghana), Tiwa Savage (Nigeria) and Toofan (Togo) received nominations.

BET’s president of music programming and specials Stephen Hill said: “This year’s nominees represent the best of the culture. It’s great to see our talented new artist’s right alongside our more beloved ones with long careers. We appreciate our BET Awards nomination committee, over 300 strong, for their efforts and congratulate all the nominees.”

Pharrell Williams celebrates four nominations, including Best Male R&B/Pop Artist and Best Collaboration for Robin Thicke’s hugely successful anthem Blurred Lines.

Meanwhile, the acting categories recognize stand-out performances from 12 Years a Slave stars Lupita Nyong’o and Chiwetel Ejiofor, Scandal leading lady Kerry Washington, and talk show legend Oprah Winfrey.

Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave is nominated for Best Movie along with The Butler and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

The 2014 BET Awards will take place on Sunday, 29th June, at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

2014 BET Awards nominations:

Best Female R&B/Pop Artist


Janelle Monáe

Jhené Aiko

K. Michelle


Tamar Braxton

Best Male R&B/Pop Artist

August Alsina

Chris Brown

John Legend

Justin Timberlake

Pharrell Williams

Best Group

A$AP Mob

Daft Punk

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis


Young Money

Best Collaboration

August Alsina feat. Trinidad Jame$ – ‘I Luv This’

Beyoncé feat. JAY Z – ‘Drunk In Love’

Drake feat. Majid Jordan – ‘Hold On (We’re Going Home)’

JAY Z feat. Justin Timberlake – ‘Holy Grail’

Robin Thicke feat. T.I. & Pharrell Williams – ‘Blurred Lines’

YG feat. Jeezy & Rich Homie Quan – ‘My Hitta’

Best Male Hip Hop Artist



J. Cole


Kendrick Lamar

Best Female Hip Hop Artist

Angel Haze

Charli Baltimore


Iggy Azalea

Nicki Minaj

Video of the Year

Beyoncé – ‘Partition’

Beyoncé feat. JAY Z – ‘Drunk In Love’

Chris Brown – ‘Fine China’

Drake – ‘Worst Behavior’

Pharrell Williams – ‘Happy’

Video Director of the Year

Benny Boom

Chris Brown

Colin Tilley

Director X

Hype Williams

Best New Artist

Ariana Grande

August Alsina

Mack Wilds

Rich Homie Quan

ScHoolboy Q

Best Gospel Artist

Donnie McClurkin

Erica Campbell

Hezekiah Walker

Tamela Mann

Tye Tribbett

Best Actress

Angela Bassett

Gabrielle Union

Kerry Washington

Lupita Nyong’o

Oprah Winfrey

Best Actor

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Forest Whitaker

Idris Elba

Kevin Hart

Michael B. Jordan

YoungStars Award

Gabrielle Douglas

Jacob Latimore

Jaden Smith

KeKe Palmer


Best Movie

12 Years a Slave

The Best Man Holiday

Fruitvale Station

Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain

Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Subway Sportswoman of the Year

Brittney Griner

Lolo Jones

Serena Williams

Skylar Diggins

Venus Williams

Subway Sportsman of the Year

Blake Griffin

Carmelo Anthony

Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Kevin Durant

LeBron James

Centric Award

Aloe Blacc – ‘The Man’

Jennifer Hudson feat. T.I. – ‘I Can’t Describe (The Way I Feel)’

Jhené Aiko – ‘The Worst’

LiV Warfield – ‘Why Do You Lie?’

Wale feat. Sam Dew – ‘LoveHate Thing’

Best International Act: UK

Dizzee Rascal


Krept & Konan

Laura Mvula

Rita Ora

Tinie Tempah

Best International Act: Africa

Davido (Nigeria)

Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania)

Mafikizolo (South Africa)

Sarkodie (Ghana)

Tiwa Savage (Nigeria)

Toofan (Togo)

African Nations Name World Cup Squads



Cameroon coach Volker Finke unveiled his preliminary 28-man squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ starting on 12 June.

Cameroon are competing in their seventh World Cup finals, but are underdogs in a Group A that includes hosts Brazil, Croatia and Mexico.

Only two of Finke’s squad play in their domestic championship – goalkeeper Loic Feudjou and defender Cedric Djeugoue – with the remainder in European and Turkish clubs.

Finke will have to reduce the squad to 23 for the finals themselves.

Cameroon squad

Goalkeepers: Charles Itandje (Konyaspor/TUR), Ndy Assembe (Guingamp/FRA), Sammy Ndjock (Fetihespor/TUR), Loic Feudjou (Coton Sport)

Defenders: Allan Nyom (Granada/ESP), Dany Nounkeu (Besiktas/TUR), Cedric Djeugoue (Coton Sport), Aurelien Chedjou (Galatasaray/TUR), Nicolas Nkoulou (Marseille/FRA), Armel Kana-Biyik (Rennes/FRA), Henri Bedimo (Lyon/FRA), Benoit Assou-Ekotto (QPR/ENG), Gaetang Bong (Olympiakos/GRE)

Midfielders: Eyong Enoh (Antalyaspor/TUR), Jean II Makoun (Rennes/FRA), Joel Matip (Schalke 04/GER), Stephane Mbia (Sevilla/ESP), Landry Nguemo (Bordeaux/FRA), Alexandre Song (Barcelona/ESP), Cedric Loe (Osasuna/ESP), Edgar Sally (Lens/FRA)

Forwards: Samuel Eto’o (Chelsea/ENG), Eric Choupo Moting (Mainz/GER), Benjamin Moukandjo (Nancy/FRA), Vincent Aboubakar (Lorient/FRA), Achille Webo (Fenerbahce/TUR), Mohamadou Idrissou (Kaiserslautern/GER), Fabrice Olinga (Zulte-Waregem/BEL)


Goalkeeper Stephen Adams was the only local-based player named in Ghana’s provisional 26-man squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Adams, who plays for former Ghana league champions, Aduana Stars made the cut after a superb showing at the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in South Africa earlier in the year, where Ghana lost out to Libya on penalties.

The surprise inclusion in the squad named by Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah on Monday (12 May 2014) are Leicester City left-back Jeffery Schlupp and Sweden-based offensive midfielder David Accam.

According to Appiah, the team will begin preparations with a non-residential camp in Accra from 20-23 May before the team departs for the Netherlands on May 24 for the next stage of preparations.

The Black Stars will face the Oranje of Netherlands in a friendly game in Amsterdam on May 31, after which three players will be dropped before the team embarks for Miami, USA for the final preparations.

Ghana will face Germany, Portugal and USA at the group phase of their third successive appearance at the Mundial.

Full squad

Goalkeepers: Adam Larsen Kwarasey (Stromgodset, Norway), Fatau Dauda (Orlando Pirates, South Africa), Stephen Adams (Aduana Stars)

Defenders: Samuel Inkoom (Platanias, Greece), Daniel Opare (Standard Liege, Belgium), Harrison Afful (Esperance, Tunisia), Jeffery Schlupp (Leicester City, England), John Boye (Rennes, France), Jonathan Mensah (Evian, France), Rashid Sumaila (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa), Jerry Akaminko (Eskişehirspor, Turkey)

Midfielders: Michael Essien (AC Milan, Italy), Sulley Ali Muntari (AC Milan, Italy), Rabiu Mohamed (Kuban Krasnodar, Russia), Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus, Italy), Emmanuel Agyemang Badu (Udinese, Italy), Afriyie Acquah (Parma, Italy), Christian Atsu (Vitesse, Netherlands), Albert Adomah (Middlesborough, England), Andre Ayew (Olympique Marseille, France), Mubarak Wakaso (Rubin Kazan, Russia), David Accam (Helsinborg, Sweden)

Forwards: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain, UAE), Kevin Prince Boateng (Schalke, Germany), Abdul Majeed Waris (Valenciennes, France), Jordan Ayew (Sochaux, France)


Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic on Monday (12 May 2014) unveiled a 30-man provisional squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

The final 23 will be named on June 1, barely 24-hours after a test game with Armenia in Sion, Switzerland.

Les Fennecs are housed in Group H with Belgium, Russia and South Korea.

Full squad

Goalkeepers: Izzekine Doukha (USM El Harrach/Algeria), Raïs M’Bolhi (CSKA Sofia/Bulgaria), Mohamed Lamine Zemmamouche (USM Alger/Algeria), Cédric Si Mohammed (CS Constantine/Algeria)

Defenders: Essaïd Belkalem (Watford FC/England), Madjid Bougherra (Lekhwiya Club/Qatar), Liassine Cadamuro (RCD Mallorca/Spain), Faouzi Ghoulam (SSC Napoli/Italy), Rafik Halliche (Academica Coimbra/Portugal), Nacereddine Khoualed (USM Alger/Algeria), Aïssa Mandi (Reims/France), Carl Medjani (Valenciennes/France), Djamel Mesbah (AS Livourno/Italy), Mehdi Mostefa (AC Ajaccio/France)

Midfielders: Nabil Bentaleb (Tottenham/England), Ryad Boudebouz (SC Bastia/France), Yacine Brahimi (Granada CF/Spain), Adlène Guedioura (Crystal Palace/England), Amir Karaoui (ES Sétif/Algeria), Medhi Lacen (Getafe CF/Spain), Saphir Taider (Inter Milan/Italy), Hassan Yebda (Udinese FC/Italy)

Forwards: Abdelmoumène Djabou (Club Africain/Tunisia), Rafik Djebbour (Nottingham Forest/England), Soofiane Feghouli (Valencia/Spain), Ryad Mahrez (Leicester City/England), Islam Slimani (Sporting Lisbon/Portugal), Hilal Soudani (Dinamo Zagreb/Croatia)


The Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, on Tuesday announced Nigeria’s provisional 30-man list for the FIFA 2014 World Cup.

The list, submitted by Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi, was read on Tuesday evening by a member of the Technical Committee of the NFF, Paul Bassey.

Some the players who made the list include Mikel Obi, Victor Moses, Vincent Enyeama, Sunday Mba, and Ahmed Musa; all of whom were in the Nigerian side that won the 2013 African Cup of Nations.

Apart from the regulars, players who had hitherto fallen out with Keshi also made the list. These include Osaze Odemwingie and Joseph Yobo.

The invited players will resume camp on May 26 before a final list of 23 players will be selected for the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

See the full list below:

Nigeria Squad for FIFA 2014 World Cup

Goal Keepers – Vincent Enyeama, Austin Ejide, Chigozie Agbim (Gombe Utd), Daniel Akpeyi (Warri Wolves).

Defenders – Elderson Echiejile, Juwon Oshaniwa, Efe Ambrose, Godfrey Oboabona, Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves), Kenneth Omeruo, Joseph Yobo, Kunle Odunlami (Sunshine Stars).

Midfielders – John Mikel Obi, Ogenyi Onazi, Ramon Azeez, Ejike Uzoenyi (Rangers Int’l), Sunday Mba, Gabriel Rueben, Nosa Igiebor, Joel Obi, Michael Uchebo.

Attackers – Ahmed Musa, Shola Ameobi, Victor Moses, Emanuel Emenike, Victor Nsofor, Osaze Odemwingie, Michael Babatunde, Nnamdi Oduamadi, Nwofor Uche.

Malawi Election: ‘Too Close to Call’

President Joyce Banda was not the front-running candidate in the run-up to this month’s elections in Malawi, but the race was too close to call, according to a public opinion survey malawiconducted six to eight weeks before next week’s polls.

The survey, conducted by the African public opinion survey project, Afrobarometer, found that in the period March 23 to April 7:

  • The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its presidential candidate, Peter Mutharika – brother of former president Bingu wa Mutharika, who died in office in 2012 – had a “slight edge” over its rivals. Mutharika was favoured as president by 27 percent of adult Malawians, and his party by 23 percent in the parliamentary election race.
  • The Malawi Congress Party (MCP), which ran Malawi as a one-party state under the leadership of the country’s first president, Hastings Kamazu Banda, for nearly 30 years, was running in second place. The party was preferred by 18 percent of adults for Parliament and its presidential candidate, Lazarus Chakwera, by 21 percent.
  • The People’s Party of President Joyce Banda, which she founded after being sidelined as vice-president by Bingu wa Mutharika, was running neck-and-neck with the MCP. Eighteen percent of adults favoured the party in parliamentary elections, and she was drawing the support of 19 percent of adults for the presidency.
  • The United Democratic Front, which ended the rule of the MCP in 1994 and under whose banner President Mutharika first governed, was chosen by 11 percent in parliamentary polls. Its candidate, Atupele Muluzi – son of Bakili Muluzi, who ruled Malawi for two terms after 1994 – was preferred by 14 percent in the presidential race.

However, 15 percent of Malawians either did not know or would not reveal their choices at the time they were polled. This proportion “is larger than the margin between the individual candidates and parties,” Afrobarometer noted, throwing the outcome of the election wide open.

Apart from the fact that potential voters’ views may have changed by the time they vote next Tuesday, Afrobarometer says it is not known how many young, first-time voters have registered and will vote, and this could influence the result.

Previous Afrobarometer polling has shown that the four parties named as favourites are the only groups with any substance: a survey in 2012 concluded that the rest of the country’s parties were “simply insignificant,” a number of them being described by Malawians as “briefcase parties” identified only with their leader.

The 2014 poll has also confirmed what Afrobarometer described as “stark” regional differences in voting intentions, with President Banda’s People’s Party overwhelmingly popular in the north (53 percent support and no other party enjoying more than 15 percent), the MCP the most popular in the centre of the country (44 percent of respondents, no other party having more than 18 percent) and the DPP (43 percent) and the UDF (24 percent) most popular in the south.

In other findings, 78 percent of respondents said the country was going in the wrong direction at present. President Banda’s approval rating has dropped from 68 percent after she took office in 2012 to 38 percent in 2014.

But the commitment of most Malawians to multi-party elections is solid, and rising. The number of those who agreed strongly that elections were the best way of choosing leaders rose from 55 percent in 2012 to 65 percent in 2014.

And 71 percent now want “regular, open and honest elections,” with 74 percent agreeing that “many political parties are needed to make sure that Malawians have real choices in who governs them.”

Malawians also believe they can choose their parties and candidates freely. More than nine in 10 say they are “completely free” in making their choices, six in 10 say voters “never” face threats of violence when they vote, and seven in 10 have little fear of intimidation and violence.

But they are more divided on whether the media provides fair coverage for all candidates. They are also worried about bribery, with 31 percent saying voters are often bribed, and another 30 percent saying that this happens “sometimes”.

Many also question how free and fair elections will be, with just under half expecting them either to be completely free, or with minor problems. Only one in three say votes are often or always counted fairly and a “significant minority”, says Afrobarometer, is not confident in the Malawi Electoral Commission.

The Afrobarometer survey was based on a nationally representative sample of 2,400 adults and has a sampling error of plus or minus two percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

Afrobarometer is a collaboration of social scientists from 35 countriesacross the continent, with technical support from the Michigan StateUniversity in the United States and the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

The analysis of the Malawi survey was carried out by Carolyn Logan, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University, Michael Bratton, University Distinguished Professor of Political Science and African Studies at Michigan State, and Boniface Dulani, Afrobarometer operations manager for fieldwork and a lecturer in the Department of Political and Administrative Studies at the University of Malawi.

Africa’s top 10 richest Charity donors


An estimated US$7 billion is given away every year by Africa’s philanthrocapitalists – at least the ones we know about. These are the men we will bring the list of top women philanthropists in Africa.

Francois van Niekerk, South Africa – The founder of Mertech Group gave 70 percent of his equity (valued at $170 million) to his Mergon Foundation, which funds education, health and skills-building initiatives.

Allan Gray, South Africa – The owner of Allan Gray investment management firm, Gray gave his Allan Gray Orbis Foundation $150 million. The foundation gives high school scholarships and supports other causes.masiyiwa

Theophilus Danjuma, Nigeria – The chairman of South Atlantic Petroleum broke Nigerian philanthropic records when he gave $100-million to set up the TY Danjuma Foundation, a grant-making organization that partners with NGOs in education, health, policy and poverty-related fields.

Donald Gordon, South Africa – The real estate and insurance billionaire founded the Donald Gordon Foundation which has given an estimated $50 million in donations to develop higher educational facilities and the arts in the UK.

Aliko Dangote, Nigeria – The president of the Dangote Group has recently entered the field of philanthropy and has already made significant contributions totalling $35 million. He has contributed to flood relief, an NGO developing low-cost housing and universities in Nigeria, and also gave $500,000 for victims of a munitions blast in Brazzaville, Congo in 2012.

Mark Shuttleworth, South Africa – After selling his digital security company for $575 million, Shuttleworth spent $20 million on developing free open source software, Ubuntu, and another $20 million – through the Shuttleworth Foundation – on funding the projects of individuals trying to change society.

Jim Ovia, Nigeria – The founder of Zenith Bank gave $6.3 million to the flood relief effort in Nigeria in 2012. Through his Youth Empowerment and ICT Foundation, he has given much to get youth interested in ICT. He gave $320,000 to help 10 young Nigerian entrepreneurs establish their technology businesses.

Strive Masiyiwa, Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe’s richest man and the founder of Econet Wireless, Masiyiwa has spread his philanthropic work to several African countries, including Zimbabwe. He established a $6.4 million trust in 2012 to pay for the education of 40 students. He also supports organizations that help orphans in Zimbabwe.

Tony Elumelu, Nigeria – Elumelo, chairman of Heirs Holdings, gave $6.3 million to flood relief in Nigeria in 2012. His Tony Elumelu Foundation gives entrepreneurial training to young Africans.

Arthur Eze, Nigeria – The elusive oil magnate donated $6.3 million to flood relief in Nigeria. He also gives large amounts towards higher education.

Other noteworthy philanthropists include: Mike Adenuga and Hakeem Belo-Osagie from Nigeria; Manu Chandaria and Naushad Merali from Kenya; Ashish Thakkar from Uganda; the Sawiris family from Egypt; and Patrice Motsepe, Nicky Oppenheimer, Raymond Ackerman, Tokyo Sexwale, and Cyril Ramaphosa from South Africa.

Sudanese-born British telecommunications billionaire Mo Ibrahim has been dubbed the most powerful black man in the UK as well as the “Bill Gates of Africa” for his philanthropic efforts on the continent. He has signed the Giving Pledge to hand over half his wealth and has offered a prize of $5 million over 10 years, and a further $200,000 for life, to African leaders who excel. Motsepe is the first African-based businessman to have signed the pledge- IRIN

The numbers that shows Africa is growing with entrepreneurial spirit

Entrepreneur Regina Agyare is the founder of Soronko Solutions, a Ghanaian software development company.
Entrepreneur Regina Agyare is the founder of Soronko Solutions, a Ghanaian software development company.
Entrepreneur Regina Agyare is the founder of Soronko Solutions, a Ghanaian software development company.


  • Experts say Africa has to rely on small businesses to provide employment
  • The continent has the highest rates of early-stage entrepreneurship in the world
  • It’s a leader for female entrepreneurship, says Global Entrepreneurship Monitor
  • Yet countries with many new startups also see high levels of discontinuance

From ambitious teens taking on the world and tech pioneers breaking boundaries to maverick slum dwellers dreaming big and trailblazing innovators tackling social problems, African Start-Up has been following the efforts of the continent’s innovative and determined entrepreneurs to make their business dreams become reality.

Indeed, all across the continent, a growing wave of grassroots self-starters are taking risks and defying obstacles to bring their money-making ideas to life. Armed with a can-do attitude and hopes of striking it big, they’re navigating a conundrum of challenges to pursue opportunities at a time when many African countries enjoy unprecedented levels of economic growth.

“The entrepreneurial landscape in sub-Saharan Africa is absolutely excellent,” says Mike Herrington, executive director of Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) and professor at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. “It’s on the increase because Africa, at last, has been emerging and the economies are booming — several countries are starting to really increase entrepreneurial activity and move to opportunity entrepreneurship, rather than necessity entrepreneurship,” he adds. “Opportunities abound and a positive spirit is emerging amongst the population of these countries.”

So, Africa’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and thriving — but how does it compare to the rest of the world?

Earlier this year, GEM published its annual report looking at the state of entrepreneurship globally. It found that sub-Saharan Africa is the region with by far the highest number of people involved in early-stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA), with Zambia and Nigeria leading the world rankings.

It’s a woman’s world

Africa also leads the world in the number of women starting businesses, with almost equal levels of male and female entrepreneurs. In fact, in countries like Ghana, Nigeria and Zambia the women outnumber the men.

Source: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2013 Global Report

Overall, the continent has a much higher proportion of female entrepreneurs compared to other regions, with Nigeria and Zambia (both 40.7%) coming on top and countries like the United States (10.4%), the UK (5.5%), Norway (3.6%) and France (3.1%) lagging far behind.

According to Herrington, the main reason for this is because women in Africa “need to earn an extra income” to be able to afford “to send their children to school.”

Getting off the ground

Source: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2013 Global Report

Yet, does the high number of both male and female entrepreneurs tell the whole story? And do these impressive figures translate to sustainable startups that are able to grow and provide employment to the continent’s young population?

Factor-driven economies are mainly based on low-skilled labor and national resources. By comparison, efficiency-driven economies develop more efficient manufacturing processes and increase product quality, while innovation-driven economies are engaged in the production of new products by combining sophisticated technologies with a high-skill workforce and research.

In its analysis, GEM groups countries into geographic regions, but also according to their development stage: factor-driven, efficiency-driven and innovation-driven, each suggesting an increasing level of sophistication in the operation of the economy (see fact box on the left).

Most African nations surveyed are placed into the factor-driven stage, where early-stage entrepreneurial activity rates tend to be higher than the rates of owner-managers in established businesses (running more than three and a half years).

In other words, “a high entrepreneurship rate does not necessarily mean the creation of a lot of jobs,” explains Herrington. “Those countries with low GDP per capita tend to have a very high entrepreneurial rate, because the larger corporations are not taking up a lot people to provide them with the so-called formal employment,” he adds.

Calling it a day

Source: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2013 Global Report

Similarly, the continent might be buzzing with startups, but how long do these last?

According to GEM, the rate of business discontinuance tends to decrease as economic development increases. As a result, countries like Malawi and Angola that see many new businesses also experience high numbers of people abandoning their efforts after failing to make profits.

“The discontinuance of businesses in the factor-driven economies is very high,” says Herrington, citing “the lack of education, market research and access to funding” as the main reasons.

Fearless entrepreneurs

Source: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2013 Global Report

There are several factors hindering the survival and growth of small businesses in Africa — little government support, bureaucracy and lack of financial backing to cite a few more. Yet, all these constraints do little to prevent the continent’s budding entrepreneurs from trying their luck.

True, entrepreneurs might be optimistic by nature, but nowhere else in the world is this key drive toward success as present as in Africa.

The continent’s entrepreneurs boast the lowest levels of “fear of failure,” with just 24% responding that it would stop from starting a business and seizing business opportunities. In countries like Zambia, Uganda and Malawi the figure drops to as little as 15% — compare that to countries like the UK (36.4%) and the United States. (31%).

All you need is confidence

Source: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2013 Global Report

It’s no surprise then that African entrepreneurs are also the most confident in the world in their ability and skills to start a business. In comparison, people in Malawi feel twice as self-assured about launching a startup as those in the UK.

Likewise, sub-Saharan Africa claims the top five spots for countries where people see good opportunities for starting a business and feel positive about entrepreneurship.

Herrington says that it’s these qualities, coupled with a need for better education and a focus on moving entrepreneurs from necessity to opportunity, that will drive the continent’s development.

“Africa is going to have to rely on small businesses (SMEs) to provide the bulk of the employment,” he says. “In a lot of countries the SMEs contribute more than 50% of the GDP and more than 50% of employment, so if you’re going to employ people in Africa and other developing countries it’s SMEs are the ones that are going to provide that.”

By Teo Kermeliotis and Milena Veselinovic,