Wednesday, November 12, 2014

First ‘Africa Data Challenge’ calls for data projects with practical, human impact in Africa


•          The Planet Earth Institute NGO will host first ever ‘Africa Data Challenge’ as part of the second #ScienceAfrica UnConference on November 18th

•          During the ‘Africa Data Challenge’ innovators will pitch ideas for data-driven projects that achieve practical, human impact in Africa

•          Judges include African Development Bank, Elsevier and Intel

LONDON, United-Kingdom, November 12, 2014-- The Planet Earth Institute (PEI), an international NGO that works for the scientific independence of Africa, will host the first-ever ‘Africa Data Challenge’, as part of their #ScienceAfrica UnConference, held at Impact HUB, Westminster on November 18. The ‘Africa Data Challenge’ is a groundbreaking competition that invites parties to pitch their ideas for projects that harness data for real, human impact in Africa.


Photo: (Dr Álvaro Sobrinho, Chairman of the Planet Earth Institute (PEI)

While the ‘data revolution’ is a major theme in conversations on technology and business, there’s little discussion on how it can enhance Africa’s scientific development in a practical way. The ‘Africa Data Challenge’ invites innovators from around the world to pitch their ideas for projects that can help translate and transmit the power of data to those on the continent. Projects are unlimited in scope and focus, but must be designed to have a practical, human application in the next 12 months. Contestants will present their project live in front of a panel that includes Beejaye Kokil, Head of the Economic & Social Statistics Division, African Development Bank, David Tempest, Head of Director of Access Relations, Elsevier, Richard Pilling, Director, Director of Professional Services & Analytics (EMEA and APAC), Intel and Mariéme Jamme, entrepreneur and CEO of SpotOne Global. The successful innovators will be rewarded with a cash prize of £7,000 and receive PEI’s support to roll out their project.

The ‘Africa Data Challenge’ forms part of the PEI’s second #ScienceAfrica UnConference, which is hosted by Rt Hon Lord Boateng and run in partnership with UN Economic Commission for Africa, the World Bank and the European Commission.

The UnConference brings together over 120 people passionate about and working in science, development and Africa for an interactive day of workshops and discussions.

Participants come from diverse sectors, including international policy makers, academics, students as well as the general public. The UnConference will also be live streamed on the PEI website and people are encouraged to use the #ScienceAfrica hashtag on Twitter to engage in a robust discussion about science, technology and innovation in Africa.

Dr Álvaro Sobrinho, Chairman of the Planet Earth Institute, said:

“Data holds a huge amount of promise for scientific development in Africa, and for many different business sectors too, but we haven’t yet fully explored how it can be used at a local level to improve lives. As an NGO we are always looking for practical ways to support science and technology, and this Africa Data Challenge will help do just that – developing and incubating new ideas with real impact.

I’m looking forward to supporting the winning project over the next year, and to rolling out the competition across Africa. Working with our partners around the world, we are deeply committed to supporting innovations in this way, and strengthening the growing movement for scientific investment and development in Africa”.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Novartis and Malaria No More help fulfill malaria treatment goal in Zambia by raising funds for three million treatments through Power of One


•          Power of One campaign, supported by exclusive treatment sponsor Novartis, raises funds for three million treatments for children with malaria

•          Novartis associates rallied behind Power of One to fund close to 500,000 antimalarial treatments for Zambia

•          Company reaches delivery landmark with 700 million antimalarial treatments supplied without profit in 60 malaria-endemic countries since 2001

BASEL, Switzerland, November 12, 2014-- Novartis  announced today that, through Power of One, enough funds have been raised to deliver three million antimalarial treatments for children in Zambia. Launched in September 2013, Malaria No More’s Power of One campaign is supported by Novartis as the exclusive treatment sponsor.

Although preventable and treatable, malaria still kills a child every minute(1). Support for Power of One reflects the Novartis commitment to help accelerate progress toward malaria elimination. Every dollar donated to the campaign buys and delivers a treatment for a child with malaria in Africa. Using social, mobile, and e-commerce technologies, donors can see the impact of their donation on the ground, share the experience with their networks and recruit other donors.

“Power of One is a natural extension of our company’s commitment to the fight against malaria and I am very proud of the contributions Novartis associates have made to help children in Zambia,” said Joseph Jimenez, CEO of Novartis. “Over the past decade, we have delivered 700 million antimalarial treatments without profit in malaria-endemic countries but more work is needed. We need to continue to step up efforts, not only by increasing access to antimalarials but also by researching next-generation treatments to move closer to our vision of a malaria-free world.”

The Novartis Malaria Initiative  has pledged to match up to 1 million treatments funded by the public every year through 2015, doubling the impact of Power of One donations. Novartis Group company associates from 42 countries also rallied behind Power of One to support the company’s goal to eliminate malaria. During the past 12 months, several creative efforts have enabled associates to raise enough money to fund close to 500,000 treatments. Activities included a brand-related cause marketing campaign led by the Over-the-Counter business in Switzerland, participation in the Global Corporate Challenge® through the company’s Be Healthy well-being program and a global internal fundraising competition.

“After only a year, thanks to the generosity of the global public and Novartis associates, we have been able to meet our goal of raising three million treatments for children in Zambia,” said Martin Edlund, CEO, Malaria No More. “This is a great achievement but we need to continue the fight and help ensure no child dies from malaria due to lack of a one dollar treatment.”

The initial focus country of Power of One was Zambia, the first African country to change its treatment guidelines from chloroquine to newer artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs). The campaign will now also benefit patients in Kenya, where 200,000 treatments have just been delivered, in an effort to help drive down malaria morbidity and mortality among children.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Novartis International AG.

2015 IAB South Africa Bookmarks Awards: Entries close next Friday!


The Bookmarks Awards are the local digital industry’s highest-calibre awards

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, November 11, 2014-- The Bookmarks Digital Awards celebrates its 7th year and now forms part of the first annual IAB Digital Summit taking place on the 19th of February at the Turbine Hall in Jozi, promising to be a highlight on the #SADigital calendar.

The Bookmarks Awards are the local digital industry’s highest-calibre awards aimed at identifying and rewarding excellence in digital creative work and execution, benchmarked against international standards and measurable results as judged by our host of local and international judges.

Bookmarks entries ( close on the 21st of November! There are more than 50 categorieswhich include: mobile, ecommerce, applications, websites, email, social media, integrated media, marketer, advertising, design, search amongst others which also include a host of team and individual awards which are free. To enter, simply register ( (it takes less than a minute). You don't need a fancy video or microsite to enter. However, we do look for well-crafted entries in terms of providing proof that your entry meets all the criteria. This is what you need to focus on and substantiate in the entry fields.  Screenshots and pdf files are welcome! Remember anyone can enter – entries from Africa welcome!                  

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) South Africa.

Gemalto survey in Africa : 80% voice interest for mobile marketing if in line with “right person, right message, right moment” golden rule


A new survey conducted in South Africa and Nigeria on consumers’ perceptions of mobile marketing

AFRICACOM, South Africa, November 11, 2014-- Gemalto (Euronext NL 0000400653 GTO), the world leader in digital security, is releasing the results of a new survey conducted by Ifop in South Africa and Nigeria on consumers’ perceptions of mobile marketing. The findings reveal that although 80% of respondents feel annoyed when receiving unsolicited messages, the same proportion could be won back by operators and brands if they implemented best practices to improve customer engagement.


The survey clearly highlights that consumers in South Africa and in Nigeria share the same desire to be in control of the mobile marketing campaigns they receive: 83% of respondents consider that mobile marketing should be permission-based and 90% want to be able to easily identify the sender. They also want messages to be relevant to them and there is room for improvement in this respect as nearly 70% said they received promotional messages not in line with their interests. Consumers also want tangible benefits: 53% of South Africans expect, in order of preference, immediate discounts, loyalty benefits, and the possibility to collect points and gifts.

In conclusion, the survey indicates that there is a clear and strong potential for mobile marketing in Africa, provided mobile operators and marketers implement the golden rules: right person, right message, and right moment. If the end user is given control to opt in, optout and select the frequency; and if messages are relevant and provide value, then 80% of those surveyed in both countries would become “connected ad lovers”.

On the South African market, mobile end users can be won back by adopting best practices which are more respectful of their wishes. As for Nigeria, where mobile marketing is still in its infancy, those golden rules can be implemented right from the outset.

“In a continent where the mobile phone is the most widespread screen, mobile marketing has tremendous potential for operators and brands to engage better with their audiences,” said Nadia Gonzalez, Vice President of Mobile Marketing at Gemalto. “Mobile operators have key assets for improving end-users’ experience of mobile marketing. Starting with a respect for consumer privacy, their ability to segment campaigns by end-users’ profiles, location and interests puts them in the driving seat in helping brands apply these golden rules.“


French research firm Ifop, on behalf of Gemalto, conducted face-to-face interviews with 800 adult (18 years of age and older) owners of a mobile phone in Nigeria and South Africa, to understand consumer perceptions regarding mobile marketing and to identify blockers and drivers for mobile marketing in each region. The survey was fielded in July 2014 and included 400 respondents from South Africa and 400 respondents from Nigeria.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization)

First Francophonie Economic Forum for a dynamic space, vector of economic growth!


1 and 2 December 2014 - Dakar International Conference Centre (DICC), Senegal

DAKAR, Senegal, November 10, 2014-- On 1 and 2 December, the first Francophonie Economic Forum will bring together political and economic decision-makers from the five continents at the Dakar International Conference Centre (DICC) in Senegal, following the 15th Francophonie Summit.

During these two days, the decision-makers will discuss legal and economic measures, investment strategies and projects to transform the Francophonie into a generator of sustained economic growth.

This forum aims to create strong partnerships between international investors and investors from the Francophonie world, in priority production sectors, with an emphasis on projects that will create jobs and promote human development.

The objective is to raise the visibility of the Francophonie States by presenting the assets, potential and investment opportunities of this space, whose 57 member states generate total GDP of 7.2 billion dollars.

The participants will examine the countries' new projects and economic programs, progress made in reforms and development programs, job-creating entrepreneurial initiatives, etc.

Senegal will share its own experience with its Emerging Senegal plan, which aims to raise the country's growth rate to 7% by 2017 by diversifying its economy.

"I know I can count on the expertise of our executives, the commitment of our public employees, the contribution of our development partners and the responsiveness of our government," explains S.E. Macky Sall, President of Senegal.

Richard Attias, the forum's executive producer, adds, "Many economic markets have been created based on a regional approach in recent years, not always with much success, unfortunately. A common culture and language could bring a new dimension to solidarity and effective economic partnership. The aim of this first forum is to present the foundations of this concept. "

Among the speakers expected:

•          Jacques Attali, President of PlaNet Finance

•          Karim Baina, President of JET4YOU

•          Nicolas Baverez, Partner in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

•          Thierry Breton, CEO of ATOS, former French Minister for the Economy, Finance and Industry

•          Nicolas Bussard, CEO and co-founder of

•          Ibrahima Cheikh Diong, CEO of Africa Consulting and Trading

•          Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region

•          Jean-Louis Ekra, President of Afreximbank

•          Amina Gerba, President of Afrique Expansion

•          Moussa Seck Sow, PANAAC-Pan African Agribusiness and Agro-Industry Consortium

•          Moustapha Sow, ICIEC Regional Manager, Africa at Islamic Development Bank

•          Karim Sy, Founder of JokkoLabs

•          Farid Toubal, Economist, advisor at CEPII, Professor at Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan      

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the 

Afro-Pop, Rap and R&B Musicians Promote Healthier Diets—through Beans


Rwanda’s top musicians are promoting better nutrition and health through a catchy new music video that was released today

KIGALI, Rwanda, November 10, 2014/ -- Rwanda’s top musicians are promoting better nutrition and health through a catchy new music video that was released today.

Capture.PNGMusic video with English Subtitles:

The song extols the nutritional benefits of new high-iron beans that are now available in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda.  Almost 40 percent of children in Rwanda do not get enough iron in their diets. In severe cases, this can lower their IQs and learning capacity, resistance to disease, and energy levels.  Beans are a traditional staple food and eaten every day. These new iron beans contain 15 percent more iron than ordinary beans, and can provide women and children with almost half their daily iron needs. They also yield twice the harvest of ordinary beans, increasing incomes for farmers.

More than 700,000 Rwandan farmers are growing and eating these nutritious beans, first released by the Rwandan Government in 2011. "We’ve had tremendous success so far in getting these beans out, but we wanted to reach a much wider audience across the country,” said Lister Katsvairo, who heads the Rwanda Office of HarvestPlus , a global program to improve nutrition. "These iron beans are now making their way into urban markets, so we are launching a campaign to increase consumer awareness. We worked with Rwanda’s top musicians, who cater to all musical tastes including Afro-pop, rap and R&B. Who better to spread this message of how beans can improve nutrition and health?".

The campaign has taken musicians King James, Miss Jojo, Riderman, Tom Close, and Urban Boyzon a series of roadshows across the country where they have performed live for more than 30,000 people.  The road shows included exhibitions and sales of iron bean seeds. 

“We are bringing good news for all Rwandans that will change their lives once they start listening to the song, because it raises their knowledge about the benefits of growing and eating these high-iron beans. We hope that will change the lives of a lot of people in Rwanda,” said King James, an R&B artist.

“This was a chance   for us to  teach  people how to stay healthy by eating what is necessary for their bodies—we came together to make sure that we say goodbye to malnutrition,”  said Rwandan rapper Riderman.

Rwanda was the first country in Africa to officially launch iron beans developed through conventional breeding. HarvestPlus works with many partners to deploy iron beans, including the Rwanda Agriculture Board with whom they co-produced this video. The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) is also partner in developing more varieties of beans even richer in iron. Iron beans are now also being distributed to several hundred thousand farmers in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. 

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) 

Anglo American invests R15 million in Chair of Occupational Hygiene at Wits University, Johannesburg


Mining continues to play a central role in shaping the social, political, economic and health landscape of South Africa and Africa today,

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, November 7, 2014/ -- Anglo American is investing R15-million in a new Chair, to be known as the Anglo American Endowed Chair in Occupational Hygiene at the Wits School of Public Health. 


Photo: (Khanyisile Kweyama, executive director of Anglo American in South Africa)

The Chair will conduct research, and engage in other scholarly activities, with the aim of decreasing employee exposure to dust, noise and other health hazards in mining and other industries, thereby contributing to employee wellbeing.

“The Wits School of Public Health has long been the forerunner in the country in research and postgraduate studies in occupational health. We are very proud to have been granted the funds by Anglo American for this Chair and we are thankful that they are collaborating with us to strengthen our response to occupational hygiene, both in South Africa and Africa. The University’s responsiveness in this important field will advance our vision as a globally competitive and locally relevant university located in the economic and social hub of Africa,” said Professor Adam Habib, Wits Vice-Chancellor and Principal

Khanyisile Kweyama, executive director of Anglo American in South Africa said: “This investment reinforces Anglo American’s commitment to health and safety and to the wellbeing our people and communities, through partnerships with government, academia and other stakeholders.

“Our occupational health strategy and management approach are governed by a series of standards, guidelines and assurance processes aimed at preventing harm to our workforce. We are proud of our partnership with Wits University which leverages the institution’s leading research and teaching expertise across a wide spectrum of disciplines within the area of occupational health and hygiene. The partnership will further see a strengthening of the existing link between Anglo American and the university’s mining engineering degree,” concluded Kweyama.

Occupational hygiene is the discipline of anticipation, recognition, evaluation and control of health hazards in the workplace. Dr Andrew Swanepoel, Senior Lecturer and Master of Public Health Occupational Hygiene Coordinator in the Wits School of Public Health, explains: “Other examples of hazards that can be measured and controlled by occupational hygienists include airborne pollutants such as gasses, fumes, noise, vibration, temperature extremes, and biological hazards such as Legionella bacteria.

“State-of-the-art equipment and systems, combined with high-level research and expert practitioners are needed to identify, monitor and control exposure to harmful dust, and all other mining industry-related health hazards.”

The University is well placed to conduct world-class research in occupational hygiene.  For more than three decades Wits academics from the School of Public Health, in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOH), have been conducting ground-breaking research on mining-related diseases.

“The new partnership with Anglo American is particularly important, as the University was founded on the School of Mining almost a century ago,” said Swanepoel. “Mining continues to play a central role in shaping the social, political, economic and health landscape of South Africa and Africa today, where mining activities are rapidly expanding.”

“Mining and occupational hygiene and health are inseparable and there is a severe shortage of occupational hygienists in South Africa and Africa. This, together with insufficient resources to support occupational hygiene, compromises the ability of the industry to protect and promote the health and wellbeing of employees,” said Swanepoel.

The new Chair will build on the Wits School of Public Health track record and strengthen occupational hygiene by increasing the number of masters and PhD graduates, as well as postdoctoral fellows. Cutting edge research will enhance the health and wellbeing of workers in various industries. 

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization)