Applications Now Open for Orange Social Venture Prize in Africa

Applications have opened for the ninth edition of the annual Orange Social Venture Prize in Africa and the Middle East, which rewards innovative projects that improve people’s living conditions.

Applications are open until May 30, with Orange looking for tech-based social projects in fields such as education, healthcare, farming, mobile payments and sustainable development.

Three winners will receive EUR25,000 (US$30,500), EUR15,000 (US$18,000) and EUR10,000 (US$12,000) respectively, as well as six months of personalized support from startup creation and financing professionals.

The Orange Social Venture Prize is open to all students, employees and entrepreneurs over the of age 21 whose initiative is under three years old and serves any of Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal, Botswana, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Mali, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, Madagascar, Niger, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Jordan, Burkina Faso, and Sierra Leone.

The contest aims to reward the best innovative and socially responsible business projects in Africa and the Middle East. This 9th edition unfolds in two phases: first the candidates participate to a national competition, then an international jury gives a grand prize to the best national winners. At both the national and international step, the viewers of this site can vote to add a name to the jury shortlist.

For more details about the contest, click here. To enter click here.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

From The Hippo’s Ears: Burkina Faso

Facts you may not have know about Burkina Faso:

Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa. Burkina Faso is a francophone country, with French as the official language of government and business. Roughly 40% of the population speaks the Mossi language.

Burkina Faso has a population of approximately 20 million, is a unitary semi-presidential republic, and gained independence from France in 1960.

1.  When you first meet someone, how do you greet them?

A handshake with the right hand is the most common form of greeting. There’s usually a handshake accompanied by head taps on holidays: this means touching the sides of your head to another person’s head four times – two on each side. To say hello in French, it is “bonjour”, and in Mossi, it is “Ne y windiga”.

2. What languages are spoken in the country?

Burkina Faso is a multilingual country. An estimated 69 languages are spoken there, of which about 60 languages are indigenous. Mossi is spoken by about 40% of the population, mainly in the central region around the capital, Ouagadougou. The country has 4 official languages; French, Mòoré, Fula, and Dioula.

3. Do you use a twelve hour clock, or a twenty-four hour clock?

We use a 24-hour system.

4. What side of the road do people drive on? What do we need to know about driving in the country?

We drive on the right side of road.

5. How important is punctuality?

Time is flexible in Burkina Faso. People don’t always arrive on time for meetings – this is part of the culture.

6. Which types of music are popular? Who are some of the most popular musicians?

The music of Burkina Faso includes the folk music of 60 different ethnic groups. Burkinabé traditional music has continued to thrive and musical output remains quite diverse. Popular music is mostly in French. With a musical career that lasted half a century, singer Amadou Balaké was one of the foremost singers from the country during the 20th century. In his music, Balaké combined Mandé, Mossi, and Afro-Cuban traditions. Other influential artists from the country include George Ouédraogo and Joseph Moussa Salambéré “Salambo”.

Popular traditional groups from Burkina Faso include balafon bands, percussion ensembles and others such as Farafina and Gabin Dabiré, who uses elements of traditional Burkinabé music. More recently, modern musicians in Burkina Faso are beginning to incorporate more foreign influences into their music, especially those from the United States, with genres such as hip-hop, rap, salsa and techno entering the music scene.

For a taste of Beninese music, listen to Amadou Balaké’s Taximen, and George Ouédraogo’s Munafica.

Monument des Héros Nationaux in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

7. Are there any Traditional Dances?

Dancing is a long-time part of the culture of Burkina Faso, both traditional dancing and contemporary dancing. There are many small groups of dancers that perform locally or travel small distances for special events. Dancing and music groups exist for all occasions, and Bobo-Dioulasso’s Djembe drumming tradition is internationally famous.

Watch an traditional Gour’mache dance here.

8.  What traditional Festivals are celebrated in the country?

Festima Festival

Every two years, in the city of Dedougou, the Festima Festival occurs. This is a mask festival attended by around 40 villages, each of them represented by their own group of masks. Aside from much dancing, there is also the “market of the communities”, as well as the cabaret nights when various “griots” (storytellers) are in competition to reveal their own talent.

FESPACO

The PanAfrican Cinema and Television Festival of Ouagadougou is one of the most important festivals revealing the African cinema. It happens every two years in Ouagadougou. Goals of the festival include allowing contacts and exchanges between cinema, television and radio professionals; promoting the distribution of African cinema pieces; and encouraging the blossoming, development, and protection of the African cinema as a mean of expression, education, and social awareness.

Jazz à Ouaga

The festival was created in 1992, in Ouagadougou. Over the years, Jazz à Ouaga has become a major festival for all jazz lovers. The high quality of the artistic program satisfies an always increasing international body of attendees.

9. What are the seasons like?

Burkina Faso has a primarily tropical climate with two very distinct seasons. In the rainy season, the country receives between 60 and 90 cm (23.6 and 35.4 in) of rainfall; in the dry season, the harmattan – a hot dry wind from the Sahara – blows. The rainy season lasts approximately four months, May/June through September, and is shorter in the north of the country. A relatively dry tropical savanna, the Sahel, extends beyond the borders of Burkina Faso, from the Horn of Africa to the Atlantic Ocean, and borders the Sahara to its north and the fertile region of the Sudan to the South. The Sudan-Sahel region is a transitional zone with regards to rainfall and temperature. Further to the south, the Sudan-Guinea zone has cooler average temperatures than the northern region.

10. What are some interesting facts about the President?

President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré has been in office since 2015. Previously he served as the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso between 1994 and 1996, and as President of the National Assembly of Burkina Faso from 2002 to 2012. He has also served as President of the political party Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP). In January 2014, he left the ruling CDP and joined a new opposition party, the People’s Movement for Progress. Upon taking office, he became the first non-interim president in 49 years without any past ties to the military. He is married to Togolese-born jurist and healthcare advocate Sika Bella Kaboré, and has three children.

11. What are the country’s major industries?

Burkina Faso’s main industries are agriculture and mining. Agriculture represents around a third of the country’s GDP, and employs around 80% of its workforce. It consists mostly of rearing livestock. Especially in the south and southwest, the people grow crops of sorghum, pearl millet, maize (corn), peanuts, rice and cotton, with surpluses to be sold. A large part of the economic activity of the country is funded by international aid. Major exports from the country include raw cotton, sesame seeds, and non-monetary gold.

12. What are some of the things visitors can look forward to experiencing in Benin?

Major tourist attractions include the Domes de Fabedougou (fascinating rock formations outside the town of Banfora); Cascades de Karfiguela (a series of waterfalls along the Komoé River in Southwestern Burkina Faso); Ouagadougou Cathedral (a 1930s-build cathedral showcasing beautiful architecture); and Reserve de Nazinga (a wildlife reserve where visitors can see elephants, among other animals).

Bobo Dioulasso Grand Mosque in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso.

13. What is a popular local drink?

Popular drinks include bissap (a sour-tasting drink made from roselle (bissap) flowers (a member of the hibiscus family) and sweetened with sugar; and degue, a drink made from pearl millet and yogurt.

14. What is a popular local dish?

Burkinabé cuisine, the cuisine of Burkina Faso, is similar to the cuisines in many parts of West Africa, and is based on staple foods of sorghum, millet, rice, fonio, maize, peanuts, potatoes, beans, yams and okra.

Popular local dishes include tô (cooled polenta-style cakes made from ground millet, sorghum or corn, served with a sauce made from vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, sumbala, and carrots); and babenda, a stew of fermented beans, fish, cabbage, and/or spinach.

15. What do you pay, on average, for the following? (1 USD = approx. CFA 581)

Benin’s currency is the West African CFA franc (CFA).

3 Course meal: CFA 12,500
Domestic beer (500ml): CFA 1,000
Cup of coffee: CFA 2,000
Coca cola (330ml): CFA 450
Milk (1l): CFA 1,100
Loaf of white bread: CFA 1,500
Apples (1 kg): CFA 2,000
Water (1.5l): CFA 850

16. Any general safety tips?

Burkina Faso carries a risk of terrorist activity, and there are travel warnings for many parts of the country, including the capital. In December 2018, the Government of Burkina Faso declared a six-month state of emergency in the entire East and Sahel regions, the provinces of Kossi and Sourou in the Boucle de Mouhoun region, the province of Kenedougou in the Hauts Bassins region, the province of Loroum in the North region, and the province of Koulpelogo in the Center-East region.

UK health authorities have classified Burkina Faso as having a risk of Zika virus transmission.

17. In conclusion, famous (and sometimes infamous) people from the country include:

  • Georgie Badiel, a model and activist living and working in New York City. Badiel was Miss Burkina Faso in 2003 and Miss Africa 2004. She is also an author and activist who has taken on the issue of the lack of potable drinking water in her West African homeland. Therein she runs the Georgie Badiel Foundation which is dedicated to raising funds to support the cause.
  • Gabin Dabiré, a singer, guitarist, kora player, and composer. In 1979 his collection of ethnic music of Western Africa was published by the cultural association and music group Futuro Antico, which he co-founded with Walter Maioli and Riccardo Sinigaglia.
  • Jacky Ido, a Burkinabe-born French actor, who has starred in movies including Lockout, West, and Salaud, on t’aime.
  • Fulgence Ouedraogo, a French rugby union player. He currently plays for Montpellier Hérault RC in the Top 14 championship. His usual position is as a flanker.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa  can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, and Remuneration needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8]. Image sources: musiccity [1], [2], [3].

Why Some South Africans are Moving to Mauritius, and How Much it Costs

The fast-growing and crime-free island nation of Mauritius is a good alternative for high net worth South Africans, says Brenthurst Wealth.

Speaking via the group’s ‘Strictly Business’ podcast, Gavin Butchart, a financial director at Brenthurst Wealth, said that Mauritius is good country for investors looking to diversify, particularly due to it’s attractive tax bracket with individuals and companies paying 15% – with no dividends tax, capital gains tax or estate duties.

The podcast discussed Mauritius, its advantages as an investment destination, as a place to live, and what South Africa can learn from the fastest growing African economy.

Citing a world bank report, Butchart, who lives in Mauritius, said that the country ranks highly for ease of use for doing business.

Advantages of moving to Mauritius include, economic growth, good schooling, low crime rates, and is politically stable, Butchart said, noting also that the country’s unemployment rate is below 7%.

To gain permanent residency, a person would need a minimum of $500,000 (R7 million). “That will get you permanent residency,” Butchart said.

He noted that there are additional means of entering the country – namely a retirement non-citizen permit, and a foreign investor permit.

Popular avenues of investment for foreigners looking to invest in Mauritius, and obtain residency, include:

  • Occupation Permit (OP) – a combined work and residence permit that allows foreign nationals to work and reside in Mauritius through an Initial investment of $100,000 in a business activity that should generate an annual turnover of at least MUR2 million (circa $58,000) for the first year and cumulative turnover of at least MUR10 million for the subsequent two years.
  • Residence Permit (RP) – a residence permit that allows foreign nationals to reside in Mauritius through the acquisition of a residential property under the Property Development Scheme (PDS) when he/she has invested more than $500,000 or its equivalent in any freely convertible foreign currency.
  • Permanent Residence Scheme (PRS) – foreign nationals investing more than $500,000 into the Permanent Resident Investment Fund (PRIF) for a period of 10 years are eligible for permanent residence, along with their spouse and children under 18 years of age. For children over 18, an additional deposit of $100,000 per person is required.
    Butchart said that homes prices vary depending on the island. He stressed that non residents are only able to buy into property development schemes.

According to Theo Pietersen, Seeff’s MD in Mauritius, the island country has become highly sought-after by local property buyers, some for residency purposes, but increasingly for holiday/second homes, retirement and relocation.

“Mauritius is fast becoming a second home for South Africans and with the recent changes in the Mauritian government’s property investment legislation, it is now a lot easier to invest in residential and commercial property on the island and there is an increased amount of developments available for SA buyers to invest in, both residential and commercial,” he said.

He added that the country now boasts top-class infrastructure including an excellent banking sector, strong economic growth and a favourable investment and tax climate and is regarded as one of the easiest places to do business in.

Pietersen said that property on the island is also regarded as an excellent investment and if you invest early, you can generally benefit from excellent capital growth.

However, there are limited opportunities to invest, especially in prime seafront developments, he said.

Pietersen said that finance is available from both South African banks as well as in Mauritius at interest rates of 7% to 9%, but with 40% cash deposit requirements.

He added that South Africans tend to invest between MUR 6,500,000 and MUR 20,000,000 which equates to approximately R2,628,000 to R8,100,000.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Guillaume Baudusseau [1], [2].

Opinion: In Africa, Innovation in Early Learning Starts With Political Will and Investment

In 2015, the international community came together and committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) – seventeen goals for global development to be achieved by 2030. And number four on this list: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, also known as SDG4. By 2030 world leaders pledged to ensure all girls and boys would have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education.

In the months and years that followed, leader after leader proclaimed their commitment to these goals and to early education, citing not least the economic and social benefits arising from such investments. Yet the rhetoric does not match the reality.

Investing just $1 in early childhood care and education can yield a return as high as $17 for the most disadvantaged children. Yet globally, 150 million children are still denied this fundamental stage in their learning and development – the key to giving them the best start in life.

So what can we do? There are two crucial ingredients for making early childhood education a reality: political will and investment. First, governments must be sufficiently convinced that investment in early learning is a smart investment. Second, governments – and the international community supporting development – must invest. Unfortunately, the latter is far from realised.

While the cost of early learning in low-and-middle-income countries is estimated to be some $144 billion annually by 2030, countries are investing just one-quarter of the amount necessary in the youngest members of society. Even more shocking than this has been the international community’s response.

Just two years after committing to the SDGs, despite the rhetoric, a new report produced by Theirworld with the in collaboration with the Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, Leaving the youngest behind, reveals Overseas Development Aid to pre-primary education has decreased by 27 percent between 2015 and 2017, from US$94.8 million to US$68.8 million

This occurred against a backdrop of a more general increase in aid to education: over this period total aid to education rose by 11 percent, indicating that political commitment, as measured by the share of education aid to the early years, is wavering.

The analysis reveals the shocking reality that 16 of the top 25 donors to the education sector have either given nothing or reduced their previous spending on pre-primary education since the introduction of the SDG targets.

Total international aid combined amounts to just $0.27 per child per year for early education – woefully inadequate compared to the estimated cost of approximately $400 per child per year. The numbers are even more shocking for marginalised children caught up in conflict zones, where total aid reaches a mere $0.17 per child per year. This occurs in many in locations where other sources of education finance are severely limited.

In the poorest countries, even after domestic resource mobilisation efforts are maximised, many will be left unable to fund half their education budgets, making international aid vitally important. In these countries, grant and concessional financing through funders such as UNICEF, the World Bank, the Global Partnership for Education and the Education Cannot Wait fund, are extremely important.

Yet these institutions have failed to reach the recommended 10 percent of their education budgets dedicated to early years. For instance, the World Bank, while the largest financier of pre-primary education, contributes just 1.3 percent of its total education budget to pre-primary education – just over $15 million.

This is down from 3 percent two years earlier. Despite leading the scorecard on the proportion of education aid the early learning, UNICEF still falls short of the 10 percent target. The Global Partnership for Education stands at just half the target, or 5 percent of its grant funding devoted to the early years.

Beyond grant aid, there is a larger problem in lower-middle income countries where the needs are much greater given the sheer population and size compared to low-income countries. In these countries, less than 1 percent of the $40 billion available through the multilateral development bank system is allocated to education. Within that, the funding to early education is even more scarce.

For this reason, the International Finance Facility for Education is an important innovation which could unlock more than $10 billion for SDG4 and place early learning front and centre. The Facility, now being taken forward by the World Bank, regional development banks, donor countries and United Nations System, could be operational by January 2020.

Through its innovative use of guarantees and grant financing, the scale of financing for education in lower-middle income countries could multiply by four when directed through the Facility.

The potential of this new funding instrument would be a game-changer for early learning. If its founders agree that investing in the youngest children should be a priority, by reaching the 10 percent investment target in the early years, another $1 billion could be unlocked for early education in countries around the world, financing approximately 2.5 million places for early learners.

This new facility would also help countries ranging from Pakistan and Kenya to Guatemala and Cote D’Ivoire to unleash the potential of the next generation through strong early learning programs, placing the Sustainable Development Goal in closer reach and reversing the trend where the youngest citizens of the world have been missing out.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Feliphe Schiarolli [1], Iñaki del Olmo [2].

Accelerating ICT Development in Africa, Together

At a recent African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, African Heads of State directed their information and communication technology (ICT) Ministers to develop a common strategic framework for Africa-wide digital priorities and initiatives. In response to this request and consultations with Ministers present in Addis Ababa, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) hosted a special meeting of ICT Ministers from across Africa on 29 March at the ITU Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Ministers discussed how to boost ICT development, how to attract and encourage further ICT investment, and how to work together to facilitate new partnership opportunities so that Africa can reap the best benefits of the digital economy.

“The Ministers are at the forefront of building a new, digital Africa that leverages the tremendous potential of digital technologies to improve lives,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.

The Ministers reviewed inputs submitted by the Ministers themselves and discussed how to build a common strategic framework and roadmap for action and coordination.

The meeting took into account proposals on key areas such as: infrastructure, investment, digital transformation (including digital platforms and services), digital skills and entrepreneurship, cybersecurity, a common digital market — and policy and regulatory imperatives that cut across all these areas.

The Ministers wished to continue the discussions in the future.

“I am very pleased with our preliminary outcomes on how to build a framework to work together across the continent,” said Mr Zhao. “I am eager to see this discussion develop, knowing that common frameworks can help overcome the hurdles to investment that can often stifle progress. Let’s work together to make this vision a reality.”

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].