Monday, 26 January 2015

Women football league due Jan 31

The national women football league is set to kick off on January y 31 according to Felicite Rwemalika, the head of women football in the country.

Thirteen teams will take part in the six-month league. They include defending champions AS Kigali, Inyemera, Rambura, Yuvia, Bugesera, Rugende, Nyagatare, Freedom de Gacyenye, Kamonyi, Academic Girls, Atletico Huye , The Winners and Mutunda. Rwanda women football league is sponsored by Fifa through an annual grant of $70,000 (Rwf48 million).

However, Rwemalika says the money is not enough to cater for the teams throughout the season. He said they were exploring ways of securing additional sponsorship.

“We are supposed to cater for transport, meals as well as playing kit. We hope the corporate world will respond positively so as to build on Fifa’s support and help take women football in Rwanda to the next level,” Rwemalika said. National women football league started in 2006.

Muvunyi keen on All Africa Games glory

2011 All Africa Games gold medalist Hermas Cliff Muvunyi is determined to strike more gold in the 11th All African Games slated for September 4–19 in Republic of Congo. Muvunyi was the only athlete to win two medals in the 2011 All Africa games in Maputo, Mozambique after grabbing gold in the men’s 400m-T46 and silver in 800m-T46 category, respectively.

“I always work to be a better athlete, I’m feeling really fine and training very hard to not only retain the gold medal I won in 2011 but also land another gold in 800m- T46,” Muvunyi said adding that he has fully recovered from the knee injury he suffered recently . The 26- year old, who is widely regarded as one of the best athletes in the country, is also set for the 6th IPC World championships qualifiers in Tunisia due March 19-26. The 6th edition of the IPC World championships will be held from October 22-31, 2015 at Suhaim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha, Qatar. The 2015 All Africa games will also be used as the occasion to mark the 50th anniversary of the Games, as well as their return to Brazzaville, which hosted the first edition in 1965. Muvunyi will be competing in All Africa Games for the third consecutive time after his debut during the 9th edition in 2007 in Alger, Algeria.

AFCON 2015: Congo stun Gabon to blow open group A

Group A of the 2015 African Cup of Nations was blown wide open when Congo beat Gabon 1-0 at the Bata Stadium.

A goal from Prince Oniangue three minutes after half time saw Congo to victory and to the top of Group A with four points.

Gabon have slipped to second place with three points while the goalless draw between Equatorial Guinea and Burkina Faso early in the day means the former are third with two points and the latter last with one point.

In essence any one of the four teams can still qualify for the knockout stages when they meet on their group's last matchday on January 25.

Looking at the game between Gabon and Congo, the Gabonese side only have themselves to blame as they dominated the possession stakes and had the more shots on goal.

Football, however, is a cruel game and Gabon were made to pay for their numerous missed opportunities in front of goal.

Gabon stated their prowess as early as the fourth minute when a 25-yard shot from Frederic Wagha Bulot was tipped over the bar by the keeper.

On the 20 minute mark Gabon created a great opening with their slick passing when Malick Evouna broke behind the defence, but he failed to beat the keeper in a oneon- one.

Five minutes before the break Levy Clement Madinda produced some wonderful skill as he dribbled his way past three Congo defenders only for his 14-yard shot to skim the wrong side of the upright.

The second half saw Gabon stunned early on after some poor defending at a corner-kick allowed Prince Oniangue to poke the ball home from a goalmouth scramble, 1-0.

That was about the only significant attack Congo mustered in the entire match, but they made it count, unlike Gabon who continued to waste chance after chance in front of goal.

In the 58th minute Levy Clement Madinda came close to equalising with a powerful 30-yard shot, but it sailed over the crossbar.

Ten minutes later Frederic Wagha Bulot missed a sitter from 16-yards out as he skewed his shot wide with an empty net at his mercy. It was not to be for Gabon who only have themselves to blame as the game ended 1-0 in favour of Congo.

Tigo Tanzania tunes into needs of music lovers

3East African telco Tigo Tanzania has announced the launch of a music streaming service that will provide Tigo customers access to over 36 million songs. According to a statement Tigo Music provides access to unlimited music to customer's smartphones and was formed in partnership with Deezer.

Tigo brand manager, William Mpinga said through pre-paid data bundles from January 24, Tigo customers will be able to access more than 36 million tracks, including African and Tanzanian artists. Mpinga added that Tigo would also be sourcing new and local content through a new venture with the digital music company, Africa Music Rights, which funds, acquires and manages music rights across the African continent.

In the statement Mpinga said Tigo Music would allow local artists the opportunity to earn extra payment from their songs listened to through the service.

"Tigo Tanzania is a company built on innovation. We are excited to be the first telecommunication company in Tanzania to give our customers such access to unlimited music," he said.

"As a digital lifestyle brand, our goal is to impact the music industry by providing a platform that not only allows for easy access to content by local artists, but also train our musicians on important issues such as intellectual property rights and marketing. This is our way of supporting local talent and growing the local music industry." he added.

The introduction of Tigo Music in Tanzania follows the success of its launch in Ghana in 2014 and Latin America in 2013.

Ghana Hosts Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival

Someworld fashion designers are expected in Ghana as Mercedes- Benz Fashion Festival, one of the most celebrated fashion events in the world, gets underway in Accra this May Ghanaian company Global Ovations Group has got the franchise to stage the Africa version of the event in Ghana this year.

It is anticipated that this event will bring some of the names that matter in world fashion to Ghana.

Mercedes-Benz Africa Fashion Festival 2015 is the best place to see the world's most innovative fashion brands under a meticulous set up with unprecedented media coverage and more within just four days,' Gideon Raji, CEO of Global Ovations Group, announced on Monday.

With the idea of the 'global community' in mind, the 2015 edition of the event is dubbed 'The World Edition'', and fashion designers from across the world will be converging in Accra to celebrate fashion on a global platform.

Lexis Bill and Star Initiate Xfitness Campaign

This past weeakend saw celebrities and journalists participating in activities of fitness and wellness towards staying healthy and fit for the year 2015.

This comes as an initiative from Mr. Kwame Sakyiamah, a.k.a Lexis Bill, of Joy FM and host of “Drive Time show. Obssessed with creating awareness about the apparent increase in cardiovascular related deaths, especially of young people, Lexis launched the 2015 fitness campaig.

Speaking in an interview with the paper, Lexis Bill observed that, this is his personal initiative towards a promoting wellness for Ghanaians, especially young individuals to be exercise cautious.

“Most young people died last year through High Blood Pressure. Exercise is a means of living a healthy life style. Everybody needs to be pushed to take a step forward towards being motivated to take up exercise as their life style.” he stressed.

Mr. Bill said that, the initiative is an annual campaign which would be in collaboration with corporate Ghana.
It would be recalled that last year saw prestigious celebrities in various professions lost their lives as a result of cardiac arrest and it is a wakeup call for Ghanaians to invest in their life styles.

2015 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards Call For Nominations

Organizers of the prestigious Vodafone Ghana Music Awards Festival, Charterhouse, has announced it is inviting musical works for this year’s competition.

This year’s event is the 16th edition and the orgnizers are inviting works from musicians and record labels that were released between January 1st to December 31st 2014 for nominations for the event which will be held in April 2015.

This year, the general public has been given the opportuity to also nominate their favorite artistes and songs by downloading nomination forms from the event website www.ghanamusicawards. com and submitting thereafter.

“This will give artistes the opportunity for their musical works to be considerd for nomination for the 16th edition of the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards.

Deadline for submission of entries is February 1, 2015,” the statement said.

Raquel’s cupid party celebrates 5th anniversary

The ‘RAQUEL’S CUPID PARTY’ is back again and this year it’s going to be even BIGGER with EXPLOSIVE performances from Raquel plus more, this year the songbird Celebrates the 5TH anniversary .The ‘Raquel’s Cupid Party’ has been selling out more and more each year and happens every 14TH February (Valentine’s Day) at the +233 Jazz Bar and Grill. It’s the one show that Patrons fly from various Countries just to attend. It welcomes all age groups of age, Couples, Single’s, Friends, and Families etc. Each year; the ticket comes with Chocolate’s, Exclusive Condoms, Champaign, Wine, Chops, A full course meal, Flowers on order, CD’s and a soft or energy drink, as well as a night of Love songs, Live Band Music and Comedy.

Each year has seen a different set of Celebrities; Stephanie Benson, Okyeame Kwame, EL, Trigmatic, Sarkodie, Sandra Huson, Ofie Kudjo and more. This year is definitely going to be a successful one as Raquel keeps us in suspense of all the goodies that will be offered. This show is one not to miss!!!

The beautiful city: CHANDIGARH

Set up in 1966, Chandigarh is the first planned city of India and is known worldwide for its architecture and planned city design. Lush green well planned public places, the most happening party spots with swanky malls and multiplexes, and the only union territory to have an international cricket stadium, this is how Chandigarh is known to most of India. Bordered by the states of Punjab and Haryana, the city is a blend of both. The city is also the first smoke-free city in India.

The city was designed by Swiss architect Le Corbusier, who imagined the city with sweeping boulevards, lakes and gardens and grand civic buildings. Thus, the city came into being in and the architecture still stands the test of time.

For tourists, Chandigarh is the place India like to be seenprosperous, comfortable and cosmopolitan. The city is also the best place to party, eat, drink and shop.

Sharing borders with the state of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh is situated at the foothills of Shivalik mountain ranges.

The union territory experiences humid subtropical climate: very hot summers, mild winters, unreliable rainfall and great variation in temperature (-1°C to 46°C).

Majority of the city is covered by dense plantations of banyan and eucalyptus. The city also has forests surrounding it where many animal and plant species like deer, sambars, barking deer, parrots, woodpeckers and other migratory birds could be found.

Gardens, Lakes and City Centers…
Chandigarh is famous for its gardens, manmade lakes and well-designed city centers. It is a place for nature lovers, historians, architects or simply tourists who want to enjoy the luxury of urban life. Must visit places in the city include:

Sukhna Lake
Le Corbusier’s greatest creation, the lake is among the most beautiful places in Chandigarh. A man-made lake, created by damming the water from Shivalik Hills, the lake is the place that draws people for its peace and quiet.

Rock Garden
This place is identical to Chandigarh. Created out of industrial waste, rocks and concrete. Created by artist Nek Chand, the gardens are located on a conserved land. It is said that Nek Chand, the creator of this garden used to work on it in his free time and it wasn’t before 1970’s that the garden was discovered.

Zakir Hussain Rock Garden
Housing some 1,600 varieties of roses, this garden is a must visit for nature lovers. Established in 1967, the garden houses more than 17,000 plants including medicinal plants. It is also one of Asia’s largest rose garden.

National Gallery of Portraits
A galore of portraits, speeches, writings and texts of India’s freedom struggle, National Gallery of Portraits is a favourite for history lovers. It houses photographs, recording and an incredible collection of books on freedom movement.

Pinjore Gardens
The massive garden was established in the 17th century by architect Nawab Fidai Khan, and later refurbished by Maharaja Yadavindra Singh. It is laid out on seven terraces and gives a royal experience to the tourists. One can take the train which takes tourists to various places in the garden or explore the place on foot.

The Capitol
The visionary architect, Le Corbusier envisioned Chandigarh as a living being with different centers representing its body parts. The capitol was thus designed to function as the head of the city, with Shivalik ranges in the north. It houses the High Court of Chandigarh, also known as the Palace of Justice, the Secretariat known as the Palace of Ministries and Legislative Assembly called the Palace of Assembly.

Food Lover’s Delight
No trip to the beautiful city is complete without experiencing its diverse gastronomic culture. People in the city are big time foodies, and the food habits are mostly influenced by Punjab and Haryana. Chandigarh’s food is conventionally spicy and made with lots of oil and ghee. Makkee ki Roti, stuffed paranthas, chana bhaturas and the world famous tandoori chicken are among the famous food items from Chandigarh.

The people of Chandigarh are also very fond of milk and milk based products. Lassi, buttermilk and curd are widely consumed with meals. Like any other Indian city, Chandigarh also has its unique sweets. Roh di Kheer, Jaleb, Malpua and Ballushahi are some of the mouthwatering sweet dishes from Chandigarh and are a must try for foodies.

Chandigarh has everything of modern India, it is fashionable, happening, vibrant, beautiful, comfortable and peaceful, and here the radiance of nature and heart are within our reach.

Canadian firm to open stevia plant in Rwanda

A Canadian-based Company, Stevia Life, is set to establish a Stevia processing plant in Rwanda. Stevia is a sweetener that comes from a plant and has no calories.

Plans are in advanced stages, according to Bruce Irambona, the General Manager of Stevia Life Rwanda. Irambona said the proposed site for the plant will be either Rulindo District or Kigali Special Economic Zone. The plant is expected to produce 500 tonnes of stevia per year. Irambona said a kilogramme will cost $150.

Stevia is a green, leafy plant originating from South America, mainly Paraguay, used as a natural sweetener in drinks and meals.

By November 2011, Rwanda’s stevia production per hectare was 1.3 tonnes and now it has reached 2 tonnes per hectare every three months under the pilot projects in Ngoma Sector, Rulindo District, Northern Province. The pilot project now covers 42 hectares and employs 250 people. In 2014, 100 tonnes of Stevia were exported to China. The price of dry stevia leaves in Rwanda is $1.5 to $2.6 per kilogramme, depending on the quality and quantity.

Jean Marie Vianney Munyaneza, Agriculture Diversification and Product Development Division Manager at the National Agriculture Export Board (Naeb), said for the stevia processing plant to be set up in Rwanda, there was need to increase the acreage to at least 1,000 hectares. SteviaLife has committed to provide all required inputs, including seedlings, fertilisers and nursery breeding, and Naeb will facilitate implementation.

According to Naeb and SteveLife figures, a stevia farmer can harvest about six tonnes per hectare per year. Stevia plant grows better in areas with reliable rainfall of 1,800 mm per year and alternate sunny and rainy seasons as well as at an altitude of 1,650 and above.

Irambona said trials from 2013 showed that the quality of Rwanda grown stevia was high as it has 14 per cent of rebaudioside A at the very start while some countries have 12 per cent, the minimum percentage. The countries of origin of the plant, like Paraguay, can contain up to 17-18 per cent., a site that helps people make informed decisions about their health, states that Stevia reduces elevated blood pressure, a major risk factor for many serious diseases like heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.

As people become more conscious about the use of ordinary sugar, the use of stevia is gaining momentum. Irambona said more people will embrace Stevia within three years.

BMW brings Connected Drive come to Africa in March 2015

When the BMW i3 and BMW i8 go on sale in South Africa in March 2015 they will have a built-in connection to the Internet. The new BM vehicles will come with a built-in communications box into which a SM card is inserted and the service is called Connected Drive. These on-board Internet services will add to the overall demand for data. BMW suggests that 2015 it will have 5 million of these connected cars globally. The standard Intelligent Emergency Call system offers precise vehicle location and the technology can be used with a different package to gauge the severity of the accident. The TeleServices monitors the car’s data from fluid levels to brake pads. Drivers can establish a connection with their car and using their phone and Remote Services activate functions in the car. From July 2015 it will be possible to buy ConnectedDrive on a monthly or annual basis. The BMW ConnectedDrive Services will be the prerequisite for the additional services RTTI, Internet, Concierge and Remote Services. The pricing will be R4,500 / 3 years and standard on the BMW 5, 6 & 7 Series as well as the BMW X5 and X6. Pricing for the RTTI option is R1, 900 for 3 years and standard with the BMW 6 and 7 Series. Pricing for the BMW Remote Services will be R650 and will be offered as standard with the BMW 6 and 7 Series. Pricing for the BMW Internet Service will be R1,300 / 1 year and will also be standard with the BMW 6 and 7 Series. The pricing for the Concierge Services will be R3,200 / 3 years and standard with the BMW 6 and 7 Series. The system can also detect car accidents, so if someone's incapacitated and can't reach out for help, Verizon Vehicle will automatically send emergency assistance.

The system is up for preorder now at about $15 per month with a two-year contract ($13 for each additional vehicle). Verizon values the equipment at $120, but it's free with the contract. Its debut is slated for around late March 2015.

Swift Announces Expansion Plans To Support Vibrant Business Growth in Sub-saharan Africa

SWIFT will open two new offices in 2015 – in Accra, Ghana and Nairobi, Kenya – as a crucial part of its pan-Africa growth plans. From these offices, SWIFT will manage an expanded presence across the West and East Africa regions.

Christian Sarafidis, Deputy Chief Executive, EMEA, SWIFT, says: “These plans will be a significant milestone for our sub- Sahara business. They recognise Africa’s vibrant economic growth and future potential, and reflect SWIFT’s ongoing commitment to get closer to its customers in these crucial markets.”

SWIFT’s sub-Saharan Africa business, with its head office in Johannesburg, was established more than 30 years ago. In that time, Africa’s economies have changed beyond recognition and there is a growing need for SWIFT to expand to meet new client expectations and business opportunities. Hugo Smit, head of Sub-Sahara Africa, SWIFT, says: “The fact that Africa is rising is evident in various key economic indicators such as GDP growth, FDI and infrastructure investment growth. It is also corroborated by the growth in SWIFT traffic volumes. Such growth requires sound financial systems, securities systems and regulatory compliance. These are all areas where SWIFT can make an important contribution.

“SWIFT’s collaborative approach and ability to offer solutions that benefit the entire community makes it a unique organisation. By opening offices in West and East Africa, we will not only be able to further improve our solution and services offering to customers but will be better placed to support local communities and the development of regional initiatives.”

Six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa and economic growth in the sub-Saharan region is expected to rise from 4.7% in 2013 to 5.2% in 2014. Moreover, recent World Bank figures show that capital flows to sub-Saharan Africa have continued to rise, reaching an estimated 5.3% of regional GDP in 2013, significantly above the developing-country average of 3.9%. Recent data from SWIFT supports this trend and demonstrates that its business in Africa has outperformed the total growth of the SWIFT business globally. In 2014 eleven countries in Africa experienced traffic growth of above 20% and six countries saw traffic grow by more than 30%; in the same period. As a reflection of the strong economic growth across the continent, the rise in payment traffic over the SWIFT network has been very strong. Volumes rose by almost 22% in Africa versus 8% total growth worldwide.

“Payments remain a major focus for SWIFT in sub-Saharan Africa and there is great support from policy makers, central banks and commercial banks for further development of financial market infrastructures. These help to make the intra-regional payments space more competitive, open the way for new products and services to be offered by participating financial institutions and reduce the need for foreign financial intermediation,” says Smit.

SWIFT has been working closely with the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) on its development of the SIRESS payment system. The third phase went live in September, meaning that almost 70 commercial banks in nine countries are now participating in the system. Transaction volumes as well as values over the system are exceeding expectations and continue to rise. SWIFT is also working with other regions towards their plans for regional payment systems, including the West African Monetary Zone and the East African Payment System. Another crucial area for SWIFT is the securities markets. Outside a handful of countries such as South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, most national securities markets are at a relatively early stage of development. There is huge potential to unlock greater local and intra-regional investment through the use of standardised and harmonised financial market infrastructure.

“With the right financial infrastructure in place and through industry collaboration, Africa has a great opportunity to improve the liquidity and efficiency of its capital markets, leading to cheaper equity funding and greater risk sharing for the continent’s expanding corporates. Robust and efficient securities markets will continue to support foreign investment but also encourage higher levels of intra- African investment. This is good for companies and investors,” says Ian Bessarabia, Head of Business Development, Sub-Sahara Africa, SWIFT. Sarafidis concludes: “The Sub-Saharan Africa region continues to outpace SWIFT’s global business in terms of traffic volume growth. This fully supports our plans to expand SWIFT’s presence on the continent. Most importantly, we are excited about the potential to grow our business here and further increase the African region’s contribution to the global organisation.”

Jospong Group builds graduate complex for KNUST

The Jospong Group of Companies, a multi-facetted business entity, has constructed a graduate school complex, at the cost of $1.2 million for the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). The complex is named after the Executive Chairman of Zoomlion and Jospong Group of Companies, Dr Joseph Siaw Agyapong.

It comprises offices, conference halls, seminar rooms, and other ancillary services which will make teaching and learning very conducive. Aside from the facility, the company will provide furnishing for the building, a bus, as well as GH¢2 million every year for research work in the school.

Speaking at the inauguration of the school complex in Kumasi last Friday, the Vice-Chancellor of KNUST, Professor William Otto Ellis, lauded the company for recognizing the need to promote human resource development through the school. He said KNUST, in the wake of changing trends in the field of higher education, had expanded its frontiers in terms of the number of programmes, programme content, student numbers and infrastructure base, in order to position the school as a key partner in the development of Ghana and Africa. Therefore, he said, the new complex would provide an identity for the university as well as signify its growth and priorities as the leading tertiary educational institution. Professor Ellis expressed optimism that the bond of friendship between the university and the company would grow from strength to strength, adding that, “we are proud that you sowed a very good cause, which is graduate studies, a catalyst for development and social transformation”.

For his part, Dr Agyapong said the success of the company, over the years, had been built around graduates from the KNUST with different specialties. He expressed the hope that the programmes that would be hosted in the new facility would provide great learning experiences for students and facilitate innovation and discovery to develop creative solutions to Ghana’s socio-economic challenges. He said aside from the fact that the facility would benefit the university, it was also an external research department for the Jospong Group, as students would be challenged to research into various areas of sanitation, the outcomes of which would be implemented for national development. He said while the government had taken steps to solve the sanitation challenge in the country by initiating the National Sanitation Day (NSD), the company, in its effort to support the initiative, would also sponsor students to conduct research into other areas of sanitation management.

Additionally, he said, up to 10 students would be sponsored to grow their initiatives on waste management adding that, “Ghanaians need exposure and once you expose the student to other areas, then they will be good at what they do”. Dr Agyapong also pledged the company’s commitment to supporting initiatives as well as fight the sanitation challenge in the country through the capacity building of its staff and in partnership with other government institutions.

Nigeria's neighbors band together to fight Boko Haram

Cameroon, Chad and Niger have launched a regional bid to combat the Boko Haram Islamists, as their attacks spread beyond Nigeria and concern mounts over the Nigerians' failure to regain control.

The three neighbours have opted for a joint military response to the cross-border threat from Boko Haram fighters and have made veiled criticisms of Nigeria, whose armed forces appear no match for the Islamist group that emerged in 2009.

Brutal raids, massacres, suicide bomb attacks and kidnappings by Boko Haram have claimed at least 13,000 lives and driven an estimated 1.5 million people from their homes, mainly in arid northeast Nigeria. Officially, all four states, whose borders converge in remote territory at Lake Chad, formed a military alliance that was due to take shape last November to battle Boko Haram. But building a combined Lake Chad force seems to have dropped off the agenda. Cameroon in particular has been critical of what it sees as the Nigerian authorities' passivity in the face of Boko Haram.

'Boko Haram's deadliest act
The move comes after the Islamists seized Baga town on the Nigerian shore of Lake Chad early this month in an offensive that "could be Boko Haram's deadliest act", according to Daniel Eyre, Nigeria researcher for Amnesty International.

Eyre said as many as 2,000 civilians may have been massacred, but Nigeria's army objected to the "sensational" claims and said that the death toll in Baga was about 150.

The Islamists detained "over 500 women and hundreds of children" in a school, one woman who escaped the area told AFP, adding that she had seen "decomposing bodies scattered all over".

US Secretary of State John Kerry joined rights monitors in blaming Boko Haram for "a crime against humanity" on the basis of evidence from the towns in northern Nigeria. Nigeria's army had planned to use the isolated settlement of Baga as one of its key bases to work with a regional force.

However, the other countries are opposed to any major deployment inside a bastion of Boko Haram, which is against Western education and wants to establish an Islamist caliphate.

"The most worrying situation for us today is Nigeria, it's the situation of Boko Haram," Niger's Defence Minister Karidjo Mahamadou said after the fall of Baga.

"Since November, we have no longer been at that post (Baga). We explained to the Nigerians that we could not stay since we did not wish to put the lives of our soldiers in danger," Mahamadou said.

'Kick out the evil forces
Like Niger, Cameroon was strongly opposed to the Baga deployment option and will not send any troops into Nigeria on a permanent basis, security sources said after officials said the army killed 143 Boko Haram fighters who had attacked a military base in the northern town of Kolofata.

President Paul Biya favours the exchange of intelligence reports to enable coordinated operations, but believes each nation should act on its own territory around Lake Chad, the security sources said.

Cameroon has for months complained about the Nigerian army's lack of fight and mass desertions in the face of the Islamists.

"Nigerian soldiers abandon their weapons when they desert their positions," a Cameroonian military officer said early this week. "Those are the weapons with which we are attacked."

For Chad, its battle-hardened army will step in to help "in the courageous and determined response of (Cameroon's) armed force against the criminal and terrorist acts of Boko Haram," the government stated Wednesday after President Idriss Deby received Cameroon's defence minister.

Cape Town Leads the Way as a Green City

Cape Town has scored highly in an African Green City Index released by Siemens. Earlier in 2014, the Mother City was named Global Earth Hour Capital 2014, following the WWF’s Earth Hour City Challenge.

The Siemens report looks at 15 African cities that have committed to improving their environmental footprint and scores each city on factors such as land use, transport, waste, water, and sanitation and air quality.

Cape Town was 'well above average' in the category of land use and was the top-performing African city in this regard. The report states: 'Home to multiple nature reserves containing some of the world’s rarest plant species, Cape Town has the greenest space in the index. The city boasts an estimated 289 square metres of green space per person, about four times the index average of 74 square metres.'

Much effort has gone into improving Cape Town's public transport in recent years and this, too, has been recognised. 'Cape Town has invested US$5.8- billion over the last six years in developing a new bus-rapid transit (BRT) network. As a result, it is among the top cities in the index for the length of superior forms of transport, such as metro, tram or BRT lines. The city’s superior public transport system measures 0.11km per square kilometre, compared with the Index average of 0.07km.'

Kenya targets Indian and Australian tourists

Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) has embarked on a reassurance campaign to woo more tourists from India and Australia. A statement by the tourism marketer says the media sessions will assure the various tourism markets that Kenya is safe to visit and invest.

KTB Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa told Indian stakeholders in New Delhi that travelling to Kenya is still safe. "The Government has taken adequate precautionary measures and there is no restriction to travel to holiday destination resorts at the Coast, Maasai Mara, Amboseli, Mt Kenya and Laikipia for both safari and wildlife excursions,” he said.

He noted that Kenya is blessed with breathtaking scenery, wildlife and an array of culture in addition to exquisite cuisine and hospitable people. Ndegwa noted that despite various concerns, the fall in India’s tourist arrivals during the January– September period was less by five per cent. More than 42,910 Indian tourists visited Kenya in the first nine months of 2014. KTB maintains that India is still the biggest market in Asia for Kenya and fifth largest source market into Kenya globally.

“Kenya is coming up with various promotions and activities to highlight the local destinations in the Indian market to attract the ardent travelers seeking to be up close with nature and wildlife,” he said. “India is an important source market of Kenya as a tourist destination. We are here to reassure the travelers that Kenya is open for business and is very safe.”

Ndegwa said a number of key global events like the World PR Forum 2015, World Skal Congress 2015, the World Conference in PR in emerging Economies and the UN World Trade Organization will be held in Kenya.

Ghana’s Talks with IMF on Track

The leader of the government’s negotiating team with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Professor Kwesi Botchwey, has stated that negotiations with the fund are very much on track.

He told newsmen that apart from a few residual information and statistical issues that remained to be resolved, the government and the IMF were reviewing key issues on the 2015 Budget. “Once this has been completed, I expect, and I’m confident, that the fund’s mission will then launch the internal review processes that will culminate in the IMF Board's consideration,” he said.

Prof. Botchwey, a former Minister of Finance, said the government expected the approval of a programme with the IMF in the next few weeks.

He described the negotiations as having gone well so far, considering the difficult challenges and the complex issues that needed to be addressed in the programme.

That, he explained, was against the backdrop of President John Mahama’s concern for the programme to achieve the twin objectives of macroeconomic stability and employment generation during the programme period.

Ashish Thakkar, Sara Yeboah, CNN pick Africa Youth Awards

The Africa Youth Awards, an annual award scheme to recognise the hard work of young Africans is pleased to announce the deserved honorees of its first edition.

Launched in 2014, application for nominations were open through the media which prompted young people from across 15 African countries to nominate young change makers who are changing the destiny and course of the African continent through amazing initiatives.

After several weeks of consultation between the team and nominees; they were asked to submit detailed information of themselves and organisations they represent in order to provide evidence for the works they are doing on the continent.

To read detailed profile of winners of the first edition of the Africa Youth Awards below, kindly visit www.africanviewpointjpurnal. com. These young people work across disciplines, at the forefront of their fields.

The winners and organizations will be featured in a TIME BREAKING DOCUMENTARY on Africa dubbed THE AFRICAN ENGINE as the strategists empowering the economic and human development of Africa.

The Documentary will be featured on YouTube and Television Stations across the globe with the purpose to promote the works this young people under 35 are doing.

On behalf of the Board and Team I congratulate them on this feat and hope they would continue to be a great inspiration to young Africans across the world.

Mali government, UN declare country Ebola-free

Bamako (AFP) - The Malian government and the United Nations declared the country free of Ebola after registering 42 days without any new cases of the deadly virus.

"I declare this day... the end of the epidemic of the Ebola virus in Mali," Health Minister Ousmane Kone said.

Ibrahima Soce Fall, the head of the Malian office of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UMEER), confirmed the country "had come out" of the epidemic.

Seychelles Tourism Board 2015 advertising campaign stamped “I love Seychelles”

The Seychelles Tourism Board has adopted the “I love Seychelles” national theme to drive its marketing campaign in 2015.

The national theme launched by James Michel, President of the Republic, will give a fresh touch to the Seychelles Tourism Board’s marketing campaign. In her speech at the Ministry of Tourism & Culture’s annual general staff meeting held on January 13 at the ICCS (International Conference Centre) auditorium, Sherin Naiken, Chief Executive of Seychelles Tourism Board, said that the “I love Seychelles” national theme could not have been a better fit for the Seychelles Tourism Board.

A sentiment largely shared by Alain St.Ange, the Minister for Tourism and Culture, strongly believes that the “I love Seychelles” campaign will bring out a sense of“patriotism” and will encourage the involvement of Seychellois in the tourism industry. This campaign will help raise the Seychelles’ profile considerably and strengthen awareness of Seychelles as a destination.

It would also promote local businesses run by Seychellois entrepreneurs.

The Seychelles Tourism Board will take this campaign to another height by launching a series of viral videos and photos competitions on its social media platforms. Visitors will get a chance to submit entries of their fun-filled holiday in Seychelles and stand a chance to win a lifetime offer as a grand prize. Giveaways and corporate gifts reflecting the “I love Seychelles” theme will also emerge as the Seychelles Tourism Board’s new line of products to market the destination worldwide. Following discussions between Minister Alain St.Ange, the CEO of the Tourism Board Sherin Naiken, and PS for Tourism Anne Lafortune, they all agreed that this year's national theme will help to develop more respect for one another and for its visitors. "When we love Seychelles, we should not see any adverse incidents that could make Seychelles lose its safety label," said Minister St.Ange, as he appealed for every Seychellois to embrace this year's national theme.

Monday, 19 January 2015

South Africa have come of age-sports minister

South Africa's sports minister said the country's national team had matured after qualifying to compete in the continent's most prestigious football tournament following seven years in the wilderness. Bafana Bafana last qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations in 2008. "You have come of age," said Minister Fikile Mbalula shortly before the team left for the tournament, which wil be hosted by Equatorial Guinea. "This is a special moment for South Africa."

"You have restored the glory, the pride ... of the nation," he added. A year ago, out of frustration at the team's poor performances, Mbalula described Bafana Bafana as a "disaster" and a "useless bunch of losers". That was after South Africa crashed out of the group stage of the 2014 African Nations Championship with a 3-1 loss to Nigeria.

However, 11 months later, South Africa beat defending continental champions Nigeria away to qualify for this year's Cup of Nations. That victory came despite the harrowing loss of captain and goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa, who was shot dead at a house south of Johannesburg on October 26 in what police billed as a robbery gone wrong.

"You dismissed the idea that Nigeria cannot be defeated, you have debunked that," said South African Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan.

South Africa are in a toughlooking Group C at the tournament along with Algeria—the top African side in the FIFA rankings—Senegal and Ghana's Black Stars. Very soon they will step up their preparations with a friendly against Cameroon in the Gabonese capital Libreville, nine days before their opening game. Coach Ephraim "Shakes" Mashaba has refused to name a team captain following the death of Meyiwa, saying the players would "captain each other".

Rwanda maintains 68th position in Fifa rankings

RWANDA HAS maintained the 68th position in the latest Fifa world rankings released on Thursday in Zurich.

The rankings mean that Rwanda remains the highest ranked side in the Cecafa region with Uganda dropping by one place to 77th, Tanzania, Sudan and Ethiopia improved to 104th, 108th and 109threspectively.

The monthly rankings are largely based on competitive and friendly international games that a country plays.

The senior national football side’s 0-0 draw against Morocco in Marrakech was vital in Rwanda’s rise in the Fifa rankings while the U-23’ goalless draw against Burundi also contributed to the best Fifa rankings that Rwanda has had so far.

Amavubi U-23 will play Tanzania in a friendly later this month in preparation for the Rio 2016 Olympic qualifier against Somalia in March. A win over the Taifa Stars will mean Rwanda getting better rankings.

Kenya (117th) and Burundi (128th) dropped by one place while South Sudan (189th), Eritrea (202nd), Somalia (204th) and Djibouti (206th) all maintained their positions.

This is Rwanda’s highest Fifa ranking in the history of football in this country beating the earlier record – 78th which was achieved in December 2008.

Ferwafa keen to have new hotel ready for Chan 2016

Rwanda Football Federation (Ferwafa) has announced that the 4 star hotel it is set to start constructing will host some teams during the African Nations Championship (Chan) next year.

Fifa will provide Rwf2bn ($2,896,640) grant which is half the budget as part of the Fifa Goal project development programme aimed at helping developing countries establish infrastructure and facilities towards the growth of the game. According to the Ferwafa president Vincent Degaule Nzamwita, the hotel will be fourstoreyed with 88 rooms and will be built on the piece of land next to the Ferwafa headquarters in Remera, currently occupied by Rwanda Police. Construction is set to start next month as the football governing body awaits Rwanda Police to shift so that work can commence in order to beat the December deadline. The hotel is expected to reduce on the expenses that the Ministry of Sports spends on national teams during residential training or visiting national teams. Fifa has sponsored several projects in Rwanda including the construction of the Ferwafa Headquaters in Remera, which was the first project in 2001. Six years later, the Fifa Goal Bureau supported the installation of an artificial turf at the technical centre to help improve the facility used by several teams for training. The Goal Project also saw the installation of an artificial turf at the Muhanga stadium in 2011, an initiative that has enabled the facility to host domestic league and cup games.

Joni Blaze angry at Merqury Quaye over Ghana Dj Awards 2015 Nominees List.

The controversies have begun around this year's Ghana Dj Awards 2015 Nominees list already.

Joni Blaze, who plays for Xfm 95.1 is one of the vibrant Raggae/ Dancehall presenters but has not got even a single nomination in the list presented.

Joni Blaze thinks he should have had a "possible nomination" in the "Best Raggae/Dancehall DJ of the Year" category, eluded him.

King Lagazee who plays for Rite 90.1fm in Somanya, had his name in that category with Xfm attached to it, meanwhile Kind Lagazee doesn't work with Xfm. Could it be a mistake? The answer still remain unknown to us and I think the organizers of the awards should come clear.

Joni Blaze however was very furious about the issue and think his name was what was replicated for King Lagazee. He wants that issue addressed immediately by the organizers.

According to Joni Blaze, what even "annoyed him most was Merqury Quaye, the organizer of the event has refused to pick his phone calls."

Miss Seychelles…Another World 2015 contest to focus on “beauty with a purpose”

Beauty is not just about the physical appearance, but it is also the inner qualities that one possesses. This is the strong message that the Seychelles Tourism Board wants to pass on to the future young ladies who wish to take part in the Miss Seychelles…Another World contest and become the country’s beauty queen and ambassador. For the second year, the Seychelles Tourism Board is focusing on beauty with a purpose for the Miss Seychelles… Another World 2015 contest.

This year’s beauty contest was officially launched by the Seychelles Tourism Board’s Chief Executive Sherin Naiken during a press conference with the local media representatives.

Miss Seychelles…Another World was re-launched in 2012 with Sherlyn Furneau taking the crown home. In 2013, Miss Furneau crowned her successor Agnes Gerry as the country’s beauty queen. Miss Naiken pointed out that this year since the contest is putting more focus on the project, there will be a few changes to be made to the bikini round during the crowning night. The Seychelles Tourism Board will relook at this element of the contest.

Miss Naiken calls for more support from the business community in terms of sponsorship to support the country’s beauty queen during her reign, as this has proved to be one of the major challenges for the Seychelles Tourism Board. As Miss Seychelles…Another World is an ambassador of the islands, she must be a role model and one who promotes good values. People look up to her, especially the young ones, so she needs to uphold a positive image and one who is against substance abuse, so the candidates who apply will have to be tested.

After the potential candidates have been auditioned, 12 will be chosen for the contest, and they in turn will have to follow a threemonth intensive program. Those who wish to join this year’s Miss Seychelles…Another World 2015 must be a Seychellois national aged 18 to 24. Entry forms can be collected at the Seychelles Tourism Board’s information offices in Victoria on Praslin and La Digue.

The forms can also be downloaded from the link www. – in the downloads section. Ladies who wish to take part in contesting for this year’s crown, have until February 9 to submit their forms.

Girl Pikin For Betteh: A Response to Ebola by Hawa Kamara; Miss West Africa International 2013

Her reign as Miss West Africa International 2013 might be over, but her goodwill still continues. Hawa Kamara, recently stated “Sierra Leone is putting an end to its Ebola epidemic, but Ebola was not just an illness that came and went like the flu, a lot of families were destroyed, children, adults, girls and boys. So the question is when we say we have ended Ebola, that is great, but if we do not react to the aftermath, then we have not ended the destruction of the illness”.

Hawa Kamara is also originally from Sierra Leone is currently reaching out for celebrities across west Africa to consider supporting victims of the Ebola epidemic aftermath via her non profit organization Girl Pikin 4 Betteh. An organization that focuses on young girls who are now more vulnerable to the ills of society due to lack of wealth, family and/or homes.

“The problem is most of Africans in 'non-hit' Ebola countries see the issue we face as something separate to them, we need to remember that the only thing that separates us here are manmade borders in Africa. In fact if some of these countries were as big as Nigeria, whatever happened in their neighboring country would be considered as their national problem. We need to work together, if you are comfortable, give up a little time for others so we can all have a decent life, and this is what Gal Pikin 4 Better is about. If our celebrities are capable of pouring Ice water on you for disabilities in foreign countries then we can trust your ability to be involved in this”

The Gal Pikin 4 Betteh organization would be in full effect and active before mid-2015. For now the work is being put on the ground to raise concern and support for victims of the Ebola epidemic, mainly young girls who might not be given a chance at a trade, or skill and might be pushed through the wrong channels of life.

Brand Ambassador of Fashion Icon Awards 2015

Organizers of Fashion Icon Awards kicked off preparation for this year’s event with announcement of top Ghanaian model, Doris Adom- Asomaning as Brand Ambassador for 2015. Doris Adom-Asomaning, Model, TV presenter, and Entrepreneur with 10 years’ experience in the fashion industry. She has model for most of the top name designers in Ghana and beyond such as Late Kofi Ansah, Christie Brown, Alphadi, Deola Sagoe, Stoned Cherie, Adebayor Jones, just to name a few. Doris runway legacy felt not only on the local frontage but also international; having participated in modelling competitions such as, Top Model Ghana 2006 and Top Model of the World 2010 where she emerged the 2nd runner-up and top 15 out of 45 countries respectively. The versatile fashion model have walked on the runway show for Vlisco, Woodin, Da Viva and GTP and other shows include; Ghana @ 50 Fashion Show (Ghana & Egypt), the Launch of CAN 2008, Glitz Africa Fashion Week, FIMA, Catwalk the World (UN Charity Show). The Industry Awards Night would be held in May 2015 while the Grand finale is scheduled for June 13 at Lifestyle Gallery, Spintex Road, Accra.

Sunday, 18 January 2015


Surrounded by sky high mountains, green valleys, unspoiled forests, Sikkim is an exotic place to visit. The topography adds to the sense of adventure of the state. Friendly people and mouthwatering dishes, and the tranquility makes the place a traveler’s dream.

Travelling is revitalizing, travelling is exciting and travelling is considered as a respite from the dull and hectic life. For all the travelling enthusiasts who love exploring new places, and absolutely love a place which offers peace and adventure at the same time, also known as Nye-mae-el (literally meaning “paradise”), Sikkim is the place for you.

Perhaps the loveliest destination in India, Sikkim is a hilly state with plunging mountain ranges and valleys, and lush green forests. Its remoteness makes it difficult to access, but at the same time one of the most peaceful holiday destinations in India.

The second smallest state in terms of area, the state of Sikkim is landlocked by the Himalayas on one side, Nepal, China’s Tibet Autonomous Region and Bhutan. The world’s third highest peak, Kangchenjunga is situated on the Sikkim-Nepal border.

The annual average temperature of Sikkim is 18°C, and it has a sub-tropical climate in the south and tundra climate in the north. It is also one of the very few stated of India to receive regular snowfall.

Exceptionally blessed by nature, Sikkim houses a wide variety of flora and fauna. Bamboos, Oak, Conifer, Orchids and many flowering plants are among the few varieties of plants present in the region. Among the wildlife, one can find the Red Panda, Asian black bear, Leopard, Musk Deer and many other.

Welcoming People
Sikkim is a blend of people from different ethnicities coming together and living in the region. A considerable number of Nepalese population because of the shared border with Nepal. One can also find the Lepchas, Bhutias, and Tibetans living together with migrants from other communities such as Bengalis, Marwaris and Biharis.

Majority of the population of Sikkim are followers of Hinduism, and the state houses many Hindu temples as well. Buddhism is also a major religion in the state. The Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple is also a very popular pilgrimage center. Most Hindu festivals including Diwali and Dussehra are celebrated, Maghe Sanskriti, Bhimsen Puja, Losar, Loosong and Bhumchu are among the other festivals celebrated in the state.

In Love with Momos and Thukpas…
A blend of Indian, Nepalese and Tibetan cuisine, the food habits in Sikkim are very diverse. Momos (stuffed steam dumplings) are the most famous dish of Sikkim.

Another very popular dish widely available in the state is Thukpa, a Tibetan style noodle based soup.

Other famous dishes include, Kinema, Gundruk and Sinki. Sishnu is the most exotic local dish of Sikkim, prepared from leaves of edible wild varieties of nettle.

Sikkim is also popular for its Temi Tea, which mainly consists of pure tea golden flowery orange pekoe. The chilly weather makes the tea drinking experience enjoyable.

the untouched Heaven on Earth

Sikkim is a traveler’s paradise, something about the state is very soothing to the soul. When in Sikkim, it is a must to visit some of the below mentioned places:

The fact that Sikkim houses over 200 monasteries and the breathtaking scenic beauty makes it one of the best places to meditate. These monasteries are the perfect place to attain some peace and quiet and move away from the commotion of city life. Festivals are held in these monasteries which make them a fun place to be in. Rumtek, Pemayangtse and Tashiding are among the famous monasteries in Sikkim.

Teesta River
If you love adventure sports, Teesta River is the place for you. River rafting is the latest adventure activity to arrive in Sikkim. The topography of the area and the interesting course of the area makes it an interesting and thrilling activity. The best time for rafting is March to May and October to December.

Yuksom and the Dzongri Trail
The magnificent valleys, dense forests, magnificent gardens and rivers makes Sikkim a trekker’s paradise. The trek from Yuksom to Dzongri Peak, is the most famous trek in Sikkim.

An astounding variety of flora and fauna- over 450 species of birds, 400 species of butterflies and 450 varieties of orchids- makes the state a just visit for nature enthusiasts. Deorali Orchid Sanctuary in South Gangtok and Kyongnosia Alpine Sanctuary are two of the most famous sanctuaries in Sikkim.

Nathu La Pass and the Old Silk Route
three hours from Gangtok, the old Silk Route and the Nathu La Pass is situated on the Chinese border. With Chinese soldiers stationed on the other side of the border, the height and the snowcapped pass adds a thrill to the journey. Although only Indians are allowed to travel to the pass after obtaining the proper permit.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry calls on businesses to unite

The Western Regional Chairman of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Issa Ouedraogo, has reiterated the need for the business community to work together in harnessing the numerous emerging business opportunities in the Region.

“We must remember that job creation; wealth creation; economic empowerment; and nation building are all led by business communities and the private sector and that is why it is so important that we come together as a business community and make the best use of the enormous emerging opportunities around us,” he said in a statement.

Mr. Ouedraogo appealed to the business community to join the Chamber and help it grow in order to promote and protect local business interests and bring positive change and improvement to the Region that has so much potential.

He said the Sekondi/Takoradi chapter of the Chamber would embark on programmes aimed at making the business community efficient, effective and profitable:

Mr. Ouedraogo said there would be some amendments to the by-laws with regards to the criteria and qualities required for electing executives and build a working relationship with the Ministry of Trade and Industries, Association of Ghana Industries, National Board of Small Scale Industries, Association of Small Scale Industry, Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly and the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) to help improve business operations.

He said the Chamber would also work at rebuilding trust and confidence and expand membership of the business community, foster greater confidence between the donor community and the Chamber of Commerce and Sekondi- Takoradi, and support members with credible business profiles and bankable business plans to get financial assistance from international banks.

The Chamber Chairman added that 2015 should serve as reawakening of the Region's Chamber for best business results.

Africa.Com to Be FIELD Global Partner for Harvard Business School is looking forward to welcoming a team of students from Harvard Business School this week. The team of six students will be in Johannesburg for a week as part of a required first-year course at Harvard Business School called FIELD, which stands for Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development. Africa. com is one of 156 FIELD Global Partners spanning 13 countries around the world. Together they will host more than 930 students in all.

"We are pleased to be working with Harvard Business School to provide students with a real-world learning experience in South Africa said Teresa Clarke, Chairman and CEO. "We feel certain that the students will gather insights here that they would never be able to glean from a classroom discussion alone."

FIELD has three modules that run through the entire first year of the two- year MBA program. The first module focuses on developing individual leadership skills through team feedback and self-reflection. The second focuses on developing global intelligence by immersing them in a foreign country to develop a new product or service in country for their Global Partner organization. The final module brings all the lessons together by challenging students to develop and launch their own micro-business as part of a small team back in Boston. executives have been working with the team remotely in the months leading up to their arrival in South Africa. While in the country, they will pitch their ideas to the leadership team, conduct field research with consumers around Johannesburg and present their final recommendations to management.

Harvard is quick to acknowledge that this important learning experience would not be possible without the Global Partners.

"We are extremely grateful to and all the FIELD Global Partner organizations for all they do on behalf of our students," said Professor Tony Mayo, the faculty head of FIELD. "The students benefit immeasurably from this experience and we hope the partner organizations do as well."Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Africa. com

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