Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday challenged Africa to pursue the vision of the founding fathers and promote economic integration and sustainable development for the continent.
In his address to the nation marking the 57th anniversary of the founding of the Organization for African Unity, now the African Union, on May 25, 1963, Mnangagwa commended Africans for defending the continent’s independence, state media reported.
“As we celebrate Africa Day, we are jubilant that the vision of our founding fathers has been by and large realized, kept and is jealously defended.
“Above all, that vision continues to be elaborated upon, notably through Agenda 2063 which envisions an economically integrated continent of Africa which will be a global powerhouse by 2063.”
He stressed on Africa’s desire to achieve sustainable development, through concrete manifestations of the pan-African drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity.
With the African Continental Free Trade Area that seeks to create a prosperous future now in force, integration and cooperation at all levels should be scaled up, Mnangagwa said.
Cooperation is imperative in the continent’s quest to achieve food security and to mitigate the impact of climate change and threats posed by disease outbreaks, he said.
“Conscious of Agenda 2063, we must continue to explore and exploit our vast natural resources. The value addition and beneficiation of our various resource endowments must be harnessed to modernize and industrialize Africa’s economies.
“In this ‘Decade of Action,’ let us give impetus to innovation. We must drive all facets of socio-economic development, leveraging on science, technologies as well as our rich heritage, history and cultures,” he said.
The promotion of human development and the economic empowerment of youth and women must result in an Africa that produces goods and services for itself through its own innovations and initiatives, Mnangagwa said.
“The realization of sustainable development and the great vision of an improved standard of living for our people must remain a top priority,” he said.
Zimbabwe to double wheat output – minister
Zimbabwe is expecting to harvest about 220,000 metric tons of winter wheat in 2020, more than double last year’s output due to increased government support to farmers, an official said on Wednesday.
The Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement, Anxious Masuka said this in a statement in Harare.
He said harvesting and marketing of the wheat was officially opened on Sept. 10 by the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), the sole buyer of the cereal.
“In terms of production, some 44,399 hectares were planted. This is an 83.6 per cent increase in the area planted from the 24,186 ha planted in the 2019-2020 season.
“We expect 200,000 to 220,000 metric tons which will go a long way towards meeting the annual national wheat requirement of 400,000 to 450,000 tons,” the minister said.
The country produced 60,000 tons of wheat in 2020, compared to 160,000 tons produced in 2018.
Masuka urged farmers not to side market government-funded wheat, and warned unscrupulous buyers that those found on the wrong side of the law will be severely punished.
He said government would adequately capacitate the GMB so that it pays farmers timeously.
The minister said going forward, there was need to augment the winter wheat programme with a vibrant summer programme, through enhanced participation of the private sector.
He said according to government’s agriculture recovery plan, at least 40 per cent of agro-players such as grain processors, millers and stock feed manufacturers must secure their agricultural raw materials locally through value-chain financing.
“The benefits of this approach are indeed multifarious, including foreign currency savings through import substitution, employment generation, local farmer capacitation and risk reduction,” he said.
Government last week increased the producer price of wheat from 11,768.44 Zimbabwe dollars per ton to 43,778.84 dollars for ordinary Grade wheat and from 14,143.73 dollars to 52,524.61 per ton for Grade A wheat.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Ali Baba-Inuwa
First virtual Google for Startups class graduates
Google on Friday said that its first virtual class of Google for Startups Accelerator Africa has graduated after a 12-week virtual journey mentoring and workshops.
Onajte Emerhor, Head, Google for Startups Accelerator Africa said in a statement that the first online of Google’s accelerator programme for African startups has seen 20 startups from seven countries with Nigeria recording eight startups.
Emerhor said that the 20 graduating Startups were Adi+Bolga, Ghana, Amitruck, Kenya, Beamm, South Africa, BuuPass, Kenya, Crediation, Kenya, Credpal, Nigeria, Crop2cash, Nigeria, Curacel, Nigeria, Festival coins, Nigeria.
Others were Franc, South Africa, Ilara Health, Kenya, Judy, Nigeria, Kaoun, Tunisia, Send, Nigeria, Stears, Nigeria, The Smarthub, Nigeria, Thumeza, Zimbabwe, Uzapoint, Kenya, Zayride, Ethiopia, Zuka Data Science, Kenya.
She said that the class had to go through a 12-week virtual journey to refine their offering and undergo mentoring and workshops in key areas such as technology, product development and business growth.
“To date we have celebrated wins with one Nigerian startup playing their part in the fight against COVID-19 and through raising funding – one notable win being Franc raising a seed round of 250,000 dollars after joining the program.
‘’Class 5 of Google for Startups Accelerator Africa took part in three virtual boot-camps over the course of the program, covering technology, product, people and growth.
‘’The Tech & Product boot-camp focused on assessing the startups’ value offerings and technology to ensure they were optimised to run efficiently with solid business models, not leaving any money on the table,’’ she said.
According to her, the Tech & People boot-camp took the founders – considered major pillars of startup success – through the Founders Lab, which evaluated their current managerial styles and advised them on how to become better leaders.
she said that the final week saw the startups prepared to meet investors as they graduate.
She said that Google for Startups Accelerator Africa gives early-stage startups access to the best of Google – its people, network, and advanced technologies.
Emerhor said that the accelerator has trained participating startups on technology Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cloud, Android, product, data, business, design, people, growth and fundraising, through interactive workshops and labs facilitated by Google experts and mentors.
According to her, the selected pool of startups for Google for Startups Accelerator Africa 2020 cut across an array of industries including logistics, transportation, education, agriculture, e-commerce, media, health and professional services.
Emerhor said since its launch in 2018, the Google for Startups Accelerator program has worked with 47 startups from 17 African countries: Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte D’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
She said that Google have contributed to economic prosperity and empowerment by collectively raising millions of dollars in investment, and creating hundreds of jobs.
Google continues to support developer communities across Sub-Saharan Africa, through Google Developer Groups, Developer Student Clubs and Women Tech-makers, providing training and support for developers aligned with real-life job competency requirements.
Community groups engage in activities like Study Jams: study groups facilitated by developers, for developers. Today there are over 120 active developer communities across 25 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that Google for Startups Accelerator Africa is Google’s first regionally-based startup accelerator programme which run in a dedicated space in Lagos.
Announced in 2017, Google was committed to training 60 African startups over 3 years, representing over 3 million dollars in equity-free support, working space, and access to expert advisers from Google, Silicon Valley, and Africa.
Participants also received travel and PR support during the three months programme.
Edited By: Ali Baba-Inuwa
Zimbabwe power utility seeks tariff increase to stay afloat
Zimbabwe power utility, ZESA Holdings, wants to raise its electricity tariffs at least three-fold, saying the current tariffs were now sub-economic.
The utility last increased tariffs in Feb. by 19 per cent.
Acting Managing Director for the utility’s subsidiary, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), Lovemore Chinaka, on Thursday told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Energy and Power Development that a tariff increase would enable the firm to maintain the grid, the Herald newspaper reported on Friday.
He said the existing rate, approximately 2.3 United States cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), is way lower than the 10 United States cents per kWh that would allow the power utility to break even.
“The long-term impact would be that we will be unable to fix the grid from a maintenance point if we have natural failures of transformers or lines that are down due to age,’’ Chinaka said.
“You find that our capacity to respond quickly has been eroded.’’
He also said that the power utility has failed to supply electricity to 75,000 households in the past five years due to rampant vandalism and thefts of distribution equipment.
In 2017, ZESA recorded 736 cases of thefts and vandalism.
The number of such cases rose to 766 in 2018 and 1,178 in 2019.
As of July this year, 498 cases had been recorded.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
Zimbabwe relaxes COVID-19 regulations for returnees
The Zimbabwe Government has relaxed COVID-19 regulations on inbound human traffic, with those testing negative 48 hours before their return being allowed to self-quarantine at home.
The new measures, which became effective last Friday, also allow those without certificates to go home if they test negative at quarantine centers, Information Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa said.
The government-controlled Herald newspaper reported on Tuesday that Mutsvangwa said this as she gave feedback on proceedings of Monday’s COVID-19 taskforce meeting.
“The task force was informed that as of Sept. 4, 2020, all returnees with 48-hour negative COVID-19 certificates are being released at ports of entry for self-quarantine as per Cabinet’s directive.
“Returnees without certificates will proceed to a quarantine facility, where they will be tested and either discharged for self-quarantine or isolation, based on their status,” she said.
Mutsvangwa said the task force had received nominations for 13 candidates who would make up an Experts Advisory Committee.
This was in response to the cabinet meeting of Aug. 18, which took note of the change in transmission scenarios.
The cabinet directed the setting up of a mechanism that would strengthen management and response to the rising local transmissions.
It has been noted that while in the past, most of the positive cases were imported, there are now more local infections among clusters within communities.
As of Monday, the country had recorded 7,298 cases, 210 deaths, and a national recovery rate of 75 per cent.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Ejike Obeta