7th Anniversary of THE TIMES OF AFRICA

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Face of African Fashion

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Unearthing Opportunities

Digging deep the mines for favourable results.

Cultivating Future

The road to diminish poverty and undernourishment in Africa.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Invest in rebooting drought responses, urges UN

Investing in preparedness and building the resilience of farmers is fundamental to cope with extreme drought, because responding to such situations when they hit might be too late, the head of the United Nations agricultural agency said on Monday.
“People die because they are not prepared to face the impacts of the drought – because their livelihoods are not resilient enough,” Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva told an international seminar in Rome, Italy, recalling that more than 250,000 people perished from hunger in the 2011 drought in Somalia.
“Saving livelihoods means saving lives – this is what building resilience is all about,” he added, noting that for years, the focus has been responding to droughts when they happen, rushing to provide emergency assistance and to keep people alive.
While these emergency responses are important, investing in preparedness and resilience puts countries on a footing to act quickly before it is too late, meaning that farmers and rural communities are better positioned to cope with extreme weather when it does hit.
The need for a global drought re-boot is pressing. The many impacts of drought drive not only hunger and instability but cause economic losses up to $8 billion each annually.
As the planet’s climate changes, severe dry-spells are becoming more and more frequent. Since the 1970s, the land area in the world affected by situations of drought has doubled.
The burden is especially high in developing countries, where agriculture remains an economic mainstay. Over 80 percent of damage and losses caused by drought are born by agriculture in the developing world, FAO studies have shown.
And Africa in particular has borne the brunt. Between 2005 and 2016, 84 droughts affected 34 different African nations.
At today’s event, FAO and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) signed a memorandum of understanding to deepen their cooperation. They will cooperate in improving agro-meteorological data, tools and methods as well as enhancing access by small farmers to products and services to help them anticipate and proactively prepare for droughts.
“WMO provides guidance and scientific information to strengthen national services responsible for addressing drought risks to agriculture,” said WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas. “We encourage countries to take early action against drought and to move towards a more proactive approach.”
International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) President Gilbert F. Houngbo in his remarks emphasized the need break the cycle of crisis, disaster and relief, calling on the international community to be proactive and to think not just of today’s emergencies, but also of how to prevent tomorrow’s.
“This means investing in smallholder farmers to help them address productivity challenges, give them access to markets and finance and most importantly encourage climate-smart agriculture so that when the drought inevitably comes, they have the tools they need to survive and thrive,” said Mr. Houngbo.
Source UN News Centre

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Two African satellites launched into space in a week

We always hear about satellites being launched into space but hardly hear about African satellites.
This is not the case anymore as South Africa’s first privately owned nanosatellite – nSight1 – was successfully launched into orbit from the International Space Station last week.
This was followed by Ghana’s first satellite called GhanaSat1. It was developed by university students who took two years to design, assemble and test as part of a Japanese space project.
Source: Africa News

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

PayU moves to connect businesses to N200bn online payment market

PayU (www.PayU.com.ng) has rolled out strategies to intensify efforts to connect businesses to Nigeria’s online payment market. Annual online payments in Nigeria is estimated to surpass N200 billion this year from N167 billion in 2016.
Country Manager of PayU Nigeria, Ms Juliet Nwanguma,  says, “In order to pursue PayU’s aggressive expansion in the online payment market in Nigeria, we have identified businesses that can benefit from our  global expertise across 16 markets where we offer over 250 payment options.”
With over 2.3 billion users world-wide, PayU is confident it can help businesses grow their market share and help them to achieve their business objectives.

The double digit growth, according to Nwanguma, is far below the potential of the market for online payments in Nigeria.Data recently released by the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) showed that 5.5 million transactions worth N46.7 billion were generated through online sales in the first quarter of 2017. This is an increase in the quarterly average of 3.5 million transactions worth N33 billion in 2016. This 58% growth is a clear indication of the increased confidence and preference for online sales amongst Nigerians.
Nwanguma noted that in a country of over 180 million people, consisting of 61 million active bank customers and where e-payment transactions are worth N56 trillion in a year, the potential for online payments in Nigeria is huge and waiting to be tapped.
She disclosed that the mission of PayU is to leverage on Nigeria’s 97 million active internet users to popularise and increase online payments in Nigeria.
“At PayU, we believe that with the deployment of appropriate strategies and products which are designed to encourage more businesses to adopt online payment, the market in Nigeria can record triple digit growth in both volume and value of online payments. This is the driving philosophy of PayU’s operations in Nigeria” she said.
Since last year when we entered the Nigerian market, we have used our globally tested products such as tokenisation, recurring payments for subscription services and single click payments for faster checkout. Our range of services according to different business categories especially the PayU Easy service allows start-ups to start selling online instantly without the need of a bank account or trading history. ”
“PayU has succeeded in successfully assisting small, medium and large organisations with their online payments. In particular, the robust and flexible features of PayU Plus and PayU Enterprise have assisted merchants to grow and expand their online payment business.”
PayU offers merchants safe, secure, online shopping.  Their products are   PCI DSS Level 1 compliant which mean they are required to meet extremely stringent security criteria. All card details are secured by secure socket layer (SSL) and transfer layer security (TLS) encryption and reinforced through various encryption processes in order to provide protection for all payment information.   They also are 3D secure enabled which gives consumers added security when shopping online.
The increased preference for online payments among Nigerians offers new opportunity for businesses to increase patronage and grow revenue.
The global expertise of PayU, combined with its easy-to-use and secure online products provide the channel to leverage on this opportunity and achieve business objectives.
Source APO

24th Annual Africa Oil Week 2017 – the mainstay event for Africa’s oil and gas industry

With over 160 speakers from the corporate and public sphere, this year’s event promises a programme designed around industry solutions that set the standard for adjusting business models to new demands
LONDON, United Kingdom, June 6, 2017/ — ITE is pleased to host the 2017 edition of the globally recognised Africa Oil Week (www.Africa-OilWeek.com), the world’s longest running oil and gas conference on the African continent, from the 23rd -27th October in Cape Town, South Africa.
Africa’s premier event is host to over 1,250 industry players from around the world, bringing together cross-continent multinationals and offering a content rich programme, a quality industry exhibition and five-star networking. Regarded for its high-level participation and onsite deal-flow, with sizeable in-room investor and finance potential, Africa Oil Week delivers exposure of Africa-wide state and private acreage opportunities, transaction and new venture assets and potential, exploration and production developments, and an overview of Africa’s hydrocarbon future.
With over 160 speakers from the corporate and public sphere, this year’s event promises a programme designed around industry solutions that set the standard for adjusting business models to new demands. Experts will share strategies that enable the upstream industry to advance carefully, yet optimistically, as the investment environment improves, with companies pursuing asset deals, and oil price gains remain in place. Innovation, flexibility, capabilities, technology and reforms are the keywords of the new strategies being deployed to face the future of the upstream industry with confidence and Africa Oil Week provides opportunities for exploring them all.Now in its 24th year, Africa Oil Week, being held at the Cape Town Convention Centre, continues to provide the most trusted and reliable platform for governments, national oil companies, corporate players, independents and financiers, along with service and supply operators, to share deep insight and linchpin strategies and engage in meaningful debate and conversations set to drive and strengthen Africa’s rapidly evolving upstream industry.
Being held as part of this year’s event and strengthening its core offer are the 17th Africa Independents Forum (23rd Oct), the 24th Africa Upstream (24th-27th Oct), the 5th Africa Local Content Forum (23rd Oct) and the 5th Young Professionals in Oil, Gas & Energy session. Special highlights are the 80th PetroAfricanus Dinner (http://APO.af/eR8fBY), hosted by ITE on 24th October at Cape Town’s iconic Mount Nelson Hotel, and the 9th Global Women Petroleum & Energy Club Luncheon (25th Oct).
Delegates who register by 16th August qualify for the substantial Early Bird Discount while companies registering three or more delegates benefit from an additional 10% discount. All registration fees include access to the 17th Africa Independents Forum and the 24th Africa Upstream Conference and Exhibition.
Numerous opportunities (http://APO.af/YTvQkf) exist for partnering with Africa Oil Week as a sponsor and/or exhibitor and media partner.
Source APO

Monday, 5 June 2017

Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez asks to leave Leicester City

The 26-year-old, who joined the Foxes from French club Le Havre in 2014, said he had agreed “to stay for another season” following “a good discussion with the chairman” last year.
However, he added that he was “fiercely ambitious” and had “informed the club I feel now is the time to move on.”
Mahrez, the PFA player of the year in 2016, played 48 games and scored 10 goals for the Midlands club this season, helping them to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.
“Out of the huge admiration and respect I hold for Leicester I wanted to be totally honest and transparent. I have informed the club that I feel now is the time for me to move on,” Mahrez wrote in his statement.The Algerian, who cost Leicester only $512,320.00, signed a four-year contract last year.
“I had a good discussion with the chairman last summer and we agreed at that time that I would stay for another year in order to help the club as best as I could following the transition of winning the title and in the Champions League.
“I’ve had the four best seasons of my career at Leicester and have loved every moment. I feel immense pride to have been a part of what we have achieved during my time at the club, culminating in becoming Premier League champions.
“The relationship I share with the club and our amazing fans are something I will treasure forever and I truly hope they will understand and respect my decision,”