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This animated podcast series casts historical African women as superheroes

By Lynsey Chutel

In the 19th century, large parts of present day Zambia was ruled by a fierce chief, whose kingdom was at least twice as large as any in the region. And when Portuguese slavers tried to subjugate the kingdom for its trade roots, the chief waged war and won.

That rarely told story is already remarkable, what makes it even more remarkable is that the chief was a woman: Chief Mwape. Although she ruled until her death in 1910, not much is known about this heroic figure, in part because of how women’s history in Zambia, and elsewhere on the continent, has been distorted.

This week the Women’s History Museum of Zambia launched an animated podcast series to balance that narrative. In about two-minute animations, the web series tells the stories of women from between the 17th and 19th century Zambia. The stories have categorized these women according to how they challenge stereotypes, “The Feminist,” “The Innovator,” “The Power Broker,” and premiering with “The General,” Mwape.

“These stories challenge the idea that, in the past, women were not capable of being leaders or contributing significantly to our societies,” said Mulenga Kapwepwe, co-founder of the museum who wrote the stories. The podcasts will be published each week on the museum’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. The creators would love to expand it to historical women across the continent.

“I mean, think how exciting that would be,” co-creator and museum co-founder Samba Yonga told Quartz.

Recasting African historical figures as the central figures of contemporary storytelling platforms offers new way to reach audiences craving alternative narratives. The mainstreaming of the Black Panther, through the blockbuster film, certainly made audiences more open to a modern take on an African warrior king and women warriors.

Last year, the graphic novel Shaka Rising: A Legend of the Warrior Prince retold the story of the legendary Zulu king. At 96 pages, the novel was initially aimed at children but adults wanting to reacquaint themselves with the story of King Shaka will also be enthralled.

In an attempt to balance historical accounts, the story is at time romanticized, and the Leading Ladies series may come under the same criticism, due to the dearth of information about these historical figures. One could argue that Oscar winning films of British monarchs, like Elizabeth and The King’s Speech have done the same, retelling historical accounts, just with more material to work with. They have also ensured that these histories remain relevant.

Efforts to unearth African stories, and create new material around them, could revive these histories too.

Read the original article on Quartz Africa

Source: DreamAfrica LIVE (A DreamGalaxy Trusted Brand)

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Uganics, Uganda

By Jeanette Clark

As a young child in Kankobe orphanage in Uganda, Joan Nalubega regularly suffered from bouts of malaria. Now, at the age of 21, she uses that difficult time in her life as her motivation and inspiration for her business: making organic mosquito-repellent soap.

Uganics was established in April 2016 with the aim of finding an intervention against malaria. Nalubega has worked with different chemistry students at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, and at Mannheim University in Germany on the product development.

“It has taken a lot of time to get the final product. We have tried and failed a lot of times, but in December 2017 we achieved success with the final product and in April of 2018 it was certified,” she says.

The repellent effects of the soap lasts up to six hours following a bath, and clothes and linen washed with the soap have the same effect.

Finding the right suppliers has been a struggle.

“At first we bought the ingredients from different Ugandan organic farmers, but during our tests, we realised that some ingredients were not purely organic, yet it is one of our values. So, we decided to grow the ingredients ourselves,” Nalubega says.

The company did not have any land for that purpose. They then incorporated an element into their social business model where they look for rural female-led households who would not be able to purchase their product, but who have dormant land available. These mothers are then given seeds to plant the herbs required for the soap production.

“Now, every end of the month, we meet up with them, extract the oils together and provide them with the final product at an affordable price, whilst they also earn a living,” says Nalubega. Currently there are 20 of these rural families contributing as suppliers.

Uganics is a for-profit business, but Nalubega is adamant that there will always be a social impact focus. The company has a two-tier pricing model where the same product is sold at more than 100% profit to the socially and ecologically conscious guests of upmarket lodges and hotels, and then at an affordable, subsidised price, to families in rural communities.

Along with the 20 rural suppliers, Uganics has two employees (illiterate youth) who have been trained in production, and five co-founders who assist Nalubega with the operations. The production facility is currently on land owned by the Social Innovation Academy of Uganda in the Mpigi district.

Along with the consumer business of selling the soap, Uganics also runs awareness campaigns in the country on how to prevent malaria, not only when sleeping with mosquito nets, but throughout the day.

Uganics has two distributors in Kampala with signed agreements, five lodges that already buy the products every month and three other hotels that are interested. To supply the demand, the company will have to expand its equipment to increase production. This is the next step Nalubega and her team are looking at.

Her goals for the future are to create 300 jobs for women in rural communities through herb growing and oil extraction, and to increase the number of youths employed in mosquito repellent production to 50. Uganics also plans to add more products to its line, such as organic lotions and sprays.

Read the original article on How We Made it in Africa

Source: DreamAfrica LIVE (A DreamGalaxy Trusted Brand)

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Zambia, Zimbabwe sign four agreements

Zambia and Zimbabwe have signed four agreements following the conclusion a joint permanent commission held this week in Lusaka.

The first agreement signed by Zimbabwe’s Minister of Industry and Commerce Mangaliso Ndlovu and his Zambian counterpart Christopher Yaruma pertains to the one stop border post at Victoria Falls in Livingstone to ease and expedite the movement of goods and services and facilitate trade in the SADC region and the free trade area.

The second signing was a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cooperation on the preservation of war graves and construction of monuments and museums.

This was signed by Zimbabwe’s Minister of Home Affairs Cain Matema and Zambia’s Tourism Minister of Tourism Charles Banda.

The third MOU is on cultural exchange between the two sister and neighbouring countries.

It was again signed by Mr Mathema and Mr. Banda.

The two countries also signed a MOU on gender equality, equity and women empowerment to enhance cooperation in the upliftment and empowerment of women through exchanges and sharing experienced and strategies in the economic and political spheres

The Minister of Women Affairs, SMEs and Community Development Sithembiso Nyoni signed for Zimbabwe with her Zambian counterpart Elizabeth Phiri.

Meanwhile, Visiting Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has hailed First Republican President Kenneth Kaunda for the vital role he played in grooming him in his political career.

President Mnangagwa said this was done at the time when he was in the initial youth group for the United National Independence Party (UNIP).

He recalled that in 1959 he was also a student at Hotson Technical College now known as David Kaunda Secondary School.

Mr. Mnangagwa said this today when he paid a courtesy call on Dr. Kaunda at his residence in Lusaka.

President Mnangagwa further said he feels at home whenever he comes to visit Zambia.

And Dr. Kaunda said he is proud of President Mnangagwa and thanked him for his visit.

Read the original article on Lusaka Times

Source: DreamAfrica LIVE (A DreamGalaxy Trusted Brand)

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Ethiopia’s new 50% women cabinet isn’t just bold—it’s smart

By Abdi Latif Dahir

Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed is rewarding women’s contributions to the nation’s progress.

In a cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday (Oct. 16), Abiy cut the number of ministries from 28 to 20 and named 10 women among the new appointees. Women will now run key dockets including defense, trade, transport, and the newly-established ministry of peace that will tackle the wave of ethnic violence that has swept the country. Abiy said the move was meant to “show respect” to the women’s participation in nation-building and to “disprove the adage that women can’t lead.”

The record 50% female representation is a win for the new premier who has undertaken strategic and radical reforms, both domestically and externally, since coming to power in April. The sweeping reshuffle is also a win for Ethiopia’s diverse federalism: with over 80 ethnicities, the Horn of Africa nation has long been dominated by few groups. Abiy himself was elected on the back of protesters who for three years demanded land reform, full political participation, and an end to human rights abuses in the country.

His new cabinet now comprises members of the Afar community—defense minister Aisha Mohammed—besides Somalis—finance minister Ahmed Shide. At least half of the cabinet ministers are also PhD holders. Abiy said the new cabinet will be expected “to reform their respective ministries, remove the walls of bureaucracy, bring innovation and technology to provide services efficiently.”

Achieving gender parity is an issue that continues to dog electoral politics not just in Africa but across the world. Rwanda is an example that is regularly cited, with women holding the most number of seats in parliament. Yet much of that success is thanks to gender balance quotas, which the country adopted in 2003—a strategy that has proved to have moderate success in attaining a measure of gender balance in politics elsewhere. A case in example is Somalia, where female representation in parliament increased by 10% in the 2016 polls thanks to a quota system that reserved 30% of the seats for women candidates. Yet in neighboring Kenya, a country that prides itself on its progressive reputation, gender balance quotas are yet to be realized.

Despite Abiy’s bold stride, Ethiopian women continue to face critical challenges. Women remain vulnerable to gender-based violence, female genital mutilation, early marriage, and trafficking issues the new cabinet will have to tackle now.

Read the original article on Quartz Africa

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Somalia’s e-commerce businesses are rising against all odds

By Abdi Latif Dahir

Abdi Addow likes to have oodkac for breakfast, the jerky-style beef cubes that Somalis usually eat with injera flatbread. Addow especially loves his mother’s serving, but since he doesn’t live with her in the Somali capital, he logs online and uses a third-party delivery service to bring it to him from her place.

Long beset by civil war, Somalia was among the last African nations to go online. Internet penetration still remains low, high poverty levels persist, there’s lack of a strong central authority, weak regulatory policies, besides the absence of addresses and well-labeled streets, which is bound to create logistical inefficiencies for start-ups.

Despite this, or perhaps because of these challenges, the Horn of Africa nation is experiencing a strong rise in digital businesses, with local entrepreneurs building businesses that are disrupting existing trade models and transforming the way people shop.

In Somali cities like Mogadishu, Hargeisa, and Garowe, there’s an emerging e-commerce market, with founders establishing consumer-to-consumer, business-to-business, or business-to-consumer applications that allow for the purchase and dispatch of products or services. Together, these platforms are encouraging a budding tech sector, getting more people online, creating some much-needed jobs, and are attracting the attention of local angel investors—even if that’s on a smaller scale.

Yet the current upswing is a story born out of need: as people flock back into the country following some semblance of order, many want to enjoy the convenient lifestyle abroad where most necessities were easily available on demand. Young enterprisers also want to capitalize on that and provide the allure of immediate service and instant gratification. The increased ownership of phones as well as a very successful mobile money market is also helping spur this nascent sector.  As a tech entrepreneur previously based in Stockholm, Addow says he uses the delivery apps not just because they are “cheap and faster” but “because it saves time for me since Mogadishu is getting a bigger population and has more cars so it’s hard to get anywhere you want on time.”

One of the apps Addow uses is Gulivery, a door-to-door delivery service launched last year. Its founder, Deeq Mohamed, says he got the idea after moving with his wife from London to the northwestern city of Hargeisa and noticed that many of the things they bought for their home couldn’t be delivered. While hanging out with friends, he also noticed their families would ask them to buy foodstuff they would otherwise have ordered themselves.

“There was no one doing the last mile delivery,” Deeq said on the phone from Mogadishu. “And my friends and family asked, ‘Why don’t you go into that business?’” After initially using his own savings, Deeq was able to raise money from an investor, build an app, expand to the capital, and partner with businesses looking to keep their operations smooth, cut on costs, and garner more customers. In the past year, the platform has signed up 145 businesses and made over 9,000 deliveries, handling anything from groceries and food to laundry by charging a delivery fee of $1 to $5 depending on distance.

Local chutzpah

It’s not just diaspora returnees, however, who are establishing these outlets. After being laid off from a non-governmental organization in Aug. 2014, Sami Gabas was finding it hard securing a job. Unemployment is a stark problem in Somalia: 47% of the active population remained unemployed as of 2016, according to the International Labor Organization.

With a laptop, $25 in capital, and no previous experience managing a company, Gabas started Saami Online, a one-stop shop that sells and delivers everything from books and cosmetics to clothing and home appliances. Since he didn’t have the funds to buy the goods at first, he had to show product owners that he could take their wares and deliver them to customers away from major cities. Clients were mostly inquiring about electronics and phones, so Sami started serving underserved cities in Somalia including Kismayo and Adado, and then went as far eastern Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Saami Online now has eight people working for it and has five different offices across Somalia. Gabas says social media has been a crucial part of its success: the company has almost 90,000 followers on Facebook where dozens of people make inquiries about products and deliveries daily.

he power of social media and its ability to promote bankable ideas and create a direct impact on bottom line sales is still something new to traditional businesses, says Khadar Mohamed, founder of home and office food delivery startup, Dalbo Catering.

Mohamoud Hassan, who heads Geeldoon Online Marketplace says many businesses still depend on the “brick and mortar strategy,” and some suppliers still “don’t understand how we do business.” But he hopes that would change as accelerators like Innovate Ventures and conferences like the Mogadishu Tech Summit hold workshops and engage more people on the role of technology in scaling their businesses.

Challenging ecosystem

Despite the dawn of this seeming e-commerce gold rush, entrepreneurs face numerous challenges. Key among them is access to funds, says Gabas, who while receiving praise from businessmen and government officials is yet to raise any money even from local banks. “They encourage you but they don’t take any action.”

Founders also complained that when they found an investor, it was someone who wanted to take over the entire business or wanted full-on returns in a year—a feat they say is impossible.

Generating traffic to their sites, finding a talented pool of employees, converting shoppers into paying customers, finding reliable transportation, insurance, and warehousing are also some of the difficult tasks they continue to face. Making partnerships is also hard said Deeq, as business owners “think you are working to undermine them.” Somalia, he argues, needs what he calls “collaborative disruption”—that is making businesses understand they are kick-starting something together for the greater good.

E-commerce in Somalia “will take a lot of effort to succeed,” Hassan reflects. “It’s important to think long-term and think of profit in the end.”

Read the original article on Quartz Africa

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First AU Model Law on Medical Products Regulation

The African Union Development Agency-NEPAD


06 Jul

“AUDA-NEPAD Home Grown Solutions Accelerator is about re-awakening #Africa‘s potential so that future pandemics do…… Source: DreamAfrica LIVE (A DreamGalaxy Trusted Brand)

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Regional integration enhanced

The African Union Development Agency-NEPAD


08 Jul

To prevent the next pandemic 😷, the 🌏 must rally around the #GlobalGoals. Critical times call for bold solutions 💪🏿…… Source: DreamAfrica LIVE (A DreamGalaxy Trusted Brand)

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47 African countries signed CAADP Compact

The African Union Development Agency-NEPAD


06 Jul

“AUDA-NEPAD Home Grown Solutions Accelerator is about re-awakening #Africa‘s potential so that future pandemics do…… Source: DreamAfrica LIVE (A DreamGalaxy Trusted Brand)