Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Covering Climate Change & Development in Africa -- IV: Still in the Newsroom

Still in Morocco. Still in the Newsroom trying to file stories before 6 pm. One down, and another left.

We usually know how these conferences are like: the speeches are so predictable it is not funny; so the challenge comes with how to make the stories jump out at you for the Paper the next day.

My first story about the African Union's African Risk Capacityu made it to the Paper, and I met a fortmer associate of my former workplace who has just found out am now with Radio.

How do you find it? She wondered. I must have said something like I find it liberating. Not quite sure exactly, but it was something close enough.

I was approached to write a blog post by close of the conference, and so, this is an attempt of sorts to do so. Actually, I just feel like venting!

I have met some incredible people; and found it hard to write about it as the keyboard is not particularly conducive -- there are too many Arabic characters! -- but I want to write this down for posterity.

Something tells me this experience here in Morocco is going to be a lot more memorable than I ever dreamt of.

So am counting on noone but myself to ensure it becomes so!

If you are reading this wondering whether I am back to my blogging habits, well, kind of. The Moroccans are a lot more friendlier than I imagined.

In 2005, I was in North Africa -- Tunisia to be precise for a UN World Summit on Information Society -- and I met some incredible people in a country that looked more European than African! Those stories can be read here: http://ekbensahinghana.blogspot.com/2005/11/tunis-mosaique-of-breathtaking.html

Yeah; that is how long I have been blogging. Almost a decade.

Humbling!!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

The African Union as a ‘Game-changer’ in combating climate Change


Emmanuel is currently in Morocco as part of the live-reporting team of the UN Economic Commission for Africa/African Union Commission/African Development Bank-sponsored Fourth Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA), which is underway till 10 October ; and where he will also file stories for the African Development Forum from 12-16th October.

The African Union as a ‘Game-changer’ in combating climate Change
By Emmanuel.K.Bensah Jr  Marakkech, Morocco

At a time when the African Union has come under considerable criticism for doing little to address pertinent development issues on the continent, along comes the African Risk Capacity to help combat climate change. If Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu, Board Member of the ARC Agency Governing Board, is to be believed, the ARC is a real “game-changer” in helping address climate change in Africa.

Mr.Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu, Board Member,
ARC Agency Governing Board
Established in 2012, the ARC is a specialized agency of the AU, established by a Conference of Plenipotentiaries, to help AU Member States improve their capacities to better plan, prepare and respond to extreme weather events and natural disasters.

According to Mpanu-Mpanu, it functions as an insurance scheme that helps African countries pool resources together. He believes a system like this “makes perfect economic sense as countries deal with drought”. It further helps countries insure themselves against risk.

Once a request for assistance is approved by the Board, it takes around one hundred days for the money to be disbursed. This contrasts sharply with the donor agencies, which often take between four and six months. Against this backdrop is the idea that action must be taken quickly.

Pressed on why the idea of the insurance sector helping address Africa’s problems at a time one barely hears of that sector, Mpanu-Mpanu explained that one of the reasons why the ARC is a game-changer is because it is about “changing the narrative” of African countries. It is also about understanding the risk-profile associated with climate change in the sense that when disaster strikes, a country will be well-covered.

According to their website, the ARC comprises two entities: the Specialized Agency and a financial affiliate, ARC Insurance Company Limited (the Company).  The Agency provides general oversight and supervising development of ARC capacity and services. The Company is the financial affiliate that carries out commercial insurance functions of risk pooling and risk transfer in accordance with national regulations for parametric weather insurance in Bermuda, the Caribbean, where it is located until such time that an equally favourable legal and regulatory regime exists in an AU Member State.

Mpanu-Mpanu explained that had Mauritania known of ARC when it experienced its severe drought last year, it would not have spent an excess of around one million dollars to address it. He further elaborated on the dynamics of the mechanism by explaining that, given that disaster cannot hit countries all at once, when countries pay a premium, the pot will get larger than the-over $100m that donors have helped capitalize as the ARC was established.

The ARC is supported by DFID; SIDA; KFW(German Development Bank) and Rockefeller Foundation, among others.

Mpanu-Mpanu looks forward to the day when all fifty-four member countries will be covered by the ARC.

ENDs

Monday, September 29, 2014

Emmanuel K Bensah Jr shared "AFRICA IN FOCUS 23-09-14.mp3" with you

From Emmanuel K:

"Dear friends,

Kindly find the link to the podcast of #AfricainFocus show on Tuesday 23 September, which interrogated some important questions about climate change; deforestation; and how the media can help in demystifying these issues to draw greater attention to the fact that it remains a canker that all of us must unite to combat for the betterment of our nation; region; continent.

As usual, we have different segments, including our regular AU/ECOWAS five minute digest; and "Africa in the News".

We also had #EbolaWatch updates from Kobby Blay, our registered nurse at Korle-Bu.
We look forward to comments!

Kind regards,
Emmanuel""

Click here to view

(Emmanuel K shared these files using Dropbox. Enjoy!)
© 2014 Dropbox

Friday, September 12, 2014

Emmanuel K Bensah Jr shared "AFRICA IN FOCUS 09-09-14 .mp3" with you

From Emmanuel K:

"Dear friends,

Kindly find the link to the podcast of #AfricainFocus show on Tuesday 9 September, which interrogated some important questions about what Africa in Focus calls "Afri-Tourism".

As usual, we have different segments, including our regular AU/ECOWAS five minute digest; "Africa in History"; "Africa in the News".

We also have #EbolaWatch updates from Kobby Blay, our registered nurse at Korle-Bu.
We look forward to comments!

Kind regards,
Emmanuel"

Click here to view

(Emmanuel K shared these files using Dropbox. Enjoy!)
© 2014 Dropbox

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Emmanuel K Bensah Jr shared "AFRICA IN FOCUS 26-08-14.mp3" with you

From Emmanuel K:

"Dear friends,

Kindly find the link to the podcast of #AfricainFocus show on Tuesday 26 August, which interrogated some important questions in Africa's hotel industry. We leave the show getting a sense of why hotel prices in Ghana are relatively higher than in other African countries, and why the tourism regulators, and government are found wanting in bringing sanity to the sector.

As usual, we have different segments, including our regular AU/ECOWAS five minute digest; "Africa in History"; "Africa in the News".

We also have #EbolaWatch updates from Kobby Blay, our registered nurse at Korle-Bu.

We look forward to comments!
Kind regards,
Emmanuel"

Click here to view

(Emmanuel K shared these files using Dropbox. Enjoy!)
© 2014 Dropbox

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Fwd: [Africa in Focus Blog!] FEATURE: ECOWAS Finally sets up Ebola Awareness Page



by Emmanuel.K.Bensah Jr, Head of Research & Communications Unit, Africa in Focus Show

Barely a month after ECOWAS recorded its first fatality at the ECOWAS Lagos Office to Ebola, the regional institution has finally established a website to help respond to staff concerns about the Ebola virus. Dubbed "ECOWAS Health Awareness", the site is in the three official languages of ECOWAS--English; French; and Portuguese--and uses a combination of cartoons and simple language to explain all one needs to know about Ebola.

Under the "All you need to know" tab, there are sections on recognising the virus; preventing it; transmission; and treatment.

On clicking the FAQ tab, one is directed to pertinent questions on Ebola for "ECOWAS"; the "WHO" and the "UN". There is regrettably no information under the UN section, but there are a detailled list of questions under the "ECOWAS" and "WHO" tabs.

Perhaps the most useful part of the site is the "Updates" tab, which is populated by some statistics of deaths recorded since 27 July up to 8 August, 2014. Although the French and Portuguese site have little information, the English site seems to be more up-to-date.

This website comes at a time when many ECOWAS Community citizens have been left wondering what the regional response to the crisis is. Reports that the AU and WHO are actively collaborating to help countries affected by Ebola have left many sceptical as to whether there is actually any ECOWAS Ebola Fund as trumpeted by ECOWAS at the 45th Ordinary Session that was held here in Accra in July.

The West African Health Organisation(WAHO), the regional counterpart to the World Health Organisation, has been found wanting in its response to the crisis. It is only a small news digest about an upcoming emergency meeting in Accra on 28 August that offers some assurance.

According to the WAHO website, the "Extraordinary Meeting of the Assembly of Health Ministers will be devoted to reviewing Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the region". The meeting will seek to provide "an update on the implementation of recommendations from the last WHO-sponsored Accra Meeting and the Summit convened by the Heads of State of the Mano River Union."

More than 1,000 people lost their lives to the deadly virus in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria in recent months.

Access the ECOWAS Ebola Awareness site here: http://www.awareness.ecowas.int/

ENDs




--
Posted By Blogger to Africa in Focus Blog! at 8/17/2014 03:41:00 PM



--
_____________________________________________________________________
E.K.Bensah Jr, Head of Research & Host -- "Africa in Focus"(Radio XYZ 93.1FM)
www.ekbensah.net | http://www.twitter.com/ekbensah | www.ekbensahdotnet.org
*TEL:+233.268.687.653 / +233.233.311.789 / +233.243.111.789
*Telegram/Whatsapp:+233.311.789
________________________________________________________________________________
EKBENSAH DotNet: Regional integration Intelligence| West Africa-ECOWAS | Communications | Civil society 
_______________________________________________________________

Emmanuel K Bensah Jr shared "AFRICA IN FOCUS 5-08-14.mp3" with you

From Emmanuel K:

""Kindly find a podcast of the 5 August edition of "Africa in Focus".

In this edition of AIF, we talked to Kenya's erstwhile "King of Facebook", and Brand Ambassador of Safaricomm to find out how that East African country has been able to revolutionise New Media. We also talked to the former Knowledge Management Officer of the UNECA who played an active role in ensuring that the rather-prosaic policy of Africa's integration and development is translated into the more exciting and vivacious New Media channel in Facebook.

Even more importantly, we used the show to explore the extent to which New Media, especially blogging, is still a good idea, and does it have validity in a space where twitter seems to be king? We tried to find out what Kenya's King of Facebook thinks about other forms of New Media, and does his commercial success lend weight to the fact that his template is one that can be replicated elsewhere in Africa?""

Click here to view

(Emmanuel K shared these files using Dropbox. Enjoy!)
© 2014 Dropbox

Monday, August 04, 2014

AFRICA IN FOCUS >> Coming up on 5 August, 2014: "Africa & Social Media: Blogging; Activism; and the Future"


Africa & Social Media: Blogging; Activism; and the Future

If someone were to be documenting Ghana’s young history of its foray into Social Media, one might refer to the 1 July demonstration, which triggered the hashtag #Occupyflagstaff, as one of the examples of Ghana’s foray into activism. Activism, because many months after the so-called “Arab Spring”, many have questioned when sub-Saharan Africa would have its own Spring.

But long before there was even any talk of a “Spring” africaine, Ghana had begun making moves around Social Media. First it was Penplusbytes, or the ICT Institute of Journalism in 2001. Seven years later came BloggingGhana – considered the largest association of bloggers writing about Ghana. With the advent of New Media has come opportunities for training and education on New Media, which the latter two organizations have been involved in.

That said, one could be forgiven for thinking that without being associated with these two organizations, survival in New Media is impossible. Far from it, as there remain many individuals blogging, and fully-engaged in New Media through many different initiatives they undertake.

Then there is the case of our media houses, which are taking the New Media bull by the horns and running with it. Back in 2009, the host of “Africa in Focus” was called to national duty for the 14th GJA Media Awards. Word had it that his blogging activism was what led him to that calling.  Sitting on that committee as a judge for online journalism was indeed a priviledge, but he was disheartened by the fact that subsequent GJA Media awards did not deem Blogging and New Media an important component of Ghana’s media.

Fortunately, New Media has managed to move beyond relying on the Ghana Journalist Association. The establishment of organizations like BloggingGhana and Penplusbytes can verily attest to this fact. But even with their respective successes, what have other countries been able to do around New Media and Blogging?

In this edition of AIF, we talk to Kenya’s erstwhile “King of Facebook”, and Brand Ambassador of Safaricomm to find out how that East African country has been able to revolutionise New Media. We also talk to the former Knowledge Management Officer of the UNECA who played an active role in ensuring that the rather-prosaic policy of Africa’s integration and development is translated into the more exciting and vivacious New Media channel in Facebook.

Even more importantly, we will be using the show to explore the extent to which New Media, especially blogging, is still a good idea, and does it have validity in a space where twitter seems to be king? What does Kenya’s King of Facebook think about other forms of New Media, and does his commercial success lend weight to the fact that his template is one that can be replicated elsewhere in Africa?

Guests in the studio:
Ø  Edward Tagoe, BloggingGhana
Ø  Ato Ulzen-Appiah, Rancard Solutions/ex-Google Ghana
Ø  Kwami Ahiabenu, Penplusbytes New Media Hub/African Elections Project

On the line:
Ø  Golda Addo, Renewable Energy advocate; Activist   @ 13h40
Ø  Stephen Musyoka, TrInc Media/ former Kenyan “King of Facebook”/City Council of Nairobi @ 13h55
Ø  Mawuli Tsikata, CITI fm, @14h10
Ø  Mkhu Ncube, Young Zimbabwe Business Platform/ex-UNECA @ 14h25

Tune in at 13h10 GMT (1:00pm Ghana Time). We’re also streaming live  www.radioxyzonline.com.

Contact us Facebook on:
http://www.facebook.com/africainfocusonradioxyz and radio XYZ 93.1FM. Tweet us @africainfocus14 and @ekbensah. Listen to us on #MultiTVChannel29. Thanks!

HOW TO CONTACT "AFRICA IN FOCUS"
1. Google plus BUSINESS PAGE: http://gplus.to/contactafricainfocusxyz
2. Google plus COMMUNITY:
http://gplus.to/africaonradioxyz
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http://gplus.to/africainfocusongoogleplus


*Email:  africainfocusonradioxyz AT gmail.com
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http://www.facebook.com/africainfocusonradioxyz
*Twitter: 
http://www.twitter.com/africainfocus14, using #AfricainFocus #radioxyz


--
Posted By Blogger to Africa in Focus Blog! at 8/04/2014 11:31:00 AM



--
_____________________________________________________________________
E.K.Bensah Jr, Head of Research & Host -- "Africa in Focus"(Radio XYZ 93.1FM)
www.ekbensah.net | http://www.twitter.com/ekbensah | www.ekbensahdotnet.org
*TEL:+233.268.687.653 / +233.233.311.789 / +233.243.111.789
*Telegram/Whatsapp:+233.311.789
________________________________________________________________________________
EKBENSAH DotNet: Regional integration Intelligence| West Africa-ECOWAS | Communications | Civil society 
_______________________________________________________________

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