Southern and Eastern Africa Policy Research

Southern and Eastern Africa Policy Research Network (SEAPREN) was a network of six research institutions who were engaged in strengthening policy analysis in their home countries. The network was established in Gaborone, Botswana November 1999.

The aim of the Network was to collaborate on national and regional research projects and capacity building; exchange best practices and mutual learning in research as well as institutional management; and monitor international developments and new approaches within the field of policy analysis to ensure that network members used best practices and techniques.

The network was driven by a Secretariat, which was housed at the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF). The responsibility of the Secretariat was to ensure that the network was managed effectively and efficiently, and was properly resourced at all times. The network took off in 2002 with the seed funding provided by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

The IDRC generously funded several meetings of the network and thus was instrumental in its creation. On 24 Janaury 2003, IDRC contributed a Grant to the value of US$ 250,000 for a period of 18 months. These core funds allowed the network to start its activities in the fields of collaborative research, training and dissemination.

Renewable May Solve the African Energy Problem

When people discuss how to develop and improve the various economies in Africa, much is made of the natural resources available. There is no doubt that the continent is rich in all sorts of resources ranging from diamonds to uranium. The problem is that all these rich resources have so far largely failed to drastically improve the lives of most Africans. The paradox is that Africa is probably the world’s richest countries in regards to natural resources available but one of the poorest in purely economic terms.

Too often vast reserves of some valuable resource like chrome, platinum or diamonds are gathered by non-African companies and organisations. These ultimately end up exporting the wealth to other nations instead of benefiting the African economy directly. However there is another huge opportunity for Africa in the use of renewable energy options which many feel will be more successful in the long run. Indeed several reports and studies have suggested that renewable energy development could modernize Africa by 2030.

A report from the International Renewable Energy Agency describes Africa’s modernisation could come from an accelerated uptake on renewable energy development in the country. Renewable energy development could lead to quadruple energy production that could contribute to technological developments in the continent.

We’ve already seen how technology and new developments are starting to transform the African economy.  Employment opportunities have expanded greatly due to the improvement in communications infrastructure.   Young African entrepreneurs are increasingly leveraging the internet for employment opportunities.  You may be surprised to see a few digital empires being created in places all across Africa. Including some huge businesses running through Instagram proxies from cyber cafes!

IRENA views hydropower, solar power and biomass cooking systems as major contributing factors that by 2030, would help Africa quadruple its renewable energy production.

Solar and wind energy production in Africa, spearheaded by supportive policies, allowed the continent to produce floor-priced electricity prices. Biomass, which makes up 50 per cent of energy use in Africa to heat and cook food, is set for reduced indoor pollution development and efficiency development.

IRENA urges other countries to follow the examples of some African governments when it comes to policies for renewable energies and regulatory frameworks.

IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin said the lower prices in African electricity production is due to Africa’s readily-available renewable energy sources combined with advanced energy-production technology.

“Tapping into renewable energy resources is the only way African nations can fuel economic growth, maximise socio-economic development and enhance energy security with limited environmental impact,” he said in a statement. “The technologies are available, reliable and increasingly cost-competitive. The onus is now on Africa’s governments to create conditions to accelerate deployment, paving the way for Africa’s unfettered, sustainable development.”

Further Reading –

African Firms Need Incident Management Skills

With the development and increase in Africa’s internet and telecom infrastructure, many large multinationals and smaller firms are locating to the continent.   This is of course great for the economies of many African nations but is leading to an associated problem – a skills gap.  Setting up company headquarters particularly where there’s a large amount of technology involved means that specialised skills can be needed.   It’s obviously quite simple to set up these offices but the difficulty can be finding skilled staff who can operate and develop the sites.  Implementing a local help desk for supporting technology is an obvious first step, but that requires support staff and equally important management to implement it.

Take for an example implementing an incident management system, a vital step for any IT support functionality.   It’s of course perfectly possible to operate a help desk without this in place but it’s certainly not advisable.  the problem is finding staff who understand the important of these systems and knowing how to implement them.  Organisations like ITIL provide training and certification and offer these across Africa but only in a few countries.

Incident management tools (similarly referred to as defect management tools) are one of the most extensively used kinds of test tool. At a basic level incident management tools are actually used to carry out two critical activities: creation of an incident document; and maintenance of details regarding the incident as it advances through the incident life cycle. The degree of detail to become captured about the incident can be varied depending upon the characteristics of the tool on its own and the way in which the incident management tool is configured and utilized by the test organization.

For instance, the incident management tool might be configured so that lots of mandatory info is required so as to comply with industry or generic standards such as IEEE I044. In addition, workflow regulations may likewise be actually applied to ensure that the agreed incident life cycle is stringently applied, with events only able to be assigned to specific teams or individuals. Alternatively. the tool might be configured to require very limited obligatory information. with the majority of fields being free format.

The information stored in these databases is obviously highly sensitive and confidential and should be treated as such.  Access should be restricted an assigned to only senior managers who need to see the relevant data and make decisions regarding incidents. It is usually advisable to restrict access to the local network only and not from other locations.  However if remote connections are needed they should be secure and encrypted preferably using something like a VPN service.  There are companies who provide such services and indeed can allocate things like unique network IDs too.  The company illustrated in this post supply VPNs, and residential IP addresses.

Incident management resources additionally use a database to store and manage specifics of incidents. This makes it possible for the event to be categorized baseding upon the values stored in suitable fields. Such values will change during the course of the incident life cycle since the incident is evaluated, debugged, fixed and re-tested. It is typically possible to view the past history of modifications made to the incident. The data base structure likewise allows incidents to be searched and analysed (using either filters or more complicated SQL-type queries). This offers the foundation for management information about incidents. Note that as the values held against each incident update, the management information will certainly also change. Users need to be aware of the danger of using outdated reports. This information can also be used along with data held in test management tools when organizing and estimating for future projects.

It can also be analyzed to provide input to test process improvement projects. Fields in the database framework normally include:

  • Priority (e.g. high, medium, low).
  • Severity (e.g. high, medium, low).
  • Assignee (the person to whom the incident is presently assigned, e.; a developer for debugging, a tester to perform re-testing).
  • Status in the incident life cycle (e.g. New, Open, Fixed, Reopen, close.

This would enable management information to be generated from the incident management database regarding the number of high-priority incidents wk a status of Open or Reopen that are assigned to, say, Charles Collins, compared with the number assigned to Joan Williams. Some test management tools include fully integrated incident management tools as part of their core product, while other incident management tools can be integrated with test management, requirements management


World Cup Stops in Sudan

It seems a long time ago now since the World Cup finals were held in South Africa yet of course it wasn’t that long ago. Since then some of the football mad nations of Africa have looked on with envy at some of the success enjoyed by nations who don’t even like football that much. There aren’t many African nations were football isn’t played widely and millions watch the football on TV. Indeed it’s quite bizarre to stumble across a cafe in Dar-Es-Salaam and see dozens of Africans enjoying Premiership football on Match of Day love online streamed through a VPN like this one to the big screen.

Many of course, still have complaints about how the World Cup was run in South Africa. Much of the infrastructure is still here and has improved the lives of many South Africans. Yet millions were spent on lots of stadiums which have little purpose in their current surroundings. Like most of Africa, there are other requirements which are more urgent than a 40,000 seater football stadium.

The FIFA World Cup Trophy made a stop at Sudan, one of the Numerous on the 54 Nation tour of the World Cup ahead of the 2018 event in Russia. This was the very first time the prize Has been to Sudan – a football fanatic nation which hasn’t come close to qualifying for the World Cup final. Fans had the opportunity to present with the trophy at the ceremony, where there was music and various games and activities on the theme of soccer. This is enormous! I hope that one day this trophy will be in the hands of the captain of Sudan’s national football team.

This is enormous! I hope the decoration will be in the hands of the captain of Sudan’s national group. I hope we can organise the World Cup and win the cup here in Khartoum, excited Samah Al Sadiq, a soccer fan. The tour of the World Cup trophy is also an opportunity for Russia, the host nation, to sell itself before the final. Moscow has relaxed its visa rules for foreign soccer fans and has spent billions of dollars in stadia, resorts along with Other infrastructure, since the Kremlin seeks to improve Russia’s image. The prize left Sudan on Friday for Ethiopia, then headed for Kenya. It’ll pass through Mozambique, South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast and after that Egypt, before it renders Africa for Europe.

John Hampton

Further Articles: Found here.


The South African Heritage

A coat of arms is the State’s highest symbol. The coat of arms is a portion of the Great Seal thought of as the State’s emblem. One that has served South Africa since 17 Sept 1910 is now replaced by A brand-new coat of arms. The shift reflects Government’s goal to underline the change. The Coat of Arms is a succession of components arranged in oval shapes. Completing the circle are two symmetrically put pairs of elephant tusks pointing upward. Within the oval shape are two ears of wheat that consequently frame a shield that is placed. The form of the shield comprises two figures, and makes reference to a drum.

Over the shield are placed a knobkierie and a spear. Those components are arranged to provide focus and complete Foundation’s oval form. Above the shape that is lower, is the Coat of Arms, a Protea’s centre. The Protea’s petals are rendered in some triangular pattern reminiscent of Africa’s crafts.

The secretary bird is placed over this Protea and this flower forms this chest of this bird. This secretary bird stands with its wings up in a regal stance. This distinctive head feathers of this secretary bird crown some strong and vigilant head. The rising sun over the horizon is put between this wings of this secretary bird and completes this oval form of ascendance.  Last time I saw this bird was actually on a documentary covered by the BBC, at least before they managed to block my VPN service!


An emblem of fertility, it also signifies this idea of germination, growth and this possible development of any possible. Elephants symbolize wisdom, strength, moderation and eternity. The figures are derived from pictures on this Linton stone, some world famous example of South African Rock Art, now hosted and displayed in this South African Museum in Cape Town. This Khoisan, this oldest known inhabitants of South Africa, and most likely of the ground, testify to a common mankind and heritage. The characters are depicted in an attitude of greeting, representing unity. Dual symbols of defence and authority, they in turn represent this strong legs of the secretary bird. The Protea is a symbol of this beauty of South Africa and its flowering. The Protea signifies the holistic integration of forces which grow from the earth and are nourished from above.

South Africa has obviously had it’s problems over the years, but now is a great time to visit.  There’s relative stability in the political sense and although the economy is improving it’s still quite cheap for western visitors due to the weakness of it’s currency.

Additional:  Creating Videos for Sales and Tourism

Controversy over Beer for Africa Campaign

The brewing giant South African Breweries (SAB) has launched a controversial campaign in  tandem with the Stop Hunger Now organisation.  The idea is to provide funds to help feed students across Africa who are going hungry.  The campaign is non-profit making and all proceeds are being donated to the charities involved.

However organisations are lining up to criticise the campaign calling it irresponsible and urging people to boycott it.  The problem is that the campaign focusses on the creation and selling of a “Beer for Africa” eight pack.  The pack consists of some eight different beers from across the African continent and is being sold in off licenses and liquor stores across Africa.

The idea of the campaign is to try and fund one million meals by the end of 2018 and to date there has been huge success.  So far the campaign has funded 200,000 meals within the first two months.    The initiative was driven by some worrying statistics – 40% of students in Africa are failing because of hunger and poor nutrition.  That is a startling statistic especially when  you consider these young people are the hope of the continent to progress.

There’s is little controversy over the aims of the project however many feel that using the sale of alcohol to promote the charity is wrong.    At a fundamental level it is using poverty to promote the sale of beer.  The charity South African Alcohol Policy Alliance (SAAPA) summarises their objections – the campaign is basically saying ‘the more beer you buy, the more money we give to hungry students”.  This creates a link between buying alcohol and feeding poorer children, which many will also find morally wrong.

Africa has of course many problems but traditionally alcohol abuse has not featured largely in most areas.  In reality Africa is a fairly undeveloped market as far as the large alcohol manufacturers are concerned.    Whilst developed countries are increasingly pushing against alcohol consumption by updating health guidelines, policies and taxes – less developed countries become more attractive.

The alcohol industry sees affluent low and middle income countries with weaker legislation as a prime objective.   Many areas of Africa are a key focus for them to expand into new areas.  It goes without saying that this is likely to be bad for Africa, alcohol is a significant health risk factor.

For example places like sub-saharan Africa offer huge potential for promoting alcohol.  Many people don’t yet drink especially women, and there is a high youth population which offer large markets. Combine these with advertising costs, minimal regulation and the possibility of high intensity consumption make a tempting target for global brands.

Developed countries are well aware of the issues that alcohol can cause.  It is estimated that over 3 million people die from harmful use of alcohol every year.   This is despite the more advanced health care systems that developed countries have in place compared to most African nations.  In europe for example potentially life saving drugs like Selincro which you can read about here are prescribed to limit people’s alcohol consumption.  However the costs of such drugs are expensive and would be difficult to obtain in Africa.

Although the ideals of the SAB promotion are worthwhile, there is still a significant marketing aspect to the campaign.  Linking feeding the poor by buying alcohol is a dangerous precedent, one that certainly wouldn’t be allowed in most developed nations.  Does the end justify the means of this campaign, unfortunately many of those who are linked with alcohol charities and care don’t think so.

John Williams

Timetable Switch for the African Cup of Nations

The growth of International football has a surprising boost this month, especially in the African continent. The Confederation of African Football have verified the executive committee has passed a resolution to enlarge the Africa Cup of Nations from 16 teams to 24 and change the biennial championship .

CAF chosen to change the continental showpiece out of January-February into June-July, even though the championship will still occur every 2 decades, instead of moving into a four-year program.

Formerly, the African Cup clashed with a vital period for the European leagues, forcing many African American celebrities to choose between remaining with their clubs, their companies, and representing their countries. Many, like seven of Cameroon’s leading players at this year’s African Cup in Gabon, choose club over country to the detriment of the Cup of Nations.

An announcement printed on the confederation’s site, after the two-day CAF Symposium in Skhirat, near Rabat, supported the tournament growth and dismissed any suggestion that the contest would occur beyond Africa, as was suggested throughout the summit.

The summertime change eradicates a longstanding difficulty involving CAF and European nightclubs unhappy with losing lots of the African American players to get a month of this year every calendar year.  It has always been a huge problem for many of the biggest clubs who have many African stars in their teams.    Checking out Match of the Day whilst relaxing on holiday can be dissapointment when half the players are missing – Article – Watching British TV in Spain..

Likewise, whilst CAF’s inter-club contests — the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup — won’t be enlarged again, the confederation have opted to change them into an August-May calendar, instead of within one calendar year.

This change further brings African football in accord with the European game, although various questions remain unanswered from the symposium, with lots of the continent’s nations unable to boast the infrastructure to host 16-team Nations Cups, let alone an expanded 24-team tournament.

Elsewhere, CAF confirmed that the working group had made a decision to raise indemnities to referees, organise zonal Nations Cup qualifiers for the tournament at age-grade levels, and improve international partnerships and relations between CAF, its member associations, national governments and the African Union.

John Williams

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