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Over 200 Graduates Emerge From the Ecobank Group and AUDA-NEPAD MSME Training for Financing program

The Graduates came from the eight (8) countries in the pilot phase of the MSME Academy namely, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda and Togo

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The leading pan-African banking group, Ecobank Group (www.Ecobank.com), and the African Union Development Agency New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD), held a virtual graduation ceremony for more than 200 alumni of the inaugural Ecobank’s MSME Training for Financing Program. The Graduates came from the eight (8) countries in the pilot phase of the MSME Academy namely, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda and Togo.

The MSME Academy, launched by the Ecobank Group and AUDA-NEPAD in 2020, in the midst of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic is part of AUDA-NEPAD’s transformational ‘100 000 MSMEs’ initiative, a continental response to COVID-19. The Academy provides entrepreneurs, owners and managers of micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) with coaching, mentoring and business skills training courses.

Ade Ayeyemi, CEO, Ecobank Group who attended the ceremony, said: “We had no hesitation in supporting AUDA-NEPAD’s ‘100,000 MSMEs’ initiative. The framework we designed collectively hinges on three critical pillars needed for MSMEs to build resilience in such unprecedented times, being access to capabilities, access to finance and access to markets. The graduation ceremony is another milestone achieved in our journey and commitment to supporting MSMEs and helping them to grow into tomorrow’s larger businesses. My very hearty congratulations to the MSME Training for Financing class of 2021. This is the beginning of wholesome success for your businesses and Ecobank is here to support you in evolving into a major business owner on our continent”.

Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO AUDA-NEPAD, added “This graduation comes at an opportune time, after the first anniversary of the 100 000 MSMEs Initiative. The Ceremony builds on other important milestones achieved so far, including the launch of the Initiative in 13 Member States, reaching out to more than 3 million participants, mostly micro entrepreneurs, who learned about the potential the MSME Academy platform offers. I would like to commend Ecobank for their commitment to the success of this program. I wish the very best to the graduates of this programme.”

About 3000 MSMEs applied to the MSME training for the Ecobank Financing program, out of which 850 were short-listed in the 8 pilot countries. The 6 weeks long programme covered 4 modules and 15 training sessions per country – in total – 120 sessions were delivered in all 8 countries. In Q3 2021, Ecobank will deliver a unique sandwich programme for the remaining over 2000 SMES who registered but were not shortlisted in the just ended training programme. The objective is to ensure that no MSME who expressed the desire to be part of this learning experience is left behind.

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FluidRock Governance Academy and Candor Governance first to offer new ISO 37000 governance training globally

Course on new international governance framework launched by South African 51% Black female-owned business

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Following the launch of the new International Standard, ISO 37000, FluidRock Governance Academy and Candor Governance have announced the availability of their virtual course entitled ISO 37000 Governance of Organizations Course, Foundations Level.

The FluidRock Governance Group, a leading independent corporate governance firm based in South Africa, under her ambit–FluidRock Governance Academy and Candor Governance, have partnered to deliver the international standard, ISO 37000training globally. This is a standardization which provides guidance for the governance of organisations, and a common language for all sizes and types of organisation across jurisdictions. It brings good governance to organisations from multinationals and large, unlisted companies, to charities, non-profit networks, corporate centres and SMEs.

Powered by some of the most well-known and experienced professionals in the industry, Ronelle Kleyn, CEO of FluidRock Governance Academy commented, “It is the first time there has been an international language for governance, regardless of jurisdictional legislation. The rules of the game have to be global, and ISO 37000 takes stakeholder management to a new level. We strive to be a human company, to live in a society of well governed and ethical corporate citizens and I am very proud that as a female-led business that empowers Black women through ownership, we are leading the delivery of this important new standard.”

Mervyn King, patron of the Good Governance Academy, stated: “Good governance of organisations lays the foundation for the fulfilment of the purpose of the organisation in an ethical, effective and responsible manner in line with stakeholder expectations. The Good Governance Academy has endorsed and recommends this training to all who are involved in, interested in, or impacted by, the good governance of organisations.”

The internationally accredited course, presented by Candor Governance advisor and the standard’s co-editor Carolynn Chalmers, is delivered via the FluidRock Governance Academy. It includes 12 months’ access to the digital course, an internationally accredited examination, certificate and digital badge.

The ISO 37000 Governance of Organizations Course provides an excellent foundational understanding of ISO 37000 and is endorsed by the Good Governance Academy. The cost of the course is USD $650 / EUR €565 / GBP £485.

Each division of Fluidrock Group is headed up by an industry expert with many years’ experience supported by a team of passionate and energetic individuals. With a 51% Black Female Owned, the five FluidRock divisions are: FluidRock Academy, FluidRock Statutory, FluidRock Compliance and Ethics, FluidRock Advisory and FluidRock Co Sec.

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Uganda tops African Development Bank’s Electricity Regulatory Index for fourth consecutive year

Eng. Abel Didier Tella, Director General of the Association of Power Utilities of Africa, said, “It is interesting that the utilities in most of the top-performing countries in the Electricity Regulatory Index are listed on their national stock exchanges, which requires compliance with transparency in information sharing and good governance practice.”

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For the fourth consecutive year, Uganda’s electricity sector is Africa’s best regulated across a number of key metrics, according to the African Development Bank’s 2021 Electricity Regulatory Index. Other strong performers include East African neighbours, Kenya and Tanzania, as well as Namibia and Egypt.

The 2021 Electricity Regulatory Index, an annual report, covered 43 countries, up from 36 in the previous edition, and assessed their impact on the performance of their electricity sectors. The index covered 3 countries in the North Africa region; 14 in West Africa; 6 in Central Africa; 7 in East Africa; and 13 in the Southern Africa region.

“The unprecedented participation of so many countries shows the commitment to strengthen the countries’ regulatory environment with a view to improving the performance of the respective electricity sectors,” said Dr. Kevin Kariuki, the African Development Bank’s Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth.

Among the 2021 report’s key highlights are that regulatory independence is one sub-indicator where African countries have room to improve: in 93% of sampled countries, governments, and stakeholders exercise influence over regulatory authorities. In terms of regulatory substance, participating countries scored lowest on adequacy of their tariff setting and frameworks, as well as licensing frameworks when compared with best practice.

According to the report, the average performance on economic regulation has continued to decline since 2018. A third of countries surveyed indicated they lack methodologies to determine tariffs; another 40% rely on tariff methodologies that do not include key attributes such as automatic tariff adjustment and tariff indexation mechanisms and schedule for major tariff reviews.

Wale Shonibare, African Development Bank Director for Energy Financial Solutions, Policy and Regulation, commended the top-performing country. “Uganda topping the rankings consecutively for four years comes as no surprise to many, as the regulator spends significant time on consultation and analysis, including regulatory impact assessments of key interventions and follow-through to ensure full implementation,” he said.

Outside stakeholders also viewed the report’s results positively. Eng. Abel Didier Tella, Director General of the Association of Power Utilities of Africa, said, “It is interesting that the utilities in most of the top-performing countries in the Electricity Regulatory Index are listed on their national stock exchanges, which requires compliance with transparency in information sharing and good governance practice.”

Since its launch in 2018, the Electricity Regulatory Index has highlighted aspects of electricity regulation that need reform, identified appropriate areas for intervention, and encouraged stakeholders to be proactive in addressing challenges. Since then, the index has been widely adopted by regulators and other stakeholders across the continent as a benchmark for the regulatory environment as well as for ongoing reforms.

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Please pay your pending bills, KEMSA Board appeals to County Governments

The KEMSA Board also held a roundtable meeting with officials of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU), Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya, Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI) Kenya Dental Association and the Kenya Health Care Federation (KHF).

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Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) board has issued a passionate appeal asking several county governments to prioritise settlement of more than Kshs 3.9 Billion pending bills to the Authority.

Speaking when she addressed stakeholders in the Pharmaceutical sector and Medical Associations, KEMSA Chairperson Mary Mwadime said the settlement of the bills would help accelerate reforms at the Authority.

She said some county governments had extended much-needed support to KEMSA by prioritising the settlement of bills to keep the Authority’s cogwheels running as the organisational reforms to address systemic challenges progress.

She said the Board would undertake the reforms in strict compliance to due process and labour laws as the Board is committed to remedying challenges’ currently bedevilling the Authority.

During the latest round of engagements on Monday, the KEMSA Board and the Authority’s Acting Chief Executive Officer Edward Njoroge updated the Senate Committee on Health members led by Senator Michael Mbito. The KEMSA Board also held a roundtable meeting with officials of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU), Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya, Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI) Kenya Dental Association and the Kenya Health Care Federation (KHF).

Last week, the KEMSA Board paid courtesy calls to the Kisumu, Kisii, Nyamira and Uasin Gishu County Governments. The Board also engaged the National Assembly Committee on Health and the Development Partners for Health in Kenya (DPH-K). The DPH-K comprises stakeholders and representatives from the World Health Organisation, Global Fund, USAID, CDC, UNAIDS, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and World Bank.

At the meetings, Ms Mwadime reiterated that the Authority was complying with a court order and had not declared any roles redundant nor handed over KEMSA’s leadership to external agencies. She added that operations at the Authority are proceeding under a business-as-usual model with a business continuity plan to avoid any disruptions.

“We have assured our stakeholders that our operations are proceeding on as usual and the Board and Core Management remain firmly in place,” She said, adding that, “A dysfunctional KEMSA slows down healthcare delivery goals and is a liability to the envisaged positive national healthcare outcomes and the Board is committed to facilitating reforms to set the Authority on a recovery path. This will include structured engagements with several county governments to settle their outstanding bills amounting to more than Kshs 6 Billion,” she said.

KMPDU Secretary-General Dr Davji Bhimji speaking after the KEMSA engagement, expressed optimism that the Authority will undertake the envisaged reforms lawfully.

He said the Board had assured stakeholders and KPMDU members that due process would be followed and staff members will not be victimised.

“We have been given detailed information on the reforms and have been assured that the role of professional stakeholders in the healthcare value chain will be mainstreamed in the reform agenda. We are ready to engage with KEMSA to ensure efficient supply of drugs and other items from KEMSA stores to health facilities,” Dr Bhimji said.

Last week, KEMSA Board confirmed that operations had been sustained through the core management and staffing team. If necessary, the core KEMSA Management Team will be assisted by a multi-agency team drawn from public sector experts.

The multi-agency officers will be drawn from the Public Service Commission, State Corporations Advisory Committee (SCAC), Ministry of Health, Ministry of Public Service and Gender Affairs, Ministry of Information, Communication, Technology and Youth Affairs, Ministry of Defence, The National Treasury and the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government among others.

The reforms at the Authority are part of the far-reaching recommendations outlined in several KEMSA restructuring reports, including the latest KEMSA Immediate Action Plan and Medium Term Reforms Working Committee (KIAPRWC) report. Commissioned by the Board, the KIAPRWC report revealed challenges in critical functions.

The report confirms that KEMSA is grossly underperforming and largely unable to meet clients’ urgent needs, particularly the delivery of essential Medicines and Products to the Counties, Referral Hospitals and Programs.

The Authority is suffering from below-par productivity, with the order fill rate standing at 18% against a target performance of over 90%. KEMSA’s order turn-around time is an average of 46 days.

KEMSA is also suffering from a developing debtor and creditor crisis and is currently owed Ksh. 6.4 Billion by its clients, who are primarily county governments. The Authority owes its creditors Ksh. 4.5 Billion and is operating at 170% above its approved staff establishment of three hundred and forty-one (341) with an estimated staff complement of 922. Pool

The Board, Ms Mwadime said, is committed to facilitating the necessary reforms to ensure that KEMSA challenges are sufficiently addressed. This commitment includes aligning the organisational structure to industry-accepted standards for a health commodities and technologies procurement organisation. It also calls for the introduction of global best practices, including transparent reporting relationships, an acceptable span of control, and command structures, compounding related functions for strengthened accountability and a re-determination of optimal staffing levels and norms.

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