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PEPFAR adds strength, endurance to Homeless World Cup preps in Zimbabwe

 

Reported by Peter Banda in Harare

6 June 2018 – Harare, Zimbabwe – Project Management Zimbabwe (PMZ) can report some news coming from the U.S. Embassy in Harare related to two good programs.  The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) tested over 100 individuals for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and shared health information with over 1000 community members at the first preparatory tournament for the Homeless World Cup held in Harare’ Hatcliffe township on June 2nd.

“Statistics received from the International Training and Education Center for Health (ITEC) show that 126 individuals voluntarily tested for HIV with three of the seven that tested positive being initiated for anti-retroviral therapy,” said Gay Nyakwende, PEPFAR Communications Specialist. “Our partner, I-TEC, collected the contact details of the four individuals who deferred ART and a follow up will be conducted with the aim of bringing them back to care.”

In Pic: U.S. Embassy Charge d’ Affaires Jennifer Savage with FiFPro representative Edward Sadomba in Hatcliff

On June 2, PEPFAR collaborated with Young Achievement Sports for Development (YASD) at the first preparatory tournament for the Homeless World Cup in Hatfcliffe’s high-density suburb. The event enabled YASD to recruit Zimbabwe’s representatives to the 16th edition of the Homeless World Cup scheduled for Mexico City from November 13-18.

At the event, participants who included players from 17 teams of eight participants contesting had access to health services and health information from PEPFAR partners. These included The Union, providing information about Tuberculosis (TB), HIV, asthma, tobacco and lung disease; and Mavambo Orphan Care, which works in Mashonaland East to initiate empowerment programs for vulnerable people such as orphans and young mothers. Other organizations present were FHI360 – which works to increase the availability of care and treatment services for people living with HIV, among other services and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) working mostly on pediatric HIV care and treatment programs. Another PEPFAR partner, Population Services International (PSI) promoted HIV prevention services such as voluntary medical male circumcision to the significant number of adolescent and young boys attended the event.   Similarly, FACT explained their multiple interventions that transform the lives of vulnerable communities in a sustainable way.

Senior U.S. Embassy officials, local Member of Parliament Mudambo Tongesai and FifPro representative Edward Sadomba, among other dignitaries, attended the Homeless World Cup selection tournament. Officiating at the event, Jennifer Savage, Charge d’ Affaires at the U.S. Embassy reminded the participants that participating in sports mirrored the strength, endurance and stamina the U.S. support to the health sector has demonstrated.

“Among our top goals as the U.S. Embassy in Harare is to foster a healthy Zimbabwe,” said Savage.  “Sports and physical activity are integral parts of a healthy lifestyle, and we thank YASD for organizing these exciting games.”

She said 2018 marks the 15th anniversary of PEPFAR- announced on January 28, 2003 and signed into law on May 27, 2003.  “When PEPFAR began, an HIV diagnosis was considered a death sentence in many countries around the world,” said Savage. “Today, we are closer than ever to controlling and ultimately ending AIDS. In Zimbabwe, new HIV infections are averted with every 8 voluntary medical male circumcisions performed and 306,000 males will have participated by the end of the year.  2.5 million individuals received testing and counselling services for HIV and received their test results during the past 12 months with 880,000 adults and children receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) through support from PEPFAR.”

PEPFAR has availed $150 million dollars towards the national response to HIV and AIDS.  This amount is a huge commitment towards the attainment of the 95-95-95 targets for ending AIDS by 2030.

Sadomba, a former national team and Dynamos Football Club player shared a testimonial about his humble beginnings in Mbare and encouraged young sports persons to shun drugs.

“Sports can uplift your life like it did mine. My father passed on when I was two years old and I grew up with limited resources,” said Sadomba. “But because of discipline I have managed to play for the national team, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and to play for Dynamos. I want to encourage you stay away from drugs because these limit your potential,” he added.

YASD officials said they were finalizing the list of players for the Homeless World Cup. 17 teams participated in Hatcliffe and more are expected to participate from Epworth and Mbare.

The first Homeless World Cup took place in Graz in 2003. The Austrian city welcomed 144 players form 18 countries. Since then the tournament has traveled to 15 different cities across the world and has grown to accommodate over 64 teams and more than 500 players. ZimPAS © June 6, 2018

Project Management Zimbabwe (PMZ – Project Management Institute of Zimbabwe) is Zimbabwe’s largest Association of Project Managers, with a membership base of over 1000. The institute has a mandate of policing the elevation of project management standards nationally through mentorship and membership services programmes.  For information, visit www.pmiz.org.zw or email: [email protected].

Source:  Project Management Zimbabwe

 

 

US$30million Pepsi Plant opens in Harare

 

NEWS FROM FASCINATING PROGRAMS/PROJECTS

Reported by Peter Banda in Harare

22 May 2018 – Harare, Zimbabwe – Project Management Zimbabwe (PMZ) has announced the completion of a major international project in Zimbabwe. International beverage manufacturing giant Pepsi Corporation is set to give stiff competition to rival market leader Cocacola in Southern Africa after opening a new US$30milion bottling plant in Harare.

Pepsi brands landed on the local market at 30% to 50% cheaper than Cocacola brands, a development that will certainly see competition in the sparkling beverages segment  growing.  Cocacola beverages are manufactured and sold in Zimbabwe by a local bottling company, Delta Beverages. Varun Beverages, an Indian soft drinks manufacturer controls the new Pepsi operations franchise in Zimbabwe and is expected to create over 2000 jobs directly and indirectly locally.

Pepsi is selling its two-litre, 500ml and 330ml beverages for $1,65, 65c and 50c respectively; while Delta is trading similar beverages at $2,15, 95c and 50c respectively, and the 330ml price is promotional at the moment.

Zimbabwe has a population of close to 14 million people and Delta Beverages has a market share of about 70%. Demand for Delta’s products is, however, expected to remain firm supported by a favourable outturn in the mining and agricultural sectors. Given a stable political and economic environment Pepsi is expected to grab and control 20% share by the end of the year.

Zimbabwe is expected to hold general elections this year in July to choose new political leadership. A one-off surge in demand may arise from election spending through various political party campaigns. An improvement in tourism arising from significant infrastructure upgrades in airports coupled with the opening up of the skies to new airlines is expected to improve beverage spending in city and resort hotels where beverage companies will benefit.

Delta is Zimbabwe’s largest manufacturer and distributor of lager beer, traditional sorghum beer and soft drinks. Pepsi has other bottling plants in neighbouring countries Zambia and Botswana which have been feeding the Zimbabwe market in recent years.

Delta is still trading under a cautionary with regard to The Coca Cola Company and potential termination of the bottler agreement with the company. Management indicated that negotiations are still in progress and finer details are too sensitive to disclose at this point in time. They did indicate that The Coca Cola Company is unlikely to terminate the agreement and if it does, a favourable franchise agreement would be brokered. Ironically Cocacola announced in a statement in mid May 2018 that they will be investing US$65million into Zimbabwe operations this year only.

Project Management Zimbabwe (PMZ – Project Management Institute of Zimbabwe) is Zimbabwe’s largest Association of Project Managers, with a membership base of over 1000. The institute has a mandate of policing the elevation of project management standards nationally through mentorship and membership services programmes.  For information, visit www.pmiz.org.zw or email: [email protected].

Source:  Project Management Zimbabwe

 

 

NASA Planet Hunter on Its Way into Outer Space

NEWS FROM FASCINATING PROJECTS

Another successful launch on SpaceX Falcon rocket

19 April 2018 – Kennedy Space Center, FL and Washington, DC, USA – NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has launched on the first-of-its-kind mission to find worlds beyond our solar system, including some that could support life. TESS, which is expected to find thousands of new exoplanets orbiting nearby stars, lifted off at 6:51 p.m. EDT Wednesday on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. At 7:53 p.m., the twin solar arrays that will power the spacecraft successfully deployed.

NASA’s next planet-hunter, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), successfully launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 on April 18, 2018. TESS will search for new worlds outside our solar system for further study. Credits: NASA Television

“We are thrilled TESS is on its way to help us discover worlds we have yet to imagine, worlds that could possibly be habitable, or harbor life,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “With missions like the James Webb Space Telescope to help us study the details of these planets, we are ever the closer to discovering whether we are alone in the universe.”

Over the course of several weeks, TESS will use six thruster burns to travel in a series of progressively elongated orbits to reach the Moon, which will provide a gravitational assist so that TESS can transfer into its 13.7-day final science orbit around Earth. After approximately 60 days of check-out and instrument testing, the spacecraft will begin its work.

“One critical piece for the science return of TESS is the high data rate associated with its orbit,” said George Ricker, TESS principal investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research in Cambridge. “Each time the spacecraft passes close to Earth, it will transmit full-frame images taken with the cameras. That’s one of the unique things TESS brings that was not possible before.”

For this two-year survey mission, scientists divided the sky into 26 sectors. TESS will use four unique wide-field cameras to map 13 sectors encompassing the southern sky during its first year of observations and 13 sectors of the northern sky during the second year, altogether covering 85 percent of the sky.

TESS will be watching for phenomena called transits. A transit occurs when a planet passes in front of its star from the observer’s perspective, causing a periodic and regular dip in the star’s brightness. More than 78 percent of the approximately 3,700 confirmed exoplanets have been found using transits.

NASA’s Kepler spacecraft found more than 2,600 exoplanets, most orbiting faint stars between 300 and 3,000 light-years from Earth, using this same method of watching for transits. TESS will focus on stars between 30 and 300 light-years away and 30 to 100 times brighter than Kepler’s targets.

The brightness of these target stars will allow researchers to use spectroscopy, the study of the absorption and emission of light, to determine a planet’s mass, density and atmospheric composition. Water, and other key molecules, in its atmosphere can give us hints about a planets’ capacity to harbor life.

“The targets TESS finds are going to be fantastic subjects for research for decades to come,” said Stephen Rinehart, TESS project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “It’s the beginning of a new era of exoplanet research.”

Through the TESS Guest Investigator Program, the worldwide scientific community will be able to conduct research beyond TESS’s core mission in areas ranging from exoplanet characterization to stellar astrophysics, distant galaxies and solar system science.

TESS is a NASA Astrophysics Explorer mission led and operated by MIT and managed by Goddard. George Ricker, of MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, serves as principal investigator for the mission. TESS’s four wide-field cameras were developed by MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory. Additional partners include Orbital ATK, NASA’s Ames Research Center, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and the Space Telescope Science Institute. More than a dozen universities, research institutes and observatories worldwide are participants in the mission.

For more information on TESS, go to: https://www.nasa.gov/tess

Created in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is America’s focal point for research, development and exploration of outer space.  For over 50 years, NASA has been leading the world in the development and usage of advanced program and project management.  Additional information about NASA can be found at www.nasa.gov.

Source: NASA; Images: courtesy of NASA

 

 

$20 Million for new hospital and clinics in Lagos

 

NEWS FROM FASCINATING PROJECTS

16 April 2018 – Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire and Logos, Nigeria – The African Development Bank has announced a senior Loan in Naira equivalent to USD 20 million to Santa Clara Medical Limited, to finance the development of a hospital and referral clinics in Lagos, Nigeria. Lagos State, Nigeria’s largest healthcare market, lacks an adequate supply of quality secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities with only about 700 to 1,000 quality beds for a population of over 21 million people.

This situation currently forces over 30,000 Nigerians to spend over USD 1 billion on medical tourism for specialty treatments overseas. Completing this project would allow the country’s healthcare sector to benefit from some of these resources” said Dr Abdu Mukhtar, AfDB’s Director of Industrialization and Trade Development. He also added: “This is an important development. In spite of recent improvements, Nigeria’s health infrastructure remains rudimentary and insufficient to cater to the country’s growing population”.

The hospital and referral clinics will be situated in different locations in Lagos and will upon completion in 2020, provide a full spectrum of high quality general and specialist healthcare services at competitive prices. It is expected to have positive economic and social benefits for the city of Lagos and will create around 250 temporary jobs during the construction period and 600 jobs over its operation phase. More importantly, it will significantly improve private healthcare services by offering quality general medical services in addition to specialty services such as orthopedic, nephrology, urology, cardiology and neuro surgery that are largely unavailable in the country.

The Santa Clara Medical facility is being promoted by AXA Mansard, a member of the AXA Group, Africa Capital Alliance, IFC and Healthshare Health Solutions, the hospital management company of the project.

The facility will be a model case with strong demonstration effect for the development of the health infrastructure and services in Nigeria. The investment is consistent with the Bank’s Private Sector Development Strategy to (i) improve Africa’s investment and business climate, especially in the healthcare sector that is currently under-served by the private sector and (ii) increase access to social and economic infrastructure on the continent. The investment is also a reflection of the Bank’s commitment to improving the quality of life of the African people – one of the five priority focus areas of the Bank.

For more information, click here.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is a regional multilateral development finance institution established in 1964 to mobilize resources towards the economic and social progress of its Regional Member Countries. Headquartered in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, the Bank promotes economic and social development in African states, providing financing for programs and projects across the continent.  For more information, visit www.adbg.org.

Source: African Development Bank

 

 

China to bankroll US$1Billion Thermal Power Project for Zimbabwe

 

NEWS FROM FASCINATING PROGRAMS/PROJECTS

Reported by Peter Banda in Harare

9 April 2018 – Harare, Zimbabwe – The Chinese Export-Import Bank (Exim Bank) will extend a loan facility of almost US$1billion to the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) this year for the expansion of Hwange Power Station.  The scope of the project will involve construction of two additional thermal units at the plant.

Zimbabwe’s Hwange Power Station plant currently generates and supplies about 920 megawatts to the national grid from 6 units. In a recent press statement, Acting Managing Director Joshua Chirikutsi said upon completion, the US$1billion project will see units 7 & 8 adding 600 megawatts to become Zimbabwe’s biggest power plant. Chinese company Sino-Hyrdo will manage construction of the plant.

ZPC, a unit of power utility Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) and Sino-hydro Corp. will own 64 percent and 36 percent respectively of the proposed Hwange units. The two will provide counterpart funding for the project and construction is scheduled to take 45 months. Zimbabwe’s consumption of power at peak at the moment is about 2,200-megawatt but ZESA can only generate 70% of that while the deficit of electricity requirements is met through imports from neighbouring countries. At peak demand, the nation imports about 350 megawatts a month. The existing 6 units at Hwange have fallen into disrepair. “The project will now commence and we will be drawing down $199 million from Exim Bank this April,” Chirikutsi said.

ZESA recently commissioned the expansion of Kariba hydro-power Station project which is now generating an additional 300 megawatts of power from 750 megawatts. Sino-hydro also constructed the Kariba hydro plant at a cost of US$533 million. Kariba is now producing 1,050 megawatts from 750 megawatts.

Completion of the Kariba and Hwange Power projects will save the country over $70 million annually in power imports. Zimbabwe State President Emmerson Mnangagwa was recently in China during the first week of April 2018 on a state visit where he clinched several investment deals for the country worth over US$4billion including the Hwange Power project.

Project Management Zimbabwe (PMZ – Project Management Institute of Zimbabwe) is Zimbabwe’s largest Association of Project Managers, with a membership base of over 1000. The institute has a mandate of policing the elevation of project management standards nationally through mentorship and membership services programmes.  For information, visit www.pmiz.org.zw or email: [email protected]

Source:  Project Management Zimbabwe

 

 

Orange Region Creative Campaign

 

NEWS FROM FASCINATING PROGRAMS & PROJECTS

Renowned Mexican artists join campaign to transform Latin America and the Caribbean into a world-class creative hub

The IDB presents the Orange Region Campaign, which promotes the creation of a region-wide network of creative talents

22 February 2018 – Mexico City, Mexico and Washington, DC, USA – The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has announced that celebrated Mexican creatives and artists such as Alberto Ruy Sánchez, Aleks Syntek, Ana María Olabuenaga, Eugenia León, Guadalupe Pineda, Yvonne Domenge, María Barracuda, Mario Lavista, Sandra Pani, and Sara Galindo have joined the Orange Region, an endeavor led by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to develop a network of talents capable of turning Latin America and the Caribbean into a global creativity hub.

The Orange Region creativity campaign was launched today at the Universidad Centro during the Demand Solutions event, where over two dozen innovators from Mexico and other nations from all over the world presented creative solutions to development challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The launch event included a video with testimonies of emerging artists and celebrities who have joined the campaign, and the presentation of www.regionnaranja.org , a website where all those who are interested can sign up and express their support.

“I encourage the entire creative community to get to know the Orange Project, to think beyond our borders, and above all, to not miss this chance to make the talents’ network a reality,” Mexican author Alberto Ruy Sánchez , winner of the National Arts Prize 2017 said.

In a press conference, Tomás Bermúdez, IDB Representative in Mexico; Ernesto Miranda, Digital Agenda Director for the Mexican Secretariat of Culture; and Eric Descombes, President of FCB —the advertising agency that developed the campaign— presented the results of the February 21 Orange Meeting, where over 80 guests, including architects, singers, filmmakers, chefs, authors, software developers, and designers shared ideas on how to develop it in other countries in the region.

“The technological revolution is putting growing pressure on governments, companies, and institutions like the IDB to find new ways to offer solutions to improve the lives of our people, and to find partners to help achieve this goal,” Bermúdez said. “In the next decade, creativity will be one of the most coveted talents, and the only unlimited resource at our disposal.”

Sara Galindo, President of Mexicouture; filmmaker Norman Christianson and writer Alberto Ruy Sánchez, all underscored during the event the key role that the initiative can play to help transform Mexico into a creative power.

Orange Economy is a concept coined by the IDB to refer to goods and services that rely on creativity and intellectual capital as core components with a potential to create jobs, wealth, and well-being. It encompasses art and the performing arts, tourism and cultural heritage, new media, content software including video games, and traditional cultural industries, among others.

The creative and cultural industries accounted for 1.9 million jobs in the region in 2015, and produced revenue equivalent to 2.2 percent of the area’s GDP. The TV industry leads the pack, exporting shows all around the world. Filmmaking is a key sector in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico, and the region produces over 400 movies a year.

Established in 1959, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is a source of multilateral financing for sustainable economic, social and institutional development programs and projects throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.  More information about the IDB is at www.iadb.org.  For more about IDB projects, visit http://www.iadb.org/en/projects/projects,1229.html.

Source: Inter-American Development Bank

 

 

European Spallation Source Campus Project

 

PROJECT / PROGRAMME NEWS

NIB finances ESS laboratories and offices in Lund, Sweden

16 February 2018 – Helsinki, Finland – The Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) and the special-purpose vehicle SKR Spallation AB have signed a 23-year loan agreement of EUR 30 million for the construction of offices and laboratories at the site of the European Spallation Source (ESS) in Lund, Southern Sweden.

The project is referred to as the ESS Campus, and includes the construction of laboratories and workshops to support the research conducted at the ESS facility. In addition, office premises with up to 450 work places and a canteen for 200 people will be built.

ESS is based on what will be the world’s most powerful neutron source yet constructed and, upon completion, will provide research opportunities in fields such as life sciences, energy, environmental technology, telecommunications and fundamental physics. Construction of the ESS Campus is scheduled to begin in 2018, and is to be completed in 2020.

“Together with the neighbouring MAX IV synchrotron lab, ESS forms one of the largest research centres in Europe, and will provide research opportunities for up to 5,000 scientists every year. The investment in related infrastructure will enable the efficient operation of the facility”, says Henrik Normann, NIB President & CEO.

The European Spallation Source ERIC (ESS) is a joint European organisation for neutron-based research. Located in Lund, Sweden, ESS will open for researchers in 2023. SKR Spallation AB is a special-purpose vehicle owned by the real estate developer Skandrenting AB, headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden. For more about ESS, go to https://europeanspallationsource.se/

NIB is an international financial institution owned by eight member countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden. The Bank finances private and public projects in and outside the member countries. Learn more about NIB at https://www.nib.int/

 

 

Fall Armyworm Management Project

 

NEWS FROM FASCINATING PROGRAMS/PROJECTS

United States works with 350,000 Zimbabwean farmers to tackle dangerous pest targeting maize crop            

Reported by Peter Banda in Harare

12 February 2018 – Harare, Zimbabwe – In 2016, an invasive crop pest called the fall armyworm was first confirmed in Africa. Native to the Americas, fall armyworm can feed on 80 different crop species, including maize, a staple food consumed by over 300 million African smallholder farm families. The crop pest has since been found in over 30 African countries, including Zimbabwe, posing a significant threat to food security, income, and livelihoods.

If proper control measures are not implemented, the pest could cause extensive maize yield losses, estimated between $76 million and $191 million in Zimbabwe, according to the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) in September 2017.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in coordination with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and their respective implementing partners, created a hands-on fact sheet to help small-scale farmers combat the spread of fall armyworm. This factsheet, along with the new publication Fall Armyworm in Africa: A Guide for Integrated Pest Management, First Edition, January 2018, offers mitigation measures that are easy to understand and implement by farmers, extension agents, researchers, and governments. The guide was jointly produced by USAID, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), and the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (CRP MAIZE).

USAID/Zimbabwe Mission Director Stephanie Funk stated: “The United States is partnering with 350,000 Zimbabwean farmers and other local experts to stop the spread of this dangerous pest. This is an important part of USAID’s ongoing efforts to improve food security in Zimbabwe by strengthening the resilience and productivity of small-scale farmers.”

USAID/Zimbabwe is also working with CIMMYT, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and a University of Zimbabwe entomologist to bring stakeholders together from all relevant sectors to share information and create a platform for continued open dialogue to tackle the voracious fall armyworm.

USAID promotes agricultural recovery and livelihood development through the Feed the Future initiative. USAID’s two Feed the Future activities aim to reduce rural poverty and increase incomes and food security through increased agricultural production, productivity, and market linkages for small-scale crop farmers and dairy and beef producers.

Project Management Zimbabwe (PMZ – Project Management Institute of Zimbabwe) is Zimbabwe’s largest Association of Project Managers, with a membership base of over 1000. The institute has a mandate of policing the elevation of project management standards nationally through mentorship and membership services programmes.  For information, visit www.pmiz.org.zw or email: [email protected].

Source:  Project Management Zimbabwe

 

 

The Earth Bio-Genome Project

 

NEWS ABOUT FASCINATING PROJECTS AND PROGRAMS

New Initiative aims to Sequence Genomes of All Life on Earth

23 January 2018 – Davos, Switzerland – The World Economic Forum announced today an ambitious partnership to sequence the DNA of all life on Earth and create an inclusive bio-economy, as part of its Fourth Industrial Revolution for the Earth Initiative.

The Earth Bio-Genome Project (EBP) will sequence all the plants, animals and single-cell organisms on Earth – the eukaryotic species – now possible due to the exponential drop in costs of genomic sequencing.

Meanwhile, the Earth Bank of Codes (EBC) aims to make nature’s biological and biomimetic assets accessible to innovators around the world, while tackling bio-piracy and ensuring equitable sharing of the commercial benefits.

Today’s announcement follows warnings by scientists in a paper last year that a “sixth mass extinction” is under way in which 20,000 species are in danger – a “biological annihilation” that represents a “frightening assault on the foundations of human civilization.”

The EBC part of the partnership will boost the economic incentives for local communities and global businesses to preserve the environment. It aims to unlock the potential of the planet’s biodiversity and boost the global marketplace for bio-inspired chemicals, materials, processes and innovations that solve human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested strategies.

Such advances include harvesting the next generation of antibiotics from Amazonian frogs to combat the antimicrobial resistance threat, and pioneering self-driving car algorithms using inspiration from Amazonian ants – see video.

Only 14% of the estimated species of plants and land animals have been classified and less than 0.1% have had their DNA thoroughly sequenced, meaning there is a huge gap in our knowledge of the vast scientific, economic, social and environmental potential of our biodiversity. Yet, this tiny percentage has delivered all of our modern knowledge of biology and the life sciences.

Like the Human Genome Project, which delivered at least $65 to the US economy for every public dollar spent as well as myriad benefits for human health, molecular medicine and scientific understanding, the EBP aims to create an inclusive bio-economy and enable the conservation and regeneration of biodiversity.

“The rate of biodiversity loss is sobering. Those born since 2012 have inherited a planet with fewer than half the number of animals on land and below water than those born before 1970. There is an urgent need for innovations that can quickly make natural habitats worth more intact for local people than cutting them down for other land uses. The Fourth Industrial Revolution in biology could offer such innovations if linked to new models for biodiversity management. This is why this partnership could be very exciting,” said Dominic Waughray, Head of Public-Private Partnership and Member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum.

The partnership will take 10 years and cost an estimated $4.7 billion – now possible due to the drop in costs of genomic sequencing. The Human Genome Project, by comparison, took more than a decade and cost $4.8 billion in 2017 to sequence the first human genome.

Putting the plan into action

The EBC will work by providing an open, global, public-good and digital platform that registers and maps the biological IP assets on the blockchain. This code bank will record the provenance, rights and obligations associated with nature’s assets – their intellectual property – to track their provenance and use. When value is created from accessing these assets, smart contracts would facilitate equitable sharing of benefits to the custodians of nature and to the bio-diverse nations of origin.

An important proof of concept for the EBP and EBC will be located in the Amazon basin in light of its rich biodiversity.

The pilot – known as the Amazon Bank of Codes – can be seen as an initiative that offers practical means to indigenous and traditional communities and local actors in the Amazon basin, and the Convention on Biodiversity at the international level, to eliminate bio-piracy. Bio-innovators in the Amazon and worldwide would tap into a store of data that accelerates the likelihood of scientific breakthroughs with a one-stop shop for nature’s assets. A fair share of the economic value created from such breakthroughs would automatically be returned to the custodians of the various components of nature’s assets in the Amazon.

For indigenous and local communities, the value could be immense. At the same time, it helps shift local incentives away from short-term forest clearance towards longer-term preservation. This platform would help support national regulators in the Amazon and implement the fair and equitable sharing of benefits as intended by the 2017 Nagoya Protocol, which governs access to genetic resources.

Following this proof of concept, the EBC, in partnership with the EBP, would facilitate a similar approach in other areas rich in biodiversity on land and in the oceans.

The World Economic Forum System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Environment and Natural Resource Security will offer its platform and networks to help advance the development of the EBC as a discrete project in its wider partnership with the EBP. This will form an associated workstream of the System Initiative’s Fourth Industrial Revolution for the Earth Initiative. By providing a platform for the partnership between the EBP and the EBC, the World Economic Forum’s Fourth Industrial Revolution for the Earth Initiative will enable experts from across the public, private and research sectors to work together on developing guidelines that maximize the opportunities and minimize the risks to society from such an innovation.

“Scientists and entrepreneurs are now able to tap into a new source of knowledge that could be the driver behind the next generation of novel technologies. If the dividends are shared equitably, an inclusive bio-economy could be created that provides a significant new funding stream for conservation and sustainable development efforts centred on the custodians of nature,” said Juan Carlos Castilla-Rubio, Founder and Chairman of Space Time Ventures, Founder of the Earth Bank of Codes and member of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on the Environment and Natural Resource Security.

“The partnership will construct a global biology infrastructure project to sequence life on the planet to enable solutions for preserving Earth’s biodiversity, managing ecosystems, spawning bio-based industries and sustaining human societies,” said Harris Lewin, Distinguished Professor of Evolution and Ecology, Robert and Rosabel Osborne Endowed Chair, University of California, Davis, member of the United States National Academy of Science and Chair of the Earth BioGenome Project.

There is still work to be done. For example, the additional $4.7 billion needed for ongoing scientific research has still to be raised. Also, the regulatory framework, governance and data-sharing principles and protocols will need to be developed alongside the research to ensure that the risks to society are minimized, the opportunities for societal benefit are maximized, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits is operationalized.

To address these challenges, the partnership will rely on convening multistakeholder collaborations that draw in science, research, technology and ethics communities, along with governments and the private sector.

The goals of the EBP are supported by some of the world’s leading universities and research centres, in addition to the Smithsonian Institution in the United States, the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) in Shenzhen, China, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the Royal Botanical Gardens in the United Kingdom, the FAPESP (São Paulo Research Foundation) in Brazil and the Department of Agriculture in the United States – and the list of partners is expanding. The EBP is working closely with the Global Genome Biodiversity Network, the Earth Bank of Codes and a number of biotech and innovation start-ups.

The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship. It engages with business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is independent, impartial and not tied to any interests. It cooperates closely with all leading international organizations (http://www.weforum.org/).

Source: World Economic Forum

 

 

Digital Tunisia 2020 Project

 

NEWS FROM FASCINATING PROJECTS

 Radical upgrade of Tunisia’s digital capability gets underway

 10 November 2017 – Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire – The African Development Bank has announced approval of a loan of €71.56 million to support the implementation of ‘Digital Tunisia 2020’ National Strategic Plan. The Tunisian government is contributing €63.4 million, bringing the total cost of the project to €134.96 million.

The project is national and all-encompassing.  The ‘Digital Tunisia 2020’ National Strategic Plan (PNS) will be executed between 2018 and 2021.  The project will strengthen public services through the use of digital platforms, on a grand scale and includes, notably, the implementation of online administrative services, sectoral information services, a digital ID system, and a data exchange platform.

An important feature of the project is its broad geographical coverage. It will radically cut the current regional disparities so that all the Tunisian people will have access to grassroots services online, whether they live in urban areas or rural communities, north or south of the country.

Apart from putting government services within the reach of the population, the project will create a two-way dialogue, letting citizens participate in the formulation and implementation of public policies through electronic feedback, creating a climate of open government.

The project also has great potential for the wider Tunisian economy.  It provides for substantial support to trigger a strong and performing digital economy in the country that will give much-needed job opportunities to the young graduate population.

This project will allow the strengthening of administrative services offered to users and people in business,” said Mohamed El Aziz, the AfDB’s regional director for North Africa, adding that “it will contribute to and improve access to public services across the country.”

The Task Manager for the project at AfDB, Samatar Omar Elmi, added: “The project really illustrates how the adoption of new technologies can enhance public services delivery, improving the government’s dialogue with citizens while fostering the development of the local digital environment.”

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is a regional multilateral development finance institution established in 1964 to mobilize resources towards the economic and social progress of its Regional Member Countries. Headquartered in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, the Bank promotes economic and social development in African states, providing financing for programs and projects across the continent.  For more information, visit www.adbg.org.

Source: African Development Bank

 

EBRD approves financing for Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project

 

PROJECT / PROGRAMME NEWS

Bank investment to strengthen Europe’s energy security

18 October 2017 – London, UK – The EBRD Board of Directors has approved a US$ 500 million regional project today that will help finance the delivery of crucial energy supplies from the Caspian Sea through to Europe along the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) and make an important contribution to energy security and diversification.

The EBRD financing will fund the completion of the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) that passes through Turkey. TANAP is a key part of the SGC which will strengthen Europe’s energy security, promote interconnectivity and open gas markets. It will also help provide a better energy supply mix for consumers in the Balkans and south-eastern Europe as well as achieve significant CO2 reductions through the substitution of obsolete coal-fired power plants.

The Bank’s engagement in the project will ensure adherence to the highest environmental standards and allow continuing extensive dialogue with all stakeholders of SGC.

The Southern Gas Corridor includes gas infrastructure investments into a 3,500-kilometre pipeline running through six countries with a total cost of US$ 40 billion. The key components are the Shah Deniz offshore gas field in Azerbaijan, the Southern Caucasus Pipeline in Azerbaijan and Georgia, TANAP in Turkey and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) through Greece, Albania and Italy. The initial annual throughput capacity will be up to 16 billion cubic metres, which is equivalent to the annual energy consumption of more than 10 million households in the region.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) was established in 1991 to nurture the private sector in Central and Eastern Europe and ex-Soviet countries. The EBRD uses investment to help build market economies and democracies from central Europe to central Asia. Owned by 61 countries and two intergovernmental institutions, the EBRD provides project financing for banks, industries and businesses.  For more information, visit www.ebrd.com

Source: EBRD

 

U.S. backs Zim TB infection control program

 

NEWS FROM FASCINATING PROGRAMS/PROJECTS

Reported by Peter Banda in Harare

14 September 2017 – Harare, Zimbabwe – A senior official from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a United States government health agency, has called for increased collaboration among private and public health organisations in Zimbabwe to sustain efforts that accelerate progress in preventing the spread of tuberculosis (TB) among health care workers.

“It is paramount that we implement measures to keep health care workers safe, healthy and productive,” said Shirish Balachandra, Branch Chief for HIV Services at CDC-Zimbabwe (pictured).”We are excited to support integrated surveillance of anti-microbial resistance across the disease spectrum through our partnership with Zimbabwe, working to strengthen the laboratory system.”

Balachandra was addressing delegates gathered in Harare for the National Infection Prevention and Control Conference on Wednesday. His remarks in the wake of a recent announcement by the United States government that it is committing $130 million towards Zimbabwe’s response to HIV. Part of the funding, drawn from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), will be channelled towards disease surveillance and prevention of TB infection programs.

According to the Infection Control Association in Zimbabwe (ICAZ), the conference, attended by representatives of various health organisations, focused on the role of health care workers in TB infection control and anti-microbial resistance.

The ICAZ President Mrs. Phyllis Manungo said “The objective of the conference is to bring together partners from both the private and public health and related sectors and other stakeholders interested in preventing TB and other infections and fight Antimicrobial resistance   so that we can share experiences and learn from each other.”

According to CDC-Zimbabwe, TB is a public health problem in Zimbabwe which causes significant morbidity and mortality. Zimbabwe is one of the eight countries in Africa designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as being “high burden” for TB, TB/HIV co-infection, and multi-drug resistant TB.

The conference discussed strategies to contain the rise of antimicrobial resistance, which has significant overlap with the issue of infection prevention and control. “Given the increasing resistance to first-line antibiotics,” noted Balachandra, “a broad range of common infections are now much more difficult to treat. Second- and third-line regimens are proving to be costly, more likely to have side-effects, and require much longer durations of treatment.”

Speakers at the conference noted that the risk of TB transmission at healthcare facilities is significant, both among patients, and from patients to health care workers. This risk is greater with increasing volumes of contagious (smear-positive) TB patients.  The implementation of effective infection control measures can significantly reduce the risk of TB transmission.

Sydney Makarawo, chairperson of the National Infection Prevention and Control Committee, said the health ministry was working on a health worker TB policy. “It is the responsibility of all of us to ensure that we are screened for TB and that we work in a safe environment, taking the necessary steps to protect ourselves and others from getting healthcare associated TB,” he said.

The United States, with funding support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and CDC-Zimbabwe, has supported Zimbabwe’s health ministry to strengthen infection prevention and control in health facilities throughout the country. The support started in 2011 through the Zimbabwe Infection Prevention and Control Project, or ZIPCOP. In October, the U.S. health agency partnered the health ministry to support the Healthcare Associated TB Infection Prevention Program (HATIPP-Zim). The central focus of HATIPP-Zim is to support health care worker TB screening and treatment.


Project Management Zimbabwe (PMZ – Project Management Institute of Zimbabwe) is Zimbabwe’s largest Association of Project Managers, with a membership base of over 1000. The institute has a mandate of policing the elevation of project management standards nationally through mentorship and membership services programmes.  For information, visit www.pmiz.org.zw or email: [email protected].

Source:  Project Management Zimbabwe

 

U.S. brings Hollywood gaffer to Zim film festival

 

NEWS FROM FASCINATING PROGRAMS/PROJECTS

Reported by Peter Banda in Harare

25 August 2017 – Harare, Zimbabwe – Project Management Zimbabwe (PMZ) has shared the news that the United States Embassy has announced the participation of Hollywood lighting designer, gaffer and cinematographer Christian Epps at this year’s Zimbabwe International Film Festival (ZIFF) and the International Images Film Festival. Epps will conduct workshops in line with the Festival’s theme, “The Business of Film.”  The Embassy will showcase the film Hidden Figures on Wednesday, August 30th at 7:00 pm at ZIFFHUB as part of the festival.  The ZIFF is a major arts programme in Zimbabwe each year, with many associated projects.

“We are delighted to have Christian Epps visit Zimbabwe,” said David McGuire, Public Affairs Officer at the United States Embassy.  “We hope the interaction with local film makers and producers will bring to the fore new trends and tools in lighting design and film making as well as provide a spark to the great relationship the United States has with the local arts industry.”  McGuire said Epps will reach out to film makers in Harare and Chitungwiza, and is eager to witness the work of amazing Zimbabwean film makers.

Epps has worked as a lighting designer for more than 20 years, covering everything from major motion pictures and broadcast television to live theater, dance, music videos and special events. He has worked with notable directors such as Spike Lee, Hype Williams, and Nick Castle.  In addition, Epps has contributed his design work to notable artists including Michael Jackson, P. Diddy, Biggy Smalls, R. Kelly, Whitney Houston, Queen Latifah, Branford Marsalis, Me’Shell N’degeocello, TLC, The Indigo Girls, and Boyz II Men, among others.  His recent projects include Selma and the award winning Sundance movie, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints.  Epps’ work has been seen across the United States and in the Caribbean, Europe, Mexico, and of late has become a regular fixture in Africa – especially Nigeria (Nollywood, TV & concert), South Africa, Rwanda, Senegal and Zimbabwe.

During the festivals Epps will present seminars covering technical presentations on lighting and a variety of other film-making skills while establishing links and co-productions as he has with other African countries and organizations.  He will give a project management workshop including a session on practical film production process management, and conduct a basic film making workshop at Young Africa Skills Center in Chitungwiza.

The award winning American film Hidden Figures tells the story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program.  The film garnered various awards and nominations following its release earlier this year including three Academy Award nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress for Octavia Spencer. The film earned four awards at the African-American Film Critics Association.

This year’s Festival is jointly coordinated by the ZIFF and the International Film Festival for Women and runs from August 26th to September 2nd.

Project Management Zimbabwe (PMZ – Project Management Institute of Zimbabwe) is Zimbabwe’s largest Association of Project Managers, with a membership base of over 1000. The institute has a mandate of policing the elevation of project management standards nationally through mentorship and membership services programmes. For information, visit http://www.pmiz.org.zw/ or email: [email protected]

Source: Project Management Zimbabwe

 

 

U.S. notes Zimbabwe progress in combatting trafficking in persons

 

NEWS FROM FASCINATING PROGRAMS/PROJECTS

Reported by Peter Banda in Harare

29 June 2017 – Harare, Zimbabwe – Project Management Zimbabwe (PMZ) has shared news from a United States government report that says Zimbabwe made notable progress to strengthen its capacity and to respond to cases of trafficking in persons in the past year.  This is positive news about an important regional programme.

“The (Zimbabwe) government made key achievements during the reporting period (2016- 17)… these achievements included increased efforts to investigate and prosecute alleged trafficking crimes,” according to the State Department Trafficking in Persons Report (June 2017). “The government coordinated with Kuwait to repatriate and refer to care 121 female trafficking victims, and also repatriated five victims from Sudan.”

The report commends Zimbabwe for launching its first national action plan and implementing several key activities in the plan. Among these was the Anti-Trafficking Inter-Ministerial committee which developed terms of reference to guide front-line responders in a victim-centered approach and established two provincial taskforces to implement the national action plan at the provincial level. It also conducted training-of-trainers for police on victim identification interview procedures.

Briefing journalists, government officials and representatives of nongovernmental organisations on Wednesday morning, an official from the United States Embassy said as a result of these actions, Zimbabwe was upgraded to Tier 2 Watch List.

“Any country determined to be a country of origin, transit, or destination for at least two victims of trafficking in persons must be included in the TIP Report and assigned to one of four tiers,” said Embassy Political Officer Krista Fisher (pictured right). “Countries assessed as fully meeting the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking are classified as Tier 1 and countries assessed as not fully meeting the minimum standards, but making significant efforts to meet them, are classified as Tier 2.”

Previously Zimbabwe was ranked Tier 3, among countries assessed as not meeting the minimum standards nor making significant efforts to meet them.

“This is definitely an achievement and we hope that it will motivate the government and others involved in combating trafficking in persons in Zimbabwe to continue to make strides in protecting vulnerable people from trafficking,” said Fisher.

The report acknowledges that Zimbabwe is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor—as is the United States.  Women and girls from Zimbabwean towns bordering South Africa, Mozambique, and Zambia are subjected to forced labor, including domestic servitude, and sex trafficking in brothels catering to long-distance truck drivers on both sides of the borders. Reports indicate that adults have recruited girls for child sex trafficking in Victoria Falls. Children are subjected to forced labor in the agricultural and mining sectors and are forced to carry out illegal activities, including drug smuggling. There were increased reports of children from Mozambique being subjected to forced labor in street vending in Zimbabwe, including in Mbare.

Each year, since 2001, the U.S. government has produced the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report to encourage global efforts to end human trafficking. It is also the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-human trafficking efforts and reflects the U.S. Government’s commitment to global leadership on this key human rights and law enforcement issue. It represents an updated, global look at the nature and scope of trafficking in persons and the broad range of government actions to confront and eliminate it.

The U.S. Government uses the TIP Report to engage foreign governments in dialogues to advance anti-trafficking reforms and to combat trafficking and to target resources on prevention, protection and prosecution programs. “The introduction of this year’s report focuses on the responsibility of governments to criminalize human trafficking and hold offenders accountable,” noted Secretary Rex Tillerson in the foreword to the report. “To that end, this report is intended to assist governments in identifying threats so law enforcement agencies around the world can respond effectively and gain insight into where human trafficking remains most severe. The Report will also equip local and sub-national law enforcement agencies to better assist in efforts to target and prosecute those who commit these terrible crimes.”

Worldwide, the report is used by international organizations, foreign governments, and nongovernmental organizations alike as a tool to examine where resources are most needed. Freeing victims, preventing trafficking, and bringing traffickers to justice are the ultimate goals of the report and of the U.S Government’s anti-human trafficking policy.

The full report is available on https://www.state.gov/j/tip/

Project Management Zimbabwe (PMZ – Project Management Institute of Zimbabwe) is Zimbabwe’s largest Association of Project Managers, with a membership base of over 1000. The institute has a mandate of policing the elevation of project management standards nationally through mentorship and membership services programmes. PMZ  is registered and accredited by the Ministry of Higher & Tertiary Education Zimbabwe. For information, visit http://www.pmiz.org.zw/ or email: [email protected].

Source: Project Management Zimbabwe

 

 

NASA Completes Milestone toward Quieter Supersonic X-Plane

 

NEWS FROM FASCINATING PROJECTS

26 June 2017 – Washington, DC, USA – NASA has announced the achievement of a significant milestone in its effort to make supersonic passenger jet travel over land a real possibility by completing the preliminary design review (PDR) of its Quiet Supersonic Transport or QueSST aircraft design. QueSST is the initial design stage of NASA’s planned Low Boom Flight Demonstration (LBFD) experimental airplane, otherwise known as an X-plane.

Senior experts and engineers from across the agency and the Lockheed Martin Corporation concluded Friday that the QueSST design is capable of fulfilling the LBFD aircraft’s mission objectives, which are to fly at supersonic speeds, but create a soft “thump” instead of the disruptive sonic boom associated with supersonic flight today. The LBFD X-plane will be flown over communities to collect data necessary for regulators to enable supersonic flight over land in the United States and elsewhere in the world.

Illustration of NASA’s planned Low Boom Flight Demonstration aircraft as outlined during the project’s Preliminary Design Review last week. Image courtesy of NASA and Lockheed Martin.

NASA partnered with lead contractor, Lockheed Martin, in February 2016 for the QueSST preliminary design. Last month, a scale model of the QueSST design completed testing in the 8-by 6-foot supersonic wind tunnel at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

“Managing a project like this is all about moving from one milestone to the next,” said David Richwine, manager for the preliminary design effort under NASA’s Commercial Supersonic Technology Project. “Our strong partnership with Lockheed Martin helped get us to this point. We’re now one step closer to building an actual X-plane.”

After the success of completing the PDR, NASA’s project team can start the process of soliciting proposals later this year and awarding a contract early next year to build the piloted, single-engine X-plane. The acquisition for the LBFD X-plane contract will be fully open and competitive, with the QueSST preliminary design data being made available to qualified bidders. Flight testing of an LBFD X-plane could begin as early as 2021.

Over the next few months, NASA will work with Lockheed on finalizing the QueSST preliminary design effort. This includes a static inlet performance test and a low-speed wind tunnel test at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

For more information about QueSST and LBFD, visit: https://go.nasa.gov/2tdiNif

For more information about NASA’s aeronautics work, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/aeronautics

Created in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is America’s focal point for research, development and exploration of outer space. For over 50 years, NASA has been leading the world in the usage of advanced program and project management. Additional information about NASA can be found at http://www.nasa.gov/.

Source: NASA

 

 

$1bln Zimbabwe Road Rehabilitation project Launched

 

NEWS FROM FASCINATING PROGRAMS/PROJECTS

Reported by Peter Banda in Harare
Project Management Zimbabwe

21 June 2017 – Harare, Zimbabwe – Works on the US$1billion rehabilitation and dualisation of the 580 km Beitbridge-Harare Road has started. Zimbabwe President His Excellency Robert Mugabe officially commissioned the start of the project at the beginning of May 2017 with a ground breaking ceremony that was attended by key stakeholders from the public and private sector. Work on the Beitbridge-Harare Rd is a sub-project and phase 1 of the major project to rehabilitate the entire Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Road (see map image below) which has an estimated total project cost of $2,3billion according to reports from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development.

The Zimbabwe government has awarded the tender for the Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) project to Austrian contractor Geiger International and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) and agreements were signed in November 2016.

The project is expected to take up to three years and will be carried out in two phases. The first section will be from Beitbridge to Harare, which will be done under a Public Private Partnership/ Build Operate and Transfer model. The second phase covering Harare-Chirundu section will be done through a loan facility.

The Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway is Zimbabwe’s busiest and most economically significant, and is part of the North-South Corridor that directly links landlocked Zimbabwe and Zambia with access to the Indian Ocean ports of Durban and Richards Bay in South Africa.

Speaking at the May 2017 ground breaking ceremony, Zimbabwe Transport Minister Joram Gumbo said Government signed a memorandum of understanding for the contract with Geiger International (GI) in 2012 but the absence of a legal framework until 2016 delayed the deal.

This is despite the deal being officially announced in June last year, when Government named GI and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) as the tender winners for the Harare-Beitbridge and Harare-Chirundu roads. GI Vice-President Eric Geiger said the negotiations for the deal had taken six years, ‘punctuated by tenders and legal issues.’

“Geiger International has mobilised resources for the design and construction of the road and will be responsible for collecting and maintaining the toll plazas during the concession period, through a company in which Government will have shares,” said Geiger.

“Proceeds from toll operations will be used to meet operating costs, loan repayments, interest, dividend payments to investors, and shareholders including the government. At the end of the concession period, Geiger will hand over the road to government, which would have to be responsible for its maintenance.”

Actual work on the road will start after three months if the designs are approved, he said.

Local companies will participate in the construction project to the tune of 40 percent of contract value. Geiger said the government had guaranteed the safety of its investment. The road was the beginning of more business deals with government, with more to follow, he added.

Gumbo said more toll plazas will be added on the route as Geiger seeks to recoup their investment.

The Beitbridge highway has been in use for over 56 years, way beyond its design life of 20 years. Efforts to rehabilitate the highway, whose state of disrepair has cost many lives in traffic accidents, have been held back by claims of corruption and bribery. Government initially awarded the contract to ZimHighways, a consortium of 14 firms that included Murray & Roberts, Costain Africa, Kuchi Building Construction, Tarcon, Bitcon, Joina Development Company and Southland Engineers back in 2003. However, the project never took off as bickering erupted between the government and the consortium. Government accused the contractors of failing to put up the money for the project, while ZimHighways accused government officials of demanding bribes.

In 2013, after government announced plans to hand the project to a new contractor, citing ZimHighways’ failure to start the project, the consortium took the government to court. It only dropped its lawsuit in 2015, on condition that the consortium members would be sub-contracted for the project, allowing government to float a new tender.

Project Management Zimbabwe (PMZ – Project Management Institute of Zimbabwe) is Zimbabwe’s largest Association of Project Managers, with a membership base of over 1000. The institute has a mandate of policing the elevation of project management standards nationally through mentorship, membership services and programmes. For information, visit http://www.pmiz.org.zw/ or email: [email protected].

Source: Project Management Zimbabwe

 

 

New NASA Experiments, Research Headed to International Space Station

 

NEWS FROM FASCINATING PRORAMS & PROJECTS

3 June 2017 – Washington, DC, USA – NASA has announced that major experiments that will look into the human body and out into the galaxy are on their way to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft following its 5:07 p.m. EDT launch aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. The Dragon lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. About 6,000 pounds of research equipment, cargo and supplies are packed into the cargo craft that is now in Earth orbit and headed to the station.

The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 5:07 p.m. June 3. About 6,000 pounds of research equipment, cargo and supplies are packed into the cargo craft that is now in Earth orbit and headed to the International Space Station. Credits: NASA TV

Research materials flying inside the Dragon’s pressurized area include an experiment studying fruit flies to better understand the effects on the heart of prolonged exposure to microgravity. Because they’re small, age rapidly, and have a well-known genetic make-up, they are good models for heart function studies. This experiment could significantly advance understanding of how spaceflight affects the cardiovascular system and could aid in the development of countermeasures to help astronauts.

The Systemic Therapy of NELL-1 for osteoporosis investigation tests a new drug that can rebuild bone and block further bone loss, improving crew health. When people and animals spend extended periods of time in space, they experience bone density loss, or osteoporosis. In-flight countermeasures, such as exercise, prevent it from getting worse, but there isn’t a therapy on Earth or in space that can restore bone. The results from this ISS National Laboratory-sponsored investigation build on previous research also supported by the National Institutes for Health and could lead to new drugs for treating bone density loss in millions of people on Earth.

Three payloads inside Dragon’s unpressurized area will demonstrate new solar panel technologies, study the physics of neutron stars, and host an array of Earth-viewing instruments.

This mission is SpaceX’s eleventh cargo flight to the station under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract. Dragon’s cargo will support dozens of the more than 250 science and research investigations during the station’s Expeditions 52 and 53.

The Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to depart the space station in early July, returning with more than 3,400 pounds of science, hardware and crew supplies.

For more than 16 years, humans have lived and worked continuously aboard the International Space Station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies, making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth that will enable long-duration human and robotic exploration into deep space. A global endeavor, more than 200 people from 18 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 1,900 research investigations from researchers in more than 95 countries.

Keep up with the International Space Station, and its research and crews, at http://www.nasa.gov/station

Created in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is America’s focal point for research, development and exploration of outer space. For nearly 60 years, NASA has been leading the world in the development and usage of advanced program and project management. Additional information about NASA can be found at http://www.nasa.gov/.

Source: NASA

Image: courtesy of NASA

 

 

U.S. to maintain HIV programme funding in Zimbabwe

 

NEWS FROM FASCINATING PROGRAMS/PROJECTS

Reported by Peter Banda in Harare

11 May 2017 – Harare, Zimbabwe – Project Management Zimbabwe (PMZ) has shared a recent announcement from the U.S. embassy in Harare. The United States Ambassador says his country will maintain, and even increase, HIV funding levels in Zimbabwe despite a change in administration.

“We are very heartened that our Congress just passed the budget within the last few days and our President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) funding is remaining constant. In fact it will likely grow to almost $150 million next year,” said Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. “This means we are able to continue saving lives through PEPFAR as well as feed about 2.4 million people a day in Zimbabwe through other assistance programs.”

“International aid has not been affected. Congress did not cut international aid,” said Ambassador Thomas.

In picture: Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr. with members of the U.S. based acapella group, Street Corner Symphony at the OK- PEPFAR First Street Stage on Friday.

The top U.S. diplomat was addressing journalists during a tour of the OK- PEPFAR First Street Stage during the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) which ended on Sunday. With support from his Embassy, several organizations working on HIV and related health services showcased their work along First Street as well as provided HIV-related services to members of the public. Musical and other entertainment groups, including the visiting U.S. a capella group- the Street Corner Symphony- provided entertainment.

“We think music, education, fun saves lives,” said the U.S. Ambassador. “Despite tremendous success in reducing HIV incidence in Zimbabwe from 2.63 per cent to 0.48 per cent since 2000, we still need to educate people – especially the young.  And the way to reach the young is through music. You are not just preaching to them, you are helping them to have a good time and see that, like the young people who I just met who were born with HIV, what vibrant lives they live.”

Since 2006, PEPFAR has provided nearly US$800 million to Zimbabwe for HIV interventions.  Over the past two years, PEPFAR’s allocation of resources have been focused on achieving the greatest impact to reach epidemic control in a short space of time by focusing new and renewed efforts in geographic areas with the highest burden of disease.

“These areas are home to at least 80% of Zimbabweans living with HIV, and receive a comprehensive package of HIV services tailored by age, sex and risk for their populations. In 2016, PEPFAR reached over 1.9 million individuals with HIV testing and counseling services and expects to reach over 2.5 million individuals in 2017 through revised strategies such as index testing (contact tracing), innovative interventions such as HIV self-testing to reach older men and young adults, and a short-term surge in human resources to increase provider-initiated testing and counseling in facilities in 2017,” explained Mark Troger, PEPFAR Zimbabwe Coordinator.

The USG remains a leading provider of bilateral HIV assistance to Zimbabwe. It was the first, and remains the largest contributor to the Global Fund by contributing over $7 billion dollars to date.

Project Management Zimbabwe (PMZ – Project Management Institute of Zimbabwe) is Zimbabwe’s largest Association of Project Managers, with a membership base of over 1000. The institute has a mandate of policing the elevation of project management standards nationally through mentorship and membership services programmes. For information, visit http://www.pmiz.org.zw/ or email: [email protected]

Source: Project Management Zimbabwe

 

 

Art and Health projects in Zimbabwe

 

NEWS FROM FASCINATING PROGRAMS/PROJECTS

PEPFAR HIV, AIDS and TB prevention film and treatment services included in major Zimbabwe arts festival this year

Reported by Peter Banda in Harare

7 April 2017 – Harare, Zimbabwe – Project Management Zimbabwe (PMZ) has forwarded recent news related to an important health program included in the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA). According to news released from the US embassy in Harare, the United States will continue its partnership with the HIFA program with a feature film as well as musical and health infotainment in Harare’s First Street.

“We are excited to be part of this year’s edition of HIFA,” says David McGuire, Public Affairs Officer at the United States Embassy. “We see the Festival as an opportunity to learn more about Zimbabwean art and culture as well as sharing American art forms and our commitment to a healthy Zimbabwe.”  The United States will provide a platform for its partners to reach out to the public at the HIFA’s PEPFAR First Street Stage at the junction of First Street and George Silundika Avenue.

The PEPFAR First Street Stage will provide free shows during the duration of the festival under the theme “Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free.” In addition, the public will receive health information as well as access services from U.S. Embassy partners supported through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). In Zimbabwe, PEPFAR has committed $135 million in 2017, and the initiative supports the Government of Zimbabwe’s National response to HIV and AIDS by providing high-impact prevention, care, and treatment interventions.

Among the performances at the PEPFAR First Street Stage will be the visiting a capella musical group, Street Corner Symphony. The five member Nashville, Tennessee- based group was established in 2010 and has made their mark on the music world, recording albums and performing around the world, working with major artists including Ben Folds, Alison Krauss, and Take 6’s Claude McKnight.

The feature film, Lucky Specials, will also be part of the HIFA 2017 schedule which brings together local and international and art forms to Harare. The film was produced with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and PEPFAR in partnership with Discovery Learning Alliance, Quizzical Pictures, Wellcome Trust, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), HHMI Tangled Bank Studios, and Management Sciences for Health (MSH) to produce the film which premiered in Harare on March 9. In this “edutainment” film, both plot twists and scientific video animations tell individuals what they need to know about TB disease, TB treatment, and TB prevention.  Audiences were enchanted by the music and storyline, and armed with facts to replace myths and misinformation about TB.

The PEPFAR First Street Stage will be the second time the United States is partnering HIFA in infotainment. The 2014 PEPFAR First Street Stage was popular with young people. PEPFAR partners provided HIV testing and counseling services; conducted blood collection and a donor recruitment and retention exercise; distributed condoms; taught young people how to prevent HIV infection as well as how to access antiretroviral therapy and other crucial information services.

For more about HIFA 2017, go to http://www.hifa.co.zw/

For more about PEPFAR, visit https://www.pepfar.gov/

Project Management Zimbabwe (PMZ) is Zimbabwe’s largest Association of Project Managers, with a membership base of over 1000. The institute has a mandate of policing the elevation of project management standards nationally through mentorship and membership services programmes.  For information, visit www.pmiz.org.zw or email: [email protected].

Source:  Project Management Zimbabwe

 

 

Green Climate Fund approves EBRD projects in Tajikistan and Morocco

 

PROJECT / PROGRAMME NEWS

Large infrastructure projects to strengthen climate resilience

6 April 2017 – London, UK – Two EBRD climate resilience project proposals for the modernisation of a hydropower plant in Tajikistan and an irrigation scheme in Morocco have been approved for co-financing by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) today.

The total project volume for the two projects is US$ 415 million, of which US$ 81 million will be provided by the GCF in the form of concessional loans and grants:

  • In Tajikistan the EBRD and other co-lenders are providing US$ 158 million for the climate-resilient upgrade of Qairokkum hydropower plant, with co-financing of US$ 50 million from the GCF.
  • Under the Morocco Saïss Water Conservation Project the EBRD and partners are extending US$ 207 million for irrigation infrastructure that will protect agricultural production from the impacts of climate change with a co-financing grant contribution of €32 million from the GCF, together with a further €54 million contribution from the Kingdom of Morocco.

Craig Davies, EBRD Head of Climate Resilience Investments, said: “These investments will strengthen the climate resilience of critical infrastructure in both countries, foster greater private sector involvement and benefit key sectors in both countries. The EBRD believes that successful economies should be competitive, green, well-governed, inclusive, resilient and integrated.”

In Tajikistan, the modernisation of the Qairokkum hydropower plant will address the energy security needs of 2.4 million people in the northern Sughd region in the face of increasing climatic variability. GCF support will enable best international practices on climate risk management to be introduced to the Tajik hydropower sector.

In Morocco, extreme water scarcity is being exacerbated by the impacts of climate change, and unsustainable groundwater use is leading to diminishing groundwater reserves. This poses a severe threat to agricultural production and rural livelihoods as more than 80 per cent of abstracted water is used for agricultural irrigation. Of the total agricultural land, only 15 per cent is irrigated, often with inefficient water use and management practices.

In response to climate change, the Morocco Saïss Water Conservation Project will improve the climate resilience of the country’s highly vulnerable agriculture sector. This will be achieved with a transformative water transfer scheme that will deliver more than 100 million cubic metres of irrigation water to the Saïss plain each year, thus enabling a switch from highly unsustainable groundwater to the use of sustainable surface water resources, as well as improving access to best-practice and efficient irrigation techniques.

To read full news release, click here.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) was established in 1991 to nurture the private sector in Central and Eastern Europe and ex-Soviet countries. The EBRD uses investment to help build market economies and democracies from central Europe to central Asia. The EBRD is the largest single investor in the region and mobilizes significant foreign direct investment beyond its own financing. Owned by 61 countries and two intergovernmental institutions, the EBRD provides project financing for banks, industries and businesses.  For more information, visit http://www.ebrd.com/index.htm

Source: EBRD