AI could boost Latin American and Caribbean Economies



IDB Study also urges governments to anticipate consequences of artificial intelligence in labor markets

29 August 2018 – Artificial intelligence (AI) can facilitate trade negotiations and add one additional percentage point of growth to Latin American and the Caribbean economies, according to a study by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The study by the IDB’s Institute for the Integration of Latin America and the Caribbean (INTAL) predicts that AI could boost regional GDP in the mid-term to 4 percent from current 3 percent projections.

Brazil, for instance, could grow 4.1 percent a year instead of 3.2 percent. Colombia’s economy could hit 4.5 percent growth instead of 3.7 percent. Overall, economic growth of countries that embrace artificial intelligence is expected to be 25 percent higher, on average, than those that do not, the report finds.

Almost half of this increase comes from improvements in productivity, as workers spend more time on tasks that add more value, according to Algorithmlandia: Artificial Intelligence for Predictive and Inclusive form of Integration in Latin America .

The report, which contains inputs from 40 experts in artificial intelligence, also warns that artificial intelligence will bring difficult ethical considerations and labor market challenges.

“Artificial intelligence is much more than a new technological fad,” said Gustavo Beliz, the director of INTAL. “It is a unique hybrid of work and capital. It is an entirely new productive force, capable of teaching itself. These new technologies need to be inserted into our productive processes and in our exports. Failure to do so means falling behind more developed economies.”

Better trade negotiations

The report predicts the emergence of a “new trade techno-diplomacy,” where complex trade negotiations are simplified, and supply chains become more productive. Artificial intelligence can bring this about by analyzing vast amounts of data relating to trade flows, tariffs, rules of origin, and sanitary regulations, among others. Artificial intelligence can help find consensus areas in tough multilateral trade negotiations. With the help of anticipatory analytical tools, artificial intelligence can also construct sophisticated predictive regional trade scenarios. Artificial intelligence models have a 300 percent greater predictive capacity than traditional econometric models.

In finance and capital markets, algorithms can be 95% more effective in predicting investor risk profile. Artificial intelligence can help the region narrow physical infrastructure connectivity gaps. By using sensors and the internet of things, artificial intelligence can assign port container slots in real time to optimize inventory management. Electricity consumption can be lowered by up to 10 percent by using smart networks that can better match supply with demand.

In health, diagnosing illnesses with image recognition has a 96 percent accuracy rate. Personalizing education plans with the help of artificial intelligence reduces remediation costs by 40 percent and increases exam passing rates by 15 percent.

Labor market consequences

AI also brings important political and ethical challenges. The risk of job losses due to automatization varies between 10 percent and 65 percent of the work force. Algorithmlandia offers a new way of measuring that risk, by factoring in education levels, the economy’s productive structures, and the ratio of robots per industrial worker, among others.

Between 36 percent and 43 percent of jobs could be lost due to artificial intelligence in Latin America – putting the region in the middle of the more optimistic and more pessimistic forecasts. Countries with lower GDP per capita and greater inequality are at a greater risk of suffering jobs losses, the report says.

“To better manage the transition for displaced workers, governments must put in place policies and strategic plans that are designed for artificial intelligence,” says INTAL’s Gustavo Beliz. “And an artificial intelligence ‘rebellion’ can sound a bit farfetched, but we need to anticipate the ethical risks around the data management, production and analysis. Artificial intelligence can bring us prosperity, but we need to ensure we do it in a way that secure and inclusive.”

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

Source: Inter-American Development Bank


NASA Debuts Online Toolkit to Promote Commercial Use of Satellite Data



18 July 2018 – Washington, DC, USA – While NASA’s policy of free and open remote-sensing data has long benefited the scientific community, other government agencies and nonprofit organizations, it has significant untapped potential for commercialization. NASA’s Technology Transfer program has created an online resource to promote commercial use of this data and the software tools needed to work with it.

With the Remote Sensing Toolkit, users will now be able to find, analyze and utilize the most relevant data for their research, business projects or conservation efforts. The toolkit provides a simple system that quickly identifies relevant sources based on user input. The toolkit will help users search for data, as well as ready-to-use tools and code to build new tools.

Through its constellation of Earth observation satellites, NASA collects petabytes of data each year, including this image of the Chukchi Sea acquired on June 18, 2018, by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite. Thanks to a new Remote Sensing Toolkit created by NASA’s Technology Transfer program, users will now be able to find, analyze and utilize the most relevant remote sensing data for their research, business projects or conservation efforts. Credits: NASA/U. S. Geological Survey/Norman Kuring/Kathryn Hansen

“This new tool makes finding and using NASA satellite data easier than ever before, and we hope it sparks innovation among the entrepreneurial community and leads to further commercialization of NASA technology and benefits people across the world,” said Daniel Lockney, NASA’s Technology Transfer program executive. “Our mission to bring NASA technology down to Earth is expanding with the release of this remote sensing toolkit.” 

Through its constellation of Earth observation satellites, NASA collects petabytes of data each year. The variety of open source tools created to access, analyze and utilize the data from these satellites is familiar to millions of science users, but accessing and utilizing this data remains daunting for many potential commercial users.

For example, NASA’s remote-sensing data and tools are spread out across dozens of sites. The NASA Technology Transfer program reviewed more than 50 websites and found that no source provided a comprehensive collection of information or a single access point to begin a search.

While the Remote Sensing Toolkit is new, using NASA satellite data to create commercial products isn’t.

“Over the years, many organizations around the world have found innovative ways to turn NASA satellite data into beneficial information products here on Earth,” said Kevin Murphy of NASA’s Earth Science Division in Washington. “Remote Sensing Toolkit will help grow the number of users who put NASA’s free and open data archive to work for people.”

The Technology Transfer program will host a tutorial of Remote Sensing Toolkit. To participate, potential users should sign up to be notified of future webinars.

NASA’s Technology Transfer program, managed by the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, ensures technologies developed for missions in exploration and discovery are broadly available to the public, maximizing the benefit to the nation.

For more information about the Remote Sensing Toolkit and NASA’s Technology Transfer program, visit: https://technology.nasa.gov/

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

Image: courtesy of NASA


FAA announces $677 Million for U.S. airports


First allotment of Infrastructure Grants for 214 Airports in 43 U.S. States announced by Transportation Secretary Chao


8 June 2018 – Washington, DC, USA – U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao today announced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will award $677 million in airport infrastructure grants, the first allotment of the total $3.18 billion in Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding for airports across the United States.

The 241 grants will fund 346 infrastructure projects that include runways, taxiways, aprons, and terminals. These projects are important to the safety and efficiency of the nation’s system of airports.

“If you want a strong transportation system, you have to invest in airport infrastructure,” said Secretary Chao.  “Airports are the backbone of aviation.  These communities are going to reap greater safety, efficiency, and economic dividends for years to come.”  

The U.S. infrastructure, and especially its 3,323 airports and 5,000 paved runways as an essential piece, moves the country’s competitiveness and lifts its citizens’ quality of life. According to the FAA’s most recent economic analysis, U.S. civil aviation accounts for $1.6 trillion in total economic activity and supports nearly 11 million jobs. Under the Secretary’s leadership, the Department is delivering AIP investments to strengthen the safety and efficiency of America’s airports.

Airports can get a certain amount of AIP entitlement funding each year based on activity levels and project needs. If their capital project needs exceed their available entitlement funds, the FAA can supplement their entitlements with discretionary funding.

Some of the grants awards include:

King Salmon Airport in King Salmon, AK, $12.8 million – the funds will be used to repair the runway and taxiway. The project is important to the local community who mainly use air transportation as their form of travel moving people and goods and services.

H.L. (Sonny) Callahan Airport in Fairhope, AL, $3 million – the airport will use grant funds to construct a taxiway.

Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport in Fayetteville/Springdale/Rogers in AR, $13.6 million – funds will be used to repair a taxiway.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, AZ, $7.2 million – grant funds will be used to reconstruct the airport apron.

San Diego International Airport in San Diego, CA, $12.1 million – grants will fund the repair of the taxiway.

Denver International Airport in Denver, CO, $ 14.2 million – several grants will fund projects to repair runways, taxiways, and runway and taxiway lighting.

Davenport Municipal Airport in Davenport, IA, $6.6 million – funds will be used to repair the runway.

Chicago Rockford International Airport in Chicago, IL, $3.1 million – grant funds will expand the cargo facility at this airport helping move goods across the country.

Liberal Mid-America, Salina Regional and Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airports in KS, $3 million – the three airports will either receive snow removal equipment or aircraft rescue and firefighting equipment.

Boston Logan International Airport in Boston, MA, $5.8 million – the funds will be used to repair the taxiway.

Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, NC, $12.6 million – the grant will be used to expand the airport apron.

Salt Lake City International Airport in Salt Lake City, UT, $16.3 million – funds will be used to repair the apron area on the airport where aircraft park.

Visit the FAA website for a complete list of the grants.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the national aviation authority of the United States. An agency of the United States Department of Transportation, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of American civil aviation. The Federal Aviation Act of 1958 created the organization under the name Federal Aviation Agency.  Information about FAA programs and projects can be found at http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/.

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT or DOT) is a Cabinet department of the U.S. government concerned with transportation. Established by the US Congress in 1966, it is governed by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation.  DOT provides financing for hundreds of transportation-related programs and projects around the United States each year.  For more information, visit http://www.dot.gov/.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation


Shaping the Future of Construction



A new report from the World Economic Forum considers new digital technologies and megatrends and recommends preparatory actions

5 June 2018 – Geneva, Switzerland – Dramatic changes on the horizon indicate an uncertain future for the engineering and construction (E&C) industry and its more than 100 million employees worldwide. Advancing digital technologies, which include building information modelling, prefabrication, wireless sensors, automated and robotic equipment, and 3D printing, are affecting the entire industry. The substantial impact of full-scale digitization could help the industry escape its decades-long lack of productivity progress and generate an estimated $1.0 trillion-$1.7 trillion in annual cost savings.

In parallel, global megatrends should motivate E&C companies to rethink industry practices that have not advanced over the years. Rapid urbanization – with more than 200,000 people a day relocating from rural areas into cities – climate change, resource depletion and the widening talent gap are just a few of the most powerful of these trends. Shaping the Future of Construction: Future Scenarios and Implications, a new report from the World Economic Forum and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), integrates consideration of the new technologies and trends into consistent scenarios of the future.

“The investigated scenarios and their implications clearly show that incremental change is not an option any more. By redefining the ultimate frontier, leapfrogging innovations in construction will finally help to address major societal challenges, from mass urbanization to climate change,” said Michael Buehler, Head of Infrastructure and Urban Development at the World Economic Forum. “The widespread adoption of game-changing innovations that consider a variety of possible futures is going to make a serious impact, socially, economically and environmentally.”

Over the past year, the World Economic Forum and BCG worked with more than 30 leading companies from the E&C industry, conducting workshops in Berlin and London. The result of those workshops was the development of three future scenarios for the E&C industry. Although all three scenarios, outlined in the report, are extreme, they are plausible. In the “building in a virtual world” scenario, which many experts consider highly likely, design and engineering software systems are powered by artificial intelligence, and autonomous construction equipment replaces most manual work throughout the E&C value chain.

Although the report indicates that it remains unclear which scenario or scenarios will unfold, there is little doubt that the future will include elements of all three. Michael Burke, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at AECOM and co-chair of the World Economic Forum Future of Construction initiative, said: “Current business models, strategies and capabilities will not be sufficient in any of these future worlds. This underscores that players along the construction value chain need to prepare strategically to thrive in the face of anticipated disruption.” In addition to recommending specific actions in response to each of the scenarios, the report provides a set of actions that will be relevant in any possible future.

The report states that 74% of the E&C company chief executives who participated in the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2018 in Davos in January said they considered that attracting new talent and improving the skills of the existing workforce to be among the top three actions for keeping pace with upcoming disruptions. The other two priorities they named were improving integration and collaboration along the value chain (65%) and adopting advanced technologies at scale (61%). For each scenario, the report describes the most important changes that E&C companies must anticipate; explains how customer requirements, segment demand, regulations, processes and technologies would change; and provides details on how the competitive position of existing industry players would be affected, what new entrants could be expected and what new business opportunities will arise.

Luis Castilla, Chief Executive Officer of Acciona Infrastructure and until recently a co-chair of the World Economic Forum Future of Construction initiative, summarized the relevance of the new report: “The construction industry’s decision-makers should understand the disruption outlined in the future scenarios as a wake-up call and use the identified key actions as a foundation for companies in the construction industry to prepare and shape a prosperous future that will allow the industry to fulfil its role in promoting economic growth, social progress and environmental responsibility.”

To download a copy of the report, please go to http://www3.weforum.org/docs/Future_Scenarios_Implications_Industry_report_2018.pdf

The new report follows two earlier reports from the World Economic Forum Future of Construction initiative published during the past year. Find earlier reports at: Shaping the Future of Construction: An Action Plan to Accelerate Building Information Modeling (BIM) Adoption, and Shaping the Future of Construction: An Action Plan to solve the Industry’s Talent Gap.

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 (www.weforum.org).

Source: World Economic Forum



Green Growth programs and projects in Africa



African Development Bank and Global Green Growth Institute announce partnership, sign MOU

25 May 2018 – Busan, South Korea – The African Development Bank and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Friday on the sidelines of the African Development Bank Group’s Annual Meetings in Busan, to promote programs, projects, joint studies and research activities to accelerate green growth options for African countries.

The African Development Bank and the Global Green Growth Institute will cooperate in several areas, including conducting a joint study on green growth readiness in Africa and exploring ways to align both organizations’ activities with the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Further, the two organizations will work together to generate synergies in areas, such as the Global Green Growth Institute’s cities programs and the African Development Bank’s initiatives on clean energy, sustainable landscapes, green cities and water and sanitation, with the ultimate goal of strengthening climate resilience in Africa.

The MoU was signed by Amadou Hott, VicePresident, Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth, African Development Bank, and Hyoeun Jenny Kim, Deputy Director General and Head of Green Growth Planning and Implementation, Global Green Growth Institute. (pictured)

“The African Development Bank believes in building strong partnerships to accelerate Africa’s development. This MoU with the Global Green Growth Institute strengthens our cooperation for effective delivery of the High 5s agenda in a manner that transitions African countries towards green growth. We very much look forward to this collaboration with GGGI,” said Vice-President Amadou Hott.

Deputy Director General Hyoeun Jenny Kim said, “The MoU we sign today will also support the sharing of green growth knowledge and best practices from GGGI’s Member and partner countries. We look forward to conducting joint research activities with African Development Bank in designing and developing green growth projects and programs and sharing knowledge and experience through launching joint publications and participating in and co-organizing events – all of which will help to promote green growth in Africa.”

This partnership reinforces the work of the Africa NDC Hub hosted by the African Development Bank, in accelerating climate action to transition Africa towards a low carbon and climate resilient development pathway.

Based in Seoul, GGGI is an intergovernmental organization that supports developing country governments transition to a model of economic growth that is environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive. GGGI delivers programs in 27 partner countries with technical support, capacity building, policy planning & implementation, and by helping to build a pipeline of bankable green investment projects. More on GGGI’s events, projects and publications can be found on www.gggi.org

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



U.S. official engages youth in Bulawayo on citizen journalism during elections



Reported by Peter Banda in Harare

25 October 2017 – Bulawayo, Zimbabwe – Project Management Zimbabwe (PMZ) has shared the following news from Zimbabwe.  A senior United States Embassy official says citizens can contribute towards the successful conduct of elections if they constructively use citizen journalism techniques to share information about their experiences as well as challenges members of the public face during the electoral process.

“We don’t want to have a flawed election; we want the election to be free, fair and credible,” said Ms. Jennifer Savage, Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy. “We want the registration process to be open to all. If they start to hear that people are complaining, and people are concerned and can’t register, then it is not free, it is not fair. Really, this is where you as citizen journalists have a great opportunity to get the word out there, and get it to the authorities.”

Ms. Savage held a wide ranging discussion with youth participating in a citizen journalism training on the premises of the Center for Innovation and Technology (CITEZW) in Bulawayo last week. The youth included young girls between 18 and 25, receiving skills training from CITEZW under the “We are the Future” initiative aimed at equipping young girls with digital skills, but also enabling them to produce regular reports on developments in their respective communities.

In picture: Ms. Savage with youth and trainers at CITEZW in Bulawayo on October 18th

The interaction with the senior United States Embassy representative allowed the youth to ask questions about prospects for scholarships in the United States, among other issues. However, U.S. support to independent media came into focus with youth eager to use technologies such as mobile phones to contribute to the free flow of information in the public interest.

“A lot of people talk up WhatsApp,” said Ms. Savage, challenging the youth to be courageous in ensuring that authorities rectify anomalies at all stages of the electoral process. “I would encourage you to be courageous, step up and put your name on it and say this is what I saw,” she said noting that authorities had an obligation to act on challenges faced by members of the public during all stages of the electoral process.

The United States has supported professional development of Zimbabwean media professionals, including citizen journalists, through capacity building training by American and local media experts, professional exchange programs for journalists, as well as mentorship programs targeted at bridging the gender divide in the mainstream media sector.

Encouraging the youth to be courageous in telling stories about developments in their communities, Savage said citizen journalists, like mainstream journalists, occupied a special role as members of the fourth pillar in the democracy establishment.

“In the United States we talk this system of checks and balances a lot between the Executive, Congress and the Judiciary,” she explained. “It’s a three-way triangle and they all check on each other…we often talk of journalism as the fourth leg of that pillar. Journalists and the media are what keeps us honest. We could lie to each, start corruption and scandals, but we know the media is watching. They are the ones that keep us in check. And that is also true here in Zimbabwe.”

CITEZW was established by media activist Zenzele Ndebele and offers a space where young people from different backgrounds and professions meet, discuss ideas and collaborate on various development projects and social inventions.  The organization runs initiatives like the recently launched youth focused online discussion platform- AsakheOnline (“Let’s Build”). The platform offers content on demand and streams live on the CITE Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages. The shows are also available on YouTube and highlights are shared via Whatsapp. – ZimPAS © October 25, 2017

ZimPAS is a product of the United States Embassy Public Affairs Section. http://zw.usembassy.gov

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



A systematic look at major programmes in UK



National Audit Office highlights new framework to review major programmes in latest blog post

10 October 2017 – London, UK – The UK’s National Audit Office has featured its new “Framework to review programmes” in its latest blog post.  According to the NAO post:

“Major programmes are expensive, high profile and carry great uncertainties and risks. For most government bodies, undertaking a major programme will involve doing something new, with relatively little organisational experience. Many fall short of their objectives, in terms of cost and/or outcomes. So it’s not surprising that they are the focus of many NAO reports – about 100 since 2010.

Our new Framework to review programmes shows the questions we typically ask, and brings together many of our recent findings. We hope it will show what we are looking for and what we expect to see when we examine major programmes.

Our reports illustrate how risky programmes can be. If they’re innovative, those risks are higher, and it’s harder to learn from past experience. If they’re complex they are affected by many unpredictable factors. And the scale of challenge is increasing as government bodies support major new infrastructure projects, introduce new technology and reorganise to make the most of scarce resources as well as implementing the changes necessary as a result of leaving the European Union.

We tend to look at the biggest and riskiest programmes at key points during their life, or when a particular event prompts a review. Our examinations may seek to address different questions depending on the context, but our Framework to review programmes sets out 18 key questions that are likely to be important, with links to examples from our past work and to further more detailed guidance on specific issues.”

Much more at https://www.nao.org.uk/naoblog/a-systematic-look-at-major-programmes/

The National Audit Office (NAO) scrutinises public spending for the UK Parliament and is independent of government. The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) is an Officer of the House of Commons and leads the NAO, which employs some 860 staff. NAO studies evaluate the value for money of public spending, nationally and locally. Our recommendations and reports on good practice help government improve public services. More at http://www.nao.org.uk/

Source: National Audit Office



Free project management library access in Afghanistan


Free PM World Library memberships available to residents of Afghanistan and other low income countries

25 August 2017 – Dallas, TX, USA and Kabul, Afghanistan – Residents of Afghanistan are offered free memberships in the PM World Library. Residents of all low income countries, as listed in the World Bank’s listing of low and low middle income countries, can gain free full access to the PM World Library (PMWL).

See the list of countries for Free Library Access at https://pmworldlibrary.net/free-basic-access/

According to PMWL Director David Pells, “We are offering free library access to those in many low income countries. We previously announced free memberships for residents of several countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America hoping to offer a resource for project managers in countries under stress or in transition. We are offering the same opportunity for residents of Afghanistan and many other countries.”

The PM World Library contains all original articles, papers and other works published in the PM World Journal since August 2012, along with profiles of all authors of those works. The library also contains access to professional information, books, journals, websites, public information and many other resources related to projects and project management. Access to several major EBSCO databases of business books and publications is also provided, which will be of interest to students and researchers in low income countries where access to those databases is either expensive or unavailable. Visit http://www.pmworldlibrary.net/ to learn more.

“While we recognize that project managers and project management professionals are often some of the most educated and highest paid professionals in every country,” Pells continues, “we are committed to global knowledge transfer and have established a policy of offering free memberships to residents of low income countries. We hope the library can provide a useful resource for those working on projects, teaching or learning project management, or growing the PM profession in those countries.”

Those working or living in Afghanistan can register for FREE ACCESS to the PMWL at http://pmworldlibrary.net/who-gets-free-basic-access/. Follow the instructions for residents of low income countries. If any problems are encountered, contact [email protected].



Nigerian oil projects get big boost



NNPC, Shell, Chevron Sign Agreements to Boost FG Revenues by $16 billion

10 August 2017 – London, UK and Port Harcourt, Nigeria – The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has announced the signing of two sets of alternative financing agreements on Joint Venture (JV) projects to boost reserves and production in line with government’s aspirations. The agreements were executed in London on Monday between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and two of its JV partners: NNPC/Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) JV and NNPC/Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) JV.

The two projects are expected to generate incremental revenues of about $16 billion within the assets’ life cycle including a flurry of exploratory activities that would generate employment opportunities in the industry, boost gas supply to power and rejuvenate Nigeria’s industrial capacity utilization.

The agreement with Chevron would see the development of the NNPC/CNL JV Sonam Project (Project Falcon), hitherto financed through cash calls, to incremental proven and probable oil/liquids reserves of 211 million barrels and proven and probable gas reserves of 1.9 trillion cubic feet within in Oil Mining Licences (OMLs) 90 and 91.

The project is expected to begin to bear fruits in next three and six months.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, said the project is envisaged to achieve an incremental peak production of about 39,000 barrels per day of liquids and 283 million standard cubic feet of gas per day (mmscf/d) of gas respectively over the life cycle of the asset.   (Photo courtesy of NNPC)

The Joint Venture partner, he said, had already expended $1.5 billion representing 97 per cent of project completion costs, adding that the agreement would cover the remaining $780 million to complete the project’s scope.

Providing a breakdown of the expected funding requirements of the Sonam Project, Dr. Baru said $400 million is to fund the development of seven wells in the Sonam field (OML 91), the Okan 30E Non-Associated Gas (NAG) well (OML 90), and associated facilities including completion of Sonam NAG Well Platform.

The GMD added that $380 million would also be required to reimburse the JV partners for the 2016 portion of the funds committed to lenders that had been cashed and paid for.

He stated that the Sonam Project alone, on fruition, would net the Federal Government cumulative incremental earnings of $7.3 billion over the project’s life.

The agreement with SPDC, on the other hand, would facilitate the development of the NNPC/SPDC JV Project Santolina which comprised of 156 development activities across 12 OMLs and 30 different fields in the Niger Delta.

For more on this important development, click here.



AfDB to invest US$24 billion in agriculture in next 10 years



Announcement to stimulate investment in food and agriculture programmes and projects in multiple African countries

28 July 2017 – Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire – The African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced that it will invest US $24 billion dollars in agriculture as part of its Feed Africa programme- a strategy for agricultural development in Africa.

President of the Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, said this in a speech he delivered at the 50th anniversary celebration of the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, Nigeria. Adesina emphasized that the goal of the Bank is to “ensure that Africa feeds itself within ten years, and unlocks the full potential of its agriculture.”

The IITA hosted a series of events to celebrate 50 years of excellence in research. Dignitaries attended the event from across the continent.

The Institute recognized Adesina’s immense contributions to improving agriculture and named a newly constructed building after him. The US $700,000 Akinwumi Adesina Youth Agripreneurs Building is a new Training Facility for Capacity Development for Youth Agripreneurs funded by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and IITA. The training facility comprises two major training rooms that can conveniently accommodate 50 trainees each, two big offices for 30 interns each, and 20 standard sized offices.

“I am humbled, and deeply appreciative of the opportunity to lend my name to this well-equipped building which will be used by young Agripreneurs to learn, set up and launch their own businesses, and create a prosperous living for themselves, their families and those they will employ,” Adesina said.

Adesina re-affirmed his conviction that the future millionaires and billionaires of Africa will emerge from the agriculture sector. “Africa is today spending $35 billion a year importing food. That is US$35 billion that should be kept on the continent. This is a US$35 billion market that young people can tap into to create new wealth each year. To do that requires totally changing the lenses with which we look at agriculture. Agriculture should no longer be seen as a way of life or a development sector, but rather as a business for wealth creation,” he emphasized.

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 http://www.adbg.org/.

Source: African Development Bank



Project to power Manu River Union countries



Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea (CLSG) interconnection project to support regional economic and social development

29 June 2017 – Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire – Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf along with her counterparts from Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Guinea, broke ground for the Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea (CLSG) interconnection project, on the sideline of the high-level ECOWAS Heads of State summit in Liberia, held Sunday 4 June 2017.

Photo: Liberian President Sirleaf and Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara after launching the AfDB funded power grid project. Courtesy AfDB

The launch kick-started physical construction activities of the 1,303 km transmission line and substations in the four Mano River Union (MRU) countries that constitute the CLSG. The CLSG interconnection is part of the backbone of the MRU countries and a priority project of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) Master Plan.

“As ECOWAS proceeds for transformation of our economies, power has been identified as one of our major constraints. Power supports education, security, health, industry, and the comfort of life. The project will enable our nations move at a faster pace in the achievement of our Sustainable development Goals. We, the Heads of state of the beneficiary countries commit our full support to the success of this project,” President Sirleaf underscored.

Speaking on the occasion, the Bank’s Chief Power Engineer, Amadou Diallo Bassirou explained that the project was in line with the New Deal on Energy for Africa as implementation of the transmission line will support the development of the hydroelectric power potential of the MRU countries in pooling the different energy sources.

“The project will allow the exchange of electricity among West African countries and beyond. It will help establish a dynamic electric power market in the West African sub-region and secure power supply for participating countries which have a comparative advantage in importing power rather than producing it at high costs using their national systems”, he added

About the CLSG Project

The project consists of three components: (i) the construction of the 225 kV transmission line of 1303 km in length; (ii) the strengthening of the capacities of the secretariat of the WAPP and national electricity utilities of the beneficiary countries; and (iii) the electrification of rural communities located along the line. Feasibility studies of a few hydroelectric power plants intended to develop the hydroelectric potential are also planned.

The project will cost 331.51 million UA, and is co-financed by the African Development Bank Group (128.15 MUA), World Bank (88.57 MUA), the European Investment Bank (61.98 MUA), KfW (26.27 MUA), the EU/Africa (8.55 MUA) and Governments (17.99 MUA). The works are expected to be completed in December 2019.

Governance and operations

Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea agreed to establish, a Special Purpose Company (SPC) for the financing, construction, operation, development and ownership of the electric interconnection line (CLSG). The SPC, TRANSCO CLSG was established and has been operational since end of 2015. The share capital is owned equally by the national power corporations of the four countries.

About the AfDB’s New Deal of Energy for Africa

The New Deal on Energy for Africa, together with the inter-connected flagship programs is a top initiative of The Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth Sector Complex (PEVP). The New Deal on Energy for Africa aims to light up and power Africa. Launched in 2016, the New Deal has the aspirational objective of achieving universal energy access in Africa by 2025.

The Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth Sector Complex (PEVP), was created to fulfill the objectives of “Light Up and Power Africa” – principally achieving universal access to electricity by 2025. The Complex will accomplish this by building Africa’s energy systems while ensuring green growth. The entire development ecosystem for operational effectiveness, scale, socio- economic, and environmental impact will be taken into account.

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 http://www.adbg.org/.

Source: African Development Bank



AfDB scales up to a record US $11 billion for projects & programs



Growth propelled by the High 5s and New Development and Business Delivery Model

24 May 2017 – Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire and Ahmedabad, India – With the roll-out of its High 5s priorities and a new Development and Business Delivery Model (DBDM) in 2016, the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), delivered a record US $11 billion worth of projects and programs during the year, targeting creation of 630,000 jobs mainly for youths and women, according to the Bank Group’s 2016 Annual Report released at its Annual Meetings in Ahmedabad, India on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.

In real terms, the 305 operations approved during the year will bring electricity to some of the darkest parts of the continent, unlock growth potential for small businesses, nourish thousands of children, empower young entrepreneurs, and strengthen connectivity between African regions and cities. These are located in the realm of the Bank’s High 5 priorities (Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa) and the Bank’s agenda to “transform the Bank to transform Africa.”

According to the Report, actual disbursements on these approvals reached US $6.3 billion, a 55% increase over the figures for 2015 when approvals and disbursements stood at US $8.78 billion and US $4.20 billion, respectively.

“The mixed economic performance among African countries underscores the urgency for structural economic transformation on the continent – to build resilience and drive sustainable, inclusive growth. Fulfilling its role and mandate, the Bank stepped up its support to Regional Member Countries (RMCs) through higher levels of lending and more policy-relevant knowledge,” said AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina.

The Bank’s “High 5s” serve as vehicles for the delivery of its Ten Year Strategy 2013–2022, which aims to foster inclusive growth, and transition to green growth.

Approvals for Light up and power Africa increased 72.8% to US $ 2.0 billion; operations in the Feed Africa priority rose by 66% to US $1.2 billion; approvals for Industrialize Africa were up 43.5% to US $1.3 billion. The highest approval of US $5.6 billion went to Improving the quality of life of the people of Africa, representing a 52.3% of the total approvals for Integrate Africa fell 18% to US $661.9 million.

Viewed from the sectoral angle, approvals to infrastructure (comprising water and sanitation, energy, communication, and transport), went up by 43.7% to US $4.72 billion in 2016. The financial sector came second with 23.3%, while projects grouped under multisector activities received 17% of the investments. Agriculture and rural development and the social sector received 9.3% and 6.7% of the total investments, respectively.

In terms of financing windows, loans and grants were the key financing instruments, accounting for 92.1% of total approvals in 2016, followed by guarantees (3.3%), equity participation (2.6%), and special funds (2%). The substantial (55%) increase in disbursements are attributable to a range of systemic changes and institutional reforms launched in late 2015, which effectively slashed the time between approval and first disbursement by 96 days.

“Strong impacts, both from projects completed during the year and ongoing ones, have been registered in all areas of the High 5s, confirming that the Ten Year Strategy, the strategic priorities, and the new business model, are all delivering for Africa’s transformation,” the report says.

The Report provides a comprehensive overview of the Bank’s operations in its 54 Regional Member Countries during financial year (1 January to 31 December 2016). It describes various reforms of the Bank Group to improve its business delivery, effectiveness, corporate management, and highlights the Group’s financial performance.

Read the full report

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 http://www.adbg.org/.

Photo: Courtesy of the African Development Bank

Source: African Development Bank



EBRD to invest in West Bank and Gaza



10 May 2017 – London, UK and Amman, Jordan – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Board of Governors has approved the engagement of the EBRD in the West Bank and Gaza for an initial period of five years to support the development of the economy with investments through a trust fund.

The West Bank and Gaza are in the EBRD’s southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region, which also includes Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia, where the EBRD has been investing since 2012 and engaged in policy dialogue. To date, the Bank has provided some €4.8 billion to these four countries alone in the form of loans and equity. Eighty per cent of these investments are in the private sector.

EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti welcomed the decision to extend the Bank’s activities to the West Bank and Gaza, saying: “The EBRD can make an important contribution to the economy alongside other international financial institutions and donors. Building on the strong entrepreneurial tradition our goal is to strengthen the private sector.”

Operating in the West Bank and Gaza from the EBRD office in Amman, the Bank will provide support for private sector competitiveness and innovation, increasing access to finance for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, fostering a sustainable supply of energy and promoting private sector participation in energy efficiency and infrastructure.

Azzam Shawa, Governor of the Palestinian Monetary Authority, said: “We welcome the EBRD’s engagement in West Bank and Gaza. The Bank’s financing model and policy advice could provide valuable support for private entrepreneurship and market-oriented transition in the West Bank and Gaza.”

To date, the Bank has invested some €4.8 billion in 120 projects across the SEMED region in natural resources, financial institutions, agribusiness, manufacturing and services as well as infrastructure projects such as power, municipal water and wastewater and upgrading transport services.

The EBRD was established in 1991 with the goal of supporting market economies and promoting the private sector. Having started in central and eastern Europe, today the Bank operates on three continents and in 36 countries, from Morocco to Mongolia and from Estonia to Egypt. For more information, visit http://www.ebrd.com/index.htm

Source: EBRD 



14 Greek Airports receive funding for modernization projects



€968.4 million to Fraport Greece for infrastructure upgrades

27 March 2017 – London, UK and Athens, Greece – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has announced that, together with a consortium of lenders, it is supporting the modernisation of 14 regional airports in Greece. The EBRD is providing €186.73 million in long-term funds to Fraport Greece, the holder of a 40-year operating concession for the facilities.

The 14 airports include Aktio, Chania (Crete), Kavala, Kefalonia, Kerkyra (Corfu), Kos, Mitilini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Samos, Santorini, Skiathos, Thessaloniki (Greece’s second largest city) and Zakynthos. Combined, these airports served a total of about 25.2 million passengers in 2016.

Total financing provided by the EBRD, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Alpha Bank amounts to €968.4 million. €280.4 million will be used for the financing of development works at the 14 airports. The modernisation and upgrading of the airport infrastructure will support the growth of Greece’s regions. The investments will promote the development of the tourism industry, a key driver of the Greek economy.

Meanwhile, the remainder of the loan will be used as part of the upfront concession payment of €1.234 billion to the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) paid by Fraport Greece as the concessionaire. Fraport Greece is a joint venture formed by Fraport AG Frankfurt Airport Services Worldwide and its partner Copelouzos Group.

Fraport AG is one of the leading companies in the international airport business, active on four continents through investments and subsidiaries. With Frankfurt Airport its home base, the company operates one of the world’s most important air transportation hubs. In total, Fraport employs around 21,000 people worldwide.

Copelouzos Group is a leading Greek industrial conglomerate with a wide range of portfolio activities, with core sectors being energy, airports and real estate.

Phil Bennett, EBRD First Vice President and Head of Client Services Group, said: “We are delighted to participate in this landmark transaction, which we expect to provide a much-needed boost to the Greek economy and to Greece’s regional development. The modernisation of this key infrastructure, supporting tourism in particular, will improve access, exchange and integration. The EBRD is especially pleased to support strategic partners who will bring private funding and expertise to regional airports in Greece and could provide an important model for future infrastructure development projects.”

Integration is one of the six transition qualities the EBRD sees as key elements of well-functioning market economies, with the remaining being competitiveness, inclusion, good-governance, green and resilience. These qualities are implicit in the EBRD’s founding articles.

The EBRD started investing in Greece on a temporary basis in 2015 to support the country’s economic recovery. The Bank’s priorities there include strengthening private companies and the financial sector, support for privatisation, infrastructure development and regional integration of the Greek economy. To date, the EBRD has invested almost €850 million in 17 projects in Greece. For more about EBRD projects in Greece, go to http://www.ebrd.com/greece.html

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



Zuma calls on Africans to prioritize water and sanitation projects



24 March 2017 – Durban, South Africa – South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma has called on his fellow African and world leaders “to prioritize access to water and sanitation.” Speaking in Durban, South Africa during a joint event to commemorate World Water Day and launch the 2017 World Water Development Report, Zuma said: “the bleak global picture presented in the 2017 World Water Development Report requires world leaders to urgently prioritize the improvement of access to essential water and sanitation services.”

Hundreds of local and international delegates including the African Development Bank (AfDB) gathered at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Conference Center in Durban on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 to commemorate World Water Day and launch the 2017 World Water Development Report.

Produced yearly since 2014, the World Water Development Report presents an exhaustive review of the state of global water resources and provide additional evidence for decision making. This year, the report focused on “Wastewater: The Untapped Resource.”

While acknowledging the distressing state of world water resources, Zuma said “we have the potential to create a new and more positive economic and social developmental pathway through water infrastructure investments, valuing water, catalyzing change, building partnerships and international cooperation, as well as creating better human settlements and data.”

The African Development has been at the forefront of financing water and sanitation programs in regional member countries since 1968. As a leader in water and sanitation services in Africa, the Bank was invited to provide its perspectives on how to accelerate the achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 6 on water and sanitation.

“The momentum generated by the adoption of the SDGs and the Paris Climate Change Agreement combined with the high-level political commitment presents an opportunity to re-invigorate development,” said Oswald Chanda, Officer-In-Charge of the Water Development and Sanitation Department of the AfDB.

Rapid urbanization, population growth, dwindling freshwater resources, climate change, weak institutions, and sector capacity, Chanda said, are some of the challenges in achieving SDG 6.

In addition to fostering greater collaboration with partners, and adopting a new business model that takes the Bank closer to regional member countries, the AfDB has also approved a new set of focused strategic priorities (High 5s) to ensure pressing challenges on the continent are addressed. The AfDB’s High 5s include Light Up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa and Improve the quality of life of Africans.

Highlights of this year’s World Development Report include:

  • 80% of the wastewater is disposed of without treatment with potentially negative impact on the environment and people;
  • Affordable treatment options are available;
  • Wastewater is a reliable and sustainable source of water; energy, nutrient, and other recoverable by-products.

The Durban event ended with the adoption of a political declaration. The declaration signals a global commitment to: (a) continue to support and strengthen implementation of the SDG 6; (b) support and share best practices; (c) request the African Union Commission to prioritize water and sanitation; (d) increase budgetary allocations to match central role of water security for agenda 2030; (e) and strengthen transboundary cooperation and collaboration.

For more information about the AfDBs activities related to water and sanitation projects, go to https://www.afdb.org/en/news-and-events/water-supply-sanitation/

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 http://www.adbg.org/.

Source: African Development Bank       



World TB Day in Zimbabwe



USAID announces continuing support for programs fighting Tuberculosis

Reported by Peter Banda in Harare

22 March 2017 – Harare, Zimbabwe – The United States Government stands with the people of Zimbabwe in commemorating World Tuberculosis (TB) Day (March 24).  Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States has contributed long-term and substantial investments to the fight against TB in Zimbabwe, reaching hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans with life-saving health services.

USAID started its TB program in Zimbabwe in 2008, partnering with Zimbabwe’s National TB Control Programme and a non-governmental organization called The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) to increase the availability of TB services and strengthen TB case detection and management.  USAID provides hospital laboratories with Gene Xpert equipment for fast and accurate diagnosis of TB, particularly drug-resistant TB, as well as training for health care workers to properly use the equipment.

USAID supports 45 integrated TB-HIV care sites to improve TB diagnosis and treatment for people living with HIV.  USAID also supports a motorbike specimen transport system called Riders for Health that carries approximately 150,000 specimens per year, 40,000 of which are sputa for TB diagnosis.  This transport system has dramatically reduced the time it takes for patients to receive TB test results – from weeks or even months, down to one week in rural areas and one day in urban areas.

In addition, through USAID support, The Union has developed and distributed a TB screening tool that reaches over 500,000 patients per year, provided training and supervision assistance for health care workers on TB prevention and care information, and supported the National TB Reference Laboratory to process TB cultures from specimens from all provinces in the country.

“The United States is proud to stand with the people of Zimbabwe to address the issue of TB,” stated USAID Mission Director Stephanie Funk.  “Together with our partners, USAID is working hard to ensure that TB patients can start treatment earlier, recover more quickly, and not spread the disease to others.”

CDC also provides financial and technical support for TB through HealthCare Associated Tuberculosis Infection Prevention Project – Zimbabwe (HATIPP-Zim), which will develop a TB screening policy for health care workers and standardize implementation at health facilities.  Funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), HATIPP-Zim is implemented by a consortium comprised of the Biomedical Research and Training Institute (BRTI); Infection Control Association of Zimbabwe (ICAZ); and The Union.

“CDC’s efforts to fight TB will ultimately help Zimbabwe meet critical AIDS treatment targets, as this program will ensure that health care workers are protected from infectious diseases such as tuberculosis,” stated CDC Zimbabwe Country Director Dr. Beth Barr.

USAID and PEPFAR have partnered 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 a new feature-length film, The Lucky Specials, which premiered in Zimbabwe on March 9 at Ster-Kinekor Movie Theatre in Harare.  In this “edutainment” film, both plot twists and scientific video animations tell individuals what they need to know about TB disease, treatment, and prevention.  Audiences walked away enchanted by the music and storyline, simultaneously armed with facts to replace long held myths and misinformation about TB.

Last year alone approximately 30,000 Zimbabweans were diagnosed with TB.  TB continues to be the leading cause of death among people living with HIV, and approximately 70 percent of Zimbabweans suffering from TB are co-infected with HIV.  Zimbabwe is one of only 14 countries around the world designated as ‘high burden’ by the World Health Organization for TB, multi-drug-resistant TB, and TB/HIV co-infection.

To learn more about the U.S. Government’s contribution to fighting TB in Zimbabwe, please visit: https://youtube/QTNTz7Gzc0o

For more than 30 years, the American people, through USAID, have contributed over $3 billion in assistance to Zimbabwe.  Current projects include initiatives to increase food security, support economic resilience, improve health systems and services, and promote a more democratic system of governance.

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, based on press release from U.S. Embassy in Harare



Calls for stronger action against human trafficking in Zimbabwe



Reported by Peter Banda in Harare

16 March 2017 – Harare, Zimbabwe – A senior United States Embassy official has called for sterner reaction by individuals to individuals and companies involved in human trafficking, among other measures to stamp the scourge that has plagued humanity.

“We as individuals can make a difference by being aware of our own habits, by understanding the background and practices of the companies we use when we purchase our clothing, our food…” said Jenifer Savage, Charge d’ Affaires at the United States Embassy in Harare. “When profits stop, so will the practice of trafficking in persons,” she added.

Savage, a career foreign service officer, was giving a keynote address during a Food for Thought discussion session on trafficking in persons at her Embassy’s Eastgate auditorium on Tuesday. The public discussion included presentations from the United Nations Office of Migration (IOM) and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

“Human trafficking is a $150 billion illicit industry and it touches millions of lives across, not just the United States, not just Zimbabwe but across every country in the world,” she said. “We must treat this as a problem not to be managed but as a crime that has to be stopped.”

Savage, whose career as a diplomat saw her serve in Mexico and Vietnam, narrated two classic examples of human trafficking, the first involving a veterinary student in Mexico, and the second involving a budding female musician in Vietnam. Both were lured to the United States with a promise for lucrative incentives- internship and a musical contract respectively, but later found they were surviving in unimaginable conditions with little to no pay, sexual exploitation and dependence on traffickers with no hope of getting out of their situations.

Broadly defined, human trafficking is the acquisition of people by improper means such as force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them.

“It is a form of modern day slavery and constitute human rights violations against the individual and the State,” said Daniel Sam of IOM. He told the audience that there is exploitation in all stages of the process- from recruitment to destination. “It is an abusive process; that is why we need to counter it.”

He, like the United States, and his organization are working with other international partners at every level to attack the root causes of trafficking; to alert potential victims to lurking dangers, to take perpetrators off the streets and to empower the survivors as they rebuild their lives.

Savage said the United States was exploring ways of working with Zimbabwean authorities to eliminate trafficking in persons citing “amazing” meetings between Ambassador Harry Thomas and Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo.

“Our countries agreed to work together to combat trafficking in persons in Zimbabwe,” she said. “This is an important development in our diplomatic relationship and one we hope will lead to greater mutual trust and dialogue.”

According to IOM, there are about 250 million international migrants globally while 760 million people migrate within countries and at any one point in time there are 1 billion individuals on the move.

Samantha Munodawafa, a crime prevention and criminal justice officer at UNODC told the audience that more cases of trafficking in persons crimes were being prosecuted as 13 out of 15 countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region had legislation on the crime.

She said the region had to contend with unique cases such as trafficking in body parts for albinos, girls being trafficked as a result of cultural beliefs, child labor and child marriages. “No sector has been spared,” she said citing the case of a church musical group that was trafficked in one of the SADC countries.

According to the U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons report, 55 per cent of trafficked people are women or girls, and 26 per cent of trafficked people are children. The report notes that “Zimbabwe is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. 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.”

The report also notes that “there are continuous reports of Zimbabwean women lured to China and the Middle East for work where they are vulnerable to trafficking.” – ZimPAS © March 16th 2017. ZimPAS is a product of the United States Embassy Public Affairs Section: http://zw.usembassy.gov/

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 also follows and reports on significant developments in Zimbabwe.  For information, visit http://www.pmiz.org.zw/ or email: [email protected]

Source: Project Management Zimbabwe



America needs $926 Billion for Transportation Infrastructure



New USDOT Report on Highway, Transit Conditions Reveals nearly trillion dollar backlog

12 January 2017 – Washington, DC, USA – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced that a new report on the state of America’s transportation infrastructure, “2015 Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges and Transit: Conditions and Performance,” confirms that more investment is needed not only to maintain the nation’s highway and transit systems but to overcome a nearly trillion-dollar investment backlog.

170112-pmwj54-dot-IMAGE“We have an infrastructure system that is fundamental to the nation’s economic health, and it needs greater attention and resources,” said Secretary Foxx (pictured). “Improving our nation’s roads, bridges, and transit helps create jobs, connects communities and ensures that our nation is equipped for the future.”

Secretary Foxx added that the Congressionally mandated report confirms the projections outlined in “Beyond Traffic,” a U.S. Department of Transportation study issued in early 2015 that examined the challenges facing America’s transportation infrastructure over the next 30 years, such as a rapidly growing population and increasing freight traffic.

“Conditions and Performance” is a biennial report to Congress that provides information on the physical and operating characteristics of the highway, bridge and transit components of the nation’s surface transportation system.

cover-websiteThe new report – commonly known as the “Conditions and Performance” report – identifies an $836 billion backlog of unmet capital investment needs for highways and bridges, or about 3.4 percent more than the estimate made in the previous report. Addressing the growing backlog while still meeting other needs as they arise over the next two decades – will require $142.5 billion in combined transportation spending from state, federal and local governments. In 2012, the most recent year in which the report’s data were available, federal, state and local governments combined spent $105.2 billion on this infrastructure – 35.5 percent less than what is needed to improve highways and bridges.

“The case for more investment in our nation’s transportation system is clear,” said Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “A strong transportation system will make businesses more productive and freight shippers safer and more efficient while improving America’s quality of life.”

The report also indicates that $26.4 billion is needed per year to improve the condition of transit rail and bus systems. In 2012, total spending to preserve and expand transit systems was $17 billion. If transit investment is sustained at those levels, overall transit system conditions are expected to decline over the next 20 years, and increasing the transit system preservation backlog from an estimated $89.8 billion to $122 billion.

“This report shows the impact of the lack of investment in infrastructure,” said Acting Federal Transit Administrator Carolyn Flowers. “The results of that neglect can be seen throughout our country as both reliability and safety suffer. We must increase investment in public transportation nationwide, because we must take immediate action to bring our transit infrastructure into a state of good repair and provide the world-class service that Americans deserve.”

Between 2002 and 2012, the report found that:

  • The percentage of structurally deficient bridges decreased from 14.2 percent to 11 percent.
  • Road quality improved, with the share of travel taking place on smooth pavement increasing from 43.8 percent to 44.9 percent.
  • Delays in traffic cost the average commuter more time than ever, with an estimated 41 hours of delay per year in 2012, up from 39 hours in 2002.
  • Transit route miles increased by 32 percent, with light rail growing faster than any other transit mode

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT or DOT) is a Cabinet department of the U.S. government concerned with transportation. Established by the US Congress in 1966, it is governed by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. Its mission is to “Serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible, and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.” DOT provides financing for hundreds of transportation-related programs and projects around the United States each year. For more information, visit http://www.dot.gov/.

Source: US Department of Transportation



$2 Billion for Transit Projects in Seattle



USDOT Launches Innovative Infrastructure Financing Tool created by the newly formed Build America Bureau

22 December 2016 – Washington, DC, USA – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced that four transit projects in the Seattle area could receive up to nearly $2 billion in financing through an innovative infrastructure financing tool created by the Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau.

sound-transit-trainOn Thursday, the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (Sound Transit) and the Build America Bureau (Bureau) signed a Master Credit Agreement (MCA) – a first-of-its-kind arrangement in which the local transit authority will be able to expedite multiple loan requests under a single agreement with the federal government. The first of those loans, $615.3 million for the Northgate Link Extension, also closed today.

“This announcement demonstrates that the Build America Bureau is already playing a major role in how projects are planned and paid for by streamlining the financing process and bringing together valuable tools for accessing federal dollars. This means projects like the Northgate Link Extension Project can move forward more quickly and effectively,” said Transportation Secretary Foxx. “We are proud of the work done through the Bureau to speed investments needed in growing regions like the Pacific Northwest. This development is a big win for the entire region.”

Secretary Foxx launched the Bureau earlier this year to provide a one-stop-shop for state and municipal governments to find innovative solutions to funding critical infrastructure projects. An MCA is one tool that the Bureau offers to help project sponsors streamline the process of applying for federal transportation infrastructure loans through the federal government’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and the Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) programs.

The MCA signed by Sound Transit covers four separate projects approved by voters as part of the transit authority’s ST-2 program. The $615.3 million TIFIA loan for the first project, the Northgate Link Extension, was approved today and will move forward. The MCA will dramatically streamline the application process for the next three projects, enabling Sound Transit to more easily apply for the loans for the Operations & Maintenance Satellite Facility: East; Lynnwood Extension; and Federal Way Link Extension projects.

“With the use of a Master Credit Agreement, the Build America Bureau can now negotiate one deal with entities that have multiple projects in their pipeline to gain access to federal loans,” said Andrew Right, Acting Executive Director of the Build America Bureau. “This has tremendous potential to save time and resources for infrastructure developers and increases transparency for the many partners involved in making transportation safer, faster, and easier in the area.”

Since its inception, the Bureau has closed $4 billion in financings and supports more than $7.8 billion in rail, highway and transit projects across the country. The Bureau has 16 projects in creditworthiness review for a total potential loan amount of over $5.5 billion. The Bureau also manages the private activity bond program, the Outreach and Project Development functions of the Build America Transportation Investment Center, and the Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies (FASTLANE) grant program.

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT or DOT) is a Cabinet department of the U.S. government concerned with transportation. Established by the US Congress in 1966, it is governed by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. Its mission is to “Serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible, and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.” DOT provides financing for hundreds of transportation-related programs and projects around the United States each year. For more information, visit http://www.dot.gov/

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation



Management of Sandia National Labs changes hands



NNSA Awards Sandia National Laboratories Management & Operating Contract to National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia (NTESS)

16 December 2016 – Washington, DC and Albuquerque, NM, USA – The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) announced today it has awarded National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia (NTESS) with the management and operating contract for Sandia National Laboratories (SNL). NTESS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International. Northrop Grumman and Universities Research Association will support NTESS in the performance of this contract. The award is valued at $2.6 billion annually over 10 years, if all options are exercised.


“Following a full and open competition, NNSA is pleased to announce the selection of NTESS as our M&O partner at Sandia,” said Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz (ret.), Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator. “The Sandia bid generated unprecedented interest from across industry, demonstrating that our improved acquisitions process is attracting high-quality competition and the best talent to serve NNSA’s mission.”

In addition to NNSA’s improved selection criteria, the solicitation for the SNL M&O contract incorporated a number of governance initiatives launched by DOE following recommendations from the Congressional Advisory Panel on the Governance of the Nuclear Security Enterprise (Augustine-Mies Report), Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories (CRENEL), and the Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board (SEAB).

SNL is responsible for non-nuclear engineering development of all U.S. nuclear weapons and for systems integration of the nuclear weapons with their delivery vehicles. SNL’s national security responsibilities include design, qualification, certification, and assessment of the nonnuclear subsystems and system qualification of nuclear weapons.

SNL also leads the Nuclear Security Enterprise (NSE) in developing new technologies in the safety, security, reliability and use control of nuclear weapons, and works closely with other NSE sites on issues associated with production and dismantlement of nuclear weapons, surveillance and support of weapons in the stockpile. Other responsibilities include advancing technologies in nuclear intelligence, nonproliferation, and treaty verification. Sandia has locations in Albuquerque, NM; Livermore, CA; Kauai, HI; and Tonopah, NV.

The current M&O contract for SNL will expire on April 30, 2017, allowing for a full four month transition period, which will provide stability for the workforce employed under the current contract and efficient continuity of operations for NNSA’s vital missions performed there.

Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad. More about NNSA can be found at http://nnsa.energy.gov/aboutus

Source: NNSA