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India eyes Cooperation with African nations on the International Solar Alliance (ISA) initiative

For the first time, India would be hosting the annual meetings of the bank here from May 22-26. The annual meet will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 23.

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Gandhinagar, May 18, 2017: India is eyeing cooperation with African nations on the International Solar Alliance (ISA) initiative and looking forward to deepen economic cooperation during the upcoming annual meetings of African Development Bank (AfDB) Group here from May 22.

For the first time, India would be hosting the annual meetings of the bank here from May 22-26. The annual meet will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 23.

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“India would seek to leverage this occasion to further deepen her economic cooperation with the African countries. India is also looking forward to cooperation with Africa on the International Solar Alliance (ISA) initiative,” the Finance Ministry said here in a statement on Thursday.

The ISA initiative was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in November 2015. The ISA is conceived as a coalition of solar resource-rich countries to address their special energy needs.

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“The annual meetings of the bank this year would be another opportunity to discuss the issues facing the regional member countries, while India would seek to leverage this occasion to further deepen our economic cooperation with the African countries,” the statement said.

The core theme of the event is “Transforming Agriculture for wealth creation in Africa”, which has tremendous scope for cooperation between India and Africa.

The annual meetings are the largest event of the bank, which would witness about 3,000 delegates from 81 member-countries from across the world gathering at the Mahatma Mandir convention centre here in Gujarat.

AfDB has adopted a strategy called ‘High 5s’, which focuses on five major developmental priorities comprising agriculture, energy, industrialisation, regional connectivity and improved quality of life through access to social and economic opportunities.

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During the course of the event, the Board of Governors of the bank will meet to dwell upon the major developmental challenges facing the African countries and the ways to achieve an inclusive and sustainable growth.

India will be organising an Africa India Cooperation Event on the sidelines of the main event.

The sessions would primarily focus on agriculture, healthcare, e-governance, renewable energy, skill development and education, trade and investment and manufacturing.

The government is also planning an exhibition to showcase the capabilities of Indian companies in terms of technology, innovation, and start-ups, which could be relevant to African countries.

The theme of the exhibition is centred on the priority areas of the bank.

During India Africa Forum Summit 2015, the announcement of $10 billion line of credit by Modi marked a new beginning in India’s approach to engage with African countries in a more constructive manner.

India’s support through lines of credit has not only helped finance the projects in African countries, but has also contributed to capacity building, IT education, and higher education.

India joined the African Development Fund (ADF) in 1982 and the African Development Bank (AfDB) in 1983, initiating a long history of cooperation spanning over 30 years.

India’s collaboration with the bank group is built around three main pillars — contributions to the General Capital Increase (GCI), contributions to African Development Fund replenishment and a bilateral trust fund and providing resources to support highly indebted poor countries and the multilateral debt reduction initiative. (IANS)

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The Next Big Advance In Technology May Come From Africa

Toybox co-Founder Kanina Foss says Africa is an ideal springboard for innovation, with its rich artistic talent and traditions.

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Technology, robot, inventions
The mock killer robot was displayed in London in April 2013 during the launching of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, which calls for the ban of lethal robot weapons that would be able to select and attack targets without any human intervention. (VOA)

From a young age, Phatwa Senene knew he wanted to be an inventor.

He got his start at age 11, he said, when he attached a DC motor to a fan. He then attached the fan to a drill and proceeded to drill holes into his bedroom wall. His invention worked, he said: The fan blew away the dust from the drilling.

“That was my first invention that I can recall,” he said, laughing. “My mom didn’t like it at all.”

He nearly hit a figurative wall years later, when he tried to go to university, but found he couldn’t afford it. His family was poor, he said, and he grew up in a Johannesburg township.

But the now-33-year-old plowed ahead, coming up with innovative inventions, like a data-collecting, 3D-printed solar-powered streetlamp, that have caught the attention of South African municipalities and companies.

Two of his new streetlamps, which are capable of tracking data like noise levels and air quality, are being piloted in inner city Johannesburg.

Toybox for inventors

It’s that creativity and innovation that have also caught the attention of African technology innovators, who are hoping to turn this unique idea into profit. Senene is a member of a new Johannesburg tech innovation hub, called Toybox, that gives inventors, artists and tinkerers room to work, a community to work with, and business support to get their inventions off the drawing board and into the real world.

Co-founder Arlene Mulder, who previously started WeThinkCode, an institution that teaches young South Africans about coding and software engineering, says Africa is often overlooked as a source for ideas and invention. She wants to change that, by supporting local inventors and giving them room to grow.

Inventions
Toybox co-founders Arlene Mulder and Kanina Foss say their tech innovation project aims to link Africa’s rich talents in art and innovation with the growing need for innovative technology in the developing world. VOA

“We’ve been seeing, over the last couple of years, incredibly talented inventors coming up with incredible inventions, but they are struggling to bring these inventions to life,” she tells VOA. “So we are creating this ecosystem and platform for them to come together, and we provide access to the global world.”

In exchange for its services, the hub gets a portion of the revenue the inventors end up making. There are similar places operating elsewhere in South Africa as well as Kenya and Rwanda.

Welcome support

Senene says he appreciates the support. It was hard to get ahead flying solo.

“You can be an inventor all day, but you still need to eat, you need to run a business,” he said. “So, as an inventor, I had to go through the process where you learn about business. And all of that for me was self-taught. There’s no one in my family who would set a path for me, there was no one who guided me, so, trial and error, I learned the hard way.”

Toybox co-Founder Kanina Foss says Africa is an ideal springboard for innovation, with its rich artistic talent and traditions.

Inventions
Toybox founder Arlene Mulder views a project that their tech innovation hub was involved in, a Virtual Reality exhibition at a Johannesburg art gallery. VOA

“Some of the cool stuff our fellows are doing include leveraging the intersections between technologies and the creative disciplines, so that we can use artists to really push the barriers on what tech can do,” she said.

Senene, the inventor, says his inspiration comes from some unexpected places. One of his recent innovations is a “tombstone tracker,” a tool meant to find stolen grave markers, which has been a problem in South Africa.

Also Read: A Study of Africa’s Bush Elephants

“What inspires me is my environment,” he said. “So many of my devices have been inspired by the places that I’ve lived in, especially the problems. So, I’m very sensitive to negativity, to horrible things, and that allows me to identify them, and I have an ability to try to come up with a solution.”

If he finds a solution, places like Toybox will be ready to help him develop and market the idea. (VOA)