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From the ashes of war, Sierra Leone rises with Solar-Powered Youth Hubs

What is a pragmatic recipe for a low-cost Youth Entrepreneurship Hub in a country like Sierra Leone? Get a shipping container, fit it with air-conditioning, work desks and chairs. Then add PCs, internet access and solar panels to provide electricity, and you get the picture of Sierra Leone’s Solar-Powered youth hubs

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What is a pragmatic recipe for a low-cost Youth Entrepreneurship Hub in a country like Sierra Leone? Get a shipping container, fit it with air-conditioning, work desks and chairs. Then add PCs, internet access and solar panels to provide electricity, and you get the picture of Sierra Leone’s Solar-Powered youth hubs.

Computer Aid International is a non-profit organization that combines IT asset disposal with global development. Earlier in the year, CAI installed two Youth Entrepreneurship Hubs in Makeni and Pujehun in Sierra Leone. As described above, they are both solar-powered.

The containers do not look so special from the outside, but step inside and the picture changes. They could pass for a mini mission control centre in a blockbuster movie.

The town of Pujehun has no electric power, with diesel generators being the only source of power for many. In addition, it has no public computers nor ICT training centres. The situation is largely the same at Makeni, though there is public power supply.

The solar powered Zuba boxes, as they are called, are self-sustaining. These Youth Entrepreneurship Hubs are part of a project that reportedly provides 1,230 young people with vital digital business skills.

Sierra Leone’s solar-powered youth hubs are giving quite a number of students their first exposure to many much needed skills, including typing, computer usage, web browsing, and more.

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Nigerien President, Mohamed Bazoum wants employment quotas for African immigrants

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Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum wants employment quotas for African immigrants tailored to job needs from European countries.

President Bazoum made the position in an interview with an Italian newspaper, La Repubblica. on Friday.

The president’s argument is that the quota will address European countries’ needs for its labour market and could help resolve the problem of illegal migration and human trafficking.

“In France, Spain, and Italy you have many jobs in sectors of employment where Africans can work,” Bazoum said.

“These numbers need to be established, country by country, and then the consulates entrusted with the responsibility of enforcing them.”

Surveys of African migrants in or heading toward Europe reveal that the majority were either employed or in school at the time of their departure. Yet, they felt despair over their economic prospects.

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IMF Chief, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, to visit China over Africa’s growing debt profile

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As the debt profile of many African countries continues to rise, the International Monetary Fund strategy chief, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu will travel to China next week for another high-level meeting.

Her travel is part of efforts to press the world’s largest sovereign creditor for quicker progress on debt restructurings for countries in need.

The IMF chief had called for debt restructuring arrangements for Zambia and Chad to be completed shortly.

Pazarbasioglu said it was critical to move forward and that “outreach to China next week is very important, at the highest levels.”

“It’s moving – very slowly, but it’s moving,” Pazarbasioglu said, noting that the participation of mining company Glencore Plc in the Chad treatment was also “a very good sign” that “even the most difficult private sector participants” were participating.

She said the Paris Club of official bilateral creditors had taken years to hammer out their debt relief processes, and China was learning, although she noted that the debt issues facing borrowing countries now were acute.

“The problem we have is that we don’t have that time right now because these countries are very fragile and dealing with debt vulnerabilities,” she said. “What we need is speed.”

Pazarbasioglu said the IMF would continue to press for changes to the Common Framework, including a freeze in debt payments when countries apply for a debt treatment, as well as clearer procedures and timelines for action, and ensuring comparable treatment for private creditors.

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