Reshaping the African Health Agenda with Innovative Leadership and Country-Driven Programs

Melvin P. Foote
27 July 2010


Washington, DC — This week Uganda is hosting the AU Heads of State Summit, with a focus on “Maternal, Infant and Child Health and Development in Africa.”   At a time when most health news showcases the efforts of major western donors like the Gates Foundation, the AU Summit shows African leaders’ commitment to developing priorities and programs that strengthen both national and regional health systems. Continue reading

Innovation in Kenya

On a recent trip to Nairobi, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet with both Equity Bank and M-PESA at Safaricom.  M-PESA and Equity Bank are prime examples of companies involved in a new trend in innovation.  A recent Economist report on innovation in emerging markets explains that “many of the most important innovations…are aimed at the middle or the bottom of the income pyramid.” Continue reading

Notes from “Innovative Mechanisms for Maximizing Capital Flows to Africa”

April 26, 2010
Washington, DC

On April 26, 2010, The Whitaker Group and the Hudson Institute’s Center for Global Prosperity convened a diverse group of global development stakeholders to discuss new strategies and initiatives to maximize capital flows to Africa at a lunch event sponsored by The Western Union Company.  African Finance Ministers, Ambassadors, US business and policy leaders, multilateral development bank officials and heads of emerging market funds gathered together to share best practices and innovative initiatives. Continue reading

“A Call to Action:” Remarks on AGOA by Rosa Whitaker

“Leaders Forum: AGOA and the Way Forward on U.S.-Africa Economic Policy”
April 26th, 2010
The Willard InterContinental Hotel, Washington DC

 Remarks by Rosa Whitaker

Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen, Honored Guests.  I would like to begin by welcoming you all and by thanking my co-hosts for their support of this event: The AGOA Action Committee, the Africa Coalition for Trade, the African-American Unity Caucus, the Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa, the Constituency for Africa, the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation, Manchester Trade, and the Corporate Council on Africa.  Continue reading

“Leaders on the Cutting Edge of Change:” Remarks by Rosa Whitaker

“Innovative Mechanisms for Maximizing Capital Flows to Africa”
April 26th, 2010
The Willard InterContinental Hotel, Washington, DC

 Opening Remarks by Rosa Whitaker

Good afternoon, Excellencies, honored guests, ladies and gentlemen. We are delighted that you could all join us today.  We have with us a host of senior US and African government officials, including Ministers of Finance, Ambassadors, and senior State Department advisors.  We also have several senior World Bank officials, and of course we are so pleased to welcome President Donald Kaberuka today. Continue reading

Create Jobs in Africa, and All Else Will Follow

Published at – Trade Talk with Rosa Whitaker
by Rosa Whitaker

Bill Gates’ commitment at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to give $10 billion over the next decade to develop and distribute vaccines to children in the world’s poorest countries has stimulated an interesting discussion on what would be the best use for such a large charitable gift. It’s an important discussion too, as more very wealthy entrepreneurs use their charitable giving to change the whole paradigm of aid to the “bottom billion.” Continue reading

The Base of the Pyramid: Room to Grow

by Tom Haslett

One of the most important questions facing multinational corporations today is whether they can make a profit with products and services marketed to the poor in developing countries. Many companies are actively exploring this approach with a variety of goods meant to reach consumers with limited expendable income: this is called a “bottom of the pyramid” strategy. As firms search for new opportunities, Africa represents a particularly large and attractive market to tap. Equally importantly, new innovations that earn a profit for their creators can also serve the continent’s people as a powerful tool for development. Continue reading

Africa Health News September-October 2009

  • AHN-Sept-Oct-2009President Kagame calls for strong health leadership
  • Leaders discuss secure supply chains
  • Alliance launched to eliminate malaria deaths
  • Kenya to benefit from private equity health investments
  • New drug targets sleeping sickness
  • New public-private partnership to improve blood collection safety
  • African nations seek accreditation for medical laboratories
  • GSK to make a large investment in AIDS drugs for Africa
  • WHO proposes preparedness response to H1N1 flu pandemic
  • Leaders in Health: Dr Gunther Faber, CEO, the Healthstore Foundation
  • Tanzanian anti-malarial bed net plant to expand production

Continue reading

Building Blocks for Business in Somalia

by Daniel Morris

A stable Somali business environment continues to be an elusive proposition. Last week the president of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government gave a talk in Washington, DC, notable for the large number of prominent members of the Somali diaspora community in the audience. With his government still struggling due to an Islamist-backed insurgency, the president was understandably vague on many specifics concerning his political and economic policies. Continue reading

Mobile Banking in Malawi

On a recent trip to Malawi, my colleague Aubrey and I drove from the capital city of Lilongwe to Blantyre and back… roughly five hours each way.  The trip was longer than we expected, partly because we also made several stops so that Patrick, our driver, could distribute money to his relatives who lived in rural areas.  Continue reading

Empowering African Youth Through Technology

by Adanma Osakwe

Technology has become a major driving force for change and opportunity throughout the world. It has transformed many lives, and the unprecedented access to technology that today’s youth in Africa have allows them to compete with their peers in the global digital economy.

Young people gain a major advantage in terms of education, economic, and social opportunities when they have access to computers.  Strategic use of technology can boost wealth creation and alleviate unemployment– providing marginalized individuals in rural communities with technological tools for training can help them to realize their economic potential. Continue reading

Looking for Affordable Energy in Africa

The demand for electrical power in the developing world is growing at nearly three times the rate of demand in the developed world. And as countries in the global South, especially in Africa, add newly-affordable common household items such as refrigerators and air-conditioning units, the existing power grids, most of which were set up in the late 1970s, are becoming overwhelmed – already most operate at rates far higher than their capacity can support.  Just last week, Kenya began rationing its electricity due to the low water supply for hydroelectricity plants from an ongoing drought. Continue reading

Africa Health News July-August 2009


  • African Institutions to Lead Global Health Consortia
  • Wyeth Launches Final Trial of Drug to Prevent Blindness
  • International Network Established to Combat Malaria Resistance
  • Malaria Vaccine One Step Closer
  • Rockefeller Foundation Unveils Groundbreaking Initiative to Improve Health in Africa and Asia
  • Ethiopian Health Minister to Chair Global Fund Board
  • Global Business Coalition Announces 2009 Awards for Business Excellence
  • Dr. Sam Zaramba, Director General of Health Services, Uganda — a Leader in Health Continue reading

Uganda Update Spring 2009

uganda-update-spring-2009In this issue:

  • Uganda set to be among Africa’s strongest economies in 2009
  • Uganda secures African Development Bank funding to improve local markets
  • MTN Uganda launches mobile money transfer service
  • Computer education initiative wins Intel award
  • Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa launches African Seed Investment Fund
  • GroFin to invest $20 million to support small businesses
  • Uganda poised to become business outsourcing hub Continue reading

Ugandan Economy to be among Africa’s Strongest in 2009

A Ugandan coffee farmer harvests coffee beans.  Coffee is Uganda's top export, earning $348 million in 2008.

Coffee is Uganda's top export, earning $348 million in 2008.

Uganda’s economy is expected to be among Africa’s strongest in 2009 with a growth rate of around 6% thanks largely to strong regional trade and continued demand for its agricultural exports, according to the African Economic Outlook 2009, published in May by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). Continue reading

Africa: The Unsung Piece of Jack Kemp’s Legacy

by Rosa Whitaker

Congressman Jack Kemp will be remembered for many things, but for me, Jack Kemp will always personify a particular vision of an Africa enjoying the prosperity that only integration can deliver, a full and active partner in the global community.

I was privileged to work with Congressman Kemp to make that vision a reality-first in the late 1990s, when he was one of the main advocates working with me in a bipartisan effort to pass the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), and more recently as co-chair with me of the AGOA Action Committee advocating for enhancements to the legislation.  Continue reading

Reversing the Brain Drain

The African Diaspora is a continual source of interest to the development community. It represents a highly accessible and much needed employment pool.  Africans are the most highly educated and highest-earning immigrant group in the US.  But often initiatives designed to attract them fail, for any number of reasons.  One problem is a pervasive belief that remittances (which amounted to nearly $40 billion for Africa in 2008) are more valuable than labor.   Continue reading

Diaspora Development

The other night I attended the launch of the Liberian Professional Network, the latest in a series of new organizations with the potential to revolutionize the way African expatriates can help develop their home countries.  LPN brings together professionals in the Liberian diaspora to network, socialize, and support social causes and investment ventures back in Liberia.  Diasporas have historically given significant financial support to their home countries – Liberia received $300 million in remittances in 2007 – but what sets groups like LPN apart is that they can coordinate all those resources to get a greater return. Continue reading

Multimodal Technologies for Africa

As new social phenomena, like Twitter, combine one technogical platform (SMS – short message service) with another (the internet), the feasibility of communicating has increased. This has particular relevance for Africa, which has the world’s most dense cell phone usage.  (With three out of every four people using cellular numbers as their primary number, cellular numbers in Africa are the closest thing to national ID numbers in most countries). And, as the highly anticipated fiber optic cable in East Africa comes online, Africa will be well-equipped to advance these multimodal technologies. Continue reading