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Lesotho just granted Africa’s first legal Marijuana license

Lesotho’s Ministry of Health just granted South African medical company, Verve Dynamics, an official license for the cultivation of marijuana for medical and scientific purposes—making it the first marijuana production company on the continent to have been given administrative approval.

Cannabis is already Lesotho’s primary cash-crop. It’s mountainous terrain, experienced farmers, and cooperative government puts the country in a unique position to lead the continent’s industry, reports Konbini. About 70 percent of South Africa’s marijuana is generated in Lesotho, and the continent’s market is only growing.

According to a 2007 report on “Cannabis in Africa” by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, an estimated 38.2 million Africans between the ages of 15 and 64 use marijuana yearly and the numbers have grown since. Nigeria ranks third on a list of countries that consume the most cannabis with 14.3 percent of the population using marijuana.

With this ruling, Lesotho finds itself at the forefront of an immensely profitable industry.

“Access to medicinal cannabis on the African continent has taken another major step forward today and Verve Dynamics is honoured to be the first company in Africa to have been granted regulatory approval to begin the process of growing and producing high quality cannabis extracts commercially,” says Richard Davies of Verve Dynamics in a statement.

“The Government’s decision to move forward with this historic decision means that Lesotho will play a significant role in developing this industry, both locally and internationally, as well as establishing itself as a pioneer on the African continent with regards to state of the art extraction equipment.”

So, will other African countries take steps towards “legalizing it” as well? It appears that some are gradually doing so already, South Africa legalized the use of marijuana for personal use in the home back in April, though distribution and public uses are still illegal.

It seems that Verve Dynamics is ready just in case any other nations decide to follow in Lesotho’s footsteps.

“We will make this equipment and services available to our partners in Africa on a toll basis as long as both the legal and regulatory approvals have been met,” says the company.

From what we can tell, the continent is about to get even more lit.

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Digital business has created a different mindset for more than three quarters of CIOs in Africa

  • Gartner Survey Reveals That Digital Business Has Created a Different Mindset for More Than Three Quarters of CIOs in Africa
  • Analysts Examine the Results of the Gartner 2018 CIO Agenda at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, 18-21 September 2017, in Cape Town

Digital business has created a change-ready mindset for 77 per cent of CIO survey respondents in Africa, according to Gartner, Inc.’s annual CIO survey. The survey showed that 50 per cent of CIO respondents in Africa are responsible for the digital transformation strategy of their organisation, and 43 per cent are in charge of innovation.

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Africa’s transport leaders drive free trade agenda

National development across Africa continues to support the commitment undertaken by the 54 members of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in November 2016 to create a continent-wide free trade area.  At the helm of this initiative is Africa’s transport sector, taking continuous strides to unlock cross-border opportunities for intra-African trade and development.

There is a much to be gained from a free trade area for Africa, as intra-African trade is the lowest of any region in the world at a mere 10%.  A properly executed free trade area could change the status quo and transform Africa. As projects and initiatives in support of transport infrastructure development to boost intra-African trade continue to crop up across the continent, Africa’s transport leaders take action to demonstrate their vision of modernised transport and free trade for the region.

The Federal Republic of Nigeria has most recently reaffirmed its commitment to intra-African trade and development with the confirmation of The Honourable Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Nigeria’s Minister of Transport, to join the strategic round table discussions that will be held during the 6th annual African Ports Evolution Forum in Durban, South Africa this October.  The Honourable Amaechi’s presence in Durban this October alongside Kenya’s Principal Secretary of Maritime and Shipping, Nancy Karigithu and South Africa’s Minister of Transport, The Honourable Joe Maswanganyi will catalyse the ensuing strategic pan-African discussions for cathartic expansion and modernisation of ports, corridors and multi-modal connectivity.

The African Ports Evolution Forum, now in its 6th year, is an annual initiative created in response to Africa’s transport infrastructure gap.  The initiative unites ports authorities, Ministries of Transport, terminal operators and rail operators to support the scale of development currently underway across the continent.  Not only will Ministries of Transport from Nigeria to Kenya to South Africa be in attendance but also myriad ports authorities from Namport to Djibouti Ports and Free Zone Authority will be there to boost intra-African collaboration and prepare for post-neo-panamax shipping requirements as the 4th industrial revolution sweeps the globe and Africa’s profile as a global trade partner gains momentum.  African Ports Evolution is strategically located with the 2nd annual African Rail Evolution Forum and Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal’s Export Week initiative to provide comprehensive access to strategic development for both coastal and hinterland trade.

Supported by the Ports Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa (PMAESA) and hosted by eThekwini Municipality, the forum garners support from more than 100 sponsors and exhibitors and 80 media and association partners to form one of Africa’s leading transport initiatives.  Port and corridor expansion is not only creating new business opportunities for port city development across the sub-Saharan region but also opening up new access to hinterland areas and strategic trade corridors. “African Ports Evolution Forum unpacks best practices for sustainable port development and expansion with emphasis on the latest technologies available to drive sustainable construction, interoperability of systems, port efficiency and optimisation,” says Carly Pols, International Business Director at Hypenica Pty Ltd. www.portsevolution.com

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Infrastructure Africa provides platform for women to take part in Africa’s economic development

With Women's Month taking place in South Africa this month, the Infrastructure Africa Business Forum in Sandton is providing a platform for women's development in traditionally male-dominated infrastructure sectors.

"The role of women in Africa’s economic development remains a central issue with gender inequality thwarting growth in many countries. The women of Africa currently represent an untapped economic force that is necessary for the continent’s socio-economic development as well the optimisation of its potential," said Liz Hart, Managing Director of Infrastructure Africa.

Women are catalysts for meaningful change on the African continent and that women and women leaders will be critical in leading our continent into a new future is very evident.  As such, creating opportunities that promote African women’s economic participation is a prerequisite if Africa is to experience its predicted growth within the next few decades.

In most African countries, only about a third of women participate in economic activities, however research shows that when women are actively involved, the improvement is measureable: In Africa, women’s economic participation encourages increased GDP, better governance within political structures and improved performance as a result of leadership within organisations.  

And it’s not only women’s economic participation that’s needed – women in Africa need to become more representative in most spheres, including in infrastructure sectors, and women need to become more involved in the decision-making and planning of infrastructure projects and programmes.

In addition, the burden of infrastructure deficit is carried mostly by women, who walk kilometres per day and spend hours collecting water as well as wood for cooking and heating. Thus the design of infrastructure programmes needs to prioritise such gender-specific issues to ensure that women are able to carry out their everyday chores more efficiently, allowing more time for family care, educational opportunities, productive work and participation in community life.

Although significant progress on the integration of gender in the infrastructure domain has taken place in the last decade, much more is needed to establish women’s inclusivity in African infrastructure.   The event aims to provide opportunities for women to unlock opportunities for growth in the African infrastructure arena and this can be in the form of personal growth through learning, meeting business mentors, creating new business connections through the key people attending and growing their existing infrastructure businesses by doing deals.

The Infrastructure Africa 2-day conference takes place at the Sandton Convention Centre from the 21 - 22 August and will host several leading women infrastructure experts as speakers as well as participants who are active in Africa's infrastructure sectors. 

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