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Former president of Malawi promotes disability rights at Harkin Summit in Washington dc

Former President of Malawi Joyce Banda says unless the international community and national governments provide the necessary mechanisms and environment to create employment for people with disabilities, all efforts to promote and protect the rights of people with disabilities will be futile.  

She was speaking at the inaugural Harkin International Disability Employment Summit held on December 8 and 9, 2016 in Washington DC, United States.

The main objective of the summit was to “begin a tradition of bringing together change agents to develop strategies for increasing disability employment around the world”.

Dr Joyce Banda said in ‘advancing disability employment’, it was imperative for stakeholders to have a clear understanding of the global scope of the challenges that people with disabilities face, particularly in the developing world, in order for them to come up with effective and relevant interventions.

In most countries, she said, disability rights are non-existent and that discrimination continues to deny persons with disabilities, as well as workers who become disabled, access to work.

“Households that have family members with disabilities have a lower living standard than the average. People with disabilities suffer various stereotypes, myths and stigma. In many developing countries, particularly in Africa, people with disabilities are regarded as outcasts,” noted Joyce Banda.

“Indeed, people with disabilities are more likely to be victims of violence or rape, and less likely to obtain police intervention, legal protection or preventive care.Women and girls with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to abuse,” said Banda.

She said “genuine political” could remove “the intrinsic barriers that deny people with disabilities their basic rights”,including to fully and actively participate in economic activity and access to employment.

Dr Joyce Banda said when she was Malawi’s President between 2012 and 2014, she endeavored to improve the plight of people with disabilities, including providing them with employment opportunities by strengthening the Ministry of People with Disabilities and appointing a disability rights activist to head that ministry, signing into law the National Disability Bill, introducing sign language on public television and ensuring that all public and private places, infrastructure and facilities were disability-friendly; and increased the capacity to train special needs educators at all levels in order to enhance access of learners with disabilities.

“I also directed the Ministry of Finance to allocate 30% of my salary to Malawi Council for the Handicapped (MACOHA), a government agency that works to help men and women with disabilities to become more independent and self-sufficient by providing vocational training centres,” she recalled.

Banda said these efforts were not only geared towards promoting the rights of people with disabilities but also creating an enabling and economically empowering environment that will enable people with disabilities to realize their full potential and ensure their full integration into the country’s socio-economic development processes.

She called upon the private sector to design and adopt affirmative policies, as a corporate responsibility drive, to ensure that people with disabilities have access to education, training and employment.

“I call upon governments, disability organizations, global development organizations, businesses and civil society to ensure programs, policies and funding fully include people with disabilities, with a specific objective to create employment for them to be self-reliant,” she said.

Other high-profile people who spoke at the two-day summit included Roberta "Bobbi" Cordano, the 11th president of Gallaudet University in Washington (she is the first deaf woman to hold this position), Andrew Imparato, Executive Director, Association of University Centers On Disabilities, Jack Markell, Governor of Delaware and Tom Harkin, US Senator.

Dr Joyce Banda was introduced by Tim Shriver, Chairman of the Special Olympics. In her remarks, Banda hailed Tim Shriver for being “hugely instrumental in promoting the rights of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the world.

Banda said she first met Shriver in January, 2013 at Global Development Summit at the Special Olympics in South Korea where she requested Special Olympics to assist Malawi develop the necessary programs and activities to become a model country in empowering children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

“In February 2014, my government, in partnership with the Special Olympics, hosted the first ever ‘African Leaders Forum on Disability’ in the capital, Lilongwe, to explore effective interventions’’ said Dr Joyce Banda.



Stella Asani (Collaboration)


Aban Investor masterclass series heading for Cairo in Egypt on Tuesday December 6 Th.

The |Cairo Masterclass,organized in partnership with VC4Africa,will take place at the Cairo Marriott Hotel Zamalek.The Masterclass will be conducted by long-time investor and entrepreneur Balz Roth, with an introduction by local investor Khaled Ismail who recently launched Algebra Ventures, a 50 million dollar fund investing in technology and technology-enabled startups in the MENA region.The 4-hour Masterclass will unpack the entire investment spectrum from deal origination, valuation, due diligence, negotiation, post-investment monitoring and finally, exits.  Seating is limited for this event.For more information, visit the event website.  

The Cairo Masterclass will precede "STARTUP NOVA",a highly anticipated networking event organized by Innoventures where graduates of the 'STARTUP REACTOR' accelerator program will present themselves to an audience of investors and ecosystem stakeholders. Meet the presenting cohort and read more about the event.


VC4Africa’s Thomas van Halen explains:“At VC4Africa we see an increasing number of business professionals turning angel investor. Looking at the results from our annual Venture Finance in Africa research we can conclude that one of the main reasons for investors to join investor networks is their willingness to learn from experts and share best practices. That’s why we are excited to support the series of Masterclasses in our endeavor to turn angel investment into a sustainable asset class on the African continent.”


Afrik Diaspo News / Alain Coomlan Tchegnon

Courtesy : ABAN


African Business Angel Network will host a serie of Masterclass and Bootcamps in Kenya on August 11

After a successful series of Angel Investor Bootcamps and Masterclasses last year,ABAN, the African Business Angel Network,is looking forward to now launch the 2016 series of investor events.These investor sessions are part of a shared effort to connect the network, knowledge and capital needed to support the continued growth of Africa’s innovation sectors and to help maximize the continents entrepreneurial potential.The series will focus on facilitating interactions between aspiring angel investors, experienced angel investors, promising high-potential entrepreneurs and other relevant stakeholders in the ecosystem from NGO’s government institutions and the academic world.


Announcing the Angel Investor Masterclass Nairobi August 11


To help kick-off the 2016 series award-winning 'European Angel Investor of the Year 2015’ Brigitte Baumann will return to Nairobi August 11 to host the Nairobi edition of the ABAN Angel Investor master-class.Brigitte Baumann is a serial entrepreneur; long time Angel Investor and President Emeritus of the European Business Angel Network (EBAN). She is the Founder and CEO of Go Beyond Early Stage Investing and Chairperson of Global Angel Investing group YPO.The Nairobi Masterclass will take place at the Best Western from 2 pm to 5 pm.Audience is investors-only and seating is limited. For more information please contact the local team via Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser.. Next to the event in the afternoon a closed-door hands-on training will take place in the morning for members of the Viktoria Ventures Investor Network.


The Why and How of ABAN – the African Business Angel Network.ABAN


is a pan African non-profit association founded early 2015 to support the development of early stage investor networks across the continent.ABAN began as a consortium of independent investor networks including the Lagos Angels Network (LAN), Cameroon Angel Network (CAN), Ghana Angel Network (GAIN), Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A), Silicon Cape and with the support of the European Business Angel Network (EBAN), the LIONS Africa Partnership and DEMO Africa. In the past 15 months the community has grown to some forty investor networks, groups and syndicates across the African continent.

Courtesy : ABAN


Alain Coomlan Tchegnon-Afrik Diaspo News / New York


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A Propos

La Diaspora africaine aux Etats-Unis et dans le Monde Entier n'a plus le même visage. Les motivations et les ambitions ont pris plus d'ampleur ces quinze dernières années. La nouvelle vague d'Africains vivant en dehors de leur territoire d'origine est certes plus élevée mais aussi très consciente des enjeux du continent. De cette prise de conscience naît une montée de la volonté de s'éduquer davantage, de s'impliquer davantage et d'entreprendre davantage. Lire plus....

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