Daily Archives: February 12, 2019

CGAP 13th Annual Photo and Video Contest Winners Capture Resilience and Hope in Africa

Washington, DC, Feb. 12, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The winner in this year’s CGAP Photo Contest deftly captures the uncertain future many young women in the Middle East and North Africa face. In his thought-provoking image, Hesham Fathy shows a young Sudanese woman looking pensively into the horizon as she leans against a fence, which could either trap her or free her. Despite the poverty of the surrounding landscape, she holds a smartphone, giving her access to a world beyond her own.

Although she is connected digitally to a wider world through the messaging service WhatsApp, which she was using before Fathy took the photo, the young woman is also held back by her financial and social circumstances.

For the 13th year, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) invited photographers from around the world to illustrate, with compelling images, the impact that financial inclusion can have on the 1.7 billion people who are unbanked. For the first time, the 2018 photo contest focused solely on Africa and accepted short video submissions.

Fathy’s photo entitled, “Hoping to Get Out into the Future”, was selected as the Grand Prize Winner out of 614 photo entries from over 30 African countries. Msia Kibona Clark, contest judge and assistant professor of African Studies at Howard University in Washington, DC, said of the winning photo: “The image is so evocative, yet it is open to interpretation. The way she is holding the phone, it symbolizes opening up possibilities.”

                                         View the Winning Photos              

While throughout the world more men and women are gaining access to financial services through a bank or mobile phone, Africa still lags behind other regions: 70% are banked in South Asia and in East Asia and Pacific; 65% in Europe and Central Asia; 54% in Latin America and Caribbean; and 43% in Sub-Saharan and Middle East and North Africa. The 2017 Global Findex also found that in developing countries the gender gap remains unchanged at 9 percentage points. Furthermore, women in the Middle East and North Africa are among the most financially excluded. Mobile or smart phones and other digital technologies can be powerful tools for the 81 percent of women worldwide, such as the one in Fathy’s winning photo, who own a mobile phone but may not have a financial account.

Financial inclusion has an important role to play in achieving many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly for women and other marginalized groups.  It can help unlock access to basic, life-changing services, such as education and health, that help women as well as men to capture new opportunities and build sustainable livelihoods.

For this year’s contest, CGAP invited submissions in three areas that are instrumental in advancing financial inclusion:  Reaching Excluded People; Brighter Prospects for Young People; and Digital Finance and Development. In Reaching Excluded People, the winning photograph, by Kelvin Kariithi from Kenya, speaks to how financial technology can empower the elderly; the winner for Brighter Prospects, Anas Kamal from Egypt captures resilience and optimism, which contest judge Indira Williams Babic, Director of Photography at the Newseum described as  “propelled from the foggy background, this beautiful image evokes a sense of future prospects this young man may have and pursue”; and the winner in Digital Finance and Development, Alison Wright of the United States, illustrates innovation: how digital finance helped to buy a stove, which was then used to access power and subsequently to charge a mobile phone.

The Grand Prize for short video was awarded to “Subsidy Deposited in the E-Wallet” by Gnim Zabdiel Mignake in Togo. It shows how government subsidies for agriculture, distributed as mobile money into an e-wallet, helps farmers in that country.

View the Winning Photos

Complete List of 2018 Contest Winners

Grand Prize Winners

  • Grand Prize in Photography

Hesham Fathy, Hoping to Get Out into the Future (Sudan)

  • Grand Prize in Short Video

Gnim Zabdiel Mignake, Subsidy Deposited in the E-Wallet (Togo)

Thematic Winners in Photography

  • Reaching Excluded People

Kelvin Kariithi, Wavinya – Airtime Seller (Kenya)

  • Brighter Prospects for Young People

Anas Kamal, The Man of Sizes (Egypt)

  • Digital Finance and Development.

Alison Wright, Digital Finance Bring Clean Energy (Uganda)

Honorable Mentions in Photography

  • Joseph Tsongo, Pêcheur en milieu rural [Fishermen in Rural Areas] (Democratic Republic of Congo)
  • Anas Kamal, The Way to Work (Egypt)
  • Ly Hoang Long, The Sailors (Madagascar)
  • Mustafa Shorbaji, Boat Dealers in Aswan (Egypt)
  • Mansour Mohsen Mahross, Freedom (Ethiopia)
  • Gabriel Diamond, Following My Footsteps (Senegal)
  • Natalie Brown, A Unifying Goal (Senegal)
  • Zinyange Auntony, Differently Abled (Zimbabwe)
  • Ahmed Ibrahim, An African Woman (Egypt)

Honorable Mentions in Short Video

  • Jean Marie Leosgho, Financial Inclusion with Agency Banking (Senegal)
  • James Karuga, Low Interest Loans Impact on Farmers (Kenya)

People’s Choice in Photography

  • Kellyne Wairimu Njonge, Seeing Our World Through A Lens of Hope (Kenya)

Photo Contest Judges

Indira Williams Babic, Director of Photography, Newseum

Msia Kibona Clark, Assistant Professor of African Studies, Howard University

Rebecca Waghorn, Development Advisor, Private Sector Department, UK Department for International Development (DFID)

CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) CGAP is an independent think tank that works to empower poor people to capture opportunities and build resilience through financial services. We test, learn, and develop innovative solutions through practical research and active engagement with our partners to build responsible and inclusive financial systems that help move people out of poverty, protect their gains, and advance global development. Housed at the World Bank, CGAP is supported by over 30 leading development organizations committed to making financial services meet the needs of poor people. More at www.cgap.org.


Esther Lee Rosen

Cameroon Hospital Attacked; Medical Staff, Patients Flee

KUMBA, CAMEROON Armed men burned down a hospital in the Cameroonian town of Kumba this week, forcing patients and medical staff to flee for their lives. Cameroon’s government blamed the attack on separatists demanding independence for Cameroon’s English-speaking regions.

The country’s national order of doctors has condemned the attack as barbaric.

It was quiet Tuesday at the Kumba district hospital in the southwest region of Cameroon. On a normal day, the hospital cares for hundreds of patients and pregnant women. But none were here today, Feb. 12, 2019, one day after the attack that reduced most of the buildings to ashes.

Nurse Rose Mary Kimbie said the hospital complied with government orders to discharge 90 percent of the patients.

The patients that were a little bit better, we sent them home, Kimbie said. Women who delivered, we sent them back home. We took the instructions that the government gave that serious cases should be dispatched to different hospitals around. I just pray that my colleagues who are out, that ran away from the incident, should come back, since government said they are assuring them of their security.

About 80 percent of the staff did not report for work Tuesday.

Fourteen-year-old Marvelous Manka, whose mother is being treated for cancer, said her mother may die because their doctor is absent, and there is no one to attend to them.

She said they have been asked to go to another specialist hospital in the neighboring town of Buea.

All the roads are blocked, and there is no one moving in town, Manka said. I just pray to God that the situation should change and everything to come back (to normal). God should just help for this strike to stop.

The government of Cameroon said at least 20 armed separatists attacked and set fire to the hospital in the early hours of Monday. It says four people, including two patients, were killed.

Local newspapers report that the separatists may have been angry that the hospital was treating government troops wounded in the separatist war and disclosing the identities of armed fighters to the military.

Tetani Ekwe, president of the Cameroon Medical Council, denied the accusations.

He said the national order of Cameroon doctors and all medical staff in Cameroon are speechless because they have always respected neutrality in the conflict between the Cameroon military and armed groups. He said when a priceless service to humanity like health care delivery and a hospital are attacked and torched for whatever reason, the medical staff can only be shocked and expect justice to take its course.

On social media, the separatists insisted that the hospital was torched by Cameroon’s military to discredit them and tarnish their image.

Renewed fighting erupted in Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions this month after armed separatists began what they call a 10-day lockdown, banning many activities in the war-torn Anglophone regions through Feb. 14.

Cameroon’s unrest began in November 2016 when English-speaking teachers and lawyers demonstrated against the growing dominance of French in the officially bilingual country.

Source: Voice of America

Actor Dreams of Second Chance as Somalia Rebuilds its Theater

MOGADISHU Abdulle Abdi Mohamud stands outside Somalia’s National Theatre seven years after a suicide bomb attack shut it down, and dares to dream of an unlikely second act for the venue – and his own acting career.

Around him, builders heave loads of cement, saw at wooden scaffolding and shift piles of rubble as they prepare to reopen the building in May, even as the Islamist insurgency rages on.

Organisers say they will premiere a classic Somali musical extravaganza titled Caretaker Government, though precise details of the production are still under wraps.

Mohamud is hoping to get a role – a comic role.

Although I grew old, I am still strong … I will act better than before, says the greying 59-year-old, who performed in the theatre several times before its dramatic closure.

In the past, we have been fleeing and thinking about survival. Now people want entertainment and plays … We have hope now.

Hope is a precious commodity in Somalia, which has been mired in turmoil for decades – as has its national theatre.

The building opened in 1968, eight years after independence from Britain, and treated its first audience to a comedy called Womanizer.

Productions took on a more patriotic tone during war with neighbouring Ethiopia in the 1970s. Bellicose musical shows featured songs such as Oh my land, if I do not wash your face with blood, I am not Somali, says current director Osman Abdullahi Gure.

Wisdom and entertainment

After the overthrow of president Siad Barre in 1991, clan-based warlords blasted each other with anti-aircraft guns and fought over the theatre, which they used as a base. The building was hit so many times that the roof collapsed a year into the conflict.

Islamist militants who seized control in 2006 took over the building. They banned all forms of public entertainment – from concerts to football matches – that they considered sinful.

African Union peacekeeping troops clawed back control of the capital in 2011 and the new Western-backed Somali government reopened the venue the following year. But just three weeks after that, a suicide bomber from the Islamist al Shabaab insurgency struck during a ceremony, killing six people.

Today, Somali soldiers still use the theatre as a base, guarding the city and the nearby presidential palace from al Shabaab, which launches sporadic attacks.

But, if all goes well, the soldiers will be replaced by thespians in the next three months.

The government and local businesses have clubbed together to raise $3 million for the restoration. State workers have offered cash and their own labour, said livestock ministry official Mohamed Omar Nur, who is on site helping out.

We hope that the theatre will … be a place that will provide wisdom and entertainment, and hopefully it will also regain its reputation, says director Gure.

The soldiers will move out once the work is finished, but they will still be nearby to protect audiences and actors, he adds.

Security at the theatre will be assured just like it is in any building in Mogadishu. God willing, we shall secure the theatre.

Source: Voice of America