Imbokodo ready for historic first at HSBC Cape Town Sevens

04.December.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

South African Rugby Union
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Zintle Mpupha will captain the Springbok Women’s Sevens team at next weekend’s HSBC Cape Town Sevens tournament, while Zenay Jordaan, South Africa’s most experienced player in the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, will pull the strings for the Imbokodo as playmaker.

Imbokodo coach Paul Delport, Mpupha and Jordaan joined forces in the Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens last year, but playing in front of their home fans at the Cape Town Stadium for the very first time will be a personal highlight for the trio and the rest of the.

Nadine Roos, Christelene Steinhobel, Mathrin Simmers and Eloise Webb also did the double with their coach, captain and playmaker in 2018, while Buhle Sonomzi joined them for the trip to San Francisco last year. However, six players in Delport’s squad of 13 will make their World Series debuts next weekend.

Catha Jacobs, Sizo Solontsi, Right Mkhari, Liske Lategan and Megan Phillips will look at the HSBC logo on their sleeve with anticipation, although all of them wore the Springbok Women’s Sevens emblem with pride in Tunisia recently, where the Imbokodo were crowned the continent’s best at the Rugby Africa Sevens.

Only University of Fort Hare student, Lusanda Dumke, will make her Imbokodo debut, but the 22-year-old flanker is no stranger to international competition, having played for the Springbok Women’s XVs team earlier this year.

Delport will be without track convert and speedster, Alyssa Conley, who has not recovered from a foot injury in time, but the coach was pleased with his final selection.

“We have a good mix for Cape Town,” said Delport.

“The senior players have enough experience and have shown an ability to contest at the highest level. The remainder of the squad have proved to be winners in Tunisia, but this is a step-up, not only physically, but also mentally.

“This is going to be a massive honour for our squad playing at home, but we acknowledge the responsibility that comes with it. Let me say this: this team will leave nothing out there.”

According to Mpupha, there is inner confidence and comfort in the squad.

“We don’t know who we are playing yet, but we know two things already – this group will play with massive heart and we will not give up,” she said.

“We realise the pace will be faster, the hits will be harder and the split-seconds will even be less. But knowing that we will be playing in our stadium, in front of our crowd, with our emblem and flag on the jersey, will give us massive energy and encouragement.

“We really hope to have a huge crowd when we play as we want to show our hearts, our guts and our talent to those who came to support us.”

The Springbok Women’s Sevens squad is (with World Series stats) is:

  1. Rights Mkhari (on debut)
  2. Catha Jacobs (on debut)
  3. Buhle Sonomzi (on debut)
  4. Sizo Solontsi (on debut)
  5. Christelene Steinhobel (two tournaments; 10 matches; 0 points)
  6. Lusanda Dumke (on debut)
  7. Mathrin Simmers (seven tournaments; 36 matches; 30 points, six tries)
  8. Zenay Jordaan (11 tournaments, 52 matches; 111 points, 13 tries, 23 conversions)
  9. Eloise Webb (two tournaments, two points, one conversion)
  10. Zintle Mpupha (captain; three tournaments; 15 matches, 25 points, five tries)
  11. Nadine Roos (two tournaments; 10 matches, 32 points, six tries, one conversion)
  12. Liske Lategan (on debut)
  13. Meghan Phillips (on debut)

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Rugby Union.

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Business Bootcamp for 100 SME’s in Africa

04.December.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA


What: Business Bootcamp for 100 SME’s in Africa

When: 4 – 6 December 2019

Where: Ecobank ( Pan African Conference Centre, Lome, Togo

The African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) will be launching its first Business Bootcamp for 100 SME’s in Africa on 4 to 6 December 2019 in Lomé Togo, in partnership with Ecobank.

The Business Bootcamp is in line with the African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson’s “1 million by 2021 Initiative” which aims to provide concrete opportunities for 1 million youth by the year 2021, in the areas of Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship and Engagement. The initiative aims to leverage strategic partnerships, build ecosystems of efficiencies and test new ideas to move the needle on youth development.

The opening ceremony will be attended by Fati N’zi-Hassane AUDA-NEPAD Head of Human Capital, Josephine Anan-Ankomah Ecobank Group Executive Commercial Banking.

AUDA-NEPAD aims to contribute towards decent employment for Africa’s youth by supporting sustainable youth owned SME’s especially for young women. More specifically, AUDA-NEPAD seeks to contribute towards the AUC campaign by focusing on building the capacity of young entrepreneurs, engaging various stakeholders to avail sustainable financial mechanisms including the establishment of regional guarantees funds for youth and women led SMEs. There is vast potential for African economic growth to be driven by SME’s and there is even greater potential in the African youth taking up this challenge.

Ecobank, the Pan-African bank, believes in SMEs, not only as clients, but also as partners in driving social economic development. Ecobank, through its Academy and other business units, is working with the AUC on a number of initiatives to support SMEs and the youth attaining their full potential.

The Business Bootcamp will train 100 SME’s on business and entrepreneurial skills, broaden their markets beyond their local markets toward regional trade. It will also contribute to sustainable SME’s through good financial management, increase SME profitability, business growth and expansion to create more jobs.

The 100 SME’s were selected through a rigorous application and assessment exercise to ensure there is full representation of all the regions in Africa.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ecobank.

Media Contacts:
AUDA – NEPAD Communications Officer
+27 837 701 937
 011 256 3602

Ecobank Transnational Incorporated
Group Corporate Communication Manager
Christiane Bossom
(228) 22 21 03 03

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Market access and cooperation will unlock opportunities in Africa’s energy sector

04.December.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

African Energy Chamber

Africa’s energy sector is a catalyst for growth and development across the continent. Industry and investors need to stay abreast of the high-speed advances in the energy landscape.

Last week, the African Energy Chamber (AEC) ( launched its first annual African Energy Outlook for 2020. The report, compiled to provide key insight on what sub-Saharan Africa’s oil and gas industry can expect to see next year, also doubles as an overview of the role the energy sector stands to play in developing competing economies.

Though the continent’s oil and gas sector was significantly impacted by the oil price crash, 2019 has proven to be a year of recovery for many African economies. With many continuing works on projects that were previously halted or cancelled, some developing new large-scale projects and others working to increase their exploration and production activities; the continent is undoubtedly poised to see accelerated growth in the years to come.

To this, in the African Energy Outlook 2020, the AEC showcases key economies and projects that are set to transform the energy landscape, placing the sector at the center of economic growth. In outlining major projects and economies to look out for in 2020, the Outlook features highlights on announce oil projects in Angola, Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria as well as announced gas projects in Mauritania, Congo Republic, Ethiopia, South Africa and Cameroon.

In unlocking the next phase of transformation for the sector, the report insists the market access and intra-Africa cooperation will be critical, particularly in oil and gas pipeline and infrastructure projects.

“Market access is increasingly on the agenda of existing and upcoming African producers of oil and gas, with several cross-country oil and natural gas pipelines in the works to unlock billions of dollars,” it says. Noting that, “Lessons have to be learned on how to negotiate transnational infrastructure deals and 2020 will show if African nations have learned how to cooperate better for the benefit of all.”

“Next year, we need to see continued progress. We all understand what we have on our hands, now we must build environments that will not only attract investors but keep them for the long-term,” said NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy chamber. “That is going to be our main challenge, ensuring policy certainty, political stability, favourable environments and matching returns.”

The African Energy Outlook is now available for free download in

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Energy Chamber.

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Conference “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Opportunities and Challenges for Namibia”

04.December.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany - Windhoek
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The Association of Namibian German Alumni (ANGA) is hosting its inaugural Alumni Conference on the topic “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Opportunities and Challenges for Namibia”. The conference will take place on 6 and 7 December 2019 at the University of Namibia and is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office’s Science Diplomacy Fund. Academics, students and all interested members of the public are cordially invited to join this event.

Friday, 6 December 2019, from 13:30 until 18:30

Saturday, 7 December 2019, from 9:00 until 14:00

Venue: UNAM Lecture Hall Y 152/153 (Y-Block)

For more information and registration, please get in touch via e-mail to Participation is free of charge, refreshments will be served.

The world is on the cusp of the greatest industrial revolution that will essentially alter how we live, work and interact with each other. ANGA aims to use this conference to stimulate discussions within the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution among Namibian academics and the interested public. A plethora of Namibian experts will cover topics, such as Nanotechnology, Block Chain, Drone Technology, Artificial Intelligence, the future of work and much more.

ANGA is proud to announce that the keynote address of the event will be delivered by Dr Stanley Simataa, Minister of Information and Communication Technology. As ANGA’s key-partner, the German Embassy Windhoek will be represented by Ambassador Herbert Beck, who will provide special remarks at this event.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany – Windhoek.
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The Franco-Namibian Cultural Center (FNCC) welcomes Ombetja Yehinga Organisaton (OYO) dancers for World AIDS Day

04.December.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Ambassade de France à Windhoek, Namibie

France is strongly committed to the fight against AIDS.

France is proud to be the second largest historical contributor to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, with €4.61 billion paid since its creation in 2002. Following the sixth Global Fund Replenishment Conference held in Lyon, France, on 9 and 10 October, the international community pledged to save 16 million lives and prevent 234 million new infections in the coming years.

Namibia has maintained its contribution despite a tense economic situation, thus also confirming its willingness to fight the pandemic.

On the occasion of World AIDS Day, the Franco-Namibian Cultural Center (FNCC) welcomes the contemporary dance company OYO, committed to the fight against the pandemic. This partnership with the OYO troop shows the FNCC’s determination to work towards the renewal of commitments by States and non-state actors to achieve the goal of sustainable development for health.

The company Ombetja Yehinga Organisaton (OYO) was created in December 2002 and officially launched in March 2003. It advocates for a society in which individuals could be better informed, including by having access to art in all its forms. Founder and director of the organization, Philippe Talavera has been working in Namibia since 2000 on HIV prevention and education programmes through the arts. As director, he led the organization in developing its creative programs with both in-school and out-of-school.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ambassade de France à Windhoek, Namibie.

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Rugby X arrives in Mauritius

04.December.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Rugby Union Mauritius

As part of its Mauritius2024 Olympic program, Rugby Union Mauritius (http://www.Mauritius.Rugby/) is developing different forms of rugby to reach a maximum of players on the island including RugbyX, new rugby version launched by World Rugby in 2019.

RugbyX is a fantastic development tool integrated since September by four federations currently (Australia, England, Ireland, New Zealand) in various school programs, high performance and development.

Mauritius, being the 5th, follows the example of these federations by integrating RugbyX in its development program, particularly with its young people but also in the school environment for 2020.

On the weekend of November 23, the RugbyX has been tested on U16 generations of men and women from clubs and schools. It was more than 70 players who tried out this new practice at the SPARC High Performance Sports Complex in a happy atmosphere.

The players particularly liked the duel 1vs1 during ties. Cf Video

Jean-Baptiste Gobelet, DTN

I am very close to RugbyX and the new forms of Rugby in general. Seeing these 4 nations were also very interested in this tool is not surprising in their development policy.

As part of the training of the player, practice other sports but especially all forms of rugby (XV, Sevens, 10s, Beach, Touch, RugbyX, or even XIII for my overseas players) is for me the basis, it develops undeniably the technical, physical, tactical and mental qualities of the player.

Each rugby and especially RugbyX can bring a lot technically for the player on specific phases. For example, offensively we have noticed many more activities on the rezoning in the midfield. Players take more initiative and seek more accurate race angles to defeat the defensive block. There is a proliferation of offensive connections. There are other strong points of activation in the game beneficial to the players as part of the high performance.

In general, this will be an essential tool in the development with new populations including the school, wanting to learn to practice rugby.

Nathan Harel, U16 Captain of the National Team.

We discovered RugbyX this weekend and had a great time between the players we did not want to stop. A new format very fun that requires more technique in terms of pass, ruck but also good collective cohesion. A good way to progress in our rugby.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Rugby Union Mauritius.

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Soyizwapi hoping to bring it all together

04.December.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

South African Rugby Union
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Twice last season Siviwe Soyizwapi – as stand-in captain – took the Blitzboks onto the podium and lifted trophies in Vancouver and Singapore.

So, when the winger speaks about “bringing all the parts together”, Soyizwapi is referring to what was done right in those two weeks and what the Springbok Sevens squad will need to do this weekend when they open their HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series campaign in Dubai on Friday.

The new captain officially took over the armband from Philip Snyman at the start of the 2019/20 season and hopes to respond to the new responsibility in the same way he did when he became the team’s main strike weapon out wide, and duly dotted down 89 times in 28 tournaments.

“This is a strong group of players, not only in skills and talent, but also leadership,” said Soyizwapi.

“We have a variety of skilful players in the squad, some playmakers, some steppers and some deadly finishers. If it all comes together in this group, we will be successful.

“We said we just wanted to unite as a group and execute as a group. We have a lot that we want to try and a lot of stuff we have worked on, so if we can do that together as a group, we will be strong.”

Soyizwapi points to the fact that the SA Rugby Sevens Academy will also play at the same venue and points to the talent that that squad.

“I think we are around 36 guys in total competing for the 13 slots available on any given weekend,” he said.

“So, the competition is fierce, but in a good way. We push each other to become better every day and that is a good space to be in as a squad.”

In recent seasons, the Blitzboks’ gave South African rugby supporters many reasons to smile, and with the Springboks having won the Rugby World Cup, Soyizwapi feels they even have more to aspire to.

“In fact, what the Boks did in Japan inspires us to also go out and do great things,” he said. “It was massive for the nation and for us as well. It motivated us and we are keen to keep the South African flag flying high.”

South Africa face Kenya, Spain and England in Pool D of the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens.

Audio notes of Siviwe Soyizwapi (English and Xhosa) can be downloaded here. (

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Nhleko reflects on SA U19s opening win against Georgia

04.December.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

South African Rugby Union
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Junior Springbok assistant coach, Bafana Nhleko – who is serving in the same capacity on the SA Under-19 team’s tour to Georgia – looked back at the positives from their 28-21 victory against the hosts on Monday, and singled out a few areas to work on ahead of their second and final tour match on Thursday.

The team overturned a halftime deficit of 18-14 to win their first match at the Shevardeni Rugby Stadium in the country’s capital, Tbilisi.

After reviewing the match on Tuesday morning, Nhleko said: “With such short preparation time and the testing playing conditions, the players did well to try to stick to the game plan. They adapted particularly well to the defensive breakdown interpretation, especially after conceding a few penalties in the first half.

“I also felt that we created opportunities on attack, but it is about being alert so that we can capitalise on them. We were also pleased with the defensive character the boys showed, and the fact that they limited the hosts to only three points in the second half,” he added.

Casting an eye on their next match-up on Thursday, Nhleko said: “Our leg drive in the tackle is a work on, as we lost some collisions, and we would also like to improve our ability to set early so that we can move the ball when the options are on.

“Our discipline is another area we need to clean up.”

Nhleko was satisfied that the coaches were achieving their objectives on tour and he said they would look to give a few other players a chance to make their mark in their second encounter.

“The guys are learning and growing,” he said.

“We are getting to know them and we can see what they are capable of in a game situation.

“Since the purpose of this tour is to assess the players, we will give the other guys a run on Thursday.

“They would have watched the first game, and they were part of the review, so hopefully they can apply those lessons.”

The coach said the players were also soaking up the experience off the field.

“I think they are enjoying the culture, and bonding off the field as well,” said Nhleko.

“The weather has been a challenge, but these players are lucky to have an opportunity to travel and see the world.

“I don’t think many of them would have chosen to travel to Georgia, so this is a great life experience, as they get to see a different country and way of life. We have really been well hosted by the Georgia Rugby Union and their community, so this is a great experience for us all.”

Junior Springbok coach, Chean Roux, will name his match-day squad for their next encounter on Wednesday.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Rugby Union.

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Werner Kok is Back Where it all Began

04.December.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

South African Rugby Union

He is a former World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year, a two-time HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series winner, played in 47 tournaments and scored 106 tries for the Blitzboks. And still Werner Kok sees playing for the SA Rugby Sevens Academy side in Dubai this weekend as a step forward.

Kok missed a large chunk of the Springbok Sevens pre-season after being allowed by Blitzbok coach Neil Powell to join French powerhouse club, Toulouse, on a short-term loan and, consequently, is “restarting” his sevens career in the Academy side as they play for the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens International Invitational Trophy.

The 26-year-old has no issues playing away from the TV cameras and on the outer fields in Dubai this time around. In fact, says Kok, this is just what he needs.

“I would love to be in contention to play in Cape Town next weekend and I am quite comfortable playing in the Academy side this week to test my legs,” said Kok as they prepared for their first clash against the Royal Jesters, an invitational side from England, on Thursday. Matches against French Military and Russia will follow on Friday.

“This is a very strong Academy side, which will help me as the standard of rugby will be high. In fact, with the depth of the overall squad this year, it is going to be very competitive. Everybody wants to be in that final squad that will go to the Olympics next year and will push very hard for a spot. I am no different.”

The fact that he played as a fresh-faced youngster for the same team at the same venue many years ago, brings back fond memories and Kok does not mind reliving them again.

“Yes, I remember coming here as a youngster,” he said with a broad smile.

“Cheslin Kolbe and Kwagga Smith were with me at that time, and I still had short hair.”

After making his international sevens debut, Kok's exploits took him to 10 iconic cities in 10 tournaments around the world a couple of times, but the visit to Toulouse was another eye opener.

“The good thing for me was to experience a different culture and I am very happy that I took that detour – I enjoyed my time there and I feel that it improved me as a player as well,” said Kok, but he doesn’t want to dwell on the past too much.

“My immediate focus is to get back on the horse here in Dubai and enjoy playing with the guys around me. It was great coming back to the family again.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Rugby Union.

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Audio notes of Kok (Afrikaans and English) can be downloaded here ( 

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West and Central Africa Expands Access to HIV Treatment, But Falls Short of Targets

04.December.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

WHO Regional Office for Africa

West and Central Africa has made significant progress in expanding access to HIV treatment in the past three years. At the end of 2018, 53% of adults (people aged 15 and over) were accessing antiretroviral therapy (ART), compared to 39% in 2015[i]. However, the region still lags behind East and Southern Africa, where by the end of 2018, 67% of people living with HIV were accessing ART.

“While we are seeing glimpses of progress in these countries, the numbers are still not what we were aiming for. More people are getting tested, and more people are getting onto treatment, but it is not enough,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa. “Countries are doing the work; what is needed now is to improve the speed of the response and bring these efforts to scale if we are to achieve the 90-90-90 targets and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

At the 2016 United Nations High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS, the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners noted with concern that the region had fallen behind Eastern and Southern Africa, and called for an urgent response, known as the “Catch-up Plan”.

The Catch-up Plan was designed to address bottlenecks and help countries reach the 90-90-90 targets (90 percent of those living with HIV know their status, 90 percent of people living with HIV are on antiretroviral treatment (ART), and 90 percent of people on ART will have viral suppression). Of the estimated 5 million people living with HIV in western and central Africa in 2018, only 64% knew their HIV status, and only 76% of people living with HIV had achieved viral suppression.

During a session at the 20th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA), the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, highlighted the challenges facing the region.

Dr Hugues Lago, Team Leader for HIV, TB and Hepatitis for the WHO African Region, notes, “One major gap is access to treatment for children and adolescents, as currently only 28 percent of HIV-positive children are receiving ART. Expanding testing of children at birth as well as improving adherence to treatment among adolescents will be key to stopping the spread of HIV in west and central Africa.”

Countries also need to address the needs of key populations such as men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs.

WHO, through the Catch-up Plan, has provided technical support to 11 countries across the region to help them develop appropriate strategies for testing and treatment; assist with the transition to improved medications; ensure that they follow treatment guidelines; implement programmes with appropriate community involvement; and address the issue of user fees. WHO is also providing assistance to ensure that countries do not experience stock-outs of antiretroviral drugs.

WHO continues to support countries at the policy-making level, providing technical guidelines and capacity building, as well as providing assistance, where needed, on the implementation of programmes.

[i] UNAIDS estimates 2019

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of WHO Regional Office for Africa.

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