King Abdullah ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia’s proclamation that women in the country who for ages were banned from political participation, governance and disfranchised, would start to enjoy the right to vote, be voted for and admitted into the prestigious Consultative Council that advises the king, epitomizes that the de jure of the oil rich nation of Saudi Arabia understands implicitly the torrential reform that is taking place in Middle East and Africa.
As a moderate, King Abdullah has shown astute leadership in responding to a looming political threat or whirlwind that could have brazed his kingdom by initiating a change process that made him to win the heart of women of the number one oil producing nation of the world who are now becoming a boisterously emerging power bloc in the kingdom. King Abdullah has also given credence to the new wave of change pervading the world
Similar to the new empowerment of women in Saud Arabia is the latest rising trend of women in leadership positions in Africa’s petroleum sector. A decade ago, it was rare to find women occupying major decision making positions in any of the African nations’ oil and gas industry. Prime reason being that the petroleum industry has always being regarded as a man’s world. Often people in oil business are succinctly referred to as “oil men”. The nature of risk and hazards associated with oil operations, also made it to be considered a no go area for women whom have been historically presumed to be weaker vessels.
Since oil business entails heavy capitalization and control, economic disparity among men and women must have also hindered the early involvement of women in oil business. There is this uncanny perception that men are better fashioned to handle financial risk and has more capabilities in managing huge resources than women. It is also important to state that the structure of our society hideously created a culture of ceiling which bars women from not rising beyond certain particular corporate height
Today, Africa and Middle Eastern countries have began to join the global bandwagon of changing the frame and structures that had inhibited the rise of women in the corporate and political system. Taking the oil sector in Africa for example, more women have started to occupy positions of influence. Nigeria’s Petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke became the first woman petroleum minister of the African biggest producer of oil and also the first lady petroleum czar in OPEC. Petroleum and the broader energy ministries and leadership in Africa which used to be exclusive offices managed men, now has many women stirring the ship. From Nigeria, where Alison-Madueke is on the rudder of petroleum matters to Uganda, a debutante oil producing nation of Africa whose energy minister is Irene Moluni, South Africa, Ethiopia where Hon. Ejugi is the lady in charge of the energy sector, to mention but a few, women in Africa are now increasing the ante in the significant petroleum industry. In Kenya’s national oil company where Summaya Hassan-Athmani is the managing director, almost all the top management offices have women at the helm. Women have started to venture into independent oil field production. One of the most successful marginal oil field companies in Nigeria, Brittania –U has a lady by the name s Mrs. Uju Ifejika as the chairman/CEO. Brittania- U is the operator’s of Ajapa MField, which is one of the producing marginal oil fields in Nigeria. The richest black woman in the world , Chief Mrs FolorunshoAlakija is the owner of FAMFA Oil company in Nigeria.
The new changes could be adduced to the fact that reforms have given women more participation in government and politics. The power and beauty of democracy has also proved that women are very resourceful, influential and active voting blocs that must be courted and assuaged by those that desire political victory in their domains.
By removal of certain socio-economic barriers and initiating equal opportunities, today’s 21st Century women are more economically buoyant than their likes that strived twenty years ago. It is obvious that nowadays more women graduate from colleges than men, thereby creating more pools of professional ladies. Contrary to the archaic perception that women are weaker vessels, global events have shown that women can also hold the forte and are very energetic. Many developed nations such as Germany, South Korea, France, Spain, New Zealand, Denmark, Israel and recently Australia formally allow women to be at war front-lines alongside with men. The old views that women are averse to risk and do not have the capacity of controlling huge capital flow has been proved wrong through the success of women in the various financial industries of the world.
Industry analysts and organizational development experts are clamoring the new emergence of women in the apex of Africa’s energy business as a good development. These experts believe that women have more leadership traits in accomplishing task focused and relationship oriented goals. And as most African countries depend on their natural resources for economic development, the current global trend calls for leaders who can ensure that tasks are accomplished and also build better internal and external relationships.
In the same light, observers who have bemoaned the slow pace of development in Africa, especially in resource rich nations, are of opinion that women have the natural and professional s skills required to assist the men folk fight the menace of Dutch Disease. Corporate experience has also shown that the women are better placed to check the oddities of corruption and organization politics prevalent among men. With due regards to the above and the ongoing reforms the emergence of more women in positions of power and especially in the Africa market should not be a surprise.
The golden rule of corporate social responsibility states that companies that do not consider stakeholders in their operations and do not act as good neighbours in the communities they operate always suffer negative consequences. However, as much as CSR is a mark of good governance on the side of companies, and not just charity, communities and governments are expected to reciprocate by providing enabling environment and harmonious regulations that will accord support to the growth of companies . Corporate Social responsibility is a win-win situation.
In our new monthly CSR Monitor in Africa, we are monitoring corporate social responsibility acts of companies in Africa, and how the people and government respond. We are also assessing how such acts have fostered growth or jeopardized operations.
Creating Sustainability through Capacity Building
On 3 September 2012, Tullow Oil announced that the company is sending 93 scholars to begin studies at leading universities in UK and France same month under the Tullow Group Scholarship Scheme (TGSS) .The TGSS forms a key part of Tullow’s overall approach to education and capacity building, and will support postgraduate degree, technical training and vocational studies. The scholarships aim to support local people to participate in the oil and gas industry, and in other sectors that promote economic diversification, with the aim to address both existing industry skills gaps and national capacity development requirements.
The scheme is administered by the British Council, and according to the management of Tullow attracted nearly 7,000 applicants and after a rigorous selection process, the scholars from Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Mauritania, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon and Ethiopia will begin their studies this month. The selected students will be studying a range of subjects from Exploration Geophysics, Oil and Gas Management and Law and Environmental Science to Supply Chain Management and Hospitality & Tourism at top universities such as Robert Gordon University (UK), Coventry University (UK), Imperial College (UK), Université d’Angers (France) and University of Dijon (France).
Hess prides in her partnership of the PRODEGE program with the government of Equatorial Guinea as the centerpiece of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility program is a large scale effort to transform primary education in the West African nation of Equatorial Guinea. The initiative, PRODEGE (Program for Educational Development of Equatorial Guinea), is a $40 million public/private partnership led by Hess Corporation and the Government of Equatorial Guinea and implemented by the Academy for Educational Development. According to Hess, in just two years, PRODEGE has established 40 model schools and introduced accelerated course work in basic math, language and science. The schools use an active learning technique that encourages students to build critical thinking skills and learn cooperatively. Beyond classrooms, the partnership has also built latrines and drilled water wells to ensure that students now have safe, potable water and proper sanitation. New classroom furniture is being supplied by local businesses. Thirty-nine of 40 schools targeted for these improvements are now fully operating.
Noble Energy states that part of its international social investment is the Geoscience Education Program GEGEO). in Equatorial Guinea. The program is a collaborative project between the University of South Carolina and the National University of EG which provides training and scholarships for the completion of bachelor's degrees in Geology and Engineering at USC
The University of Uyo is the only degree granting institution of higher learning in Akwa Ibom State, the largest offshore oil producing state in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria. Prof. Ekwere Peters, senior consultant with Afren informed us that In 2006/2007, the Chemical & Petroleum Engineering Department of University of Uyo lost its accreditations from the Nigerian University Commission (NUC) and the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) because of inadequate infrastructure and qualified teaching staff to sustain an accredited engineering program. As part of its corporate social responsibility , Afren intervened and pledged to donate teaching and research equipment, books and journal subscriptions to help build the academic infrastructure necessary to regain accreditation. Over the past two years, Afren purchased and installed at the university the most critical pieces of teaching and research equipment, valued at almost US$1 million, and also donated books and journal subscriptions. Because of Afren’s intervention, the department has now regained NUC and COREN accreditations until 2015 and 2017, respectively.
(AP) – The Catholic church has chosen a new pope: Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, a 76-year-old Jesuit. He will be known as Pope Francis and is the first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than 1,000 years. He stepped out onto the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica about an hour after white smoke began billowing from the Sistine Chapel. “I would like to thank you for your embrace,” he told the jubilant crowd, adding that his fellow cardinals "went to the end of the world" to find a new pope. (Bergoglio's humility is a key theme in early profiles.)
He reportedly finished second in the 2005 conclave that produced Benedict XVI, who last month became the first pope to resign in 600 years. The archbishop of Buenos Aires has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests. Tens of thousands of people who braved cold rain to watch the smokestack atop the Sistine Chapel jumped in joy when white smoke first poured out, as the bells of St. Peter's and churches across Rome tolled, signaling a pontiff had been chosen. Elected on the fifth ballot, Bergoglio was chosen in one of the fastest conclaves in years, remarkable given there was no clear front-runner.
I am not a Catholic, but I am always thrilled on the unique democracy enshrined in the Roman Catholics way of choosing a new Pope. Amongst other things that make the issue of electing new pope in the catholic faith a thing of importance to me is the pomp, spirituality ,and global attention that goes with it. The ceremony of electing a new pope does not only make the papacy distinctive, it builds the halo and toga that equally defines the pope's infallibility and also maps out the extraordinary importance of Vatican as a city not only to be found in Rome but on the lips of everyone that understands religion.
Royal marriages in the Buckingham palace such as that of Prince Charles to Lady Dianne and that of his son Prince William to Lady Catherine are also earthly ceremonies that pull same likely amount of glamour and media bliss. While the British people will be waiting outside the Buckingham Palace to see the Prince come out with his newly wedded wife and place a special kiss on her lips to publicly display their affection and marriage, the Catholic faith will be expecting a white smoke to come out from the Sistine Chapel where the Cardinals are having their Conclave to indicate that a new pope has been chosen.
Apart from the thrills of the ceremonies, I am getting more entwined into this special Catholics ceremony of electing a new pope because of the leadership quality displayed by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who resigned last month due to his alleged complaint of not been able to carry out the responsibility of the ministry due to frailty. Despite the Vatileaks that came out after his announced resignation trying to douse the reason given by the Pope Emeritus, I am still of the opinion that his decision is sound and espouses his good leadership quality. If the Pope Emeritus was interested in the fame that goes with the office, he would have continued to be the pope because the alleged scandal has nothing much to impugn his integrity.
As the world awaits the arrival of a new pope next week, it is worth my joy that an African Cardinal from Ghana – Cardinal Peter Appiah Turkson is seriously being considered as one of the heavy weights for the coveted office. If chosen, the 64 year old Cardinal will be the first black pope and from Sub-Saharan Africa chosen since the year 496.
The joy of following this election process of the new pope and the global impact it will have on the new world socio-economic order and politics gingered me to link my note with the assessment and profile of candidates being considered for the holy office, as published below by Slate magazine: Who will be the next pope? Probably one of these guys
.Cardinal Marc Ouellet, 68, Canada. He's the head of the Congregation of Bishops and the president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, giving him two key networking edges. Because he's Canadian, he'd provide a bit of a superficial shakeup for the Vatican, which overwhelmingly selects European (specifically, Italian) popes—if the cardinals are concerned about their media portrayal, they might find a new image appealing. But his conservative politics aren't that different from Benedict, making him more of a "status quo" choice, as the Associated Press explains in their profile of him. According to a recent interview with the CBC, Ouellet, while not supportive of the church's overall handling of the sex-abuse scandal, hasn't indicated that he'd implement further reform in the wake of new sex scandals in the Catholic church. Rather, he said, "I think the protocols that have been set up are effective if they are followed."
Cardinal Peter Turkson, 64, Ghana. He's been a bookmaker's favorite since the papal succession speculation began. He'd be the first black pope, and the first African pope since the year 496. The Catholic church has been grappling with its demographic shift toward developing regions, including Africa, where the Catholic population is rapidly growing (16 percent of Catholics are from Sub-Saharan Africa). But they're underrepresented in Catholic leadership, where just 11 of the 115 cardinal electors are from the continent. Turkson, like Ouellet, would be a demographically different choice for the church, but not really a theological one (he's also pretty conservative). Plus, he has a highly problematic stance on homosexuality, and in turn, on the sex-abuse scandal. In February, Turkson told CNN that Africa was protected from the sex abuse in the church because "in several communities, in several cultures in Africa homosexuality or for that matter any affair between two sexes of the same kind are not countenanced in our society."
Cardinal Angelo Scola, 71, Italy. Cardinals love picking Italians. The National Catholic Reporter describes Scola, the Archbishop of Milan, as "Ratzinger but with a better popular touch." He's also involved in Muslim-Christian relations, in which he's considered well-versed by his colleagues. That's probably why he's topping a handful of papal contender lists—as basically theologically identical to Benedict XVI but with more charisma and a better global reach, Scola would make sense given the Vatican's reluctance to change.
Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, 69, Argentina. He's young enough. He's from Latin America but has Italian parents and Vatican experience. He's an effective administrator. Sandri is another candidate that would address the church's gap between leadership and population distribution: While Latin America is home to nearly 40 percent of Catholics worldwide, according to Pew, only 16 of the 115 cardinal electors are from South and Central America. Sandri was the Vatican's chief of staff, essentially, from 2000-'07. But he doesn't have pastoral experience, something cardinals are reportedly looking for this time around. And as the National Catholic Reporter explains in their profile of Sandri, his long bureaucratic history comes with some baggage.
Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, 69, Italy. He's another conservative, Italian choice. The Archbishop of Genoa and head of the Italian bishops conference is apparently the "nemeisis" of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, according to the Washington Post. Bertone is currently running the popeless Vatican as "chamberlin" (we'll get to him in a minute). Last year, Bagnasco called then-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi "sad and hollow."
Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, 70, Italy. Ravasi is charismatic, smart, and quotes Kafka and Amy Winehouse (though with a super uncool #youthcult hashtag) on Twitter. He's Italian, which the Vatican likes. He's been the culture minister at the Vatican since 2007. But he's not experienced pastorally, and his theology is apparently more moderate than the pope emeritus, NBC explains.
Odilo Scherer, 63, Brazil. He's the Archbishop of Sao Paolo, which gives him pastoral experience, but he's also worked in the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops. Brazil is the world's largest Catholic country, and he's considered by many to be the top Latin American choice among the cardinals. Unlike Benedict, Sherer has supported the social justice and poverty-focused message of liberation theology—popular in Latin America but considered too liberal by other wings of the church—but slammed what he says is its use of "Marxism as a tool of analysis." Sherer is globally moderate but regionally conservative.
The Slightly Longer Shortlist: There are quite a few names being thrown around. Other contenders include Joao Braz de Aviz, 65, Brazil; John Onaiyekan, 69, Nigeria; Luis Tagle, 55, Philippines; Christoph Schoenborn, 67, Austria; Sean O'Malley, 68, U.S.; and Peter Erdo, 65, Hungary.
Bonus round: commonly named contenders who probably won't be pope:
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, 78, Italy. One word: Vatileaks. Bertone was the secretary of state for the Vatican under Benedict XVI, and is now running the Vatican during the sede vacante. Bertone, like Turkson, believes that homosexuality is to blame for the child abuse scandal plaguing the church.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, 63, U.S. Dolan is probably not the next pope, and his name makes it onto lists like these because of his country of origin and high profile. But like Ravasi, he's at least competent at communicating with a broader audience, something the cardinals might feel they desperately need. Dolan is a conservative, theologically. He was deposed in late February concerning sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, where he was the leader before becoming the Archbishop of New York. Five-hundred-seventy-five people have filed abuse claims against Catholic clergymen in the diocese, according to the New York Times.
By Sunny Oputa
Amid colossal fears and worries shown by international organizations, United States and England concerning the candidacy of Uhuru Kenyatta in Kenya’s presidential election, Uhuru the son of the East African nation’s first president - Jomo Kenyatta is soaring high with 50% of already counted votes above his rival Raila Odinga towards becoming the nation’s next president.
London and Washington had earlier stated that they would have nothing to do with Nairobi if Uhuru Kenyatta is elected the president of Kenya. Uhuru Kenyatta with his running mate, William Ruto has been indicted in the International Criminal Court for crime against humanity in the killing of thousands of Kenyans during the 2007 election. Both men continued to maintain their innocence, claiming that it was a political smear.
Uhuru and his rival Raila Odinga are both from Kenya’s political pedigree and have served the nation in various capacities. While Uhuru’s father was the founding president of Kenya, Raila’s father Odinga Odinga was its vice president. Raila Odinga is the nation’s prime minister under the government of the outgoing president Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru the deputy prime minister.
In a tense political atmosphere circling around Nairobi, the Jubilee Coalition of Uhuru and the Coalition for Reforming Democracy (CORD), the platform on which Raila contested the election are all charged up to fight for victory. Raila’s camp has started to allege that the election was infested with fraud based on some existing allegations that computer glitches and possibility of rigging messed up the election outcome.
If tomorrow comes and the outcome of the election sees Uhuru as the next president, it is likely that Washington and London may soft pedal their stance on him. Kenya has provided a diplomatic and political launching pad for ensuring peace in the East African region and also in fighting terrorism. Definitely the government of Obama and Cameron will be very careful in initiating any action that will tear Kenya apart.
If Uhuru wins, he will continue to face the criminal charges against him in the International Criminal Court which may rumple his image and that of the nation, thereby giving room for cracks and instability.
Kenya has one of the booming economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, following countries such as Nigeria and South Africa in economic growth. Kenya is also an economic pillar and commercial gateway for many of the East African nations.
The oil and gas exploration boom in East Africa, and the recent huge discovery at Turkana by the Anglo- Irish Company, Tullow Oil launched Kenya into the big league that in 2015 it will become a prominent oil and gas producing nation in Africa. Exploration boom in the region has attracted many oil companies. Some of the oil and gas companies with blocks and operations in Kenya are: Afren, ERHC Energy, Anadarko, Total, Agip, ExxonMobil, Shell, and Statoil.
Most western companies and oil and gas operators in Kenya are of the fear that if Uhuru Kenyatta wins the presidential election, he may change some of the business law and create a more stringent petroleum policy. Kenya is just crawling in the industry and is still working on a more inclusive business friendly petroleum law.
Uhuru may not want to rush into what will push western investors away from the country. Kenya is still young in the game and as much as it is sane to get it right and use the resources produced in the country for its economic development, Kenya as most African nations still lack the technology and capital to go into intensive oil business. A rash reaction from Uhuru will hurt the East African nation’s economy and this will incur the wrath of the people against him. This is a political mistake Uhuru Kenyatta may not want to plunge into
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