Residents who have recently raised concerns of the need of stricter birth registration service in the community of Thomas Hill, Mabaruma, Region One (Barima-Waini), are now being reassured that the situation will be addressed as the town of Mabaruma will have an immigration and passport office constructed within the sub-district.A resident making a request at the public engagementThis message was delivered by Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, during an engagement with some of the residents on Saturday.The passport office, which will be the third of its kind, since similar offices were commissioned in Linden and Berbice to the tune of $31 million and $57.5 million respectively, will serve residents of the Mabaruma, Matarkai and Moruca sub-districts,The need for decentralising public services especially to the hinterland communities was highlighted by Harmon as he stated that a high premium is set on public services, such as education, health and increased river and road connectivity.“We have begun the decentralisation of Government services so that the access to direct services is much easier for citizens. In all of the townships, we are going to establish these extensions of Government services so you can expect that coming very soon so you won’t have to go to Georgetown. Everything is right at your doorstep. This is what we call a paradigm shift,” Harmon noted.But even while these promises were made, residents requested more efficiency in the registration system within the region in order to ease the burden residents have been faced with over the last few decades in obtaining birth certificates, passports and marriage certificates. “Residents leave from here to go to town to look after birth certificates and sometimes it takes months to come back,” one resident said.Harmon further explained that the establishment of the passport office in the township will allow for greater extension of services such as the registration of births and deaths.
21 April 2016Melissa JavanA total of 30 start-ups in Africa will be selected to be mentored and coached in talking to investors and refining their business models to prepare them to engage funders at the 2016 Demo Africa Conference, which will be held in Johannesburg later this year. The 2016 Demo Africa will be held in Johannesburg from 22 to 26 August 2016.(Image: Brand South Africa)Applications are open until 15 June for entrepreneurs who want to benefit from this initiative. They will be able to pitch their ideas in the hopes of getting funding for their businesses. The 2015 Demo Africa participants, for example, raised $8-million (over R110-million) in funding.The 30 start-ups will be selected by a panel of judges. The conference will run from 22 to 26 August at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg; it is the first time the annual event will be held in South Africa.According to the organisers, Demo Africa is a flagship initiative of Liberating Innovations in Opportunity Nations in Africa ([email protected]), which aims to connect African start-ups to the global innovation, entrepreneurship and investment ecosystem. At Demo Africa, start-ups are able to meet investors, information technology buyers, media, and tech acquisition specialists from around the globe.The initiative was set up in 2012, and 150 companies have been launched since then, according to Harry Hare, the chief executive officer of Demo Africa. Although hundreds of start-ups apply to be part of the initiative, only 30 will be selected, he adds. “We are looking for companies that will have an impact in communities, and also have the potential to grow.”The initiative aims to help entrepreneurs refine their business model, he explains. “We will help them do marketing and give them supporting learning material. Sustainability is almost guaranteed.”Success stories include a micro-lender business in Kenya, he says, and “several companies have gone on to raise a lot of money”.One of the important aspects of Demo Africa is the experiential learning that entrepreneurs will gain, explains Isayvani Naicker, the chief director of international resources in the Department of Science and Technology. “A lot of entrepreneurs fail, but they learn from their experience for when try to do something else.”Johannesburg is excited to host Demo Africa this year, says Ruby Mathang, Johannesburg’s mayoral committee member for economic development. “We will engage with local investors and make sure that they come prepared – that they bring their wallets!“The city of Johannesburg wants to position itself as the number one entrepreneurial hub on the continent. This requires that we play a significant role in the African technology innovation ecosystem,” he says.For your start-up to be part of Demo Africa, apply at venture-africa.com