By Paul Ndiho
Nigeria’s Nollywood film industry is rapidly growing in popularity, churning out nearly 3000 movies each year. Many of the films address issues that Africans across the continent can identify with. However, due to piracy, many filmmakers say they are struggling to make a profit.
Nollywood is a $5 billion dollar industry. Film producer, Sam Boye is on set taking his actors through their paces before shooting begins on his latest production, a soap opera series about family feuds. Boye has been involved in Nollywood films for more than 30 years. He says rampant piracy is the main reason film producers are barely making any money.
“A producer was in China, and he said he saw our movie. They call it 20 in 1. That is, you have 20 movies in 1 DVD in China and he saw Osofia speaking Chinese. That means it’s been dubbed into a Chinese language without the consent of the producers here. So when we say piracy has gone deep into this industry and it has been another major challenge.
Nollywood is best known for the quantity of films it produces, but not the quality. But there are those who are trying to change things. Producer-Director, Kunle Afolayan is the filmmaker behind “October 1”, Nollywood film set in 1960, against the backdrop of Nigeria’s Independence from Britain. The movie tells the story of a detective, who is dispatched by the British colonial masters to a remote town in the Western region of Nigeria to solve a series of murders that caused outrage in the community. With three films under his belt, Afolayan has earned a reputation in Nollywood for producing high quality movies.
“It’s a nightmare, it’s a universal problem but the kind of … the way it’s being done here is alarming when your film gets pirated and people flashes it in your face and no one is doing anything and when you even complain, they beat you up like there is no law in the land. All my films have been pirated but the most painful one is October 1 which has not been released on DVD.”
Every week, in Lagos alone, millions of pirated Nollywood and Bollywood movies – the Hindi language film industry based in Mubai, India, compete for customers against the original product. The pirated copies are sold everywhere, on sidewalks, street corners, under bridges and even on top of wheelbarrows for about one U.S. dollar per DVD — undercutting the production house price of the DVD.
Nigeria’s Copyright Commission, says the government is doing all it can to combat piracy. Afam Ezekude is the Director General of the Copyright Commission.
“The last four and a half years. We have actually reduced the rate of piracy, we are not boasting of trying to eliminate or eradicate piracy in this community but we have done a lot in terms of trying to limit the impact of piracy especially on the Nigerian economy.”
Still, industry analysts like economist David Omidiran believe Nollywood could be much more profitable and grow even further to boost the oil-producing economy if piracy was curbed.
“When all the piracy issues are resolved and there is more use of cinematography and we already have the likes of some cinema airing Nigerian movies, the industry has great potential.”
Since its inception, over 20 years ago, the Nigerian movie industry has remains one of the largest employers in the country, and analysts say the industry earns the third highest revenues in the world after Hollywood and Bollywood.


By Paul Ndiho
Sihle Tshabalala spent more than a decade in prison for armed robbery, but he now teaches township kids who are at risk of turning to crime I-T skills. He was recently highlighted by the World Economic Forum for his project which is giving disadvantaged youth, a new lease on life. VOA’s Paul Ndiho has more
Former inmate, Sihle Tshabalala spent nearly 11 years behind bars. He was just 19 when he was incarcerated — and while in prison, he taught himself how to write computer code and it helped to turn his life around. Today, Tshabalala is using those skills to touch other lives. He has partnered with another former inmate to start the “Brothers for All” center in Langa Township, Cape Town. It is a non-governmental organization that works to alleviate poverty and crime in South Africa.
The duo dual empowers disadvantaged children by them teaching basic computer skills. As the students get better, they learn more complex coding, which makes it possible to create computer software, apps
“I always tell people that we are in the business of selling hope even though the price tag is free but we sell hope to the people that have lost hope. Now the demographic of the people we work with, we work with high school dropouts, teenage mothers, unemployed youth and employed youth and also ex-offenders and offenders that we teach coding.”
According to the polling organization, “Statistics South Africa”, poverty, drugs and crime are rife in the country’s poor communities. But initiatives like the coding project can help to empower the youth who live in the poor townships to get life skills.
Gilbert Duquzumuremy is a volunteer who works with the “Brothers for All.” He is an IT graduate who immigrated to South Africa from Rwanda.
“I did computer science when I was in my country. I did it from 2012 to 2015 but I did not get a job because there is a problem of jobs, no job creation. I decided to come to South Africa. By intervention of one of my friends, he gave me a lead to “Brothers for All” and when I came there I said this is my place to be because I know how to code, I did coding then I decided to help them out as a volunteer.”
Those who attend the coding classes say they have not only gained valuable new skills but the classes also keep them away from more negative activities.
“It does help me a lot because in Khayelitsha there are a lot of gangsters there when you go outside there are lots of guys sitting on the corners smoking, and when you come across them you just get scared of them so computer programming it helps me a lot as I spend my time here programming it keeps me out of a bad mind.”
Tshabalala says his work is receiving recognition both locally and abroad including at the World Economic Forum earlier this year. Recently, the organization began the first coding program at a prison just outside of Cape Town. He says working with disadvantaged communities is his driving passion.
“Now, the response has been quite amazing because these are people that thought they would never do something magnificent with their lives but because they are now given the opportunity they then see something different and light at the end of the tunnel,”
The “Brothers for All” initiative is giving young people from Cape Town’s poorest communities the opportunity to turn their lives around. Still, with few job opportunities and little education, many more youth continue to struggle, resorting to crime and a life of violence.


By Paul Ndiho, Washington DC

The Animation Industry in Africa is still in its infancy. They are very few animated TV series or 3D movies originating from the continent. However, the growing demand for locally produced content is bringing about change. Solomon Jagwe, a Ugandan – American animator and 3D graphics artist, is leading way.Special Delivery for Nankya from Grandpapa Muzeeyi Mukulu

Mr. Jagwe is arguably one of Uganda’s most sought after animators. He’s the producer and creative director of the hit animated TV Series adventures Nkoza, Nankya.

“Right now the two main projects that I am working on are one has been going on for a long time that is Galiwango the animated film, but my main focus right now is the animated TV series the adventures of Nkoza and Nankya.  It’s about this little girl and a boy who are based in Uganda, Africa. The inspiration comes from having two kids a boy and a girl, my daughter called Jasmine and my son is Solomon.

Jagwe says he wants to create content that young children in Uganda or elsewhere in Africa can relate too. He hopes to take advantage of what experts say is an untapped market opportunity in the region.

“The setting of the series is in Uganda. Nkoza’s character is that of a little boy who is very inventive, he likes to create things. It reminds me of myself when I was kid. We did not have a lot of toys, so I used to make my own toys from wires, Colgate boxes and even little reels to make like TV screens… And Nankya on the other hand, she is very ambitious, very creative, she loves to read, and she loves to travel and also has an artistic background.

With a keen interest in animation, 3D graphics design and web development, the Ugandan-born Jagwe says the industry is not without its difficulties especially as he’s trying to make his mark in a burgeoning industry.

“The challenge is the time it takes to render 3D environments and characters but also funding you know because when you have the money, you can invest in more team members so that you can create more things, 3D animation is very labor intensive, the character animation its self, the modeling, the texture mapping, the rigging its extremely labor intensive and right now I have a team of people who are volunteering I would love to be able to hire more people to help with the work load.”

Solomon Jagwe  began the production of “adventures Nkoza and Nankya. ” nearly two years ago, taking on an intricate process that involved drawing images on paper, scanning them and turning them into digital renditions.

“I usually try to use like quick strokes, I put a smile on a character, the nose, I try to draw the eyes real quick, put the eye brows and then I try to emphasize on the eye lashes and I always try to capture the emotion. So it doesn’t take long to do the sketching.”

Besides creating the animated series, he is also an avid painter – and likes to donate his paintings for social causes. The animation industry is booming and television broadcasting houses are looking for originally produced local content.

Industry analysts say that for budding animators on the continent the sky is the limit because broadcasting houses are always yearning for local content.

A Smart Mobile Solar Kiosk Changing lives in Rwanda

By Paul Ndiho
A Rwandan start-up firm that uses a mobile solar kiosk to provide low-cost phone charging, airtime sales and mobile money transfers is generating interest and rapidly becoming the leading distributor of renewable energy solutions to rural and urban communities.AEC+Entrepreneurs-79
“My name is Henry Nyakarundi; I’m the owner of ARED, we developed a patent technology that can deliver key services to the end user.
Henri Nyakarundi is Rwandan innovator who has developed a cutting edge technology which offers a one-stop shop for mobile phone users looking for low-cost and convenient phone charging services.
“We do charging, we sell airtime, we can do mobile money transfers and very soon we will be able to do data connectivity for the end user. We are using a franchise business module to promote entrepreneurship at the base of the pyramid.
Nyakarundi grew up in Burundi and moved to the United States in 1996 to pursue further studies in computer science. After graduation, he ventured into other business pursuits including transportation and real-estate development. In 2013, has returned to his native country Rwanda to start ARED a grassroots social enterprise that empowers the local community.

“We are working on the next generation kiosk, which is doing data connectivity with internet, as well as content distribution using a built in WiFi network.”
ARED makes use of a franchise model for its kiosks, allowing people with little capital to start their own business.
“I actually believe this is one of the entrepreneurial and innovative businesses that you will find right now in Africa.”
Started under the African Renewable energy distribution, ARED is already making their mark on the global stage. The Tech firm has so far attracted both national and international attention — winning the American Society for Mechanical Engineer’s Innovation award, a global competition for hardware-led social ventures.
“We can charge up to thirty five (35) phones at one time on this system. The agents working out of these kiosks run their own business so to speak. And we have twenty four (24) kiosks on the ground right now in Rwanda.”
As an experienced entrepreneur, Nyakarundi knew a good opportunity when he saw one and he’s part of talented group of Rwandans trying to find home grown solutions to some of the problems Rwandans are facing. He says thinking out of the box is what is drove him to be innovative. He says that his business model has the potential create jobs, for unemployed people in the country.
I built this business to have a social impact, and when you work at the end user the Base of the Pyramid, their revenue are so small, they make $2 to $5 a day, so they cannot afford this kiosk. So I have to create a module where partnership was a key.”
“We design the technology in Rwanda and do the manufacturing in China, but in the future, most parts will be manufactured in Africa. The problem of Africa is, if you not manufacturing huge volumes, the cost is very high and in China it’s different.
Despite THE challenges the young innovator is focused on perfecting his brainchild.
“You know when you develop a technology, you always have to change different modules, so this is the fourth module we have, it’s a fourth generation kiosk and what you looking at, for example it doesn’t have a door, so we added a door for security reasons.”
Furthermore, ARED has partnered with Airtel offset the cost of the kiosk.
“If you look at the kiosk for example, it brings visibility; so companies that we partnered with are very interested because we can brand the kiosks, as you can see they are all red because of Airtel.”
ARED is already planning to expand the brand to sell on the regional market in Burundi, South Sudan and Uganda. Tech analysts say Rwanda’s fast growing population and rapid urban development means they’re more people likely to use the technology. Therefore, having a mobile smart solar kiosk could ease the burden for people in rural areas with no access to electricity.

Paul Ndiho is a Ugandan – American video journalist/ executive producer, Africa Innovations & Technology based in Washington D.C with interests in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship in Africa. He is passionate about mentor-ship and developing the next generation of Africa’s young leaders. Email:pndiho@gmail.com, Facebook: Paul Ndiho and Twitter: @pndiho


BY Paul Ndiho
One month after the peace agreement was signed between the government and the rebels to end the 20-month conflict in South Sudan, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged parties to reaffirm their commitment to the deal. Speaking at a high level meeting during this year’s U.N. General Assembly, he called for the implementation of the agreement without delay. SOUTH SUDAN PEACE AGREEMENT (STA -TV)
Citing a new window of opportunity for peace in South Sudan, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week called on all parties to demonstrate a genuine commitment to the peace agreement signed last August, by immediately halting military operations and forming the Transitional Government of National Unity.
“South Sudan’s leaders have a chance to correct their grave mistakes and focus on the well-being of those who entrusted them with this role – the people of South Sudan. The road ahead will be difficult. I urge the signatories to honor their solemn commitment and implement the agreement without delay. Reverting to war yet again cannot be an option.”
Speaking at a high-level meeting on South Sudan, held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, the Secretary-General noted that it is “a pivotal moment” in the history of the world’s youngest nation. He noted that long-term reforms are essential for South Sudan to transcend ethnicity and rebuild a truly national identity, adding that every effort must be made to promote a more equitable distribution of power and wealth.
“Horrific crimes have been committed against civilians in this war. The social fabric of South Sudan has been shattered. To mend it, the provisions in the peace agreement related to justice, accountability and reconciliation must be implemented in full.”

The security situation in South Sudan has deteriorated steadily over the past year and a half since political in-fighting between President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar, and their respective factions, erupted in December 2013.. The hostilities subsequently turned into a full-fledged conflict, resulting in reported atrocities and possible war crimes.
Addressing the meeting via video link, President Salva Kiir stated that he had signed the agreement with some reservations, which he said were not meant to be conditions, but indicators of problem-areas that the parties involved need to address, to facilitate a credible implementation of the peace accord.
He then added, “Nevertheless I proceeded to sign the agreement in order to stop the war and give peace a chance”.
“I reiterate before all of you that I am deeply committed to the full and timely implementation of the agreement and I have the moral and concessional responsibility to restore peace and development for my people who have suffered for more than 50 years of liberation wars.”
The South Sudanese leader said he was “deeply committed to the full and timely implementation of the agreement and he called on all those gathered at the meeting to prevail on the armed groups so that they respect the permanent ceasefire and assist in the successful implementation of the agreement.
“When I decided to join the liberation struggle three decades ago, I did not expect to liberate my people in order to take them back to war amongst themselves,” Therefore, I am determined to stop this senseless war and make sure that, together with my brothers in the armed opposition, we will build a democratic, united and harmonious country by implementing the agreement.”
Dr.Riek Machar the First Vice President Designate, attended in person as diplomats from several countries urged both sides to end a conflict that has killed thousands and displaced millions. Speaking exclusively to VOA, Dr. Machar thanked the secretary general for convening a special meeting on south Sudan, and putting South Sudan on the global stage and urged the international community to support them in implementing the peace deal.
“So we want resources for assembling, containment of forces. We want resources for dissemination of the peace agreement. We want resources for this important process of reconciliation and healing.
Reacting to President’s Salva Kiir’s speech, Riek Machar called on him to remove his reservations.
“He still talks of reservations. He signed the peace agreement with reservations. This gives people doubts of his seriousness to implement the peace agreement.”
Last week President Salva Kiir signed a decree establishing the 28 new states. He said his decision was guided by the Transitional Constitution and to decentralize power. But the opposition leader Riek Machar says President Kiir’s decision to establish 28 new states is a violation of the recently signed peace agreement. He farther called for the immediate withdrawal from South Sudan of all foreign troops.
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in July 2011 as the outcome of a 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended one of Africa’s longest-running civil war becoming the world’s newest country.

Paul Ndiho is a Ugandan – American video journalist/ executive producer, Africa Innovations & Technology based in Washington D.C with interests in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship in Africa. He is passionate about mentor-ship and developing the next generation of Africa’s young leaders. Email:pndiho@gmail.com, Facebook: Paul Ndiho and Twitter: @pndiho

Rwandan Innovator Turns Trash into Affordable and Environmentally Friendly Products

By Paul Ndiho

U.S. President Barack Obama’s Mandela Washington Fellowship initiative recently brought five hundred of Africa’s brightest minds to America, to learn new skills and new experiences. Among them was Rwandan born Jean Bosco Nzeyimana. His idea to compost household trash, into cleaner cooking fuel for poor families have won him several international innovation awards.Rwandan Innovator
Twenty-one year old Jean Bosco Nzeyimana is founder and CEO of Habona Limited, a Rwandan start-up trying to address the lack of electricity in his rural village of Kitabi. He is part of a new breed of young African innovators thinking outside of the box.
I have a company back home called the Habona limited. It does a lot of work regarding waste management whereby we collect waste and after collecting waste we use them to produce affordable and environmentally friendly products in form of biomass briquettes. We are also trying to do a lot of work in bio-gas, and also trying to produce fertilizers for farmers.
Jean Bosco’s fascination with Biogas started when he was a young boy- and his vision is to create a biogas plant that can transform organic waste into flammable gas that can be distributed to the local population for their energy needs. He is partnering with the government to collect household trash and compost it into briquettes, which he then sells as a cleaner, cheaper source of cooking fuel for poor families in Rwanda.
I’m passionate about doing this kind of thing because I was affected first hand with this kind of problem. We did not have electricity… So I grew up thinking of what I can do for my family. So, I came up with the idea of taking advantage of waste and using them to produce this kind of fuels that are actually better for the lives of people.
In his village, he’s just regular guy, in fact, very few people know about his innovation that is creating a buzz on the international scene. Jean Bosco was crowned last year as the winner of the African Innovation Prize and also he was also recognized in 2014 as a top young entrepreneur in Rwanda.
“Being recognized as being top young entrepreneur of Rwanda was very, very good for me because it showed me that I am doing meaningful things. It showed me that what I do is really impactful to the community, and it gave me some sense of motivation, to keep moving. When you are recognized in such way you cannot stop. You have to keep moving.
For a rising biogas firm like Habona Limited, partnering with the right people in the business can definitely go a long way as he plans to construct a biogas plant in his native country. While here in the United States, Jean Bosco attended Northwestern University for 6-week. The Sagamore Institute sponsored two YALI fellows including Jean Bosco this summer. Dr. Maavi Norman, a research fellow at Sagamore Institute, and recent graduate of Northwestern University, served as a YALI peer Collaborator.
“Bosco is an amazing gentleman. Since, I met him six weeks ago; he has just shown to be a serious person, very intelligent, diligent and a very charismatic young man. I’m certain that he’s going to make some serious strides in Rwanda and even beyond throughout Africa.”
Despite his early success, the young entrepreneur is focused on perfecting his innovation. He attributes his accomplishment to hard work.
When people look at me they say this young man is successful, they say he’s won a lot of prizes, done this and that… But, for me success to me means – What I do to promote my community, success means working hard at my company by providing services that my people in my community need the most.
Jean Bosco Nzeyimana hopes to use this platform to network and look for potential investors. The full implementation of this project will enable his company Habona to distribute biogas and bio-fertilizer to more than 5000 households.
African technology analysts say Nzeyimana has a great idea with the potential to change the image of Rwandan villages. And for young man whose dreams are big the sky is the limit.

Paul Ndiho is a Ugandan – American video journalist/ executive producer, Africa Innovations & Technology based in Washington D.C with interests in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship in Africa. He is passionate about mentorship and developing the next generation of Africa’s young leaders. Email:pndiho@gmail.com, Facebook: Paul Ndiho and Twitter: @pndiho

U.S. President Barack Obama says when African leaders try to change the rules in the middle of the game just to stay in office, it risks instability and strife.

By Paul Ndiho
U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that democracy in Africa was threatened when presidents did not stand aside at the end of constitutional term limits — and no one should be president for life.
Since becoming president of the United States, Barack Obama has visited more than five African countries: most recently he traveled to Kenya and Ethiopia. Speaking to a large audience at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Mr. Obama used his podium to reiterate his broad and ambitious policy of engagement towards sub-Saharan Africa. ent Barack Obama, African Union, Ethiopia
“When I first came to Sub-Saharan Africa as president, I said that Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions. One of those institutions can be the African Union. Here, you can come together, with a shared commitment to human dignity and development. Here, your 54 nations pursue a common vision of an “integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.”
Millions of Africans and friends of Africa around the world had called on President Obama to use this opportunity to speak directly to African leaders who refuse to leave office once their constitutional mandates are over. On Tuesday, he did just that, speaking candidly about those leaders who over stay their mandates.

“Today, Africa’s democratic progress is also at risk from leaders who refuse to step aside when their terms end. I have to be honest with you—I just don’t understand this. I am in my second term. Under our constitution, I cannot run again. There’s still so much I want to get done to keep America moving forward. But the law is the law and no one is above it, not even presidents. And, frankly, I’m looking forward to life after being President. It will mean more time with my family, new ways to serve, and more visits to Africa.
When a leader tries to change the rules in the middle of the game just to stay in office, it risks instability and strife, as we’ve seen in Burundi. And it’s often just a first step down a perilous path. But if a leader thinks they’re the only person who can hold their nation together, then that leader has failed to truly build their country. In contrast, Nelson Mandela—like George Washington—forged a lasting legacy by being willing to leave office and transfer power peacefully. And just as the African Union has condemned coups and illegitimate transfers of power, the AU’s authority and strong voice can also help the people of Africa ensure that their leaders abide by term limits and their constitutions. No one should be president for life.”
Even though President Obama did not mention anybody by name there are multiple examples of leaders on the continent who have changed their constitutions to personally benefit from them.
For example, The Rwandan constitution allows only two terms. But, Rwandan lawmakers earlier this month approved a measure that would pave the way for President Paul Kagame to seek re-election when his second term ends in 2017.
In neighboring Burundi, President Pierre Nkurunziza’s recently won his bid for a controversial third term. Burundi’s constitution, like Rwanda’s, has a two-term limit for presidents.
Meanwhile, in Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, Uganda’s longtime leader set the precedent in 2005, when he secured a change to the constitution allowing him a third term. He’s now serving a fourth term and most likely to run again in 2016.
Other longtime rulers include: Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe in power since 1980, Cameroon’s Paul Biya, in power since 1982, José Eduardo dos Santos, president of Angola in power since 1979, and President Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea has also been in power since 1979.
However, there is some good news. The concession of defeat by former Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, after elections in March. It marked the first time in the nation’s history that an incumbent leader had been ousted at the ballot box.
Among other African countries working to consolidate and deepen democracy include. Tanzania; Ghana; Liberia; Senegal; Botswana and few others with varying degrees of accountable governance.

Paul Ndiho is a Ugandan – American video journalist/ executive producer, Africa Innovations & Technology based in Washington D.C with interests in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship in Africa. He is passionate about mentorship and developing the next generation of Africa’s young leaders. Email:pndiho@gmail.com, Facebook: Paul Ndiho and Twitter: @pndiho