Ideas for action

Chronic malnutrition is a scourge for the African continent. Children affected often live in rural communities and are denied a fair chance to reach their full potential as early as when they are conceived, because their mothers, and then themselves during the first 2 years of their lives, do not eat enough fruits, vegetables, and […]

My later mother often reminded me of the sacrifices she made to support our family. She never made it to university. Instead, she became a nurse and worked with passion and determination to save lives. She chose to challenge me by making me understand that life is difficult. She taught me about duty of care […]

I caught up with the UCT Development and Alumni Office about the journey and the community engagement on the African continent. More ideas in the 10 min video.  

There are around 144 million chronically malnourished children in the world, and Covid-19 is making the situation worse in many developing countries. In Africa, the drive toward adequate nutrition could benefit from new solutions, and a bit of out-of-the-box thinking. The hidden costs to society—and to human capital—are enormous. When children do not eat the […]

A third of African children experience chronic malnutrition, but by pooling together Africans can help to end this scourge. Assia Sidibe and Carl Manlan explain how the “Make the connection” campaign will help to improve the nutrition of communities affected by this scourge.

This tribute, by WACSI, was in recognition of the contribution that I am making to the continent with support from good samaritans that I am meeting along the journey. The announcement on the award was made on January 19, 2021. Many are called but few are chosen. This popular adage encapsulates the recognition bestowed upon […]

Art, Music and policy is the mix that UNITLIFE brought to their audience to speak about our commitment to do good to end Chronic Malnutrition. Join the movement and do your part; start by listening and sharing your ideas.

Three leading African Women came together to turn ideas into perspectives. Collateral Benefits is a platform that through a series of Perspective Papers aims to lift up the voices of African and Afro-descendant people from all walks of life, so that African and Afro-descendant intellect, wisdom and experiences can contribute to and shape the global conversations on […]

Listen to this panel discussion with our alumni experts who are working on the frontlines of the pandemic in the Global South. Panelists included: Carl Manlan MC/MPA 2012, Chief Operating Officer, Ecobank Foundation (moderator) Lorena Barberia MPP 1999, Professor of Political Science, University of São Paulo, Brazil Prerna Makkar MPA/ID 2008, Founder and Director, Health […]

In this interview, Folashadé Soulé and Camilla Toulmin speak with Carl Manlan, the Chief Operating Officer of the Ecobank Foundation – responsible for Ecobank’s social impact engagement with the communities in which the bank operates in Africa – on the role of African philanthropy and corporate social responsibility in the response to COVID-19 on the continent.  Carl Manlan works […]

LOMÉ/BOSTON – In the United Nations’ 2020 World Investment Report, Secretary-General António Guterres noted that global foreign direct investment (FDI) this year is “expected to fall sharply from 2019 levels of $1.5 trillion” to below the trough it hit during the global financial crisis. This decline will have a devastating effect on emerging economies, many […]

The biannual Ibrahim Index of African Governance provides us with a snapshot of our walk toward human progress. The data gaps identified in the report opens opportunities for citizen engagement on key issues. Even with incomplete data, readers of the index get a sense of the work ahead. The transformation agenda suffers from the lack […]

Across Africa, even in cities with relatively modern infrastructure, many shoppers prefer the informal markets. In our case, both our mothers preferred the fresh produce sold at informal markets by women from the rural areas.  Thus, in cities as far apart as Nairobi and Abidjan, our mothers took us to buy fruits and vegetables sold […]

I delivered the Keynote at the opening of the Sanlam Summer School for Financial Journalists. A good conversation with journalists from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia members of the 2020 cohort.

L’économie populaire communément appelée secteur informel représente un amortisseur social sans filet sanitaire adéquat. La majorité des africains sont en emploi précaires. Ils ne bénéficient pas d’un cadre leur permettant un accès aux services de santé, limitant ainsi leur capacité à contribuer positivement à nos économies.  Investir dans les mécanismes de formalisation de l’économie populaire […]

In this interview with PS Say More, Manlan redefines “equitable growth” for the African context, urges the IMF to make greater use of Special Drawing Rights, and explains why going cashless depends on women.

Africa’s economic growth over the last 25 years has been accompanied by soaring inequality, which the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to worsen. Developing innovative products for the continent’s poorer « nonconsumers » will provide a more predictable, inclusive, and sustainable path to prosperity for hundreds of millions of people.

It often starts with a conversation. And it takes our humanity to understand our common aspiration to become instruments of change for Africa. The email was to the point. It reflected the clarity of thought. It conveyed the message of creativity. In 88 words, I understood the need. Donate for Mofiala (Le Phare) Aruka Studios […]

Every weekday, on my way to school, I observed the creativity of street traders. The glass window of the car I rode in on my way to school was a window into another way of life, it was another type of education for me. I’d see the newspaper seller holding stacks of news for my […]

Carl Manlan, the Chief Operating Officer of Ecobank Foundation, has spearheaded the noteworthy initiatives that have culminated in Ecobank winning the esteemed title of Africa’s Best Bank for Corporate Responsibility in the Euromoney Award for Excellence. He emphasises that Ecobank has chosen the holy trinity of health, education and financial inclusion to add value to […]

Often when people speak about the need for infrastructure development in Africa, they are discussing bricks and mortar, improved physical structures such as transportation links, hospitals and schools. But creating a world in which the African continent can truly flourish and provide long term stability and growth for millions of people relies – arguably more […]

Key insights from a JA Africa study which was published in June 2020 show that African youth have a predominantly positive outlook and entrepreneurial disposition despite facing a myriad of challenges in the private sector. According to the survey, eighty-three per cent of youth surveyed expect Africa’s private sector to expand significantly over the next […]

The African Union recently rolled out the Partnership to Accelerate Covid-19 Testing (PACT) building on the lessons from past outbreaks and epidemics. In early 2014, when Ebola cases were first reported in the West African nations of Guinea and Liberia, Africa was taken by surprise. The spread of the virus from rural to urban areas […]

There is no better moment than now for civil society organisations (CSOs) to support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). AfCFTA is about creating a unified continental market that works to the benefit of its citizens, and this purpose is closely related to the work of CSOs across Africa.  In order to […]

Washington — At the recent African Union Summit, Rwandan President Paul Kagame outlined the path for the African Union’s structural transformation. I also heard a call on youth across the continent to contribute to the “imperative to strengthen our Union.” As a young African and as an economist, this call to action resonates with me. […]

Philanthropic responses to the COVID-19 crisis in Africa should be guided by the blueprint that Ebola provided in West Africa, said Carl Manlan, chief operating officer of the EcoBank Foundation in Togo. He was one of three speakers in the final session of the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Africa Month Virtual Symposium. The 27 […]

A health crisis that affected industrial parts of the world took a different twist in Africa. With physical proximity challenged, in most of the continent, we have seen a surge in African solidarity on the most vulnerable members of our communities. This generosity needs to turn into an industrial plan to sustain the most vulnerable […]

Since December 2019, the infectious disease COVID-19 has spread across the world. Africa has not been spared, but the delayed arrival of the virus on the continent has provided us with an opportunity to prepare ourselves, though our socio-economic conditions limit our ability to apply the most effective means of prevention; physical distancing. Physical distancing […]

LOMÉ/BASEL – COVID-19 poses the greatest threat yet to the systems of international integration instituted during the twentieth century. As with the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, the lethality and contagiousness of the coronavirus has prompted a return to hard national borders and other barriers. Historically, the crises that have led to deeper integration have been […]

As Covid-19 begins to spread on the African continent, it is the moment for the Africa Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) to lead. The Africa CDC was established by the African Union (AU) to support the public health efforts of its member states. It started its operations in 2017, at a time […]

Stakeholder capitalism will help companies rebuild their businesses faster after COVID-19. Africa can learn from other countries about how to encourage behaviour change. Companies are building facilities in informal settlements to improve access to water. With the COVID-19 pandemic threatening to overwhelm much of Africa, companies on the continent must broaden their perspective. Instead of […]

Africa is no stranger to recent outbreaks and therefore has a foundation to combat the coronavirus, but more must be done to ensure the informal economy is included in a comprehensive strategy to beat COVID-19. The COVID-19 storm will eventually pass. But, if any early lessons are to be learnt from the pandemic, it is that African […]

Carl Manlan (Abiyán, 1978) ocupa el puesto de director de Operaciones de Ecobank desde mayo de 2016. Ecobank es una firma potente en el sector bancario africano, que opera en 23 países del continente y además mantiene oficinas en Londres, París, Dubai y China. Manlan dice que se le ha encomendado la tarea de asegurar […]

Africa is on the cusp of a community-led socioeconomic transformation, but this cannot happen without fully integrating the informal economic dynamos of young trash sorters In Abidjan, Johannesburg, Cairo, and other cities in Africa, young men and women make a living from collecting and recycling trash and empty bottles. Entrepreneurs like them are a common […]

In Africa and elsewhere, health resources should be focused on humans, not diseases International Universal Health Coverage Day was on December 12. This year we are asked to keep the promise of health for all. But striving for a goal of universal health coverage requires us to rethink how we fund disease prevention and treatment. […]

In Africa and elsewhere, development processes are stronger when they are built on existing networks and mechanisms. Far from being a handicap, therefore, Africa’s informal economy, and the migrants who help drive it, are one of the continent’s most valuable assets. LOMÉ – As we mark International Migrants Day on December 18, it’s time to rethink how […]

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) calls for Africans to rethink their investment in health. For decades, investments have been made for specific diseases. But this diseases-driven investment has run its course in the UHC context. An African must have access to quality healthcare regardless of what diseases they may be susceptible to or their geographical location.  […]

In about ten years from now, the state of health across African populations will determine whether we have achieved the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As a strategy for meeting them, leaders, on behalf of their citizens, have committed to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030. In Africa, this has deep implications for achieving Agenda 2063 too […]

People are the world’s most important resource, yet stunting in children limits human capabilities and reduces current investment in the future. Fortunately, the rapid growth of digital technologies means that millions of small individual financial donations can help to end this scourge. PARIS/LOMÉ – In many developing countries, women come together on a regular basis […]

An expansion of cashless transactions in Africa would be transformative! Imagine a world where a Burundian could trade easily with a Cape Verdean despite the countries having different currencies and belonging to different economic zones. But, with 1.2 billion people spread across 54 independent countries in one continent, is a cashless Africa achievable? The case […]

Africa’s health sector represents a massive investment opportunity, estimated by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa to be worth USD 66 billion annually. Yet African leaders and donors continue to discuss Africa’s health-care systems in terms of funding gaps. In fact, those gaps will close only when Africa is viewed as an investment destination, […]

The 10th edition of the World Giving Index, a study of 1.3 million people, reconfirms prior indexes: generosity is not confined to any country or region, culture or religion nor is it dependent on the relative wealth of the population. In Africa, there is a surge in giving. Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa are among […]

Some will be left behind because our current system is designed to enable those that have access to quality education to thrive. The weakest link on the African continent today is an education system without a clear purpose, one that isn’t accessible to everyone who wants it. In my view, education in the early years […]

Pour Carl Manlan, de la Fondation Ecobank, trop d’obstacles entravent la participation des femmes à l’économie du continent. Tribune. L’Afrique est la seule région du monde où la majorité des entrepreneurs sont des entrepreneuses. Elles travaillent plus longtemps que les hommes et même celles qui ne dirigent pas d’entreprises contribuent à nourrir leurs pays à travers […]

If every African with the means contributed a dollar a month for a year to pool their own resources, the continent could move from charity case to wealth creator. But to achieve this shift, Africa’s philanthropic infrastructure will first need to be strengthened – and in some cases built. LOMÉ – It has now been […]

Pour Assia Sidibé et Carl Manlan, les Etats du continent devraient explorer de nouveaux mécanismes de financement de leur propre développement. Tribune. Sur le continent africain, les funérailles donnent souvent lieu à un élan de générosité. La communauté se retrouve autour de la famille éplorée et lui apporte un soutien financier, parfois considérable, pour pallier au […]

With as many as 20 million young people poised to join the workforce every year for the next three decades, Africa has an opportunity to shift the balance of local and global growth with a purpose: jobs. But it is far from inevitable that it will do so. LOMÉ – Africa is home to the […]

Strengthening the financial skills of grant implementers is important to helping them deliver quality health care in communities. The partnership between Ecobank and the Global Fund reflects our shared commitment to ensuring the efficient and effective implementation of health programs in countries where the Global Fund invests. The Global Fund mobilizes US$4 billion a year […]

By 2030, the largest workforce in the world will be African. This generation is arguably the last to have been nursed into the idea of an education system delivering a job. Indeed, the fast-changing global workforce nudges both public and private actors to re-evaluate workforce readiness. At the moment, and in the future, uncertainty spurs and […]

Le continent africain est en train de se diriger au pas de course vers la gestion de ses villes où cinquante pour cent de sa population devraient habiter en 2035. Cet engouement pour les villes reflète notre difficulté à planifier notre gestion d’une population qui continue de s’accroître. Cette relation entre nos villes et villages […]

Agriculture is the future of work in Africa. This may seem counter-intuitive, and, to be sure, technology will play a critical role to ensure that 12 million Africans entering the job market every year find their fulfillment along national, regional, continental and global value chains. Established technology start-ups like Alibaba, Airbnb, Amazon, and Youtube created platforms to capture economic value. […]

Global demographic trends show unmistakably that in coming years, the youth of the world will be African. It means that Africa will need to provide a public and private framework to put young people first in rural and urban areas. Without jobs and a wider tax base, health systems cannot be strengthened. In 2014, Ebola […]

Africa’s leaders are moving ahead with plans for a new free-trade area, which could revolutionize the way African producers and consumers interact. To succeed, countries will need to build new platforms that can support trade across regions – not unlike how e-commerce giants do business. ACCRA – At a recent summit in Kigali, Rwanda, 44 […]

Unemployment is a silent trauma forging the common experience of my generation, and we are failing to create the conditions to change this reality. Instead, we are confined to a narrative of formal education and formal employment while our reality in Africa is overwhelmingly informal employment. Just like the mustard seed, informal employment grows to […]

S’espera que el 2020 s’eliminin els aranzels del 90% dels productes i s’alliberin els serveis per a 44 països
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S’espera que el 2020 s’eliminin els aranzels del 90% dels productes i s’alliberin els serveis per a 44 països
6 min. BARCELONA 01/05/2018 00:00

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Foto de família dels líders africans, en la creació de l’Acfta, a Kigali. / GETTY
Foto de família dels líders africans, en la creació de l’Acfta, a Kigali. / GETTY

When we discuss philanthropy within the African continent, too often the focus is on the wealthiest class of Africans and the large contributions they can make. However, what matters more when it comes to charitable giving is the potential for billions of aggregate dollars from millions of small givers. Charities Aid Foundation’s World Giving Index estimates that if Africa’s middle-class […]

At the 30th African Union Summit, Heads of State and Governments endorsed the new African Leaders Malaria Alliance scorecard which includes indicators on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). This is important because for the first time, in one consolidated scorecard, it will be possible to track progress and investment opportunities for ending the suffering of children, women and men […]

In my circle of friends in Accra, I’ve seen both men and women make the decision to follow their spouses to other countries when their spouses had the opportunity to move for their career. The spouses who follow had all contributed to the economies of the countries in which they were residents. For the majority, […]

Financial inclusion is a proven pathway to improving people’s health, especially the health of women in developing countries. To capitalize on this synergy, efforts to bring digital banking solutions to Africa’s poorest should be combined with programs that aim to expand e-health care on the continent. ACCRA – In late October, the World Health Organization’s […]

At least two people were killed in recent flooding in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, eight in Durban, South Africa, and 15 in Rubanda, Uganda. Floods are becoming a regular phenomenon in African cities. While climate change contributes to this wave of extreme weather, poor city planning and design, old infrastructure, and a lack of urban policy for slums are also to blame. […]

Across the world, 4.5 billion people live without a household toilet. Even though 4.8 billion people have a cell phone, 19.5 million people are on antiretroviral therapy for AIDS, and 2 billion people use Facebook to stay connected, we are not yet able to make access to toilet a human right. Part of the challenge is that it is an issue […]

There must also be a clear national dialogue on what healthy balanced diet looks like From Mexico to the United Kingdom, governments use taxation to influence social behavior, including curbing sugar consumption. South Africa is the latest country using taxes on sugary beverages to try to reduce citizen’s intake of the drink. In September, the South […]

There must also be a clear national dialogue on what healthy balanced diet looks like From Mexico to the United Kingdom, governments use taxation to influence social behavior, including curbing sugar consumption. South Africa is the latest country using taxes on sugary beverages to try to reduce citizen’s intake of the drink. In September, the […]

Africa’s youth needs to believe in the future of the African continent. There are multiple reasons that may suggest that the Africa we want might be impossible. Previous generations, unlike Africa’s youth, did not have access to technology and real time information, yet they stamped the world with their contribution to human progress. The opportunities […]

Google.org Foundation is investing $50 million in researching the implications of a gig economy. However, we may have some of the answers from Arusha to Dakar and Cairo to Mbabane. African countries have been emulating the Gig Economy for a while, what with a prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work compared with long-term, permanent […]

But the body modeled after the U.S. agency needs funding More than 65 years ago Americans found a way to ensure that no one would have to die from malaria ever again. The disease was eliminated in the U.S. in 1951, thanks to strategies created through the Office of Malaria Control in War Areas, formed […]

New Year’s eve is usually a quiet moment for me. At home or with limited company waiting for the transition to a New Year. A few hours before midnight on 31st December 2015, I received an email from Aspen New Voices confirming my selection as a Fellow for the Class of 2016. I did not […]

On May 25, 1963,  Africans gathered in Addis Ababa to create the Organisation of African Unity, the precursor to today’s African Union. It stood tall in the minds of Africans who decided to unite for a common cause. It demonstrated our ability to set aside differences in order to make the world a better place. […]

Two years ago, I had the privilege to listen, observe and absorb during a visit to Gambella and Tierkedi in Ethiopia. I was a Mo Ibrahim Fellow in the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa. I had never been to a refugee camp and my understanding was limited to the […]

Two years ago, I had the privilege to listen, observe and absorb during a visit to Gambella and Tierkedi in Ethiopia. I was a Mo Ibrahim Fellow in the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa. I had never been to a refugee camp and my understanding was limited to the […]

Would you rather raise your kids in Europe or Africa? That’s the question that Carl Manlan faced. Carl, who’s from the Ivory Coast, and his wife, Lelani, who’s from South Africa, started their family in Geneva, Switzerland, where they were working at the time. They have two children, a daughter named Claire, born in May […]

Caption: Breakfast in bed was the request. Five years ago, I became a father because our daughter was born. From that moment, I felt a responsibility that nothing else in life had brought to me. There she was, breathing life and accepting that the voice she was hearing was a source of comfort. The hands […]

In many respects, when one thinks of entrepreneurship, the focus is on the business venture, risk and making a profit. It is most often about starting a new business. While this is important and a pathway that has been reinforced in the context of limited jobs and opportunities for young adults, it is important to […]

The blog first appeared on http://www.africaforafricafoundation.org.za/blog/ In many respects, when one thinks of entrepreneurship, the focus is on the business venture, risk and making a profit. It is most often about starting a new business. While this is important and a pathway that has been reinforced in the context of limited jobs and opportunities for young […]

In 1978, the Alma-Ata Declaration was signed with the ambitious goal of achieving “Health for All by 2000.” We failed to achieve it. This month, nearly 40 years later, World Health Organization (WHO) members will elect a new Director-General. This person is the chief architect of policies with vital implications on community health and can […]

VIEWPOINT – India has lately been pursuing an ambitious goal: a cashless economy. Despite early missteps and frustrations, it will turn out to be a change for the better for the country’s 1.31 billion people. Africa should set a similar goal – and take the first step by establishing a monetary union, says Carl Manlan, chief […]

India’s pursuit of a cashless economy, despite early missteps and frustrations, will turn out to be a positive step for the country’s 1.31 billion people. Africa should make a similar move – one that begins with the establishment of a monetary union. YAMOUSSOUKRO – India has lately been pursuing an ambitious  goal: a cashless economy. […]

The continent’s own CDC, formed in 2015, can play a major role Malaria eradication is possible because more than 65 years ago, the U.S. found a way to ensure that no one would have to die from a mosquito bite ever again. Malaria was eliminated in 1951 thanks to the successful implementation of policies and strategies created through the […]

It was nearly five years ago that my daughter made me a father, and through parenting her and my son, I am reminded of three of the key qualities needed not only for parenthood, but also for being a leader in Africa in the 21st century. One of my first lessons of fatherhood was about […]

In 2015, my family and I made the decision to leave Geneva and relocate to Johannesburg so I could pursue a new professional challenge. My wife quit her job and, with our young children, came with me to Johannesburg, and then, a year later, they went with me to Accra, where we are currently based.  […]

OPINION The generosity of Africa’s middle class can lead us to shared prosperity. For decades we have relied on foreign aid and a handful of homegrown super-rich to lift us out of poverty. It hasn’t worked. To achieve shared prosperity, we also need to share the burden of socioeconomic transformation. Community-based philanthropy on this continent […]

Across the developing world, enterprising people are sifting through garbage bins to build small businesses through recycling. It is in the informal economy, yet they have developed an economic system. This “waste economy” is providing new opportunities for people like Vusi Memela. He heads out at 2 a.m. seeking a paycheck by beating the formal economy–the […]

Africa boasts a large and creative labor pool, buttressed by a youth population that is expected to double, to over 830 million, by 2050. But African governments confront a serious problem: they do not know how many people they are dealing with, where they live, or how they earn a living. YAMOUSSOUKRO – The billions […]

Africa is ripe for its own industrial revolution, but with 70 percent of Africans dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods, it must be a green one. We have been latecomers with the world’s previous waves of industrialization; now we are catching up because necessity and the birth of new technologies are fostering a continent of innovators. The […]

There is a certain level of acceptance that health policy decisions need to be based on sound evidence. Ebola and other epidemics demonstrated that to have an impact, we truly need data to make the most with every dollar spent. If we were to rebuild the health system of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, we […]

Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller stand in history for their industrial success, which was complemented by philanthropy. Their contribution to the structural transformation of the United States is undeniable, and they offer lessons we need to learn in Africa to accelerate the pace of transformation. African philanthropy is rooted in strong traditions of self-help, […]

April 12, 2016 AFRICA can finance its own transformation. Job creation must lead this change, so development funding must support the creation of companies and jobs that focus on natural resources and bring more African workers into the productive economy. We can do this, here and now, by harnessing wealth trapped in banks and by […]

Africa’s rise is challenged by global uncertainty and lower commodity prices. It calls for a structural transformation. There is no miracle. Or maybe the miracle is called job creation backed by policies that ensure the linkages between growth and jobs. The shared vision of #AfricaWeWant lies in our individual and collective ability to partake in […]