April | 2019 | Red Robot


Sharjah Literature: Promoting Peace And Freedom Of Expression

SHARJAH, UAE – The world’s largest book fair aimed at children, Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, has attracted a record number of people.

This month 306,000 people attended the event in Sharjah, in the UAE, a small increase on last year’s figure of 305,000.

Leading publisher and member of Sharjah’s ruling family Sheikha Bodour Bint Al Qasimi said during the event that it is her lifelong mission to get children reading to promote peace and understanding and reduce bigotry, hate and violence.

Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival has particular relevance this year as the emirate has been named UNESCO World Book Capital 2019.

Poetry and creative writing workshops, a talk by a young social media star and sessions about child geniuses were included in the 11-day programme at Sharjah’s Expo Centre. Competitions and cookery workshops were also in the itinerary as well as workshops for young illustrators.

Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival is one of two annual book events in the emirate. Sharjah International Book Fair has been running since 1982 and is in the top three book fairs in the world.

Hira Hareem, an exhibitor from Pakistan, said: “People are more inclined to gadgets now – iPhones,

iPads, YouTube – and books are losing their importance. We feel this festival and festivals like these are a great opportunity because this is how you bring them closer to books.”

Sheikha Bodour said: “It is my lifelong mission to get children to enjoy books. I’m a mum of four children and for me what I really like to see is for children to enjoy books. It’s not about education and learning because they do that at school. What I like to offer them at home is for them to have pleasure from reading a story. For them to laugh, to cry, for them to get connected to the stories and that for me is a joy.”

As Vice President of International Publisher’s Association Sheikha Bodour is also a strong advocate for freedom of expression and aiming to bring the UAE’s leading publishing experience to global markets. “It’s important for us to allow our authors that platform where they can freely say what they want and also express themselves freely.”

The city was selected by UNESCO because of its “innovative, comprehensive and inclusive nature” towards reading and its proposals to engage the large migrant population. During Ramadan Sharjah is also running a special program, distributing books to refugee camps in the Middle East.



Poor Security Puts Millions At Risk As 13 Year Old Demonstrates Drone Hack

  • Attendees at global cyber security conference witness 13-year-old Reuben Paul hack a drone to highlight security flaws of web-connected gadgets
  • Rapid growth of internet-enabled devices is fuelling fears the technology’s lax security features will leave businesses, governments and individuals open to costly security breaches – with airport closures due to drones estimated as costing circa $100,000 minute
  • Security experts from Kaspersky Lab call on tech companies developing Internet of Things (IoT) devices to implement stricter security measures to prevent attacks by cyber criminals

CAPE TOWN, South Africa –  Gaping holes in the design of millions of internet-connected devices were today publicly exposed by a 13-year-old hacked known as the “Cyber Ninja”.

Reuben Paul successfully hacked a drone in front of a live audience during a Kaspersky Lab global security conference in South Africa in a bid to draw attention to a problem that computer experts say could have devastating consequences for businesses, governments and individuals worldwide.

Kaspersky Lab say the stunt illustrates the ease with which internet-enabled devices – from baby monitors to street lights and self-driving cars – can be hacked.

With around seven billion internet-connected devices in the world, experts fear a major security breach is long overdue on account of their inherently insecure design.

For global businesses the risks are high. Many compete with each other to deliver their products to market in the fastest time possible to reap the market share, and often pay less attention to the security element in the process. Since consumers rarely pay attention to the security features, these are often forgotten about creating a major risk for a cyber hack.

When it comes to business, this could result in a catastrophic loss of data – their own and that of their customers – leading to reputational damage and a hit to their bottom lines. For airports in particular, they can faces losses of $100,000 a minute when they have to close due to unauthorised drone activity (according to Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA) estimates).

Cyber security experts gathering in Cape Town today will discuss the threats posed to data, privacy and life by insecure IoT devices and explore what can be done to mitigate them.


Last year, the Dubai International Airport (DXB) was closed three times due to illegal drone activities. The airport was closed for 30 minutes in two incidents (June and September), while the third intrusion in October lead to a 115 minute closure. The total loss, therefore, is estimated at $16.62m.

  The Federation Aviation Administration (FAA) have stated that there are 2,000,000 drones in the US. The total registration figure includes 878,000 hobbyists, who receive one identification number for all the drones they own, and 122,000 commercial, public and other drones, which are individually registered.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) 2016-2036 forecast, predicts there will be about 7 million drones in the air by 2020. The FAA predicts that by 2020, commercial drone sales alone will reach 2.7 million with the commercial drone market reaching $17 billion by 2024

The drones market in the UAE is currently among the most advanced and developed in the Middle East, fuelled by progressive development and implementation of regulation in Dubai. By 2022, the commercial drone market in the Middle East and Africa is expected to generate just under 220 million U.S. dollars in revenue.

The number of times a drone endangered the safety of an aircraft in the UK airspace rose by more than a third in 2018 according to the UK Airprox Board, it also recorded 125 dangerously close encounters in 2018, up from 93 in 2017 and 71 in 2016. Of these, 39 were at Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport — slightly more than double the previous year’s total — and 10 at Manchester

There are about 7 billion internet connected devices according to data from IoT Analytics. Their number is set to explode in the following years as internet consumption rises and new gadgets and machinery hit the market


International and Saudi Athletes Launch Extreme Sports at NEOM

NEOM, Saudi Arabia – International athletes joined their Saudi counterparts during the weekend at an extreme sports extravaganza held to bring NEOM, the world’s most ambitious project, located in the Northwest of Saudi Arabia, into the global spotlight.

Bouldering world champion Juliane Wurm and Saudi female rock-climbing star Yasmin Gahtani topped the bill to kick off a one-day event of rock-climbing, wingsuiting and BASE jumping conceived to showcase the pristine beauty of NEOM with its wilderness, deserts, mountains, valleys, islands, coast and unique coral reefs

Development of the first phase of NEOM, which has a total area of 26,500 km2, will begin in weeks. NEOM Bay, which will be the first urban area in NEOM, will include a wide range of resorts and tourist attractions. NEOM is the flagship project of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, and CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr said the choice of an extreme sports event to bring global attention to what has been described as “the world’s most ambitious project” was especially appropriate.

“NEOM is all about the unusual and the unexpected. NEOM is futuristic, risky and daring and it’s more than a dream: it’s a plan to enhance how we work and live.” the CEO added.

“The reason we chose extreme adventure sports at the first event in NEOM is because it’s a beautiful environment,” explained Jason Harborow, Head of NEOM’s Future of Sport sector. “Sport is right at the center of what we want to achieve at NEOM, and that means sport for all: male, female, children and athletes with disabilities. NEOM will be for everybody.”

Lead climber Yasmin Gahtani, Managing Director of the Saudi Climbing and Hiking Federation, said that she was thrilled to participate in an event which encapsulates NEOM’s ethos of finding, empowering and encouraging talented individuals.

“Being a woman, I’m very honored to be here and very happy to have NEOM’s support,” she said, adding that rock climbing in Saudi Arabia used to be seen very much as a male-dominated sport but her participation at this event will help to change that perception.

It was German-born climber Juliane Wurm’s first visit to Saudi Arabia. “There’s huge potential here,” she said. “I’m surprised and excited to see how this is going to evolve.”

Head Wingsuit Pilot Sam Hardy, British medalist at the World Wingsuit League, was equally thrilled. “I can 100% see NEOM being the place for extreme sports whether it is climbing, skydiving or kite surfing. The landscape, the mountains, the sand areas and the ocean are like nothing I have seen before. That’s what makes NEOM special and unique.”


About NEOM

NEOM is the flagship project of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

A vast destination designed to welcome and celebrate the world’s athletes, sports enthusiasts and thrill seekers. NEOM was announced to the public on October 24, 2017, by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF).

The name “NEOM” is derived from two words. The first three letters form the Ancient Greek prefix neo- meaning “new”.

The fourth letter is from the abbreviation of Mostaqbal (Arabic: مستقبل), an Arabic word meaning “future”.

As the name suggests, it will be the land of the future where the best ideas, most promising start-ups, established companies, future industries and the best talents are joined to create solutions for the key challenges facing humanity.


Legendary Arabian Nights Tale Becomes 4D Show Spectacular

SHARJAH, UAE, April 24, 2019 – A breath-taking stage show by the masterminds of the Beijing and Sochi Olympic ceremonies has premiered in Sharjah in the UAE.

1001 Nights:The Last Chapter was inspired by the Arab world’s legendary anthology of folk tales and was staged to celebrate the emirate’s UNESCO World Book Capital 2019 title. At the end of the five-day run at the Al Majaz Amphitheatre this week, production bosses will commence discussions about taking the show on a worldwide tour.

The production was conceived 12 months ago and blends circus performers, dance artists, 4D screen projection and a 50-piece orchestra. It includes 537 theatre artists and acrobats, innovators, technologists and storytellers from 25 countries.

The Last Chapter was pieced together by directors, performers and musicians around the globe with theatrical rehearsals in Montreal, technical work completed in London and Canada and music recorded in Prague and rehearsed in Armenia. Director of Creation Philippe Skaff, who worked on the 2008 Beijing Olympic opening and closing ceremonies, said staging a show based on 1001 Nights was a challenge because so many shows had covered the theme before.

Show director Sebastien Soldevilla, who worked on the Sochi Winter Games ceremonies, said: “If you had to take a lesson out of 1001 Nights, it would be about the power that storytelling has on people across the world.”


Beer And Digital: A Story Of Co-Creation In Africa

Namibia – The use of digital technology is on the rise in Africa, as proven by Tafel lager’s successful ‘Beat of Namibia’ campaign.

Gone are the days when Africa had a reputation for lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to the adoption of new technologies. Right now, the continent is experiencing a digital boom.

At a number of African Development Bank meetings, the subject of digital in Africa has been discussed extensively. This speaks to the increasingly important role that digital technology plays in the economy, as well as the daily lives of the people living on the continent.

The availability of relatively cheap cell phone handsets and access to established communications networks mean digital media is already being used to connect people and brands in innovative ways, especially in countries like Namibia.

A recent example is that of Tafel Lager, one of the most popular beer brands in Namibia from Namibia Breweries Limited, using social media to include thousands of Namibians in the celebration of the country’s 29th anniversary of independence.

The Beat of Namibia campaign encouraged Namibians to send 15-second video clips via WhatsApp showcasing their musical ability (moves, beats, ululate, etc). These clips were then turned into a song and music video by Namibian producer Sam-E Lee Jones, along with a host of local musicians. Launched on 21 March, Independence Day, the song has been a resounding success.

The entries received totaled in the thousands, illustrating just how easy collaboration can be when digital technology is used correctly.

“With the growth in internet penetration in Africa, and mobile becoming the primary tool through which people engage, projects based on the mechanics of crowd-sourcing and co-creation have been flourishing”, says LucyMay Lubrani-Slabber, Manager: Digital Marketing at Namibia Breweries.

Hendrik van der Westhuizen, Managing Director at Namibia Breweries, agrees: “In a mobile-first continent, we are committed to riding the wave of the digital revolution. At Namibia Breweries, we are enabling an ecosystem of amazing experiences for all our Namibian stakeholders, and beyond.”

The success of the Beat of Namibia campaign proves what many have known for a long time –Africa is in the middle of a surge in digital adoption. This surge is allowing Africans to tell their own stories in collaboration with top brands, like Tafel lager, which have the vision to take advantage of this new digital movement… and it seems it’s only the beginning.


Shows: Beat Of Namibia Music Video – 4:30 min



Established on 29 October 1920, Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) is one of the leading beverage manufacturing companies in Namibia and, indeed, in Southern Africa. Today, with the stated vision to be the most progressive and inspiring company, NBL leads the domestic beer market and has a significant share of the premium beer category in South Africa. NBL’s total exports account for more than half of total production output. In May 1996, NBL listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) and became a publicly owned company.

The Ohlthaver & List Group of Companies (O & L Group), a major Namibian group, is the controlling shareholder in NBL. In 2015 NBL restructured its operations in Namibia and South Africa, resulting in Heineken acquiring Diageo’s indirect stake in NBL. This new joint venture between NBL and Heineken is exclusively focused on a beer portfolio which will be beneficial to growing key brands in South Africa.


2019 Mo Ibrahim Foundation Leadership Ceremony, Ibrahim Forum, Concert

Mo Ibrahim Foundation Leadership Ceremony Honors Kofi Annan; Forum looks at Immigration and Youth Unemployment

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s annual Governance Weekend honored the past, assessed crucial African challenges, and spread the message of good governance to a young audience, Friday-Sunday 5-7 April.

The weekend began with a tribute to former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. In speeches from Ibrahim, Ivoirian President Alassane Ouattara, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, Bono and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Annan’s achievements and legacy were honored. The ceremony also featured music from Congolese singer-songwriter Fally Ipupa.

The Leadership Ceremony is at the heart of the 2019 Ibrahim Governance Weekend, the flagship event of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation which takes place in a different African country each year.

Saturday, 6 April, saw the Ibrahim Forum, which this year focused on Immigration and Youth Unemployment, and featured discussion with President Ouattara, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Vera Songwe, Founder of the Africa 2.0 Foundation and Chairman and CEO of Ubuntu Capital Mamadou Toure, President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) Akinwumi Adesina, and President and Chief Executive of Dangote Group, Chairman of Aliko Dangote Foundation Aliko Dangote.

The weekend ends with its annual concert, bringing the Foundation’s focus on good governance to a wider, younger audience through music. This year’s line-up included Ivoirian artists Shado Chris, Safarel Obiang, and Serge Beynaud, legend Youssou NDour as well as Fally Ipupa.


Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire (5 April 2019)

1. Wide shots of arrivals, audience and stage

2. Mo Ibrahim, Founder and Chair, Mo Ibrahim Foundation, welcoming attendees, saying “Tonight actually we are celebrating the legacy of a great son of Arica, Kofi Annan of Ghana. We are celebrating. This is not a wake. This is a party. We’re going to have music; were going to have fun because we are rally grateful for having Kofi in our lives, working with us and inspiring us. So we want to celebrate that; so no handkerchiefs.”

3. Bono speaking about Kofi Annan, saying, “If Kofi was a singer, I thought, ‘What would he be?’ He’d be a crooner, wouldn’t he? I knew he loved Nat King Cole. He was certainly more Bing Crosby than Frank Sinatra. I sang with Frank Sinatra, was proud to, but he had a voice like a fist. Kofi, I thought, turned fists into open hands and outstretched arms.”

4. UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed speaking, saying, “Friends, the world today needs more leaders like Kofi Annan. We are living in a period in which we are finding our core values and our multinational foundations under treat. Inequality is certainly on the rise among and especially within countries. Trust in political establishments is on the decline. Intolerance, extremism and virulent nationalisms are increasingly widespread. People are nervous about jobs and about the prospects of their children’s future. Kofi’s example can inspire us as we seek to meet these challenges, especially in our mother Africa.

Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire (6 April 2019)

5. Shots of audience and forum

6. Former Liberian President and Ibrahim Prize Laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf speaking about youth unemployment.

7. Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Vera Songwe speaking about unemployment, saying, “Rwanda has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Africa. Rwanda is the only country in Africa that has signed the free movement of people. So if you’re an IT specialist on the continent today and you want to move to Rwanda, you go to Rwanda. The good news is also that in West Africa, West Africans, 60 percent of the West Africans say they want more migration. We would say, ‘Are they crazy? Everybody says we don’t want migration. Why are they asking for that?’ And I think Mo talked about it as well.”

8. President and Chief Executive of Dangote Group, Chairman of Aliko Dangote Foundation Aliko Dangote in conversation with Mo Ibrahim, speaking about free trade and corruption.

9. Ivoirian President Alassane Ouattara speaking (French), about open borders.

Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire (7 April 2019)

10. Highlights of Serge Beynaud, Youssou NDour and Fally Ipupa performing.

Other: Notes to Editors

Mo Ibrahim Foundation

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation was established in 2006 with a focus on the critical importance of leadership and governance in Africa. By providing tools to support progress in leadership and governance, the Foundation aims to promote meaningful change on the continent.

The Foundation, which is a non-grant making organisation, focuses on defining, assessing and enhancing governance and leadership in Africa through four main initiatives:

• Ibrahim Index of African Governance

• Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership

• Ibrahim Forum

• Ibrahim Fellowships and Scholarships

Ibrahim Forum

Established in 2010, the Ibrahim Forum is an annual high-level discussion forum tackling issues of critical importance to Africa. The Forum convenes prominent African political and business leaders, representatives from civil society, multilateral and regional institutions as well as Africa’s major international partners to identify specific policy challenges and priorities for action. Data and research on Forum issues are compiled by the Foundation as the basis for informed and constructive debate.

Ibrahim Prize

The Ibrahim Prize celebrates excellence in African leadership. It is awarded to a former Executive Head of State or Government by an independent Prize Committee. Previous Laureates: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (2018, Liberia), Hifikipunye Pohamba (2014, Namibia), Presidents Joaquim Chissano (2007, Mozambique), Festus Mogae (2008, Botswana) and Pedro Pires (2011, Cabo Verde), as well as the 2007 Honorary Ibrahim Laureate – President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

Further contacts:

For more information, please visit: www.moibrahimfoundation.org

You can also follow the Mo Ibrahim Foundation on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr:

Twitter: @Mo_IbrahimFdn

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/moibrahimfoundation.org

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/moibrahimfoundation 

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/moibrahimfoundation/


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