The Point (Banjul)

24 December 2012

Africa: UK Newspaper Raises Funds for Continent

A single newspaper in the UK has successfully raised over one million pounds for the 'provision of important services' in favour of certain African countries, during an unprecedented Christmas Appeal to its readers.

The Appeal which was first launched during the course of 2012 by the London daily financial paper called City A.M soon gained momentum, and received thousands of pounds from readers and other generous people.

Soon after the announcement, this correspondent enquiring about the reasons for such funds, and whether countries like Gambia and Senegal may benefit in similar future appeals, later learned that the money will help provide a range of financial and other vital services.

The Point was informed that these include microfinance loans and savings products and commodities in certain African countries. The African microfinance charity also aims to improve the lives of thousands of ordinary people in such countries.

According to the newspaper's editor, the paper was delighted for such an achievement, describing it as 'deserving charity'.

"We are delighted to be able to announce that our second Christmas Appeal has raised £1,025,718 for a very deserving charity,' the editor added.

Wishing donors a Happy Christmas, the editor said those who donated will help harness the 'transformative power of capitalism and market institutions to give poor entrepreneurs a handup, rather than a handout'

The paper, which is free of charge and based inside the city, revealed that the cash will be handed over to a charity called Opportunity International, which was the chosen partner for the appeal.

From Monday to Friday, each week several vendors are often visible dishing out the free paper to anyone interested, and some of them so determined by standing under the cold weather for hours.

A few days earlier, it was announced that the Opportunity International's guest of honour was HRH The Princess Royal, a patron of the Opportunity International (OI) charity who reportedly helped forge much closer links between the city and the charity.

Prudential plc an international financial services group based in London, and operating across several big cities around the world was the main sponsor for such campaign.

It is important to mention that Tidjane Thiam, Group Chief Executive of Prudential, who is also a West African, was named one of the 100 most influential people of the world, according to Time Magazine. Thiam who is also the first black CEO of a FTSE 100 company has been very influential in similar efforts.

So far the charity focuses on countries such as Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania and Mozambique, where according to reports up to eight per cent of the population cannot get such financial services.

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