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Obama to meet with Kenyan and South African leaders
June 23, 2018 | 0 Comments
Former President Barack Obama will meet with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, as well as former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga. | Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama will meet with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, as well as former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga. | Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama will meet with the leaders of Kenya and South Africa on a trip overseas next month, his office said Friday.

Obama will meet with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, as well as former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

 The meetings are the latest in a string of talks the former president has had with sitting world leaders since leaving office. The former president has drawn some criticism for meeting with sitting leaders.
Among the leaders Obama has met with are German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Argentinian President Mauricio Macri and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

For his latest trip, the former president will first visit Spain and Portugal. Obama will speak at the 2018 Circular Economy and Innovation Summit in Madrid, and then at the Climate Change Leadership Porto 2018 Summit in Porto that same afternoon. The trip will span from July 5 to July 7, according to his office.

The next week, Obama will travel to Nairobi on July 15 and meet with Kenyatta in that city. He will then go to Alego on July 16 to deliver “brief opening remarks” at the inauguration of the Sauti Kuu Foundation Sports, Resource and Vocational Training Centre before departing for Johannesburg.

The following day, Obama will meet with South Africa’s leader and deliver the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture to commemorate the anniversary of the revolutionary’s birth.

Rounding out the trip, Obama will hold a town hall event with the 200 newly-selected Obama Foundation Leaders in Africa on July 18.

 *Politico
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How Nigeria’s stylish in-demand World Cup jersey is making millionaires out of bootleggers
June 23, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Yomi Kazeem*

Nigeria’s stylish soccer kit has been one of the major stories of the 2018 soccer World Cup.

Since being unveiled in February, the kit has become a fashion item and have been voted the best jersey at the World Cup. Nigeria’s soccer federation claimed there were pre-orders of up to three million jerseys and sales matched the hype too: it sold out on Nike’s website within hours of release and there were long lines at Nike stores to get hold of one. The jersey has been selling for nearly double its retail price on secondary markets.

But the scarcity and the hype around the kit has been a boon for the international bootleggers doing brisk multi-million dollar business from Asia to Europe and Nigeria. The first sign came a week before the kit was officially released when several fans wore counterfeits during a pre-World Cup friendly game.

Sourcing supply

Alex, a Lagos-based businessman who has dealt in counterfeit jerseys since 2011, says current demand exceeds that of the last World Cup jersey by about “1000%.” Illegal factories in China, operating close to licensed manufacturers across Asia, are usually the first port of call for fake jerseys. With its production lines catering to both high and low grade fakes, Chinese factories offers bootleggers a range of options to satisfy local demand.

Thailand, a smaller source, is known more for producing top-grade fakes known as Thai AAA. Thai counterfeit makers have gotten better at the imitation game over the years as, at first glance, Thai AAA fakes look very similar to licensed versions. But upon a closer look, differences in “finishing and texture” become clear, says Alex who asked for his last name not to be used for this story.

With tens of millions of enthusiastic soccer fans who are known to support many top European soccer clubs but cannot afford expensive original jerseys, Nigeria is a bootlegger’s dream target market. Alex alone has brought in a shipment of 2,000 Thai AAA jerseys (valued at 20 million naira ($55,000) in sales) in the past two months. But his Guangzhou-based supplierjust one of many large scale producers of fakesconfirms that the business has shipped over 30,000 jerseys (worth up to 300 million naira ($830,000) in sales) to bootleggers in Nigeria alone, with another 20,000 shipped to sellers outside Nigeria.

However, while sourcing the kit is one thing, getting them to Nigeria is another as Chinese and Thai suppliers claim they can only move shipments at night to avoid seizure by local law enforcement clamping down on counterfeits.

Price dynamics

Thai AAA jerseys typically cost $8 before shipping. To get shipments to Nigeria, bootleggers have two options: regular shipping with a two week delivery window or express shipping which delivers in two daysat the cost of an extra $3 per kilogram. A crucial part of bringing them in and reducing the final landing cost is avoiding run-ins with Nigerian customs officers who levy arbitrary levies on incoming items. As a workaround, bootleggers often use shipping services that import a large volume of goods and, more importantly, already have existing relationships with customs officers. The fake jerseys hardly draw special attention from customs officers though as they “just look at it as textile,” Alex says.

Unwittingly, Nike’s $90 retail pricemore than most Nigerian soccer fans can affordand its limited production has boosted the value of fakes. “Initially, the price was 7,000 naira ($19) but when Nike ran out of stock, people upped the price to 15,000 naira ($41),” Alex says. Yet demand has not wavered. Indeed, in the past month, Alex has set up international shipping arrangements to deliver orders from Spain, Denmark, Dubai. South Africa, India and Egypt.

 *Quartz
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Akon wants to build ‘real-life Wakanda’ using a currency called AKoin
June 23, 2018 | 0 Comments

Akon says he’s planning to release a new cryptocurrency named after himself – called Akoin.

Speaking at the Cannes Lions Festival on Monday, the Locked Up singer said he believed cryptocurrency could be “the saviour of Africa”.

AKoin’s official website says the singer wants the app “on every mobile phone” between now and December.

And Akon says he’s also planning to build a “crypto city” in Senegal which he calls “a real-life Wakanda”.

Just like the fictional land of Wakanda in Marvel’s Black Panther, Akon promises says his city will be a “futuristic environment”.

The website says Akon has been “gifted” 2,000 acres of land by the President of Senegal to build the city – which is also named after himself.

Akon Crypto City will apparently be “a short drive” from Dakar, the capital of Senegal.

He calls it “the first 100% crypto-based city with AKoin at the centre of transactional life”.

AKoin's offical website details the plans for the new currency

AKoin’s offical website details the plans for the new currency

Under the “Akoin Ecosystem”, consumers will be able to buy, hold and spend cryptocurrency straight from their smartphones.

“It brings the power back to the people and brings the security back into the currency system,” Akon explained.

“It also allows the people to utilise it in ways where they can advance themselves and not allow government to do those things that are keeping them down.”

However, Akon admitted he didn’t know all the technical aspects of his new venture.

“I come with the concepts and let the geeks figure it out,” he said.

What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that operates independently from a central bank.

It uses cryptography (the conversion of information into an almost uncrackable code) to secure and verify transactions.

This makes it extremely difficult to counterfeit.

The first and probably most famous cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, which was created by an unknown person using the name Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009.

Several celebrities have endorsed or invested in cryptocurrency, including Katy Perry, 50 Cent and Ashton Kutcher.

Akon and Ms. Kine Gueye Thiam founded the Konfidence Foundation in 2007

Akon and Ms. Kine Gueye Thiam founded the Konfidence Foundation in 2007

Akon’s others ventures in Africa

AKoin is one of many projects Akon has announced in Africa.

While he was born in Missouri, Akon is of Senegalese descent and spent much of his childhood there.

In 2007 he co-founded the Konfidence Foundation, a health and education charity for underprivileged children in West Africa and the United States.

He also co-founded the Akon Lighting Africa project in 2014, which Akon’s site says has brought solar power to 18 African countries so far.

*BBC

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South Sudan’s President Kiir, Rebel Chief Machar Meet After Two Years
June 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

 South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir (centre), his former deputy-turned-rebel leader Riek Machar (left) and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during their meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Photo/AFP

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir (centre), his former deputy-turned-rebel leader Riek Machar (left) and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during their meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Photo/AFP

Juba – South Sudan’s president and rebel leader met on Wednesday for the first time since 2016, when a peace deal collapsed and fighting re-erupted between their forces, the Ethiopian prime minister’s chief of staff said.

The two principals embrace at dinner hosted by the Ethiopia Prime Minister, Mr. Abiy Ahmed.

“The PM Abiy Ahmed hosted a private dinner to President Salva Kiir & Dr Rieck Machar together,” Fitsum Arega said on his Twitter account.

The two rival leaders met for the first time in two years, since renewed fighting in Juba 2016, which forced rebel leader Machar to fled Juba.

Machar, who was released from house arrest in South Africa recently, travelled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on June 20 to hold face – face meeting with president Kiir in an efforts to ending civil war.

Observers says the peaceful future is possible with the two principals in South Sudan.

However, President Kiir and rebel leader Dr. Machar’s meeting had been billed by Ethiopia’s government a step towards ending a five-year-old civil war that has killed tens of thousands of people and forced more than three million to flee their homes in the world’s youngest country.

South Sudan, oil-rich producing nation gained independence in 2011 from north Sudan after two decades of civil war but fighting broke out two years later among South Sudanese over power struggling in ruling party, Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM).

Kiir and Machar met individually with Abiy before the three sat down together, South Sudanese opposition party officials and western diplomats said.

The Ethiopian government has been a key actor in the regional bloc IGAD’s faltering peace process for South Sudan.

Meanwhile, regional bloc leaders will meet today, June 21 to discuss the South Sudan peace process as they seek to finalise a conclusive peace deal before the African Union Summit on July 1 in Mauritania.

A several ceasefire the warring sides signed in the Ethiopian capital, including latest in December 2017 was violated hours later.

Both the government and rebel forces were accused of killing civilians and committed atrocities on civilians across the country, since the framework for the deal is not substantially different than it was in the 2015 deal.

That deal collapsed in the summer of 2016, when Machar’s return to Juba led to the resumption of fighting between his forces and the army in which hundreds died.

More so, a coalition of over 200 civil society groups is appealing to President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar to use the face-to-face meeting to end the 5-year civil war.

The South Sudan Civil Society Forum says if Kiir and Riek fails to reach a meaningful reconciliation at this meeting, all hopes for a united, stable and peaceful South Sudan will be shattered.

“At this critical moment where our nationhood and our collective future is at stake, we remind you of your moral and political obligations to meaningfully reconcile with each other as well as with all other political leaders in our country,” South Sudanese Civil Society Forum said in a statement.

Furthermore, President Kiir and rebel leader Machar would expected to negotiate a power-sharing, security and governance plan prepared by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) aimed at quelling the ongoing civil war in South Sudan.

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­­­MEST Marks 10 Years Investing in and Supporting African Entrepreneurs with Pan-African Celebration of Tech & Announcement of Fourth African Incubator
June 22, 2018 | 0 Comments
From L-R_ Kevin Lorenz (Africa's Talking, Kenya), Jason Njoku (Iroko Partners, Nigeria), Eyram Tawia (Leti Arts, Ghana), Lungisa Matshoba (Yoco, SA) and Moderator Yinka Adegoke (Quartz)

From L-R_ Kevin Lorenz (Africa’s Talking, Kenya), Jason Njoku (Iroko Partners, Nigeria), Eyram Tawia (Leti Arts, Ghana), Lungisa Matshoba (Yoco, SA) and Moderator Yinka Adegoke (Quartz)

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, June 21, 2018 – Pan-African entrepreneurial training program, seed fund, and incubator MEST, yesterday closed its third successful MEST Africa Summit, which saw leading entrepreneurs, investors and corporate executives from Africa and across the globe – including Silicon Valley, Europe and Asia – discussing trends, challenges and opportunities facing tech entrepreneurs on the continent under the theme The Year of the African Scaleup? Speakers this year included Jason Njoku, Pule Taukobong, Polo Leteka, as well as representatives from Facebook, MTN Group, Knife Capital and IFC.

Following a showcase of pitches from MEST portfolio company founders, the three-day event culminated in an announcement of the winner of the MEST Africa Challenge; a Pan-African pitch competition which saw Nigeria’s Accounteer awarded $50,000 in equity investment from the Meltwater Foundation, along with space and support in the MEST Incubator Lagos.

With MEST in its 10th year, the Summit, held at the Avenue at the V&A Waterfront, welcomed 350 guests from over 15 countries and saw MEST & Meltwater Founder & CEO Jorn Lyseggen, as well as Proud Dzambukira, Strategic Product Partnerships Manager, Africa at Facebook, give a keynote address, as well as a fireside chat between Quartz Africa’s Yinka Adegoke and Facebook’s Julien Decot, head of Platform Partnerships EMEA.

Launching with a lively debate over which African nation (Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya or South Africa) is best suited for startups to succeed, themed panels delved into the latest developments from the industries making an impact in technology and innovation, including fintech, SaaS, agritech and blockchain. Additionally, the Summit showcased in-depth discussions from leading female founders in the African tech space, conversation around how technology can be used to help artists, musicians and brands to reach Pan-African and global audiences, and an investor panel that dove into the investment landscape on the continent titled Rethinking Silicon Africa.

MEST expanded its footprint into Nigeria in 2015, Kenya in 2016, and South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire in 2017 by welcoming Nigerian, Kenyan, Ivorian and South African Entrepreneurs-in-Training (EITs) into the program. Today, the MEST Pan-African vision continues to come to life, with the launch of incubator spaces in Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa; and a plan to formally launch its next fully-fledged incubator in Nairobi, Kenya later this year, where entrepreneurs will be offered the same level of support, mentorship, network and access to resources as its other incubators.

From L-R_ Jorn Lyseggen (Meltwater), Yusuf Kaka (MTN), Peter Awin (Cowtribe), Mary Mwangi (Data Integrated Ltd), Russel Luck (Swiftvee), Adegboye Niyi (Accounteer) and Julien Decot (Dir of Platform Pa

From L-R_ Jorn Lyseggen (Meltwater), Yusuf Kaka (MTN), Peter Awin (Cowtribe), Mary Mwangi (Data Integrated Ltd), Russel Luck (Swiftvee), Adegboye Niyi (Accounteer) and Julien Decot (Dir of Platform Pa

Aaron Fu, Managing Director at MEST, says, “We’re thrilled at the outcome of this year’s Summit. We welcomed  the continent’s leading entrepreneurs, investors and visionaries for some incredibly engaging discussions around how we can execute on propelling and scaling the continent’s leading tech scaleups, while serving as a celebration of a decade of growth at MEST. The success of this year’s Summit, as a meeting ground for Africa’s top ecosystem partners and enthusiasts, has created a forum for honest discussion about change on the continent which we hope will lead to tangible actions and delivery. I’m also extremely excited about our upcoming incubator launch in Nairobi, as we look to strengthen our Pan-African footprint.”

Since its 2008 launch in Accra, Ghana, MEST has been at the forefront of driving some of the continent’s most successful entrepreneurs – pushing them to scale, while achieving Pan-African and global reach and recognition. MEST has invested over $20M in total funding to date, with portfolio companies going on to receive follow-on funding.

There have been four exits to date (digital insurance claims company Claimsync, ecommerce marketing tools RetailTower and AdGeek and messaging app Saya). More than 50 companies have been funded, with nearly 300 entrepreneurs trained. 400+ highly skilled jobs have been created through their incubator companies with MEST itself seeing 100+ highly skilled job created.

Jorn Lyseggen - Founder and CEO, Meltwater

Jorn Lyseggen – Founder and CEO, Meltwater

“When MEST was founded a decade ago, the goal was to find a way to create wealth and jobs here in Africa by nurturing the massive amount of talent that exists on the continent. By empowering people to become software entrepreneurs, I believe Africa can take their fair share of the value creation that we know is going to take place in technology and software over the next generation. Today, we’re proud that MEST is the first truly Pan-African tech incubator of its kind,” says Jorn Lyseggen, Founder & CEO of Meltwater and MEST.

As an advocate for innovation in tech, Jorn Lyseggen continues to act as a driving force in bridging the gap between Silicon Valley and the ever-evolving African tech landscape.

For additional information or interview requests with MEST Managing Director Aaron Fu or CEO of Meltwater Jorn Lyseggen, please contact Maria Adediran of Wimbart | maria@wimbart.com

 

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21st Session of African Forestry and Wildlife Commission opens in Dakar
June 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

Forestry, wildlife experts discuss Africa’s forests, landscapes and wildlife resources

By Alpha Jallow in Dakar

19 June 2018, Dakar – The 21st Session of the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission (AFWC) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) begins today in Dakar, Senegal, to discuss how to sustainably manage and restore Africa’s forests, landscapes and wildlife resources.

The five-day meeting, which focuses on the theme “Restoring forests, landscapes and wildlife resources: unleashing opportunities for sustainable development in Africa”, is being held simultaneously with the commemoration of the 5th African Forestry and Wildlife Week.

About 200 participants, consisting of Ministers of States, government officials from 30 African countries, heads of forestry and wildlife institutions, officials and experts of regional and international organizations, as well as development partners of FAO,  will  deliberate upon the approach to be pursued in  tackling and advancing the sustainable management and restoration of forests, landscapes and wildlife resources in Africa.

The delegates will also discuss recent developments in the field of Sustainable Wildlife Management in Africa  as well as  the role and contributions  being made by the related African Union and countries’ strategies and initiatives “and the Collaborative Partnership on Sustainable Wildlife Management”  in addressing these issues in the region.

The session will give prominence to the critical importance of sustainable management and restoration of forests and wildlife resources in enhancing food security and nutrition, reducing poverty, preventing and combating land degradation and desertification, and adapting to and mitigating impacts of climate change.

The participants will examine and review in addition ongoing sustainable management and restoration programmes, recent developments, challenges and opportunities such as the Green Climate Fund and the way forward to boost the contributions of forests and wildlife resources to the Sustainable Development Agenda in the region.

Hiroto Mitsugi, FAO Assistant Director-General, Forestry Department, in Rome, stated that “forests, their resources and wildlife are critical for the provision of multiple goods and services essential for human wellbeing and for a healthy environment”.

“They are even more important in dryland ecosystems, such as those prevailing in the Africa region, to address critical issues of land degradation, desertification, mitigation of climate change effects and strengthening the adaptive capacity and the resilience of the people and their agroecosystems”, he added.

A call to Increase investment

At the heart of discussion at this session is the concept of ‘Building Resilience of Africa’s Drylands and Livelihoods’ and the call to increase investments in sustainable management and restoration of Dryland Forests and Agro-silvo pastoral Systems in the region.

The Session will discuss the Organization’s support to the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) through the work it is carrying out on Forest and Landscape Restoration, including the Great Green Wall.

According to Mr Hiroto, AFR 100 is “a call for creating an African movement to heal Planet Earth, to heal Africa’s forests and landscapes resources.”

A new and special edition of FAO’s “Nature & Faune” journal compiling case studies and articles on restoration in Africa, is being launched at the meeting.

In order to underscore the benefits that can be generated by public and private sector investments in sustainable forest management and restoration, the Government of Senegal is hosting the celebration of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought under the theme “Land has a true value: Invest in it”, on the 20th of June (instead of the 17th June) at the Mbao Forest, the “Dakar lung”, rendering it an African celebration together with local communities. Another field visit will be organized to the “Bandia Nature Reserve” on the 22nd of June, showcasing another public-private partnership for the restoration of degraded land.

“I’m convinced that only the mobilization at the national, regional and global level and the collaboration between the actors for the management of natural resources will be able to overcome the challenges we face,” said Mame Thierno Dieng, Senegalese Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development,.

“The African Forestry and Wildlife Commission (AFWC) remains, in my opinion, a platform for exchange and sharing of experiences essential to achieve this goal,” he added.

Introducing new guidelines

FAO will introduce the recently published “Guidelines for Using Forest Concessions to Manage Public Forests” at the meeting. In addition, and to support countries’ reporting commitments on SDGs implementation, in particular SDG 15, the Session will introduce the process of the Forest Resources Assessment (FRA 2020) while highlighting efforts for reducing reporting burden on countries by streamlining international forest-related reporting

Stimulating dialogue and exchange of experience and lessons

Dialogues of Heads of Forestry and Wildlife and Events that will be organized during the week will enable delegates to showcase achievements  made to date in restoration of forests,  landscapes and wildlife resources, including through Africa’s Great Green Wall, and to  discuss and share experiences on Sustainable wildlife management and combatting illegal transboundary exploitation and trade of fauna and flora as well as on developing small scale forest enterprises for livelihood improvement and poverty reduction in Africa.

About the Commission

The African Forestry and Wildlife Commission (AFWC) is one of six Regional Forestry Commissions established by FAO to provide a policy and technical forum for countries to discuss and address forest and wildlife issues on a regional basis. It meets every two years.

The mandate of the commission is to advise on the formulation of forest and wildlife management policy and to review and coordinate its implementation at the regional level; to exchange information and, generally through special Subsidiary Bodies, advise on suitable practices and action in regard to technical problems; and to make appropriate recommendations.

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Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Says Ethiopia Is To Honour The 2000 Algiers Agreement And End Hostilities Between Ethiopia And Eritrea
June 19, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

Prime Minister Abiy

Prime Minister Abiy

Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed is determined to bring to an end the hostilities that have existed for several decades between his country and neighbouring Eritrea. Prime Minister Ahmed said his country is ready to implement the 2000 Algiers Agreement, an internationally sponsored peace treaty and border demarcation signed by Ethiopia and Eritrea.

On the 4th of June this year, Ethiopian Prime Minister called a surprise politburo meeting. The agenda was not divulged when he called the meeting but it was crystal clear what the Ethiopian politburo had discussed as soon as the meeting ended as a statement was released which read, “Ethiopia will fully accept the December 12, 2000, Algiers Agreement, a peace agreement between the governments of Eritrea and Ethiopia, which established a special boundary commission.”

The statement went further to state that the Ethiopian government had, “decided to open up Ethiopia’s economy both to Ethiopian and foreign investors by making partial or full privatizations in key state-owned enterprises including industrial parks, railway projects, sugar factories, hotels and other manufacturing industries.” However, though big, it was the announcement that the Ethiopian government was to honour the Algiers Agreement which caught the attention of many people.

Perhaps in order to understand how significant this is to the two countries, that is Ethiopia and Eritrea as well as Africa as a whole, let’s briefly revisit how this agreement came about back in 2000.

Timeline of the Ethiopia and Eritrea hostilities.

There is a great debate which still rages on to this day about the exact origins of the Ethiopian-Eritrean hostilities. However, be that as it may, many academics believe that Eritrea’s independence from Ethiopia in 1991 did little if anything to resolve the underlying issues which had resulted in the nearly 30-year war between the two countries that erupted in 1961. It was (Eritrean independence), as stated by many at the very least a geopolitical success.

Due to this, it was no surprise in 1998 when a full-blown war erupted between the countries ignited by Ethiopia’s decision to march into Badme – a humble, dusty Eritrean market town with no apparent value. The war went on for two years in the process leading to the death of tens of thousands including civilians and displaced many others.

Regional, continental and international bodies in 2000 were forced into action after realising that the war was showing no signs of ending. In June of 2000, at a mediation meeting in Algiers Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea agreed to “permanently terminate military hostilities” and establish a “neutral Boundary Commission” that will have full authority to delimit and demarcate the boundaries. The two leaders agreed that the “neutral Boundary Commission” would have a final and binding agreement.

The final and binding agreement reached by the neutral Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission ruled in favour of Eritrea stating that Ethiopian’s invasion of Badme was in violation of the principle of sovereignty and it had to vacate the lands.

Ethiopia however, was not satisfied with the ruling and instead of ordering its troops to leave Badme, it sent more troops to the town. Eritrea understandably was angered by this move and it also mobilised its troops who stationed a few kilometres from where Ethiopian troops were settled. Ever since, these two countries have been living on the verge of war while on some occasions, rebel groups from either country believed to be sponsored by Peoples’ Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) from Eritrea and the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) from Ethiopia clashed leading to the loss of life of dozens of people including civilians.

It is against this background that one can truly respect and admire the decision taken by Prime Minister Ahmed. Now, as has been stated by the Eritrean government, Prime Minister Ahmed has to go “beyond reconciliatory gestures or diplomatic pleasantries.”

What the honouring of the Algiers Agreement mean for the two countries

Easing of tensions

The first and perhaps most important benefit of Ethiopia honouring the Algiers Agreement is that it will go a long way in easing tensions and hostilities that have characterised the relationship between Ethiopia and Eritrea especially in the town of Badme. This will, in turn, lead to political and social stability. The BBC recently reported how the standoff between Ethiopia and Eritrea has caused the disintegration of families that live in Badme and also surrounding towns including Adigrat in Ethiopia as they live in constant fear of being attacked.

Re-opening the border for trade

On the economic front, Ethiopia’s honouring of the Algiers Agreement means that the people who live in close proximity to the Ethiopian and Eritrea border from either country can resume cross-border trading activities. Cross-border trading between these two countries was of huge commercial value to the residents of both countries and the re-opening of the border will mean they can resume their most important if not only income generating activity.

Access to ports

Not only will the residents of Badme and surrounding town in both Ethiopia and Eritrea benefit from cross-border trading once the Ethiopian government implements provisions of the Algiers Agreement but also the two countries stand to benefit economically. Before the start of the war in 1998, Ethiopia used to import various goods using the Eritrean ports of Assab and Massawa. However, that was disturbed by the political standoff between the two countries and Ethiopia had to resort to using the distant port of Djibouti and the less-than-reliable railway connection. The implementation of the Algiers Agreement, however, will see Eritrea opening its ports for Ethiopia once again. Ethiopia will, in turn, cut importation costs as it will use a more direct and shorter route for its imports while Eritrea stands to gain financially from renting its part of its ports to Ethiopia.

Removal of sanctions for Eritrea

In 2009, the UN with the support of the US and Ethiopia imposed arms sanctions on Eritrea. The sanctions were imposed as a penalty for what the UN termed “supporting terrorists”; Eritrea was allegedly accused of supporting and sponsoring al-Shabaab militants in Somalia. These allegations were however not proven. Despite this, the US went on to extend the sanctions last year. These sanctions have been crippling Eritrea in its endeavours to seek assistance in the form of aid. However, if Ethiopia stays true to its word and implements the Algiers Agreement, it’s likely that Eritrea will ask Ethiopia to lobby for the removal of the UN imposed arms sanctions so it can appeal for much-needed aid.

 

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Mauritius, Ghana and Tunisia lead the African Telecoms
June 19, 2018 | 0 Comments
Sydney, Australia, 18 June 2018 – BuddeComm recently launched an exclusive Telecoms Maturity Index (TMI), that analyses the broadband, mobile and fixed Line markets of a country as well as a range of economic parameters to rank it on a scale of 1 to 100 and compare it to its region. The Africa TMI is now available and reveals the market leaders, the challengers and the developing ones.
Market leaders: Mauritius is the top-ranking country in Africa with a Telecoms Maturity Index score of 43, followed by Ghana (34) and Tunisia (31). 
Mauritius stands out among the rest. This is largely explained by the thriving tourism market which has stimulated the broadband sector. There is an extensive DSL infrastructure and operators have deployed fibre-based services in a number of localities. Mauritius Telecom invested Rs5.1 billion to roll out fibre across the island, with the project completed the end of 2017 (ahead of the original 2020 timescale).
Market challengers:The top three market challengers are Mauritania with a score of 13, Uganda (13) and Kenya (12).
Developing nations: The top three developing markets are Angola (7) Chad (7) and Cameroon (6)
Mobile telephony remains by far the dominant telecom service across Africa, accounting for more than 90% of all telephone lines on the continent. Given the very poor condition of fixed-line infrastructure in most markets, mobile internet access as a consequence also accounts for between 95% and 99% of all internet connections.
The size and range of the diverse markets within Africa have contributed to varied market penetration rates between countries. By early 2018 the highest mobile penetration was found in countries including Gabon (163%), Botswana (159%), South Africa (147%) and Mauritius (146%). To some degree high penetration reflects the popularity of consumers having multiple SIM cards despite efforts among most regulators to enforce measures by which operators must register SIM card users
The African Market report showcases the TMI for all African countries providing a unique perspective on the region.
*For more information on each country or on Africa as a whole please get in touch*.  
BuddeComm’s Telecoms Maturity Index is also available in all Middle EasternLatin American and Asian  reports. It will be available in European reports soon.
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Life In A War Zone : 30 Days in Ambazonia/Anglophone Cameroon (4)
June 16, 2018 | 1 Comments

Amba Fighters: Power Respects Power 

 

By Solomon Ngu*

In The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin, the legendary African-American novelist, says the police in America (and white supremacists) were cautious in attacking members of the Nation of Islam (NOI). Members of this black (or Negro as it was called in those days) movement were not ready to turn the other cheek in the face of police/white supremacist violence against black people in America. They believed in a tooth for tooth and an eye for an eye. These Muslims were encouraged to arm themselves, not to attack their rivals but that if attacked, they should fight back with a maximum force. For them, it was better to die standing. Malcolm X, a leading figure in the Nation of Island once said the only thing that power respects is power. Events in Anglophone Cameroon in recent months are undeniably validating Mr X’s viewpoint.

There was virtually no armed resistance to the militarization and Francophonization of Anglophone Cameroon before Mr Biya declared war on them in November 2017. Messages circulated on social media stating that the government was out to massacre the population. Images of troops in military cars –some of them photoshopped – heading to the two Regions were a frightful sight. The government had cut off internet in the two Anglophone Regions but people found a way to send images on social media by going to the francophone side of the country. We all suspected mayhem. And mayhem it was particularly in the home village of the interim Ambozonian president, Tabe Sisuku Ayuk. In fact the local administrator in this area told citizens to vacate their homes. This, they did. Most of them fled into Nigeria and have remained there ever since.

By the end of 2017 however, young men began to arm themselves. Hunters started using their rifles to defend unarmed villagers. And there was nothing the government could do about it. A few gendarmes were killed sending shock waves into the spine of political leadership and the soldiers. This was unexpected in a country where the military and the police are always above the law. There were online genocidal messages by Francophones, their journalists included, calling on the government to annihilate the Anmbazombies and Anglofools. The minister of communication cried foul and insisted that it was intolerable to allow terrorists to kill gendarmes. This incident, he said, further justified why Ambazonia needed to be militarized.

A Facebook post by a Francophone reads: block the borders with Nigeria so that no one leaves. Kill everyone including 6 months old babies. This horde of sheep fought Nigeria (referring to the Biafran War) and later established themselves on Cameroonian soil. Eliminate even those who speak French, they are Nigerians who have settled on Cameroonian soil. There aren’t Cameroonians in Bamenda (an Anglophone town), so, kill also the children, mothers, fathers, young people, etc.

A Facebook post by a Francophone reads: block the borders with Nigeria so that no one leaves. Kill everyone including 6 months old babies. This horde of sheep fought Nigeria (referring to the Biafran War) and later established themselves on Cameroonian soil. Eliminate even those who speak French, they are Nigerians who have settled on Cameroonian soil. There aren’t Cameroonians in Bamenda (an Anglophone town), so, kill also the children, mothers, fathers, young people, etc.

What Mr Issa Tchiroma did not realize at this point was that these soldiers on a mission to kill unarmed civilians unexpectedly clashed with another force that was bent on retaliating the death of the villagers. It did not for once occur to the minister and the soldiers that they were not the sole armed force in what was becoming a battlefield. Prior to their death, this group of gendarmes had killed unarmed civilians in the invaded village. Those lives did not matter in the eyes of the government, so to speak. The army had and still has the weapons as well as soldiers trained to fight the enemy, the Anglophones. Those defending their dignity have two things: courage and knowledge of the war terrain. In a nutshell, the scoundrel soldiers who had hitherto not encountered any resistance now knew there was power on the other side; and the only thing their power fear is this power that has not restrained from exercising itself through ambushes and other guerilla tactics.

Ironically by Feb 2018, the minister of communication stopped announcing the death of soldiers who die in the battlefield. Private TV stations and digital media footages captured by private citizens have revealed dead and dying soldiers. Some of them, facing threats of death, have defected; others have sold their weapons to the Fighters while some have simply escaped into neighboring countries. In early April 2018, I witnessed three military trucks that were purportedly carrying corpses of soldiers killed in the front line. It is well-known in Buea that the mortuaries are filled up with the corpses of the military men killed in the combat zone. Here is the thing though: the government conceals the death of these soldiers from the Francophones, fearing that parents may questions why their children are sent to die in a senseless war.

This strategy of not announcing the death of the soldiers on the public media is surely intended to deceive the bereaved families, making them think the death of their son or daughter is an isolated, rare and unfortunate occurrence. This strategy has no precedence in Cameroon where the military people who die in action are sent off in a solemn public ceremony with flags and medals adorning their coffins.

But how has this power evolved over time? As mentioned earlier, there wasn’t any resistance when the government sent rogue soldiers to teach Anglophones a lesson during and after the Anglophones celebrated their independence day on Oct 1st 2017. Soldiers chased, beat and shot the unarmed civilians. In the Anglophone capital city of Buea, helicopter gunships sprayed bullets on people from the air. No one for sure knows the death too. Some neighborhoods became aware of deaths in their vicinity only through the stench of decomposed corpses. It is believed some of the corpses were dropped from the helicopters. In all this, the soldiers were winning – their sense of victory was emboldened by fearful citizens fleeing life bullets. The government media institutions celebrated the triumph of brutality against unarmed civilians. Little did they know they just provoked an embittered population amongst them, the kids that were into a second year of not attending school.

Out of nowhere, we started witnessing armed and masked young men threatening to resist the marauding soldiers. They became known as Amba Fighters/Amba Restoration Forces/Amba Boys or just Amba. These Fighters do not have a central commander but all aim at fighting/sending away what they see as the colonial forces of La Republique. So far, they have been putting up a strong resistance and have become confident to the extent that they do not mask their faces anymore when delivering threats to the government and its soldiers. A few weeks ago I watched a video, in which the young people sang songs, displayed their guns, introduced their hierarchy and talked about liberating their homeland. There was this kid, not more than 15 years old, who threatened to take as booty, the sliced testicles of the president of Cameroun. This is what he said in pidgin: ‘We go kill you Popol. Me I want na that your canas’ (we will kill you Polpol [Paul Biya]. I want those testicles of yours’).

The gun has undeniably emboldened the resolve of these young people to speak without fear. Has this power been useful so far? Well, the government soldiers have not launched any military attach to free arrested/kidnapped soldiers or administrator of the regime, perhaps for fear of counter fire. In those cases where the kidnapped/arrested officials have been released, a bounty has been paid to the kidnappers.

In my next article, I still focus on Amba Fighters: how they are perceived by the Anglophone public?

*This is part of the series Life in a War Zone:30 Days in Ambazonia by  Solomon Ngu for PAV under the blog Kamer Blues

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Congo to Start $13.9 Billion Hydropower Project This Year
June 15, 2018 | 0 Comments
-Rival consortia submitted joint bid for plant last week
-Project director says single consortium will seek financing
By
The Inga 1 dam and Inga Falls on the Congo river. Photographer: Marc Jourdier/AFP via Getty Images

The Inga 1 dam and Inga Falls on the Congo river. Photographer: Marc Jourdier/AFP via Getty Images

The Democratic Republic of Congo plans to start work this year on the frequently delayed Inga 3 hydropower project, after receiving a joint bid from two previously competing consortia of investors.

 
One group led by China Three Gorges Corp. and another including Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA of Spain submitted a joint bid on June 6 for the project that will produce 11,000 megawatts and is predicted to cost $13.9 billion, Bruno Kapandji, director of the Agency for the Development and Promotion of the Grand Inga Project, said at a conference Wednesday in Lubumbashi in southeast Congo.
 “Our aim is to start Inga this year,” Kapandji said. “The two consortia have given us a document in which they committed to creating a single consortium. We are in the process of preparing, discussing and negotiating the exclusive collaboration contract which will allow the single candidate to go to the market to find the financing.”
 Africa’s biggest copper producer and the world’s largest source of cobalt has been considering building Inga 3 for more than a decade to address a power shortage that has curbed mining-industry growth. A treaty signed in 2013 provided for the plant to export 2,500 megawatts of power to South Africa. The plant would form part of a larger Grand Inga hydropower complex spanning part of the Congo River and produce as much as 50,000 megawatts when complete, according to the World Bank.

 Seven Years

Construction on Inga 3 will take as long as seven years, Kapandji said.

Congo’s government last year asked the competing consortia to work together and submit a joint offer to build and manage Inga 3. Once a concessionaire company has been established, the developers “will commit themselves to mobilizing the funds to complete the project and operate it,” Kapandji said.

The next phase of Grand Inga was initially supposed to produce 4,800 megawatts.

“The project has changed because the demand has changed,” said Kapandji. The mining industry’s energy deficit has increased from about 500 megawatts to 1,300 megawatts in the intervening years since the project was conceived, he said.

*Bloomberg

 
 
 
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The World Wrestles Climate Change To Stay Below 1,5 Degrees Of Warming .
June 15, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

 Yes, there is necessity to be formidable against Climate Change and stay below 1,5 degrees of warming . This is done  for the betterment of human livelihoods and for survival sake , being environmentally and Agriculturally  sustainable ,  Health and well-being , free out of natural and human induced catastrophes destroying this Earth .The World population at 7,5 billion people to date face risks , poverty , vulnerabilities and get plunged in sundry  challenges socially , economically and politically  .

Most countries are seriously hit by absolute poverty which is lack of basic needs, situational and in-come poverty, especially in Africa with a total population of 1 billion people. Its entire population is extremely affected by poverty because of climate change caused by Global Warming which leads to 90% induced anthropogenic disasters which have led to severe metrological and hydrological droughts. This is because, we are above 1,5 degrees of warming .

The above mentioned catastrophes have drastically impacted more on communities, in Africa, small island countries, banana republics and in some countries failing to cope up with mitigation and adaptation of climate change. This is because of several factors among them, lack of climate finance social cohesion of political will and the International community not in mutual agreements.

Owing attention to climate change effects in many affected developing countries of the World struggling to cope up with climate change , the thorny issue has turned inflammatory , hence the reason why the Paris Agreement called for the necessity to stay below 1,5 degrees of warming .

Yes, it is necessary to stay below 1,5 degrees of warming because there is need to cherish the good of Health for all , have no poverty and drought , create a sustainable globe supported by a nourished environment for a Green Economy .

It is therefore a priority to for the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to foster policy development so as to forecast on climate change mitigation and adaptation through Bio-Diversity protection, research and development programs. Secondly, the implementation of BECCS Technologies to reduce climate change is important.   Also, there is need to create other technologies which are conducive to a pollution free, disease free and an environmentally stable and manageable livable and sustainable community.

The necessity to stay below 1,5 degrees of warming is indisputably vital so that the World cannot be affected by  instability in rainfall , sea level rise , disasters like floods and drought and the subsequent scarcity of water and basic natural resources . These when not afforded and accessed leads to sundry challenges of immense impact to human lives.

An Expert in the field of Environment and Agriculture, Professor Sheunesu Mupepereki of the University of Zimbabwe contacted for comment said if countries stay below 1,5 degrees of warming there are greater chances of stability in rainfall and this can result in good harvests  . The input part comes with bumper output of harvest and the outcome is adequate food supply that is Food Security leading to an Impact of a NO HUNGER COMMUNITY, NO POVERTY, HIGH EDUCATION and HEALTH SERVICE DELIVERY.

‘’For countries to win on the Sustainable Development Goals like the two on ending poverty and hunger , there is great need to work out on environmental sustainable policies especially on Afforestation and environmental and water sustainability , do mitigation and adaptation so that we can achieve a Green Economy in a Sustainable World free from poverty and hunger .

‘’This is only achievable through unison of the Globe sticking to agreements like those already in place like the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreements which have a bit of relief to our changing world . Of- course climate has been changing but 90% of this is attributable to human forces, working towards destroying the Universe’’, he said.

Taking the heated discussion up the ladder, Environmental Management Agency Chief Communications Officer Steady Kangata an Environmentalist as well pointed out that, to stay below 1,5 degrees of warming is not easy as long richer nations fail to agree among themselves and then sit down on the table to take it up with those most affected like African states and the small island countries which are only contributing a little at most not at all .

‘’Richer States have to come together and weave social cohesion ideas meant to reduce effects of climate change so that we are at ease as far as this is concerned . Staying below 1,5 degrees of warming is possible in the long run if the burning of fossil fuels is taken action against . In fact natural solutions will work for us as we get to zero fossil fuel use. The influence of fossil fuels like coal has had diverse vested influence on the change of climate.

‘’There is need to reduce the use of coal , avoid deforestation , concentration of gases like carbon- dioxide in the atmosphere , methane and nitrous oxide which are the main emissions contributing to global warming which is almost above the normal figure I,5 degrees of warming .

‘’Carbon dioxide trapping heat in the atmosphere could be a problem as long there are no measures like policies in place to reduce this , However , countries under the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change have taken stance against this , though much needs to be done’’ , he said .

Another Expert, an Agronomist by profession Professor Mushonjowa pointed out that there is need to stay below 1,5 degrees of warming so as to create conducive environment in Agricultural activities which have been mainly impacted by climate change . He said, the issue of Food Security is not a reality as long countries are not staying below 1,5 degrees Celsius because this leads to food in- security which leads to increase in poverty .

‘’Poverty still continues because we are failing to mitigate and adapt to climate change , but however we need to adopt policies  and strategies which might one day pull us out of absolute poverty as countries are eager to win on sustainable development goals like on no poverty and hunger .

Taking a breath, he said additional effects on water supply , rising temperatures , sea level rise , less predictable weather , drought , floods , storms , changing temperatures and rainfall pattern effects on crops , pests , pollinators and disease organisms are high .This impacts communities socio , economically and politically .

‘’The risk is on long term economic growth challenges which are a big blow in many countries still struggling to be out of poverty and hunger . Let us take note that, ‘’climate is changing, food and Agriculture must change too’’. There is all mighty need to stick to drought resistant crops like sorghum and millet and resort to short season crops like pulses which resists prolonged drought.

‘’Taking a strong look at this, there is need to stay below 1,5 degrees of warming so that we are kept beyond poverty and hunger . In order to keep ourselves away from this , it is important for Africa to invest in Renewable Energy , turn Agriculture to food and Industrial development and support knowledge economy for Innovation and Industrial development in Africa’’ , he added .

According to the World Health Organization, Climate Change has caused 140,000 death due to hunger, water-borne and vector-born ailments .Speaking on the sidelines of Health, Doctor Portia Manangazira who works in the Department of Epidemiology, Ministry of Health and Child Care said the increase in water borne diseases has also been the issue of climate change in many countries mainly hit by devastating floods.

‘’Water-borne diseases are set to increase as long climate lives. The greater increase is due to the issue of climate change which has arose with high incessant rains and sometimes low rainfall compromising on the strong sharp increase in communicable diseases related to vector borne and water borne ones like malaria and cholera respectively .

‘’Although cholera is a result of failure to handle and manage food issues and proper water and sanitation health  well, the sharp increase in climate change could give another big blow as we move forward. It is now all of us our task to look ahead and manage these issues through global dialogue, syllogism and policy change’’. She concluded.

The question of climate justice still hangs in air as some countries like America continue polluting at the expense of the developing countries. The increase in vulnerable people in communities is adversely exacerbated by climate change which is causing these people not to live below 1,5 degrees of warming .However , though there is this need nonetheless , lack of resources in basic need , lack of climate finance and battle lines drawn between the rich and the poor countries stirs great controversy at a time there is increase in vulnerable people because of HIV and AIDS and climate change death .

In the Agriculture sector 2 degrees increase in temperature reduces maize by 5 to 22%  , wheat 10 to 17% and sorghum by 15 to 17% . This leads to food vulnerability leading to high malnutrition and nutrition in-security, poverty and lack of human development .Such is the problem which led to high death rates of 260,000 people in Somalia in 2010 to 2012.

Climate vulnerability in Africa continues as climate change bites with severe pang of pain, but there is need to focus on the rights of people around the world who need stay below 1,5 degrees of warming by enforcing policies which focus on Global Carbon Budget  . In financial costs, Africa will spend almost 7 to 15 billion by 2020.

This could contribute to continuation of poverty later turning to be of harsh effects to women who have 60% big role in rural Agriculture. Because of these issues, women are failing to do their activities because they are much prone to drought, floods and some disasters. Women and children affected most, this constitutes vulnerability and there is likelihood of high maternal, neo-natal and infant mortality in Africa,  up-surge rise of pulmonary and cardio-vascular diseases because the bigger percentage relies on fossil fuels .

Contacted for comment, Pamela Mhlanga, Director of Zimbabwe Women Resource Centre and Network said staying below 1, 5 degrees of warming could mold the girl-child of today to be a mother who contributes far more than men in building a better economy without poverty and hunger, but however, it is sad to note that women voices in climate change issues were so low over the recent years because of lack of equality and equity.

‘’Women participation is always low at all levels but on climate change , let us take the equal front and equip ourselves because we are the ones at the forefront of being mainly affected when disasters come .We need advocacy , sensitization and awareness , awakening women voices in climate change issues to stay below 1,5 degrees of warming . Besides, let us capacity build women on 100% Energy technical support, empowering women with clean, efficient modern stoves’’, she elucidated.

Taking sides, Women Coalition of Zimbabwe Co-coordinator, Sally Dura ignited on the strong issue of Women and 100% Renewable Energy. Renewable Energy is related to solar , geothermal , wave , hydro and wind , but alas , it is sad to note that 70% of people in Africa have no access to this source which is safe , cheap ,reliable , efficient and easy to use .

‘’Staying below 1,5 must start with women in front and it should be buttressed by the need to develop our planet through shared knowledge and the understanding that Renewable energy counts more than   any form of energy these days where injustices are caused by climate change . Still at worst inequalities are   worsening because we are now at most affected by climate itself’’, she echoed.

Reduction in emissions creates a free from pollution world if solar is used by all countries of the world which need support as far as finance is related. This will lead to reduction in carbon emissions, therefore reversing ozone layer depletion which results in Global Warming.

HUNDRED, 100 % RENEWABLE ENERGY is supported by policy frameworks implemented for the advantage of every human being but mostly we need Education on these issues so that we remain vigilant as we move towards building better economies.  Speaking to this Journalist, Gloria Magombo Zimbabwe ENERGY Regulatory Authority Director said in Zimbabwe access to energy is only 40% of which there is need to develop solar so as to reach high levels of economic development.

‘’ It’s much more to talk about 100% Renewable Energy for us to stay as well below 1,5 degrees of warming . Energy budgets, policy development and more education are supposed to be stand together issues of moral concern for us to win also the sustainable development goal on Energy. The more we put focus on the environment we dwell on energy issues promoting a Greener Economy ‘’.

‘’ A greener is Economy is supported by new clean , smart technologies which are against use of fossil fuels and those green-house gases which deplete the ozone layer . Thus why we as SADC we are promoting the use of Solar –Powered vehicles and the use of Diesel 50’’

‘’However some developed countries are already using Diesel 1o but still us as SADC we are behind. It means then we are polluting by using archaic models of cars which use Diesel 100 which is no-longer recommended .This is a solution to curb use of fossil fuels which are not Environmentally friendly .’’

‘’ If 40% of Zimbabweans only have access to energy , then  clean energy use is far less  as expected , then at a global level we still have a long way to achieve staying below 1,5 degrees warming , but then a 100 % global shift towards Renewable Energy is the only close and immediate solution .’’ she said.

The truth on ground lies on strategizing achievable mitigations and correct lined adaptations in order to conquer challenges we face today. The fact is that before the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century there were 280 parts per million of carbon emissions doubling to 400 parts per million, the world becoming 3 to 4 degrees warmer, this leading to high sea-levels tells a success story of climate change victory. Today we are almost a bit below that because of several measures in addition to climate resilience, governance and political will. We need more effort, support, mentorship and education regarding the necessity of staying below 1,5 degrees warmer. Yes,

*NEVSON MPOFU is a multi-Awarded Media Practitioner . Currently, he is a Lecturer of Community Development, HIV and AIDS.  email:nmnevsonmpofu755@gmail.com

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Energy Investments And Finance Vital For The African Green Economy.
June 15, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Energy and Power Development permanent secretary Patson Mbiriri

Energy and Power Development permanent secretary Patson Mbiriri

Sub-Saharan Africa, South East and Pacific Asia which are Energy poverty impacted Regions need at least 49, 4 billion annually to finance their overall Energy projects and the current spending rotating in these Regions is 9 billion. World Bank has over the past years since 2007 financed 31 billion worth Energy projects in developing countries especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In order to monitor the reduction of absolute poverty in the World, there is need to focus strongly on Energy financing in order to develop various energy projects, reduce poverty and win on Sustainable Development Goals particularly Goal number 7 on Energy  by 2030.Africa has the big challenge . One of its Investor , African Renewable Energy Fund finances small projects in Hydro-Power , Wind , Solar , Geo-Thermal , Gas and Biomass .It has 10 to 30 million size of Investments , 200 million total fund size with target return of 20% .

Experts in the Energy sector in Zimbabwe have taken a strong move to work towards sustaining energy projects through sourcing finance and calling for Investments to boost the sector. The prevalent rate of climate change in the countries felt elsewhere in the World is fast reducing BIOFUEL ENERGY relied on by 60% of the rural population mainly in developing countries struggling to grapple with solar energy which is cheap, efficient, though insufficient, it is reliable with those who have used it .The strong fact is Solar is renewable, therefore it is of less cost once purchased.

CLEAN ENERGY FOR ALL programs organized by Business Council for Sustainable Development , Practical Action  and ZERA[Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority ]   held  since issues of energy took Centre stage have since short time memorial brought change in the country which is only 40% solar energy dominated according to recent ZERA information on the ground . Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority Chief Executive Officer, said that adequate financial funding is needed to run Sustainable Energy projects in many countries of the World so as to promote a GREEN REVOLUTION which has special focus on clean energy which does not have effects on human lives as far as pollution is concerned.

Air pollution has over the past years affected communities especially in coal mining areas where a number of people have had problems of respiratory and cardio-vascular diseases. .These challenges have as well been experienced in urban areas where after hydro-power blackout is experienced, dwellers pursue alternative energy sources which lead to destruction of the natural environment and turn to massive use of coal which emits unfriendly pollutants affecting people and the atmosphere.

Experts have summed that, though the need for Green Energy for a Green Revolution, funding is not adequate to promote a GREEN REVOLUTION flourish. Glued in the exclusive interview, the expert said Zimbabwe power shortages are indicated by a deficit of 60% .By February 2016 the country was measured producing only 845 mw against a projected national demand 2,200 megawatts and installed capacity of 1,940 megawatts .

‘’There is need for adequate funding buttressed by competent Investors who support the Energy sector which is under-trodden and submerged by anthropogenic factors contributing to climate change and subsequently affecting the earth which now is heavily compromised in terms of its naturalness, beauty, esthetics and bounty wealth of bio-fuel .The urgent need for regeneration of the energy sector through the support of Investors is no doubt a fact on the ground ‘’.

’’Countries of the world still taking development steps in response to Sustainable Development Goals targets need more funding than the current amount so that they can run sustainable projects which can make developing countries in Africa, Asia and some parts of the World see the light of development in a changing world in which clean energy is the right path to go for in a modern World.’’

‘’Clean Energy is environmentally friendly since it does not lead to air pollution which does have negative impacts on the health of the general public. Many forms of energy have led to changes in climate of which resultant adverse effects there-after have led to depletion of the ozone layer. Clean energy solutions today lead us to a habitable disease free world.’ ’posed the Expert .

Further on ,she cited that high cost financing of Infrastructure amounting from 12 billion to 13 billion to lift up Energy project financing in developing countries is vital .She continued that, for these countries to grow, they need to lure Investments from the developed World through implementation of sound policies meant to reduce energy poverty in the developing world.

‘’Funding for the purpose of Economic development is vital because they is need to promote GREEN ECONOMY. Therefore, we need to support GREEN ENERGY projects on the ground so that we can reach targets of GLOBAL ENERGY growth and achieve Sustainable Development Goals of the UNITED NATIONS’’, ’she concluded.

Commenting on the same issue , Patson Mbiriri , Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development , said , Energy financing was as well delayed by lack of political will in many developing countries like in those where civil strife reduce communities to abject poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa , East and Pacific Asia and in some parts of the World .He added also that lack of expertise and  the issue of brain drain has much impacted .

‘’Lack of this political will  has much trodden  developing countries which even up to now need strong financial support to lift themselves out of absolute poverty . Sustainable Development Goals will lift people in many countries out of poverty like how they have done in developed countries like China, Japan, America and others’’.

‘’Access to energy finance stands vital, hence the reason why Sustainable Development Goals are important. Energy developments over the past decades slackened because Energy was not part of the Millennium Development Goals .The c current Sustainable Development Goals are giving a new image to Energy sources like solar which is are affordable and accessible.

‘’One main important aspect is that of brain drain of African professionals giving their knowledge to greener pastures. The problem is leaving blind spots making management of energy projects a challenge to digest. Also those in leadership at top need more expertise, sensitization and awareness on the importance of energy link to the environment. A green revolution is possible close home if these experts help us with their skills and push for Africa to get Investors. In other words, we are moving slowly towards a GREEN REVOLUTION’’, he said.

Talking on Investor incentives to sustain Energy projects, another Expert in the ENERGY SECTOR, Sustain Ziuke said, incentives are important because Zimbabwe is only 40% covered by solar energy. All in all 80% of energy is urban and 19% is rural. We still have a long way to go . Access to electricity is estimated @ 52% of the total population.

Approximately, 200,000 urban house-holds and 1,2 million rural do not have access to electricity . He expanded by highlighting that there is need to work towards financing of solar since it is cheap and easy to maintain and for developing countries to research and access other Energy types especially in rural areas so that bio-fuel can be saved .

Africa as a whole has those challenges related to energy shortage .There are dangers to the natural environment caused by lack of energy sources. The environment gets deforested without any afforestation, this leading to desertification. Most issues in origin of what is climate change are a result of massive cutting down of trees  . This leads to denudation, mass wasting and serious erosion during rainy season, communities later affected by food –insecurity.

‘’Access to Energy types is the challenge in developing countries. Worse still, wood is 80% to 90% in rural areas and 15 to 30% in African urban areas. For Energy development to take place at fast rate in these countries, there is need for GREEN FUNDING, what we call SMART ENERGY for the sustainability of a GREEN WORLD in which humanity is not affected by POLLUTION, especially AIR POLLUTION which result in Respiratory and Cardio-Vascular Diseases, related to heart and Lung cancer ailments, ’he said.

Zimbabwe which still lags behind in Energy development has fuel wood at 60%, liquid fuel 18%, electricity 13% and coal 8%. Although the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio- Economic Transformation promotes Energy projects sustainability so as to reduce poverty, more than half of its population is living in Energy poverty and needs funding to run such projects.

Many Energy organizations in energy poverty countries have come out with projects which needs sustainable funding . Energy projects in Zimbabwe are  run under the theme, CLIMATE FINANCE FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT. Some of them touched on the issue of diesel -50 and how countries can move towards the use of diesel 10 and the use of solar powered vehicles in the future. The issue of climate change brings in today gender dimensions which call the involvement of women in energy issues because they matter most when it comes to sourcing energy in both rural and urban communities.

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