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Italy arrests 3 African migrants in connection with teenager’s death.
October 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Teslim Olawore

The Italian police department have detained 3 migrants from Senegal and Nigeria in connection with the drugging, gang rape and death of an Italian teenager, which has reignited Italy’s tense immigration debate. Desiree Mariottini, 16, was last heard from on October 17, when she called her grandmother to say she missed the last bus home and would stay overnight in Rome with a friend.

Her body was found two days later, on October 19, in an abandoned building known as a drug den, in the San Lorenzo district of Rome. It is believed that she had been drugged and gang raped. Mayor of Rome Virginia Raggi announced on Twitter that she would move to place a 9 p.m. curfew on alcohol consumption in the district, police would carry out stricter checks and the building where the victim’s body was found would be demolished. In another tweet, she said police were still on the hunt for two accomplices to the “atrocious crime.”

“As the mayor, as a woman, and as a mother, I can not tolerate the harrowing image of a girl brutally raped killed,” she added in a Facebook post. Two Senegalese and one Nigerian were arrested on Thursday in connection with her death, rekindling Italy’s ongoing debate over immigration. But it was the reaction from Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini that gained much attention.

Even before the arrests were made, Salvini had used the case to push his anti-immigration policies. He visited the scene several times, promising to return with a bulldozer, which was met both by protesters chanting “jackal” and supporters who applauded him. “I will do everything to make the worms guilty of this horror pay,” he said in a tweet following reports of the arrests.

While some criticised Salvini for politicising the case, many of Italians took to social media to reignite discussion of the country’s policy on immigration. Italian Twitter user Sabrina Donna Rachele said she thought it was not propaganda to use the case as an example for discussion, saying “if those filthy beings had not been in Italy, Desiree would still be alive.” But others remained firm in their negative view of using the case to boost policy. This Twitter user from Italy’s Lombardy region said politicians should “take the culprits to the court of law,” but “not to use the human tragedy to political advantages.”

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Life Presidency For Cameroon’s Biya., Will He Make or Mar?
October 25, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

Will this controversial victory prove to be a mandate too ,much for Biya?

Will this controversial victory prove to be a mandate too ,much for Biya?

For the seventh time in a row, the name ‘Paul Biya’ was called out as the winner in Cameroon’s presidential election. Depending on one’s political affiliation (for Cameroonians), this was either good news or bad news.

Paul Biya has ruled Cameroon for six successive presidential terms and he is entering his seventh which will see him rule the West African nation for another 7 years. In his early days, Biya commanded a huge following across the whole country, when some military elements attempted a coup in 1984 (two years after he assumed the presidency) many Cameroonians sympathized with him after he managed to survive the onslaught. However, unknown to many, that unfortunate incident (attempted coup) changed the way Biya viewed power and politics in general.

In subsequent and successive elections that were held in Cameroon till the recent one, it’s evident that Paul Biya no longer views power as something that ought to be shared or taken lightly but that it is something which should be continuously consolidated, guarded jealously and ruthlessly protected in face of threats.

As stated by Stephanie Akoa, a researcher with the Paul Ando Ela Foundation think tank, “Today, it is impossible to imagine a scenario where Biya gives up power in a conventional way or naturally before the end of his mandate…As long as he can run for a mandate, I don’t see anything to stop him doing so.”

Taking into consideration Stephanie’s Akoa’s above statement and also the sentiments of resigned acceptance by most Cameroonians in the country, there was no way that the recent elections would have a different result other than a Paul Biya win. The 71 percent margin that Paul Biya won with according to many is actually conservative considering the well-oiled electioneering machine put in place by Biya.

With the announcement of Paul Biya as the president-elect immaterial considering anyone in his/her senses knew what the result would be, there is no need to dwell much on that part but rather, it’s time to look forward to the future and project if Biya in his seventh term will work to better the prospects of the country and at the same time work to uplift the lives of the millions of Cameroonians living in destitute conditions or not.

Welcome statement but will he keep the promise

Soon after the Constitutional Council announced him as the winner, Paul Biya tweeted, “Thank you for your renewed and large confidence…Let us now join in taking up, together, the challenges that confront us.”

Paul Biya’s tweet therefore at least on the surface shows us that he is not dwelling much on his reelection but rather, he is looking forward to the future. Secondly, the tweet acknowledges that there are some challenges that are confronting the country. For acknowledging these challenges, credit should be given to Paul Biya. However, acknowledging that there are some challenges is only the first step in addressing the challenges. After acknowledging, action/s should follow.

Of all the challenges that Cameroon is facing today, from political to economic and social challenges, there is one main thing that Biya ought to do i.e. to start taking action to calm the tension in Anglophone Cameroon. For over a year now Anglophone Cameroon has been characterized by a near civil war atmosphere. The instability in Anglophone Cameroon not only affects peace and security but it also affects the country’s standing in the international community making it difficult for the country to attract required foreign direct investment. As such, the priority for Paul Biya should be to normalize the situation in Anglophone Cameroon.

Apart from the Anglophone crisis, Paul Biya also needs to start reconsidering his ‘habit’ of spending much time in foreign lands. As reported by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), a consortium of investigative journalists, Biya spent “at least four and a half years of his 35 years in power on private visits” abroad mostly to Switzerland. While working in a foreign land may not ‘actually’ affect how he executes his duties, at times, his mere presence may work wonders.

Paul Biya no doubt faces some huge challenges ahead but these challenges if he sets his priorities right (opposed to the already surfacing rumours of him building a $475,000 mansion for the Constitutional Council head), can be corrected thereby paving the way for him to leave the stage a hero rather than a villain (when he finally calls time on his ‘presidency’ or when nature calls).

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Ethiopia MPs Appoint Sahle-Work Zewde As their first woman President.
October 25, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Teslim Olawore

Sahle-Work Zewde walks with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed after being elected as Ethiopia's first female President at the Parliament in Addis Ababa on Oct. 25, 2018.Eduardo Soteras / AFP - Getty Images

Sahle-Work Zewde walks with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed after being elected as Ethiopia’s first female President at the Parliament in Addis Ababa on Oct. 25, 2018.Eduardo Soteras / AFP – Getty Images

Ethiopian parliamentary members have elected Sahle-Work Zewde as the country’s first female president, making her the only female president in Africa. Zewde is an experienced diplomat. She was until recently, the UN Director General at its offices in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

She has a rich ambassadorial track record having served as Ethiopian ambassador to several countries previously. Her resignation from the UN role this week is speculated to be to allow her take the new position of president. The position of president is ceremonial in Ethiopia, with executive power vested in the office of the prime minister. But the appointment is deeply symbolic and follows up on last week’s cabinet reshuffle, after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appointed a cabinet with half the posts taken up by women.

After being sworn in, President Sahle-Work promised to work hard to make gender equality a reality in Ethiopia. She also emphasized the importance of respecting women and the need to build a society that rejects the oppression of women and promised to work for peace and unity in the country.

“In a patriarchal society such as ours, the appointment of a female head of state not only sets the standard for the future but also normalizes women as decision-makers in public life,” tweeted Fitsum Arega, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff and de facto government spokesman

“All these developments are exciting, but it is something that is happening up top, in order for the shift to happen at a grass-roots level, the work is going to take years,” said Sahilu, a lawyer and women’s rights activist. She said factors such as widespread teenage marriage and the lack of access to secondary education are holding women back, especially in rural society, women are not seen as leaders.

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Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation 2018 goes to GRACE Director
October 25, 2018 | 0 Comments

Born Free Foundation’s Co-Founder, Virginia McKenna OBE, is delighted to announce that Jackson Mbeke, Director of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education (GRACE), has been awarded the sixth Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation.

The £15,000 award provides support and recognition for outstanding individual conservationists and carers who place a high priority on animal welfare, while undertaking environmental education around the world, conservation policy, or the protection of species under threat.

GRACE is the world’s only sanctuary for critically endangered eastern lowland gorillas, which are considered one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world, with only 3,800 remaining. GRACE cares for 14 orphaned gorillas rescued from poachers and works to rehabilitate them so they can return to the wild. Furthermore, GRACE maintains 39 acres of forest for the gorillas, and partners with local communities to run education and conservation initiatives to protect a critical population of wild gorillas living in Tayna Nature Reserve.

As the DRC Director of GRACE, Jackson Kabuyaya Mbeke manages a team of 33 Congolese who operate the award-winning gorilla sanctuary, and conducts GRACE’s education and community conservation initiatives. Jackson started with GRACE when it was established in 2009 and has advanced with the project, first working as a logistician, then as GRACE Centre Manager, and now as the first Congolese DRC Director. Next year, through his role at GRACE, Jackson will lead the first census in over a decade to get an accurate estimate of the number of individuals that remain in one of the last strongholds for this imperilled great ape.

Born Free Foundation Co-Founder and Trustee Virginia McKenna OBE said:

“I am delighted that Jackson Mbeke, and his life-saving work on behalf of the endangered Grauer’s gorilla, has won this award. His unswerving dedication to the conservation of these highly threatened animals, the forests they inhabit, and the communities who share those same forests, should be an inspiration to all. Together with everyone at Born Free, I am determined that by supporting outstanding individuals such as Jackson and his team – with both recognition and resources – we can help make the natural world a more compassionate and safer place.”

On winning the award, Jackson commented:

“I am honoured to receive the Virginia McKenna Award and to be recognised for the work GRACE is doing for the gorillas. Life in the DRC can be hard; for many months I could not sleep because I was worrying about the safety of our team and gorillas, but I had to take courage because the gorillas depend on us and we refuse to give up on them. This award means so much to me, the team, and the local communities we partner. I cannot thank Born Free enough. This has boosted our spirits, and we will work to multiply our efforts for gorillas.”

Dr Sonya Kahlenberg, GRACE’s Executive Director, concluded:

“Jackson has led the GRACE DRC team through a very difficult period, navigating the major challenges of armed conflict and now Ebola. But he never once considered giving up. Instead, he took things a day at a time and kept everyone focused on the important work of caring for gorillas. Truly nobody loves GRACE more than Jackson does, and I am thrilled that his outstanding dedication to gorillas and courage are being recognized by this award.”

Past winners of the prestigious Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation include:

  • Shivani Bhalla, of the Ewaso Lions Project, for her work on human/lion conflict
  • Professor Anna Nekaris, of Oxford Brookes University and the Little Fireface Project, for her work on slow loris conservation and welfare
  • The Mad Dog Initiative, a project which aims to deliver conservation benefits to endangered species by humanely controlling domestic and feral dogs in and around Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar
  • Neotropical Primate Conservation in Peru, tackling illegal wildlife trade by partnering with wildlife authorities, police, public prosecutors and grassroots organisations.

A call for the Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation 2019 will be announced in the New Year. For additional information please email info@bornfree.org.uk.

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Dangote ranked sixth most charitable person in the world.
October 25, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Teslim Olawore

The President of Dangote Group of Companies, Aliko Dangote, was recognised and highlighted by Richtopia, A complete media brand covering effective leadership, emerging technologies, global economics, inspirational people and smart investing based in the United Kingdom (UK), yesterday as the richest man in Africa. Dangote was also named the sixth most charitable man in the world.

He recently flourished his foundation to the tune of $1.25 billion. Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and J.K. Rowlings occupied the first, second and third positions while Oprah Winfrey and Elon Musk were in the fourth and fifth spot respectively. Chairman of United Bank for Africa (UBA), Tony Elumelu was 11th on the list making it the only two Nigerians on the list.

Aliko Dangote started his Foundation, Aliko Dangote Foundation, in the year1981 with a mission to enhance opportunities for social change through strategic investments that improve health and well-being, promote quality education and broaden economic empowerment opportunities. The Foundation was, however, incorporated as a charity group in Lagos, Nigeria in the year 1994.

Twenty years later, it became the largest private Foundation in sub-Saharan Africa with the largest endowment by a single African donor. The primary objective of Aliko Dangote Foundation is health and nutrition, supported by wrap-around interventions in education, empowerment and humanitarian relief. Among many others, it would be recalled that the foundation gave out a whopping sum of N2.5 billion, the same amount the Federal Government also donated for the purpose of ameliorating the sufferings of the flood victims during President Goodluck Jonathan era.

The Foundation, in line with its mandate to provide relief in times of disaster, spread its philanthropic works beyond the shores of Nigeria with a donation of $1 million to the government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. The gesture was meant to support the government’s efforts in providing relief to the victims of the earthquakes that occurred in the country. The Foundation also recently came to the aid of victims of the communal clash between Yoruba and Hausa traders and residents in Ile-Ife, Osun State.

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Health: Spectacular diabetes treatment could end daily insulin injections
October 25, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Teslim Olawore

A potential medical breakthrough that could put an end to the daily insulin injections endured by people living with diabetes has been unveiled by Dutch scientists. This process is is caused by destroying the mucous membrane in the small intestine and causing a new one to develop, scientists stabilised the blood sugar levels of people with type 2 diabetes.

The results have been described as “spectacular” by the chief researchers involved. In the hourlong procedure, trialled on 50 patients in Amsterdam, a tube with a small balloon in its end is inserted through the mouth of the patient down to the small intestine. The balloon is filled with hot water and the mucous membrane burned away by the heat. Within two weeks a new membrane develops, leading to an improvement in the patient’s health.

Even after a year the treatment, the disease was found to be stable in 90% of those treated. It is believed there is a link between nutrient absorption by the mucus membrane in the small intestine and the development of insulin resistance among people with type 2 diabetes. Jacques Bergman, a professor of gastroenterology at Amsterdam UMC, said: “Because of this treatment the use of insulin can be postponed or perhaps prevented. That is promising.”

Bergman added of the procedure that it was “amazing that people suffer very little from this”. He told the Dutch broadcaster Nederlandse Omroep Stichting: “With those people we see a spectacular improvement in blood sugar levels one day after the operation, before they even lose one kilo, which has put us on the track. “Because the question now is whether this is a permanent treatment, or whether it is something that you have to keep repeating, something that in theory should be possible.

We looked at whether we could stop their insulin, which is still ongoing, but the first results are truly spectacular, with the lion’s share of patients no longer using insulin after this treatment.” The new discovery initially seems most suitable for borderline patients who already take pills but whose blood sugar level is high enough for doctors to advise that they inject insulin in the short term.

Apart from dispensing with insulin injections, researchers claim that those treated could benefit from a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, blindness and numbness in the hands and feet.

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South Sudan rebel leader Machar to attend peace day celebrations in Juba
October 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar shake hands

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar shake hands

Juba – South Sudan government on Tuesday confirmed main opposition leader Riek Machar will participate in peace day celebrations as a good gesture for cherishing reconciliation and unity.

The announcement was made in Khartoum on Tuesday, following a meeting between the oppositions leader Machar and the members of the National Pre-Transitional Committee (NPTC) who came to brief him about the progress, they achieved.

Riek Machar, leader of the Sudan People Liberation Movement – in Opposition, is expected to arrive in Juba on October 30 after two years of exile.

After the meeting, Machar confirmed his participation in the national peace celebration on the October 30, saying that the Revitalized Peace Agreement is the last chance for the political leaders to assume their national role to prevent the collapse of the country.

Opposition leader added that he is committed to the revitalized peace deal he has signed in Ethiopia a month ago

South Sudanese presidential adviser on security affairs, Tut Gatluak, who is also a chairman of the organizing committee, said all the opposition leaders that signed the revitalized peace agreement in Ethiopia are coming on Oct. 30 to attend the festivities for the national celebration of achieving the peace deal.

“The president and the government are ready to host the event and demonstrate to the region and the world that Juba is committed to bringing lasting, durable peace to the people,” Gatluak said in Khartoum.

However, President Salva Kiir and Machar, leader of the main oppositions, SPLM-IO, signed the final revitalized peace pact mediated by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East African bloc, in an attempt to end the fifth year old conflict, which has killed hundred thousands of people and displaced 2.5 people from their homes, before the famine emerged.

South Sudan has descended into another civil war, just a two years of her independence from Sudan regime, the conflict that broke out in mid – December 2013, over  the power wrangling between president Kiir and the recently designated first vice president Machar, has now entered its fifth year after forces loyal to Kiir and Machar engaged in extensive combat in the past years till today.

Kiir and Machar first inked the 2015 peace agreement to end the violence but was just violated in months period in July 2016 when the rival factions resumed fighting in the capital Juba, forcing Machar to flee into exile.

Analysts said Machar’s decision to take part in the peace celebration is effective signals that have to send a reassuring message to South Sudanese about his commitment to the revitalized peace deal and to contribute to creating a suitable atmosphere for the implementation of the peace pact.

“Restoring security and stability in the country faces great challenges but needs a strong political will,” Machar told the NPTC members in Khartoum on Tuesday.

The opposition leader further also call for the lifting of the state of emergency, the release of political detainees and the prisoners of war and renouncing the hate speech aimed at promoting a climate of peace and reconciliation in South Sudan.

Of recently, president Kiir’s pardoned all the political opponents and further ordered for the release of political detainees and prisoners of war as gesture for the peace, forgiveness, and reconciliation, but the Juba government just released 20 prisoners, but some key detainees are still in jail and Juba keeps silent on the fate of others creating a climate of suspicion between the partners.

The peace’s celebration, which will be attended by the IGAD leaders, is seen by the president Kiir’s administrations as a confidence-building measure to show its commitment to the revitalized peace deal.

Millions of South Sudanese civilians are seeking refuge in neighboring countries as the conflict furies on.

The next transitional government with Kiir as president, Machar as designated first vice president and other four vice presidents, is due to be formed in May 2018.

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Ahead of the Africa Investment Forum 2018 (AIF) in Joburg : World Bank must do more to eradicate energy poverty across the continent, say African leaders
October 24, 2018 | 0 Comments
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Meet Obiageli Katryn Ezekwesili, seeking to be Nigeria’s first female President.
October 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Teslim Olawore

If elected Oby Ezekwesili will be the first female President of Nigeria

If elected Oby Ezekwesili will be the first female President of Nigeria

Since Nigeria got her independence from the British in 1960, Nigeria has never had a female president or vice–president. Oby Ezekwesili, a former World Bank Vice President, anti-corruption campaigner and one of the Nigerian status quo’s fiercest critics, is setting out to break the iceberg and occupy the highest office.

A seasoned public servant and fearless campaigner, Madam Katryn Ezekwesili, or ‘Aunty Oby’ as she is fondly called by most people, was born on April 23, 1963 in the eastern state of Anambra . From her earliest stages, she seemed to enjoy an education that primed her for a life of public service.

After bagging a Bachelor’s Degree from the famed University of Nigeria, Nsukka. She holds a Master’s Degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos, as well as a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

She started her career as a chartered accountant and was the co-founder of Transparency International, a global anti-corruption group, before working with Professor Jeffrey Sachs at the Centre for International Development at Harvard.

Before joining the World Bank in the year 2007, Ezekwesili worked and held several positions within the Country. She was Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence, Minister of Mineral Resources and later Minister for Education. It was during this time she earned the moniker ‘Madam Due Process’ for her dedication to cleaning up the process of public procurement and contracting at the federal level, a feature that has never been a strong point of successive Nigerian governments.

As a former vice-president of the World Bank’s Africa Region, Ezekwesili recently acted as Senior Advisor on Africa Economic Development Policy at the Open Society Foundations in New York, assisting the Mano River governments with economic policy reforms. Ezekwesili is one of the federal government’s most feared critics who uses every opportunity to criticise governments wrongdoing. She is never quiet on policy issues of public importance, corruption or human rights abuses. As co-founder of the advocacy group Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG), she drew global attention to the rescue of the remaining Chibok schoolgirls who were kidnapped in April 2014 by members of the terrorist group Boko Haram.

For her activism and anti-corruption sitruggles, Ezekwesili was recently shortlisted for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize by the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO).  In a rather unexpected move, Oby Ezekwesili declared her intention to run for the office of president with the aim of bringing down the old order and building up a new Nigeria.

In her words, she said, “I want to run for and win the 2019 presidential election to serve and put the citizens first by mobilising and taking decisive action on a number of big ideas that will help all of us build an exceptional nation that our future generations will be proud to call their own”. Ezekwesili under the umbrella of, the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, will be seeking to unseat incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.

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Sierra Leone will learn from Ghana – Maaba Bio to Akufo-Addo
October 23, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Akufo and Bio

Akufo and Bio

President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Julius Maaba Bio, says His Country recognizes with great admiration the successes of Ghana and converts a strong partnership with her as Sierra Leone, takes steps to scale up her own development.

The Sierra Leone leader made the accession when he addressed the press at the foyer of the Jubilee House together with President Akufo Addo. President Julius Maaba Bio, is on a two-day State visit to Ghana, his first such visit to Ghana since assuming office as President of Sierra Leone in May this year.

On education, President Maaba Bio, said upon assuming office his administration decided to emulate President Akufo Addo’s Free SHS policy here in Ghana and has subsequently implemented “Free Senior High School” in Sierra Leone. He indicated that his country is also following keenly, Ghana’s agriculture policy and her fight against corruption. It is his hope that Sierra Leone will follow suit and implement same policies for his country’s development.

“By any stretch of imagination, Ghana is a great country, one of the first Countries to gain independence. You have made a lot of strides, you have had a lot of obstacles, but you have been able to overcome. Today Ghana is way ahead. Ghana has been with us at difficult times and at this point in time as we prepare to start our own development process proper, I am here to let you know that we acknowledge the fact that you have made admirable strides and we think that we should learn from your experience” President Maaba Bio said.

“With the war, Ebola, Mudslide and a host of others things, we have been held back but we are determined and are a resilient country. We are determined to forge ahead. But in doing so you must have good friends. We identity the Republic of Ghana as a friend that we can count on” President Maaba Bio added.

President Akufo Addo

President Akufo Addo in his remarks said his Sierra Leone Counterpart, President Julius Maaba Bio, since assuming office some seven months, has already started putting his imprints in Sierra Leone and on the African continent. President Akufo Addo emphasized that Ghana stands ready to support every effort of the government of Sierra Leone in her development agenda.

The Communique

The two leaders before addressing the press held bilateral talks to discuss specific areas of cooperation. A joint communique was subsequently issued. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, signed the Communique on behalf of Ghana and the Minister Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Sierra Leone, Dr. Alie Kabba, signed on behalf of Sierra Leone. The fourteen paragraph communique was subsequently read by Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey. It read in part as follows:

“Both leaders reviewed the state of bilateral relations and observed that the current level of trade between the two countries was low and required new and additional measures to improve the volume of trade. They noted the need to strengthen commercial relations between the private sectors of the two countries and called for the facilitative role of the two Governments in bringing the private sectors together”.

“Both leaders reiterated the importance of education as a long-term development tool and recalled the implementation of the Free Senior High School programme in Ghana and the recently introduced Free Quality Education policy of the Government of Sierra Leone. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo assured President Julius Maada Bio of the Government of Ghana’s commitment in sharing her experience and expertise on the Programme with the Government of Sierra Leone as it begins the implementation of the Free Quality Education policy for primary pupils and secondary students”.

“President Nana Akufo-Addo indicated that the Government of Ghana will carefully consider the request of the Government of Sierra Leone for technical assistance in the form of experts in the area of technical and vocational education training and will work with the Government of Sierra Leone on the modalities for implementing the request”.

“Both leaders noted the importance of quality health. President Julius Maada Bio expressed appreciation for the capacity development assistance that the Government of Ghana was providing, in collaboration with Médicins Sans Frontières, for nurses from Sierra Leone who were undergoing top-up training in Ghana. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo indicated that Ghana was prepared to work with Sierra Leone to develop arrangements for an overseas medical personnel deployment programme to help the Government of Sierra Leone meet her health needs”.

“Both leaders stressed the importance of food security and discussed the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme in Ghana and the new commercial agriculture policy of the Government of Sierra Leone. The two leaders noted the need for national food security and the alignment of national food security strategies with the ECOWAS Regional Food Security Reserve, which is part of the Regional Agricultural Investment Programme”.

“The two leaders noted the importance of cooperation in the area of energy. H.E. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo indicated that Ghana would consider providing technical expertise to Sierra Leone in the Energy Sector”.

“Both leaders discussed the fisheries sector of the two countries and expressed the need for greater cooperation in the sector and as well as enhanced collaboration within international fora such as the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas. The two leaders requested the Ministries of the two countries responsible for fisheries to forge stronger links of cooperation”.

“The two leaders recalled the General Cooperation Agreement signed between the two countries for the establishment of a Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation and pledged to work towards the convening of the First Session of the Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation as soon as possible, to enable the varied areas of cooperation between the two countries to be enhanced under a unified framework”.

“The two leaders discussed the African Continental Free Trade Area and noted its immense benefits on trade expansion, job creation and national welfare gains for all African countries. Both leaders expressed optimism about the operationalization of the Agreement. The President of Sierra Leone indicated that the Government of Sierra Leone will soon complete the national ratification process and deposit her instrument of ratification with the African Union Commission. The two leaders affirmed their commitment to pursue the agenda of an Africa Beyond Aid”.

“The two leaders reviewed the state of peace and security in the Region and noted the need for holistic measures and concerted action in addressing threats to the peace and security of the Region. They emphasized the need to address the root causes of extremism and terrorist violence in the Region. They pledged the commitment of their two Governments in countering terrorism and extremism in the Region”.

“The two leaders reaffirmed the commitment of the two countries to cooperate at the level of ECOWAS, the African Union, the Commonwealth, and the United Nations and to deepen the shared values of democracy, good governance and respect for human rights”.

 

 

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President of Nigeria explains Nigeria’s high growth figures amid rising poverty.**
October 23, 2018 | 0 Comments

By  Teslim olawore

Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari explains the factors responsible for the high growth figures, rising poverty and unemployment rate recorded in Nigeria today, while declaring open the 24th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES), which held in Abuja with the theme, “From Poverty to Prosperity: Making Governance and Institutions Work’’.

Buhari was represented by the vice president Yemi Osinbajo, he said that the summit had proved resilient in promoting dialogue and collaboration between government and the private sector. He said that absolute poverty, defined as the number of those who could not afford the bare essentials such as food, shelter and clothing had been the biggest economic challenge for Nigeria in the past three decades.

The president also highlighted that the biggest drain on Nigeria’s resources was grand corruption by top government officials and their private accomplice. He said that the problem of poverty and high growth of population led to deficits in human development.

According to him, over 60 per cent of the projected population will be young people with about 1.4 million entering the job market on a yearly basis. Buhari, however, explained the paradox of high growth figures amid rising poverty and unemployment figures.

“The first being that high oil revenues are not necessarily matched with high rate of employment. The high revenues can only lead to creation of jobs and improve the living standards if the revenues are invested in diversification of the economy, infrastructure, education, healthcare, and social protection for those who cannot work. The second reason being poor investment in infrastructure and the non-creation of an enabling environment for business and also the lack of commitment to diversification of the economy; which would in turn provide multiple streams of revenue.

According to the president, the Federal Government is also focusing on infrastructure support for markets and small business clusters, welfare for the most vulnerable and direct creation of jobs. He also said that his administration is also committing at least 30 per cent of budget on capital, especially infrastructure. He listed other measures aimed at addressing poverty as diversifying the economy especially agriculture, mining and the promotion of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Others are strong fiscal discipline, especially zero tolerance for grand corruption; support to states for payments of salaries and emoluments; social protection programmes covering at least five million of the poorest. The president said that his administration has invested so far a total of N2.7trillon in capital spending; the highest ever in the history of the country.

This covers investments in rail, roads, power and dams. “In diversifying the economy, Agriculture has been a major success story with increasing budgetary allocation to Agriculture from N8.8 billion in 2015 to N46.2 billion in 2016 and N103.8 billion in 2017,’’ he said. He further expressed regret that the international community did not give enough support and cooperation in Nigeria’s quest to repatriate looted funds.

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South Sudan Resumes Oil Production, Seeks Investors
October 22, 2018 | 0 Comments
Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth

Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth

Juba, South Sudan, Oct. 19 — South Sudan Oil & Power (SSOP) 2018 is returning to Juba on November 21 and 22, and is focused on attracting international investors and service companies into the country’s newly revamped oil industry.

The theme for the conference — Embracing the Private Sector — follows the successful resumption of oil production by the Greater Pioneer Operating Company this year and the introduction of new international companies into the market, including Russia-based JSC Zarubezhneft.

The Russian company is set to begin exploring the country’s open acreage and opportunities in trading after signing a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Petroleum this month.

Earlier this year, operating consortia investors CNPC and Petronas affirmed their commitment to improving and increasing oil production in South Sudan after re-signing production agreements with the government. Nigeria-based Oranto Petroleum began exploring for oil and gas in Block B3 in November 2017. With a new peace deal signed and in implementation, the government and existing investors in Juba are optimistic about prospects for energy sector growth.

“South Sudan is dedicated to expanding oil and gas operations to strengthen the economy, as well as pursue economic diversification through new infrastructure and power projects,” said Hon. Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, Minister of Petroleum, South Sudan.

“With two out of three of South Sudan’s operating companies producing again, it is imperative that new international service companies and providers enter the market to meet the demand for services. We are going to have an aggressive push and incentivize exploration activities with new blocks. South Sudan Oil & Power 2018 will be the venue for these deals to move forward.”

Following a successful event in 2017 — the country’s first dedicated energy and infrastructure conference — the two-day SSOP conference this year will include panel discussions on oilfield development; building the nation through energy infrastructure; and public private partnerships and initiatives; as well as a reception and gala dinner, presentations and workshops.

The 2018 conference will feature ministerial delegations from Sudan and Equatorial Guinea, and is held under the auspices of H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of South Sudan.

Keynote speakers will include H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President, South Sudan; Hon. Taban Deng Gai, First Vice President, South Sudan; Hon. James Wani Igga, Vice President, South Sudan; Hon. Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, Minister of Petroleum, South Sudan; H.E. Azhari Abdallah, Minister of Petroleum and Gas, Sudan and H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, Equatorial Guinea.

*Culled from Africa Oil and Power

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