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DJ Neptune In The News For All The Wrong Reasons
January 2, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Moji Danisa*

DJ Neptune is a household name in the Nigeria entertainment industry.Photo credit Gidi Cultural Fest

DJ Neptune is arguably one of Nigeria’s best entertainers whose craft easily places him amongst the top 5 A-list DJs in the country in the last decade.

Until now, DJ Neptune has played in the high stakes, perfecting and honing his craft with accolades from industry watchers, entertainment writers and fans. He simply could do no wrong. Its plan to see that he was a natural when it comes to disk jockeying; he was born to spin the wheels of steel, while also churning out many hit songs in collaborations with other artistes that has catapulted his image as an icon in his genre of entertainment all over Africa and the world.

DJ Neptune has played it so safe that he kept his private life out of the public which was one of his most admired traits. He was simply seen as serious, smart, good-looking and respectful. Not many know that Neptune is married to the beautiful daughter of a General and they have a beautiful daughter together.

With other stars beginning to keep it clean, the industry is now ready for stars that would uphold family values and be good examples to the young generation. TuFace has generally cleaned his act since he got married and has successfully changed his Casanova perception in the public sphere. Davido has such respect and love for his wife Chioma that he flaunts her everywhere and makes marriage look pleasing and that perhaps is why Whizkid has vowed to get married this year too.

While these stars who were hitherto seen as bad boys are moving into good boy mode, Neptune sadly seems to be sliding into disrepute as he is beginning to not only flaunt girls who are not his wife on the social media of all places and changing his once admirable wardrobe into what many of his fans feel is a deviation from the clean cut, sharp dressing Neptune they fell in love with, not his new found juvenile style of dressing which has got many in the industry whispering their disapproval behind his back. His admirers and professional colleagues believe he can do far better to dress hip but not silly in tight fitting pants that are short in length and hugs his crouch like a juvenile’s.

Undoubtedly, critiques view Neptune as the most promising DJ to step into the shoes of the well respected Jimmy Jatt…he has proven he can so far but industry watchers are worried that his new persona may negate that dream.

An entertainment reporter said: ‘Neptune seems to be derailing from what he is known and loved for, which is, a bit of mystery, distance from groupies and seriousness, it is my hope that he recognizes this fact and goes back to form because he is one of those set to rule the next decade…if only he does not allow these new distractions he seems to be embracing”.

* Moji DanisaEditor in Chief, Paparazzi Magazine Online

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Africa’s Wealthiest Man Ends the Year $4.3 Billion Better Off
January 2, 2020 | 0 Comments

The 62-year-old Nigerian businessman and Africa’s most prominent industrialist ended the decade with a net worth of almost $15 billion

Aliko Dangote

LAGOS, Nigeria, January 2, 2020/ — Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, became $4.3 billion richer in 2019 as his fortune continued to grow on the back of investments in cement, flour and sugar.

The 62-year-old Nigerian businessman and Africa’s most prominent industrialist ended the decade with a net worth of almost $15 billion, making him the 96th wealthiest man in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Born into a wealthy Muslim family of traders in the north, Dangote incorporated his own business selling cement at 21. He shifted to manufacturing the building material in the 1990s, helped by government policies that encouraged ways to reduce the need for imports. His critics still accuse him of taking advantage of his closeness to the government to gain an unfair market advantage, a claim he has repeatedly dismissed.

His conglomerate, Dangote Industries, includes the biggest cement company on the continent, the Lagos-listed Dangote Cement Plc. That’s one of four publicly traded companies under the Dangote umbrella that account for more than a fifth of the value of the Nigerian stock exchange.

The year 2020 could be a significant one for the billionaire, who is close to completing one of the world’s largest oil refineries in Nigeria. The plant has the capacity to meet more than Nigeria’s entire fuel consumption and could transform an economy that currently imports all its refined product needs. Dangote is also constructing a fertilizer factory on the same site.

*Dangote Group/Bloomberg

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Boko Haram: Borno Elders Blamed Over Failure To End Insurgency
January 2, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Abu Duniya

President Buhari
President Buhari

The Centre for Africa Liberation and Socio-Economic Rights (CALSER) has accused the Borno Elders Forum, politicians and other stakeholders of complicity in the continuous existence of terrorism in the state.

CALSER said some elders, political leaders and stakeholders in the state were frustrating the efforts of the federal government to end terrorism in north east  Nigeria. 

In a letter addressed to BEF, The letter signed by the Convener, Princess Ajibola attached below posed several questions begging for answers from the elders and stakeholders. 

It  gave a 7-day ultimatum to Borno Elders to initiate necessary actions in consonance with the concerns expressed in its open letter: 

Let us start by commending the Commander-In-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari for his focused, spirited and result-oriented counter-terrorism warfare in the country.  

   We are very conversant with the difficulties of combating terrorism anywhere in the world. But the Buhari Presidency has demonstrated commitment, purposefulness and seriousness in ending the scourge of terrorism plaquing Nigeria, with deep roots in the Northeast. Of course, none of the members of BEF needs an extra binocular to spot the difference before and now under this government.  

  CALSER also, most objectively believe in the strategies being put in place by President Buhari and the security. But must be unequivocal that  military  action alone with the current posture of the Borno State  Stakeholders will yield no meaningful result or deliver the kind of results to restore peace and normalcy. 

 President Buhari has repeatedly proved that he knows the sensitivity of this national assignment, the indispensability of security in the country and has determinedly confronted the hydra-headed monster to a standstill.  Let’s be frank with you that the Nigerian military  has considerably obliterated the  shadows of Boko Haram in the Northeast. 

    But it is not edifying for us to think the United Nations (UN), government or any other authority is not doing enough to end Boko Haram. Our people say, charity begins at home. So, fighting insecurity of the identity and magnitude of Boko Haram insurgency  anywhere in the world demands concerted efforts by all stakeholders to record and sustain the desired impact.

     It is unfortunate that BEF, politicians and other stakeholders in Borno state have wrongly perceived and interpreted the entire Boko Haram insurgency which has devastated and ruined, not only Borno state, but the rest of the Northeast region as the exclusive business of President Buhari. 

   However, what other stakeholders in this collective battle against insurgency in Nigeria, including BEF have failed to do is to also contribute their quota to this battle to save humanity and their own remaining kith and kin trapped by remnants of insurgents.  

 What has remained confounding to the rest of us and the world is the unconcealed politicization, indifference and urbanian inclination of BEF to the total elimination of Boko Haram terrorism in Borno.   BEF has postured as more interested in condemning the Presidency, or lobbying Mr. President to change leaders of the Nigerian troops in the frontlines for not doing “enough.”

  BEF consistently leads bogus delegations of prominent elders from Borno, armed with a plethora of demands of what they think should be done to end Boko Haram terrorism. Which is good in itself. And overtime, President Buhari has responded by implementing some of these demands he deems sensible within the context of finally routing out Boko Haram in Borno, the Northeast and Nigeria.

 Disappointing though, BEF has abandoned its crucial part of the bargain or contributions to this collective warfare on anti-terrorism or has gleefully neglected it, while they wake up every day looking unto outsiders to solve a problem in their own house. It’s like members of this forum derive pecuniary benefits from the deaths, devastations and ruination of their land by insurgency or indeed, pleasure in its festering.

Or else, how is the rest of the world supposed to understand that BEF is completely unconcerned with the sixth of United Nations Security Council of June 8, 2018, on “UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy” delivered on a four-point plan of action to member-nations, one of which states unambiguously as “…addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, including but not limited to prolonged unresolved conflicts, dehumanization of victims of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, lack of rule of law and violations of human rights, ethnic, national and religious discrimination, political exclusion, socio-economic marginalization, and lack of good governance….”

  Another clause in this resolution, specifically addressed BEF and  states that stakeholders are enjoined; “To promote a culture of peace, justice and human development, ethnic, national and religious tolerance, and respect for all religions, religious values, beliefs or cultures by establishing and encouraging, as appropriate, education and public awareness programmes involving all sectors of society…”

 All of us are aware of the history or evolution of Boko Haram insurgency which has blossomed for 10 years into a national and global security monster. Candidly, politicians in Borno state started it by importing political thugs from Niger and Chad Republics in 2002 to assist them rig elections by hook or crook in the state.

   After the electoral victories, these imported armed political thugs were abandoned to hunger and starvation. They devised other means of survival and brought up the idea of Boko Haram, recruited your sons and daughters into the fold, and gradually morphed into the berserk terrorists they are known today. This is a sad history unworthy of recollection or recounting. But it has become necessary at this point to call a spade a spade.  

   The pioneers of this queer version of Islamism have probably all been killed in combats while battling Nigerian security forces over the years. But the inheritors and promoters of this awkward and satanic project are your children, who answer your calls as fathers, uncles and brothers.

 It’s absolutely indiscernible that BEF had never ever contemplated penetrating the rural populace to dialogue, interact and appeal to their own kith and kin for armistice over a decade of battle or expression of anger in bloodbath. How come they are suddenly afraid of their own children?

 CALSER has challenged BEF to show even one instance they embarked on peaceful dialogue with their people on Boko Haram or attempting to win the confidence of the people to sheathe their swords? We guess it will be a hard nut to crack.  

Is this not shameful enough that elders who are by African tradition supposed to lay down their lives for the younger generation would in reverse order, pleasantly allow the destruction of their posterity and land for whatever reason? What has prevented BEF from fostering persuasive and meaningful dialogues among communities and groups towards ending insurgency?

 Each time BEF voices out in the media, its either they are requesting President Buhari to sack Security and Service Chiefs or change the anti-Boko Haram Strike squads on the battlefield. The conduct inspires a lot of suspicions and raises dust on the sincerity of BEF members as a whole on ending insurgency.

 Borno state has worthy, wealthy and influential sons and daughters, both former and serving government appointees. Honestly what are they doing with this clout and affluence when their land is on fire? Who else do BEF members expect to exclusively blight the fire, while they covertly instigate it and stand on the fence to curry sympathy from the world in undisguised blame games of government and security agents?   

We are asking the elders in BEF that where is their impact now that  Borno is boiling? Where are all those who have hibernated in BEF as former governors, former or current Senators or House of Reps members? Where are all the current and former ministers, all the former and current and former state assembly legislators?

We want to know the efforts of dialogue  all the rich businessmen and women from Borno  as well as all the  government bureaucrats at both national and state levels have done collectively or individually to quench the fire of insurgency? What role has this rich assemblage of worthy sons and daughters  played in bringing an end to  Boko Haram insurgency in the state or in complementing the efforts of government and security agents?

It is the greatest shame of a people staring BEF elders in the face before the rest of the world. We are tempted to believe incontrovertibly that while Borno state burns, these wealthy and influential elders revel in affluence and squander in safe havens far-flung from home. And so, they think it is the exclusive responsibility of others to quench the fire of  Boko Haram. 

 It is completely unacceptable. Insurgency started in Borno and it must end in Borno where it has receded to concentrate now. The time to tell ourselves some sacrosanct truths is now! We cannot flinch from it forever. BEF must know, the time for the truth and the necessary action to salvage our suffering, deprived and dehumanized people is now!

 So, every BEF member must dust the toga aloofness and move into the communities and villages of Borno to speak to their people; invest or spread  the wealth through poverty alleviation schemes. BEF must service the cord of fraternity for the rest of us to have peace and security.  Again, Boko Haram started in Borno and currently nourished by majority of masked Borno people and BEF  must find a non-military solution to it. 

 It’s a mistaken notion to leave this arduous task solely in the hands of the Nigerian Army. Its time all of us must move to either the trenches or invade our communities with messages of peace and reconciliation. If Niger Delta elders can achieve it with militants, it’s not impossible in Borno, the Northeast and Nigeria.  

 Finally, we wish to state clearly that we are issuing  a 7-day ultimatum to Borno Elders to initiate necessary actions in consonance with the concerns expressed in this open letter. If after the expiration of the ultimatum and nothing is done, CALSER would be forced to activate other peaceful and lawful instruments in order to give peace and security to our distressed and traumatized humanity in Borno state.


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Selecting Rwanda as Host of CHOGM 2020 Is “Innovative and New”–Rt. Hon Patricia Scotland
January 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

By MOHAMMED M. MUPENDA *

[Photo: Secretary-General Patricia Scotland and President Paul Kagame - Commonwealth Secretariat]
[Photo: Secretary-General Patricia Scotland and President Paul Kagame – Commonwealth Secretariat]

The Secretary General of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), Rt. Hon Patricia Scotland, says selecting Rwanda as the host of CHOGM 2020 meeting is innovative and new.

In the interview she had with Pan African Visions during the Madrid COP 25 Forum,Hon. Patricia Scotland said CHOGM member states are “excited” about the 26th meeting which will be held at the Kigali Convention Centre during the week starting 22nd June, 2020.

For her, the selection of Rwanda was innovative and new hinging on the fact that the country is the youngest member of the organization while it is the second time for this meeting to be held in Africa for the last 15 years.

 “This is going to be the second time that we are going to be in Africa in the last 10, 15 years. The last time was in Uganda. We now are going to go to Rwanda, and Rwanda is the youngest member of our family. So that is also innovative and new,” Hon. Patricia said.

CHOGM 2020 will be held under the theme ‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming’. The discussions will revolve around five identified sub-themes that are Governance and Rule of Law, ICT and Innovation, Youth, Environment, and Trade.

“It will be a great pleasure to welcome leaders of the Commonwealth when they gather in Kigali. We will work hard to make everybody feel Rwanda is an extension of their home,” said President Paul Kagame of Rwanda while officially launching CHOGM 2020 in video message that featured him with Hon. Patricia on 24th September, 2019. 

“By connecting, innovating and transforming, the Commonwealth opens up scope for mobilising the talent of people of all ages and backgrounds,” Kagame added.

“I think the youth demographic we have now is a real opportunity.  It is going to be a very exciting chance for us to enable our young people to develop and deploy the skills they need so they can fulfill their potential,” Patricia underpinned in the video.

Rwanda joined commonwealth in 2009 and became the second member state with no colonial ties with the United Kingdom, following Mozambique.

The 2020 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting will bring in Kigali leaders from all 53 Commonwealth countries that have the population estimated to be 2.4 billion.

Leaders are expected to discuss ways the contemporarily Commonwealth can transform societies, in accordance with its charter values of democracy, multilateralism, sustainable development, and empowerment of women and youth.

*Mohammed M. Mupenda is a news correspondent and freelance reporter, who has written for publications in the United States and abroad. He is also a French and East African language interpreter.

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Ghana:WE WILL TELL OUR STORY – RAWLINGS
January 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

Former President Jerry John Rawlings has described the interventions of June 4 1979 and December 31 1981 as effects of the mood of the country at the time and called for the context and circumstances of the period to be factored when telling the story.

Addressing a durbar to climax the 38th anniversary of the 31st December Revolution at the Winneba Lorry Park on Tuesday, the leader of the two uprisings said those leading the distortion of the history are cowards and said we will face them firmly. “We will tell our story!”

He called on adherents of June 4 and December 31 not to allow the distortions of “our history to continue…Those who have allowed corruption to rear its ugly head, and permitted it to fester, want to belittle the discipline, the law and order we introduced into this country, so they can justify their corrupt tendencies.”

Many, he indicated, had today forgotten the circumstances that gave birth to June 4 and December 31 with some spending huge resources to sponsor the distortion of the history through outright lies, half-truths and rendition by cowards who run away during those heady days.

The former President said, it was unfortunate that some had chosen to leave out the overwhelming gains made by these interventions, focusing only on the negatives.

LESSONS LOST

Flt Lt Rawlings cautioned that, “an important lesson is going to be lost on this nation because a handful of warped minds, full of hate and bitterness are being paid to distort and cover up events in our history with callous stories and lies.”

The Chairman of the Provisional National Defence Council, that ruled Ghana between 1982 and 1992, questioned why we sit and allow these perfidious characters to get away with these lies and deceitful machinations through the power of the media all to the detriment of the nation?

The former President said, “the lighting of the perpetual flame and the laying of wreaths is to show reverence to all who sacrificed their lives during that difficult time in our country. Let no one downplay those sacrifices through historical distortions, twists and utter fabrications.”

UEW

Touching on the controversies surrounding the University of Education Winneba (UEW), the leader of the revolution commended government for instituting a roadmap for a peaceful resolution of the matter of over 20 dismissed staff of the University, stating however, that no significant progress had been made over the past three months.

“More than 20 dismissed staff at the UEW are going through discontent and pain. I hope this important matter is given the urgency and attention that is required,” the former President implored.

Earlier in the morning former President Rawlings and his delegation paid a courtesy call on Nenyi Ghartey VII, President of the Effutu Traditional Council, before proceeding to the durbar grounds where a parade and wreath-laying ceremony was held ahead of the durbar which was also addressed by NDC flagbearer former President John Dramani Mahama, NDC General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia and a host of cadres and leading members of the NDC.

*Source Facebook

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Gambia: GDC Youth Leader Slams Barrow for Greed and lack of Integrity
January 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Momodou Cham, alias MC Cham GDC Youth Leader
Momodou Cham, alias MC Cham GDC Youth Leader

Momodou Cham, alias MC Cham, National  Youth President of the opposition Gambia Democratic Party (GDC) slammed President Adama Barrow for his greed, lack of good conscience, sincerity and integrity for failing to honor coalition three-year transition agreement.

The Gambian leader came to power on the backing of seven political parties and three independent candidates. He promised to step down after a three-year transition and organize an election in which he will not participate.

However, he now said stepping down is no longer feasible and has since made his intentions to even contest the 2021 presidential elections by registering his party National Peoples Party. The party’s colour if Dark Grey with a white horse as a symbol. The party’s motto is peace, progress and unity.

However, Cham, one of the Gambia’s finest young politician told PanAfrican Visions that Barrow has broken all the agreements he had with his coalition partners.

“Barrow failed Gambians on two occasion, firstly he resign to be independent candidate. Secondly, he promised to stay in the Presidency for  three-years. Lastly he promised not to contest after the three – year term,” GDC Youth Leader pointed out.

President Barrow stuck two fingers to the Gambians on his own greed, lack of good conscience, sincerity and integrity,” he said.

Cham said he hoped Gambians will not vote for Barrow in the 2021 election.

He said: “I hope all Gambians will now look at the interest of the country and ensure a very good selection which is best for the nation.who is definitely not President Barrow as he proved to careless about everything he was entrusted with”

“If I may recommend for no violence for the sake of peace and development, asking all qualified voters to get ready to register for a voters card and vote Hon. Mamma Kandeh in 2021 presidential elections”

He questioned on what ground is president Barrow going to campaign on in 2021  and how is he going to face the people to seek for another mandate?

He argued that there is no official resignation from the  seven coalition members, adding that the coalition is still on going for five years, which means the president can’t be part of another organisation according to the 1997 Constitution or he must call for elections now and end the coalition 2016 mandate to be legally forming a party .

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Gambia:Barrow Reveals 2020 Many Global Dev’t Goals will not be Attained
January 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

President Adama Barrow

President Adama Barrow, has indicated that 2020 is a popular target year for key global development goals, many of which will not be attained.

He noted that although this is not an excuse for failure anywhere, it is a reminder that unforeseen circumstances and external factors can affect any national plan or target.

“So far, my Government is in the pursuance of Projects that would touch the lives of rural and urban dwellers as designed in the NDP, and we are poised to do better,” he said during his New year message.

“Thus far, the legislative frameworks, structural arrangements and institutional reforms executed manifest how genuine and how organised, realistic and consistent we have been in the pursuit of our national development objectives”

He explained that from 2020 onward, sharper focus will be cast on human resource and infrastructure development, the economy, the social services, institutional strengthening and performance. 

“Our achievements and endorsements, nationally and internationally, have encouraged us to remain at the helm of the affairs of the nation. Today, we are more determined, more focused and much more devoted to the cause of the people”

He pointed out that they have learnt lessons and are better prepared to tackle the challenges that confront us as a nation within the context of a world marked by unexpected developments.

Gambian leader stressed that: “We will continue to galvanise support from the international community through convincing evidence of the vigour, seriousness and sincerity that underline our approach to governance”

He added that “We will translate all these into honest, transparent and accountable processes, and will intensify the fight against corruption in public institutions. Succeeding in this venture calls for public support and cooperation”

He stressed that it is the people who develop a country, but it is the people themselves who stall the progress of their nations.

“To avoid this, we must not violate the legal frameworks, ethical values and codes of ethics that govern the discharge of our responsibilities and duties” 

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Gambia: Barrow says to Quit After 3 Years will be Betrayal of People
January 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

President Adama Barrow

President Adama Barrow, has stressed that to resign after three-years transition agreement implies betraying people.

The Gambian leader came to power on the backing of seven political parties and three independent candidates. He promised to step down after a three-year transition and organize an election in which he will not participate.

However, he now said stepping down is no longer feasible and has since made his intentions to even contest the 2021 presidential elections.

Last month Three-year Jotna, a Pro-democracy group hold a massive peaceful demonstration demanding President Barrow to honor coalition three-years transition agreement and step down.

They petition government threaten another protest in January 2020 to hold President Barrow honor his campaign promises to the public.

However, in his new year message Gambian leader said: “While tendering my resignation is not unconstitutional, as some people argue, it is irresponsible and imprudent to do so if it is not prompted and justified by principles linked to statehood and the people. To resign after three years in office implies betraying the people, multitudes of whom continue to pledge support for my Government and our development agenda”

He pointed out that: “I have judiciously counselled myself to bow to the will of the people, and I refuse to yield to the sentiments and ambitions of a minority group. For this reason, my decision is to complete the five-year mandate stipulated in the Constitution for a sitting President. I am not ill disposed in any way to warrant my resignation as President”

“In consequence, the next Presidential Election will be held according to schedule in 2021. For this purpose, the electoral reform process is in progress to ensure that all national elections are free and fair”

He stressed that the greatest threat to the nation is disorder and instability. Lawlessness will undermine the peace and tranquility we now enjoy.

He called on all citizens should remain vigilant, the security services have to be alert and well-disposed to maintain law and order, defend our sovereignty and secure our territorial integrity.

Barrow further emphasis: “I swore twice by the Holy Qur’an, in Dakar and in The Gambia, to defend and act according to the national Constitution. Under these circumstances, I cannot accord the Coalition Agreement preference over the Constitution”

“The desire to dislodge dictatorship by all democratic means guided us in the development of the Coalition Agreement”

He explained that after  he took up office, the gravity of the institutional failures, abuse of office, human rights and bad governance became more apparent. 

“Thus, the need to weigh fulfilling the Coalition Agreement and acting on the Constitution I swore to uphold. The confidence and mandate entrusted upon me have subsequently guided my decision to respect the voice and will of the people, by maintaining to serve the full Constitutional mandate of five years,”he said

“It is in the same spirit that both the Legislative and Local Government Elections occurred. the circumstances now dictate that national development and the national interest take precedence over partisan or sectional interests,”

He urged  all citizen to resolve to become better democratic and productive citizens in the country. 

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Africa Must Innovate Her Way Out Of Poverty – Fourth Industrial Revolution and Africa’s Opportunity to Close the Economic Gap
December 31, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ben Kazora*

Industrial Revolution

The first industrial revolution dates back to the 1700s. This saw the transformation of agriculture societies into industrialized and urban ones. Thomas Newcomen’s design of the steam changed everything and allowed free movement of goods and labor. Goods that had once been crafted by hand started to be produced in mass quantities by machines in factories, thanks to the introduction of new machines and techniques in textiles, iron making and other industries.

Second Industrial revolution was marked by rapid industrialization and standardization. This took place between 1870 and 1914 and came with the expansion of the electronics, steel and textile industry. These advancements enabled the wide spread of technologies such as telegraph, railroad networks, water supply, sewage systems and all. It was actually the telegraph and railroad lines that started the mass movement of ideas and people leading to the first signs of globalization, a prelude to today’s society.

We are presently in the ending phase of the third industrial revolution better known as the digital revolution. This has seen the advent of super computers and rapid advancements in the internet that have further redefined how people and business transact.
It’s also safe to say that we are standing on the palisade of the forth industrial revolution. Unlike the previous other iterations, this revolution seeks to marry physical, digital, and biological spheres to foster an inclusive, human-centered future. Another stark difference with the former revolutions is the deep rooted desire to leverage technology to achieve the greatest good for the most number of people possible.

Moving forward we are expecting to see more prevalent use of technologies such as 3-D printing. This phenomenon has brought down the costs of labor and material. Fifth generation wireless technology (5G) capable of reaching 100Gbps is focused on increasing bandwidth to be smarter and faster than ever before. It’s this technology that will power the self-driving cars and internet of things (IoT) just to mention a few.

Self-Driving Cars

Since May of 2019 UPS has been using self-driving trucks to ship goods between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. Recently Land O’ Lakes announced that they delivered butter from Tulare, California, to Pennsylvania (almost 2,700miles) using self-driving trucks. These self-driving vehicles are designed to optimize traffic and fuel. It’s been reported that 1.24 million people die each year of collisions and this number is expected to reach 2.2 million in 2030 according to the World Health Organization (WHO), According to a study by the Eno Centre for Transportation, if about 90% of cars on American roads were autonomous, the number of accidents would fall from six million a year to 1.3 million and deaths would fall from 33,000 to 11,300.

Internet of Things (IoT) devices are taking human interaction out of the equation. Today, consumers are using the IoT to make restaurant reservations, monitor their exercise progress and overall health, and receive coupons for a store only by virtue of walking by the business in question. Take an example in agriculture, devices using IoT technology can sense soil moisture and nutrients, in conjunction with weather data, better control smart irrigation and fertilizer systems. If the sprinkler systems dispense water only when needed, for example, this prevents wasting a precious resource. In manufacturing RFID and GPS technology can help a manufacturer track a product from its start on the factory floor to its placement in the destination store, the whole supply chain from start to finish. These sensors can gather information on travel time, product condition, and environmental conditions that the product was subjected to. According to a Cisco report, the next decade will see IoT devices creating $14.4 trillion worth of value across several industries.

The Ghana and South Korea Development Disparities

In 1957, Ghana was the richest nation in sub-Saharan Africa with a per capita income of $490. That was nearly the same as South Korea which had a per capita income of $491. By the early 1980’s Ghana’s per capita income had been reduced to $400 while South Korea’s per capita income had grown to a whopping $2,000. By 1990 South Korea’s per capita income was ten times larger than Ghana ($4,832 versus $481). Today South Korea’s GDP per capita stands at $26,761 while that of Ghana is $1,807. So what happened here?
South Korea like many other Asian countries embraced innovation and creativity. The first step was to revolutionize the education standard. With this we saw the illiteracy rate falling from 80% to less than 10%. Towards the end of 1980s 37% of South Korean students had some form of higher education. South Korea notched top scores worldwide for manufacturing value-added as well as for tertiary efficiency – a measure that includes enrollment in higher education and the concentration of science and engineering graduates,” said a recent Bloomberg report. Companies such as Samsung and LG have become global leaders in the area of consumer electronics thanks to their cutting-edge technology and innovative product designs.
 
Coupling with education, innovation and technology are the key factors that have underpinned South Korean export competitiveness and fueled the country’s remarkable economic rise over the past decades. The growth rate has been so impressive that the East Asian nation went from being one of the poorest countries in the 1960s to becoming the world’s 12th largest economy in 2019, according to the World Bank. South Korea’s $1.63T economy is bigger than Saudi Arabia and Turkey combined. America’s global competitiveness is hinged on her innovative capacity and atmosphere. We have seen how digital technologies have been the vital factors of national security and economic growth. Additionally, these technologies are at the root of many advancements in complex sciences, healthcare, communications and industry to mention a few. Innovation and technology are the key factors that have underpinned South Korean export competitiveness and fueled the country’s remarkable economic rise over the past decades.
There is a clear correlation between GDP growth and investment in innovation, research and development. In the 15 years between 2000 and 2015 the US spend on research and development almost doubled from $268.6 billion to $496.6 billion. In the same period the US GDP grew from $10.28T to $18.12T. In the same time, India’s investment almost tripled while China’s increased tenfold and the results are similar. 
 
In addition, technological advances are helping to bring down the cost of renewable energies, such as solar and wind energy, handing them a greater role in the global economy’s energy mix, with significant effects for both producers and consumers of fossil fuels. A simple example of the benefits; in the developing countries a slight reduction to the cost of gas at the pump brought about by technology can mean lowered cost of transportation which means lower cost of food, cement, clothing just to mention a few. This also means additional savings at the pump allowing one to save more, invest in stocks and share just to mention a few. A new McKinsey Global Institute report, Beyond the supercycle: How technology is reshaping resources speaks to how technology can aide in the further unlocking of $900B to $1.6T in savings globally by 2035. This is more than the GDP of Spain.

What Can Africa Learn From South Korea?

In my humble opinion, most African countries with a few exceptions like Rwanda have decided to first become rich and then focus on people. This is the exact opposite of what nations like Korea did and in line with what Rwanda’s Kagame is doing with Presidential Scholars and other programs. It’s very true that we aren’t certain how the economies of the future will look like. So investing in people is the more ideal route to pursue.
South Korea is intent on joining the globes top 4 nations in artificial intelligence (AI) have invested $2B in programs to ensure this vision is realized by 2022. Some of the key initiatives include 6 new AI institutions that seek to churn out more than 5,000 engineers.
Like South Korea, Africa has to look inwards and seek homegrown solutions that work for Africa. South Korea resides in the same region with China and Japan. China low labor costs. Japan was leading the way with high tech and capital intensive industries. Today’s 10 youngest populations are all in Africa. Average ages include Niger (14.8 years), Uganda (15.9 years) and Zambia (16.9 years). By 2034 Africa will have the youngest working age population. Additionally, Times magazine has estimated Africa’s urbanization rate to be at 37%. This is more than India’s and at par with China and is expected to be the fasted between 2020 and 2050.

South Korea invested in building national consensus in with regards to the direction of the major economic policies. Concurrently, there was high level of government support of the local entrepreneurs that helped them optimize the business opportunities available. Above all, the key miracle of South Korea has been in the mindset of the population that allows the population to successfully adopt to challenges while minimizing risks.

The way forward

An IMF report released in April, 2017 confirmed that oil-exporting countries and other resource-intensive countries in Sub-Saharan Africa were showing the worst economic performance in the region. Even those that enjoyed good governance were also experiencing similar challenges. For long we as a continent have relied agriculture produce that remain vulnerable the instability of international market prices.
Even a country like Botswana that enjoyed a reputation for good governance and were regarded as models in Sub-Saharan Africa experienced problems related to a commodity-dependent economy. Traditionally, African economies which are primarily reliant on agricultural produce like cacao, coffee and tea have experienced vulnerability with the fluctuation of international market prices. While commodity prices have been recovering in 2018, various economic forecasts point to rather sluggish growth for the resource-rich African countries.
The African Union has come up with agenda 2063 that is intended to inspire nations to achieve a structurally transformed economy. This primarily leans on an industrialized Africa. It’s evident that without proper investment in human capital development and more in innovation and technology, this dream will never be realized.

Stephen Hawking once famously said, “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” A decade ago terms such as internet of things, machine learning and artificial intelligence weren’t common phrases. When I graduated with my Bachelors from Purdue University in 2008 we were only then beginning to properly embrace nanotechnology and its vast applications. Today, most labor intensive tasks have been taken away from humans and are being dealt with purely by machines. The world is changing at such a high pace that in a few decade most of these novel technologies will also be obsolete. The only way to keep up is with heavy investment in human capital and constant investment in research and development. Labor force must be retrained, upskilled and transformed.

One way to achieve this would be strategic partnerships between academia and private sector to allow the effective transfer of knowledge. This allows university students to constantly keep up with evolving trends of the real world. Curriculums will also need to be constantly updated to this effect. A The McKinsey Global Institute’s report posited that Artificial Intelligence (AI) alone has the potential to add up to $13trillion to the current global GDP by 2030. Automation of labor alone is said to contribute around $9trillion and innovation in products and services could increase $6trillion.
The renown American economist Robert Shiller once said “you cannot wait until a house burns down to buy fire insurance on it. We cannot wait until there are massive dislocations in our society to prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. Indeed the time for Africa to prepare herself for the fourth industrial revolution is yesterday. African governments must also encourage experimentation. Like venture capitalists do with their investment, African governments should also take a portfolio approach to scripting policies. This way success balances failure and models that work can be scaled up. A November 2019 World Bank article has show has the Ethiopian government is developing “portfolio” of industrial parks as a means to making Ethiopian the continent’s manufacturing hub. We have also seen the Liberian government experiment with outsourcing school management to private sector entities. A recent report from poverty action has shown that, this has actually yielded positive results. After 3 years of this experiment these schools raised their test scores by 0.21 standard deviations in math and 0.16 standard deviations in English.

Conclusion

African must shift focus to creating more adaptive governments.
African private sector should be the driver of the innovative change while the government remains the enabler through creative adaptive governments as well as appropriate allocation of resources.
Business leaders and entrepreneurs should remain focused on a few key consumer behaviors:

  • Drive mass personalization of products and services
  • Focus on creating maximum value from a single transaction by using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other technologies to best predict future needs and points of engagement.
  • There should be unwavering emphasis on collaboration with multiple partners beyond one’s supply chain network.
  • Companies must embrace risk to foster growth as well as providing the best value for the customers. Only in doing so will these companies keep up with or stay ahead of the competition.

*The author is  co-founder of Limitless Software Solutions and can be reached via emails ben.kazora@limitlesssoftwares.com and bkazora@alumni.purdue.edu.

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2019 in Retrospect: Killings, Arrest of Opposition politicians, GND Characterized events in Cameroon
December 31, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Anglophone crisis in Cameroon has led to thousands of displaced persons
Anglophone crisis in Cameroon has led to thousands of displaced persons

As  2019 rounds off to usher in a new decade, PAV’s Cameroon reporter looks back at some of the major events that occurred in Cameroon in the last year.

Arrests of Maurice Kamto and subsequent released

The year began with the arrest of opposition leader Professor Maurice Kamto (MRC leader). He was arrested after he organized what many called as a peaceful protest against the re-election of President Paul Biya for another seven years.

During the 2018 Presidential Election, Cameroon’s incumbent leader President Paul Biya won a landslide victory with Maurice Kamto coming in the second position. The leader of the MRC Party, however, continues to denounce that victory of President Biya indicating that he is the winner with statistics he has.

This denouncement and subsequent organization of peaceful protest led to him, some of his close collaborators and supporters being arrested.

He and his close collaborators subsequently spent some eight months at the Kondengui Maximum prison, only to be released through a presidential order. The order equally saw 3300 of MRC supporters being released.

Organization of MND and fallouts

In a bid to look for solutions to the on-going crisis in Cameroon’s restive South West and North West regions, the Head of State ordered a Grand National Dialogue for that purpose. Representatives from all parts of the country gathered in Cameroon’s political capital Yaounde to propose solutions that will help Cameroon get out of a crisis that is in its fourth year now.

The event, however, witnessed mass boycott as Separatist leaders refused to participate in an event which was tagged a “CPPDM Affair”. Diaspora leaders like Mark Bareta, Tapan Ivo, Eric Tataw all took to their social media accounts to denounce the Dialogue and instead called for a Swiss-led Dialogue process.

One of the major fallout of the Dialogue was the granting of special status to the North West and South West Regions. The President has moved to signed decrees

The Cameroonian government arrested opposition leader Maurice Kamto on Jan. 28. Kamto is shown in October during his unsuccessful campaign for president of Cameroon. (Zohra Bensemra-Reuters
The Cameroonian government arrested opposition leader Maurice Kamto on Jan. 28. Kamto is shown in October during his unsuccessful campaign for president of Cameroon. (Zohra Bensemra-Reuters

CHRDA re-launches report detailing Rights abuses and violations

The Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, CHRDA re-launched its report detailing the rights abuses and violations committed during the ongoing Anglophone conflict in Cameroon. The report focuses on events from October 2016 to May 2019 and was first launched in Canada.

In the report more than 200 villages have been partly or completely destroyed, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee while the rate of attacks on villages has increased steadily, usually causing significant damage. Between 450, 000 and 550, 000 people have been displaced as a result of the crisis, representing about 10 per cent of the regions’ population, the report read in part. An additional 30, 000 to 35, 000 people have sought asylum in neighbouring countries.

CHRDA through the report provides evidence that much of the violence is intentional and planned, including retaliation attacks on villages by government security forces, often followed by indiscriminate shooting into crowds of civilians, invasions of private homes and murder of their inhabitants, and the rounding up and shooting of villagers. Violence against women has been widely reported. Non-state actors, including local armed groups, also bear much responsibility for the violence.

As the report demonstrates, the military is conducting a deliberate, violent campaign against civilian populations. Moreover, the existence of internal conflict does not absolve or minimize Cameroon’s responsibilities under domestic and international law to respect, protect, and fulfil human rights, to fulfil its positive duties to protect civilians during security operations, and to ensure the human rights of those arrested and detained are protected.

Special status granted to NOSO as a fallout of the Major national Dialogue in Cameroon
Special status granted to NOSO as a fallout of the Major national Dialogue in Cameroon

Closed trial for soldiers accused of viral video murders

Cameroonian soldiers accused of killing two women and their children will not be tried in public, following a decision made at the Yaoundé Military Court.

Shocking footage of the incident circulated on social media in 2018 showing men in military uniforms killing civilians.

The government of Cameroon initially dismissed the video as “fake news” but later opened an inquiry into the killing after a BBC investigation established that the extra-judicial killings were committed by Cameroonian soldiers.

Human Rights group Amnesty International has called on the Cameroonian authorities to ensure that the women and their children get justice.

The lawyer defending the seven soldiers on trial, Sylvestre Mbeng as quoted by the BBC said he believed the trial has been made private because the authorities feared there could be damaging revelations.

*This is the first of a series of reports detailing the events that occurred in Cameroon in the year 2019.

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Gambia:UDP Leader Calls for More Reconciliation
December 31, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Darboe delivering his new year message flank by party executive members and militants

Ousainou Darboe, leader of United Democratic Party (UDP) has called on Gambians to focused on reconciliation to heal the past wounds.

He stressed that reconciliation is impossible as long as corruption continues, some individuals continue to sow division, the vast majority of the people continue to live in poverty, high youth unemployment which has led to a pervasive sense of hopelessness that is responsible for the tragedy off the coast of Mauritania early this month.

“This confirms that true reconciliation is not only about conceding civil liberties of the people. It is also about political and economic transformation,” the former vice president said in his New year’s messages to Gambians.

According to him, since Gambia accomplished the new found democracy three years ago, people have demonstrated time and again their immense capacity to look beyond superficial differences in the quest to achieve a better Gambia, and with it, embrace a democratic way of life.

He pointed out that this is not to diminish the impact of the past. The Gambia of today still suffers from the effects of two decades of dictatorship, gross human rights violations and Government incompetence.  As the author William Faulkner famously wrote of the American South: “The past is not dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.”

Darboe, also a former foreign minister of the Gambia noted that: “We must address the unfinished business of our democratic transition. We must close the festering wound of abject poverty that exists amongst our people. We must forge ahead with law reform and social development. We must continue to transform our workplaces and restructure our economy so that it benefits all”

The vateran lawyer cum politician added that: “In this sense, reconciliation is a very practical undertaking. It is about the work that needs to be done to unlock investment in our economy, to reduce the cost of doing business and to promote growth. It is about the urgent measures we need to take to ensure a reliable supply of electricity to homes and businesses. It is about ensuring that our water resources are preserved and equally available to all”

Reconciliation means that we should continue to use the capability of the state to improve the lives of the people, to have a tax regime that is progressive and public finances that are responsibly managed. Reconciliation also requires that we have access to quality health care through, among other things, the introduction of a National Health Insurance.

He further emphasis that: “We need to improve the quality of education nationwide and rural schools in particular and ensure that there is a renewed focus in early childhood development programmes. We must continue to seek out and forge durable social compacts to attain our vision of the ‘Other Gambia’ that has been fundamentally transformed”

He concluded by saying “We must all play our part if we are to bequeath to our children a society that has truly reconciled. “It is time to put aside egos, individual and collective, for the sake of the youth.”Let us make a concerted effort to move forward together, focusing on what unites us as Gambians instead of what divides us as one nation”



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Guinea-Bissau Presidential Elections: Embalo Claims Victory, But Opponent Calls for people to wait for official results
December 31, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Embalo has Claimed Victory in Guinea Bissau’s Presidential election

Former army general and ex-Prime Minister Umaro Cissoko Embalo said on Monday he was on course to win Guinea Bissau’s presidential election and his opponent urged the nation to await official results.

An Embalo victory over Domingos Simoes Pereira, another former prime minister and the candidate of the ruling PAIGC party, would be a turnaround from November’s first round, in which Pereira comfortably won the most votes.

The two competed in Sunday’s run-off to replace incumbent President Jose Mario Vaz, who was eliminated in the first round.

Vaz’s five-year term was marred by regular political sackings, an ill-functioning parliament and high-level corruption, and voters said they hoped the next president would restore calm to the West African nation.

Embalo campaign spokesman Djibril Balde said the victory claim was based on campaign tallies of preliminary results its observers had compiled in each region.

Embalo, 47, came second in last month’s first round vote with 28% versus 40% for Pereira. Ahead of Sunday’s run-off, Embalo won the backing of incumbent President Jose Mario Vaz, who received 12%.

As a candidate, Embalo vowed to modernize the country of 1.6 million people, which has suffered nine coups or attempted coups since independence from Portugal in 1974.

Embalo and Pereira both served as prime ministers under Vaz, who had a total of seven premiers amid a protracted feud with the PAIGC.

The political instability hurt Guinea-Bissau’s economy, which depends heavily on volatile prices for cashew nuts, the main income source for over two-thirds of households.

Official results are not expected until Wednesday and the electoral commission has not commented on the votes counted so far. 


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