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OP-ED: REFORMING THE AU REQUIRES STRONGER TIES WITH CIVIL SOCIETY
April 19, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Mpako Foaleng and Niagalé Bagayoko*

Faced with security threats that are rapidly and constantly changing, and compounded by economic and social challenges that inhibit development ambitions in Africa, the question that is increasingly being asked is how to promote the participation of civil society in the management of public affairs and, in particular, political and security matters.

In its Constitutive Act, the African Union (AU) acknowledges “the need to build a partnership between governments and all segments of civil society, in particular women, youth and the private sector, in order to strengthen solidarity and cohesion among our peoples”.[1] Furthermore, the AU plans to build its capacity to guarantee peace and protection for African citizens through common defence and security policies by 2063.

Through institutional reforms adopted in 2017, the AU is committed to becoming financially independent with regard to security affairs by increasing the contribution of its Member States to the “Peace Fund” and reducing that of international partners.

Without prejudice to what may actually happen to this fund and its utilization, there is one major hurdle that the AU must overcome to ensure sustainability of its actions in the area of peace and security: a complete change in the manner in which civil society is engaged, involved and considered is mandatory.

By enlisting the support of organized civil society in its various member countries, the AU could utilize them as effective allies, particularly in encouraging Member States to implement its principles, which provide for the involvement of populations in the management of public affairs.

The nature of current security threats – whether in the form of terrorism, violent extremism, trafficking in persons, drugs and arms at the trans-regional level or escalating organized crime and conflicts between communities at the national level – cannot be effectively addressed in the absence of a climate of trust between citizens and state authorities, including security forces and law enforcement.

Moreover, the “African Union Policy Framework on Security Sector Reform”, adopted by the Twentieth Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly in January 2013, emphasizes the role of civil society in security sector reform (SSR) and engages the latter (particularly in Section H) to actively interact with the AU as well as with Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Member States in this area.[2] ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States) also highlights in its “Policy Framework for Security Sector Reform and Governance” the key role that civil society should play in the oversight of security affairs.

However, there is no denying the fact that the reality falls far short of these principles in many African states, and the situation tends to worsen in certain countries where laws have been adopted that explicitly restrict, or even prohibit, the involvement of civil society organizations in security-related matters.

The AU is therefore suitably placed to combine its desire for financial reform and the need to foster change in the attitudes of its Member States for greater recognition of the oversight role of organized civil society in the areas of security and justice.

The increasingly important role played in the evolution of institutions and political and security situations by civil society in all of its forms, in a certain number of African countries, is a welcome development.

As an illustration, in 2014 it was observed that civil society in Burkina Faso, through movements such as the Balai Citoyen, were actively involved in actions that precipitated the departure of President Blaise Campaoré. They also played a key role in the failure of the attempted coup of 15 September 2015 led by the former presidential security regiment (RSP), security forces loyal to the deposed president.

This commitment helped to bring about an end to the crisis and the democratic appointment of a new president.[3] Even before this historical wave of popular protests, the Balai Citoyen had focused its efforts on promoting dialogue between the populations and the armed forces, as well as improving the conditions of the military.

However, Burkina Faso today is subject to continuous attacks in the North along its border areas with Mali and Niger, gravely undermining the ability of defence and security forces to ensure the protection of the state and citizens in an effective and accountable manner. The government has identified security sector reform as a priority. It will be important to ensure in the process that civil society in Burkina Faso continue to have a space to advocate for the democratic management of security affairs.

In Africa, a long history of civil wars, armed conflicts, coup d’états, authoritarian military regimes and abuse by law enforcement officers has shaped the largely undemocratic operations of political and security institutions.

Defence and security services have long been at the exclusive service of ensuring the security of regimes in place. The challenge today is translating into action the officially stated, yet contradictory in practice, ambitions of many African states to promote both state security and that of the populations they are meant to serve.

The AU should rely on civil society organizations to help promote an approach to security and governance that focuses on the protection requirements of both citizens and state institutions.

The challenge in fact is ensuring that the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force enjoyed by states is subject to democratic supervision and citizen control, carried out by civil society organizations in particular.

There are, however, three key issues that should not be overlooked in order to promote effective collaboration between the AU and civil society organizations in the area of peace and security: legitimacy, representation and competition (especially in terms of access to public funds or from external donors), which now characterize the increasingly dynamic yet widely challenged (including by the populations) sphere in which African civil societies evolve.

*Mpako Foaleng (PhD) and Niagalé Bagayoko (PhD) are senior experts on security sector reform and governance.

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Rawlings writes: The deceit of western propaganda
April 18, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Jerry John Rawlings*

John Rawlings

John Rawlings

Is the world not in a frame of mind to express gratitude to Putin and Russia for not firing back at those Western vessels?

I have spent many hours pondering over what to say to Macron and Theresa May. What to say to the knowledgeable statesmen and women of the world. What to say to the masses of this world whose ignorance and belief in the Western propaganda and deceit would have emboldened Macron, Theresa May and the blowman in the White House to do what they did Friday night.

I don’t know what I can say or do to make people wake up to the fact that Putin and Assad are innocent of the charges leveled against them.

What can I say to people around the world to make them realize that Macron, Theresa May and presumably Trump should all be aware that two other countries very much aligned to Britain, France and the US have been responsible for this gassing operation all this while.

If the masses of this world and the supposed intelligentsia cannot even see which two nations could very well be guilty of this gassing operation then they do not deserve the freedom and justice that is slowly but surely being curtailed by the savagery of capitalism.

The British have told this lie in a hysterical and passionate manner, while the French have told theirs in a cold and calculating manner.

If Theresa May, Macron, Trump, Boris Johnson, some selected personnel around them and their intelligence machinery are prepared to subject themselves to the polygraph test to prove to the world that they did not know that the allegations they were directing at Putin and Assad were false, and Putin and Assad to also prove their innocence which I believe in, I will spend the rest of my life apologizing to them (West) and wage a campaign telling the world what monsters Putin and Assad are.

If Assad the supposed monster were to be subjected to a polygraph test, I believe and I know that he will pass the test…his truth will pass the polygraph test. If Putin of Russia were to be subjected to a similar test, I believe and I know his truth will also pass the polygraph test. I also believe and know that if President Macron, Prime Minister Theresa May, Donald Trump and Boris Johnson were also subjected to the same test on a polygraph, their truth will fail the test and they know it. Assad and Putin are no saints but they definitely are not guilty of this monstrosity brewed in a Western pot.

Events of this kind have been staged many a time by warmongering nations and exploited for their own political ends.

Wars have broken out following the staging of these kinds of deceitful events. The last well known example was the one the US staged at the UN. By the time the truth had been established, America and her so-called allies had prosecuted the war against Iraq with its indefensible consequences.

On 11th April 2017, a similar staged gas attack was orchestrated right on the verge of a joint Assad/Putin victory in the Syrian conflict and the global outcry fed into Western agenda.

Almost to the date of the anniversary of this atrocious crime, it has been committed again when the Assad government has just about won the war.

The most recent attempt to stage and accuse Russia and more directly Putin was on British soil but was fortunately exposed by another British institution.

What other evidence did the world and its statesmen and women need to recognize the intentions of some of these Western nations? We all remained silent risking the probability of a World War.

Is the world so unaware of how close we came to the outbreak of war? We may therefore not be in the correct frame of mind to recognize the need to express our gratitude to God, Putin and Russia for the restraint they have exercised in this provocation. We must also congratulate the Russian and Syrian military for intercepting most of the recent missiles.

How could Theresa May, have fallen for this act? How could the capitalist West feel threatened and intimidated by a Russian leader who has earned the true respect, admiration and loyalty not only of his people, but the world at large?

The leadership of both China and Russia are providing the needed international stability while the US and her allies find their feet and their moral compass. The leadership of China and Russia appear to have adopted a sympathetic and supportive role to enable the West recover. In spite of this, the West and her allies are abusing human rights with downright impunity and insensitivity.

The cool-headedness of Putin as opposed to the desperation and sometimes hysterical behavior of certain Western leaders has made a heroic figure of Putin well beyond his borders.

A fine opportunity to create a better and stable world based on freedom, justice and morality is being undermined, being rejected in what appears to be a desperate attempt to restore a Cold War climate. Can’t leaders of this world speak out?

For those of us in the developing world, we only need to remind ourselves of the powers that kept the brutal apartheid regime propped up for so long. A cursory glance at the fate of Palestinians and Yemenis should tell us the callous creature that the savagery of capitalism has turned out to be since the collapse of the bipolar authority.

America and her allies have over the years appeared determined to maintain a unipolar power no matter what it takes through incidents of unjust wars, wanton provocation, intimidation and casting of judgment without trial.

If integrity, truthfulness and justice must give way to falsehood and deceit to enable them control and rule the world, so be it and to hell with it. If the integrity of intelligence operatives and others can be subjected to polygraph tests to ascertain their integrity and truthfulness, what puts politicians and others above the truth in circumstances of this nature?

*John Rawlings is former President of the Republic of Ghana

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Lauren: Africa’s teams at the World Cup will not get past last eight
April 18, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Stanley Kwenda*

Former Cameroon international Lauren played at the World Cup in 1998 and 2002

Former Cameroon international Lauren played at the World Cup in 1998 and 2002

Former Cameroon and Arsenal defender, Lauren, says none of the African teams at the World Cup will get past the quarter finals in Russia.

He says a combination of mismanagement and a difference in quality means Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco will struggle.

No African nation has made it past the last eight of the World Cup.

“I could say Africa will be in the semis, we’re going to win, but that’s not the reality,” he told BBC Sport.

“To be honest with you I can’t see any of them go further than the quarter finals.

“This is my honest opinion because we are still one step behind the top teams.

“I can’t see them challenge the Germans, Argentina, Spain or Brazil, they are not in that level.”

Lauren, who played at the 1998 and 2002 World Cup finals with Cameroon, is also unhappy with the way football is run on the continent.

“I don’t like to lie to people. I am very honest, I speak my mind because we don’t do things the right way,” the 41-year-old added.

“It happens in football, it happens in so many other African societies.”

He believes that his experience in football could benefit the running of the game in Africa.

“Politics is in my blood but I wouldn’t like to really got into politics,” the Arsenal ambassador explained.

“But maybe to try to help African football with the knowledge I have got about business and how to do things in a structural way.”

To date only three African nations have reached the last eight at the World Cup; first were Cameroon in 1990, followed by Senegal in 2002 and then most recently Ghana in 2010.

Morocco make a return to the World Cup for the first time since 1998. They were paired with Spain, European Champions Portugal and Iran.

Egypt are back after a 28-year absence and will play in a group alongside Russia, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay.

Tunisia are in a tough-looking group with Belgium, England and Panama.

Senegal will take on Poland, Columbia and Japan as they begin their bid to emulate their feats of 2002 in Japan and South Korea.

Nigeria, who are making their sixth appearance at the finals and in the same group as Argentina, Iceland and Croatia.

*BBC

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South Africa backs Morocco’s bid to host the 2026 World Cup
April 18, 2018 | 0 Comments
This is Morocco's fifth attempt to host the World Cup after making bids for the 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010 finals

This is Morocco’s fifth attempt to host the World Cup after making bids for the 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010 finals

The South Africa Football Association (Safa) has pledged its ‘unqualified’ support for Morocco’s bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

Morocco is up against a joint bid from Canada/Mexico/United States and is aiming to become the second African country to host the World Cup after South Africa in 2010.

“It is an old myth that Africa doesn’t have the capacity and naysayers should stop using the political argument,” said Safa president Dr Danny Jordaan.

“Africa hosted the best Fifa World Cup ever and with good support, Morocco can emulate South Africa,” the Safa President added.

Morocco are making their fifth bid to host the tournament.

They have previously campaigned for the right to organise the 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010 editions.

Former Cameroon goalkeeper, Joseph-Antoine Bell, is visiting South Africa as part of a delegation representing the Morocco bid.

“South Africa showed the way and I am confident Morocco will follow suit. The country has international standards; from the stadiums to top infrastructure. Morocco can compete with the best in the world,” Bell said.

“Morocco needs South Africa’s voice, it is the loudest voice on the continent,” added the Cameroonian.

South Africa’s backing for Morocco’s 2026 bid follows similar pledges of support from both Algeria and Guinea-Bissau.

The hosts for the 2026 World Cup will be decided in Russia on 13 June

*BBC

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A True Natural Postcard, Despite All Its Political And Economic Troubles-Insight into Guinea-Bissau with Umaro Djau
April 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

My hope is that the youth will be able to fight the fears of the unknown and really embrace the need for profound changes, starting with the country’s political situation, says Umaro Djau

My hope is that the youth will be able to fight the fears of the unknown and really embrace the need for profound changes, starting with the country’s political situation, says Umaro Djau

For all its political, and economic troubles, Guinea -Bissau is one of the world’s true natural postcards, says Strategic Communications Specialist,and  Journalist Umaro Djau. While the chequered political past has had a toll on the development of the country, Umaro Djau thinks that there is every reason to be hopeful for the future of Guinea- Bissau. The economic potential is there, and with the right leadership to tap into the development zest of the youthful, and dynamic population, he believes that Guinea -Bissau will become the envy of many. From its history, to political, to social, and  to economic perspectives, Umaro Djau took time off to share insights on his country, Guinea- Bissau with PAV.

Mr. Umaro Djau, thanks so much for accepting to share perspectives on Guinea-Bissau for us. Very little is known or heard about Guinea Bissau, can you introduce the country for us?

Umaro Djau: I’ll start by giving you the practical answer that I usually give to people that I would occasionally meet – whether they’re co-workers, neighbors, or total strangers. Guinea-Bissau is located near Senegal, in West Africa. It shares borders with Senegal (to the North) and Guinea, commonly known as Guinea-Conakry (to the South). It’s a small Portuguese-speaking country with less than 2 million people. By comparison, it is always said that Guinea-Bissau is the size of Connecticut. If you want to be more specific, by size, Guinea-Bissau is the 13th smallest country in Africa, with little bit over 36 thousand square kilometers or almost 14 thousand square miles. We’re a low-lying country located on the North Atlantic coast, with more than 80 islands, not to mention our rain forests, swamps, and wetlands. Those natural fixtures and wonders make Guinea-Bissau an amazingly beautiful country to live and visit. A beautiful tropical postcard, if you wish.

 We will get into more specifics later, but how is life like in the country and what are some of the things that are peculiar to the people of Guinea-Bissau?

Umaro Djau: Like many other West African countries, people in Guinea-Bissau have coexisted for many centuries, sharing common ancestry, history, struggles, but also being able to live side by side, despite many ethnic, cultural and linguistic differences. I told you about the small size of the country a short while, but the most amazing thing is that, in that small territory there are over 20 ethnic groups, practicing different religions or other traditional beliefs.  Guinea-Bissau is a country where there is no hegemony when it comes to its national identity, despite five centuries of European presence and influence. So, socio-culturally and linguistically speaking, it’s a nation in construction with Muslims, Christians, and people of other beliefs, beautifully coexisting and living side by side in peace.

Countries like Cape Verde, which are similar to Guinea-Bissau in many respects, are doing relatively well economically. What is the situation in your country and how is the economy doing ?

Umaro Djau: I’m glad you mentioned Cape Verde, which shares a common history with my home country. Cape Verdeans and Bissau-Guineans are brothers and sisters with common history and ancestry. Politically speaking, there are very few examples in the world where one political figure is a national hero for two independent and separate nations. Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde share our beloved Amílcar Lopes Cabral, the figure that led their struggle and fight for independence from Portugal. But today, unfortunately, we fail by comparison in so many aspects, particularly in the economy and in politics. Cape Verde has been a viable country – politically and economically — even within the broader African context.

If you were to ask almost anyone in Guinea-Bissau, they would tell you that our economy has been negatively impacted by the never-ending political and military crises since the beginning of the 1980s, when the first coup d’état took place, just seven years after the country’s unilateral independence from Portugal. Here and there, Guinea-Bissau has known some periods of economic growth, but these bright and brief phases have been often overtaken by one crisis after another.As the economists would tell you, political and military stability are the currencies for any economic growth. As a result, Guinea-Bissau has lacked an environment conducive to foreign and private investments due to constant fear of a potential military and political outburst. This lack of foreign and good private investments is probably the reason why agriculture still accounts for over 50 percent of the national’s GDP. And cashew exports have been leading the chart. But, if you want to put it into a greater context, it is believed that two out of three Bissau-Guineans find themselves below the absolute poverty line. According to World Bank, the current international poverty line, is about $1.90 per day. In the case of Guinea-Bissau, I’m quite sure that a clear majority of its population live with under one dollar per day. So, no matter what current national statistics tell you about the annual national growth, it’s obvious that people in Guinea-Bissau are living under extreme poverty. Thankfully though, Bissau-Guineans are very resilient people.

To Umaro Djau,Guinea-Bissau can become a major tourism destination in West Africa, particularly for those traveling from Europe

To Umaro Djau, Guinea-Bissau can become a major tourism destination in West Africa, particularly for those traveling from Europe.

In follow up  to what you have just described, are there opportunities for foreign investors, and how is the investment climate in the country?

Umaro Djau: Absolutely. There are plenty of opportunities not only for potential foreign investors, but also from those within the country. Look, Guinea-Bissau is a raw country. Raw in the sense that we have so many areas in need of some economic input; areas that – should I say – are screaming for investments. Agriculture, health, education, fishery, infrastructure, energy, electricity, tourism, etc. I do recognize however, that for us to attract any small or big investor, the country needs to be seen as a viable place to invest. But, it is going to take more than improving the perception itself. It is of utmost importance to create conditions and guarantees that investors will have a just return for their initial or consequent investments. Thus, there is a great need to improve and strengthen the country’s policies and institutional support for those who are seriously considering investing in Guinea-Bissau. Unfortunately, when I look around the country, I see a lot of foreign and regional companies trying to sell their products, but rarely do I see long-term investors. I also see a lot of seasonal traders, whether they are buyers of raw cashews or timber, flocking the country for their short-term business goals. Guinea-Bissau needs to change all that by coming up with better policies and institutional frameworks that would attract and retain quality-investors, which in turn, would benefit the country through capital gains and jobs creation.

You briefly spoke about tourism. For those who have never visited the country, how much of a tourist destination is Guinea Bissau? What’s there to see and are there guarantees for the safety and security of people who visit?

Umaro Djau: Guinea-Bissau can become a major tourism destination in West Africa, particularly for those traveling from Europe. Its proximity, climate, coastal areas, natural wonders, sandy beaches and its overall weather conditions constitute the country’s strengths when it comes to attracting those seeking a place to enjoy their personal or family vacations. I remember mentioning the country’s landscape beautifully sprinkled with over 80 islands. That’s in the Bijagos, the heartland of Guinea-Bissau’s touristic paradise. Not only does the archipelago offer  its sandy beaches, but also a great diversity of fauna and some rare and protected sea species, something that would certainly attract many ecological tourists.

Everywhere you go, the country would give you something to enjoy. For instance, there are many beautiful natural parks (Lagoon of Cufada, Cantanhez Forest National Park), among other national wonders, some fortresses, old colonial cities and monuments. So, whether you’re attracted to urban settings or rural ones, you’ll certainly find something exciting to do in Guinea-Bissau. And here’s something many don’t mention, people in Guinea-Bissau are very kind and nice. They’re welcoming. They’re friendly. I know that I’m sounding like a TV commercial, Guinea-Bissau is a true, natural postcard, despite all its political and economic troubles.

Obviously, the tourism sector is often vulnerable in a developing country due to lack of infrastructures and other key public services. In that front, Guinea-Bissau needs to improve things like roads, hospitals and the health system in general. Add to that reliable transportation between the main city and other cities and/or regions. The biggest challenge is traveling to and from all those islands. They ought to be serious government and private investments to facilitate those connections. As for communication, it’s widely recognized that the country has made important gains, most specifically in the telephone through two private phone carriers. However, the Internet is still at its infancy but it’s enough to get by.

You mentioned the issue of security. Yes, security is a major concern for any country, particularly considering the concerns about international terrorism and other forms of violence. What I can tell you is that crime level is substantially low in Guinea-Bissau. And there haven’t been any reported cases of violence against foreign tourists as far as I know. That’s very encouraging to me and many Bissau-Guineans.

 

Umaro Djau says the resources are there to sustain that political and economic environment when it finally arrives

Umaro Djau says the resources are there to sustain that political and economic environment when it finally arrives

For a country of about two million, how can you explain the complex political history that it has had?

Umaro Djau: I don’t think the country’s historical complexities are really the issue here. Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde fought a heroic war for independence, something that is widely and internationally recognized as a triumph against their common colonial power, Portugal. Many historian and political analysts would agree that the way Guinea-Bissau was ruled following its independence dictated the paths that followed. In a way, I think you’re also correct because many African countries, Guinea-Bissau included, have been ruled in accordance with the political ideologies of their freedom political parties. Having been through an armed-conflict, the country could not easily distant itself from a military-type of rule, following its independence. That historical reality clouded every political decision afterwards and led to many internal conflicts. All that said, I also believe that Guinea-Bissau is going through a profound period of social adjustment. But the risk is that – intentionally or not — this “social adjustment” is being rushed by the political atmosphere, instead of a normal socioeconomic evolution, coupled with one’s educational and professional accomplishments. However, in Guinea-Bissau, people are trying to gain their “status” through reliance solely on politics.

What impact has this checkered political past had on the development of the country?

Umaro Djau: The impact of that political past is beyond what people outside the country would imagine. Just think about it: for almost two decades, Guinea-Bissau was ruled by a single-party system. A single-party system that controlled everything – the presidency, the government, the national assembly, the military, the police, the security agencies, the court system and so on. Everything was embedded on that single-party system and dictated by it. Without the proper accountability and rule of law, public servants were forced to embrace a culture of blind loyalty to the ruling elite, whose political party became the most important leverage for anyone to survive. This political culture became the foundation of the country and hindered any hope for development – as corruption and lack of transparency became the new norm.

Umaro Djau believes that President Jose Mario Vaz has not been the problem-solver and has not offered the required leadership that the country had hoped for from him

Umaro Djau believes that President Jose Mario Vaz has not been the problem-solver and has not offered the required leadership that the country had hoped for from him

How has the current leader fared so far, where has he done well and where has he had shortcomings?

Umaro Djau: Note that Guinea-Bissau is technically a democratic country since 1991 and our political system encourages a separation of power between many branches of the state, government, and the head of state. So, we do not have a single “leader” per say. According to our Constitution, we have what’s known as a semi-presidential system. We have the president, the head of government and the legislative branch, locally-known as the National Assembly.

However, today the biggest political (and intellectual) debate revolves around what can be the best system of government for Guinea-Bissau. For instance, President Jose Mario Vaz is being accused of usurpation of power, extending his political powers beyond his constitutional boundaries. There is also a fair criticism of the current President of the National Assembly, Cipriano Cassama, who is accused of blocking the normal functioning of that institution.

In the mix of all of that, the major political parties are playing their cards to defend or protect their interests. As expected in situations like these, each party is offering their own arguments. And all this against a backdrop of more than three years of political crisis, despite all the actions of many international and regional organizations – the UN, the ECOWAS, and the African Union – which have tried to bring about common understanding among the major political players.

In my humble opinion, the head of state has had so many political shortcomings. Mr. Jose Mario Vaz has not been the problem-solver and has not offered the required leadership that the country had hoped for from him. Just think about it, the country has had 6 heads of government since mid-2014. The president has just announced the 7th prime-minister in less than 4 years, as a result of the latest political agreement in Lome, Togo, under the sponsorship of the regional organization, the ECOWAS. That’s a lot to comprehend and digest! But, more than ascertaining his constitutional powers, I think that this shows his inability to lead and exert his influence in a positive manner. As US President Truman’s desk sign would remind his fellow Americans and visitors, “The Buck Stops” with the president. It means basically that one, particularly a head of state, cannot refrain from their constitutional responsibilities and obligations.

When we’re finally able to put the right people in the right places, Guinea-Bissau will find its deserving place in Africa and in the world,says Umaru Djau.

When we’re finally able to put the right people in the right places, Guinea-Bissau will find its deserving place in Africa and in the world, says Umaro Djau.

 How accurate are reports that the country has been a major transit road for drugs, anything the authorities are doing change this perception?

Umaro Djau: These reports go as far back as the year of 2005, having reached its climax around 2012, when the last coup d’état took place. It is generally believed that the situation has improved thanks partially to pressure and pragmatic actions from outside countries, including the United States, as well as other international organizations. It’s hard to keep up with reports on drug trafficking, but now that the Guinea-Bissau’s military and the security forces seem to be exerting less political power and less influence, drug traffickers may be challenged as they attempt to find traffic routes and protection in the country. Geographically – particularly for those coming from South and Central America — it’s almost impossible to prevent local, regional and international traffickers to pass through the national territory. It’s my hope that the country has learned its lesson from the past. Most importantly, it’s a matter of national security. With that in mind, we have an obligation to take this issue seriously. After all, being called a narco-state is a hard pill to swallow for many Bissau-Guineans, and also as a matter of national proudness and moral imperative, there has been a great deal of self-awareness to unlink the country from that term, at least at the state level.

On the other hand, as you may be aware, drug trafficking is not always directly correlated to levels of development of a country or the existing legal systems; So, this is not only a Guinea-Bissau’s problem. It’s a world problem. Guinea-Bissau will just need to do its part and remain cautious and firm in combating any illicit drug trafficking within its borders.

When you look at the country, what makes you hopeful for its future, and what are your fears, and if we may add, what kind of leadership does the country need to catch up countries like Cape Verde which are making faster progress?

Umaro Djau: There are so many aspects of Guinea-Bissau that make me very hopeful.  Starting with our people, the most important resource for any country – rich or poor. When compared to other countries, Guinea-Bissau has a very young population, most of it ranging from 25 to 45 years of age. So, we have the human energy. Now, we have to make sure that we’re able to educate our youth and equip them with knowledge, academic, professional and technical training, so that they’re able to be an integral part in today’s workforce.

My biggest fear is that the current unemployment rate may trigger other problems such as delinquency and crime. But again, if we seriously invest in educating and training our youth, they’ll find their right place in our society. For that to happen, Bissau-Guineans must have the courage to choose the right leaders, leaders who can transform the current challenges into new and bright opportunities for all.

When I look through Guinea-Bissau’s political spectrum, I see a lot of political players who really have no clue about what their functions and responsibilities are. Political players who do not seem to care about the people and the country. The only thing that moves them is their personal interests. We must change that. When we’re finally able to put the right people in the right places, Guinea-Bissau will find its deserving place in Africa and in the world.

My hope is that the youth will be able to fight the fears of the unknown and really embrace the need for profound changes, starting with the country’s political situation. After that, I strongly believe that everything else will fall into place. The country will be able to takeoff. And the resources are there to sustain that political and economic environment when it finally arrives. Yes, I’m hopeful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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flydubai marks Africa expansion with Kinshasa inaugural
April 16, 2018 | 0 Comments
flydubai is the first national carrier for the UAE to create direct air links to the Congolese capital, Kinshasa
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, April 15, 2018/ —

  • Dubai-based carrier launches daily flights to Kinshasa with enroute stop in Entebbe
  • flydubai’s network in Africa grows to 13 destinations across 10 countries

Dubai-based flydubai’s (www.flydubai.com) inaugural flight touched down today at N’djili Airport (Kinshasa International Airport – FIH).  flydubai will operate daily flights to N’djili Airport with an enroute stop in Entebbe.

flydubai is the first national carrier for the UAE to create direct air links to the Congolese capital, Kinshasa and with the start of the service sees its comprehensive network in Africa grow to 13 destinations in 10 countries.

With the start of flights to Kinshasa another gateway is opened up for passengers from the GCC, Russia and the Indian Subcontinent into Central Africa.  Passengers from Kinshasa have access to more than 90 destinations on the flydubai network and through its codeshare partnership with Emirates (www.Emirates.com) can connect easily and conveniently to Emirates’ destinations spanning six continents in over 80 countries.

The inaugural flight touched down at 14:20 (local time) and on board was a delegation led by Sudhir Sreedharan, Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations (UAE, GCC, Indian Subcontinent & Africa) for flydubai. The delegation was met on arrival by Mr. Tshiumba Pmunga Jean, Director General, Civil Aviation Authority, Mr. Kufula Makila Rex, Cabinet Director, Minister of Transport and Mr. Bilenge Abdala – General Director RVA- (Régie des Voies Aériennes).

Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer of flydubai, said on the launch of flights to Kinshasa: “As one of the largest and most populous cities in Africa, Kinshasa, is a key hub for travel and trade. Africa is one of the UAE’s emerging trade partners and with the opening of this new route to one of the busiest airports in the Democratic Republic of the Congo there will be further opportunities to strengthen commercial ties across a neighbouring continent with vast natural resources.”

The fast-growing economies of the countries of Africa are important trading markets for the UAE and their increasing prosperity will ensure that their contribution of visitor numbers to Dubai will similarly grow strongly.

Sudhir Sreedharan, Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations (UAE, GCC, Indian Subcontinent and Africa) at flydubai, who led the inaugural delegation, added: “Africa has been an important market for flydubai since the airline’s launch in 2009.  We continue to see strong demand for direct airlinks and last year flydubai contributed 13% of the total growth at Dubai Airports for the African market. I am pleased to see our network in Africa grow to 13 destinations in 10 countries with the launch today of flights to Kinshasa. With the start of the daily service from Dubai’s aviation hub to one of the largest countries in Africa, passengers will have access to increased connectivity.”

All flights to and from Kinshasa will offer travellers flydubai’s onboard experience, whether opting for priority services and more space and privacy in Business Class, or enjoying flexibility and convenience as a passenger in Economy Class.

flydubai will codeshare this route with Emirates. With the partnership, passengers can connect easily and conveniently to over 90 of flydubai’s destinations which complement the Emirates route network, spanning six continents in over 80 countries.

For bookings under the codeshare, Emirates passengers receive complimentary meals and the Emirates checked baggage allowance on flights operated by flydubai in Business and Economy classes.

In under 10 years, flydubai has grown an extensive network across Africa and currently offers flights to Addis Ababa, Alexandria, Asmara, Djibouti, Entebbe, Hargeisa, Juba, Khartoum and Port Sudan as well as Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar.

Flight Timings are in Local Time

Flight Number Frequency Departure Airport Departure Time Arrival Airport Arrival Time
FZ617 Daily Dubai International Terminal 2 8:00 Entebbe International Airport 12:20
FZ617 Daily Entebbe International Airport 13:20 Kinshasa International Airport 14:20
FZ618 Daily Kinshasa International Airport 15:20 Entebbe International Airport 20:15
FZ618 Daily Entebbe International Airport 21:15 Dubai International Terminal 2 03:45

 

Business Class return fares will start at AED 6,000 (USD1580) and are inclusive of all taxes and 40kg checked baggage.  Economy Class return fares will start at AED 2,700 (USD521) including 20kg checked baggage.

Flights can be booked through flydubai’s website (www.flydubai.com), the official flydubai App, Contact Centre in Dubai on (+971) 600 54 44 45, the flydubai travel shops or through our travel partners.

For more information about Holidays by flydubai, please visit: https://Holidays.flydubai.com/en

For the full timetable and fares, visit: www.flydubai.com/en/plan/timetable

About flydubai
From its home in Dubai, flydubai (www.flydubai.com) has created a network of more than 100 destinations and over the next decade the airline will see its fleet grow by up to 296 aircraft. Since commencing operations in June 2009, flydubai has been committed to removing barriers to travel, creating free flows of trade and tourism and enhancing connectivity between different cultures across its ever-expanding network.

flydubai has marked its journey with a number of milestones that represent the scale of the ambition planned for the airline:
• An expanding network: Created a network of more than 100 destinations in 46 countries across Africa, Central Asia, The Caucasus, Eastern Europe, The GCC and The Middle East, and the Indian Subcontinent.
• Serving underserved markets: Opened up more than 70 new routes that did not previously have direct air links to Dubai or were not served by a UAE national carrier from Dubai.
• An efficient single fleet-type: Operates a single fleet-type of 61 aircraft including Boeing 737 MAX 8 and Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
• Record-breaking orders: Placed the largest single-aisle aircraft orders in the region at the 2013 and 2017 editions of the Dubai Airshow.
• Enhancing connectivity: Carried 10.9 million passengers across its network in 2017.

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The Mohammed IV Museum for Water Civilization in Marrakech – AMAN – will host the second edition of “African Women in Agriculture Congress” (AWA) May 8th to 10th, 2018.
April 16, 2018 | 0 Comments

AWA Congress is an initiative of Believe in Africa which vision is to create opportunities for the less privileged. Believe in Africa is, therefore, inviting the world to converge to Morocco to discuss the role of African Women in agriculture, improve their living conditions and help them get the support they need.

The second edition of the AWA Congress will be co-chaired by Her Excellence Aissata Issoufou, First Lady of Republic of Niger joined by Her Excellence Hilda Deby Itno, First Lady of the Republic of Chad, Mrs Nadira El Guermai, Governor National coordinator of the National Human Development Initiative (INDH) , H.E. Fatoumata Tambajang, Vice President of the Republic of Gambia, H.E. Khoudia MBAYE, Minister of Investment Promotion, Partnerships and Teleservices of Senegal. The high level dialogue aims at creating a network of stakeholders dedicated to ensuring the effective empowerment of African women in agriculture helping them feed the continent and the world.

 

During two days, worldwide recognized personalities such as:

  • Mr. Jean Pierre Senghor, National Executive SecretaryFood Security Council, Senegal
  • Mrs. Maria Mulindi, Chief of Staff, Président of the African Development Bank, Kenya
  • Mrs Lissar Mbang Ekoutou, Vice Président,  de la Chambre d’Agriculture, de l’Elevage, des Pêches et des Forêts of Cameroon (CAPEF)
  • Amb. Sidahmed Alphadi, Unesco Arstist for Peace, Niger
  • Dr. Wanida Lewis, Foreign Affairs Officer, State Department, Office of Agriculture Policy, USA
  • Mrs. Brabrahim Nadia, President, Federation Interprofessionnelle de l’heliciculture, Morroco
  • Mrs. Ada Osakwe, Chief Executive Officer, Agrolay, ADB Youth Advisory Council, Nigeria
  • Mrs. Lucy Muchoki,Chief Executive Officer, Pan African Agribusiness Consortium, (PanAAC) – Kenya
  • Mme Olga Johnson, Managing Director, Energies for Africa, Benin
  • Mrs. Rahama Wright, Founder et CEO, Shea Yeleen, US, Member of US Advisor Council on doing Business in Africa, USA
  • Pr. Zoubida Charrouf, University Mohammed V, Morocco
  • Mrs. Carole Robert, Foundation Biotechnologie pour le Développement Durable en Afrique (BDA), Canada
  • Patrick Andre, Founder, BOTANICOSM’ETHIC, France
  • Mrs Karima El Kmiti, Managing Director, Qualavi , Morroco

among others will take the stand to share their experience in agriculture and provide solutions for the betterment of African women in agriculture.

For more informations, contact us at

au believeinafrica1@gmail.com ou +212 677 77 87 21

 

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Thread war: Rwanda takes a stand against cheap, secondhand clothes from the US
April 14, 2018 | 0 Comments

Rwanda has raised tariffs on secondhand clothing shipped from the US claiming the cheaply sold cast-offs undermine local textile companies. In response, the US is suspending duty-free status for clothing manufactured in Rwanda.

By Rodney Muhumuza*

The sweaty mechanic tossed aside the used jeans one by one, digging deep through the pile of secondhand clothes that are at the center of another, if little-noticed, Trump administration trade war.

The used clothes cast off by Americans and sold in bulk in African nations, a multimillion-dollar business, have been blamed in part for undermining local textile industries. Now Rwanda has taken action, raising tariffs on the clothing in defiance of United States pressure. In response, the US says it will suspend duty-free status for clothing manufactured in Rwanda under the trade program known as the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

President Trump’s decision has not gone down well in Rwanda, a small, largely impoverished East African nation still trying to heal the scars of genocide 24 years ago. Similar US action against neighboring countries could follow; Uganda and Tanzania have pledged to raise tariffs and phase in a ban on used clothing imports by 2019.

The action against Rwanda comes just weeks after Mr. Trump met Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the World Economic Forum and proclaimed him a “friend,” as Trump sought to calm anger in Africa over his reported vulgar comments about the continent.

Mr. Kagame currently chairs the African Union, where heads of state just days after the meeting drafted, but decided against issuing a blistering statement on Trump.

The US trade action is finding a mixed response in Africa, with some upset at Trump again, while others defend the secondhand clothing as popular, inexpensive, and well-made.

The US is a “bully” for retaliating against Rwanda’s efforts to grow its own textile industry, said Dismas Nkuranga, who deals in secondhand footwear in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali.

“The main objective for Rwanda is to see more companies in the country produce clothes here,” said Olivier Nduhungirehe, state minister for foreign affairs. “It’s also about giving Rwandans the dignity they deserve, not wearing secondhand clothes already used by other people.”

But at the sprawling Owino Market in neighboring Uganda’s capital, Kampala, the trade in used clothing continues to crackle, with some sellers shoving merchandise into the arms of shy potential buyers: a pair of jeans for a fraction of a dollar, a T-shirt for even less.

“Affordability is what I want,” said John Ekure, the mechanic who was shopping for jeans.

As some African governments worry that the bulk imports of used clothes constitute dumping, others question the ability of local clothing makers to satisfy appetites for quality goods at rock-bottom prices.

Rwanda has been supporting Chinese investors to set up textile factories in the hopes that the country eventually can produce affordable products and create 350,000 jobs by 2025. But many in Rwanda who praise the government’s decision to raise tariffs as progressive remain concerned about whether that goal can be reached.

 In Uganda, where the per capita income is $615, traders and buyers said they hope the government will not move as swiftly as Rwanda in imposing higher tariffs on used clothes.

One trader said he had noticed a rise in the number of Rwandans coming to his stall to check out trench coats and jackets, apparently because such goods have become rare back home.

“If they are telling us they are going to create many industries making clothes, I can tell you they don’t have the capacity to do that,” Muhammad Kiyingi said of Uganda’s government. “Somebody should tell the government to think carefully.”

He predicted that tightening restrictions on imports of used clothing from the US would lead to a spike in imports from places like China and the United Arab Emirates instead.

Following Rwanda’s lead would “cause more harm than good,” said Ramathan Ggoobi, an economist at Uganda’s Makerere University. “We have not yet built capacity to produce new products … so we would be protecting an inefficient producer.”

To satisfy the demand for Western fashion, African governments could offer incentives for Western textile companies to set up factories on the continent, said Uche Igwe, an analyst who advises the government in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country.

“It is nice to grow our domestic industries and create employment,” he said. “However, we must first fix our infrastructural deficits so that local producers will produce at competitive costs.”

*AP

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How to ensure Africa’s bold free trade area propels industrialisation
April 14, 2018 | 0 Comments

Africa’s industrialisation needs a boost. Implemented correctly, the AfCFTA could provide it. Here’s how.

BY DAVID LUKE & LILY SOMMER*

At the Huajian shoe factory in the Eastern Industrial Zone, Ethiopia. Credit: UNIDO.

At the Huajian shoe factory in the Eastern Industrial Zone, Ethiopia. Credit: UNIDO.

On 21 March, dozens of African countries agreed to establish what could be a truly transformative trade deal. At a special African Union summit convened in Rwanda, 44 governments signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. The majority of the remaining 11 AU member states signed the Kigali Declaration, a promissory note to ratify the AfCFTA. 27 additionally signed a separate AU Protocol on the Free Movement of People.

Africa’s two biggest economies – Nigeria and South Africa – did not sign the AfCFTA agreement. However, it is expected that they – along with the remaining member states – will do so following national consultations or the fulfilment of constitutional requirements for signing international treaties.

The agreement will enter into force once 22 African countries have ratified the deal. Given the current momentum behind the project, this process is expected to be swift and smooth.

The AfCFTA commits members to cut tariffs down to zero on imports covering 90% of tariff lines, as well as address a host of other non-tariff barriers. All this is expected boost trade between African countries by an impressive 52.3%. This could have momentous repercussions for a trade area that would potentially contain 55 countries, 1.2 billion people, and a combined $2.5 trillion in GDP. It would enable significant scale economies and attract external investment.

More intra-African trade would also have crucial knock-on effects. Given that manufactured goods make up a much higher proportion of regional exports than those leaving the continent – 41.9% compared to 14.8% in 2014 – more intra-African trade means much more opportunity for industrialisation.

As noted in a recent report by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), Africa is bizarrely less industrialised today than it was three decades ago. In 2014, manufacturing contributed just 9.8% on average to Africa’s GDP, a quarter lower than in 1990. Africa’s exports today still predominantly consist of primary commodities and raw materials, with fuels alone accounting for 53.9% of exports in 2014.

At the same time, however, manufacturing in Africa is on the rise in absolute terms. Between 2009 and 2014, for instance, manufacturing production grew at an average 5.1% per year in real terms, with particularly strong performances in Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Niger and Sudan.

Statistics show that from 2004 to 2014, the value of African manufacturing exports more than doubled. Meanwhile, in 2016, UNCTAD calculated that the manufacturing sector now contributes approximately one-fifth of Africa’s inward FDI stock.

Despite a disappointing backdrop, these trends are promising and suggest that with the right impetus, they could be accelerated.

Industrialisation matters

The benefits of industrialisation – and the reasons it’s been central to national development strategies across Africa – are clear to see.

Manufactured goods are much less vulnerable to fluctuating global prices than extractive goods, meaning they can provide a more sustainable tax base. They are more frequently produced by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which comprise about 80% of all enterprises in Africa, and are therefore key to poverty reduction. And, perhaps most importantly, manufactured goods tend to be labour intensive, meaning they can better create jobs for Africa’s bulging youth population.

Industrialisation is also crucial to transforming the agricultural sector, which accounts for about half of Africa’s workforce. Increasing agricultural productivity through agro-processing would help reduce rural poverty and facilitate the release of more labour. These workers could move onto the more productive activity of manufacturing itself, whose output is six times that of agriculture.

Making the AfCFTA work for industrialisation

It is for these reasons that the AfCFTA has been specifically designed to drive industrialisation. It is crucial this remains a priority as the agreement is implemented. How can this be done?

To begin with, the ratification and implementation of the agreement must be expedited. Industries on the continent must have time to find and build their competitive edge before African markets are further opened up to the rest of the world.

The AfCFTA’s process of reducing tariffs should also prioritise “intermediate goods” – namely semi-finished products used in the production of final goods. This would boost incentives for businesses to source these inputs from within Africa and support the expansion of manufacturing.

The removal of non-tariff barriers and harmonisation of standards across borders could also focus initially on products with industrial potential. Mechanisms to monitor non-tariff barriers, simple rules of origin requirements, and common accreditation practices will be crucial in supporting the expansion of industrial supply chains between African countries.

The AfCFTA’s second phase will see negotiations around investment, intellectual property rights and competition policy. This much-needed legal framework – in particular common investment rules – should facilitate cross-border investments that could alleviate constraints to intra-African trade including in infrastructure and technology. This would further help regional industrialisation.

Finally, if the AfCFTA is to fulfil its potential in boosting African manufacturing, it must come up with a clear digital strategy. Technological innovations such as automation threaten traditionally labour-intensive routes to industrialisation. The continent must be ready to address these challenges, but also recognise the opportunities these trends present.

Expanding the scope of the AfCFTA to include e-commerce, for instance, could provide a platform for connecting African businesses. Meanwhile, it should be recognised that while technology may remove some routes to employment, new jobs are being created in agro-processing as well as trade-related sectors such as branding, marketing, logistics, transportation and distribution. In fact, services now account for over 50% of Africa’s GDP, although there is scope to move from low to higher value services.

With discussions over the AfCFTA’s implementation ongoing at the AU, it is promising that the continent’s leaders appreciate that the landmark agreement could play a game-changing role in Africa’s industrialisation. This is not an opportunity to be missed.

*Source African Arguments. David Luke & Lily Sommer  is Coordinator of the African Trade Policy Centre at the UN Economic Commission for Africa. Lily Sommer is a Trade Policy Fellow at the African Trade Policy Centre

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Bribes Lose Their Fizz as Angolan Leader Fights Corruption
April 14, 2018 | 0 Comments
 
  • President Joao Lourenco puts corruption fight center stage
  • ‘From now on, everyone is equal before the law,’ analyst says
Joao Lourenco. Photographer: Ampe Rogerio/AFP via Getty Images

Joao Lourenco. Photographer: Ampe Rogerio/AFP via Getty Images

Corruption used to be so widespread in Angola that “gasosa,” the Portuguese word for a fizzy drink, became a common term for bribes. Now, President Joao Lourenco is on a drive to change that — and the son of his predecessor could soon be put on trial.

 Popularly known as the “terminator,” Lourenco is one of several African leaders who have put fighting graft at the center stage of their policies, pledging to dismantle corrupt business networks that have undermined state revenue. South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, Tanzania’s John Magufuli and Ghana’s Nana Akufo-Addo have also encouraged the prosecution of corrupt officials and criticized citizens for normalizing a culture of bribery.
Lourenco, 64, has some way to go. Angola consistently ranked among the world’s 20 worst offenders on Berlin-based Transparency International’s corruption index after the country emerged from an almost three-decade long civil war in 2002 and tapped huge offshore oil reserves that transformed it into Africa’s second-biggest oil producer.
 “Things are changing so fast that people are scared of taking bribes,” Nuno Borges, head of the country’s car dealers’ association, said by phone. “Today, it’s rare for someone to pay a bribe to a policeman because they know they can get into serious trouble.”
 Thirsty Policemen

For years, offering “gasosas” would give access to basic public services or materialize multi-million dollar building contracts. Policemen or government officials who signaled they were thirsty and in urgent need of a soda were in reality asking for a bribe.

But the culture of bribery is losing its allure as Lourenco has vowed to hold corrupt officials accountable. It’s part of his strategy to make Angola more attractive to foreign investors and help the oil-dependent economy recover from the 2014 drop in crude prices. He’s also said authorities will repatriate funds held by Angolans in overseas accounts if they don’t bring the money back to invest in the country.

“Corruption happens because there is impunity,” Lourenco said in January. “That’s the reason why corruption is widespread at all levels — from the person who asks for a bribe on the street to those who hold prominent positions.”

In November, Edson Vaz, the Treasury director at the Finance Ministry, was accused of embezzlement and sent to jail. In February, a judge in the capital, Luanda, handed suspended prison sentences to two officials at the Health Ministry for the misappropriation of state funds meant to fight malaria.

Dos Santos Family

Graft became pervasive under Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled for almost four decades. When he stepped down as president in September, his children held top positions. His billionaire daughter Isabel was at the helm of the state oil giant Sonangol, his son Jose Filomeno headed a $5 billion wealth fund and two other children had contracts to manage Angola’s public TV channels.

Even though Lourenco was picked by Dos Santos as his successor, he swiftly moved to untangle the grip of the Dos Santos family on the country’s economy, dismissing Isabel and Jose Filomeno within weeks of assuming office. Isabel dos Santos, Africa’s richest woman, has told the Portuguese newspaper Negocios that the government is conducting a politically motivated campaign to tarnish her reputation.

Then, last month, authorities charged Jose Filomeno and the former head of the central bank, Valter Filipe da Silva, with fraud for allegedly transferring $500 million from a central bank account to a bank in London shortly before presidential elections last year. The Finance Ministry said the transfer was part of a plan to defraud the government of $1.5 billion.

Both men were barred from leaving the country, according to deputy state prosecutor Luis Benza Zanga, who said the case involves other people.

Jose Filomeno dos Santos said in a statement last month he will cooperate with authorities “for the full and satisfactory resolution” of the case.

The fact that Jose Filomeno, who was previously untouchable, has been publicly named as a suspect and will be prosecuted “was crucial in sending the message to ordinary Angolans that, from now on, everyone is equal before the law,” said Paulo Carvalho, a sociologist at Agostinho Neto University in Luanda.

“Angolans were used to a law that only applied to the weak and poor,” he said by phone. “What we are witnessing is the rebirth of hope for ordinary people who have been neglected for many years.”

*Bloomberg

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Africa Innovation Summit II Call for Application Launched Across Africa For Innovations Addressing Continent’s Challenges
April 14, 2018 | 0 Comments
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, April 13th, 2018, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The Africa Innovation Summit (AIS II), which will take place from 6-8 June 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda, under the esteemed patronage of His Excellences President Paul Kagame and Pedro Pires (ex-President of Cabo Verde), announced a call for applications to innovators across Africa whose solutions have the potential to solve the continent’s challenges.
The AIS II seeks innovative and disruptive solutions to the major challenges facing African countries, which include energy access, water, food insecurity, health systems, and governance. As a platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue and actions, AIS II will bring together people with the power to act, from all parts of the continent and elsewhere, including Heads of States and Governments, Ministers, corporates, innovators, investors, policy makers and academics, researchers, as well as policy, science and technology experts, with the aim of building robust ecosystems for innovation in Africa to ensure Africa’s structural transformation.

Dr. Olugbenga Adesida, co-Director of AIS, indicated that “AIS provides more than a robust and dynamic platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue, but rather a catalyst for “Made in Africa” innovations that are already addressing the challenges faced on the continent, but need assistance to take root and scale across the continent. ”

The AIS has partnered with Enterpriseroom, a transformation consultancy specializing in starting, sustaining, and accelerating businesses, to drive the sourcing and selection of up to 50 Innovations across the continent, to be showcased at the Summit. The CEO of Entepriseroom, Tracey Webster, said “We are delighted to partner with the AIS and believe the innovations selected to be showcased at the Summit will have a unique opportunity to engage the right stakeholders when it comes to discussing and unlocking blockages in the eco-system that are preventing solutions from going to scale, or ideas being commercialized.” AIS firmly believes that the solutions are in Africa and innovators need to be at the table architecting a conducive environment for Innovation to thrive in Africa.

AIS is therefore calling all African innovators to apply for this unique opportunity. The innovators selected must meet the following criteria:
* Know or have an innovative idea or solution that can drive positive change in Africa and;
* The solution must be at a critical stage: either ready to commercilaise or ready to scale.

The identified innovators will meet influential people, policy makers, and investors who are ready to discuss Africa’s development challenges and ways to solve them. They will also have the opportunity to interact with
like-minded African innovators and change agents who are driving a new era of change in Africa.

Applications and additional information can be found on the AIS website: http://www.africainnovationsummit.com/innovation-track. Applications close Midnight Sunday 15 April 2018 (CAT).

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Nigeria climb in FIFA World Rankings, Tunisia remain in top spot
April 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Ed Dove*

Ali Maaloul of Tunisia, DR Congo's Jordon Ikoko

Ali Maaloul of Tunisia, DR Congo’s Jordon Ikoko

World Cup-bound Tunisia remain Africa’s highest placed team in the latest edition of the FIFA World Rankings, released on Thursday, while Nigeria are among the continent’s big movers.

The Carthage Eagles enjoyed a successful international break, in which they defeated Iran and Costa Rica, and climb a whopping nine places overall to 14th in the world.

Their ascent leaves them ahead of Mexico, Colombia and Uruguay, and only one place behind England, one of their Group G opponents at the World Cup in Russia.

Senegal, another of the continent’s quintet in Russia, are second-placed in Africa but drop one place overall to 28th, while the Democratic Republic of Congo complete CAF’s top three after climbing one spot to 38th globally.

Tunisia are Africa’s big movers in the upper echelon of the continent’s sides, but lower down the pecking order, Tanzania have also moved nine spots up to 137th place after a productive international break in which they downed the DRC.

Nigeria’s spot has been boosted by their friendly victory over Poland as they climb five places to 47th in the world. The Super Eagles remain sixth in the continent, behind Morocco (42nd) and Egypt (46th).

Ghana climb three places despite not playing during the international break, leaving them tied with Africa’s champions Cameroon in 51st, while South Africa’s victory in the Four Nations tournament sees them move up four spots to 72nd.

By contrast, Liberia were the big losers of the latest updates as they plunge 16 places to 151st globally. Rwanda, Sudan and Benin were some of the other nations to have taken a significant tumble in the rankings.

*Culled from ESPN

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