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Kenya & Tanzania: Over 3 million people to benefit from African Development Bank’s €345 million road construction support
December 13, 2019 | 0 Comments
Nnenna Nwabufo, AFDB Acting Director General for the East Africa Region
Nnenna Nwabufo, AFDB Acting Director General for the East Africa Region

Over three million people in Tanzania and Kenya will benefit from a €345 million financing package for road construction support, approved by the African Development Bank’s board in Abidjan on Thursday.

The Bank’s support for the Mombasa-Lunga Lunga/Horohoro and Tanga-Pangani-Bagamoyo roads Phase I, is in the form of African Development Bank and African Development Fund loans and represents 78.5% of the total €399.7 million project cost.  The European Union contributed a grant of €30 million, 7.7% of the total project cost, to the government of Kenya.

The road is a key component of the East African transport corridors network, connecting Kenya and Tanzania. Producers, manufacturers and traders will be able to move goods more quickly and cheaply. In addition, farmers and fishermen will benefit from improved access to local and regional markets and amenities, including better schools and health centres.

“The project will have spillover benefits for hinterland countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan that depend on Mombasa as gateway to global markets,” said Hussein Iman, the Bank’s Regional Sector Manager for infrastructure, private sector, and industrialization.

The Bank’s support will also provide roadside trading facilitates for sellers, half of them women who currently operate in disorganized and unsafe conditions. 

The road crosses regions with high rates of youth unemployment. In light of this, the project includes a vocational training component for 500 unemployed youth (half of them women) to acquire marketable skill and improve their economic prospects.

The Bank anticipates that the intervention will boost regional integration by reducing transit times, facilitating trade and the cross-border movement of people, opening access to tourist attractions. The project will also link the ports of Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Mombasa, and stimulate the blue economy in coastal areas.

This first phase involves the construction of 175 km of road sections:  the 121 km Mkanga-Pangani road section in Tanzania and the 54 km Mombasa-Kilifi road section in Kenya.

The intervention is a priority item in the Bank’s Eastern Africa Regional Integration Strategy (EA-RISP), the Country Strategy Papers (CSPs) of both countries and aligns with two of the Bank’s High 5 priorities – Integrate Africa and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

Regional integration is a priority for Kenya, and Tanzania. However, poor infrastructure has been a major constraint.

This week, the Bank witnessed the signing of a $440 million agreement between Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the government of Kenya for the first phase construction of a bridge connecting Mombasa island and Likoni, a major international port area of East Africa.

The Mombasa Gate Bridge will be the longest cable-stayed bridge in Africa, providing a critical link over the Indian Ocean along the just approved Mombasa – Lunga Lunga/Horohoro and Tanga – Pangani – Bagamoyo corridor phase I.

The total amount of co-financing is expected to be more than $ 1.2 billion when subsequent phases of the project are concluded – the largest co-financing agreement between the Bank and JICA.

“We are confident that we can all work together to accomplish this important task and other projects in the future,” Nnenna Nwabufo, the Bank’s Acting Director General for the East Africa Region, said at the signing.

As at the end of November 2019, the Bank’s portfolio in Kenya comprises 27 public and 7 private operations with a total commitment of 2.7 billion euros.

The Bank’s portfolio in Tanzania as at the end of November 2019 comprises 21 public and 2 private operations with a total commitment of 1.82 billion euros.

*AFDB

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Incumbent Party Retains Power in Namibia Elections but Support Dwindles
December 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

A second term for President Hage Geingob

The South West African People’s Organization (SWAPO) which has ruled Namibia since independence in 1990 retained power once again as it won both the presidential race and the highest number of seats in the National Assembly. Despite the victory, however, there was a significant decrease in support.

Hage Geingob, SWAPO’s presidential candidate received 56 percent of the vote down from the 87 percent that he won with in the previous election. In the legislative vote, SWAPO won 63 seats out of the 96 seats. In the previous election, SWAPO had won 77 seats. The decrease in the number of seats means that SWAPO has now lost its two-thirds majority in the National Assembly.

SWAPO and Hage Geingob’s ‘poor’ electoral performance (in comparison with previous elections) is by no means a surprise considering Namibia’s current political, economic and social landscape. For the first time since independence, SWAPO was competing against a strong force in the presidential race, the corruption scandal which emerged in the run-up to the general election did not help, the economic recession, emergence of a new voter base (young people born after 1990) and the questions surrounding the electronic voter machines all suggested that SWAPO was going to have a hard time in convincing voters something which is now evident considering the election results.

In the presidential race, Hage Geingob found himself in an unfamiliar scenario. Instead of competing with a candidate from the opposition parties, he was competing with a man from his party. Panduleni Itula exploited a loophole in both the party constitution and the country’s electoral act to campaign for the presidential post as an independent candidate though he was still a SWAPO card-carrying member. Using an analogy of a family feud which allows one to stay in the family despite having problems with other family members, Itula in his campaign stated that he had the right to challenge the official party candidate as an alternative while refusing to leave the party. Itula successfully managed to win a considerable amount of votes which enabled him to garner 29 percent of the vote coming in the second position while McHenry Venaani the leader of the official opposition party came in third with .3 percent.

Itula’s strong performance in the election showed one thing, that is, there are many people in the country who love the revolutionary party SWAPO but have a strong distaste to some individuals in the party, in this instance Hage Geingob. Considering that Geingob won 87 percent of the vote in 2014 and only managed 56 percent in the recent election, it means that those who decided against backing him simply took the decision to vote for Itula. Geingob, therefore, does have a difficult job of trying to win back the support that he had in the past during the next 5 years.

The corruptions scandal which emerged in the run-up to the general election did not help matters to SWAPO or Hage Geingob. Days before Election Day, a joint investigation by the Icelandic magazine Stundin, the Icelandic state broadcaster RUV and the Al Jazeera Investigative Unit led to the resignation and arrest of two government ministers on allegations of corruption and money laundering in the Namibian fishing industry. The implicated ministers were the minister of justice Sacky Shanghala and the minister of fisheries and marine resources, Bernhard Esau. The two were accused of taking bribes in return for giving Samherji, one of Iceland’s largest fishing companies preferential access to Namibia’s rich fishing grounds.

Others implicated in the corruption scandal are Thorsteinn Mar Baldvinsson, the CEO of Samherji who has since stepped down from his post pending an independent investigation and the chairman of the Namibia state-owned fishing company James Hatuikulipi who has since resigned.

Another huge factor which played a part in the election is the economic recession. Namibia for a long time has enjoyed steady economic growth. However, the country was hit hard by successive droughts which led to economic recession lasting for three years. The recession’s implications mainly job cuts hugely affected the SWAPO brand as most attributed the ever-rising unemployment rates to the incompetence of SWAPO to devise ways of dealing with the recession. The recession years coincided with the global price falls for uranium, diamonds and other hard commodities which are Namibia’s highest export earners.

A significant proportion of the people who cast their votes on 27 November were youth. The recession affected the youths mostly as many companies froze recruitment. This led high school and tertiary graduates to add to the growing number of the unemployed. Dissatisfied with the prevailing environment, a high number of the youths sought to use the election as a vehicle of change by simply voting for change. The importance of unemployment as a factor in the Namibian election is exposed by the latest Afrobarometer survey in which voters stated that unemployment (54 percent) was the most important deciding factor in the election.

The missing electronic voting machines also made the government in power (SWAPO) to be regarded with suspicion by many voters. According to an investigative piece written by Sonja Smith, Sacky Shanghala, one of SWAPO’s election agents during the SWAPO Party Elders Council’s 6th elective congress held at Outapi in July 2017 borrowed electronic voting machines at the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) offices to use them at the congress before returning them afterwards. However, on his way to the congress venue, Shanghala lost some of the machines. Reports state that four machines were lost but one was found by a member of the public who returned it to the Otjiwarongo Police Station. The machine was subsequently returned to the owner, that is, ECN. To date, the other three machines are yet to be found.

Speaking on the matter of the missing electronic voting machines, Norman Tjombe, a human rights lawyer said that the disappearance of the machines raises suspicions that the election could be rigged hence putting into doubt the integrity and legitimacy of the outcome. “It is the most serious attack on our democracy that such an important device is stolen. Of course, it is the type of device stolen so as to rig the elections. It is not stolen for any other purpose.” Tjombe’s sentiments were echoed by many others who expressed doubt that SWAPO genuinely lost the machines.

To conclude, it can be noted therefore that SWAPO and Hage Geingob lost a significant proportion of votes during the 27 November general election owing largely to the above factors. Essentially, what this, therefore, means going forward is that SWAPO needs to work hard to regain the lost support by correcting its mistakes. For as long as the above factors remain a feature in the prevailing environment, SWAPO will likely continue to lose more support threatening its hold on power.   

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Commonwealth and United Nations sign new agreement
December 13, 2019 | 0 Comments
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland and United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland and United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland and United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammedhave formally committed their organisations to work more closely together.

The two leaders signed a Memorandum of Understanding today at the Commonwealth’s headquarters in Marlborough House, London. The document outlines how the two organisations will work together on pressing global issues such as governance and peace, sustainable development, inclusive growth, climate change, ending violence against women and girls and sports for development and peace.

In a joint statement, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations said:

“The United Nations and Commonwealth have long shared a genuine relationship based on shared goals and values.

“We are today proud to enhance this friendship and take it to a new level which the delivery of the 2030 Agenda demands. 

“As we turn to a new decade of action, the challenges we face in order to deliver on the world that we want by 2030 demand we address sustainable development, climate change, improving governance and promoting peace.”

The Commonwealth is committed to the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals and has made particular progress on the goals of gender equality and tackling climate change.

Across the Commonwealth, gender parity is close to being achieved in primary schools. According to research undertaken by the Commonwealth Secretariat in 2018/2019, a girl is as likely to attend primary school as a boy, and in some Commonwealth countries, more likely to.

Working on tackling climate change and ocean conservation is also an area where the Commonwealth has had a significant influence. Last year, all 53 nations in the Commonwealth, covering one third of the world’s oceans, signed the Blue Charter a landmark agreement to actively co-operate on ocean governance. So far 12 nations have stepped up to lead action groups on areas such as marine pollution, ocean acidification and coral reef protection.

The agreement stresses that ‘prevention’ will underpin each of the collaborative areas and leaves the door open for additional areas of co-operation at a later date.

*Commonwealth

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COP 25: African islands want their place in the sun as they grapple with climate change
December 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

Africa’s small island states are bearing the brunt of climate change, even though technology exists to prevent the worst impacts of extreme weather.

Climate expert John Harding said fewer lives were being lost as a result of natural disasters, because of advanced early warning systems. However, many cash-strapped African countries are not benefiting from new technologies to develop early warning systems.

Harding was speaking on Tuesday at the COP25 climate conference in Madrid during a panel discussion on building the resilience of small island developing states (SIDS) against extreme climate events

“There are many reports that say in Africa…the coverage of climate and weather observing stations is eight times lower than recommended by WMO for optimal weather observation systems…Less than 50 percent of them provide the type of information required,” said Harding, who heads the secretariat of the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS).

The session was hosted by the African Development Bank, a significant investor in efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Andre Kamga, director general of the ACMAD Center in Niger, said the Bank-funded severe weather observation project, SAWIDRA, had enabled the use of data to generate forecasts and early warning systems in Africa.

“What matters on the ground is the warning, which emergency services must use during disaster events to save lives,” Kamga said.

Linus Mofor, senior environmental affairs officer at the UN Economic Commission for Africa, said governments should invest in their climate response as they do in other economic sectors.

“Having said that, in the absence of the investment in early warning systems,, should we just fold our arms?”

The session was moderated by Antonio Palazuelos, from SYAH Cabo Verde, whose small island nation has been battered by extreme weather. The African Development Bank’s 2019 African Economic Outlook cites climate shocks as one of the headwinds facing Cabo Verde in the Atlantic; likewise the Indian Ocean islands of the Comoros, Madagascar and the Seychelles.

“Small islands have been for a long time not very much in the focus, so we are very glad to be here to say we need support from partners. We need to get more into robust early warning systems,” Palazuelos said.

James Kinyangi, head of the African Development Bank’s Climate and Development Special Fund, said small island states were a key constituency.

“The bank supports investments to modernize hydro-meteorological systems in Africa and manages partner efforts to address the weak observational capacity and lack of severe weather early warning systems for small island developing states in Africa,” he said.

Anthony Nyong, Director for Climate Change and Green Growth at the African Development Bank, followed up the session with another panel discussion on Wednesday on SIDS leadership on the ocean, climate and sustainable development goals.

He said the Bank had made investments to support island states, such as deep sea mining, and had identified the blue economy as a key part of its Feed Africa strategy to strengthen fisheries and other marine resources, creating wealth to “empower the African continent, not go to other countries”.

Nyong said the Bank had released about $17 million to invest in data systems to arm states with the information to better prepare for climate related disasters.

“The Island States are our shareholders and our clients. We pay very close attention to them. If they disappear with the rising sea levels, then it means we really need to assist them build resilience,” Nyong said.

He said island states offered opportunities for private sector investment, despite their challenges. “We are creating an enabling environment, working with countries…providing guarantees to improve the business environment and support climate resilient development.”

*AFDB

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African Development Bank validates regional power acceleration programme, to boost bankability of regional power projects
December 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank has validated a study report on enhancing regional and sub-regional power projects to enhance energy access and integration across the continent.

The report, entitled ‘Regional and sub-Regional Power Project Acceleration Programme,’was validated at a three-day workshop organised in collaboration with the Africa Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) on the sidelines of the 2019 Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Week. This year’s PIDA theme was: “Positioning Africa to deliver on Agenda 2063 and economic integration through multi-sectoral approaches to infrastructure development”.

Across the African continent, high-priority regional and sub-regional projects have often stalled because they are considered commercially unviable or un-bankable. The programme intends to boost private investments, enhance cross border power trading, and expand regional integration by accelerating the resolution of technical, legal, regulatory, financial, procurement, environmental and social issues for large-scale projects in Africa.

Among the Bank’s recommendations is the development of a Power Infrastructure Project Evaluation (PIPE) tool kit to be used in screening and prioritizing potential projects for possible technical assistance and funding support. It also recommended the establishment of regional power infrastructure project acceleration units (RPAUs).

“To overcome the diverse constraints in Africa’s power sector, the African Development Bank launched the Regional and sub-Regional Power Project Acceleration Programme. It provides incentives for development finance institutions to mobilise financing for the power sector through regional and sub-regional connectivity”, said Angela Nalikka, the Bank’s Manager for National and Regional Power Systems.

“We want to facilitate the bankability of selected high priority regional power projects and mobilize financing through the development of innovative regional infrastructure funding concepts for the Bank, and other development finance institutions”, Nalikka added.

In 2018, Africa Energy Ministers directed AUDA-NEPAD to champion the development of a Continental Transmission Masterplan together with other partners on the continent.  The Master Plan will inform some of the energy projects under the PIDA Priority Action Plan 2 (2021-2030).

The Regional and Sub-regional Project Acceleration Program (RSPAP) study report is aligned with the Bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa which aspires to add 160GW of power generation capacity to contribute to universal energy access in the continent by 2030. The report is to be integrated into the Continental Power System Master Plan, where the developed Power Infrastructure Project Evaluation (PIPE) tool Kit and innovative financing mechanisms will be applied.

*AFDB

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COP 25: ‘Africa’s future depends on solidarity’ Leaders and development partners rally around climate change goals
December 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

There was standing room only as ministers, diplomats, activists and journalists gathered at the IFEMA conference centre in Madrid to mark Africa Day at the COP 25 climate meeting.

Speakers called for a united front to tackle the challenges of climate change in Africa.

In the opening statement for Africa Day on Tuesday, Yasmin Fouad, Egypt’s Minister of Environmental Affairs, on behalf of the African Union, said: “We have, and will continue to engage and to seek landing grounds on the outstanding issues. But we must flag our concern at the apparent reluctance by our interlocutors to engage on issues of priority to developing countries, as evidenced by the large number of such issues which have simply been pushed from session to session without any progress.”

Africa contributes the least to global warming emissions yet is the continent most vulnerable to climate change, as witnessed by devastating natural disasters recently. Africa Day has been held at the conference every year since COP 17 in 2011 to rally support for the continent’s cause.

“The climate disaster issues confronting the continent demand a predictable and unified response,” said UN ASG Mohamed Beavogui, Director General of African Risk Capacity, an agency of the African Union that helps governments respond to natural disasters.

“Africa needs to move towards market-based innovative financing models to achieve a strong, united, resilient and globally influential continent. The future of Africa depends on solidarity.”

Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), said the ECA would support African countries to revise their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to attract private sector investments in clean energy.

“The lack of concerted and meaningful global ambition and action to tackle climate change poses an existential threat to African populations,” Songwe said.

The Paris Agreement is the guiding force of current climate negotiations. It calls on nations to curb temperature increases at 2°C by the end of this century, while attempting to contain rises within 1.5°C. The next step is to implement NDCs, which set out national targets under the Paris Agreement.

While African countries outlined bold aspirations to build climate resilient and low-carbon economies in their NDCs, the continent’s position is that it should not be treated the same as developed nations as its carbon emissions constitute a fraction of the world’s big economies.

“The African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) remains committed to partnering with other institutions in providing the requisite support to AU member states in reviewing and updating their NDCs,” said Estherine Fotabong, Director of Programmes at AUDA-NEPAD.

Barbara Creecy, South Africa’s Environment Minister and current chair of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, said the Africa Day event should come up with new ideas to enhance the implementation of NDCs in Africa.

Africa is already responding positively to the challenge of climate change, said Anthony Nyong, Director for Climate Change and Green Growth at the African Development Bank, citing huge investment interest in renewables at the Bank’s Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg.

“Clearly, we are a continent that has what it takes to create the Africa that we want to see happen. I believe what has been the missing link is the ability to brand right and to act on the market signals,” Nyong said. “We continue to present Africa as a vulnerable case and not as a business case with opportunities. In fact, where we have attempted the latter, the results have been spot-on.”

Chief Fortune Charumbira, Vice President of the Pan-African Parliament, said robust climate legislation was key.

“The world’s response to the challenge has shown that legislation is imperative to cement efforts employed by various stakeholders; from the Paris Agreement to Nationally Determined Contributions,” he said.

Amb. Josefa Sacko, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union Commission, said climate change affected sectors key to Africa’s socio-economic development, such as agriculture, livestock and fisheries, energy, biodiversity and tourism. She called on African countries to take stock of the Paris Agreement, and its implementation around finance capacity building and technology.

*AFDB

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Development institutions present digital guide to help African countries fast-track SDGs, Paris Agreement and AU’s Agenda 2063 implementation
December 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

Three leading development partners have presented a digital application at the COP 25 climate conference in Madrid to help African countries grappling with the simultaneous implementation of key global initiatives.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), African Development Bank Group, and the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD) on Tuesday unveiled the Guide for Integrated Planning in Africa.

The guide will help  mainstream the Sustainable Development Goals, AU Agenda 2063the Paris Agreement on Climate Change/Nationally Determined Contributionsthe Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and The New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States into African countries’ national development plans. The step-by-step guide provides African planners with a new generation of national development strategic and operational plans that mainstream these global initiatives.

Aliou Dia, UNDP Resident Representative in Togo, called the guide a welcome addition. The new guide “will help governments in the continent to accelerate the delivery of the SDGs in the decade of implementation; it will also support the implementation of UNDP’s Climate Promise whichs help countries revise and submit enhanced NDCs by 2020, and reflect them into their new national development plans,” he said.

“Good planning tools enable us to streamline our work; better planning facilitates efficient resource allocation and effective delivery. We are committed to working with Regional Member Countries to mainstream the global development agendas in the national development plans with the ultimate goal of ending poverty, generating jobs for youth and protecting the planet,” said Anthony Nyong, Director for Climate Change and Green Growth at the African Development Bank Group.

Estherine Fotabong, Director of Programme Innovation and Planning at the African Union Development Agency, said: “The Guide supports our vision to harness knowledge to deliver the Africa we want, fostering the development of the continent through effective and integrated planning, coordination and implementation of Agenda 2063 with Member States, Regional Economic Communities and Pan-African institutions, by leveraging partnerships and technical cooperation.”

The Guide for Integrated Planning in Africa will be available as a digital application, and in handbook format. The digital application will make it easier for African planners to search for and apply tools for developing a new generation of national development plans. Additional features include interactive pages that allow planners to apply tools directly on the online platform and deliver outputs, such as results frameworks or the theory of change.

*AFDB

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Senegal: African Development Bank lends €62.8 million to help create 150,000 jobs for women and young people
December 13, 2019 | 0 Comments
Adam Amoumoun, Acting Country Manager for Senegal
Adam Amoumoun, Acting Country Manager for Senegal

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank approved a €62.83 million loan to the Government of Senegal for implementation of the first phase of a project aimed at providing jobs for 150,000 women and youth.

Funding for the Project to Support and Enhance Women’s and Young People’s Entrepreneurial Initiatives (PAVIE I), is composed of a €14 million loan from the African Development Fund and a €48.83 million loan from the African Development Bank.

“PAVIE is intended to support the Government of Senegal’s efforts to implement the Plan for Safeguarding Jobs (PSE) to create decent work for young people and women, through the promotion of entrepreneurship,” explained Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbadé, the Bank’s General Manager for West Africa.

PAVIE was designed as a demand-driven approach to be implemented in coordination with the private sector, banks and microfinance institutions. The project will finance businesses and entrepreneurial initiatives by women and young people throughout Senegal, offering them technical support for their business plans and business management.

Serge N’Guessan, The Bank’s Deputy General Manager for West Africa, added, “Given the encouraging and promising results already achieved, the Rapid Entrepreneurship Delegation (DER) is well worth supporting. The Bank’s action will help to strengthen the DER approach based on structuring agricultural and artisanal value chains to create a multiplier effect on employment and the digital transformation of the companies it supports, to further increase their productivity and competitiveness.”

The project is expected to finance over 14,000 entrepreneurial initiatives and generate or consolidate some 65,000 direct and 89,000 indirect jobs. Of these, 60% will be dedicated to women. In addition, more than 27,000 entrepreneurs, including 15,000 women, will receive training and 2200 enterprises will have the benefit of support for their digital transformation, while a further 3500 (50% of which are headed by women) will have support for their move from the informal to the formal economy.

Adam Amoumoun, Acting Country Manager for Senegal, said, “This project is planned to be an effective and innovative response to the challenge of finding work for young people and women in Senegal which, like every African country facing the employment challenge, is seeking a sustainable and lasting solution.”

The Bank’s active portfolio in Senegal comprises 32 operations with a commitment of around €1.84 billion, or 1205 billion CFA francs. It is composed of projects in the national public sector, regional projects, and operations financed by the private sector.

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ADF-15 replenishment: Donors commit $7.6 billion, a 32% boost from last replenishment, in support of Africa’s low-income, fragile, countries
December 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

Donors of the African Development Fund (ADF) on Thursday agreed to commit $7.6 billion to speed up growth in Africa’s poorest nations and help lift millions out of poverty.

This fifteenth replenishment of the ADF (ADF-15), up 32% from the previous cycle, sends a strong signal of trust in the Fund, which is the concessional window of the African Development Bank Group.

The Fund comprises 32 contributing states and benefits 37 countries – including those experiencing higher growth rates, headed towards new emerging markets, and fragile states needing special support for basic service delivery. The Fund’s resources are replenished every three years.

ADF-15 will support Africa’s most vulnerable countries by tackling the root causes of fragility, strengthening resilience, and mainstreaming cross-cutting issues. These include gender, climate change, governance, private sector development, and decent job creation.

What a great pledge we’ve achieved with your support… Together we’ve exceeded the target set for this replenishment. What a great and successful replenishment story that is, “said Akinwumi AdesinaPresident of the African Development Bank.

Over the past 45 years, the ADF has played an important role in the development journey of African low-income countries.

In just nine years, the ADF has made a difference and positively impacted the lives of millions by:

  • Improving access to electricity for 10.9 million people;
  • Providing agriculture infrastructure and inputs for 90 million people—including 43 million women;
  • Improving access to markets and connections between countries to 66.6 million people;
  • Contributing to the continent’s regional integration agenda by rehabilitating more than 2,300 km of cross-border roads;
  • Improving access to water and sanitation for 35.8 million people.

ADF-15 covers the period 2020-2022 and will build on successes of the fourteenth replenishment by being more selective and focused.

ADF-15 will focus on two Strategic Pillars: quality and sustainable infrastructure aimed at strengthening regional integration; and human governance and institutional capacity development for increased decent job creation and inclusive growth.

In pursuing these strategic priorities, ADF-15 will pay special attention to gender equality, climate change, private sector, and good governance promotion.

In his closing remarks, Patrick Dlamini CEO of the Development Bank of Southern Africa, DBSA, who spoke on behalf of South Africa’s Finance minister Tito Mboweni, said the deliberations and outcome demonstrated the confidence member countries place in the African Development Bank Group as “the cornerstone institution underpinning African development.”

“There is no better vehicle than the ADF,” he said. “Going forward, an ambitious programme of development lies ahead.”

ADF-15 will address root causes of vulnerability by systematically applying a fragility lens in all its operations. This will be specifically targeted at regions such as the Sahel, which will see a 65% increase in resources from the ADF over the next three-year period.

ADF-15 comes at a time of tremendous opportunities and challenges for ADF countries and the world.

During the next three years, the Fund will scale up its interventions with bold and profoundly transformative projects such as Desert to Power stretching across the Sahel region. This flagship programme, aims at transforming the Sahel into the world’s largest solar production zone with up to 10,000 MW of solar generation capacity and 250 million people connected to electricity.

As part of the initiative, the Yeleen Rural Electrification Project in Burkina Faso is set to provide access to electricity to 150,000 households, while the Djermaya Project in Chad will generate 10% of Chad’s power capacity.

“You will see a new spring in our step…we will be bold and decisive. We will stretch ourselves, and we will do more with your support,” Adesina said.

Editor’s note: In a Dec. 5 issue of this press release, paragraph 13 incorrectly had the figure 23%,  instead  of 65%

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African Development Bank and African Union to roll-out a continent-wide electricity market Masterplan
December 13, 2019 | 0 Comments
Professor Mosad Elmissiry, a Senior Energy Advisor to AUDA-NEPAD’s CEO

The African Development Bank and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) have agreed to jointly develop a blueprint for a pan-continental electricity network and market.

The agreement to set up a Continental Power System Master Plan between the Bank and AUDA-NEPAD was unveiled, on November 29th, during a three-day workshop on the sidelines of Programme for Infrastructure Development (PIDA) Week held in Cairo. The workshop also produced the Masterplan’s terms of reference.

“The Continental Power System Master Plan will ensure that competitive electricity markets are developed at regional and continental levels, creating unique opportunities to optimally utilize Africa’s vast energy resources for the benefit of Africa,” said Professor Mosad Elmissiry, a Senior Energy Advisor to AUDA-NEPAD’s CEO.

The workshop was aimed at advancing the launch of an Integrated Continental Transmission Network (ICTN) to link national power utilities into regional power pools and, ultimately, into a continent-wide transmission network. Plans also include setting up a market for electricity trading.

The Masterplan also will inform the energy component of a PIDA Action Plan, which focuses on key regional integration projects.

Development of a unified electricity transmission network and market for electricity trading are viewed as a critical priority to improve the lives of people across the continent.

“Most state-owned electric utilities in Africa today are unable to secure the financial resources needed to implement required segments of regional interconnectors and associated national feeder lines,” said Angela Nalikka, the Bank’s manager for National and Regional Power Systems, to explain the impetus for the partnership. “The Bank plans to encourage private sector participation in transmission projects in the continent.”

*Source AFDB

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Up to This Generation to Get it Right on Climate Change- Commonwealth SG Patricia Scotland
December 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

The consequences of inaction on climate change are now really clear and unfolding right before our eyes, says Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland

There is nowhere that the common wealth will not go, no one to whom the Commonwealth would not speak to, and  no action that we are not prepared to take, if it will faithfully respond to the needs of our countries when it comes to fighting climate change , says Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland.

In Madrid where she is leading a delegation to the UN Climate Change Conference, COP25, the Right Honorable Patricia Scotland says there is no barrier that the Commonwealth is  not prepared to lawfully cross, in order to help member states, and others navigate the serious challenge that climate change is.

“Our generation is the first generation to really understand the enormity of the challenge that climate poses to us, the tragedy for us is we may be the first to understand it, but we will be, and we are the last generation on this planet who can do something about it,” the Secretary General said in a skype and phone interview with Pan African Visions.

With a membership of 53 independent countries, and home to a population of 2.4 billion people, living in advanced economies, and developing countries, the Commonwealth has taken a leadership role in the fight against climate change. Citing examples of some of the initiatives spearheaded by the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland spoke at length on the Commonwealth Finance Access Hub, the growing momentum of the Blue charter, and  the CommonSensing project that that adds satellites to the tools available to fight climate change.

At the Commonwealth, it is not just about talk but been proactive in the quest and implementation of innovative solutions that meet specific and shared needs of its member states, said Patricia Scotland in the interview.

You are in Madrid for the 2019 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. How is the forum going?

Rt Hon Patricia Scotland: Well, you know it is an incredibly important moment for the world. Right now, the IPCC responsible for writing the reports have been able to alert us to the emergency right now in our face,and are asking us for greater effort. they believe that we will have to go 5 times faster if we are are going to meet the needs of the world in terms of global warming, and keeping down the emissions to try and avoid some of the disasters that they anticipate would continue to happen if we don’t take collective global action to bring down the heat that is being generated by our planet.

 What message is the Commonwealth bringing to the forum and what proposals are you bringing to the table to fight climate change?

Rt Hon Patricia Scotland: Well, the consequences of inaction on climate change are now really clear, and it is not an issue for the distant future; this is an issue which is unfolding right before our eyes at this very moment. Just weeks ago, we witnessed the fateful disasters that took place in Kenya, when there were landslides. Indeed, in our Commonwealth, India and Bangladesh, there was Cyclone Bulbul and there was traumatic and drastic flooding in the United Kingdom, so this is global. And what we are seeing is the need to take new action, not just a need to take drastic action, on the emissions I spoke about just a moment ago, especially from the industrialized nations, but all Commonwealth countries really need to play their part in delivering the commitments made under the Paris Agreement.

But we in the Commonwealth have been listening really carefully to what our countries need. Many of our small and developing countries say, we have suffered the disasters, we have suffered the consequences of climate change, although we have made virtually no contribution to creating the disaster. And as you will know, the global community have come together to create the Green Climate Fund to enable such countries to make applications but many of them simply have not been able to do so.

And so listening to that need, the Commonwealth in 2015, at the Commonwealth executive meeting in Malta, decided that we would try to improve on more Commonwealth climate finance access help, that would basically [assist]Commonwealth states to device the support they need to make the applications, but also once they shape projects, it will help them to know how they get them delivered too, because change has to happen and it has to happen quickly.

So, this climate finance access hub has already placed advisers in 3 of our African Commonwealth countries, that is, in Eswatini, Mauritius, and Namibia, but we are also looking very shortly to place climate finance advisers in Kenya, Lesotho and Seychelles.

At the moment, with a relatively small amount of money. We have already been able to deliver 28.9 million dollars to our member states, but we have almost 500 million dollars’ worth of projects in the pipeline. Now, these projects aren’t just something which is good to have. These are projects which will materially impact and help our countries to adapt, and to mitigate to the climate change to which they would have been subject to, without having had much opportunity to change what is happening, so it is incredibly important.

And in addition, we have created the Commonwealth Blue Charter to help us better manage, and to respond to the things we need to do to help keep our oceans alive and vibrant. You will know that 46 countries in the Commonwealth are ocean states, and 3 countries are faced with great lakes. Now, this is something which is incredibly important therefore for our Commonwealth, and since 1989, we have been working hard in the Commonwealth, to raise this issue of climate change, because in 1989, in Langkawi, in Malaysia, the Commonwealth 53 countries, there were 2.4 billion people in our Commonwealth, 60% of them are under the age of 30. And in 1989, we said, any delay in addressing this climate crisis would have a deleterious impact on our countries and for the small and many of the developing countries, it is an existential threat.

So many of our countries simply would not survive if it goes much more over the 1.1  that we now have. So, if you look at [the situation], even if we were to hit the global warming to 1.5 that would mean countries in the Caribbean, countries in the Pacific in particular, may no longer be with us. So, this is a real fight for our lives.  The Commonwealth Blue Charter has set out an action plan for what it can do together, and this is already working, and that’s something that we launched at the Commonwealth meeting last year in April 2018. And this year, we are looking at the Commonwealth disaster risk finance portal, what that is all about is that, many of the countries who find themselves responding to disasters, some of which we alluded to earlier, don’t have the money, don’t have the skill and understanding available to them immediately to know where do I go? Where do I get the money? Who do I turn to? So, what we looked at, the need: we are now creating the Commonwealth risk portal, it is like a one-stop shop, many African countries only knew about what they could apply for when a disaster hits them, or when they feel a disaster is about to hit them. And some of our countries who are extremely vulnerable, but may be middle income countries, they may be high income countries, but their vulnerability because of their size, because of their geographical location, is great, and those countries would not be able to get access to ODA, that’s the development assistance that they need because they do not comply with the rules, or they are basically not sufficiently impoverished to take advantage of them. Yet they are so vulnerable, and they have a terrible future.

So, what we have done is we have worked together with all the international agencies, and we pulled all the resources anyone has available for countries and we put them into a one-stop shop so that when a country is in need, when they are afraid, when they don’t know where to go, when they don’t know whom to ask, they can come to look at the disaster risk finance portal and they will have in one-stop, an understanding of what may be available to them.

And the last thing we are doing is the CommonSensing Project and I say the last because it is the new thing that we are doing.  We are continuing other things that we have done in terms of climate finance and mobilizing the management law, the use of sustainable economic development, renewable energy, alternative development, that’s all the normal things we are doing. But this new thing, is the CommonSensing project, and CommonSensing is an innovative project based on partnership between Fiji, Solomon Islands ,and Vanuatu and a consortium of international partners in the Commonwealth secretariat, and the objective of CommonSensing is to support our countries to build resilience by developing satellite-based information services to enhance climate actions, and we believe that this satellite technologies will save them and are really going to help us to tackle climate and support risk disaster management, especially when it is combined with the applications such as the geographic information system for detailed analysis, for example, we are looking at how we manage land, and you will know that in Africa, one of the really painful issues is desertification, drought and water management.

While many people talk about the storms and cyclones and damage caused by hurricanes, the silent killer, the one that doesn’t get mentioned often, that doesn’t get the headlines is what is happening on drought, what happens to lack of water, and what is happening to desertification. And in relation to that matter, Namibia has agreed to be our standard bearer on desertification. To lead this is something that we have to look at, and right now we will be talking about how we put together something equivalent to that which we put together for oceans in our Blue Charter. Now, we need to do something equivalent for land, for desertification, for water management and for holistic improvement and this CommonSensing is an opportunity to use satellite to see what’s happening globally and to move quickly before disaster strikes is going to be a really creative and important issue for us.

 The project is funded by the UK space agencies, international partnership program and implemented in partnership with United Nations Institute for training and research ,and also ourselves at the Commonwealth secretariat and various other agencies, including the satellite applications catapult, the UK Met office, and some universities.

You can see that it is a consortium of people, institutions, nations that is coming together to see what we can do. So the Commonwealth is important in this area, because we are really listening to what our members are telling us and we are trying to come up with solutions to help us. Human genius got us into this mess and human genius will have to get us out again.

Meeting with Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Ibrahim Thiaw  on the sidelines of Cop25  The Commonwealth  is taking the threat of  desertification head on with Namibia as the standard bearer .Photo credit twitter
Meeting with Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Ibrahim Thiaw on the sidelines of Cop25 The Commonwealth is taking the threat of desertification head on with Namibia as the standard bearer .Photo credit twitter

Thank you, Madam Secretary. Now, how do you strike a balance between the expectations, approach or positions of the Commonwealth as a body, and the challenges and priorities of your independent members when it comes to fighting climate change?

Rt Hon Patricia Scotland: Well, I think one of the things that has really been so good about our Commonwealth family is that all of us, all 53 of us, with no exceptions, are committed to climate change. Now, we demonstrated this  at CHOGM in 2015, in Malta, when we, the Commonwealth, were the first to say that we should have an international enforceable agreement. We were the first to say that we should try to keep emissions down to 2 degrees if we can, but that we should have an aspiration or target of at least 1.5 degrees, that we should not allow the Greenhouse emissions to get close to global warming to more than 2 degrees of the pre-industrialized standard.

But that is a challenge and we have been pushing, so the great thing about it is that that’s where we were in 2015, in November, and that’s what the rest of the world agreed to in Paris, in December; that was in 2015, 4 years ago. But what has happened in the last 4 years is we needed to not just talk, we have to act and deliver, we have to do, we have to commit and we have to bring changes, and the thing behind being lighted up are basically put in effort when it matters, and so moving forward, we are moving forward together on this agreement, we are making changes about how we do business, how we live, to make sure that we are moving towards a more sustainable path.

So, this is why as I described to you, we set up Commonwealth climate finance access in 2016 when I became secretary general of the Commonwealth and it is why we put so much energy into creating the hub which is in Mauritius and we are also grateful for the grants we have got from Australia ,the UK now, together they have only 1.5 million, but look at what we have done with 1.5 million to have 28.9 million already delivered, so you got a  30 fold increase as a result of the relatively small investment and the fact that we have got almost 500 million more projects in the pipeline, I think is really impressive.

But we need to do more, we need to do so much more if we are to go as fast as we need to go to meet the new targets, because nature is not waiting for us.

Countries, especially in Africa and some in Asia that you mentioned earlier, the complain is that they don’t have enough resources and they clearly lack the capacity to adequately respond to climate change issues, how far is the Commonwealth willing to go, to support these countries step up the fight?

Rt Hon Patricia Scotland: We are absolutely delighted to help our members, and that is why we have created the Commonwealth climate finance hub, that is why we are developing the disaster portal that I told you about, that is why we are doing the CommonSensing, and that is why we created the Blue Charter for action. And that is why we are now going to be looking at creating something similar to the Blue Charter for land, for land degradation, for desertification, for draught in order to help our countries better manage water, and also therefore, to respond to their needs, because a number of our countries have indicated that they are thrilled by what we have done in relation to the oceans, and how we are responding with the Blue Charter, but you know, quite naturally, they are saying, what about us? What about those of us who are dying? Not because of a side cliff, not because of a hurricane, not because of a tsunami, what about those of us who are dying from desertification? Getting poorer because our land is degenerating and being degraded and because our cattle have nowhere to graze, what about us?

So, we are listening to that, and right now, as we speak, we are putting together something which will respond to those issues in the same way as the Blue Charter is responding to oceans, the oceans are 70% of our whole planet, but land and oceans go together and we have to look at how we manage both if we are to regenerate our world, so there is nowhere that the common wealth will not go, no one to whom the Commonwealth would not speak, no action that we are not prepared to take if it will faithfully respond to the needs of our countries, we know this is urgent, there is no more time to waste, this generation; our generation are the first generation to really understand the enormity of the challenge the climate poses to us, the tragedy for us is we may be the first to understand it, but we will be, and we are the last generation on this planet who can do something about it.

That puts a heavy responsibility on us, and it actually puts a heavy responsibility on the industrialized North to help to make sure that the embattled South who have been the recipients of this trauma, but who have contributed to it least, it is now our time to make sure that all the help and assistance is given to our countries who are in need, and of course, Africa, in the South is suffering greatly and we are determined to respond.

Just to give you some of the data, drought and desertification threatens the livelihood of more than 1.2 billion people in 110 countries, but the problem is particularly acute in Sub-Saharan Africa, and Southern Asia. So, out of the countries substantially affected by land degradation, 36 are situated in Africa and you have to know that there are only 19 African countries in our Commonwealth, maybe soon to be 20. So, this is a big issue for every single African country, so all of our Commonwealth African countries have submitted their national and voluntary land degradation neutrality target, the UNCCD land degradation neutrality are setting targets, setting programs, they have all set those baselines and developing targets, and support could be extended to achieve these targets and this is one of the things that the Commonwealth secretariat is looking at, how can we support member countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, develop the road map for achieving the national target set to the countries, and build institutional capacities and access climate finance through the Commonwealth finance access route.

So, as you can see, there is no barrier that we are not prepared to lawfully cross, if we can, in order to help our members to get to where they need to be.

We have created the Commonwealth Blue Charter to help us better manage ,and to respond to the things we need to do to help keep our oceans alive and vibrant says the Commonwealth SG
We have created the Commonwealth Blue Charter to help us better manage ,and to respond to the things we need to do to help keep our oceans alive and vibrant, says the Commonwealth SG

Madam Secretary, in the course of the year, member countries of the Commonwealth in Africa like Malawi and Mozambique were severely battered by storm, by the cyclones, what specific support did the Commonwealth provide for them to help with recovery?

Rt Hon Patricia Scotland: The Commonwealth as an organization does not have a mandate or capacity to provide humanitarian assistance when such disasters occur. However, we are able to urge and rally support from those who can, and this is what we did. Our interventions happen in the preparedness stage, that is, in building resilience before a disaster strikes. We are working as I mentioned to you, on the disaster risk finance portal which will serve as a one-stop shop for streamlining access to the numerous financing tools already available. It includes guidance on navigating the complex funding processes and broad range providers, each with different eligibility and access criteria and challenging terms and conditions.

But in addition, we reached out to charities and other nations, and other countries. For example, as a result of our efforts, we teamed up with Team Rubicon, who are authorized to go the last mile, and they did an amazing job in Mozambique, rescuing people, helping set up hospitals, helping to change, and they met and managed thousands of people and helped them. So, that’s something that we can do, we are facilitators, we are procurers, we are able to network with our countries, so even if we do not have the resources, we try to find others who have and support them to deliver better support.

Critics say a lot of the large forums are often full of much talk and very little action. How would you define a successful participation for you .and the Commonwealth at the ongoing United Nation Climate Change Conference in Madrid?

Rt Hon Patricia Scotland: Well, as you have seen through  this discussion, we are all action and little talk, so when we come forward, we do a lot of listening to what our members say they need and what they want for themselves, and we then make contact with those who could network with us, to provide the solutions. So the negotiations on Cop25 are very important, they can be very technical where delegates seem to be talking about the same issues, but it is not easy, we have to get an agreement between 190 countries and we have to get them to agree, nobody believed that that was possible, but we did it, in Paris in 2015, and we are trying to do it now, to get to an agreement.

Now, there are few key issues of concern for Commonwealth countries at this Cop 25, and this Cop is the first Blue-Green Cop there has even been.  Article 6 of the Paris agreement that is aimed at voluntary, cooperative approaches between parties in the implementation of their national commitments. This article of the Paris agreement remained a contentious issue at the previous Cop24 in Poland, and countries could not reach an agreement on its implementation. Here, we are going to try really hard this year to try and get to an agreement on article 6.  That’s going to be high on the agenda at Cop25, this Cop, in Madrid. We also want higher climate ambitions, next year is the next round to accept the national determined contributions for climate change. We know that we have to do more. The current national determined contributions as they stand, do not put the world on track to limiting temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees. So, if we stay where we are now, we know we are doomed to failure. However, there is a need to agree on what type of information to be included, how are we going to account? What is the time frame and what are we going to do? So, that is the next issue.

The third issue is climate finance and we have spoken about that already. There have been some new pledges raising the replenishment total beyond 7.4 billion dollars, but there are problems about how that money is going to be distributed. Therefore, that’s why we are promoting our Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub as a vehicle for our countries to be able to tap into that money from the climate financing that is being made available.

And the last area is oceans. As I have mentioned, the ocean covers 70% of the earth, and absorbs 90% of the emission, but there is a critical blue gap between climate ambitions and ocean action. Less than 1% of all philanthropic funding goes towards marine conservation and sustainability, while large international funds established for climate action appear reluctant to support work on the ocean. So, the Commonwealth is seeking to address this through the Blue Charter action groups, but also what we are trying to do is to create a Blue Charter action fund to help with the implementation of these matters so that we won’t just be talking and talking, we actually will be doing and doing.

We are really excited about the CHOGM which is going to happen in Rwanda next year ,says  the Secretary General .
We are really excited about the CHOGM which is going to happen in Rwanda next year ,says the Secretary General .Photo credit twitter

 And we end with a  the word on the  Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting coming back to Africa in 2020, and specifically Rwanda, how are the preparations going and what are some of the broad themes expected to be in the discussion?

Rt Hon Patricia Scotland: Well, we are really excited about the Commonwealth heads of government meeting, which is going to happen in Rwanda, in Kigali. The theme of the meeting is ‘Delivering a Common Future; Connecting, Innovating, Transforming’. And there are 5 sub-themes which have been identified for discussion, and that is governance and the rule of law, ICT and innovation, youth empowerment and trade. And we are building on the progress that we made in London, in 2018. Leaders are expected to discuss the contemporary Commonwealth and how we can transform our societies in accordance with Commonwealth values of democracy, multilateralism, sustainable development and empowerment of women and our youth.

So, these are very exciting topics, as I mentioned, 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. I think now we are going to go to Rwanda, and Rwanda is the youngest member of our family.  So that is also innovative and new.

Madam Secretary, thank you so much for talking to Pan African Visions.

Rt Hon Patricia Scotland: Thank you very much for speaking with me and I hope you have a good and blessed Christmas.

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Pouring Fuel on Fire:Cameroon’s Controversial Bilingualism Bill Adopted
December 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

By By Boris Esono Nwenfor

-Ruling Party MP’s from English Speaking Region voted against it

-We intend to fight that law — Enow Benjamin, FAKLA President

Barrister Enow Benjamin Agbor -FAKLA president
Barrister Enow Benjamin Agbor -FAKLA president

Cameroon’s controversial bilingualism bill (promotion of official languages in Cameroon) has been adopted by parliamentarians under very mischievous circumstances. There was an outcry from lawyers who said the bill will make it possible for the French language to be the dormant language in two English-speaking regions of Cameroon.

The lawyers threatened to go on strike if such a bill is not scrapped. Their cry seemed to have been listened to by the parliamentarians who many refer to as simply “hand clappers, ” decided to stop discussions on the bill. Surprisingly, when many were jubilating that they have succeeded in quashing the bill, it emerged late Tuesday, December 10, that the bill has been passed.

All Anglophone SDF, CPDM MPs voted against adoption of the bill that reports say will lead to French being used in courts across the Anglophone regions to try to deliver verdicts on cases before the judges — Francophone judges make up more than 50 percent in the North West and South West Regions.

Speaking to Barrister Enow Benjamin, President of Fako Lawyers Association (FAKLA) he said, “It is a law that is designed to dissociate our common law system. It is a law that has with all intent and purposes the intention to scrap the English language from our society. I can only reiterate that we are going to resist it.”

“It is a law that says people may be tried in French and judgment rendered in French, and for an English-speaking people some of whom are illiterates, you can’t even think about it. What is the mischief that the law seeks to solve? What is the difficulty? — We have always cried that one of the problems that led to this present crisis and the war is because we tried to introduce French into our court systems, and we protested for good reason. Justice is supposed to be done within the community in a language that they understand,” He questioned.

“If the intent is to make sure that they take care of everybody, it is that state’s duty to get translators — competent ones. Otherwise, in our region here English is the official language and if people who are French speaking, and in this region, they provide translators to them and not that you cause English-speaking Cameroonians to become French-speaking Cameroonians. We will not accept it.”

FAKLA had earlier put out a communique denouncing such a bill while calling on Cameroonians to rise and stand against such law. To Barrister Enow Benjamin, they plan to maintain that call for people to rise. “What we are saying is that we will resist it (Bilingualism law). It is not a day’s event, but it is a process, and we are going to seize the presidency. They pretend that they have adopted that law, but we are confident that the President will not promulgate it into law and even if he does, we will fight it,” He said.  

To the parliamentarians who passed the bill, the FAKLA President said, “They (MPs) are supposed to be there to serve the population and in trying to do that you must take everybody into consideration and the greater good should be considered.” “If they think that they sidelined us they are only exacerbating the problem ongoing. We will never accept to speak French in this region (NOSO).”

It is yet to be seen if President Paul Biya will promulgate the bill into law. With the crisis ongoing in the Anglophone regions many say such a law only adds fire to those wanting secession. The crisis has led to thousands of people killed, others beaten, kidnapped, some internally displaced while others are refugees in neighboring Nigeria.

One of the underlying causes of the crisis now is that of language. The English language in Cameroon is seen as a second class language while that of French is seen as superior. Even the Head of state has difficulty speaking the English language — preferring to speak in French at major gatherings even in a gathering of Commonwealth leaders (English-speaking countries).

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