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Kenyan airports receive Level one Mapping accreditation
June 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

KAA Acting MD Alex Gitari

Three Kenyan airports have joined the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, announced Kenya Airports Authority (KAA).

On Monday, June 14, the authority said Jomo Kenyatta, Moi, Kisumu, and Eldoret International Airports have become the first airports in East and Central Africa to achieve Level one Mapping accreditation.

Airports Council International issued the accreditation. The Airport Carbon Accreditation programme is a global carbon management programme for airports.

“Reducing the effects of our operations on the environment is an important goal for us. It is our responsibility to future generations to engage in efforts that counter climate change. This accreditation is an important step in the right direction for our main airports, as the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme provides a framework to optimize and, eventually, minimize emissions,” said KAA Acting MD Alex Gitari.

The programme recognizes the efforts of airports to manage and reduce their carbon emissions through six levels of certification: ‘Mapping’, ‘Reduction’, ‘Optimization’, ‘Neutrality’, ‘Transformation’ and ‘Transition’.

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G7 Development Finance Institutions and multilateral partners to invest over $80 billion into African businesses over the next five years .
June 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

The G7 DFIs, the IFC, the private sector arm of the African Development Bank, EBRD and the European Investment Bank today announced that they were committed to investing $80 billion in the private sector over the next five years to support sustainable economic recovery and growth in Africa.

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a severe global economic and health crisis. The announcement is a welcome boost to support the long-term development objectives of African economies that have been negatively impacted by the crisis. It is the first time the G7 DFIs have come together to make a collective partnership commitment to the African continent.

The IMF estimates that sub-Saharan Africa needs additional financing of around $425 billion between now and 2025 to help strengthen the pandemic response spending and reduce poverty in the region.

The UK Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, said: “The UK is proud to back this commitment by world leaders at the G7 Summit to invest more than $80 billion in Africa’s private sector over the next 5 years.

“This investment will create jobs, boost economic growth, help tackle climate change and fight poverty. It comes at a crucial time as the continent rebuilds its economies, severely impacted by Covid-19.”

Nick O’Donohoe, the CEO of CDC Group, said: “The patient, high quality capital that DFIs provide is urgently needed if African economies are to start to rebuild quickly from the impact of the pandemic. CDC is committed to building long term investment partnerships in Africa that fuel sustainable private sector growth in support of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank, said: “The EIB welcomes G7 leadership to enhance support for high-impact investment across Africa during and after the pandemic. Last year the EU Bank’s engagement in Africa, as part of Team Europe, represented the largest ever support for climate action and investment in fragile states in 55 years of EIB operations on the continent. We stand ready to cooperate further with African and multilateral partners to tackle both COVID-19 and accelerate the green transition in Africa.”

Makhtar Diop, IFC’s Managing Director, said: “Ensuring an inclusive and sustainable recovery for people, businesses and economies across Africa in coordination with our development partners, is at the core of IFC’s development mandate today. We know that the private sector will play a major role in financing Africa’s future by creating millions of jobs that are essential to ensuring sustained economic growth and poverty reduction. We therefore welcome this important partnership and are proud to provide financing and to work with partners to help create the right conditions to bring more private investment to Africa.”

David Marchick, Chief Operating Officer of U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), said: “Under President Biden’s leadership, investing more in Africa is a top priority for DFC in fulfilling our development mandate. DFC is proud to be doubling down on our commitment to Africa alongside our G7 and multilateral partners and will continue to prioritize investments in vaccine manufacturing, COVID-19 response, climate mitigation and adaptation, and gender equity on the African continent.” 

Dario Scannapieco, Chief Executive Officer of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), said: “Closer collaboration among Development Finance Institutions and multilateral partners is an essential factor in fostering sustainable economic recovery and growth in Africa. CDP looks forward to contributing to this strategic partnership, supporting the African continent in developing its entrepreneurial and financial private sector, to unlock its vast, untapped potential.”

Solomon Quaynor, African Development Bank VP, Private Sector, Infrastructure & Industrialization said: “We welcome this global partnership and the opportunity to provide the African voice, as Africa builds back better and boldly.  The opportunity to create jobs particularly for youth and women, from a focus on industrializing Africa underpinned by the African Continental Free Trade Area, will be our priority. Given the gap between the IMF estimates and what this partnership is committing to, we will seek to crowd-in African development partners, as well as African savings from SWFs, pensions, and insurance pools, estimated to have US$1.8 trillion AUM.”

Heike Harmgart, EBRD Managing Director, Southern & Eastern Mediterranean, said: “Harnessing the potential of the private sector is essential to supporting prosperity in Africa and meeting the continent’s development needs. In the North African countries where we work – Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia – we have invested over €11.5 billion in only 9 years, focused on boosting the private sector, developing green sustainable infrastructure and promoting youth and women participation in the economy. We will pursue our efforts to expand private sector investment opportunities at scale in the region in close cooperation with other development actors.”

Monika Beck, member of the DEG-Management Board, said: „Many of our African partner countries have been hit hard by the pandemic. We quickly developed new services to support private sector SME and to help protecting jobs and livelihoods. In Africa, DEG has always been specifically committed to creating prospects for the young, growing population. In addition to the continuing massive impact of Covid-19 we expect a further acceleration of the challenges connected to developments such as digitization and climate change. Therefore DEG welcomes and is proud to be part of the G7 DFI Africa initiative”.

Each DFI has its own investment criteria which are aligned to an assessment of need to achieve development impact across a range of sectors. DFIs play an important role in helping to build markets, mitigate risk and pave the way for other investors to enter new markets.

The G7 DFI group consists of CDCProparco (France), JICA and JBIC (Japan), DFC (US), FinDev Canada (Canada), DEG (Germany) and CDP (Italy). This commitment is also supported by the IFC, the Africa Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank

*AfDB

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Veld fires an issue of national concern in Zimbabwe.
June 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Zimbabwe’s environmental authorities and other concerned stakeholders are intensifying efforts to eradicate incidences of sporadic veld fires which are now reported to have become an issue of national concern given their wanton destructive nature, according to Mangaliso Ndhlovu, Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry at the recent 2021 national fire week launch, a few kilometres out of Harare.

 According to Ndhlovu, each year, the country loses over a million hectares of forests and grasslands depriving wildlife and livestock of pastures and leaving the country counting loses of property, crops and life.

 He said that the annual average burnt area from 2010 to 2020 was 1 million hectares.

  It is reported that an average of 60% of the total burnt area has been under the A1 and A2 resettlement areas established under the country’s land reform programme. 

  “Of the 18,000 A2 farmers, only about 400 have 99 year leases, which leases have specific clauses on environmental protection. This creates a possibility of massive information gap on the responsibilities of farmers in their properties,” Ndhlovu said.

 
 Every year, the second week of May in the country is set aside for education and awareness raising on the dangers associated with veld fires and  strategies for their prevention.

 It is added that statutorily, the veld fire season in Zimbabwe stretches from 31 July to 31 October each year.

 Ndhlovu said that what it basically means is that the veld fire season ends when the country receives the first effective rains to break the fire triangle, but the period has not differed significantly in reality despite the effects of climate change.

 According to the National Fire Management Strategy and Implementation Plan of 2006, the National Fire Week Launch is meant to raise awareness amongst communities on the need to prevent veld fires by undertaking pre-fire suppression measures such as fireguard construction, biomass reduction and early controlled burning.

 The theme for this 2021 national fire week commemorations is “Veld Fires and Food Security- Protect the harvest”, a theme with a focus towards revealing the nexus between veld fire management and sustaining food security. 

  “The country’s agricultural yield projection for the 2020/21 season indicates a bumper harvest, one of its kind in 37 years, which we should all celebrate and judiciously protect,” Ndhlovu said.

 He added that as the country celebrates the projection of a good national crop yield, citizens should be cognizant of the environmental factors which dominate   landscapes and it is not yet time to relax.   

 “We should therefore all work together to prevent catastrophic losses to our harvest from veld fires,” he said.

 The environment ministry says that it has already begun a comprehensive awareness programme with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement through their Agritex extension services.

  It is reported that every farmer is expected to construct their fireguard in compliance with the laws of our country.

 The minister added that over the past 10 years veld fires have led to over 100 fire related deaths.

 “This is too big a figure to ignore. No life should be lost to veld fires because one life lost is one too many. Life is precious and hence we should thrive as a country to prevent loss of life,” he said.

 It is reported that the 2021 veld fire prediction undertaken by the Ministry through Environmental Management Agency (EMA), using biomass as indicated by the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) as a proxy for fuel load, and the previous fire behaviour as indicated by the burnt area in 2020, shows that the country is generally in the high risk (65.2%) to extreme risk (24.7%) to veld fires, compared to medium (43.3%) to high (23.1%) risk in 2020.

 It is added that following the heavy rains received, there is high biomass even in areas that traditionally have low biomas implying that, the  country is highly vulnerable to veld fires in the 2021 fire season. The Provinces at extreme risk are Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central and Manicaland while the two Matabeleland Provinces, Midlands and Masvingo are this time around at high risk to veld fires.  

 “Given this background, l call upon all stakeholders to find a niche in the veld fire management strategy, especially landowners, occupiers, users and communities at large, as they remain key actors in veld fire prevention,” Ndhlovu said.

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Africa Energy Week 2021, Taking Place in Cape Town; Will Focus on Investment, Oil and Gas, Renewables and Energy Transition
June 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

AEW 2021 will showcase the first-ever African Energy Village, an interactive exhibition and networking event that seeks to unite African energy stakeholders

The African Energy Chamber (www.EnergyChamber.org) is set to host the first-ever African Energy Week (AEW)  in Cape Town on 9th – 12th November 2021; Replacing Africa Oil Week, the four-day interactive conference seeks to unite industry stakeholders, international speakers and movers and shakers from the African oil and gas sector; The conference comprises high-class networking events, innovative exhibitions, and one-on-one private meetings, with a golf tournament on the final day, providing a one-of-a-kind experience for stakeholders interested in the growth and success of the African energy sector.

The African Energy Chamber (AEC) is excited to announce the official launch of African Energy Week (AEW) 2021, taking place in Cape Town on 9th – 12th November 2021AEW 2021 will showcase the first-ever African Energy Village, an interactive exhibition and networking event that seeks to unite African energy stakeholders, drive industry growth and development, and promote Africa as the destination for African-focused events.

Commencing with a three-day conference and ending with a golf tournament on 12th November, the event’s primary focus is to define and promote the African energy agenda through development, deal-making, and private sector participation. Key topics include making energy poverty history before 2030 and the future of the African oil and gas industry; African upstream, midstream and downstream opportunities; African oil, gas and finance in the face of the energy transition – highlighting African financing institutions such as the African Development Bank, the African Export-Import Bank, the African Financing Corporation, Africa50, the Industrial Development Corporation and the Development Bank of Central African States; local content; women in energy and making African energy competitive for investment into a decarbonized Africa.

Additionally, the conference will address the role of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), the International Energy Agency (IEC), the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO), the International Association of Geophysical Contractors (IAGC), and the American Petroleum Institute (API) and Africa. By opening the dialogue on Africa’s gas miracle and its potential in markets including Senegal, Mozambique, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Algeria, Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, Congo-Brazzaville, and Angola ­–  as well as small-scale Liquified Natural Gas, intra-African trade and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement – the conference represents the ideal networking and deal-making platform for all African energy stakeholders.

The AEC’s commitment to hosting this Africa-focused event in Africa comes at a  crucial time for the oil and gas industry. In light of recent developments that seek to suggest that Africa is not capable of hosting events of global standards, the Chamber feels responsible to voice against this and lead by example by showcasing the continent and all its profound beauty.

With this in mind, the only African-focused, in-person energy event aims to capture the essence and cultural hub that exists in Cape Town. The AEC will not abandon the continent for international venues. AEW 2021 is an energy event like no other and the AEC is fully focused on promoting African development and growth through African-held events.

“We are happy with the tremendous support from so many in-and-outside Africa. Our Oil and Gas producers have been a force for good and we must be proud of this industry. We must also welcome energy transition and engage Africa with the most forceful conversation and solutions for the future. AEW 2021 offers a unique and interactive networking experience in which global energy stakeholders can unite and participate in the continent’s transformation. The time is now,” says NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman, African Energy Chamber.

“Africa Energy Week will have a bold message that encourages energy solutions that cut out entitlements, handouts and foreign aid. No one owes us anything and in order for so many Africans  who want to make energy poverty history to triumph, we must embrace all forms of energy in our energy mix. We must attract investors and push our leadership so that each country wins when we create and encourage an enabling environment,” adds Ayuk.

AEW 2021 is taking place with the full support of prominent African and global industry leaders and oil and gas organizations and is focused on expanding opportunities in Africa. Additionally, AEW 2021 will present innovative exhibition spaces at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront that aim to promote African heritage and culture, while showcasing the exciting technological advancements the industry has to offer.

“African energy producers can only grow and meet energy demand when we all do our best to mobilize our resources and advocate for important principles of personal responsibility, smaller government, lower taxes, free markets, personal liberty, and the rule of law. This will kick start investment and make a transition that works for Africa. Let’s do this in Africa, for Africa and for the energy sector,” concludes Ayuk.

Of equal importance, the event will take place under strict COVID-19 protocols to ensure the safety of all attendees. In line with current government regulations, AEW 2021 will host a series of networking events across a variety of locations at the V&A Waterfront, thereby ensuring social gathering limits are in place at all times. Additionally, through mandatory testing and the availability of personal protective equipment and facilities, AEW 2021 aims to protect attendees while ensuring a successful and productive event.

For more information about this transformative event, visit www.AWE2021.com or www.EnergyChamber.org and/or email Amina Williams at amina.williams@energychamber.org
For registration related enquiries contact registration@aew2021.com
For sales related enquires contact sales@aew2021.com
For media related enquires contact media@aew2021.com
For speaker opportunity related enquires contact speakers@aew2021.com

*SOURCE African Energy Chamber

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Open letter to the most senior Biafran in Buhari’s government
June 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Rudolf Okonkwo and Chido Onumah *

Dear Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Jideofor Onyeama, 

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Jideofor Onyeama with President Buhari

We chose to write you instead of President Muhammadu Buhari because it is apparent from the president’s two most recent media outings that his cognitive impairment has greatly deteriorated, even though that is no justification for his murderous and genocidal rhetoric. From his utterances, the gap between things his innermost mind conjures and what his mouth utters has been completely erased. We also chose to write you because you are the most senior Biafran in Buhari’s government. We know that in your world, Biafra is the worst tag that anyone could put on you. Unfortunately, the people you work with, in and around Aso Rock, see you as a Biafran. You can keep running away from it, but in the deepest corners of their eyes, Biafra is like a shell on you. And like a snail, you cannot cast it off.

Over the last six years, we are aware of your hard work on the international stage to rescue this government’s reputation. As this government squandered both at home and abroad the enormous goodwill it received in 2015, you have worked hard to reassure the international community that the wheel of the Nigerian vessel had not come off and would not come off. Based on recent events, you do not need a soothsayer or us to tell you that the wheels came off a long time ago. What the international community was telling you in private weeks ago, they have made a tiny bit of it public following the debacle that is Buhari’s reaction to Twitter’s sanction of his genocidal tweet against the people of the South-East.

Clearly, the government that you champion abroad is set to re-enact at home another genocide against the people of South-East Nigeria which had its opening act during the unfortunate Nigerian Civil War of 1967 to 1970. We think we should have you and the international community on notice. Even your late father, the great Justice Charles Dadi Umeha Onyeama, who was a judge at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, would have told you that in this unfolding moral crisis, you are not just going to be an accomplice in the killing of your own people, already in progress in several parts of South-East Nigeria, you are going to be remembered by history as a man who played a supervisory role in the senseless carnage.

As the blood of young men and women who knew nothing about the activities of a few Biafran activists seep into the red soils where your forefathers are buried, President Buhari would send you abroad to crisscross the world and lie for him. You would be lying that there were no killings of innocent young men and women in the South-East by security agencies. Your talking point would be that the security agencies were quelling the violence perpetrated by Biafran activists. You probably can sell it to the world, but you cannot sell it to your conscience or to the memories of your forefathers who have sacrificed enough for Nigeria.

At this juncture, maybe we should peep through the course of the Nigerian Civil War, a repeat of the genocidal memory of which your boss, Muhammadu Buhari, now threatens the Igbo population of Southeastern Nigeria with. A retrospective view of that war crime should point you to the frightening possibilities of poetic justice for the soul-destroying lying mission you are about to be sent abroad to whitewash. As the world reacted with anger to the massacre of able-bodied Asaba men and boys in October 1967 while their wives, mothers, and sisters, were forced to dance for the sadistic pleasure of trigger-happy soldiers who carried out the slaughter, General Yakubu Gowon, then head of Nigeria’s military junta, sent his spin doctors abroad for a lying offensive.

Among the propaganda team sent abroad was Philip Asiodu, an Asaba indigene and a Permanent Secretary in the Gowon regime. Asiodu was reported to have told a press conference in Germany that reconciliation was the irrefutable goal of the Gowon administration. He was quoted as saying inter alia, “there is no question of massacring Ibos in the captured areas.’’ At the time of the morally reprehensible propaganda mission, Asiodu had no idea that his younger brother, Sydney Asiodu, an Olympic athlete, was one of the victims of anti-Igbo massacre he had finished lying to an international audience did not happen. On his return to Nigeria, instead of savoring the satisfaction of a successful lying mission, he was faced with the mourning of his younger brother, killed by the agents of the same government he had gone abroad to lie for.

As we write this, you are aware that the hordes of Nigerian security agents shipped to the South-East are taking their cue from President Muhammadu Buhari’s often-expressed odium for the people of that region. They are reading the president’s body language that calls for maximum force “in the language they understand.” Knowing the history of Nigeria’s military in Asaba during the Civil War, and later in Odi, Bayelsa State, in 1999, Zaki-Biam in Benue State, in 2001, and in Zaria, Kaduna State, in 2015, where they massacred civilians in their hundreds, and carried out a litany of human rights abuses, nobody would be surprised at the news of young people being massacred after enduring torture in the hands of security agents in the South-East.

No matter how you disguise it, the United Nations, Amnesty International, and other reputable world bodies have unimpeachable documentations of ugly patterns of abuses anywhere the Nigerian military went for any form of intervention. It is why successive American governments have refused to sell arms to Nigeria out of fear that the government would use it against its people. In a brazen show of indifference to what the world thinks, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Usman Alkali Baba, recently ordered his officers to ignore any demand to respect human rights in their operations, thus setting the stage for what is shaping up to be an all-out genocide in the South-East.

With you an earshot away, President Buhari vowed to reenact in the South-East the kind of carnage he and Nigerian soldiers carried out during the 1967-1970 Nigeria-Biafra War. He mockingly invoked the obnoxious theory of “starvation as a weapon of war” that killed hundreds of thousands of women and children when he reminded the South-East people that they were “a dot in a circle.’’ As if that was not enough, he aroused the painful “abandoned property” saga when he reminded them that they had houses and businesses around the country and officially pronounced every Igbo man and woman a Biafran. The president went into the darkest chambers of his heart to spew hatred, all because a group of youths fed up with the state-sanctioned dehumanization of Southeasterners rose to demand justice.

While we condemn the mindless violence that has gone on under any guise in the South-East in the last few months, we must note that it is the lack of leadership of your principal and his blatantly bigoted response that has sustained the violence. In our view, as far as President Buhari is concerned, the Nigeria-Biafra War has not ended. You can then understand why for many young people who did not witness the war, to use President Buhari’s choice words, the cheque of “No victor, no vanquished” issued at the end of the war in January 1970 was indeed a dud cheque.

Since your principal has no sense of history, we need to remind you that Nigeria was built on and has been sustained through injustice. Well before the civil war of 1967-70, there was the Tiv crisis of 1960 and 1964 which has lingered up until today in different forms. More than a year before the civil started in 1967, Isaac Adaka Boro, a minority rights activist, was crying for justice for his people in the Niger Delta, where Nigeria’s oil wealth comes from, the same people President Buhari pandered to in his Arise TV interview when he reminded Biafrans, your people, that the Niger Delta youths and elders had assured him there would be no access to the sea. 

Fifty-four years before the #EndSARS movement, which President Buhari said was aimed at removing him for office, on February 23, 1966, out of frustration with Nigeria, Adaka Boro, at the age of 28, declared the Niger Delta Republic, an independent state for Ijaw people suffering environmental degradation of their land and plunder of their oil resources. Brazenly, President Buhari, who was sworn in as president of Nigeria, finds it convenient to share these resources with his kinsmen in Niger Republic. The Twelve-Day Revolution, as Adaka Boro described his exploits, happened before a series of pogroms in 1966/67 against the people of the old Eastern Region, Igbos and non-Igbos, which ultimately led to the declaration of the Republic of Biafra on May 30, 1967.

The poor leadership and discriminatory policies of the Buhari administration are today fueling the clarion call for secession across Nigeria, including prominently, in the South-West. Clearly, the people of the South-East were not the first group to demand a country of their own due to the failure of the Nigerian state to protect them and give them a fair shake in the country. Nor are they the only group making such a demand in present day Nigeria. But somehow, it is the people of the South-East who receive Buhari’s bitterest venom each time some elements in the region, fed up with injustice, resort to self-help.

Dear honourable minister, in 1990, while you were at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Major Gideon Okar, a Nigerian military officer, staged a coup in which he excised Buhari’s home state of Katsina and other states in the North from Nigeria. It is this same part of the North that initiated Sharia Law in 2000, in defiance of the constitution. And it is the aftermath of the Sharia Law that led to the emergence of the Boko Haram insurgency in 2002. In 2009, following the extra-judicial killing of Boko Haram founder, Mohammed Yusuf, a more militant leader named Abubakar Shekau emerged.

The Shekau insurgency has lasted over twelve years, killed more than 30,000 Nigerians—Muslims, Christians, men, women, children—as well as international aid workers, in dastardly acts of terror, and attracted well-financed international terrorist organisations like ISIS and Al Qaeda into West Africa. At various times, Boko Haram took control of sections of the North-East, declared a caliphate, mounted their flags as a separate nation and were collecting taxes from Nigerians within their “territory.” They posted videos of gruesome execution of their victims, including Nigerian military officers. On at least two occasions, they had attempted to assassinate Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State. We did not witness the kind of genocidal fury and righteous indignation that propel President Buhari’s scorched-earth response when it comes to the people of the South-East. Daily, across the nook and cranny of Nigeria, we witness calls for secession in different forms, including expulsion orders, without as much as a whimper from the man you serve so diligently, except, of course, the call comes from Biafrans.   

If President Buhari can talk glibly in public about what he plans for Biafrans, imagine what he says during security council meetings or when he is with his kitchen cabinet! Of course, we feel it. From Mr. Danladi Umar’s “Biafran boys” incident, to the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, comparing open grazing to selling of spare parts—a position Buhari has vowed not to contradict—to the shoot on sight order given to security operatives in the South-East, everyone that matters in the Buhari regime is reading the president’s mind and body language correctly.

All right-thinking men and women in the South-East condemn the killing of security agents and innocent citizens and the destruction of the country’s vital infrastructure in the region. The way out would have been a measured government response to arrest the ugly development, but not when you have as president, whose allegiance is more to his cousins in other countries than fellow Nigerians who do not share his ethnicity. You would agree, Sir, that whatever excesses Biafran activists exhibit pale in comparison to the activities of well-armed, long-established northern-based groups, most of whom are from the president’s ethnic stock. And this is not to compare whose terrorism is more vicious, but the carnage these extreme groups—be they herders or those who want to propitiate heaven—have visited upon Nigeria through kidnappings, wanton destructions, and surgical hit on the little threads that keep Nigeria one, has placed them among the top terrorist groups in the world and thereby placed Nigeria on the top of every list of failed nations around the globe. Somehow, these abysmal records do not keep President Buhari up at night. From what we see, what wakes him up from his slumber is any mention of Biafra.

As the sense of Nigeria’s failure and unjust structure spreads, some people in the South-West have also joined the demand for an independent nation of their own. Despite their vigorous pursuit of Oodua nation, they have not received the same kind of vituperation from Buhari. The president has not spoken about the activists in the South-West as representatives of all the people of the region. He has not made them the scapegoat for his colossal failures the way he takes delight in making the people of the South-East. Why is that, Mr. Onyeama?

Allies of the government that you serve now demand that Igbo people daily profess their loyalty to Nigeria before they receive basic citizenship rights. Igbo people who live in Northern parts of Nigeria are daily inundated by pronouncements of one Northern group or another, who have warned that the lives and property of Igbo people are fair game in the ongoing crisis. They have an ally in your boss, President Buhari. These groups openly send signals that they have been holding their youths from unleashing a Rwanda-style genocide against the Igbo in their region. The government you serve, and its accomplices, have declared all Igbo men and women guilty by association. They even had the audacity to announce that they had foreclosed the possibility of any Igbo person becoming president of Nigeria until all Igbo people go on their knees and make a public denunciation of the advocates for Biafra. The president you serve obediently recently amplified these absurd demands.

Let us jog your memory, Mr. Onyeama. At the outset of the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East, your principal, President Muhammadu Buhari, who was then leader of the opposition, defended the group against what he tagged their “extra-judicial killings by Nigeria’s security forces,” the same forces he is now deploying to the South-East with orders to “treat them in language they understand.” At one point, Boko Haram terrorists picked him as the man to negotiate for them with the previous government of President Goodluck Jonathan. None of these caused anyone or a group to demand his disqualification from contesting for the presidency in 2015. At no point did any part of Nigeria label every northerner a Boko Haram member or demand that the North be excluded from Nigeria’s leadership until they crushed the Boko Haram insurgency.

Today, President Buhari and his allies are blackmailing Ndigbo and generalizing on their character based on the activities of Biafran activists. Mr. Onyeama, think for a moment what would be of you and your career if Biafran activists announce today that you would be the man to negotiate for them with the federal government. Think of it. Would that earn you the presidency of Nigeria in 2023?

For the avoidance of doubt, Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, is a product of Buhari’s incompetence. Buhari’s paranoiac frenzy about anything Biafra turned what was Nnamdi Kanu’s agitation for justice and fairness into what it is today. The president, in effect, made Nnamdi Kanu a hero by locking him up and disobeying court orders to free him. Buhari should therefore not be surprised at the formidable opponent he has created as a result. Buhari’s mismanagement of a complex and diverse country mixed with blatant nepotism is Nnamdi Kanu’s fuel. If Buhari has any desire to deescalate the tension he created, he has a slew of options on his table. But as we have seen, again and again, Buhari must exhaust all bad options before he chooses a good one staring him in the face.

We know that as a minister, you have not been working with other leaders of the South-East to address matters pertaining to the region. You have been so afraid of annoying Buhari and his clique or making them question your loyalty that you have relinquished leadership and auctioned off the leverage you should have had in the South-East. Before you, the task is to go back to the South-East, not as a man with his tails between his legs, but as the most senior Biafran in Buhari’s government. Go and engage your people in an honest conversation. If you do it well, working together, you can come up with the proverbial right channel to direct the grievances of your people to the government that you serve.

Dear honorable minister, the alternative is what we are witnessing now. In the South-East, the hawks are in, picking up the chicks one after another. The hen is crying out not for the monster that is killing its chicks to let go but for the world to hear its voice. Your forefathers used to say that we must chase away the hawks before we caution the hen.  On your part, as the minister of external affairs, you will soon be sent abroad to walk up podiums around the world to commit the most abominable act against God and man—justify the shedding of innocent blood. You either uphold the ofor of your forefathers, as your middle name commands, or you soil it on the altar of loyalty to the president of a crumbling edifice. The choice is yours. Time is running out!

Dear honorable minister, if you ever have the chance of talking with President Buhari, tell him that Biafra is not the problem of Nigeria. Nigeria is not the first or only country to fight a civil war. Let him know that Nigeria is collapsing under the weight of injustice in the East, West, North and South. In a sentence, we are all Biafrans! Rather than being fixated on a ‘‘dot in a circle,’’ let him know it is time to go back to the drawing board or sit at the table of nationhood and draw a genuine non-discriminatory circle that accommodates every group, no matter how small, on equal terms. This is the irreducible expectation in a country that prides itself on being a federal republic.

We will end this letter by paraphrasing Edwin Madunagu’s admonition to the Nigerian Left in his latest essay, “Birthday greetings in lieu of responses.”  He may well be speaking to you, the most senior Biafran in the Buhari regime: “Wherever you are today, use all your intellect, use whatever levers you have, as individuals and as groups, to prevent Nigeria fully enacting a second edition of the (1966-1970) tragedy.”

Yours truly,

Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo and Chido Onumah

CC:

  1. The UN Secretary General
  2. The US President through the American Embassy in Nigeria
  3. The Canadian Prime Minister through the Canadian High Commission in Nigeria
  4. The British Prime Minister through the British High Commission in Nigeria
  5. The French President through the French Embassy in Nigeria
  6. President Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi, Chairperson of the African Union
  7. President Nana Akufo-Addo, ECOWAS Chairman
  8. Head of Delegation of the European Union to Nigeria and ECOWAS
  9. Amnesty International
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Brazil Africa Forum 2021 – Natural Resources: Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development.
June 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

Brazil, June 7th 2021 – Brazil Africa Institute launches Brazil Africa Forum 2021, focusing on natural resources

The Brazil Africa Institute announced, on Monday (7), the 2021 edition of the Brazil Africa Forum. The event will be held on November 23rd and 24th with the theme “Natural Resources: environmental protection and sustainable development”.

Consolidated as the main space for debate between Brazilian and African leaders and fostering dialogue with actors from third regions, the Brazil Africa Forum repeats this year the successful 2020 virtual format, when it remotely brought together more than 60 speakers, reaching an audience of more than 1,200 registered participants.

“The pandemic forced us to make a significant adaptation to the forum’s dynamics, all to ensure that urgent debates could be held. In 2020, our focus was to identify the main challenges brought by the crisis and propose solutions. Now we will continue analyzing the effects of the pandemic, but focusing on the necessary actions so that we can stop the impacts on the exploitation of natural resources”, says the President of the Brazil Africa Institute, João Bosco Monte.

Thematic axes

Natural resources, severely affected by the pandemic, are at risk of irreversible disruption if there are no concrete actions to stop exploration, invest in recovery and prevent future crises.

The international scientific community has solid evidence that there is a direct link between the destruction of nature and outbreaks of COVID-19. Rural areas face increasing pressure, deforestation is on the rise in many vital regions, and there are reports of illegal mining and poaching emerging in the daily news.

BAF 2021 agenda will be divided into four axes, each addressing central themes for the natural resources agenda: land, water, forests and action.

Each axis will bring together the main stakeholders to discuss courses of action, public-private partnerships and solutions that can bring results for Brazil and African countries when dealing with their own challenges, as well as those shared globally.

The event will show once again that even connected only virtually, it is possible to strengthen dialogues, create opportunities, encourage investments and contribute to overcoming this unprecedented crisis.

*IBRAF

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The Lionesses of Cameroon win the return Test Match against Burkina Faso.
June 13, 2021 | 0 Comments
Burkina Faso finally lost to Cameroon by the final score of 35 to 3

After their first victory, the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon won, this June 12, 2021, at the Stadium Aout 4 in Ouagadougou, the return test match against the Ladies Stallions of Burkina Faso by the score of 35 to 3. This return test match was highly anticipated by the two teams who each had high hopes to excel.

Like the first test match, the Women’s Stallions did not get any tries. The only penalty that gave them the 3 points came in the 44th minute. Although they demonstrated a stronger resistance than during the first test match, Burkina Faso finally lost to Cameroon by the final score of 35 to 3. This score is roughly equal to that of the first test match where Cameroon had won by 37 to 0. There was no lack of faults in this match. Each of the two teams received yellow cards. These were handed to Cameroonian No.11 Mimosette Mouto, and Burkina Faso’s No.3 Bonkoungou Janine and No.18 Adjaratou Yanogo.

Burkina Faso’s captain, Yvette Sawadogo, admitted that with her teammates, they played differently in this second match. The difference, she said, was in controlling their fear of the physically imposing Cameroonian team. It should be noted that there was also a greater mobilization of Burkinabè supporters in the stands, and this was undoubtedly in favour of Burkina Faso. Fans wearing black uniforms helped to overheat the stadium with their galvanizing cries. Cameroonian coach Jacques NGomsu Tchon Lahui said his team faced difficulties because “they were different opponents from the first encounter”. For Cameroon vice-captain Priso Rosine Maxime Ndingo, her team did not fully follow the coach’s instructions.

Later today at 4 pm GMT, the highly anticipated match will pit the men’s teams of Burkina Faso and Cameroon. Immediately after the end of the women’s test match, the Cameroonian men’s team put on their training boots for a practice game. The final result will show which of the two countries will snatch its ticket for the Rugby Africa Cup next July in Tunisia.

*APO Group on behalf of Rugby Africa

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IBRAF Fellowship Program Actively Engages Researchers with International Cooperation.
June 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

By João Paulo Alves*

The Brazil Africa Institute (IBRAF) is currently hosting the first cohort of the IBRAF Fellowship Program on South-South and Triangular Cooperation (IFP). The IFP is an academic project that allows researchers from different countries to engage with each other and interact with specialists in the field of South-South and Triangular Cooperation. From February to September 2021, 10 researchers from 8 different countries (Brazil, Argentina, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Mozambique and Senegal) are producing studies on the importance of international cooperation in multiple areas.

Brazil has been a key promoter of South-South and Triangular Cooperation in recent decades, attracting much attention for its several projects within Latin America and the Caribbean and with Africa in agriculture, industry, health, education and other fields. The IFP focuses on key areas that are important for international cooperation, and in which one can see strong linkages in the promotion of international change: (i) technical and scientific cooperation; (ii) economic and sustainable development; (iii) trade and investments across the South-Atlantic; (iv) agriculture, agri-business and rural development; and (v) demography, urbanization, housing and public health.

Ms. Marina Figueira Lucas presenting her final seminar to conclude the Fellowship programme.

The IFP is formed by a faculty of high-level leaders, such as Dr. Adriana Abdenur, Founder and Executive Director of Plataforma CIPÓ, Dr. Frannie Leautier, CEO of SouthBridge Investments, Dr. Pedro Almeida, Independent scholar and former Head of Basic & Infrastructure Industries, World Economic Forum, Dr. Kapil Kapoor, CEO of Developex, and Dr. Martin Fregene, Director of Agriculture and Agroindustry at the AfDB.

IBRAF supports each of these researchers throughout a six-week period, in which they have contact with academic institutions, international organizations and multiple specialists, including former directors of international organizations and former ministers. The researchers are constantly engaged with specialists in their areas of interest, having space for conversations and interviews that contribute to provide them with international perspectives. Research topics vary from agriculture 4.0, to supply-chain finance, health cooperation, dairy industry, forests conservation and trade and investments facilitation.

Amb. Sarah Agbor, Commissioner of Human Resources, Science and Technology, African Union ©IBRAF

Fellows also have the opportunity to engage in exclusive lectures, come face-to-face with high-level authorities, listen to their insights and dialogue with them. IFP lecturers include Ambassador Celso Amorim, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and of Defense of Brazil, Ambassador Sarah Agbor, Commissioner of Human Resources, Science and Technology at the African Union, Dr. Jennifer Blanke, Non-Executive Director at African Risk Capacity and Ambassador Ruy Pereira, General Director of the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC).

The programme has counted on the close collaboration with UNOSSC and the South-South Galaxy platform. UNOSSC has been an important partner of the IFP, by making the South-South Galaxy Experts database available and facilitating connections with various stakeholders. The South-South Galaxy team has also provided a workshop to inform and engage visiting fellows on the platform, showing them how to take advantage of the content provided, as well as how to contribute to the platform’s development.

Amb. Ruy Pereira, General Director, Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC) ©IBRAF

Fellows are also encouraged to identify and study South-South and Triangular Cooperation good practices and projects within their research areas, contributing to the expansion of the South-South Galaxy Solutions database. By mapping these initiatives, they can collaborate to raise awareness about the history and current development of international cooperation, their results and potential scalability, drawing on useful lessons for new interventions.

The IFP ultimately aims at strengthening the agenda of South-South and Triangular Cooperation, shedding light over its accomplishments, within the scope of scientific evidence, and providing policy makers and academics with useful insights on relevant themes. The IFP research fellows will become champions and active voices in the advocacy for South-South and triangular cooperation, taking foward these learnings for when they become the leaders of the future.

*Projects Coordinator, Brazil Africa Institute (IBRAF)

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PANWAYS GHANA SECURES STAKE IN PROPOSED PETROLEUM HUB PROJECT IN JOMORO
June 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

PANWAYS Ghana, a subsidiary of PANWAYS Group of Italy through its wide global business network, has attained the facilitation authorization to lead the operations of GAZPROM, one of the largest producers and exporters of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Company in Russia, in the proposed Ghana National Petroleum-Hub project in Jomoro in the Western Region.

According to Mr. Kwesie, Lead Consultant of GAZPROM Dr. Ing Luigi Brescia, who doubles as the President of PANWAYS Group Srl, will be providing the technical assistance for GAZPROM’s interest.

PANWAYS Ghana, a native Nzema company, has global presence but with particular interest in Africa in Industrial Forecasting and Development for 3 years. Mr. Kwesie said GAZPROM’s interest in the Ghana National Petroleum-Hub project will be of immense benefit to the economy of Ghana.

He said PANWAYS GHANA is ready to support the government on her drive to move the economy forward. It is their fervent wish that they will be able to work in ensuring that the interest of both GAZPROM and government of Ghana is achieved.

The company also envisions supporting the human capital in the Nzema enclave with the setting up of the Annor Adjaye Technical Institute at Bawia with concentration in oil and gas and it’s related. The proposed $50 billion petroleum hub is one of the government’s strategic anchor initiatives that would serve as a new pillar of growth to the Ghanaian economy.

It is expected to accelerate the growth of Ghana’s petroleum downstream sub-sector and make it a major player in the economy and, consequently, ensure development of sustainable value, wealth creation and the progress of the industry. The petroleum hub, which will occupy a land space of about 20,000 acres, would have four refineries each with a capacity of 150,000bpd, two oil jetties, storage tanks for crude and two petrochemical plants. The project, which is a private sector led initiative, is expected to be completed by 2030.

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WORLD BANK SUPPORTS GHANA WITH $200M FOR VACCINES
June 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

World Bank has approved a $200 million Ghana COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Project Second Additional Financing to procure and deploy COVID-19 vaccines for 13 million people.

The project, in collaboration with the COVAX Facility COVID-19 vaccine acquisition, will provide financing to support the government strengthen the resilience of Ghana’s health systems to better prepare for the future pandemic and to secure the continuation of essential health and nutrition services, including routine childhood immunization.

Ghana experienced a surge in infections and fatalities in January 2021, entering the second wave of rising infections of COVID-19. The number of daily active cases in February 2021 was as high as the peak of the first wave in June 2020. Furthermore, Ghana was also confirmed to have recorded the COVID-19 variant, which first appeared in South Africa.

The World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Pierre Laporte said, World Bank is happy to support this second additional financing, given the importance of preventing deaths and reducing transmission of COVID-19 among the population by providing access to COVID-19 vaccines towards accelerating economic and social recovery in Ghana.
According to him they are also aware of the continuing difficulties in having access to COVID-19 vaccines and logistics due to the global vaccine market challenges and will continue to work to address the inequity in vaccine supplies that is impacting Ghana and other developing countries.

The Ghana COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Project Second Additional Financing will enable the country to explore the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines from a range of sources to support Ghana’s target to vaccinate 17.5 million people in a way that ensures value-for-money. The project will also support an equitable and effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in line with Ghana’s National Vaccine Deployment Plan.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank Group has committed over $125 billion to fight the health, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic, the fastest and largest crisis response in its history.

The financing is helping more than 100 countries strengthen pandemic preparedness, protect the poor and jobs, and jump-start a climate-friendly recovery. The Bank is also providing $12 billion to help low- and middle-income countries purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments.

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GHANA WINS ELECTION AS MEMBER OF UN SECURITY COUNCIL.
June 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

Ghana has been elected to serve as a member of the United Nations Security Council by the General Assembly of the United Nations for a two-year term for the period January 2022 to December 2023

Ghana secured 185 votes out of 190 votes cast. With this, the country secured the highest votes compared to the 4 other countries that were elected. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey cast Ghana’s vote.

Ghana received unanimous endorsement from all 15 ECOWAS member states and other African countries to be elected onto the United Nations Security Council.

President Akuffo Addo campaigned on Ghana’s experience and pedigree in peace and security on the African continent which places her in a position to provide valuable insights to the Council.

Ghana congratulated Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, Albania and Gabon for their respective successful  and look forward to working closely with all the new members of the Council when her tenure commences in January 2022.

The endorsement of the African Union and the ECOWAS is deeply appreciated. With situations in Africa dominating the agenda of the Security Council, they vow to work assiduously to assist in addressing the conflicts on the continent and sustain the peace the people of Africa need.

As is well known, issues on Africa constitute 70 percent of the Security Council’s agenda. Ghana also thanks all other Member States for their confidence in Ghana’s candidacy. The broad support for Ghana confirms the trust Member States have in our membership of the Council and Ghana’s capacity to help address the challenges confronting our world today, including violent extremism, terrorism, malicious cyber threats, illicit trafficking of arms, climate change.

The effective leadership being demonstrated by H.E. Akufo-Addo provides synergy for the membership of the Security Council, particularly in addressing the conflict situations in some parts of the West Africa region and the Sahel.

Ghana will bring to bear on the work of the Council her experience in conflict mediation, prevention and reconstruction. Ghana will also use her tenure on the Security Council to seek for a stronger and deeper collaboration and cooperation between the United Nations and regional bodies in a manner that enhances complementarity and ensures effectiveness of coordinated action.

As indicated during our campaign, Ghana’s tenure on the Council will focus on Enhancing Global Peace and Security for Sustainable and Inclusive Development. Some of our priorities will include: Ghana stands ready to be an active and instrumental member of the Council for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Once again, Ghana is grateful to the African Union and ECOWAS for endorsing our candidacy and to all Member States of the United Nations for giving us the opportunity to collaborate with them and be a voice for Africa on the Council.

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Tanzania denies to receive Mozambican refugees for security reasons, says official
June 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

Tanzania’s policy of returning Mozambican refugees fleeing the terrorism in Cabo Delgado province who cross the border is being done with the Mozambican government’s agreement, a spokesman for Mozambique’s foreign ministry has said.

The spokesman said that the two countries had agreed that Tanzania would transport refugees from the Namoto border post, with protection, 250-300km to the Negomano border post, which was thought to be in a safer area, before returning them to Mozambican territory.

He added that Tanzania had decided not to create a refugee camp on the border, for security reasons. Earlier this month, United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said that Tanzania had refused asylum to around 3,800 Mozambicans.

Tanzanian authorities are only allowing Mozambicans into their territory for a small shopping trip in Mtambaswala, the border post on the Tanzanian side.

Leaked notes from a meeting at a Tanzanian think tank with strong links to that country’s foreign ministry show some frustration in Tanzania at Mozambique’s inability to contain the insurgency in Cabo Delgado thus far, according to Savana newspaper.

Tanzania’s foreign minister, Liberata Mulamula, spoke at the meeting and said military intervention should come from the SADC Stand-By Brigade, which should also coordinate any other outside military help. A former senior Tanzanian diplomat said Mozambique has not yet invited any outside military help.

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South Sudan’s former Petroleum Minister urges industry to stick with Cape Town by endorsing African Energy Week
June 11, 2021 | 0 Comments

The former minister urged investors and companies to participate in the first edition of the African Energy Week

South Sudan former petroleum minister Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth speaking at an oil event in 2017 [Photo by Africa Oil and Gas]

The Republic of South Sudan’s former Minister of Petroleum, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth has expressed his disappointment at the decision of London based Hyve group to move Africa Oil Week to Dubai. “I think it will be unacceptable to move the Russian Energy Week from Moscow or ADIPEC from Abu Dhabi to Juba, South Sudan Africa on the basis of COVID 19. The same reasoning should apply to Africa especially Dubai has more Covid 19 cases than Cape Town.”

The former minister urged investors and companies to participate in the first edition of the African Energy Week, due to be held in Cape Town, South Africa organized by the African Energy Chamber. “Opportunities and challenges concerning the Middle East and its energy are best discussed in the Middle East, and rightfully so. It is therefore a huge lack of appreciation and a vote of no-confidence in Africa to hold this discussion outside of the continent especially when the Oil and Gas industry must have a unified position on developing our natural resources in the face of energy transition. Many of us are asking what will happen to Mining Indaba. Will they also move Mining Indadba to Dubai or London?” Mr Gatkuoth continued.

Minister Gatkuoth is yet another prominent voice in the industry that has come out against the decision to move Africa Oil Week to Dubai.

According to the African Energy Chamber, interest and support for its Africa Energy Week event has been instant and strong. The event will rally the industry in Cape Town to talk about the effects of energy transition on the continent and about new opportunities for investors across the entire energy value chain.

*SOURCE African Energy Chamber

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Christopher Lamora: “No one undermining Peace in Cameroon has our Support or Tolerance”
June 11, 2021 | 0 Comments
John Lamora hopes to succeed Peter Balerin as US Ambassador to Cameroon

-Cameroonian security forces must abide by accepted human rights norms, and those who violate these norms must be held appropriately accountable.

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Christopher John Lamora, incoming United States Ambassador to Cameroon says whether members of the security forces or of armed separatist groups “no one undermining peace in Cameroon has our support or tolerance.”

The Career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor was speaking during his confirmation hearing this June 9 via videoconference to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“We condemn violence in all its forms, regardless of who is perpetrating it, and call for an end to the suffering of the civilian population regardless of their location or affiliation,” the soon-to-be confirmed US Ambassador to Cameroon said.

“The United States is deeply concerned by the continued violence in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions. What began as peaceful protests in late 2016 has tragically escalated into a protracted violent crisis with more than 3,000 persons killed and more than one million internally displaced. Children have been threatened, and in some cases killed, for attending school. Schools, hospitals, and religious sites have been attacked. Humanitarian actors continue to face numerous obstacles in carrying out their work.”

He added: “We are acting vigorously to help resolve the crisis. This week, the Secretary of State established a policy imposing visa restrictions on those

undermining efforts to peacefully resolve the crisis. We continue to have discussions about Cameroon with the Cameroonian government and other Cameroonians, as well as with key international partners to foster greater, stronger, and more unified engagement. Working to resolve this crisis is and will continue to be, the single highest priority in our Cameroon policy.”

Christopher Lamora is not a new face in the Cameroonian milieu having been part of the Diplomatic mission to the country. Lamora worked at the U.S. Consulate General in Douala, Cameroon (1992-1993) and that knowledge acquired will be vital if he is to continue where his predecessor left off and create new partnerships and relationships between the two countries.

Christopher Lamora should he be confirmed by the US Senate will take over from Henry Peter Barlerin who was Ambassador to Cameroon from 2017 to 2020. The new US Ambassador will work to forge a strong bond between Cameroon and the USA while also advancing the latters’ policies.

Christopher John Lamora during his Senate Confirmation Hearing

On security, the United States continues to support Cameroon and its Lake Chad Basin neighbours in their joint effort to defeat Boko Haram and its offshoot, ISIS-West Africa. “This is a key element of the fight against global terrorism. Our support, however, is neither limitless nor without conditions. Cameroonian security forces must abide by accepted human rights norms, and those who violate these norms must be held appropriately accountable,” John Lamora added.

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Cameroon: Human Rights Lawyer Amungwa Tanyi Nicodemus Released.
June 11, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Barrister Amungwa (second from Right) and Members of the Cameroon bar Association after his bail

Human Rights Lawyer Barrister Amungwa Tanyi Nicodemus who was arrested on May 31 in Cameroon’s political capital Yaounde has been finally released.

Amungwa was arrested at the Groupement Territorial de la Gendarmerie in Cameroon’s capital Yaoundé while he was assisting a client. His arrest led to calls from national and international rights groups for him to be freed.

The Cameroon Bar obtained his release after a ferocious fight to bail him. According to reports, it took three executive members to sign as guarantors – the President of the Bar Claire ATtangana Bikouna; the representative of the President for the Center, South and East regions; Barrister Pierre Robert Fojou, and Barrister Daniel.

“Possessing photographs that provide evidence of abuses in the English-speaking regions is not a crime, far less an act to incite terrorism. Cameroonian authorities should immediately release Amungwa and ensure both his due process rights and his role and privileges as a lawyer is respected,” HRW said.

“His arbitrary detention reveals a system geared towards stifling and undermining the role and activities of lawyers involved in key human rights cases. CHRDA condemns this arrest as it is a direct attack on human rights defenders and call for his immediate release,” a statement from the Centre for Human Ri8ghts and democracy in Africa (CHRDA) read in part.

According to the human rights group, several Anglophones have been arrested and detained and some tried on counts of terrorism for the mere fact that their telephones were arbitrarily searched by military officers and images and other content related to the Anglophone crisis was found in their possession.

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Cameroon: Andre Onana Gets Doping Ban Reduced to 9 months.
June 11, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Andre Onana has not played a single game since February

Indomitable Lions and Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana has seen his one-year doping ban reduced to nine months. This decision was rendered this Thursday, June 10 by the Court of Arbitration for Sports, CAS.

Onana, 25, was suspended in February 2021, having failed an out-of-competition test for a banned substance the previous October.

“I mistakenly took it for aspirin because the packaging was almost identical, which I greatly regret, Andre Onana said back in February.

“I respect the UEFA Appeals Body, but I do not share their decision in this case. I consider it excessive and disproportionate as it has been acknowledged by UEFA that it was an unintentional mistake.”

The ban for Andre Onana means he has been unable to play or train with Ajax or the Cameroon national team since the suspension was imposed but will now be eligible for the competition from November.

After a four-hour online session, CAS ruled that Onana’s 12-month ban should be reduced to nine months. The suspension shall now end 4 November 2021 and up to that time, it covers all football activities, both national as international.

Onana is allowed to restart his training two months before the end of the suspension which will be on September 4, 2021.

Premier League giant Arsenal is reportedly keen on bringing Andre Onana to the club

This decision to reduce the sentence by three months have been appreciated by the Cameroonian sporting community who are hoping to Onana in the colour of the national team for the upcoming AFCON. This window will give the goalkeeper somewhat enough time to prepare with his national team if he is called up for the World Cup qualifiers and also the AFCON.

Edwin van der Sar, the CEO of Ajax, told the club’s website: “With this ruling of the CAS we have won three months in comparison to the initial suspension. So it was worth it taking this case to the CAS. We stand for a clean sport. I will say again that we are convinced that Andre has taken this substance by accident and certainly not to perform better.

“This is endorsed by all parties, also by the UEFA as is to be concluded from the cases both by the UEFA and the CAS.

“When we told our story, together with Andre and the lawyers from the CAS, I drove off from The Ajax Academy with a good feeling. I have mixed feelings about today’s verdict because our aim was that he would be back playing games this summer.”

Andre Onana now has a big decision to make in the next couple of days or weeks with the transfer window in Europe open. He has been linked with several clubs that are looking at getting his services. Premier League giant Arsenal is reported to be keeping a close eye on Andre Onana and it was reported they were waiting for the CAS decision before tabling a bid for the goalkeeper.

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Former Nigeria President Obasanjo to Serve as Keynote Speaker at ICT University’s 6th Graduation
June 11, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Olusegun Obasanjo was the 5th and 12th President of Nigeria

Olusegun Matthew Okikiola Aremu Obasanjo, GCFR, former Nigeria President will be the keynote speaker for the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) University’s Graduation Ceremony on July 31, 2021, in Yaounde.

The 6th graduation ceremony will take place at the Palais des Congres in Cameroon’s political capital. A host of guests will be participating at the graduation ceremony such as Cameroon and world football superstar H.E Roger Milla, the world’s best academic mentor Professor Terry Anthony Byrd, Cameroon’s Olympic Gold medalist, Francoise Mbango and representatives from the Cameroon government.

The ICT University operates a purely US-based curriculum to provide quality ICT and Managerial Human Capacity Development specially targeted for Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia, the ICT University is a vibrant institution that aims at imposing itself as a premier destination for research, innovation and training of scholars relevant for the context of developing economies.

Founded in 2010, the ICT University (The American curriculum-based university serving developing nations), has multiple campuses of The ICT University Foundation, USA. Professor Victor Mbarika, Professor of ECU, distinguished International Researcher serves as the President of the Board of Trustees of ICT University.

The headquarters of ICT University’s African campuses is based in Cameroon. Serving more than 15,000 students worldwide via on-site and online programs, the ICT University develops productive and relevant Diploma, Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral level scholars to utilize their research and training in solving the substantial problems in their countries.

Administrators of ICT University and the special guests at the 2020-2021 matriculation ceremony

The University offers a dynamic and flexible learning environment that inspires innovation and creativity and lays emphasis on student access. It also prides itself on offering an intimate, cutting edge campus environment disposing of all resources essential for producing tomorrow’s leading ICT experts, technopreneurs, renewable energy engineers, and business managers. 

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We need to treat Africa’s oil and gas industry as a brand of leadership.
June 11, 2021 | 0 Comments

Following Africa’s Oil Week announcement of moving their flagship Cape Town event to Dubai, H.E Mahaman Laouan Gaya, former APPO SG and former Petroleum Minister of Niger Republic has expressed his dissatisfactory views of the annual industry conference leaving the continent. He criticizes the “humiliating idea” of African Oil Week in Dubai and urges that it sends a wrong message.

“Africans need to know that our dignity should not be given away. This is a clear sign of poor leadership. Africa will not reach its global potential if we continue to see supposedly investment promotion-focused organisations abandoning the continent at the smallest challenge” said, H.E Mahaman Laouan Gaya, Former APPO SG and Former Petroleum Minister of Niger Republic.

“The African Oil Industry is at a crossroads and going into COP26, we need to have an African Agenda on energy transition and energy poverty. These discussions cannot be had in Dubai. African Petroleum Producers and other energy producers should distance themselves from this initiative of taking Africans to Dubai.” He further added.

Gaya encourages the idea of bringing African representatives and its global strategic partners to an African location to debate and find solutions and synergies to address the continent’s challenges and showcase its opportunities. He condemns  AOW’s lack of good leadership. With this in mind, he passionately suggests that governments and organisations alike should enforce a mandate of promotion and development of the oil and gas industry by standing up for it when it is necessary and lead the rest of the world by example.

In a dedicated approach, H.E Mahaman Laouan Gaya rails behind the African Energy Chamber, the Mozambican Oil and Gas Chamber, and many others against the move of the pan-African event and calls on the international community to support this cause.

*African Energy Chamber

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Zimbabwe: Mnangagwa Flexes Muscles on Labour Migration and Disability, Launches Key Policies in a Socio-Economic Development Move Towards 2030
June 10, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu .

President Emmerson Mnangagwa in his tentative effort to promote inclusivity and participation of every Zimbabwean towards economic growth and development launched two key intertwined strategic policies. The two take a snap-shot to focus on labor migration and disability.

The National Disability Policy and National Labor Migration Policies were jointly launched in Harare at a glamorous ceremony attended by United Nations officials among them Maria Ribeiro UN Country Representative. At Foreign Affairs level recognition were plenipotentiary members of the Diplomatic Corps, Ambassadors.

Also at higher figure representation were Government officials, the President himself chaperoned by Vice President Constantine Chiwenga , Minister of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare Professor Paul Mavima , civil servants from the Labour Ministry , other ministries , top Government officials from related ministries , big number from civil society organizations on disability and media

The National Disability policy calls for inclusivity of all disabled people into total participation at national level for socio-economic development. The policy came to being in 2018 after several discussions with the President.

‘’This lies out with the National Development Strategy 1 . Disabled people must not be taken as charity but as people who are like an citizen. They must be included in national Development. They need total respect, dignity and integrity in-order for them to feel free and participate in socio-economic development.

Diaspora engagement is key and crucial as well . The President reiterated the need for those in the diaspora to  feel free participate in economic development of their country . He added that their contribution to the development of the country is un-questionable.

‘’The journey towards Vision 2030 attainment is of an empowered and prosperous Upper Middle Income Economy. It entails total inclusivity of all Zimbabweans. No-one must be left behind ‘’.

‘’The two policies fulfill , promote and protect workers . These are important in socio-economic development of our country. It then means and tells us a lot about employment opportunities for those seeking outside jobs to feel free to work in countries of their will and choice. At the same time disabled people get these opportunities without any challenges.’’

International Organization for Migration, [IOM] Zimbabwe Chief Mission headed by Mario Lito Malanila said the Labour Migration policy will address good governance in terms of labor migration. He added that this creates workers safety and protection against some malpractices likely to harm them negatively.

‘’Labour migration and sustainable development remains crucial. This is made easier by craft of good policies which safe-guard, protect and up-keep on the rights of all workers. The policy improves governance systems around labor migration. Workers throughout times have contributed to disposable incomes and sustainability of community livelihoods through meaningful inclusivity and participation’’, he said

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US Offers Medical Trainining To Mozambican Troops
June 10, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

The United States government has trained 40 Mozambican soldiers in emergency lifesaving techniques, the US embassy in Maputo has announced. In a statement seen by Pan Afruan Visions, the embassy said that 26 medical staff and 14 soldiers from all branches of the military had received training in providing medical help to soldiers injured on the battlefield.

The techniques will allow them to treat injuries and prevent massive bleeding, which the statement said was the major preventable cause of death on the battlefield.

The training has been funded by the US Department of State, which has provided $730,000-worth of training equipment to help newly certified Mozambican trainers replicate the training programme across the country, the statement added.

The training programme is a clear message that America has increased its presence in Mozambique.

Recently, the US designated the Islamic State group’s Mozambican branch, also known as Al-Shabab and Ansar al-Sunna, as a terrorist organisation together with its leader, a Tanzanian named Abu Yasir Hassan.

The designation requires banks to freeze their assets and bans any US citizen from dealing with them.

Isis in Mozambique has killed over 1,500 civilians since October 2017, and is responsible for orchestrating a series of large scale and sophisticated attacks resulting in the capture of the strategic port of Mocimboa da Praia.

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Supreme Court Of Ghana quashes High Court order that barred-FixTheCountry demonstration.
June 10, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

The Supreme Court has quashed a High Court order that blocked the fix the country campaigners from embarking on a demonstration.

The youth of Ghana has over the months been talking about the leaders fixing the headship in the country. For the fast months the youth has taken the #FixTheCountry onto social media to voice out their issues. It has been most discussed points in the country for month which they wanted to protest but the police have stopped the demonstration by filing motion in court.

The apex court presided over by Justice Yaw Appau said on Tuesday June 8 that the High Court’s order was an error.

The Ghana Police Service on Thursday, May 6 secured a restraining order from an Accra High Court, presided over by Justice Ruby Aryeetey, to stop the planned protest.

The restraining order followed an affidavit filed by the police against the conveners of the protest march pursuant to Section 1 (6) of the Public Order Act, 1994 (Act 491).

The #FixTheCountry campaign started on social media by some youth who are demanding good governance from the Akufo-Addo-led government.

Notable personalities added their voices to the campaign, expressing concerns about how the country is being governed currently.

Some raised concerns the cost of living in Ghana is becoming too high as a result of mismanagement of the economy. These concerns were, however, responded to by Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on Facebook.

“We are four months into our four year mandate. The job of government is to fix problems. This is what we have been doing since 2017.

He further said the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down the global economy and caused increases in prices of commodities such as oil, cement and iron rods as well as overall cost of shipping.

According to the Vice President, it is very important to place the performance of their government over the last four years after inheriting an economy with “no meat on the bone” as a record.  He then said their government listens and cares so the facts and data speak for themselves.  He edges us to trust the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for taking the country into the next level a promised.

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Covid-19 Killed 9 Ghanaian Doctors In A Year– GMA
June 10, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has revealed that a  total of nine (9) doctors have lost their lives to the COVID- 19 pandemic in the last 12 months.

The doctors died because they came into contact with patients who have contracted the virus in the course of treating them.

So far five hundred and forty (540) doctors have also contracted the virus over the same period.

According to the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) if government thinks it has vaccinated enough people and so can lift the protocols it should make public the figures but the data on the ground doesn’t show that Ghana is out of the woods yet.

Deputy General Secretary of the GMA, Dr. Titus Beyuo said the recent event at the Funeral of the Former General Secretary of the NPP, Sir John shows that the numbers were huge and physical distancing disregarded.

According to him, the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) “called for the heads” of the leaders of the Christ Embassy after their massive outreach programme and therefore the GMA would not stop at calling on the police to arrest the organizers

The GMA has further urged the Inspector General of Police IGP, to arrest and prosecute the participants of the event.

Ghana Medical Association said the consequences are not too difficult for us to imagine. The GMA is very disappointed and so they want to see some prosecution taken place.

The said as for them as medical doctors it will be disservice to their colleagues who have paid the ultimate price to sit back and keep quiet about this. They further said it would not have honored the heroes who have fallen victims to this disease. From its latest analysis they have lost 9 doctors in 12 months of various categories, highly trained so they won’t sit down for this to happen.

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Ghana-Nana Akufo- Addo unveils 500 waste trucks as government partners A private Company-Jospong
June 10, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

The President, Nana Akufo-Addo, has announced that the next phase of Ghana’s waste management is to convert trash to energy. He indicated this will add to Ghana’s energy capacity and also ensure the realization of clean Ghana agenda.

According to him, the government has provided an enabling environment through the Public Private Partnership to make this work. The President said the country currently generates some 7,517,540 metric tonnes of waste.

This situation, he said, presented enormous investment opportunities for which the private sector can take advantage of. He said he will therefore reiterate his invitation for more private sector companies to collaborate with government in creating business opportunities in the waste management space such as waste to energy, recycling and composting.

President Akufo-Addo maintained that rapid population growth with its consequent increase in human activities meant that waste management generation activities still continued to be a challenge in the country. In this regard, he underscored that the procurement of this additional fleet by Zoomlion will go a long way to address the waste management problems in the country.

President Akufo-Addo made the announcement during the unveiling of 100 state-of-the-art waste management trucks and 25 disinfection equipment secured by waste management company, Zoomlion Ghana Limited, at a brief and colorful unveiling ceremony at the Independence Square in Accra, on Tuesday.

The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Henry Quartey, said the unveiling of this fleet of waste trucks confirmed the need for the government to continue to engage with the private sector.

His pledge is to resolute commitment of the Regional Coordinating Council and all Metropolitan and Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to ensure these trucks are put to judicious use while strictly adhering to maintenance regimes for a longer life span.

Henry Quartey stressed that his ministry will continue to collaborate with Zoomlion and its affiliates and the Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA) to provide quality service to the communities, especially with the Greater Accra Region.

However, he called on the citizenry to also play their role and avoid littering indiscriminately after the waste has been collected. “Accra can and must indeed work again. Every one of us has a role in achieving this,” the regional minister averred.

The Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Mrs. Cecilia Abena Dapaah, commended the President for his unwavering commitment to ensure that Ghana becomes the cleanest country in Africa.  She noted that, her Ministry has had some excellent working relations with stakeholders in the sanitation sector, thereby commending Zoomlion for its enormous role in the sector.

In a brief remark, the Executive Chairman of Jospong Group of Companies (JGC), Dr Joseph Siaw-Agyepong, disclosed that his outfit was unveiling 100 state-of-the-art trucks with modern technology and well-trained drivers to boost their already existing fleet.

He said this was part of a total consignment of five hundred (500) new waste trucks acquired by his group. “It is expected that the remaining trucks should arrive by the end of the third quarter of this year,”

Additionally, he revealed that JGC was on the verge of receiving over 5,000 motorized tricycles. These tricycles, he said, will be distributed across the country to support the haulage of solid waste in the cities and communities. He used the opportunity to announce that a new phase has been added to his company’s operations. “Our drivers have been taken through rigorous training on discipline, defensive driving and customer service to ensure that they deliver service at an optimum standard,” he said.

Dr Siaw-Agyepong thanked the Akufo-Addo administration for enabling the private sector to thrive and contribute to the social and economic development of the country.

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Cameroon’s Women’s Rugby team wins the test match against Burkina Faso
June 10, 2021 | 0 Comments

This is the first match since Cameroon returned to African and international rugby bodies after almost a decade of absence
Cameroonian team celebrating their victory in front of supporters from Burkina Faso

On the sidelines of the Rugby Africa Cup repechage held in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon triumphed, on the morning of 9th, 2021 at the August 4 stadium, against the Stallions of Burkina Faso by the score of 37 to 0.

Scheduled for 08:00AM GMT, the women’s test match between Burkina Faso and Cameroon kicked off at 09:00AM GMT due to the rain that soaked the pitch. In the first half, the Cameroonian team showed endurance and mastery of the oval ball. After No. 08 Prisco Rosine N’Dingo opened the scoring in the second minute, the Lionesses scoredthree unconverted tries bringing the score to 15 in their favor. In the 26th minute, Prisco Rosine N’Dingo received a yellow card for a high tackle.

Greetings to the Burkina Faso team

After the 10-minute half-time of this 60-minute competition, Cameroon scoredfour tries including a singleconversion. Tis added 22 points in the second halfand brought the total to 37. Burkina Faso could not scoreany points in this test match.

Velhyr Dabiré, coach of the Burkina Faso women’s team, admitted that the opposing team were technically up to the task and have international experience. Her colt and team captain, Yvette Sawadogo, remains confident in all sportiness for a victory in the second leg. Cameroonian coach Jacques NGomsu Tchon Lahui said the score could have been higher if the Burkina Faso team were not so strong. For captain Gertrude Prombove, the opponent gavethem a hard time.

President of Rugby Africa – Khaled Babbou

This is the first match since Cameroon returned to African and international rugby bodies after almost a decade of absence. This women’s competition is part of Rugby Africa’s plan to develop 15-way competitions in the period 2021-2025.

*SOURCE Rugby Africa

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World food Safety day: how safe is your food?
June 9, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica

Foodborne diseases resulting from adulteration, contamination, mishandling and poor conditions under which food is prepared and served remains a public health threat in many countries and Ghana is no exception. Especially in an era where young Ghanaians aged between 15-45 years depend on street foods with males and single women dominating fast food sales points in urban Ghana.

Elizabeth Twum, a 23 year old who usually patronizes ‘Abena’ a popular fast food joints in Abelemkpe, Accra affirms, her work schedule as a sales person does not permit her to have time to prepare homemade meal. “I stay alone and I am a shop attendant I hardly get time to cook before and after work. Unfortunately, I stay far from where I work so if I get anything to quench my hunger I am good to go for the day; she stated.

Just like Elizabeth, many of Ghana’s working class is in this dilemma of having to work hard but eating anything that ‘quench hunger’ without recourse to health implications or safety. It is estimated that every one out of 40 persons in Ghana suffers foodborne illness. Also in a recent review, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), has found that contamination and adulteration levels of food were very high in street food outlets in Ghana, and poor hygiene practices were often adopted, increasing the risk of developing foodborne diseases among the population.

As such, scientists are cautioning street food lovers to be weary of the dangers in eating at eateries outside home. As the over 250 foodborne diseases are of growing public health concern worldwide. Food scientist, Edward Essuman, Department of Dietetics, University of Allied Health Sciences Ho, says, over half of foodborne illnesses can be traced directly back to food handlers and improper hygiene and a few personal hygiene rules on the part of food handlers within the food value chain and a care look at this can help minimize food safety problems.  “The bigger picture of food safety is that it is incumbent on everyone, right from the production to the consumer, everyone has a role to play to ensure food safety”.

Available literature by Benjamin Osei Tutu et al at the Department of Food Safety Management, Food and Drugs Authority reveals that the Grater Accra Regional Hospital sees a seasonal peak of typhoid fever, dysentery, cholera and viral hepatitis at the beginning of every rainy season in Ghana. Warning that, the advent of chemical fertilizer application on farm produce to improved yields, pest control, and food additives to enhance food products and its preservations are causing more harm than good to human health.

Checks in recent review articles in Ghana have it that, the most common clinical presentation of foodborne disease takes the form of gastrointestinal symptoms where other systems of the body can also be affected and represents a considerable burden of disability as well as mortality. Thus experts are worried the non- availability of a sentinel site or surveillance system for foodborne diseases is making efforts to curb the trend challenging.

Although the Ghana Health Service together with its partners have attempted strengthening  community-based surveillance to facilitate early detection and rapid reporting of health events of all origins, augmenting efforts of government by individuals, private sector and member states, within the sub-region will help improve the situation. Meanwhile, recognizing the global burden of foodborne diseases, which affect individuals of all ages, in particular children under-5 and persons living in low-income countries United Nations General Assembly in 2018 proclaimed that every 7 June be marked World Food Safety Day. With a further adoption by the World Health Assembly in 2020 to strengthen efforts on food safety to reduce the burden of foodborne disease in collaboration with Member States and other relevant organizations.

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Food Safety; poisonous grasscutter endangers hundreds of lives in Africa.
June 9, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica

In Ghana and other parts of West Africa, the greater cane rat popularly known as grasscutter is a highly patronized delicacy for many due to its great taste and protein content, but now researchers and scientists are warning that consuming grasscutter poisoned with either yellow oleander root power or carbofuran could be detrimental to human health.

Grasscutter is usually sold dried or fresh by hunters on highways and various markets in West Africa. The game animal is either killed by a gun or poisoned through baiting by hunters.  Researchers say the meat is consumed widely and is reported to have contributed to over 80% of animal protein consumed in some countries in Africa. The carcasses of the grasscutters is reported to have contributed about 75% by weight of game meat sales in “Kantamanto”- market in Accra, Ghana, for a period of 25 years.

Over the years, the high patronage of grasscutter meat resulted in the inclusion of grasscutter on the export trade of Ghana by the Ghana Export Promotion Council (GEPC) since 1974. In a recent survey to ascertain the level of animal protein consumption by the Ghanaian public indicated that 50 percent of Ghanaians prefer grasscutter to other game animals.

But the use of poisonous substances in hunting bushmeats does not only pose danger to the animals but also poses serious health problems to the unsuspecting public.

Published in Veterinary Medicine and Science journal Wiley in March 2020, by the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho in Ghana, the use of Furadan 3GR and carbofuran in capturing grasscutter causes abdominal pain and blur vision in humans. The paper which surveyed 200 hunters saw 55 per cent of them confirming the usage of these poisonous baits in hunting game animals due to scarcity of wild animals as a result of deforestation of many natural habitations.

Speaking to Edward Essuman a food scientist at the University of Health and Allied Sciences in Ho and a co-author of the paper, says these chemicals used in catching bush meats are endangering many lives especially the section of the public that eat in “chop bars” – eateries outside home.  “No amount of heat applied to these chemicals can reduced the level of potency of the chemical used in trapping the meat” he stated.

Checks from some local eateries in Accra to ascertain consumers level of knowledge on safety of what they consume almost daily, reveals most of them do eat the game because of its great taste and protein content. “I eat grasscutter because of the great taste and protein content. I don’t have any idea about how it is trapped” Marvin Oduro asserts, as he had just finished eating some.

Anthony Azaglo, a grasscutter farmer at Somanya,- a suburb of Eastern Region of Ghana says, the use of poison in capturing game animals is rife in rural Ghana because  the public have less knowledge about the trends of hunting. Adding, the primitive methods are not fetching the desired results the hunters’ wants as the depletion of the country’s forest covers continued. For him, many grasscutter lovers who are cautious on their health will prefer buying from the farmers themselves for consumption.

Available literature by opara et tal in 2010, suggests some local market in Ghana had about 73 tons of grasscutter meat sold within a year. Indicating, a ‘mad rush’ for the game although many consumers of grass cutter are falling prey to food poisons but could not relate it to the exact food that contained the harmful substances.

Reginald Annan a lecturer in Nutrition at the department of biochemistry and biotechnology, collage of sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of science and Technology in Kumasi, says the game meat aside its high protein content also serves as a source of income for many rural dwellers. Hence, to protect the contribution made by bushmeat to the human diets and also reduce poverty and malnutrition in rural areas, rigorous education must be done to curb unscrupulous methods of meat hunting.  “To step up the production of some non-traditional animals such as grasscutters due to its high patronage as a delicacy and contribution to the rural folks more education need to be done”.

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S. Sudan Kiir Directs NPTC to Mobilize Funds for Graduation of Unifying Forces
June 9, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

President Kiir

Juba – The South Sudanese Presidency has directed the National Transitional Committee (NPTC) to mobilize the necessary resources needed to establish the unified security forces in effort to accelerate the fragile peace deal.

The NPTC, is  a body established to oversee the implementation of the 2018 revitalized peace deal.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, President Salva Kiir and his deputies instructed heads of the NTC, Tut Gatluak to accelerate the process of graduating the unified forces and developing a unified command.

The meeting was attended by President Salva Kiir, First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar, and Vice Presidents Dr. James Wani Igga, Rebecca Nyandeng, Taban Deng Gai, and Hussein Abdelbagi.

“To accelerate the process of graduating the unified forces and developing a unified command; To relocate both government and opposition forces to the cantonment sites for further training,” said presidency.

There are thousands of SSPDF, SPLA-IO, and Opposition Alliance troops at various training camps across the country.

They have been at the cantonment sites for nearly two years, hundreds of soldiers reportedly deserted the camps over lack of food, shelter, and medication.

But Kiir’s government claimed it does not have weapons to give to the unified forces. 

Juba also claims it does not have the necessary funds for logistics.

Due to lack of funds has resulted to the postponement for the graduation of more than 600 police trainees scheduled on 9th June until further notice in order to further prepare the necessary requirements for their graduation

The presidency further instructed former government and opposition forces to relocate to the cantonment sites for further training.

The revitalized peace deal expects the unity government to graduate 83,000 Necessary Unified Forces, unification of their command, and redeploy the forces to provide security and safeguard the gains of the peace deal.

In May, the UN Security Council set the conditions necessary for lifting the arms embargo on South Sudan; include the completion by the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity such as the swearing in of the national parliamentarians, appointment of the Council of States and state legislatures.

It also demands the completion of the country’s strategic defense and security review; the formation of a unified command structure.

Something that Juba government failed to honor, which resulted to extension of armed embargo sanction.

However, the presidency has now decided “to capacitate the transitional government in order to strengthen the country’s unity irrespective of people’s political affiliations,” created by the country’s five year conflict.

According to the 2018 peace deal, the unified forces – composed of oppositions and government forces were supposed to be graduated before the end of the pre-transitional period which ended in February 2020 with the appointment of Dr. Machar as First Vice President.

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Africa Local Content Fund to catalyze Research & Development and drive Local Content Initiative – Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) Exc Sec., Wabote
June 9, 2021 | 0 Comments

First African Local Content Roundtable held at the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) Towers, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on Wednesday, June 3, 2021.

YENAGOA, Nigeria, June 9, 2021/ — Poised to take full advantage of emerging opportunities in local content administration, key stakeholders and policy leaders in Africa’s Oil and Gas, and other related sectors, yesterday met in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, and have unanimously advocated for a new local content strategy for Africa with a focus on adequate regulatory framework, funding, human capacity development and strategic Research and Development (R&D) with effective gaps analysis to positively drive the local content narrative as an imperative for domestication and sustainable growth of Africa’s hydrocarbon resources.

The stakeholders who gathered at the maiden edition of the African Local Content Roundtable in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on Thursday, June 3, 2021, jointly agreed that funding is critical to driving local content, especially with the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic which has had very negative consequences on the economy of most Africa countries.

Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, FNSE, while setting the context at the Pan-African engagement, harped on the need for a strong regulatory framework as part of the efforts by the Nigerian government to make local content a core part of the national energy policy framework. He said funding and incentives are critical to implementing “local content programmes, develop infrastructure, attract new investments, and keep existing businesses afloat” adding that the Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF) has earmarked a $350 million intervention fund in partnership with the Bank of Industry (BOI).

The Executive Secretary also highlighted that on research and development R&D “initiatives requires dedicated source of funding” and “will provide a good platform for the academia, researchers, product developers, and inventors to showcase their break-through for development and commercialization.”

Wabote recalled that the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content (NOGICD Act) 2010 as established, makes the NCDMB the sole regulator of Oil and Gas in Nigeria. He said the Board to promote local content, ensuring that the construction of its 17-story Towers in Yenagoa was done by indigenous engineers.

He said “A sustainable local content practice requires that the right regulatory framework is put in place, regular gap analysis and the setting of targets for gap closure. The right resources including funding and incentives are required to build capacities and capabilities. R&D is the key drivers to bring innovation and avoid obsolescence”

Similarly, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, opined that Africa must now come up with policies that will further deepen the conversations on local content administration, adding that the success story of the NCDMB as the champion of local content practice in Africa has led to the extension of local content services to other sectors in Nigeria and Africa at large.

The Honorable Minister, Sylva, regretted that decades of exploration of hydrocarbon in Nigeria have not translated into sustainable growth, stressing that the African Local Content Roundtable will henceforth be a “signatory event”. He said Nigeria must also look to explore its 303billion cubic feet of gas reserves.

Lending his voice to the local content narrative, Omar Farouk Ibrahim, Secretary-General of African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO) (https://APPOSecretariat.org) stressed the need to put resources together before it is late to harness Africa’s oil products, adding that the time has come for countries in Africa to “close its eyes to the challenges of boundaries.”

Secretary-General Omar Farouk Ibrahim regretted that government of APPO member countries is heavily dependent on Oil and Gas revenue to meet the demands of their citizens. The implication, Omar said, is that in the next few years, the advancement of new technologies and financing would be halted as the focus will shift to renewable energy options.

He further stated that as a result of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization is now committed to ensuring that hydrocarbon emissions are curtailed, as well as the continents’ over-dependence on oil, stressing that it has become paramount for every nation to have its refinery and gas plants.

Expressing his concern about the emerging realities, Omar said “We need to understand the dangers posed by the so-called energy transition. We have 600 people who do not have access to modern energy. We cannot continue to deny them this privilege. APPO is going to work with OPEC and other oil agencies between now and November,” he said.

Madam Massout Samia, APPO Executive Board Member, Algeria, posited that Africa must introduce facilitation and document activities to augment resources related to local content. She said aside from the regulation of hydrocarbon and the revenue that comes in from oil, benefits from technological advancement must also be pursued.

She said Africa must further develop the quality of its local content capacity to meet required standards, and hydrocarbon should be considered as the engine and backbone of the continent.

In the same vein, Chairman, Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) Mr. Nicholas Odinuwe called on African governments to develop mechanisms for independent start-ups, as policies alone are not enough to drive local content in Africa.  He said the legislation remains essential.

He highlighted that the capacity of PETAN and other stakeholders has grown since the passing of the NOGICD Act in 2010, as PETAN now has over 200 members across the sector. He acknowledged that the breakthrough is traceable to the NCDMB’s engagement with local capacity. He advised that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) must also create regional relationships for hydrocarbon trade with a private sector-driven initiative.

While stating that PETAN will partner with the NCDMB to expand this initiative to other stakeholders and regional markets, he lamented the situation where Africa exports its crude and imports the finished products, saying it cannot guarantee the needed progress.

Similarly, Mr. Sediko Douka Commissioner, Energy, And Mines (ECOWAS) listed some of the challenges impeding the local content initiative as the absence of well-established institutions, lowly motivated staff, lack of private sector participation, low level of value addition, licensing, and climate change.

The ECOWAS rep emphasized the need to improve on regional cooperation and development of the extractive industry with a call for improved infrastructure to promote an investment-friendly climate and the establishment of institutions to drive the local content narrative in Africa.

He also prescribed the promotion of the advancement of human capabilities through training and enhancement as a panacea for integrated guidelines for social corporate responsibility. He further stressed the need to have local content as the backbone for development in Africa and urged member countries to ensure that its oil facilities are open to member countries.

Mr. Francis Anatogu, Executive Secretary, National Action Committee on AfCFTA, observed that for any product to be considered as local content, it must meet a minimum local content standard.  He said “We must do local content to protect our currency and grow it. Africa records over $500billion of products per annum,” he noted.

According to the AfCFTA Exec Secretary, the local content initiative is capable of lifting 30 million Africans out of extreme poverty, boost the incomes of nearly 68 million others who live on less than $5.50 a day, increase Africa’s exports by $560 billion, mostly in manufacturing, and boost Africa’s income by $450 billion by 2035 (a gain of 7%).

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The Institut Choiseul Reinvents its Choiseul 100 Africa Ranking by Offering Young African Leaders the Opportunity to Apply.
June 9, 2021 | 0 Comments

The application campaign is open between June 1st and July 7th 2021

From 2021, young leaders from the continent who would like to be part of the Choiseul 100 Africa ranking (to be disclosed in September) and the Choiseul Africa network are invited to apply. The application campaign is open between June 1st and July 7th 2021.

The reference ranking of young African leaders

Launched in 2014, the Choiseul 100 Africa is an annual study conducted independently by the Institut Choiseul that identifies and ranks the 100 young African leaders aged 40 and below who are playing or expected to play an important role in Africa’s development in the near future.

By honouring business and institutional leaders, entrepreneurs and innovative project leaders, the Choiseul 100 Africa aims to highlight the dynamism of the African decision-makers’ young generation and the renewal they em- body for the continent.


What’s new in 2021: the opening of online applications

In order to continue to be as close as possible to the territories, the Institut Choiseul is opening up this year to young African leaders the possibility of applying online on the Choiseul Africa to be part of the ranking.

The candidates selected by the selection committee will join the Choiseul Africa family, which today includes laureates and about 200 alumni (former laureates who have passed the 40-year limit) in 47 out of the 54 countries on the continent.

The application campaign is open between 1st June and 7th July 2021 for a publication of the ranking in September 2021.

Choiseul Africa, the initiative that highlights the excellence and diversity of the continent

Operating in 16 business sectors that underpin African growth, the Choiseul 100 Africa laureates represent the diversity and dynamism of a forward-looking continent.

Through the studies it publishes and the events it organises (Choiseul Africa Summit, Choiseul Africa Business Forum), the Institut Choiseul aims to bring together a large spectrum of visions about governance and development issues in Africa, but also to promote a new kind of business dialogue between the continent and Europe.


Sectors represented in the Choiseul 100 Africa

Finance, telecoms, ICT, banking, energy, education, transport/logistics, agribusiness, industry, commerce, services, real estate/construction, health/care, cultural industries/media, institutions, sport business

About Institut Choiseul :
The Institut Choiseul is an independent and non-partisan think tank dedicated to the analysis of international strategic issues and major economic and societal challenges, as well as to the identification of talent. By organising prestigious events and informal mee- tings between the most influential political, institutional or economic leaders in Europe, the Mediterranean area and Africa, and by distributing its publications to decision-makers and opinion leaders, the Institut Choiseul contributes to fertilising debate on contem- porary issues.

*SOURCE L’Institut Choiseul

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Merck Foundation and African First Ladies announce “More Than a Mother” Africa Song Awards 2021 to support girl education.
June 9, 2021 | 0 Comments

In partnership with African First Ladies, other awards have also been announced such as; ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Film Awards, Fashion Awards and Media Recognition Awards.

Merck Foundation , the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany introduced their new award, the Merck Foundation Africa Song Award  ‘More Than a Mother’ 2021 in partnership with African First Ladies who are also  the Ambassadors of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother, for All African Singers, Musical Artists and emerging talents, to create a song with the aim to raise awareness about Empowering  Girls and Women through Education at all levels.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother expressed, “This is the first time we have launched the Merck Foundation Africa Song Award ‘More Than a Mother’. I am very excited to introduce this award in partnership with my dear sisters African First Ladies. The continent is known for its versatile music artists and talents who have been instrumental in communicating messages and spreading awareness on various issues. Music and Art have the capacity and influence to make the problem felt, which further stimulates emotions and leads to engagement and action. Hence we used this medium and introduced these awards to encourage the music composers and singers to create songs to raise awareness on the importance of girl education and empowering girls and women at all levels”.

“I strongly believe that Music has the power to touch the hearts of people. Music has the ability to bind communities and bring about a cultural shift in the society. We have produced and launched more than 20 songs with famous singers from Burundi, Ghana, Rwanda, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Gambia to raise awareness about male infertility and to break the Stigma around Infertility in Africa. Moreover, it is also an honor for us to have The President of Liberia, H.E. GEORGE WEAH and the Former First Lady of Burundi do their own songs for our Merck Foundation More Than a Mother campaign. Through the Song Awards, we aim to spread awareness on important issues of girl education and women empowerment in the African continent”, added Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej. Merck Foundation strongly believes that Education is one of the most critical areas of women empowerment. Merck Foundation’s ‘Educating Linda’ program helps young girls who are unprivileged but brilliant to continue their education. The spirit of the project is to provide an opportunity to such girls to pursue their dreams and reach their potential through access to education. It has been seen that many girls drop out of school due to lack of necessities such as fees and uniform.



Merck Foundation Educating Linda program has contributed to the future of 100’s of girls in partnership with the African First Ladies as part of ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother’ campaign.

Please click on the links below to listen to songs created by Merck Foundation:

Details about Merck Foundation Africa Song Awards ‘More Than a Mother’ 2021

Who can apply?

All African Singers and Musical Artists are invited to create and share a SONG on MP3 with the aim to Empower Girls and Women through Education and at all levels.

Last Date of Submission

30th August 2021

How to Apply?

Please share your work as an Audio File or YouTube link on: submit@Merck-Foundation.com.

The Subject line of the mail should mention: Merck Foundation Song Awards “More Than a Mother” 2021

Please specify your name, country and contact details in the mail.

Prize Money:

PositionFirst AwardSecond AwardThird Award
Prize moneyUSD 1000USD 700USD 500


The Ambassadors of “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” are

H.E. NEO JANE MASISI,
The First Lady of Botswana
H.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The GambiaH.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia
H.E. SIKA KABORE, The First Lady of Burkina FasoH.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of GhanaH.E. AISHA BUHARI, The First Lady of Nigeria
H.E. ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE,

The First Lady of Burundi
H.E. CONDÉ DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea ConakryH.E FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone
H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African RepublicH.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of LiberiaH.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia
H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo BrazzavilleH.E. MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of MalawiH.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe
H.E. DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI, THE First Lady of Democratic Republic of CongoH.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique
The Former First Lady of Burundi, H.E DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The Former First Lady of Chad, H.E. HINDA DÉBY ITNO, The Former First Lady of Malawi, H.E. PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA and The Former First Lady of Niger, H.E AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU have worked successfully with Merck Foundation as Merck Foundation More Than a Mother Ambassadors to break the stigma of infertility and empower infertile women in their countries.

‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Africa Media Recognition Awards and Health Media Training.Merck Foundation launched new innovative initiatives to sensitize local communities about infertility prevention, male infertility with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and empowering infertile women as part of Merck Foundation More than a Mother COMMUNITY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN, such as:

  • ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Africa Media Recognition Awards and Health Media Training.
  • ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Fashion Awards.
  • ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Film Awards.
  • ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Song Awards.
  • Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it.
  • Children storybook, localized for each country.

About Merck Foundation:
The Merck Foundation, established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to quality & equitable healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Foundation Website.  Please visit www.merck-foundation.com to read more. To know more, reach out to our social media: Merck Foundation (https://Merck-Foundation.com); Facebook (https://bit.ly/32YFKpv), Twitter (https://bit.ly/2TeOQNj), Instagram (https://bit.ly/3g6OYr3), YouTube (https://bit.ly/3zc3up1) and Flicker (https://bit.ly/2Tay0Pu).

About ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother’ campaign:
“Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” is a strong movement that aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and change of mind-sets. This powerful campaign supports governments in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe, effective and equitable fertility care solutions. It defines interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention, management and male infertility. In partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information, Education & Gender, academia, policymakers, International fertility societies, media and art, the initiative also provides training for fertility specialists and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries. With “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother”, we have initiated a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility at all levels: By improving awareness, training local experts in the fields of fertility care and media, building advocacy in cooperation with African First Ladies and women leaders and by supporting childless women in starting their own small businesses. It’s all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child.

SOURCE
Merck Foundation

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