ZURICH (Reuters) – Switzerland will return to Nigeria around $321 million in assets seized from the family of former military ruler Sani Abacha via a deal signed with the World Bank on Monday, the Swiss government said.
Dangote: Only African in Bloomberg 50 list of year’s most influential people
December 5, 2017 | 0 Comments
|Dangote’s contribution to the world this year revolves around his dynamic attention to lessen food imports into his own country and Africa’s largest nation, Nigeria|
NEW YORK, United States of America, December 5, 2017/ — Aliko Dangote was honored last night at the Bloomberg 50 annual gala dinner at New York’s iconic Gotham Hall. Bloomberg’s list of 50 most influential names (http://APO.af/hCnHFd) who have had an impact on the world in 2017 included Dangote, Africa’s richest person, for his outstanding commitment of over $4B USD to increase Nigeria’s food production capacity.
Represented in New York by the CEO of his Foundation, Dangote was joined by electric car visionary Elon Musk; Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmon; Beatrice Fihn, anti-nuclear weapons advocate and Nobel Peace Laureate; Amazon’s Jeff Bezos; Robert Mueller, special counsel investigating Donald Trump’s potential collusion with Russia; and Vitalik Buterin, whose invention of the cryptocurrency Ethereum is revolutionizing the new blockchain craze.
Dangote’s contribution to the world this year revolves around his dynamic attention to lessen food imports into his own country and Africa’s largest nation, Nigeria, by focusing on domestic production of sugar and dairy, with 500 million liters of Nigerian milk to be produced by 2019. Earlier this year he announced a $50B USD plan to invest in renewable energy.
“What sets The Bloomberg 50 apart from other lists is that each person chosen has demonstrated measurable change over the past year,” Bloomberg Businessweek editor Megan Murphy said.
The event was emceed by actor Keegan-Michael Key, with a performance by Mandy Gonzalez of Broadway sensation “Hamilton.”
Dangote claimed another distinction at the Bloomberg 50; he was the only African.
Dangote Partners with Jumia to sell Cement online
December 5, 2017 | 0 Comments
|Dangote cement price goes for online purchase|
LAGOS, Nigeria, December 5, 2017/ — In a new move designed to reduce price and ease logistics inherent in the purchase of its products, the management of Dangote Cement Plc (http://APO.af/mCqnZz) has signed a pact with the foremost e-commerce platform Jumia Nigeria (www.Jumia.com.ng) to offer for sale its cement to customers online.
At the unveiling of the deal in Lagos, Dangote Cement, Key Account Director, Chux Mogbolu said Dangote Cement was happy to partner with online shopping giant, in a bid to make Dangote cement available with ease to customers.
According to the deal, Nigerians and corporate bodies wishing to purchase a minimum of 300 bags of 50kg of Dangote Cement and above can now order on Jumia from the comfort of their rooms at a reasonable price of N2,500 per bag as opposed to how much is sold in the open market and see them delivered to any place of their choice without any extra cost for transportation.
Mogbolu, however disclosed that the purchase would only be within Lagos, Port- Harcourt and Abuja for now.
He said: “Dangote Cement decided to work with Jumia Nigeria based on its credibility and excellent performance over the years in online shopping management”, adding that the new initiative would help arrest the scams perpetrated by online fraudsters who deceived the people by asking them to come and purchase Dangote Cement for N1000 per bag.
“For now, the pilot scheme is live in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, but we can extend to other cities depending on the level of demand and performance of the new deal”.
“With the deal, Nigerians in need of seamless supply of cement from Dangote can now place order and pay online and wait for the delivery in record time from any of Dangote’s nearest cement plant to Lagos, Port Harcourt or Abuja.
“We are starting with Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) of 300, 600 and 900. We may increase depending on demand surge as time goes on,” Mogbolu explained.
Speaking on the deal too, Chief Executive Officer of Jumia Nigeria, Juliet Anammah said the deal with Dangote Cement is part of efforts to deepen service delivery on Jumia Nigeria online platform.
She said she was of the belief that the deal will be beneficial to all parties involved and deepen further online shopping in Nigeria as obtained all over the world.
The Jumia Nigeria boss reflected on the 2017 Black Friday Festival ran by her organization and said the Festival has attracted more than 14 million visits since the commencement of the campaign on November 13th.
According to her, “the annual sales event, which was initiated in Nigeria in 2013 by Jumia remains the busiest and largest shopping day of the year on both online and offline stores. This year’s explosive Black Friday numbers demonstrates the increasing capacity and flexibility of the online retail space in Nigeria.”
“We deliver to the 36 states across Nigeria, and are able to reach neighborhoods and shoppers who traditionally have not had access to a wide variety of products and deals. This year we also see the increasing interest in groceries and other FMCG products which reflect the increasing relevance of Black Friday to the average Nigerian.”
Some key highlights of the 2017 figures presented by Jumia Nigeria in Lagos on Thursday showed among other things more than 1.9 million visits on Black Friday Big Bang. 14.4 million visits since the start of the sales event; Overall, 85% of all visits were made on a mobile device, compared to 72% in 2016; and 86,000 smartphones and counting have been sold in the past two weeks.
Barclays Africa, China Development Bank sign agreement to cooperate on development projects in Africa
December 5, 2017 | 0 Comments
|Barclays Africa will leverage the MoU to unlock opportunities in order to strengthen its contribution towards Africa’s economic growth and development|
|JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, December 5, 2017/ — Barclays Africa Group Limited (BAGL) (www.BarclaysAfrica.com) and China Development Bank (CDB) (www.CDB.com.cn) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at strengthening cooperation and exploring opportunities to fund development projects in Africa.
Given CDB’s focus on infrastructure finance for roads, railways and dams, Barclays Africa will leverage the MoU to unlock opportunities in order to strengthen its contribution towards Africa’s economic growth and development. Barclays Africa will also extract synergies from the CDB’s focus on inclusive finance to provide capital to SME’s and low income communities.
In addition, Barclays Africa and CDB will explore reciprocal training and development opportunities for their respective investment teams. In this regard, Barclays Africa has already hosted more than 30 employees from the CDB.
“This MoU represents a long-term commitment by senior leadership at Barclays Africa to strengthen our relationship with the world’s largest development finance institution, which has assets of over US$2-trillion. This partnership will unlock opportunities that are aligned to our Shared Growth approach and could facilitate positive socio-economic impact,” says Barclays Africa’s Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) Co-Chief Executive, Temi Ofong.
Barclays Africa has a history of more than 100 years in Africa, with deep local and regional expertise. As one of the leading Pan-African banks on the continent, Barclays Africa’s in-depth understanding of local markets and sectors, coupled with a strong branch, ATM and customer networks, is well positioned to provide a unique value proposition to local, regional and global clients.
“Strengthening these kinds of relationships will help our Group identify opportunities aligned to our Shared Growth commitment to leave our communities better than we found them. As a Pan-African bank, Shared Growth gives our business an exciting opportunity to make a difference in our communities and to be part of shaping the collective futures of this great continent,” says Ofong.
The CDB was established in 1994 as a policy bank but now operates as a Development Finance Institution (DFI) for the Chinese Government. By 2017, CDB supported more than 500 projects in 43 African countries valued at USD 50-billion.
In 2016, China-Africa trade flow reached US$150-billion, making China, Africa’s largest trade partner for seven consecutive years.
Barclays Africa Group Limited (‘Barclays Africa Group’ or ‘the Group’) (www.BarclaysAfrica.com) is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and is one of Africa’s largest diversified financial services groups. As of June 2017, Barclays PLC is a minority shareholder in Barclays Africa Group.
Barclays Africa Group offers an integrated set of products and services across personal and business banking, corporate and investment banking, wealth and investment management and insurance. We are strongly positioned as a fully local bank with regional and international expertise. We are committed to Shared Growth, which for us means having a positive impact on society and delivering shareholder value.
Barclays Africa Group operates in 12 countries, with approximately 40 000 employees, serving close to 12 million customers.
The Group’s registered head office is in Johannesburg, South Africa and owns majority stakes in banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania (Barclays Bank Tanzania and National Bank of Commerce), Uganda and Zambia. The Group also has representative offices in Namibia and Nigeria.
Egypt to host six Heads of State and Africa’s leading Chief Executive Officers at the Africa 2017 Forum
December 5, 2017 | 0 Comments
|Over 100 speakers and 1,500 delegates to discuss regional integration and job creation in Africa|
|CAIRO, Egypt, December 5, 2017/ — President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi will be hosting six African heads of state at the Africa 2017 Forum (www.BusinessForAfricaForum.com) that will take place this week in the picturesque beach resort of Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. The President of Guinea, current chair of the AU, will be joining the Forum as well as the Presidents of Chad, Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire, Comoros and Somalia. The Vice President of Nigeria is also expected as is the Prime Minister of Mozambique. The Forum will start with a Young Entrepreneurs Day, with 50 of Africa’s leading start-ups in funding and partner pitches.
This business and investment Forum, whose theme is “Driving investment for inclusive growth’, has been convened to increase intra African investments and cross border collaboration. Egypt in 2015 hosted the signing of the tripartite agreement between the three regional economic communities SADC, COMESA and the EAC, and the Forum has been designed for African business leaders to play a greater role by investing in opportunities throughout the continent.
The first edition of the Forum took place in February 2016. This year the programme has been enhanced to include 2 exclusive Presidential Roundtables, where these business leaders will openly discuss policy with the African presidents present to help create a more conducive business environment, in addition to immense investment and business opportunities available in the continent. Youth and entrepreneurs will also play a prominent role. Over 50 of the continent’s brightest and most promising entrepreneurs have been invited to showcase their businesses and will be presenting them to investors and funds in a Deal room curated by Asoko Insights.
The Forum is being organised by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt and the COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA). Speaking ahead of the Forum, Dr. Sahar Nasr, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt stressed the importance of greater intra-Africa collaboration: “Intra-Africa trade is a valuable component of Africa’s and Egypt’s economic growth strategy,” she said. “For Egypt’s growth strategy, Intra-Africa trade remains a valuable component. Despite European and North American markets dominating Egypt’s trade activities, we have proximity to African markets as well as trade agreements with African nations. The markets where Egypt has seen an increase in its trade include North Africa, specifically Morocco, East Africa, specifically Kenya, South Africa and Sudan.”
Heba Salama, head of RIA, highlighted the responsibility of the private sector to devise innovative solutions. “The private sector can play an important role in filling in the US $93bn infrastructure gap. Manufacturing is another important sector where private sector support is needed. McKinsey Global Institute estimates that Africa could double its manufacturing output in 10 years, which could ultimately create between 6 million and 14 million stable jobs and boost African GDP growth.”
The Forum will take place between the 7-9th of December. The speakers feature some of Africa’s leading CEOs and policy makers, including Isabel dos Santos, Chairperson of Unitel Angola, Daniel Matjila, CEO, Public Investment Corporation, Dr. Ahmed Heikal, Founder of Qalaa Holdings, Tony Elumelu, Chairman of UBA, Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
Africa 2017 Forum (www.BusinessForAfricaForum.com) is held under the high patronage of H.E. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on 7th to 9th December 2017 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and is organized by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt and the COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA).
BUSINESS TRAVELER MAGAZINE NAMES SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS THE BEST IN AFRICA
December 5, 2017 | 0 Comments
SAA recognized as “Best Airline in Africa” and “Best Business Class to Africa”
Fort Lauderdale, FL (December 5, 2017) – South African Airways (SAA), the national flag carrier of South Africa and Africa’s most awarded airline is proud to be the recipient of two of Business Traveler Magazine’s prestigious Best in Business Travel Awards for 2017. Being honored for the 9th consecutive year as “Best Airline in Africa” and the 8th consecutive year as “Best Business Class to Africa” by the readers of Business Traveler is a continued affirmation of SAA’s long-standing position as the preferred carrier for business travel to the continent.
“We are thrilled to have earned these two awards from Business Traveler, a publication whose readers know the very best in travel,” said Todd Neuman, Executive Vice President for South African Airways in North America. “It is a tremendous honor to be named their favorite airline to the African continent for so many years. All of us at SAA will continue to work hard to earn their support and accolades by offering the most convenient schedules and unsurpassed service on our flights to Africa.”
“The business traveller has absolutely taken center stage,” noted Dan Booth, editorial director of Business Traveler Magazine. “Today’s business travel community – empowered by technology – is an ever-expanding platform for new products, new ideas, and new opportunities. For our readers to pick your company as the Best in Business Travel means you have connected with them in a meaningful and innovative way. And your most sophisticated and demanding customers are recognizing you for it.”
As the leading carrier from the U.S. to Africa, South African Airways offers the most flights with non-stop service from New York–JFK Airport to Johannesburg and daily non-stop service from Washington, DC-Dulles to Dakar, Senegal, or Accra, Ghana, with continued service to Johannesburg.From its hub in Johannesburg, SAA together with its regional partners SA Express, Airlink and Mango offers easy, convenient connections to more than 75 destinations throughout Africa. SAA’s awarding –winning Premium Business Class offers 180 fully lie-flat seating with duvet and full-size pillows, gourmet cuisine designed by renowned South African celebrity chefs, a wine cellar featuring some of South Africa’s finest vintages and extensive programming of on-demand audio and visual entertainment.
For further information on South African Airways product and services, please visit www.flysaa.com or for reservations call 1-(800) 722-9675.
South African Airways (SAA), South Africa’s national flag carrier and the continent’s most awarded airline, serves over 75 destinations worldwide in partnership with SA Express, Airlink and its low cost carrier Mango. In North America, SAA operates daily nonstop flights from New York-JFK and direct flights from Washington D.C.-IAD (via Accra, Ghana and Dakar, Senegal) to Johannesburg. SAA has partnerships with United Airlines, Air Canada and JetBlue Airways, American Airlines and Virgin America, which offer convenient connections from more than 100 cities in the U.S. and Canada to SAA’s flights. SAA is a Star Alliance member and the recipient of the Skytrax 4-Star rating for 15 consecutive years.
Senegal’s sports minister Matar Ba aiming for the World Cup semi-finals
December 5, 2017 | 0 Comments
Senegal’s sports minister, Matar Ba, says the Teranga Lions are aiming to do better than any other African nation at the World Cup and reach the semi-finals next year.
In Russia, Senegal are in Group H along with Poland, Colombia and Japan.
In 2002, at their first ever World Cup, Senegal made it to the quarter-finals.
“We have to have our objectives – those objectives are to get to the second round and do better than in 2002,” Ba told BBC Sport.
“The semi-finals are achievable because today football is not about being European or African or American – football is global,
“You look at the biggest championships in the world – in England in Italy, everywhere – there are Senegalese playing and they are in the teams. So we can rival any of the teams.
“We won’t underestimate any of these teams because all 32 teams who are there have won through the qualifiers and so we have to respect them and we have to take them seriously.”
Senegal will begin their Group H campaign against Poland on 19 June in Moscow before they play Japan on 24 June and finally Colombia four days later.
Ba refused to be drawn into making comparisons between the current team and the squad that play in South Korea and Japan in 2002.
“It’s not the same – we can’t compare them,” he said.
“Each generation does its work and this generation want to do better than the team of 2002.
“We have a great team and we have Senegalese coach and we are going to prepare well for a good performance.
“We are ambitious but we are also reasonable and so we are going to set obtainable objective.”
Ba admitted they may not now much about their opponents at the moment but added that can easily be changed.
“Nothing can be hidden these days with the internet. We can see everything we can analyse Colombia’s matches and all the others,” he pointed out.
*Culled from BBC
Peace diamond: Precious stone fetches $6.5m in New York
December 5, 2017 | 0 Comments
Laurence Graff, chairman of Graff Diamonds, won the precious stone – nicknamed the “peace diamond” – in bidding on Monday.
Half of the proceeds, $3.8m, will be used to fund infrastructure projects to benefit the community of the small village where it was discovered.
The Sierra Leone government rejected a bid of $7.8m at an earlier auction.
The government is now expected to use the money raised to improve conditions in the village of Koryardu, including the introduction of a fresh supply of water, electricity, roads, medical care and the building and maintenance of schools.
“The Peace Diamond bought by Laurence Graff will change lives even though it’s a shame the diamond hasn’t sold for a wildly expensive price,” the managing director of 77diamonds.com, Tobias Kormind, said.
The earlier bid of $7.8m was rejected by the government when the stone was initially auctioned in Freetown, after it said that the figure was too low.
The “peace diamond”, said to be the 14th largest recorded diamond in the world, was handed to the Sierra Leone government in March after it was unearthed by Emmanuel Momoh, a Christian pastor.
Mr Momoh told the BBC’s Newsday programme before the auction on Monday that selling the diamond to middlemen would not have “benefited the community”.
“We lack a lot of things. We don’t have a good road network … or drinking water,” he added.
The sale of the diamond was handled by Rapaport Group, which waived all charges.
The group’s chairman, Martin Rapaport, told Newsday that the sale could bring about a “sea change in the relationship between artisanal miners and the government” if the community is seen to benefit.
“It will encourage others to work with the government,” he said.
Swiss to Return $321 Million in Stolen Funds to Nigeria
December 5, 2017 | 0 Comments
Transparency International, a corruption watchdog, has accused Abacha of stealing up to $5 billion of public money during the five years he ran the oil-rich country, from 1993 until his death in 1998.
In 2014, Nigeria and the Abacha family reached an agreement for the West African country to get back the funds, which had been frozen, in return for dropping a complaint against the former military ruler’s son, Abba Abacha.
The son was charged by a Swiss court with money-laundering, fraud and forgery in April 2005, after being extradited from Germany, and later spent 561 days in custody.
In 2006, Luxembourg ordered that funds held by the younger Abacha be frozen.
Now Switzerland, Nigeria and the World Bank have agreed the funds will be repatriated via a project supported and overseen by the World Bank, the Swiss government said.
“The project will strengthen social security for the poorest sections of the Nigerian population. The agreement also regulates the disbursement of restituted funds in tranches and sets out concrete measures to be taken in the event of misuse or corruption,” it added.
HEINEKEN lays the foundation stone of its first brewery in Mozambique
December 4, 2017 | 0 Comments
|HEINEKEN makes $100 million investment|
|AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, December 4, 2017/ — HEINEKEN (www.theHEINEKENcompany.com) today laid the foundation stone of its first brewery in Mozambique in the presence of His Excellency Mr. Max Tonela, Minister of Trade and Industry.
This new brewery, incorporating the latest technologies, represents a $100 million (€85 million) investment. Located in the province of Maputo, between the Marracuene and Manhiça districts, the brewery will have a production capacity of 0.8 million hectoliters and will brew high quality beers for the domestic market. The first bottle of beer is expected to come off the production line in the first half of 2019.
HEINEKEN Mozambique started its activities in 2016 through a sales and marketing office, importing international beers including Heineken®, Amstel, Amstel Lite and Sagres in the country to offer more choice to Mozambican consumers. The construction of HEINEKEN’s very first brewery is a major step forward for the company’s presence in the country.
With this significant investment, HEINEKEN Mozambique is expected to create 200 direct jobs and support additional indirect jobs through its entire value chain.
Aligned with the HEINEKEN ambition of sourcing 60% of its agricultural raw materials in Africa by 2020, HEINEKEN Mozambique will explore the possibility of locally sourcing the raw materials it will need to produce its beers. One of the objectives of this project will be to improve crop yields as well as the capabilities and living standards of Mozambican farmers, contributing to the economic development of the country.
Boudewijn Haarsma, HEINEKEN International’s Managing Director East & West Africa, stated: “We are delighted to enter Mozambique, where we see promising long-term economic perspectives. The project is progressing well thanks to the support of the Mozambican Government and its commitment to bring investments into the country. Investing in a new market like Mozambique supports HEINEKEN’s ambition to expand its footprint and be the number one or a strong number two in all markets in which it operates. With our extensive experience and existing business in Africa, we also aim to be a partner for growth today in Mozambique as we already are throughout the continent. I am convinced our presence will contribute to the economic and social development that is already under way in Mozambique.”
Nuno Simes, HEINEKEN Mozambique’s General Manager said: “With HEINEKEN’s passion for quality, our new brewery will deliver high quality beers to Mozambique according to the international standards of the HEINEKEN Company. We look forward to continue to provide enjoyment to Mozambican consumers with our brands.”
HEINEKEN (www.theHEINEKENcompany.com) is the world’s most international brewer. It is the leading developer and marketer of premium beer and cider brands. Led by the Heineken® brand, the Group has a portfolio of more than 250 international, regional, local and speciality beers and ciders. We are committed to innovation, long-term brand investment, disciplined sales execution and focused cost management. Through “Brewing a Better World”, sustainability is embedded in the business and delivers value for all stakeholders. HEINEKEN has a well-balanced geographic footprint with leadership positions in both developed and developing markets. We employ over 80,000 employees and operate breweries, malteries, cider plants and other production facilities in more than 70 countries. Heineken N.V. and Heineken Holding N.V. shares trade on the Euronext in Amsterdam. Prices for the ordinary shares may be accessed on Bloomberg under the symbols HEIA NA and HEIO NA and on Reuters under HEIN.AS and HEIO.AS. HEINEKEN has two sponsored level 1 American Depositary Receipt (ADR) programmes: Heineken N.V. (OTCQX: HEINY) and Heineken Holding N.V. (OTCQX: HKHHY). Most recent information is available on HEINEKEN’s website: www.theHEINEKENcompany.com
Sierra Leone Parliament Ratifies Key Bumbuna II Project Documents
December 4, 2017 | 0 Comments
|This marks another important milestone in the development of the Bumbuna II hydropower project which, when completed, will provide much-needed all-year round power to Sierra Leone|
|LONDON, United Kingdom, December 4, 2017/ — Following on from the Government of Sierra Leone’s signing of the 25-year Power Purchase and Implementation Agreements with Joule Africa (www.JouleAfrica.com) in August 2017, these important project documents have now been ratified by the Sierra Leone Parliament. This marks another important milestone in the development of the Bumbuna II hydropower project which, when completed, will provide much-needed all-year round power to Sierra Leone.
Under the conditions of the agreement, local project company Seli Hydropower, jointly owned by Joule Africa and its local partner Energy Services Company (ESCO), will build an extension to the existing 50 MW hydro station, Bumbuna I, situated in the north east of the country, adding a further 143 MW of power capacity. Construction on the extension is anticipated to start in the second half of 2018 with operations forecast to start four years later. Seli Hydropower, will be responsible for building, owning and operating Bumbuna II and will also be responsible for operating Bumbuna I.
Commenting on this announcement, Patrick Beckley, Chairman of Seli Hydropower, said:
“We would like to thank the Government of Sierra Leone for their ongoing support and in maintaining their commitment to the Bumbuna II project ahead of General Elections in early 2018. I am delighted that we received approval for ratification in Parliament with no exemptions – a clear indication that there is unanimous cross-party support for this project.”
“The development of Bumbuna II has always been a key part of the country’s long-term energy strategy and we look forward to being able to deliver affordable, all-year round power for the consumers of Sierra Leone.”
Andrew Cavaghan, Joule Africa’s Chairman and a Director of Seli Hydropower, added:
“I am pleased that we have reached another important milestone in the development of the Bumbuna II project. We are making good progress on all fronts and will look to build on this momentum in the coming weeks and months as we continue to consult with interested parties, appoint a contractor and finalise the relevant financing.”
The Bumbuna II hydropower project is Sierra Leone’s largest infrastructure project and is a key part of the Government of Sierra Leone’s long term Energy Plan.
Joule Africa (www.JouleAfrica.com) is a developer owner-operator of sustainable power projects across Africa. In addition to Bumbuna II, Joule Africa is developing Kpep, a 485MW hydro project in Cameroon, while considering various options for its third project.
Acting Assistant Secretary Yamamoto Travel to Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, London, and Rwanda
December 4, 2017 | 0 Comments
On December 4, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto attended the Somalia Security Pact Review in Mogadishu. The meeting was chaired by President Farmaajo and provided the opportunity for stakeholders invested in Somalia’s security and stability to discuss the development of Somali security institutions.
Following the Somalia Security Pact Review, the Acting Assistant Secretary will travel to Nairobi, Kenya from December 4-6, where he will meet with representatives of the Kenyan government, as well as with Kenyan civil society. The visit will encourage all sides in Kenya to participate in a national dialogue following the presidential election.
In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Acting Assistant Secretary will meet with senior leaders of the Ethiopian government and of the African Union from December 7-9. In addition to continuing discussions on bilateral issues between the two countries, he will talk with both Ethiopian government and AU officials about regional concerns, including food security, peacekeeping and refugee matters.
In London, Ambassador Yamamoto will participate in the twice yearly gathering of P3 Africa Directors meeting on December 11-12 to discuss current policy issues with defense and development colleagues from France and the UK.
Ambassador Yamamoto will then travel to Kigali, Rwanda on December 13-14, where he will meet with President Kagame ahead of his term as President of the African Union.
*Courtesy of US State Department
What France’s Macron really means when he says Africa needs to look after itself
December 2, 2017 | 0 Comments
The Big Africa Speech is a ritual for every French president. For better or worse, it serves as the tone-setter for his Africa policy, and signals his approach to the tangle of political and business networks known as Françafrique.
Nicolas Sarkozy’s speech, given in Dakar in 2007, is remembered for an arrogant, paternalistic phrase: “The African has not yet sufficiently entered History.” It did not go over well. François Hollande’s speech in 2012, also in Dakar, was amiable but insipid. Like Hollande himself, it is largely forgotten.
Emmanuel Macron has now given his own Big Africa Speech. It came Tuesday (Nov. 28), in a raucous auditorium at the University of Ouagadougou, in Burkina Faso. What will likely be remembered most vividly is the atmospherics. Where past presidents went formal and flowery, Macron went casual and scrappy. He fed off the room full of students and their energy. He took questions—a big break from his predecessors—and even solicited direct questions from the crowd after the pre-selected questioners had their turn.
The question phase produced a small blunder that has turned into a viral clip. After serious questions to do with security and economics, a student asked about local power supply, including to the campus, where the air conditioning had gone out. Macron said that was not for him to solve, but for Burkina’s president, Roch Marc-Christian Kaboré, who was standing offstage. An awkward moment ensued as Kaboré briefly left the room (his team later hinted it was a bathroom break) and Macron joked he was going to fix the AC. The social-media take was that Macron “humiliated” Kaboré, though it could also be seen as pantomime with the Burkinabè leader playing along.
Macron fancies himself a disrupter; his Africa tone is no exception. Like past presidents, he announced a new course for France-Africa relations, but he couched it in generational terms, distancing himself—he was born in 1977—from the colonial hangover and urging young Burkinabè to do the same. He was more frank than his predecessors about, as he put it, “the crimes of colonialism.” He hailed Burkina’s late anti-imperialist hero Thomas Sankara, to great applause. He walked back an unfortunate earlier comment of his own about demographic growth as a “civilizational” challenge. His references to African writers and his tactical insertions of Burkinabè phrases were judicious and well-timed.
But Macron’s disruption of French politics comes from the center—a very Establishment kind of disruption—and his Africa policy promises the same. The new approach looks a lot like the old. He is doubling down on France’s security apparatus in the region, he called for applause for French soldiers serving in the Sahel, he celebrated the role of French firms in infrastructure projects, and his economic advice to young Africans was vapid, consisting mostly of buzzwords: entrepreneurship, innovation, and mobility.
Two points in Macron’s speech, however, are truly new and have potential for major consequences. One is political. Macron promised that France’s remaining secret files to do with Thomas Sankara’s assassination, in 1987—which may not have been ordered by France or its close ally Côte d’Ivoire, but was certainly convenient for them—will be declassified and made available to the Burkinabè courts. This sets a major precedent, and could make more than a few Françafrique actors nervous well beyond Burkina Faso. It is also high time, and goes much further than rhetoric toward dealing with the past.
The second is Macron’s reply to a student challenging him on the CFA franc, the currency of 14 African countries. The CFA and its structure, in which the countries, through two regional central banks, deposit 50% of foreign exchange reserves at the Bank of France in exchange for fixed-rate euro convertibility, are facing their most significant criticism in decades.
Macron defended the CFA, but only to the extent of pointing out that separate currencies would still need their own forex backing. (He sidestepped the key point that countries would then be able to determine their own monetary policy and use it to shape development.) But he also said he’d be open to any change the member countries wanted—including expanding the CFA or a successor currency to the rest of the region, Nigeria included; changing the exchange rate-setting mechanism; or ending the whole arrangement altogether.
This, perhaps, was Macron’s most revolutionary talk of all. The CFA is not the “colonial tax” that periodic social-media screeds label it, but it certainly is a fundamental structure of the French-African apparatus. And Macron is right that any decision to change it must come from African leaders themselves. He knows, of course, that this will be hard for them, as political elites in Franc zone countries have used the system for decades to their benefit. Disrupting those interests, he signaled, would be fine with him.
*Culled from Quartz Africa